They’ll Call Your Piracy And Raise Death

Talk about upping the ante.

Commercial ship strikes back in deadly shootout with Somali pirates

Private security guards protecting a commercial ship shot dead a Somali pirate Tuesday, the first recorded incident of its kind.

The pirate attack on the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan occurred off the coast of Somalia, and comes at a time when increasing numbers of commercial ships are hiring private armed security units to protect them during their passage through the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea. While US and French Navy crews have killed Somali pirates before during hostage rescues on the high seas, today’s shooting shows that the Somali piracy problem is potentially growing more violent.

“This could be the beginning of a violent period,” says E.J. Hogendoorn, head of the Horn of Africa program at the International Crisis Group’s office in Nairobi. “If [the pirates] see guys with shiny barrels pointing at them, they might fire first.”

‘Pirate’ dies as ship’s guards repel attack off Somalia

A suspected pirate has been shot dead as private guards repelled an attack on a cargo ship off Somalia, in what may have been the first such incident.

Guards aboard the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan returned fire after the ship was attacked – the third time in a year that pirates had targeted the ship.

The EU naval force (Navfor) said a team from an EU warship found the dead man after responding to a distress call.

Six other suspected pirates were detained by a Spanish Navfor ship.

The ESPS Navarra found one pirate mother ship and two skiffs. The mother ship was destroyed after the suspects were taken into custody, Navfor said.

Navfor spokesman Cmdr John Harbour told the BBC News website that he believed there was strong evidence to prosecute the six suspects detained.

“All the evidence suggests that there was a fire-fight,” he said.

Bullet-holes were found in the skiffs in which they were found, he added.

See also:
Security guards shoot dead Somali pirate in attack on MV Almezaan cargo ship
Pirate killed in failed hijacking off Somalia, EU says
Somali pirate killed by private guards
Somali pirate killed by ship’s guards in thwarted attack
Suspected pirate shot dead off Somalia
Private guards kill Somali pirate for first time
Somali pirate killed in cargo ship hijack shooting
In First, Private Guards Kill Somali Pirate
Somali Pirate Killed By Private Security Guards
Pirate shot dead in attack on UAE ship
Suspected pirate shot, six arrested

Well, maybe the pirates will think twice now that the stakes have been raised to this point. Finally, these commercial ships are applying the proper penalty to pirates that’s been accepted throughout history.

/the only good pirate is a dead pirate!

Turkey Trouble?

Ruh roh.


Arrest of top-brass generals deepens Turkey power struggle

The arrest of dozens of high-ranking military figures in Turkey over an alleged coup plan dating back seven years marks the latest episode of a power struggle between the Islamist-rooted government and the army, the bastion of the secular order, analysts said Tuesday.

In a massive swoop, anti-terror police Monday detained more than 40 people, including the former air force and navy chiefs, over a purported plan drawn up in 2003 to oust the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Until recently, such tough action was inconceivable against the military which has toppled four governments in 50 years and exercised significant clout in politics.

But recent reforms to align the country with the European Union, spearheaded by the AKP government, has reduced the influence of the once-mighty military.

Monday’s arrests constitute a “breaking point” in Turkish political history, said the liberal Taraf daily which exposed the alleged coup plan code-named “Operation Sledgehammer” last month.

“The republic is now changing. The era of ‘dictatorships’ is coming to an end. The coup plotters are being arrested and brought to justice,” wrote the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Ahmet Altan.

According to Taraf, “Operation Sledgehammer” called for the bombing of two mosques in Istanbul at prayer time and organizing attacks by soldiers disguised as Islamists against symbols of secularism.

The coup planners also allegedly plotted to escalate tensions with Greece to secure the downing of a Turkish plane in a dog-fight with Greek jets over the Aegean with the ultimate aim of showing the government as inept and justifying a military takeover.

The army has denied the exisence of “Operation Sledgehammer” and complained of a “smear campaign” amid a string of similar plots for a military takeover carried by the pro-government media.

Dozens of former officers, among them two retired generals, are already on trial over the so-called Ergenekon network, an alleged secularist-nationalist group accused of planning to foment unrest to pave the way for a military coup.

