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Outlaw mentality
Western media's inexcusable behavior in the case of captive British sailors


April 5, 2007

Iran's sudden release of 15 Britons arrested 2 weeks ago in the disputed territorial waters inside the Persian Gulf took many in the West by surprise and sucked the wind out of warmongers sail who had used the event to continue their demonization of Iran as a pariah state. Of course following the release of the sailors yesterday, the ever compliant and predictable major U.S. news media dropped the story like a hot sack of potatoes. After all, portrayal of Iran as anything other than an outlaw nation deserving membership in the 'Axis of Evil' club does not bode well with the aims of their 'special interest' controlled masters.

Not surprisingly the occasion was also used by both Bush and Blair to step up anti-Iran propaganda and try to boost their sagging popularity among a war-wary populace in the US and Britain. But their hypocritical and repeated cries of 'inexcusable behavior'[1] and recitations of international law fell mostly on deaf ears of an unsympathetic world community who no longer views them as holding the moral authority to accuse Iranians of mischief in face of numerous inhumane and despicable acts perpetrated by their governments.

After all, it was the blatant violation of this very fundamental tenet of international law enshrined in the United Nations Charter [2] article 2 paragraph 4 that "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations" leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and it is the daily violation of the same that keeps thousands of British and American troops there today.

Back then, international law was considered little more than a nuisance getting in the way of Mr. Bush and Blair's plans – to replace the Iraqi regime with one that is compliant, control their resources [3], and threaten other countries in the region to get in line and accept Israel as the regional power.

When a video of sailors appeared on Iranian television last week, Mr. Blair and others in the western press [4] immediately denounced it as a violation of international law and the terms of Geneva Conventions. A charge repeated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld back in March of 2003 when five American soldiers were captured in the Iraqi city of Nasiriya and their images were broadcast on Iraqi TV.

Yet no journalist working for any of the major Western media outlets raised any question about Geneva violations when the Iraqi POWs, some forced at gunpoint to kneel with their hands behind their heads, were paraded before U.S. cameras as evidence that Iraqi resistance was crumbling. \

The same distinguished members of the press corps were also silent when Mr. Bush drew worldwide condemnation for stripping many POWs captured in Afghanistan of their Geneva Convention rights while parading them gagged and hooded, shackled in leg irons, and dressed in orange jumpsuits on their way to Guantanamo where they continue to perish today with no due process 5 years on.

During the course of the Britons detention, Mr. Bush repeatedly called on the Iranian government to free the 'hostages'. This in contrast to ordering raids against an Iranian consular office in northern Iraq back in December and arresting five Iranian diplomats whose fates remain unknown to this day. Has anyone seen a single story in the Western news media about these 'hostages' and violations of international law while we're being preached about what constitutes an 'inexcusable behavior'?  Comment

Daniel M Pourkesali is a member of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. This article was originally published in

[1] "Bush Says Iran Must Release 'Hostages'": Washington Post, Sunday, April 1, 2007

[2] Charter of the United Nations.

[3] Noam Chomsky interviewed by Simon Mars on December 2, 2003.

[4] "Iran's brazen act merits tough response": By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, Los Angeles Times, April 02. 2007.


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Daniel M Pourkesali

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