India holds alleged Somali pirates afterfirefight
By Phil Hazlewood (AFP)
TheIndian navy and coastguard captured 28 suspected Somalipirates after a firefight with a “mothership” on Sunday offsouthwestern India, the defence ministry said.
“A total of52 men have been apprehended of which 28 are suspected to beSomali pirates,” defence ministry spokesman Captain M.Nambiar said, adding the incident happened within Indianwaters.
At least some of the other 24 men on board arebelieved to be hostages rescued as a result of thefirefight, more than 1,500 nautical miles from the coast ofSomalia.
All were found on board a Thai fishing vesselthat had been hijacked up to six months ago off the coast ofSomalia and is thought to have since been used as a floatingbase to mount attacks on shipping, a ministry statementadded.
Mumbai police said they were expecting to interviewall those detained when they arrive in the city.
Indiannavy and coastguard were sent to hunt the pirates after thecrew of a Greek-flagged vessel said they had been attackedsome 100 nautical miles west of Kavaratti in India’sLakshadweep Islands, off southwestern Kerala state.
Twohigh-speed skiffs were located in the early hours of Sundayand chased back to the mothership. Coastguard and navy werefired on twice, the statement said.
“The resultantfirefight was brief but decisive with the pirates quicklylosing any stomach they might have had for a protractedconfrontation and hoisting the white flag of surrender,” itadded.
“A mix of pirates and crew members being heldhostage aboard the trawler were collectivelyrecovered.”
The incident occurred near internationalshipping lanes that pass close to the Lakshadweep Islands,the statement said without giving further details.
Fifteensuspected pirates — 12 Somalis, two Ethiopians and a Kenyan– face trial in India after they were caught in the samearea on January 28.
They were also said to have usedanother hijacked Thai fishing vessel as amothership.
Piracy has made shipping increasingly perilousoff the Horn of Africa and led to the deployment of aninternational force to protect the key maritimecorridor.
Sunday’s operation comes after concerns voicedlast month by US Vice-Admiral Mark Fox, who said thatcommercial shipping was under threat off India’s coast.
Hecalled for counter-terrorism tactics to combat pirates asthey had extended their operations well beyond the coast oflawless Somalia and the reach of international navalpatrols.
Indian forces capture another pirate ship,52 arrested (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
Anti-piracy operation off Lakshadweep
In asecond major anti-piracy operation off Lakshadweep in10 days, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard on Sundayapprehended 52 men including 28 suspected Somali pirates on board a ship after abrief gun-battle near the islands.
The forces foiled apirate plan to attack a Greek-flagged merchant ship andapprehended Prantalay-11, the sister vessel of fishingtrawler Prantalay-14 that was also being used as the mothership by the sea brigands and was sunk by the Navy in theArabian Sea earlier.
“Naval ship INS Tir and Coast Guardship ICGS Samar intercepted the pirates’ mother shipPrantalay-11 within Indian waters after a gun-battle andforced the brigands to surrender. A total of 52 men havebeen apprehended of which 28 are suspected to be Somalipirates,” Navy spokesperson Captain M Nambiar said.
Officials said the operation had started last eveningwhen the Navy learnt that MV Chios was being attacked by twopirate skiffs some 100 kms off the Kavaratti island.
After receiving the input, Navy’s western command heredirected the INS Tir and the ICGS Samar, who are alreadydeployed in the region for anti-piracy operations, to rushto the site and apprehend the pirates and their mother ship,they said.
“After locating the skiffs, the two shipsasked the pirates to surrender but they fired back at us andfled to their mother ship. After the two ships tracked themother vessel, they were fired upon again by the pirates,”they said.
“The Tir and the Samar returned fire brieflyafter which the pirates raised white flags to surrender,”they said.
The pirates and the crew of the Prantalay 11have now been brought to Mumbai for interrogation by police andintelligence agencies.
The agencies will also probe ifthe apprehended pirates have any links with Pakistan-basedterror groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The pirate shipapprehended today is part of the Prantalay family of shipswhich are distinguished from one another by their suffixnumbers. several of these trawlers are known to have beenhijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, between four and six monthsago.
After the recent spurt in piracy incidents, IndianNavy and the Coast Guard have maintained increased presencein the central Arabian Sea to nab Somali pirates who havestarted moving towards the country.
India has been deploying its frigatesand destroyers in the Gulf of Aden as part of anti-piracyefforts since November 2008.
NAVY WARSHIP ESCORTREFUSED FOR YACHT COUPLE
Rene and Edith Tiemessenhad sailed with British kidnap victims Paul and RachelChandler (Express.co.uk)
(British) ROYAL Navycommanders have ¬condemned a couple who demanded a warshipescort across the pirate-infested waters of the IndianOcean.
Rene and Edith Tiemessen, who had sailed withBritish kidnap victims Paul and Rachel Chandler before thepair were snatched by Somali pirates, claim they have theright to protection as they make their way home fromThailand in their 60ft yacht, Alondra.
The Dutch couple,who are sailing with their two-year-old daughter Devi, wantto cross the notorious waters despite repeated warnings foryachtsmen to avoid the area entirely.
Britain currentlycommands Operation Atalanta, the EU anti-piracy taskforce,which has 27 vessels from Spain, Germany, Italy and Francepatrolling an area larger than Europe. Royal Navy commandersturned down the request because they cannot spare avessel.
Last night a Ministry of Defence source said:“We received communication from this couple, demandingprotection from a naval warship, which they want to ¬escortthem through a stretch that could take two or three weeks to¬navigate.
Rene and Edith Tiemessen had sailed withBritish kidnap victims Paul and Rachel Chandler
“this isa totally unrealistic request. the naval vessels ofOperation Atalanta have to prioritise their duties, andprotecting merchant vessels leave them with little scope forprotecting unnecessary sailing.” Speaking via satellitephone last night, Rene, 48, said: “We have been beggingfor help for months, because we knew we would have to makethis journey.
“but now they have told us there isnothing they can do. It’s like asking for help from thepolice, and being told you are not eligible.” Rene andEdith, 41, sailed with the Chandlers, from Kent, two yearsago. the British couple were released last year after 388days in ¬captivity following the reported ¬payment of a£625,000 ransom.
Killing Pirates: Dilemma ofCounter – Piracy By S.Rajaratnam School ofInternational Studies (RSIS)
The recent storming of ahijacked ship off Somalia by South Korean navy commandos,resulting in the killing of eight pirates, has met withconsiderable acclaim. the success, however, has not resolvedthe debate over international counter-measures againstpiracy.
