You Are Being Lied to About Pirates

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Offline Biggs

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You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« on: April 14, 2009, 03:41:23 PM »
You Are Being Lied to About Pirates

By Johann Hari

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22399.htm

April 12, 2009 "Huffington Post"
--- Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy - backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China - is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as "one of the great menace of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell -- and some justice on their side.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the "golden age of piracy" - from 1650 to 1730 - the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can't? In his book Villains of All nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence to find out. If you became a merchant or navy sailor then - plucked from the docks of London's East End, young and hungry - you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O' Nine Tails. If you slacked consistently, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains - and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls "one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century." They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed "quite clearly - and subversively - that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy." This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

The words of one pirate from that lost age - a young British man called William Scott - should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: "What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live." In 1991, the government of Somalia - in the Horn of Africa - collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation - and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the men we are calling "pirates" have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a 'tax' on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and it's not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was "to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters... We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas." William Scott would understand those words.

No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters - especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the "pirates" have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking - and it found 70 percent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters." During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America's founding fathers paid pirates to protect America's territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn't act on those crimes - but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, we begin to shriek about "evil." If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause - our crimes - before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia's criminals.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know "what he meant by keeping possession of the sea." The pirate smiled, and responded: "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor." Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today - but who is the robber?

POSTSCRIPT: Some commenters seem bemused by the fact that both toxic dumping and the theft of fish are happening in the same place - wouldn't this make the fish contaminated? In fact, Somalia's coastline is vast, stretching to 3300km. Imagine how easy it would be - without any coastguard or army - to steal fish from Florida and dump nuclear waste on California, and you get the idea. These events are happening in different places - but with the same horrible effect: death for the locals, and stirred-up piracy. There's no contradiction.

Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent newspaper
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luckee1

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 06:54:19 PM »
Thank you for posting that.  I knew the pirate subject was a titillating darling of the msm.  I had been wondering why US Marines hadn't been deployed there, for this. Now I know.

carlee

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 07:04:27 PM »
do you or anyone have links to reports of the dumping of the  toxic waste into the waters?

luckee1

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 07:10:00 PM »
this is the only one i see on the page given at top of article

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/africa/somalia/


Offline Biggs

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2009, 02:41:31 PM »
Emotional Rescue: Praise for Sea Victory Could Presage Carnage
Chris Floyd

www.uruknet.info?p=53408

Link: chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/3/1741-emotional-rescue-praise-for-sea
   -victory-could-presage-carnage.html

April 14, 2009


I.
Everyone is glad that Captain Richard Phillips emerged unscathed from his capture by the Somali pirates who seized his ship on its way to bring food aid to Kenya. But the nature of his rescue -- still shrouded in ambiguity -- is a troubling portent. And its potential aftermath could be catastrophic indeed.

It is of course a harrowing business to be captured and held at gunpoint, and Phillips is to be lauded for his selfless courage in offering himself as a hostage in place of his crew. But despite the manifest difficulty and criminality of the situation, it is unlikely that his life was in imminent danger. Since the upsurge of piracy off the Somali coast began, there have been almost no fatalities in the raids, and so far every hostage taken by the pirates has been released unharmed.

What's more, as McClatchy reports, the pirates who had taken Phillips were apparently out of ammunition and adrift in shark-infested waters by the time U.S. Navy ships caught up with them. They offered to give Phillips back to the Americans in exchange for their own freedom -- but were shot dead instead. Navy sharpshooters said they killed the three Somali men when one of them pointed a gun at Phillips' back -- apparently in the belief that the pirates were about to kill the captain.  This seems at bit strange, to say the least; if the pirates were negotiating with the Americans, it seems odd that they would suddenly shoot their only bargaining chip while they were in the crosshairs of two massive Navy warships and a squad of snipers. It also seems unlikely that they had not had a gun -- an empty gun, as it turns out -- pointed at their captive throughout the standoff.

Of course, it was a dicey situation all around, and no one who wasn't there can know exactly what happened. McClatchy pieces together the various claims and fragments of information available:

The SEALs felt Phillips's life was in "imminent danger," Gortney said. The White House said that President Barack Obama had given the Pentagon a standing order to use force if necessary to save Phillips's life.

