Video: The sailor who didn’t smile; Update: One sailor was held in solitary confinement

posted at 9:00 am on April 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

Derb’s taking heat from the usual suspects for suggesting that the stiff upper lip shown by some of the sailors while in Iran might have been a jot stiffer. I suspect he won’t be the last Englishman to make that point now that they’re home safe and out of harm’s way; in fact, the Telegraph’s already taken a gentle swipe in passing in today’s lead editorial.

Rather than criticize, though, Sky News chose to accentuate the positive by paying tribute to the sailor in the black three-piece suit who seemed, rather pointedly, never to crack a smile. He’s on the far right in the image. Click it to watch.

no-smile.jpg

Through the magic of cropping, he’s already being nudged out of the record. A check of the wires reveals multiple copies of this photo from AFP:

waving.jpg

But as Getty reveals, the enthusiasm at the time was not unanimous.

They’re back in the UK now, thank god, and on their way to a base in Devon. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the debriefing.

Update: Captain Ed wonders what the deal is too and links to QandO, where vet McQ has this to say:

Yes, anyone can be broken. And no, we’d prefer our soldiers weren’t tortured. But for heaven sake, was any attempt at all made here to resist? Any? As far as I can tell, and I’m sure we’ll find out eventually, there was little if any such attempts. When you see two officers on video “admitting” to wrong doing you would think they were doing so only under severe duress and after weighing threats against themselves and those in their command against doing propaganda work such as that. I’d actually be heartened (and much more accepting) if that turns out to be the case. But I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not.

Update: Well, no surprise here.

Update: Solitary, eh? They don’t say who it was, but I’m thinking it probably wasn’t the guy in the gray suit with the thousand-watt smile seen waving like he was marching in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

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Tantor on April 5, 2007 at 5:35 PM

Which collective are you speaking for?

Take the time to find out what their code of conduct is – it is a lazy argument to do otherwise. I was unable to find any data and spent a little time checking.

I don’t rebut my own argument because I don’t feel a need to make a judgment of them. Nor was I appointed to – were you?

So you agree with “the world” as to the Me Lai and Abu Ghraib incidents? If not, then how can you paint the entire british military by the actions of a handful of sailors?

Bradky on April 5, 2007 at 5:42 PM

I’ll wait for the judge to ride in. Seems fair.

Limerick on April 5, 2007 at 5:44 PM

Good greif! These guys look like the biggest pansies. Is it raelly this bad? Is that what passes for a soldier these days? These grinning loons are an embarassment, not only for the Brits, but for the west in general. If these are our only allies, were are in big trouble.

bmac on April 5, 2007 at 6:00 PM

Did anyone else notice that the smiling wavers, in general, appear smaller and, to judge from their faces, less heavily masculinized than the frowning non-wavers? The woman’s membership in the group of smiling wavers supports my point, but the point appears to stand even if one considers only the men. I do imagine other conditions have a bearing on each person’s, well, bearing; such conditions as upbringing, training, and treatment during confinement come to mind. Nevertheless, the point remains that apparently one could have predicted the prisoners’ choice for or against affable behavior with some success, by looking at photos of the prisoners prior to their capture.

What accounts for the color of each man’s suit? Did the Iranians assign suit colors for reasons of their own? Did the men pick their own suit’s color? Do more masculine men tend to pick a darker color for a suit under adverse conditions? Do men who don’t cooperate with captors tend to pick a pick darker color? Did the Iranians assign lighter colors to the more-cooperative prisoners in order to draw viewers’ eyes toward them?

Do more masculinized and less masculinized men differ in regard to the probability they’ll have questions like these, consider that some of them may be of practical importance, or take time to raise them before others? Does it matter?

Kralizec on April 5, 2007 at 6:57 PM

Tantor, both your posts were excellent. In this case, you speak for me.

Personally, I’d like to remove Tunney’s hijab and shove it where the sun don’t shine – along with those damn goody bags.

GOODY BAGS! You have got to be kidding me. What a disgrace!

Redhead Infidel on April 5, 2007 at 7:04 PM

I am neither a pilot nor a SEAL but I have done my fair share of SERE training. There are alot more career fields that require it, some more advanced than others.

