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DeathscytheX

Obama signed off on taking out pirates

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http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21156.html

President Barack Obama issued a standing order to use force against pirates holding an American captain hostage — including giving a Navy commander the authority to act if he believed the captain’s life was in danger, two senior defense officials said Sunday night.

Navy snipers aboard the USS Bainbridge on Sunday shot and killed three of the pirates after the Bainbridge’s commander gave the order, when a pirate was spotted aboard the lifeboat pointing an AK-47 rifle at Capt. Richard Phillips, one defense official said.

“The clear belief by the captain of the ship was that he was in imminent danger,” this official said.

The exact details of the shooting remain murky. The snipers fired after all three pirates became visible on the enclosed lifeboat where they were holding Phillips, a Navy official in Bahrain told reporters — giving the snipers the chance to kill all three at once, so that none would be left behind to harm Phillips.

Obama's involvement in the decision to authorize lethal force was legally required, officials said, because it was a hostage situation, not combat, and unrelated to the already authorized U.S. effort against Al Qaeda and other terror groups, officials said.

“It’s not a combat operation, so the lawyers wanted to ensure this was done right," said a second defense official.

Phillips’ rescue brought to an end a tense five-day standoff that proved an early test for Obama, who said little about the case in public but behind the scenes received more than a dozen briefings on it, White House aides said.

A timeline provided by the White House showed he issued the orders to use force at 8 p.m. Friday, and again at 9:20 a.m. Saturday, after new Navy forces moved on to the scene. In both cases, he was first briefed by the National Security Council for an update on the situation.

The timeline suggests that planning for the rescue mission intensified Saturday evening, as the National Security Council updated Obama on “planning for hostage contingencies” at 6:30 p.m. At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Obama received an update on “action leading to the rescue of Captain Phillips.” He called Phillips about 4 p.m. Sunday.

In a statement, Obama said, “We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region. To achieve that goal, we must continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, be prepared to interdict acts of piracy and ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes," Obama said in a statement.

The defense officials also provided new details behind the rescue, noting that Bainbridge had been in contact with the pirates at one point. One of the pirates, a 16-year-old boy, had come onto the Bainbridge for medical attention and was speaking to the crew about the conditions under which Phillips might be released.

The seas had started getting rough and the lifeboat where the pirates were holding Phillips was dead in the water. So the pirates agreed to be towed out further from shore to calmer waters. During that time, the towline was shortened so that the life raft was only 25 to 30 yards from the Bainbridge.

At some point on Sunday, all three remaining pirates were spotted on the boat, including one holding the AK-47, and the authorization was given for the snipers to shoot. All three were killed and a smaller boat was dispatched from Bainbridge to pick up Phillips.

One defense official said it was very likely the surviving pirate would be prosecuted for piracy by the United States. Other pirates have been turned over to the Kenyans but "I don't think that will be the case here," this official said, adding that the specific decision to prosecute would be up to the Justice Department.

After calling on other countries to prosecute pirates the U.S. might feel it has to make an example of the youth in custody, this official said, though his age would have to be taken into account.

At a briefing in Bahrain, Vice Adm. William E. Gortney warned that the Navy’s use of force to Phillips could "escalate violence in this part of the world." Pirates ply the waters off the Somali coast, but it was a rare instance that they took an American flagged vessel with an American crew.

Well its good to see he didn't pull a Jimmy Carter.


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and thus another war of attrition begins


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tit for tat you killed my dog I kill your cat

these pirates were not into murder, they were into collecting ransom.

As one "pirate" said, "The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now." Another added, "As long as there is no just government in Somalia, we will still be the coast guard… If we get an American, we will take revenge."


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I think we should start sinking their ships with our destroyers and battleships. Actually I think we should utilize Unrestricted Submarine Warfare along their coast.


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It's complicated DX, and ethical collateral issues are involved in this. Remember when India sank a ship or assisted, there was actually a committee out there who questioned the action taken, and it was/ wasn't well received on the 2nd encounter (I think) ... I can't remember, so go easy on me!


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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Its complicated because of the "lets not hurt anyones feelings" world we live in. If we went around sinking all the pirate ships for trying to jack our stuff, they wouldn't be trying to take our shit anymore or anyone elses. Sometimes brute force is the answer. Africa has always had a severe piracy problem because their governments cannot control its people. These guys are getting more advance to where they are jacking oil rigs and shipments of large military weapons. No one is going to do anything about it. It's a legitimate threat.

