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You Are Being Lied to About Pirates

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"In his City of God, Saint Augustine tells a story about an encounter between Alexander the Great (the last ruler successfully to garrison Afghanistan) and a pirate captain he had caught on the high seas. Ordering the pirate to heave to, Alexander demands: "How dare you molest the seas as a pirate?" "How dare you molest the whole world?" retorts the plucky pirate. "I have a small boat, so I am called a thief and a pirate. You have a great navy, so you are called an emperor, and can call other men pirates." Substitute terrorist or rogue state for pirate and the episode neatly encapsulates the morality of the new world order. ."


Seumas Milne; The Guardian, October 25, 2001


"Could someone tell me why the majority White Americans are scared of the hungry, poor, and destitute?" (Anon)


"The picture is not quite complete without the Nuclear waste hosting service our warlords offered Italian and European governments to use Somali coasts for a dumping ground of Medical and Nuclear waste, in a wasted land inhabited by a wasted people. (ENN eNuri News Network, 2004)



You Are Being Lied to About Pirates


By Johann Hari


April 12, 2009 "Huffington Post" --- 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-should er 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 menace 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 thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued 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 to find out. 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 for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O' Nine Tails. If you slacked consistently, 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 against their tyrannical captains - 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. 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 popular, 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-pirating to live." In 1991, the government of Somalia - in the Horn of Africa - collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since - and many of 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 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 over-exploitation - and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are 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 men we are calling "pirates" have emerged. Everyone agrees they were ordinary Somalian fishermen who at first took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least wage a 'tax' on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and it's not hard to see why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was "to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters... We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas and dump waste in our seas and carry weapons in our seas." William Scott would understand those words.


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 the "pirates" have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking - and it found 70 percent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country's territorial waters." During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America's founding fathers paid pirates to protect America's territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?


Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our nuclear waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We didn't act on those crimes - but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, we begin to shriek about "evil." If we really want to deal with piracy, we need to stop its root cause - our crimes - before we send in the gun-boats to root out Somalia's criminals.


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 in today - but who is the robber?


POSTSCRIPT: Some commenters seem bemused by the fact that both toxic dumping and the theft of fish are happening in the same place - wouldn't this make the fish contaminated? In fact, Somalia's coastline is vast, stretching to 3300km. Imagine how easy it would be - without any coastguard or army - to steal fish from Florida and dump nuclear waste on California, and you get the idea. These events are happening in different places - but with the same horrible effect: death for the locals, and stirred-up piracy. There's no contradiction.


Johann Hari is a writer for the Independent newspaper

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very nice article Nur, although we cannot condone the actions of pirates, greater crimes are committed by those who complain.

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Ethiopia / USA / Somali Pirates’ Cover-Up


By Thomas C. Mountain


April 16, 2009 "Online Journal" -- ASMARA, Eritrea -- One of the best kept secrets in the international media these days is the link between the USA, Ethiopia and the Somali pirates. First, a little reliable background from someone on the ground in the Horn of Africa.


The Somali pirates operate out of the Ethiopian and USA created enclaves in Somalia calling themselves Somaliland and Puntland. These Ethiopian and USA backed warlord controlled territories have for many years hosted Ethiopian military bases, which have been greatly expanded recently by the addition of thousands of Ethiopian troops who were driven out of southern and central Somali by the Somali resistance to the Ethiopian invasion.


After securing their ransom for the hijacked ships the Somali pirates head directly to their local safe havens, in this case, the Ethiopian military bases, where they make a sizeable contribution to the retirement accounts of the Ethiopian regime headed by Meles Zenawi.


Of course, the international naval forces who are patrolling the Horn of Africa know all too well what is going on for they have at their disposal all sorts of high tech observation platforms, ranging from satellites to unmanned drones with high resolution video cameras that report back in real time.


The French commandos started to pursue the Somali pirates into their lairs last year until the pirates got the word that for the right amount of cash they were more than welcome in the Ethiopian military bases in their local neighborhoods. Ethiopia being the western, mainly USA, Cop on the Beat in East Africa put these bases off limits to the frustrated navies of the world, who are no doubt growling in anger to their USA counterparts about why this is all going on.


