Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 07:18 am
A friend recently sent this article to me. I find these views enlightening and,
as such, am passing it along to the A2K community:

"In addition to being one of the world’s foremost authorities on
shamanism, Perkins has become a leading advocate for the rights of
people in the developing world, as exemplified in his New York Times
bestselling books 'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man' and
'The Secret History of the American Empire', and in the following
piece regarding the so-called Somali pirates."

Dear Friends,

We’ve been hearing a lot about terrorists and pirates for many years
now; but reports about why they do what they do are just starting to
filter through.

A pirate who goes by the name Abshir Abdullahi Abdi explained his
reasons on NPR’s Morning Edition, on May 6, 2006. "We understand what
we're doing is wrong. But hunger is more important than any other
thing," he said.

NPR’s Gwen Thompkins followed up with this: “Fishing villages in the
area have been devastated by illegal trawlers and waste dumping from
industrialized nations. Coral reefs are reportedly dead. Lobster and
tuna have vanished. Malnutrition is high.”

Amy Goodman introduced Mohamed Abshir Waldo on the April 14, 2009
edition of DemocracyNow! The author of “The Two Piracies in Somalia:
Why the World Ignores the Other?” he said:

Well, the two piracies are the original one, which was foreign fishing
piracy by foreign trawlers and vessels, who at the same time were
dumping industrial waste, toxic waste and, it also has been reported,
nuclear waste (author’s note: from US navel vessels patrolling the oil
lanes off the Somali coast). . .

And the other piracy is the shipping piracy. When the marine resource
of Somalia was pillaged, when the waters were poisoned, when the fish
was stolen, and in a poverty situation in the whole country, the

fishermen felt that they had no other possibilities or other recourse
but to fight with, you know, the properties and the shipping of the
same countries that have been doing and carrying on the fishing piracy
and toxic dumping.

Hearing these reports about the Somali situation took me back to a
morning in Nicaragua about a year ago. “Terrorism is not really an
‘ism’,” Miguel d’Escoto, the former Sandanista priest and current
president of the UN General Assembly told me. “There’s no connection
between the guerrillas who fought the Contras and Al Qaeda, or
Colombia’s FARC and Somali pirates. That’s just a convenient way for
your government to convince the world that there is another enemy ‘ism’
out there, like communism used to be.”

He and I talked about fanatics. We agreed that there would always be a
lunatic fringe in the world " just as there would always be clinically
insane people. “Perhaps Bin Laden is one of them,” I said. “But
fanatics don’t get people to follow them unless those people are
miserable, desperate.” Then I added, “I’ve often wondered about Robin
Hood. He may have been a fanatic for all we know. But the Saxons had
been invaded by the Normans and were abused horribly. They couldn’t
even hunt deer in their own forests to feed their starving children.
They would h
ave flocked to anyone who defied the Normans and offered
them hope.”

Father Miguel smiled. “And when the Normans sent the Sheriff of
Nottingham to ferret Robin Hood out and destroy his band, all it did
was rally the opposition. Hatred escalated.”

It seems that, in the long-run, no one benefits from attacking people
who have been treated in ways they consider unjust. Violence, in such
cases, begets violence. With one exception.

Those Eisenhower identified as the military-industrial complex, today’s
corporatocracy, reap huge benefits. Those who build ships, missiles,
and armored vehicles; make guns, uniforms and bulletproof vests;
distribute food, soft drinks, and ammunition; provide insurance,
medicines, and toilet paper; construct ports, airstrips, and housing;
and reconstruct devastated villages, factories, schools, and hospitals
" they, and only they, are the big winners.

" John Perkins


Trained since 1968 to bring ancient wisdom to the contemporary world,
JOHN PERKINS will be leading our December expedition to Palenque and
Guatemala. He is also founder of Dream Change, a worldwide grassroots
movement of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds dedicated to
shifting consciousness and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

Perkins was chief economist of the international consulting firm Chas.
T. Main and founder and chief executive officer of Independent Pow
Systems, a United States energy company committed to producing
electricity with environmentally beneficial technologies. He also
served as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, and
Fortune 500 corporations; lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Europe,
Latin America, and the Middle East; studied with indigenous prophets
and shamans; and taught at universities and learning centers on four
continents. A graduate of Boston University’s School of Business
Administration, he served in the Peace Corps in the late 1960s and as
United States Representative to the United Nations’ International
Atomic Energy Agency in the 1970s.

Perkins is author of several books on shamanism, including
Shapeshifting; The World Is As You Dream It; Psychonavigation; and
Spirit of the Shuar, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His
latest books, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History
of the American Empire, are New York Times best-sellers. He has been
featured on ABC Television and the A&E and History networks, and in
Time, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many other publications.

Authors John Perkins and Llyn Roberts, M.A., will guide us on an
amazing journey to the ancient Mayan sites of Palenque, Tikal, Antiqua,
and Lake Atitlan, using ancient shamanic shapeshifting approaches to
propel us to higher states of consciousness " and to experience how
expanding our own awareness can help us transform not only ourselves,
but the world around us.

For full information please visit
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Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 07:22 am
Mr. Perkins ignores that the Somali pirates could not operate speed-boats and arrange the financial transactions necessary to assure they get their ransom money without outside aid. That outside aid comes from organized crime. You can put make-up on a pig, but it's still a pig. Dress this up however you want, it is piracy with criminal intent, which reaps criminal profits and which never was intended and never has acted as a relief to the misery of the Somali people.

