An Iranian tanker seized by Royal Marines off Gibraltar earlier this month, was taken with "the minimum of force" says the Ministry of Defence, but the tanker's Indian captain claims that all depends on your interpretation of the word 'minimum'.
The Grace 1 is alleged to have been loaded with Iranian oil bound for Syria, and would, if that had been the case, have been in breach of EU sanctions.
But, said the Grace 1's captain, who has been advised by his government to remain anonymous:
"Who the fuck are the EU when they are at home? Or anyone else, for that matter. Syria needs oil. I'm the captain of a tanker which has to deliver it. You hoity-toity fucking Brits think you can tell everyone else what to do? Fuck you! Up the arse! Bastards!"
The MoD has also said that the helicopter boarding and commando-style taking of the ship, with its unarmed crew being made to kneel at gunpoint, was quite within agreed rules, with military personnel being "held to the highest standards of professionalism". It went on to say that the behaviour of members of 42 Commando "conformed to international standards", and "complied with international norms".
A minimum of force was used, it lied.
Captain Anonymous again:
"That depends on your interpretation of the word 'minimum', and, on how you say the word in any given sentence. For example, if you stop and pause before you say it, even perhaps forcing a little throat-clearing cough for sarcastic comedy effect, it could be construed by your target audience, who chuckle along with you knowingly, whilst wearing wry smiles, possibly even nudging each other with elbows, as meaning 'anything other than minimum force', and, indeed, 'leaning towards maximum force', but in a very correct and well-mannered British way."
"That sort of 'semantic game' used to fool the uneducated radio audiences and television viewers, but, these days, people aren't so gullible as to be taken in by government rhetoric and lies in the way that they once were."