Monday, May 31

Was the Israeli 'Peace Flotilla' Raid Botched?

Today comes news of multiple deaths as a result of the Israelis taking over the 'Peace Flotilla' ships. The media is calling it a botched raid, given the deaths.

I just wonder how the media thinks the Israelis were expected to stop the flotilla when the flotilla was committed to not stop for any reason. Simple fact, they were told to stop and ignored the warning. This is how bad things happen.

Worse, it is clear that some of the people onboard the vessels took it upon themselves to take on the commandos. Surely, they were convinced that the commandos would not use deadly force. This is a really bad assumption to make, especially given that they already think that the Israelis are indiscriminately killing off Palestinians. I am not suggesting that they are. I am just saying that the 'peace' protesters believe this. And it is this belief that they should have taken into account before engaging in this deadly adventure.

I would think that the goal of the commandos was to avoid injuries. I can't say that I believe the same of the protesters. After all, they can prove useful as a propaganda tool. This case is no exception as outrage grows over the casualties. I do not know the intentions of those who are now dead, but I do know that they have each taken the role of being useful idiots for the cause they were supporting. For shame on the people who took advantage of them.

Instant update:
Do these look like useful idiots to you? Clearly the Israeli commandos were attacked as they boarder the vessel. It is a wonder that more of the protesters are not dead.


Click hear to see a larger size.
Much more coverage over at the Jawa Report here and here.

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Friday, May 14

Russian Navy Captures and Destroys a Pirate Mothership (Video)

Fresh off the news of the Russian Navy (essentially) tossing some captured pirates into the sea, comes this video of them capturing and destroying a pirate mothership.

As found on the Russian Navy Blog:
I make no claims to the authenticity of this video. I am not certain of the context. It is mostly is Russian (with much NSFW language), partly in English (with NSFW language) and shows several obviously wounded men.

The explosion at the end is nice though!

From the description at You Tube:
Yesterday on Tuesday (27 April) at 1812 Moscow time the large antisubmarine ship Admiral Panteleyev captured a pirate ship off of Somalia according to the Ministry of Defense.

The capture took place at 1812 Moscow time and took place about 15 miles from shore. Inspection of the vessel revealed seven Kalashnikovs, pistols, aluminum boarding ladders, navigation equipment, including satellite navigation, fuel cans and ammunition.

Twenty nine were detained.
Based on the number of pirates in this video, I don't think these were the pirates killed under the auspices of Russia's "catch and release" program. - Link - Russian Navy Blog
Direct link to the YouTube video.

It seems that the Russian Navy is finding it's groove off Somalia. It is interesting given that this is one activity where they do not need to show much restraint (other than avoiding turning merchant sailors into casualties) where there will not be much of an outcry, and any outcry is surely to be dwarfed by the gratitude of rescued sailors and the community at large.

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Monday, May 10

Dealing with Pirates - Russia Makes them Walk the Plank

One of the unresolved issues with dealing with the pirate problem off Somalia is what do you do with pirates that you capture?

Kenya has stood up and offered to try pirates in their courts. However, as a result their court system is now trying to deal with over 100 pirates captured at sea and deposited on their shores and now they are resisting the pressure to accept more of them.

A number of pirates have been simply released, either back ashore or back to their boats, after being disarmed of any weapons that they didn't already throw overboard themselves prior to capture.

The Russians have come up with a nastier version of this tactic, basically abandoning the pirates far at sea with only the most basic of supplies. Oddly enough, they did want to prosecute the pirates back in Russia, but abandoned that idea because the ship's crew of the attacked vessel, were not able to directly identify the pirates, given that they were holed up in a secure room, unable to negate the pirate claims that they too were victims of other pirates who got away.
Russia frees suspected pirates

RUSSIA has freed a group of suspected pirates captured when its navy stormed a hijacked tanker in the Indian Ocean.

One pirate was killed and 10 suspects seized when marines from the destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov recaptured the 106,474dwt Moscow University yesterday, a day after it was seized.

The detainees were expected to be tried in Russia. But after a day of contradictory public announcements and debate among prosecutors, military officers and the Kremlin, the navy was ordered to cast the suspected pirates adrift.

