Iran: The sea-faring psyop

Joined: 11:41 AM - Nov 25, 2005

2:14 PM - Apr 01, 2007 #1

Most people will be familiar with a rough outline of the story so far. Python Terry Jones picks up and runs with it on Comment is Free:
Call that humiliation?

No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch

Terry Jones
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn't be able to talk at all. Of course they'd probably find it even harder to breathe - especially with a bag over their head - but at least they wouldn't be humiliated.

And what's all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It's time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That's one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What's more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting "stress positions", which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It's all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is "unhappy and stressed".

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her "unhappy and stressed". She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer - whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq.

· Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

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Joined: 1:46 AM - Nov 26, 2005

9:44 AM - Apr 04, 2007 #2

The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
Exclusive Report: How a bid to kidnap Iranian security officials sparked a diplomatic crisis
By Patrick Cockburn
Published: 03 April 2007

A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.

In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment.

Better understanding of the seriousness of the US action in Arbil - and the angry Iranian response to it - should have led Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence to realise that Iran was likely to retaliate against American or British forces such as highly vulnerable Navy search parties in the Gulf. The two senior Iranian officers the US sought to capture were Mohammed Jafari, the powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, and General Minojahar Frouzanda, the chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to Kurdish officials.

The two men were in Kurdistan on an official visit during which they met the Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani, and later saw Massoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), at his mountain headquarters overlooking Arbil.

"They were after Jafari," Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of Massoud Barzani, told The Independent. He confirmed that the Iranian office had been established in Arbil for a long time and was often visited by Kurds obtaining documents to visit Iran. "The Americans thought he [Jafari] was there," said Mr Hussein.

Mr Jafari was accompanied by a second, high-ranking Iranian official. "His name was General Minojahar Frouzanda, the head of intelligence of the Pasdaran [Iranian Revolutionary Guard]," said Sadi Ahmed Pire, now head of the Diwan (office) of President Talabani in Baghdad. Mr Pire previously lived in Arbil, where he headed the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Mr Talabani's political party.

The attempt by the US to seize the two high-ranking Iranian security officers openly meeting with Iraqi leaders is somewhat as if Iran had tried to kidnap the heads of the CIA and MI6 while they were on an official visit to a country neighbouring Iran, such as Pakistan or Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Iran believes that Mr Jafari and Mr Frouzanda were targeted by the Americans. Mr Jafari confirmed to the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, that he was in Arbil at the time of the raid.

In a little-noticed remark, Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, told IRNA: "The objective of the Americans was to arrest Iranian security officials who had gone to Iraq to develop co-operation in the area of bilateral security."

US officials in Washington subsequently claimed that the five Iranian officials they did seize, who have not been seen since, were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces". This explanation never made much sense. No member of the US-led coalition has been killed in Arbil and there were no Sunni-Arab insurgents or Shia militiamen there.

The raid on Arbil took place within hours of President George Bush making an address to the nation on 10 January in which he claimed: "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops." He identified Iran and Syria as America's main enemies in Iraq though the four-year-old guerrilla war against US-led forces is being conducted by the strongly anti-Iranian Sunni-Arab community. Mr Jafari himself later complained about US allegations. "So far has there been a single Iranian among suicide bombers in the war-battered country?" he asked. "Almost all who involved in the suicide attacks are from Arab countries."

It seemed strange at the time that the US would so openly flout the authority of the Iraqi President and the head of the KRG simply to raid an Iranian liaison office that was being upgraded to a consulate, though this had not yet happened on 11 January. US officials, who must have been privy to the White House's new anti-Iranian stance, may have thought that bruised Kurdish pride was a small price to pay if the US could grab such senior Iranian officials.

For more than a year the US and its allies have been trying to put pressure on Iran. Security sources in Iraqi Kurdistan have long said that the US is backing Iranian Kurdish guerrillas in Iran. The US is also reportedly backing Sunni Arab dissidents in Khuzestan in southern Iran who are opposed to the government in Tehran. On 4 February soldiers from the Iraqi army 36th Commando battalion in Baghdad, considered to be under American control, seized Jalal Sharafi, an Iranian diplomat.

The raid in Arbil was a far more serious and aggressive act. It was not carried out by proxies but by US forces directly. The abortive Arbil raid provoked a dangerous escalation in the confrontation between the US and Iran which ultimately led to the capture of the 15 British sailors and Marines - apparently considered a more vulnerable coalition target than their American comrades.

The targeted generals


Powerful deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, responsible for internal security. He has accused the United States of seeking to "hold Iran responsible for insecurity in Iraq... and [US] failure in the country."


Chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the military unit which maintains its own intelligence service separate from the state, as well as a parallel army, navy and air force

�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 4:08 PM - Mar 11, 2007

7:18 AM - Apr 09, 2007 #3

If you don't know about the USA's excuse for starting the Vietnam war, read this:
The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an "unprovoked attack" against a U.S. destroyer on "routine patrol" in the Tonkin Gulf on Aug. 2 — and that North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a "deliberate attack" on a pair of U.S. ships two days later.