The sharpshooters "took it that the pirate was ready to use that weapon" and opened fire within seconds, Gortney said in a telephone briefing from Bahrain, headquarters of the Fifth Fleet.

President Obama was told that Phillips had been rescued 11 minutes after the shots were fired, according to Pentagon and White House chronologies of events....

According to Somalis with knowledge of the discussions, the pirates, who at one time had demanded $2 million for Phillips's release, had grown desperate with their situation — adrift under a searing sun in waters infested with sharks, staring at two massive Navy ships armed with guided missiles, running low on fuel and having spent their ammunition.

A relative of one of the pirates, who said he spoke with the men by satellite phone at about 3 p.m. — four hours before the Navy opened fire — said they "were getting scared" and trying to persuade the Americans to let them go in return for the captain's release.

"They were trying to save their own lives," said the relative, Hassan Mohammed Farah, speaking by phone from Haradheere, a coastal town in central Somalia where pirates are known to operate. "The only thing they could bargain with was the captain, but the Americans would not accept."

And so the incident ended as it was surely destined to. The moment I heard that an American ship had been raided by Somali pirates, I knew that someone would have to die for it; nowadays, American leaders -- and broad swathes of the public -- demand blood for the slightest perceived outrage against the nation's dignity. And once a hostage was taken -- by a bunch of rag-tag, Muslim darkies, no less -- a fatal ending was assured.

II.
Barack Obama, who had given the shoot-to-kill order (if necessary, of course, only if necessary; American operatives have never fired a shot in anger anywhere in the world unless it was absolutely necessary), was keen to stand tall in what the commentariat had dubbed a major test of his commander-in-chief mettle. Thus the C-in-C was duly informed of his triumph while the oozing blood of the dead was still warm.

And a triumph it was. Quickly, the White House released details of Obama's omniscient control of the situation -- and was duly rewarded with rapturous PR, especially from his liberal "base," happy to see the hardnosed, blood-drawing president slap down the rightwing critics who forever castigate him for being "soft." Dennis Perrin reports on some prime examples of this he-man hero-worship at Huffington Post. And Juan Cole -- whose insights into the realities of the Middle East have been invaluable, but who now seems to be channeling Arthur "Camelot" Schlesinger at his mythologizing worst -- showers embarrassing accolades on "the deft young president."

Cole approvingly notes that Obama was quietly "making preparations to whack someone" even while Rush Limbaugh and other rightwing blowhards were slamming the Deft One for his presumed inaction. Obama "took the heat, but he took it like a man," while carrying on with "17 separate briefings" on the crisis. Cole then spends an inordinate amount of time castigating the witless blather of Limbaugh and the blowhardniks, before ending in a paroxysm of praise for the cool, competent, deft young leader:

Reminds me of the Carly Simon Bond theme, "Nobody does it better/ Makes me feel sad for the rest."

As we noted here the other day, the most shameless Bush-worshippers of yore would be hard-pressed to match Obama's dazzled acolytes in their gushing, emotional tributes to the Commander.

III.
But the blogosphere reaction is just a bemusing sidelight. Far more serious are the potential ramifications of the incident, and the policies it could be used to justify.

It almost certainly makes a direct American military strike on Somalia much more likely. This of course would be nothing new; as we noted here time and again (to almost no effect or resonance anywhere), the United States was directly involved in the invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia in late 2006: a murderous "regime change" operation by forces funded, armed and trained by the United States. The invasion and occupation, which ended in January 2009, killed thousands of Somalis, ruined and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of others, and plunged the already broken country even deeper into chaos, civil war and ruin. American forces bombed fleeing refugees, launched missile strikes into villages, captured refugees and "renditioned" them to Ethiopia's notorious torture chambers, and, perhaps most chillingly, sent in death squads to "clean up" after missile attacks.

The savage Ethiopian-American invasion was "justified" under the usual rubric of "fighting terrorism." It was ostensibly intended to oust a broad coalition of Islamic groups which had given Somalia its first semblance of stability in many years. The results of this "counter-terrorism" operation were entirely predictable: it weakened or destroyed moderate forces, while radicalizing many Somalis and empowering the most extreme and violent groups, led by the al-Shabab faction. In the end, the Terror Warriors had to admit defeat; the hand-picked, American-backed interim government, which included former warlords in the pay of the CIA, collapsed -- and the leader of the ousted Islamic coalition government became the new president, with the West's reluctant blessing. The entire war had been for naught.

