A Load of Garbage

World piracy map produced by the International Maritime Bureau

Al Jazeera, I see, is furthering its reputation for impartial and balanced reporting from the Muslim world with this corker on the pirates…

Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste. The ransom demand is a means of “reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years”, Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates, based in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, said.

Excellent stuff. The pirates are actually running a clean-up agency. Of course, I wouldn’t be silly enough to run this sort of garbage without pointed reference to the fact that Somalia is largely run by thugs and gangsters out to make a fast buck and that any claims to be striking a blow for Somalia sovereignty are largely bogus. (A meek “While money is the primary objective of the hijackings” frankly doesn’t cut the mustard.) I know this, because a couple of weeks ago I received a snippy press release from one Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia, who warned us gullible journalists not to swallow the pirates’ propaganda.

Mr Ould-Abdallah called on the media to treat the pirates’ actions as unlawful activities and use the same judgment as they would in other regions of the world. He said journalists should not allow themselves to be used to broadcast messages from the pirates or help glorify their actions.

This is presumably a different Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah from the one quoted in Al Jazeera’s news story apparently helping the pirates broadcast messages and, erm, glorifying their actions…

“What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean,” he said.

Anyway with this sort of mastery of Somalia’s complex problems, I can only assume an imminent breakthrough in the latest round of peace talks in Djibouti.