Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Catch and Release? Great for fish, not so for pirates

Well it's Tuesday and there's more insanity out there.

Pirate release policy troubled Ottawa:

By Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Ottawa was so embarrassed by the "catch-and-release conundrum" involving Somali pirates last year that it ordered the navy not to take any prisoners unless they had an iron-clad case that would stand up in court, say federal documents.

The policy change happened in the spring of last year and meant sailors would stand aside unless they actually saw the "commission of an act of piracy, or armed robbery generally defined as illegal use of violence" on the high seas.

At the time, the frigate HMCS Winnipeg was patrolling the northwest Indian Ocean as part of a NATO anti-piracy operation.

"Only in situations where HMCS Winnipeg apprehends persons during its current anti-piracy operations and where it believes that sufficient evidence exists that could lead to a prosecutable case" would prisoners be taken, said a May 29, 2009 letter asking Defence Minister Peter MacKay to approve the new policy.

"In cases where HMCS Winnipeg has reasonable grounds to suspect that persons encountered at sea are involved in piracy but where no evidence exists to prove an act of piracy was committed, the expectation is that no detainees would be taken."

The documents were obtained by The Canadian Press under the access to information law.[SNIP]

It's sad isn't it? We are more worried about evidence to prosecute crimes then we are about safety at sea. Why should we be worrying about enough evidence to prosecute? After all we know that most of these pirates will lie their asses off about their activities. Small boats miles from shore, over the horizon actually aren't just fishing.

Well fishing for fish that is. There are so many pirates from that area of Africa that I would be shocked to find that there are still fisherman launching their boats. Most of the people that have heard about the lucrative money that can be gotten from piracy toss their nets aside, pick up RPG's and rifles to look for the good life. In fact, in Somalia there are Pirate Exchanges where people can buy shares in upcoming ventures.

The trouble is that the west has gotten soft this way. We try to extend our legal rights to terrorists and pirates. We should be extending the laws of the seas to these pirates. Usually in the past that meant a short shipboard trial and then a short drop. Until navies and governments of the world start enforcing this, all the pirates will continue with their actions knowing that they just have to toss all their weapons overboard and lie through their teeth. With no consequences they will continue on with their new way of life.

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