Now that the pirates have started attacking USA flagged shipping, something that was until now off limits, it remains to be seen what the Obama administration will do. One thing we in the Horn of Africa have learned all too well, when it comes to Ethiopia, don’t expect anything resembling accurate coverage by the media, especially those who operate under the cloak of “freedom of the press.”


Stay tuned for more on this from the, the only site willing to expose the truth on matters no one else will touch.


Thomas C. Mountain, the last white man living in Eritrea, was in a former life an educator, activist and alternative medicine practitioner in the USA. Email thomascmountain at


Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

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"Their skill and professionalism was indeed impressive." Oh yeah, indeed: Shooting three men huddled together in a small craft, tied by rope (in tow) to a destroyer; from a distance of 25 meters, in the dark, with night-vision scopes clamped to high-powered rifles! Truly a magnificent, outstanding performance by truly American heroes, i.e. highly trained killers, who can convert to be mafia hitmen once they quit the state sponsored murder squads. You are all (well most of you) so full of sh...t! " ( Klein)


Not only did it take a fleet of US destroyers to subdue three teenage "pirates", but (also), it only took a cave dweller with kidney disease and 20 of his friends with box cutters to overcome the entire US defense system. (Steve)



US Has Won a Huge Victory!


US Aircraft and Elite Navy SEALs Defeat Three Somalis in a Lifeboat


By Glen Ford


April 15, 2009 "Black Agenda Report" -- -



“An estimated $300 million worth of Somali sea life is pirated by foreigners every year.”


What a weekend for American foreign policy! The United States Navy, backed up by warships from 20 other nations, knocked off three Somali guys crouching with rifles in a lifeboat tied by a rope to a U.S. destroyer. To hear the U.S. corporate media tell it, the Americans had won a huge victory over the forces of evil. The sole surviving Somali was in custody – a 16-year-old who essentially gave himself up, earlier, after being hurt in a scuffle with the American cargo ship captain who is now celebrated as a hero of the seven seas and defender of United States national honor.


There is something obscene about a superpower whose media and population find great satisfaction, and some sick form of national catharsis, every time they manage to overcome a weak and desperate opponent.


Some dreaded seagoing Somalis began taking up piracy in 1991, when the Somali government disintegrated and there was no one to patrol the country’s coasts. About the same time, and not coincidentally, commercial fishing fleets from around the world took advantage of the lack of a Somali coast guard, to steal every fish they could find in Somali waters. That’s “robbery on the high seas,” the definition of piracy. An estimated $300 million worth of Somali sea life is pirated by foreigners every year. Other kinds of pirates nowadays often leave something behind – the piratical poisonous waste dumpers. They seem to be mafia-connected outfits that dump the radioactive waste from European hospitals into Somali waters, along with heavy metals and dangerous chemicals of all kinds. A survey by the Somali news agency Wardheer News shows that 70 percent of Somalis “strongly supported piracy as a form of national defense of the country's territorial waters."


Having seen their coastal waters pirated by foreigners since 1991, Somalis were then forced to endure the land and air piracy of the Ethiopians and the United States, who collaborated in late 2006 to invade the country and oust the only relatively effective government Somalia had had in 15 years. Occupied by Ethiopia with the backing of the American superpower, Somalis were stripped of the last thing they had on land or sea – their national sovereignty. The foreign super-pirates had taken everything.


“70 percent of Somalis ‘strongly supported piracy as a form of national defense of the country's territorial waters.’"


But the Somalis kept fighting back, anyway, driving out the Ethiopians and making the Americans fume with rage. The Somalis refused to roll over and die, or beg. Black U.S. Congressman Donald Payne’s airplane was targeted by mortars when he visited Somalia’s ravaged capital, Mogadishu, over the weekend. Payne opposed the U.S.-Ethiopia invasion of Somalia, but some of the Islamist fighters battling for control of the country may not make distinctions among the foreigners who pass through or over their land – and who can blame them? Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations, a young Black woman named Susan Rice, is positively rapid when it comes to beating Somalia into submission. She was more gung-ho for the U.S.-Ethiopian invasion than George Bush. Susan Rice is no doubt searching for a military solution to Somali piracy – which would amount to more piracy by the same foreigners that have driven Somalis to such desperate measures.


