The Real Scamps Behind the Skull and Crossbones in the Indian Ocean

(Why Are We On Their Side?)

A couple of weeks back, I saw that the United States was now sending remote-controlled MQ-9 Reaper planes to patrol the Indian Ocean in search of Somali pirates. Apparently the destitute Somalis have “Kick Me” signs attached to their backs and the United States is down their to tee them up.

We weren’t sending Reapers to patrol the area when the Italians, Germans or Swiss were dumping toxic waste off the coast of Somalia. We had no intentions of getting involved when the dumping we ignored was stirred up by the tsunami of 2004 and toxic waste tanks began washing up on Somali beaches and fouling the coastal ecosystem. And we weren’t bothered when Somalis in the area began suffering from radiation sickness, cancer outbreaks and harrowing birth defects. It wasn’t our problem, and it wasn’t any of our business.

We also didn’t care that even before the dumping, several of our Asian and European cohorts were illegally exhausting Somali fisheries, leaving hundreds of thousands of Somali fisherman without livelihoods. Somalia had no functional government much less Coast Guard, so the entire state was an easy mark. When Somalis were being put upon, they were just a nameless, faceless multitude whose fate was none of our concern. But when bands of nameless, faceless Somali fisherman began resorting to piracy because they no longer had any viable means of supporting their families, then we started paying attention. And when First World cargo ships were seized and British jet-setters got kidnapped from their yachts, well, that was too much. America had to step up.

None of this stuff is really news because nothing about it is really new. A people or a country is denied some of the basic rights and considerations that you and I (and most other First World citizens) enjoy and take for granted. They resent this treatment and rebel or attempt to take matters into their own hands. We put them down (or help someone else put them down) as if they are the transgressors, as if they are the ones who perpetrated the original offense. It’s been the bedrock of our foreign policy for the last forty years. We have no problem portraying the victims as the assailants and making it our patriotic duty to coerce them, punish them or bomb them back to the Middle Ages if they don’t start marching to the tune of our cash registers.

Thusly, the coast of Somalia has been transformed into a First World dumping station. A contingent of our allies fished it clean and then flushed their industrial waste there. The natives had little or no recourse, so our allies simply did as they pleased.

Luckily, world opinion deems the Somalis “pirates” instead of peasants, and this allows us to condemn the proactive victims in good conscience and hunt them down like criminals.

It doesn’t matter that this is an example of some of the proverbial excrement that floats around in First World punchbowls. There are not enough resources to go around, so someone’s going to do without. And the folks who have access to the most resources will produce the most waste and they’ll need somewhere to put this waste. Where better than the home of the folks who have access to the fewest resources?

Advocates of Capitalism and Social Darwinism say that it’s just the Third World’s lot in life. Too bad, so sad. And as we grow fat in our LazyBoys, listening to our flat screen TVs to remind us how great we are, we sometimes almost care about those less fortunate than us. But then Tiger sinks a 25-foot put or a couple on Dancing with the Stars receives a perfect score. And the Somalis have no right to piracy.

We don’t mind them being treated like animals as long as they refrain from retaliatory wherewithal. That’s where we draw the line.

In the old world, the skull and crossbones symbolized piracy. In the modern world, the skull and crossbones are the internationally recognized symbol for poison. How is utilizing the former worse than destroying a people’s habitat or way of life with the latter? I don’t condone piracy or violence, but I’m appalled that my country is taking the side of the malefactors in this matter. And if I was a Somali living along the Indian Ocean instead of a dupe atrophying in front of a flatscreen, I don’t think I’d take losing my livelihood or watching my children suffer from radiation poisoning lightly. In fact, I’d probably join the bad guys. Especially the ones on my side.

Fort Worth native E. R. Bills is an award-winning journalist and author. His latest works include Tell-Tale Texas: Investigations in Infamous History and Letters from Texas, 2021-2023. Read other articles by E.R..

32 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. S.L. said on December 7th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    Thank you for this excellent eye-opener.

  2. TD said on December 7th, 2009 at 11:31am #

    The piracy has links to Al Queda’s efforts to raise operational funds. Al Queda has developed strong roots in countries like Somalia and Sudan as well as others. What do you think these little fisherman/pirates are really going to do with a $10 million ransom? How does a 3rd world fisherman’pirate come up with a number like $10 million? The money is not for them. Remember, in 1993, we let our own troops get ambushed and dragged over the streets of Mogadishu. We did nothing in response except retreat and withdraw troops. The US you speak of in your post would have leveled that country for that very event.

    Why wouldn’t they deploy Reapers to Seychelles if they could? Keep in mind that the Reaper is an ISR platform first and attack platform second. It is beneficial to just follow these pirates to their locations, establish there support networks and build the ‘big picture’. Coordinate ground assets to these area’s and attempt establish targets and proceed from there. If the link is confirmed nationally between Al Qaeda and Somali pirates, are you still going to take this position?