Their release took place after a source at the defence ministry announced: "Unfortunately … legal rules for the prosecution of pirates operating in Somalia did not exist, and thus they [the suspects] do not fall under the jurisdiction of any state and international law.”

Defence ministry spokesman Colonel Alexei Kuznetsov later said the release was required “due to the imperfection of the international legal framework”.

There were no witnesses to substantiate the identities and actions of the suspects because the tanker’s 23 Russian crew members had secured themselves in a safe-room.

And after they were captured, the suspects reportedly claimed that they were not pirates but rather hostages of the real attackers.

In June, the chief Russian prosecutor in charge of piracy, Alexander Zvyagintsev, told Fairplay that Russian law clearly allows for military action against pirates, but it was less clear what could be done if pirates were captured.

“The problem of what to do with the pirates who have been arrested remains undecided for the majority of countries,” he explained. “That adds to the confidence of the pirates that they can go on acting with impunity.” - Fairplay News
Not mentioned in the article is that apparently the Russians stripped the boat of any navigational equipment before setting them free with a tank of fuel. There are also apparently concerns in the media that the Russians simply did away with the pirates and provided this cover story, all because there were no press to witness the freeing of the pirates. Personally, I do not believe that the Russian Navy would do such a thing, given that what they had admitted to doing already gives the pirates a poor chance of survival. And I do not blame the Russians for not inviting the press to document this form of punishment. Actually, I would hope that they marked the sides of the vessel with 'DANGER - PIRATES' so as to warn passing ships of the risk of assisting them. One thing is for sure, pirates will not mess around with the Russians once word gets out about what happened to their fellow bandits.

Question is, is this a solution that other Navies can employ? The EU has been targeting motherships. The effect is similar for any pirates at sea dependent on those captured motherships for fuel and food. Going after supply lines is a classic military strategy. However, those at the end of a disrupted supply line at sea are as doomed as the pirates the Russians 'freed' at sea. The only difference is that the Russians caught them and then let them go.

UPDATE – 11 May:

Here is the latest news noting that the pirates did not appear to have gotten very far:

Freed Pirates May Have Drowned

Ten pirates released from a Russian warship 300 miles out to sea may have drowned, according to Russian officials and colleagues of the pirates, raising fears of retaliation against other vessels plying East African waters.

The pirates were captured last week after they hijacked the Moscow University, a Liberian-flagged, Russian-operated oil tanker sailing off the Somali coast. A Russian warship came to the ship’s rescue and apprehended the pirates. But after determining it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction, Russian officials said that they dropped plans to take the pirates to Moscow for trial.

Instead, like many other warships that have intercepted pirate skiffs, the Russian marines released the pirates — but not before removing weapons and navigation equipment from the boat several hundred miles from shore. Russian officials gave no explanation for removing the navigation equipment.

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson said radio signals from the boat disappeared about an hour after the release. “That could mean that they are dead,” the spokesperson said.

Fellow pirates in Somalia also said they lost contact with the boat after their separation from the Russian warship. “We will hold Russia responsible if any harm comes to them,” said a pirate commander, Abdi Dhagaweyne, in a telephone interview. “I’m not sure of their safety now because we have since lost contact.” – Wall Street Journal

Here is a photo of the capture:

So it appears that all but one of the pirates survived the re-capture of the vessel.
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Wednesday, May 5

Vera Baker - Roland Burris??????

Vera Baker is the person whose name is floating around as a person who some say had a fling with President Obama.

Roland Burris is the Senator who replaced Barack Obama in the Senate.

Now, this article claims that one of the first things Roland Burris did when he became a Senator, was to hire Vera Baker. I have to say that this sounds suspicious.
• So here is Sneed's stranger-than-fiction scoop: Sneed is told Baker, who is the focus of the story -- and who denied any romantic relationship with Obama in the past -- was hired by U.S. Sen. Roland Burris shortly after he was appointed to Obama's old Senate seat in January 2009.

• Buckshot: Not only did she become Burris' deputy chief of staff, but she abruptly resigned in February. Quoth Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor: "I can confirm Vera Baker worked for us for a year."

