Category Archive 'Pirates'
12 May 2010
Russia knows how to deal with pirates: “They could not reach the coast and, apparently, have all died.”
Hat tip to John C. Meyer.
Robert Samuelson: What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state.
Jewish World Review: Elena Kagan let Charles Ogletree and Larry Tribe get away with plagiarism. Harvard Crimson story.
01 May 2009
The way we used to deal with pirates
Publius is feeling nostalgic.
Once upon a time pirates were killed at sea, in battle, or after a trial at sea. There was no danger of Blackbeard moving to Scarborough and collecting welfare payments. Certainly no need to outsource the punishing of individuals who have set themselves up outside of the order of civilized nations.
Kenya is emerging as the venue of choice for piracy cases and an important piece of the worldwide crackdown on piracy. The spate of recent hijackings off Somaliaâ€™s coast has stiffened international resolve. Just a few months ago, foreign warships would catch suspected pirates cruising around in speedy skiffs with guns and ladders and then dump them back on the Somali beach because of sticky legal questions. Those days are just about gone.
Now, the piracy suspects are getting a one-way ticket to Mombasa, a historic port town where Kenyan officials are all too eager to punish the seafaring thugs imperiling their vital shipping industry. Under recent, innovative agreements with the United States, Britain and the European Union, Kenya has promised to try piracy suspects apprehended by foreign navies. In return, the other countries have agreed to improve Kenyaâ€™s antiquated courts. Many Kenyan judges still wear wigs and take everything down by hand, making trials agonizingly slow.
There’s nothing wrong with wigs.
15 Apr 2009
The Left is chortling about what a big, bold he-man Obama is, not actually forbidding the US Navy’s use of armed force to rescue the hostage American ship’s captain.
Jules Crittenden appreciates the irony.
Lefty bloggers are crowing about how tough their guy is because some SEAL snipers whacked three pirates. The lefties seem to mainly be interested in this as an opportunity to snark on the right, claiming that pirate whackage or the lack thereof was set as some kind of definitive right-wing benchmark of Obamaâ€™s wieniness. Thatâ€™s OK. This is their special moment. …
In fact, news reports indicate the dithering has already begun. Never mind that. I just want to say Iâ€™m thrilled about the handwringing, Kumbayah-singing, peacenik leftâ€™s new enthusiasm for swift, extra-judicial 7.62 justice by executive order, and the lack of calls for human rights investigations, prosecutions, etc.
Special Ops service veteran Jeff Emanuel is less impressed with the Obama administration’s performance.
Almost immediately following word of the rescue, the Obama administration and its supporters claimed victory against pirates in the Indian Ocean and declared that the dramatic end to the standoff put paid to questions of the inexperienced presidentâ€™s toughness and decisiveness.
Despite the Obama administrationâ€™s (and its sycophantsâ€™) attempt to spin yesterdayâ€™s success as a result of bold, decisive leadership by the inexperienced president, the reality is nothing of the sort.
What should have been a standoff lasting only hours â€” as long as it took the USS Bainbridge and its team of NSWC operators to steam to the location â€” became an embarrassing four-day-and-counting standoff between a rag-tag handful of criminals with rifles and a U.S. Navy warship. …
[I]nstead of taking direct, decisive action against the rag-tag group of gunmen, the Obama administration dilly-dallied, dawdled, and eschewed any decisiveness whatsoever, even in the face of enemy fire, in hopes that the situation would somehow resolve itself without violence. Thus, the administration sent a clear message to all who would threaten U.S. interests abroad that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has no idea how to respond to such situations â€” and no real willingness to use military force to resolve them.
Any who think they werenâ€™t watching every minute of this are guilty â€” at best â€” of greatly underestimating our enemies. …
Like the crew of the Alabama, which took swift and decisive action to take back their own ship rather than wait for help from Washington that they knew could not be counted on, Captain Phillips took matters into his own hands for the second time in three days, leaping into the water to create a diversion and allowing the NSWC team to eliminate his captors. The result, of course, was the best that could possibly be expected: three pirates dead, the captain unharmed, and a fourth Somali man who had surrendered late Saturday night in custody.
One thing that will bear watching will be what the Obama DOJ attempts to do with the captive pirate. My money is on a life of welfare checks, a plot of land (in a red state, naturally), and voting rights in Chicago, New York, and Seattle.
13 Apr 2009
The operation to rescue Capt. Richard Phillips involved dozens of Navy SEALs, who parachuted from an aircraft into the scene near dark Saturday, landing in the ocean. The SEALs were part of a group of Special Operations forces involved in the effort, according to military officials. …
At one point Saturday, the pirates opened fire on one of the smaller U.S. Navy craft that approached.
