Thursday, April 05, 2007

Other Items

The 15 Royal Navy sailors and marines held captive in Iran for almost two weeks have landed in London.
The crew, freed by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "gift" to the British people on Wednesday, touched down at Heathrow Airport at 1200 BST.
They are now being flown to a Royal Marines base in Devon where they will be reunited with their families.

The above is from the BBC's "Captured navy crew return to UK." It's a little more freeing for Sarah Lyall at the New York Times ("Iran To Release 15 Britons Seized At Sea In March") which reads like it was dictated in her ear by the American embassy in London. For some reason, she feels the need to note that the British soliders were "[d]ressed in ill-fitting clothes apparently issued by their captors". Well, not everyone was issued a suit so Lyall (LIE-ALL?) might want to look before jotting down whispers. The female soldier's outfit wouldn't pass for a suit. It's a victory for the British, she tells us, for Tony Blair's "two-pronged strategy of conciliation laced with toughness." Now, like a good little trained monkey, she puts the word gift in parenthesis ("gift") when writing of Iran's claims, but she presents Mr. Tony's alleged "toughness" as fact without any parenthesis.

More importantly, buried inside the paper is the kind of damage control the Times set the marker for (their Guatemala coverage that admitted and denied the CIA overthrow and minimized the paper's agreeing to go along with the CIA's request to black out coverage for the coup). The front page offers Lyall sneering at the release of the British soldiers while inside
Edward Wong's "U.S. Is Reviewing Request by Iran to Let Its Envoy Visit 5 Iranians Seized in a Raid in Iraq" tiptoes around the reality that the 5 were kidnapped by the US military. They were kidnapped, they were not "captured." From the article:

American officials are reviewing an informal request from the Iranian government for an envoy to visit five Iranians who were imprisoned after an American raid in northern Iraq in January, an American military spokesman said Wednesday.

So Iran's released 15 and Lyall's praising Mister Tony's "toughness" and mocking Iran. (For providing "ill-fitted suits"?) And it's time, on A8, to make sure no one makes connections or asks the obvious -- if Iran needed to release soldiers they'd held for two weeks, why doesn't the US need to release diplomats they've held for months?

The answer is that the US does need to release the diplomats. But the British troops are back in London and it was really important to the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone (Willie Caldwell) and his superiors to put out the news that, in a minor way, rights are respected. Wong reports the Red Cross got to visit one of the five. Martha notes Joshua Partlow's "U.S. Lets Red Cross See Seized Iranians" (Washington Post) which says all five were visited:

The U.S. military has allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit five Iranian officials who were detained in Iraq nearly three months ago on suspicion of plotting against American and Iraqi forces.
A Red Cross delegation that included one Iranian citizen visited the detainees, and a request for a formal consular visit with them is "being assessed at this time" by the U.S. military, said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq.

FYI, Wong notes that it was six captured originally and one was released early on from the "raid on Jan. 11 in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region. American attack helicopter and armored vehicles backed up the soldiers who carried out the raid, and 200 Kurdish soldiers surrounded the Americans in a tense standoff before letting the leave with their prisoners. One of the detainees was released that day." That detail really didn't come out in real time but were Kurdistan an "autonomous . . . region," American forces couldn't storm in and do as they please over the objection of those in the region. Especially when Iraq's foreign minister says they were diplomats and their presence was known. But the administration needs some sop to toss out in case people start asking, "Hey, what about those Iranian diplomats who've been held even longer?"

On the front page of the Times and worth reading is Deborah Sontag's "Injured in Iraq, a Soldier Is Shattered at Home" which chronicles Sam Ross' unaided readjustment after he returned from Iraq blind, and having lost part of one leg (left, "below the knee"). Ross received physical treatment and that was pretty much it. There was no treatment for the mental injuries, no preparation for the readustment and no outreach (by the government -- his family didn't declare war on Iraq and ship Ross over to Iraq) -- no outreach despite the fact that he lived in a small town, by himself (sometimes his girlfriend lived with him) and he was blind in both eyes and missing a portion of his leg. Ross returned from Iraq wounded and there's no support system for him. The government sent him into that illegal war, it is their duty to provide a support system.

Kat noted the problems with KPFA's streaming yesterday and, judging by the e-mails, it has happened again today. Here's how you know it's them and not your computer -- right-hand side of the KPFA screen shows "Recently Aired" programs in the "Archives and Podcasts." Currently, that's Flashpoints. Yesterday. 5:00 pm. That should have been caught by KPFA sometime ago but apparently it wasn't. So contact them when that comes up because over 12 hours after the fact, KPFA should have caught the problem.

The e-mail address for this site is This was half typed by me and half dictated -- is. One more thing. Leigh Ann Caldwell on Free Speech Radio News Tuesday addressed Congressional war proposal and received praise from a member for that. If he wants to type up what she said on Tuesday, we'll include it in today's snapshot. I'm not doing so. Our big concern was not Caldwell, our big concern was Robert Zabala yesterday. The e-mail didn't note anything but it was Tuesday's episode. I believe Caldwell says something to the effect of, "It should be noted . . ." If it's only noted here, it is noted. I'm on the road through Friday evening, speaking out against the war, and the schedule is much tighter than usual.