tv Book TV After Words CSPAN August 21, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
the defense of democracies. >> host: jay, let me start with you. you, if i understand correctly, you're 27 years old, you're from toronto, you were doing marketing research, and then you decided, you know what? i want to get into journalism, and the way you decided to do it was to go to somalia, research the pirates and write a book about it. >> guest: yeah. i mean, i used to tell people when i was 4 years old i wanted to be a reporter, and then i forgot about it for a number of years until, i'd say, when i was finishing up university i started to come around to that way of thinking for my career path. and every journalist i spoke to said that if you want to get ahead in today's, you know, really quite struggling journalism market and especially if you want a job doing international journalism when heros are shrinking around the world, you should just go up there and write freelance. so that was my intention. i originally was going to go to somali land which is another
independent region to the west of puntland to cover elections that were supposed to happen in 2009. those elections never happened. but as it turned out, i ended up finding a much better opportunity, one that certainly, certainly had a better chance of getting my name in print, and it worked out. .. >> guest: so i ended up in
want of these territories, puntland, like i mentioned, on really the eve of the first election in four years. it was a complete turn over of power. it was an interesting period of time. i think somalia the way it is presented glazes over the fact of some interesting dynamics, plan dynamics, local dynamics, islam dynamics. there's the official transitional federal government in the south which is a collection of ex-warlords. i think it's one of the most interesting countries in the world. >> host: when you were going over to to parents and girlfriend and others they this is a totally crazy thing to do, you have no idea what we like to work in a place like that, do not do it? trick you know. a lot of my friends were to my girlfriend to talk me out of it. so i had this fifth column working on my back to get to me. but she never did. i don't know why. my parents as well. they were very supportive.
they didn't overly encourage me, but they never said anything to dissuade me or even threatened to pull the first things from under me as i did need to borrow money. >> host: did you try to get the globe, the male, american papers, somebody to give you an assignment to go there so you would know you'd summary to write for when you got there? trying to i didn't because i want the original with intention of writing the book. this was the goal that i thought it was completely realistic. it may sound arrogant or naïve but i thought i was going to go there and get a book. in the meantime i thought if it doesn't work out my fault like that is i will sell some freelance articles. those major news agencies are so happy when there's any freelancer willing to take peanut for being in place where they can send own people. a number of reasons that major
newspapers releasing people to somalia. and so i wasn't worried about find someone to take my work, especially if i could access the pirates which i ended up having. the only thing was what i ended up doing was, for a book proposal you write a sample chapter. i ended up selling that sample chapter in a condensed version to the london times. my first be shortly after i got back in march 2009 was a feature in the london times. it's pretty cool. >> host: when i was 27 i was a young foreign correspondent, one of the places they sent me off to was northern ireland to cover the terrorism there. a difference it seems to me between then and now is when i wanted northern ireland i figured, and i think rightly at that point, everybody would want to talk to me. no one would want to army. they need me to tell their
story. one of the things that's changed is particularly among terrorists and other groups who are violent, no longer quite need you to tell the story in the same way, for example, if they can cut off your head, put it on video and posted on the internet. they told their story their way to utilize and you. at the more dangerous environment out there if you're going to cover people like that. this occurred to you, and actually i think you dealt with it rather resourcefully. talk a little bit about what you decided to do in terms of security. >> guest: my original plan was just to walk, to get to somalia on my own, fly in, ask for directions to the coast and try to talk my way into the good grace of the pirate crew. and i thought they would think i was so touched or, you know, just crazy or mad that they would take pity on me. or they would be blown away by my bravery. that was in the best plan. but yeah, i had this vision.
i looked at al and google earth. that's a lot where this explosion happened. so i was zooming in and out looking for a place, and i noticed on the edge of town how small building, labeled pirate checkpoint. i thought this is easy. i just have to get to this pirate checkpoint. asked to see the pirates. i would become one of them. i will sit around -- but yeah, so this plan was little harebrained. it turned out there was no pirate checked what. some jokes are just got into google earth. what i ended up doing was army contact with a local journalist, mohammed, and he had run -- >> host: by e-mail? tried to he e-mailed me back within five minutes. drama you are looking for journalists who were resident in somalia at that point?
