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September 19, 2005 3:31 PM   Subscribe

UK soldiers 'storm' Basra prison: 2 british soldiers, presumably special forces shot at police, were arrested. then the brit army (this in basra) wanted them. police refused, a RIOT broke out, one brit tracked vehicle burned, 3 personnel injured. 100+ prisoners escaped when the British broke a wall down in the jail Okay, I'm pretty sure this could have been handled differently...
posted by Elim (76 comments total)

 
Go directly to grammar class.
Do not pass go.
Do not collect $200.
posted by H. Roark at 3:40 PM on September 19, 2005


This is a confusing story. I watched the news earlier and nobody mentioned why these soldiers were in prison. This article doesn't mention it either (unless I'm missing something.) However, if "the men's release was secured through negotiations," then why demolish a wall with a tank and free a prison full of dangerous prisoners?

This is a bad post. One link to a news story, appallingly written. The story is ongoing, there is no back story, and nobody is any the wiser about anything.
posted by fire&wings at 3:42 PM on September 19, 2005


why demolish a wall with a tank and free a prison full of dangerous prisoners

Depends on your definition of 'negotiations'.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:43 PM on September 19, 2005


A busy night in Belfast?

Sounds more like a quiet afternoon in Basra, IMHO.
posted by jsavimbi at 3:46 PM on September 19, 2005


F&W Yes Very confusing, this is gonna be fun to watch unfold...
posted by Elim at 3:47 PM on September 19, 2005


I wonder what the Vegas odds are that some of those freed prisoners are going to use their freedom to kill some coalition forces? I don't think I'd take that bet.

According to the they were arrested for shooting two Iraqi policemen.

What a bizarre story though.
A Defense spokesman added he had no information suggesting they were freed as a result of any overt military action. But the spokesman stopped short of denying reports that British tanks crashed through the walls of a jail in Basra to free the two troops.

Yeah, they were freed through negotiations but he won't deny they used a tank to bash in a wall? Umm, okay. Since when did tanks take part in negotiations?
posted by fenriq at 3:48 PM on September 19, 2005


Doh, cheesed the link, its to the Guardian.
posted by fenriq at 3:49 PM on September 19, 2005


what really matters is that Blair told Uncle Rupert that the BBC hates America
posted by matteo at 3:52 PM on September 19, 2005


And the British military too, it seems.
posted by Elim at 3:56 PM on September 19, 2005


This is actually a fantastic story. Here, as best as I can tell, is what happened: Unclear from here on: God damn certain: posted by bonaldi at 3:59 PM on September 19, 2005


What H. Roark said.
posted by Kiell at 4:08 PM on September 19, 2005


I'm absolutely convinced that Tony Blair signed a secret agreement with George Bush some time back, to the effect that after every three or four monstrous screw-ups by the USA resulting in international embarrassment, the British are requirement to chip in a decent-sized cock-up of their own to take some of the attention off us.
posted by Creosote at 4:10 PM on September 19, 2005


all your requirement are belong to me. sorry, the grammar bugs are catching.
posted by Creosote at 4:10 PM on September 19, 2005


Creosote: Am I really contagious? Could it be a Spelling "Babel" Virus?
posted by Elim at 4:13 PM on September 19, 2005


Calm down.
Breathe.
Post.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:50 PM on September 19, 2005


Speaking of James Bond...

Seriously though, I wonder what the news headlines look like in that world.
Probably similar to this.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:51 PM on September 19, 2005


see NYT journalist who reported on this then promptly disappeared

What name?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:55 PM on September 19, 2005


Superb british tv coverage of incident available here:

Channel 4 News
posted by rodney stewart at 4:57 PM on September 19, 2005


Sorry mrgrimm, see here
posted by bonaldi at 5:09 PM on September 19, 2005


Vigilanteism - 1
Rule of Law - 0
posted by Balisong at 5:11 PM on September 19, 2005


Channel 4 news saying the effort to recover both soldiers failed. at least one other british soldier (fiery tank occupant) also unaccounted for.

also mentioned; undercover soldiers were apparently dressed as arabs and apprehended with car loaded with arms and high explosive. story is getting wierder every second...
posted by rodney stewart at 5:11 PM on September 19, 2005


So you Brits let your leaders speak in full sentences, paragraphs, and complete thoughts. Novel.

