Outrage Prompts Reversal on Sailors' Story Deals After a swirl of public condemnation, the British defense ministry says the British sailors who were held hostage in Iran cannot make media deals to tell their stories. Faye Turney, the only woman among the hostages, sold her story for close to $200,000.
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Outrage Prompts Reversal on Sailors' Story Deals

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Outrage Prompts Reversal on Sailors' Story Deals

Outrage Prompts Reversal on Sailors' Story Deals

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T: "Faye: My Ordeal."

Faye is Faye Turney, the only woman among the 15 British service personnel who were held captive by Iran. And she was allowed to sell her story to The Sun and the television network ITV in a deal said to be worth about $200,000. Here's a bit of what she told ITV about the confession letter she was told to right.

FAYE TURNEY: When they wanted me to write what was written by the British-American troops - I felt like a traitor to my own country.

: Will Woodward is following the story for The Guardian newspaper. And Will, what led up to this decision by the defense secretary, Des Browne?

WILL WOODWARD: Well, there's been, really, sort of 24 hours of very bad headlines, very bad media coverage for the Ministry of Defense and the Navy. And the feeling is that this decision, which is pretty much unprecedented, has put the 15 in a very bad light, the 15 detainees - and also, I think, devalued the memories of a lot of the soldiers and service personnel who have died or been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan who haven't received any money for their story.

: Well, what's a little odd here is I thought that the British Defense Ministry and the Royal Navy had a rule in place, saying service members couldn't be paid. They agreed to suspend those rules in this case; now they're going back to what seems to be the original rule, saying now you can't do that.

WOODWARD: Yes, that's right. I mean, (unintelligible) after the horse has bolted and that two interviews have been done today, one with Faye Turney another with Arthur Bachelor, the junior member of the crew. And they will have received some money, Faye Turney much more than Arthur Bachelor. Obviously, there's a lot more interest in her. Some of the other members of the crew haven't given any interviews at all. Others have, but have done so for free. I mean, the Ministry of Defense saying that - as Des Browne has acknowledged tonight - that in a way, the Navy was in a very, very difficult situation. They felt the stories were going to come out anyway, that if the service personnel didn't give interviews, then their relatives might and you might have this way the top level(ph) is supporting here, where they, sort of, say, friends of Faye Turner and so-and-so, let it be known. And that might mean, you know, you might get cousins and uncles and brothers making money out of the story without letting the service personnel make money themselves. So they were faced with this problem: they jumped one way, and now they've jump back.

: And surely, that would have been the case with any number of other hostage crises before, no?

WOODWARD: Yeah. I think that's - it's not unnatural, I think, that people are very interested in Faye Turney. She was the one woman on the crew, she wrote these letters, you know, which the world has seen; confessing to all manner of crimes and calling for Britain to leave Iraq; I mean, things that's obviously done under duress. We in the media, sort of, knew something was up when six of the 15 held a press conference on Friday, and she was conspicuous by her absence.

: It seems that all of this controversy, the selling of the story, has overshadowed, to some extent, the story of how these 15 service members were treated in captivity. What are you learning about that?

WOODWARD: It's a paradox, really. I think the service personnel were very concerned about how they would be received when they go home. They obviously knew that they made these confessions both on television and Faye Turney, I know(ph), in a letter. And I think they were - feared that they were being - Faye Turney certain(ph) that - (Unintelligible) that she felt she was being a traitor to her country.

As it turned out, British public opinion, government opinion has been very understanding of that and less so now. But the stories today are not without interest. You've got Faye Turney in The Sun saying that she was really left by the Iranians, that they told her that less than 15 had gone home. Arthur Bachelor, in his interview at one point, also thought he was about to be shot. So there's a few interesting insights, some of which we heard on Good Friday when the six gave their interview. And you get it in a sort of more human form in these interviews today.

: Will Woodward, chief political correspondent for The Guardian newspaper in London. Will, thanks very much.

WOODWARD: Thanks very much.

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