Piracy is funny, part II

At least Hillary Clitman thinks so, she found it hilarious that US ships are being attacked by Somali pirates… Catie Couric from CBS eagerly explained that Somali young men resort to piracy for “lack of other economic opportunities” and the current US administration is “still defining its rationale for undertaking sensitive operations in countries where the United States is not at war.” (Quick, call the UN security council, they can write a sternly worded letter to the pirates/ed)

Last night, on MSNBC, the FBI explicitly made the point of saying “we are dealing with young criminals, not radical Islam terrorists”

* Mark Steyn: Civilization walking the plank

* Faced with Piracy, French Summon Spirit of Foreign Legion while America Seems Dazed and Confused China Confidential

* Somalia: Islamists rape, and impregnate, Canadian captive

So someone(s) put out the official word to not use that terrible slur, radical Islam, nor that fear word, terrorists, when referring to Somalian piracy.

jpjonesThe Barbary Pirates

High-Seas Pirate Hostage Drama Escalates

Pirates Demand Ransom, Threaten To Kill U.S. Captain After His Failed Escape Attempt; Navy Has Amphibious Assault Ship Ready… more

Pamela has a good take on this here… a retired general just told Fox News that “the Somali pirates are just criminals and have “nothing to do with Islamic terrorists”-  the media has banned any tie between the jihadis and piracy.

opirate-1     “Don’t hurt my people…”

Obambi: “and, mmm, this is the tenth time in three days you folks have asked me about the pirates. Look. And this is all I will say. We are in discussion with our friends in Somalia. That’s it. Back to the economy. As I was saying…”

Obambi must be getting his advice from Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

* Frontpage magazine tells it like it is…

* Meanwhile, the Obambi administration debates…

The FBI and intelligence officials have said that at least 20 young Somali American men have left this country for Somalia in recent years to train and fight with al-Shabab against the Somali government and occupying Ethiopian military forces. In February, a naturalized American — 27-year-old Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis — killed himself and many others in a suicide bombing in Somalia.

Nothing to do with jihad, right?

Lessons From the Barbary Pirate Wars


Published: April 11, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya — An American skipper in the hands of seafaring rogues. Some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes under attack. Tough men from a messy patch of Africa eluding and harassing the world’s greatest powers.

Sound familiar? Well, it’s not last week’s drama on the high seas we’re talking about, when Somali piratesattacked an American freighter in the Indian Ocean and took its captain hostage, then made off with him in a lifeboat. We’re talking about the Barbary Wars, about 200 years ago, when pirates from the Barbary Coast (today’s Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya) hijacked European ships with impunity and ransomed back the crews.

“When I first read about the Somali pirates, I almost did a double take and turned to my wife at the breakfast table and said, ‘This is déjà vu,’ ” recalled Frank Lambert, a professor at Purdue who is an expert on the Barbary pirates.

Dr. Lambert explained how those brigands, like today’s Somalis, usually kept their hostages alive. It wasn’t out of any enlightened sense of humanity. It was simply good business. They only hanged captives from giant hooks or carved them into little pieces if they resisted. The Barbary pirates used small wooden boats, often powered by slaves chained to the oars, to attack larger European ships. They were crude but effective, like today’s Somali swashbucklers, who in November commandeered a 1,000-foot-long Saudi oil tanker from a dinghy in the Gulf of Aden, a vital shipping lane at the mouth of the Red Sea.

But the Barbary pirates’ bravado became their demise — something the Somalis might keep in mind.

The pirates’ way of doing business was described this way at the time: “When they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth, which usually struck such terror in the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.” The quote is fromThomas Jefferson, then America’s ambassador to France, after he and John Adams, the envoy in London, got the description from Tripoli’s envoy to Britain in 1786.

And that underscores a key point. The Barbary pirates actually had an ambassador — who met with Jefferson and Adams, no less. The pirates worked for a government. The Barbary rulers commissioned them to rob and pillage and kidnap, and the rulers got a cut. It was all official. And open. It was truly state-sponsored terrorism. And the Western nations’ response was to pay “tribute,” a fancy word for blackmail.

If a country paid tribute, the 18th-century pirates would leave its ships alone. Today, shipping companies fork over as much as $100 million in ransoms to the Somali pirates, a strategy that saves their cargoes but also attracts more underemployed Somali fishermen into the hijacking business.

The United States tried to play nice with the Barbary pirates and even inked a few treaties. That language, too, has a striking ring. The Barbary States were Muslim, as is Somalia. And America stressed that this was not about God.

“The United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,” a 1796 treaty reads. “It has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,” which is how Muslims was spelled back then.