    The waste issue you present if factual is nothing less than abhorrent and yes, these people do deserve to make a living. As long as there is poverty and ignorance, terrorist groups (or any group for that matter) will be able to recruit men/women willing to do anything to feed their family.

  3. Danny Ray said on December 7th, 2009 at 12:26pm #

    OK Mr. Bills, I am a member of a marginalized segment of our society, is it ok for me to take my Boston whaler out into the gulf and jack me a freighter or container ship ? My buds and I could do with a pick me up after 11 months of being disenfranchised.

    My guess is that you would say no, and not just no, but HELL NO. Why you ask ? Because piracy is a crime, always was, always will be.

    I do not have any problems with them doing a five-finger discount on the worlds shipping but if they play, they will sooner or later have to pay.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on December 7th, 2009 at 12:50pm #

    God! Some-one turned over a rock, and that ‘good ole boy’ Danny Ray crawled out again. Nice piece of arrogant, sneering racist contempt, Danny Boy-your trademark.

  5. Danny Ray said on December 7th, 2009 at 12:55pm #

    Thank you Mulga, Every Cobbler to his own last I always say.

  6. kalidas said on December 7th, 2009 at 1:41pm #

    Does this piracy at a price apply to Israelis?
    Because they sure seem to get away with it.
    The Israelis can pirate boats, kidnap Americans and even Somalis, I presume, and put them in jail without one peep.
    At Christmas!

    However, on a good note, they were released with all organs intact.

    Isn’t that special?

  7. Hue Longer said on December 7th, 2009 at 7:42pm #

    Good article.

    Danny Ray,

    Your analogy is poor but maybe since you feel this way you should side with the exploited rather than the ones exploiting them and to a much, much, much lesser degree, you.

    Does your Boston Whaler have satellite and internet?

  8. Hue Longer said on December 7th, 2009 at 7:56pm #


    who ambushed who? relax, your boys got at least a thousand “skinnys” during that battle. Did nothing? The US may have pulled troops out but that’s little compared to what they do afterward

  9. Danny Ray said on December 7th, 2009 at 8:40pm #

    I agree Hue my analogy was poor. The point I was so clumsily trying to make is that all the empathy in the world cannot make a crime not a crime; piracy on the high seas is a crime. If empathy can make something not a crime, anything can be justified.

    My whaler can’t get the net but does have a kick ass sound system.

    And yes we killed a hell of a lot more than 1000. Intel afterward counted 3700 fresh graves. Best estimates at the time was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5K

  10. Hue Longer said on December 7th, 2009 at 9:08pm #

    Hello Danny,

    Those who make laws do so to protect their own interests which in one form or another were established through what they themselves deem criminal. England got pissed there was no gold in “their” colonies (which of course were stolen from aboriginals) so resorted to pirating Spanish ships who in turn were stealing gold (and land and people) from aboriginals further south.

    I know these considerations can lead to a lot of what if’s that can get slippery and cause most nationalists living off relative privilege from state sponsored theft to shush it all aside….but the good news is that realizing reality won’t change reality for you cruising in your boat! The scary part is worrying that piracy will sound like a good idea!

  11. Andy Best said on December 7th, 2009 at 11:47pm #

    Danny, your point is that a crime is a crime.

    But that misses the point of the article. The author points out that ‘crime’ is just a subjective term that is applied and enforced by those with power as they see fit.

    I like your point about piracy, though. Yes, you should take back something for yourself. For example, the banks and the gov, via their system, have crashed the economy. But you have been paying taxes to them for years, and that money was given to those banks as a bail out.

    That money should be used to help you, not the banks. It would be quite acceptable for you to take that money back morally – as the gov in the USA is supposed to be only a representative of the people. Banks are private institutions, that money has been stolen from you. It’s yours.

    How is it a crime to pick up your own money when you need it?

    It’s a ‘crime’ because you do not live in a real democracy and there is an elite who dictate what is a ‘crime’.

    This is not supposed to be a direct comparison to Somalia, by the way, just an exploration of the abstract point.

  12. Mary said on December 8th, 2009 at 3:29am #

    “Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins.” John Locke

    Free Gaza boat Dignity rammed three times by the Israeli navy 50 miles off the Gaza shore in International Waters. Passengers left for dead but survived having made landfall in Lebanon in the badly damaged boat.

    Free Gaza boat Spirit of Humanity boarded by the Israelis and taken to Ashdod. Passengers imprisoned but later released. Possessions and aid goods not returned.

    Freighter Tali boarded and ‘escorted’ to Ashdod. Passengers questioned.


    All of the foregoing is in addition to the constant harassment of the fishermen of Gaza and the firing of guns and water cannon at their boats causing loss of life and injury. This persecution is to prevent the men netting a few kilos of protein for their starving families. This cruel harassment has been well documented.

