Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Pirates vs. the Terrorists

The kingly office is entitled to no respect. It was originally procured by the highwayman's methods; it remains a perpetuated crime, can never be anything but the symbol of a crime. It is no more entitled to respect than is the flag of a pirate.

- Mark Twain
The Pirates vs. The Terrorists
pirate (p?'r?t)

1. One who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without commission from a sovereign nation.
2. A ship used for this purpose.
3. One who preys on others; a plunderer.

* and what happens when the sovereign nation becomes the pirate?

The pirate known as Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, paving the way for an era of European colonialism in the Muslim world during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The pirates of France went on to colonize Algeria while the pirates of Britain ruled Egypt.The slow death of colonialism in the Muslim world culminated in the founding of many nation-states in the Middle East. Every sheik that was propped up, by outside political intervention, as King in their respective Middle Eastern nation-state was a pirate in royal disguise.

On June 21, 2001, a federal grand jury in the United States indicted 13 Saudi Arabian nationals and one Lebanese national in connection with the truck bombing that killed 19 members of the American military services and wounded nearly 400 others in an apartment building in Saudi Arabia in 1996. The building was being used as a barracks for U.S. military service personnel. The bombing allegedly was pursuant to an organized terrorist agenda designed to drive Americans out of the Persian Gulf region.

The pirates of the Saudi Arabian government had asserted that the pirates of the United States had had no right to prosecute persons involved in an incident that occurred in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian Defense Minister was quoted, at the time, as saying that any legal steps in the case would have fallen "within the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia." The Interior Minister had been quoted as saying, "No other entity has the right to try or investigate any crimes occurring on Saudi lands."

Even though the pirates of the United States could not assert jurisdiction under either the territorial or the nationality principle back in July, 2001, it would have some arguments for concurrent jurisdiction. First, the U.S. could have argued that the bombing was an act of terrorism of a type so universally condemned that any nation-state may have prohibited it and may have prosecuted its perpetrators if they could have been brought into its custody. In early 2001, this "universal" basis of jurisdiction was already generally recognized for such acts as piracy, slave trade, genocide, attacks on civil aircraft and war crimes, but it has not been quite as widely accepted for acts of terrorism.

September 11, 2001 would forever change the option for the pirates of Saudi Arabia to hide their cruel form of government (and their murderous criminals) from the greater public eye. Out of the 19 hijackers who rammed planes into the World Trade Center towers, 15 were Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabian pirate-royalty could no longer deny they had a major problem with their own unwashed peasantry.

On a sad note, President Clinton had gone to the U.S. Senate and stressed the importance of the U.S. ratification of the U.N. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1997. As of July 2001, 59 nation-states had signed and 24 of them had ratified; the United States had signed but had still not ratified. Saudi Arabia had not ratified, either. What was the hold-up? Did both nations feel they were "above" the rule of law? (Note: The U.S. finally ratified on June 26, 2002).

So, what did America's own little King George and his pirate administration say after 9/11?

They told us that the war on terror was a "fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom." This included Jordan, who is a pirate-monarchy propped up by security forces that have committed "extrajudicial killings." It included the Saudi royal-pirate family who "prohibit the establishment of political parties" and enforce "a rigorously conservative form of Islam" through "religious police." It included the pirates of Egypt, whose security forces arbitrarily arrest and torture people in the name of "combating terrorism."

As Robert Fisk said about this week's terror attack on London,
"we go on pretending that Britain's [and the U.S.] enemies want to destroy "what we hold dear" (which encourages racism)..what we are confronting here is a specific, direct, centralised attack on London as a result of a "war on terror" which Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara has locked us into. Just before the US presidential elections, Bin Laden asked: "Why do we not attack Sweden?"
I suppose Sweden hasn't resorted to sovereign piracy just yet. Perhaps Tony Blair has decided that his nation should join the pirates, after years of Britain trying to shake the plundering image. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, as they say.

So..what did the pirates of the Bush administration do after 9/11?

They continued to thumb their noses at the UN and invaded Iraq, naturally. (?)
(Clue: pirates plunder)

Pirates don't "do" the U.N. and the terrorists are whoever the pirates decide who the terrorists will be on any given day.

This war is between the "Pirates" and the "Terrorists." We're caught in the middle. In piracy and in terror, our brother's poverty, human rights, truth, honesty, and international law are not recognized. There's a third faction out here - which are the majority of everyday people from all around this world - who are concerned about the truth, the rule of law and human rights. We don't seem to count anymore - and if we get too loud, who knows? We might wake up to find that we, good and decent people, have been labeled as terrorists ourselves one of these days, if some on the radical right wing have their way.

I don't want to be a pirate. Do you?
That's not what being a patriot in a nation of free individuals is all about.
I am not a cheerleader for the neocon pirates of Halliburton.
At the same time, I'd like the "terrorists" to f**k off and leave my civilization alone.

We're Not Afraid!

The U.S. you see today bears strikingly little resemblance to the dream plotted out by the Founding Fathers. Enjoy the 21st century. The bridge that once led to it has burned behind you, along with all the hopes and dreams that lined the other side.

If there's one thing I'll never lose faith in, however, it's my faith in the innate goodness of my fellow man. No pirate can steal our hope. No terrorist can kill love.