But as noted, the more extreme elements of the former coalition were greatly empowered by the invasion and subsequent chaos, while the new government is compromised by its association with and dependence upon the West. So savage internal conflict still rages in Somalia, despite the withdrawal of the Ethiopians -- who still linger ominously across the border. Chaos reigns, lawlessness is rampant, criminal gangs and sectarian militias clash, combine, fall out, and oppress the population. Western corporate interests have destroyed one of the very few viable enterprises in Somalia: the fishing industry. As Katie Stuhldreher noted in the Christian Science Monitor last year (via Antiwar.com):

The problem of piracy in Somalia originated about a decade ago because of disgruntled fishermen. The headless state had no authority to patrol its tuna-rich coastal waters and foreign commercial vessels swooped in to cast their nets. This proved a slap in the face for Somalis, who saw these vessels as illegal and raking in profits at the expense of the local impoverished population. To make matters worse, there were reports that some foreign ships even dumped waste in Somali waters.

That prompted local fishermen to attack foreign fishing vessels and demand compensation. The success of these early raids in the mid-1990s persuaded many young men to hang up their nets in favor of AK-47s.

Needless to say, the accelerated death and ruin following the "regime change" operation has only driven more men into piracy, and made more communities dependent on the practice for their survival.

This then is the present context for all the talk about renewed American attacks on Somalia. The capture of Captain Phillips has highlighted previous plans and calls to root out the pirates with military strikes on their bases. As we noted here last year, the UN Security Council, following America's lead, has already voted to turn Somalia into a global free-fire zone, giving other nations carte blanche "to conduct military raids, on land and by air, against pirates plying the waters off the Somalia coast," as the Washington Post reported. All they need is permission from the Somali government -- which, as we noted, is dependent on Western nations for its survival.

Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported earlier this month, the Obama Administration is considering plans to strike at the al-Shabab insurgent group in Somalia, which Washington has long claimed has vague "ties" to al Qaeda. Indeed, it was these same nebulous connections -- literally involving a handful of people -- that the Bush administration cited as its reason for supporting the overthrow of the Somali government in 2006. Now powerful voices in the Obama administration are urging the deft young president to extend his wide-ranging "continuity" with Bush's Terror War policies to Somalia.

In any case, the current chaos -- and the new pressures that will inevitably be brought to bear on the pirates after their yanking of Uncle Sam's beard -- will doubtless see the further meshing of interests between at least some of the pirate groups and the extremists. Already, al-Shabab is proclaiming its solidarity with the pirates, lauding the mercantile group as fellow "holy warriors," as Garowe Online reports. This public linkage will only make it easier for American militarists to urge attacks on Somalia; surely it won't be long until we see officials trotting out the formula "Piracy=Terrorism."

If so, it will be self-fulfilling prophecy. For if they come after the pirates with all guns blazing, with ground assaults and air attacks, the pirates will turn to the Islamist insurgents for muscle. The Islamists will then draw on pirate money to fund their own operations. The pirates will become more and more radicalized -- as will the surrounding population hit by the strikes, thus strengthening the radical Islamists.

Meanwhile, Western corporations will continue their destruction of the Somali fishing industry, driving even more people into piracy, or into the hands of the radical Islamists. All of this increased violence will draw an ever more violent response from the United States: more attacks, more bombs, more shootings -- which will, in turn, lead to more radicalization, more hatred, more violence. A self-perpetuating dynamic will be established. The end result -- or rather, the never-ending result -- will be what it has always been for decades: more death, suffering, chaos and poverty for the Somali people.

As I noted last year:

But let us not succumb to American exceptionalism in this case. The UN Security Council resolution is a virulent product of a global militarism, the universal warlordism that finds expression sometimes in ragged bands of fighters in desert, mountain or jungle enclaves – and sometimes in the clean and carpeted halls of vast nation-states and international institutions. With this resolution, the entire world – the entire world – has turned its back on the people of Somalia. They have been abandoned as utterly, completely – and officially -- as any people in history. At least there was some opposition in the Security Council to the American rape of Iraq; but this declaration of open season on Somalia – this universal license to kill Somalis, granted to every government on earth – passed unanimously. Without demur, without protest, with no objection.