  13. Don Hawkins said on December 8th, 2009 at 3:29am #

    The scary part is worrying that piracy will sound like a good idea! This EPA ruling in the States oh the outrage. That ruling will do little to slow the little problem down and right away we heard it will hurt business. Who it will hurt is pirates who seem to think it’s ok to hack people’s e-mails and just about anything else they can think of to keep that piracy going. Do they understand how serious the problem is of course but we see what we see sort of and why because in there mind it’s just better that way. Again my grandson has more knowledge at the age of eight than all these pirates combined. We are talking about the people you see with suit and tie and designer dresses who sold there soul to the system the very system that in the very near future will take the human race down and down hard. Why is it better that way well first they who control the bank’s the media our thought’s, business in a relentless way tell us we are stupid Fox New’s is the best at that and we need them to tell us how stupid we are and how smart they are and without there great wisdom we would be even more stupid and have less. In many many way’s less is more if you understand that and these little God’s just a few are of course the biggest slaves of all to the system because without it as it is now the status quo they don’t get to be little God’s and they kind of like it. Mulga put this thinking into words and we are not talking about a little more but more then more then more and that is still never enough. This thinking with what we now know has a very bad ending we are talking about the people at the top of the ladder and that ladder has many steps and maybe four or five steps down we see the person with say white shoes those checkered paints and that white belt walk into the permit office to get a permit to say take the top of a mountain off for his boss who needs more then more or that lobbyist in DC who dresses the same except I think they have Alligator shoes and need all kinds of things you know the right to do this and do that or we don’t want them to do that. Single payer health care tax carbon and return 100% of that tax back to the people my boss really doesn’t like that idea he just called me from his office overlooking New York City the top floor he likes it there as he feels closer to the creator and he told me he’s doing God’s work here on Earth. It’s just better that way oh no it isn’t especially for my grandson who has more knowledge at the age of eight than all the little God’s combined. Good morning.

  14. Don Hawkins said on December 8th, 2009 at 5:55am #

    50% of Britons don’t think climate change is a problem, 52.5% of Americans don’t think climate change is a problem, many people in Africa and India don’t even know what climate change is sort of, 1% of the people in China have how much of the wealth, it’s just better that way, how much of the water in China is black, Highest CO 2 in the atmosphere in how many years, how much money to Bangladesh for a few minor problems and how much for research new energy States how much for AIG do you really think we need insurance in the near future, what’s the war in Afghanistan about, to keep the system going oh dear, how many people think Fox New’s is fair and balanced, does the subject of ignorance is strength ever come up when making a commercial, could keep witting for an hour and of course it’s just better that way no it isn’t.

  15. Don Hawkins said on December 8th, 2009 at 6:48am #

    What system do they have in China well maybe for a few and many seem to be on another page sort of how about here in the States Capitalism or socialism or both again for a few how does it seem to be working out? Maybe a new way of thing could be helpful and soon. I know we could use knowledge not the Sun revolves around the Earth but the other way around and work together remember the little God’s don’t like that idea more on the lines of work for them. Imagination the good kind not the dark kind you know ignorance is strength. Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler and why well the CO 2 in the atmosphere is the highest in how many years think millions. No problem well here’s where that ignorance is strength comes into play as we all go down the drain in not such slow motion as the little God’s make plans for only a few and maybe not even that as there not to bright. Yes ignorance is strength and they the few seem to understand that part. I heard one of the little God’s say yesterday he was going to buy distressed assets oh there will be lot’s of those around in a few years.

  16. Rehmat said on December 8th, 2009 at 7:39am #

    When US Marines invaded Somali on December 12, 1992 – Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff – called the invasion “a paid political advertisement for the Pentagon”. However, during the next ten months, this ‘political advertisement’ cost 10,000 Somalian lives and a humiliating defeat for the world’s top nuclear power – as captured in the movie “Black Hawk Down”.

    So what interests the US and other foreign countries have in this God forsaken country since 1991 overthrow of its western-puppet dictator. Mohammad Said Barre? Well – there are several of them – off-shore oil and gas reserves; tens of million dollars worth of fishery; an open dumping ground for West’s nuclear waste (it costs US$2.5 to dump it in the Red Sea as compared to US$250 in some western country); the strategic importance of Horn of Africa for US imperialism, and of course Zionists’ fear of an additional anti-Israel Islamic state in that part of the world on top of Sudan.

