Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Army wives get phone death threats from Iraq

Army wives get phone death threats from Iraq
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent

Wives and family members of soldiers fighting in Iraq have received telephone calls, believed to include death threats, from insurgents, according to military documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

The "nuisance" calls have been made with increasing frequency over the past few weeks after insurgents managed to obtain home numbers from soldiers' mobile telephones.

The growing number of calls has led to an investigation by the Royal Military Police, which has issued a warning to all soldiers in Iraq to take great care when using mobile telephones to call home.

The extent of the problem emerged in a restricted Army document issued to soldiers of the London Regiment, a Territorial Army unit, which has soldiers from its ranks serving in Iraq.

The document warns soldiers preparing to take part in operations that insurgents in southern Iraq have managed to obtain the home telephone numbers of soldiers by using electronic intercept devices to hack into mobile phone systems.

It is understood that the threats range from claims that a husband or son is dead or will be killed fighting in Iraq, to verbal abuse. Many of those who have received calls say that they were made by people with a poor command of English or with a Middle Eastern accent.

The military document states that there have been "many instances in the last weeks of relatives and friends of personnel serving abroad on operations getting nuisance phone calls" from Iraq.

It adds: "Investigations indicate that the 'callers' of these nuisance calls have acquired the numbers from personnel using their own mobiles to phone. This is fairly easy using today's technology. It makes no difference whether the mobile is of UK origin or sourced abroad.

The MoD is keen to establish the extent of these nuisance calls, to determine whether there is a pattern to them. All ranks are to be aware of the possibility of receiving nuisance calls if using mobiles to phone home."

Since the start of the war in Iraq, a number of high profile soldiers are believed to have received death threats from opponents of the war.

Cpl Mark Byles, who won the Military Cross in 2004 after leading members of the 1st Bn of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in a bayonet charge, received a death threat after his story appeared in the press. Abu Baker Mansha was later sentenced to eight years imprisonment for plotting to kill the soldier.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that families of soldiers serving in Iraq had received "nuisance calls", including people calling the homes of soldiers from Iraq then hanging up.

The spokesman said: "We would not describe this as sinister. We have no evidence of anyone receiving any death threats."

That was it. I found it odd that he DID NOT say "Yeah, I should talk to her parents." Also, in aftermath I now REALLY see that he was only concerned for himself.

G.I. Says Song About Killing Iraqis a Joke (vdeo & Lyrics)

A Marine corporal who sang in a homemade video about killing members of an Iraqi family said Wednesday that the song was a joke and was not intended to offend anyone.

Cpl. Joshua Belile, 23, said the video was his way of "blowing off steam to a bunch of Marines and soldiers."

"It doesn't take a whole lot of common sense to realize it was a joke," he said.

In "Hadji Girl," a four-minute video circulated on the Internet, Belile tells a cheering audience about a Marine who falls in love with an Iraqi woman and goes home with her. Family members shoot the woman and then confront him with automatic weapons, prompting him to retaliate.

Belile's performance was filmed while he was stationed in Iraq and was posted anonymously on the YouTube Web site, but was later removed. Belile learned of the posting after returning from his deployment in March. He is now assigned to Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 at Marine Corps Air Station New River, adjacent to Camp Lejeune.

"I'm a very nonpolitical person. I know that sounds very strange coming from a Marine," Belile told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I know about me and my little world. I write music and I sing music. I never intended to hurt anyone's feelings."

Marine Corps officials said Tuesday that Belile had not violated military law. He could face administrative action, which can include informal counseling, they said.

Belile said in a statement Tuesday that he plans to release a professionally recorded version of the song within a few weeks.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which brought Belile's video to the attention of the Pentagon, cautioned against a release, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said Wednesday.

"It's a free country, but I don't know that it's the wisest choice. I would hope he would seek the advice of levelheaded friends and family and just put this sordid episode to a rest," Hooper said.

Belile has said the video was not related to allegations that Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians last year in Haditha, Iraq.


The Marine Can Sing Too.
We were out in the sands of Iraq
And we were under attack
Well I didn't know where to go

First thing that I could see
Was everybody's favorite Burger King
So I threw open the door and I hit the floor

Then suddenly to my surprise
I looked up and I saw her eyes
I knew it was love at first sight

And she said "Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad"
"Shurpa Shurpa Bach Allah"
Hajji Girl I can't understand what you say

And she said "Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad"
"Shurpa Shurpa Bach Allah"
Hajji Girl I love you anyway

Then she said she wanted me to see
She wanted me to come meet her family
But I couldn't figure out how to say no

She took me down an old dirt trail
And pulled up to a side shanty
Threw open the door and hit the floor

Cause her brother and her father shouted
"Durka durka Mohammed jihad"
"Shurpa Shurpa Bach Allah"
They pulled out their AK's so I could see

And they said "Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad"
"Shurpa Shurpa Bach Allah"
So I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me!

As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally

Then I jumped behind the TV
And I locked and loaded my M16
I blew those mother fuckers to eternity

And I said "Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad"
"Shurpa Shurpa Bach Allah"
Should've known they were fuckin' with a Marine

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Looking at empty Boots

Combat boots, Iraqi shoes form an emotional exhibit

Pat Whitney
Courier Staff Writer

Hanover College custodian Anna Denton looked through lines of combat boots at the Eyes Wide Open exhibit on display at the college this week.

“My friend’s son’s boots are here somewhere,” she said, checking the tags tied to boot strings.

It was a sad and anxious search, she added, not only because her friend lost her son, but also because Denton’s son is in Iraq.

The exhibit is part of a larger national exhibit that has been touring cities throughout the country. Locally, 300 pairs of empty boots and Iraqi civilian shoes will challenge students and others within the community who visit the exhibit to take a closer look at the human cost of war.

At the Hanover College exhibit, combat boots represent National Guard soldiers who have fallen in the Iraq War. Dozens of civilian shoes, also part of the exhibit, memorialize Iraqi civilian casualties.

“The exhibit displays the pain caused by war in a very special way,” said freshman Emily Leatherbury, a member of People for Peace who brought the exhibit to Hanover College after being moved by the exhibit when it was in Louisville.

Leatherbury pointed out that many students, including herself, have not experienced war or its pain.

“The Open exhibit brings the pain of war down to a level we can all understand,” she said. “The exhibit makes the death of the soldiers and civilians more personal, because their shoes are something they wear every day. To see the shoes stand without the person makes a powerful statement about what war does to people.”

The exhibit can be viewed at Lynn Hall from 3-7 p.m. today and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The local Eyes Wide Open exhibit coincides with an exhibit at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the balance of the 3,000 boots and shoes that make up the national exhibit are on display.

The Washington exhibit will also feature the unveiling of a new memorial creating a space to reflect the overwhelming enormity of the loss of Iraqi lives. Through words and pictures, visitors to the Washington exhibit will be asked to imagine what life would be like if this war were happening on U.S. soil.

At today’s Eyes Wide Open Advocacy Day celebration in Washington, the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation will be sponsoring training and encouraging people to share their experiences with the human cost of war with their Congressional representatives.

“I do not think it (the exhibit) will necessarily change local opinion on the war,” Leatherbury said. “But I do believe it will force people to recognize the tragedy so many have encountered because of the war in Iraq and war itself. I think after seeing the exhibit, people will look on war with more of an understanding and nearness — rather than feeling separated or disconnected.”

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