The capture and detention of British Marines and sailors by Iran continues to run very high in the newspapers here in England -- higher than I would have expected. The coverage tends to be rather tendentious, in what some might call the English tradition. "NEW VIDEO TAUNTS BRITAIN," for example. These are clearly our boys who have been wrongfully seized.
The Times of London today publishes a column under the heading "World Briefing" lamenting that it has been "a difficult business for Britain to muster solid international support in the row with Tehran." Running alongside are pictures of all 15 detainees, some of whose names have not been released, and a box headed "What they said...and what they meant," which decodes the "hidden meanings and possible clues" in the detainee statements broadcast on Iranian television. Excerpts:
"Representative (sic) of the House of Commons" Leading Seaman Turney. Not a phrase used in Britain to refer to MPs. Evidence that the statement was dictated by someone else
"This has caused even more distrust for the people of Iran, and the whole area of the British"
Leading Seaman Turney
She has not corrected the glaring grammatical error of the "whole area of the British"
"Yes, I would like to say to the Iranian people, 'I can understand why you are so angry about our intrusion into your waters'"
Lieutenant Felix Carman
Evidence that the statements by the sailors and Marines is being controlled by their captors
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.