Centurion68 on April 5, 2007 at 2:46 PM

Yep… me too…

Problem here is demeanor, and HOW FAST they broke, and then apparently recovered.

As to ROEs they were under US COMMAND!!!

CTF 158 is currently commanded by Royal Navy Commodore Nick Lambert and operates as one of three coalition task forces in the Combined Maritime Forces under the leadership of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff.

From

http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/articles/2007/071.html

Centcoms own website.

They should have been following US ROEs as part of the multinational force!!!

Romeo13 on April 5, 2007 at 7:26 PM

Fox just reported that the Female read two prepared statements from her captors…

and her reason? Any hostage would do the same….

SAD

Romeo13 on April 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

JaHerer22, you’re utter ignorance is showing!

Stick to what you do best– making tin foil hats.

amerpundit on April 5, 2007 at 7:38 PM

I’ve never been a US soldier- tried but was failed the sight and physical part. So here’s a question for all you former soldiers out there. Do people who have been “broken” usually look like they’re in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Could it be a matter of pride that they’re hiding it?

amerpundit on April 5, 2007 at 7:41 PM

I’ll wait for the judge to ride in. Seems fair.

Limerick on April 5, 2007 at 5:44 PM

Two weeks ago I made the same points and observations about these so-called “soldiers” seen/linked in AP’s post, and you chastized the hell out of me for it.

Now you have nothing to say? … go figure o.O

SilverStar830 on April 5, 2007 at 7:48 PM

Why don’t you’all wait until all the facts are in. I thought I saw that the RN frigate was under UN control. If so, who gave the surrender command and who told the RN not to stop it.

I’ll admit that I don’t understand the way the captives acted.

duff65 on April 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM

Ditto…….
glad some of these people will never be on my jury.

Limerick on April 5, 2007 at 4:31 PM

Me too. Its easy to judge sitting in the comfort of our homes. I’ll wait to judge after all the evidence is presented.

The ironic thing is some of the people condemning these sailors today are the same people who were up in arms about the way the Lacross players from Duke were “convicted” in the press without all the facts.

Unless I die tonight in my sleep I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. I’ll wait to make my decision.

Some things can’t be taught in school.

SPIFF1669 on April 5, 2007 at 8:41 PM

Why don’t you’all wait until all the facts are in. I thought I saw that the RN frigate was under UN control. If so, who gave the surrender command and who told the RN not to stop it.

I’ll admit that I don’t understand the way the captives acted.

duff65 on April 5, 2007 at 8:34 PM

Sigh… the UN does not have direct command of any troops… its not the way it works. Countries send troops in support of UN resolutions, but are always under the command of one country or another. Just like now when 5 or 6 countries have troops on the border of Israel in Lebanon, but it under French command at the moment…

The Frigate was enforcing a UN Security Council Resolution, but was under command of the CENTCOM.

Romeo13 on April 5, 2007 at 8:44 PM

Bradky: “Take the time to find out what their code of conduct is – it is a lazy argument to do otherwise. I was unable to find any data and spent a little time checking.”

It doesn’t take any time to discover what the historical precedent for resistance of British military resistance in captivity if you’ve read enough history. Your legalistic demand to hold judgement until the British equivalent of our code of conduct is unnecessary to come to a judgement about the weak performance of the British prisoners. I know of no nation anywhere whose policy is for its military prisoners to cheerfully capitulate in every way to the enemy, do you?

Bradky: “I don’t rebut my own argument because I don’t feel a need to make a judgment of them. Nor was I appointed to – were you?”

Refusing to criticize the Brits is making a judgement. Pretending you are not making a judgement is intellectually dishonest, when in fact not making a judgement is making a judgement.

And I don’t need to be appointed by anyone to hold an opinion, just as you feel no need for an appointment to hold a position. That’s another argument that rebuts itself.

Bradky: “So you agree with “the world” as to the Me Lai and Abu Ghraib incidents? If not, then how can you paint the entire british military by the actions of a handful of sailors?”