SOUTH KOREAN NAVY commandos successfully stormedand secured the release of the chemical tanker, SamhoJewelry, early on Friday 21 January 2011 after it washijacked several days earlier by Somali pirates in theArabian Sea. Eight pirates were killed in the action, fivewere captured, and the master of the ship was shot in thestomach. in another equally dramatic raid, shortly beforethis incident, the Malaysian Navy successfully freed ahijacked Malaysian-flagged chemical tanker Bunga Laurel soonafter it was seized by Somali pirates. there was no loss oflife although three pirates were wounded.
Same Goal,different Approaches
These two actions had markeddifferences. the raid to release the Bunga Laurel waslaunched within hours of the initial hijacking and onlyafter the military was assured the crew was locked in a safe“citadel” and would not suffer harm. the action wassimilar to earlier successful operations to secure therelease of hijacked ships. For example, in April 2010, Dutchmarines released the German-owned container ship Taipan frompirate control. in a similar engagement in September 2010,US marines released another German ship, the Magellan Star.Both actions occurred without casualties. in anotherincident, the mere arrival of a warship drove pirates off ahijacked ship after the crew had immobilised the vesselbefore hiding away. the risks of casualties are much higherif an assault is delayed for several days. the pirates willbe better prepared to defend the ship and may be holding thecrew hostage after finding their hiding place or“citadel”. this appears to have been the case with theSamho Jewelry with reports that crew members were told tolie on the deck before the commando assault commenced. Therelease of the Samho Jewelry provided a morale boost for theSouth Korean military after last year’s sinking of thecorvette Cheonan and the North Korean shelling of a borderisland. the South Korean foreign minister announced thesuccessful operation at a diplomatic reception in Seoul,receiving cheers from those present. the action has beenenthusiastically reported by the internationalmedia.
Risks of Escalation
Despite acclaim forthe Korean action, it could have undesirable consequences.It opens up questions whether violent assaults should bemade on hijacked ships in circumstances when there are highrisks of loss of life to the assaulting forces, the ship’screw and the pirates themselves. Such actions could lead toan escalation of violence off Somalia. Already there arereports of the Somali pirates threatening revenge againstSouth Korean ships and crews. the international shippingcommunity remains generally opposed to employing armedsecurity guards onboard vessels passing through high riskpiracy areas. Reasons for this include fears about the risksof escalating violence and of injury to the crew and damageto the ship, as well as the uncertain legal implications.Similar considerations apply to military assaults on thepirates holding hijacked ships. Following the Samho Jewelryincident, the European Union Naval Force operating offSomalia said it would not follow suit in storming ships tosecure their release for fear of endangering hostages. It isa moot point now whether Somali pirates should be attackedand killed just because they have hijacked a ship. Ideally,Somali pirates caught in the act should be subject to propertrial despite the difficulties of bringing them to justice.the rule of law should prevail.
The storming of the Samho Jewelry wassuccessful but it could easily have gone wrong with thedeath and injury of innocent crew members. Seafarers arepotentially the innocent victims of piracy if violence isallowed to escalate in the fight against Somali piracy. Froma seafarer’s perspective, it would be better to be heldhostage onboard a ship anchored off Somalia for severalmonths than dead! there have been other incidents when crewhave been killed as a result of the military assaulting ahijacked ship. in November 2008, the Indian Navy sank a Thaifishing vessel believed to be acting as a pirate vessel withthe death of the pirates and all but one of the vessel’screw. in April 2009, a French military operation to free theyacht Tanit resulted in the death of the yacht’s skipperand two pirates.
Dealing withpiracy off Somalia is a vexed issue with widely divergingviews on how best to deal with the pirates. however, it isimportant that the international community reaches somecommon ground on the preferred response to a hijackingincident. Both the UN and the International MaritimeOrganisation have been working towards that end but withmixed results so far. the escalation of violence should beavoided as far as possible. there are now warships from manycountries conducting counter-piracy operations off Somalia.Some are coordinated as part of the European Union’sefforts or through one of the international task forcesorganised by the US Navy. others operate independently. Allhave their own national rules of engagement (ROE)prescribing how and when force might be used. Thesediffering ROE allow a variety of responses and this can leadto problems. the Koreans might argue that the release of theSamho Jewelry was their own business. the ship wasKorean-owned, on the high seas, and Korean nationals wereonboard. however, “spill-over” consequences of theaction should not be ignored, particularly with regard tothe possibility of escalating violence and of collateraldamage to ships and their crews. International agreement onpreferred actions to secure the release of ships hijackedoff Somalia is essential. Sam Bateman is Senior Fellow inthe Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam Schoolof International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity. He is a former Australian naval commodore withresearch interests in piracy and maritimeterrorism.
Hostage on Dubai ship seized by piratesdied By Carol Huang and Ramola Talwar Badam
Fathers of sixIndian crewmen whose UAE-owned ship was hijacked last Marchsay they will start a hunger strike outside the home ofIndia’s prime minister after months of appeals forgovernment help failed.
The six men plan to fly from asfar as Kerala and Mumbai to New Delhi to plead for help inthe release of the MV Iceberg I (*).
The small ship, ownedby the Dubai-based Azal Shipping, is one of the longest-heldvessels off the coast of Somalia. one of its 24 crewman diedin captivity of malnutrition last October.
Speaking byphone from Mumbai, Mansing Mittal Mohite, whose 24-year-oldson Ganesh is trapped on the vessel, said: “Until someonelistens to us, we will not move from the prime minister’shouse. I would have never dreamt something like this wouldhappen.”
Azal Shipping seems to have stopped negotiating,said Mr Mohite. nor, he added, has it sent the salaries tothe crewmen’s families as is customary in theindustry.
“We want our children more than the money, butwe have got nothing from the company,” he said. “Someonemust take responsibility.”
Azal Shipping declined repeatedrequests to comment.
The families have repeatedlypetitioned top Indian authorities for help. They said theyhave pressured Azal Shipping to resume negotiations, but hadnot received replies.
They sought an audience with theprime minister Manmohan Singh and sent letters to him andthe Indian President Pratibha Patil as well as otherofficials.
“We haven’t got any response from the Indiangovernment. Nobody is helping us. We are almost hopeless,”said Sunita Tiwari, whose brother Dheeraj, 25, is on the MVIceberg I.her family of five used to rely on her brother’sincome but now depend on his father’s less-substantialpension, she said, speaking by phone from Pune. her fatherhas retired from the army, her mother stays at home, and sheand her sister are students.
“Many of the crew membersbelong to poor families,” she said.
Ms Tiwari only learntof the hijacking after calling Azal Shipping because herbrother had not phoned for a few weeks, as he usually did,she said.
She then notified the rest of the Indianfamilies.