Eventually, though, Americans felt humiliated paying off a bunch of knife-sucking thugs in blousy pants. That’s what led to the Barbary Wars, first in 1801 when Jefferson became president, and again in 1815, when James Madison sent the United States Navy to shell the Barbary Coast. The battles became the stuff of legend — “the shores of Tripoli” in theMarine Hymn — and were critical in developing the nation’s young Navy.

They also figured early in the naval career of one William Bainbridge, an officer who was sent to pay tribute to the dey of Algiers in 1800, was later captured during the war along with his ship, and went on to become a hero of the War of 1812. Last week, in an irony probably lost on the Somalis, it was a destroyer named after him that the United States Navy sent rushing to help the skipper in the lifeboat.

The Barbary pirates were finally brought to their knees by their encounters with the Americans, and by the French invasion of Algiers in 1830.

Will this happen in Somalia? Last week — even before a French effort to rescue a family in a separate hijacking ended with the death of one hostage — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the world to “end the scourge of piracy.” But Somali piracy is not an isolated problem. It’s the latest symptom of what afflicts an utterly failed state — a free-for-all on land that has consumed the country since the central government imploded in 1991. As any warlord there can tell you, the violence is almost always about cash. “We just want the money” is their mantra.

If that sounds like the 1800s, it also invites talk of solving the problem the same way: pound the bravado out of the pirates by taking the battle to them where it hurts most — on shore. But any effort to wipe out Somali pirate dens like Xarardheere or Eyl immediately conjures up the ghost of “Black Hawk Down,” the episode in 1993 when clan militiamen in flip-flops killed 18 American soldiers. Until America can get over that, and until the world can put Somalia together as a nation, another solution suggests itself: just steer clear — way clear, like 500 miles plus — of Somalia’s seas.

Tim Blair – has some advice:

Sunday, April 12, 09 


Unarmed crew aboard the Maersk Alabama drew criticism for fighting back against pirates who boarded their vessel off Somalia’s coast. Here’s how pirates were dealt with in 1849: 

About 400 have been killed, and the rest dispersed without resource. 

By contrast, modern sailors are encouraged to use firearms against pirates only as a final resort.


Somali pirates have captured an Italian-flagged US tug and its 16-strong crew today … 

Looks like Obambi can’t make a move without his teleprompter. Andrew bolt wonders whether this is his Peanut Carter moment..?

*  Pirates are people too… Can’t fight them because they might claim asylum…

*  Somalia: Why The Pirates Are Immune From Attack

WaPo Attempts To Cover For Obama Incompetence

The Washington Post has a nice puff piece on why President Obama has been sitting on his ass eating pizza while the pirates embarrass the hell out of us and expose the new administration as being ineffective. The last paragraph of the story says it all,

But many on the national security team insist that it is their caution and willingness to consider all aspects of the situation that differentiate them from the overly aggressive posture of the Bush administration that they say exacerbated the terrorist threat. 

Sure. Bush has nothing to do with this and we were not targeted by pirates like this because the previous administration was respected and feared. the inability to make a decision and the weakness shown by Team Obama puts us all in danger. Blaming President Bush for all our troubles is the classless way that our new President has dealt with domestic issues. President Obama does not have that luxury in this instance. Eventually, he has to take ownership of his Presidency and make a decision. The buck stops with him and from I can see so far, that is not a good thing. Let the weakening of America proceed!


Standoff in Somalia

By Jacob Laksin/FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, April 10, 2009 

It was a scene that spoke volumes about the world’s impotence in the face of modern piracy. On Thursday, the USS Bainbridge – the 510-foot destroyer armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles – stood idly by as a ragtag band of Somali pirates drifted along in a lifeboat, holding hostage the captain of the U.S.-flagged cargo ship they had hijacked, with brief success, only hours earlier. Though 20 of the Danish-owned Maersk Alabama’s crew had repelled the pirates, a premier-class warship in the world’s mightiest Navy was now powerless to intervene as they made their slow, floating getaway

The Bainbridge’s inaction was not entirely unjustified. As negotiations continue for the safe release of the pirates’ hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, a military maneuver is temporarily out of the question. Nonetheless, the hijacking and standoff 300-miles off Somalia’s coast, the first in recent history in which an American crew was captured, points to a larger problem: the persistent inability of the international community to stem the scourge of piracy in Somalia’s surrounding waters.

