The Real Pirates of Somalia


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Bron:Forbidden Knowledge TV

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Afrika, Geografisch

(Earth Matters) De "Piraten van Somalie", wie zijn ze, wat is de achtergrond geschiedenis, wat zijn hun beweegredenen en wie zijn nu eigenlijk de echte piraten? (Braziliaanse documentaire, nederlandse ondertiteling).

(Forbidden Knowledge TV) This film charts the shocking events, which led to the heretofore unknown phenomenon of Somalian Pirates, whose fame was recently given the Hollywood treatment, in a film starring Tom Hanks.

The saga begins with a classic US covert military coup of the country of Somalia in 1969, with the installation of the puppet dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre. The motives behind this were due to Somalia's strategic location, along the sea lanes through which most Middle Eastern Crude is distributed, worldwide.

This dictatorial regime was finally ended after 3 years of civil war in 1991 when Barre was forced to flee the country. The civil war between 1988-1991 had devastating consequences for the Somalian people, killing than 300,000, with one and a half million people displaced and a terrible famine that affected the whole country, made worse by a prolonged drought. 

The dictator's departure did not bring about peace and Somalia descended into a clan warfare, which has not stopped since. At present, the government cannot even maintain control of its own capital city and Somalia is considered the most dangerous country in the world. 

Fishing ships from various industrialized countries in Europe, the US and China then began to take advantage of this chaotic situation, practicing a kind of fishing labeled I.U.U. Illegal, Undeclared, Unregulated. Their incessant and uncontrolled activity, employing methods of fishing that are prohibited in other regions of the world is depleting the fish reserves of a country that lacks the authority and resources to protect its coasts.

Currently, more than 800 ships from different countries are fishing in this zone. It is estimated that the income generated by the illegal fishing amounts to more than 450 million dollars. Tuna fishing has experienced a vertiginous and unsustainable increase in the last 10 years.

The tuna fleet alone, comprised of Spanish ships, with 60% of the catch and French ships, with 40%, who, poaching illegally in Somalian waters take approximately 500,000 tons of tuna each year. These fishing fleets from two powerful countries in the European Union are in the lead, as far as this criminal mass-poaching is concerned, which has further accelerated the impoverishment of one of the most miserable regions of the world. 

They are robbing the local population of its principal source of protein, while destroying the local fishermen's way of life and their ability to sustain themselves, bringing about an intractably hopeless situation, without remedy, to a fragile country in agony and almost dead from starvation.

Since 1990, the Somalian community has protested repeatedly before the United Nations and before many intergovernmental organizations. Somalia's protests have never been listened to or given any importance, The United Nations Monitoring Group for Somalia has also documented and mentioned the systematic depredation of the zone in its reports on the foreign fishing fleets. The United Nations doesn't even listen to its own advisors and has done absolutely nothing to stop the looting. But the nightmare doesn't end there: 

Since the fall of the government in 1991, other ships began to appear near the Somalian coast. Their activities were more mysterious. The ships would enter Somalia's territorial waters, throw barrels into the sea, and leave. This suspicious activity further alarmed the Somalian fishermen, who, lacking any other support, tried on their own to dissuade the carriers who engage in this dumping. They've been unsuccessful and the dumping has continued unbated for 14 years.

The contents of these barrels remained a mystery until the end of 2004 - the year in which a terrible tsunami struck Southeast Asia. When the tsunami reached Somalia, hundreds of barrels landed on the coast and many barrels broke open and began to leak upon the beaches. The people in the area became sick with respiratory infections, intestinal hemorrhages, strange chemical reactions on the skin and more than 300 sudden deaths, causing great alarm to the population. After a time, babies began to be born with severe birth defects and a range of illnesses. 

Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations environmental program has stated that when the barrels were broken by the strength of the tsunami, they brought to light an appalling activity: Somalia has been being used as a dumping ground for toxic wastes since the beginning of the '90s and which has continued, non-stop, since that country's the civil war.

The toxic trash is of comprised of several different varieties: principally, radioactive uranium and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also hospital and industrial waste, chemical wastes and others, which the filmmaker does not care to name, at this time.

The most alarming factor is the dumping of nuclear waste. The radioactive waste is killing the Somalian people and is totally destroying the oceans. Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, The United Nations special representative to Somalia declared to Al-Jazeera that dumping of toxic wastes continues to take place into the present time. The diplomat affirmed that he had reliable information proving that European and Asiatic corporations are dumping the chemicals and nuclear wastes on the Somalian coasts. Yes, the United Nations sent representatives to observe the catastrophe and without any more thought, the chapter was closed. 