I don't look at it from a ethical standpoint, I look at it as someone is stealing other peoples stuff and trying to make them pay for an insane price, and if they aren't willing to pay... people will be killed. Their doing it with large fishing vessels full of guys with AK-47s. They are no match for a warship, I couldn't help but laugh when they said they were calling for "reinforcements" when US destroyers started showing up at the scene... yet no one showed up for them.

Of course what I see as justice, the world sees as blowing up helpless people on fishing boats. Maybe its offensive, but that's just how I see it. There is always going to be some committee out there that disapproves. Its a bunch of bureaucratic garbage that's been around since the first world war.


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tit for tat you killed my dog I kill your cat

these pirates were not into murder, they were into collecting ransom.

As one "pirate" said, "The French and the Americans will regret starting this killing. We do not kill, but take only ransom. We shall do something to anyone we see as French or American from now." Another added, "As long as there is no just government in Somalia, we will still be the coast guard… If we get an American, we will take revenge."

seriously WTF did they expect to happen, ''we dont kill'' bull shit, you cant take people hostage and ransom, and not expect a retaliation,

note to all pirates: Point a gun at an un armed man is a warrent to get sniped.

imo USA should go to the UN with this issue and demand that if somalia or the UN cannot control pirating then the USA can use a no holds bard offensive , meaning blow the ship out of the water, why should one side play by the rules and not the other.

DX: i totally agree with your views

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It's wrong, sure, but there are other ways of tackling it. Why wait for a ship to get hijacked? Attack at the source, on the docks or wherever they refuel, etc. The US or most developed nations have the technology capable of tracking their footsteps, so why not use that instead. In an ideal world, Africa wouldn't be in a political or economic mess, but they are in one. Why not invade Rwanda or those other states where there's tons of fighting? Gun fire will result in more gun fire, and as those pirates quoted, they want revenge. Logical or not, it's human nature, and we're smart enough to know it.


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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Look, Somalia is a fuckin toilet. Pretty much everything on land has been looted/destroyed so they've turned to piracy on the open sea for economic sustainability. It's an obvious act of desperation. Can't give them total sympathy though, their shit was caused by their own clan wars. Still the UN should be fucking doing something to help these mofo's out. The fuckin Muslim community should be doing something for these, their own, fucking people.

Although I'm pro killing ppl of nut job Abrahamic religion not all of the "pirates" are pirates. Some of these fuckers are out there trying to stop bottom trawling from destroying their meager food supply or shit being dumped into the ocean making it toxic stew.

Me personally, if I had some guns and a posse on a boat and I came across a commercial fishing boat bottom trawling anytime anywhere on the fuckin planet yer mutherfuckin right I'd jump that vessel and fuck it up beyond repair. That would probably make me an eco terrorist though and not a pirate ne?:glasses:

The mainstream media isn't going to give you the full story. Check Alternet, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast

ex: By K'Naan , URB Magazine. Posted April 14, 2009.

Can anyone ever really be for piracy? Outside of sea bandits, and young girls fantasizing of Johnny Depp, would anyone with an honest regard for good human conduct really say that they are in support of Sea Robbery? Well in Somalia, the answer is: it's complicated. The news media these days has been covering piracy in the Somali coast, with such lopsided journalism that it's lucky they're not on a ship themselves. It's true that the constant hijacking of vessels in the Gulf of Aden is a major threat to the vibrant trade route between Asia and Europe. It is also true that for most of the pirates operating in this vast shoreline, money is the primary objective. But according to many Somalis, the disruption of Europe's darling of a trade route is just Karma biting a perpetrator in the butt. And if you don't believe in Karma, maybe you believe in recent history. Here is why we Somalis find ourselves slightly shy of condemning our pirates.

Somalia has been without any form of a functioning government since 1991. And despite its failures, like many other toddler governments in Africa, sprung from the wells of post-colonial independence, bad governance and development loan sharks, the specific problem of piracy was put in motion in 1992.

