Somali pirates kill 4 American hostages

posted at 2:15 pm on February 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

CNN and the LA Times report on the strange and inexplicable story of the murder of four Americans at the hands of Somali pirates. Normally, the pirates go after commercial vessels, thanks to their expensive cargoes and the deep pockets of the ship owners and customers. In this case, the pirates captured an excursion vessel, apparently to hold it and the four Americans for ransom. US forces had been in negotiation with the pirates when the Somalis launched a rocket at the American ship, and gunfire erupted in the cabin:

There were signs of divisions among the 19 pirates during the hostage standoff, U.S. officers said. On Monday, two of them came aboard one of the Navy vessels, the USS Sterret, for face-to-face negotiations and did not return to the yacht.

The incident turned fatal Tuesday morning when the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Sterret, which missed, and U.S. naval personnel heard gunshots coming from the yacht. At that point, a team of 15 special-operations forces boarded the yacht.

“As they responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors,” according to a U.S. military account of the incident.

By the description, it appeared that some of the pirates had wanted to continue negotiations but lost control of the others:

After the grenade was fired at the Sterret, several pirates came on deck with their hands raised, as if trying to surrender, Fox said. The gunfire erupted on board almost immediately. But U.S. officers said it was not known whether the hostages had made an escape attempt or whether disagreements among the pirates prompted the shots.

The US has 15 pirates in custody, and will be held for prosecution.  That would mean 4 murder charges for all 15, as the conspiracy and piracy makes everyone equally responsible for the crimes.  That won’t be much of a comfort to the families and friends of Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis and Robert Riggle.  Our prayers will go out for them.

Meanwhile, the US and the rest of the world needs to deal decisively with the pirates in the Gulf of Aden.  Perhaps the pirates we have in custody will give up information on the whereabouts of the ringleaders and their financial support, but we’d better start getting more serious about securing that crucial trade route.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

Dim-star

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 4:31 PM
So how much moonshine did it take for you to reach that level of eloquence?
Dark-Star on February 22, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Thanks for the compliment. You also could have reached that level of eloquence if you had paid attention in history or civics class. -or- you might be a graduate of harvard or university of phoenix.

If you are going to make historical observations, at least you need to besure you are even in the right ballpark.

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Can we call them terrorists now?

ORconservative on February 22, 2011 at 5:25 PM

i would rather call them dead terorists but that would take an order form Obama that we will not likely see…..

unseen on February 22, 2011 at 5:34 PM

He thinks the fleebagging is a legitimate tactic also.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Yeah I saw that. Daniels is totally finished on the national stage after that comment….

unseen on February 22, 2011 at 5:36 PM

That order is not coming.

ORconservative on February 22, 2011 at 5:36 PM

That order is not coming.

ORconservative on February 22, 2011 at 5:36 PM

yeah and more Americans will pay for it with their lives and property….

unseen on February 22, 2011 at 5:37 PM

That won’t be much of a comfort to the families and friends of Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis and Robert Riggle. Our prayers will go out for them.

Prayers ascending.
Horrible.
These savages need to be eliminated.

OmahaConservative on February 22, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Another thing: issue licenses for American citizens to go pirate-hunting in certain areas. Think a modern version of “letters of Marque”. Make them totally free to obtain, with the bare minimum of requirements. Then all the people who want to Do Something About It have an opportunity.

Dark-Star on February 22, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM

I don’t understand, unseen and angryed disagree.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Hannity just opined that he thinks we are at the beginning of WWIII.

jus sayin.

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

angryed on February 22, 2011 at 5:03 PM

One this is a lead pipe cinch, although you and I disagree on what should happen to the pirates, considering the current administration, your choice of passivity is the plan.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Prayers ascending.
Horrible.
These savages need to be eliminated.

OmahaConservative on February 22, 2011 at 5:38 PM

OmahaConservative:Amen on that,its High-Sae Piracy!

