No surprise, really; those British hostages are being shown on Iranian TV apologizing for straying into Iranian waters.
There’s nothing like the propaganda value of a few show confessions in an effort (vain, I hope) to shore up sagging support for the Iranian regime and its chest-thumping. I wonder whether the mullahs feel the least bit threatened by Blair’s response:
It is now time to ratchet up the diplomatic and international pressure in order to make sure the Iranian government understands its total isolation on this issue.
What’s going on behind the scenes must be—interesting.
Those British sailors and marines, by the way, were apparently not considered to be high-risk for Iranian abduction, and were not given any briefings on how to behave in the event of such an occurrence. In this interview with British Admiral Alan West, he states the rules, for what they’re worth:
These particular people would not be trained in counter-interrogation techniques because they are not expected to be captured. But I think our guidance to anyone in that position would be to say what they want you to say, let’s not be silly about it. Don’t tell them secrets, clearly, but if they tell you: ‘Say this’, well if that’s going to get you out, then do it. It means absolutely nothing, what they say, to be honest.
I’m not sure it means nothing to the folks watching on Iranian TV. But perhaps most of them are fully aware of the nature of their own regime, enough to discount any remarks made by the sailors in the course of captivity.
But please, Britain, in the future, change those rules of engagement, and allow these people better protection against any repetition of such an event. And you might want to look into that interrogation resistance training, as well.