    Israel behind Red Sea piracy

  17. Shabnam said on December 8th, 2009 at 12:11pm #

    I am in agreement with Rehmat on the reason behind Piracy in Somalia. This post by E.R. Bills must be discarded as PROPAGANDA to publicize the zionist/imperialist version of ‘piracy’ to bring fools on board for more action to protect the Somali “fishermen” since the selection of black president by the Zionist Lobby.
    This story was widely circulated by the British, mainly, Johann Hart from Independent on January 5, 2009 and later ended up at the whore house of the zionist, Huffington post, to give it more weight and credibility. The story said:
    {Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here.}
    Then, the next paragraph reads:
    {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.”}
    Now, who is going to eat tuna, Lobster and shrimp caught from the same contaminated dumping site? Are they going to ship them to, perhaps, Japan? We know that Muslims do not eat Lobster. What are they going to do with the same contaminated stock?
    Do you think people are going to believe this story that the Westerners are stealing tuna, shrimp and lobster from their own nuclear waste dumping site in the Red sea? The story circulated for a while and died out shortly after.
    Now, they brought the same story back leaving “stolen tuna, shrimp and …..” behind, to limit engineered reasoning to ‘dumping nuclear waste’ and story of ‘poor hungry fishermen’ hoping to bring the ignorant on board for more MILITARY ACTION IN SOMALIA TOWARDS INTERNATIONALIZATION OF THE RED SEA to bring the water way under control of Israel and the western power targeting Muslim sovereignty around the Red Sea even through extended hand of BLACK AMERICA. But, the misery of Somali people is REAL. As REBECCA MACAUX and PHILIP PRIMEAU write:
    Modern Somalia was formed from the 1960 union of two European colonies, one British, the other Italian. What began as an exercise in constitutional democracy rapidly devolved into a dictatorship under the command of Maxamed Siyaad Barre. Although Barre originally aligned his nation with the USSR, the relationship soured in 1977-79. Moscow eventually abandoned Somalia altogether, throwing its weight behind neighboring Ethiopia in a conflict over the disputed Ogaden region. Barre appealed to America for military assistance in the fighting of foreign wars and the suppression of internal resistance. In typical fashion, President Carter waffled, green lighting the shipment of munitions but then changing his mind at the critical moment.
    However, under the Ronald Reagan, America suddenly renewed its interest in the Horn of Africa. Henry Kissinger met personally with Barre, and in 1981 the U.S. began supplying the dictator with arms and some $100 million per year.
    In exchange, America was granted control of the deep-sea port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden. Fortifying his rule with American weapons and treasure, Barre managed to survive the Cold War. As American support waned, unrest turned to full-fledged civil war. Barre was ousted in 1991 and died of heart attack in 1995. In the intervening years, America attempted a ‘humanitarian invasion’ of Somalia like Sudan. We know what happened to American soldiers under the Clinton administration, the most zionist administration, let by the Jewish Lobby.
    Galal Nassar from Al-Ahram writes:
    Somalia is located on the most important maritime channels in the world. Through this passageway passes Arab oil on its way to European and American markets. The maritime channel has special strategic significance for Washington and Israel. For the former, it serves as the vital link between the US’s Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and its Fifth Fleet stationed off the coast of Bahrain and its Seventh Fleet in the Indian Ocean. Tel Aviv, meanwhile, has not forgotten that Egypt together with Yemen closed the Bab Al-Mandeb upon the outbreak of the 1973 October War, which came as an additional blow to Israeli and international shipping with the closure of the Suez Canal following the Israeli occupation of Sinai in 1967. Israel has been pressing for the internationalization of the Red Sea.
    The piracy off the coast of Somalia is certain to be seized upon as legal and moral grounds for the internationalization of those waterways. These designs have gained a part of their impetus from the current state of Arab weakness and the inability of the Arabs to resolve the Somali problem, due to Zionists defeat of most of the Arab head of states and reduce them to NOTHING BUT PUPPETS.
    It is important to bear in mind that, with the rise of piracy in the region, the West has trained its focus more intensely on security of the seas while leaving the domestic crisis in Somalia to play itself out.
    In June, the UN Security Council approved Resolution 1816, which had been jointly sponsored by France and the US and which had authorized countries cooperating with the interim Somali government to enter Somali regional waters for the purpose of combating hijacking and piracy. Implementation of the resolution proved not as effective as hoped, in large part due to the vastness of the area that needed to be covered.

    ISRAELI AMBITIONS: David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, was the first to voice the Zionist entity’s ambition to gain control over the Red Sea.
    In 1949 he said, “We are surrounded on land… The sea is our only route of contact with the rest of the world. Developing Eilat will be a major goal towards which we will direct our steps.” In 1950 Saudi Arabia and Egypt struck an agreement granting the latter military access to several strategically placed islands in the Gulf of Aqaba, the two most important of which are Tiran and Sanafir. The purpose was to restrict Israeli maritime activities. The action became one of the motives behind the tripartite aggression of 1956. Later, in 1967, Egypt’s closure of the Gulf of Aqaba became the direct cause of the Six Day War in which Israel occupied extensive tracts of Arab land.
    Expose the Zionist plan of “greater Israel’ where goes from Mauritania to Afghanistan through proxy, American ‘Empire.” This plan has brought the world nothing but chaos and destruction.

    Many of the pirates operating off the coast of Somalia were given special forces-style training from Western firms, a special report by Al Jazeera has found.

