Electronic Weapons: The Filipino Monkey Crosses the Line


January 21, 2008: The recent incident in the Persian Gulf, where five armed Iranian speedboats hurled threats at passing U.S. warships, appears to be a misunderstanding. The cause was one or more locals (probably English speaking Arabs) who monitor ship-to-ship radios (used mostly for navigation in crowded Persian Gulf shipping lanes), and transmit their own rude comments, for their own amusement. These clowns came to be called the "Filipino Monkey" (after several incidents where the interloper let loose some nasty remarks about Filipino sailors who crew many of the ships passing through the Gulf.)

This stuff has been going on for about two decades, and several people are believed to be involved. Most ship crews consider the Filipino Monkey a nuisance. But never enough of a nuisance to try and track them down. That may change now. The recent Iranian incident could have led to the Iranian speedboats getting shot up, and caused a nasty diplomatic situation. Tracking down the Filipino Monkey would require the use of some electronic warfare aircraft, and the cooperation of police in the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf. That should be no problem as the Arabs fear the Iranians, and don't want anything going on that would cause more aggressive behavior from the east bank of the Gulf. Then again, one, or more, of the Filipino Monkeys could be Iranian. Unlikely, but possible. Getting your hands on a marine radio is not all that difficult if you have the money and black market connections. Plenty of that on both sides of the Gulf.


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