Sunday 8 April 2007

Selling their discretion, dignity and honour

The death of discretion

It is now institutionalised; our armed forces do not have to live by the old English tenets of honour, courage, discretion, dignity and valour.

In fact, this might as well be the whole sum of 10 years of Tony Blair in government, the fact that everything that was traditionally British in terms of conduct and decorum has been jettisoned for the cult of personality.

After the naval personnel were released and had flown back to motherland, they lamented the fact that they were blindfolded, kept in isolation and interrogated.

The fact of captivity

One is left quite gob-smacked about what else was to be expected; surely, if anyone captures a group of military personnel in seemingly criminal activity like in this case allegedly plying the waters of Iran.

Any self-respecting intelligence outfit would isolate the members, disorientate the individuals and introduce elements of mental anguish and disinformation to discover in reality what that team was up to.

This is serious business, and what was to say that the British personnel under the guise of UN inspections were not trying to gather other intelligence about Iran?

The Iranians having captured the seeming enemy had to ensure beyond reasonable doubt that not one of all those captured had a specific assignment to do something different from what the team as a whole believed was their purpose and assignment when they presumably strayed into Iranian waters if that really was the case.

Preventing group-think

Beyond that, isolation was necessary to prevent a case of group-think where the captives would parrot out an agreed view rather than allow the intelligence people to piece together each story to see if they indeed match up.

It is something used everyday in crime-fighting, evidence gathering and basic interviews or interrogation, there is no reason for the Iranians to have been foolish about this.

That aspect of group-think came out in one of the interviews when some of the personnel said they all agreed that they would confess that they had crossed into Iranian waters - this is the kind of thing isolation and disorientation through blindfolding is supposed to prevent.

Smart and dumb

The supposed outrage at this treatment is a bit over-stated, we are at war in that region, and some really hard things are happening there just as we learnt of the death of four of our soldiers in Iraq on the day the naval personnel flew in to be reunited with their loved ones.

The only really smart thing the naval personnel did was not to adopt the folly of bravado in resisting the overwhelming power of the force that took them captive in the Iranian/Iraqi waters a few weeks ago.

Sell, sell, sell

Now, this is where I have abandoned hope about the discretion of the English, however, one must say, this more the exclusive preserve of the well-bred and properly schooled; that sort of breeding seems to have been exhausted at the Ministry of Defence when they gave permission to the naval personnel to sell their stories to yellow journalism newspapers, village rags and tabloids.

I really feared this development in an earlier blog but against hope really thought that reason and discretion would prevail on those in authority that was not to be the case. Publicists are now working overtime in an auction to determine who would pay the most for stories that were neither heroic nor commendable.

This is going to end up worse than some Big Brother tripe, the first to get their story in might get the most views and who better than the propaganda bait Leading Sea(wo)man Faye Turney to break all records and precedents of serving military personnel set lose to tell tales?

Nothing good will come of this

Each consequent story from other personnel would have to trump the previous till the whole thing becomes too incredible to believe because it is unlikely that each story would be interesting without suggestive prompting and reckless analysis as they egged on by editors without conscience or restraint.

The worse case scenario as I have already predicted is if and when anyone else gets captured anywhere in the world by our enemies, beautiful smiling faces would we not see, that is if they end up living to tell the tale - it could really become that serious, because no enemy would want to be portrayed a fool after their captives are released.

The clear and present danger to those left on the battle field cannot be exaggerated, not to talk of the possible recklessness of others who might see being guest of the Islamic republic as a ticket to earning a cool big packet of cash - at last reckoning Mrs. Turney was being offered GBP 100,000.

Even if the fees were to go to charity, the damage would have been done and it would have done irreparable damage.

No Great in Britain anymore

I am sick to the stomach not of the opportunity and the benefit, but of the fact that the whole infrastructure behind our military personnel could not provide emotional, mental and financial succour to the victims of a seeming injustice and captivity that they think being able to sell their stories would provide the best treatment for their trauma.

The ones who then have nothing interesting to sell would probably be left more damaged for not looking good enough to be fed to the British public as the next "Jade Goody" of ignoramuses who are in cahoots with Tony Blair in taking the Great out of Great Britain.


Dismay as crew told they can sell stories | Breaking News | News | Telegraph

Woman sailor sells her story in lucrative deal | Uk News | News | Telegraph

BBC NEWS | UK | Captives' media fees spark fury

Taking the "Great" out of Britain

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