As the seas grew rougher, the Bainbridge offered to tow the lifeboat to calmer waters, and the pirates agreed, linking up the lifeboat to the destroyer with a towing cable that left 75 to 80 feet between the two vessels. Phillips at the time was tied up in the lifeboat, having been bound — and occasionally beaten — by the pirates ever since he had attempted to escape by jumping into the water on Friday, the officials said.
Meanwhile, one of the pirates, estimated to be between 16 and 20 years old, asked to come aboard the Bainbridge to make a phone call. He had been stabbed in the hand during an altercation with the crew of the Maersk Alabama and needed medical care. “He effectively gave himself up,” a senior military official said. …
Meanwhile, one of the pirates, estimated to be between 16 and 20 years old, asked to come aboard the Bainbridge to make a phone call. He had been stabbed in the hand during an altercation with the crew of the Maersk Alabama and needed medical care. “He effectively gave himself up,” a senior military official said. The Navy then allowed that pirate to speak with the others in hopes that he could persuade them to give up.
The three other pirates, however, showed signs of growing irritation, as the Bainbridge, 18 miles from shore, towed the lifeboat further out to sea. …
“In the last discussion, they said, ‘If we don’t get what we want, we will kill the captain,’ ” the official said.
Soon afterward, two pirates moved to one of the hatches of the lifeboat and stuck their heads out. The third pirate advanced toward the captain and pointed his AK-47 straight at Phillips’s back, the rifle touching it or inches away, the official said.
U.S. military observers thought that Phillips was about to be shot. SEAL snipers, who were positioned on a deck at the stern of the Bainbridge, an area known as the fantail, had the three pirates in their sights. The on-scene commander gave the snipers authority to fire.
“As soon as the snipers had a clear shot at the guy who had the rifle, they shot him and the other two in the hatches,” the senior military official said.
CNN 2:14 video
Even from the fantail of a destroyer rising and falling with the waves, 75-80′ (22.9-24.4 m.) shot with telescopic sight-equipped sniper rifles chambered in 7.62mm or .300 Winchester Magnum would be virtually unmissable. Those Navy snipers were shooting fish in a barrel.
It just doesn’t work to wave guns around, threatening a hostage, while trained marksmen have drawn a bead on your cranium.
All this shows that the pirates were more than a little naive, having evidently bought into an international image of a United States paralysed by moral inhibitions that proved to be exaggerated. The Obama administration does deserve credit for refraining from finding some advanced European interpretation of International Law declaring pirates to be a specially protected category of persons.
1:21 Seal sniper video
11 Apr 2009
The Somali pirates’ attempt to reinforce the lifeboat holding captive American merchant ship Captain Richard Phillips using the captured German Hansa Stavanger adding another 24 hostages to the pot was foiled by US warships who compelled the pirates to turn back.
The New York Times in customary fashion stroked its chin and concluded the whole thing simply demonstrated once again the ineffectiveness of US military power.
The Indian Ocean standoff between an $800 million United States Navy destroyer and four pirates bobbing in a lifeboat showed the limits of the worldâ€™s most powerful military as it faces a booming pirate economy in a treacherous patch of international waters.
The New York Post demanded that the Navy should immediately sink the pirates.
Meanwhile, over at Huffington Post, Johann Hari a sensitive British sodomite, thinks the pirates are perfectly justified.
James Lewis thinks this incident is a test, which Barack Obama is failing.
10 Apr 2009
Jon at Exurban League has the President’s remarks.
Since the pirates are still holding the captain, I have sent FBI negotiators to facilitate his safe and speedy release. I assure his friends and family that I will not stop until this man-made disaster is resolved in a peaceful, tolerant and ecologically-sound manner.
Obviously, this incident has raised many concerns among Americans. There have been calls for justice and even violence against the misguided perpetrators. But such an emotional reaction has led to the disparagement of entire groups with which we are unfamiliar. We have seen this throughout history.
For too long, America has been too dismissive of the proud culture and invaluable contributions of the Pirate Community. Whether it is their pioneering work with prosthetics, husbandry of tropical birds or fanciful fashion sense, America owes a deep debt to Pirates.
The past eight years have shown a failure to appreciate the historic role of these noble seafarers. Instead of celebrating their entreprenuerial spirit and seeking to partner with them to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.
Some of us wonder if our current Overseas Contingency Operation would even be needed had the last administration not been so quick to label Pirates as “thieves,” “terrorists” and worse. Such swashbucklaphobia can lead to tragic results, as we have seen this week.
