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ABUSE CRISIS: U.S. Military Says Troops Demanded 'Rent' From Iraqi Vendors

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posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:24 AM
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According to an on going investigation of the Califorina Army National Guard, troops were charging authorized 'Rent' to Iraqi owned businesses inside Baghdad's Green Zone. The military troops claimed that this fee was being used for a private 'Soldiers Fund'.
 



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The disclosure is the latest to emerge from a wide-ranging investigation into the conduct of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment of the Guard, which is headquartered in Modesto, Calif.

Military officials had confirmed previously that the battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Frey, had been suspended and that one of the battalion's companies, based in Fullerton, Calif., had been removed from patrol duties and restricted to an Army base south of Baghdad, the capital.

According to military officials and members of the battalion, soldiers from the battalion's Bravo Company, which is based in Dublin, an East Bay suburb of San Francisco, approached several businesses earlier this year that were owned and operated by Iraqi nationals.

The businesses -- a dry cleaner, a convenience store and the like -- catered to U.S. soldiers and were located on the fringe of the U.S. military's operating base inside the Green Zone, the fortified hub of the Iraqi government, U.S. occupation officials, embassies and contractor headquarters. The businesses were asked to pay the soldiers "rent."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I challenge someone to tell me what is wrong with this.

The soldiers did not misappropirate the funds. They were used efficiently to purchase items called 'challenge coins' used to help facilitate morale within the unit.




posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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Correct me, if im wrong, but isn't that called Extortion?

im looking into this, brb



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:27 AM
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I challenge someone to tell me what is wrong with this.


It's called "insurance". It's a tried and true mafia tactic. It's extortion. I don't care what the funds were used for. It's been against the law in the U.S. for a real long time. Now, add to that that the shops were most likely there before our troop presence and it becomes even more distasteful.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:27 AM
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Hmmm, if I am reading this correctly, how is this any different than "protection money" the mob charges? Regardless of the reason for the money, if they were shaking down Iraqi businesses so much for the battle for hearts and minds eh?

BTW, you need to fix your intro, the funds were not authorized but rather the "un" flavor.

Edit: First three replies all with the same conclution......

[edit on 8/7/05 by FredT]



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:32 AM
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Fred,

Good catch on the "authorized" word...but Sim may be meaning that this commander authorized these soldiers in his command to do this. So from a military standpoint it was unauthorized, but from the standpoint of these lower soldiers, it was authorized.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
So from a military standpoint it was unauthorized, but from the standpoint of these lower soldiers, it was authorized.


Your right I did not even consider that point of view
They were acting on orders no doubt.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:37 AM
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As Fred pointed out, the orginal article states it was unauthorised.
A mod needs to edit this article to correct that as it really changes the story in a big way.

California Army National Guard troops charged unauthorized, off-the-books "rent" to Iraqi-owned businesses inside Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq to raise money for a "soldier's fund,"



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 09:58 AM
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I challenge someone to tell me what is wrong with this.


Firstly...It's extorsion....well...thats it really.

What/who authorised this? It certainly won't be standard Army practice to go round collecting cash off the locals (is the US Army that cash strapped?)and what would happen if they didn't pay?




The soldiers did not misappropirate the funds. They were used efficiently to purchase items called 'challenge coins' used to help facilitate morale within the unit.


What the hell are "challenge coins" and what gives the US Army the right to charge "rent" (when in all likelyhood they already pay proper rent to the owner of the building) when they are supposed to be there to "liberate" the Iraqis.

Couldn't give a toss if it was used to improve morale. I am sure it did, as I would be pretty happy if i could drive up to anyone in a Bradley, dismount with 10 other, heavily armed men and demand money... Wether used to buy some sort of crappy "coin" or to buy a crate load of beer, morale certainly would be up!

Hell, that sounds like a sweet "job", if you can get it. the minor problem of it being illegal obviously didn't cross anyones mind then.....



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 02:51 PM
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About "Challenge Coins," they seem to sell things called "challenge coins" on ebay, like little coins with the logo of your unit on them, although I have no idea what they are used for. Maybe someone in the military can tell us what these are and whether they do actually help morale. It seems to me a cold beer would be more helpful to morale than these things, but I'm not in a position to know.

As for what's wrong with the "rent" charging, as just about everyone else in this thread has stated, it's extortion, no better than what the mafia do. Any soldier who decides to charge those in their care for their services should be called a mercenary, not a soldier.

-koji K.



[edit on 7-8-2005 by koji_K]



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 04:23 PM
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I see someone already caught the authorized word use.

The article did say they were from California did it not. I can almost hear the soldiers collecting such rent: "Pay up or we'll kill you!" - "Ok, tks. Have a nice day."

The devil made me say that.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 04:56 PM
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Charging "rent" is a clear violation of both ethics and the law.

Challenge coins have been around since about the first world war, but have gone in and out of vogue. Unit members will carry a challenge coin with them at all times and will display it when challenged by another unit member to do so. Not being able to produce the medallion results in some penalty, like having to buy the next round of drinks or some such.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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Ok, obviously Iraq is for sale, I mean if you are an Iraqi and have to pay for protection in your own country to be able to run your business with security, then Iraq is for sale.



posted on Aug, 7 2005 @ 07:11 PM
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``

well, that's one small battalion thats been outed.

You wouldn't think this incident would have any bearing on the
'delays' and 'shortcomings' of the Iraqi Armies
who are being trained to takeover from the American & coalition forces?

could the 'liberated' Iraqi people & troops & security forces & police....
just be stalling? ...hedging-their-bets as it were??
because they knew how to survive & operate under Saddams' regime,
but under the western Liberation- -all the rules have changed, again+again+again.....

As the promise & hope of reform & democracy under Americans,
has been tarnished by this, alledged, 'racketeering'...
and other acts..................................................... yet to be uncovered?



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