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Sunday, June 5, 2011


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STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN  AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 04. June 2011) ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine serve concerning the counter-piracy issues as advocacy groups in their capacity as human rights, marine and maritime monitors as well as in co-operation with numerous other organizations, groups and individuals as information clearing-house. In difficult cases we have successfully served as mediators.

STATUS-SUMMARY:Today, 04. June 2011, 23h45 UTC, at least 43 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 664 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple as well as a Danish yacht-family with three children and two friends - suffer to be released.But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.

Please see the 
situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE 
ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info. - see also HELD HOSTAGE BY PIRATES OFF SOMALIA

What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:The Scramble For Somalia

SG Ban Ki-Moon (UN) and President Ram Baran Yadav (Nepal) should resign and take the responsibility for 4,500 Haitians having been killed by a Cholera strain introduced by so-called UN Peace-Keepers into Haiti. 


Rumours spread by a group linked to the hostage takers of a South African yachting couple and distributed by a Somalia website turned out to be not true. 
The website had published that - according to unnamed local sources - the South African sailing couple Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari would suffer from deteriorating health and would be held on an island off the coast of Southern Somalia - not far from the Kenyan border. Though pirates often use such story-lines to terrorize family members 
directly or through the media, in several neglected piracy cases the ailing health of hostages unfortunately becomes true, like now on MV ICEBERG and FV PRANTALAY 12 or MV SUEZ and each such rumour therefore must be followed up for humanitarian reasons.
But already in January this year the brother of Deborah Calitz stated that con artists are plaguing him. “Since the abduction we don’t know what to believe. We don’t know whether the people calling and claiming to be holding them are actually holding them,” said Dale van der Merwe. “We haven’t spoken to Deborah and Bruno Pelizzari. There is so much misinformation. We really don’t know what to believe anymore,” he told the South African Press Agency. Bruno 
Pelizzari’s sister Vera Hecht said the family would pay the ransom if they could, but that it was impossible for them to do so, since they had nothing and the South African government wouldn’t give them anything.
The next of kind of the two hostages were understandably also getting very worried by the latest reports about the allegedly ailing health of the couple.
Marine monitors working with ECOP-marine, the group engaged in marine protection which also monitors piracy along the East African coasts, could now establish that the pirate gang, which hails from far northern Harardheere, is actually only using the yacht. That attack group had already earlier made a deal concerning the hostages themselves with another group from Brawa (Somali: Baraawe), who is now holding the South African couple, but not on the island of Koyama.
Since no ransom was coming forward and with a plan to now use the sailing yacht as decoy to kidnap wealthy tourists from the plush holiday resorts north of Lamu in Kenya, the gang had sailed the yacht by themselves southwards from Brawa, but got stranded near Koyama Island (Somali: Koyaama) with an engine problem. Since Koyama has a source of fresh water they stay there, terrorizing local people and spreading false rumours.
Local elders of the Bajuni people, a traditional fisher folk whose homeland these islands and the coastal areas south of Kismayo are, and who know about every movement on the sea and along the coast, stated to ECOTERRA Intl. that they are very much afraid of that gang of heavily armed Somalis, who still guard the yacht and obviously are waiting for spare-parts. However, several of the Bajuni leaders and other local fishermen confirmed that the couple is not held anywhere in that zone and definitely not on Koyama Island.
The pirated yacht with the hostages plus their skipper on board was in August last year pushed by French naval forces onto the beach near Brawa (in Somali Baraawe) in a botched rescue attempt (see all details below in the case section), which saw only the skipper escape, who by a similarly unreliable source already had been pronounced as being shot dead back then.
Intelligence sources confirmed that actually a short time after the incident last year the couple was brought from Brawa to the southern outskirts of Mogadishu in an abduction move similar to the pattern used by the hostage takers of journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan.
More than thousand miles north we have at present a similar situation concerning the yacht SY ING, whose owners - a Danish family with three children and two Danish deckhands - are also not held on their boat but according to concurrent reports on a pirated merchant vessel, the MV DOVER.
Though all local elders and as a matter of fact the whole Somali society is standing united against piracy and especially against any hostage taking of innocent sailors from private yachts, the roving gangs of illiterate youngsters and their organized crime masterminds don't care if they are seen as outlaws. 
"Psychologically deeply disturbed, the "morian" (young, uneducated gunmen) of the buraad badeed (sea-pirates) only know that their country is in ruins, their society and traditional elders totally impoverished and helpless, their governmental leaders, warlords, big business-owners and religious groups fighting against each other, that foreign forces occupy their land as well as the sea and that their own future is totally bleak," states an analyst. "This desperation makes it also so easy for the criminal gang-leaders to convince the young men that any capture of foreigners for ransom is a golden opportunity and a last straw for them to escape hunger and death in Somalia. The mindset of these gunmen is geared to the mere survival instincts and they do not care by which means they achieve their goals."

That the majority of Somalis can not be compared to these gangsters is also clearly demonstrated by the fact that another sailing couple, which was held hostage in northern Somalia's Puntland, could - after they were released against a ransom by their captors and just a couple of month later - though the general and local situation had not changed - return to Northern Somalia, repair their yacht and sail off safely.
Today and two years later, however, the general situation on the seas and along the coasts of Somalia has changed dramatically and any hostage situation is much graver, because the criminal gangs have been conditioned into changed behavioural patterns, which make release negotiations much more difficult and hostage situations much more violent and dangerous.

U.S.American Naval forces have allegedly killed over a dozen presumed pirates in the Gulf of Aden and captured several.Somalis. 
However, the reports transpiring from Somalia were so far not officially confirmed, which is not unusual given the secrecy of the recent navy killings on these waters. 
Non-reporting is a clear violation of the UN Security council resolutions on which the navies base their actions. Also the Somali government focal points have not been informed yet.
In a recent incident where the U.S.American navy also killed the hostage-captain of a Taiwanese vessel, the Government of Taiwan has officially protested and the U.S.American government has promised a full investigation.
In such cases, however, the navies sailing under UN or NATO oversight often quickly switch to national command and refuse to respond to requests for post-incident reports.

©2011 - ecoterra / ecop-marine - articles above are exclusive reports but free for publication as long as cited correctly and the source is quoted.
The maritime articles below are cleared or commented. If you don't find a specific article it most likely was not worth to be republished here, but if you feel we have overlooked an important publication, please mail it to us.

What you always wanted to know about piracy, but never dared to ask:


Detained fishermen released by warships in Somalia Sea By Faduma Farah (Sunatimes)
The young men were taken captives by a Belgium naval vessel after suspicion of being pirates. 
Mogadishu (Sunatimes) Five young men who were detained earlier by the joint naval warships of anti-piracy have returned to their homes after they were under custody for one month, the administration of Lasqoray district in Sanaag region said. 
One of the fishermen detainees, Ahmed Abdikarim Adan, told Bar-kulan that they were unarmed at the time of their detention. Ahmed said the anti-piracy forces could not believe they were fishermen. 
The freed young men said they were asked many questions regarding to their presence on the water. ... 
The young men were taken captives by a Belgium naval vessel after suspicion of being pirates. 
Joint naval vessels from different countries of the world are patrolling the Indian Ocean Sea, after Somali pirates plagued the coast off Somalia impounding ships and crew at gun point and demanding ransoms to release. 
An increase in piracy off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia has made these waters the most dangerous for pirate activities in the world. 

The Pirates Have A Plan B (strategypage)
June 3, 2011: As pirates operate farther (2,000 kilometers or more) from Somalia, a larger number of ships must pay additional piracy premiums on their insurance policies. This is already costing shipping companies more than $3 billion a year in higher insurance costs, and that will more than double soon if the pirate activity continues to increase. While the total costs of Somali piracy are only increasing shipping cost worldwide by less than one percent, the costs keep rising. Locally, especially for East African nations, the cost is much higher. Thus these nations, and those with the largest shipping fleets (like China) are calling for "the historic solution" to piracy (attacking, destroying or occupying the coastal towns pirates use as bases). The rest of the world isn't ready for that kind of violence yet. Moreover, NATO, and African, military commanders believe that the pirates would not be easy to defeat. If driven from the coast, they would still get to sea (pretending to be fishermen) and kidnap crews of ships, leaving the ships adrift (since they would no longer have safe anchorages to store them off the Somali coast, while a ransom was negotiated). But the pirates would still have kidnapped sailors, held inland. Foreign troops have never had an easy time operating in the Somalis hinterlands.
The United States has been the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Somalia (over a billion dollars worth since 1991), but the big problem isn't shipping food and other aid to the Somali border, but getting it to those who need it inside Somalia. Al Shabaab, warlords and anyone else with a gun feels that it is their right to grab as much of that aid as they can. Thus, in a few cases, entire shipments (truck convoys) never reach their intended recipients (starving Somalis.) In the last 18 months, the U.S. has pledged, or tried to deliver, $80 million in aid. [This figure is, however, strongly disputed !]
June 2, 2011: In Mogadishu, AU and TNG forces advanced into a major al Shabaab held area (including a major market place). There were over fifty casualties and al Shabaab has been falling back. 
June 1, 2011: Uganda has demanded that the current TNG (Transitional National Government) be given another year to get their act together. Uganda feels that trying to select another TNG in the next few months would just make the TNG even less effective. This would be a bad time for that, as  just now the AU (African Union) peacekeepers and TNG forces have al Shabaab on the run. 
[N.B.: "TNG is no longer existing since 2006 - the present TFG is a UN-paid lot held in position by foreign troops.]
Uganda insists that if the new TNG elections (selections, actually) go ahead, Ugandan peacekeepers (64 percent of the total force) would be withdrawn. Uganda feels that disrupting the TNG now would put Ugandan troops at more risk. 
May 30, 2011: An al Shabaab suicide attack on an AU base in Mogadishu killed four (including the bomber). Al Shabaab later claimed that the attack was carried out by a Somali immigrant recruited in the United States. 

How Somali Pirates Helped Defeat Bin Laden (strategypage)
One good thing has come out of all the Somali pirate activities. It has given ship owners, and many navies and intelligence agencies, a better idea of what hostile parties can, and cannot, accomplish when trying to seize control of supertankers (ships over 200,000 DWT). The largest of these ships (about half a million DWT) can carry over three million barrels of oil. At a hundred dollars a barrel, that's a very valuable cargo. While the pirates seek a huge ransom for taking one of these ships, terrorists have other plans. 
Osama bin Laden's recently captured files revealed that he was trying to organize the seizure of one of more supertankers, in order to strangle the world economy. Turns out that several intelligence agencies already believed that this was a major goal of al Qaeda. No details of how far bin Laden and his crew had gotten, but the efforts of the Somali pirates in grabbing these large ships has been studied carefully, and many supertankers now have more security measures and equipment installed. 
The largest tanker ever taken by the Somali pirates, the 318,000 DWT Sirius Star in 2008, carried over two million barrels of oil. It had a crew of 25. A ship like this being stolen has been a nightmare scenario for those who fight terrorism. In theory, a large ship like this could be steered to the Straits of Malacca and sunk. This would disrupt the world economy, and create a sharp increase in shipping costs. There are other places where an inconvenient sinking could cause large, and long-term, economic disruption. Bin Laden was obsessed with carrying out these kinds of attacks.
But there are lots of known difficulties, and some more recent, purposely kept secret, ones. The known problems for the terrorists is that supertankers are easy to track. Not only do they carry multiple electronic devices, but their sheer size makes them easy to spot via satellite, reconnaissance aircraft, or using the sonar on nuclear subs. Second, these ships are actually very difficult to sink. Third, security on these large ships has changed in the last few years, since the Sirius Star was hijacked. And more changes are always in the works.

Somali pirates attacking year-round -IMO
 By Gwladys Fouche and Joachim Dagenborg (Reuters)
Somali pirates are now able to attack ships in the Indian Ocean regardless of the weather, the head of the United Nations' maritime agency said, outlining four "nightmare scenarios" unless tougher action was taken.
Until now there had been a lull in attacks during the summer and winter monsoons -- which roughly run May to September and November to February -- as stormy weather made it difficult for attackers to operate their frail vessels.
"Now the pirates are not interrupted by the monsoon seasons," said Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization IMO.
"They can do the job 365 days a year," he told Reuters during an international shipping conference last week in Oslo.
Without a more robust international response to the piracy threat, crews could refuse to cross the Indian Ocean, crude oil shipments could be diverted, there could be a huge oil spill or a large cruise ship could be seized, he said.
Somali pirates are using oil tankers and other huge ships they have captured as 'mother ships' from which they launch attacks far further out to sea than before.
"They use mother ships and they have nothing to fear from the monsoons," Mitropoulos said.
The IMO estimated that piracy costs the world economy between $7 billion and $12 billion a year.
The United Nations Security Council backed the idea of special courts to try captured Somali pirates in April but put off a decision on the thorny issue of where to locate them.
"Forget establishing courts in the region or having better regulations," said the IMO chief. "The solution is stronger political will that would translate by means of (more) naval vessels to support the (existing) efforts."
Pirate activity has continued to escalate with the first three months of 2011 being the worst on record, the EU said, with 77 attacks and hijackings -- up from only 36 in the same period of 2010.
Graham Westgarth, head of INTERTANKO, an organisation whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet, urged the international community to disable the mother ships.
Hundreds of seafarers, mostly Indian and Philipino crew members, have been taken hostage by pirates after attacks and can be detained for eight months on average, Westgarth said.
"Over the last two years, we have had an escalating set of circumstances that could lead ultimately to the politicians having to take some form of political action," he told Reuters.
"They have to address the issues in Somalia. They have to decide what they want to do," he said.

Maersk Implements Piracy Surcharge
Maersk Line announced a piracy risk surcharge on containers shipped between India and the Middle East region.Effective June 1, the surcharge is $70 per 40-foot equivalent unit. “As a result of the increased piracy activity, and in light of our continuous efforts to prevent piracy attacks and to protect our crew and cargo in the intra-Gulf region, we will introduce an emergency risk surcharge to mitigate the expenses incurred on securing and maintaining reliable and safe services,” the Danish carrier said in a trade notice Wednesday. The intra-Gulf region primarily includes ports in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news with an impact on Somalia)The articles below - except where stated otherwise - are reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and are for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by ECOTERRA Intl.
Articles below were vetted and basically found to report correctly - or otherwise are commented.


Any Soldier Harming Civilians Will Be Shot Dead - Official (ShabelleMedia)
The mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamoud Ahmed Nur better known as Tarzan on Wednesday proclaimed that any soldier in the transitional federal government of Somalia is seen harming or bothering the civilian people will be shot dead. 
The mayor of Mogadishu and Bendir region governor also warned the weapon traders and the government soldiers, how accustomed to rob buses shuttling through the capital, against continuing what he called their crimes. He said if a soldier is seen robbing the people and civilian buses will be fired from his job and jailed. 
Tarzan, the security forces began putting new security measures into practice in an attempt to stabilize war-decimated Mogadishu.

YES PLEASE, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, take your untrained street-boys stuffed into uniforms, whom you sell to the AU and the UN as soldiers for the benefit of raking in the massive overheads. Go home all and leave the Somalis to sort it out among themselves. They will manage - you will not.
Uganda warns it could withdraw peacekeepers from Somalia (dpa)

Prime Minister Farmajo hails the call from Ugandan president By Abdalle Ahmed (RBC) 
Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (aka known as Farmajo) has hailed the suggestions from Ugandan president Yuweri Museveni on which he supported the extension of one year mandate to Somalia’s federal institutions. 

“We fully welcome the suggestions from our brother the president of Uganda Mr. Museveni to endorse the extension of one year to our national institutions.” The prime minister said in a interview with the state run radio on Friday. 
The Ugandan president Mr. Museveni addressing in the 19th Somalia International Contact Group meeting Kampala recommended to extend one year term to Somalia national institutions to complete their duties towards regaining peace in the country. 
The prime minister opposed the call of the UN special envoy to Somalia Dr. Augustine Mahiga who delivered in the meeting a speech demanding to hold new elections in Somalia after the government mandate expires on August. 
Meanwhile on Friday several lawmakers criticized UN envoy’s role in Somalia politics saying that he was undermining government achievements. 
UN and other international community states rejected the extension term of Somalia government and called presidential election on August when the government mandate runs off.

President Sharif says the country was too unstable for vote
 By Malyun Ali (RBC)
Somali interim President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad told the International Contact Group on Somalia that the country was too unstable for a vote after the government mandate expires on August 2011.
“I want to assure that the country can not hold national election due to long insecurity.” President Sheikh Sharif said in the 19thInternational Contact Group meeting on Somalia held in Uganda capital. 

He also called for the transitional government’s tenure to be extended as he described it could be good chance to restore peace and hold broad consultation between the Somalia people. 
The president voiced his government’s willingness for the international to support the projected meeting in Somalia which is due to start of June 15 to set up national reconciliation within the government institutions and within the Somalia people. 
He also warned that Al-Shabab will regroup and launch attacks if the government forces are not given chance to eliminate them following TFG’s new attempts to sweep extremists from Somalia. 
On Thursday president of Uganda Yuweri Museveni threatened that he will withdraw UPDF forces from Somalia if the international community does not agree the extension of TFG’s mandate for one year. 
The African Union troops deployed into the country in 2007 are fighting against Al-Shabab rebels backing the transitional federal government to regain the control of the capital city Mogadishu.

Somalia political landscape heats up for upcoming Mogadishu meeting (Xinhua)
As the much-anticipated and controversial so-called consultative meeting for Somalia's political rivals fast approaches, members of the two opposing camps gear up to consolidate their positions in the run up to the conference.
Somali government led by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and members of the parliament headed by Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam finally agreed to a meeting next week to hammer out their differences over what to do about their ending mandate.
The Somali parliament voted almost unanimously to extend their tenure for another three years with the speaker suggesting that a vote be held for the presidency and for the post of the speaker, but the Somali government opposed that and proposed one year extension after which an election can be organized.
The leaders of the two sides, the president and the speaker, have been holding separate meetings with local officials and foreign leaders in order to persuade them of their stance.
The agenda of the meeting and who is expected to attend remains still not agreed upon by the sides who are strongly voicing opposing views as to the make-up and expected result from the assembly this month.
Haji Nur, a Somali political analyst in Mogadishu told Xinhua that "We don't see closing together of the sides' views regarding the way out of the stalemate over what to do about the ending of the mandate."
Nur said that the core of the issue was that the Somali government institutions have somehow failed to fulfil the transitional tasks expected before the end of its tenure in August.
The Somali analyst says it was "understandable" that the government was never up to finish its obligations considering the multitude of challenges, including fighting a determined and dangerous insurgency and running what is essentially a failed state.
Speaking to the media, speaker Sharif Hassan said that he believes the transitional federal institutions (TFIs) will have a joint delegation to the meeting while separate delegations from the autonomous regions will also attend as well as representatives from the pro-government Ahlu Sunnah Waljama (ASW) group.
The speaker's supporters maintain that the meeting be organized by the UN which they see as a neutral side to the differences over how to move beyond the August expiry of the TFI's mandate, but the Somali government which initially announced it will organize the meeting said it will facilitate the conference in Mogadishu.
The Somali president said during a meeting of the International Contact Group for Somalia in the Ugandan capital, Kampala that the country was too unstable for a vote. The government maintains that the Mogadishu conference that is due on June 12 and is expected to continue for a week should result in a framework that would allow for current TFI leadership to stay in power for another year.
There has been dissenting voice from some of the parties that are expected to take part in the assembly in Mogadishu. Leaders of the self-autonomous Somali state of Puntland strongly suggested that an election for the top leadership was a must if they were to continue supporting the federal government.
The ASW group has split over whether to attend the meeting altogether with a faction in Mogadishu saying they will boycott the talks while other senior leaders of the group preferred to wait and see as they have refrained from making public pronouncement prior to the meeting.
There has recently emerged in Mogadishu an alliance of MP's calling themselves Independents who suggested that compromise and dialogue between the opposing political forces in Somalia should be the way forward to a solution for the impasse before the meeting takes place.
No progress has been announced after a series of talks between the Somali president and the speaker of the parliament during the past several weeks.
For now as the date for the meeting draws ever closer, the sides seem to be locked into their stance with the agenda, aim and the makeup of the delegations to the meeting as well as who will run the talks not agreed upon.

Speech of the President of Puntland State of Somalia H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole) (*)
His Excellency Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda; 
His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of Burundi; 
Amb. Augustine Mahiga, Co-Chair of the Meeting;
His Excellency Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the TFG of Somalia; 
Hon. Sharif Hassan, Speaker of Transitional Federal Parliament; 
Ambassadors representing International Contact Group countries;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good afternoon Your Excellencies,
It is a great opportunity and honor for me and my delegation from Puntland State of Somalia to participate in the 19th Meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia. 
The inclusiveness of Somali stakeholders in the process of finding a political settlement is a forward step for the Somali national reconciliation process. The Government of Puntland is pleased to contribute towards a lasting peace in Somalia.
I would like to present my sincere thanks and appreciation to the peoples and Governments of Uganda and Burundi, who have contributed troops to help stabilize Somalia. We pay tribute to the efforts of the AMISOM peacekeeping force in Mogadishu to fight against extremists and terrorists, and we send our condolences to the families of deceased peacekeepers.
Our government expresses its gratitude to the International Contact Group on Somalia for supporting the peace and reconciliation process. International forums and conferences convened to exchange views and information play an important role and produce ideas that help lead Somalia and the wider international community towards finding a peaceful settlement to the Somali crises.
Your Excellencies,
Allow me to underline Puntland’s proposition for ending the transitional period and post-transitional arrangements, as well as addressing other key issues:
Security – 
1.    Terrorist groups – Al Qaeda and its Somali and Yemeni offshoots – pose great risk to regional security and stability. The Puntland Government is deeply concerned about the worsening situation in Yemen, which will impact Somalia and especially Puntland. Already, thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and insecurity in Yemen are returning to Puntland.
2.    Al Shabaab terrorist group has regrouped in the Golis Mountains that stretch along the northern coast of Somalia. This terrorist group wishes to destabilize Puntland and threaten the strategic Gulf of Aden waterway. Presently, Puntland government forces are in full-scale preparation to confront and defeat the terrorists in the mountains.
3.    The Puntland Government requests urgent and long-term security assistance from the international community, as Puntland has been denied its legitimate share of security assistance provided to Somalia by the international community. More than 12,000 soldiers were trained and equipped for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with international support, but Puntland was excluded from the training program.
4.    Puntland praises the role of the AMISOM peacekeeping force in Mogadishu to bolster the Transitional Federal Institutions. Currently, there is peace in Puntland, which needs to be sustained and strengthened. The Puntland Government requests an AMISOM peacekeeping contingent to be deployed in Puntland to establish a Joint Force and to begin training security forces inside Puntland.
5.    Puntland supports the African Union’s proposal to exercise naval blockade of coastal access for Al Shabaab terrorists and air support for AMISOM peacekeepers;
Piracy –
1.    The underlying cause of piracy should be identified and addressed properly as a phenomenon that emerged from the last 20 years of lawlessness on land in Somalia.
2.    Somali coastal communities should be assisted with peace-building development projects, including revitalizing fish-canning factories and other fishing industry activities.
3.    The establishment and training of the Puntland Marine Force (PMF) is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1976 (11 April 2011). The Security Council should give a waiver to the PMF to complete its training for anti-piracy forces and commence land-based operations against pirates, thereby complementing international naval efforts.
Reconciliation –
1.    Somalia needs social healing and political reconciliation to recover from 20 years of armed conflict and national fragmentation. A social repair process of reconciliation, as “people touch people,” should be encouraged among Somali communities.
2.    The international community should support the Puntland initiative of promoting grassroots community reconciliation among Somalis leading up to a national process, but not political reconciliation exclusively among political actors, as was the case in the past.
3.    Puntland welcomes and shall participate at conferences called by the United Nations.
Ending the Transition – 
1.    Elections for the positions of Speaker of Parliament and President of Somalia should be held before August 20, 2011, prior to the expiration of the mandate for the Transitional Federal Institutions. The election should take place inside a peaceful and stable area of Somalia.
2.    Puntland supports the outcome of the UN-organized High-Level Consultative Meeting on Somalia, held in Nairobi 12-13 April 2011, which proposed a two-year term extension for the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), in order to save the basic institution and prevent a power vacuum.
3.    The TFP term-extension is subject to major parliamentary reforms: first, drastic reduction of the current 550 MPs to a reasonable number (i.e. 185 MPs); and secondly, using constituency-based selection criteria, instead of the unfair and divisive clan-based 4.5 Formula.
4.    Puntland welcomes the UN Security Council Meeting on Somalia, held in Nairobi on 25 May 2011, which was held after the High-Level Consultative Meeting of 12-13 April 2011. Puntland praises the Security Council for reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Somalia. We acknowledge that the Security Council mandated the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ambassador Mahiga, to lead and carry forth the remaining process of ending the transition.
5.    Puntland shall soon appoint its representatives to the Joint Preparatory Committee which includes key stakeholders, as called for by the SRSG to Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga.
Post-transitional Arrangements –
1.    The incoming government that assumes office after August 20, 2011, should complete key transitional tasks within a period of two years, with measureable predetermined benchmarks. Undertaking major security reforms, advancing reconciliation, completing the Draft Federal Constitution in an inclusive process, formation of new federal states, and delivery of basic services, should be the top priorities.
2.    The required parliamentary reforms should be completed well before the formation of the next parliament, preferably before August 20, 2012.
3.    The legitimate state and regional authorities should be strengthened through institution-building support, while the formation of all the federal states should be completed before August 20, 2013.
Federalism –
1.    Puntland is the number one pillar of the Transitional Federal Institutions. Since 2004, Puntland has committed more than 3,000 soldiers to Mogadishu, with hundreds killed while serving the TFG of Somalia.
2.    Puntland was established as a federal state in Somalia in 1998. In 2004, Somalia sanctioned federalism as the only viable system of government. The country has suffered from 30 years of centralist rule followed by 20 years of anarchy. Somalia needs to be re-instituted under a federal arrangement that decentralizes power and resources between the national government and state governments, as stipulated by the Federal Constitution.
Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs –
1.    Puntland State of Somalia respects and protects the dignity and human rights of all people, as enshrined in the Puntland State Constitution.
2.    Hosting over 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are predominantly from southern Somalia, has been an economic burden on the Puntland Government and its meager resources. Puntland receives no international contributions to sustain the IDPs, who share with the host community access to security, justice, healthcare, and employment opportunities. The Government acknowledges and is seriously concerned that agents of terrorism and insecurity may disguise themselves among the IDP communities in order to evade authorities. Puntland requires assistance with managing IDP communities.
3.    Puntland’s urban poor and nomadic communities receive no assistance, in terms of livestock sector development, vocational training and investment.
4.    Finally, Puntland urges the international community to rush to the aid of Somalis affected by the drought and in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.
(*) Presented at the 19th Meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia, 2 Jun 2, 2011- Communications Office, The Puntland Presidency, Puntland State of Somalia, E-mail: info@puntland-gov.net, Web: www.puntland-gov.net

Since decades UNICEF is soliciting millions in funds for Somali children, but nothing they do in the country - another UN scandal ! 
UNICEF raises alarm on child rights violations in Somalia (PANA)
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday expressed concern over what it described as 'grave violations of children’s rights that are taking place every day in Somalia. 'Children in central-south Somalia face never-ending (unremitting) suffering in what is arguably one of the most extreme, indiscriminate and complex conflicts in today’s world,” UNICEF said in a news release issued at its UN headquarters in New York. It stated that, 'Somali children are the most affected by the unrelenting violence in which they risk being killed, maimed or injured when caught in crossfire or as a result of being unlawfully recruited and used on the front lines by all parties to the conflict.'
UNICEF also said that reports by the World Health Organisn (WHO) of a 46 per cent increase in weapon-related injuries to children under the age of five in Mogadishu last month underscored the vulnerability of Somali children in the ongoing conflict.
It also drew attention to the 'etrimental and disproportionate' impact the conflict has on children’s physical and mental well-being.
'Ongoing violence also exposes them to displacement and food insecurity and leaves them without health care, education and protection from abuse.
'Not only is this a tragic humanitarian disaster in the present, it also represents a critical challenge to peace and stability in Somalia in the future,' UNICEF warned.
On Tuesday, WHO reported that violence in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, had driven the number of child casualties to a new high, and that the main causes of children’s deaths were burns, chest injuries and internal haemorrhage resulting from blasts, shrapnel and bullets.
Somalia has had no fully functioning national government and has been wracked by factional warfare since the collapse in 1991 of the administration led by the late Muhammad Siad Barre.
An estimated 2.4 million people or about a third of the country’s 7.2 million people – are in need of relief aid as a result of drought and two decades of conflict, most recently between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Al-Shabaab Islamic militants.

While the European Navies under EU NAVFOR always claim they would escort food transports for starving Somalis, the majority of their naval escorts actually accompanies supply vessels for the foreign military forces of the African Union in Somalia.

On 2 June 2011, EU NAVFOR completed its 100th escort of an AMISOM vessel. 
As part of the EU/UN co-operation, EU NAVFOR is providing protection to the UN chartered vessels supplying the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  AMISOM is mandated to conduct Peace Support Operations in Somalia to stabilize the situation in the country in order to create conditions for the conduct of Humanitarian activities and an immediate take over by the United Nations (UN). 
The first AMISOM escort took place on the 6th February 2009 with the vessel departing Djibouti and arriving in Mogadishu. 
On completion of the 100th escort EU NAVFOR Operation Commander Major General Buster Howes OBE stated: “The successful completion of the one hundredth escort of an AMISOM sustainment shipment today marks a significant milestone for the European Naval Force in Somalia.  The protection of humanitarian and other vulnerable shipping against the scourge of piracy is central to my mission and is of direct benefit to the well-being of the Somali people and the success of the Transitional Federal Government.  I am extremely proud of the men and women of European Navies who prosecute this essential, if unglamorous task”

What had been decried in the Mediterranean, where Japanese spotter planes track the endangered Blue Fin Tuna shoals, is also done over the Indian Ocean by the Spanish and Japanese surveillance planes - but here the public pays under the disguise of "pirate-spotting".

2000 flight hours achieved by the Spanish MPRA detachment by EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office 
The Spanish Air Force “ORION” Detachment in Djibouti has recently reached 2.000 flight hours in support of EU NAVFOR, Operation ATALANTA.  
Since the beginning of the operation, Spain has permanently contributed with a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance (MPRA) capability, flying more than 330 missions with both the P-3 and C-235 VIGMA aircraft, all of them in support of the EU NAVFOR effort to reduce the level of piracy in the area of operations.
The main tasks of the P-3 unit are to perform Surface Search and Scan to locate designated or suspected vessels, mother ships and skiffs and to help build the Recognized Maritime Picture. The P-3, using its inherent flexibility, speed, reach and response time has also been used to assist vessels under pirate attack, alone or in coordination with other assets, such as EU NAVFOR helicopters and warships.
The “ORION” Detachment is an Expeditionary Tactical Unit, composed of 52 members from different Spanish Air Force units. Its Commanding Officer is also dual-hatted as CTG 465.01 commander. This element is tasked by CTF 465 to provide coordination and de-confliction between all EU and Djibouti based counter-piracy MPRA detachments.
EUNAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). EUNAVFOR also protects vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, deters and disrupts piracy. EUNAVFOR finally monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.