Mr Mohite said he last heard from Ganesh, theeldest of his three sons, last October. Ganesh asked hisfather to work urgently for their release as they wererunning low on food and water.
The other crew members onthe MV Iceberg I come from Yemen, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan andthe Philippines.
Somali pirates have in the past year spreadwell beyond the Gulf of Aden, which is now patrolled byseveral warships. instead of using small boats, they now use”mother ships” – presumed to be hijacked vessels – to reachthe Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
So far this year theyhave seized seven ships and 148 hostages, for a total of 33ships and 758 hostages, according to the InternationalMaritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre.
Nine of thoseships belonged to UAE shipping firms or were seized en routeto or from the Emirates. A tenth, the Korean tanker MV SamhoJewellery, was captured last month and then freed by a SouthKorean warship.
The expanding piracy threat has the shipping industryincreasingly worried. several executives gathered yesterdayfor a two-day international conference in Dubai to discussoptions to combat piracy.
(*) MV Iceberg 1 is a PanamaFlagged, Roll on Roll off vessel with deadweight of 4500tonnes. the vessel, with a crew of 24 and carrying a mixedcargo of general mechanical equipment, was bound for JebelAli in the UAE when hijacked.
UAE hosts globalsummit on piracy threat By Carol Huang(TheNational)
The Foreign Ministry [of the UAE] and DPWorld are organising an international conference to exploreways to safeguard shipping against the growing threat ofSomali piracy.
The event, set for April 17 to 19, willbring together foreign dignitaries and industry experts todiscuss a “regional response towards a joint approachagainst maritime piracy”, said the state news agencyWAM.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of ForeignAffairs, extended the first public invitations this week tohis Syrian and Lebanese counterparts.
“Piracy is a growingproblem that is having a direct impact on shipping lines andan indirect impact on the supply chain as a whole,” said DPWorld, the third largest ports operator in the world, basedin Dubai.
The conference comes as the economic andhumanitarian cost of piracy has reached record highs. Thisyear, pirates have seized seven vessels and 148 crewmembers, for a total of 33 vessels and 758 crew members,according to the International Maritime Bureau.
The numberof captive ships and seafarers is at its highest yet, saidNato representative Cdr Stein Olav Hagalid, speaking on thesidelines of a piracy conference earlier this week. Averageransoms now top US$5 million (Dh18.3m) and averagecaptivities last 210 days, he said.
The pirates havespread their reach from the Gulf of Aden into the ArabianSea and Indian Ocean, a much vaster area for naval forces topatrol. the UAE faces particular risk as a global shippinghub near those waters.
Nine of the vessels held captivebelong to UAE firms or had been travelling to or fromEmirati ports. Some of the longest-held seafarers, capturedsince last March, worked on the UAE-owned MV Iceberg I. Oneof its crewmen, from Yemen, died last October ofmalnutrition.
Firms based in the UAE, as elsewhere,must pay more to protect or insure their vessels andcargo.
The UAE “has been affected by this phenomenon,especially in the areas of exports and imports and theincrease of maritime insurance,” said Ahmed al Jarman, theUAE representative to the UN, at a meeting on the issue lastNovember.
Representatives of the naval forces that conductcounterpiracy operations in the region have encouragednearby nations to do more, even if they have relativelylittle naval power. “The region itself should take some kindof lead for actions in relation to capacity-building,” saidCdr Hagalid.
Several countries worldwide have contributedwarships, aircraft, personnel or other assistance to patrolthe threatened waters. most work under one of three jointnaval forces led by the EU, Nato and the US. others,including China, India and Russia, have sent warships thatoperate independently.
The UAE does not participatedirectly in any counterpiracy operations. in the US-ledCombined Maritime Forces (CMF), it contributes to a taskforce that patrols the Arabian Gulf, but not a task forcethat tackles piracy in the waters nearby.
Since 2009, theUAE and its neighbours have considered forming a pan-Arabantipiracy task force, but have not yet done so.
Gulfnations can help in nonmilitary ways, such as altering lawsto allow them to prosecute pirates, said US Coast Guard CaptMichael Lodge, the officer-in-charge of the Bahrain-basedMaritime Liaison Office, which advises the CMF and shippingfirms on piracy.
Many countries, including the UAE, saybringing pirates to justice is an important step, but theydo not have the political will or legal basis to do so. Somenational laws lack jurisdiction over suspected pirates orrequire that they be brought to court within a day – adifficult deadline for faraway nations.
Geographically,the Gulf nations were better placed to take on this role,said Captain Lodge.
“If they have a requirement to bringthese prisoners before a magistrate in 24 hours, forinstance, we could do that here in the UAE,” he said. “Itwould be much more difficult to bring them toFrance.”
Members of the shipping industry have urged Gulfcountries in particular to do more since they depend on highvolumes of imports and exports.
They had a keen interestin securing the oil trade, said one manager who declined tobe named. “They have a lot of financialresources.”
N.B.: the UAE could do a decisive firststep to show that they are serious to curb piracy by nolonger permitting the smuggling of illegal charcoal fromSomalia into their country. any charcoal export is strictlyforbidden, because the felling of trees for the charcoalproduction is the major cause of the country’s continuousdisastrous desertification. UAE flagged vessels and others,who ply the routes between Somalia and the UAE continue tosmuggle the contraband unabated mainly into the UAE and evenare part of the hidden networks of the Somali pirates aswell as terrorist groups with links to fundamentalistAl-Shabaab e.g. in Kismaayo or Baraawa – ports which thevessels from the UAE regularly visit. in addition the UAEhost the offices of numerous clandestine shipping companies,and critics say: as long as there is money to be made -everything goes in the UAE.
While India and countries likeSri Lanka have banned their vessels from approaching theseSomali coasts and there actually is an official ban alsoimposed by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia,ships of all sorts especially from the UAE are and continueto be the blockade breakers.
Without decicive stepsundertaken by the United Arab Emirates to ban the illegalcharcoal imports from Somalia and to stop UAE vessels fromdealing with insurgent groups in the South of Somalia, theUAE will not be cleared from accusations, which say thatcertain UAE circles play a doublegame. without clearing thename, the UAE must then also not hold a counter-piracysummit.
Somalia, Al-Shabaab and Preserving the HumanSpirit By Patrick Ross
Canadians were captivated bythe plight of Amanda Lindhout in 2008 and 2009. She was anAlbertan freelance journalist taken captive in Somalia.Speaking in Edmonton this week, Lindhout recounted herexperiences in Somalia, and spoke about the plight of womenthere. however, she did not omit any silver lining to themisogynistic cloud hanging over Somalia; hope remains.