    Some security firms currently protecting shipping from the pirates had been engaged to train them a decade ago.

    One company, Hart Security, coached trainees to be the “coastguard” of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region – providing protection from illegal fishing in the region.

  18. Hue Longer said on December 8th, 2009 at 4:19pm #


    I think too that anyone who commented without mentioning Israel including Mulga must then be a Zionist propagandist. We must stay vigilant and expose all who so cleverly fail to mention it in every breath. Now this may come off as insane…A Russian (where the worst Zionists come from) might even label what we do, “Disinformatsiya” because as reasonable as it is to document and comment on Zionist influence, our going ten steps further in condemning as spies anyone who doesn’t mention Zionism in every breath of their commentary on the world could turn off otherwise reasonable people. But we say SO FUCKING WHAT? Not only were there really aliens at Roswell and holograms of planes flying into buildings in New York, Zionists are an ancient evil breed of lizard men from planet X.

  19. Jo Crandall said on December 8th, 2009 at 4:21pm #

    the coast of Somalia has been transformed into a First World dumping station? Our allies fished it clean and then flushed their industrial waste there? I do feel like an atrophied dupe. I plan to read more about all of this. Thank you

  20. sybil e bondi said on December 8th, 2009 at 5:07pm #

    Free Gaza boat Dignity rammed three times by the Israeli navy 50 miles off the Gaza shore in International Waters. Passengers left for dead but survived having made landfall in Lebanon in the badly damaged boat.

    well mary let’s hope the israelis sink the next free gaza boat
    will big brother dave be on it?

  21. E. R said on December 8th, 2009 at 8:16pm #

    I am with hue. I’m no fan of the way the state of israel comports itself, but I think–shabnam–you greatly exaggerate their reach. they overexaggerate their own relevance and overestimate their own importance. don’t help their cause by carrying on like they affect every international crisis. it sounds like a dan brown (da vinci code) plotline (and a boring one at that).

    I’m weary of desert religions. they weren’t even civil in barren lands. they’re completely lost in fertile ones.

  22. Shabnam said on December 8th, 2009 at 9:23pm #

    Did you read the provided link? Do you want more material to show that the reason behind US/Israel control of piracy at the Red Sea is to bring states on board for internationalization of the Red Sea and not ‘dumping of nuclear waste’?

    21 October 2009
    Somali representative to Arab League-affiliated office in charge of boycott of Israel said there are links between the Zionist regime and the pirates who are based on Somalian coasts.
    Mohammad Haj-Yousef told IRIB in Damascus that the pirates are backed by some foreign companies which have links to the Zionist regime.
    The Somalian trade official said that the regime seeks to destabilize the Somalian coasts through supporting the pirates, adding that the regime has cast an occupying eye beyond Palestine to the Sea of Oman and the whole region.
    Haj-Yousef said that the Somalian government taking the situation into account has prepared necessary measures to boycott Israeli affiliated companies and corporations in a bid to block the regime’s infiltration into the region.
    He urged Arab and Islamic countries to seriously deal with calls for boycott of Israel adding that the regime would be weakened through such moves.
    Yemen Post Staff Sunday, 05, April, 2009

    Despite its approval for foreign intervention to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Yemen has recently accused international forces of aiding pirates to attack ships off the cost of Somalia, media sources reported.

    A report issued by the external and political affairs committee in the Shoura Council noted that the international forces patrolling the Arabian and Red Seas on anti-pirate operations provide Somali pirates with information over ships passing through the waterways in the region and other equipment such as boats in an attempt to make piracy appear as unchallenged force.

    The international forces with aiding pirates aim to serve big schemes of great powers and to affect international shipping, the report said.

    The report has tied piracy to globalization, failed states, and weakness of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the United Nations besides the absence of Arab cooperation to secure the Red Sea over the past thirty years.

    The report warned against the presence of international forces in Arabian waters under the cover of “War on Piracy”, saying the forces may exercise pressure on countries overlooking the Red and Arabian Seas to intervene in their internal affairs.

    Yemen also expressed concerns that the southern Red Sea may turn into a clash point for regional and international forces where fleets of great powers are stationed, pointing to an Israeli bid to internationalize the Red Sea that was rejected by Arab states years ago.

    Last year, the European Union sent an anti-piracy force to the region including troops from Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Greece and Sweden. Russia also has sent warships to conduct anti-pirate patrols off the coast of Somalia.

    In recent years, pirate attacks have been stepped up with over 100 vessels attacked off
    Somalia’s coast in 2008.

