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A different take on the somali pirate attacks


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#1 Fiz

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:37 AM

I don't know enough about this to make an opinion, but this is a pretty interesting, short opinion piece from the independent, and at least offers some good books to read.

before the white noise attack brigade calls me pol pot or something, I don't have an opinion on this at all.

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.

here's an al-jazeera article on that about the same thing. i don't know if it's true or not, but France has a really bad history of, ahem, donating spent fissile material to impoverished countries who might not have the wherewithal to create their own and cutting through the red tape to do so.

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".

this happens all over the world, and it's basically run by the IMF, WTO, and UN.

essentially if you've received loans or assistance, you have to sign on to this agreement saying that if you can't fish your waters to a level that "independent experts" decide is their maximum level, you forfeit your right of naval sovereignty. of course these levels are always made completely impossible, and your territorial waters become free game for the japanese or whomever to fish into extinction. there's nothing you can do about this.

except become a pirate apparently.

im sure some of the squidies on here have more stories to tell.

#2 RazzleDazzle

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:41 AM

Wow, that is kind of crazy. The navy sniped the three people holding the captain. That sucks they had to resort to living that way and those damn europians.

#3 Fiz

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:43 AM

Here's more on the fishing thing

http://apps.carleton...story_id=504543

Clover discusses the aggressive nature of countries with advanced fishing fleets, particularly the EU nations, in areas all over the world. Drastically depleted European fishing stocks are the reason EU members pay other countries for the right to harvest in foreign waters. And when a purchasing country's own harvesting quota has been filled, it can continue to fish abroad by purchasing Flags of Convenience from other country's who again lack their own adequate fishing fleet. They then fish to fill that country's quota. For example, the vessel freed in the US Navy raid discussed in the Washington Post article above ("Pirates Release Ships to US Navy," 5 November 2007) was South Korean-owned but fishing in Somalian waters under the Tanzanian flag (and the crew was likely composed of several other nationalities altogether). If it sounds incredibly complicated and shady it's because it is. Unfortunately data on world fisheries and world fishery catch rates is generally poor and in short supply, but a comparable example to Somalia is Senegal. Clover cites Daviel Pauley from the University of British Columbia who estimates that Senegal's fish stocks are down 50% since EU vessels (many of them Spanish) began buying annual territorial rights in the late 1940's. Fisheries scientists and monitors have also estimated that while the purchased EU quota was for 13,200 tons a year, the actual landed catch (a figure that excludes the discarded bycatch, often composing >50% of the total catch) by EU vessels in Sengalese waters has been between 88,000 and 110,000 tons of fish a year. The crash has significantly affected the 600,000 Sengalese who make a living by fishing, many of them using hand-made nets and small wooden pirogues.

all the west african nations have been complaining about this as well since time immemorial.

#4 Fiz

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:44 AM

oh yeah btw fug the italians

But also, a report by Italy’s parliament has already confirmed many of the dumping allegations. Quoting from the Times: “Initial reports indicate that the tsunami waves broke open containers full of toxic waste and scattered the contents. We are talking about everything from medical waste to chemical waste products, Nick Nuttal, the Unep spokesman, told The Times.

We know this material is on the land and is now being blown around and possibly carried to villages. What we do not know is the full extent of the problem.

“Mr Nuttall said… a UN assessment mission … recently returned from [Somalia] which has had no government since 1991, reported that several Somalis in the northern areas were ill with diseases consistent with radiation sickness.


reminder that italy was the only european nation to be repelled by natives during imperialism.

#5 SCP

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:50 AM

I'm disappointed there was no swashbuckling.

#6 Panther'sBigD

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:18 PM

All of that stuff is probably true, and very sad. Everyone exploits Africa, that's pretty well known. The question is, how do we change that?

With regards to overfishing, did anyone ever see this article about Malcolm Glazer: http://findarticles....1/ai_n16114640/

Another reason to hate the Bucs.

#7 Murph

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:24 PM

It is true. I've been very interested in the piracy situation for years and have been following it on noonsite and other pages. Many pirates see themselves as policemen of their seas and they do have some legit reasons to back that up. However their tactics are too over the top and in the end their main purpose is greed for ransom money, not doing "good" for their country.

#8 pstall

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:24 PM

add to this no leadership at all in Somalia and you get Lord of the Flies. Been that way for 20 yrs now. It's just manifested itself to this level.
Yes, it's tragic.
But this is also known to those in govt and those in the industry. Time for all of them to come up with a solution.
So now the Somali's are basically fishing for money instead of fish. And they are still pirates.

#9 cookinwithgas

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:33 PM

That's pretty messed up right there.

#10 Matt Foley

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:37 PM

China calls them pilates.

#11 jkeough

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:39 PM

China calls them pilates.


do chinese pilates say...Awwwwghhh?

#12 pstall

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 06:08 PM

More context. There are many who don't resort to the lazy easy way out with crime so that should be noted.

http://www.nytimes.c...aplan.html?_r=1

As Braudel suggested, there is nothing new here. Piracy has been endemic to the Indian Ocean from the Gulf of Aden to the Strait of Malacca, and particularly so after the Western intrusion into these waters, beginning with the Portuguese in the 16th century.

#13 engine9

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 09:02 PM

dirty bunch of Panthroes.

#14 CanadianCat

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 12:13 PM

if that is all true, you can see there reasons for it, but i very much doubt that the ransom $$ is going to 'the people'

#15 cookinwithgas

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 12:19 PM

I read a story a few months ago that interviewed a lot of the local villagers from these sea towns, all of whom, while they know that what the pirates are doing is morally questionable, are definitely enjoying a better life from the money being thrown around by these guys. There's only so many ways to spend money in Somalia, and spending some of it on local goodwill is probably a cheap investment for them.


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