Are there pirates in Somalia? Yes. Have they hindered some commercial operations? Yes. Are there criminal organizations in the United States, in Europe, in Russia, in China, in the Middle East? Yes. Do they hinder some commercial operations? Yes. (And far more violently and extensively than the Somali pirates, we might add.) But only the Somali people are subjected to the murderous strictures of the UN's draconian edict. Only the Somali people are being condemned to die – by the United Nations – for the actions of criminals within their borders.

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Offline ConcordeWarrior

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2009, 02:45:22 PM »
I always believed that the Somalia pirates thing is all made up and a cover for something else.
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Offline Biggs

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2009, 02:16:09 PM »
'Toxic waste' behind Somali piracy

By Najad Abdullahi

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22428.htm

April 15, 2009 "Al Jazeera" -
- Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste.

The ransom demand is a means of "reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years", Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates, based in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, said.

"The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas."

The pirates are holding the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware, off Somalia's northern coast.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year.

While money is the primary objective of the hijackings, claims of the continued environmental destruction off Somalia's coast have been largely ignored by the regions's maritime authorities.

Dumping allegations

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia confirmed to Al Jazeera the world body has "reliable information" that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic waste, including nuclear waste, off the Somali coastline.

"I must stress however, that no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals acting alone are responsible," he said

Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s.

But evidence of such practices literally appeared on the beaches of northern Somalia when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the tsunami had washed up rusting containers of toxic waste on the shores of Puntland.

Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a "frightening activity" that has been going on for more than decade.

"Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there," he said.

"European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.

"And the waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes – you name it."

Nuttall also said that since the containers came ashore, hundreds of residents have fallen ill, suffering from mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments.

"We [the UNEP] had planned to do a proper, in-depth scientific assessment on the magnitude of the problem. But because of the high levels of insecurity onshore and off the Somali coast, we are unable to carry out an accurate assessment of the extent of the problem," he said.

However, Ould-Abdallah claims the practice still continues.

"What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean," he said.

Toxic waste

Ould-Abdallah declined to name which companies are involved in waste dumping, citing legal reasons.

But he did say the practice helps fuel the 18-year-old civil war in Somalia as companies are paying Somali government ministers to dump their waste, or to secure licences and contracts.

"There is no government control ... and there are few people with high moral ground ... [and] yes, people in high positions are being paid off, but because of the fragility of the TFG [transitional Federal Government], some of these companies now no longer ask the authorities – they simply dump their waste and leave."

Ould-Abdallah said there are ethical questions to be considered because the companies are negotiating contracts with a government that is largely divided along tribal lines.

"How can you negotiate these dealings with a country at war and with a government struggling to remain relevant?"

In 1992, a contract to secure the dumping of toxic waste was made by Swiss and Italian shipping firms Achair Partners and Progresso, with Nur Elmi Osman, a former official appointed to the government of Ali Mahdi Mohamed, one of many militia leaders involved in the ousting of Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia's former president.

At the request of the Swiss and Italian governments, UNEP investigated the matter.

Both firms had denied entering into any agreement with militia leaders at the beginning of the Somali civil war.

Osman also denied signing any contract.

'Mafia involvement'

However, Mustafa Tolba, the former UNEP executive director, told Al Jazeera that he discovered the firms were set up as fictitious companies by larger industrial firms to dispose of hazardous waste.

"At the time, it felt like we were dealing with the Mafia, or some sort of organised crime group, possibly working with these industrial firms," he said.

"It was very shady, and quite underground, and I would agree with Ould-Abdallah’s claims that it is still going on... Unfortunately the war has not allowed environmental groups to investigate this fully."

The Italian mafia controls an estimated 30 per cent of Italy's waste disposal companies, including those that deal with toxic waste.

In 1998, Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian weekly magazine, claimed that although most of the waste-dumping took place after the start of the civil war in 1991, the activity actually began as early as 1989 under the Barre government.

Beyond the ethical question of trying to secure a hazardous waste agreement in an unstable country like Somalia, the alleged attempt by Swiss and Italian firms to dump waste in Somalia would violate international treaties to which both countries are signatories.

Legal ramifications

Switzerland and Italy signed and ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which came into force in 1992.

EU member states, as well as 168 other countries have also signed the agreement.

