Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Release Papers Signed

Fars News Agency is reporting that Ahmadinejad has signed the release papers for the 15 British soldiers.

You know what this means, don't you? It means that Keivan wins the pool for when the Brits would be released. He guessed sometime this week. I thought it would be 15 months from now.

Our commenter Hossein also gets to keep both of the s's in his name. (He offered to give one up if this whole thing lasted beyond Keivan's prediction.)

Aside: This is an interesting coincidence: Sharafi is back in Tehran.


christopher said...

i was wrong. iran pulls an upset victory. ahmadinejad played this masterfully.
there will be those who criticise this as theatre (which it was) and thug diplomacy. but it still has the whiff of diplomacy.
but of course, this won't increase irans leverage on the nuclear issue one iota.

aje said...

One of my first thoughts on hearing the news was "Keivan won and Esther lost" or something like that. What a relief that this did not have to drag on for any longer. Now let's continue to hope for better news all across the region.

Hossein said...

I'm glad it's over before getting nasty. I'm happy for my "s",too:)
My guess is that from now on there is going to be recurrent encounters between the islamic republic and west. The only way to prevent this is fundamentl changes to this regime which is unlikely to happen soon enough.That's sad...

VinceP1974 said...

I just ran across this blog post about the American air force people's handling of thier detention by China when thier spy plane was hit by a Chinese Air Force jet and forced to crash into Chinese land. The difference is stark. It's sad what has become of the UK.

"We apologize"

"I'm here to tell you we did it right, no apologies necessary on our part."
Lt. Shane Osborn, USN, Commander of EP-3E Mission.
A reader drew our attention to the incident on 1 April 2001 when Lt. Shane Osborn, USN and his 24 crew were held captive by Chinese authorities for 11 days after a Chinese fighter aircraft had collided with their EP-3E Orion surveillance aircraft near that country's coast. They had been forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan island in China and endured threats of endless imprisonment and demands for public apologies.

Reconstructed from a number of reports (here, here, here, here and here), the accounts tell of Chinese soldiers surrounding the aircraft after the emergency landing, the Chinese pilot having crashed into the sea, presumed dead. One crewmember later described the face-to-face standoff with the Chinese as tense, with confusion on both sides about how to react.

The accounts also have Osborn saying that his crew quickly vowed to resist to the best of their ability, for as long as humanly possible. "The blood was not going thin on my watch," he said. "We were nowhere near our breaking point. We still had a lot of fight left in us."

On the 10th day of captivity, the Chinese even told Osborn he and his crew could go home that day if they confessed to violating Chinese airspace, a fact Osborn and the U.S. denied. He gathered his crew together and shared the Chinese offer.

"We were all scared, unsure how long we'd be there," he said. "But I told them that there have been a lot of people who have been through a hell of a lot worse than we had been. I said I'd be old and gray before that [apology] happened. It was clear from the crew's faces that that was not a deal we were going to make."

"You don't want to be used for propaganda, if you can help it," he said. "You certainly don't want to take responsibility for something you are not responsible for."

Co-pilot Lt. Patrick Honeck said, "The first day or so, we didn't know if we were going to be roughed up or anything, but as the time went on, we realized that they were more into the psychological aspect of it, trying to get us to talk," he said. "And we weren't really too afraid for our physical being."

Throughout the detention, the Chinese warned the US crew that they were carrying out a detailed investigation of the incident and there could be a trial depending on the outcome. Officials pressed constantly for information about the equipment aboard the aircraft, said Navy Lt j.g. Richard Payne. "Every interrogation I was in, they asked about the equipment," he said.

Payne said they didn't know they were being released until they were moments from boarding the chartered jet to Guam. Afterwards, he told reporters, "You all knew before we did." But, he said, when they (the crew) finally were told, "nobody showed any emotion at all. The first outburst came when the Continental jet took off."

A website at the time mocked up an apology for Lt. Osborn and his crew (above). "We returned with honor," said Osborn. And the US Navy got its aircraft back.