Friday, April 17, 2009

Some info you haven't seen on Somali "pirates"

Much has been written about the pirates of Somalia, so I'm not going to rehash any of the recent news (other than to pass along an emphatic "well done" regarding the most-impressive marksmanship clinic put on by the SEALs last weekend). Instead, I'd like to point you at some back story that I hadn't seen before. Perhaps you have not either.

So, let's get one piece of business out of the way straight off: Some, perhaps most, of the "pirates" we are reading about lately are nothing more than thieves, hooligans, gangsters, etc. A sizable percentage of these guys are lowlifes in the truest sense of the word. The jerkoffs who are attempting to hijack ships loaded with food and supplies bound for Darfur and other African disaster areas are the worst kind of parasites. Nothing I am about to discuss applies to these cretins. These types deserve a Special Forces love-tap, and you will never hear a peep from me beyond "Bravo, boys".

However, there are some Somali "pirates" who do not fit this description.

Did you know (I did not) that, at about the same time Somalia's last true government collapsed in the early 90s, mysterious ships began dumping barrels of waste into Somali coastal waters? Turns out this "waste" was from European hospitals and power plants, and was medical and nuclear.

You read that correctly: Persons unknown were dumping nuclear waste into the water off Somali beaches.

Not surprisingly, the populace in the area started to get sick and have malformed babies. The 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami washed hundreds of barrels of this crap onshore, where more pronounced radiation sickness began to occur.

This was not the only indignity thrust upon Somali coastal dwellers.

As you might suspect, a major local industry is fishing. Coastal Somalis feed themselves from the ocean, as do coastal dwellers the world around. In the past 20 or so years, with no government to assert sovereignty over Somalia's territorial waters, Euro fishing trawlers have been illegally clearing the sea out (thanks, U2), leaving greatly reduced fish stocks for the locals. Needless to say, this threatens the livelihoods, and the lives, of said locals.

Local Somalis started going out in speedboats to dissuade the Euros who were illegally dumping or illegally fishing, or to collect a "tax". Hence, the emergence of "pirates".

Now, it's clearly devolved from there. A bunch of dirt-bag opportunists have co-opted what was a pretty legitimate activity on the part of the locals. The current situation has much less to do with real grievances, and much more to do with a bunch of thugs looking to make some quick cash.

That doesn't invalidate the original activities, though.

I had no idea. I'm thinking maybe you haven't heard this stuff either. So here it is.

Just another public service from your friends here at CIT.

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