Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirates say they’re collecting 'fines' for illegal acts

The pirates do not use the word "ransom." They say they’re collecting "fines" for illegal acts.

There’s more to this story than we’re being told:

1 - It has been reported that the Maersk Alabama belonged to a U.S. Department of Defense contractor with top security clearance.

2 - European and Asian ships are estimated to be illegally taking more than $450 million in fish out of Somalia's waters annually. It is believed that ships from the EU alone take out of the country more than five times the value of the EU's aid to Somalia every year.

3 - European ships are dumping toxic, and sometime radioactive wastes in Somali waters. It is estimated that the cost to European companies to dump the wastes on Somalia's beaches is $2.50 per ton compared to $250 a ton to dispose of the wastes in Europe.

Obama advisor Lawrence Summers — then president of the World Bank — recommended "encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (Less Developed Countries).

Mr. Summers argued that "the costs of health-impairing pollution depends on the forgone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality."

In other words, human beings in LDCs are worth less than human beings in developed countries, according to Mr. Summers' leaked memo of December 12, 1991.

The U.S. and Europe are making plans that could "open the way for more missions to hunt down the pirates inside the lawless country."

War, peace, and human rights

Today, April 17, on the 14th anniversary of The Wisdom Fund, we would like to draw your attention to an issue that has huge implications for war, peace, and human rights -- specially for Muslims, and mainly Muslim countries, and which has taken trillions out of the American economy.

That issue is September 11, 2001. The official explanation is just plain wrong, and we can prove it. Hence U.S. wars, and violations of human rights, that resulted from the official explanation of that tragic day, cannot be justified on the basis of 9/11.

We challenge any member of the 9/11 Commission, or any official of the Bush or Obama administrations, to rebut the evidence and arguments we present.

"9/11 Unveiled" by Enver Masud, founder of The Wisdom Fund, together with a 45-minute documentary bearing the same title, will convince most audiences that, at the very least, there is "reasonable doubt" about the official explanation.

Indeed a highly placed judge told us that we have sufficient evidence for a prima facie case.

We intend to make the documentary available free with the book "9/11 Unveiled."

We spoke out during the tense period following 9/11, and we continue to speak out now. We've scheduled a conference on July 11, 2009 regarding what happened at the Pentagon on 9/11. Details will follow.

We find it sad that we're not supported by Muslim "leaders" and the larger Muslim organizations. Perhaps they can learn from AIPAC and the Heritage Foundation.

Would AIPAC and the Heritage Foundation support our efforts if it were their allies who were wrongly blamed for 9/11, and we had the evidence to prove otherwise?

So why do Muslim organizations hesitate?

"With reason as your shield and the sword of love in your hand, Servant of God! the leadership of the world is at your command" wrote the Muslim poet, philosopher and politician Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal.

But this is an issue that reaches far beyond the Muslim community. The U.S. response to 9/11 has cost the U.S. about $4 trillion -- according to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard economist Lind Bilmes.

What's holding us back from distributing "9/11 Unveiled" -- the documentary, is copyrights clearances. We've obtained some, but we need legal advice on "fair use," and guidance on obtaining the remaining clearances.

Do support our efforts to get out the truth about 9/11. We need your support now. The initial legal review alone can cost $6000. The Wisdom Fund usually operates in the red, and is in the red now. And we pay no salaries, except the $1 per year to the founder.

So please give what you can, and give today.

You may donate online at our http://www.twf.org/.

If you prefer send check or cash to: The Wisdom Fund, PO Box 2723, Arlington, VA 22202 USA.

We are classified as a Section 501(c)(3) organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code. Donors may deduct contributions as provided in Section 170 -- employee identification number 54-1755689.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dump wastes on less developed countries — Obama advisor Lawrence Summers

Obama advisor Lawrence Summers recommended "encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (Less Developed Countries) when he was president of the World Bank.

Mr. Summers argued that "the costs of health-impairing pollution depends on the forgone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality."

In other words, human beings in LDCs are worth less than human beings in developed countries, according to a leaked, December 12, 1991 internal memo by Mr. Summers. Therefore, it is cost-effective to dump waste from developed countries on less developed countries.

A caller brought up the issue yesterday on WPFW Pacifica Radio's "What's at Stake" hosted by Verna Avery Brown.

Discussing the issue of piracy off the Somali coast on "What's at Stake," were Fred C. Ikle, undersecretary of defense during the Reagan administrations, and Enver Masud, founder of The Wisdom Fund.

Mr. Ikle reiterated the position he had taken in his article "Kill the Pirates" (Washington Post, April 13, 2009 ): "an inspection and quarantine regime off the coast of Somalia to seize and destroy all vessels that are found to be engaged in piracy," arming ship's crew, and blockading Somalia if the ship's crew were taken hostage.

Masud argued for immediately stopping the illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) dumping and fishing in Somali waters by Europeans and Asians.

European ships are dumping toxic, and sometime radioactive wastes in Somali waters. It is estimated that the cost to European companies to dump the wastes on Somalia's beaches is $2.50 per ton compared to $250 a ton to dispose of the wastes in Europe.

Mr. Masud stated that IUU ships are estimated to be taking more than $450 million in fish out of Somalia annually. It is believed that IUUs from the EU alone take out of the country more than five times the value of its aid to Somalia every year.

The pirates do not use the word "ransom." They call what they collect a "fine" for illegal acts.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Captain of Maersk Alabama caught up in the new scramble for Africa

Those Somali pirates—trying to stop illegal dumping and trawling, the crisis in Darfur, the war crimes charges against Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir, and the bases in Africa sought by AFRICOM are best understood in the context of the Great Game—the scramble for Africa's resources.

In January 1991, Somalia's president Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown by a coalition calling itself the United Somali Congress which then divided into two groups — one led by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, who became president, and the other led by Mohammed Farah Aidid.

Fighting broke out among rival clans, and food shortages became widespread. Pictures of starving Somalis were repeatedly broadcast in the United States.

In a bid to destroy the forces of Mohammed Farah Aidid, on December 12, 1992, the U.S., undercover of a "humanitarian mission" invaded Somalia. In the following ten months, 10,000 Somalis died in battles with the U.S.

"Colin Powell, at the time the chairman of the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the invasion a "paid political advertisement" for the Pentagon at a time (less than a year after the end of the so-called Cold War) when Congress was under growing pressure to cut the war budget."

The U.S. ultimately withdrew. The deciding battle for Mogadishu, the Somali capital, was captured in the film "Black Hawk Down."

It was a humiliating defeat for the U.S., and Somalia descended into chaos. U.S. support for warlords fueled the turmoil.

Peace was restored when the Islamic Courts Union came to power.

"Finally, after 16 years, the Somali people have decided to liberate themselves with the leadership of the Islamic court, said Sheikh Sherif Ahmed, Chairman, Islamic Courts Union.

"The Union of Islamic Courts does not want to impose a Taleban-style Islamic state in Somalia, says their leader." (BBC News, June 6, 2006)

But the U.S. had its own plan. On December 24, 2006, Ethiopia, supported by the U.S., invaded Somalia.

"The coordinated assault was the first open admission by Ethiopia's Christian—led government of its military operations inside Somalia, where—with tacit American support - it has been helping a weak interim government threatened by forces loyal to the Islamic clerics who control the longtime capital, Mogadishu, and much of the country. (New York Times, December 25, 2006)

"The real reason [for U.S. support of the invasion] is likely to be that the Ogaden region, which borders Somalia, sits on a not yet exploited gas field. (Daniel Whitaker, Observer, November 12, 2006)

When the U.S. role was revealed, support for the Islamists increased, and Somalia faced a new humanitarian crisis.

"A local human rights group put the death toll at 1,000 over just four days earlier this month, and more than 250 have been killed in the past six days.

"More than 320,000 of Mogadishu's 2 million residents have fled since heavy fighting started in February." (Salad Duhul and Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Independent, April 24, 2007)

The United Nations labeled it the "worst refugee crisis."

Winterpatriot.blogsport.com reported "the United States has intervened directly into the conflict, carrying out bombing raids on fleeing refugees and nomads, firing missiles into villages, sending in death squads to clean up after covert operations, and . . . assisting in the "rendition" of refugees, including American citizens, into the hands of Ethiopia's notorious torturers."

"Amnesty International has called for the role of the United States in Somalia to be investigated, following publication of a report accusing its allies of committing war crimes." (Steve Bloomfield, Guardian, May 7, 2008)

16,000 civilians died in this new conflict, and despite U.S. support, the Ethiopian troops were forced to withdraw in January 2009.

"Analysts had feared the withdrawal of the Ethiopians would lead to a power vacuum and fighting between rival Islamist factions.

"But at the moment all factions—whether they back the peace process with the government or not—seem to be working together." (BBC, January 15, 2009)

Now, the new "Great Game of Hunting Somali Pirates," may be a precursor to reestablishing U.S. control in the region—i.e. bases for AFRICOM.

The "piracy in Somalia has its origin among disgruntled fishermen who had to compete with illegal poaching by foreign commercial vessels in its tuna-rich coastal waters", writes former Indian ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar.

"At some 3,300 kilometres, Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa. With a fertile upswelling where the ocean reaches Africa's Horn, the seas are rich in tuna, swordfish and shark, as well as coastal beds of lobster and valuable shrimp. (Daniel Howden and Abdinasir Mohamed Guled, Independent, November 14, 2008)

"The pirates are actually a blessing in disguise. They provide an excuse for the administration to beef up it's military presence and put down roots. . . .

"When the Asian tsunami of Christmas 2005 washed ashore on the east coast of Africa, it uncovered a great scandal. Tons of radioactive waste and toxic chemicals drifted onto the beaches after the giant wave dislodged them from the sea bed off Somalia. Tens of thousands of Somalis fell ill after coming into contact with this cocktail. They complained to the United Nations (UN), which began an investigation. . . .

"In 2006 Somali fishermen complained to the UN that foreign fishing fleets were using the breakdown of the state to plunder their fish stocks. These foreign fleets often recruited Somali militias to intimidate local fishermen. Despite repeated requests, the UN refused to act." (Mike Whitney, Global Research, December 2, 2008)

The scramble for Africa's resources is acclerating.

"A US businessman backed by former CIA and state department officials says he has secured a vast tract of fertile land in south Sudan from the family of a notorious warlord, in post-colonial Africa's biggest private land deal. . . .

"He believes that several African states, Sudan included, but possibly also Nigeria, Ethiopia and Somalia, are likely to break apart in the next few years".

"Despite resistance from virtually every nation in Africa, the U.S. continues to seek a home for its Africa Command, AFRICOM. The lure of African oil and other resources causes Washington to devise various schemes to dominate the continent . . . a central Washington political thrust in Africa revolves around the Darfur region of Sudan [where Israel is collaborating with rebel forces]. What the U.S. really wants is regime change in Sudan, and control of its oil resources." (Mark P. Fancher, opednews.com, February 18, 2009)

Like millions of innocent civilians in Somalia and Sudan, the captain of the Maersk Alabama is caught up in this deadly game.

[updated article]