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Some of you may have heard that the British government has clamped down on the fifteen former hostages prisoners*, refusing to allow them to sell their stories to the press.

Turns out that the most interesting story — this one — was apparently given away for free:

'We Gathered Intelligence'

Updated: 22:05, Thursday April 05, 2007

The captain in charge of the 15 marines detained in Iran has said they were gathering intelligence on the Iranians.

Sky News went on patrol with Captain Chris Air and his team in Iraqi waters close to the area where they were arrested – just five days before the crisis began.

We withheld the interview until now so it would not jeopardise their safety.

And today, former Iranian diplomat Dr Mehrdad Khonsari said if the Iranians had known about it, they would have used it to "justify taking the marines captive and put them on trial".

Captain Air and his team were on an 'Interaction Patrol' where their patrol boats came alongside fishing dhows.

The operation was mainly to investigate arms smuggling and terrorism but Captain Air said it was also to gain intelligence on Iranian activity.


So that nice innocuous patrol of Iraqi waters really was a spy mission, at least in part.  And as anyone knows who's even given a cursory thought to how naval espionage is done (the book Blind Man's Bluff is an excellent resource, by the way, for both submarine and surface-ship espionage), the pressure to cross into the other side's territory is intense, though seldom if ever (for diplomacy's sake) openly acknowleged.

Gee, I wonder why this wasn't on the US evening news, eh?

Especially since, as Siun pointed out two weeks ago, the maritime boundaries of Iran and Iraq aren't as firmly fixed as the UK (or for that matter, Iran or Iraq) would have us believe.

This news is even more embarrassing than the swift debunking of the "we were held in solitary confinement with hoods over our heads" statements some of the former hostages prisoners had made.  (That news actually made NPR, though I don't think it reached any of the for-profit TV networks.)

So I wonder what else our wonderful news media isn't telling us so that they can justify a war with Iran? 

* Changes made per Dru and puppethead.

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