Al-Shabaab translates as “the Youth”. this militiagroup has been credited as having taken control of vastportions of Somalia, and has begun imposing a Taliban-esqueinterpretation of Sharia law wherever they can.
Al-Shabaab would later claim that Lindhout had givenbirth to a child while in captivity, allegedly fathered byone of their members. They claimed to have named the baby“Osama”. (Apparently, nothing in Al-Shabaab’s favouredversion of the Koran forbids rape.) so one thing quicklybecomes crystal-clear about Al-Shabaab. They’re a veryclassy bunch.
(Note that they made the claim afterLindhout had been released. there is no evidence to suggestthat Lindhout ever gave birth to such a child, and she hasnever herself reported that she had been raped duringcaptivity.)
Lindhout certainly has great insight to theplight of women in Somalia, a land where no law wouldprotect the rights of women, even if any such law existed inany significant form. She nonetheless perceived many hopefulglimmers during her experience as a kidnapping victim; inthe rare kindnesses offered to her by her captors (suchkindness became more and more sparse following an escapeattempt), from the efforts that a Muslim woman went to tryto save her from her captors, and even in the youthfulenthusiasm of Somali children.
“I’ve always beeninspired by the dignity of the people there, and before Ihad ever even set foot in Somalia, I already felt greatadmiration for the Somali people, for enduring what appearsto be insurmountable hardship on a daily basis,” Lindhoutremarked.
“I’ll never forget my first glimpse of thecountry, flying in over the sunny coastline, white sandbeaches below, the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean, andthe breathtaking effect it had on me,” Lindhout recounted.“From the sky, it looked like paradise.”
“during myfirst days in Somalia the sight of young barefoot childrenrunning throughout Mogadishu’s war-torn streets wasincredibly heart-warming, especially considering that oneout of three children is severely malnourished. I was reallyfascinated by their ability to transcend the overwhelmingdifficulties of their daily lives through laughter, play andimagination.”
“I was deeply moved on my second day inSomalia when I visited a World Foot Programme feedingcentre, the place where 8,000 women and children go for foodsupplies, to see how kind and generous Somali women are,”she recalled. “even in the midst of famine, a young womanwith an emaciated baby on her lap shyly asked if I washungry, and if I would like to share some of her food. Thewatery porridge in the pail was all the food she would havefor the next two days’ time, until she and her baby wouldagain risk their lives walking through a war zone to standin the blazing sun, waiting in a line for hours for thattiny bit of nourishment. You never forget a moment likethat.”
Lindhout’s early enchantment with Somaliawould soon be wiped away by her kidnapping.
On day three,she and her photographer, Nigel Brennan, left to visit arefugee camp. On the way there, they encountered a carpulled over on the side of the road as if broken down. Thecar was merely bait.
Gunmen emerged from their hidingplace, and took control of their vehicle.
The youngest ofLindhout’s kidnappers was only 14.
Lindhout at firsthoped that her empathy for Somalia would convince hercaptors to set her free.
“I was still clinging to thehope that there was some confusion and we’d be let go,”she said. “That they’d realize that I really cared abouttheir country, their people, and the war that was happeningthere. but they didn’t care.”
“What Nigel and Irepresented to them, besides just money, was the westernworld that had failed them… They wouldn’t have been ableto represent Canada on a map, but they knew that it was oneof ‘those countries that had supported the Ethiopianinvasion of 2006. I would later learn that several of mycaptors’ parents had been killed during that war.”
The leader of Lindhout’s kidnappers was not what onewould expect. Approximately 25 years old at the time, thisindividual was well-travelled and seemingly well-educated.
Lindhout noted that the leaders of Al-Shabaab – likethe leaders of so many Islamic extremist organizations –used their knowledge of the world to manipulate theirfollowers, who Lindhout noted were “incredibly bright”.
“I was curious: what events in their lives had led themto fighting in such a militia group? the stories I heardfrom them were sadly common.”
The life story of eachshared common threads: each of them born into war, havingnever known peacetime. Violence, hunger and disease haveremained a constant throughout their lives, in a land thatoffers no peaceful job opportunities, and no opportunitiesto receive an education.
“Innocent young children becomeboth the victims and perpetuators of violence,” Lindhoutremarked.
The comparisons between Al-Shabaab and theTaliban are far from spurious. as Lindhout herself noted,the ideology that animates Al-Shabaab is similar to thatwhich motivates the Taliban in both form and origin:Islamist extremists import to Somalia not only their weaponsto arm Al-Shabaab, but also their warped interpretation ofIslam.
Lindhout seems to believe that the extreme povertyand war that Somalia have been subject to has made it abreeding ground for fundamentalist Islamic extremism. Thereis certainly a case to be made for this, but there shouldalmost certainly be debate over whether or not the Somalihistorical scenario is more of a chicken-or-the-eggscenario. does Somalia breed Islamic extremism because ofpoverty and war? or is Somalia wrought with poverty and warbecause of Islamic extremism? It’s not an easy question toanswer.
Lindhout’s experiences in Somalia may also shedsome light on what the greatest challenge for women livingunder the thumb of groups like the Taliban and Al-Shabaabactually is: in Lindhout’s view, the greatest challenge isthat of preserving the human spirit.
“The most difficulttimes were when my faith in human decency were lost,”Lindhout said. ”I could not understand how some peoplecould reach those depths to inflict that kind of pain uponanother.”
For Lindhout, the answer turned out to belearning how to forgive her captors for the abuses theyheaped upon her. She seems to feel that this has changed herfor the better, and perhaps it has.
However, Somali womendon’t really have the same option. It’s one thing forAmanda Lindhout, a foreigner who can be liberated by thepayment of a ransom – and for the record, she agrees withthe Canadian government’s policy of refusing to pay theseransoms – to adopt this stance.
For Somali women –and Afghan women – who cannot be liberated by any suchmeans, forgiveness does not deliver them from the abusesthey suffer under groups such as Al-Shabaab and the Taliban.It may help them preserve their human spirit, but it doesnot set them free.
Some of Lindhout’s current work withthe Global Enrichment Foundation offers Somali women somelight at the end of the tunnel. Through educationscholarships and now micro-finance, the GEF offers them theopportunity to bring hope back to what is otherwise ahopeless land.
But it’s important to remember thatAl-Shabaab, if allowed to spread its malignant dominanceacross Somalia, would turn out that light in a heartbeat.Amanda Lindhout is now doing wonderful work for Somalia –a land she can never return to – but Al-Shabaab poses aclear and present danger to her ability to continue helpinga land that desperately needs it.
The question of what todo about Al-Shabaab is not one that is easily answered. Ifthe western world were to deploy troops in every corner ofthe globe where this vile brand of Islamic militancy runsrampant we would quickly run out of troops.