Why wasn't the interviewer interrupting and shouting at the nice minister?
posted by MarvinTheCat at 5:14 PM on September 19, 2005


Well, from viewing the newsroom footage, I would say it's a bit of a pickle, old boy. . .
posted by mk1gti at 5:15 PM on September 19, 2005


Kere's the Wiki.

Why would the British Commandos be planting bombs and resisting arrest?

Don't tell me that some portion if 'The Insurgency' is fabricated by those involved in order to 'Stay the Course' indefinately.
That's just crazy talk.
posted by Balisong at 5:19 PM on September 19, 2005


Er.. Beter Wiki post tacked to the bottom of This one.
posted by Balisong at 5:23 PM on September 19, 2005


What I see here is that the local govt. and police forces etc. no longer feel aligned with thier "rescuing" forces, U.S., U.K. or whatever. Bad. This is in-house bickering over authority.

I think we can safely call this a quagmire now.
posted by snsranch at 5:24 PM on September 19, 2005


Everything about this seems damned suspicious indeed. What are SAS troops running around with explosives in a civilian car for anyway? Was it perhaps to plant 'suicide bombs', set them off amongst Iraqi civilians then blame the insurgents? Yes, this is a bit of a stretch, but what other possible explanations could there be to why they were doing this?
posted by mk1gti at 5:25 PM on September 19, 2005


Wow, Balisong and mk1gti, I'm happy to say that this never occurred to me while reading the article and watching the news clip. I guess i can cross another career opportunity off my list.

Marketing executive for children's cereal or products.

High level Bush admin aide

I'm just not evil creative enough for some of these jobs.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 5:32 PM on September 19, 2005


"What are SAS troops running around with explosives in a civilian car for anyway?...what other possible explanations could there be to why they were doing this?"

Gee - I don't know - its wild and crazy to suggest it I know, but perhaps they were on a covert surveillance mission, and had some hand grenades in their kit...
posted by prentiz at 5:46 PM on September 19, 2005


Just lookin' for possibilities here people, no need to unload some suuuuunnnaaaarrrrrkkkkk. Anyone else? Perhaps the local populace mistook a local ice cream run for something needlessly nefarious?
posted by mk1gti at 5:57 PM on September 19, 2005


thanks, bonaldi, but i got shut out by a registration screen. i'll check it later ...
posted by mrgrimm at 6:02 PM on September 19, 2005


One thing to bear in mind is the 'race memory' of several events like this where the undercover british soldiers were identified, captured by a crowd and subsequently lynched.
posted by fingerbang at 6:06 PM on September 19, 2005


did you? Weird, I didn't get one and have never registered there as far as I know. Sorry about that. This is far better anyway.
posted by bonaldi at 6:07 PM on September 19, 2005


Looking to be quite a coherant pattern emerging here. For instance, similar covert shenanighans noted in public only a few months ago:

Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi "Insurgents"--and Global Terrorism?

i mean what the fuck. also check these:

"The only feasible explanation for this incidence is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated “hideous attack by foreign elements”

A warning to car drivers


"Some media cited unidentified sources who said he may have died after U.S. forces "tracked" a target, using a helicopter gunship, but Foreign Affairs said it's still investigating conflicting reports of the death."
Canadian killed in Iraq was Toronto-area trucker
posted by rodney stewart at 6:19 PM on September 19, 2005


And as the story unfolds the stench begins to grow. . .
posted by mk1gti at 6:57 PM on September 19, 2005


Why would the British Commandos be planting bombs and resisting arrest?