The truth was very different.

Rather than being on a routine patrol Aug. 2, the U.S. destroyer Maddox was actually engaged in aggressive intelligence-gathering maneuvers — in sync with coordinated attacks on North Vietnam by the South Vietnamese navy and the Laotian air force.
The essential ingredients are the same. You need a Gulf, obviously. And a tense situation. The enemy must happen to find our brave matelots, who are carrying out an essential, innocent routine job. You have to get your reports of their massacre into the newspapers; saturation coverage helps.

The improved recipe, the "Persian Gulf of Tonkin", features 15 young photogenic sailors, and a nearby mothership HMS Cornwall, with a numerous press corps on board.
Use the press corps to forewarn the Iranians so they step up their patrols: ... d=10433258
Iranian intelligence officers told the 15 British captives they became suspicious about their activities after seeing an interview with one of them on British television.
Have a helicopter hovering overhead, but make it withdraw (for refuelling) just after it has done its job of giving away the position to the eight approaching Iranian boats: ...
The Lynx flew overhead to monitor the boarding operation of a suspicious Iraqi merchant ship but returned to the frigate once the Marines and sailors were safely aboard. The MoD insists this is standard procedure as the helicopter has limited fuel.
So what went wrong?

In simple terms, were our 15 sailors not nervously trigger-happy enough to initiate the bloodbath?

Never mind. Plan B. The Americans will bug the Iranians into abusing the prisoners: ... cleId=5303
U.S. offered to scare Iran during sailors’ dispute
Plan C. (Not much of plan, but having promised a story to all those media people on the Cornwall, better give them something): ... 458D63.DTL
Seized British Sailors Can Sell Stories
Extensive military analysis of the event: ... 030407.htm


Of course this was unlike the prototype Gulf of Tonkin. This variant was probably not intended to precipitate the all-out attack (nuking?) on Iran; such an event seems irrevocably timetabled by BushCo in any case.

It was probably just a cheap (15 young lives!) face-saving story for "our" (Blair's) involvement.

Joined: 4:08 PM - Mar 11, 2007

10:13 AM - Apr 09, 2007 #4

Reading my own post, I started to think that it was just too far-fetched.

But Googling: ... arch&meta=

gives a lot of stuff from BEFORE the recent event...

Will Thomas, 11-May-2006: Us Troops Prepared To Attack Iran - Bush Said To Be Seeking “Persian Gulf Incident” ... k_Iran.htm

Global Researcher, 24-Oct-2006: US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? ... cleId=3593

Prison Planet, 15-Jan-2007: Presidential Candidate Fears "Gulf Of Tonkin" To Provoke Iran War ... tonkin.htm

The New American Empire, 22-Jan-2007: Looking for a Gulf of Tonkin-like Incident

Consortium News, 4-Feb-2007: New Gulf of Tonkin in the Persian Gulf

American Conservative, 26-Feb-2007:Persian Gulf of Tonkin Incident - Spoiling for another fight, the United States may try to provoke Iran.

Joined: 1:46 AM - Nov 26, 2005

1:16 PM - Apr 09, 2007 #5

Craig Murray on the kidnapped sailors includes this succinct line:

Thus the government tries to bury the truth. As a rule of thumb, if the government wants you to know it, it probably isn't true.
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 5:55 PM - Dec 04, 2005

1:58 PM - Apr 09, 2007 #6

Bridget @ Apr 9 2007, 01:16 PM wrote:Craig Murray on the kidnapped sailors includes this succinct line:

Thus the government tries to bury the truth. As a rule of thumb, if the government wants you to know it, it probably isn't true.
Nick Cohen and the Effects of Alcohol is good as well.
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 4:08 PM - Mar 11, 2007

8:28 PM - Apr 09, 2007 #7

Even Craig Murray, though, does not directly raise the question of whether the intention of the sea-faring psyop was that our guys (the dupes in this spook-orchestrated event) were intended to have died in a bloodbath.

The only hint in support of this hypothesis that I can see is this poll on the ARRSE (British Army Rumour Service) board: ... 62841.html

The above is an ongoing poll, so its figures will change.

More-or-less the same ratios have been seen here since early this morning (Mon, 09-Apr-2007). The figures now stand at:
The captured are allowed to sell their stories. Why?

To boost wellfare of the personnel 4%  [ 2 ]
It has been done within a conception of free market 8% [ 4 ]
Freedom of information in action 6% [ 3 ]
To pospone emerging of the truth 40% [ 20 ]
Another reason 40% [ 20 ]
True, only 48 people have voted...

...but so far this shows that 40 out of that 48 (an overwhelming 80%) think that there is more to it than meets the eye.

My cynical view is that the payment for their stories is a damage limitation exercise to bribe the individuals through payment for stories deliberately distorted by the spooks. This has the double effect of getting them to agree to lies to inflame opinion against the Iranians, and also to discredit their future testimony, if and when it finally dawns on them and their families, just how near to being murdered they got.

I suspect that an appreciation of this view is what colours the results of the ARRSE poll.