My Aunt's Haft Sin. Happy Iranian new year to all my readers.

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"So what has been the Iranian response to the 15-navy personnel arrested yesterday?", she asked as I sat in a coffee struggling to hear through the chatter and poor mobile reception. "I'm not sure I'd like to speak on behalf of the Iranians but I've not really heard it discussed", I responded, "I mean, the Iranians are celebrating the new year and I'm sure news and politics are far from their minds".

Each time I get an international call, beginning with a silent pause and then a, "is that... of... doing?", my paranoia is refreshed. There's been a few of late and it still puzzles me why I'm selected among all the possibilities. I'm flattered, it's exciting yet I can't help but think there'll be troubling repercussions.

"Well, I think they genuinely must have been in Iranian waters as I'm sure it's too much of a politically tense time to make such errors or begin a blackmail campaign", I speculated during the pre-interview. "I mean, this will be politicised and not work to the Iranians' advantage", I regrettably added, certain that it would be the other way around.

"So you think they'll be released soon?", I was asked in surprise as I suggested it would blow over quite quickly. "I think there was a similar incident not too recently where the captives were released swiftly", I added, trying to remember if this was the case or not.

Coincidentally I was awaiting the company of a foreign journalist friend of mine who I was sure would enlighten me of an similar such events. "No, there was the capture of two journalists, French and German, they were fishing off an island, traveling from Qatar", he informed me, "Their maps stated they were not in Iranian water", he went on noting that there had been a dispute. "They were detained for 15-months and released at a politically advantageous moment". He then informed me of the UN Security Council meeting to be held later that day where further sanctions against Iran were likely to be passed – was this another politically advantageous time?

I'm sure many such intrusions of air or water space has been tolerated by the government here, not willing to contribute to the West's media circus

I then proceeded in my speculation and countered his thinking that this was an Iranian tactic. "I'm sure many such intrusions of air or water space has been tolerated by the government here, not willing to contribute to the Wests' media circus.", I went on, referring to Seymor Hersh's articles of US drone flights in Iranian air space. "Maybe claims by both sides about being in certain waters are correct in themselves, I mean, the navigation facilities on the British boat may have been tampered", I pondered, curious that this might have been extra-military activity. "Drop a word or two in the right ear and you'll see the Iranians taking the bate... and what great timing", I cynically added.

"Is it Seepa or Sepa?", came a voice on the phone interrupting the radio show as I awaited my turn. "I'm sorry, was that for me?", I responded. "Yes, Seepa or Sepa?", he repeated. They must have made a mistake, I had no idea what they were asking, "the bank", he then added – "Oh, Sepah", I informed him.

Just after we led into the story and they still mispronounced the bank name the presenter introduced me, using me my given name. "So, how do you feel about these new sanctions?", she asked. I sat in my pants, freshly awoken and only too aware that I was live. I'd written notes and was minimally researched but I wasn't at any point told that I would answer on this subject. A few more questions followed and although I filled the time with words and didn't 'um' and 'er' too much my response was poor. I'd mostly attempted to present the hypocrisy of the events, but was rather distracted by not wanted to discuss the matter at all.

"So what is your take on these 15-navy officers arrested?", she finally asked. "Well, it's a rather interesting coincidence, somewhat of an 'October Surprise' I might say". And just as I was warming up to allude to a parallel with the Iran Contra scandal, she interjected, paused a for a brief moment and that was me done.

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  • Great post, I hope calm heads prevail and this doesn't get turned into a casis belli for conflict.

    By Blogger RickB, at 2:25 PM  

  • Were they in Iraqi or Iranian waters? It all comes down to who we believe. The British government have a long history of dirty lies, and I don't exactly trust the Iranian one. But who benefits?

    The capture of two soldiers was enough to set in motion the long-premeditated destruction of the Lebanon. Truly I hope it doesn't come to that this time.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 11:12 PM  

  • http://tinyurl.com/38otnd
    Courtesy of RickB!

    That's a comfy 7 seen; happy new year to you too.

