Friday, September 10, 2010

Further details emerge on the Magellan Star incident: Piratical Incontinence?

That is apparently what happened. Fortunately, Marines are made of sterner stuff than the average bear. So there will be no lasting psychological scars. The horrid details:

“As soon as the first stack of [Marines] made our way into the bridge, their hands were up, their weapons were down, they moved to their knees and they were compliant,” Martin said. “At that point, they were pretty scared. One guy actually defecated himself. … He sh– his pants. I don’t know if that can go on the news or not, but that actually happened.”

In the interests of preserving piratical dignity, might I suggest a steady supply of Depends undergarments be made part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s maritime raid force supply cache.

From the USNI blog: Gulf of Aden, An account of the recapture of the Magellan Star, by Capt. Martin

The very picture of professional competence. The ship was retaken without any fatalities, including pirates. Some funny episodes. Here's one. The ship's crew was naturally frightened, and had barricaded themselves against the pirates. The Marines had some difficulties trying to extract the crew from their hideaway:

Despite announcements I was making over the ship’s loudspeaker to the crew (in Russian and English), despite loudspeaker callouts made inside the spaces by the Marines, and despite a pre-planned arrangement between the crew and Captain Bolt (which was briefed to me, Cold War style, at 3 am on the morning of the assault, and involved British maritime shipping and insurance agencies, soviet-bloc code words and authentications, a Polish captain, Russian and a mixed international crew, Somalian pirates with hostages who threatened to “burn her” and a Turkish command vessel) the crew kept falling back to defensive positions, scared and uncertain of what was happening. In classical Murphy fashion, they lost their phone’s battery power the very minute we boarded their ship.

Deep in the engine room, Bravo Element continued to work the problem, as 1st Lt Williams and his trailer Marines rushed to conduct a detailed clearance of all spaces as well as augment the breaching effort. Alpha Element coordinated the entry of the US Coast Guard LEDET (Law Enforcement Detachment), NCIS, the Dubuque’s VBSS team and a constant resupply effort that was underway to bring us water, breaching tools, and the ship’s damage control experts.

They finally cut one last hole, and called in with our loudspeaker that it was safe, the Marines had control of their ship, and to please come out. The ship’s captain peered hesitatingly from behind a steel bulkhead, still unwilling to come forward. Sgt Chesmore ripped an American flag patch from his shooter’s kit and held into the room as a final identification. The captain broke into a huge smile and immediately called his crew from their hiding places. They ran forward, unlocked the final barricaded door in their “citadel” and were escorted topside. Excited. Exhausted. And happy to have their ship back.

As I walked the captain up to his bridge, he examined all the cut doors, and burnt hallways as we made our way up to the bridge on the 7th level remarking, “bastard pirates, they really did a number to my ship.” Walking behind him I replied: “Yeah. They sure did.”

Stop "Big Coffee"

Now, IF anything calls for governmental intervention, I would say it has to be the precipitous rise in coffee prices. Clearly either "Big Coffee" needs some regulation and price controls, or there needs to be a bailout for all the vulnerable coffee users who will most certainly feel the pinch of the shrinking economy and the vicious cold snap which together have taken a big bite out of the world coffee supply. It is also now painfully clear, perhaps too late, that we are far too dependent on foreign sources of coffee. There needs to be an invigorated effort toward increasing domestic coffee production. Victory Gardens? Window Box Espresso? Now, I know it's a tad inconsistent of me (conservative republican type) to be advocating some of these thing, but desperate times demand desperate measures.

The Detestable Julian Assange about to drop a bomb, while on the lam?

Found this via Wings Over Iraq, or rather the WOI Facebook page: It seems that an eager coterie of media outlets around the world, including un-named outlets here in the States, are about to cooperate with brave sir Robin, or some of his minions, in providing a massive simultaneous docudump of materials and stories concerning the Iraq War.

Remind me of what General Sherman had to say in a similar context.....

..I will illustrate by examples fresh in the memory of all, why I regard newspaper correspondents as spies & why as a servant of an enlightened government I feel bound in honor and in common honesty to shape my official conduct accordingly. A spy is one who furnishes an enemy with knowledge useful to him and dangerous to us. One who bears into a Fortress or Camp a baleful influence that encourages sedition or weakens us. He need not be an enemy, is often a trader woman or servant. Such characters are by all belligerents punished summarily with the extremest penalties, not because they are of themselves filled with guilty thought or intent but because he or she endangers the safety of an army, a nation, or the cause for which it is contending."

I think it is at least defensible at this point, both morally and legally, for the U.S. government to make the case that Wikileaks and cooperating individuals within the U.S. military, like Bradley Manning are subject to those portions of U.S. law and the UCMJ that cover espionage, and that Asschapeau, his minions and those that turned over documents should be apprehended, and made to feel the full force of those laws. This man need not be allowed to travel freely and continue this dangerously reckless behavior.