try to i just a few menino and i got response in five minutes. he called me the next day, probably as early as he thought i might be a. suite called at 7 a.m. i wasn't up. i spoke to him. he was clear he was very eager drama why did he want you to come? >> guest: his father ended up getting elected as president of the region about a week before i got there in january 2009. i just heard his father was one of 16 candidates in an introductory election in puntland, but he came, something like 75% of the vote. so he was a massive favorite. when i heard this i just filed into the back of my mind and thought well, you know, this is probably not going to happen. but i ended up getting, because of his father's position, i ended up getting great access not only to bureaucrats and
politicians, but also his family was the same sub clan as a lot of the pirates from eyl. all of the original figures who started out fighting against phishing in the '90s, early '90s. were of the sub clan. they were happy to talk to me because i was aghast that basically the de facto head of the clan. >> host: why do you think he want you to come? did he have a message he hopes to get out about the clan, about puntland, about his father? >> guest: it is a program and website. it is a very high quality website. it's not by any means propaganda. it's very, very high quality. for a product that is coming out of somalia with very little funding. it's great quality. definitely pro-government. there's no doubt about that. for all his mission from his father, the president, his mission was to rehabilitate puntland's image on the international stage and puntland had essentially been run into
the ground with the previous administration, which controlled the government from two cows and five-2009. and in 2008, that government had been so ineffectual it run out of money to pay the security forces which is one of the factors that led to the rise in piracy at the time. so, yeah, he wanted the book to be i guess sort of a travelogue about puntland. i guess he wanted a species of propaganda. it didn't turn out that way because i had to be very conscious when i was writing of the fact that i'm under the wing of the government essentially and everything was being filtered through that lens. i going to spoke to me as soon or rightly and wrongly, what you're telling was going to get back to the president or his son. so in the book i'd be very clear, or had to be very careful to write a balanced view. and actually some of the reviews have really criticized, or what's been criticized, some people have set it is to
balance. i don't know if that's a bad thing. >> host: basically in this phone call he said, no, we'll have somebody meet you when you get here, we will take care of you. we will provide security and sure, you can do some reporting here, let to see. >> guest: he also want the book. i pitched in with the idea of the book. we just thought it would already have an essentially and the book -- in fact i was kind of sugaring later on communal come when i told him was big news i got in the book. he acted like don't we have a book? that's what we're doing all along. so that was a plan within. i got two security guards with apple times. >> host: you should try to how you got to pick that's not going to airport and taking a plane. >> guest: the most common way to get there is to go to dubai. and then go to terminal two
witches, they call it the pariah airline hub of dubai. international. because it flies to north korea. and then there's flights to somalia that i'll go through djibouti. once they get to djibouti you get on the 1970s soviet prop plane, flown by like a drunken ukrainians. they are very cantankerous. their stories of them hitting engines with wrenches. i compared to somalia and the soviet union, one side very strong cubical thais and one side, once those relations collapse i compare these ukrainians in the book to people have just been forgotten about and are just condemned to ferry this neglected root for ever. but anyway, that's how you get your. >> host: so you ended up, the
last time you were on, not a lot of foreigners. not a lot of people who look like you? >> guest: none. it was shocking because i went over there expecting to meet a lot of foreign journalist. this was right when the star exploded. it was after the series star had been captured, the oil tanker during 100 million in crude oil that ignited the newspaper headlines. so i expected to find a lot of journalists there. the first to buy me, i made two trips. the first year, during that time, 2009, i said during that entire time one group of foreigners. it was an australian camera crew that was flying in my found in the country. we were literally passing each other in the airport. so it was shocking. i mean, i got there. i kind of had this market cornered. i think i do. >> host: so you get there. happily.
you get to the tarmac. security is provided for you. you have a place to stay that they have provided for you. and then it's a matter of they're going to hopefully start putting in contact with pirates are going to help me tell you their story. >> guest: right. >> host: talk about her first interview. >> guest: i was taken after sunday's the been there, i asked where are the pirates? >> host: you were there several days waiting. >> guest: exactly. it was very obvious at the time who they were. they were just driving around in these toyota vehicles. i caught the baby land cruiser but it's a land cruiser, portions are all sure. it's obvious who they were because the new license plates and 18, with a convincing digit. so, you know, if you saw a young kid driving around in a toyota serve with 18 on the license plate, that's a part.
