Tags: navy | iran | harass

Threats to Ships in Gulf May Have Come From Heckler

Sunday, 13 Jan 2008 09:28 PM

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Threatening comments heard at the end of a Pentagon-released audio recording designed to prove harassing maneuvers by Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz may have come from a local heckler known as the "Filipino Monkey," The Navy Times reported.

The 36-minute video aired Friday included footage of Iranian boats following the US ships at some distance.

It includes a shot of a dark object floating in the water, but it could not be determined whether this was one of the box-like objects that the Pentagon claims were dumped in the path of a US warship by two speedboats.

The videotape did not include a previously released audiotape of a threat to blow up the ships made in a radio transmission that the Pentagon says was received during the incident.

A voice on the audiotape is heard to say in accented English: "I am coming to you ... You will explode in a few minutes."

Pentagon officials now say they do not know the source of the radio transmission, backing off a previous claim that it came from one of the boats.

The Times said Friday the voice in the audio sounded different from the one belonging to an Iranian officer shown speaking to the cruiser Port Royal over a radio from a small boat in the video released by Iranian authorities.

That is why several Navy experts interviewed by The Times are raising the possibility that a heckler known in the region as the "Filipino Monkey," or an imitator, could be behind the threats.

"Filipino Monkey," who is likely more than one person, listens in on ship-to-ship radio traffic and then jumps on the net shouting insults and vile epithets, the report said.

US Navy women who are overheard on the radio are said to suffer particularly degrading treatment, the paper said.

A civilian mariner with experience in that region said the "Filipino Monkey" phenomenon is worldwide, but it is more likely to occur around the Strait of Hormuz because there is a lot of shipping traffic there, The Times said.

Copyright AFP 2008

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