To address this issue, I have instructed Vice President Joe Biden to create a cabinet-level Czar of Pirate Outreach and Buccaneer Interrelation. In addition, June 1-7 has been designated as Pirate Awareness Week, during which all federal buildings will fly the Jolly Roger and sponsor sensitivity training. Thankfully, my American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will fund free grog and hard tack for all attendees.
Finally, to all pirates listening to international broadcasts, shortwave services and ship-to-shore radio, let me say this:
Ahoy, me regret arr relationship has set sail in a scurvy manner. Arr people share many mutual ‘alues and concerns on t’ raging main. Perchance, could ye handsomely release the cap’n o’ the ship and I assure that no harm will come t’ ye or ye hearties. Let us smite t’ reset button and launch our seabond on a new pegleg. Savvy? Godspeed t’ ye and t’ ye beauties. Aye, me parrot concurs.
19 Nov 2008
UK’s Daily Mash reports that, even in this lagging economy, investors are able to identify one hot new sector.
Venture capitalists in New York and London are pumping millions of dollars into Somalia’s booming pirate sector.
The sharp-eyed investors say Indian Ocean piracy has replaced Bangladeshi t-shirt factories as the developing world’s strongest source of high-growth revenue streams.
Julian Cook, head of strategy at Porter, Pinkney and Turner (PPT), said: “The margins are very impressive. These guys can board a Chinese freighter or Saudi oil tanker and turn it around in less than a week. Usually without killing anyone.
“The staff are well-trained and they operate a structured bonus system involving the daughters of nomadic tribal chiefs and as much hallucinogenic tree bark as they can eat.
“The tax position is also very favourable given that Somalia isn’t really what you would describe as a ‘country’ with ‘laws’ and a ‘government’.”
PPT has paid Â£25.7 million for a 32% stake in Captain Ahmed’s Crazee Bastards with the initial tranche used for capital purchases including new speed boats, 200 yards of very strong rope and a gun the size of a cow.
12 May 2008
Members of today’s rising generation (for some mysterious reason) love pirates. They turn pirate movies into hits, frequent pirate bars, throw pirate parties, and as the Boston Globe explains, they even look to pirates as a political model.
Marcus Rediker, the author of the pirate histories “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” and “Villains of All Nations,” sees pirate democracy less as a means for order than as a political statement, a pointed reaction to the working sailor’s life. When pirates roamed the seas, Rediker says, it was the law-abiding merchant ships that were run like miniature tyrannies. Captains held absolute power. Floggings were routine and often deadly. When pirates recruited sailors from the ships they pillaged, they opened a window to a different kind of society – far from the one the working-class sailors would otherwise find on land or sea. Rediker argues that pirate democracy “is not about human nature at all. It’s about the specific experience of sailors and the way that they wanted to imagine a better world.”
Piracy, says Rediker, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh, was “a fascinating, almost utopian kind of experiment.” Indeed, he says, pirate democracy was purer than what was practiced in Athens: The Greeks didn’t give slaves the vote, but pirates offered the right to everyone, black or white. (It’s probably also safe to say that pirates didn’t have superdelegates.) Before each voyage, the crew elected a captain who could be deposed at any time, as well as a quartermaster whose main purpose was to make sure the captain didn’t have too much power. A written charter outlined ship rules, which tended to prohibit theft and violence aboard and set strict rules for the presence of women. (Contrary to popular myth, Leeson, says, pirates usually set limits on drinking. “A drunken pirate crew,” he points out, “would be less effective than a sober crew.”)
Pirates even conducted a version of a fair trial, Rediker says, when determining the fate of captured captains. If any pirate on board knew the man from his merchant ship days, he could testify about his treatment. A captain who turned out to be kind was sometimes spared his life. And in a precursor of our own democratic love of political satire, pirates wrote coarse, hilarious plays that mocked the upper classes’ criminal justice system.
15 Apr 2008
How the Royal Navy Dealt with the Pirate Blackbeard
The London Times reports on the latest case of Pecksniffery from Britain’s Labour Government: Asylum for Pirates!
The Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.
The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.
Hat tip to Walter Olson (who reminded me of this one).
03 Oct 2007
Bobby Henderson provides an example of the same kind of “logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence” featured in all Global Warming theorizing.
You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.
Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen.
From Donald L. Luskin via Bird Dog.
18 Mar 2006
News sources are reporting that the US Navy exchanged gunfire with pirates yesterday off the coat of Somalia, ultimately capturing twelve. A Dutch medical team is being flown in to treat the wounded pirates.
They used to deal with piracy more sternly and expeditiously.