    By Blogger Naj, at 4:58 AM  

  • On this day the UK military personnel are out of Iran, and their version of events only further highlights the recrimination that is the current stock in trade of the west.

    Now let us face it when we say the 'West', 'International Community', 'The World', we must also qualify that it means US, UK, sometimes Germany, and occasionally France. The current feudal attitudes of these wannabe masters of the planet, do not leave room for any others on this planet, in fact non aligned countries such as Iran, Venezuela, etc. are in fact 'emboldened' (their words not mine) peasantry threatening good international order, and institutions. Institutions such as UN, that is never paid by US, seeing as currently US debts to UN run at one billion dollars, that is after Ted Turner paid a billion dollars out of his own pocket, reducing the debts from two billion dollars, to only one billion dollars.

    In fact John isreal first Bolton, is on record that if the top eight floors of UN building were to be demolished no one would notice that. Who are the inhabitants of this nether world occupying the top eight floors, ought to be something of interest and to be researched. However, this guy (suck-up, kick-down Bolton) being appointed as US ambassador to UN, gives you the measure of what UN is, a sort of a club, with the big boys setting out the rules, and the rest of the minions following these rules, however absurd, but when might is right, then there is no negotiation, UN is reduced to a rubber stamp to give legitimacy to otherwise totally unacceptable, and illegal adventures that the big boys dream up, well did I say big boys, actually the bully boys of US, and their posse UK.

    But I digress, the current action of Iranians, apprehending the UK naval, and marine personnel, has been subject of much prevarication on the part of Blair, and his stooges, engaged in washhouse diplomacy, can be very easily solved by calling a marine incident investigator, and get a report back in days. Although then the questions are going to arise about the wilful incursion of UK military personnel engaged in reconnoitring the speed of reaction, and defensive provisions of the Iranians.

    As set out in;''We Gathered Intelligence''

    Hence an accurate investigation of the incident is not the outcome these washhouse operators are looking for. Hence the barrage of the negative press, and cries of 'hostage takers' all around in the West-ern Media.

    The following well written piece can explain a lot technicalities, although heavy stuff, but close to the actualities that have unfolded, and the parameters involved; (this debate was taking place on Craig Murray's site in) http://www.craigmurray.co.uk/archives/2007/04/possible_proble.html#comments

    Speaking of technical points, I think there is one aspect being completely overlooked. The GPS system has become so ubiquitous that people tend to forget that it is designed and run by the US Military. There is an excellent description of it on wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS.
    The interesting point relating to this issue:
    The GPS System used to intentionally add errors to the signal (so called Selective Availability) so that hostile forces could not use it for guiding long range missiles to accurate targets. At the same time, the US Military and it’s allies had additional accuracy through encrypted codes. The Selectice Availability feature was turned off in 2000 after pressure from the FAA but the US military is believed to have:
    “developed the ability to locally deny GPS (and other navigation services) to hostile forces in a specific area of crisis without affecting the rest of the world or its own military systems”.
    It has been reported that the US military had a massive training exercise going on in the area where it has deployed a large task force. It is reasonable to believe that such a task force would use such an ability in case of hostilities and therefore might even used it as a part of the exercise. It could even be suggested that the US might have much to gain by causing such an incident by manipulating the GPS signals locally (either to affect only military equipment or only civil equipment). After all, as a result of this incident, Britain and possibly more of Europe, would be much more likely to support a military action against Iran than before.
    In any case, basing evidence on the GPS system, which is run by the US military (hardly an impartial player) is at best, dubious.
    Posted by: vinurdora

    vinurdora makes a couple of good points. Firstly in regard to the chart datum, it is not actually possible to accurately plot the position(s) using the co-ords that the MoD have produced without knowing what chart datum they are using, they haven't published this but yes it is probably WGS84 - but that is an assumption. I plotted one of the positions (the GPS one i think) on a vectorised chart (assumimg WGS84)last week and it was on the dries, the chart was based on very recent UKHO paper chart. And of course 48.43.08 (position at time of boarding) is west of 48.43.544 (the GPS position)- anchors dragged eastward if the position is accurate.
    The vessel looks very big, anchoring on the dries would be very unorthodox. Also be aware that the handheld GPS is only receiving 6 satellites (view of the sky is obscured by the helicopter)you can't count on that position being very accurate.
    Posted by: smashton