For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaRepor

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgend

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'Toxic waste' behind Somali piracy


By Najad Abdullahi


April 15, 2009 "Al Jazeera" -- Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste.


The ransom demand is a means of "reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years", Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates, based in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, said.


"The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas."


The pirates are holding the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware, off Somalia's northern coast.


According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year.


While money is the primary objective of the hijackings, claims of the continued environmental destruction off Somalia's coast have been largely ignored by the regions's maritime authorities.


Dumping allegations


Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia confirmed to Al Jazeera the world body has "reliable information" that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic waste, including nuclear waste, off the Somali coastline.


"I must stress however, that no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals acting alone are responsible," he said


Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s.


But evidence of such practices literally appeared on the beaches of northern Somalia when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country.


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the tsunami had washed up rusting containers of toxic waste on the shores of Puntland.


Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a "frightening activity" that has been going on for more than decade.


"Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there," he said.


"European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.


"And the waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes – you name it."


Nuttall also said that since the containers came ashore, hundreds of residents have fallen ill, suffering from mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments.


"We [the UNEP] had planned to do a proper, in-depth scientific assessment on the magnitude of the problem. But because of the high levels of insecurity onshore and off the Somali coast, we are unable to carry out an accurate assessment of the extent of the problem"he said.


However, Ould-Abdallah claims the practice still continues.


"What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean," he said.


Toxic waste


Ould-Abdallah declined to name which companies are involved in waste dumping, citing legal reasons.


But he did say the practice helps fuel the 18-year-old civil war in Somalia as companies are paying Somali government ministers to dump their waste, or to secure licenses and contracts.


"There is no government control ... and there are few people with high moral ground ... [and] yes, people in high positions are being paid off, but because of the fragility of the TFG [Transitional Federal Government], some of these companies now no longer ask the authorities – they simply dump their waste and leave."


Ould-Abdallah said there are ethical questions to be considered because the companies are negotiating contracts with a government that is largely divided along tribal lines.


"How can you negotiate these dealings with a country at war and with a government struggling to remain relevant?"


In 1992, a contract to secure the dumping of toxic waste was made by Swiss and Italian shipping firms Achair Partners and Progresso, with Nur Elmi Osman, a former official appointed to the government of Ali Mahdi Mohamed, one of many militia leaders involved in the ousting of Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia's former president.


At the request of the Swiss and Italian governments, UNEP investigated the matter.


Both firms had denied entering into any agreement with militia leaders at the beginning of the Somali civil war.


Osman also denied signing any contract.


'Mafia involvement'


However, Mustafa Tolba, the former UNEP executive director, told Al Jazeera that he discovered the firms were set up as fictitious companies by larger industrial firms to dispose of hazardous waste.


"At the time, it felt like we were dealing with the Mafia, or some sort of organized crime group, possibly working with these industrial firms," he said.


"It was very shady, and quite underground, and I would agree with Ould-Abdallah’s claims that it is still going on... Unfortunately the war has not allowed environmental groups to investigate this fully."


The Italian mafia controls an estimated 30 per cent of Italy's waste disposal companies, including those that deal with toxic waste.


In 1998, Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian weekly magazine, claimed that although most of the waste-dumping took place after the start of the civil war in 1991, the activity actually began as early as 1989 under the Barre government.


Beyond the ethical question of trying to secure a hazardous waste agreement in an unstable country like Somalia, the alleged attempt by Swiss and Italian firms to dump waste in Somalia would violate international treaties to which both countries are signatories.


Legal ramifications


Switzerland and Italy signed and ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which came into force in 1992.


EU member states, as well as 168 other countries have also signed the agreement.