Coca-Cola Invests $10 Million in Somaliland Bottling Plant By Sarah McGregor (bloomberg)
Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft-drink maker, plans to set-up a bottling plant in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, saying its stability and economic growth provide “conducive” conditions for investment.
Somaliland Beverage Industries, owned by local businessman Ahmed Osman Guelleh, was awarded a license to operate the factory that’s under construction and expected to start operating by the end of September, Ndema Rukandema, Coca-Cola’s franchise general manager for the Horn, Islands and Middle Africa, said yesterday. Coca-Cola has so far invested $10 million to build the facility in Hargeisa, the capital.
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia two decades ago, after the fall of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. While no country officially recognizes Somaliland’s sovereignty, it has remained largely free of the clan warfare, kidnappings and assassinations that plague Somalia, to the southeast.
Coca-Cola enters an economy that the government says is almost entirely reliant on remittances sent home from citizens living abroad and the proceeds of camel, cattle, sheep and goat exports to the Middle East and North Africa. Output from the plant is meant to substitute sales from Coca-Cola beverages currently imported from the Middle East, Rukandema said.
“Somaliland is a growing economy, made buoyant by the level of trading activity in the country,” Rukandema said in an e- mailed response to questions. “The stability that the country has enjoyed over the last several years is a positive indication of a conducive business environment.”
Coca-Cola’s agreement with United Bottling Co., its partner in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu where Africa Union troops and government forces are trying to drive out Islamic rebels, is “not in effect,” and production has been halted, he said.
Somalia’s government has been battling Islamist insurgents, including al-Shabaab, since 2007. The rebels control most of southern and central Somalia. The U.S. accuses al-Shabaab of having links to al-Qaeda, which has said it aims to establish a caliphate, or Islamic government, in the Horn of Africa country.

Freedom House releases a new report on the world's most repressive societies
 By Zachary Keck (DCForeignPolicyExaminer)
Freedom House has just released a special report titled, The Worst of the Worst 2011: The World’s Most Repressive SocietiesThe special report is designed to be a companion to Freedom House’s famous annual survey of political liberties worldwide  Freedom in the Worldthe 2011 edition of which was released in January.
The purpose of this special report is to give special attention to the most repressive regimes in the world. Nine countries make the list of least-free: Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as one territory, Tibet. Eight other countries-Belarus, Chad, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Laos, Saudi Arabia, and Syria- and two other territories- South Ossetia and Western Sahara- are also highlighted for falling just short of the bottom of the list in terms of restrictions on freedoms.
The report gives particular harsh treatment to North Korea noting that, “only one country, North Korea, has been at the bottom of the ratings scale every year since the Freedom in the World survey began nearly 40 years ago.” If you’re wondering how North Korean leader Kim Jong-il holds onto power, Daniel Byman and Jennifer Lind had an excellent article on the subject in the Summer 2010 issue ofInternational Security.
More generally, the report goes on to note that, “the last five years have featured an overall decline in global respect for the values of liberal democracy: multiparty elections, the rule of law, freedom of association, freedom of speech, the rights of minorities, and other fundamental, universal human rights.” Perhaps the Arab Awakening will reverse this trend, although this remains to be seen.
The full report can be read here (pdf.)

FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD (with an influence on Somalia and the water wars) : 
"We're fighting terrorists, pirates, and militias. What happened to the days when we fought uniformed armies?"

Al Shabaab Attacks in Kenya (ShabelleMedia)
One soldier is in critical condition after an explosion hit a Kenya army lorry in Mandera town last night in an attack believed to have been carried out by Al-Shabaab militiamen.Ten other soldiers were injured. 
Military and police suspect the explosion was caused by a landmine that was strategically put there to hit the personnel. Witnesses said the explosion occurred as a lorry was ferrying the soldiers to a border point. Those injured are expected to be airlifted to Nairobi today. 
There are ongoing military operations along the long and porous border between Kenya and Somalia.
Mandera mine blast leaves 11 officers injured By Bernhard Momanyi (CapitalFM)
Eleven military officers were injured in an explosion in Mandera at the Kenya-Somalia border on Thursday evening.
A senior military official at Department of Defence (DOD) Headquarters in Nairobi told Capital News that the officers were injured when their vehicle drove over what is believed to be a landmine or a remote-controlled bomb.
"The officers were on patrol when they drove over the explosive device, eleven of them sustained injuries but the rest escaped unhurt," the official briefing on condition of anonymity said and directed us to the Military Spokesman Bogita Ongeri for more information.
Mr Ongeri could not be reached for comment.
The military official told Capital News the officers were to be airlifted to Nairobi on Friday for specialised treatment at the Forces Memorial Hospital.
Earlier, there were fears that the officers had been attacked by Al Shabaab militants but officials at the DOD denied the claims, saying "the officers only sustained injuries after an accident."
"It was not an attack, they (officers) stepped on an explosive gadget temporarily," the official maintained.
Kenyan military personnel and a combined force of the regular police and Administration Police have been patrolling the Kenya - Somalia border, in the wake of fresh terrorist attacks by Al Shabaab militants.
The troops have been stationed at the border area since an escalated military offensive in March when Al-Shabaab militants engaged Kenyan forces in a fierce gun fight as they attempted to cross over into Mandera.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia told journalists then that more reinforcements had been deployed to the border town and other neighbouring areas to keep away the militia group that has been fighting with troops of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

How Al Shabaab Recruitment Agents Lure Kenyans to Somalia (NATION)
NTV reporters John-Allan Namu and Harith Salim uncovered evidence of recruitment activities in Kenya by Somalia’s radical al Shabaab group. Undercover video footage taken by the crew shows the activities of a network of terror recruiters luring youths to go and fight in Somalia. 
Disturbingly, one of the key recruiters captured on tape introduced himself as a serving member of the Kenyan military. Edited excerpts… Saumu Chambulu breaks down at the sight of us at her door. She knows why we have come. 
As she composes herself, she tells me of the irony of how busy her home has been despite the empty space left by her son Suleiman Hassan. 
She knew that she wasn't always able to provide for her children but was thankful for Suleiman because, even in their poverty, he always found comfort in his faith. 
But two years ago, Suleiman left his mother's home. He began to be seen in the company of other young men of backgrounds similar to his own in Mworoni on the South Coast. 
Then one day he disappeared. After months of searching for her son, Samu said her daughter received a strange phone call indicating he had joined the al Shabaab. 
Saumu would quickly learn that this was not only true of her son, but that other young men like him had disappeared across the border, never to return. 
No comfort 
But the growing number of bereaved parents offers no comfort, especially if among those presumed dead in a country you've heard about only in the news - in a war you don't understand - is your own. There is no comfort, only pain. 
That was the fate of Suleiman Hassan and other young Kenyans who are recruited to fight for al Shabaab -- the jihadists battling the Transitional Federal Government of Sheikh Sherif Ahmed in Somalia. 
And, if a video recording of the recruits is anything to go by, the training is producing dyed-in-the-wool fighters. 
"We are coming to slaughter you," they chant in these recordings. The chants are in Kiswahili, perhaps to drive the message home to the Kiswahili-speaking people of eastern Africa. Not once or twice, but at least four times the region has witnessed firsthand the deadly handiwork of terrorists. 
Football fans watching the World Cup final on television in Kampala last year are among the most recent casualties of al Shabaab. 
Al Shabaab operates secret bases in Somalia-just across Kenya's eastern border. The group is believed to be an offshoot of the Union of Islamic Courts, a group that nearly seized control from the wobbly regionally backed TFG led at the time by President Abdullahi Yusuf. 
To increase its membership, al Shabaab capitalises on two elements: radical Islamic teachings and poverty. 
Saumu believes that her son's immersion in his faith may have led him to Somalia. But she also acknowledges that their poverty did nothing to stop him. 
Poverty is biting hard not just in Mworoni but all across East Africa, and from what we have found, the frequency at which East Africa's poor are joining the al Shabaab is chilling. 
All a prospective recruit needs to know is to whom to talk. We set off for Isiolo to find out how true this statement is. 
We were seeking a notorious recruiter known by his close associates only as Pirate. It didn't take long to find him. 
Using a contact we made while there, we were able to arrange a meeting with Pirate, only telling our link man that we had heard about Pirate from our friends in Nairobi and wanted to join al Shabaab. 
A few hours later, he would meet us -- using false names and a shady story. Face-to-face with the recruiter, we began a conversation that, we hoped, reveal bits of information about al Shabaab's operations in Isiolo. But, to our surprise, Pirate was more trusting of us than we expected and began to open up at the slightest of probes. 
The information he was giving us corresponded with what officials in Kenya's intelligence organisations -- the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS) had been telling us: facing a huge armed onslaught in Somalia, al Shabaab was aggressively recruiting, and the criteria had since expanded from young Somalis and Arabs to just about anyone who was committed to the cause -- from any background. 
Back to Pirate. He did something totally unexpected. He seemed so trusting of us and our story that he said he'd get his boss to talk to us. 
After a few minutes, Pirate returned, and true to his word, he was with a man who we would later learn wasn't just a recruiter of al Shabaab but one of what we believe are a number of double agents. 
He was Corporal Hussein Abdullahi Athan from Kenya's military. In our conversation with Pirate, one of several al Shabaab recruiters who operate in Isiolo, he made a claim which, if true, could be very chilling. 
He told us there were recruits being trained at Manyani and Archers (Post). At first this appeared not to square with what is known about where al Shabaab trains new recruits in Kenya. 
The two locations were, after all, the sites where a special unit of soldiers from Somalia's TFG was allegedly being trained by the Kenya Army, the third location being close to Kitui in lower eastern Kenya. 
However, according to sources with knowledge of this training, the business ended late last year, and the soldiers were deployed to Somalia towards the end of February this year. The trainers, according to what we were told, also had a strict recruitment policy and didn't ask for money from prospective recruits as Pirate had done. 
Back to our story in Isiolo. Pirate then left to negotiate with his boss about our offer of Sh10,000 as a bribe to be allowed to join al Shabaab. 
This was peculiar, but not altogether unknown, as recruiters often try to get as much out of prospective recruits before passing them along, this being one of the few opportunities for them to make money over and above what they are paid by the al Shabaab. 
We expected Pirate to come back with word on whether his boss had agreed, but when he returned, he was in the company of a well-spoken man to whom he only referred as Major. 
We would later find out that his real name is Hussein Abdullahi Athan. He holds the rank of corporal, and has been in the Kenyan military for 10 years. 
Hussein is also a trained engineer - a skill set which, in the army, means that, among other things, he is a specialist in laying land mines and booby traps as well as in bridge-building. 
His base is 10 Engineers in Nanyuki, but he is currently attached to the school of combat engineering in Isiolo as a trainer. But he was meeting us as a soldier loyal to al Shabaab and began by interrogating us: 
The story we had given Pirate about why we wanted to join the al Shabaab wasn't working as well on Hussein, especially given the fact that I am not Somali nor of Arab descent like my colleague, Harith Salim. 
Major: Lakini wewe mbona unataka kuingia hi maneno (Why do you want to get into this thing)? 
Namu: Ni nini wewe! Kwani mjaluo hawezi kuwa na hasira (What's wrong with you! What makes you think a Luo can't get embittered)? 
He seemed convinced by this but to be certain that he indeed was who he said he was, I probed further. 
Namu: Kuna watu wa anti-al Shabaab na kuna watu wa al Shabaab, wewe ni nani (What are your credentials in al Shabaab)? 
His winding answer was understandable, and perhaps a hint as to just how suspicious he was of us. 
Nonetheless, he proceeded to let us know that he was still interested in having us join and join quickly. 
Major: If you are serious then I will help you. 
He also told us what he would need from us. Giving up our identity cards meant more than just letting him know who we were: it was the first part of cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world. But what would we get in return, I asked.
As we talked, Hussein was holding a small exercise book. When we gave him our false names, he wrote them down in this book. It had the names of at least 15 other men, recruits, as we found out, who were leaving for Somalia the following evening. 
We agreed when we would leave for Somalia, and Hussein left. But he would ask me to follow him, and give him what money we had on us as an assurance that we were serious. 
Corporal Hussein Abdullahi Athan admitted to us that he wasn't just a recruiter but a trainer of members of the al Shabaab, his skills now in use to fight against forces trying to defeat the al Shabaab in the region. 
Hussein, on the evening that we met him, also promised to sell me a weapon. Arms dealing, it emerges, is a sideline activity for agents of the al Shabaab in Kenya. We would meet two days later for the sale. 
His links 
But Hussein revealed even more about his links with the al Shabaab. We learnt from Hussein that there has been in-fighting among members of al Shabaab, mostly over money. 
The fighting ranks allege that trainers, who are given money by al Shabaab commanders to pass on to their troops, had at one point been hoarding the money for themselves. 
Especially for those men who joined al Shabaab for money, this had become a big problem. 
On the matter of buying a gun from him, Hussein claimed he did not have the weapon on him, but he asked for a deposit of Sh2,000 up front, saying that he'd go get it from his base. He pointed Pirate out to me and asked me to wait with him while he went to fetch it. 
When I went over to meet Pirate, we began talking about joining the al Shabaab, he asked me to accompany him to show me the transport that he and 30 other young men would use to get there, saying that it was the safest means possible. 
What he showed me was startling: two trucks with government licence plates, ostensibly belonging to the military. 
He claimed that because of Hussein and a few other men in the army recruits were able to use these trucks to get as close as they could to the Kenya-Somalia border. 
We were unable to confirm whether these trucks were indeed being used for that purpose. 
Pirate then asked why I was waiting for Hussein, and I told him that I was waiting to buy a gun from him. He quickly inquired the price, and said he could get one for me, but I declined. 
Gun runners and members of al Shabaab often have close, symbiotic relationships, with devastating consequences for the region's security. 
The grenade that was used to bomb a Kampala coach bus in Nairobi is believed to have been smuggled from Somalia by these same chains. 
We were introduced to a gun runner who told us his name was Ibrahim. We posed as Tanzanian gun dealers wanting to make a quick, big sale, and Ibrahim claimed he was the man for the job. This is what he promised us at our first meeting. 
Ibrahim: 50 AKs. Not fully trusting our story, he would later scale that down to just a handful of AK-47 and G3 rifles and hand grenades that he pledged to show us later that day. 
At around four that afternoon he and a colleague who didn't give us his name would pick us up in a taxi driven by one of their relatives who was familiar with their business. 
We'd drive just outside the main centre of Isiolo town, then wait while another taxi picked us up. 
We then drove farther, winding up at this compound, filled with, they claimed, their family members. Ibrahim then asked me and our contact to follow him into the house where the arms were. 
Once there, he showed me a G3 rifle, just one of the four I was supposed to buy. Ibrahim claimed that the grenades hadn't arrived yet, but he would call me once they did. 
Then something unfortunate happened. His colleague who was standing behind me realised that I was secretly recording them. 
Sensing trouble, I bid the men goodbye, promising to pay them a visit when it got dark and left as quickly as I could.The debate 
In Mombasa, Shariff knows all about the debate on Islam and al Shabaab. Here's why. 
On the evening of December 20, a bus from the Kampala Coach company was just about to pull out of its parking bay and begin the trip to Uganda. A few minutes before departure, an explosion killed three people. 
Two days later, police had in their custody two men, Sheikh Aboudi Rogo and his friend Shariff. Shariff and Rogo are now awaiting the start of their trial, but more recently they have been in the news for yet another reason: the place of worship known as Masjid Moussa.Rogo preaches at this mosque, while Shariff prays there. The claims focus around a controversial topic in the teaching of Islam - jihad, or holy war. 
Coast PPO James Adoli admits that fighting al Shabaab is a serious challenge for the police but said the community has to get involved if the fight is to be won. 
The religious argument for al Shabaab, as we established, if it did exist, has been - at least outside Somalia - polluted by money, which as the tale of Saumu illustrates leads to poverty induced recruitment. 
Closely watched 
For example, Garissa is seen by many as the heavily guarded doorway to northeastern Kenya, and because of the relationship between those of Somali origin on either side of the Kenya-Somali border, it is especially closely watched. 
Imams and businessmen also claim that they have been watching their young men keenly for a number of reasons. "Tumewaomba wasiende huko (We plead with them not to go to Somalia)." 
The community here, fearful of being sucked into the conflict between al Shabaab and the region, has tried especially hard to keep recruiters and agents out, to the point that an attitude of denial exists regarding the existence of al Shabaab. 
At one point in the course of our investigations, one of our agents with knowledge of the movements of al Shabaab recruits recorded a Land Cruiser parked outside a building in Garissa with a handful of young men around it, many with roots in northeastern region. 
The youths who had been picked up from Nairobi were taken to Dangole, after which they would find their way to the Kenya-Somali border and cross into Somalia for training as al Shabaab fighters. 
The weekend before this series aired (two weekends ago) yet another video, this time of two men, one of whom, our agent told us, couldn't speak a word of English or Kiswahili, and possibly from a refugee camp, was taken showing the youth headed to Dangole. 
A lot of these men have basic education but are jobless and poor. These circumstances have provided fertile ground for al Shabaab to recruit many to their cause - using men like Pirate and others like Corporal Hussein Abdullahi Athan.

US, UK move an indictment of local justice system By Kipchumba Some (DailyNation)
Embattled Kilome MP Harun Mwau has taken his latest battle with the US to the High Court.
The naming of two Kenyans on the US list of most wanted drug barons in the world is the latest sign that the international community has no confidence in the ability and willingness of the Kenyan government to tackle impunity.
In a letter to Congress on June 1, President Barack Obama named Kilome MP Harun Mwau and businesswoman Naima Mohamed Nyakiniywa among the “kingpins” of the international narcotics trade.
They two were the only Africans on the list of seven key international drug traffickers wanted by the US.
Warrants of arrest
And a month ago, the UK, through a Jersey court, issued warrants of arrest for Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former managing director of Kenya Power & Lighting Company Samuel Gichuru for allegedly defrauding KPLC of nearly Sh1 billion. (READ: Kenya to give up Okemo, Gichuru)
And last year, in a move that has largely been supported by the international community, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named six prominent Kenyans suspected of being behind the 2008 post-election violence.
They are Eldoret North MP William Ruto, head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Deputy Prime Minister and minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, former police chief Hussein Ali, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and journalist Joshua Sang.
“I wonder what Kenyan authorities will say if these people are actually found guilty of offences which were allegedly committed in Kenya, yet the government has always maintained it has no evidence against them,” said Samuel Kimeu, the executive director of Transparency International.
Hassan Omar, a commissioner with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, says these cases, though they may be an embarrassment to Kenya, if successfully prosecuted to conviction will be an indictment of the leadership of President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila.
“I presume they had the information about these people, and they have the resources to act. So why haven’t they? In these cases I believe they have put political considerations first and the rule of law second,” he said.
Unforgiving, too, in his criticism of the failure of the two principals to act is civil rights advocate Mwalimu Mati.
“For long, Kenya’s lords of impunity went about their business without fear of being brought to account. But these involvements prove that international processes will be brought to bear where local mechanisms have failed,” he said.
But in the wake of these unprecedented events, some Kenyans are questioning the international community’s keener interest in “saving Kenya from itself”, as the chairman of the NGOs council Ken Wafula put it.
“I think the West has seen Kenya teeter on the edge of destruction, and I think there is a feeling among the international community that Kenya is too strategic for them to allow to implode,” said Mwalimu Mati.
It is thought that the catastrophic events of 2008, when more than 1,300 people were killed and more than 600,000 others displaced following the disputed result of the 2007 presidential election brought home the reality that Kenya could easily join its neighbour Somalia in the ranks of failed states. 
Years of unfettered political and economic impunity had woven tribalism, cronyism and nepotism into Kenya’s social fabric.
Institutional failure was identified as the root cause of most of these problems which is why, emerging from the 2008 conflict, overhauling the constitution became an issue of national importance.
“Kenya’s stability is paramount in safeguarding Western interests. The events of 2008 probably proved to them that their interests may come tumbling down with the Kenyan State,” said Mwalimu Mati.
“And one sure way of ensuring stability is to bring to an end the endemic political, economic and social impunity that has long been woven into the DNA of Kenyan society.”
Brink of disintegration
And though most Kenyans might argue otherwise, the West seems convinced that Kenya is on the brink of disintegration.
A May 2011 report by the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellites to monitor conflict areas with the aim of preventing genocide, concluded that there are high chances of a Rwanda-like genocide occurring in Kenya as early as next year.
The report, which used information gathered from movements of various groups in Kenya, cites widespread impunity and bad governance as some of the reasons Kenya could easily implode.
“Our situation might not be that dramatic, but it goes to show that the international community has a keen interest in what happens here,” Mr Wafula said.
Banks in United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and even the United States were destinations of choice for the corrupt to hide ill-gotten loot.
But the freezing of Mr Mwau’s and Ms Nyakiniywa’s accounts in the US and the indictment of Mr Okemo and Mr Gichuru in the UK signals a dramatic shift in strategy by the international community.
Swiss ambassador to Kenya Jacques Pitteloud said his country, a favourite destination for Africa’s leaders to hide ill-gotten wealth, will do everything possible to return money laundered in his country. “But no one has requested our assistance,” he said.
Mr Omar said these latest events raise the possibility that the profiteers from other high-profile graft cases, such as Anglo-Leasing and Goldenberg, who are believed to have hidden their loot in foreign accounts, might face justice elsewhere in the world if not in their homeland.
“It is also a statement that no matter how long ago the crime may have been committed, the international justice system will not forget.
The world has truly become a village, and you will be punished anywhere for whatever crime you commit,” he added.
Related Story: American alleges MP joined drugs trade while in police force  

The momentous return of the Arab citizen By Rami G. Khouri (TheDailyStar)
Egyptians refer to their “revolution” in describing the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last February, and they revel in its continuing afterglow, appreciating how significant and satisfying was their deed. 
The post-revolution phase under way in the country represents a more difficult challenge than the weeks of street demonstrations that sent Mubarak into retirement. He, his sons and some senior officials are detained and will soon be tried in court. 
Everyone asks one question every day in Egypt: Did the revolution really change much beyond removing the top layer of officials from office, and will a democratic system fully take root in the country? 
It was to answer this question that I spoke with a cross-section of ordinary Egyptians, professionals, academics and activists in Cairo this week. 
I also found a rich vantage point from which to understand the deeper political issues at play in Egypt when I participated in a two-day seminar of 30 representatives of non-governmental organizations, from a dozen Arab countries, who gathered to discuss what the organizers described as “paths toward democratic changes and equitable development in the Arab region: toward building a civil state and establishing a new social contract.” 
The meeting – convened by the Arab NGO Network for Development, the Arab Institute for Human Rights, and the Egyptian Association for the Community Participation Enhancement – clarified what I see as the three most important political dynamics to emerge from the Egyptian experience (which is also taking place in Tunisia). 
First, the Tahrir Square experience was an exhilarating case of mass empowerment of once helpless individuals who all came together and were able to remove their disliked previous government. 
Second, the concept of “the consent of the governed” is now operational in Egypt, as “people power” has become the legitimate source of authority and governance, but without ideological expression or anchorage. 
And third, the spirit of Tahrir Square must now be translated into a new governance structure and social contract that provide citizens with both their political and civil rights and also the promise of more egalitarian socio-economic development prospects. 
The NGO activists who came from all corners of the Arab world to discuss these issues in Cairo this week knew instinctively from their decades of experience that they had to achieve one overriding imperative if the newly forged assets of the popular rebellions across the Arab world were to be translated into long-term gains for all citizens: the new governance systems of the Arab world must be based on rights of citizens that are both clearly defined in constitutions and implemented and enforced on the ground through credible legal and political structures. Among the critical elements that must define a new social contract and credible constitutionalism are a strong, independent judiciary, and a new relationship between the military-security sector and the civilian population. 
The political contest under way in Egypt today sees the spirit of Tahrir Square continuing to manifest itself in several forms (street demonstrations, legal action, new political parties, civil society activism, dynamic media) that seek to define a new governance system in the face of the two most powerful forces hovering over the society – the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Many Egyptians increasingly see a growing alliance between the military and the Islamists, which some activists even refer to as a quiet coup d’etat. 
The new element at play now is the Arab citizen, who has been empowered and energized by his or her confrontation with the autocratic old order. Masses of Arabs today feel that they have the ability not just to demand, but also to enforce, their rights as citizens in the pluralistic and constitutional democracies they seek to construct from the wreckage of the Arab security states they endured for many decades. 
The polarization, fragmentation, or even the violent collapse of some Arab states – Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Algeria and Iraq to date, with others lined up to follow suit – is the natural consequence of political systems that fail to provide their citizens with the rights they expect. Rehabilitating and rebuilding more stable Arab states and governance systems today requires addressing the equal rights of all citizens in the political, civic, economic, cultural and social fields, and “constitutionalizing the protection of citizen rights,” as one Moroccan scholar called it. 
The historic change that Tunisia and Egypt have triggered is simply that Arab citizens are now players in this process, having been mostly idle bystanders in the past four generations when Arab statehood proliferated without any real citizen sovereignty taking root in parallel. This struggle to define the new Arab world will go on for some years. The important thing is that it has finally started in earnest, and its outcome will be determined largely by the interaction among indigenous actors that now include the once-vanished but now reinvigorated protagonist in the saga of statehood: the Arab citizen. 

Understanding the absence of Ethiopia’s “day of rage” By Eskinder Nega 
VOA’s stringer in Addis, Peter Heinlein, a veteran of cold-war stints as a high-profile American correspondent behind the iron curtain, expressed the paradox best. 
“Protesters Absent as Ethiopia Marks Anniversary of Meles Rule” read the title of his May 28th dispatch from Addis. “Tens of thousands of Ethiopians have turned out in Addis Ababa’s main square to mark PM Meles Zenawi’s 20th anniversary in power. A day of rage counterdemonstration planned by democracy activists failed to materialize,” reported Peter. But, he notes, somewhat perplexed, “the capital (Addis) is known as a hotbed of anti-government sentiment.” And, say insiders, much to the chagrin of officials who accredit him to work in Ethiopia, he goes on, “the turnout at Addis Ababa’s Meskel Square was a fraction of the one million predicted (by the EPRDF.)”(This is a sober estimate of a journalist who covered Red Square parades in Soviet times.) 
Teasingly hailed as “EPRDF’s Pravda” by democracy activists because of controversial post-2005 reports, Reuters, on its part, relayed the opinion of a 23-year-old university student, “I don’t think there’s an appetite in Ethiopia for an uprising after 2005. I think even most opposition supporters believe a gradual process is the only way now.” 
May 28th 2011 was supposed to be Ethiopia’s “day of rage,” when thousands of protesters were supposed to peacefully challenge EPRDF’s two decades autocracy. The inspiration came from North Africa. Interestingly, though, the world’s first day of rage was not in authoritarian Egypt as is conventionally assumed but, curiously, in comprehensively democratic US. The Weatherman, a tiny but forceful faction of Vietnam-war protesting students, organized a string of three days long protest rallies in Chicago in late 1969, and famously dubbed it as “days of rage.” 
The students failed miserably back then, but forty two years later unwittingly inspired copycat protests in Egypt, which culminated in the spectacular collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Democracy activists in almost all Arab countries have since proposed their own days of rage. Some have gained trajectory with a mixture of hope and tragedy, as is the case with Syria and Yemen, but others have botched mysteriously, as is the example of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. 
Sub-Sahara Africa, no more the exclusive bastion of dictatorships of yesteryears, has less room for days of rages than the Middle East. Democracy has firmly taken root in many parts of the continent. But democracy is also plainly absent regionally in the horn, too, with trend-setter Ethiopia serving as mainstay of the archaic status-quo. No surprise then that with the exception of Somalia, which is still stateless, days of rage had been planned for all horn countries—Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia. 
All have more or less imploded almost from the outset, though there were some protests in Sudan and Djibouti. The reasons vary; each country has to be addressed individually. 
Ethiopia’s planned May 28th day of rage kicked off as an online campaign after the dramatic fall of Mubarak in Egypt. Broadly rallying under the catchy “Beka” (enough, in Amharic) slogan on facebook, thousands signed up with amazing swiftness. “There is no reason why we cannot have the Arab uprisings in Ethiopia,” they said. And indeed the clear alignment of political repression, chronic unemployment and high inflation favored their assertion. 
But unlike Tunisia and Egypt, where local activists used social media to trigger and sustain mass protests, it was the Diaspora, as opposed to local activists, who launched and to a large extent sustained Ethiopia’s cyber campaign. This is the fundamental difference between the Arab and Ethiopian days of rage. 
Though admittedly startlingly small in numbers, Ethiopia is not entirely devoid of local democracy activists. But they were no more significant in relative numbers in either Tunisia or Egypt, where the pre-revolution political settings were strikingly similar to that of Ethiopia. What sets Arab and Ethiopian activists drastically apart is their perceptions of risk. 
Risk is essentially a daring foray into unknown terrain. It embodies the possibilities of both success and failure at the same time. Hence it is intrinsically exciting and frightening. Depending on the outcome, the prize could be huge, or conversely, the cost could be devastating. Risk is thus at best unsettling. 
Arab activists have amply established their keenness to take risks. But they took calculated rather than reckless risks. In calculated risks the stakes are systematically analyzed and unambiguous goals are set. In the end, even with failure there is no room for regret. The ride would have been worth it. At the opposite pole, success is even sweeter than it would be under normal circumstances. In reckless risks, however, the exhilaration from the plunge is savored more than the result. It rarely has a happy ending. And with the stakes usually involving life and death issues for democracy activists, nor is it a plausible alternative. 
Absent the courage to at least hazard calculated risks, the hopes of Arab activists would have degenerated into a pathetic, dreary, unattainable fantasy. But they did have courage and by taking risks infused life in to their movements, conquered their fears, created outlets for their talents and creativities, and most importantly made their triumph possible. 
On the other hand, post 2005 local Ethiopian activists have become so risk averse they now demand the certainty of guaranteed results before doing anything. By deferring risk at every turn, May 28th being only the latest one, opportunities to establish legitimacy, recognition and stature have been squandered repeatedly. 
The most oft cited reason for the inertia is the repressive capabilities of the EPRDF. Even calculated risks are deemed too dangerous. And indeed, not only is EPRDF’s repressive network extensive but there is also a particular nastiness to the EPRDF leadership that makes it uniquely dangerous. But it is also true that the threat is nowadays habitually overstated. It has become an excuse to do nothing and, luckily for the regime, by the image of invincibility it has projected, a more effective deterrent to dissent than the secret police. 
The good news for the nation is that all this could change. It will change all in due time. Peaceful Ethiopian activists have it in them to overcome this predicament. 
Mark my words. It’s not over.

U.S. Horn Of Africa Command Marks Death Of Soldiers In Djibouti

Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa
AFRICOM Service Members Conduct Memorial Mission to Honor Fallen By Master Sergeant Ray Bowden CJTF-HOA Public Affairs  
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti: More than 35 Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) service members climbed aboard two CH-53 Super Stallion Helicopters on May 30, 2011, Memorial Day, and traveled to some of Djibouti's most remote regions to honor CJTF-HOA members who lost their lives in two separate aircraft accidents. ....
The group's first stop was atop a rocky plateau in the Godoria Range, along Djibouti's northern coast. On June 23, 2003, two CH-53 helicopter crews were gathered around their aircraft on this high ground to observe a B-52 Stratofortress on maneuvers when an M117 general purpose bomb exploded, killing U.S. Marine Captain Seth Michaud and injuring eight others. The second leg of the mission took the group to a desolate beach on the Gulf of Aden where, on February 17, 2006, two CH-53 helicopters collided in mid-air, killing eight Marines, two airmen, and injuring two others.....
CJTF-HOA members have participated in annual memorial flights since Memorial Day, 2004. 