The probe was initially hailed as a success, but has since come under doubt with some suspects accusing police of fabricating evidence.

Government critics claim the coup allegations are a bid by the AKP to cripple the army and remove a major obstacle to a hidden agenda of transforming Turkey into an Islamic state.

Hugh Pope, a senior analyst specialising on Turkey at the International Crisis Group, expressed doubt there was a “witch hunt” against the army.

“Clearly, the judiciary is extremely serious and they would certainly not have taken so many high-profile people into custody unless they had an absolute certainty in their mind that this is a real case,” he said.

Pope acknowledged there was “uncomfortable evidence” of abuses in the judicial process against the alleged coup plotters, but underlined the investigation also represented “a process by which Turkey is establishing the supremacy of civilian authority” over military power.

Alexandre Toumarkine, a political scientist from the French Institute of Anatolia Studies, said the possibility of some limited form of military intervention in EU-candidate Turkey in the 21st-century was not pure fiction.

“The image of tanks in the streets carries such a heavy political cost that such a hypothesis is probably unthinkable,” he said.

Nevertheless, plans of more discreet military intervention aimed at “restructuring the political system in depth” have “germinated in the minds of quite a few people,” he added.

“We have the impression that they have reached such a level (of antagonism) that the army either accepts to withdraw from the political area or continues to prepare the destabilization of the current government to compel it to leave the scene.”

See also:
Turkey Arrests Military Officers in Alleged 2003 Plot
Officers detained over Turkey coup plan
Turkey arrests over 40 for plotting coup
Number of arrested generals in Turkey reached 50
51 military commanders arrested over Turkey coup plot
Turkey closer than ever to trying coup instigators
Turkey’s defence chiefs assess ‘serious’ coup plot arrests
Political tensions mount in Turkey over alleged coup plot
Army grilled on Turkey ‘coup plot’
Turkey army issues warning after ‘coup plot’ arrests
‘Sledgehammer’ inquiry divides Turkey
Arrests expose Turkish fault line
Turkey’s opposition leaders slam detention of military commanders
EU, US back ‘Sledgehammer’ investigation for Turkey’s democracy
A New Military Coup in Turkey Could Derail Protocols, Says Expert
Ruben Safrastyan: military coup unlikely in Turkey
Ruben Safrastyan: Events in Turkey may grow in to a military coup

/hmmm, Islamists versus Secularists, who to root for?

Why Are We Not Stomping North Korea’s Guts Out?

Just how much does Kim Jong-il have to taunt and torment us before we say enough is enough and obliterate the North Korean regional and world menace once and for all? Is there anything we won’t let them get away with, a line somewhere we’ll defend that they haven’t already crossed yet? After recently sentencing two U.S. journalists to 12 years hard labor, how much more in our face does North Korea have to get before we do something about it? What else does Kim Jong-il have to do before we finally push back, provide the fireworks for our Independence Day?

Japan warns that North Korea may fire missile at U.S. on Independence Day

North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile towards Hawaii on American Independence Day, according to Japanese intelligence officials.

The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles, would be launched in early July from the Dongchang-ni site on the north-western coast of the secretive country.

Intelligence analysts do not believe the device would be capable of hitting Hawaii’s main islands, which are 4,500 miles from North Korea.

Details of the launch came from the Japan’s best-selling newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun.
Both Japanese intelligence and U.S. reconnaissance satellites have collated information pointing to the launch, according to the report.

It is understood the communist state is likely to fire the missile between July 4 and 8. A launch on July 4 would coincide with Independence Day in the States.It would also be the 15th anniversary of North Korean president Kim Il-Sung’s death.

The Japanese newspaper also noted that North Korea had fired its first Taepodong-2 missile on July 4, 2006.