95% certainty he was a pirates i discussed them to just go to these people and start talking to them. he laughed and said no, you can't do that. you start getting washed or they might just attack you. you don't know. like us and if someone comes down to clan. he ended up setting up a meeting with a man who becomes the central character in my book. >> host: that is his nickname? >> guest: i never found out what is name it but every single one goes by make me because the names are overlapped. there's a lot of mohammad's. so that it is so common that everyone goes by nicknames. so i was taken to an abandoned farm about 15 minutes outside the city. i got to know my partner to a. i thought i was being ambushed or something, while going to mean 15 and outside the city in an abandoned field? and my partner said, told me
that -- trimmed this is your partner? >> guest: yes. explained that he was worried about tuberculosis because transfer you don't have tuberculosis. i don't think he actually had it but boya was initiated and so mohammad was afraid, have this paranoia about tuberculosis everywhere. so i met boya at this farm. at first he was completing disdainful. personal, he was gigantic. i'm about six by and he was probably 6'7" or six a. and that is extremely thin. essentially when you look at me. he wouldn't look at me when he shook my hand. he said probably as i interviewed him for about an hour. he was looking at the sun and sing the day was almost over. he was quite disdainful. afterwards i realized, after mohammed come after we finished the interview mohammed came up to me and gave him $100 for his
afternoon. so he gave in drug money essentially to speak to me. but i embedded with him and his gang. i got to know more and more of them over the course of three months. >> host: you are working with a translator. >> guest: mohammad, he spoke passable english. like most of the ex-pats who run the country really, he has lived -- postbank teaming people of ghana brought and come back? >> guest: i should say former. the somali community, that runs everything in the country. business, because they're the only ones as you mentioned no local people speak english. >> host: so have foreign languages. they can do somewhat better. and the present is it's been 20 years in australia. >> guest: his son as well. so yeah, and the president spoke 61 which is i think. at the very base level, somalia
diaspora mirrors a better will speak english and arabic. they down at the top ranks. they run the entire government. have the best business opportunities. so there were plenty of people. everyone i spoke to in holding position in government spoke english. but for the pirates, yeah, university translated in somali. there's a really strong tension between the two levels. those who have stayed and suffer the brunt of the civil war, and those who have been able to escape and have lives outside. so it's a mission. is a sharp divide. >> host: one of the things you learn from boya which i found quite fascinating, maybe not surprising but fascinating, is he doesn't see himself as a pirate. the pirates don't call themselves virus necessarily host a untamed. >> guest: they know the word.
it's sort of like a slight slur may be. if you use a very slight racial slur of someone you were not very from and what they might react in the same way. >> host: do they see themselves as saviors of the c.r. coast guard. they have a legitimate grievance they say they're trying to address. in other words, have a rather sophisticated public relations. >> guest: -the times who is actually an official pirate. machine at work behind the scenes that was issuing press releases. literally even if the guy hadn't set foot within sight of a fishing boat, in his life, the first words out of his mouth were, we are doing this because a fishing. illegal fishing. >> host: the claim is the foreign fishing boats came to their waters, depleted their waters, destroyed the reese, took away their livelihood and so they were going to do something to stop this because the international community was
not coming to their defense. >> guest: yes. and that was true. that's a partial explanation. that was true for very, very few, boya and his gang were actually fishermen. had been fishermen. and had really suffered a lot of encouragements from foreign ships often either from european french and spanish, very common, but mostly it south asian ships. and the ships would come in and when they were fishing close to shore for lobster mainly, rock lobster which is what boya and his colleagues used to fish for, they would come into conflict with local fishermen. their accounts, i just didn't take everything that. >> guest: was saying, you know, as god's truth, but there are third party accounts that these foreign fishers armed themselves with antiaircraft guns. they destroyed local care. i heard one story from the
townspeople where to fishermen, two divers have been swept up by a trawler net and drowned. they also ended up destroying local stocks of lobster through drag fishing. so one of the reasons that i found boya and his mental compelling, their story kind of runs through my book, is because they had a justification. it was easier to humanize them and, you know, make them sympathetic characters i guess in the story. and that's i think partly the advantage i had was offering an inside look into their lives and portraying them more, more than just the thugs you see on the news, heads wrapped in turbines and machine gunned. >> host: there is a legitimate grievance that perhaps gave birth to this at one point, and i which is going for a second, you can redress it, but what happened to starting i guess in
the 1990s, they started attacking the foreign fishing boats. but as they develop their skills they start to go after commercial vessel as well. and eventually world food program ships bringing in food aid to their fellow -- and eventually almost anything that came into their path was fair game including, obvious enough that long ago, the yacht with two american couples who were retired and distributing bibles to far-flung churches and schools, and who ended up killed, murdered i guess you could say, as negotiations for their release were under way. they started by defending their territory and ended up saying anything is fair game to us. is that reasonable to say? >> guest: it's complex, and i'm trying to think of a way to summarize this very quickly. but boya, yes, they started out in the early 90s attacking legal fishing ships. that being said, the current business model, which is essentially kidnapping at sea,
you go out and capture a ship and it is the crew that's important if you bring them to your local base. and you demand a ransom. it's not conceptually different from taliban in afghanistan captured some and bring them to achieve or guerrillas and taking people into the jungle and holding them hostage. the common ground is they have some were safe and inaccessible, where they can hold and supply themselves while negotiations are carried out. that business model was not invented by the fishermen. it was invented by man, a nickname meaning big mouth. he was a former ex-pat who lived in central somalia, returned to the country. and just figured out that ships that should be coming in will pay these ransom. once he figured out that model and started equipping motherships -- this was a big key development, where early pirate attacks, boya and his
menus sure, maybe five-meter fishing skits that they would use for fishing. they start using larger ships, fishing thousand, and that would tell the attacks and range hundreds of miles into the ocean. that was a key development. once he figured that out and has imagine he started attacking world food program ships, which is very much against the pirate mantra, we're only doing this to protect our land when they are literally stealing food from the own people. once that model was invented, it just spread up and down the coast. boya and is meant inside look at this foreign fishing ships are really a hassle to attack because they shoot back at us. but we're already the expense and navigation and boarding operations, and we know the coastline. so they essentially start coming up and down the coast working with others, training future pirates.