Yemeni president Saleh injured in palace attack as thousands flee fighting in capital (AFP)
Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was wounded Friday in a shelling attack on a mosque in his presidential compound in which four people were killed.
A Yemeni government official confirmed that Saleh was "lightly injured" in the attack, but alive, FOX News Channel reported.
An opposition TV station reported that Saleh was killed in the attack, but this was quickly denied. Yemen's state TV said Saleh was "fine," and was due to address the nation.
Four officers of the elite Republican Guard were killed when two shells crashed into the mosque, AFP reported.
Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar was injured in the attack, while deputy prime minister for defense and security, General Rashad al Alimi, was in critical condition, a presidential source said.
Dissident tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al Ahmar have clashed violently with Saleh's forces for days in and around Sanaa, with heavy gunfire and shelling reported.
"The Ahmar [tribe] has crossed all the red lines," a spokesman for the ruling General People's Congress was quoted as saying by AFP.
Saleh is clinging to power after months of political unrest and calls for him to stand down.
Thousands of residents fled Sanaa on Friday as the bodies of dead tribal fighters and loyalist forces littered the streets. The headquarters of national airline Yemenia were burnt down in fierce fighting through the night, AFP reported.
Three shells struck near the university campus in the city center where opponents of veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been holding a sit-in since late January.
Troops loyal to dissident General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar were deployed to protect the few dozen protesters still braving the fighting to camp out in Change Square, witnesses said. Positions held by the rebel army units also came under artillery fire

WHERE ARE THE FAKE, WESTERN "RIGHT-TO-PROTECT" INTERVENTIONS ???Yemen: A perfect storm (EditorialTheGuardian) 
President Ali Saleh's latest move may well turn out to be his last
When Sadiq al-Ahmar, the chief of Yemen's most powerful tribe, announced a ceasefire after five days of fighting in the capital that has left over 100 dead, there was deafening applause from the crowd, hundreds of thousands strong, who hoped beyond hope that the revolution they started could continue peacefully. But as fighter jets screamed overhead to bomb tribesmen who had wrested control of a military compound loyal to President Ali Saleh, there was little respite from the hell engulfing Yemenis in this conflict.
One-third of the population is undernourished, while 2.7 million are classed as severely food insecure. An Arab country neighbouring oil-rich states has levels of malnutrition and the stunting of child development more often associated with Afghanistan and Africa. In the last week, the price of water in the capital Sana'a rose eight-fold – that is if any water tankers were running at all. Residents consider themselves fortunate if they get two hours of electricity a day and the price of candles has nearly doubled. For many families the daily choice is between buying water or cooking oil. With 90% of staple foods imported, oil exports shut down, the economy at a standstill, gun battles raging, and a tyrant backed by the best-equipped part of his army – the republican guards – refusing to stand down, a perfect desert storm is blowing through this land.
For four months, faced with the defection of half his armed forces and masses thronging the streets demanding his resignation, Saleh has warned that he is the pole who holds up the tent. With him gone, he told anyone who would listen, all would collapse around him. As if to make this point a reality, shortly after the collapse of the fourth attempt at mediation by Gulf Arab neighbours last Sunday, his forces took on Yemen's most powerful clan, the Ahmars, who have been bankrolling the opposition and supporting hundreds of thousands of protesters camping out on the capital's streets.
Attempts to mediate a ceasefire were continuing last night, but Saleh's latest move may well turn out to be his last. He is attempting to do something that no other leader in Yemen has succeeded in doing. The other Ahmar brothers are Hamir, the deputy speaker of parliament, Hussein, another powerful tribal leader, and Hamid, a tycoon and founder of the opposition party, Islah. Saleh can sow chaos but he cannot win. And the longer he holds out, the less able he becomes to negotiate the terms of his departure. Between now and then, a full-scale humanitarian disaster could yet unfold. Like the country itself, Yemenis have run out  of slack.

Clashes Spread Across Yemen, Raising Fears of Civil War (DemocracyNow)

Clashes are continuing across Yemen in the growing conflict over President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s refusal to step down. At least 15 people were reportedly killed in overnight clashes in the capital city of Sana’a. Dozens have been killed since Monday, when artillery explosions and machine-gun fire shattered a tenuous ceasefire that lasted less than 48 hours. We get a report from Iona Craig of The Times of London, who is in Sana’a. [includes rush transcript]
JUAN GONZALEZ: We turn right now to Yemen, where anti-government protests are swelling after President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to follow through on his promise to resign. Medical workers say at least 41 people have been killed in the capital, Sana’a, since Monday, when artillery explosions and machine-gun fire shattered a tenuous ceasefire that lasted less than 48 hours. Forces loyal to Saleh were deployed last night, where they battled with rebel tribesmen. Flights to the airport have been suspended as fighting rages in the city.
Meanwhile, 20 people were killed in the southern city of Taiz after Saleh’s forces attacked a protest camp in the city center. Today witnesses told the AFP that protesters in Taiz have taken up arms against government forces loyal to the president. They say they remain undeterred despite the recent government crackdown.
PROTESTER: [translated] The situation in terms of change is that the youths’ hopes are raised high, even though yesterday there was a gun attack on Adel Street and elsewhere. You should notice that those people are unbelievable. We have not seen anything like this before. Those protesters are not scared, and they can sleep under gunfire and rockets flying above their head.
AMY GOODMAN: According to Al Jazeera, more than 350 people have been killed in Yemen since nationwide protests calling Saleh to end his 33-year rule started about four months ago. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a news conference Wednesday the violence will only end when Saleh leaves the country.
SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform.
JUAN GONZALEZ: That was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She repeated her support for a proposal from the Gulf Cooperation Council that promises Saleh immunity from prosecution if he resigns.
AMY GOODMAN: But Saleh has refused to step down. He has repeatedly used addresses on state television to warn that, should he be forced to relinquish power, al-Qaeda will sweep in and take over the entire country. Opposition leaders have accused Saleh of deliberately allowing the southern coastal city of Zinjibar to fall to militants to try to show how chaotic Yemen would be without him.
For more on Yemen, we’re going to the capital, Sana’a, to Iona Craig. She’s with The Times of London. She’s based in the Yemeni capital.
Iona, welcome to Democracy Now! What is happening there now?
IONA CRAIG: Today and all of last night, we’ve had continued heavy fighting in the north of Sana’a between the tribesmen of the Al Ahmar family and government troops. There’s been heavy shelling once again, loud explosions that can be heard all the way across Sana’a. And heavy fighting has continued throughout the day today. I mean, it’s almost surprising that there’s much of northern Sana’a, the half of the district where this fighting has been going on, left to shell, considering the amount of explosions that have been ongoing for the last 24 hours, at least.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Iona, there have been some reports that the government has cut off electricity and water to some neighborhoods of the capital where the opposition is strongest. Any sense of what the situation is with basic services to the population?
IONA CRAIG: We’ve been suffering from power cuts here for many weeks. Large parts of the capital are restricted to around four hours of electricity a day. That’s mostly been as a result of tribesmen to the east attacking power lines and electricity supplies.
Also, water has become a major problem here, as well. Since the fighting started in half of the last week, the price of water has more than doubled overnight. Much of the city here relies on water being transported in rather than receiving a main supply. And so, many of the locals have become quite upset and rowdy about this. In fact, very close to where I live, they started up a roadblock overnight in protest at rising water prices and the access to water, as well. Security forces had opened fire on them to disperse the crowd. But certainly, the issues of water and power are great here, and we’re also suffering from a diesel and petrol shortage, as well. So, tension is certainly high in Sana’a, and certainly in the north of the capital it’s very violent.
AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about these latest few days where well over—it’s believed more than 40 people have been killed in—talk about Sana’a, Taiz, the Marib, the oil- and gas-producing province, what’s happening, and why Saleh is holding on.
IONA CRAIG: Yes, in Taiz, in particular, where the anti-government protest movement had the longest-running tented sit-in across the country and has really been the origin of what they call the revolution here, there was a very violent crackdown on their tented sit-in earlier in the week, which was set fire to and then bulldozed. And reports of numbers between 50 and even up to a hundred, the protesters claim, died in that attack. That came the same day as reports of al-Qaeda militants, the government claimed, had taken over the southern coastal city of Zinjibar, which seemed almost quite convenient that the media attention was distracted by this report of Islamic militants taking over the city at the same time as government troops attacking peaceful protesters in Taiz.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what is your sense in terms of why Saleh continues to resist calls for him to step down and the prospects, given that the country is the poorest in the Arab world, for a full-blown civil war?
IONA CRAIG: He’s been in power for 32 years now, and I think he probably believes that he can ride this out. He’d also be wary, considering what’s been happening to Mubarak now, who’s going to face trial, although this transfer deal that was brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council would grant him immunity from prosecution. I still think he sees this now as an opportunity both for him to possibly ride out this call for him to step down and also, with the violence spreading around the country now, it’s giving him a better place at the negotiating table in order to be able to find better and more secure terms for him to leave, if he chooses to do so.
The civil war aspect is obviously the greatest concern at the moment. This fighting in Sana’a has been restricted just to this northern area, but it does involve the Hashid tribe, which is the most powerful tribe here in Yemen. And obviously, the longer it goes on, the greater potential for it to drag in larger numbers of tribesmen and also other tribes within the area, as well. Beyond, there has been some fighting with Bakil tribesmen, as well, last week. So the prospect of civil war is still there. But so far, this violence that we have seen and this heavy shelling and heavy fighting have been restricted to northern Sana’a for the moment.
AMY GOODMAN: And the role of the United States at this point, Iona Craig? I mean, the U.S. is very close to Saleh. We heard Hillary Clinton saying the violence will end when he ends. She went on her apology tour in December after WikiLeaks documents came out, the U.S. government documents released by WikiLeaks, that showed that the U.S. was working with the Yemeni government, bombing through drone attacks various areas of Yemen, yet Yemen had agreed to say it was their own military that was doing this. She has been in Yemen a number of times. Has the U.S. relationship with Yemen changed?
IONA CRAIG: Certainly the anti-government protest movement are very disappointed that the U.S. and President Barack Obama haven’t come out and denounced President Saleh as they have done with other Arab leaders in the region during unrest and revolution. They’re very disappointed that they haven’t had support from the U.S. despite the amount of protesters that have been killed in the last three and four months here.
But obviously the major concern, as you mentioned, of the West, the U.S. and Europe, is the mention of al-Qaeda here. And it’s certainly their biggest concern, and the fact that there isn’t an obvious successor to Saleh who will join them in that fight against al-Qaeda in this country. It’s certainly—al-Qaeda has become something of a political weapon or a political tool for Saleh to use, hence the reason we’ve seen these reports, most lately in Zinjibar, of fighting between government troops and so-called al-Qaeda militants.
So, yes, there’s two elements to it. It’s the al-Qaeda concern from America, and the protesters here, who are very disappointed that they haven’t received the support they feel they should from the U.S. as a result.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Iona Craig, we want to thank you for being with us, a journalist from Britain in Sana’a, where she lives, editor at the Yemen Times.

SUDAN: The Unresolved Crisis in Abyei (smallarmssurvey)
With one month left before South Sudan formally declares its independence, the crisis in Abyei threatens to derail the entire process. The first five months of 2011 saw the worst violence in Abyei since the civil war, with hundreds dying in attacks by Khartoum-backed Missiriya militias. The situation culminated with the Sudanese army launching a full-scale invasion of Abyei on 20 May, in what the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) considered an act of war. As of 1 June 2011 Missiriya militias and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) occupy Abyei. While the Southern People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has not retaliated militarily, relations between the two sides are at breaking point.
The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) promised residents of Abyei a referendum to decide whether the territory will rejoin South Sudan or remain in the North, to be held simultaneously with the vote on South Sudan's independence. The vote did not occur, however, due to a heated dispute between Khartoum and Juba over who should be eligible to vote. The CPA stipulates that voting rights should be given to the Ngok Dinka and 'other Sudanese residing in the area'. The National Congress Party maintained that the Missiriya—transhumant cattle herders who spend up to six months of the year in Abyei—should be considered residents. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement held that the Missiriya are only in Abyei for a short period each year and thus should not be granted this status. Without the referendum, the status of the territory and its peoples remains uncertain, causing deep tensions at the local level.
In the run-up to South Sudan's referendum, Missiriya militias attacked police positions in Abyei. Following the clashes, two meetings were organized to improve the situation. The first was held on 13 January 2011 between Missiriya and Ngok Dinka chiefs to discuss migration routes through the area. The chiefs agreed in principle that the Missiriya would be allowed to pass through Abyei in search of pasture. However, negotiations over grazing routes broke off shortly before further clashes began at the end of February, and 2011 will now be the first year in living memory that the Missiriya have not grazed along the river Kiir, which runs south of Abyei town.
A second security agreement was signed on 17 January by Northern and Southern ministers of the interior, as well as representatives of the SPLA and SAF. As part of the agreement, the police unit involved in January's clashes was withdrawn to Abyei town, and two new battalions of Joint Integrated Units (JIUs), composed of SPLA and SAF troops, were stationed in Abyei to augment the existing battalion there.
The JIU units did little to improve security in Abyei. In late February and March 2011 Missiriya militias repeatedly attacked police positions at Todac and Maker Abyior, villages in the middle of Abyei, leaving 154 dead, tens of thousands fleeing the violence, and four villages partially or totally razed. The JIUs did not get involved, fearing that if they did, the SPLA and SAF components of the units would begin fighting each other, sparking a repeat of the events of 2008, when JIU in-fighting left Abyei town in flames.
Following the attacks, both sides made repeated commitments to the January security accords. But while they officially committed to demilitarization, an extensive military build-up took place on the ground. SAF components of JIUs clashed frequently with Abyei police units during April and May. On 19 May, fighting again erupted between them.
This clash proved to be the excuse SAF needed to launch a full-scale, premeditated military assault. On 20 and 21 May, it launched an aerial and ground campaign, using heavy artillery, bombers, and tanks. By the evening of 21 May, the United Nations compound reported watching 15 SAF tanks roll into Abyei.
More than 60,000 people have fled the assault. It is now the beginning of the rainy season, and they are in dire need of shelter and food. Meanwhile, Missiriya militias have occupied Abyei town and are engaged in looting and burning the settlement.
SAF insists that it will not withdraw from Abyei until there is a political settlement. With the gap between the two sides as wide as ever, prospects for a peaceful resolution of the Abyei crisis look grim. On 1 June the SPLA rejected Khartoum's proposal to rotate the administration of Abyei between the North and South.
Updated 2 June 2011
Click here for more in-depth information on the crisis in Abyei and here for information on the risk of conflict in the three areas. 

77 Days Of Bombing: Over 9,500 NATO Air Missions, 3,500 Strike Sorties
Allied Joint Force Command NAPLES, SHAPE, NATO HQ - North Atlantic Treaty Organization reports:
NATO has conducted the following activities associated with Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR:
Air Operations
Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 08.00GMT) a total of 9504 sorties, including 3584 strike sorties, have been conducted.

Govt Forces and Opposition Committed War Crimes, Says UN Human Rights Panel (UN)
A United Nations-ordered panel investigating human rights abuses in Libya says that Government forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the course of their crackdown on opposition forces seeking the ouster of Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi. The three-member International Commission of Inquiry, dispatched by the UN Human Rights Council, submitted its findings to the 47-member body in Geneva today. The report comes as concern grows about the worsening humanitarian situation in the North African country, including dwindling food stocks, and as diplomatic efforts to help resolve the crisis continue. 
The commission "has reached the conclusion that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed by the Government forces of Libya," according to a news release issued in Geneva. 
"The commission received fewer reports of facts which would amount to the commission of international crimes by opposition forces; however, it did find some acts which would constitute war crimes." 
The acts falling under crimes against humanity include murder, imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance and sexual abuse, which the report stated were committed by Government forces "as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population." 
Serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by Government forces amounting to war crimes include intentionally directing attacks against protected persons and targets such as civilian structures, medical units and transport. 
The commission said it had received, but was unable to verify, individual accounts of rape. "It notes, however, that sufficient information was received to justify further investigation to ascertain the extent of sexual violence, including whether cases were linked to incitement by the command of either side." Further investigation is also warranted, it stated, with regard to the use and recruitment of child soldiers, the use of excessive force by Government forces against demonstrators, arrests and detentions that were carried out in a "blanket" fashion, and a "pattern of enforced disappearances." 
The commission also found that torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment were committed by both the Government and opposition forces in violation of obligations under international human rights law and humanitarian law. 
The team, led by Professor Cherif Bassiouni, an Egyptian jurist and war crimes expert, calls on the Government to immediately cease acts of violence against civilians in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, and to conduct "exhaustive, impartial and transparent" investigations into all alleged violations. 
It also calls on the National Transitional Council, the umbrella group representing the opposition, to conduct similar investigations into alleged violations, and to ensure the immediate implementation of applicable international humanitarian and human rights law. 
Also serving on the commission is Asma Khader, a Jordanian-Palestinian lawyer who serves on the executive committee of the International Commission of Jurists, and Canada's Philippe Kirsch, who was the first president of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 
The Council is scheduled to consider the report on 6 June, as part of its current session. 

Russian Envoy: NATO Is Conducting Ground Operation In Libya 
Russia's NATO envoy says alliance in 'ground campaign' in Libya (RIANovosti)
The NATO-led military campaign against Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi has in fact turned into a ground operation, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday.
“Several members of the Western coalition fell outside the limits of UN Security Council’s resolution long ago and started pounding ground targets, started taking sides, putting their advisors on the ground…to some extent this already is a ground operation,” Rogozin said on Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Al Jazeera on May 30 broadcast TV footage showing a group of armed Westerners with rebel fighters near the city of Misrata.
Fourteen of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in operation Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo....
Russia abstained in the Security Council vote authorizing the NATO-led military operation, and has strongly criticized the alliance's handling it....
On June 1, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance would continue its military campaign in the war-torn African country until at least September.
Western media reports claim the United States has suggested the Libyan rebels open a representative office in Washington.

NATO In Libya: A Declaration Of Defeat 
A declaration of defeat By Geidar Jemal, chairman of the Islamic Council of Russia (VOR)
First, I think that the NATO declaration about its readiness to prolong the bombing of Libya for some 90 days is a sign of weakness, because previously I remember they were telling us about their readiness to bomb as long as necessary.
Now limiting the bombings by a certain period of time, by 90 days, surely marks a transformation of a very hard policy into something more rational. 90 days is not as long as necessary, because nobody understands what time is necessary. So, 90 days is a sign of unstableness, of certain confusion, because they were certainly expecting Gaddafi to cry ‘Uncle!’ after the first 3 days of bombing, maybe a week of bombing.
But we’ve been witnessing several months of severe punishment, which is given to Libya, to its civil population – because we should take into account the information coming from the Libyan government about more than 7,000 civilian victims of these bombings. This has been going on and on, and nobody sees any end to it. So, 90 days is a manifestation of confusion among the European Union’s political and military leaders. It’s absolutely obvious that they are losing the war. 
And the European Parliament is divided into factions. There’s a faction advocating peace, which is going to take some measures against Berlusconi and Sarkozy. And public opinion is also divided. People know there are civilian casualties in Libya, and no one believes in the humanitarian goals of the European Union. So, 90 days may be a shadow of defeat looming over the political leaders.
And certainly this is not helping Sarkozy in his campaign for the presidency, same as it is not helping him down his rival Strauss-Kahn, who was charged with sexual harassment. Everybody understands that it was the actual French president who initiated the case. And it didn’t help Sarkozy to remove his adversary from the political scene. Libya is much the same case. He thought it would be a short victorious war with declared humanitarian rules. But everyone understands now Sarkozy proved to be just a fool, who put himself into a very uncomfortable situation - himself and Europe too.
I think Gaddafi is playing very cleverly, that times works for him. And even if he doesn’t manage to keep his post and leaves the country, he’s done the European Union so much harm – not by himself, but the European Union, through him, has done so much harm to itself, it is the European Union’s guilt - that this harm will stay with the Europeans. Nobody will ever say that the European Union helps peoples to do away with totalitarian regimes.
Everybody understands that it is an absolutely inhuman intrusion into the internal affairs of peoples and so below the European morality that it had been hardly imaginable before all this happened. Now we see that Europe is absolutely hypocritical, that it thinks in double standards. And 90 days is, I think, a declaration of defeat.


Libya: mediation amid bombs? By Alexander Vatutin  (VOR)
Despite the mediatory efforts in Libya, the Western coalition forces plan to continue their military operation in the country till September. 
According to NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, an extension is necessary to carry out the UN mandate and protect the people of Libya.
The explanations provided by Mr. Rasmussen sound strange given that NATO’s operation in Libya has long exceeded the mandate of Security Council Resolution 1973 and has turned into a hunt for Col.Gaddafi. 
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that in the future, Moscow will insist that such resolutions set clear-cut limits for using force. As for “protection” of the Libyan people, more than 700 civilians have been killed in NATO bombardments by now, and in the words of former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, it is no longer protection but extermination. Apparently, the decision to continue the bombardments pursues the purpose of preventing Gaddafi from becoming one of the negotiating parties at peace talks. And to guarantee this, he has to be killed or forced out of the country.
Analysts are unanimous that NATO is torpedoing the peace process and that talk about mediation serves as a cover. Alexander Filonik heads the Arabic and Islamic Research center at the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
"NATO is playing a double game. On the one hand, its leaders are inviting Russia to mediate and taking other, seemingly progressive moves. On the other, they are doggedly persisting with the military operation and are set on eliminating the ruling regime in Libya which they are not happy with."
South African President Jacob Zuma, who visited Libya a few days ago, has confirmed the African Union’s road map plan which calls for an overall ceasefire and immediate peace talks. Moscow’s mediation can be based on only this plan and this doesn’t suit the Western partners as they insist that Gaddafi must go. The authorities in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi have similar views. The interim national council, endlessly relying on assistance from the West, is ready for dialogue with Gaddafi’s men but not Gaddafi himself. Given the situation, Russia is stepping up diplomatic efforts to secure a solution which would force Gaddafi to go and NATO to wind up its military operations in Libya. Moscow is open for all sorts of contacts, Russia’s foreign minister said. For this reason, the participants in the recent G8 summit in Deauville urged Russia to assume the mediatory mission in Libya.
Confrontation in Libya has to be stopped before it’s too late. NATO’s continuing bombardments hamper the search for a compromise and may lead to a disaster. The best option would be to stop now, before Libya could slip into disintegration.

NATO Maintains Deadly Nightly Onslaughts Against Libyan Capital 
NATO keeps bombing Tripoli (VOR)
The NATO air force continues bombing Tripoli every single night, hitting not only administrative and military targets but residential buildings as well. Many hospitals have been destroyed and the rest lack personnel, Libya-based Ukrainian doctors told a news agency correspondent.
According to them, all other foreigners who worked in Tripoli hospitals departed as soon as military operations began. The Ukrainian medical staff hardly manages to aid all those who suffer from the air strikes.
Tripoli groceries can still provide enough food, even though prices have gone up. Another problem is an acute shortage of gasoline.

NATO Warplanes Hit Tripoli Again
New NATO airstrikes hit Tripoli (TrendNewsAgency)
NATO airstrikes again targeted areas in and around the Libyan capital Tripoli, broadcaster CNN reported early Friday.
A number of explosions could be heard in Tripoli late Thursday and early Friday, the report said. According to a Libyan government official, the airstrikes also destroyed several targets in al-Aziziya, a city about 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, including the main police station. Two policemen were killed in the attack, CNN quoted the unnamed official as saying.
Also hit was an area near a compound of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi in Bab al-Aziziya, the report said.
Clashes also continued between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi near the eastern city of Misurata. At least one person was killed, DPA reported.

NATO Wants Swedish Combat Role In Ongoing War Against Libya 
NATO Wants Sweden's Continued Support In Libya By Barbro Plogander and Aron Lamm (EpochTimes)
Although not a member of NATO, Sweden has participated in NATO's mission in Libya, and with the extension of the mission by three months announced on June 1 by Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Sweden was also asked to continue and expand its military participation. 
So far, Sweden has contributed about 130 people to the mission, along with eight Gripen airplanes and one Hercules airplane, for reconnaissance and aerial refueling. But now, NATO wants the Swedish force to also take on other tasks, such as attacking targets on the ground and sending troops for boarding ships. ....
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who is well known for speaking his mind on the Internet, wrote in a May 31 blog post, that Sweden needs to decide “if we are ready to continue our contribution, in one form or another, to the current efforts to support UN resolution no. 1973.” 

Kucinich to Colleagues: We Must Defend the Constitution of the United States (Submitted by davidswanson)NATO Does Not Declare U.S. War, Determine U.S. Policy 
Washington D.C. (June 2, 2011) – As Congress sits poised to consider H. Con. Res. 51, Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) bill to end the war in Libya, Kucinich today sent the following letter to Members of Congress: 
Dear Colleague: 
Yesterday, NATO announced it would continue combat operations in Libya for at least another 90 days. NATO. The President went to NATO on Libya, not the U.S. Congress, as the Constitution requires. The U.S. has thus far provided 93% of the cruise missiles, 66% of the personnel, 50% of the ships and 50% of the planes at an estimated cost of up to $700 million and now NATO says the war will go another 90 days. Since when does NATO trump the Constitution of the United States? It is time, in the name of the people of the United States, that Congress insist that the President obey the Constitution and the statutes concerning war powers. 
Last week, I introduced H.Con.Res.51, a bipartisan resolution that disapproves of U.S. military operations in Libya and requires the President to withdraw U.S. Armed Forces from participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission in the country within 15 days after passage. I support my colleague Rep. Turner’s resolution which disapproves of U.S. military operations in Libya because I believe that it is the minimum that Congress must do to challenge the unconstitutional war in Libya. Yet as the war in Libya surpasses the 60 day mark with no end in sight, it is clear that Congress must do more than just express its disapproval. 
Article 1, Section 8 provides only Congress with the ability to declare war or authorize the use of military force. The War Powers Act allows a narrow exemption from the Constitutional requirement by allowing the President to take the U.S. to war without Congressional approval in the face of an “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.” We have now been involved in a war on Libya for over 72 days with no constitutionally required authorization for the use of military force or declaration of war. 
The President recently submitted a letter to Congress about the war in Libya arguing that he was not required to come to Congress for authorization because the war is not really a war. Really. 
While we may not all agree on the merits of military intervention in Libya, we can all agree that Congress must have the opportunity to have a full and ample debate on the commitment of U.S. Armed Forces to a war abroad. This institution cannot stand by idly as a war of choice with significant ramifications for our national and economic security is waged without Congress fulfilling its responsibilities under the Constitution. We must defend the Constitution of the United States. 
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

Pentagon concerned about Libya vote in U.S. House By David Alexander (Reuters)
* House resolution would send "unhelpful message" - Pentagon
* Measure would invoke 1973 War Powers Resolution
Approval of a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives directing President Barack Obama to withdraw from NATO operations against Libya would send an "unhelpful message of disunity" to allies and foes alike, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that "once military forces are committed, such actions by Congress can have significant consequences," particularly on relations with members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
"It sends an unhelpful message of disunity and uncertainty to our troops, our allies and, most importantly, the Gaddafi regime," Morrell said in a statement in Singapore, where Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived on Thursday to attend a security dialogue with Asian allies. 
The Pentagon reaction came after the Republican-led House on Wednesday delayed a vote on the resolution, sponsored by Democrat Dennis Kucinich, so lawmakers would have more time to weigh their options on the Libya conflict.
NATO is leading the intervention in Libya with a U.S. contribution but there are no U.S. troops on the ground there.
The operation aims to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the protection of Libyan civilians from attacks by Gaddafi's forces, which are fighting rebels trying to oust the long-time leader.
The U.S. role has been controversial in Congress since Obama notified lawmakers on March 21 that he had ordered the intervention as part of a multinational coalition conducting air strikes to shield civilians.
Kucinich's measure would invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution to direct Obama to stop the U.S. participation in the war. Kucinich says Obama violated the part of the law that prohibits U.S. armed forces from being involved in military actions for more than 60 days without congressional authorization.
Kucinich suggested the vote was dropped because the measure might have passed, which would have confirmed that most of the lawmakers want the United States out of the Libyan conflict.
Last week, the House passed two amendments to a defense bill pushing back against U.S. involvement in Libya, including one prohibiting the use of U.S. ground troops in the North African nation.
Morrell said the Pentagon understood congressional concerns about the intervention but noted that NATO had asked the United States, as a key member of the alliance, to provide support, "just like we have asked them over the years to support difficult operations in Afghanistan."
House Speaker John Boehner told a news conference on Thursday the Kucinich resolution probably would be dealt with on Friday after Republicans meet to talk about Libya.
"We'll see what our members have to say, but I expect that this issue will be resolved tomorrow," he said. Asked if some alternative proposals might also be on the floor, he said, "we're going to have a conversation with our members today and we'll see what they have to say about it."
Boehner said that with the budget deficit at $1.4 trillion and a national debt over $14 trillion, lawmakers were concerned about war spending and didn't understand what much of it is for because the president has not articulated his goals.
"I think there's a lot of concern given the budget deficit, given our debt. I think every penny that the Congress spends is getting a lot more scrutiny," Boehner said.
"Members are a bit weary about the amount of money we've spent in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and that we're spending in Libya, and as a result, really are wondering what's our vital national security interests there," he added.

NATO Wants to Free Africa From the Africans By Glen Ford (BlackAgendaReport)
Gulf Arabs, the European Union, heads of state in Washington, Paris and London, the war chiefs of NATO – everyone was consulted on the assault against Libya, except Africans, whose latest peace plan was rejected out of hand. In the end, the opinions of the so-called Libyan “rebels” won’t count, either. “These rebels lost their legitimacy the second they decided to become the ground troops for a neocolonial invasion of North Africa.” As underlings, they’ll just take orders.
As far as the United States and Europe are concerned, Africans have nothing to say about what happens in Africa. South African President Jacob Zuma made a second trip to Libya this week, on behalf of the African Union, seeking a diplomatic end to NATO’s war against Mouammar Gaddafi’s government. Just as with a previous African Union peacekeeping mission, back in early April, Col. Gaddafi agreed to the peace plan. And just as before, the so-called rebels and their American and European bosses refused even to consider a cease fire. As has been obvious from the beginning of this “humanitarian” farce, the Great White Fathers of Europe and the “Wall Street mascot” from the United States, as Obama has been called, will be satisfied with nothing less than regime change in Libya – and to Hell with what Africans think! 
The Euro-Americans will soon prove just as contemptuous of their erstwhile North African Arab allies, based in Benghazi, who claim to be leading a “revolution” against Gaddafi. But these rebels lost their legitimacy the second they decided to become the ground troops for a neocolonial invasion of North Africa. Revolutionaries fight the Power. The gang from Benghazi are mere pawns of imperialism and have no credibility whatsoever as revolutionaries. This is an imperialist war, fought for imperial objectives. The rebels have chosen to become imperialism’s mascots, waiting like pitiful little Gunga Dins for the British and French to arrive with attack helicopters to burn and kill their countrymen.
NATO orders their Libyan minions around like children. NATO recently “issued instructions” that the rebels not move beyond certain points in the desert, so as not to enter the killing fields that the rich white fathers – plus Obama – are preparing to incinerate Libyan government soldiers. Naturally, the rebels will do exactly as they are told, since this is not their revolution. Rather, Libya is the front line of the European and American counter-revolution. The chain of command reaches to Paris, London and Washington. Benghazi has reverted to the colonial outpost that it was when the Italians ruled – only now, in the 21st century, all of the Europeans plus the Americans get to lord over the Libyans, who grin and skin while thanking the colonizers for coming back to save Africa from the Africans. 
And so it makes perfect sense that a peace proposal from the president of South Africa, Black Africa's most powerful and wealthy country, acting on behalf of the organization that includes every nation on the continent, counts for less than nothing in the imperial scheme of things. The West encourages South African President Jacob Zuma to help bring chaotic Black countries into line, but Zuma and the African Union are not authorized to interfere with imperial wars on the continent. That's “white folks business.”
When the Western attack helicopters arrive, the Benghazi-based rebels will cheer, as if they won something. The Gunga Dins should carefully study those helicopters and their awesome firepower, because those guns will one day likely be turned against them. The U.S. and Europe have no intention of allowing Libyans to rule Libya. And after all, why should the imperialists hand over all that oil to a bunch of local flunkies who couldn't even fight their own war.

