Sunday, April 19, 2009

The War on....Pirates!

Are the people hijacking ships off the coast of Somalia really evil, terrorist, rouge, pirates?

I don't think so.

The pirate stories running in the news recently have attracted a huge amount of interest. Everyone has asked me if I had heard that a boat captain was rescued and about another boat being seized.

Why are the "pirates" and their threat to commerce the dominant interest when there are health and food problems and a massive refugee camp still growing from the collapsed socialist dictatorial government in 1991 and its subsequent failed 14 attempts at governance?

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.. The estimated annual worth of those waters is around $300 million in seafood. 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."

Also after the collapse, European governments and companies began dumping toxic nuclear and industrial waste off the coast.

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: "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 asked what European governments were doing about it: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

This is the context in which these "pirates" have come into the international media.

So who are they?

They were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and it's not hard to see why. In a 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."

No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters. Though the "pirates" have the overwhelming support of the local population. 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." 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?

Threat to commerce or defense from imperial conquerors?

And who are the gangsters?

There is a group of pirates in the same waters that operate out of Ethiopian and USA created enclaves in Somalia calling themselves Somaliland and Puntland. These Ethiopian and USA backed warlord controlled territories have for many years hosted Ethiopian military bases, which have been greatly expanded recently by the addition of thousands of Ethiopian troops who were driven out of southern and central Somalia by the Somali resistance to the Ethiopian invasion.

After securing their ransom for the hijacked ships the Somali pirates head directly to their local safe havens, in this case, the Ethiopian military bases, where they make a size able contribution to the retirement accounts of the Ethiopian regime headed by Meles Zenawi.

Apparently we are a threat to our own commerce by providing military safe havens for gangsters in Ethiopia.

A pirate 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."


Andrew Beyea said...

It seems as though the pirates our navy shot this week were teenagers, tethered to the naval craft at a distance of 75 meters.

Barga said...

andrew, their age doesn't matter
The Columbine fucktards were just 17

Barga said...

you know, was this based on a paper published about 5 days ago by a Iranian newsperson? Because it sounds just like it

Barga said...

so what if their stuff was depleted, that gives them no right to kidnapp and steal

Ander said...

No, we tethered the teenagers to our

It's based on a number of articles.

I already mentioned that in the article. I think when I said "No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters."

You don't think after 17 years of having your food stolen and water polluted you'd get a little sick of it and get a little desperate when nothing for 17 has worked yet?

And as I mentioned there are two different groups of pirates in the region. There is the volunteer coast guard and there are the thugs out of Ethipoia.

Ander said...

Sorry, No, we tethered the teenagers to the USS Bainbridge and sniped them.

Barga said...

It doesn't matter if we had him tethered. they pointed a gun at the dudes head so we shot them, that is how SWAT works

Ander, it doesn't matter why you do something, if it is wrong it is still wrong

Ander said...

then why do you apologize for what the US does wrong? Killing people is the answer?

Ander said...

I don't think Columbine is at all a comparable example to this.

Barga said...

I appologize when we do wrong, i do not think shooting them was wrong

Ander said...

so you believe killing is an acceptable means of resolving a conflict?

Barga said...

did i say that? They thought that the capitan was in danger so they shot the pirates

Ander said...

So it sounds like there was a conflict of interest, and there are any number of options to resolve that conflict and one that is apparently approved of is shooting people. We solved the problem by just ending the other peoples lives. And you don't think anything is wrong with that. "i do not think shooting them was wrong"

Barga said...

i DO not think that shooting is correct, but in this case they needed to protect the US citizen

Ander said...

So you believe that there is a circumstance in which killing someone is acceptable. In this case based on simply where someone happened to be born. So U.S. citizens are more valuable in keeping alive?

Barga said...

Why are governments formed? They are formed to protect the social good and keep us from the anarchy of human nature. That said, the government's main role is to protect her people, and killing the pirates was what was needed.

Ander said...

So they are formed to justify the use of violence?

"are formed to protect the social good and keep us from the anarchy of human nature." is not why governments are formed.

The state is supposed to keep us from the stateless nature of humans? But I thought the State was natural?

The main function of the state is to guarantee the existing social relationships and their sources within a given society through centralised power and a monopoly of violence. It is there to preserve the status quo. Keep the rich rich. The politicians politicians.

In Malatesta's words, the state is basically "the property owners' gendarme." This is because there are "two ways of oppressing men [and women]: either directly by brute force, by physical violence; or indirectly by denying them the means of life and thus reducing them to a state of surrender." The owning class, "gradually concentrating in their hands the means of production, the real sources of life, agriculture, industry, barter, etc., end up establishing their own power which, by reason of the superiority of its means . . . always ends by more or less openly subjecting the political power, which is the government, and making it into its own gendarme."

The state, therefore, is "the political expression of the economic structure" of society and, therefore, "the representative of the people who own or control the wealth of the community and the oppressor of the people who do the work which creates the wealth." [Nicholas Walter, About Anarchism, p. 37] It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the state is the extractive apparatus of society's parasites.

The state ensures the exploitative privileges of its ruling elite by protecting certain economic monopolies from which its members derive their wealth.

Saying the fictional ideal of nation is enough to justify the taking of another persons life seems pretty silly to me.

Ander said...

"the government's main role is to protect her people, and killing the pirates was what was needed."

you have used an argument for a right to defense as to include aggression. That makes no sense.

Ander said...

So killing some people is necessary?

Barga said...

if we are talking social contract read some locke and hobbes then come back

that said, i have no issue with a government killing to protect her people

JoeMcB said...

Well I would venture to say that overpopulation is a threat to the people of Africa and of the world. So it might be in Africa's and NATO's best interest to introduce pandemic viruses to the region in order to depopulate it.

I mean, after all... it is for the greater good. There is a serious national security risk there.

Barga said...

slippery slope?

Ander said...


Ander said...

How about you read something other than Locke and Hobbes since it seems to be all you read.

Barga said...

they are the basis for our country so why should i not read them?

Ander said...

I am not saying don't read them. I am saying they are not the only thing you should read especially since they both prove my point and social contract theory has proven itself to be completely invalid. The theory destroys itself pretty quickly.

According to Hobbes, society is a population beneath a sovereign authority, to whom all individuals in that society cede their natural rights for the sake of protection. Any abuses of power by this authority are to be accepted as the price of peace. However, he also states that in severe cases of abuse, rebellion is expected. In particular, the doctrine of separation of powers is rejected the sovereign must control civil, military, judicial and ecclesiastical powers.

So you want to listen to a guy who sets out by stating that one group gets to sit above the rest, creating social inequity. Also believes that rebellion is expected, you really want to live in such an unstable system? Hobbes says this is all necessary to avoid conflict and fighting yet this country has never been more polarized and not only is our government killing thousands and displacing more, but people all over the world are killing each other. Most fighting for the oppourtunity to sit at the top, above the society.

I'll get to Locke later and then I will post how social contract theory destroys its own argument.

Ander said...

If this society is what their thinking led to, their writing is probably better used as toilet paper.


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