Tuesday, December 27, 2011
UPI & Oman Tribune - World News
These articles are important because they take the story international.
They were translated into Arabic and read by Arabs all over the world; it is probably their first introduction to the issues, and they are probably amused by the idea of American suicide bombers.
Remains of 1804 crew may stay in Libya
United Press International
Published: Dec. 26, 2011 at 5:04 PM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Congress is pressuring the Defense Department to repatriate the bodies of a U.S. Navy crew that perished off the shore of Libya 207 years ago.
The battle to bring the remains of Capt. Richard Somers of New Jersey and his 12 shipmates has been going on for decades, Stars and Stripes reported.
Now, in the wake of the uprising in Libya, Congress is again requesting the Navy repatriate the bodies.
Somers' mission in 1804 was to sail the explosive-filled Intrepid into Tripoli harbor and blow it up amid a fleet of pirate ships.
However, the Intrepid exploded in the harbor before reaching its target, for unknown reasons.
"When these bodies washed ashore, some pretty horrible stuff happened. They were drug through the streets, fed to dogs, and worse than that, and then thrown into a mass grave," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. "There's been an ongoing effort, by a dedicated and now-expanded group, to try to get them back on U.S. soil."
The Navy has resisted the efforts, citing a tradition of honoring the final resting place of those lost during service.
"Right now, the Navy's position has not changed," said Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, a Navy spokeswoman.
"The chief of naval operations considers the Tripoli Protestant Cemetery to be the final resting place."
In its most recent effort to pressure the Navy to retrieve the bodies, Congress passed a bill, which is awaiting a signature from President Barack Obama, that orders the Navy and the Department of Defense to review the feasibility of recovering the remains and report a recommendation back to Congress, Stars and Stripes said.
Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser said he is pessimistic about the results of the measure.
"We're hopeful they come back and say, 'OK, we can do this,'" Glasser said. "But our fears are that they come back and say it costs too much money for whatever reasons. Or that someday they'll have another regime change over there and they'll desecrate these remains and they'll be lost forever."
Group wants USS Intrepid sailors returned
Published: Nov. 2, 2011 at 4:41 PM
TRIPOLI, Libya, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- A U.S. group trying to bring home the remains of 13 sailors killed two centuries ago off the shores of Tripoli says it is pushing for support from the military.
Supporters of the drive to bring the fallen sailors from the USS Intrepid home to the United States say they're hopeful the recent leadership change in Libya will push forward the effort to repatriate the fallen heroes, The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
A congressional bill that passed in May included an amendment authored by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Frank LoBiondo that would require the Defense Department to return the bodies of the 13 sailors buried in mass graves in Libya since 1804.
"The United States has an obligation to leave no member of our military behind, regardless of how long ago they were killed," Rogers said when the bill was passed.
The sailors were killed when their ship exploded in Tripoli Harbor while on a mission to destroy Tripoli's fleet during the First Barbary War. When their bodies washed ashore, they were fed to a pack of dogs and then dumped into two mass graves, Rogers said.
Rogers said he joined the effort to bring the remains of the Navy commandos back to the United States for a proper burial after visiting the grave sites in 2004.
The Defense Department has been reluctant to embrace the group's repatriation efforts, saying the sailors received a proper burial during a graveside ceremony in Tripoli in 1947.
"Their concern is that there are other sailors other places that people are going to want to go after," Rogers told the newspaper
US navy resists bid to take back remains of 1804 crew.
WASHINGTON. The US Navy crew perished more than 207 years ago, but an effort to repatriate their remains is getting new attention in Washington.
In the wake of the liberation of Libya, members of Congress are pressuring a reluctant defence department to bring home the bodies of Captain Richard Somers of New Jersey and his 12 shipmates.
But the navy has resisted, saying that a graveyard in Tripoli is their final resting place.
Somers’ mission during the First Barbary War was to sail the explosive-filled ketch Intrepid into Tripoli harbour on September 4, 1804 and blow it up amid the fleet of pirate corsairs.
But the ship exploded in the harbour before reaching its targets, either because the crew members came under enemy fire or blew themselves up to prevent their load of powder from being captured. All on board were killed.
“When these bodies washed ashore, some pretty horrible stuff happened. They were drug through the streets, fed to dogs, and worse than that, and then thrown into a mass grave,” said Rep. Frank LoBiondo, RNJ. “There’s been an ongoing effort, by a dedicated and now-expanded group, to try to get them back on US soil.”
Somers was a native of Somers Point, an Atlantic County town named for his great-grandfather, a major Colonial-era landowner. Supporters say, at least as far back as 1840, Somers’ sister asked for her brother’s body to be brought home, and efforts in Congress to order repatriation go back decades.
A December 1980 story in The New York Times, for example, noted that then-Rep. Harold C. Hollenbeck, RNJ, was hoping incoming president Ronald Reagan would be more receptive to his effort to require repatriation than outgoing president Jimmy Carter had been.
The navy has resisted the efforts, citing a tradition of honouring the final resting place of those lost on ships and downed aircraft.
“Right now, the navy’s position has not changed,” said Lieutenant Lauryn Dempsey, a Navy spokeswoman.
“The chief of naval operations considers the Tripoli Protestant Cemetery to be the final resting place.”