They could be planting bombs because it's now considered better to have ones enemies fighting each other as opposed to one's self.

and the new policy could be considered to be working spectacularly well for the architects. in the last couple of months casualty figures for civilians seem to have massively skyrocketed while the allies has coincidently diminished. could be wrong though. but isn't that what just happened or was i dreaming up all that stuff about 100's of iraqi civilians being blown up while the katrina thing was full-on and nothing else in the world mattered?
posted by rodney stewart at 7:49 PM on September 19, 2005


That number was closer to 1,000, rodney stewart. I'm beginning to wonder exactly what happened on that bridge.
posted by maryh at 7:59 PM on September 19, 2005


.
posted by snsranch at 8:15 PM on September 19, 2005


yesterday's horrific 150 died incident stands out in my mind. it seems to match the profile of what seemed to be have been intended to take place in basra today.
posted by rodney stewart at 8:21 PM on September 19, 2005


Two soldiers. Dressed as civilians.

Armed. Shot at cops. Possessed explosives.

Innocent!

Nothing wrong with that.

(dripping with sarcasm)
posted by rougy at 8:22 PM on September 19, 2005


Do I believe that Britain was using covert operatives to perform insurgent activities? No, there are more plausible explanations for these two men's actions, and it would not have been remotely in Britain's or the US's interests.

The important question is whether Iraqis and others in the Muslim world, already deeply suspicious of our motives, will believe it.
posted by justkevin at 8:24 PM on September 19, 2005



my bad. corrected link: 150 died
posted by rodney stewart at 9:01 PM on September 19, 2005


Pentagon voices optimism on Iraq's 'tough reality':
Chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita urged people not to gauge the war based on the volume of rebel bombings. "That's not a good way to determine how good or bad things are going -- by (counting) how many things are exploding," Di Rita said.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:53 PM on September 19, 2005


It would be nice if there was a site like this for Iraqi civilians, especialy now that they are taking the brunt of attacks (of course that's probably always been the case)

There's this but obviously it's not as detailed.
posted by delmoi at 10:41 PM on September 19, 2005


Do I believe that Britain was using covert operatives to perform insurgent activities? No, there are more plausible explanations for these two men's actions, and it would not have been remotely in Britain's or the US's interests.

I don't want to sound like I've gone off the deep-end, but it would be really helpful if you could explain the more plausible explanations for these two men's actions. Because all I've got to work with is Occam's Razor here, and I'm not coming up with anything.
posted by rafter at 10:43 PM on September 19, 2005


the timing is just remarkable. this posted only last friday...

Shia leaders are fully aware that al-Qaida is trying to draw them into civil conflict.


that was friday. today the whole world did happen to witness a mysterious incident involving two british undercover SAS in (friendly) Basra were somehow able to induce friendly iraqi local police to suddenly pull guns on them. they did this while decked out in full arab garb, in a public space and allegedly riding a car chock full of high explosive.

and today's alleged target(s)? wouldn't you know they just happen to be Shia?
posted by rodney stewart at 10:48 PM on September 19, 2005


Move along now, nothing to be seen here, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he's just a kindly old man behind a curtain... even though he's saying exactly the same thing as I am... pay *no* attention to him, just move along, nothing to be seen here now! Even though his name is Eric Honecker, even though this might be like the beginning of the fall of the Berlin Wall, pay no attention to it, no, continue to just move along as if nothing of significance is happening here... That's it, close your eyes, go back to bed, dream of shopping for that next new item that might make your sad little life that much more significant and happy... Move along now. . . Sssslllleeeeeppppppp! ! !
posted by mk1gti at 10:54 PM on September 19, 2005


Oh, and I guess they did storm the prison after all...
posted by mk1gti at 11:01 PM on September 19, 2005


At least CNN slipped the story in amongst the daily body count.

Don't expect anyone to ask the hard questions...

They just print what they are told/given.
posted by Balisong at 11:02 PM on September 19, 2005


It's also strange that all this happened on the 19th. They sure didn't mess around much waiting on negotiations.
Within hours of the two 'gunmen' being aprehended, the tanks rolled in to retrieve them.