    The reason behind the designed act of piracy is to internationalize the Red Sea where is part of the ‘New World Order.’ Stop fooling others. Your dark history is in front of us. Whom do you want to deceive? You are exaggerating by bringing an old story which is circulated since 1990s then landed on Zionist platform, Huffington post. How can poor fishermen stage such a sophisticated operation? Why no one is able to stop the zionist piracy in the international water if Western powers are so CONCERN ABOUT PIRACY AT SEA? Why has no UN action taken against Israeli pirates?
    Is Israel guilty of piracy?
    Radhika Sainath, 13 July 2009
    When the Israeli navy seized a small humanitarian boat flying under the Greek flag on Tuesday, 30 June, did the commandos commit acts of piracy when they forced the crew and 21 passengers — including a former US Congresswoman and Nobel Laureate — to port in Israel? May Israeli officials be prosecuted, and if so where?

    On the morning of 29 June, the Spirit of Humanity set sail from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip carrying approximately three tons of medical aid, olive saplings, children’s toys and other humanitarian items for the area’s 1.5 million residents. The Spirit traveled through international waters when, at approximately 1:30am, several Israeli gunships surrounded the boat, jammed its GPS, navigation and radar systems and threatened to open fire. Heavily-armed Israeli naval commandos boarded the boat, ordered the Spirit’s passengers to lie face down, roughed up several, and ultimately forced the humanitarian volunteers to Israel where they were held for days in hot, crowded, cells before all but two (both Israeli citizens) were ultimately deported.

    The Israeli navy routinely harasses Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza, and has on occasion seized boats and detained their crews , just as it did with the Spirit of Humanity.

    An act of piracy, as defined by the law of nations, includes illegal acts of violence or detention committed on the high seas or outside the jurisdiction of any state. While today piracy often conjures up ideas of buried treasure, sunken ships and Johnny Depp at his best; olden-day pirates instilled a sense of terror in seafarers traveling in no-man’s zones, outside the protection of any state.

    Israel’s commandeering of the Spirit shares a lot in common with these traditional acts of piracy: the Spirit’s unarmed passengers traveled on the high seas, vulnerable, uncertain if they would live or die when the Israeli navy surrounded them and took them prisoners. But do Israel’s actions constitute piracy? The answer is: Yes.

    Israel committed clear acts of violence and detention against the Spirit’s passengers, acts, which, under the UN Convention on the High Seas, are unlawful. A warship may legitimately board a foreign ship on the high seas in only three circumstances: there is reason to believe the boat was engaged in piracy, the slave trade or the boat — despite its flag — is really of the same nationality as the warship. None of these circumstances apply here.

    Israel committed an act of piracy by hijacking the Spirit, forcing its passengers to Israel, imprisoning them and taking their cargo and personal items. But why is it important that Israel be charged with piracy, especially when it already faces a host of new war crimes accusations?

  23. sybil e bondi said on December 9th, 2009 at 12:07am #

    shabnam–this sounds like the behaviour of iranian revolutionary guards in the arabian gulf

  24. Mary said on December 9th, 2009 at 1:10am #

    sybil e bondi – that’s a strange nom de plume. Are you perhaps related to desceschi or do you come from Bondi Beach?

    As I quoted John Locke before – Wherever Law ends, Tyranny begins.
    It is a perfect expression to describe the actions of your terror state.

  25. Deadbeat said on December 9th, 2009 at 1:52am #


    Never mind Hue Longer. He is an ardent Zionism denier like Max Shields and does so by offering and adding NOTHING to the conversation. He recently bashed me during a discussion on the U.S. Social Security retirement system and when I demanded him to offer information regarding the topic he had to admit he could add NOTHING. These pretentious “left-wing” Zionist are just empty suits but they are able to get away with their awful and empty rhetoric due to the sheer amount of indoctrination by the “closet” Zionist celebrities like Noam Chomsky. This indoctrination allows these “closet” Zionists to make demands of the anti-Zionists stance without offering any evidence or citations to support their own position. Their agenda is to divert attention AWAY from Zionism essentially means their agenda is to advance a RACIST ideology while pretending they are “humanitarian”.

    It is shameful and cowardly but that is how these “Left-wing” Zionists operate and why they are MORE DANGEROUS than the Right.

  26. Hue Longer said on December 9th, 2009 at 7:49am #

    And I submit that Deadbeat is several other posters and has an agenda to further Zionism by making anti Zionism seem as insane as possible.

    If these are real people representing anti whatever, all opinions are equal to them and they believe that yelling in caps would convince more than the sock puppets on their hands. They sure like to talk about what kind of message we are portraying to the would be dupes reading DV, but their rants sure seems like flack from Mebosa . I also submit that most people reading this site are too embarrassed to point out their continuous butchering of reason.

    “Zionism denier”? Does that crap work on the other deadbeats you try to out bullshit? I sincerely suggested that you take up critical thinking as a study but Mebosa didn’t take that same advice and since you are probably the same? I advise you to continue using caps; incorrectly citing ad hominem and straw man whilst committing it; appealing to fear (what a joke); attacking any author who fails to mention Zionism when condemning injustice; and childishly shifting focus when you get corrected.

    Despite your efforts, I think people don’t respond the way you do by throwing the baby out with the bath water and can take the truth you sickly offer without thinking it belongs to you.