The convention prohibits waste trade between countries that have signed the convention, as well as countries that have not signed the accord unless a bilateral agreement had been negotiated.


It is also prohibits the shipping of hazardous waste to a war zone.


Abdi Ismail Samatar, professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, told Al Jazeera that because an international coalition of warships has been deployed to the Gulf of Aden, the alleged dumping of waste must have been observed.


Environmental damage


"If these acts are continuing, then surely they must have been seen by someone involved in maritime operations," he said.


"Is the cargo aimed at a certain destination more important than monitoring illegal activities in the region? Piracy is not the only problem for Somalia, and I think it's irresponsible on the part of the authorities to overlook this issue."


Mohammed Gure, chairman of the Somalia Concern Group, said that the social and environmental consequences will be felt for decades.


"The Somali coastline used to sustain hundreds of thousands of people, as a source of food and livelihoods. Now much of it is almost destroyed, primarily at the hands of these so-called ministers that have sold their nation to fill their own pockets."


Ould-Abdallah said piracy will not prevent waste dumping.


"The intentions of these pirates are not concerned with protecting their environment," he said.


"What is ultimately needed is a functioning, effective government that will get its act together and take control of its affairs."

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jazakallah khayran sis


these are very good articles and they show the true situation between the so-called somali pirates and the foreign pirates they steal from. the media will never accurately cover the real situation there and it is very hard to find news that is even remotely correct. hopefully we can continue to come here for real updates on the situation there.

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Amina Sis, I am not a sis, I am bro. Please go ahead, sorry for late response.



Have the Somali Pirates been created and are being used for strategic purposes by Israel who has several submarines in the Red Sea?, Is there any connection with the recent sinking of a Somali Merchant Cargo ship that was sank mysteriously in the gulf of Aden.?



Read the following article .



Fact Or Fiction?


Did Mossad Hijack Russian Ship to Stop Iran Arms Shipment?


By The Jerusalem Post


August 23, 2009 " Jerusalem Post" --- The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Russian freighter in July has taken a new twist with reports claiming the pirates were acting in league with the Israeli Mossad secret service in order to halt a shipment of modern weapon systems hidden on board and destined for Iran.


While Israeli and Russian officials dismissed the reports, accounts published in the Russian media sounded more like a spy thriller than a commercial hijacking.


"There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it," Israel's former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. "But I can't comment further on this."


The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported over the weekend that the vessel Arctic Sea had been carrying x-55 cruise missiles and S300 anti-aircraft rockets hidden in secret compartments among its cargo of timber and sawdust.


The eight alleged hijackers originally claimed to be environmentalists when they boarded the ship in the Baltic Sea in Swedish waters on July 24.


The Russian navy eventually tracked it down three weeks later and recaptured it near the West African archipelago of Cape Verde on August 17, thousands of miles from its original destination of Algeria.


The eight alleged hijackers were charged late Friday with kidnapping and piracy, the Interfax news agency reported. Russian authorities have declined from revealing further information about the motives of the hijackers.


But Dmitri Rogozin, Russian ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said that allegations that the Arctic Sea had been smuggling weapons was "fantasy" and "ridiculous."


The Russian newspaper Pravda's website reported that the ship had been smuggling cruise missiles to Iran on a well-worn path via Algeria, but a "power that has relations with Ukraine" had prevented this.


The Novaya Gazeta reported that the hijackers had been operating on behalf of the Mossad. It also reported that the motive for the visit to Moscow by President Shimon Peres the day after the Russians recaptured the vessel had been an urgent request to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to refrain from supplying Iran with weapons.


Israeli officials dismissed the reports as "classical conspiracy theories," but defense experts noted that Israel has a record of hijacking foreign vessels bearing arms to its enemies.


"This appears as the classical conspiracy theory. I didn't see any evidence for it and so we aren't going to comment," said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.


A spokeswoman for President Peres also dismissed the report, saying that the visit had been planned long in advance.


Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, did not rule out Israel covert action against Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear arms, but seriously suspected Israel would take action against Russian ships.