OC,heres a website,that has Daily
Piracy Report,its a Lawyer Firm out
LA LAX!!:)

Oh,turn youe volume down,they play
music,I think from the old Ironside
tv show theme!:)
======================================

Maritime, Trade & Transportation Practice

http://www.cargolaw.com/
*****************

Daily Vessel Casualty, Piracy & News Report

http://www.cargolaw.com/presentations_casualties.php
*****************

Daily Vessel Casualty and Piracy Report
ARCHIVES

http://www.cargolaw.com/vc-archive.php

canopfor on February 22, 2011 at 5:47 PM

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

We do seem to have been at Defcon Crazy for quite a while now.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Hannity just opined that he thinks we are at the beginning of WWIII.

jus sayin.

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

ted c:I heard that too,and I believe it also,Huckerbie is on now,(AM Radio):)

canopfor on February 22, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Pirates only exist where they are tolerated.

Why does our government force the Navy and Marines and all unarmed U.S. merchant shipping to tolerate pirates?

This is lunacy on the high seas.

String up the captured pirates -and hunt down the rest.

profitsbeard on February 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM
We do seem to have been at Defcon Crazy for quite a while now.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Cindy Munford:Yes,I agree!:)
===============================

DEFCON

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON

canopfor on February 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

If only this were real:

http://www.somalicruises.com/

tommer74 on February 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Meanwhile, the US and the rest of the world needs to deal decisively with the pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

In case you haven’t noticed EM, the US does not deal decisively with any of our enemies at all under Obama. There will be blood and mostly on obamas hands and in his lap.

Nor does he punish union thugs domestically. The opposite: he ORGANIZES them!

Impeach Obama bam a lamb!!

Sherman1864 on February 22, 2011 at 5:53 PM

I have to disagree with sending the bombers; too much indiscriminate killing.

I think a Marine Expeditionary Force’s ability to go onshore and discriminate who really needs killing will have greater overall effect.

Besides, being the dispassionate neutral observer I’m conflicted when it comes to sheer love of steel blades on rifles, it’s either the U.S. Army Cavalry or the U.S. Marines.

In this instance I’ll have to come down on the side of the Marines since they are the most likely available combatants.

I know, I know, I’m terrible, but there is something about naked steel that puts a shiver up the back of the most harden gangster.

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

One thing is a lead pipe cinch……

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

We do seem to have been at Defcon Crazy for quite a while now.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:48 PM

and rapidly approaching DEFCON Ludicrous

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

profitsbeard on February 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

We can’t because people on yachts are stupid and asked for it./

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

It’s really sad when the only possible positive outcome is that they all kill each other.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I know, I know, I’m terrible, but there is something about naked steel that puts a shiver up the back of the most harden gangster.

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Yep. I agree. My old 1SG taught me that ‘the end of the barrel’ is international signal for “GTF down, games over.”

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I don’t think you are terrible, I see no reason to do extensive landscaping, just eradicate the weeds.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:57 PM

I have to disagree with sending the bombers; too much indiscriminate killing.

I think a Marine Expeditionary Force’s ability to go onshore and discriminate who really needs killing will have greater overall effect.

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

They tried hunting for those who needed killing in Somalia before when they went after Adid and his people. It didn’t work very well and took far longer and cost far more than it should have.

They will just run away and hide and how many weeks or months do you spend chasing them?

sharrukin on February 22, 2011 at 5:58 PM

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I don’t think you are terrible, I see no reason to do extensive landscaping, just eradicate the weeds.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:57 PM

Also, it would be hard to ruin the landscape too much more, sad to say. Unless we’re prepared to go Dresden on Somalia there wouldn’t be a lot of ground targets.

Dark-Star on February 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM

We can’t because people on yachts are stupid and asked for it./
Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Even stupid people don’t deserve to die. Also as I said before, if stupid fools deserved to die for their actions, we wouldn’t have any liberals. Also, Ms Munford, there can be more than two sides to an arguement, so it doesn’t matter if some agree on a few points if they disagree on others.

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Dark-Star on February 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Totally unnecessary. Just kill them when they come aboard ships. You even know you have the right guys.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Invoke Admiralty Law, have the Russians, Euros, along with a swath of other navies patrolling the area join us, we do have a Task Force out there already international in nature, and give each an AO and let them fire at will at pirates, mother ships, and villages and harbors that protect them. One week of this with a clear message that we will be back if any more piracy emanates from Somali shores should be a message thy have a choice to recieve or ignore. Then follow through as required.