    If you are not a Zionist operative, I don’t apologize because you don’t do a damn thing productive in championing your supposed cause (the only other one you have since I’ve been reading you from the beginning is your belief in not paying for the children you fathered….not that that hurts your position on Zionism–that’d be ad hominem, son)

  27. E. R. Bills said on December 9th, 2009 at 9:04am #

    Shabnam, et al:

    below is an article I wrote on “zionism” months ago and no one would run it. please give me your opinion.


    I think it’s fair to say that the folks we now refer to as “Native Americans” are a displaced people. I also think it’s reasonable to state that the Anglo-American conquest of their populations and cultures often amounted to genocide. Today, for most of us, their plight and tribulations amount to little more than spilt milk; no use crying over it, what’s done is done, etc. But I have a loaded question: would we still have such a dismissive attitude if “Native Americans” were Jewish?
    What if tomorrow a sudden superpower concluded that Native Americans deserved their own homeland and decided to help them set it up in Texas, funding the process, providing weaponry and recognizing their independence the same day they proclaimed it? What if the same sudden superpower went on to arm the new Native American nation to the gills and pronounce our notions of “native” Texan rights secondary or less legitimate than those of displaced Native Americans because of what they had suffered at the hands of Anglo-American invaders?
    As congratulations and recognition came in for the new Native American country from nation after nation around the globe, we Texans would express disbelief and outrage, but the intermittent international machinery for setting wrongs aright would already be in motion, and our no doubt vociferous arguments and grievances for the inanity of this event would be drowned out by a self-congratulatory news cycle perpetrated by the sudden super power and its fair-weather allies.
    As Texans, we would surely fight and, in a fair fight, we would probably win. But the new superpower would be providing the Native American nation with greater and more advanced weaponry than we could develop or muster, and we’d be no match for their superior war-making capacity. The Native Americans would take over and we’d be forced to flee to America, remain and assimilate or remain and fight. Those of us who chose to remain and fight would dwindle in numbers and eventually be forced to utilize guerilla tactics. In the end—to keep the world from forgetting about us, what was done to us, what was taken from us—we might even resort to acts of terrorism.

    It goes without saying that most of us are shocked and appalled by what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Their sufferings and losses were nightmarish and incomprehensible, but did the Holocaust entitle them to Palestinian lands? And did they deserve their own nation any more than our own “Native Americans?”
    If Hitler had followed the Anglo-Americans’ lead and simply started rounding Jews up and placing them on “reservations,” would the sovereign state of Israel ever even have come into being?
    Most of us have passively accepted the vilification of the Palestinians without giving the issue much thought. But if we stood in their shoes, wouldn’t we feel differently?
    I don’t have a horse in this race. I am not a Jew or a Muslim. I am not anti-Semitic. I don’t condone or approve of the tactics employed by the old Palestinian Liberation Organization or the new Hamas group. But I don’t think the injuries or international insult Palestinians have suffered by having the state of Israel foisted upon them is spilt milk either. And I’m definitely not a big fan of the three billion in U.S taxpayer dollars we send Israel every year, rain or shine.
    I’ve heard the arguments. Israel gives us a strong ally in the Middle East. The return of the Jews to Judea is the first step in ushering in the Second Coming of Christ (and we have to be on the side of the “just”). And Oppenheimer and Einstein helped us win the big one—we owe these people.
    First, we have other allies in the Middle East; we just prefer the ones that are Eurocentric. Second, if our Judeo-Christian God is silly enough to obsess over who lives where and actually harbors prejudicial favoritism towards a “chosen” people, He’s too petty to revere much less give credence to His “judgment.” Third, the only American code the Japanese could never break in the Pacific theatre of WWII was Navaho and even though their assistance ensured our victory, they don’t even have their own state, much less homeland.
    In recent weeks, Secretary of State Clinton has pushed for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, and Israel seems reticent. As they were not too long ago a displaced people themselves, you’d think they’d be more sympathetic to another displaced people’s plight.
    The travesties inherent in this ongoing international fiasco may never be redressed, but working with the Palestinians to re-establish their own nation is a step in the right direction. The next step should involve the United States informing Israel that it’s time it stood on its own two feet because, to be honest and fair, the Jewish people shouldn’t be entitled to their own U.S. taxpayer-subsidized nation any more than our own “Native Americans” or, for that matter, the Australian aborigines, the Armenians, etc., etc.

  28. Kim Petersen said on December 9th, 2009 at 9:26am #

    I submit that “Native Americans” is the equivalent of writing “Native Israelis” to describe Palestinians. This probably explains why at some venues the article mentioned in the preceding comment with its ethno-culturally insensitive language was not published.

