It's getting harder and harder to know what to believe.
London's Sunday Times had this interesting bit of arithmetic:
Iranian students threw rocks and firecrackers at the British Embassy in central Tehran today during a rowdy protest over 16 detained sailors and Marines.So now, apparently, seven marines plus eight sailors makes sixteen! Which leads to the obvious questions: How much fact-checking is enough? And how much of the rest of the article should we take seriously?
The protest came after President Ahmadinejad slammed "arrogant" Britain for its actions since the seizure of the seven Royal Marines and eight sailors...
Unfortunately it's a very serious article, and Larisa Alexandrovna quotes it in her post, "Bush ignites violence in Iran":
President Bush, blind to the delicate nature of the stand-off between Britain and Iran over the 15 Brit sailors being held prisoner, does his finest to ignite violence by using a word like "hostage" and making threats. As a result, Iranian students attacked the British embassy with rocks and, according to some accounts, petrol bombs:I agree with Larisa most of the time but I don't agree with the idea that Bush is "blind to the delicate nature of the stand-off between Britain and Iran". In other words: How much incompetence theory is too much?"The protest came after President Ahmadinejad slammed "arrogant" Britain for its actions since the seizure of the seven Royal Marines and eight sailors, including Leading Seaman Faye Turney.Tony Blair would do well to stay clear of President Bush's help, especially, when the US is holding 5 Iranian diplomats.
It also followed interventions by world leaders including President Bush, who last night described the sailors as "hostages" - a term that Britain has so far avoided - and accused Iran of "inexcusable behaviour".
“Iran must give back the hostages,” Mr Bush told a press conference at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. “They’re innocent, they did nothing wrong, and they were summarily plucked out of waters. The Iranaians took this people out of Iraqi waters. It's inexcusable behaviour.”
Larisa doesn't mention it (maybe she wasn't in the USA at the time) but the last time Americans heard the words "Iran" and "hostages" in the same sentence, many of them lost their minds immediately and started taiking about wanting to nuke Iran.
Surely the chimperor's ventriloquist hasn't forgotten.
A report in The Daily Mail sees the event quite differently, but Matthew Hickley doesn't have any qualms about using the word "hostages":
Phoney mob targets embassyAnd so it could be that the "protest" wasn't inspired by Bush's use of the term "hostages", as Larisa seems to imply, but rather summoned up by the Iranian government, most likely for a bit of "political cover". We can't give back the detainees because we're under political pressure, and yada yada yada. As if domestic political sentiment meant anything to any of the governments involved!
Hardline Iranian students laid siege to the British embassy in Tehran, hurling rocks and fireworks and chanting "death to Britain".
With no end to the hostage crisis in sight, world leaders including President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced strong support for the UK, and called for the immediate release of the 15 sailors and Royal Marines seized by Iranian troops 11 days ago.
In Tehran the violent protest by 200 student activists at the British embassy appeared carefully stagemanaged.
Protesters, held back by police, chanted "death to Britain" and "death to America" as they threw missiles, and demanded the expulsion of ambassador Geoffrey Adams.
The demonstrators included members of the Basij, a hardline volunteer militia controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Thanks to ibid for the link and this photo: