Piracy on the high seas AND here at home

by Steven R. Linnabary
Former Libertarian candidate for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District

I always get a little skeptical when I see democrats and republicans agreeing on almost anything. Especially when it comes to their propensity to ignore the US Constitution.

Recently, both the democrats and the republicans were cheering President Obama’s violation of the US Constitution. Article 1, Sec. 8 pretty clearly authorizes Congress to define and punish matters of piracy and crimes on the high seas. There is probably a good reason the nation’s founders included this reference.

There is nothing in the US Constitution that authorizes the President to order US Navy snipers to kill persons on a Coast Guard vessel (of a country we don’t recognize) in order to keep a Danish-owned ship from paying its toll to cross a section of water.

Why don’t we and others recognize this country? For starters, western nations then would be forced to stop over fishing (and depleting the food reserves of a very poor country) off this country’s coast. But that could mean paying a little more for sushi!

Secondly, it has long been alleged that many European and Asian countries have been dumping hazardous wastes into these same waters. Largely ignored by western media and human rights organizations, the issue came to a fore after the 2004 tidal wave washed tons of waste and waste containers ashore, particularly in the northeastern secessionist state of Puntland.

Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman had this to say “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.”

And still, the UN and it’s benefactors refused to act on the atrocities against the people of the former nation of Somalia.

There are currently at least four different operating governments in this former country. In the northwest is Somaliland, the only one with quasi recognition from any country (Ethiopia needs a port). In the northeast is Puntland. The south appears to be ruled by the Islamic Courts Union. And it is in the mid section (around Mogadishu) where much of the recent fighting has occurred between the ICU and the “Transitional Federal Government” (which claims all of former Somalia) along with their Ethiopian “peacekeeping” troops/partners.

It is important to note that it is very doubtful the nation of Somalia will ever be reunited, and for good reason. With reunification will come heavy taxation to repay exorbitant loans taken out by previous puppet regimes.

So it is simply easier for the rest of the world to ignore the people, poison the coastline and deplete the coastal waters of Somalia. Allowing the “Volunteer Coast Guard” to assess a toll to pass is a small price to pay, except for the occasional embarrassment.

You might recall that the “Faina”, a Lithuanian freighter was brought into port, on it’s way to Kenya. On board the Faina are 33 T-72 Russian made tanks. This is sort of an embarrassment because Kenya does not now, and never has used Russian made tanks. Kenya denies that these tanks are on their way to a Sudanese secessionist regime, which does use Russian made tanks. The Faina, after several months, is still being held.

It is easy to get caught up in a hysteria over an American flagged (but Dutch owned) ship being detained by a government that we don’t want to recognize. And hopefully it is hysteria (and not something embarrassing, such as campaign contributions) that caused President Obama to order the attack.

If the US Congress had debated these issues as authorized, then a different outcome might have come about. All of these issues should be in the open. I would love to see democrats and republicans refer to “uranium repatriation” with a straight face.

And we would not be seeing the President thumbing his nose at the US Constitution, which he swore to uphold.

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