April 11, 2007

A seaman's tale: they took his iPod and said he looked like Mr. Bean.

The British hostages sold their stories and, doing so, brought on some painful mockery.
Seaman [Arthur] Batchelor's claim that he cried himself to sleep after his Iranian captors likened him to the comedy character Mr Bean made him a laughing stock.

One serving soldier posted: "Batchelor didn't do the reputation of servicemen much good either! Being broken by being called Mr Bean FFS! - that must be on a par with Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition and the comfy cushions."

Comments left on unofficial forces' websites, the Rum Ration and the British Army Rumour Service laid into Ms Turney and Mr Batchelor.

Another servicemen says of Mr Batchelor's complaint that his iPod was stolen by the Iranians: "What I wish to know is why a young lad on a boarding party detail needed to take his iPod? If he listened to The Ride of the Valkyries as he sped towards the target ship, what did he listen to on his trip to Iran?"

44 comments:

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Well, I'm sure the crying himself to sleep was at least tangentially related to being a hostage in a foreign and quite hostile country. But, still.

Like they say, better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool...

Goatwhacker said...

The link wasn't all bad, it led me to check out this story:

Man in unfortunate saw-mill penis incident

here

Jennifer said...

I'm interested in hearing what Uncle Jimbo has to say about this. I wonder what they teach in SERE school about what to do when being compared to goofy tv characters...

monkeyboy said...

Perhaps we can solve our reliance on carbon fules by hitching a turbine to the corpse of Admiral Nelson?

On the I-pod. Having it in a pocket is no big deal, listening to it on an operation? very bad. However I wouldn't be surprised seeing the leadership involved.

Ann Althouse said...

This story makes me think better of Iran. If they know Mr. Bean and "torture" with ridicule... the world is a nicer place than I'd thought.

RogerA said...

that is setting a low bar for "torture," for sure. Can't wait for Freder to weigh in on this one.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Torture? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Torture? You want torture? Let's ask John McCain about his time in the Hanoi Hilton.

Jacob said...

I think the Iranian government handled this quite well. I also think crying yourself to sleep while sleeping in a comfortable bed and being fed meals 5 times a day means that this guy should be a soldier. You need more strength than that when you are defending a country.

Jacob said...

I meant to say should not.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think the Iranian government handled this quite well.

They sure did. Successfully kidnapping 15 British soldiers in Iraqi waters and pretty much spitting in the eye of a EU member with hardly a peep from the UN or EU.

Maybe we need to get pointers from Aquavelvajad on how to handle detainees without the international outcry. I think for starters getting them out of the orange jumpsuits and into those snazzy liesure suits.

Fritz said...

Thank God for Senator Sam Nunn; he prevented the Clinton Administration from turning our military into what the British military has become, a social experiment of ninnies.

Cedarford said...

Seems like the Brits have shaken off the numbness and the Lefty "lets just be happy our helpless children have been returned by the nice Iranians" rubish and are beginning to be revulsed by the sailors and royal marines, particularly Batchelor, the 2 officers, and "Leading Seaman" Topsy Turney the 200,000 dollar media love object.

The irony is that the Iranians probably know Rowan Atkinson, the actor who plays Mr. Bean, just as much for his shows, as being one of the few celebrity Brits with the balls to stand up and denounce cartoon censorship and violent radical Islamists in the UK.

The public is perhaps most revulsed at Turney, the featured collaborator who got the lion's share of the money - who revealed Ahmadinejad himself gave her a little doll for her daughter, which she is delighted to give..though she said she wants the military to "ensure it is safe".

The poor little sod Seaman Arthur Batchelor revealing he was "crying himself to sleep each night" after the Iranians "tortured him" by calling him Mr. Bean?? Well, can you think of a stupider, more humiliating thing for a sailor of even the most wussy kind to admit to??
He all but guarantees there will be a Mr. Bean skit of Bean the Superagent sort of like the Valerie Plame of Britain,,,crying himself to sleep after being called funny-nosed by some evil mastermind who keeps asking him if the food is good and if he is "comfortable".
And Seaman Batchelor had best get used to his new nickname, a nasty variant on "Bean", for many years to come.