State of The Empire: Reflections On The Geopolitical Situation 
The State of The Empire: Some Reflections on the Geopolitical Situation By Ninan Koshy (PeaceForLife)  
My attempt is to give or rather get an overview of the geopolitical situation by an examination of the state of the Empire today. This is because the projects and policies of US Empire largely determine developments in international politics today.
Continuing Imperial Geo-strategy
If anybody had hopes that the replacement of a Republican President by a Democratic President would reform, if not begin to dismantle the Empire, their hopes have been totally belied. The continuation of the Bush era policies, military doctrines and strategies by President Obama, is deeply disquieting but not surprising. In the wake of the Bush administration’s disastrous neoconservative ideologies, the Obama administration initially appeared to be seeking to realize the liberal international and diplomatic way of relating to the world. But soon it was clear that US is going to be an aggressive imperial power no matter whom it elects as president, and that what is called ‘neo-conservatism’ is merely an extreme version of normal American assumption of supremacy, one that explicitly promotes and heightens US’s routine practice of empire. Thus there is no fundamental break in foreign policy between the Bush and Obama regimes. The strategic goals and
the imperatives of the US imperium remain the same as do principal theatres and means of operation.
One noticeable aspect of continuity is with reference to views on war and peace. If Obama was the Commander-in-
Chief of two wars when he received the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace, he can now claim to be C-in-C of one more, Libya, though it is a war in denial. In fact a close analysis of the new Libyan adventure of the USA and NATO brings out clearly the continuing imperial geo-strategy.
The Discourse on War and Peace
First, on war and peace. The scrutiny of the term ‘just peace’ is especially important in the context of the confusion deliberately created by the prevailing discourse on war and peace, a discourse reflecting the hegemonic definitional power of the USA. Claiming ‘victory’ in the war against Iraq while speaking to the workers of the Boeing factory, President Bush declared, “We are redefining war on our terms”. He added, “The manufacturers of weapons are the peacemakers”.
The confusion was evident in President Obama’s speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. He had just dispatched additionally 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. He was obviously on the horns of a dilemma. But he came out in favour of war, not peace. He said, “There will be times when nations will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justifiable.” Claims about necessity and moral justification of any war are problematic, especially when such claims are made by the rulers who wage seemingly endless wars. The distance from the necessity of war to the inevitability of war was considerably shortened by the new military doctrines and strategies of the USA under President Bush.
Obama added in his Oslo speech, “Yes, the instruments of war do have a role in preserving peace”, uncomfortably reminding us of Bush’s statement to the Boeing workers. In the speech Obama spoke of the “biggest and strongest military alliance in the world”, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice. That is why NATO continues to be indispensable.” Obama was glorifying a military alliance which has the most aggressive strategic doctrine. He was only following the path of his predecessor Bush who had declared that “Pentagon is the biggest force for freedom in the world.” The occupation of Afghanistan by the USA and NATO still continues. In Iraq there will be continued US military presence and a number of bases. Even when imperial wars end, imperial bases continue.
In his speech at the National Defense University in Washington, trying to justify military action against Libya, President Obama said, “I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies and our core interests.”
He added other occasions for intervention “when our safety is not directly threatened but our interests and our allies’ are”. In this secondary list he lumped everything from “preventing genocide” to “ensuring regional security” and “maintaining the flow of commerce”.
Yes, Obama will take military action to maintain “the flow of commerce”. This was a reiteration of the Bush doctrine of preemption and preventive wars. If Bush thought of preventive wars even in case of presumed future, potential threats to the USA, Obama seems to believe that wars are necessary even when there is no threat to the USA now or in the future. The Libyan action of the Western powers is a war, albeit an undeclared one.
The Bush administration had redefined war objectives in terms of “changing the regime of an adversary state” and “occupying foreign territory until U.S. strategic objectives are met”. The United States and NATO have manipulated and interpreted the Security Council resolution on Libya to suit their imperial objectives.
The Military Action against Libya and International Law
On 17th March 2011, the UN Security council adopted a binding resolution (1973) with the stated goal to protect civilians in the domestic conflict in Libya. Operative paras 4 and 8 of the resolution authorize all member states individually or through regional organizations or arrangements to “undertake all necessary measures” for the protection of civilians and for the enforcement of a so-called no fly zone. To ‘authorize’ states to “use all necessary measures” in the enforcement of a legally binding resolution is an invitation to an arbitrary and arrogant exercise of power and makes the commitment  of the UN to the international rule of law void of any meaning.  The fact that the Security Council adopted the same approach, earlier in resolution 678 dealing with the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, in 1990 does not justify the present action in the context of the domestic conflict in Libya. “All necessary measures” have come to mean solely military action excluding the range of possibilities including mediation, negotiation and diplomacy.
While the objective of the Security Council resolution is clearly stated as protecting the civilians, the Western powers have made clear that their real political goal is regime change - ousting Muammar Gaddafi. Ironically by stating that Gaddafi has lost legitimacy, Western leaders are dramatically narrowing the space for a more peaceful removal of the Libyan leader. The one thing that the Europeans share is a seeming lack of exit strategy from a military action marketed as a no-fly zone to the goal of a regime change mirroring the Afghan and Iraq campaigns. Can regime change be sustained without occupation?  Occupation is the highest form of dictatorship which Washington calls democracy.
As the military preparations of the size and magnitude employed in Libya are never improvised there is reason to believe, that the war on Libya as well as the armed insurrection against the regime were planned months prior to the Arab uprising. That is why the Libyan war has to be treated separately.
In Libya the Western powers have intervened in an internal conflict and taken sides in a civil war. There has been no threat to international peace and security from Libya.
Geo-strategic Significance
The name “Operation Odyssey Dawn” is very revealing. It identifies the strategic interest and direction of the war against Libya. The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic by the poet Homer which recounts the voyage and trails of its hero. The main theme here is ‘return home’. The US and other imperialist powers are on their own odyssey of ‘return’ to Africa. That explains why the initiative was taken by Britain and France, the former colonial powers in Africa.
Events in Libya are not exclusive to the military theatre.  There is a geopolitical and economic chess match at play between the West and China in a battle for Africa and with it the largest basket of national resources on earth. The US has already outlined its strategic agenda through the formation of the AFRICOM, a subset of the infamous neoconservative Project for a New American Empire (PMAC). Central to America’s strategic goals is to confront the increasing Chinese influence on the continent. Beijing has assessed that the Anglo-French- American bombing of Libya, apart from its myriad geopolitical implications, has risked millions of dollars to Chinese investments.
Africa Command represents a vital and crucial link for the global military deployment of the USA. Libya is one of the five African countries that have not been integrated into, which is to say subordinated to, the Africa Command. Others are Sudan, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and Eritrea.
There are observers who note that the Mediterranean Sea is emerging as the main battlefront in the world superseding the Afghan-Pak war theatre and thus an important zone of the Empire. Libya is the only African nation bordering the Mediterranean which is not a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue Programme. The Mediterranean has been historically one of the most important –if not the most important – strategically crucial sea and the only one whose waves lap the shores of three continents. The defeat and conquest of Libya, directly or by proxy, would secure a key outpost for the Pentagon and NATO on the Mediterranean Sea.
NATO’s entry into Africa is a development that has serious consequences. Originally meant as an alliance to preserve peace and stability along the frontline between the now defunct USSR and the US-European alliance, NATO has now become the major arm of the Empire. It entered Asia through Afghanistan under a dubious authorization by the UN for the International Security Assistance Force. The use of NATO in these regions is further proof that its Cold War function is still active, the old chess pieces are still in place and its Western directors are not hiding the fact at all. The NATO master plan is to rule the Mediterranean as a NATO lake. Under these ‘optics’ (Pentagon speak) the Mediterranean is infinitely more important as a theatre than Afghanistan. NATO is essentially Pentagon rule over its European minions. In fact it is the claim by the US that it has the right to intervene militarily in any part of the world that buttresses the new mandate
assumed by the NATO.
It should be noted that only a few members of the NATO are directly involved in the Libya campaign. An important ally of the USA and a prominent member of NATO Germany abstained in the voting in the Security Council resolution and do not participate in the campaign. The Bush doctrine of the “coalition of the willing” still prevails. The key point is that while Libya allows the biggest US-European multinational to plunder its oil wealth it did not become a strategic military asset of the Empire. The driving force of US empire building is military and not economic.
The Nuclear Implications
The Libyan war raises important questions about US’s nuclear posture as well as nuclear disarmament.  A critical issue that has been raised is whether the recent test of a B61-11 by the USA is ‘routine’ or was it envisaged by the Pentagon directly or indirectly in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn implying the possible development of mini-nukes at some future stage of the Libya bombing campaign. In the Nuclear Posture Review of 2002, the Pentagon mentioned the need to test small “usable” nuclear weapons. Low yield nuclear weapons are presented as a means to building peace and preventing “collateral damage”.
The decision to use low-yield nuclear weapons (e.g. against Libya) no longer needs the authorization or even the permission of the Commander in Chief, the President. It is strictly a military decision. The new doctrine says that Command Control and Coordination (CCC) regarding the use of nuclear weapons should be ‘flexible’ allowing geographic combat commanders to decide if and when to use nuclear weapons.
The Libyan War raises sharp questions about the nuclear disarmament policy of the United States. North Korea’s foreign ministry has issued a statement condemning the Libyan invasion, claiming that the attack is a likely scenario when a country decides to give up its nuclear weapons. (Libya gave up its nuclear program in 2003). American, British and French forces are now attacking Gaddafi’s military. And uncomfortable questions linger. Would NATO be enforcing a no-fly zone if Gaddafi had not dismantled Libya’s nuclear program?. Does the current military action against Libya send a signal to “rogue states” like Iran that security gained by de-nuclearisation is anything but? The Iranian and North Korean leadership use the nuclear weapon program both to bolster its domestic political prestige and to deter an attack from the US.
It is ironic that just under eight years ago, Gaddafi specifically engaged in an action clearly intended to forestall US military action against his regime and despite that he is now under military attack from US and its allies. The impression may gain currency that the US lures or coerces nations into nuclear disarmament and then attack them.
The Arab Uprising
The Arab uprising is a genuine expression of a long-standing desire for greater freedoms as well as economic justice denied by generally autocratic regimes. The current evolving situation raises several important questions. What are the common factors if any behind the movement? What are the possible outcomes of the demand for political reforms? How will this ongoing struggle impact the outside world? How will this affect the struggle of the Palestinian people for independent statehood? Answers to these questions are complex and difficult given the diversity in history, culture and politics of the Arab world.
However certain observations can be made. These revolts have immediately performed a kind of ideological house-cleaning sweeping away the racist conceptions of a clash of civilizations that consign Arab policies to the past. The struggles for freedom and democracy and the way in which they are being waged have shattered the stereotypes and wrong images of the Arabs created by the West. The Arab street is vibrant and peaceful even when the repression continues with state terrorism.
In the last quarter of a century and more the political developments in the region have been largely shaped by the imperialist policies of the USA especially with a view to ensuring the “security” of Israel. The US has always followed a policy of double standard in the region as it has done in other parts of the world. In response to the Arab revolt too, this double standard.  Washington has no difficulty with autocratic regimes as long as they are pro-American. Regime change means installing “friendly” regimes.
An understanding of U.S. imperial policy in the Middle East requires an analysis which contains three factors:
(i)  The power and influence of Israel and related power configuration on US political institutions.
(ii)  The capacity of the US empire to construct and instrumentalize Middle East client states and regimes
(iii)  An alliance with rightwing regimes and rulers to provide military bases, intelligence and political backing for the colonial occupation of Iraq and economic sanctions and if necessary war against Iran.
All these are under serious challenge by the Arab uprising.
The United States is intervening in the Arab uprising with a view to manipulating and fashioning it to suit its interests and promote those of Israel. Robert Gates on April 19 has identified three regimes only which denies freedom and human rights – Iran, Syria and Libya. They are prominent in the US list of countries for military action. It has started with Libya. In Gates’ view other countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen etc are model democracies with freedom and human rights
Since all the other countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan are all friendly to the US and keep US interests any revolt has to be suppressed; hence, the American approval for the cruel repression in Bahrain with the active involvement of the Saudi military. The implications of any military action against Syria are quite grave but such action cannot be ruled out.
One of the most salutary effects of the Arab uprising is the agreement between Fatah and Hamas for Palestinian unity. They have agreed to reconcile in a surprise Egyptian-brokered accord –also showing a changing role of Egypt - that enraged Israel and left US officials struggling to maintain their influence over Middle East peace negotiations. The power sharing deal which was hammered out includes the formation of a national unity government and a timetable for general election. As a Fatah leader stated, “At this stage we have the best weapon to face the occupation. This weapon is our national unity.”  It is already clear that Israel will use any means including military action to subvert Palestinian unity.
It is quite possible that Palestinian Authority (PA) had already made a strategic decision to move away from the United States and put its fate more squarely in the hands of the UN. They might have assessed a declining influence of the US in the Middle East combined with attempts for increasing support for the beleagured Israel.
Parallel to the apparent decline in American influence, many states have recently intensified their political support for a Palestinian state and criticism of Israel. More than half a dozen Latin American countries have recognized Palestine explicitly while the  governments of France, Spain and Ireland have upgraded Palestinian diplomatic delegations in their countries with other European  countries expected to follow suit.  The PA expects recognition by the vast majority of member-states of the UN when it declares unilateral independence.
The Empire’s “Global Sovereignty”.
The commando action by the Obama administration in Pakistan in which Osama bin Laden was killed, raises many important questions but underlines the fact that the President is following faithfully the imperial doctrine about ‘global sovereignty’ and ‘freedom of action’ of the USA. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashie said that the US forces may have breached his country’s sovereignty. “This violation of sovereignty and the modalities for combating terrorism raises certain legal and moral issues which fall in the domain of the international community”.
The explanation is found in The National Defense Strategy of the United States, March 2005. One of the main strategic objectives listed in the document is to “secure strategic access and retain global freedom of action.’
The Strategy suggests that Washington will not be reluctant to send its forces into other states that, in its opinion, “do not exercise their sovereignty responsibly” or that “use the principle of sovereignty as a shield behind which they claim to be free to engage in activities that pose enormous threats to their citizens or the rest of the international community”.
This raises important questions about sovereignty. The strategy of preventive war is closely bound up with the new vitality of the “hegemonic international law nihilism” (Norman Peach) that is exhibited by the US administration. It is rooted in the idea that the US possesses global sovereignty and all national sovereignties are relative to it. “This notion of global sovereignty means that the USA will lay down international rules (e.g. as alliances or formation of blocs0 determine what constitutes a crisis (a state of emergency), distinguish between friend and foe and make the resulting decision on the use of force.  Only the USA is competent to use force anywhere in the world. This is one of the pillars of the new grand strategy, which is exemplified above all else by the concept of an exclusive right to preventive military action all over the world. Commitments to international alliances, and in particular to the United nations are rejected as
constituting a restriction of the USA’s freedom to act.” (Rainer Rilling)
Obama’s assertion that the Osama bin Laden-type operations will continue is a declaration that the global empire will retain ‘global sovereignty’ and ‘global freedom of action’ by military might.
Countervailing Powers
Despite the utopian perspectives by the ranks of neo-liberal globalist disciples, cadres of nations and trading alliances have been formed since 2000. BRICS, MENA and other emerging blocs are challenging the preeminence of the traditional Anglo-American and European dominance over the global market and cultural monopolies. Oil, gas, uranium and water feature prominently in this realignment of the global chessboard and with each additional theatre comes the risk of multi-regional wars. The imperium is under attack not only by adversaries but also by those who no longer accept the US economic and ideological models, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007.
The global recession that began in the US in 2007 was perhaps the most significant event impacting the geopolitical environment over the last several years.  It has challenged the present international structures and unsustainable corporate power. Moreover the geopolitical framework has changed, questioning the supremacy of the USA which however maintains its imperial character by its unrivalled military power.
BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - may offer a countervailing power to some features of the Empire but not in military terms. The Sanya declaration –the outcome document of the recent BRICS summit in China– demonstrated five of the largest emerging economies now have “a broad consensus” of views not only on key international economic and financial issues but also on certain international political issues. They demanded reform of financial institutions of global governance enabling developing nations to have a greater say in them.
On the political side two key issues deserve mention. BRICS has voiced support for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council.  On the Libyan crisis however, BRICS has managed to create an ample air of ambivalence. Prior to the Sanya summit four countries abstained on the Security Council resolution, thereby providing a cover for Western intervention, and one (South Africa) in fact supported the resolution. At the summit, however, all five member-states expressed support for avoiding the use of force and ensuring respect for the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a country. Earlier Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia termed Operation Odyssey Dawn, a medieval call to crusade and the Security Council resolution “defective and flawed”. Whether the BRICS will emerge as a counter-weight to the USA, especially with regard to its imperial pursuits is doubtful at present.
The current geopolitical situation poses many challenges to peace movements like Peace for Life. These challenges define our tasks. Let me indicate some of them.
- Recover and recapture the full meaning of peace and critique formulations that do not reflect it
- Expose and contest the continuation of imperial policies by the Obama regime,
- Condemn violations of sovereignty and imperial military interventions,
- Affirm the aspirations of the Arab people for freedom and human dignity,
- Continue to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people and actively support them as they enter a new stage in their struggle for statehood.
The WH/Politico attack on Seymour Hersh
 By Glenn Greenwald

US-led global war on drugs a failure: report (IBTimes)
A 19-member international panel has condemned the US-led "War on Drugs" campaign as a failure and has recommended major reforms of the global drug prohibition regime.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy report, released on Thursday, argues that the four-decades-long campaign has failed to make significant changes in the international drug scenario and has, in fact, devastating consequences on human societies across the world.
The term "War on Drugs" was first used by US President Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971 and was intended to define and reduce illicit drug trade globally. However, the new report points out that the result of this campaign has been nothing but a drastic increase in drug violence, especially in regions like Brazil and Mexico.
"Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government's global war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed," stated former president of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso. "Let's start by treating drug addiction as a health issue, reducing drug demand through proven educational initiatives and legally regulating rather than criminalizing cannabis."
The international panel of members includes former presidents and leaders of Brazil, Mexico, Columbia and Switzerland among others like Carlos Fuentes (writer), Ruth Dreifuss (former president of Switzerland), Louise Arbour (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and George Papandreou (PM of Greece).
"Overwhelming evidence from Europe, Canada and Australia now demonstrates the human and social benefits both of treating drug addiction as a health rather than criminal justice problem and of reducing reliance on prohibitionist policies," remarked former Swiss president Ruth Dreifuss. "These policies need to be adopted worldwide, with requisite changes to the international drug control conventions."
Some of the major recommendations of the panel are:
  • End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.
  • Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs (especially cannabis) to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.
  • Ensure that a variety of treatment modalities are available including not just methadone and buprenorphine treatment but also the heroin-assisted treatment programs that have proven successful in many European countries and Canada.
  • Apply human rights and harm reduction principles and policies both to people who use drugs as well as those involved in the lower ends of illegal drug markets such as farmers, couriers and petty sellers.
  • Countries that continue to invest mostly in a law enforcement approach (despite the evidence) should focus their repressive actions on violent organized crime and drug traffickers, in order to reduce the harms associated with the illicit drug market.
  • Offer a wide and easily accessible range of options for treatment and care for drug dependence, including substitution and heroin-assisted treatment, with special attention to those most at risk, including those in prisons and other custodial settings.
  • The United Nations system must provide leadership in the reform of global drug policy. This means promoting an effective approach based on evidence, supporting countries to develop drug policies that suit their context and meet their needs, and ensuring coherence among various UN agencies, policies and conventions.
Crisis Dominates EU-Africa Talks By Timothy Spence (IPS)
Facing unrest in the north and a struggle against poverty elsewhere, leaders of the African Union and their European counterparts are working as "equal partners" to spread democracy and economic opportunity across the African continent.
Heads of the unions' executive bodies held two days of talks that were to focus on food security, the economy and human rights. But the discussions were overshadowed by the NATO-led campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and the refugee crisis it has created in southern Europe. "We had open, frank and intense meetings," European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said in a joint news conference with his African Union counterpart, Jean Ping.
"This is a new, young Africa and they want the same thing we do - democracy," said Barroso, adding that "true stability can only be provided through democracy."
The commissions met six months after the African-EU summit hosted by Gaddafi in Tripoli, and on the same day that NATO announced a 90-day extension of its bombing campaign against the Libyan leader.
Vowing a "political solution" to the fighting in Libya, Ping said: "Libya is part of Africa, and we cannot find a solution that does not involve Africa."
Although Barroso called the talks one of "equal partners," Africa remains heavily dependent on European trade and donations. The EU is the largest provider of development assistance - a record 53.8 billion euros globally in 2010- and it accounted for 56 percent of aid to the 48 least developed countries, 33 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. On Wednesday Barroso announced more help for newly independent South Sudan, bringing total aid to the country to 300 million euros. Responding to rising food prices and regional droughts that have hurt African farmers, the EU recently approved a three-year, one billion-euro programme to boost production and expand financing, infrastructure and storage capacity to support small farmsteads.
Analysts see the partnership between the 27-nation EU and the 53 AU members as vital to tackling Africa's complex challenges. Europe is often credited with providing resources to strengthen civil society organisations, as well as health and education.
Siphokazi Magadla, a political and international studies lecturer at Rhodes University in South Africa, says development assistance has helped reduce HIV infections, improved conditions for women, and helped expand universal education.
"The political willingness of both donors and African governments has led to these unprecedented achievements in various areas that have changed for the positive the realities of many people in sub- Saharan Africa," she told IPS.
Still, the European Commission has vowed to review some of the EU's aid practices amid questions over how the money is used and doubts about the commitment of several European countries to do more. A European Court of Auditors report recently criticised the effectiveness of some of the one billion euros the EU gives to the United Nations for operations in conflict zones, including Sudan, Somalia and Côte d'Ivoire.
In its report released on May 25, the Luxembourg-based auditors said EU-funded projects were often not completed on time, cost too much and that progress reports were late or too sketchy. The audit focussed on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, concluding there was a need for "ensuring the sound financial management of all funds channelled by the commission through the UN, irrespective of where that aid is delivered."
Meanwhile, anti-poverty campaigners say the EU should be doing more.
A recent study by CONCORD coalition of advocacy organisations says that despite the nearly 54 billion euros in aid provided by the EU in 2010, its effectiveness is damaged by "inflated" budgets, a lack of transparency, and the failure of most countries to fulfil commitments. The group said the EU fell 15 million euros short of its pledges in 2010. EU leaders have committed to providing annual development aid equivalent to 0.51 percent of gross national income (GNI) by 2010, and 0.7 percent by 2015 for the 15 older EU nations. For the 12 nations that have joined the bloc since 2004, the target was 0.17 percent in 2010 and 0.33 percent by 2015.
The current overall rate is 0.43 percent of GNI and the CONCORD group warns that at current levels of spending, aid will barely move beyond that, to 0.45 percent, by 2015.
Europe also faces questions over continued support of repressive regions, a reality driven home by the flip-flop in European-Libyan relations since the Tripoli summit.
The European Commission's development agency is expected to re-evaluate how its aid is used in countries that violate principles of the 2007 Lisbon summit between European and African leaders, which called for strengthening democracy.
"The aim our of development policy is poverty reduction, and that means we always have to find a way to do something for people on the ground without supporting too much the government of which we may not necessarily approve," said Klaus Rudischauser, who oversees African affairs for the European development agency's directorate-general.
"We always have a difficult balance to strike and just to say no money is not necessarily in the interests of those we want to address," Rudischauser told a news briefing in advance of the African and European commissioners' meetings.
Aside from development assistance, Rhodes University's Magadla says the EU has "betrayed its commitments" to help African countries gain equal footing through the World Trade Organisation's Doha development agenda.
"Developing countries, mostly African, are under pressure to liberalise their services sector with little regulatory frameworks in places while facing stiff competition in accessing developed countries' agricultural sector," Magadla wrote to IPS by e-mail.
"I think the conclusion of Doha is perhaps the most decisive contribution the EU can (make to) assist African development, and make reality of the supposed equal partnership that the EU is inculcating with Africa." 
First German Ground Combat Since WW II: Four Soldiers Killed, 12 Injured
German soldiers' deaths spark calls for Afghan military review (dpa)
The deaths of four German soldiers in Afghanistan over the last nine days triggered Friday calls for a new debate about Berlin's strategy in the Afghan conflict. 
While Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces Hellmut Koenigshaus criticized the provision of equipment provided to German troops, both the nation's armed forces association and the Green Party demanded a review of Berlin's Afghan strategy. 
In particular, Koenigshaus criticized Berlin over the long delays in procuring specially protected vehicles to assist in the clearing of explosive devices. 
Along with the four soldiers killed, 12 troops have been injured in a series of attacks on German military operations in Afghanistan over the last nine days. 
'The Taliban are currently launching attacks at a frightening pace,' said armed forces association chief Ulrich Kirsch. 'It is time that the federal government and parliament responded.' ....
In the meantime, Germany's small Left Party once again demanded the immediate withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan. 
But speaking during a visit to New Zealand, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle warned that changing the present policy would not prevent attacks. 
'We must continue to do everything to help the Afghans to take responsibility in their country of their country as soon as possible,' said Westerwelle. 

The problem with Norway in the developing world and at home is from an indigenous peoples' perspective that the economic and political foreign policies of the Norwegians appear to be schizophrenic.
Their government's political engagements are focused on countries where there is fish or oil and their major NGOs like Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPC) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) appear only where on the geological map you can find gold, oil or other mineral resources.
While especially human rights organizations in oppressed countries were grateful for the sometimes very bold stand of the Vikings supporting their struggles, the clandestine deals the Norwegian government and their major corporations are involved in then always gives a serious backlash and shatters the trust.
Likewise in the marine world: While persistently not being able to abstain from whaling they believee they could be a role model for responsible and sustainable fisheries - it's odd to say thee least.
Fisheries crime has to be taken seriously, says Norway's fisheries and coastal affairs minister
IF Norway is to maintain its position as the world’s “leading seafood nation,” it is  essential that the problem of fisheries crime is taken seriously, says Norway’s Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.
She says fisheries crime is a big problem globally and constitutes a serious threat to fish stocks and marine ecosystems, making it difficult to implement sustainable management of stocks. Fisheries crime impacts the resource base and the income of law abiding fishermen and a fishing industry that takes its responsibilities seriously, as well as affecting competitive relations within the industry.
”In recent years we have implemented a number of new initiatives and these have already shown good results. We have got to grips with the problems in the Barents Sea, and we can no longer identify any illegal overfishing of cod and haddock in this area. However, this does not mean that we consider the job done. Breaches of the law are still occurring in the fisheries industry and illegal fishing and other forms of fisheries crime demand our continuous attention,”  she adds.
She continues: ”My overriding impression is that the Norwegian seafood industry consists primarily of serious players. Although, of course, we are well aware that instances of illegal activities occur within this industry. But we cannot allow a few individuals to destroy the reputation and resource base for an entire industry. To me, it is important that the inspection authorities involved carry out their work in a systematic and coordinated manner to uncover these types of criminal activities, and I want to see them come down hard on the perpetrators when we catch them.”
An effective effort against fisheries crime requires a broad-based approach, close cooperation between the involved authorities and up-to-date knowledge. In this regard, the establishment of the Norwegian national advisory group against organized IUU-fishing in 2010 is an important initiative. The project is a cooperative venture involving seven different Norwegian authorities: the Directorate of Fisheries, the Coast Guard, the Directorate of Police, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, the Directorate of Taxes, the Directorate of Customs and Excise, and the Coastal Administration. The project is a specific initiative targeting organised crime within the fisheries industry, and is one of several initiatives described in the government’s action plan against economic crime.
The advisory group  also helps with knowledge gathering and has recently published a study of organised crime in the Norwegian fisheries industry. The study is the work of criminologist Dr. Jan Georg Christophersen and is financed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. It documents instances of organised crime in the Norwegian fisheries industry and shows that offences in the industry are often economically motivated and committed in order to conceal breaches of quota limits and illegal fishing. When owners of fishing vessel, crews and fish landing stations cooperate in breaking the law, this can be construed as organised crime. 
Other examples of such acts of crime include under-reporting of catches, discards, unregistered landings with fish, document falsification, reloading and illegal turnover. The report also points out that illegal activities in the fisheries sector is often followed by serious breaches of tax, accounting and customs regulations. Examples include fraud, avoidance of taxes and customs duty, embezzlement, money laundering, handling of stolen goods and serious economic crimes.
Initiatives proposed in the report include stricter penalties in order to improve the preventive effect, greater preventive efforts on the part of management and the industry, and more collaboration between the various law enforcement agencies  in order to uncover illegal activities.
”The report shows that crime in the Norwegian fisheries industry is often of a serious economic and environmental nature. Therefore we need to have the guts to describe this activity as criminal activity and not use words that disguise the seriousness of the offences committed, “ the Minister goes on.
The report was presented last Monday at a meeting of the nine-party co-operation involving trade unions, industry organisations and law enforcement agencies. The parties have agreed to co-ooperate on various measures including countering a range of illegal practices and contributing towards an understanding of the need for a set of regulations.
”I hope that the report will help stimulate debate and strengthen efforts to counter fisheries crime, both at management level and in the fisheries industry. The fisheries industry is based on the harvesting of common resources, and therefore the industry also has a sizeable responsibility for tackling the problems that have been identified,” concludes the Minister.

Greens nicked in Cairn rig protest (upstreamonline)
Danish Navy troops have stormed a Cairn Energy-operated drilling rig off Greenland arresting two Greenpeace protesters.
The environmental group has, however, vowed to continue its protest against the UK independent’s Arctic drilling plans which have seen it twice board the semi-submersible unit Leiv Eiriksson. Just before midnight on Wednesday a group of naval climbers scaled the rig and broke into a survival pod which had been erected by Greenpeace activists on Sunday. The two 25-year-old activists inside – a male and female from the UK and US – were both arrested and taken off the structure.
“Shortly before their arrest the Greenpeace climbers used a satellite telephone to call Cairn Energy and asked them to publish their oil spill response plan,” a statement from the environmental watchdog read today. “Despite repeated requests Cairn has refused to make the document public, while claiming to follow stringent safety standards that require the publication of such a plan. “Our climbers are in jail now, but this won’t stop us opposing the madness of drilling for oil in a region where a spill would be almost impossible to clean up. “This isn’t over. We’ll keep on pushing till the oil companies get out of the Arctic.” Edinburgh-based Cairn confirmed the development in its own statement today, insisting “the authorities in Greenland took the action to ensure the safety of those involved in and around the drilling operations”.
It continued: “Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express their views in a safe and peaceful manner but would be concerned with anything that presents a safety risk for those involved and the operations”. Greenpeace claimed its protest had stopped the Ocean Rig-owned unit from drilling for four days, “which was four days in which a Deepwater Horizon-style blow-out couldn’t happen and this beautiful fragile environment was safe”.
However, Cairn had earlier denied that there had been any halt to operations. Shares in Cairn slipped a further 2.3% before opening of trading in London today.