The British must not have too much faith in the system they are installing to let it do it's job.
posted by Balisong at 11:06 PM on September 19, 2005


Why do our countries have such fear of those who should be our friends? Why is that?
posted by mk1gti at 11:11 PM on September 19, 2005


If they were undercover, not wearing uniforms, wouldn't that make them "unlawful combatants" or whatever the usa calls the people they are torturing in Git-Mo?


So, that would mean that Iraq really could have done anything to them, so the tank rescue was probably a good idea.
posted by Iax at 12:00 AM on September 20, 2005


They could be planting bombs because it's now considered better to have ones enemies fighting each other as opposed to one's self.

Do any of you folks remember, not long after this whole occupation/war crime began, a car bomb went off outside a mosque in Iraq? I don't remember whether it was a Shiite or Sunni mosque, but the assumption at the time was that it was one faction making a power grab by hitting at the other faction.

Of course it's very possible that this was in fact the case. However, at the time it happened, it nagged at me that this was awfully reminiscent of an incident in Lebanon in 1986.

From the linked article: In another little episode, just ten years go this month, long forgotten by Americans, but still alive in the minds of thousands of Mideast peoples, our CIA's William Casey, attempting to murder Sheik Muhammed Fedlallah (spiritual leader of Lebanese Shiites), with a truck bomb placed outside a Beirut mosque, killed 81 innocent bystanders and injured hundreds. The Sheik escaped. Bob Woodward in his carefully-researched 1987 book Veil reported Israeli agents had manufactured and set off that bomb for our CIA. The well-laundered funding for the disaster had been deposited in Casey's secret account by none other than the Saudi's Prince Bandar. (Spotlight, July 15)

So... let's just hope I'm being paranoid here.
posted by Clay201 at 12:20 AM on September 20, 2005


Clay201
Nope, no paranoia here, just the ugly beast rearing it's head from the Stygian depths every now and again. Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. I think that pretty much sums it up for U.S., British and Israeli involvement in world affairs these days...
posted by mk1gti at 12:34 AM on September 20, 2005


"False flag" operation. The soldiers, wearing middle-eastern clothing and driving around with explosives, got caught by Iraqi police trying to create another 'insurgent' bombing. UK forces broke them out of confinement to prevent their interrogation. Expect more of the same.
posted by augustweed at 1:59 AM on September 20, 2005


The speculation, by which I don't mean hysterical conspiracy mongering, is that the British soliders were probably after those responsible for a roadside blast that killed two British soldiers earlier this month. The reason the British army went into get them was not because of fears over police interrogation, but because of worrries that they were to be turned over to local militia, which in fact actually happened. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4262336.stm.
posted by Hartster at 2:54 AM on September 20, 2005


but because of worrries that they were to be turned over to local militia, which in fact actually happened. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4262336.stm

Or that's what the army told the BBC had happened, which isn't the same thing. Funny how the local governor hasn't come on board with the story, he's probably militia too!
posted by biffa at 3:04 AM on September 20, 2005


hysterical conspiracy mongering

You're right. The U.S. and England would never create any hijinks in Persia.
posted by solistrato at 7:57 AM on September 20, 2005


Quite a bit different to be hijinking when your troops are on the ground, though. What good, from a US and British perspective, comes from more insurgent attacks? What's the motive?
posted by Cyrano at 8:43 AM on September 20, 2005


Some of you must be inhaling copious quantities of solvents. British soldiers blowing people up and pretending to be insurgents? What planet are you on? £10 says they were undercover like the operations in Aden and Yemen in the 60's or like the undercover operations in Northern Ireland. Basra has been on of the more peaceful areas in Iraq (mostly due to the UK military's experience with police actions). Whilst it is certainly early on to be making judgements I hardly think it's likely that it was a deliberate attempt to kill people we are supposed to be helping. How exactly would that benefit anyone?
posted by longbaugh at 8:49 AM on September 20, 2005


What's the motive?