RogerA said...

OT but those unofficial websites for british forces are hilarious.

AllenS said...

If I'm ever captured by the enemy, and told that I look like Pee Wee Herman, I'm going to pull out my own fingernails.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
XWL said...

The Mr. Bean comparison is cruel and unfair, if anything, he more resembles one of QE2's beloved Pembroke Corgis.


Also, before I forget, heh, heh, she said 'semen's tail', heh, heh.


/end beavis + butthead mode

Fen said...

from turning our military into what the British military has become, a social experiment of ninnies.

What were some of the changes made?
We ran around with some British Royal Marines in Hong Kong and Perth [around 1992], and they were nothing like this.

I'm still too stunned to respond objectively to this. I hope they die the thousand deaths of a coward for disgracing the Royal Navy like this.

monkeyboy said...

How long was this guy in the Navy?

Like any sailor I have been occasionally saddled with a nickname I hated, but the rule is: never complain, because that only gets you stuck with it forever.


A comment on the original story does need repeating, the three lads on the right in the bottom picture do look disgusted and defiant, so no lumping them in with the rest.

boldface said...

Does he look like Mr. Bean? And are Iranians big Mr. Bean fans?

Peter Palladas said...

Nothing in this sad and sorry saga, from beginning to end, is more shameful than the telling of it for money.

That the sailors and marines were put in harm's way by the Captain of HMS Cornwall was appalling and lazy.

That some - and only some - of the boarding party once captured allowed themselves to lose all dignity and self-respect by grinning for the cameras was sick.

That the Ministry of Defence compared them to someone who has won a VC in battle - both having stories to tell - was revolting.

That the Government wanted to use them for propoganda purposes is entirely to be expected. The Royal Navy should have stopped this happening not colluded with it.

That Des Browne did one thing and then the opposite is no more than the Government by focus group I thought we'd finally left behind.

That headsh1t Blair creeps out now to say it was perhaps 'not a good idea' - well you people had Clinton, we have this pile of dog mess for a leader.

As a Brit, I am ashamed of what these men and this woman have done.

And if I were a particular Greek with a proud Naval background and unswerving loyalty to the Crown - HRH Prince Philip - I'd be hoping one day to have the chance to tell them just how ghastly they all are.

Every last one of them from Mr. Blair to Mr. Bean.

hdhouse said...

here is a real seaman's tale:

"HIST! Did you hear that noise, Cabaco?

It was the middle-watch; a fair moonlight; the seamen were standing in a cordon, extending from one of the fresh-water butts in the waist, to the scuttle-butt near the taffrail. In this manner, they passed the buckets to fill the scuttle-butt. Standing, for the most part, on the hallowed precincts of the quarter-deck, they were careful not to speak or rustle their feet. From hand to hand, the buckets went in the deepest silence, only broken by the occasional flap of a sail, and the steady hum of the unceasingly advancing keel.

It was in the midst of this repose, that Archy, one of the cordon, whose post was near the after-hatches, whispered to his neighbor, a Cholo, the words above.

"Hist! did you hear that noise, Cabaco?"

"Take the bucket, will ye, Archy? what noise d'ye mean?"

"There it is again--under the hatches--don't you hear it--a cough--it sounded like a cough."

"Cough be damned! Pass along that return bucket."

"There again--there it is!--it sounds like two or three sleepers turning over, now!"

"Caramba! have done, shipmate, will ye? It's the three soaked biscuits ye eat for supper turning over inside of ye--nothing else. Look to the bucket!"

"Say what ye will, shipmate; I've sharp ears."

"Aye, you are the chap, ain't ye, that heard the hum of the old Quakeress's knitting-needles fifty miles at sea from Nantucket; you're the chap."

"Grin away; we'll see what turns up. Hark ye, Cabaco, there is somebody down in the after-hold that has not yet been seen on deck; and I suspect our old Mogul knows something of it too. I heard Stubb tell Flask, one morning watch, that there was something of that sort in the wind."

"Tish! the bucket!"