Canada’srole in Somalia – which once included a peacekeepingmission (however poorly-planned and equipped) – is nowminiscule. Somalia is not on the Canadian InternationalDevelopment Agency’s list of beneficiary states. even ifthe government decided to amend this egregious oversight,it’s questionable if Canada could muster enough troops toprotect any CIDA presence on the ground in Somalia. Perhapsespecially when Afghanistan desperately needs the presenceof Canadian troops as well, and the Sudan may quickly needthem even more urgently.
There are no easy answers. ButSomalia doesn’t need easy answers. It needsanswers, period.
The Somalia in which Lindhout’sadmirable humanitarian work can best be successful is one inwhich Al-Shabaab is marginalized and contained. even ifit’s easier said than done, it still needs to bedone. If it isn’t, Amanda Lindhout’s experience willhave been in vain.
It’s lawful to kill whoeverworks with the Somali Govt and the AU, say Al-Shababofficer By Mohammed Omar Hussein (Somaliweyn)
Aprominent Al-Shabab officer by the name Sheikh Fuad MohamedQalaf has officially declared that the killing of whoever isknown to be serving with the African Union troops on theground and the Somali government is very lawful.
“It isIslamically allowed to kill whoever is working with thiscurrent apostate government of Somalia and the so calledAfrican Union troops, not only that they will be killed, butalso their wealth can be confiscated, their wives are willno longer be theirs” said Sheikh Qalaf.
Sheikh Qalafhas also added that these people can be killed at anywherethey are spotted at, meaning shot on sight.
The othergroup of people which Sheikh Qalaf has also mentioned tokilled are those kind people who lament that AU troops arehere in Mogadishu in a legitimate way.
“apart fromthose who are working with the so called government and theAU troops, the other people who should also be terminatedare those who are lamenting that the AU troops have arrivedin the country in a legitimate mandate” added Sheikh FuadQalaf.
He has also added that thy will continue thefighting in Somalia as long as the AU troops are troops andthe Somali government are present in Somalia.
SeveralSomalis who have been working with the AU troops and theSomali government have been killed in Mogadishu, where theAU troops are present, but so far nobody has claimed theirkillings, but this words of Sheikh Fuad Qalaf clearlyindicates that their faction has been behind of the killingswhich are related to his statement.
Donors wary offunding Somalia as crisis deepens, U.N. says By KatyMigiro (alertnet)
Aid donors are reluctant to fundSomalia because they cannot see its suffering forthemselves, fear money may be diverted to Islamist fightersand prefer longer-term solutions, the U.N. humanitarianchief said on Thursday.
“the world must not forgetSomalia,” Valerie Amos, the U.N. Under-Secretary Generalfor Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,told a press conference in Kenya after visiting the Horn ofAfrica country, whose already dire needs are beingcompounded by drought.
“We need to persuade our donorsthat this is a crisis and these are people that require oursupport. quite frankly, it is more difficult to do it whendonors aren’t able to go into the country and see thesituation on the ground.”
Somalia is entering its worstdrought in five years and faces a potential surge inconflict with the government’s mandate due to expire laterthis year.
Donors fear their money will be diverted toIslamist fighters of the Al Shabaab movement, who professallegiance to Al Qaeda, following a scandal last March whichled to the suspension of World Food Programme aid.
A localWFP contractor was exposed as a Somali businessman linked toAl Shabaab, illustrating that some U.N. agencies hadunwittingly allowed aid for needy Somalis to enrichrebels.
U.S. government anti-terrorism sanctions preventaid being given to hungry people in areas controlled by AlShabaab, including half of the capital, Mogadishu.
At thesame time, Al Shabaab will not allow food aid to bedelivered in its areas, saying aid encourages dependency, though itdoes allow some other types of aid in.
U.S. agenciescould face prosecution if their aid fell into Al Shabaab’shands, regardless of intent, as Washington lists it as aterrorist group.
“No U.S. aid is going into those areaspending negotiations,” said Mark Bowden, U.N. HumanitarianCoordinator for Somalia.
“It’s a concern that one ofthe major donors, which had a very good record, is missingand we very much hope those negotiations can be concluded toresume their assistance.”
As the drought starts to bite, the UnitedNations says 27 percent of Somalis need emergency aid and this figure is set torise.
Somalia has been without a functioning governmentfor 20 years. It has a transitional government with limitedauthority but under the terms of a 2009 deal, its mandateexpires on August 20.
“My big concern is thatinstability in the political process will lead to enhancedconflict and will therefore lead to enhanced humanitarianneed,” said Amos.
“Donors want us to be able to shiftfrom constantly focusing on humanitarian action, which byits very nature is very short-term, and moving to asituation where you are able to promote longer-termdevelopment and sustainability – and in a conflictsituation as exists in Somalia this is very difficult todo.”
Stress at SA security firm in Somalia ByRowan Philp (TIMESlive)
Funding help from Blackwater inanti-pirate war – but company led by ex-CCB man deniesmercenaries involved
A South African security company istraining an army to fight pirates in Somalia – in defianceof an order by the East African country’s government to haltthe project, because “mercenaries” are allegedly involved.
“Politicians ‘don’t want to have anything to dowith Blackwater’ ”
Led by former apartheid-erasecurity officers and staffed “mostly” by South Africans,Saracen International has been secretly training a”coastguard” of over 1000 members in the breakaway northernSomali province of Puntland for the past four months.
Asecond contract for Saracen to train the presidential guardand renovate a hospital in the federal capital, Mogadishu,has also been cancelled.
Somalia’s Transitional FederalGovernment ended the contracts after it emerged that anotorious US mercenary had helped arrange funding for themultimillion-dollar projects.
Now, authorities inPuntland are defying the fragile central government’s orderto end their anti-pirate operation with Saracen.
Thisweek, pirates told Reuters news agency that they had beenforced to flee one of their main bases in Puntland for fearof arrest or assault by the Saracen-trained troops.
TheSomali government has confirmed that “other Muslimcountries” funded the projects, reportedly providing moneyfor 120 bakkies, six small aircraft and four armouredvehicles for the Saracen recruits to use on patrol.
ButChris Greyling, president of the Pan African SecurityAssociation, said an accreditation process had proved that”none of the Saracen trainers” were mercenaries and labelledthe termination of the coastguard contract “ridiculous”,saying it would be a “boost for pirates”. Greyling’sumbrella organisation provides accreditation and fights the”stigma” attached to paramilitary firms.
The SouthAfrican company’s involvement has become the focus ofdiplomatic and political disputes, with a US StateDepartment spokesman warning the Somali government of theUS’s concern “about the lack of transparency regardingSaracen’s funding, its objectives and its scope”.