To make sure we stay there indefinately.

It would be political suicide to tell us why we have to be there (totalitarian control of the region).

There are things like this being done all the time, which serves no ones best interest other than those who already have immense power.

All the other reasons we are there turned out to be a lies, why would you think that the current story (we need to build up the Iraqi security forces so they can take over) be any different?
posted by Balisong at 8:51 AM on September 20, 2005


breaking news. the 'official' explanation:

synopsis: uk arseclown put troops lives on the line in order to 'confirm the men were not there'

"After troops broke into the police station to confirm the men were not there, they staged a rescue from a house in Basra, said the commanding officer of 12 Mechanised Brigade in Basra."

Brigadier John Lorimer.


i know this. yesterday i saw several video reports of three british squaddies being burned alive. i also saw at least one squaddie being viciously stoned after escaping a burning tank.

another 2 iraqi civilians killed and 150 criminals released by this so-called 'operation'.

Brig. Lorimer is quite seriously asking you to believe that the uk army put his own undercover SAS operatives lives on the line in order to 'confirm the men were not there'. he did this apparently with a very straight face and no-one even blinked.
posted by rodney stewart at 8:55 AM on September 20, 2005


The Iraqi government and Iraqi police forces will have to learn to really fight to achieve any real power. Fight those that have the power. Those that have the power don't give it away freely, it must be pried off, ripped out of their hands, or cleaved off with a hatchet.

I'm sure there is an understanding within this new Iraqi police force being trained that you don't go around arresting US or British soldiers. If they start thinking for themselves, and upholding any semblience of justice against occupying forces, they will be seen as no better than 'the Insurgents' and will be treated as such.
posted by Balisong at 9:01 AM on September 20, 2005


British soldiers blowing people up and pretending to be insurgents? What planet are you on?

What planet are you living on, where CIA/MI6/Mossad spooks always operate within their purview, never cross the bounds of legality, never double-deal, and always actually have official policy as their goal?

It doesn't take much reading to realize that spooks are sometimes so entangled in the criminal element as to often be indistinguishable from the mafiosos and terrorists. The main discriminant in many cases is where the checks come from.

What is good for a field agent is not always the same as what is good for the country he is employed by. See Afghanistan. See South America.

This could be agents gone off the farm, it could be a sanctioned action, but it's almost certainly not legal or legitimately in the interests of the ostensibly official mission of securing and democratizing Iraq.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:10 AM on September 20, 2005


What's the motive?

A permanently dismembered Iraq, one that will never arise as a threat to Israel, one that will provide the U.S. with the second-largest oil fields in the world, and one that will allow us to gain better leverage on both Saudi Arabia (for their oil supplies) and China (as the emerging superpower of the 21st century). That's always been the Project for a New American Century plan. They can tell George that it's all about freedom & democracy and all that good/evil crap, but for them it's all about preserving American hegemony forever.

You don't even have to speculate on the motives of those two British soldiers to see that. After a certain point, one has to look at what has happened to Iraq and decide if it's spectacular incompetence or deliberate maliciousness. It may even be both.

The problem, of course, is that it's Iran that's been the problem all along. Iraq was indeed nicely bound by sanctions, despite what the oil-for-food-scandal hounders might say. It was nothing. It's Iran that is indeed the biggest threat to the U.S. in the long-term, because it's been trading with Russia and China for years. Remember, when the Bush Administration first took power, they immediately began rattling sabers at China. That whole business with the spy plane, remember? It's been China that's the long-term threat all along, especially since their banks are sitting on trillions of treasury notes...which may come due very soon.

So Iraq is all well and good, and the neo-cons have convinced themselves that it really doesn't matter what sort of framework the southern region has, they could be Shiite or Buddhist or fucking Shinto for all they care. They also are convinced that it doesn't matter if the southern region becomes Iran East, because They Know We Can Whup 'Em Good.