When states are sinking
I am a rock, I am an island - How submerged islands could keep their statehood (TheEconomist)
STATES can die in obvious ways. They can be conquered, merge with the country next door, or cease to exist as a “geopolitical reality”, as the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus triumphantly said of the Soviet Union in 1991, after killing it off. But what if a state ceases to exist as a physical reality—if it sinks, Atlantis-like, under the waves?
For low-lying islands like the Maldives or Kiribati, that is a very real possibility. Sea levels have risen by 20 centimetres (8 inches) in the past century. By 2100 they may surge by five times that, or even more if Greenland’s ice sheet starts to collapse. Long before an islet submerges, it will become uninhabitable as inland waters become brackish and sea-defences fail.
So the legal implications of sinking islands are preoccupying environmental lawyers. Can there be such a thing as a submarine state? According to one definition, a state needs a clear territory, a permanent population and the ability to deal with other states. From a league or so under the sea, that sounds hard.
It may be a few decades before any states actually vanish, but a related problem—over rights to exploit minerals and fish, and how these are affected by receding coasts—is in even more urgent need of solution, says David Wei of FIELD, an NGO that looks at environmental law.
Under the Law of the Sea, coastal states and islands are entitled to territorial waters of 12 nautical miles, and an exclusive economic zone of 200 miles—and may claim rights over a continental shelf up to 350 miles away. Where coasts recede because of rising seas, so do the baselines from which such zones are calculated, many scholars say. But some authorities think baselines, once established, could be deemed permanent. That would protect countries from the effects of rising seas.
Adopting this idea would ease, but not totally solve, the legal problems created by disappearing states, according to Rosemary Rayfuse, a law professor at Australia’s University of New South Wales. The people of a vanishing atoll might somehow retain their rights even if they migrated en masse to another country, or merged with another state, bringing their entitlements as a sort of dowry.
Yet current law lays down that only islands can support economic areas. Mere rocks, places which “cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own”, have no such privilege. For that reason, Japan has been spending lavishly on shoring up what it calls Okinotori island, defying the Chinese claim that the place is just a rock. If rocks confer no economic rights, then the tips of palm trees, peeping over the waves, presumably cannot either.
In practice, the world would probably err on the generous side in dealing with nations exiled by waves. If a threatened island managed to keep an artificial, floating structure, occupied by caretakers, it could probably maintain its claim to statehood, according to Jenny Grote Stoutenburg, a participant in a conference this week at Columbia Law School.
Ms Rayfuse, meanwhile, thinks the world should rediscover the idea of “deterritorialised states”—entities like the Order of Saint John, a league of knights that was treated as a sovereign entity although it controlled virtually no territory. A new type of landless authority could still enjoy the rights, including maritime exploitation rights, that the nation used to have before the waves rolled in. If football authorities and social networks can turn into states of sorts, who needs a patch of sand?

Julian Assange wins Martha Gellhorn journalism prize Jason Deans (TheGuardian)
WikiLeaks founder praised as 'brave, determined, independent' by judges
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won the Martha Gelhorn journalism prize

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn prize for journalism.
The annual prize is awarded to a journalist "whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or 'official drivel', as Martha Gellhorn called it"."WikiLeaks has been portrayed as a phenomenon of the hi-tech age, which it is. But it's much more. Its goal of justice through transparency is in the oldest and finest tradition of journalism," Martha Gellhorn prize judges said in their citation.
"WikiLeaks has given the public more scoops than most journalists can imagine: a truth-telling that has empowered people all over the world. As publisher and editor, Julian Assange represents that which journalists once prided themselves in – he's brave, determined, independent: a true agent of people not of power."
The judges also gave Martha Gellhorn special awards for journalism to Umar Cheema, of the International Times of Pakistan; Charles Clover, the Financial Times's Moscow correspondent; and Jonathan Cook, a freelance journalist based in Nazareth.
Judges for the 2011 awards were Dr Alexander Matthews, John Pilger, James Fox, Shirlee Matthews, Cynthia Kee and Jeremy Harding.


“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” 
Henry Ford (1863 - 1947) 

HOSTAGE CASES UNDER OBSERVATION: (© ecoterra/ecop-marine)

Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers or true vessel owners can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.orgFV NN IRAN : Seized March 02, 2009. The Iranian fishing vessel and her 29 crew was seized by Somali pirates. The vessel was missing and wanted. Navy soldiers on French warship FS NIVOSE and her helicopter fired warning shots at a dhow and then snipers from the Estonian Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) destroyed her skiffs, which were abandoned before the dhow and the hostages were commandeered back to the coast. The vessel and crew are still held hostage.

MV SOCOTRA 1 : Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship, was confirmed by Yemeni authorities.
The vessel is wanted.

MSV HUD HUD seized March 23, 2010. The motorized, Pakistan-flagged and Pakistan-owned Dhow with 11 Pakistani crew was used to hijack MT ELENI P, a Greek merchant vessel which was released after the payment of a ransom.
Freed seafarers of the Greek merchant ship reported that after the successful boarding of MT ELENI P the pirates left the MSV HUDHUD and all embarked on MT ELENI P. It was therefore assumed that MSV HUD-HUD was set free on 12. May 2010.
It is, however, now reported by the Authorities, that the owners of the vessel still claim to not know the whereabouts of this vessel and its crew. MSV HUD HUD also flies sometimes the flag of the Comoros was established from the records of the Sharjah creek customs office in the UAE.

The vessel is wanted.MV ICEBERG I : Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 (IMO 7429102) with her originally 24 multinational crew members (9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The 3,960 dwt vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian  Ocean coast of  Somalia. Since negotiations had not yet achieved any solution, the vessel was taken to the high seas again. Then the USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. Already back then it had transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refused to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries quiet valuable cargo. For a long time it seemed that the British cargo owner was influencing the not forthcoming negotiations. The sailors soon had no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. Chief Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated since months that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested in July and August again humanitarian intervention as before but could only receive some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group, because the owner-manager neglects the crew. In September some negotiations for the release started again, but were not concluded or continued, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping.The vessel is owned by a company called ICEBERG INTERNATIONAL LTD, but registered only with "care of" the ISM-manager AZAL SHIPPING & CARGO (L.L.C) - Shipping Lines Agents - Dubai UAE, whose representative Mr. Yassir Amin - said to be a Yemeni - was stating to all sides that he is handling the case.Though EU NAVFOR spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour had stated that the vessel was carrying just "general mechanical equipment" and was heading for the United Arab Emirates when it was attacked, it carries according to the owner-manager generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks. It could now be confirmed that besides other cargo it carries generators and transformers for British power rental company Aggreko International Power Projects and the cargo seems to be better insured than the vessel.One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”. The vessel was then very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax. On 27. October the third officer (name of the Yemeni man known but withheld until next of kin would speak out) died. The crew reported the case, evidence was provided and the owner confirmed that he also knows. Since there is no more light diesel to run the generators for the freezer, the owner reportedly just gave instructions to take the body off the vessel, but has made no arrangements to bring it back to Yemen.Thereafter it was said that the group holding the ship would use it again to capture other vessels when two skiffs were taken taken on board hinting at plans that the gang intended to commandeer the ship to the high-seas again. But vessel and crew were then still held at Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, because the vessel was out of fuel. The pirates, however, managed then to refuel from another vessel.
The National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD) in Yemen as well as ECOTERRA Intl. sent a letter on behalf of the families, following the news that one crew member had committed suicide. 
The kidnap victim’s families previously published a letter to the President in the state-owned October 14 newspaper in September.
“As it is the state’s duty to protect its citizens and because of your public responsibility as the country’s president, we demand you free the Yemeni hostages and investigate officials who did not do their duty to rescue them,” reads the letter from HOOD to the President.
Also the families of the Indian seafarers on board have several times called upon the President and the Prime Minister of India and addressed the Indian Minister to help and solve the crisis, since the shipowner is not even responding to their requests for information.Though Dubai's Azal Shipping, fronting for the real owners, stated to a maritime website that the crew would not be malnourished, the governments of the seafarers already have statements from the captain and crew-members themselves, which state otherwise and also describe the appalling medical situation.Again an urgent request to deliver relief-supplies in form of food, water and urgently required medicine as well as fuel for the generators has been made by the captain and crew, but was so far neglected by the ship-owner, who also has not yet facilitated the transfer of the body of the deceased to his Yemeni family. A great number of the still surviving 23 crew are suffering now from serious medical conditions of various kind , ranging from blindness, infections to mental illness, and  most suffer from skin rashes, which make now humanitarian intervention and medical assistance compulsory. It is hoped that the Indian Prime Minister, who was in the UAE, can achieve that the owners of the vessel are now really engaging in a tangible process to free the vessel and not just rely on their so-called consultants.
Latest reports state that the vessel is now only one mile off the beach off Kulub. Dangers that it might get wrecked on the beach are real, because the chief engineer alerted that there is no more fuel on board to manoeuvre the vessel away from the shore and heavy winds and waves push the vessel closer to land.
It would not be the first time that unscrupulous vessel or cargo owners even hope to cash in on the insurance money for a wrecked ship and lost cargo in such a case.
Since 02. February 2005 the classification society Bureau Veritas had withdrawn from this vessel, because a survey of the ship was already overdue back then and no survey has been carried out since. But this did not stop disputed outfits like the Canadian company Africa Oil to use the ICEBERG I as their supply vessel for their adventures with the Australian oil-juggler Range Resources and the Puntland regional administration and to take equipment back to Djibouti when their deal finally went sour recently.
The vessel is also not covered by an ITF Agreement and the crew will have serious difficulties to get their rights even once they come free.
Already the family of the deceased Yemeni seafarer and their lawyer from Aden had no success to achieve any co-operation from the vessel owner or their front-men - a situation experienced by several organizations already before.
Meanwhile the flag-state Panama and the governments of the seafarers have been addressed and are requested to step in. Panama's Shipping Registry, the largest in the world at the end of 2010, has finally exited the "grey list" compiled by signatories of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MOU.) The Paris MOU compiles a list of shipping registries that are not in compliance with international standards. It is expected now that the authorities from Panama will take their guarantor position as flag-state concerning the lives of the seamen on MV ICEBERG serious now.
For a long time reports said that the body of the deceased seafarer was decomposing, while vessel and crew are obviously also earmarked to rot unattended in that hell.
Reports from the destitute families say that the vessel-owner hasn't even paid any outstanding salaries and the Indian government has so far only reacted with diplomatic niceties, but no help to the situation in any way.
The vessel has now been moved from Kulub to Ceel Dhanaane south of Garacad, but the chief engineer said he has no more fuel to run the generators and that during one of the manoeuvres the propeller and shaft were damaged.
During the first week of February humanitarian mediation efforts achieved that some crew-members could talk to their families and the families reported that the vessel owner has completely abandoned the crew and his vessel, while also officials from the numerous governments, who are tasked because their nationals are hostages, reportedly also have achieved no step ahead, while the so-called owner of the vessel from AZAL SHIPPING recently stated to the pirates: "Whether you kill the crew or you sink the ship I don't care." - as documented by the crew.
Reports on a certain Somalia website, however, claiming that the chief engineer was missing from the ship and had been taken to an undisclosed location on land, turned out to be simply not true.

The families of the Indian hostages on board went therefore public mid February 2011 and decried the total irresponsibleness of the Indian government. They stated to CNN/IBN that neither the Indian Prime Minister nor the the ministers concerned nor any of the authorities tasked with the duties to care for the hostage seafarers had shown any activity to work on the release of the seafarers on MV ICEBERG I.
The Yemeni family of the deceased sailor had been informed that they had to make a decision what should happen with the corpse, since the pirates were no longer willing to put diesel into the generator for the freezer.
The captain 
of the ill-fated ship stated that the owners of the vessel had given up ownership and has now addressed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to assist him with the transfer of ownership and the sale of vessel and cargo in order to recover the wages of the crew and to buy their freedom. He confirmed this also to the families and to CNN/IBN and sent respective written communication to the IMO.
The fathers of six Indian crew members of MV Iceberg I said now they will begin a hunger strike outside the home of India's Prime Minister in Delhi until the hostages are freed.

For the first time in nearly a year, the Seafarers Association of India, now woke up too and they said "they were looking into the matter."
Meanwhile the alleged owner of the vessel at AZAL shipping, who is said to be of Yemeni origin, tried unsuccessfully to derail the brunt of the media and families, who even called now on the authorities of the UAE to arrest him, by claiming that he would negotiate through a Somali exGeneral, who used to work for the Somali government.
The fear that the shipping company wants to wreck the vessel is not over. NexLaw, a Consultancy founded and run by one Ravi Ravindran, who originated from Singapore and moved his business from Turkey into the Dubai Maritime City Free Zone under the name DMCEST and is dealing mainly with shipwrecks was on the case since long. Ravi Ravindran said Yassir Amin of Azal Shipping had mandated him. But with which task, is the question. To wreck it? The NexLaw/DMCEST company claimed already earlier to have been involved also in the case of secretly U.S.-owned but Yemen-based MV SEA PRINCESS II, a seajacked small tanker which was another case where one dead seafarer on board had to be decried and which was then finally freed by the involvement of the cargo-owners and not the consultancy. Since Ravi Ravindran obviously didn't achieve a release, Yassir Amin now resorted to claim that he had involved a Somali exGeneral from Mogadishu.

Recent media reports by one Indian paper about a second death among the crew could not be verified and are believed to be not true. However, the situation of the crew is now really precarious with the shipowner apparently incapable and the pirates demanding.
Dutch warship HNLMS De Ruyter (F 804) had apparently tried in March to receive the body of the deceased Yemeni seafarer from the pirates, but because they approached in a way that the pirates believed it could be trick to launch an attack, their attempt was not successful. On the 27. October 2010 Wagdi Akram, a Yemeni and father of four , the third officer, jumped overboard in a fit of dementia. Akram’s body was retrieved, stored in a freezer, wrapped in an orange plastic casing with a few bags of ice to keep it cold. 
Meanwhile it is reported that the gang had to dispose the body into the sea, since there was no more diesel to run the generator and even the crew is cooking now with firewood on board. The electric power having failed when the diesel for the generators ran out, and because the vessel owner did absolutely nothing to help the family to receive the body for burial, the man's remains were thrown overboard.More and more signs are pointing to an outcome similar to that of ill-fated MV RAK AFRIKANA, which was wrecked on the coast of Somalia. Only in this case it will be most likely a more serious disaster, since the vessel is reportedly also carrying toxic fluids in containers, which are according to the manifest supposed to be empty. Already IMO, UNEP and other organizations, whose duty is to avert such grave pollution of a coastal ecosystem, have been called upon and the naval forces are urged not to let this vessel go down.
The case has turned into the most ugly tragedy if Somali pirate history, since it has been revealed now that the Chief engineer apparently is so severely handicapped now that his survival is seriously endangered.
MV ICEBERG I, however, still still moored at Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, while diplomatic avoidance games and the neglect of responsibility from the side of the ownership unfortunately continue.
“We'll nearly die, all people are mental. In some more days people will kill themselves,” said the hostage as reported by CNN/IBN, who had received a video tape from the ship and spoke to the crew.

"We have given the go-ahead to all countries in the world to deploy their navy ships there [the waters of Somalia]," 
Somali Ambassador to Indonesia, Mohamud Olow Barow, had told the media during a press conference in Jakarta on 12. April 2011. This broad statement is, however, disputed by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament.
Despite several appeals from the families of the sailors, the government has not initiated a firm action yet, leaving the families miffed. The families have now reiterated their demand for government intervention in the matter and help release the sailors abducted. 
Jaswinder Singh from Haryana is one the 6 Indians onboard the captured MV Iceberg that has been held captive by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Ever since the vessel got hijacked the family has been waiting to hear Jaswinder's voice. His family, like others, have been running from one ministry to other to bring back the sailors home. 
Nirmal Kaur said, "I appeal to the Indian government to bring my husband back. It has been over a year now and no actions has been taken from our government." 

``Our prime interest is to save the life of every Indian sailor being held hostage...that is the guiding concern for the government,'' said overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi.
However and despite all the diplomatic and media hype, nothing is happening concerning the release negotiations, observers close to the case reported on 02. May 2011.

THAI FISHING FLEET : Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis. Already there are reports of three dead sailors with these vessels.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26 (freed and towed by Indian Navy and Coastguard, returned to Thailand )
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25 (taken over by a second pirate group and held together with crew off Eyl; said to be no longer seaworthy)
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26 (shot up, set ablaze and sunk by Indian Navy and Coastguard)
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to  fish in the Indian Ocean. 
The fleet was mostly held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board.  The vessel has been  further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September  at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship - reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E. A regional minister from Puntland got into problems when final negotiations for the release of the held vessels were supposed to take place at Garacad, but went sour. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the navy to extend its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia for another month. He will seek cabinet approval for an additional budget of about 100 million baht for this purpose, navy chief Admiral Kamthorn Phumhiran said earlier. Adm Kamthorn said Mr Abhisit wants the mission of The Royal Thai Navy Counter Piracy Task Unit of two navy ships with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops on board, which had left Thailand on Sept 10 and is now operating in the Gulf of Aden, extended. The mission was originally set for 98 days, ending on Dec 12., but the usual fishing season goes beyond that time, which is believed to be behind the extension demands. Now also FV PRANTALAY 11 left on another hunting mission for piracy prey, because the Thais have not at all even tried to wrench the ships from the fists of their captors. Only PRANTALAY 12 and her crew was then left as a super-hostage at the coast until on 16th November also FV PRANTALAY 12 sailed again to the oceans. All vessels were were and are abused for piracy missions since the shipowner PT Interfisheries didn't secure their release.
FV PRANTALAY 11 and FV PRANTALAY 12 returned in the meantime after having been used to capture another merchant vessels, and were first held again off Kulub (near Garacad) at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast. FV PRANTALAY 11 was said to be still out hunting but then came to Ceel Gaan near Harardheere, while P RANTALAY 12 is moored north of Hobyo and PRANTALAY 14 was shot out of the water by the INDIAN NAVY.
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard sunk FV PRANTALAY 14 in a military action, which was termed an anti-piracy operation and was executed near the Lakshadweep group of islands in the utmost southeastern portion of the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. The Islands belong to India.
The Somali buccaneers had been using FV Prantalay 14 and the two other pirated vessels of that fishing fleet from Thailand as piracy launches after their owner refused a deal to have the vessels released against a ransom.
Indian warship INS CANKARSO, a fast attack craft, intercepted FV PRANTAY 14 during evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast.
According to a statement from the Indian navy their frigate fired the first shot as a warning shot well ahead of the bows of Prantalay in order to force the pirated fishing vessel to stop. Then the pirates opened fire with automatic weapons in a desperate bid to escape. The Indian naval vessel then opened up and in what the Indian navy reportedly called 'limited fire in self defense'  they used heavy guns, probably including ship-to-ship missiles or a torpedo, which caused the Thailand ship to burst into flames and to sink. The vessel wouldn't have sunk so fast if only the excess fuel for the outboard engines of the skiffs had exploded.
The Indian navy stated that they rescued 20 fishermen and arrested 15 Somali pirates.
But the crew of FV PRANTALAY 14 comprised 26 seafarers of Thai and Myanmar nationalities..
Despite official requests the Indian authorities have so far not answered the question was happened to the missing 6 crew-members and if any of the surviving crew-members is injured.
Likewise it has not been communicated how many Somalis lost their live in the attack and how many of the 15 arrested are injured, because in a communicated picture only 12 arrested Somalis were shown.
In a similar attack against commandeered Thai fishing vessel FV EKAWAT NAVA 5 the Indian Navy had killed all crew, except for one survivor, who was found by a merchant ship six days after the attack floating in the Gulf of Aden. He survived and could tell the real story. The government of Thailand back then had officially protested to the Indian Government.
FV PRANTALAY 11 was then reported as being held at the Central Somali coast off Ceel Gaan (Harardheere district), but must have left for another piracy mission, since it was freed on 05. February 2011 by the Indian Navy near the Lakshadweep islands. 52 men, of which 28 are said to be pirates and 24 men of the original 26 member crew, were arrested in the swoop after some exchange of gunfire. No information has transpired yet concerning the 2 missing crew members.
According to informed sources, the Thai fishing vessel FV PRANTALAY 14 had 25 Somali pirates on board of which 15 were captured alive. 10 Somalis were killed during the exchange of fire and 14 Somalis were arrested, while one wounded man is treated for his injuries at a medical facility.
Allegedly the heavy 40mm and 20mm gunfire from INS CANKARSO, a fast Indian attack craft which had intercepted FV PRANTALAY 14 during the evening hours of 21. January 2011 around 370 km off the Kochi coast, was sufficient to sink the vessel. Other reports, however, stated that the sinking vessel was engulfed in flames.
The fishermen stated that 22 of the original crew of 26 sailors were on this piracy trip and 20 survived the naval operation. The nationalities of the two seamen who died in the attack were not released yet.
After the operation by the Indian navy and coastguard to free FV PRANTALAY 11 - with 52 people surviving - 28 were identified as pirates and 24 crew. The vessel then was taken in tow by the Indian Navy and secured.
Further details on how many people were killed during the operation have not yet been made available, but human rights observers wondered why the arrested men were shown blindfolded and were being led into the cells with black sacks over their heads. India has announced it would probe links, which the Somali pirates might have with terrorist groups. 
At least five crew members of the three Thai trawlers hijacked by pirates have been reported to have died of hunger and sickness after the owner of the trawlers refused to pay ransom during the 10-month-long hostage crisis.
Strapped of resources, the pirates provided little food during this time to the hostages. “Four crew members on FV PRANTALAY 14 fell sick and died due to lack of medical supplies and one crew member from PRANTALAY 11, the vessel rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, is also reported to have died of the same reason,” an Indian officer from Yellow Gate police station, where the culprits are held, stated. 
Thai officials, who had regularly been alerted about the plight of the seafarers have so far not managed to achieve any peaceful solution.
FV PRANTALAY 12, more like a factory ship and not as fast as the other two other vessels, as well as maybe some other survivors of the crews from the two other vessels were still kept under pirate control in Somalia. Though pirates, like in the case of the attack by the South Korean Navy on pirated MV SAMHO JEWELRY, made announcements that they would retaliate for each of the killed or arrested Somali, such acts had not been recorded yet.
Unfortunately it is reported that there are also no negotiations to free FV PRANTALAY 12, the last of the Thai fishing fleet, which was reportedly fishing illegally in the Indian Ocean. One member of the original crew was missing or dead already some time back and three crew had died during the last month. The vessel and the remaining around 20 crew were mostly held at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast off Ceel Dhanaane. No solution was in sight for most of the time. 
The FV PRANTALAY 12 is due to her involvement in piracy now also wanted, but it must be observed that the PRANTALAY-12 has now on board a tripod mounted with a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun 
NATO, who had earlier stated that the release of the FV Prantalay 12, the last of a group of three fish-poaching vessels of a Thai fleet, "would currently take place", while we reported that it is still at the same location with its crew as hostages, reiterated now and rephrased:
FV PRANTALY 12, although still in pirate possession, is no longer in a seaworthy state and, according to a pirate statement, will be returned without ransom payment in due course.
However, it is interesting to note that NATO seems to have direct contacts with the Somali pirates - something which ship-captains and analysts claimed since long, since they had observed specific pirate attacks under the watch of naval vessels with no response from the official watch-keepers.
Other observers reported from Galkayo that the Somali broker, who earlier had disappeared with the ransom money for the release of the Prantalay fleet, is back in town.
FV Prantalay 12 recently had left for a piracy mission, but came back without having achieved anything and was now used as supply vessel for the other hostage ships. Mid May 2011 the pirate group holding the vessel was attacked by another armed Somali group and
was then forcibly taken over. The second group allegedly first had the consent of the owner and were geared up by the Somali broker, who had received the ransom money but then disappeared for months, to "liberate" the vessel. Several crew members of this vessel reportedly already had died of mal-nutrition and disease during the many month of the hostage crisis. Now a release is expected, though local onservers maintain that the second group is also a pirate group and is expecting now their share from the earlier paid ransom, which caused the delay in the release, confusing even NATO, who had communications with the pirates.
The vessel, which reportedly is no longer seaworthy and her crew are still held hostage off Eyl at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The release announced by NATO did not yet come through.

FV AL-DHAFIR : Seized on May 06 or 07, 2010. The Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported the case to have occurred  off the coast of Yemen. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow was said to be held at the Somali shore close to Kulub. The vessel is missing and wanted.MSV SHUVAL : Seized May 08, 2010. Latest information retrieved about the fate of this Yemen-flagged vessel confirmed a sighting at Garacad, where the vessel was at anchorage on 9. June 2010. Yemeni authorities could not tell the number of crew and are further investigating.
MV SUEZ : Seized August 02, 2010. In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E in the Gulf of Aden and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board. The vessel had come from Karachi port (Pakistan) from where it had left on 27. July 2010.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was sailing under flag of convenience of Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when it was attacked. After the first report a helicopter was Immediately directed to the ship, but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels. The Panama flagged MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU NAVFOR said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It, however, could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. The Indian crew members were named as NK Sharma, Satnam Singh, Parshad Chohan, Sachin Padoran, John Rose Bisco and Ravinder Singh and the Pakistanis are Captain Wasi Hassan, Syed Alam, Ali Rehman and Mohammad Muzammil. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to an overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom "last year" (actually it was in 2008) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day after the abduction of MV SUEZ, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups were fighting among each other and had come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore  dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn."The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported.  The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating. Vessel and desperate crew were held off Dinowda Quorioweyn at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Puntland and until 12. December off Ceel Danaane.
Reports then stated that the vessel, accompanied by a sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel, was set to go on another piracy mission, because the captors and the owners couldn't agree on a ransom, 
and actually did leave that coast, but was observed anchored since 1. January 2011 at Garacad in position 0653N - 04922E.
The situation on board was for many month desperate, because neither the Egyptian government nor the owner seemed to care, while the vessel and crew are still held and now moored off Ceel Dhanaane. This has now changed with a new Egyptian government in place and the owner more active. However, the owner can not afford the hefty ransom and private funds drives are organized to gelp bringing back the whole crew.

After a long silence now also the government of India has started to become active an tries to assist with everything possible to finalize the case.

The pirate gang had been urged to release the innocent vessel and crew in solidarity with the people of Egypt, but so far has not agreed and still demands a reduced ransom. However, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel.
But according to Muzammil’s brother Kashan, the bank account set up by the families for donations had only netted about Rs350,000.  When contacted on the phone by a newspaper, Captain Wasi Hassan said: “We are not in a good condition at all. They (the pirates) just beat us up." The call was disconnected while Hassan was pleading with the pirates to not beat him up for using the phone. 
The deadline to pay the ransom is said to be May 9.
Sampa Arya, the wife of a Merchant Navy officer, Ravinder Singh (30), hostage on MV SUEZ, sent allegedly a ‘threat message’ to a member of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s staff after all her attempts to rescue her husband fell on deaf ears.
After she sent an SMS, the Congress leader’s office lodged a complaint with the Tughlaq Road police station. The number was traced to Arya, who lives in Rohtak. She was questioned at length by police, who released her later after finding that she was “harmless” and was “desperate” to get justice for her husband.
“Since last year, I have been meeting all leaders, including the Prime Minister, but nothing has resulted from those meetings. I even went to Rahul Gandhi’s office. They were not ready to give me his phone number, but I overheard someone in his office dictating the number of his personal assistant. I noted it down and sent an SMS that I will kill myself if nothing is done,” said Arya, a teacher. The couple has a three-year-old son.
“While there was no news of my husband, police came to my house on April 15 and questioned me at length. They wanted to know how I got the number and why I sent the SMS, etc. I told them that I will go to any length to get justice for my husband,” she said. Arya added she had been in Delhi from March 22 to April 4 and met several politicians, including Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna.
Finally the ransom collection was apparently successful, though as the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported with reference to a former Pakistani official, Ansar Burney who is said to be involved in the negotiations, that the Indian government and "Indian Senator, K. D. Singh backed out of his promise at the last minute putting in jeopardy the lives of all 21 hostages."
What is even more grave is that the release operation chosen was a disaster and the vessel is therefore still held. The Somali government had on 24. May 2011 impounded in Mogadishu all together US$3,6mio in connection with a busted flight, which supposedly should have delivered to MV SUEZ and another case. Most likely the handlers, who are said to be at present in hectic shuttle-mission all over the region,  will have to now claim the money first from an insurance, which hopefully insured the ransom-transport now stuck in Mogadishu.
On Tuesday, 24. May 2011, unconfirmed reports emanating from the area were reported by Pakistani media with the shocking news that one of the Egyptian sailors had been set on fire causing serious injuries as the pirate’s May 22 deadline crossed. This, however, was quickly found out to be a sick hoax.
Fact is, however, that MV Suez had on Monday, 23. May 2011, been commandeered away from the coast to a ransom delivery point but meanwhile returned to the coast off Ceel Dhanaane.
The Pakistani media, referring to Ansar Burney, stated that ransom money will now be paid on 2. June 2011 and the sailors will return home by 8. June.

Kashan, brother of Muzamil, told The News that they were worried as the delay in paying the money might lead to deadly consequences. 
“Now that the money has been collected, why are there so many obstacles? The wait is unbearable. My brother and the others on board the ship are being tortured by the pirates.”
The Pakistani middleman, however tried to wash his hands now off any responsibility by stating that all the $2.1 million had already been deposited into the bank account of the shipping company. Though “Indian MP’s [Indian MP KD Singh] delaying tactics had forced me to collect five hundred thousand dollars more and that we successfully did with the kind cooperation of Pakistani nation and Sindh Dr Governor Ishratul Ebad Khan and now this humanitarian fund has been transferred to the bank account of the shipping company in Egypt.”
“Now this is the headache of the shipping company as to how it would save these 22 innocent lives from the clutches of pirates as always our struggle was to save innocent lives from any torture and terrorism,” he added according to the press statement.

FV NN YEMEN : Seized August 26, 2010. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vesselwere confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. The Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast. Present location unknown. At the beginning of November 2010 in total at least five Yemeni fishing vessels were held by the Somali sea-gangs, though the Yemen authorities could not provide a detailed account. The case of this vessel has not yet been closed -the vessel is missing and wanted.

MT OLIB G : Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Greek-owned, Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (M/V) MT OLIB G (IMO 8026608) - a Greek-owned chemical tanker - was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MT OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MT OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden - allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MT OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack - more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels - and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it was first  held near Eyl and then off Kulub. According to media reports the owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported. Both sides seem to be not realistic. 
However, information had transpired that the Georgian government made now arrangements with the vessel owner to free the ship and crew by end of February 2010.

Vessel and crew are at present still held south of Eyl and north of Garacad
 near a place called Ceel Fusc at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and different reports about continued conflicts have been received.

MSV NASTA AL YEMEN : Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.SEVEN INDIAN CREW OF MT ASPHALT VENTURE : Seized September 28, 2010. The Panama-flagged asphalt tanker MT ASPHALT VENTURE (IMO 8875798) was captured on her way from Mombasa - where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 LT. The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brawa had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while the tanker had first contact at the Somali coast near Hobyo and was then commandeered further north. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. Concerning the condition of the crew so far no casualties or injuries are reported, but the vessel seems to have had an engine problem. Negotiations had commenced but have so far not been reaching anywhere. Vessel and crew were held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, then had been transferred southwards to Ceel Gaan in the Harardheere area at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast with negotiations more stuck than smooth; and when the crew reportedly had no more food, clean water and diesel a hasty and ill-planned release against a ransom drop was enacted on 15. April 2011. While the vessel got away at least some distance, seven Indian crew were left behind on the beach, who continue to be held as hostages.Sunil Puri, a New Delhi-based spokesman for Interglobal, a United Arab Emirates-based company that owns the ship, called the pirates' action "unprecedented," and said to the media that it wasn't immediately clear why the pirates acted as they did. "We are still trying to ascertain why that happened. We kept our side of the bargain. We don't know why they weren't released. This is an unprecedented situation. In the past they have always kept their word," Puri told AP.
"It was a joint understanding among us not to release any Indian citizens," a pirate who gave his name as Abdi told Reuters from pirate stronghold Harardhere. "India has not only declared war against us, but also it has risked the lives of many hostages," he said.

