The British government has reversed the decision to permit the released sailors and marines to sell the stories of their abuse at the hands of the Iranians.
Few, however, missed the main point of the original exercise:
Reg Keys, the father of a British soldier killed in Iraq in 2003, accused the government of using the sailors for "spin." He told the BBC that when his son was killed, his military colleagues were not allowed to speak publicly about his death. "It seems to me that it is selective," he said. "If the story aids the government in their propaganda against the Iranians, they will allow people to speak, but if it is embarrassing to the government or the Ministry of Defense, you are not allowed to."
As it turns out, the official story -- with appropriately harrowing details -- is having little trouble being spread by the media.
Overt payment to the ex-captives turned out not to be necessary after all.