• Captain Phillips Goes to Libya

    March 19, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Libya, Military

    So here’s today’s puzzler: when is it cool to take over a ship in international waters and when is it piracy?

    Captain Phillips Goes to Libya

    A major American movie this year was Captain Phillips. It told the story of a brave ship captain (played by American Hero Tom Hanks) and the brave Navy SEALS who recaptured his ship off the coast of Somalia after it was hijacked by pirates who boarded it in international waters.

    For more than a week, an oil tanker from somewhere floated in the Mediterranean. The tanker at one point flew a North Korean flag, but even the North Koreans have disavowed any connection. The Libyan government announced they were going to bomb the tanker “into scrap” but somehow that did not happen and the ship put to sea.

    On March 17, U.S. Navy SEALS boarded the ship in international waters and seized it. Supposedly no shots were fired, and American Sailors took control of the ship and are sailing it back to Libya. No word on what happened to the “pirates” aboard. The “pirates” were “Libyan rebels” who were seeking “the black market.”

    The funny part is that the pirates/rebels, under their militia leader Ibrahim Jadran, had been recruited by the Libyan government to guard crucial oil ports. But eight months ago, they instead seized them, blocked some oil exports, and demanded shared revenues for their eastern region where most of the oil originates. Jadran, for his part, says the Libyan government is corrupt and unfit to rule.

    So Why the U.S.?

    Why did the U.S. do this? Grab a ship full of oil in international waters?

    The oil belongs “to the Libyan National Oil Company and its joint venture partners,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki explained. Those partners included some U.S. companies, which one guesses is the connection to the United States here. Supposedly the Libyan and for some reason the Cypriote governments requested the U.S. to do all this out in international waters.

    Psaki also said “Any oil sales without authorization from these parties places purchasers at risk of exposure to civil liability, penalties and other possible sanctions.” This would presumably involve someone suing the pirates for something. The imagine of lawyers parachuting in with the SEAL team is amusing.

    Also, per the New York Times, “the American intervention is a salvation to the fragile transitional government in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, which would have faced the loss of its main source of revenue and its sole source of political power if renegade militias succeeded in selling Libya’s oil.”

    Libya has seen its oil exports shrink to just 12.5 percent of its output since U.S. led bombing campaign that led to the death of longtime leader Qaddafi. Oops.

    Iraq Redux

    So, as a status check, here we are in late Winter 2014: shilling for American oil companies with the SEALS while trying to prop up a crappy U.S. puppet government in a country the U.S. helped turn from stability to chaos. Now, this is payback, or more like rent due: after making the same promises for Iraq and seeing those fall through, the USG is now showing it is indeed a government of its word.

    P.S. Denizens of the internet: I get it that the Somali’s boarded Captain Phillips’ ship to steal it, and the SEALS boarded the Libyan tanker to steal it back. The point here is to examine the use of military power for the sleaziest of purposes while trying to bathe it all in the perfume of truth, righteousness and the American Way.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Bakelight said...


      The US is world police until the opponent is a nuke power. Then everything sort of gets brushed under the carpet. I used to think Iran wanted nukes just to hit Israel. Now I’m not so sure. Looks like good invasion insurance to me. Bet the mullahs feel the same way.

      03/19/14 10:33 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki”…

      …making the State Department a frat/sorority party that never ends. She’s so easy to imagine – just a few years ago – in Florida on Spring Break, sloshing around in beer and naked from the waist up (ICK! in her case!), and nasally shouting “GO, YOU BITCHES” by which she means something more or less related to really bad sexual foreplay.

      A common type, so easy to spot. In the upper echelons of the State Department, her kind of vulgarity is called “social skills”.

      03/20/14 3:36 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      This is so accurate it is scary.

      03/20/14 12:28 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “The point here is to examine the use of military power for the sleaziest of purposes while trying to bathe it all in the perfume of truth, righteousness and the American Way.”

      And this bitch will continue that trend:


      03/20/14 1:40 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      She shall henceforth be known as “Bloody Hillary.”

      03/20/14 1:43 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      wemeantwell said…

      “She shall henceforth be known as “Bloody Hillary.”

      Cool. I’ll use that instead of Bloody Mary. Bartender..take note. 🙂 And while your at it..I’ll take one. Now that I think about it..bartender, I propose a toast…
      “Here’s to that bloody gal on the Hill, who say’s she won’t but you know she will, and given a choice between whiskey or beer, she’ll down them both and never fear, that Iran is looking for WMD’s, she’ll wipe them off the map with glee, henceforth making Bloody Hillary, the scariest bitch in history.”

      03/20/14 4:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      “The more things change, the more they stay the same ….”

      Ibrahim Jadran (or Jathran per the WSJ below) not only has basically declared an independent Government of Barqa, in the oil-rich region, but was trying to gain recognition from Russia as well as the US, though sounds like the US was not interested so much per the Navy Seal exploits mentioned here. (Barqa is what most might know as formerly Cyrenaica)

      A few media snippets, mostly official views – if J Edgar is about perhaps he has something more substantial to link …?






      03/20/14 5:46 PM | Comment Link

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