The convention prohibits waste trade between countries that have signed the convention, as well as countries that have not signed the accord unless a bilateral agreement had been negotiated.

It is also prohibits the shipping of hazardous waste to a war zone.

Abdi Ismail Samatar, professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, told Al Jazeera that because an international coalition of warships has been deployed to the Gulf of Aden, the alleged dumping of waste must have been observed.

Environmental damage

"If these acts are continuing, then surely they must have been seen by someone involved in maritime operations," he said.

"Is the cargo aimed at a certain destination more important than monitoring illegal activities in the region? Piracy is not the only problem for Somalia, and I think it's irresponsible on the part of the authorities to overlook this issue."

Mohammed Gure, chairman of the Somalia Concern Group, said that the social and environmental consequences will be felt for decades.

"The Somali coastline used to sustain hundreds of thousands of people, as a source of food and livelihoods. Now much of it is almost destroyed, primarily at the hands of these so-called ministers that have sold their nation to fill their own pockets."

Ould-Abdallah said piracy will not prevent waste dumping.

"The intentions of these pirates are not concerned with protecting their environment," he said.

"What is ultimately needed is a functioning, effective government that will get its act together and take control of its affairs."
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Offline Biggs

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2009, 02:17:21 PM »
Enough Dead Pirate Porn:

The Press is Relishing the Killing of Three Teenage Pirates With Disturbing Zeal

By Chris Nolan, Majikthise.

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22426.htm

April 15, 2009 "Alternet" -
- - I'm relieved that the Navy SEALs rescued the American hostage from Somali pirates. Their skill and professionalism was indeed impressive.

But really ... Two days after the rescue, the banner headline on the front page of the Washington Post should not read "3 Rounds, 3 Dead Bodies." And if that's the front page headline, surely they don't need a second story about pirate-shooting in the same edition.

The American public is relishing the deaths of the pirates to a degree that's downright unseemly.

Gates said the four pirates involved in taking Phillips hostage were 17 to 19 years old -- "untrained teenagers with heavy weapons." The pirate whom Reza wounded in the hand asked the USS Bainbridge for medical attention, effectively surrendering. [WaPo]

All the jubilation is distracting from some serious questions about U.S. policy towards piracy.

The on-scene Navy commander aboard the USS Bainbridge reportedly gave the order to fire because the hostage's life was suddenly in danger. If that's true, then of course the SEALs did the right thing.

Despite the blanket coverage of the SEALs who fired the shots, very little has been reported about the evidence that moved the commander to order the shooting. So far, nobody has explained why the commander decided that the hostage was in jeopardy at that particular moment.
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Offline RicardoCasio

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2009, 02:24:57 PM »
We're also being lied to about the ninjas!!

Offline netizen_x

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2009, 02:50:11 PM »
Check out some recent history of Somalia:

Somalia: Washington's Warlords Lose Out. http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/3587

Obama wants to continue Bush’s fiasco in Somalia!: http://www.markacadey.net/main/readarticle.php?article_id=759

An interesting aspect of the 1993 war on Somalia was how the Global Mass Media was exposed to be so controlled. For a long time,  Somali leaders were refered to as 'Warlords'. When the Americans had their ass kicked and decided to negotiate, the 'Warlords' began to be referred to as 'Generals'. Now they are referred to as 'Pirates'.

Language is Power.

"Since corrupt people unite amongst themselves to constitute a force, then honest people must do the same" ~ Leo Tolstoy

Offline NWOSCUM

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You are being lied to about pirates!!!
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2009, 09:26:10 PM »
http://www.sfbayview.com/2009/you-are-being-lied-to-about-pirates/

You are being lied to about pirates
Posted By mary On February 4, 2009 @ 8:08 pm In Africa and the World | 318 Comments

by Johann Hari

[1]
Somali pirate “ships” are small, but the ships they seize are huge. They held one gigantic tanker for months until ransom was paid.
Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy - backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the U.S. to China - is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth.
But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labeling as “one of the great menaces of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell - and some justice on their side.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” - from 1650 to 1730 - the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: Pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can’t?

In his book “Villains of All Nations,” the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence to find out. If you became a merchant or navy sailor then - plucked from the docks of London’s East End, young and hungry - you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the cat o’ nine tails. If you slacked consistently, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains - and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the 18th century.”

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly - and subversively - that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.” This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.

