If anyone knows about taking Brits hostage, it's Bush and Blair
President Bush on Saturday called Iran's detention of 15 British sailors and marines "inexcusable behavior" and called for their release, referring to them as "hostages."
"The Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water," said Bush, speaking at Camp David with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. "And it's inexcusable behavior."
The 15 have been detained in an undisclosed location in Iran since March 23. Iran claims they "trespassed" into Iranian territorial waters. Britain denies the claim.
The U.S. government had been notably quiet on the subject from the beginning, but Bush voiced strong opinions Saturday.
"The Iranians must give back the hostages," he said. "They were innocent. They were doing nothing wrong. And they were summarily plucked out of water."
Andrew Lawless, May 2005:
"He used to run an Islamic bookshop in Birmingham--recounts Rose, who has interviewed the now released Moazzem Begg--They used to get visits from a guy who called himself Steve, who turned out to be with MI5. He was looking for information on possible extremist networks in England. Moazzem and his partner Tahir were very happy to cooperate with him, saying 'look, we have no links with terrorism--drop in any time, we've nothing to hide'. Moazzem later moved to Afghanistan with his family , up until September 11th, at which point he fled as he didn't want any part in what was clearly going to be a war. So there they were in Islamabad, renting a house. MI5 didn't have a clue where they were. Steve went up to Tahir, asking where Moazzem was. Tahir responded 'he's in Pakistan actually', at which point Steve asked him to put him in touch, for a chat. Tahir called him, and told him that Steve was looking for him, for a chat. Moazzem indicated that this was fine, to give him his number, and that if he was in Islamabad he could call over for dinner. Well, in fact, two days later, Moazzem was arrested, or rather kidnapped, bundled into a car and taken to a secret detention centre in Pakistan where he was held for six weeks [In july of 2002 CNN was reporting that Begg had been captured in Afghanistan]. Almost the first person he saw when he got there was Steve." Begg was subsequently transferred to Guantánamo, from where he was released in March 2004, without charge.Begg, of course, was over 3500 miles from England, and 7000 miles from the U.S., in a country where he had every right to be and neither British nor US agents did, at least for the purpose of arresting someone. The British sailors were at most just over one mile from Iranian territorial waters, and if they weren't in them, they were in Iraqi waters. They had no legitimate business either place. And, BTW, the maritime boundary between Iran and Iraq has never been legally defined:
The Former head of the Foreign Office's maritime section, Craig Murray, said on his website, "The Iran/Iraq maritime boundary shown on the British government map does not exist. It has been drawn up by the British Government."Finally, there is no one on earth less justified in lecturing anyone on respect for international boundaries or holding hostages than George W. Bush.