OnFriday, Saracen’s chief operating officer, Lafras Luitingh,gave the Sunday Times details of the group’s Somalicontracts for the first time.
“The (transitionalgovernment) requested training for the presidential guard,logistical support for the construction of trainingfacilities, basic training for a counter-piracy force, andrefurbishment of a medical facility.
“Saracen’s agreementwith the Puntland government provides for the training of aregional counter-piracy marine force and construction of atraining facility.”
Luitingh was a major in the CivilCo-operation Bureau’s apartheid hit squad where he was oncethe “handler” of Ferdi Barnard – the assassin ofanti-apartheid academic David Webster in 1989.
Luitinghwas also the CEO of the disbanded Executive Outcomes, whichwas once branded a mercenary outfit.
However, Greylingsaid Luitingh had won praise from the United Nations forexecuting UN security contracts in Sierra Leone and othercountries.
Although he would not comment on the reasonsfor the cancellation of one of their two contracts, Luitinghsaid: “We are proud of the humanitarian assistance work weperformed … such as rehabilitating and equipping ahospital in Mogadishu and co-ordinating the delivery ofrelief supplies.”
Greyling said the problem began becausethe Saracen deal had been signed by former members ofSomalia’s transitional government, and then reviewed by anew administration. “with their own agendas”.
The dealsbecame a political hot potato this month after a New YorkTimes investigation revealed that billionaire mercenary ErikPrince – founder of the notorious Blackwater securitycompany, whose employees were expelled from Iraq – helpedarrange funding for the projects.
Somali politicians saidthat although happy with Saracen’s work, “we don’t want tohave anything to do with Blackwater”.
Despite Somalia’stransitional government announcing that it had decided to”totally terminate operations of Saracen International inSomalia”, Greyling said Sarcacen ” haven’t backed off inPuntland”.
Meanwhile, Abdirizak Ahmed, chief ofPuntland’s counter-piracy programme, told AP that the regionplanned to defy the government order: “I don’t think it willhave an impact on the relationship Puntland has with Saracen… it’s not a (national government) issue.”
The Saracencontracts are also under investigation by the UN as towhether the Somali arms embargo was breached.
Luitinghresponded: “Saracen has sought to ensure that its work tofulfil the UN’s calls for counter-piracy efforts in Somaliais fully consistent with UN resolutions.”
- from theRest of the WORLD:
Somali envoy barred fromentering prison By Nation Correspondent
Somaliambassador Mohammed Nur wanted to visit more than 100 Somalipirates being held at the jail.
The diplomat was at theweekend refused entry at Shimo la Tewa Maximum SecurityPrison.
Somali ambassador Mohammed Nur wanted to visitmore than 100 Somali pirates being held at thejail.
Frantic efforts by the envoy to enter the prisonwere thwarted by junior prison officers who asked him tofirst get clearance from their seniors or the Ministry ofHome Affairs.
Prison sources told the Nation that theambassador was expected to visit the facility onFriday.
“there is no way we can allow him in on aweekend without orders from our bosses,” said a seniorwarder who requested not to be named because of thesensitivity of the matter.
Coast provincial prisons bossJames Kodieny could not be reached for comment.
Dejected,the ambassador left the prison for Mombasa’s CentralPolice Station where 14 Somalis are held for being in thecountry illegally.
The 14, whose cases have beenconcluded, will be moved to Dadaab refugee camp.
“I wasnot barred from entering the prison, maybe it is becausetoday is not an official working day. I will stay arounduntil Monday or Tuesday and try again … I wanted to seethem and establish their well-being,” Mr Nur said.
Theambassador observed that piracy would not be eradicated inSomalia due to insecurity and illegal fishing.
He urgedSomali refugees to obey Kenyan laws.
Death SquadsPushing Egypt into a Civil War by James Fielding andHoda Ali (Express.co.uk)
EGYPT was facing the threat ofall-out civil war last night amid reports that assassinationsquads were targeting top government officials. Securitysurrounding president Hosni Mubarak was stepped up afterclaims that vice president Omar Suleiman had survived anattempt on his life.
The “organised attack” was saidto have taken place as his motorcade was driving throughCairo a few days ago. Two bodyguards were reportedly killed.
Earlier, an explosion rocked a gas terminal in Egypt’snorthern Sinai Peninsula, sparking a huge fire that was onlyquelled when the gas supply to neighbouring Jordan andIsrael was shut off. there were no reports of anycasualties. the blast followed reports that extremist groupswere urging followers to attack pipelines to Israel.
In aday of confusion and high drama that left Mubarak’s30-year military regime close to collapse, Egyptian statetelevision first said he had quit as head of the country’sruling party, and later insisted he was still holding thereins.
The announcements followed the mass resignation ofhis executive committee, including his son Gamal.
Yesterday Mubarak, 82, who only a few days ago refused tostep down because it would cause “chaos”, remained holedup in his huge palace in the smart Cairo suburb ofHeliopolis, surrounded by armed guards, tanks and barbedwire.
In Egypt yesterday, reports that assassinationsquads were targeting government officials surfaced
He isunder growing pressure from the West, in particular the US,to make way for a transitional government. but last night USsources said he should stay on to “steer the changes”that were needed.
Yesterday the Egyptian army tried tosecure Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, where hundreds ofthousands of protesters are camped.
The square has beenthe scene of bloody clashes between pro- and anti-governmentgroups who have hurled rocks and petrol bombs at each otherover the past two days. Hundreds of soldiers stood close tothe Egyptian Museum trying to keep the peace between theprotesters, who had ignored a night-time curfew.Yesterdaymost of them remained defiant. Leading Muslim Brotherhoodactivist Gamal Hishmat said: “We won’t have any dialoguewith the current regime until Mubarak leaves. We are notseeking the ¬presidency as everyone thinks, we want what isin the best interests of the nation.”
Last night thesecond plane ¬chartered by the UK government touched downat Gatwick from Cairo carrying about 150 Britons who hadbeen desperate to flee the violence in thecity.
‘even the dolphins cry for Doc Gerry’By Agnes Prieto (PDI/Southern Luzon)
THE DOLPHINS werecavorting in Puerto Princesa bay that day as “Doc” GerryOrtega in his role as ecotourism advocate explained how itwas possible for tourists to be guaranteed a glimpse ofthese delightful but elusive creatures. in the past, onecould sit in the boat all day in the sea with nary asighting.
We had just planed in from Manila with BantayKalikasan advocates headed by Gina Lopez. Doc was BantayKalikasan head for Palawan and without much ado, afterdepositing bags in the hotel, hied us off to the pier forthe dolphin-watch boats.