The words of one pirate from that lost age - a young British man called William Scott - should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirating to live.”

In 1991, the government of Somalia - in the Horn of Africa - collapsed. Its 9 million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the U.N. envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury - you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no cleanup, no compensation and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by over-exploitation - and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300 million worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas.

The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the men we are calling “pirates” have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coast Guard of Somalia - and it’s not hard to see why.

In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters … We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.” William Scott would understand those words.

No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters - especially those who have held up World Food Program supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking - and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defense of the country’s territorial waters.”

One of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters … We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas.”

During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coast guard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn’t act on those crimes - but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit corridor for 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, we begin to shriek about “evil.” If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause - our crimes - before we send in the gunboats to root out Somalia’s criminals.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarized by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.”

Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today - but who is the robber?

Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent newspaper. He has reported from Iraq, Israel/ Palestine, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Venezuela, Peru and the U.S., and his journalism has appeared in publications all over the world. To contact him, email johann@johannhari.com [2] or visit his website at JohannHari.com [3]. This column previously appeared in the Independent and Huffington Post, where the following postscript was added:

Postscript: Some commentators seem bemused by the fact that both toxic dumping and the theft of fish are happening in the same place - wouldn’t this make the fish contaminated? In fact, Somalia’s coastline is vast, stretching 3,300km (over 2,000 miles). Imagine how easy it would be - without any coast guard or army - to steal fish from Florida and dump nuclear waste on California, and you get the idea. These events are happening in different places but with the same horrible effect: death for the locals and stirred-up piracy. There’s no contradiction.
"The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, and their power of forgetting is enormous." --Adolph Hitler, "Mein Kampf"

Offline NWOSCUM

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2009, 09:40:01 PM »
Look like someone is stealing someones article.  The first one in this post by Huffinton Post....mine by SF Chronical.....virtually the same words....HMMM. 

Sorry for the DUPLICATE POST.  LOL
"The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, and their power of forgetting is enormous." --Adolph Hitler, "Mein Kampf"

Offline Biggs

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2009, 04:30:29 PM »
Somalis say illegal fishing by foreign trawlers drove them to piracy
By SHASHANK BENGALI
 
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22522.htm

April 29, 2009 "McClatchy" -
-  Their exploits have turned the inky-blue waters of the Indian Ocean into a perilous gantlet for ships and an unlikely security challenge for world leaders. But behind the bare brick walls of a desolate former British colonial prison here, five jailed Somali pirates didn't seem very fearsome at all.

One looked to be in his late 40s, his brambly hair stained a deep henna orange, his milky eyes staring into the middle distance. A slightly younger man clutched a faded sarong to his matchstick waist and spoke in barely a whisper.

The leader of the pirate crew, 38-year-old Farah Ismail Eid, wore such a hungry look that a visiting government official, unsolicited, folded a pale $10 bill into his sandpaper palm.

That a few hundred men like these have wreaked so much havoc in the seas off of East Africa is a testament to the sheer power of guts and greed. It's also a stark illustration of the all-consuming anarchy ashore in Somalia, where, after 18 years of conflict, jobs are scarce, guns are plentiful, men will risk everything for a payday - and their government is too weak and corrupt to stop them.

The men behind bars, however, offered another explanation for piracy.

Their story is also rooted in greed - not of their brazen colleagues with the million-dollar ransoms, they say, but of foreign companies that they say have profited from Somalia's lawlessness by fishing illegally in their waters since the 1990s.

In a long interview with McClatchy Newspapers at the jailhouse in Mandhera, an austere desert fortress in the autonomous northern region of Somaliland, where British forces held Italian POWs during World War II, Eid related what amounts to the pirates' creation myth, in which overfishing by European and Asian trawlers drove Somalia's coastal communities to ruin and forced local fishermen to fight for their livelihoods.

"Now the international community is shouting about piracy. But long before this, we were shouting to the world about our problems," said Eid, a bony-cheeked former lobsterman with a bushy goatee. "No one listened."

Of course, the pirates' journey from vigilante coast guard to firing automatic weapons at cruise ships - as one band did over the weekend - is a reminder that good intentions don't last long in desperate Somalia.