See also:
Report: NKorea may fire missile toward Hawaii
Report: N. Korea May Fire ICBM Toward Hawaii
Pentagon: North Korea Missiles Threaten US Homeland
Gates: Missile interceptors on way to Hawaii ahead of North Korea test
U.S. boosts missile defense amid reports of planned N. Korea test

Oh boy, we’re moving missile interceptors to Hawaii, just like we have for every North Korean missile launch so far. Will we intercept their missile? Probably not, we haven’t so far. Hey, I know, since we know exactly where their missile is, sitting on a launch pad, why don’t we really send a message to stop launching missiles and destroy it on the ground with a cruise missile strike, or would that be too provocative? God knows we wouldn’t want to upset Kim Jong-il.

Gee, looky here, after telling North Korea umpteen times that they’re not supposed to be proliferating weapons of mass destruction, they’re at it again. Why won’t they listen to us, aren’t they scared of what we might do in response? Apparently not.

U.S. Military Tracking North Korean Ship Suspected of Proliferating Missiles, Nukes

The U.S. military is tracking a flagged North Korean ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned.

The ship, Kang Nam, left a port in North Korea Wednesday and appears to be heading toward Singapore, according to a senior U.S. military source. The vessel, which the military has been tracking since its departure, could be carrying weaponry, missile parts or nuclear materials.

“It is believed to be ‘of interest,'” a senior U.S. official told FOX News.

This is the first suspected “proliferator” that the U.S. and its allies have tracked from North Korea since the United Nations authorized the world’s navies to enforce compliance with a variety of U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

The ship is currently along the coast of China and being monitored around-the-clock by air.

The apparent violation raises the question of how the United States and its allies will respond, particularly since the U.N. resolution does not have a lot of teeth to it.

The resolution would not allow the United States to board the ship forcibly. Rather, U.S. military would have to request permission to board — a request North Korea is unlikely to grant.

See also:
U.S. Navy tracks North Korean ship
Navy monitoring North Korean ship: U.S. officials
Navy monitoring North Korean ship: U.S. officials
N. Korean ship under U.S. watch
Source: Military watching suspicious NKorea ship
Navy Pursues N. Korea Ship; Tensions Rise
N.K.: Searching ships would be ‘act of war’

Well, it would be rude of us to board North Korea’s ship, probably carrying a cargo of WMD, without North Korea’s permission. Besides, the U.N. sanctions resolution, that we argued over for two weeks, doesn’t allow us to board North Korean ships anyway. So, I guess we’ll just follow it instead. I have another idea. where are the SEALs? You know, it’d be a real shame if the Kang Nam were to take on water and sink under mysterious circumstances.

And how does Kim Jong-il pay for all his nefarious activities that irritate us so and yet we do nothing about? He robs and scams us blind!

Warning: Counterfeit dollars from N. Korea

The Treasury Department warned U.S. financial institutions Thursday that the North Korean government may resort to “deceptive financial practices” to get around economic sanctions.

The advisory from the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network comes as the Obama Administration steps up its efforts to prevent North Korea from furthering its nuclear weapons program.

The government said it remains concerned about “high-quality” counterfeit U.S. currency being passed from North Korea and urged banks to scrutinize attempts by North Korean customers to make large cash transactions.

Banks should be wary of attempts to suppress the identity or origin of transactions made by North Korean clients, the advisory said. Money transfers made via third parties, and repeated transfers that appear to have “no legitimate purpose” should also raise red flags.

Global Insurance Fraud By North Korea Outlined

For Kim Jong Il’s birthday, North Korean insurance managers prepared a special gift.

In Singapore, they stuffed $20 million in cash into two heavy-duty bags and sent them, via Beijing, to their leader in Pyongyang, said Kim Kwang Jin, who worked as a manager for Korea National Insurance Corp., a state-owned monopoly.

Kim said he helped arrange the shipment and watched in February 2003 as the cash was packed. After the money arrived, Kim Jong Il sent a letter of thanks to the managers and arranged for some of them to receive gifts that included oranges, apples, DVD players and blankets, Kim said.

“It was a great celebration,” he said.

The $20 million birthday present and the gratitude of its recipient, who is known as the Dear Leader, were annual highlights of a sophisticated global insurance fraud that North Korea has concocted to provide its communist leadership with hard currency, said Kim, who spent five years as an executive of the state insurance company in Pyongyang and worked for a year at its banking subsidiary in Singapore before defecting to South Korea.

