I have been unpopular before, but the level of threats since I started blogging on the captured marines has got a bit scary.
It is therefore with some trepidation that I feel obliged to point this out.
“The British Government has published a map showing the coordinates of the incident, well within an Iran/Iraq maritime border. The mainstream media and even the blogosphere has bought this hook, line and sinker.
“But there are two colossal problems.
“A) The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government. Only Iraq and Iran can agree their bilateral boundary, and they never have done this in the Gulf, only inside the Shatt because there it is the land border too. This published boundary is a fake with no legal force.
“B) Accepting the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iranian land than Iraqi land. Go on, print out the map and measure it. Which underlines the point that the British produced border is not a reliable one.
“None of which changes the fact that the Iranians, having made their point, should have handed back the captives immediately. I pray they do so before this thing spirals out of control. But by producing a fake map of the Iran/Iraq boundary, notably unfavourable to Iran, we can only harden the Iranian position.”
When I spoke with the former Ambassador he told me how dumbfounded he is by the way in which the mainstream media continues to treat this dispute.
The BBC for instance has already interviewed a supposed expert regarding the map, who vouched for its authenticity. But the point is, as Craig Murray, points out, how can such a map exist if the subject of boundaries has never been settled between Iraq and Iran? Turns out the expert had been referred to the BBC by the British Ministry of Defense–who also turned out the plan.
Sounds like the rerun of a bad movie we’ve already seen.
Barry Lando is the author of WEB OF DECEIT: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, From Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush, just published by Other Press. Born in Canada and educated at Harvard and Columbia, Lando was a correspondent for Time-Life before becoming a producer for 60 Minutes, where he worked for twenty five years. He has won several top journalism awards, including two Emmys, a Dupont and a George Polk. Aside from producing more than a hundred reports for 60 Minutes, he also reported and produced an hour long documentary in 2004 for France’s Canal+ on Saddam Hussein, a documentary which was then rebroadcast in several countries around the globe. He has written extensively for such publications as The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, and Salon. He currently lives in Paris.
Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan.