26 April 2009

Terrorists on the High Seas

Piracy has become a major issue off the coast of Somalia. This past Saturday an Italian cruise ship was attacked by pirates and was able with the help of their security crew to fight them off. There are two major issues going on here:

1 - The security crew was Israeli. A fact that only a few news sources actually mentioned.
2 - The concept of self defense was at play here.

We'll begin with the Jerusalem Post. No surprises here. The JPost article begins with this piece of information.
Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, the ship's commander said Sunday.

The Associated Press mentions the Israeli security in the third paragraph.
In a new twist to the increasing scourge of Somali pirate hijackings, the private Israeli security forces aboard the MSC Cruises ocean liner fired on the pirates Saturday with pistols and water hoses, preventing them from clambering aboard, the company's director Domenico Pellegrino said.

The New York Times even mentions this by reprinting the Associated Press article.

The BBC does not.
Capt Ciro Pinto said six pirates in a speedboat approached his Melody ship and opened fire, but then fled after security men fired in the air.

He said his crew also sprayed water on the gunmen when they tried to climb aboard using a ladder.

United Press International (UPI) gave a more detailed account of the attack but neglected this piece of information.
A group of pirates were chased away from an Italian cruise ship near the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean by armed guards, the vessel's captain says.

Commander Ciro Pinto of the MSC Melody said his vessel received slight damage to its port side during Saturday's incident when the pirates exchanged gunfire with the ship's security guards, The Sunday Times of London said.

"They tried to put up a ladder with hooks. They were climbing up, so we reacted. We started firing. When they saw us firing -- we even sprayed them with water with the fire hose -- they gave up and went off," Pinto said.

CNN doesn't mention the Israeli security either.
The captain of an Italian cruise ship foiled an attack by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday by ordering his security crew to fire back, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Six armed pirates in a speedboat attacked the ship, which had about 1,500 people onboard, ANSA said. They fled after the security crew fired back.

After all is said and done, it's just an interesting thing to note.

What is more interesting in my opinion is the concept of self defense. The AP article goes on...
But analysts say the unprecedented use of weapons by the ship's security force could make things worse in the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, where over 100 ships were attacked last year by Somalia-based pirates. In nearly all the hijackings, the crews were unharmed and were let go after a ransom was paid.

"Make things worse"! How? Having armed guards should be a deterrent to the pirates. Why should we be ransoming people that shouldn't be captured to begin with? Last year shipping companies paid 80 million dollars to these terrorists. Why are we not trying to improve the situation?

The pirates are getting better and better at their job of terrorizing ships in the area.
Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet, noted that the distance from the Somali coast -- 500 miles -- was a sign of the pirates' increasing skill. Until last year, the majority of pirate attacks occurred within 100 miles of the Somali shore but he said that last fall there had been a ''definite shift in their tactical capabilities.''

It's time for everyone to realize that self defense is a serious option when dealing with these terrorists on boats. The company that owns the Italian cruise ship realized this when he hired security for their ships.

Pellegrino said MSC Cruises had Israeli private security forces on all their ships because they were the best. Other companies should follow their lead.

23 April 2009

Obama, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today President Obama is planning to attend a Holocaust memorial service. All nice and good - except when you remember who he's cozying up to these days. Hugo Chavez, dictator of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad, president of Iran.

Chavez is an anti-semite and the Jews of his country are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and scared. Just this year the Hebraica Jewish Center was searched by heavily armed government officers looking for weapons and "subversive activity". A Christmas Eve speech by Chavez accused Jews of killing Jesus and being responsible for taking the money of the world.

In 2004 Chavez did the inexcusable:
Chavez sent Venezuelan security forces to raid a Jewish private school in Caracas as the school day was beginning, in an incident widely regarded by Jews there as a warning to support him or else. His forces terrorized young children, holding sub—machine guns as the school was searched. Of course, no evidence was found implicating anyone in the killing of the prosecutor. But the event can also be seen as a present to Iran, since Chavez was visiting Iran at the time of the raid on the school.