After the overthrow of Siyad Barre, our charmless dictator of twenty-some odd years, two major forces of the Hawiye Clan came to power. At the time, Ali Mahdi, and General Mohamed Farah Aidid, the two leaders of the Hawiye rebels were largely considered liberators. But the unity of the two men and their respective sub-clans was very short-lived. It's as if they were dumbstruck at the advent of ousting the dictator, or that they just forgot to discuss who will be the leader of the country once they defeated their common foe. A disagreement of who will upgrade from militia leader to Mr. President broke up their honeymoon. It's because of this disagreement that we've seen one of the most devastating wars in Somalia's history, leading to millions displaced and hundreds of thousands dead. But war is expensive and militias need food for their families, and Jaad (an amphetamine-based stimulant) to stay awake for the fighting. Therefore a good clan-based Warlord must look out for his own fighters. Aidid's men turned to robbing aid trucks carrying food to the starving masses, and reselling it to continue their war. But Ali Mahdi had his sights set on a larger and more unexploited resource, namely: the Indian Ocean.

Already by this time, local fishermen in the coastline of Somalia have been complaining of illegal vessels coming to Somali waters and stealing all the fish. And since there was no government to report it to, and since the severity of the violence clumsily overshadowed every other problem, the fishermen went completely unheard. But it was around this same time that a more sinister, a more patronizing practice was being put in motion. A Swiss firm called Achair Parterns, and an Italian waste company called Progresso, made a deal with Ali Mahdi, that they could dump containers of waste material in Somali waters. These European companies were said to be paying Warlords about $3 a ton, where as in to properly dispose of waste in Europe costs about $1000 a ton.

In 2004, after Tsunami washed ashore several leaking containers, thousand of locals in the Puntland region of Somalia started to complain of severe and previously unreported ailments, such as abdominal bleeding, skin melting off and a lot of immediate cancer-like symptoms. Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the United Nations Environmental Program, says that the containers had many different kinds of waste, including "Uranium, radioactive waste, lead, cadmium, mercury and chemical waste." But this wasn't just a passing evil from one or two groups taking advantage of our unprotected waters, the UN Convoy for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, says that the practice still continues to this day. It was months after those initial reports that local fishermen mobilized themselves, along with street militias, to go into the waters and deter the Westerners from having a free pass at completely destroying Somalia's aquatic life. Now years later, that deterance has become less noble, and the ex-fishermen with their militias have begun to develop a taste for ransom at sea. This form of piracy is now a major contributor to the Somali economy, especially in the very region that private toxic waste companies first began to bury our nation's death trap.

Now Somalia has upped the world's pirate attacks by ove r21 percent in one year, and while NATO and the EU are both sending forces to the Somali coast to try and slow down the attacks, Blackwater and all kinds of private security firms are intent on cashing in. But while Europeans are well in their right to protect their trade interest in the region, our pirates were the only deterrent we had from an externally imposed environmental disaster. No one can say for sure that some of the ships they are now holding for ransom were not involved in illegal activity in our waters. The truth is, if you ask any Somali if they think getting rid of the pirates only means the continuous rape of our coast by unmonitored Western vessels, and the production of a new cancerous generation, we would all fly our pirate flags high.

It is time that the world gave the Somali people some assurance that these Western illegal activities will end, if our pirates are to seize their operations. We do not want the EU and NATO serving as a shield for these nuclear waste-dumping hoodlums. It seems to me that this new modern crisis is a question of justice, but also a question of whose justice. As is apparent these days, one man's pirate is another man's coast guard.


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heres this too

By Johann Hari, Independent UK. Posted April 13, 2009.

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 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 Bluebeard that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often saved 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.

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, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O' Nine Tails. If you slacked often, 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 – 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, without torture. 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 romantic heroes, 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-pirateing to live." In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and 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 Mr 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 overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now 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 "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

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 in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." William Scott would understand.

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

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 – but who is the robber?


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The Pirates Might Prefer Fish to Guns

President Barack Obama’s promise that the United States and its allies will put an end to Indian Ocean piracy had the forceful ring to it that good American citizens like to hear, like the statement by Dwight Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, in 1953 when the president agreed to an armistice to end the Korean War, leaving the country divided. Dulles protested that the Chinese and North Koreans had to be given “one hell of a licking” if Washington wanted to maintain American “credibility.”