However, it is clear that the release operation was not properly planned and executed - analysts maintain. Already before this case and at present 15 other sailors from three different cases are held hostage on land without their ships, awaiting to be freed.
“My name is Bahadur Singh. I'm the chief engineer of Asphalt Venture held by Somali pirates. We are seven people here,” said the hostage in a contact CNN-IBN made and which gave a proof of life.
Indian seafarers, organized by the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), the Maritime Union of India as well as shipowners' representatives, marched in Mumbai on 27. April 2011 to demand action against piracy and to show solidarity with the seven crew members of the Asphalt Venture held hostage in Somalia despite the fact that a ransom was paid. After waiting in vain for about a fortnight in Somali waters for the release of seven members still held hostage by Somali pirates, Indian freighter Asphalt Venture with its eight freed crew reached Mombasa in Kenya with only half the crew. "With the engineering officers still in captivity and no engine power, the vessel proceeded slowly under tug tow and under escort of an Indian Naval frigate out of Somali waters," the statement added. 
So far it is not clear if India is prepared to arrange for a swap.
The son of the Chief Engineer of the captive ship under Somali pirates Kapil Grewal, has lashed out at the government and demanded immediate intervention from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Captive sailor Bahadur Singh's son, Kapil Grewal, said "Mr Manmohan Singh is the leader of one of the most powerful nations today, and it is time he acts like one. It is not a question of my father, it is a question of several fathers, brother and sons, so treat them as your own family."Grewal's father Bahadur Singh, the Chief Engineer of Asphalt Venture is still in Somali pirates' captivity along with six other officers in spite of a ransom payment and the worst is, unlike earlier when they were confined to the ship, now they are at an undisclosed location near Haradhere in Somalia."
In the case of MV Iceberg and MV Suez, the government had maintained that all that it can do is put pressure on the ship owner to expedite negotiations, but in the case of Asphalt Venture the ship owner has already paid a ransom and now the ball is firmly in the government's court as to how they will negotiate with the pirates.
meanwhile the owners of Asphalt Venture reportedly have been able to re-establish contact with the negotiators, opening up a fresh channel of dialogue to get back the remaining hostages. This case will show if the demand to release the over 120 Somali brethren from Indian prison in exchange for the seven Indian hostages is serious or if the pirate-gang just used the talk to increase the ransom.
The captain of MV Asphalt Venture, who was released along with seven others, had offered to go back and hold talks for release of the remaining crew, while the newly founded Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) of the 
Indian government only decided that it would "wait and watch for the outcome of negotiations between pirates and ship owners."
But now sources from the shipping company stated that the pirates do not want to carry on with any dialogue involving the company and instead want to speak directly with the Government of India. The pirates want to talk about their accomplices who are currently in Indian custody after they were arrested following Indian Navy and Coast Guard operations in the Indian Ocean in the last few months. But New Delhi, it seems, doesn't want to negotiate with the pirates. The decision was taken at an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), 

FV NN IRAN : Seized October 01, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with her 13 crew was attacked by Somali pirates when sailing together with another Iranian fishing vessel. One of the two Iranian boats escaped, but this one with 13 crew mebers is still missing and is wanted.
MSV ZOULFICAR (aka M.S.V. Madina Zulficar?): Seized on October 19, 2010. This is a motorized sailing dhow, which was captured near the Socotra archipelago. It must not be mixed with the case of earlier pirated Comorian MV ALY ZOULFECAR, which is free. Yemen authorities stated that it would not be a Yemeni vessel, but could possibly be from Iran. Number of crew is not known and further details are awaited. It could, however, be the M.S.V. Madina Zulficar, a known blockade-breaker registered in India, but often flying the flag of the UAE or Somalia. The vessel is missing and wanted.
MSV AL-NASSR : Seized October 28, 2010 off Socotra.The motorized Dhow was captured on October 28, 2010 at 11h56 UTC (14h56 local time) in position 12:08N – 054:25E off Socotra Island, Somalia, according to the IMB Piracy reporting centre. Once a British protectorate, along with the remainder of the Mahra State of Qishn and Socotra and being a strategic important point, the four islands making the Archipelago of Socotra  were accorded by the UN in 1967 to Yemen, though they are very close to the mainland of the very tip of north-eastern Somalia. Several of the female lineages of the inhabitants on the island, notably those in mtDNA haplogroup N, are reportedly found nowhere else on earth. The Dhow with presently unknown flag and about 10 crew was heading now towards the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor of the Gulf of Aden (IRTC) and is likely to be used as pirate-base and/or decoy to capture a larger vessel. Further reports are awaited.MT POLAR : Seized Oct. 30, 2010. Armed pirates in two skiffs boarded and sea-jacked the Liberian-owned product tanker MT POLAR (IMO 9299563) with 24 crew members aboard in the very early morning hours at  01h40 UTC (04h30 local time on 30. October 2010 in position 12:12N – 064:53E. The incident occurred according to the Piracy Reporting Centre 633nm east of Socotra island, off Somalia; or 684 miles (1,100 kilometres) east of the Indian Ocean island of Socotra according to EU NAVFOR. According to a EU NAVFOR statement the owners of the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 dwt vessel MV POLAR, Herculito Maritime Ltd, confirmed early Saturday that pirates are in command of the ship, which was en route from St. Petersburg and Kronstadt to Singapore with a cargo of fuel oil
While it is undisputed that the ship originally had 24 crew members, 
EU NAVFOR reported one Romanian, three Greek nationals, four nationals from Montenegro and 16 Filipinos, but according to the ICSW (International Committee on Seafarer's Welfare) there are three Greek nationals, 16 Pinoy seafarers, three from Montenegro and one Romanian as well as one Serb. In connection with this case AFP concluded that though naval powers have deployed dozens of warships to patrol the region's waters they have failed to stem piracy, one of the few thriving businesses for coastal communities in a country devastated by war and poverty. According to reports from Somalia the already sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessel from Hobyo was used to capture this vessel in tandem with covering VLCC SHAMHO DREAM. Allegedly the captain of the Iranian fishing vessel thereafter received money from the pirates and was released with his vessel and crew. 
Paradise Navigation S.A. is a Panamanian registered company, established in Greece under law 89
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
Constantinos Tsakiris is the Chairmman and Managing Director of Paradise Navigation SA, a shipping management company established in Greece and founded back in 1968, as Navipower Compania Naviera SA, by the Tsakiris family, a traditional Greek ship-owning and operating family.
MT POLAR had reached the Somali coast in the morning of 30. October and was held off Hobyo. On Monday, 22. November 2010 one Filipino seafarer was reported by the Seafarers Network from Greece to have died allegedly of a heart attack.At 02h33UTC on 23 November 2010, MV POLAR was reported in position 07°49N 055°53E - apparently on a piracy mission. At 19h40 UTC on 25. November 2010, MV POLAR was observed in position 09 29N 068 44E, course 258, speed 12.6 kts. The pirated vessel was conducting piracy operations, using the surviving crew members as human shield, was briefly back and held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, but is then was conducting again pirate operations. MV POLAR was observed at 16h38 UTC on 10. March 2011 in position 06 36 N 051 20 38 E on a course of 079 with speed 10 kts possibly acting as pirate launch.
Thereafter the vessel returned to the coast and is held since the beginning of April 2011 at Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo
 at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.SY CHOIZIL : Seized 26. October 2010. South-African owned SY CHOIZIL was sea-jacked after having left Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.Though news through the seafarer's network had broken much earlier, the case was officially only confirmed on 08. November. The yacht is owned and was sailed by South African skipper Peter Eldridge from Richards Bay on the northeast coast of KwaZulu Natal, who escaped after the yacht was commandeered to Somalia, while his South African team-mates Bruno Pelizzari (aka Pekezari), in his 50's,with partner Deborah from Durban were taken off the boat and are still held hostage on land in Somalia. Several questions remain still unanswered, though after the return of the skipper to South-Africa it was officially stated that the yacht had been abducted off Kenya this is still conflicting with other naval reports. Since the own yacht of the abducted couple is still moored at the harbour in Dar es Salaam it could well be that they only joined or actually hired skipper Eldridge first for a short trip north to Kenya.Both present hostages, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend "Debbie", Deborah Calitz, were on board when the yacht under the command of Peter Endrigde allegedly heading south to Richards Bay from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on October 21 or 22. Together with the skipper and owner of the yacht, the trio were said at first to have then encountered the pirates on 31. October 2010 in the open sea.At least one of the attacking pirates appeared to have  been from Tanzania and spoke KiSwahili. However, the sloop rigged sailing yacht set up for long distance cruising was then commandeered to Somalia by five Somalis - apparently with the aim to reach Harardheere at the Central Somali coast.When observers had on 04. November a sighting of a yacht near the Bajuni Island of Koyaama at the Southern coast of Somalia, the search for a missing yacht was on in order to identify the boat and the sailors, but neither the Seychelles nor the network of yachts-people reported any missing yacht, though at that point already even the involvement of a second yacht was not ruled out.Navies were then trailing the yacht at least since 04. November.The fleeing yacht was on 06. November forced by the pursuing navies to come close to Baraawa (Brawa). There the yacht had "officially" again been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL when it was "discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore", so the statement. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the warship’s helicopter, allegedly no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further, a EU NAVFOR statement revealed and it was also officially stated that they had received a Mayday  signal. Why only then the emergency call was sent and not much earlier, has so far not been explained.After a direct chase by naval forces escalating the situation and the yacht running aground, SY CHOIZIL's skipper Peter reportedly jumped over board during a close naval swoop, when also shots were fired and a naval helicopter and a commando team in a speedboat were engaged. Other reports state the owner of the yacht, Peter Eldridge, managed to escape when he refused to leave the boat he built with his own hands 20 years ago. Officials now put it as "the yacht’s skipper refused to cooperate" - usually a call for immediate and even deadly response in any hostage situation the world over where armed assailants are involved. However, Peter Eldridge was later picked up by the French navy and was placed into safety on a Dutch naval vessel. He is confirmed to be a South-African by nationality and his next of kin were informed immediately. After he then arrived at the Kenyan harbour of Mombasa on board the Dutch warship, he was handed over to South African officials and brought to Kenya's capital Nairobi, from where he returned to South-Africa.Peter Eldridge, who was a member of the Zululand Yacht Club which uses the Richards Bay Harbour as its base, stated later: "The yacht was attacked by pirates - all men aged between 15 and 50 - on October 26," and thereafter: “They demanded money. They took the money that Deborah and Pelizzari were carrying for their families. They demanded more and we told them that we did not have more because we were ordinary people.” Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said earlier he assumed the yacht had been towed to Mombasa as could have been expected with all the naval presence, but at the same time ECOTERRA Intl. received information from their marine monitors in Somalia saying the yacht was left behind by the naval forces and was at that time drifting. Peter Eldridge's wife, Bernadette, told later the South African Times that she did not know whether her husband Peter would return to Somalia to retrieve what's left of his yacht, SY Choizil, which was run aground during the incident. It is, however, unclear how official statements and the owner himself can speak of "having resisted to the pirates" and insisting that he "was not leaving his yacht alone", when at the same time he must have left it to be rescued by the navy."We only can hope that a report speaking of the killing of one man, whereby at present nobody can say if that had been caused by the naval interaction or by the pirates or if it is mixed with another case, will turn out to be not correct at all," a spokesman from ECOTERRA Intl. said on 07. November and added: "and we hope and urge the local elders to ensure that the innocent woman and man will be set free immediately. Since the Al-Shabaab administration, who governs vast areas in Southern Somalia, where the ancient coastal town of Baraawe (Brawa) is located, had earlier openly condemned any act of piracy, it is hoped that a safe and unconditional release of the hostages can be achieved."The naval command of the European Operation Atalanta stated on 09. November that the whereabouts of the other two crew members was "currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter."Karl Otto of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town stated that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was handling the hostage situation.International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed this on 10. November and said the pirates had not yet made any ransom demand.While the families of the Durban couple are sick with worry while they wait to hear from the kidnappers, the skipper's wife said: "We have been restricted from giving out more information. I have been told not to say more," but did not want to reveal who had told her to keep quiet.South African High Commissioner Ndumiso Ntshinga said he is in constant contact with authorities in Somalia who are involved in the search for Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend.Ntshinga indicated that maybe the story that the were taken off Kenya - as the Seychelles had claimed - is not correct, by saying: “We have always believed that their reach was mostly around Somalia but if they are going to be going down to the Gulf of Mozambique then it is worrying,” said Ntshinga. Naval sources not with EU NAVFOR had earlier stated the attack was at the boundary between Tanzania and Kenya while other naval sources had spoke of the boundary between Tanzania and Mozambique.After two weeks into the crisis the South African government still stated only: "At this point in time we do not know where they are. We have instructed our consulate to handle the matter," foreign ministry spokesman Malusi Mogale told AFP.
Director of Consular Services at the International Relations Department, Albie Laubscher, said all they can do is wait.
“The situation is that we are expecting the pirates to make contact in some way or another.”Information from Somalia says that the couple was held then for a few days held firth south and then inside Brawa but thereafter was moved to an undisclosed location.For the Government of South Africa Mr. Albie Laubscher, the director of consular services at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said the families of the Durban couple had been briefed that the hostage drama could be a long, drawn-out affair. He said it was government policy not to pay ransom. The escaped skipper Peter Eldridge maintains that they had been sea-jacked off the Kenyan coast, but failed to explained why they were there instead on their planned route to the South from Dar es Salaam. 
A friend of Pelizzari, Jason Merle, said the former elevator technician had decided about four years ago to sell his house and build a yacht. 'He and Debbie invested their lives in that boat, which is now docked in Dar es Salaam, waiting for them to come back to Tanzania,' Merle said. 'They don't have any money. Neither does the family. Ransom is going to be pointless. They're not going to get anything out of that couple. The only thing they have is that yacht and a laptop.'
The abducted yacht SY CHOIZIL is still held at the Somali coast, while the couple is now said to be held somewhere in the area of Somalia's embattled capital Mogadishu.In an effort to send the message to pirates that Deborah is African born and should not be treated like a European or an American, Deborah's brother Dale van der Merwe has denied media reports his sister was of British or Italian descent. 'She does not have any British ties and has never set foot in Britain. We are worried that should her captors read this... it may skew their perception of who Debbie really is and try attach values to her as it was done in the case of the recently released British Chandler couple.' He said the couple were 'ordinary workers'. They had been sailing for almost two years, stopping at ports on Africa's coast to 'visit and do occasional work'.  See: http://yachtpals.com/node/12445'Anyone who knows or meets them (including their captors) will see that they are gentle and kind people who are not interested in politics but only love sailing, ' he said and added 'Debbie and Bruno will help anyone regardless of their politics, religion, nationality or race, and frequently at their own cost. They are just fellow Africans who work hard and have a passion for sailing."The family asked the couple's captors to keep them unharmed and release them back to their families and children, whom they have not seen for so long.
The Dutch Navy detained two groups of Somalis during the last week of November, believing those arrested could be involved in the abduction of Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend Deborah Calitz. The people on board of two different skiffs threw their guns overboard when they realised they were about to be attacked by a naval force. 
But only skipper Peter Eldridge would be able to confirm whether any of the suspects were involved in the attack. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme said fishermen and coastal traders also carried weapons in these dangerous waters and the Dutch Navy could have the wrong men and add to the complications. The Kenyan and the South-African government had refused to accept the men for prosecution, since there was no evidence, and the Dutch Navy was for days in limbo - not knowing what to do with them.  Then on 05 November five of these Somalis were flown on a military plane to Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands to stand trial in Rotterdam for abducting the two South Africans from their yacht. The five were among some 20 suspected pirates rounded up last month in two separate operations. The other 15 were released due to a lack of evidence at an undisclosed location and their case is seen by human rights lawyers as illegal arrest and possible refoulement.After now more than one month the South African government maintains that no ransom demands have been made, but has not stated if there was no contact or if other demands were brought forward.
According to South African officials there was still no sign of the South African couple captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia at the end of November and Carte Blanche spoke to their Durban-based families, who are concerned that there’ve been no ransom demands.

International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said on 10. December that the kidnappers have yet to make contact with the South African government or the relatives of Bruno Pelizzari and his partner, Deborah Calitz.

It seems that the first contact possibilities were lost by the South-African officials.

The daughter of Mrs. Calitz also appealed to the captors to at least come forward and start talks on a release.
But after two months, on Thursday, 25. December 2010, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Clayson Monyela still could only say: “There is nothing new on the South African couple who were hijacked by Somali pirates.” 
Mrs. Calitz' brother Dale van der Merwe said: "The situation stays unchanged, we are still waiting for information. 
Skipper Peter Eldridge was in January 2011 interviewed by police and court officials in the Netherlands on the case and reportedly testified that the attack had happened off Tanzania and not off Kenya, as he allegedly had stated to South African officials earlier, who issued this as statement. As South African media reported, Eldridge stated that he also looked at photographs of the accused men and identified some of them as the pirates who had hijacked the Choizil. Why he was not taken through a proper process of identification and raises questions for the defence lawyers.
As of mid January 2011 
communication lines seem to have been established with those who hold the couple now and the yacht is used off Barawa to shuttle from and to the illegal dhows, who load charcoal at the coastal town for illegal export. While the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has no say in that area also the Islamist Al Shabaab administration seems to do nothing against this illegal trade, which also has been termed haram already by several Muslim scholars.
An article by a South-African media house exaggerating the ransom demands while quoting unnamed sources of so-called family friends, was not only rubbished in South-Africa but also from circles close those, who hold the couple in the moment. Andrew Mwangura, officer of the Seafarer's Assistance Program, and frequent reporter on pirate issues, had earlier said that the pirates could be persuaded to take a smaller sum. 
It seems that unscrupulous brokers and media have no restraint in trying to hype up the story.
However, the brother 
of Mrs. Calitz said on 31. January 2011 that any ransom demand for his sister was "pointless" unless he could speak to her. Dale van der Merwe said he had asked telephone callers demanding a USD10 million (R70m) ransom for the release of his sister Deborah Calitz for proof that she was alive. "I said to them: 'If you really are who you say who you are, then let me speak to her.' They said no." And van der Merwe appealed again: "We are asking you to please let them go... They are just ordinary Africans like yourselves with similar problems, we are not rich."
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Director General, Clayson Monyela, said the department was doing its part to ensure the safe return of the two, while also the calls of the three daughters of Deborah Calitz to free their mother have so far not been responded to by the kidnappers.
While the official line of the South African Government to not negotiate or pay ransoms remains unchanged, 
in mid February 2011 a second brother of Mrs. Calitz - Kevin van der Merwe who lives in Auckland, New Zealand - broke the silence and called for a public funds-drive to enable the family to make an offer for a release to the Somali hostage takers, who hold them now. He said time was running out and they had to do something, adding: ''I am very worried about them mentally and physically.'' A trust account was being set up and he said even the smallest donation would help. 
The ransom demanded for the safe release of a Durban couple being held hostage by Somali pirates has been dropped by half, with religious leaders in Mogadishu putting pressure on the pirates to let them go unconditionally, but neither will the family be able to collect the still multimillion dollar ransom nor do they seem to get the right advice and as longer the case takes as more complicated it will get to finalize it.
The meanwhile obvious media black-out has not helped the hostages a bit.

FV AL JAZEERA : Seized November 04, 2010. The Yemeni fishing vessel with an unknown number of crew is missing and wanted.MSV AL BOGARI : Sighted November 7, 2010, as being hijacked, no further data.FV SAMANALI (Lorance) : Seized Nov 11, 2010 or shortly thereafter. The missing Sri Lankan Fishing Vessel  Samanali (Lorance) has the Registration Number 1 DAY-A-0164-NBO. The names of the 4 man crew consisting of the skipper and three crew-fishermen have been provided with the crewlist.They are all of Sri Lankan nationality. The small 34 ft. (10.36 m) wooden fishing boat sports as main colour a light Blue with red and yellow stripes. The deck colour is white.
Vessel and crew sailed on 10. November 2010 at 17h45 from Hendala, at Wattala on Sri Lanka's Western coast.
It was between 10th November and 30th November that two other Sri Lankan FV's were attacked by suspected Somali Piratesand it is feared that this FV may have also been pirated.
The vessel is still missing and wanted.
MV YUAN XIANG : Seized November 12, 2010. The Chinese-owned general cargo ship MV YUAN XIANG (IMO 7609192) carrying 29 sailors of Chinese nationality was seized during the night by an unknown number of pirates in the Arabian Sea in position 18:02.55N – 066:03.39E - around 680nm east of Salalah, Oman. An act of piracy was then confirmed on 12.11.2010 at 07h01 UTC.
According to the China Marine Rescue Centre (CMRC), the Chinese- owner-manager and Ningbo-based  Hongyuan Ship Management Ltd (HONGYUAN MARINE CO LTD) in Zhejiang, China, had received a call just before midnight whereby the pirates informed that they were sailing the vessel, owned by HONGAN SHIPPING CO LTD, to Somalia.
The 22,356 dwt vessel flies a flag of convenience (FOC) from Panama, a flag-state who apparently even doesn't care when sailors are dying an unnatural death on their registered vessels.   
The CMRC was reportedly unable to get in touch with the hijacked ship and the fate of the sailors remained unclear, Xinhua said, adding that the attacked occurred outside a region protected by a multinational forces, including China's navy. The vessel was for a certain time at Xabo (Habo) at the Gulf of Aden coast but was then commandeered around the Horn into the Indian Ocean and held off Dhanane, south of Garacad at the North-Eastern coast. Meanwhile it was transferred to Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations seem to have made real progress, but a release operation was terminated when a ransom delivery was busted by Somali government officials in Mogadishu, who impounded two planes, six foreigners and US$3,6mio in cash - apparently for the release of this vessel and crew, but also for MV SUEZ.
FV NN COMOROS : Seized on November 18, 2010. The Comoros-flagged fishing vessel with a two man crew was confirmed sea-jacked inside the territorial waters of the Comoros. So far the identity of the vessel has not been released and the fate of  the crew is not known.

MV ALBEDO : Seized on November 26, 2010. The Malaysia-flagged box-ship MV ALBEDO (IMO 9041162) en route from Jebel Ali in the UAE to Mombasa in Kenya was boarded in the early morning hours and an alarm was raised at 03h00 UTC (06h00 LT) in position 05:38N – 068:27E, which is around 255 nm west of the Maldives group of islands. The master had reported to the Malaysian owners already on that fateful Friday that pirates were on-board and his vessel was hijacked. That information was then forwarded to to the navies. However, EU NAVFOR confirmed only 3 days later on mid-Monday that the vessel was captured. Why EU NAVFOR only reported so late is not known, but maybe because a Danish Navy frigate was sailing Saturday to the rescue of the German freighter MCL Bremen, a multi-purpose 130-metre freighter, which was nearby attacked by pirates. But following standard procedures, the whole crew barricaded themselves in a secret room and the attackers later left that vessel before the warship arrived and MLC BREMEN is reportedly sailing free. 
The sea-jacked 1,066-TEU container vessel MV ALBEDO has a crew of 23 sailors. Six hail from Sri Lanka and others from Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. Registered owner and manager is MAJESTIC ENRICH SHIPPING SDN, which was incorporated on January 25, 2008 as a private limited company under the name of Majestic Enrich Sdn Bhd in Malaysia by Iranian shipping executives and on April 3 changed its name to Majestic Enrich Shipping Sdn Bhd. 
The vessel is 
now held south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere, had been briefly used for a spin at the beginning of April 2011, but returned to the same place. Communications to secure the release of vessel and crew ran reportedly into problems and real negotiations for her release are said to have not yet achieved a consent.

FV NN IRAN (Reg: 4/3386) : Seized December 07, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with the Registration Number 4/3386 and her crew of 11 was allegedly seized by Somali pirates together with a second Iranian fishing vessel (4/3810), which had been released and did reach Iran. No. 4/3386 is still missing and wanted.
MV MSC PANAMA : Seized December 10, 2010. At 12h12 UTC (09h12 LT) on 10 December 2010 the U.S.American-owned container vessel MSC PANAMA (IMO: 8902125) was reported to be under attack by an armed group of in total five sea-shifta in two skiffs on board in position 09°57S - 041°46E. A Rocket Propelled Grenade was used during the attack which occurred approximately 80 nautical miles east of the Tanzanian/Mozambique border. On the afternoon of 10 December, the merchant vessel was then confirmed pirated and in position Latitude: 10°00S Longitude: 041°51E.
The boxship was en route from Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) to Beira (Mozambique) when the attack occurred. 
This southerly attack in the Western Indian Ocean is a further example of the constantly expanding area of pirate activity, triggered by naval activities in the Gulf of Aden and close to the Somali shores and is apparently also serving an agenda of implicating more and more regional countries. One of the the previously sea-jacked fishing vessels was used in the attack.
The 26,288 dwt MSC PANAMA is a Liberian flagged container ship, operated by SHIP MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC from Coral Gables Florida, a US based company and an affiliate of Ultrapetrol, fronting for registered owner EURUS BERLIN LLC. SMS shares an office, address, and employee roster with US-listed owner Ultrapetrol’s management subsidiary, Ravenscroft Ship Management. It is said to be an Eastwind container ship, whereby it was noted that Eastwind Maritime Inc., a Marshall Islands Corporation filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York on June 24th, 2009 (Case No. 09-14047 - ALG). The vessel is operated under long-term charter by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and insured with Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co.
The 1,743-teu box ship has a crew of 23 seafarers, who all are from Myanmar (Burma).
“The Somali pirates let the Burmese crewmen call their families three days ago. All said they were in good health and told their families not to worry about them,” an official at the Rangoon branch of St. John’s Ship Management said on condition of anonymity to Mizzima News.
Although the crewmen were not in mortal danger, they needed to keep their spirits up while being held by the pirates, Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the junta-supported Myanmar Overseas Seafarers’ Association, said.
The release of the MSC Panama and the crewmen would depend on the negotiations between the pirates and the company and such talks normally take more than two months, Thai-based Seafarers’ Union of Burma official Aung Thura told Mizzima. His union had been outlawed by the Burmese ruling governance. The vessel arrived in Somalia and is held now south of Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast off Harardheere district, close to MV ALBEDO.
Cargo owners are increasingly upset with MSC - Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. - about the slow pace of the release negotiations.
Meanwhile around six of the badly stored containers from the top have reportedly tipped over in heavier swell and crushed onto the deck. Thereby some broke open, which reportedly contained goods in bulk, like a consignment of shoes, which are now said to be sold in the central Somali town. Other observers stated that these goods came from earlier looted MV RAK AFRICANA.
The crew is reportedly still healthy , though their food stock is finished and they have no more clean drinking water.
Unfortunately the negotiations to solve the case have apparently stalled. Reports from Harardheere revealed that the last contact for release talks was made end of March 2011. Allegedly the pirate gang and the people negotiating for the owners had then not only a disagreement about the level of the ransom, but had fallen apart and no mediation came forward for a long time. Due to this bad situation also some containers have been broken into and some limited looting started, local observers stated. For a while also other hostages were held on the vessel.
A ransom agreement has not been reached between the pirates and the St.Johns Ship Mangement Company which owns the MV Panama, according to the company’s Rangoon branch office, stated Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB) on 05. May 2011. The Liberian-flagged cargo ship has 23 Burmese crewmen aboard. The St.Johns Ship Mangement Company is still paying the crewmen’s salary. A spokesman at the Rangoon branch office said the pirates are still in negotiations with the company and stated: ‘We hope an agreement will be reached soon. The families of the crewmen are very worried."
The vessel was recently moved towards a location north of Hobyo and a release deal apparently fell through.
Reportedly for the moment any negotiations have broken down and the vessel, which reportedly also serves again as a holding cell for other hostages, as well as the crew are held off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

MSV SALIM AMADI : Seized December 15, 2010. The motorized cargo dhow of most likely Indian origin was seized at 10h00 LT (07h00 UTC) some 70nm from Bosaso on her way from Dubai to this harbour town of the regional state of Puntland in Somalia. Most likely involved also in a business dispute. Number of crew and their fate is not yet known.

FV NN IRAN (Reg: 4/2742) : Seized January 14, 2010. The Iranian fishing vessel with the Registration Number 4/2742 and her 16 crew was seized by Somali pirates together with a second Iranian fishing vessel and since then was missing and wanted.  

MSV AL MUJAHEER : Seized January, 16, 2011. The Yemeni motorized dhow with none of her original crew on board, was abducted and is used by alleged Somali pirates as piracy launch. The vessel is missing and wanted.

MV ORNA : Seized December 20, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged bulker MV ORNA (IMO 8312162) was in the morning of 20. December 2010 at 08h29LT (11h29 UTC) reported under attack by pirates in position Latitude: 01°46S Longitude: 060°32E.The bulk carrier was under way to India from Durban and is laden with coal. 
NATO reported that the attack was launched from 2 attack skiffs, with pirates firing small arms and rocket propelled grenades at the merchant vessel en route in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 nautical miles North East of the island-state of the Seychelles. The vessel was stopped and boarded by at least 4 pirates.
The bulk carrier was then pirated, EU NAVFOR confirmed later and that the number o f crew on board was unknown.
 The crew is co-operating and no damage is reported, the EU statement reads, which also stated that MV ORNA was not registered with the naval centres of MSCHOA or UKMTO.
The MV ORNA is a Panama flagged, UAE owned bulk cargo vessel with a dead weight of 27,915 tonnes.
The vessels safety management certificate had been withdrawn by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai already on 14. October this year and the crew is also not covered by an ITF agreement, but unlike other UAE-owned vessels it has still at least  an insurance with Sveriges Angfartys Assurans Forening (Swedish Club). Ship manager SWEDISH MANAGEMENT CO SA in Dubai fronts for registered owner SIRAGO SHIPMANAGEMENT SA.There are 19 sailors on board and the crew comprises of one Sri Lankan and 18 Syrians.
The owner of Kassab Intershipping-Swedish Management, Capt Abdul Kadar, said that the cargo ship MV Orna was carrying 26,500 tonnes of coal from Durban, South Africa and was enroute to Okha, India, when it was hijacked. 
The vessel is at present commandeered towards the Somali coast.
Capt Kassab said that “the ship was expected to reach the Somali waters by [that] Friday and then only we can start negotiations. Past experiences show that the pirates start negotiations only after reaching their home country’s shores.” 
After arriving at the Somali coast the vessel was held together with the crew first off the coast north of Hobyo, before moving further south towards Ceel Gaan from where it then left the coast.
On 26. May 2011 at 09h08 UTC the pirated vessel was reported to be commandeered in position 06 09N and 050 33E with a course of 072 degrees and a speed of 7kts on another piracy mission. It is assumed that the ship is now being abused as a piracy launch with the crew serving as human shield.
On 27. May 2011 at 08h40 UTC MV ORNA was reported in position 07 09N and 053 20E with course 078 degrees and a speed of 7.5 knots.
On 01. June 2011 at 15h34 UTC the commandeered ship was reported in position 11 37N and 061 17E with course 246 degrees and a speed of  4.4 kts.
On 02. June 2011 at 12h24 UTC MV ORNA was reported in position 11 09N amd 059 57E with course 252 degrees and a speed of 5.6 kts.