No, I don’t. I said that the world rendered a judgement on the US military after My Lai and Abu Ghraib, not that I agreed with it. Likewise, the predators of the Middle East have rendered a judgement on the British after the capitulation of its military hostages and the conciliatory tone of the British government in response to Iranian piracy. They will be encouraged to do their worst.

Tantor on April 5, 2007 at 9:20 PM

amerpundit: “I’ve never been a US soldier- tried but was failed the sight and physical part. So here’s a question for all you former soldiers out there. Do people who have been “broken” usually look like they’re in a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Could it be a matter of pride that they’re hiding it?”

People who are broken in resistance training in the military are absolutely thrown for a loop psychologically, to the point that they often must be pulled out of training to regroup. They may piss themselves, shake uncontrollably, cry uncontrollably, among other things. They may be overcome with shame or outrage for giving in or being tricked. That’s what I witnessed as an interrogation trainer in a mock POW camp. You can always see the distress in their face when they have failed themselves. My guess is that such reactions are worse in a real prison camp.

The one thing that broken prisoners never do is laugh and joke around like nothing happenned. If they act like nothing happenned, then nothing happenned. If they’ve failed through weakness in their own eyes, they have no pride about it.

Tantor on April 5, 2007 at 9:28 PM

Graduated SERE, did pretty well. While I agree the hostage’s behavior *looks* appalling, one thing I learned is that you can’t believe anything the enemy shows you. Not a thing. There are also many, many other ways to break someone without using rubber hoses or electrodes.

Here’s a hypothetical for you: suppose the smiling chaps were caught carrying their own wallets. With a Driver’s License along with the military ID that lists their home address in the UK. Courtesy of the Internet, the Iranians can use Google Earth to pinpoint the soldier’s own *house*, and who knows what other personal information. Iran also has dozens if not hundreds of operatives in the UK. Within 12 hours of their capture, the Iranians could have covert photos of the soldier’s families, wives, kids, etc.

Now, imagine that you’re one of the captives, and the Iranians walk in with a picture of your wife doing the shopping and says, “You’re going to smile and wave and play really, really nice, or Suzy is going to have a terrible accident crossing the street tomorrow.” Then what do you do?

Just a sick, twisted, and utterly plausible thought.

JollyRoger on April 5, 2007 at 10:19 PM

A side note on the dapper suits. Iran no doubt was trying to make more than a fashion statement. They, as that merciful, compassionate and benevolant country, were contrasting themselves to us – the mean-spirited Americans who dress our prisoners in those spiffy Guantanamo orange jumpsuits – a little loud, but just right for the occasion.

So, not to be outdone, the next Guantanamo prisoner we release will be wearing a tuxedo, top hat, white gloves and a cane. They come a running just as fast as they can – cause every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man – ZZ Top

Texas Mike on April 5, 2007 at 10:21 PM

They all certainly had no problem scarfing down tons of food on camera, smiling while they did so. Way to go, pansies.

When our airmen were captured by Iraq in GW1 they were obviously beaten up and roughed up on camera, not glad-handing with their captives and helpfully explaining “My Bad!” over the whole military action thingy.

All of Europe will fall in the next 10 years to Islamists, we are past the tipping point, just waiting for the final fall.

Neo on April 5, 2007 at 11:21 PM

SilverStar830….

Ya know bud…..you said you were there. You said you know what is right and what is wrong. Good for you. Here is the difference between you and me. I don’t have my ‘rack’ hanging on my living room wall for my neighbors to spot.

If you go back to my original posts I said EXACTLY what I say now. I will wait til we KNOW. I also stated that I would be the first one to condemn them if they are proven to have violated their orders. Other then that. Get out the brasso. The more shine the better.

Limerick on April 6, 2007 at 12:28 AM

Wainwright fought on from Corregidor with a barracks of about 11,000 men; he was overwhelmed on May 6, 1942. After his surrender, the Japanese forced the surrender of all remaining defending units in the islands by threatening to use the captured Bataan and Corregidor troops as hostages. Many individual soldiers refused to surrender, however, and guerrilla resistance, organized and coordinated by U.S. and Philippine army officers, continued throughout the Japanese occupation.

http://www.philippinecountry.com/philippine_history/japanese_colonization.html

VikingGoneWild on April 6, 2007 at 2:25 AM

SilverStar830….