    I did some research previously and discovered the following.
    Here are some MOD map overlays with the coordinates and MOD border clearly shown.
    Here is a second map overlay taken from the Iranian map shown on the broadcasts.
    The Iranian border on this map differs greatly from the border on the MOD map.
    It is quite clear to me that these borders are different and it therefore explains the intransigence of either side to admit they were in the wrong.
    Posted by: blackace

    .....yes everyone is going to be using differential GPS on their main vessels (maybe not the RNs RiBS)You can guarantee that the Iranian apprehending patrol will have differential meaning that the crews can guarentee within 5M 100% of the time, trust me i work in marine navigation technology. The initial vectorised chart that Iran published (viewable at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/6502805.stm)
    Is a screen grab from a vessels charting system it shows points with flags plotted on it representing the UK RiB(s) (Rigid inflatable Boats). The patrol boats would of got a visual/radar fix on them and then acquired them as a tracked target on radar, When the RiB entered the Iranian side one of the Iranian crew members hit a button on his radar (the one marked TLL) and the radar transmitted the location of the target that represents the rib to the charting system, each point will time/date data embedded in. Apparently there were several Iranian boats in the area so it may be that they several such records marking other points on the RiBs route, all differentially pinpointed. One of the 2 RiBs had a GPS chartplotter on board and there was at least one handheld GPS, both of these devices will have a track recorded as well as crew entered waypoints all logged with time/date. These 2 independent systems that recorded the location(s) of the RiBs corroborate each other enough to convince any marine incident investigation, the Iranians will know this. The Iranians have said that they want the UK to acknowledge that their vessels were in their waters, but so far the UK has said it is not prepared to do this. The Border dispute is an issue in this but so is safe navigation, the working border used by Iran is an integral part of this. Managing that waterway is not going to like keeping on eye on 12 year olds on pedlos at a waterpark, as the British seem to have it with their ludicrous illustrations, there are going to be thousands of vessels going in and out everyweek including fully laden tankers, vessels being instructed by both Iraqi Iranian port authorities to take up holding positions at specific and precise locations. Someone needs to take responsibility for all that and that task becomes very hard when a foreign navy operating nearby does not recognise your working boundaries.
    Posted by: smashton

    Considering the detailed screen grab supplied by Iranians, and then considering the red dashed line on blobs on the paper denoting Iran, and Iraq, and the body of the water, this latter is a fake map, ie a drawing, an artistic artifact, but not a map. This fact is further corroborated in

    German Armed Forces University: British Boundary Map "Fictitious"
    Translated from the German:
    In today's printed version of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Prof Khan of the University for the Federal Armed Forces in Munich confirms Craig Murrays statement:
    "In their presentation, the British have effectively drawn a fictitious line in their attempt to prove where exactly the soldiers were when taken captive instead of showing a clear border. They couldn't have done the latter in any case as the border between Iran and Iraq around Shatt el-Arab is not clearly identifiable."

    Again found in the Craig Murray site.

    The reality remains that the current thrust of the oil grab, and money grab under way is on the prowl for the next victim. The wave of manufacture of consent, and perception management (ie brain washing)that the audiences in US, UK are subject to, is indicative of such intentions. However, as ever the final decision falls on the Iranians to realise that these predators, akin to any other crack head on the look out for the next fix, are only after soft targets, and or little old ladies so to speak of, hence it is not the question of what force multipliers Iranians have or do not have, it is simply a question of how mush fight are they going to out up, that determines whether Iran will be a second Iraq, and or be left alone, to carry on life without any molestations from the crazy lunatics on the look out for financial gains from the various plundering expeditions, they call spreading democracy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:50 PM  

  • But of course!

    we all "knew" so; those dumbasses who believe their politicians' in the UK and teh US needed to be told!

    By Blogger Naj, at 5:17 PM  

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