The sheer volume of pirate attacks is daunting. According to United Nations’ estimates, Somali pirates staged at least 120 attacks last year, including 42 successful seizures. Contrary to some reports, moreover, there has been no decline in the rate of attacks in 2009. The International Maritime Bureau reports that there have been 66 attacks since January, including 15 attacks in March. In the past week alone, six ships have been seized by pirates. This high-seas assault has netted an impressive haul of plunder, with the pirates currently holding some 14 ships and as many as 260 crew members – hostages to be bargained away for million-dollar ransoms.

With crews and cargo in constant danger, governments have been forced to act. In December, thanks to the Bush administration’s initiative, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution1851, which provided added powers for countries to interdict pirates off of Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft; seizing pirate boats and arms; and even pursuing pirates on the ground inside the country. Since then, territorial waters have become a hub for patrol ships and planes. Altogether, more than a dozen countries have deployed warships, including China, Russia, India, the EU, and the US. The USS Bainbridge, for instance, was one of several U.S. ships that had been on patrol in the region when the Maersk Alabama came under attack.

Unfortunately, the surging naval presence around Somalia has not been the deterrent that many had hoped. Indeed, it has failed to cut down significantly on piracy. There are three main reasons for that.

First, the area of pirate operations is simply too large to be monitored effectively by the still-modest number of ships patrolling the region. The U.S. Navy points out that it would take 61 ships just to patrol the Gulf of Aden, the coveted shipping route between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula that has more than earned its mariners’ nickname of “Pirate Alley.” That’s a far cry from the approximately 16 international ships that currently patrol the area. The Gulf, moreover, is a mere speck on the pirates’ map. Taking full advantage of local geography, pirates carry out attacks along over 2,500 miles of coastline and around more than 1.1 million square miles of water. Absent a substantial influx in ships, there is simply too much territory to patrol.

Naval patrols also miss the source of the problem. While piracy takes place on the water, the pirates themselves operate from land, where they have turned dirt-poor port towns into thriving lairs built from booty and collected ransom. In the fisherman’s village of Hobyo, for instance, pirates have set up a makeshift social security system bankrolled entirely by ransom earnings.

Yet, attacks on pirate bases remain rare. (A daring helicopter raid last April by French commandos, in which they seized the pirates who days earlier had released the captured crew of a luxury yacht, was one notable exception.) In part, this reflects the lack of international will to meddle in the affairs of a failed state that has become a magnet for Islamic terrorists. Occasionally, too, a bureaucratic impasse is to blame. The U.S. naval anti-piracy group Joint Task Force 151, for example, has operated in the Gulf of Aden, but is powerless to intervene in Somalia because its jurisdiction is under U.S. Central Command, while Somalia falls under Africa Command. Whatever the explanation offered, the net effect is that pirates can act with impunity on Somalia’s shore – no small hurdle to thwarting pirate attacks decisively. It was no coincidence, after all, that American Marines stormed the pirate stronghold of Derne, Tripoli, when fighting the Barbary corsairs two hundred years ago.

But the biggest reason that naval patrols have not curbed piracy is that it remains a lucrative trade, especially by local standards. On ransom demands ranging from $1 million and $8 million, pirates are estimated to have made some $150 million in 2008. The Ukrainian arms ship MV Faina yielded a$3.2 million payoff when it was released by pirates this February, while the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star went for $3 million – considerably less than the $25 million that the pirates initially demanded but a colossal fortune in a country where 73 percent of the population lives on less than $2 per day. So long as shipping companies continue to pay out charitable ransoms, Somalia’s pirates will remain in business.

For the shipping industry, piracy is a nuisance, albeit a formidable one. For Somalia, though, it is more devastating still. The very ships that the pirates target are often the country’s sole source of humanitarian aid. When it was hijacked this week, the Maersk Alabama was carrying food staples from the UN to refugees in Somalia, Uganda and Kenya. It’s doubtful if they will ever see those supplies now.

The politics of piracy have been similarly destructive. Just as they have destabilized international shipping lanes, the pirates, a law onto themselves, have undermined Somalia’s already weak transitional government. Piracy has paid well for its practitioners, but it has left Somalia dangerously adrift.


Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. His e-mail is jlaksin [@] gmail.com.



4 thoughts on “Piracy is funny, part II”

  1. Funny how MUSLIM terrorists train in military uniforms like real men, but attack only unarmed civilians, women and kids.

  2. Holy Pork! As criminals they have to have America’s Miranda rights read??? Here comes CAIR and the ACLU. Someone tell Cow Couric that these ‘poor boys’, who “lack (of) other economic opportunities”, that open auditions for homicide bombers will soon be held for them.
    In lieu of this reality I’m praying for an old fashioned nightmare.

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