“It is a wonderful play ofinterdependencies in nature,” he said. “one speciesconnecting with the next in a cycle of give and take.”
“the planktons that surface in these waters on certaindays are food for tuna fish, which flock here to eat. Thetuna fish, in turn, are food for dolphins that come aroundhere for a meal. the birds that hover also feed on thefish,” he continued.
“the fishermen see the birds,which guide them to the location of the tuna and thedolphins around the feeding area. the fishermen are nowequipped with cell phones, which enable tourist sightseeingboats to sail to the exact location where they mayappreciate the presence of dolphins. and such is the cycleof nature, which now expands to include the human andtechnological resources.”
Doc Gerry has been a pioneerin practical ecotourism in Palawan through which there isrespect for these cycles, the continued viability of natureresources is ensured, while allowing visitors to be educatedand to marvel at them.
The wonder of the dolphins becomesan appreciation of the patterns of nature coming together,presenting the bigger picture of the why and the how.
His vision of viableecotourism veers away from the big business model, whichcomes in with investor money and concrete structures,trivializing the culture, the beautiful sites as merecommodities for which they charge more money, in the processopening pockets of exploitation, that eventuallymarginalizes the human factor on site.
We headed forlunch at a small islet, which is also a fish sanctuary, allthe while listening to his narration of how communities werebeing activated to be tourism providers themselves, such asthe fisherfolk who now earn extra income from being marinetourist guides.
This was the marine model, which, as thePalawan head of Bantay Kalikasan, he proudly espoused.
Fishing and tourist boats proudly manned by fishermen andtheir families had been allocated for the task.
The next model was aninland manmade lake within an orchard in Irawan, off thecity proper.
It was discovered that over time, variousbirds endemic to Palawan had been coming here to roost. Amidthe mango orchard we sat, training our cameras on the birds,staying as quiet as possible as they swooped and dived intothe clear waters in the sunset.
The storks, the wanderingwhistling ducks, the Malaysian night heron, the purpleheron, the blue breasted quail, darters and more … theymade this their homing grounds.
Doc Gerry was privy tolittle private sanctuaries such as this off-the-beatentourist track. Born and raised Palawanon, he had his sightstuned to such manifestations. More than a school-learnedenvironmentalist, he had at heart an appreciation for and aconcern for the beauty of the land that went really deepinto his “pagkatao” (persona).
Our next stop was theIwahig River. It was dusk and the cicadas were filling thedeepening darkness with their own brand of music. this wasto be the firefly tour and the boatmen turned off theirbanca motors as we glided into that magical river bounded onboth sides by the mangroves, which housed the fireflies.
Points of light
The skies in Palawan are fullof stars, much more than we can ever imagine in the city.the constellations are all visible and in that boat ride inthe twilight, it seemed that these flickers of light thatblanketed the sky had actually descended to the level of themangroves, all the way to the river so that there was anunending vista of tiny points of light from the heavens,down to the waters.
Starlight and firefly light. Wordsbeggar the experience. Doc Gerry enabled us to understandthe ecology behind all these—that the mangrove supportedinsect life like the fireflies, apart from being the lungsof the earth, serving to filter off pollution. “If wecut away the mangrove, all the animal and plant life willwither away and die away. the fireflies will no longercome,” he prophesied.
We cap the evening with dinner alfresco and head off to bed early for the next day’ssights—the Underground River and a barangay in nearbyBacungan, which he helped develop as a pioneeringcommunity-based tourist destination. instead of big businesscoming in to exploit the nature attractions, he moved peopleto initially appreciate what they had, right in their ownbackyards and to open these up to guests.
“the natural hospitality and warmth ofthe Filipino makes it a cinch to create a wholistic touristdestination, which not only focuses on the local attractionsbut integrates everyone in the community to offer theirresources—their homes, their food, their gardens,” heexplains.
The result is a fiesta atmosphere that haseveryone from young children to grandparents putting intheir effort to welcome guests. the home-stay programsassure tourists of warm welcome within the bosom of thelocal families.
The integration process that happens whenpeople live and eat together, even if only for some days,has an impact unequaled by any stay in a five-star hotel.Memories are created and often, lifelong friendshipsdevelop.
Another community-based model is the Honda Bayfisherfolk ecotourism thrust. in the past, the fishermenwere wont to use destructive methods of fishing, only torealize that these had a long-lasting damage on the verysource of their livelihood. Doc Gerry had convinced thefishermen to protect the coral preserves that providednurturing grounds for fish propagation.
Thebeauty of a coral reef with gemlike colors of fish swimmingis unrivaled and, today, the tourist program in Honda Bayinvolves the housewives, the fishermen and their children.Not only have their catch increased, their tourism effortsalso add to the family kitty. They serve as guides to the 12islands of Honda Bay.
The remarkable thing about DocGerry is that he did not preach or scold, but moved peopleby his dedication and focus. His volunteers for tourismattest to this, young people and not-so-young, who realizethat Palawan can only be valuable as a tourist destinationif everyone took the effort and has the heart for it. Thereis no exploitation; only integration and appreciation.
Through volunteer work, he created a larger cycle ofinterdependencies centered on respect and pride of place,knowing the value of what one had, and the willingness toshare.
Now, Doc Gerry is gone. the cycle is truncated,the wheel of fruitful interaction, broken.
The seeds heplanted though, will flourish. It is the promise we make, wewho are left behind if only in gentle retort to his terribledeath.
Even the dolphins are crying.
(*) AgnesPrieto says she is a neighbor in Puerto Princesa City ofGerry Ortega, who had requested her to write about hisecotourism vision long before he was silenced by a bullet inhis head.ECOTERRA Intl. sends it sincere condolencesto the family of veterinarian Dr. Gerardo “Gerry”Ortega, the famous environmentalist, broadcastjournalist and anti-mining activist. Our hearts go out toGerry’s wife Patty and their five children Mika, Erika,Joaquin, Sophia, and Bettina.
Doc Garry was assasinatedwith 3 bullets of a heavy .45 calibre handgun in broaddaylight at a market place in Puerto Princesa City. Thepolicemen present in the area arrested the gunman, whosereal name is Marlon Bechavez Recamata, after the shooting.He fled the scene of his gruesome murder, but was corneredby people in a nearby parking lot. the assassin admittedmeanwhile to having been hired to kill Ortega.
Unlikemost of the murders of journalists, human rights andpolitical activists in the Philippines, where theperpetrators are never known, Ortega’s murder is one of thefew instances in which the perpetrator has been arrested,and he admitted to having been hired to kill Ortega.