"It seems that it's full of mystery since everything surrounding Russia is mysterious. And if it's mysterious they dump it on Israel," Brom told The Media Line.


Brom, a retired senior intelligence officer, added he did not believe it could enhance the Mossad's image since it appeared to be a failed hijacking.


Israel relies heavily on intelligence. Naval intelligence monitors vessels together with other agencies in order to detect suspicious behavior of ships around the world. It was this way that Naval intelligence was able to detect the PLO arms ship Karine A in 2002. They noticed its log was not entirely in keeping with a cargo ship and correlated to other intelligence to build a picture of an arms shipment in the making. The weapons had originated in Iran.


Israeli security agents routinely stage surprise at-sea boardings of ships headed to Israeli ports to search for terrorists, contraband and stowaways.


In March, Israeli forces reportedly struck a weapons convoy in Sudan, some 1,400 kilometers from the country's borders. According to the CBS, the weapons were intended for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Nearly 40 people were killed in that attack.

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French marines fire at alleged Somali pirates in Indian Ocean


Written by ECOTERRA - SMCM


French marines providing protection on board French fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean early on Saturday fired on alleged pirates to repel a dawn attack, first reports said.


"Three small launches... (which were) nearly invisible and that we had on the radar at the last moment, chased us," a member of the crew of the FV DRENNAC, one of two French fishing vessels approached by the pirates, told AFP by telephone.


The French marines on board to provide protection "at first fired warning shots, then they fired at the target," he added.


The French military said the marines had first fired flares then "warning shots in the air and across the bows of the pirates' boats", before finally, when the pirates opened fire "probably with Kalashnikovs", aimed at the skiffs, which "immediately stopped pursuing" their target.


Where exactly?


The incident first was said to have taken place 195 nautical miles (350 kilometres) north of the Seychelles and AFP reported that there were no casualties on the French side.


It, however, can not be ruled out that the 195nm "positioning" was conveniently chosen, because is would be inside the 200nm EEZ of the Seychelles, where a Somali-flagged vessel not necessarily would have a permission to fish or to carry arms.


EU NAVFOR HQ refused to provide an exact position of the incident.


The latest attack on FV Drennec, fishing in tandem with FV Glenan, took place some 20 nautical miles (36 kilometres) from the place where pirates last week attacked a cargo vessel, a source told AFP.


In a later report Reuters stated that the attack took place some 350 km (220 miles = 195nmiles) from the Seychelles.


It seems to be clear that the French marines on board of re-flagged French vessels now sailing under the flag of the Seychelles have the authority to use military force and firearms inside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Seychelles. Some maritime lawyers however foresee legal complications with the use of firearms by the French against Somali nationals in Somali vessels.within or outside the Seychelles EEZ


"The French military fired on pirates in the Indian Ocean on Saturday to protect two tuna fishing vessels," the spokesman for France's armed forces Christophe Prazuck confirmed to Reuters. The Somalis didn't fire back.[/b ]


"If it was in in international waters, the Somali seafarers have the same rights to fish and to carry arms as the French or anybody else and since the French fired first it then would have been an attack by France against Somalia, which normally would also have serious diplomatic consequences," a political analyst remarked in Nairobi. Several Ambassadors of coastal states have stated in the corridors during the last UN Security Council session that such law-bending examples could be used as precedence by several naval powers to also show similar aggression off their coasts.


"French soldiers opened fire on two small launches that were trying to approach the vessels bearing the French ensign. No one was injured on the tuna ships, which are based at Concarneau, in southern Brittany, the spokesman said. There were shots ... it lasted half an hour and at one point they turned around," the captain of one of the tuna vessels, Christophe Guyader, told France Bleu Breizh Izel radio.


The report was confirmed to AFP by a "western source sailing in the same area". He said that the pirate skiffs that came under fire returned to a mother ship of some 30 metres (90 feet) in length. "Likely an old Asian long-liner, like the Win Far, which has been under surveillance for the past several months when it was anchored off the Somali coast.


Mothership nabbed ?


This could be a vessel of the notorious Taiwanese WIN FAR fleet regional observes confirmed.