Yes, innocents will be killed. It happens in war. Piracy is an act of war. There are consequences for pirates and all who tolerate them.

One does not, as mentioned previously today, negotiate with a rabid dog.

coldwarrior on February 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Also, Ms Munford, there can be more than two sides to an arguement, so it doesn’t matter if some agree on a few points if they disagree on others.

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 6:03 PM

That’s true enough, I just didn’t understand where you disagreed with unseen.

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Hmmm… Large mother ships… Those might be big enough to show up on radar… And are probably easy to sink…

Just sayin’.

stvnscott on February 22, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Cindy Munford

Totally unnecessary. Just kill them when they come aboard ships. You even know you have the right guys.
Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM

I agree with you here. These missionaries would been better off replacing one bible with a Ma Duce.

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Old Country Boy on February 22, 2011 at 6:14 PM

They would have been braver than any government has been. It really is a shame about these folks. I wonder if the pirates wanted their vessel?

Cindy Munford on February 22, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Send in B-52′s and destroy every single village within one hundred miles of the coast. Only send in SpecOps to rescue hostages.

Sink every single boat belonging to the Somali’s. Don’t worry about collateral damage other then how to increase it.

It’s time to stop pussyfooting around and start playing “Cowboy’s & Pirates.”

For those who don’t get that last bit, think about this.

We played Cowboys and Indians and the Indian nations no longer trouble us.

We played Cowboys and confederates and the Confederate States no longer troubles us.

More recently we played Cowboys and Nazis and at the same time Cowboy’s and Imperial Japanese.

Haven’t had to much trouble from Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, have we?

evilned on February 22, 2011 at 6:30 PM

They tried hunting for those who needed killing in Somalia before when they went after Adid and his people. It didn’t work very well and took far longer and cost far more than it should have.

They will just run away and hide and how many weeks or months do you spend chasing them?

sharrukin

Sadly, I can insert “me” for “they” in that equation and you are right. I was a counterintelligence collector looking for information that regarded threats to the American forces while the intelligence people tasked us to try to find Aidid.

We, the CI folks, resisted since our role was primarily Force Protection but the hunt was on and the clues were overwhelming.

I suspect that a pirate hunt would be easier since they won’t have the same infrastructure Aidid did to create confusion.

At the very least we could take retinal scans of the ones we don’t kill and then kill them later on if we capture them in an act of piracy. (Okay, lock them up instead)

Despite my earlier flippancy, I, more than most, am aware of the human elements required to execute a mission of this kind and know that modern techniques that we were only beginning to use in the early 90’s are mature, almost magic-like, today.

That said, I was a war planner and suspect that TPFDDs are no more complicated today than they were in 1992, and I further suspect that some of those taskings I wrote for those TPFDDs are similar to the ones being written today.

It would be a tough slog but not on the level of the infrastructure required for Restore Hope I and II.

A small MEF force on the ground in the ports would probably be enough to slow down future piracy from those ports and possibly win the release of some other hostages.

This problem is not going away, it’s been too damn lucrative in the past but it can be eliminated along them same lines that the Barbary pirates were, one and three quarters centuries ago.

And the USMC is exactly the proper blade for that task.

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Dear Fellow HotAirians, please do all you can to spread the word in defense of Said Musa, Afghani Christian man tortured and condemned to death for converting from Islam to Christianity and quisling obama’s total silence in Musa’s defense:

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven”. Matthew 10:32
Please help save an Afghani man from torture and execution because he converted from Islam to Christianity:

Mr. Said Musa, an Afghani native; an Afghan Army veteran and amputee (due to stepping on a land mine while serving); a father of six children, (one child with special needs), has been imprisoned with 400 muslim men and is being tortured through beatings, sleep deprivation, and sodomy. Mr. Musa has been thusly tortured and will be hung, for the “crime” of converting from Islam to Christianity.