  29. bozh said on December 9th, 2009 at 9:48am #

    Laws=tyranny. And ‘laws’ had equalled lawlesness for millennia and does now in 96% of lands/empires.
    Hamurabbi had his ‘laws’. Mussolini, jefferson, hitler had theirs. Yes theirs- never ever ours.
    US has its ‘laws’ or ‘laws’ written by and for americans numero uno. And ‘laws’ written by asocialist are interpretative writs. There is no law [i’m now using the word in its folk meaning; the only desirable one] agreement, pact,treaty asocialists, or fascist- to be more exact- they haven’t broken or reinterpreted.

  30. Shabnam said on December 9th, 2009 at 11:39am #

    E.R. Bills:

    I am not accusing you of being a Zionist, rather your reasoning behind the piracy in the red sea is not very appealing to me and I have explained why I cannot accept it in my earlier posts. You have written many articles and posted at this site yet I did not reacted the same way as I did with this one because this story with ‘ dumping site and fishing sea food out of the contaminated site’ in the red sea appeared in January 2009 and was widely circulated to sell it as the reason behind the piracy. This story was translated and posted at number of Iranian weblogs to sell it as ‘fact.’ These weblogs believed in the story since Iranian, in my opinion, are very ill formed of the international affairs and have no knowledge of what is the reason behind many stories publicized by the Zionist media and therefore, they accept anything coming from abroad.

    First: this article is not on ‘Zionism’; rather you have used the case of ‘Jewish people’ to make a point about Native Americans.
    Second: I don’t know who did not publish your article; however, I must tell you this kind of analogy, the ‘Jewish’ vs. Native Americans are favored by the Zionists when they cannot convince people of their case. Now, I am not saying this is a ‘Zionist’ propaganda article rather I came to this conclusion by talking to them.
    Third: personally your statement:

    [But I have a loaded question: would we still have such a dismissive attitude if “Native Americans” were Jewish?]

    will turn some people off by comparing the case of Native Americans with Jewish bringing to mind the myth of ‘coming back home’ which is not true. Unfortunately many separatist groups who want a state of their own are using the same example and in fact they call themselves part of Jewish tribe, the Kurds, or presenting themselves having many similarities with Jews or like Serb screaming that Kosovo to Serb is like Jerusalem to ‘Jews’. Tamils repeating Zionist’s misrepresentation of history that ‘Jews’ have been forced out of their land by Roman and now after 2 thousand years have come home which of course is rubbish. The native Hebrew never left their land and have lived side by side with other groups in the land in peace.
    The case of Native Americans is so strong and still fresh in the mind of majority of people where does not NEED TO BRING the EXAMPLE OF JEWS where majority of them have no connections with Palestine or the region.
    E. R. Bills, as I said earlier I have nothing against you but I feel it is necessary to expose the lies of zionists and their enablers. An article “Walled in by Myth and Deceit” by William A. Cook expose exposes numerous lies by Zionists attempting to present themselves as Native people of Palestine.

  31. Shabnam said on December 9th, 2009 at 8:22pm #

    should read: Iranians are ill-informed

    More on heading for internationalisation of the Red Sea by Israel and the US by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
    Published: 12/28/2008

    Because the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden are integrally connected with the Bab Al-Mandeb, the Red Sea and, some would add, the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba, those powers are keen to see immediate results in these vitally strategic waters. Indeed, the Western drive to form an international naval force in the Red Sea is, perhaps, the most salient proof that the internationalisation of the Red Sea is coming and only waiting for the Western powers and Israel to reach an accommodation over their shares of the pie. During the coming months those powers will engage in intensive and, most likely, secretive talks and machinations with the purpose of assigning roles and dividing stakes. Naturally, Israeli aims will be given high priority. In approving the resolution this week, the Security Council effectively mandates that the Red Sea too will come under an international mandate (meaning under the control of the US and the Zionist entity), essentially seizing those waters from Arab sovereignty on the grounds that the Arabs have been unable to keep them secure. Western schemes to internationalise the Red Sea will strike a debilitating blow to Arab security, which is already weak and crumbling since the occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Arab territory and holy sites in Palestine at the expense of and to the ongoing detriment of Palestinian national and human rights. What should the Arabs do to forestall these plans? Perhaps the most important actions they should take are the following: first, work together under the umbrella of the Arab League and in cooperation with African countries to resolve the Somali crisis and bring peace to that war-torn country; second, revive an idea that had gained some support in the 1980s until it was shelved as the result of US pressure. This was to create an Arab Red Sea Organisation establishing a security system for the Red Sea basin.

  32. Deadbeat said on December 9th, 2009 at 9:23pm #

    Hue Longer writes …

    And I submit that Deadbeat is several other posters and has an agenda to further Zionism by making anti Zionism seem as insane as possible.

    Thank you Hue for elevating my level of influence on the Left I’m sure it matches the same level of influence that Chomsky has which is why you are most concern with my worldwide influence of anti-Zionism and the great reach that I have from this venue to thwart and confront Zionism. I greatly appreciate the elevation Hue.