Ya know bud…..you said you were there. You said you know what is right and what is wrong. Good for you. Here is the difference between you and me. I don’t have my ‘rack’ hanging on my living room wall for my neighbors to spot.

If you go back to my original posts I said EXACTLY what I say now. I will wait til we KNOW. I also stated that I would be the first one to condemn them if they are proven to have violated their orders. Other then that. Get out the brasso. The more shine the better.

Limerick on April 6, 2007 at 12:28 AM

Um, you assume much and know nothing. My “rack”? It’s well packed and in storage because I’d rather just move on than dwell in reminders of unpleasant things.

Your original posts? If I remember correctly, you jumped my $hit like a 5’5″ drill sergeant with a 6’6″ chip, then used the ‘I’m drunk’ closer.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. I know I’m right and have been all along. It’s not rocket science. It’s just life experience and common sense. Like they say, “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.” Or, “Sad, but true.” Take your pick. The links in AP’s post pretty much says it all.

SilverStar830 on April 6, 2007 at 3:36 AM

Note the media isn’t using the word torture to describe what the British sailors went through.

But check out this first paragraph from the MSNBC story:

The 15 British sailors seized by Iran were kept blindfolded, bound and in isolation by their Iranian captors who threatened them with seven years in jail, they told a news conference on Friday.

Gosh… sounds like just what we did and that was torture right?

Skywise on April 6, 2007 at 10:45 AM

JollyRoger: “Now, imagine that you’re one of the captives, and the Iranians walk in with a picture of your wife doing the shopping and says, “You’re going to smile and wave and play really, really nice, or Suzy is going to have a terrible accident crossing the street tomorrow.” Then what do you do? Just a sick, twisted, and utterly plausible thought.”

That’s not implausible, but reality. During the 1979 US embassy hostage crisis, that is exactly what the Iranian interrogators did to at least one captive, as documented in Mark Bowden’s book, “Guests of the Ayatollah.” The interrogators specifically threatened one American hostage with killing his child back in America if he did not cooperate.

However, that said, pretending to be joyful and being joyful is easy to spot. Those Brits on the Iranian propaganda videos seem genuinely chipper to my eye.

Tantor on April 6, 2007 at 10:52 AM

Both the Alamo and Thermopylae while being tactical losses added greatly to morale, bought time with blood and became a rallying cry to the greater war effort at that time.

Kai on April 5, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Tactical loss is a loss nonetheless. Back to the point: in this case, the British commanders radioed to ask what action to take (which begs the question of why there isn’t a standard protocol) and were told to step down. The notion that individual low ranking sailors/kids should have disobeyed that order is bizarre.

This isn’t 24 or 300 or some Mel Gibson movie, this is real life. You want to blame someone, blame those in command.

Their behavior while being held/detained/kidnapped? Well, as I believe I said before, quite odd.

honora on April 6, 2007 at 2:45 PM

Uh, Honora, “300″ is based on the battle of Thermopylae, a historical event. It’s not just a movie.

Oddly enough, I blame the Iranians for their piracy and kidnapping. Do you find fault with the Iranians for anything or is it enough that they are fighting Britain so that makes them the good guys in your eyes?

Tantor on April 6, 2007 at 3:25 PM

Uh, Honora, “300″ is based on the battle of Thermopylae, a historical event. It’s not just a movie.

Oddly enough, I blame the Iranians for their piracy and kidnapping. Do you find fault with the Iranians for anything or is it enough that they are fighting Britain so that makes them the good guys in your eyes?

Tantor on April 6, 2007 at 3:25 PM

It is movie wherein some of the characters are literally monsters–not the height of realism. The notion that some people (not necessarily you) breathlessly point to this and other things like 24 as having any relevance to reality, well it’s just simple minded IMO. Jesus H Christ, when do people outgrow this juvenile faux hero worship?

Of course I fault the Iranians, don’t be absurd. I just get tired of all the s**t that rolls downhill–from Abu G to this, placing the blame on the lower ranks just rankles me. These kids will be ridiculed (not undeservedly), but the flag guys? Nothin’

honora on April 6, 2007 at 3:33 PM

Captain Christopher Air is a disgrace to his uniform. His comments to the press in the video demonstrate that he has no business leading Marines and should be immediately expelled from the British Royal Marines with a dishonorable discharge.