Here is the heartbreaking letter from Said Musa which was smuggled out of prison: http://www.barnabasfund.org/Said-Musas-handwritten-letter.html

A grave injustice is being perpetrated against a lone Christian man by the government in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama remains completely silent.
Why? As Mr. Paul Marshall points out in his NRO article http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/260050/america-quiet-execution-afghan-christian-said-musa-paul-marshall Obama was anything but silent when the aberrant Florida pastor threatened to burn a Koran, yet he does not speak against the torture and planned execution of a human being by Afghani Islamists, (a nation for which the U.S. has for ten years sacrificed untold blood and treasure) for the “crime” of converting to Christianity.

Said Musa is without defense counsel as no Afghani lawyer will represent him; neither will the Afghan government allow Said Musa foreign counsel. The American MSM, with the exception of National Review Onlline and the Wall Street Journal have been eerily silent, although the European media have done some reporting on this.

There is a Facebook page in defense of Said Musa also, but only has 388 “likes” listed. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dont-let-them-hang-Said-Musa/144759138918630

Thanking you in advance for spreading the message far and wide in the name and defense of Said Musa, a fellow human being, Christian, and follower of Jesus Christ. If anyone has or knows someone with the talent of making a video for YouTube revealing this travesty and Obama’s complicit silence, please, please do so!

tigerlily on February 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Why is the US so nice with pirates after they have murdered their hostages?

IMO they should have been shot where they stood with their hands up as a matter of policy, not only because they deserve this but becasue it will help save lives of other captives since pirates will think twice before such murder. Otherwise, the point gets made by the pirates that any resistance from a naval interceptor will credibly cause or too highly risk the the killing of the hostages because the pirates know that they can just surrender and live and maybe be negotiated for later.

These are not citizens one should read rights to but outlaws (as in “out side of the law”) and they use to be sensibly treated as such in the past. We are always played for suckers becasue there are too many self-reighteous tender hearts making us weak in dealing with our enemies, and the innocent pay for it.

Chessplayer on February 22, 2011 at 6:43 PM

This problem is not going away, it’s been too damn lucrative in the past but it can be eliminated along them same lines that the Barbary pirates were, one and three quarters centuries ago.

And the USMC is exactly the proper blade for that task.

E9RET on February 22, 2011 at 6:33 PM

I agree we need to act, but searching through coastal villages for full or part time pirates would bog down into a problem of definitions and counter responses to Jihadist attacks. Is that a Khat dealer guarding his boat or a pirate?

Conduct rescues for the crews as you can and send the marines in to destroy every large coastal ship and small fishing boat along the coast. Destroy anything that floats.

Try to avoid casualties if possible but simply remove the capacity for the pirates to extend their reach beyond the coastline. They will replace the smaller boats in time but the economic damage to the coastal communities will give them an incentive not to host piracy if they can avoid doing so. The clans that dominate Somalia are the agents that need to have pressure brought on them to take action in their own interests to put a halt to the piracy.

This drastically reduces the sea area that needs to be patrolled and reduces the areas that pirates will have a refuge making retaliation for any future piracy a much easier matter if further intervention is called for.

sharrukin on February 22, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Gibbon-Brooks said the killings were “extremely unwise” by the Somalis, and that the deaths threaten what has been a successful and lucrative business model.

To maritime business people it’s not piracy, it’s a business model.

BL@KBIRD on February 22, 2011 at 6:49 PM

It’s time to institute some cruel and appropriate punishment. Killing a hostage should be punishable by lynching: slow hanging and burning.

njcommuter on February 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Why,honey,it’s the Indian Ocean.Put them in a net and tow ‘em. Make some extra $$ selling the video. Sharks and sea snakes are our friends.Right,PETA?

katy the mean old lady on February 22, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Kill em all. And wipe out whatever fleabag city they hole up in. And sink anything that moves out from Somalia for a year.

We have the Navy, we just don’t have the CinC.

2ipa on February 22, 2011 at 7:03 PM

We have the Navy, we just don’t have the CinC.

2ipa on February 22, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Yep. It’s almost like I would welcome the Chinese or the Russians quietly taking care of it, because Bammie can’t think beyond planning his next pickup game.

slickwillie2001 on February 22, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Anyone hear Mark Levin on this? He had the best commentary of the day on talkradio.