Things have not improved since then and things are just getting worse.
But the atmosphere has worsened lately, first and foremost because of Chavez’s increasingly inflammatory talk about Israel and its supporters. A television program called “The Razor,” broadcast on a state-owned channel, has featured lengthy rants about the presence of Mossad agents allegedly in the country working to unseat the Chavez regime with the support of the United States and opposition forces in Venezuela. The host of the show has also questioned the loyalty of leading Jewish figures to their home country. Despite repeated complaints by CAIV [Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela], the authorities have taken no action.

This brings us to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. We know all about him. He's a Holocaust denier and a man who would be happy in a moment - if able - to wipe Israel off the map.

Which brings us back to President Obama attending a Holocaust memorial service. How can we take his attendance seriously when he's being friendly with dictators like Chavez and Ahmadinejad. Perhaps "friendly" is a strong word - but we have to wonder what Obama is thinking when he is handed a book by Chavez and later seen giving him a friendly handshake accompanied by a smile. We also must think about his policy of "talking" with Iran. Iran is currently building nuclear missiles. Where will those missiles reach if not Israel? We must again wonder about Obama's foreign policy of "talking" with our enemies.

As Holocaust Remembrance Day passes for another year - remembering the 6,000,000+ Jews (1.5 million of those being children) who were murdered specifically because they were Jewish - we must do more than repeat the mantra "Never Again". Perhaps Jews 65 years ago didn't have political strength to make more of an impact to save their Jewish brethren... but we do now. There are no excuses to doing what is right. We must make it quite clear that political expediency is not acceptable when it comes to our brother's and sister's safety around the world. Not acceptable.

[This weeks Jewish Press has an article by Rabbi Avi Weiss who is currently visiting the Jewish community of Venezuela.]

20 April 2009

Brave Afghani Women Reminiscent of the 1920s Suffragettes

Rare march on Kabul draws angry mob
National Post
16 Apr 2009

KABUL , A F G H A N I S TA N â€� The young women stepped off the bus and moved toward the protest march just beginning on the other side of the street when they were spotted by a mob of men. “Get out of here, you whores!” the men shouted. “Get...read more...

What's most amazing is the amount of courage it took for these women to protest for their rights. And what is most pathetic is the lack of support these women have from the main national women's organization in the United States.

The largest women's organization which purports to care about women's rights is the National Organization of Women. The front page of their website says nothing about these women who are putting themselves in harms way. Nothing at all. In fact you have to go searching to find anything about the protest, and when you do find the Afghan women's protest - it is only a link to a newspaper - and not a word of commentary is found.

The law the Afghan women are protesting has three parts. According to the National Post article,
One provision makes it illegal for a woman to resist her husband's sexual advances. A second provision requires a husband's permission for a woman to work outside the home or go to school. And a third makes it illegal for a woman to refuse to "make herself up" or "dress up" if that is what her husband wants.

These are basic human rights we are talking about. The right not to raped within a marriage. The right to go to work - or go to school. Rights which we all in the Western world take for granted. It is disheartening - although not altogether surprising that NOW has lost their way. They've narrowed their mission. Rather than being
...the largest, most comprehensive feminist advocacy group in the United States. Our purpose is to take action to bring women into full participation in society — sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men, while living free from discrimination.

NOW has gone on to limit their actions to being abortion and lesbian rights advocates.

What's the point here? The point being made is that NOW, a group whose primary concern is supposed to be women's rights is in reality an extreme organization focused on their own politically liberal agenda. This is an agenda which does not include the basic human rights of women in countries where it's not "politically correct" to say that they are being oppressed.

These Afghani women who put their lives and physical safety on the line for their basic human rights are more in line with the brave women of the 1920s of the suffrage movement than NOW, Gloria Steinham or any self-glorifying academic who can walk the streets without a male escort or covered from head to foot in fear of being stoned or murdered. The Afghani women have taken their future into their own hands and thankfully are not waiting for those "feminists" around the world to come to their rescue. Otherwise they'd have a long time to wait.

This article can also be found in the New York Times. Watch the short video clip of the protest halfway down the page - it's shocking what these women faced.

I'm Back!

There are many exciting life events that sometimes derail your "normal" state of being. I just got married and moved to Canada. I'm now settling in and things are coming together nicely. It's time to get back to writing. Thank you for your patience.