Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Textbook Russian Ingenuity

Russian warship Marshal Shaposhnikov (file picture 2003)You really have to appreciate the Russians' pragmatic approach to problem solving. For years, a patchwork of dated law, jurisdictional conflicts and human rights concerns has plagued modern suppression of piracy (and terrorism). Too often, military forces cannot or do not detain pirates because of the unlikelihood of a successful domestic criminal prosecution, the chance that unscrupulous fellows may seek asylum in the host nation, or the risk that turning them over to their own county will result in human rights violations (read: execution) for which the detaining county is potentially liable. Leave it to the Russian Navy to handily dismiss all of those concerns.

BBC News - Freed Somali pirates 'probably died' - Russian source:

Ten suspected Somali pirates captured by the Russian navy last week may have perished after their release, a defence source in Moscow has told reporters. Marines seized them during a dramatic operation to free a hijacked Russian oil tanker far from shore, killing an 11th suspect in the gun battle. They were released in an inflatable boat without navigational equipment.

Within an hour, contact was lost with the boat's radio beacon, the defence source said.
'It seems that they all died,' the unnamed source was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency."

Apparently the Russian plan can be summed up as something like this:

  1. Day 1: "We have captured some insidious pyrates and will try them in a Moscow court of law"
  2. Day 2: "The law in this area is confusing - we will release the pyrates."
  3. Day 3: "Unfortunately, it appears the released pyrates have died." (after being released in a small craft in the middle of the IO, hundreds of miles from shore, without communication or navigation equipement)
  4. Day 4: "What is the big deal? They are pyrates!"

Good job, Russkies.

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