Naval surveillance planes were dispatched to locate the attackers and several warships involved in the Atalanta operation headed into that zone following the attempted attack on the French fishing vessel.


A Seychelles coastguard vessel, the Topaz, immediately gave chase to the mother ship and was closing in on it around midday, the same source said.


Latest informations from the Seychelles and from other fishing vessels in the area stated that the Seychelles coastguard actually has captured the mothership, while other sources maintain that a group of naval ships surrounded the mothership and only called in the Seychelles coastguard to take over for legal reasons, now stating again that it was within the area, which belong to the 200nm EEZ of the Seychelles.


Coast guard officials from the Seychelles reportedly disabled the engine of a boat believed to be with pirates involved in the attack, Jacqueline Sherriff, chief press officer for the maritime unit of NATO in Northwood, outside London, told AP.


No other details of that confrontation were immediately available and no clear identity of the alleged mothership was provided.


The NATO spokeswoman says 11 suspected pirates have been captured and she confirmed that the coast guard of the Seychelles captured one boat with eight suspects on board. She says three men were discovered aboard another boat believed to be their mothership. The Seychelles' coast guard is holding the 11, whose nationality was not known to her, she added as reported by AP.


Protection or Aggression ?


It is the first time that the French soldiers, who have been providing protection since July 1 on board about 10 French fishing ships off the Somali coast, have opened fire on alleged pirates.


"There were no casualties aboard the French boats, the Drennac and the Glenan and it proves that this measure (having soldiers on board) works," the western source told AFP. All those aboard the French boats were unharmed but it was not clear if any pirates were injured, the French navy told AP.


"Isn't it wonderful how this "sailing Western source" - which only can mean a naval vessel - had this morning apparently no idea that there would be a "pirate-mothership" in the area," Somalia's Anti-Piracy envoy remarked. "Until today the international armada of naval vessels has not a single time arrested or averted any vessel fishing illegally in the Somali waters, though there are plenty of documented cases." Ishmail Haji Noor asked.


also how many unauthorized fishing vessels are in the area in addition to the 3,450 "authorized" vessels currently listed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) with 28 different flags in the record, but the navies would not tell him.


The tuna fishing industry is worth up to $6 billion annually across the Indian Ocean region.


FV Glénan and Drennec belong both to the fleet of the Breton fishing company Cobrepêche, based at Concarneau in Brittany (western France) and form together with the Spanish purse-seiners a fleet of the worlds largest tuna hunters, which currently have come together in the Indian Ocean. The world largest tuna-hauler, the 115 m long Spanish flagged FV ALBATUN TRES, which can take around 3,000 tons in one go and was chased away from it's looting sprees around Kiribati last year by a joint resolution of Pacific Island States, is now also further depleting the dwindling stocks of yellow-fin tuna in the Indian Ocean off Somalia.


Some 60 marines are involved in this French protection measure, which was put in place at the request of ship owners and is distinct from both the European Union and NATO anti-piracy operations in the region - this most likely in order to avoid that they have to report to a neutral body or a non-French command.


Spanish fishing vessels operating in the same region have called for the same protection measures but Madrid has so far refused, saying Spanish law does not allow it and in any case there are not enough troops available.


A Spanish vessel, the giant tuna hauler the Alakrana, was captured September 2 on the high seas between Somalia and the Seychelles with 36 crew on board. The captors brought the vessel to the Somali coast and it is currently anchored off Harardheere, a central Somalia coastal town. It is under surveillance from two frigates that are part of the European anti-piracy initiative Atalanta. Two Somalis who allegedly had left from the Alakrana came under fire by Spanish commandos, who injured one and arrested both.


Since then a stand-off has developed and negotiation efforts have been so far fruitless.


On Wednesday Somali pirates operating at night attacked a French military command and supply ship, La Somme, after mistaking it for a cargo vessel, and five were captured by the naval crew., while one Somali skiff escaped.


Marines or Mercenaries ?