Eisenhower, according to an anecdote recently recalled by the distinguished biographer Jean Edwards Smith, replied that if such was Dulles’ view, “I’m in the wrong pew.” He overruled Dulles, and in less than four months the armistice was signed. As Smith notes, during the following seven and a half years of his presidency, not one American serviceman was killed in action. It goes without saying that thousands if not hundreds of thousands of potential Cold War enemy combatants also lived.

President Obama says that the U.S. “with our partners” will work “to prevent future attacks, be prepared to confront them when they arise ... and assure that those who commit piracy are held accountable for their crimes.” (Why do “we” have to do this? Doesn’t President Obama have enough on his hands right now? Why not let Britain and Italy lead the anti-piracy campaign; after all, Somalia in the past belonged to their empires.)

Somalian piracy is a nasty little affair in which hundreds of foreign seafarers have been made prisoner, but the only ones who have died did so during efforts to rescue them.

But things are getting out of hand. The pirates now threaten revenge. They haven’t killed anybody. At this writing, they hold some 200 hostages. As Obama indicated, half the NATO navies seem on the way to chase fishing boats in Somalian waters and the Gulf of Aden.

Quoting the encyclopedias on Barbary pirates and U.S. Marine Corps lore about the Tripolitan War makes good newspaper stories. But the Marines, and the Tripoli war’s settlement in 1805, did not put an end to piracy on the Mediterranean Barbary Coast; American commerce was being raided as late as 1815. Maybe somebody should tell the president about that.

Why is there now piracy off Somalia? If you listen to the pirates, it is retaliation against the piracy of the international fishing industry. Their story is that they were peaceful fishermen until industrial fishing vessels, mainly from Asia, began raiding their waters and sweeping up all the fish, mainly tuna, that provided their principal exports. (Other Somalian exports at the time included cattle, goats, hide products, skins, bananas and clarified butter—ghee.)

They had no government to speak of to defend them, or go to the international courts to protest about the theft of their fish. Somalia’s independence in 1960 had been followed by territorial and irredentist struggles with most of Somalia’s neighbors. There was war with Ethiopia and then Kenya between 1964 and 1967. Then there was a “revolutionary” military coup, and the Cold War being fought by the mighty Soviet Union and the U.S. in the region brought a pro-Soviet regime—until Moscow supported Ethiopia against a Somalian invasion of Ogaden in Ethiopia. The Somalians found a new backer in the United States.

Then there was guerrilla war, refugees, drought, famine affecting a third of the nation, U.N. relief efforts harassed by warlords, and U.S. support for the U.N. relief mission, leading to an American military effort to sort all of this out, leading to the famous “Black Hawk Down!” episode, which made a good movie—after which, the U.S. checked out for a few years.

A Muslim fundamentalist movement grew up half a dozen years ago, which actually pacified the country. But the U.S. war on terror frowns on Muslim fundamentalism, and the United States paid Ethiopia to once again invade Somalia. But Somalian chaos, nationalism, religion (the Ethiopians are mostly Christians), warlords and general disorder drove the Ethiopians out last year.

In the meanwhile, a hungry fisherman, watching the ships go by, said what about piracy? Fantastic! Great idea! Within months the fishermen were millionaires. The money poured in. They didn’t have to hurt a fly, merely to cut the victim ships’ fire hoses. They treated the crews chivalrously, locked them up, fed them nicely, gave them videos and television to watch, and shook hands all around when the money arrived.

American diplomats today are reported to be keen to take over from the military in putting order back into the world. Why not a big international effort to get an EU, U.N. or NATO-policed agreement governing who can fish in Somalian waters, along with one more try to put together a provisional government? And how about an agreement by the big countries and Somalia’s neighbors to keep their hands off and to let the Somalians be Muslim fundamentalists if that is what they want? And a big international fund set up by the world’s principal shipping companies to help the Somalians get back into the export business?


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in the long term using UN fishing sanctions and giving the somalians a nice fleet of fishing boats and modern fishing equipment would benefit the cause better. however as it has been quoated in Blood Diamond TIA: This is Africa, the poor countries are dominated by militias and racist ethnic clensers and all around bad people. any aid and money never gets to the people who need it

will anything help them in the long term.................

But overall taking people of other nations hostage and demanding money is basicly asking for an air strike and tomahawk missles.

in reality africa is a ravaged land, abused by everyone now and through out history. by its own and foreginers, it will take the who world to attemt to help africa


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