The catch is, of course, that they can't. Iran isn't Iraq, or Syria, or any other punching bag. It has state-of-the-art weapons technology. It has an actual functioning army.

And then you get the fact that the President's base -- the opiated masses the neo-cons need as an excuse to do their work -- are salivating to be living in the Last Days, since their metaphorical blue balls have been aching ever since Reagan talked about nuclear war as Biblical prophecy.

So there are some motives for pushing Iraq into civil war. They're just not good ones.
posted by solistrato at 10:00 AM on September 20, 2005


Excuse me: sane motives.
posted by solistrato at 10:02 AM on September 20, 2005


Well sonofsamiam, I live on planet Earth and happen to know a number of people who work within the UK special forces and intelligence communities. Not a single person I know within these groups would ever countenance acting as you suggest. It would be the crowning f*ckup in a history of f*ckups and there isn't a bureaucrat in the world who would be stupid enough to sign off on it. All dodgy operations have to be signed off by beancounters at some point. Really, really stupid operations are generally stopped at this point since the cost to the reputation of a country would far outweigh any benefits gained.

I am genuinely interested in how you feel the UK government would benefit from killing it's own troops and civilians. I am not attempting to be rude but this idea is ludicrous.
posted by longbaugh at 10:08 AM on September 20, 2005


You know, the majority of my previous comment suggests that these guys may have been acting without authorization, as I have read many, many accounts of field agents doing. Only one clause in one sentence even acknowledged another possibility.

Nor do I see anything that suggests the UK was trying to kill its own troops. Where did you get that?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:30 AM on September 20, 2005


Iraqi television on Tuesday showed footage of the two soldiers, unshaven and looking nervous as Iraqi police looked over wigs, Arab headresses, an anti-tank missile and communications equipment, all apparently used in their mission.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:58 AM on September 20, 2005


I would be very interested in reading about these instances of agents acting off the books. I would be extraordinarily surprised to find out that this is ever the case. In most cases of operatives working "without authorization" you'll find that it is in fact an official operation hidden by a private company (see - any ex-SAS soldier going to work for companies like ISI and CRG and working for the security services, not to mention the numerous other occasions where the Crown's dirty work has been done by deniable assets).

As to the blowing up British troops comment, my apologies - this was not directed at you but to others within the thread stating this is a possibility.

On preview - I'd be surprised if the Anti-Tank Missile turns out to be anything other than a LAW rocket, which despite it's name is not much cop against a tank.
posted by longbaugh at 11:33 AM on September 20, 2005


sonofsamiam: Thank you for the long post. It's funny -- well, jesus, it's not funny at all, really -- how whenever these people get caught doing what they're told to do, blog comments fill up with outrage from those who are very angry about this kind of stuff being mentioned. William Casey's endless Death Campaigns ... that's a tale that has sure fallen down the U.S. memory hole. And the British could probably do with a retelling of the story of the SAS / Selous Scouts in Rhodesia.

Abu Ghraib ritualistic sex torture, executing injured Iraqis in mosques, the growing anecdotal evidence of U.S./U.K. involvement in the "suicide bombings," SAS executing a Brazilian electrician on an underground train full of Londoners, SAS dressed as "Arabs" and caught with explosives and serious firepower after killing at least one Basra cop and then being busted out of jail by a bunch of British tanks? Jesus, at what point will even a vocal minority of Americans & Brits admit this isn't just a clusterfuck or incompetence or whatever and admit that it's a Campaign of Evil? Absolute premeditated Evil.
posted by kenlayne at 11:45 AM on September 20, 2005


If you believe all you have just typed there kenlayne then you are yet another nail in the coffin of sensible, adult discussion at MeFi. The men recruited to the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia were NOT British - they were from South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). If you mean we could learn something from their actions feel free to tell us what that is.

