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http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2003-09/23/article08.shtml U.S. 'Ali Babas' Inspire Iraqis Into Hiding Valuable Things By Aws al-Sharqy, IOL Correspondent BAGHDAD, September 23 (IslamOnline.net) - Helpless before the U.S. soldiers who strip them clean of their savings, the Iraqi people were inspired to create methods to keep their money and belongings away from the soldiers' hands, putting into application "Necessity is the mother of invention" saying. Now the Iraqis hide their savings, jewelry and other valuable things in unthinkable places to put them out of the sight of the soldiers, being aware that what is "stolen" by U.S. soldiers is virtually lost forever. "We heard about the U.S. robberies during their raids on houses and my brother taught me how to hide our money and jewelry in a belt under clothes, since they (U.S. soldier) do not frisk Iraqi women," Ban Mohmmad Hassan, an Iraqi woman from al-Obeidi district, told IslamOnline.net Tuesday, September 23. "The other day, they ransack our house but found nothing," she added. Abdul Qadir Abdul Kareem, an Iraqi tradesman, often changes his dinars into dollars, so that he can hide them. "I don't keep any Iraqi dinars, because I find it hard to hide them…I change all my profits into dollars, since it is easier to hide $10,000 than its Iraqi equivalent of 20 million dinars," Abdul Kareem said. "I carved out a secret place in my house that cannot be reached either by thieves or U.S. soldiers," he added. As for my wife's jewels, he continued, a friend of mine told me that the U.S. soldiers did not steal what Iraqi women wore. "Every time my wife gets to know about U.S. search operation in a nearby area, she wears all her jewels," he said. Aalaa Foad Hussein, a science student at Al-Mustansiriya University, said that the U.S. break-ins have become the talk of the students. "Day in and day out, we used to hear about a friend who had her jewels stolen by U.S. soldiers…Now we advise one another to protect ourselves from the U.S. surprise thefts," she said. She added: "The thefts extended to military checkpoints as well…Every day, we hear about dozens of Iraqi youths who had been stolen by U.S. soldiers." Hassan Yussuf, an Iraqi businessman, had his satellite-operating cellular stolen at a checkpoint. "They stopped my car at a checkpoint in al-Sayidia area and snatched my Thuraya and when I wanted it back they pointed their guns at me and threatened me to leave the place right away, otherwise they would shoot," Yussuf said. He lodged a complaint with an Iraqi police station and another with a U.S. military police station, but to no avail. Uncooperative Lieutenant Hussein Ali al-Yasseri, at Baghdad police station, told IslamOnline.net that the station received a myriad of stealing complaints, but they could not bring the stolen things back to their owners, because the Americans were not forthcoming. "They receive the complaints and promise us to investigate the matter and bring back the stolen things, but they do not honor their promises," Yasseri said. "They did not even make any effort to help the complainers or care about proving the innocence of their soldiers," he added. He said there is no a central system to help Iraqis restore their stolen things, so a lot of Iraqis are now convinced that the Americans have come to their country to steal their money and jewels. Ayman Hadi al-Saadi, a teacher - 45 - said that U.S. forces stormed his house on September 17 in a provocative way and "tied our hands as if we were criminals". "They turned the house upside down, and we could not utter a word," Saadi said. "When they've gone, my wife told me that her gold-made necklace…I reported the incident to Iraqi officers, who only said they were sorry for us," he added. 'Confiscation' However, several U.S. officers interviewed by IOL refused to discuss theft charges against their soldiers, alleging that they only confiscated Iraqi properties but stopped short of explaining why. One officer blamed the "disappearance" of properties on the negligence and misconduct of Iraqis, pointing out that the reported thefts would alienate the Iraqis, even those who welcomed the ouster of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Officer James Brat also acknowledged that U.S. military checkpoints "routinely" confiscated large amounts of money. "We can call it misunderstanding," Brat said. "One cannot be surprised to see an Iraqi carrying cases of money inside their cars along with a Kalashnikov, which gives U.S. soldiers a cause for suspicions." __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! 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