Inmost cases, even if the identity of the gunmen is known,they could not be prosecuted because of lack of witnesses.Witnesses are too frightened to testify in mostinvestigations conducted by the authorities of thePhilippines.
Though Patricia Ortega, assisted by lawyerHarry Roque, sought the assistance of the National Bureau ofInvestigation (NBI) in protecting witnesses in the killing,they were apprehensive about the resolution of the casebecause a rich and powerful ranking provincial officialcould have masterminded the assassination. “Our fear nowis the possibility of a whitewash,” Roque said. Local policealready had bungled up in the beginning by naming thearrested shooter as Marlon Dicamata de Chavez, alias MarvinAlcaraz – which turned out to be both false names.
But thefleeing killer had been caught on CCTV (closed-circuittelevision) camera, which also showed that another man -identified as Dennis Aranas – gave the waiting murderer somemoney for lunch.
A P2-million reward has been put up forinformation leading to the identification and indictment ofthe mastermind in Ortega’s killing.
The “missinglink” in the murder case of Dr. Gerardo “Gerry” Ortegahas now surrendered to police late Saturday, 5. January2011. Rodolfo “aka Bomar” Edrad, Jr., who supposedly hasdirect contact to the murder’s mastermind, surrendered toPuerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and agents of theNational Bureau Investigation in Gumaca, Quezon. It wassupposedly Edrad who gave the alleged murderer the money.Edrad was also the former aide of Marinduque Governor JoseAntonio Carrion and a Marine soldier discharged from theservice following the failed Oakwood mutiny in 2003. He doesnot want to be brought to Palawan because he is afraid offormer Palawan Governor Joel Reyes’s men.
Also the AsianHuman Right commission believes that the murder was a resultof Ortega’s advocacies for protection of the environment,particularly the impact of mining; and that the arrestedgunman had been hired to silence him.
Everybody is awareof Ortega’s environmental advocacy, particularly thenegative implications of mining on the indigenous communityin the Palawan peninsula.
Ortega is a knownpro-environment advocate and has worked with variousenvironmental groups and associations on pro-environment andcommunity-based projects. He gained local popularity as awildlife veterinarian and became known as “DocGerry.”
The 47 years old stout defender of what isright, and manager of the Philippine Ecotourism Palawan ofthe ABS-CBN Foundation is listed as the 142nd victim ofviolence against media workers in the Philippines since1986.
Ortega’s murder demonstrates the ugly reality of theloss of value of human lives in the Philippine society. Thevalue of human lives has become only an idea rather thanfact because the system in which lives should have beenprotected is either deeply flawed or non-existent in itsreal sense, as ECOTERRA Intl. and the East African SeafarersAssistance programme also can confirm for the appallingmistreatment of tens of thousands of Pinoy seafarers, whoare treated like slaves by the international shippingindustry.
Ortega’s friends and environmental groups havealso launched a Facebook campaign (http://www.no2mininginpalawan.com) togather 10 million signatures to convince the President ofthe Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, to stop the detrimentalmining activities in Palawan once and for all. -jb
ASmall Cross Section of Species Extinctions 1979-2010(Earth-First)
Alaotra grebe (2010) Madagascar
Madeiranlarge white butterfl y (2007) PortugueseArchipelago
Po’ouli bird (2004) Hawaii
Spix macaw(2004) Brazil
Australian gastric-brooding frog(2002)
Southern day frog (2002) Australia
Zanzibarleopard (1996) Tanzania
Saint Croix racer (1994) VirginIslands
Lake Tahoe benthic stonefly (1994) California,Nevada
Ochlockonee moccasinshell (1993) Florida,Georgia
White catspaw mollusk (1993) US Midwest
Fresnokangaroo rat (1992) California
Chiricahua mudwort (1992)Arizona, New Mexico
Four angeled palea flower (1991)Hawaii
Curtus’s pearly mussel (1990) Alabamba,Mississippi
Golden toad (1989) Costa Rica
Little agujapondweed (1989) Texas
Amak Island song sparrow (1988)Alaska
Cuyamaca raspberry (1988) California
Duskyseaside sparrow (1987) Florida
Eskimo curlew (1987) NorthAmerica
Large Kauai thrush (1987) Hawaii
Valdina farmssalamander (1987) Texas
Bishops ‘O’-bird (1986)Hawaii
Narrow-leaved hoary pea (1985) Florida
Oregongiant earthworm (1985)
Rich Mountain cave beetle (1985)West Virginia
San Gabriel Mountains blue butterfly (1985)California
Guam white-throated ground dove (1984)
Guamcardinal honey-eater (1984)
Little Mariana fruit-bat(1984) Guam
Black spotted damsel-fish (1984)Galapagos
24-rayed sun-star (1984) Galapagos
Hoffmanjewel-flower (1984) California
Haha flower (1983)Hawaii
Breckenridge Mountain slender salamander (1983)California
Texas Henslow’s sparrow (1983)
Tecopapup-fish (1982) Mojave Desert
Giffard’s ‘Ohe’hedyleptan moth (1982) Hawaii
Emerald sea-slug (1981)Florida
Virgin Islands screech owl (1980)
Penasco leastchipmunk (1980) New Mexico
Dutch Alcon blue butterfly(1979) Netherlands
Javan tiger (1979) Indonesia
N.B.:ACTIVISTS WANTED willing to help any Somali species fromgetting extinct.
Bushcancels Swiss visit over arrest fears (PTI)
Former USPresident George W Bush has reportedly cancelled a visit toSwitzerland amid concerns that he couldbe arrested for allegedly authorising the torture ofprisoners.
The former American leader was due to speak ata charity gala, making the keynote speech at Keren Hayesod’sannual dinner in the city of Geneva on February 12, the ‘Sky News’reported online.
Human rights groups in the country,however, have been calling for the Swiss government toarrest Bush over allegations he had ordered the torture ofsuspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
Court officials havesaid criminal complaints against Bush have been lodged inGeneva, but Swiss officials said that he would enjoydiplomatic immunity as a former head of state, the reportsaid.
In his memoirs and television interviews, Bush hasadmitted to ordering use of waterboarding, which simulateddrowning, as an interrogation technique.
Waterboarding isconsidered a form of torture which is a crime underinternational law, and human rights experts say absoluteprohibition is very clear. Some left-wing groups had alsocalled for a protest on the day of his visit.
Even KerenHayesod’s organisers said they felt the atmosphere hadbecome too threatening.
“We didn’t want to put people andproperty in Geneva at risk. the gala is maintained butGeorge Bush will not take part. the criminal complaints didnot weigh in the decision,” the group’s lawyer Robert Equeywas quoted as saying.