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Reply #1: We 'are being lied to about pirates' off Somalia. [View All]

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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-23-09 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. We 'are being lied to about pirates' off Somalia.
CNN reports today that

Pirates attacked a Japanese cargo ship off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, a Japanese Transportation Ministry official said.
A pair of small pirate vessels fired on a ship operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines about 4 p.m. Somali time (9 a.m. ET), damaging the front of the ship, but not seriously, according to Masami Suekado.

.....


Then, CNN goes on to declare this:

The exact number and makeup of the crew were not immediately known, although none of the crew members is Japanese, Suekado said.

Pirating off Somalia has increase over the past four or five years as fishermen from Somalia realize that pirating is more lucrative.

.....




One cannot let that deliberate manipulation of the truth stand.



UN envoy decries illegal fishing, waste dumping off Somalia, AFP, July 25, 2008

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) The UN special envoy for Somalia on Friday sounded the alarm about rampant illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of the lawless African nation.
"Because there is no (effective) government, there is so much irregular fishing from European and Asian countries," Ahmedou Ould Abdallah told reporters.

He said he had asked several international non-governmental organizations, including Global Witness, which works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, corruption, and human rights abuses worldwide, "to trace this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste."

"It is a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population," he added.
Ould Abdallah said the phenomenon helps fuel the endless civil war in Somalia as the illegal fishermen are paying corrupt Somali ministers or warlords for protection or to secure fake licenses.
East African waters, particularly off Somalia, have huge numbers of commercial fish species, including the prized yellowfin tuna.
Foreign trawlers reportedly use prohibited fishing equipment, including nets with very small mesh sizes and sophisticated underwater lighting systems, to lure fish to their traps.

"I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste).... There is no government (control) and there are few people with high moral ground," Ould Abdallah added.
Allegations of waste dumping off Somalia by European companies have been heard for years, according to Somalia watchers. The problem was highlighted in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami when broken hazardous waste containers washed up on Somali shores.

But world attention has recently focused on piracy off Somalia, which has taken epidemic proportions since the country sank into chaos after warlords ousted the late president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

.....



And:


Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates, UK Independent, 5 January 2009

.....

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?




Who are the robbers, indeed.







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