Mark Banks RM, who is the one marine that is not smiling, deserves kudos for not bending over like his fellow royal marines. He should be promoted to Captain.

Another appeaser, Lieutenant Felix Carman, said this:

“I ordered everyone to make their weapons ready and ordered the boarding party to return to the boats. By the time all were back on board, two Iranian boats had come alongside,” he said.”

“One officer spoke good English and I explained that we were conducting a routine operation, as allowed under a UN mandate. But when we tried to leave, they prevented us by blocking us in. By now it was becoming increasingly clear that they had arrived with a planned intent.”

“We realised that our efforts to reason with these people were not making any headway. Nor were we able to calm some of the individuals down. It was at this point that we realised that had we resisted there would have been a major fight, one we could not have won, with consequences that would have had major strategic impact.”

This guy is a disgrace. He belongs at the UN not in the service of the British Navy. He is a coward and so is the Captain that led the marines.

ScottyDog on April 6, 2007 at 4:07 PM

Remember that navy ship that was captured by North Korea during the Viet Nam war? I remember that the crew tried to destroy sensitive spy equipment with axes, but did they actually resist? When they were returned to the US what happened to them? I’m hoping the Brits are in a temporary funk as we were back then and eventually will recover their animal spirits.

dhimwit on April 6, 2007 at 4:20 PM

Sorry, honora, just was the…

I just get tired of all the s**t that rolls downhill–from Abu G to this,

that you are tallking about???

Terrorists, in civilian clothting, firing from positions behind children, being taken captive, then starting riots, and, psychological techniques to “tame” them, photos being leaked to the press by soldiers with a political agenda, the MSM makes it a decade long story, our enemies turn this propoganda into treasure, it becomes a “talking point”, and you go about your day sipping tea……………….

Close enough?

OK, now that we have that cleared up, let me link to the condemnation of the Iranians for violating international law regargding the British Marines and Sailors…….

(Crickets Chirping)

Honora, I need a little help here…….. I can’t find it….

PinkyBigglesworth on April 7, 2007 at 3:03 AM

Honora, I need a little help here…….. I can’t find it….

PinkyBigglesworth on April 7, 2007 at 3:03 AM

Use dogpile.com, better at current events than google. As to the first part of your post, it’s a little too Joycean for me to try to decipher. Happy Easter.

honora on April 7, 2007 at 8:33 AM

Honora, I need a little help here…….. I can’t find it….

PinkyBigglesworth on April 7, 2007 at 3:03 AM

Use dogpile.com, better at current events than google. As to the first part of your post, it’s a little too Joycean for me to try to decipher. Happy Easter.

honora on April 7, 2007 at 8:33 AM

It is movie wherein some of the characters are literally monsters–not the height of realism. The notion that some people (not necessarily you) breathlessly point to this and other things like 24 as having any relevance to reality, well it’s just simple minded IMO. Jesus H Christ, when do people outgrow this juvenile faux hero worship?

Of course I fault the Iranians, don’t be absurd. I just get tired of all the s**t that rolls downhill–from Abu G to this, placing the blame on the lower ranks just rankles me. These kids will be ridiculed (not undeservedly), but the flag guys? Nothin’

honora on April 6, 2007 at 3:33 PM

I am only going to make one comment on this and that is your use of the Lord’s name. I don’t appreciate it.

Glynn on April 7, 2007 at 1:05 PM

I am only going to make one comment on this and that is your use of the Lord’s name. I don’t appreciate it.

Glynn on April 7, 2007 at 1:05 PM

Then don’t you do it.

honora on April 9, 2007 at 10:30 AM

I would suggest reading the UCMJ before making comments about US troops following orders.

An order to surrender is one order that any soldier is allowed to disobey under the UCMJ.

In fact, if the commander giving the order is sufficiently craven about it, an underling would very probably not be prosecuted for fragging the coward and continuing to fight.

Kristopher on April 9, 2007 at 12:09 PM

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