In 1991, Eid was scavenging for lobsters along the craggy shores of central Somalia, saving to start a fishing company, when the government and its security forces were swallowed up in a coup. The country's endless coastline - at nearly 2,000 miles, it's longer than the U.S. West Coast - suddenly became an unguarded supermarket of tuna, mackerel and other fish.

When huge foreign trawlers suddenly began appearing, the local fishermen who plied their trade with simple nets and small fiberglass boats were wiped out, Eid said.

"They fished everything - sharks, lobsters, eggs," he recalled. "They collided with our boats. They came with giant nets and swept everything out of the sea."

At the outset, fishermen in the ramshackle ports of Puntland, Somaliland's rowdy neighbor, re-branded themselves as "coast guards." The first hijackings that Eid remembered came in 1997, when pirates from the port of Hobyo seized a Chinese fishing vessel and then held a Kenyan ship for a $500,000 ransom.

"When I heard about this," Eid said, "I was happy."

Eid had sunk his savings into three boats. In 2005, with catches all too rare and a wife and two children to support, he traded his fishing equipment for a couple of Kalashnikov rifles and rocket launchers in a market in the wild-west port of Bossasso.

He and five other fishermen, swathed in camouflage, piled into a motorized skiff and set off from the village of Garacad. But their motor was too feeble to catch up to any of the ships they spotted, so after five sweltering days they returned to shore.

The next year Eid tried with a stronger engine, a German one imported from Dubai. This time, the novice pirates caught up to a cargo ship and came face to face with its European crew. But Eid's men couldn't prop their heavy metal ladder up against the freighter's hull quickly enough to board the ship. The vessel escaped unmolested.

Global Witness, a London-based group that investigates natural resource exploitation, agrees that vessels from countries such as France, Spain, Indonesia and South Korea gobbled up hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of fish from Somali waters without licenses.

However, experts say that the foreign fishing wasn't necessarily illegal because the Somali government, even before the coup, didn't delineate its territorial waters, as international maritime laws require.

"In the early to mid-1990s there was some fishing in those waters that, if Somalia had a government that was performing its job, would have demanded licensing fees for," said J. Peter Pham, a piracy expert at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. "But the Somalis never got around to declaring what was legal and illegal."

Somali officials don't argue with the pirates' version of events - only with their tactics.

"We know they have their grievances," said Abdillahi Mohamed Duale, the foreign minister of Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991. "But the problem of overfishing has always been there, in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Indian Ocean. It doesn't mean that you take the law into your own hands."

Entering this week, there had been 93 hijack attempts off the coast in 2009, according to the International Maritime Bureau in London - 17 fewer than in all of last year. After a tense, five-day standoff this month ended with U.S. Navy sharpshooters killing three pirates and rescuing an American ship captain they'd taken hostage, countries pledged $213 million to bolster the Somali security forces.

In Puntland, the pirates have a comfortably chaotic haven. Markets carry everything from automatic weapons to spare batteries for satellite phones, standard equipment for any seagoing bandit. A regional government claims to rule the area, but many suspect that the president, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, is on the take from pirates, which Farole denies.

According to Eid and others, some officers from Somalia's erstwhile marine corps and coast guard, which patrolled the shores skillfully until the civil war, are training pirate groups in navigation and other seafaring techniques.

"If 20 pirate groups go to sea, one will succeed" in capturing a ship, Eid said. "Nineteen will fail, but they'll keep trying. They have all the equipment and support they need."

Somaliland says it's cracking down on pirates. Four groups of pirates - 26 men in all - have been arrested, and three of the groups are serving 15- to 20-year prison sentences.

Last August, Somaliland authorities raided a seaside guesthouse and captured Eid, who'd moved there and was posing as a mechanic. He and four others were charged with weapons possession and plotting a hijacking, and swiftly sentenced to 15-year prison terms despite having never carried out an attack.

"We are afraid this piracy could spread to Somaliland," said Youssef Essa, Somaliland's vice minister of justice. "That's why we have to give harsh sentences."

Nevertheless, Essa, a former high school teacher, seemed impressed with Eid's story. After listening for over an hour, he rose to shake the younger man's hand and handed him $10. Afterward, he and the silver-haired warden agreed that Eid probably would spend the money on khat, a narcotic leaf that Somali men chew to get high.   


STOP THE KILLING NOW
END THE CRIMINAL SIEGE OF GAZA - FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!