Abu Ghraib ritualistic sex torture
Was disgraceful and certainly not necessary in my view. It's also a matter of the public record - not disputed.

executing injured Iraqis in mosques
Again, not disputed since it's on film.

the growing anecdotal evidence of U.S./U.K. involvement in the "suicide bombings"
That link you presented is utter garbage. Do you honestly believe that US troops are placing explosives in the vehicles driven by innocent Iraqis? For what purpose?

SAS executing a Brazilian electrician on an underground train full of Londoners
It wasn't the SAS, it was the police and it was a terrible, terrible tragedy. If you think it was the SAS and an "execution" I repeat the question - for what purpose?

SAS dressed as "Arabs" and caught with explosives and serious firepower after killing at least one Basra cop and then being busted out of jail by a bunch of British tanks?
Two special operations soldiers performing routine reconnaissance are stopped and attacked by Iraqi police, they begin to shoot their way out but realise numbers are against them and surrender. Iraqi police refuse to hand over the soldiers to the British in defiance of any agreements in place and suffer when troops are sent to rescue the individuals. Maybe that is true, maybe it's not. Neither you nor I have information otherwise. I'd say it's a wee bit early to start apportioning blame.

Jesus, at what point will even a vocal minority of Americans & Brits admit this isn't just a clusterfuck or incompetence or whatever and admit that it's a Campaign of Evil? Absolute premeditated Evil.
My suggestion would be when there is actual evidence of it. More and more each day I see ridiculous screeds, the sort I expect to see written by college students wearing Che t-shirts who masturbate whilst reading the Anarchist's Cookbook. I wish people would stop and think before typing the first thing that comes to mind. I expect to now be roasted for having an "alternative" opinion or even better to see me described as a right wing maniac.

If you want people to read your little rants and raves try having factual information to back it up. If you can't convince me you'll have a super hard time convincing someone who thinks the war was a peachy keen idea. Trying to convince someone that the war and everyone involved in it is Evil is stupid, it's the sort of thing George Bush might say.
posted by longbaugh at 1:21 PM on September 20, 2005


Well, I shot my mouth off again. longbaugh, I think you are right about actual British field agents. When I attempt to confirm several incidents from my hazy memory, I find that, yes, every one involves only contractors employed by (or claiming to be employed by) intelligence agencies. I did not mean to conflate people working with these agencies with the actual employees of those agencies.

In most cases of operatives working "without authorization" you'll find that it is in fact an official operation hidden by a private company

You seem to be right. "Contractors" seem to be the only ones landing in foreign jails, like the guys running private prisons in Afghanistan.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:37 PM on September 20, 2005


Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:40 PM on September 20, 2005


As I suspected - the "Anti Tank Missile" is a LAW rocket. They're definitely SAS though just from the kit (as if the concealing of the identities was not enough of a giveaway).

You needn't apologise to me sonofsamiam. Most elite soldiers have a job waiting in a security role when they quit and a lot of these men retain ties to their previous units. It's slightly different in the USA - whilst Blackwater and co. are filled to the brim with ex-servicemen they are not used for the same sort of operation as British troops; more akin to a classic mercenary force. In the UK we have been using our ex-special forces guys for this sort of thing for decades. See if you can google up Lt Col Spicer, Sandline International, DSL and Executive Outcomes. Some of the naughty things the British intelligence services have been involved in have been traced up to a "possible" connection with the government, then people turn up dead from autoerotic asphyxiation related masturbation in a hotel room closet in South America.
posted by longbaugh at 3:18 PM on September 20, 2005


Steve Vincent, who paid with his life for his journalism, exposed the state of the police force in Basra. He wrote about how it was affecting ordinary Iraqis who had to deal with a corrupt Shia-militia infiltrated force. He warned that the British forces were storing up trouble by not tackling this, and he's been proved to be right - it's now come back and bitten the army on the bum. But the thing is, they had the military muscle to bust out their men from the local western-trained and armed theocratic nutters with badges. Ordinary men and women in Iraq do not.

Shameful tinfoil hattery about British troops supposedly planting explosives does nothing to address these sorts of problems.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:41 PM on September 20, 2005


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