ORconservative on February 22, 2011 at 7:23 PM

The primary purpose of the U.S. Navy is to defend the United States. Not to patrol and police the entire globe. I’m tired of us spending our money and soldiers’ lives to fix problems half the world away.
AngusMc on February 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Mission of the Navy

The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.
From

“The US Navy Organisation”. Mission of the Navy. United States Navy.

DSchoen on February 22, 2011 at 8:14 PM

ted c on February 22, 2011 at 5:46 PM

Hannity may well be right.

DSchoen on February 22, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Why were we even negotiating with those scum? We should send our best negotiators for that – Navy SEALs.

dogsoldier on February 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

R.I.P.

They actually fired an RPG at a U.S. Navy ship?
You don’t tug on Supermans cape…….
Just dumb!

faol on February 22, 2011 at 8:33 PM

tigerlily on February 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Thanks for the notice.

Some of my facebook community knew the missionaries. They were reportedly good people.

redeye on February 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Found this tidbit!
=====================

SPECIAL REPORT
THE WAR ON PIRACY: SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
*****************************************
Despite criticism and the failure to fully suppress piracy off the Horn of Africa, Charles Strathdee argues that the European Naval Force (EURONAVFOR), NATO and other players can look back with some satisfaction at the work they did in 2010. They must, though, adapt their force deployments, tactics and use of technologies, going forward into 2011 by building on what was achieved.
more….

http://www.warshipsifr.com/WarOnPiracySuccessOrFailure.html

canopfor on February 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Why were we even negotiating with those scum? We should send our best negotiators for that – Navy SEALs.
dogsoldier on February 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

I can’t think of a reason we should be negotiating with those scum, unless it was an order from the Boss, and that would be Obama.

DSchoen on February 22, 2011 at 8:43 PM

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the Shores of Tripoli.
We will fight Somali pirates,
And set their hostages free.

Hey, at least Jefferson knew what to do with the Marines.

NNtrancer on February 22, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Am I the only person here who thinks these people were insane to choose this excursion destination?

At some point you have to exercise some self-preservation. I don’t plan to go to any Islamic country ever, nor to any European country that is being taken over by animals such as these. Or cruise in any of their waters. They have poisoned huge tracts of the earth for decent people.

Yeah, I know – pirates, jihadis – they’re all thieves of peace, and enemies of God.

They won’t know this until they die, of course – and I hope they don’t have to wait long.

disa on February 23, 2011 at 12:22 AM

The civilized world has allowed these crimes to continue for far too long. Hopefully this tragedy will finally spur some effective action to put a stop to it.

In the meantime, it’d be advisable for yachtsmen to exercise some basic good judgment and avoid the area.

DarkCurrent on February 23, 2011 at 5:21 AM

You know what they should do with the pirates? It’s been done for hundreds of years. They should be hung at the entrance to each of the Somali ports as a warning to other would-be pirates, but the world has become to PC and these pirates will disappear into a prison someplace to be pampered for the rest of their lives: 3 hots and a cot, TV, exercise court, prayer rooms, and so on.

Dandapani on February 23, 2011 at 7:30 AM

So is this what Winning Teh Future looks like? Pirates?

bitsy on February 23, 2011 at 8:04 AM

We need to take care of our own.

kingsjester on February 23, 2011 at 8:23 AM

DSchoen on February 22, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Yes, that was sorta my point, heh.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM

We need to take care of our own.

kingsjester on February 23, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Nice one, KJ!

Laura in Maryland on February 23, 2011 at 9:01 AM

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘for they may rest from their labors, and their deeds follow them!’”–Revelation 14:13
God bless the missionaries who seek only to share the News of their faith.

Others seek to destroy for their faith.

Shame on the fools who can’t tell the difference.

Grace_is_sufficient on February 23, 2011 at 9:06 AM

“held for prosecution”?

f that.

Shoot their kneecaps and throw them in the ocean for the sharks.

Dave Rywall on February 23, 2011 at 10:59 AM

These scum should be hanging from the bow of the USS Enterprise, while she patrols the Somali coast, laying waste to anything remotely supporting pirate activity. The pirate problem would be solved within a week.

I can dream…

ZenDraken on February 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4