• Update: "She [Baker] came with a pretty impressive resume, and we were naturally impressed," a Burris source said.

• Upshot: "But it wasn't an Obama suggestion to hire her," he added. "It was a friend of Burris who suggested it. . . . I don't think Roland even knew her personal background, just that she knew her way around Washington . . . and he needed all the help he could get."

• Top shot: A top Sneed source claims Baker informed Burris staffers shortly after she was hired about why she lost her Obama job, wanting to prepare them for any fallout. "She claims she lost her job and Michelle Obama had an issue with her closeness to her husband and ended up losing her job . . . and she subsequently moved to the island of Martinique. She never said she had an affair with Obama, but she did say they were very close."

• The kicker: Baker was also the executive producer of a play in D.C. called the "Obamanologues," the story of Obama's journey to the White House. - Chicago Sun-Times
I wonder, if there was nothing bad going on between her and Obama, why would she have to warn her new employer against possible fallout for hiring her? What, was she banned from working in DC by Mrs Obama?

This seems all too strange and something tells me that it is about to get stranger. Better yet, it sounds like Vera Baker has been hanging around Washington, DC and not hiding in exile in the Caribbean.

Assuming that there was no inappropriate behavior, I feel sorry for her. then again, it is not like the press are hounding her down for answers...

Quick Update:

HillBuzz says that there are no legs to the Vera Baker rumors, but adds:
We never believed Obama had an affair with a woman, because Obama does not appear to like women.

As American Standard recently wondered, there are no former girlfriends, either on the scene or noted in any of the books William Ayers or Jon Favreau wrote for Obama. No high school girlfriends. No college sweethearts. But, there sure are plenty of men he’s spent an odd amount of time with.

Baker was a red herring in the campaign — but it was strange she disappeared to Martinique. We have no idea what she was doing down there, but she’s one of the top fundraisers for black political candidates in the world. She’s smart, she’s the best there is in her field, and she’s actually a very nice lady.


There’s been a huge uptick in searches for “Vera Baker” on Google in the last two days, and we could not figure out why — until we saw that Globe magazine is running the old Obama affair story again. There’s nothing new to report — Globe’s just rehashing the same story from 2008, but now alleging Baker was given a job with Roland Burris as some sort of hush money to keep from talking about an affair with Obama.

That’s ridiculous.

Baker works for Burris because she’s damn good at what she does, is incredibly bright, and Baker’s well-connected with Burris’ team in Chicago. And, we repeat, she did not have an affair with Obama

This is all really suspicious, though, because during the campaign we truly believe the Obama team pushed the Baker affair story because they wanted people not to talk about Obama’s gay relationships.

Larry Sinclair, Reggie Jones, Kal Penn, Donald Young, nameless men at Man’s Country. You name it.

Who’s pushing the Baker business now, and why? Is there a himbo eruption coming for the White House, so they want to preemptively start rumors the current president is such a stud he’s bedding down a woman like Baker?

Could this have anything to do with the fact that, surreally, even people like Maureen Dowd have been hinting at a sexual relationship between Obama and his “basketball buddy” and “body man” Reggie Love…or is it linked to Kal Penn’s firing?

Is Penn threatening to talk?

Was he really robbed at gunpoint coincidentally in Dupont Circle, or was someone sending Penn a message not to talk about what went on with Obama?

It wouldn’t be the first time a man romantically linked to this president found himself in front of the business end of the gun.

Curiouser and curiouser. - Hill Buzz
you know, I am not the right kind of person to write about this kind of crap. Guess I need to get back into the swing of writing about things that matter to me. It just caught me by surprise when my Google news search alert noted new news about Vera Baker. Guess my 'new' house renovation projects are rotting my brain.

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Monday, May 3

The Times Square Bomber Should be Executed

I suspect that the Times Square bomber will be caught shortly.

Once he is caught, he should face charges that will result in the death penalty.

After all, despite the bomb being a dud, he fully expected it to go off and kill people. He should not be rewarded with a lesser sentence simply because his bomb did not explode as intended.

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