OK all your bright ones...what is this from?

RogerA said...

Werent Stubb and Flask 2 and 3d mates on the Pequod? Moby Dick would be my guess.

The Drill SGT said...

Peter,

The RN IMHO used to be big and excellent.

Then it was small and excellent. When you are small though, you need to be good, so that you can intimidate your opponents into not fighting (see Israel).

The big harm here is that the RN has had a number of problems exposed.

1. what appears to be the imposition of burdensome rules of engagement from HQ
2. a lack of operational seriousness o the part of the Captain of the Cornwall and the Admiral of the TF. They were in a dangerous part of the world. They appear to have been at less than full action stattions.
3. Training appears to have been woefully lacking. It was daylight. Those speed boats should have been visible for miles by radar and the naked eye. No way for them to get to that tanker without the Cornwall being in a position to intercept, unless of course (see item 2) the Cornwall failed to do its job
4. with warning, the cornwall is faster than the Iranians, our guns them 100-1, had a helicopter, and air support. with warning, the boarding party could have waited on the tanker till the Cornwall closed. "What were they thinking???"
5. the ROE for the boarding party seems to have lacked clarity
6. the actions of the 2 officers was deserving of courtmartial IMHO.
7. Clearly the RN doesn't teach its members a decent Code of Conduct.

shameful stuff, on top of that nasty BBC story about slanted journalism.

bottom line, more servicemen are going to be at risk because the Iranians and other folks have lost respect for their ability to be small and excellent.

They will be tested again. The RN needs to kick some internal ass and get serious.

Bad week for the home team.

Bob said...

If Seaman Turney is Topsy, can we call Seaman Batchelor Bottomsy?

Pretty please?

peter hoh said...

I can't believe that they made fun of a guy because of his face. Don't they know that seamen have faces? What's he supposed to do, cover it up with a sweater so that nobody notices that he has a face? I suppose next they'll say he was "posing" in a way that made him look like Mr. Bean. No wonder he had to cry himself to sleep.

Stop talking about my face.

Hoosier Daddy said...

OK all your bright ones...what is this from?

Well Stubb and Flask are from Moby Dick but I'm not bright enough to know that particular passage.

RogerA said...

Hoosier: chapter 43 (Google Cabaco moby dick)

Fen said...

If he listened to The Ride of the Valkyries as he sped towards the target ship, what did he listen to on his trip to Iran?

"Being green, its not easy" by Kermit

Revenant said...

The Argentinians must be slapping their heads and asking "how did we ever lose to these guys?".

Peter Palladas said...

The Argentinians must be slapping their heads and asking "how did we ever lose to these guys?".

Easy. Then it was HMS Iron Lady, now it's Tugboat Tony.

They lost to history.

Pogo said...

Thanks the lord the Iranians didn't call him Mr. Poopypants. We all have our limits.

Perhaps the Iranians should forget about nukes, and instead put their energy into developing some really mean nicknames for their enemies. Chanting "Fatty", "4 Eyes", and "Thunder thighs" would be devastating when broadcast over a loudspeaker. Maybe bring these sailors to their knees.

Tibore said...

From a different story in "This is London":

"The Marines were firmly of the view that whatever money they got should be shared out equally, in the traditional spirit of military comradeship. But the sailors wanted to keep anything they earned."

Source: The Evening Standard, via the This Is London website

The Evening Standard is coming down pretty hard on those sailors. And I mean in general, not just in the article Professor Althouse linked. That one, as well as the one I linked above, paints a picture of terrible selfishness and weakness. If true - and I can't tell if it is or not, because that site is just one source, after all - then I'm terribly disappointed in those swabbies. I thought the Royal Navy was the last bastion of insanely strict naval discipline, and apparently I'm wrong.

Either that, or the... um... let's just say lesser regarded sailors... are stuck with inspection duty while the really talented ones work elsewhere. Why they'd be put elsewhere is beyond me; I'm just raising the possibility. Possibly UN duty is not highly regarded? Maybe? (Recall, they were conducting a UN mission, not a Coalition one regarding Iraq).