On 03. June 2011 at 08h14 UTC the vessel was reported in position 10 55N and 57 48E with course 272 degrees and a speed of 6.0 kts, obviously on her way to the Somali coast.
FV SHIUH FU No. 1 : Seized December 25, 2010. At 10h30 UTC on 25. December 2010, the white hulled fishing vessel Shiuh Fu No.1 - CT7 0256 (ID58582) was reported by NATO as sea-jacked by pirates in position 12°58S - 051°52E around 120nm east of Nosy Ankao, Madagascar. A previously hijacked merchant ship was reported to be in the vicinity during the hijacking of the fishing vessel. It was then at 11h15 UTC observed to act as piracy launch in position 12°58S - 51°51E, while cruising 293° at a speed of 1 kts.Its 29 sailor crew consists of 1 Taiwanese, 14 Vietnamese and 14 Chinese. EU NAVFOR liusts only 26 crew.The Republic of China flagged, 700 to long-liner, owned by SHIUH FU FISHERY CO., LTD. of Kaohsiung in Taiwan is apparently licensed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC NO. 900070256) to fish in these waters.  Further reports state that the vessel, which shows on it's side in large letters BI2256, was commandeered further south was observed on 26. December 2010 heading 172º with a speed of 10 knots at position 15°23'42.00"S, 52°14'45.60"E. The vessel has a powerful 1,200 HP engine and can run faster, which makes it a serious threat concerning possible pirate-attacks against merchant vessels in the area.Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a press release it had launched an emergency mission and instructed Taiwan's representative office in Cape Town, South Africa to seek assistance from the government of Madagascar. There has been no communication since Dec. 25 with the Shiuh Fu No. 1, said Samuel Chen (陳士良), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of African Affairs.On 28. December the vessel maintained its strange search- or forestalling-like pattern along Latitude 52 on the North-Eastern side of Madagascar.But at 03h13 UTC on 29. December 2010, the Pirate Action Group with FV SHIUH FU NO.1 was then reported as going east in position 13 27S - 053 03E with course 102° at speed 9.1 kts.Vice chief Dao Cong Hai of the Vietnamese Department for Management of Overseas Labor said on January 5 that the 12 Vietnamese workers were enrolled by three manpower exporting firms, named Inmasco, Servico and Van Xuan. All of them are from the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh. Hai said that the department had instructed the three firms to get in contact with the Taiwanese employer to get information about the Vietnamese sailors and communicate with the victims’ families. “This is an unexpected accident. The pirates need money. They need time to evaluate the ship to fix the ransom,” Hai said.Local observers reported on 10. January 2010 that the vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast of Harardheere, but thereafter took off again.At 10h50 UTC on 14. Jan 2011, SHIUH FU No.1 acting as mothership, was reported in position 12°21N 055°56E, but it is now back and held off Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast. No proper contact seems to have been maintained between the owner and the captors.

MSV AL SHAMSHIR (sword) (aka MSV SAMSIR) : Seized before December 28, 2010. 
The most likely Iranian flagged dhow was observed near Ceel Gaan at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast from mid January to at least the beginning of April 2011. Sometimes the boat was together with a larger vessel at 0435N 04805E, near where abandoned MV RAK AFRIKANA is now grounded. 
  On 02. May 2011 the Danish Navy with warship HDMS ESBERN SNARE under Dutch orders and NATO command again attacked an earlier pirated vessel with hostages on board.
MSV SHAMSHIR was approached and at first only warning shots were fired by the Danish navy (i.e. first shots were fired by the navy).
Then the pirates used the hostages as human shield and threatened that the hostages would be endangered. The pirates continued to commandeer the vessel towards the coast. 
The skiffs and the out-board motors of the skiffs were shot up and disabled by Danish naval sniper fire. 
The commandeered dhow proceeded towards the coast and the Danish navy then disengaged. 
Allegedly nobody was wounded, naval reports say, but local confirmation could not yet be obtained, because the pirate group and their hostages are in hiding.

MSV AL WA'ALA : Seized on or around 01. January 2011. The Yemeni-flagged dhow was seajacked and immediately used as piracy launch. Around 10. March the vessel had a technical failure in the Arabian Sea and likewise commandeered VLCC IRENE SL went out to help. Some Somali pirates and 3 Yemeni crew were taken aboard the large oil carrier. The 3 Yemeni men were then exchanged with a navy vessel in a deal to return the body of a Somali pirate from VLCC IRENE SL, who had been seriously wounded earlier, was then handed to a naval ship, but died on the operation table. At the moment it is not known whether any pirates or crew stayed on AL WA' ALA and what her current status is.
The vessel is wanted.

MV BLIDA : Seized January 01, 2010. At 15h36 UTC (12h36 LT) of New Year's day, the bulk carrier MV BLIDA (IMO 7705635) was attacked by an armed Pirate Action Group of four men in one skiff, which had been launched from earlier pirated MV HANNIBAL II at position Latitude: 15 28N Longitude: 055 51E. The location is approximately 150 nautical miles South East of the port of Salalah, Oman. EU NAVFOR and NATO confirmed the sea-jacking. 
The 20,586 tonne Bulk Carrier is Algerian flagged and owned. The vessel was on her way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from Salalah in Oman at the time of the attack. 
The bulker has a multinational crew of 27 seafarers (17 Algerian, 6 Ukrainian - incl. captain-,  2 Filipinos, 1 Indonesian and 1 Jordanian). 
The official version is that the vessel is carrying a 24,000 tonnes 
cargo of Clinker. 
MV BLIDA was registered for protection with MSC(HOA) but had not reported to UKMTO, EU NAVFOR stated, but did not explain why the vessel was not protected - especially because the vessel used as pirate-launch - MV HANNIBAL II - was reported earlier by NATO to be in the area. 
Ship manager of MV BLIDA is SEKUR HOLDINGS INC of Piraeus, Greece and registered owner is INTERNATIONAL BULK CARRIER of Algeria. 
The manager could for the first time on 05. January contact the Ukrainian captain who said the 27-member crew is safe, the Ukrainian foreign ministry in Kiev said. The captain of the Blida bulk carrier told the Greek manager that "no crew member had been injured" during the attack last Saturday and that the sailors were in "satisfactory" condition. 
Shipping in Algeria is a government monopoly run by the Algerian state, the National Corporation for Maritime Transport and the Algerian National Navigation Company (Société Nationale de Transports Maritimes et Compagnie Nationale Algérienne de Navigation--SNTM-CNAN). 
Earlier on 05. January, shipcharterer IBC said it had received no ransom demand from the unidentified pirates who seized the vessel. 
"I don't know who will pay, but I repeat that we have not received such a demand," Nasseredine Mansouri, head of International Bulk Carriers (IBC), an Algerian-Saudi company specialising in maritime cargo transport, told AFP.  
Justice Minister Tayeb Belaiz said on 06. January his country would not pay a ransom . Belaiz said in a statement to the press that Algeria was the first country to have "called, before the UN general assembly, for the payment of ransom to criminals and kidnappers to become a criminal act". Paying ransom encourages criminals and finances terrorism, he said. "Algeria does not pay ransom," he said adding that the kidnapped crew had been able to contact their families by telephone.     
The vessel had arrived in Somalia and was moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia as marine observers reported, but then left for a piracy spree and was observed on 22. January 2011 in position Latitude: 09 54N Longitude: 052 56E with course 049 degrees and speed 8.6 kts conducting mother-ship operations.
The Somali pirates were urged to let the vessel go in solidarity with the people of Algeria, but still
 the vessel and crew are held at Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while negotiations have not really been forthcoming.
Algeria has now launched a formal appeal for the release of all hostages held in Africa, including the Algerians captured by Somali pirates early this year, according to Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. 
When asked about the 17 Algerian sailors captured aboard the MV Blida in January, Medelci said that they were in "good condition". 
"The Algerian authorities are monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with them through ship owner International Bulk Carriers (IBC), who are negotiating their release," he said. 
Toudji Azzedine, from the city of Dellys in Boumerdes province, was among the detained sailors. According to his family, the last communication they had with him was on May 24th. They were told that the crew were in dire conditions. 
The water (being fed) is dirty, the food rancid," said Abdelkader Achour, whose brother is among the 27 captives. "We ask the Algerian authorities to intervene to speed up their release," he added.
The appeal launched by Medelci came two days after the families of the hostages assembled in front of the IBC headquarters to denounce the authorities' silence regarding the sailors' fate and to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intervention to save their lives.
The 80-year-old mother of Ismail Kehli, from Algiers, was among the participants. After hearing about her son's abduction, she suffered from paraplegia and was hospitalised. 
"What does the minister want from this appeal?" she wondered. "Does he want to say that Algeria will not pay ransom to save the sailors and they will remain there for many years?" 

MSV AL MUSA : Seized January 09, 2011. The Indian merchant dhow was hijacked along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way off Oman.
The dhow was abducted along with her 14 Indian crew on or about the 9th of January 2011 while under way from Dubai to Salalah around 50nm off the coast of Oman. The vessel is carrying assorted food-stuff and was commandeered to Somalia. The vessel is missing and wanted.

CREW OF MV LEOPARD : Seized January 12, 2010. The six men crew (2 Danes and 4 Filipinos) was snatched from 1,780-dwt weapons transporter MV Leopard.  
The MV LEOPARD (IMO 8902096) is owned by a small company named “Shipcraft”, which is specialized to haul dangerous, military and nuclear cargoes, the Maritime Bulletin says.
The Leopard is known to be carrying what various informed sources have described as a "sensitive" cargo which is believed to include weapons. Although ships operated by Shipcraft, the Leopard's Danish operator, routinely carry nuclear items, this vessel is not believed to have any on board. Some analysts said it could have been possible that the ship had been disabled by its crew before they hid in the citadel and the Somalis may also have felt that the high-profile nature of the cargo could also have posed a heightened risk of naval or military intervention, but sources from Somalia believe that the real danger concerning the cargo sensed by the Somalis was the reason to abandon the vessel.
It is unknown if the pirates have touched any of the cargo while the welfare of the crew is also not known. Representatives from ShipCraft have steadfastly refused to comment on the issue when contacted by TradeWinds on several occasions on Wednesday and Thursday. The company deactivated its website on Thursday morning as reports began to filter through that the ship was carrying a potentially dangerous cargo and it remains "under construction".  Since unprotected, also MV FAINA - a Ukrainian weapons-carrier with battle tanks for Southern Sudan was intercepted by Somali pirates, but in this case held for 144 days with a major diplomatic row evolving concerning the final destination of the weapons, since they had no permits for Sudan. 
"We do not know where the crew is and we are concentrating on locating them and bringing them home to safety," Shipcraft chief executive Claus Bech said in a statement.
He confirmed a report late Thursday that the pirates had taken the six crew members -- two Danes including the captain, and four Filipinos -- and abandoned the 1,780-dwt cargo vessel MV Leopard (built 1989).
He did not reveal if the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.  Registered shipowner is LODESTAR SHIPHOLDING LTD of Horsholm, Denmark, who has as ISM manager NORDANE SHIPPING A/S.
A search onboard the boat Thursday by Turkish soldiers, who are part of an international NATO-led force in the Gulf of Aden, turned up "neither pirates nor crew members," Bech said.
The shipping company last had contact with The Leopard crew on Wednesday at 1300 GMT, when the captain sent a distress signal indicating that the cargo ship had been "attacked by pirates who were boarding from two speed boats," the statement said.
After receiving the alert, NATO sent the Turkish warship Gaziantep to the scene, a spokesman for the alliance's anti-piracy mission, Jacqui Sheriff, told the Politiken daily's website.
Shipcraft, which has not provided information on what the cargo ship had been carrying, is known as a specialist in shipping explosives and ammunition, the paper reported, adding that The Leopard was transporting weapons.
All the company's ships have traveled in the area with armed guards since pirates attempted to capture another of its cargo ships, The Puma, in mid-2009.
However, Politiken.dk reported that The Leopard had let off its armed guards at the Oman port of Salalah before sailing into a zone considered "safe" where it was attacked.
The crew of MV LEOPARD is not covered by an ITF agreement.
According to TradeWinds and in what represents a major departure from Somali pirates' usual modus operandi, the six seafarers have been snatched and moved to a seized Taiwanese fishing vessel which is operating as a mother-ship. 
British sailing couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who had their yacht Lynn Rival hijacked in October 2009 before they were moved to the seized 1,550-teu container vessel Kota Wajar. From there they were taken ashore and held hostage for over a year and only freed last November. 
The only other such "off-takes", apart from the Chandlers, were the kidnapping of Juergen Kantner and his partner from their sailing yacht S/Y ROCKALL on 23. June 2008, the kidnapping of Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari from S/Y CHOIZIL on 26. October 2010 and the snatching of Sri Lankan fishermen  Mr. Lal Fernando and Mr. Sugath Fernando from FV LAKMALI on November 30, 2010. However, recent information reaching our marine monitors in Somalia also say that three women (one Tanzania and two Comorian) had been transferred from the vessel on which they where kidnapped - the MV ALY ZOULFECAR. They were, however, later transferred back..
The most likely explanation, why the pirates left the arms-ship, is that the crew managed to flee into the strong-room and disabled the engines. The time to then get to the crew left little time to get the engines working again before a warship would have arrived. The pirates therefore decided to leave the huge amount of ammunition, rockets and missiles, which the vessel was transporting as deliveries from three European countries to states in Asia, because this loot would not be of immediate benefit to the Somali warlords and most likely would have triggered a serious naval response to block the vessel and its goods from reaching the Somali coast. The mastermind then must have decided to order the gang to just kidnapp the crew and disappear on the waiting fishing vessel.
Allegedly the Somalis holding the 6 men crew have already offered a deal to exchange them.  
The Danish shipping company said it was searching for the six crew members, while reports from Hobyo say that 4 Somalis including one dead had been delivered by a naval Helicopter to Hobyo. The Filipinos of the Leopard crew are apparently still held there. The two Danes were then held separately from the Filipinos on a vessel off Hobyo together with the two Spaniards. While the Spaniards were freed against a massive ransom from MT SAVINA CAYLYN, the Danes are reportedly still held on board of another vessel north of Hobyo.

MV EAGLE : Seized January 17, 2011. At 06h41 UTC (09h41 LT) on Monday 17. January, the bulk carrier MV EAGLE (IMO 8126408) was attacked and pirated by a single skiff in position Latitude: 13°17N Longitude: 061°42 E. The attack occurred in the Gulf of Aden, 490 nautical miles South West of Salaam, Oman. The pirates had been firing small arms and a Rocket Propelled Grenade before boarding the vessel.  There has been no contact with the ship since the attack. The MV EAGLE which is Cypriot flagged and Greek owned, has a deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 25 Filipinos (according to the shipowner and DMS of the Cyprus government - not 24 as stated by EU NAVFOR) and was on passage from Aqabar (Jordan) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked. 
The Handymax bulker is owned by the Perogiannakis family, Perosea Shipping Co. S.A. of Greece. The company Perosea currently operates just this one rather old bulker , which was built in 1985. 
The ITF agreement, which had been agreed as TCC and was covering the crew with the Pan-Hellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO), expired on 05. April 2009 . The crew of the vessel is therefore not covered by an ITF agreement.
There is at present no information concerning the condition of the crew, while the vessel has reached the Somali coast, where was held off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast but then transferred to Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, while Phillipine officials said they have no information if the negotiations have properly commenced. A previous report by a Norwegian-financed website, quoting local sources and stating the release of the vessel, turned out to be false.
On 10. May 2011 at 07h27 UTC MV EAGLE was reported in position 12 25 N and 060 06 E plying a course of 246 degrees with a speed of  7 knots most likely conduction piracy launch operations. MV EAGLE then went out, apparently  to provide support to Taiwanese JIN TSUN C68.
EAGLE, which had come under squeeze by navies. MV EAGLE was then also met by MT ZIRKU for supplies.On 13. May 2011 pirated MV EAGLE appeared to have reversed course and was heading back to her anchorage, shaddowed by naval forces, but then changed course again - most likely to join the piracy circus in the Arabian Sea.
At 13h10 UTC on16. May 2011 the commandeered vessel was reported in position  07 17 N and 053 26 E course 260 cruising with a speed of 7 kts and most likely on a piracy mission.

MV HOANG SON SUN : Seized January 20, 2010. The vessel MV HOANG SON HUN (IMO 8323862) was seized by pirates, who came onboard shooting at 12h42 UTC in position Latitude: 15°11N Longitude: 059°38, which is approximately 520 nautical miles South East of the port of Muscat, Oman. The 22,835-tonne Bulk carrier is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese owned, has a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals and is carrying 21,000 tons of iron ore.
MV HOANG SON SUN was not registered with MSC(HOA) and had not reported to UKMTO.
Owner and manager of the Vietnamese vessel is HOANG SON CO LTD from Thanh Hoa City, Vietnam, who insured it with West of England Shipowners. Unfortunately for the seafarers it has no ITF agreement. 
Nguyen Bien Cuong, head of the Hoang Son Co's maritime security department, said the last time his firm had heard from the Vietnamese crew of the cargo ship was Tuesday. However, according to the ship-owner (Hoang Son Company in Thanh Hoa province), the captured ship captain Dinh Tat Thang somehow managed to clandestinely send an email saying that all sailors are in safe condition and the merchant ship has been moved to a Somalia port.   
Apart from that, Hoang Son Company has not received any other information, Vietnamese media reported.
Bui Viet Tung, son of chief mechanic Bui Thai Hung, one of hostages, is angry that the company has not made any contact with the pirates. “If Hoang Son Company is not committed to the case, our family will go to Hai Phong northern city to seek more information on my father’s situation”. On the same day, Hoang Son – deputy director of Hoang Son – told Tuoi Tre the company is working with a UK-based firm specialized in negotiating all things related to hostage and pirates to rescue the victims.“The ransom is estimated to hit US$5 million,” Hoang Son added and stated that the vessel itself is insured against hijackers by the Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, but that the staff and goods on the ship have no insurance.  “If pirates ask for a huge ransom, there’s no way the company can afford it," Son said and added: "We need the support of the state and our insurer." Based on this analysts believe that the case will take at least three month, because the British companies are known to take their time, because they are paid for it.Crew and vessel were first held off Hobyo but the vessel is at the moment moored off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast. Negotiations seem to be difficult.

MT SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized February 08, 2010. At 04h27 UTC (07h27 local time) Somali pirates sea-jacked the huge Italian crude oil tanker MT SAVINA CAYLYN (IMO 9489285) with 22 crew members in the Indian Ocean en route from the Bashayer oil terminal in Sudan to the port of Pasir Gudang in Malaysia. The attack took place in position Latitude: 12°10N  Longitude: 066°00E on the Indian Ocean, which is 673 nm straight east from Socotra Island at the tip of the Horn of Africa and around 360 nm west of the Indian Lakshadweep Islands. The ship is carrying a load of crude oil for ARCADIA, a commodities trading company.
Though Italian newspapers first published the tanker had escaped, European Union Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed later the Italian flagged and owned MT SAVINA CAYLYN was hijacked. "The vessel was boarded after a sustained attack by one skiff with five suspected pirates firing small arms and four rocket propelled grenades," O'Kennedy said and added: "There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew of 22 - 5 Italians and 17 Indians."
The 104,255 dwt MT SAVINA CAYLYN had registered with the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) and was reporting to the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
The Aframax of Chinese make was built in 2008 at the Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding shipyard and is insured through Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but so far no information concerning an ITF agreement for the crew was found.
Registered owner is DOLPHIN TANKER SRL for managers FRATELLI D'AMATO SPA , Naples NA, Italy. Fratelli D'Amato Spa is fully owned by Luigi D'Amato, who is also the sole administrator. 
Dolphin Tanker s.r.l. is a 50% joint venture between Scerni Group and Fratelli D'Amato S.p.a., and a joint venture between Luigi D’Amato, president of Fratelli D’Amato International Group, and Paolo Scerni, president of Scerni Group - which presently owns 6 tankers. The joint venture might come to an end by mutual consent and banks which granted credit lines for their ships in the past years – i.e., Milan-based Centrobanca, Genoa-based Banca Carige, and Deutsche Bank AG – have been informed of the ongoing restructuring, necessary in order to preserve the earnings from a pool of ships which made last year a 4 million Euros profit.
So far Il Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labor) Luigi D’Amato serves as the President.
Italian Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard said the coast guard was alerted by a satellite alarm system about the attack. All Italian ships that register with the coast guard's operations center in Rome have such an alarm system. "There was an exchange of fire between the pirates and crew," Nicastro said and it was observed that the 266 metre long ship slowed down almost to a standstill before it then sped up again and resumed its course, leading the coast guard to think the pirates had climbed on board and are now in command.
Where the pirates instructed to wait for this vessel, like it was the case in other sea-jackings - for instance the weapons-transporting Ro-Ro FAINA or now admittedly the MV SAMHO JEWELRY case?
Initial reports then said no-one was hurt in the attack and Commander Pio Schiano, from the Fratelli D'Amato shipping company in Naples, told a local television channel that he had been in communication with the tanker, stating that the crew were well but no ransom demands had been made.
Italy's foreign ministry released a statement following the attack to announce that a task force had been set up to monitor the situation along with the ministry of defence.
The vessel was then commandeered towards Somalia, while the Italian Navy frigate ZEFFORO, which was some 500 miles away, was heading to the area too.
The 266-m long and 46-m wide 
vessel was expected in Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, when satellite imagery showed it early morning on 10. February still about 330 km off the Somalia coast.
Vessel and crew have meanwhile arrived on 12. February off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and negotiations are reportedly under way. However the vessel and crew had then been transferred further south to the Harardheere district coast, where the vessel was held off Ceel Gaan and 
now has been moved to Hobyo.
Two Spaniards, hijacked earlier from VEGA 5 were at the end of their ordeal held hostage on this vessel until their release against a multi-million dollar ransom. The vessel is still moored off Hobyo, while the crtew is awaiting progress in the negotiations for their own release.

(Ex: MV Laurinda)
:  Seized February 12, 2010. At 15h31 UTC (19h30 local time) on 12. February 2011, the Malta-flagged, Iran-owned Handymax MV SININ (IMO 9274941) was attacked by presumed Somali pirates  in position 19 26N and 063 29E, which is around 350 nautical miles East of Masirah Island (Oman) in the Arabian Sea. The bulk carrier then was reported hijacked at 15h48 UTC on 12 February in position 201409N and 0641917E, approximately 286NM east of Masirah Island, Oman. The differences in the naval reporting about the location has so far not been clarified. The bulker was en route from Fujarah (UAE) to Singapore and has a crew of 23, of which13 are Iranian and 10 Indian nationals.
EU NAVFOR reported a day later and stated that they too believed the 52,466 dwt vessel was pirated. In a statement the Eurapean naval forces said: "The vessel sent out a distress signal, saying she was under attack, late afternoon on Saturday to which an aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) immediately responded.  The aircraft photographed 2 suspected pirate skiffs on board the vessel. There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent and the MV SININ has now changed course towards the Somali coast.  There is no information on the condition of the crew."
Reportedly the 190m-long vessel with four toering cranes was not registered with MSC(HOA) and was not reporting to UKMTO.
State-owner company IRISL has named ISIM SININ LTD as registered owner and owner/managers are IRANOHIND SHIPPING CO LTD all of Tehran, Iran.
Subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL - see separate entity record); listed in Annex III of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 of June 9, 2010, requiring states to freeze its assets within their territories and to prevent assets from being made available to it (with some exceptions); on September 10, 2008, added to the Specially Designated National (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems; according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, IRISL and affiliates provide logistical services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL - see separate entity record); owns six oceangoing vessels transporting crude oil and bulk and general cargo; subsidiaries include ISI Maritime Limited and Jaladhi Shipping Services (India) Private Limited; other subsidiaries reportedly include BIIS Maritime, Imir Ltd., and Isim Atr Ltd.; established as a joint venture between IRISL (51 percent) and Shipping Corporation of India-SCI (49 percent); reportedly established in 1975; commercial director is Ardasheer Yousefi.
In 2002 the Shipping Corporation of India decided to continue to be a partner with the Iranian government in the Irano Hind Shipping Co after disinvestment. According to senior officials, New Delhi has conveyed to Teheran that it stands committed to the joint venture even after its privatisation which is expected to take place by next month. SCI has a 49 per cent equity holding in the joint venture company which has a majority holding by the state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Sources said the reassurance to the Iranian government has been informally conveyed since the joint venture was conceived as a government-to-government partnership way back in 1974. The government has decided to offload 51 per cent equity in SCI in favour of a strategic partner while at the same time passing off 3.12 per cent shares to the employees. The government currently holds 80.12 per cent stake in the public sector shipping giant. 

Iran o Hind Shipping Company is also Known As: Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Irano Hind Shipping Company; Iranohind Shipping Company (PJS); IHSC; Iran and India Shipping Company; Iran Hind Shipping Company; Irano Hind; Irano Hind Shiping Co. (P.J.S); Irano-hind Shipping Company; Irano-hind; Irano-hind Shipping Co; Iran and India Shipping Co.; Iranohind Shipping Co.; Keshtirani Iran Ve Hend Sahami Khass; Iran O Hand Shipping Co.; IranoHind Shipping Co. Ltd.
However, the ambitious and oldest joint venture of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) is now caught in a diplomatic whirlpool over Iran, forcing the company to consider severing its ties with Tehran's national maritime carrier. As the issue is ridden with political sensitivity, the SCI has sought the ministry of external affairs' opinion as international sanctions can make the profit-making unit incur huge losses. 
The 2006-built 
 Handymax bulker was then commandeered to the Somali coast, while communication was apparently lost.Indian foreign minister Krishna, allaying concerns raised by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar about the safety of the people from the state, stated that seaman Kumar Prashant from Bihar and 23 others on the ship belonging to Irano-Hind Shipping Company were safe. "As per information conveyed by our mission in Tehran, the owners of the ship last spoke to the pirate negotiator on March 2, 2011 and he confirmed that all the crew were safe," Krishna said in his letter dated March 18. Negotiations with the pirates were being handled by a committee headed by the managing director of the Iran-based shipping company. Nitish Kumar in his letter to Krishna on February 22 had requested the Centre to take all steps for the early release of Prashant and other hostages. 
Vessel and crew are held now off Ceel Caduur north of Hobyo and negotiations have commenced.
New EU sanctions and the restrictions already imposed by the U.S.A. on Iran have also targeted now over 30 IRISL holding companies based in Germany, Malta, Hong Kong and the Isle of Man in the UK and all in all hinder and endanger also the release negotiations for MV SININ.

FV AL-FARDOUS (aka FV ALFARDOUS) : Seized February, 12. 2011. The vessel was captured  near the disputed islands of Socotra, which are located on the continental shelf of Somalia at the very tip of the Horn of Africa, but were handed to Yemen located across the Gulf of Aden. The crew is consists of eight sailors.
Fishing rights in this fish-rich zone off the coast of Somalia have been leading to disputes since many decades.
European Union's naval mission Atalanta of EU NAVFOR confirmed the capture now in a welcomed move to not only focus their attention on abducted large merchant ships. The vessel is missing and wanted.

SY ING : Seized February 24, 2011.  
"A Danish yacht was captured by pirates, the Danish foreign ministry confirmed and stated this publicly only on 28. February 2010. The confirmation actually came 4 days after the actual attack and seajacking on 24. February 2011 of the Denmark-flagged sailing boat SY ING, which is why we could release the alert only that day, since it always has also to be ensured that the next of kin are informed first. 
According to our information the attack happened in position 14N and 58E, which is around 210 nm from Socotra Island (Yemen), 300 nm from Salalah (Oman) and around 480 nm off the nearest Somali coast at the very tip of the Horn of Africa. (1nm = 1.852 kilometres) The yacht sent a distress signal just before the boat was boarded and two days after the murder 4 Americans on the SY QUEST. The signal was received, but the authorities decided to not let the attack be widely known, a fact, which was later criticized by many cruising sailors, who demand the full information from the naval control centres and other authorities in order to avoid specific danger spots. Denmark's Intelligence agency PET had asked all relatives of the hostages to keep the incident secret, while it is now believed that the information was only confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign affairs at a moment when the hostages were already taken on land. 
The 43-foot yacht S/Y ING an
d her crew of 7 was captured in the Southern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean en route from the Makunudhoo atoll in the Maldives, from where they had left on 11. February 2011, via Uligan on the 19. February en route to the Red Sea.
S/Y ING and the crew had reported their cruise earlier to UKMTO, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations based in the UAE, which listed itself as primary report and emergency contact. UKMTO had received every day a report with heading and status of the yacht, which at one point even was overflown by a surveillance aircraft.
The sailing yacht S/Y ING with her little over 13m length and 7 tonnes, is a small sloop which features one mast and two sails, a normal mainsail and a jib. The model of this sloop is a  Dynamic 43, designed in Norway, and has an not too powerful diesel inboard motor. But it is a fast and well sailing boat, perfect for 2 or 3 couples or a family of up to seven members.

Four adults and three children aged 12, 15 and 17 were a happy crew together, but are now kept hostage. The parents, Skipper Jan Quist Johansen, his wife, Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons, Rune (17) and Hjalte (15), and daughter Naja (13), as well as their two crew employees are all of Danish nationality. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen
, Denmark. Also the families of the deckhands have been informed.
A duty officer at the Danish marine com
mand headquarters, SOK, told AFP: "SOK received an SOS from the sailboat and began searching for the whereabouts of the ship and determine what has happened to the crew."
Why the Danish government and the navies failed for four days to alert other cruising sailors in the area about the incident is not known. The naval forces deployed to the area have so far not agreed to escort cruising sailors in convoys through the dangerous Gulf of Aden passage or while having to pass the Arabian Sea, where several incidences happened during the last month, including the pirating of SY QUEST with four American hostages, who were all killed in botched negotiations and despite a failed rescue attempt..
The yacht was then commandeered towards Somalia, where still also two other Danes from weapons-ship MV LEOPARD are held hostage by a Somali pirate gang.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said: "It is almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions" and added: "Government officials will do everything in our power to help the Danes."
While the Danish government said the Danish warship 'Esbern Snare' was dispatched for the area, 
the navies this time did not make the same mistakes as in the cases of SY TANIT and SY QUEST.
Observers from Puntland first reported that the sailing boat was expected at the North-Eastern Puntland coast near Ceel Dhanaane on the Indian Ocean, which would have been around 660 nm (1,220km) from the point where it was attacked - at the same location where SY QUEST was supposed to make landfall before she was pushed by four U.S. naval vessels further into the Gulf of Aden, where the four American sailors and four Somali hostage takers found their tragic end.
But the sailing yacht, which was driven apparently by only three hostage takers on board full throttle towards the Somali coast, ran out of fuel.
MV EMS RIVER a likewise sea-jacked merchant vessel, just before she was released since the ransom already had been delivered, had already been dispatched by the pirates' gang leader to provide cover services against a possible naval attack and then did provide the necessary fuel and towing to reach at least a spot around 38nm north of Bandar Beyla at the North-Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, which is called by the locals Hull (Xull), a tiny seasonal fishing camp.From there local observers reported the group of hostages were taken around 20 km inland to a location called Hul Anod (Xuul Canood).
"On behalf of the Puntland state of Somalia, I want to say that we are very sad about the situation," said Ahmed. "In order to save these people, let us wait. Any action, including military action and we have seen what happened to the American couple a couple of days ago, we don't want that to happen again. ... Let us wait, let us wait, please," Gen. Abdirizak Ahmed, who heads the anti-piracy program in Puntland, Somalia's semiautonomous northern region, where most pirates are based, told the media. He just had returned from attending a two-day workshop in Denmark this week on the legal aspects of prosecuting pirates.