Like the fishing vessels cable-laying ships have used on-board military escorts as well. Ships pay the price tag of such operations. While they don't pay soldiers' base salaries, they do pay for extras including airline tickets and hotels, French naval spokesman Prazuck confirmed to AP, thereby once again showing that naval forces do rent out their services to private ventures - a practice which the navies tried to keep for a long time secret.


Prazuck declined to give specifics about the number of soldiers stationed aboard such boats and their weapons, but he said they were equipped with firearms strong enough to give them an advantage over the pirates' arms of choice, Kalashnikov rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.


French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Saturday the presence of the marines aboard trawlers "is planned to continue throughout the fishing season to ensure as much security as possible to fishermen." Hailing the response to the latest attack, he said he intended to visit the region for talks with authorities in Seychelles.


Somali pirates are currently holding four foreign vessels and 111 seamen, according to environmental protection and human rights group ECOTERRA International.


There have been 174 attacks since the start of the year 2009 with 49 vessels seized. Attacks have been on the rise again since the end of the monsoon season that has brought calmer seas.

On Wednesday Somali pirates operating at night attacked a French military command ship and petrol tanker La Somme after mistaking it for a cargo vessel.


French armed forces spokesman Christophe Prazuck said pirate attacks had been decreasing, with between 10 and 15 boats on average being held last year compared with four currently.


"It is still too soon to say whether this reduction is due to the actions of the international community ... or the weather. We are coming out of the monsoon season, which is not favorable toward the pirates' small boats," he added.

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Some of the articles above mention that, according to a survey by WardheerNews, a purported 70% of Somalis support the so-called Somali pirates. Most of the Somali-written articles and commentaries I have read on the subject have actually been (rightfully) very questioning and critical of the shipping piracy, so I highly doubt that obscure survey of 15 people offers an accurate reflection of informed public opinion among Somalis. Piracy is un-Islamic and it has an overwhelmingly negative impact on Somalia. What good reason is there to support, defend, or justify it?


The piracy that takes place off the Horn of Africa is technically of two types--foreign piracy and shipping piracy--and the reality is, both piracies are exploitative and destructive criminal activities. (Though not in the same ways or to the same extent because due to its sheer magnitude, severity, and duration, the foreign piracy has had a devastating impact, matched and surpassed only by the US and UN-sponsored destruction on land.) The foreign pirates pollute and plunder. They rob people in Somalia of resources, food security, livelihoods, and the basic human right to live in a clean environment. The shipping pirates, on the other hand, are a destabilizing force. They promote un-Islamic lifestyles, hamper Somalia's sea trade, impair the livelihoods of average people, impede the most basic survival needs of the poorest, and feed a shadow economy of crime (with more revenue than the regional administrations that supposedly govern the areas in which they are based), which in turn corrupts and undermines all of the authorities/structures that are supposed to maintain law and order. They have also provided a pretext for a so-called war on 'piracy', which, among other things, is an extension of the discredited war on 'terrorism' by other means.


That is to say, when all things are considered, there is no Good Guys vs. Bad Guys duality. The two piracies go hand-in-hand in terms of their crippling effects in Somalia. The foreign piracy creates poverty and underdevelopment while the shipping piracy creates disorder, insecurity, and instability, which ultimately exacerbate and perpetuate the poverty and underdevelopment (and usher in new problems) and thus keep the general population stuck in that debilitating situation. That position of perpetuating weakness and disorder is what makes our people so easy to exploit and our resources so easy to steal to begin with. When you factor in the war on 'piracy', which is paving the way for a heap of other problems (think: oil, resource conflicts, geostrategic positioning, the New Scramble for Africa, the 'remapping' of the Middle East, etc.), all sides of the piracy issue seem to fit together quite well. The foreign piracy, the shipping piracy, and the war on 'piracy' read (respectively) like different pages of a new chapter in an old story, which by design is aimed at long-term impoverishment, destabilization, and recolonization.


There is certainly much more to the situation than meets the eye, if you only hear or read about it through the mainstream media's generally superficial renderings of it, but in terms of the effects, I think that is the bare bones of it.

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