so it's a very like in sensuous history. call it a very integrated ancestors history of how piracy develop their produce it would not happen have been illegal fishing is completely off-base. is no fish and chips approached, it still would eventually happen. someone need to figure it out. someone didn't. >> host: this can lead us, it's good context, you had a breakdown in somalia. it became a collapse of state, though i think you make an interesting and important distinction, a clap state is not the same as a failed state, a failed states just total anarchy. a collapsed state means, to me what's happened here which is that you have a think as you describe it, enclaves, for and in particular. maybe there's more some enclaves. each controlled essentially by a
specific client or a couple of plans, that sort of their territory and they're developing their own sort of many government within the enclave. so this poem and in somaliland and these others. but that gave rise to the ability for these pirates to begin to organize. and actually you make a good point that it was easy for them to organize weather was less chaos because they wouldn't get caught in the crossfire, and didn't have a lot of people they had to pay off. >> guest: that's why, that's exactly what you saw puntland explode as the epicenter of the whole piracy crisis. in the south there has been piracy from the south, but as you alluded to, there's tons of competing interest in the south of islam is, warlords, the transition government. and what these pirates are, they are just businessmen. they're operating in a business
environment, a very low, various entry, high turnover, great mobility of capital. it's a free market. really a free market enterprise. these businesses need to operate in an amount of security. and puntland provided a perfectly because as i said, the government, there's a government there. it does function. it does deploy security forces, but the city forces are defined to barricades along one road in the center of the region. there's no rose in the coastal areas. there's a way to deploy troops in any quick or effective manner. when i went after it took seven hours in an suv to cross 200 kilometers. and so they were essentially, you come at arms length from the central government. but like i said, there were those in the south would rip them off. if you're operating in an area where a warlord holds, or a
warlord is raining or islamist militants, they will demand protection money. they would demand a cut just like the mob would, reckless and and puntland that wasn't the case. i mentioned in central somalia coming up with a business model in 2005. when the islamic courts units, this is a homegrown islamist movement in south, took over the country, the south of the country 2006, they took over the area his men were operating from. they just went to puntland. it relocated north puntland in 2006, and concentrate i guess all the pirate forces are concentrated. in estimating in early 2008 when the government went from barely functioning cannot function at all, and ran out of money to pay its security forces. there were tons of men with guns who provided great, great recruitment. >> host: it takes some financing to put together a pirate operation, as you
describe. do you have any sense, were you able to report at all on whether that some of the financing was coming from outside the country? >> guest: i think that's a difficult question. to answer it simply. i think that what you have is, i've seen lists provided by journalists working inside, about 30, 30 key financiers. and these are the men that provide the money for mission, which might range from 20 to $50,000. not that much money. they are local businessmen, move in and out of the country but just like a lot of somali businessman. they spent six months and their adopted homeland, success back in the country. had business connections outside and have the money to finance this. this event has been played of any me as an international crime syndicate. and i've even heard ludicrous suggestions that american businessmen are financing it.
as if some always need american businessmen to supply $30,000 for mission, which is like not only is there plenty of that that kind of money and somalia, if somewhat patronizing even to suggest that some always couldn't be doing it themselves, they need american corporate backing to get this done. the fact is it's not that much money involved. these local businessmen i think are the face of the transnational somali piracy crime syndicate that sometimes, the media seems to portray. i see no direct evidence that there are established non-somali foreigners, financing any of this. there's not one shred of evidence to suggest that. >> host: when we come back, one of the things i want to suggest, jay, the role played by groups like al-shabaab which is the al qaeda affiliated jihadists group, and, of course, what solutions there may be or may not be to this problem. back right after this.