Offline Biggs

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2009, 03:18:38 PM »
Somali pirates guided by London intelligence team, report says

Document obtained by Spanish radio station says 'well-placed informers' in constant contact by satellite telephone
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 May 2009 12.59 BST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/11/somali-pirates-london-intelligence



The Somali pirates attacking shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are directed to their targets by a "consultant" team in London, according to a European military intelligence document obtained by a Spanish radio station.

The document, obtained by Cadena SER radio, says the team and the pirates remain in contact by satellite telephone.

It says that pirate groups have "well-placed informers" in London who are in regular contact with control centres in Somalia where decisions on which vessels to attack are made. These London-based "consultants" help the pirates select targets, providing information on the ships' cargoes and courses.

In at least one case the pirates have remained in contact with their London informants from the hijacked ship, according to one targeted shipping company.

The pirates' information network extends to Yemen, Dubai and the Suez canal.

The intelligence report is understood to have been issued to European navies.

"The information that merchant ships sailing through the area volunteer to various international organisations is ending up in the pirates' hands," Cadena SER reported the report as saying.

This enables the more organised pirate groups to study their targets in advance, even spending several days training teams for specific hijacks. Senior pirates then join the vessel once it has been sailed close to Somalia.

Captains of attacked ships have found that pirates know everything from the layout of the vessel to its ports of call. Vessels targeted as a result of this kind of intelligence included the Greek cargo ship Titan, the Turkish merchant ship Karagol and the Spanish trawler Felipe Ruano.

In each case, says the document, the pirates had full knowledge of the cargo, nationality and course of the vessel.

The national flag of a ship is also taken into account when choosing a target, with British vessels being increasingly avoided, according to the report. It was not clear whether this was because pirates did not want to draw the attention of British police to their information sources in London.

European countries have set up Operation Atalanta to co-ordinate their military efforts in the area.
STOP THE KILLING NOW
END THE CRIMINAL SIEGE OF GAZA - FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!

Offline donnay

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2009, 03:24:42 PM »
Why am I not surprised on this latest info? *Shakes head*

Thanks for posting this!!!
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Offline agentbluescreen

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2009, 03:49:15 PM »
Why am I not surprised on this latest info? *Shakes head*

Thanks for posting this!!!

Yet another NWO whack-a-mole news-cycle headline diversion scheme!

Anything at all is fair game to keep the public eye off the ball while their corruption orgies under our noses continue to trawl ahead full steam

carlee

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Re: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2009, 08:37:10 AM »
Somali pirates guided by London intelligence team, report says

Document obtained by Spanish radio station says 'well-placed informers' in constant contact by satellite telephone
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
guardian.co.uk, Monday 11 May 2009 12.59 BST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/11/somali-pirates-london-intelligence



The Somali pirates attacking shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are directed to their targets by a "consultant" team in London, according to a European military intelligence document obtained by a Spanish radio station.

The document, obtained by Cadena SER radio, says the team and the pirates remain in contact by satellite telephone.

It says that pirate groups have "well-placed informers" in London who are in regular contact with control centres in Somalia where decisions on which vessels to attack are made. These London-based "consultants" help the pirates select targets, providing information on the ships' cargoes and courses.

In at least one case the pirates have remained in contact with their London informants from the hijacked ship, according to one targeted shipping company.

The pirates' information network extends to Yemen, Dubai and the Suez canal.

The intelligence report is understood to have been issued to European navies.

"The information that merchant ships sailing through the area volunteer to various international organisations is ending up in the pirates' hands," Cadena SER reported the report as saying.

This enables the more organised pirate groups to study their targets in advance, even spending several days training teams for specific hijacks. Senior pirates then join the vessel once it has been sailed close to Somalia.

Captains of attacked ships have found that pirates know everything from the layout of the vessel to its ports of call. Vessels targeted as a result of this kind of intelligence included the Greek cargo ship Titan, the Turkish merchant ship Karagol and the Spanish trawler Felipe Ruano.

In each case, says the document, the pirates had full knowledge of the cargo, nationality and course of the vessel.

The national flag of a ship is also taken into account when choosing a target, with British vessels being increasingly avoided, according to the report. It was not clear whether this was because pirates did not want to draw the attention of British police to their information sources in London.

European countries have set up Operation Atalanta to co-ordinate their military efforts in the area.
   so shocking