Later Wednesday, the Danish government said it had established contact with the pirates and their hostages.
"They are doing well under the circumstances," the Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement, which only stated further that a professional security firm was handling negotiations with the pirates, which hopefully will also bring to an end the many false stories peddled by Somali brokers, who in each of these cases offer their services.

The four adults and three children are now kept hostage on land, which was also confirmed by several of those Puntland elders, who are outraged about the case and want to try to achieve a release without conditions. The family hails from Kalundborg, west of Copenhagen, Denmark, where already popular outrage about the heinous crime as well as great support for the families of the hostages was expressed. 
A military attempt to encircle Xuul Canood (Hul Anod) village was staged by Puntland forces on 10. March 2011. The militia which had come out of training - implemented by disputed mercenary company Saracen International and meanwhile banned from operating in Somalia - created havoc and senseless killing as predicted earlier. Ten Puntland soldiers, three alleged pirates, who had received reinforcement of about 200 men, and one civilian - a herder - were reportedly killed in the skirmish, while it is not even sure that the hostages had been at the village at that time. While it is sure that the operation was ordered by Puntland president Farole, using none of the men of his sub-clan, who are said to also be among the pirates, it was not yet confirmed that the Danish government paid for the ill-advised operation. Though a Danish newspaper stated that the seven Danes had been taken back onto their yacht, local observers stated that the family and the two deckhands had been split at the time of the attack into four groups held at different locations.
On 13. March the  security minister of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland Yousuf Ahmed Keyr blamed the international anti piracy forces operating in the Somali coastal waters for not helping to free the Danish family who are still in the hands of the pirates.
 He refused that ransom money would be paid to free the Danish captives.   
“The government will not accept any ransom to be given. Now our forces are sourrounding the area”, Yousuf said in his speech, acknowledging that six Puntland soldiers had been killed and five wounded in a recent, botched attempt to free the hostages.
Ahmed Ugas, a Somali parliamentarian, who lived for many years in Demark urged all sides to excercise restraint and warned of a disaster like in the case of SY QUEST, if a rescue by force would be staged again.
Observers believe some of the Danes were after the attack brought on board of sea-jacked MV DOVER, which is floating off Bandar Beyla.
A group of Danish negotiators has held discussions with the local authorities in Puntland to secure the release of the secure Danish hostages.
Local elders, who demand the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages - among them three children - have so far made only slow progress and their efforts were interrupted by the interference of Puntland forces.
“It is our responsibility to show the international community that we are not happy with what our young boys are doing in holding innocent children and their elderly parents hostages on our soil,” 
the mayor of Bendar Beyla, Said Adan Ali, stated to the media.
Sources close to the elders of the gang holding the Danish hostages from the sailing yacht SY ING reported that the present negotiations between a Danish delegation in Bosasso and the hostage takers are bound to fail.
According to three separate sources the fact that the Danish delegation operates from Bosaaso in close co-operation with the Puntland government, while the armed forces of that administration had already once attacked the gang unsuccessfully and despite the botched attempt and international as well as local warnings again threatened to attack the hostage takers and their supporters in the near future with armed forces, makes it impossible for the hostage takers to trust the Danish negotiation team.
The Danish team had apparently contact with the hostage takers and according to the Danish Foreign Ministry also spoke to some hostages, but could so far not achieve their release.

A famous Somali Nabadon (peacemaker) who had started to negotiate the unconditional release of the hostages continues with his efforts, though many false rumours about the alleged wealth or the whereabouts of the hostages as well as an imminent attack by governmental forces drive all sides crazy.
All the hostages are said now to be held on sea-jacked MV DOVER, while SY ING is kept at the coast near Hurdiyo.
Analysts fear that the arrest by security forces from Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region of four men allegedly belonging to the group holding the seven Danes hostage will complicate matters.

Shocking news, though they were locally not confirmed, were spread in a BBC Radio 4 report by Tom Mangold, broadcast mid April 2011, in which the veteran reporter repeated the story that the thugs had offered to release the family if their 13-year-old daughter was allowed to marry a pirate chief.
Reports from local elders revealed that the situation is tense, because the Danish navy had attacked several pirated vessels over the last four weeks and created havoc along the coasts, though it brought little success.

It is obvious that the health situation of the captives has deteriorated seriously and analyst see the present negotiations - said to be conducted by an inexperienced security company - as rather sluggish.Medical conditions - physical as well as mental - in hostage crews held off Somalia deteriorate at around month three seriously and prosecutors should begin to file cases of torture and attempted homicide in addition to piracy and kidnapping charges in all cases lasting longer.
MV DOVER : Seized February 28, 2011. At 06h06 UTC (09h06 LT) on 28 February, the Bulk Cargo Carrier MV DOVER (IMO 7433634) was pirated in position Latitude: 18°48N Longitude: 058°52E - approximately 260 nautical miles North East of Salalah in the Northern Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. NATO and EU NAVFOR confirmed the seajacking.
The Panama-flagged, Greek owned bulker was en rout from Port Quasim (Pakistan) to Saleef (Yemen). 
The 38,097 dwt 
MV DOVER has a crew of 23 (1 Russian, 3 Romanian and 19 Filipinos). 
The MV DOVER was registered with MSC(HOA), and was reporting to UKMTO.
WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA serves as shipmanager for registered owner DOVER NAVIGATION SA, sporting WORLDWIDE SHIPMANAGEMENT SA as ISM manager - all of Piraeus, Greece. The vessel has a valid safety certification, issued by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, but crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
The Pirate action group with their launch vessel is still in the attack area, while the bulker is now commandeered towards Somalia and expected at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.  
Initially there was no communication with the vessel.The condition of the crew is said to be unharmed and so far all right, given the circumstances. However, it is was reported that also the Danish yacht-sailing hostages are held on this vessel, which makes negotiations for the MV DOVER in the moment obsolete.
The vessel is now held, partly drifting (or intentionally changing positions), off the area between Bandar Beyla and Bargaal. At present MV DOVER is close to Hurdiyo, where also the sailing yacht SY ING is held.
Allegedly the specific group of hostage takers, which kidnapped the Danes, has paid out the original captors of MV DOVER and is now in charge of both cases.
Negotiations are ongoing and ransom demands have been lowered.
MSV ABU AL FADL (aka JELBUT 33): Seized on or around March 10, 2010. The dhow was captured by presumed Somali pirates and abused in a failed attack on a merchant vessel. The boat was then trailed by the Australian navy, which in the course also encountered another pirated dhow MSV AL SHAHAR 75, which they subsequently liberated and let sail free. The present status of MSV ABU AL FADL is not clear and further reports are awaited. The navies call this dhow JELBUT 33 and has two attack skiffs on board. Last known position at 08h43 UTC on 08. May 2011 in position 12 06N and 059 28E with course 035 at 8 knots.
The vessel and crew ar now held at anchor off Ceel Dhanaane.

MSV QUBAIS : Seized March 17, 2011. The vessel was captured in position 080555N and 05111E (off Eyl). The vessel is missing and wanted.MSV AL KHALIL (aka AL-KHALEEL) : Seized March 24, 2011. The Iran-flagged motorized dhow was captured 500Nm E of Minicoy islands. The pirates were operating from sea-jacked Iranian FV MORTEZA, which itself had been pirated earlier on 28. January 2011 off Mauritius and was then sunk on 27. March 2011 by the Indian Navy. Further details concerning the number of crew etc. are awaited. The vessel was commandeered towards Somalia, is missing and wanted.MT ZIRKU : Seized on March 28, 2011. The Arabian-owened, UAE-flagged Crude Oil Tanker MT ZIRKU (IMO: 9237802) was reported pirated at 09h00 UTC (012h00 LT) on 28. March 2011 in position Latitude: 15 36N and Longitude: 057 04E , approximately 250 nautical miles South East of Salalah in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden. 
Other pirate activity had been reported just the day before near where the Zirku was hijacked and only 70 miles away another crude oil tanker escaped an attack. While the PAG was not persued by naval forces the MV ZIRKU also did not avoid the area.
The 105,846 dwt tanker - not large for a crude oil carrier - was built in 2003 and sails usually very slow at an average 12.5 knots, which makes such vessels a typical target for piracy.
The vessel was first attacked at 06h13 UTC by two pirate skiffs and was in this initial 10 minute assault
 fired upon by both RPG and small arms while on her way from Bashayer (Sudan) to Singapore. The master had by then increased speed, took evasive manoeuvres, and the crew fired rocket flares and activated the fire hoses, achieving that the pirates backed off. The Somali pirates then returned 15 minutes later with a more aggressive hit and managed again to come alongside. They achieved by overcoming water cannons and passing over two rows of razor wire to get on board the ship. It took approximately 30 minutes for them to gain control of the vessel and to hijack the tanker. NATO confirmed the attack and three hours later the pirates had the vessel and crew under their control, which also was confirmed.
MT ZIRKU has a crew of 29 (1 Croatian, 1 Iraqi, 1 Filipino, 1 Indian, 3 Jordanians, 3 Egyptians, 2 Ukrainians and 17 Pakistanis). Though the vessel holds a  safety certificate issued by Det Norske Veritas her crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
The tanker carried a load of Nile Blend Crude Oil from Marsa Bashayer, Sudan. This is a new crude oil from recently developed oil fields in Sudan. The shipment of this grade by sea only started in September 1999 and its nature and the difficulties arising during its transportation are not widely known.
Nile Blend Crude Oil is a paraffinic crude oil with a high wax content, high pour point (+30°C to +36°C) and high wax appearance temperature (+39°C and above). The wax appearance temperature (WAT) or cloud point is the temperature at which waxy solids form by precipitation in the crude oil. At or below the WAT waxy solids will precipitate or settle out onto the tank bottoms and horizontal structural members. Once wax deposition occurs heating alone will not normally place the deposited wax back into suspension within the main body of the cargo.  

The MV ZIRKU was registered with MSC(HOA), and was reporting to UKMTO, the command of EU NAVFOR admitted, who has at present no further information about the crew.
The Tanker is a Green Award Certified ship, though that award seems to be just another phone or even fake label, since, the last PSC inspection of the Zirku was by the US Coast Guard in San Francisco in August 2010, whereby six deficiencies were found, including one operational deficiency. 
The vesse is owned and managed by the Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company, a pan-Arab Organization head-quartered in Kuwait, which is a Kuwaiti government owned business with the other shareholders being the governments of Algeria, Libya, Iraq, UAW, Saudi Arabia, as well as, Qatar Petroleum and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.
Classified by the American Bureau of Shipping the vessel is insured by The West of England Shipowners P&I Club - a classic object of Somali piracy in business as usual.
This 244 metre long LOA vessel is capable of a maximum speed of  14.7  and a cruising speed of 12.5 knots and possibly was no match for the fast pirate skiffs, an analyst remarked.  Without armed maritime security team on board, it was indeed a sitting duck for the Somali sea-shifta, a security company added.
The Pirate Action Group is reported to be still in the area and all maritime traffic is advised to stay at least 100nm off the zone, especially since it seems that the navies are busy in Libya and are not paying attention to what is happening in the Gulf of Aden. 
The vessel has since been commandeered to Somalia, reached the North Eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast, passed Bandar Beyla and Garacad and did reach Ceel Dhanaane, from where the vessel then left again.
On 25. April 2011 the MV ZIRKU was observed while escorting a convoy with the freshly sea-jacked, Italian-owned MV ROSALIA D’AMATO towing seized Taiwanese FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 to the Somali coast. An unsuccessful and ill-conceived U.S.American naval attack launched by an U.S.American warship, the USS Stephen W. Groveson, against the convoy endangered also the hostages on MT ZIRKU. Luckily no casualties were reported. 
Negotiations concerning the release of MT ZIRKU seem to have commenced well and are apparently already close to conclusion.

FV NN IRAN : REGISTRATION NO.: 4/4039 : Seized April 06, 2011. The Iranian owned and Iran-flagged fishing vessel with a crew of 13 is assumed to have been pirated. Vessel and crew are missing and wanted.

MV SUSAN K : Seized April 08, 2011. The German-owned general cargo vessel MV SUSAN K (IMO 9344370)   and her crew of ten seamen were sea-jacked at 02h34 UTC (5h34 Local Time) on the morning of 08. April 2011. The Antigua & Barbuda flagged merchant vessel came under attack in position Latitude 18 25N Longitude 057 27E, NATO reported and stated shortly thereafter that the vessel was actually pirated. The Somali pirates sea-jacked the vessel just 35 nautical miles from the coast of Oman near Masirah Island.
The MV SUSAN K was en route from Mumbai (India) to Port Sudan (North-Sudan) when the vessel was attacked by a gang of Somali sea-shifta, which had used the dhow Al Yasin as their launch. 
Around 200 nautical miles northeast of Salalah, Oman, the vessel was boarded by at least 10 pirates, the EU anti-piracy mission Atalanta confirmed in a statement issued by EUNAVFOR. "Exact details of the attack are not known at this time," EUNAVFOR added and admitted that they had also no further information about the condition of the vessel's crew.
The registered owner of the 4,464 dwt MV SUSAN K is only listed with the entry "SONJA" and an address c/o NIMMRICH & PRAHM BEREEDERUNG GMBH & CO. KG, a shipping company from Leer in Germany. "Sonja" was also the launch-name and the former name of this vessel. But a vessel can hardly own herself, so it is assumed that the name of the "owner" stands for one of the three shareholders.
The vessel has an insurance cover from the North of England P&I Association, but the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, because the previous one with.Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di) expired while the vessel was under Marlow Navigation Co Ltd. The crew of the vessel has six Filipinos and four Ukrainians listed.
For purposes of naval guarding and advise, the MV SUSAN K was registered with the maritime security centre [MSC(HOA)],  and was reporting to the British Maritime Transport Organization (UKMTO), both stationed in the region, but obviously not capable to protect the vessels.
It is not yet known if AL YASIN  (see above), was set free after the pirates boarded the MV SUSAN K, who has reportedly arrived at the Somali coast and is now held just south of Ras Hafun at the North-eastern Somali coast 
of the Indian Ocean - an area belonging to Puntland.

MV ROSALIA D’AMATO :  Seized April 21, 2011. At 02h05 UTC on 21. April 2011 the Italy-flagged Bulk Carrier MV ROSALIA D’AMATO (IMO 9225201) was boarded in position 13 17N and 05906E, which is  approximately 350 nm South East of Salalah, Oman, in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, by presumed Somali pirates who had attacked the vessel - 
according to NATO, who confirmed the sea-jacking, with one dhow and two skiffs. 
However, it was found that the pirated fishing vessel 
FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 (certainly not a dhow) was involved.
The 74,500 tonne Italian flagged and owned vessel was en route from Paranagua (Brazil) to Bandar Imam Khomeini (Iran) when it was attacked at first only by a single skiff, but then seconded by the others. 
According to EU NAVFOR,coalition warships had communications with the vessel and were told: ‘pirates onboard stay away’. 
EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy confirmed that the MV Rosalia D'Amato was registered with the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa MSC (HOA) and was reporting to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). 
The MV ROSALIA D’AMATO has a crew of 21 (6 Italians, 15 Filipinos). 
The 6 Italians, two are from Sicily, including the commander Orazio Lanza, two from Ischia, one from Vico Equense, and the first officer is native from Meta di Sorrento but lives in Belgium.
Owner and manager of the vessel is listed as PERSEVERANZA SHIPPING SRL of Naples, Italy.The bulk carrier is part-owned by Sen. Angelo D'Amato, owner of "Perseverance Navigation" and the nephew of the owner of "Brothers D'Amato. The company Perseveranza SpA is a Company owned by Giuseppe D'Amato and he is now the leader of a family of shipowners that since four generations is known in the world shipping community. Giuseppe D'Amato is unanimously recognized as one of the most prestigious entrepreneurs in the Italian shipowners community. He has been Vice President of Confitarma, the Italian Shipowners Association, for six years; he has been Board Member of the Banca di Credito Popolare di Torre del Greco, the biggest independent regional bank in Southern Italy; he has been Board Member of UMS Generali Marine SpA, the biggest Italian Insurance Company specialised in Maritime Hull and Machinery Risks, that today is a branch of Assicurazioni Generali for transportation; he has just been awarded an honorary degree in Shipping Business at the "Università Parthenope" in Naples.  
Operated in a tough commercial sector, all the owned vessels of the shipping company are time chartered for long periods to important Italian and International Groups like Cosco , Armada Group , Cargill , North China Shipping, and others primary operators. The ISM manager for the 
MV ROSALIA D’AMATO is SHIPS SURVEYS & SERVICES SRL - likewise of Naples.The bulker has a valid safety management certificate and is insured by Standard P&I Club per Charles Taylor & Co., but if the crew is covered by a valid ITF agreement could not be established.
According to media wires, the pirates fired on the 225-metre (738-foot) Panamax-type vessel during the assault but no one was injured and the captain and crew "are in good condition", said Carlo Miccio from the Naples-based company Perseveranza.
"The captain told me everything is okay, relatively speaking," he said. "He was trying to give me more information but the pirates understood what he was doing and they cut the line," he added. Miccio said that tracking equipment showed the ship, which was sailing from Brazil with a cargo of soy-beans, was "almost stationary".
However, other Italian sources stated that 
two small boats had approached with the pirates and the boarding was done without firing and with no bad consequences for the crew.
While the vessel was commandeered towards Somalia, with pirate-launch 
 tethered to it, which in turn pulled the two small skiffs, the U.S.American navy with an U.S.American warship, the USS Stephen W. Groveson, attacked the convoy, but only could destroy the two skiffs in the ill-advised and botched operation, endangering all the hostages seriously. Luckily no casualties were reported.
Vessel and crew are now held off Ceel Dhanaane at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.
MT GEMINI : Seized April 30, 2011. The Singapore-flagged chemical tanker MT GEMINI (IMO 8412352) was reported to have been boarded by pirates on 30. April 2011 at 04h03 UTC (07h03 local time) in position Latitude 07 01S  Longitude 041 22E, off the Tanzanian coast - 115 nm ESE of Zanzibar Island, Tanzania.  NATO stated that they received their report only at 07h33 UTC on 01. May 2011, but confirmed the sea-jacking, stating that two skiffs were seen on board the vessel on her way to Somalia at position Latitude 02 47S  and Longitude 043 03E. Just a day before the new sea-jacking NATO had released a map warning of pirate activity in that area. EU NAVFOR has not yet reported.A press statement from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore last night said the vessel had sent out a distress signal at 11.50am Singapore time on Saturday.The vessel has as registered owner GOLDEN SPRING LINE  but is owner-managed by GLORY SHIP MANAGEMENT PTE LTD. - all of Singapore. The vessel is, however, in the moment on a spot charter for a Singapore charterer. The ship is insured by the North of England P&I Association, but the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.The company said the MT Gemini, an ABS class medium-range 29,871 deadweight tonne vessel, is believed to have been hijacked at about 12.30pm Singapore time on Saturday.The vessel was carrying over 28,000 metric tonnes of crude palm oil from Kuala Tanjung in Indonesia to Mombasa in Kenya. It had left Kuala Tanjung, Sumatra, on April 16.
Glory Ship Management confirmed that four of the 25 men crew, including the captain, are from South Korea, 13 are from Indonesia, three are from Myanmar and five are from China.
Its Singapore office last made satellite phone contact with the ship captain in the early afternoon (Singapore time) on April 30 before contact was cut off.
"Our highest concerns are for the safety and well-being of the crew members. Since learning of the incident, Glory's management and its manning agents are exhausting all efforts to contact the family members of the crew in the respective countries," Glory said in a statement on Sunday. "We will make every effort to secure their release. The company is keeping the appropriate Singapore and international authorities fully informed of the situation. As our absolute priority is the safety and well-being of the crew, we are not at liberty to release any further details of the situation," it added.
The China Maritime Search and Rescue Center and the Chinese Embassy in Singapore separately confirmed that they have received report on the incident. The crew members include five Chinese nationals, China Maritime Search and Rescue Center said.All four South Koreans on board, including the 56-year-old captain known by his family name Park, are in their 50s, and  official from the Korean Foreign Ministry stated. In April a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) maritime patrol plane was deployed to beef up patrols against piracy in Gulf of Aden. The Fokker 50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and 38 servicemen are supposed to scan the waters off Somalia and protect merchant ships in the area for three months. The team will be based in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti and will operate under the multinational Combined Task Force 151, which is now being led by Singaporeans. Rear-Admiral Harris Chan and 24 other Singapore Armed Forces servicemen have been leading the flotilla's four ships since April 1. They will coordinate counter-piracy operations with naval forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other navies till June. 
The MV GEMINI was registered with MSC(HOA) and was reporting to UKMTO
, is at present commandeered further north and already inside Somali waters.
The vessel's operator, Glory Ship Management, said they will lead negotiations with the pirates for a prompt release of all those on board the tanker.  

After a brief halt off Mogadishu, the pirated MT GEMINI arrived at the pirate lair off Ceel Gaan (Harardheere District) at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast on 04. May 2011.

Analysts fear that after the Indonesian Navy at the end of an otherwise excellent release operation for MV SINAR KUDUS spoiled the Indonesian success by killing the last four Somali pirates leaving the vessel the Somali sea-gangs will want to retain a final safety until they are on land and most likely will take in future now hostages with them as human shield. Especially hard treatment of the Indonesian hostages on MT GEMINI could also be a result.
“We are cooperating with the Singaporean government so our sailors will be treated well, given protection and freed soon,” Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters.
"The captain of the vessel contacted the shipping line in Singapore earlier in the day via satellite phone and confirmed all crew members were unharmed," an official source said on 05. May 2011. He said South Korea's embassy in the Southeast Asian country has reported the contact to Seoul. The official, however, said the phone connection was bad and was broken very quickly so the shipping line is waiting to hear more information. At present, the hijackers have yet to make demands or ask the company to pay ransom for the crew and ship.
Htay Aung, a central executive committee member of the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB), said that the pirates will demand money, but the crew is probably not in mortal danger.
The vessel was moored off Ceel Gaan but left towards Hobyo. Negotiations for the release of vessel and crew have reportedly commenced.
FVs NN IRAN : Four more Iranian fishing vessels are missing and wanted. The dates when they were allegedly seajacked by Somali pirates are not known exactly, but we have at least one vessel name: FV HASSAM, a boat which was captured 70 nautical miles off the port of Eyl at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, and three of their official registration numbers: 4/2922, 4/2985, and 4/3718. Iranian FV AL FAYAD (aka AL FAJAD aka AL AFINIYA) (Reg: 4/3672) was attacked on 20. April 2011 by the Danish navy, killing six - including possibly one crew member and wounding 5 (including one Iranian crew member), off Hobyo and then was attacked again by the same navy operating under NATO and sunk on 21. April 2011. While the 4 Pakistani crew members could already be flown out a humanitarian problem remains in this case to now also repatriate the remaining 10 Iranian crew members. Unfortunately no exact crew lists for the Iranian vessels are usually provided, but it is estimated that at least 45 more Iranian fishermen are held on these boats. One of the sea-jacked Iranian fishing vessels with the registration number 4/3739 was set free on 01. April 2011 by the Danish navy wounding three Somalis while operating under NATO. At the same time the Dutch "liberated" another vessel, MSV HORMUZ (aka URMUZ), which had been seized January 21, 2011 with killing two Somalis and wounding five. In both cases - after repairs - the vessels could sail off, while the two dead Somalis were dumped by the Dutch into the ocean, which caused widespread uproar in Somalia and internationally.
Latest reports stated that two earlier abducted Iranian fishing vessels with the registration numbers 4/3785 and 4/4050 reached on 8. February 2011 and one fishing vessel with the registration 4/3810 and 18 crew reached on 19 Feb 2011 their home ports in Iran safely, though some of the crew were injured. The six Somalis on pirated MSV AL SAADI  gave themselves up to the U.S.American navy and the dhow was set free with 15/16 Pakistanis - where the Iranian members of the originally 22 men crew remain is not clear, while one seafarer died.
We try to establish the fate of the others. 
On 02. June 2011 at 09h55UTC one of these dhows nicknamed "JELBUT 31" was observed as being under pirate control and conducting piracy or smuggling operations in the vicinity of position 02 19N and 050 00E.Please send any report concerning these vessels to office[at]ecoterra-international.org
  ~ * ~ 

OTHER CASES NOT COMPLETELY CLOSED: - please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia 
  ~ * ~ 

All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are - with immediate effect - no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives). NOTIFICATION BY THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT - Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai. DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010 The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.Likewise the Government of Sri Lanka has issued a decree instructing especially their fishing vessels not to venture further west than the latitude 70 degrees East. 
NON-MARITIME HOSTAGE CASES IN SOMALIA: Missing: Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma are missing since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen near Bua'le and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. Media reports until November 2010 maintained they are still being held and close sources reveal that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time. While, based on reports from the ground, it could be assumed that Patrick Amukhuma had died, the meanwhile penniless Kenyan-Somali spouse with 3 children of Mr. Watson appealed as recently as October 2010 again for the return of the British researcher. Last observations from Salagle in the Jubba Valley revealed certain activities, which indicate that the case might no longer be a real hostage case.Political hostage: French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held  and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people". The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him. 
France has received "proof of life" of one of its secret agents held hostage in Somalia since July 2009, the French foreign intelligence service DGSE said on Tuesday, 27. December 2010.
A DGSE source said the service had received "a reply to a personal question" to which Denis Allex, a French secret agent kidnapped by an Islamist group on July 14, 2009, was able to respond, proving he was alive.
"No detail was given by his captors on the state of his health nor on his location or the conditions in which he is being held," the source added. Several, but not very serious attempts from both sides have been made recently to solve the case.

 ~ * ~ 

With the latest captures and releases now still at least 43 seized vessels (of presently 48 listed as not secured) and one barge with a total of not less than 664 hostages or captives are accounted for. Despite a directive by the Philippine government that no Pinoy seafarer should ply these dangerous routes, there are numerous Filipinos currently held captive by pirates. All cases are monitored on our actual case-list, while several other cases of ships, which were observed off the coast of Somalia and have been reported or had reportedly disappeared without a trace or information, are still being followed too. While in 2005 there were only three merchant ships molested off the coast of Somalia and in 2006 four (two merchant and two fishing vessels), in 2007 when Abdullahi Yussufs soldiers had returned to Puntland and were trained to become sea-bandits as well as after the enlargement of the CTF 150 fleet then there were 13 (incl. many fishing vessels and small merchant vessels) ships captured. In 2008 with the onset of CTF 151 and the US funded Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS) and the inception of the EU NAVFOR armada over 134 incidences (including attempted attacks, averted attacks and successful sea-jackings) had been recorded for Somalia with 49 fully documented, factual sea-jacking cases and the mistaken sinking of one captured illegal fishing vessel with the killing of her crew by the Indian naval force. For 2009 the account closed with 228 incidences (incl. averted or abandoned attacks) with 68 vessels seized for different reasons on the Somali/Yemeni captor side as well as at least TWELVE wrongful attacks (incl. one friendly fire incident) on the side of the naval forces, including the horrible murder of Yemeni and Somali fishermen in a mid-nightly raid on a natural harbour in Puntland committed by a Norwegian commando unit.For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stood at 243 incidences with 202 direct attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 74 sea-jackings on the one side and on the other the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL-ABI by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles's coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) as well as the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on an innocent Yemeni fishing vessel and the sinking of FV SIRICHAI NAVA 11 with many injured sailors and at least five people from the vessel and 8 attackers dead. Sea-jacked MV AL-ASSA - without its original Yemeni crew - was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk while the Somali captors allegedly were released on land. In addition four Somali fishermen were killed by naval helicopter, which the navies cowardly never identified, at Labad north of Hobyo and one fisherman has killed by AMISOM forces near Mogadishu harbour.For 2011 the recorded account stands at 123 incidences with 99 direct attacks and at least 29 ships sea-jacked.The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 apprehended 1090 suspected pirates, detained and kept or transferred for prosecution 480,  killed at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Independent update on the killings of Somalis see: EXCLUSIV - whereby it must be stated that while trying to keep up with the killings and arrests, the deportations of Somalis or cases where they were set out again without supplies to face sure death on the ocean - like the Russians did in at least one case - it is due to the in-transparency of the navies extremely difficult and hard to keep track and the journalist who maintained these statistics gave up to count and started a new blog on the foreign military adventures of the EU). It must, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010 extremely secretive and do neither report properly to the Somali government, which is compulsory according to the UN security council resolutions nor to the UN itself or through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries they inflict.ECOTERRA Intl. calls many of the death-cases which occur in the piracy- as well as in the anti-piracy-circus EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS - if not outright murder - and has requested already several times that thorough investigations have to follow each incident and the findings to be made public. The UN must be held fully accountable for upholding the believes in the navies that they would act legally and must account for each and every act committed under their banner.  All acts committed by Somalis as well as all acts committed by the navies must be scrutinized with the same impartial zeal to let justice prevail. Without a declaration of war by any nation of the UN and or by any of the states sending those navies, who are hiding behind illegal UN resolution constructs, these nations are waging war against the majority of innocent Somali people and are committing murder with impunity, while neither the sates nor the UN or the Somali governance are following up. Only in rare cases the real culprits of piracy and crimes committed on the High Seas or in the territorial waters of Somalia are brought to to book. The UN and all the navies are betting on the fact that the Somalis - a majority being illiterate - do not have the knowledge and means to legally follow up on cases of outright murder and illegitimate warfare, and know that the present Somali governance is not in a position to defend the Somali people against any aggressor or injustices brought against them by foreign hands. The UN and the navies have lost their moral standing by not investigating these acts.
Reports of not well documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail or like the S/Y Serenity and MV Indian Ocean Explorer were sunk to cover their drug-smuggling activities. 
Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: 
RS: ORANGE / GoA: ORANGE / AS: YELLOW / NIO: YELLOW / SIO: YELLOW (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline. If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org - if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality. For further details and regional information request the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor (SMCM) and see the situation map of thePIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.toEMERGENCY HELPLINES: sms or call: +254-719-603-176 / +254-714-747-090
 email:  office[AT]ecoterra.net (First reponders: You will be requested to verify your mail)East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND WASTE DUMPING HOTLINE:  +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: marine[AT]ecop.info 
MEDIAL ASSISTANCE RADIO (MAR) network on 14,332.0 USB every day from 07h30 UTC to 08h00 UTC
ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification. ECOP-marine (www.ecop.info) is an ECOTERRA group committed to fight against all forms of crime on the waters. Both stand firm against illegal fishing as well as against marine overexploitation and pollution. N.B.: This status report is mainly for the next of kin of seafarers held hostage, who often do not get any information from the ship-owners or their governments, and shall serve as well as clearing-house for the media. Unless otherwise stated it is for educational purposes only. Request for further details can be e-mailed to: somalia[at]ecoterra.net (you have to verify your mail). Our reporting without fear or favour is based on integrity and independence.
Witnesses and whistle-blowers with proper information concerning naval operations and atrocities, acts of piracy or other crimes on the seas around the Horn of Africa, hostage case backgrounds and especially concerning illegal fishing and toxic wast dumping or pollution by ships as well as any environmental information, can call our 24h numbers and e-mail confidentially or even anonymously or to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org and also can request a PGP-key for secure transmission.

KEEP US STRONG AND INDEPENDENT! Send your support-fund offers to ecotrust[AT]ecoterra[DOT]net. If it is your first contact please respond to the verification mail you will receive so that we get your mail and we'll send you then the details. Only with your help and the support of clean money from honest sponsors we can continue our independent research, unbiased information dissemination and awareness creation as well as to achieve the envisioned impact with 
hands-on projects directly up front and on the ground.

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