>> host: we are back with jay bahadur, the author of "the pirates of somalia: inside their hidden world." it's a fascinating book. i had a pleasure reading this weekend. jay, the pirates, based on your description i wouldn't call them sophisticated but they are will organize in the sense you have apprentice rogue rancher young pirates. you have your the pirates who seized the vessel did you have bishop holders to stay within. they even have their own cook they bring on board. then you have the various skits, negotiators, translators. you have accountants.
it has gotten to be a fairly organize enterprise. >> guest: that's a good way to put the not sophisticated but organized. the are the structures that have developed. at the very efficiently on land provide for the crew, handle negotiations. these are often freelancers, like i was. they hire themselves out. one game at a specific was studying called it victoria, and i go into detail in the book was a german ownership. he had come on board from another game two days after he finished his latest assignment. so these good negotiated were in demand. they had logistics officers who brought the food of the organize transport, hired the land cruisers, brought the drug. that was the toughest thing. this is all done on credit. when the ship was awaiting the ransom delivery, the backer
might not even have enough money to provide, to pay for the supplies up front because the supplies were just a couple months might run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe because they are all -- about $20 a kilogram which is what an act might go through in one day. so you have to account to get up all the games expenses. they would front money to gang members who, say you're an attacking member of the crew who just came back for a successful home. you get on shore and you don't want to stay on the ship anymore. you just want to go and start parties. you want to buy a car. that's the first thing. you want to get a new woman. they don't have the money so the count and basically takes care of that for you. is like the backer. >> host: the credit bureau. >> guest: he doesn't extend the credit personally by anyone who wants, anyone the pirate
wants to do with the he wants to buy a car, that guy will come to the accountant and accountable say okay, it's on me, i've got it. he will be the backer. so they won't deal directly with the pirates themselves. the accountable to give the independent of all. >> host: because they charge a hefty interest-rate. >> guest: even though most ransoms are paid, it's a risky proposition. you have a ransom backed iou worth up to 50 cents on the dollar. they essentially have to pay like is a double the price, 100% interest on all their purchases. they go on shore and start spinning immediately. that's one way. another way is that they adapt very well. to what the international -- they are clever. they adapt well. once the international navy came into the hope of aden and created a transit corridor and started escorting on board the ships, they immediately shifted to even more probably use of
motherships and went over 1000 miles into the indian ocean. another tactic that has been tried is called safe point on a ship where is the ship was boarded, the crew runs and barricades itself in the engine room where they are provided with food and water and communications to the outside and waits for rescue. now when the pirates started learning about this, there have been reports of pirates bring plastic explosives onto the ships. they are very well since into since they monitor the internet. that people on the outside to tell them what happened. of the somalis living abroad. who might inform them of the trends going on. at the end of everything that is going on. >> host: we should probably say a word about cops. it's a remarkable phenomenon because it is a plant, not the summer from say marijuana. sustainment or an intoxicant. and is very popular matches and somalia but a lot of the red sea area. i guess would say around the horn of africa.
basically many of them, if not most, our sister addicted to. they chew it and it it for hours and hours on end and spent a lot of their income on this, right? >> guest: it blew my mind. it's not even going in somalia. this is the thing. i think the yemenis are the more predictive. they take the family out to chew. some also to bring your wife and child to chew within. yemen grows it and somali community, up there in the poorest countries on earth, it's been so much of its foreign exchange to import which have climates much more suited to cot. so, this one of the reasons. a former day care try just stamp out cot in the 1970s and '80s but not because he was concerned about health or well being of his people but because so much of the money was flowing out of the country into antagonistic governments through the hands of countries that
somalia was at times at war with. so he saw this as funding his enemies, rightfully so. but khat since then has even, tranninety since the outbreak of the civil war has exploded. and this is exclusively i would say, besides cars, khat is what pirate spend money on. >> host: you didn't find i can see the appeal, i see why people spend less hijacking ships and come back to chew khat on the farms? >> guest: it has to be chewed fresh. it comes in every day of flight 6 a.m. our would not. it gets to the capital at about noon. these trucks, i should say more the station wagons come screaming in. they go through checkpoints. the soldiers help themselves to bundles of it. and in the whole city comes alive. anyone throngs to the khat
marketplace. children follow and stealies off the back. i even saw a goat gonads for the. as soon as they hear the haunting of the khat transports they went after them and try to get their own pickings on the back of the shipments. and so yeah, i tried a couple of times. i found it was a great interviewing a. i wouldn't compare to marijuana but to coca leaves maybe. something you chew and causes mild euphoria, makes you very tense and very talkative, a lot of brimming with energy. so i chewed i think six or seven times. it's filthy because like i said, by the time it gets to it is wilted and it's very better. and so bitter they have to chew very sugar tea in order to counteract the taste. so yeah, it just absolutely blew my mind how essentially any similar that could afford it was chewing khat in plain sight.