“This money helps keep Kim Jong Il in power at a time he is engaged in nuclear brinksmanship,” said David L. Asher, who supervised a State Department unit that attempted to track various illegal activities by North Korea during the Bush administration. “This is the gift that keeps on giving. It has become one of the North’s largest illicit revenue generators.”

In interviews and court documents, Western insurers, U.S. officials and defectors such as Kim said the impoverished and isolated North Korean government has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the world’s largest insurance companies on large and suspicious claims for transportation accidents, factory fires, flood damage and other alleged disasters. Still, recent attempts by international insurers to overturn North Korea’s claims have failed in British courts.

For years, the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies around the world have documented what they describe as state-sponsored criminality in North Korea. They have linked the North to illegal manufacturing and trafficking of drugs ranging from heroin to Viagra, as well as to expert counterfeiting of $100 bills and the production of high-quality counterfeit cigarettes.

Much less has been disclosed about North Korea’s international insurance claims, in part because they have been cloaked in legal settlements by firms with no interest in highlighting their losses.

“The exact scale of the fraud is hard to determine . . . because the insurance industry has been so gullible,” Asher said. North Korean insurance fraud “was absolutely something I should have been looking into more when I was running the [State Department’s] illicit activities initiative,” he added.

See also:
US warns banks about North Korea
U.S. Treasury warns on North Korea cash transactions
US Treasury Advises Vigilance By Banks Over N Korea
N Korea Insurance Scam Funds Weapons, Enriches Kim -Report
North Korea in global insurance scam: report
North Korea accused of massive state-sponsored insurance fraud
N.Korea ‘Made Millions from Insurance Scam’

We know what they’re doing to scam us and we can’t stop them. How do I know? Because they’re still doing it. The laugh at us and just ramp up their belligerence knowing full well there will be no consequences for their international outlaw behavior. They know that all they have to do is threaten us or our allies in the region and we’ll back down and do absolutely nothing to reign them in.

N. Korea Warns U.S. of ‘Thousand-Fold’ Military Action

North Korea warned Wednesday of a “thousand-fold” military retaliation against the U.S. and its allies if provoked, the latest threat in a drumbeat of rhetoric in defense of its rogue nuclear program.

Japanese and South Korean news reports said North Korea is preparing an additional site for test-firing a long-range missile capable of striking the U.S.

The warning of a military strike, carried by the North’s state media, came hours after President Barack Obama declared North Korea a “grave threat” to the world, and pledged that recent U.N. sanctions on the communist regime will be aggressively enforced.

North Korea chemical weapons threaten region – report

North Korea has several thousand tons of chemical weapons it can mount on missiles that could be used on a rapid strike against the South, said a report released on Thursday by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

North Korea in recent weeks has raised tensions in North Asia, responsible for one-sixth of the global economy, with missile launches, threats to attack the South and a May 25 nuclear test that led to U.N. sanctions.

The report from the prestigious non-governmental organisation said the consensus view is the North’s army possess about 2,500-5,000 tons of chemical weapons that include mustard gas, sarin and other deadly nerve agents.

“If there is an escalation of conflict and if military hostilities break out, there is a risk that they could be used. In conventional terms, North Korea is weak and they feel they might have to resort to using those,” said Daniel Pinkston, the ICG’s representative on Seoul.

The North has been working on chemical weapons for decades and can deliver them through long-range artillery trained on the Seoul area — home to about half of South Korea’s 49 million people — and via missiles that could hit all of the country.

“The stockpile does not appear to be increasing but is already sufficient to inflict massive civilian casualties on South Korea,” the ICG report said.

After decades of conditioning, North Korea has learned that the phrase “actions have consequences” doesn’t apply to them. They have steadfastly refused to negotiate or, when they have, they’ve broken every single agreement they’ve ever made. The only recourse left that will have any chance of changing their behavior is the use of force, in one form or another. How long will we let this oozing pus sac on the world’s ass continue to fester, hold us virtually hostage, and generally contaminate the concept of civilization?

/why are we not stomping North Korea’s guts out?