At the moment, there hasn't been a single trial, detention, or sentence for the these criminal acts And, this does not only occur in Somalia. The waters of other African countries, like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Congo, and Benin are also used by industrialized nations as dumping grounds for toxic wastes. In 2001 alone, 600,000 tons of toxic wastes arrived in Africa: The African continent has been converted into the dumping ground for radioactive wastes generated by rich countries 

Somalia, is a devastated country that is starving to death, with rich countries flocking in to snatch away the fish and on the way, they contaminate the country's waters with toxic and nuclear waste: This is the context in which the men that some call "pirates" appeared. 

Presented with this situation of complete defenselessness, some fishermen reacted in a desperate way. They begin to form alliances of small armed groups and using motorboats, they tried to drive away the foreign fishing boats and dissuade the ships that dump wastes into their waters. 

As one fisherman said, "Many years ago we used to fish a lot... It was enough to eat and to sell at the market. But then the foreign, illegal fishing ships arrived that many times dump toxic substances which decimate the fish reserves. I don't have any other alternative" 

They call themselves "Volunteer Somalian Coastguard" and they have the complete support of the local population According to a survey, 70% of the Somalian population strongly supports this activity as a form of defending the country's territorial waters. One of their leaders, Sugule Ali, explains their motives: "To put a stop to the illegal fishing and the dumping in our waters We don't consider ourselves outlaws of the sea. We consider those who fish illegally and dump toxic wastes to be the outlaws." 

At first, no one took them seriously. The foreign fishing fleets continued to fish with impunity and the toxic waste dumping continues. Given that all of this is happening in a country that is armed to the teeth and divided into rival groups of current and ex-combatants, soon these groups joined the fishermen and this the erstwhile fisherman-based "Volunteer Somalian Coastguard" become heavily armed. 

Due to newfound weapons and aided by trained warriors, they began to see a lucrative business in the capture of these ships by creating the financial need for their rescue. As soon as they they began hijacking these these malevolent ships, the area began seeing a mass-clearing and the foreign fleets, who stopped arriving with such frequency. 

The powerful nations saw their lucrative fishing business threatened and themselves deprived of their private and cheap dumping ground for toxic and nuclear wastes. The United Nations, which has systematically ignored the Somali's complaints, began listening now to the countries affected by Somalian "pirates": Spain and France, countries with important fishing fleets in the area are heading the petition for a joint military action. This is how "Operation Atlanta" was born The mission brought eight battle ships, supply ships and surveillance aircrafts. 

Following the failure of the operation, its duration and budget was increased, with more than 20 ships and 1,800 soldiers. The approximate cost for this operation to the Spanish government amounts to more than 6 million euros per month The cost of the Galician and Basque tuna fishermen's private security forces amounts to half a million euros per month. The Spanish government takes responsibility for half of this cost, using the nation's general budget. 

Let's remember the definition of a pirate: They rob at sea, taking possession of that which does not belong to them. They carry out their actions, heavily-armed and on occasion, they have the protection of a nation-State 

But...Why do these fleets fish there? Can't they do it in their own territorial waters? In their own oceans? No. And they reason they can't is terrible: It's been completely fished-out. They have ravaged and plundered all their own reserves. The rich countries have exterminated the marine life in their own oceans. The marine ecosystems of Europe have been exploited to the limit, with the objective of maximizing profits. 

The marine species' capacity for regeneration has been destroyed in the European region; the food chain has been broken and species have now become extinct. According to Greenpeace International, at least one quarter of all of the marine life that is captured is thrown back into the sea, including dead whales, dolphins, albatrosses, sea turtles: They are what the fishing industry frivolously labels "by-catch." 

From the seas of the north to the Gulf of Biscay the Cantabrian and the Mediterranean, the habitat of many species has been depleted and destroyed. A professor of the history of political thought, Jose Carlos Garcia Fajardo, affirms: "Our European fleets went in search of the rich fisheries of Africa, Latin America and Asia. In many countries they benefited from unscrupulous governments from countries' lack of resources to defend their own waters or from fake corporations created for the purpose of exploiting the countries' riches. 

In the year 2006, trying to protect its natural resources, Senegal stopped renewing its fishing agreements with European Union countries - but it seems impossible to stop the European fishing fleets They mock the law, creating fake corporations and buying licenses from other countries and flying flags of convenience. One can purchase flags of convenience in a few minutes on the Internet for less than 500 euros. 

In Senegal, fishing boats have ceased to be useful for their intended purpose and now they are used to transport immigrants, looking for a better future in European countries. Ironically, they are flocking to the very same countries that have plundered their futures in their own countries. In Somalia, the boats can no longer be used for fishing and now they are used for piracy. 

The global conference on the Oceans announced that 75% of the world's fish reserves have disappeared. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also reported that 80% of the worlds fisheries are over exploited and 30% of all marine species are under the biological security limit. 

Taking all of this into account, many scientific studies calculate that in the year 2048 all of the world's fishing reserves will have been depleted.


Forbidden Knowledge TV

Geplaatst door Redactie Earth Matters

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