>> host: that's part of the other thing is they make this money will be described as an organized enterprise of seizing the ships and taking hostages in getting ransoms. and the millions of dollars. we should point out. will come back to the. been the kind of blow their money on cars, on women, on khat. maybe they will buy a house but that's it. been upgraded my into 401(k)s are financing their way through dental hygiene school. >> guest: know. nor is the money going in any meaningful way into the economy itself. it's recycled immediately back into international market. it's almost as if the ransom could be paid intensive khat and land cruisers because that's ultimately what it ends up going to. you could avoid a transaction fees along the way. but it just blew my mind. this money is not, it's not going to help the local communities. the local people hate them because exactly that. not only do they not find a
local economies of money, but money into local causes, but the drive of local prices. not only for khat, for food, water, and they are seen as very un-islamic because they drink and she khat and fornicate. and so it's insane how they blow their money. to add one more thing, people who talk about somali piracy being this international crime syndicate and talk about pirate money going to finance, buildings in nairobi, buying property in nairobi have not met pirates but most of them do not have concept of what money is even. nobody to putting money in the bank as having them steal your money. they would never trust a bank account in a million years. they view money as kind of a medium to get, well, did you really have something that will give me a land cruiser. >> host: more like gratification is not very much in their habits guessed that it is like we're heading into the
ocean to get a land cruiser. adobe in either be either step to get some money. people talk a lot about. but that's a land cruiser and the khat we want. >> host: we should spend a few minutes of the victims. when the ships are taken do not just taking the ships, they are taking the crew. some of those who have been captured have been killed, although my impression of you is the ability to anybody because they want to make it clear if you paid a ransom, you will get people back alive. there have been instances of torture and i've seen discussion of whether that is increasing. my impression again from the is that they don't necessarily, they don't torture for pleasure. on the other hand, they are not terribly solicitous to make sure that hostages are well taken care of. they feed them. they give them water. they take whatever they can. that's all after? >> guest: yeah. i would say they are getting more sophisticated. that's partially because it's
not fishermen anymore. it's now a lot of the guys were in london mission and come history and gunfighting and not fishing by any means. they are just from the own personal background, a little more violent. they have a wealth of experience using violence. and second, the ransom money is going up. this is causing increasing tensions on both sides. because international forces are a lot more willing to use violence themselves in order, as an option, to avoid paying ransoms out of top $10 million. >> host: was the record 9.5 last november? >> guest: yes. and now there's been a 13.5 paid earlier this year. several months ago. that's an outlier. and average ransom are putting up much more of a 5 million.
and i guess to get to the chase, you argue that there's no evidence whatsoever strategical alliances between the pirates and al-shabaab. know what there may be i guess is alliances of convenience or to also report on al-shabaab tongue the pirates coming out to buy what this means, take care of the somali people, you must watch out for the interest and also al-shabaab malicious relieving the parts of ransoms and perhaps have weapons. so it's an odd relationship. maybe you can ransom like to bear on the. >> guest: again, this is a very complex issue i will try to summarize as quickly as possible. in 2008, and especially 2009 a lot of these started coming out that al-shabaab and pirates were the same. and, frankly, i think there's so many agendas that work, and a lot of people stood to benefit
from somalia, becoming a new hotspot for the war on terror, as it has become. so i did everything with a grain of salt. one of the early reports had shabbat trading pirate in shooting in exchange for marine navigation. so you have the sort of comical image of islam is instructing powers and then being taken out of sale. it was so comical because you don't need to be anything of a marksman to become a pirate. your job is not, you know, storm is shaped like a commando. and usual weapon. weapon use among powers is very rare. you are fighting, or you are opposed with unarmed crewmembers. so been trained as a marksman is not a qualification for power. every someone knows how to use a gun in the first place to adequate degree that you could become a pirate.
and shabbat has not shown itself to any sort of naval presence whatsoever. and so that was one claim that there was no actual evidence to support the. coming, it was something that really stretches. but another event that sparked speculation was when the ukrainian ship carrying tanks destined for southern sudan. was captured. it was immediately, and was taken to area that was controlled partially by shabaab. and what happened was you had u.s. forces running the ship. ya pirates on board the ship. your their cohorts on land and then had shabaab waiting to get what they could, not on from the ransoms, they wanted the weapons. this the way to offload tanks outside of mogadishu.
