Three British soldiers of the Extreme Rendition Rangers Regiment were cleared of murder charges yesterday by a military court in Colchester.
The trio stood accused of forcing a teenage Iraqi boy, Ahmad Karheem, an apprentice doormat weaver, into the Shitt Al Basra canal at bayonet-point as a lesson for looting.
Mr. Rupert Obfuscator QC, barrister for the accused, repudiated the charges as being based on calumnious reports filed with the military police at Camp Headbanger in Basra by radical Sunni cleric, Abdul Shi*tstirrer.
"In a totally juxtaposed position to the charges of which they stand accused, my clients were actually in the process of forging bonds with the teenage looters, in accordance with the Army's new Hearts and Minds policy, by providing swimming lessons.
"It was unfortunate that young Ahmad, whilst just mastering the doggy paddle, was attacked by a shoal of predatory Euphrates catfish and subsequently drowned, despite heroic attempts made by my clients to machine gun the fish."
When questioned by the Prosecution attorney as to why Karheem had a sack of house bricks tied around his neck, Mr. Obfuscator replied "Ah, this was to further develop his endurance and swimming stamina, a similar method used by joggers who wear ankle weights to improve leg strength."
The Ministry of Defence's new Hearts and Minds policy in Iraq has come under criticism from various human rights groups.
Ms. Edna Whinginggit, spokeswoman for Amnesty International, told The Spoof's war correspondent, Barry Flack, "To me the new policy is very reminiscent of the old U.S. maxim, tried and tested in Vietnam : 'When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds are sure to follow.' "
"British troops forging social bonds with Iraqi children by teaching them such games as minefield hopscotch and grenade juggling is wholly unacceptable."
Questions were later raised in the media as to why the normally placid Euphrates catfish, usually a solitary feeder, have evolved into forming predatory shoals and attacking swimmers. While being far from conclusive, scientific evidence points to the catfish suffering adverse genetic mutations from ingesting depleted uranium dust being fly-tipped into the Shitt Al Basra canal by Halliburton contractors.