Monday, April 09, 2007

Female Sailor Was Forced To Strip, Another "Cried Like A Baby" In His Cell - But Iranian Video Shows All The Crew Happy!

Taken from Daily Mail, UK, 9th April 2007
"MoD bans military staff from selling their stories"

Britishe Soldiers that were captured in alleded Iraian Waters were accused of "behaving like reality TV stars" after the UK Ministray of Defense said there were "exceptional circumstances" behind their 13-day ordeal, bracketing them with winners of the Victoria Cross.

Earlier, released hostage Faye Turney had said she "felt like a traitor" when she was ordered by her captors to pen "confession" letters.

The 26-year-old mother told how she was forced to admit that she had been trespassing in Iranian waters. She claimed her captors said if she did not write the letters then she would be imprisoned "for several years".

Leading Seaman Turney was one of several of the sailors and marines who have chosen to profit from their ordeal. She is likely to receive more than £100,000 for her dramatic story.
Not all the captives agreed to accept money from the media.

The most senior member of the crew, Royal Navy Lieutenant Felix Carman admitted he found the subject of being paid "a bit unsavoury". He said he would hand over any money he is offered to charity.

In an interview with the Sun Mrs Turney told how she feared she would be raped by her Iranian captors after being separated from her colleagues and stripped to her underwear.

She told how she had mouthed to her Captain, Chris Air: "Are they going to rape me?"

"I mouthed it to him again and again, but he didn't answer. With a blindfold on, I was led away from the rest of the guys. All I could hear from behind me was one of them shout, 'They're going to execute us'," she said.

"It was the first time I got really scared. I genuinely believed they might do it. I'd already been prodded in the side with a pistol. I asked, 'What are you doing to them?' But they didn't answer me.

"I was thrown into a tiny cell and ordered to strip off. They took everything from me apart from my knickers. Then some cotton pyjamas were thrown in for me to wear and four filthy blankets. The metal door slammed shut again."

A few hours later she was told to wrap a black Islamic cape around her and then taken to see the officer in charge.

"I asked him, 'Where are my friends? I want to see them.' He rubbed the top of my head and said with a smile, 'Oh no, they've gone home. Just you now'. I was taken back to my cell again and that was my lowest moment.

"All I could think of was how completely alone I was. They could do anything now and nobody would know.

"At that moment I just totally lost it. All I could think of was what my family must be going through. What would my husband Adam be telling Molly (their three-year-old daughter)? Did they even know I was missing? I cried my eyes out."

Mrs Turney told how she "felt like a traitor" when she was ordered to write the confession letters on Iranian TV.

She said she was held in isolation for five of the 13 days. One morning she was given the impression by her captors that she was being measured for a coffin. "I heard the noise of sawing and nails being hammered near my cell. I couldn't work out what it was. Then a woman came into my cell to measure me up from head to toe with a tape.

"She shouted the measurements to a man outside. I was convinced they were making my coffin."

In the evenings she was blindfolded and taken to a room where she was interrogated two or three times a night for hours at a time.

"They asked which were my ship's ports of call, where were other coalition ships in the Gulf, how do Royal Navy ships protect themselves, how do we communicate, what was the U.S. doing?

"That could have put my colleagues at risk, and there was no way in hell I was ever going to do that, no matter what they did."

Mrs Turney said she refused to answer the questions, but the threats became intense. "An interrogator said to me, 'You don't understand, you must cooperate with us. Do you not want to see your daughter again?'."

On her fifth day in captivity, she said, she was told: "If I confessed to being in Iranian waters and wrote letters to my family, the British people and the Iranian people, I'd be free within two weeks.

"If I didn't, they'd put me on trial for espionage and I'd go to prison for 'several years'. It was a horrible dilemma. If I did it, I feared everyone in Britain would hate me. But I knew it was my one chance of fulfilling a promise to Molly that I'd be home for her birthday on May 8.

"I decided to take that chance and write in such a way that my unit and my family would know it wasn't the real me. There was nothing damaging to security in anything I wrote, I made sure of that. And I never meant a word of it."

In fresh video clips aired on Iran's stare-run Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Alam today several of the sailors and marines can be seen dressed in tracksuits, playing chess and table tennis. In the footage, crew members can be heard laughing and chatting.

Iranian Video Clip From Sky News, UK (Opens In Windows media Player)

The newscaster who spoke over the beginning of the footage said the video proved "the sailors had complete liberty during their detention, which contradicts what the sailors declared after they arrived in Britain."

The youngest of the British sailors held by Iran also spoke today of his "nightmare" at the hands of his captors.

Arthur Batchelor, 20, told the Daily Mirror he "cried like a baby" in his cell.

He said fellow captive Faye Turney risked beatings from guards for whispering reassurances to him as he sat petrified and blindfolded on a boat after they were snatched at sea.

The sailor also revealed his guards mockingly nicknamed him "Mr Bean".

He told the newspaper: "It was beyond terrifying. They seemed to take particular pleasure in mocking me for being young.

"They tried to persuade me that I was responsible for all that was happening to us because I was the boat's navigator - but I knew we had been inside Iraqi waters when we were seized.

"A guard kept flicking my neck with his index finger and thumb. I thought the worst, we've all seen the videos. I was frozen in terror and just stared into the darkness of my blindfold."

News that Mrs Turney alone is likely to make at least £100,000 was condemned by former Defence Ministers, ex-soldiers - and families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At Westminster, even some Labour MPs suspected a Government spin operation designed to distract attention away from embarrassing questions over the capture itself.

PR expert Max Clifford said he had been approached by the fathers of two of the hostages for advice on how to do a deal with the media.

He described the decision as a "propaganda exercise" because it "suited" the MoD for the stories to be told.

"They were very encouraging, they were very happy about them doing this, that's the way they (the fathers) were putting it to me," said Mr Clifford.

Mike Aston, whose 30-year-old son Russell was one of six Redcaps killed by an Iraqi mob, said he was "absolutely amazed" by the "tacky and sordid" decision.

He said: "Regarding my son's death, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I've never sought or made a penny out of it. I think to actually sell my story would besmirch my son's memory.

On the unofficial website the Army Rumour Service, some contributors suggested the hostages who decide to sell should leave the Armed Forces - and all proceeds should be donated to families of those killed in Iraq.

One wrote: "Bloody ridiculous! Two sodding weeks, not a scratch, fed and watered, cigs, new suits. Heroes my a***!"


It is difficult to imagine the ordeal the crew must have gone through but from all the video coverage the evidence does suggest that the captured UK sailors (whether taken from Iraqi or Iranian Waters) were looked after by the Iranian Authorities. I did not approve of the sailors being paraded on Iranian TV but it did show that the soldiers were healthy and in good spirits. They seemed calm and relaxed even when they were reading out messages on Iranian TV apologising for trespassing into Iranian waters but when they came back to the UK and read out “scripts” of their ordeal in Iran at a press conference – it seemed all too manufactured.

The only crime the Iranians committed was making Faye Turney wear a very unfeminine outfit – The crew are lucky to be in the UK, If the Iranians pressed charged for Spying (which these sailors were doing) then it would’ve been 7 years in jails. I hope we don’t get into a similar situation again, I doubt whether the Iranians will be this hospitable again.

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