so there's no way to any port facilities in smalley that would be capable of offloading the tanks. but there's this idea that shabaab was after the tanks. ascertains coupons we'd even be in use in somalia, like these soviet tanks and decades ago are not going to be much help to islamist group fighting insurgents. it's not how modern war is fought. but there's a neatly this idea that the pirates are in deep with shabaab and are trying to get them think that i think those are two events that stuck in endless lines and were used as fodder for why the piracy needed to be treated like terrorism. and other than that, there's really very little evidence to suggest there's any sort of real linkages between the two groups. now, recently, that does look like an epidemic of reprieve in the book how that may be changing the effort very good reasons.
because shabaab has pushed north into areas that the pirates operate out of. so then we can start thinking that maybe pirates might have to pay protection money. it's logical, right? >> host: it's got to get money from somewhere. >> guest: sure. shibata has declared privacy to be forbidden religious. but does not issue when it comes, as someone put it to me, nothing is that if it supports the insurgency. so you see in recent times shabaab is pushed into one of the southern base of pirate operations. this is south of puntland. what you saw were the pirates simply lifted most of them just left. >> host: they did want to do with shabaab guest that there's no reason they need to be in a specific very good you can relocate very easily. wind another safe harbor and you're gone. there's no pirate infrastructure. these are not power towns would have some fancy supply chains
that will require the infrastructure to count or anything like that. they can move simply. the only evidence i've actually seen al-shabaab getting paid off is now a list of from informants inside the country that have suggested there's been a total of about 1 million paid to shabaab, an amount between five and 10%. and this is compared to what -- this is absolutely nothing. like i say in the book, it's not a systematic relationship at all. >> host: let's save some time for responses and solutions. your apologia number of policy recommendations. before we get to those, i'd like to raise some things i think will occur to most people when they hear about pirates and fighting pastor and one is you talk about the foreign fisherman, and have arms on the ships and they could be pretty violent themselves and they became difficult targets.
all it takes is a weapons on board the ship held by the crew. a lot of people will think if you're a tanker or cargo ship, have some cars or have some crew members with weapons and you can do the same thing as the fishing vessels can do. and you resist and fight back and you won't be able to succeed, and wouldn't that solve the problem? >> guest: know. i think that that's one response i get very frequent, why can't we just arm merchant mariners, the merchant marine? and the symbol to that -- simple and to that is you have to pay them twice as much. your crew and cost would double. you would have to train them. you have to pay them to be trained. right? and then essentially what the big worry is that provoking an incident, that might make him massive loss of life, or a loss
of a tanker's cargo. would be us devastated as combined total of ransom to date. >> host: in other words, you shoot at the pirates and they use rpg's and suddenly the tank is going down. >> guest: you can't really blow a hole in a double-hulled tanker with an rpg, but recent what happened was pirates pursued, i believe it was an oil tanker, it was rpg's and so you danger if you cause a fire on deck, that could cause significant damage if it reaches the engine repair and is not conceivable that the cargo could go up. it's unlikely but it is not inconceivable. but more to the point, you indent, crewmembers end up losing their lives. you're going to end up paying more to their families through pni clubs which protection and indemnity clubs that she pushes
to self-insure. you're going to end up paying as much or more to the members of those crews families. not to mention you'll have a terrible pr nightmare on your hands. and why are you putting your seafarers out here, you know, they are not soldiers. why are they fighting men with superior weapons and rpg's, and rocket propelled grenades. and another thing is mariners proposed the idea. post but even though they are members and are being held hostage under several situations in terrible danger? >> guest: there's only, i see only, there's been seven instances where power to execute hostages. four of these were these american hostages you mentioned early. it was a terrible accident. there was an escalation of incident and that's why they ended up dying. the escalation of incidents that people want to avoid. when i spoke to, i spoke to three ensures in london, and what they told me is that there's a very good chance that
if you put a security team onboard, forget army the crew which presumably would be less trained than the poorest trained security force, that might raise the premium because they don't know, somebody private study firms are popping up around the gulf of aden. their backgrounds are not known. is not know what effect it will have on the ships of security. the chance of escalating incidents are not known that well because it hasn't happened yet. difficult to catch at all the variables. but insurers are very worried about this but one country and train your crew also probably have the same sort of repercussions that an insurer might look at this and say well, you know, you are probably just risking the chance that some pars will open, blast a hole in your hole, or try to. we'll have to end up paying hole insurance on that. so we'll double your your hole