I can always hope, because coming up with a tortured, convoluted explanation, however improbable, is more comforting than accepting the fact that the average Royal Navy sailor isn't as tough or well disciplined as I once thought.

Omaha1 said...

A Sailor's Lament

Such cruel treatment I have seen -
Compared in looks to Mister Bean
Faced with the theft of my I-Pod
Despairing, I cried out to God
So many bitter tears I wept
In dire straits, I hardly slept
The thought of wearing tacky suits
Has left me shaking in my boots.

PatCA said...

Let's not be judgmental--maybe the Iranians meant it as a compliment!

Almost as strange as the French and Jerry Lewis...

Patrick said...

Perhaps the Iranians should forget about nukes, and instead put their energy into developing some really mean nicknames for their enemies. Chanting "Fatty", "4 Eyes", and "Thunder thighs" would be devastating when broadcast over a loudspeaker. Maybe bring these sailors to their knees.

Someone needs to check Imus' bank accounts. I'll bet he's been getting Iranian money to further this devastating tactic.

hdhouse said...

Patrick said.."Someone needs to check Imus' bank accounts. I'll bet he's been getting Iranian money to further this devastating tactic."

Patrick...ya know. I've resisted calling anyone on any blog a stupid motherfucker until you posted this. I've been a good person. I've been reasonable. I've been above the fray. But when you, you stupid fucking asshole, posted this, actually, I thought to myself, what possible right does this miserable dumbfuck have to draw oxygen from our atmosphere.

got it asshole?

Patrick said...

So, I'm curious what part of this got to you. Seems like an overreaction to me to a silly little comment.

Did you think I was serious? How did you interpret what I was saying? I certainly have appreciated your defense of Imus' good works in other threads.

Clearly you think I have a motive or said something I didn't mean to say or with an attitude I didn't mean to express.

Or are you getting Iranian money too and using insults to further your cause?

Seriously, what set you off? I don't mind being offensive when I mean to be but I didn't think I was being offensive to the positions I've seen you take here.

Beth said...

Patrick,

I think it works like this: as long as Imus is doing God's work with the needy, he is free to faggot this and nigger that and ho's all around, but, because of all the fine things he does with the money he earns being a general, all-around dickhead, there's nothing funny in throwing a few softballs his way. He's a holy man, got it?

Brad V said...

What a funny little dose of innuendo with the title..."a seaman's tale" - ha ha!

Johnny Nucleo said...

Patrick said to HDhouse, "Or are you getting Iranian money too and using insults to further your cause?"

You motherfucker! Who the fuck do you think you are saying that shit about HDhouse, who is reasonable and above the fray, and a good person, like Don Imus, and resists calling people on blogs stupid motherfuckers, except when they make light-hearted jokes about Don Imus, who has done good deeds. Fuck, shit, fuck, miserable, asshole, oxygen, no right to breathe, fucker, etc, etc. Got it, asshole?

(I wonder if I have I gone too far. Will my joke cause HDhouse to cry himself to sleep, or freak out on me and at the end of the freak out ask me if I've got it, asshole? Does my joke constitute torture? Does HDhouse asking people of they've got it, asshole, constitute torture? What if he said, "Got it, punk?" I wonder if HDhouse knows karate. Perhaps I should delete my joke. But I do run a ranch - actually a whorehouse in Nevada. A moral conundrum! What would Jesus do? I believe he would kick some ass! No, wait, not Jesus, I'm thinking of Kwai Chang Caine...)

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Eh? I read Patrick's joke as, if anything, a criticism of the overreaction of Imus' critics.

Paco Wové said...

"Eh? I read Patrick's joke as, if anything, a criticism of the overreaction of Imus' critics."

That's because you don't get, asshole, hdhouse, asshole (no goddamn capital fucking letters in h-d fucking h-o-u-s-e, get it, asshole?), who flies off the goddamn fucking handle and reverts to a potty-fucking-mouthed goddamn tourettic teenager whenever one (fuck!) one of his fucking goddamned buttons is pushed, you (asshole!) asshole. Got it, asshole? Fuck!

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