Prime Minister Tony Blair is mad as hell that Iran grabbed 15 sailors and
marines in the Persian Gulf.
When Iran released a letter from Faye Turney, the only female
sailor, Blair said "It is cruel and callous to do this to somebody in this
position and playing this kind of game -- it is a disgrace." He even
labeled their seizure "blatant aggression." Iran has begun
showing TV footage of some of the prisoners asking embarrassing questions
like shouldn't the British be getting out of Iraq?
Cruel, callous, and disgrace are strong
words. But I have two words for Mr. Blair and his phony outrage:
Guantanamo Bay. He (and the prisoners) are lucky they weren't detained by
U.S. forces where:
1.) They would disappear into a legal black hole after being labelled
"enemy combatants." Up until the
Military Commissions Act of 2006 which legalized torture, ended
the guarantee to habeas corpus, kangaroo courts, and secret detention,
everyone detained in the so-called "War on Terror" has been subjected to
this treatment by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies which is
reminiscent of Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia.
2.) They would be sadistically tortured. Perhaps they would be subjected
to beatings, water torture, forced to stay up for more than 24 hours at a
time, force-fed when they went on hunger strike, and subjected to sexual
and religious humiliation.
3.) They would "disappear" and not be allowed to communicate with their
families, friends, or most of all, lawyers. After five, six, or seven
years they would miraculously reappear and "confess" to committing acts of
terrorism in a military tribunal instead of a court of law.
What Iran is doing -- coerced statements and ridiculous TV "interviews" --
to the British prisoners is positively humane by comparison.
Of course Iran is using these marines and sailors as pawns for political
leverage! With a British-American naval armada consisting of minesweepers
and two carrier battle groups (a
third carrier is on its way) stationed off Iran's coast and war
talk coming from both sides of the aisle in Washington, this move
shouldn't have come as a surprise. When superpowers and their poodle
allies try to bully other countries, this is the price they pay. Too bad
it's a bunch of working class sailors and marines who are paying it, not
those responsible, i.e. Bush and Blair.
And if this is Blair's idea of "blatant aggression," what the hell was
invading Iraq under false pretenses? A picnic?
Over 650,000 Iraqis have died according to the British medical journal,
The Lancet. Blair's government publicly dismissed the findings, but
internally their Ministry of Defense's chief scientific advisor thought
the study's methods were "robust" and "balanced" while other scientists
working for their Department for International Development thought that
the study was an "underestimation
of mortality.” Over 130 British personnel have died in Iraq, and
yet Blair has refused to meet with anyone from Military Families Against
the War, forcing them to
launch a petition to set up a meeting. Somehow, he
managed to find the time to meet with the families of Israel soldiers
kidnapped by Hezbollah but he couldn't find the time to meet with
the military families of his own country! And now we are supposed to
believe he cares about the welfare of British troops?
If Blair is outraged, he's outraged at Iran making him look like the fool
he is. He doesn't give a damn about the prisoners or any other British
military personnel, otherwise he wouldn't have put them in harm's way by
invading and occupying Iraq. His condemnations ring hollow as his closest
ally tortures and convicts its way to defeat in the "war on terror."
is an activist and recent graduate of Hunter College in NYC. His articles
have been published at Asia Times Online and Monthly Review
Online. His blog is
http://prisonerofstarvation.blogspot.com and he can be reached
Other Articles by Pham Binh
Aiding the Enemy