insurance. there's a lot of different reasons why. >> host: this is as it seems reasonable. when the ship is taken and sees, it has to be held either at anchor or brought fairly close to the shore so they can resupply. that means it's not that hard to know where every ship that has been hijacked, where the pirates have it. once you know that, you think it would be some way to say okay, we've located these three ships, we're going to take him back. we're going to take them back by sending in tanks and 21 or by sending and commanders at night, getting on the ship. we're not going to let, just because there are some holders on board with some weapons, we're not going to let them have that she. we know where the ship is. we're taking them back. >> guest: they could do that as he before the ship gets -- post that i understand it's hard. when it's under attack in the short very close you can do that. once it is sitting there in sure
you know you're playing time to plan. >> guest: i see what you're saying. you can plan out a commando mission but a couple problems. there's been a few, there's been relatively few incidents of actual commando missions. and most of those missions have occurred, i mentioned earlier that there are safe zones that the crew sometime barricade themselves in the engine repair most of the commando missions have occurred after the crew is safely out of the line of fire. there's one mission, that the french tried to take back yard. they did. they stormed a friend shot that had been captured, and ended up killing the captain. so i think one out of four hostages died in that case. you had another commando mission, which was the south korean that carried out a successful rest of the ship, a massive oil tanker. this is something that had real high stakes involved in the captain ended up getting shot critically but did not die, which is considered extremely --
he was extremely lucky. he was shot more double times. then you have the american not where all four captives died. it does to pirates panicked and unilaterally decided to execute the hostages. that was a complete disaster. that was due to the pirates panicked because they saw u.s. forces loading into attack mode. so i don't think, it's a stretch to say that commando missions would resolve -- result in death. and logical person would say okay, they have called the bluff. they're coming. let's surrender and go and go to a cushy prison somewhere. but that's not the way these pirates thing. they're often jacked up on khat, jittery, young. and i don't think it's a stretch is a to be a massive loss of life if for your standard, commando mission. that's one point. second point is you start launching commando mission.
you know what the pirates would do. they will start taking a cruise on board and straddling the ships. that's another option they have. in between the extreme, leading the crew go into rendering, or murdering them, okay, we'll take them to some cave like in afghanistan and destroy your $25 million shipped. that's a very undesirable outcome. and one more quick point i will add, very briefly. is what these commanders? they will probably be french or american forces really, british forces may be, who can plan a go and rescue operation, right? south koreans are they don't care about, they will not care about foreign citizens. they carry out these missions its own ships are involved or their own citizens, otherwise they will defer to the wishes of the ship owners who say back off, let us pay the ransom to get people going to ship don't want them to get in for fear of escalation. there's a number of reasons.
>> host: weird outdoor last couple of minutes. and there's also difficulty as you go and arrest the pirates. you can identify them. you can't arrest him on shore budget brought them back to the u.k., then lectured good evidence, going into the civilian court, he would be able to convict them. if you did convict them, if do you want to deport them? they would be those who would say yes. in other words, they are less likely to end the pentagon are in public housing and on welfare. >> guest: correct. >> host: basically let's just cut to the very end of your book, which is usually a probably is not going to be possible to eradicate piracy, eradicate it from the coast but it can be mitigated. why don't you just in the last minute or so we have, talk about a few other policies are recommending which i think myself that the entire solution, but could be the start of a serious policy discussion which i don't think we've had for this
issue yet. >> guest: the usual response, op-ed writers insert into their piste was and is it needs to be solved on the land. that's a line you hear repeated effort. what does that mean? a lot of people, commentators, treat the idea of rebuilding somalia, build the coherent state as actual possible solution to piracy. people been trying to do that for 20 years. i think, i talk about mitigation in the book. i think what you need to do, i mentioned earlier there are no coastal roads in puntland. a very easy thing to do would be, police and those in very short roads along the coast, leading to a handful of pirate launching sites and pirate holding sites. have a pirate outline. i told you the local people hate the pirates. some some look south and went and sees a pirate about to
launch into the indian ocean from you want them to call up for 50 or $100, if that didn't have your coastal person responded and arrest them before the pushing to see. those are a few specific suggestions. in general i think which need to do is start giving direct aid interest assistance to these many states were talked about, smaller than, puntland, and to the south. that's not what's happening right now. >> host: make that a contingent, said a police forces, separate coast guards and trying to get them to work on the problem for you and with you? >> guest: i think the coast guard even that is too big a step. coast guard requires a lot more drink a lot more logistics and it's more expensive. i think right now well spaced out coastal garrisons equipped with radar stations, equipped with high frequency radio, that would be enough to really tackle quite a lot of the problem. >> host:
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