Now i think i'll browse around a while to find out who this Mr. Perkins is--i'm not inclined to accept the judgment of an e-mail on his credentials, and the question of what motivates his point of view.
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 07:27 am
Anyone interested in Mr. Perkins credentials (he is most famous for his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman) is advised not simply to visit the self-promoting sites listed in Ragman's e-mail transcript, but also to visit this page maintained by the United States Department of State which challenges the truth of Mr. Perkin's claims about conspiracy between financiers, industrialists and the NSA.
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Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 07:35 am
Had you researched it FIRST, you would find that it's a fairly easy task to verify his identity as I left the link in to John Perkins site
http://www.johnperkins.org. His best-selling book,
'Confessions of an Economic Hit Man', spent over 70 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Also I researched his identity independently:


It appears he does have his controversy and some detractors...re US State Department. However, he IS for real. I thought this article provides an interesting topic of discussion. I do not endorse nor do I refute the views presented.

"The U.S. State Department has posted a criticism of Confessions, and of Perkins himself, on its "Identifying Misinformation" site, calling his allegations "a total fabrication" and pointing out the "recent initiative to cancel the debt of many heavily indebted poor countries."

Perkins' response is that the NSA is extremely secretive, that in fact we know very little about what it really does, and that this has been confirmed recently by disclosures that it spies on U.S. citizens -- an activity that has nothing to do with its stated mission."

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Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 07:39 am
I didn't say he wasn't "for real," i'm just pointing out that he is not to be considered an unquestionably reliable source, and in particular for the cause and effect involved in the piracy of the east coast of Africa. Many pirate activities are based on the north coast of Kenya. Can those reasonably be attributed to the conditions in which the Somali people live? Can you, or Mr. Perkins, show how the tens of millions of dollars in ransoms paid the to Somali pirates have improved the living conditions of the Somali people, other than perhaps those who live in the villages from which the pirates operate?

I consider anyone who attempts to rationalize piracy, just about the oldest form of organized crime after simple brigandage, to be pissing down my leg while complaining about the rain.
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2009 09:11 am
The evidence that these guys ARE NOT Robin Hoods are the explosion of mansions and palatial compounds in N Somalia. The Hummer deliveries to this area will make it a world class customer for the Chinese. (Those were the biased viewpoints of MSNBC)
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2009 07:30 pm
Maye 15 years ago a lovely lady friend of mine of from Boston booked passage on a cargo ship that was cruising "that" part of the world. The Captain came on the PBX and told all commercial passengers to return to their cabins and lock theirselsves in. In this instance, the pirates had boarded just to extract passage money and were not after cargo.

I really don't know how long ago this stuff startred.
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Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:01 pm
My sincere thanks go to those who contributed to this thread. I'm curious also about those who regularly contribute to A2K threads "like" this one but who chose NOT to contribute for some reason. Kind of baffling to me after my being here for 10 yrs (on Abuzz and A2k combined) why people would avoid entering any comments.
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Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:05 pm
Farmerman: agreed that these are not Robin Hoods nor are they "freedom fighters." They are not much more or any different than this country's urban looters during power outages or hurricanes.

These events make you wonder where civilization is heading. Any cargo or cruise ship in that area is going to need a machine-gunner and be better armed than these looters.
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:30 pm
These events make you wonder where civilization is heading. Any cargo or cruise ship in that area is going to need a machine-gunner and be better armed than these looters
Humans are having a very difficult time organizing and co-operating, systems are breaking down all over. The loss of what was the nation of Somalia and also the safety of the seas around that area is par for the course.

re thread action: I think that your opening post was too long and too complicated to get traction. Also, we have talked a lot of the piracy already. Also, this is Africa, and the normal "nobody gives a **** about Africa" response (in this case silence ) should be expected.
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Merry Andrew
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 03:37 pm
These events make you wonder where civilization is heading. Any cargo or cruise ship in that area is going to need a machine-gunner and be better armed than these looters.

Well, of course, that's just going retro, a case f history repeating itself. Back in what is sometimes referred to as 'the golden age of piracy' (late 17th Century), it was standard operating procedure for merchant ships to be armed with a few 20-pounders, at least, to repel anticipated pirate attacks. It was also common practice for treasure-bearing ships from the New World to travel in convoys. Nothing new under the sun.
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 04:29 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Yes, MA, but civilization is supposed to be capable of so much more ....ummm -- we're more civilized now. Rolling Eyes

Have we as human race made zero progress? Neutral

Back in the 'golden age' of piracy (approx late 1660s- to 1720s), piracy eventually died off because nations banded together inb combat to put a stop to it -- uniting a cooperative effort.

BTW, did you know that 2 of the most infamous pirates in 17th century were women?? Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 04:39 pm
Also, in defense of these acts of piracy, some nations legalized their own piracy -- the practice of which was called privateering.

"In the Caribbean the use of privateers was especially popular. The cost of maintaining a fleet to defend the colonies was beyond national governments of the 16th and 17th centuries. Private vessels would be commissioned into a 'navy' with a letter of marque, paid with a substantial share of whatever they could capture from enemy ships and settlements, the rest going to the crown. These ships would operate independently or as a fleet and if successful the rewards could be great " when Francis Drake captured the Spanish Silver Train at Nombre de Dios (Panama's Caribbean port at the time) in 1573 his crews were rich for life. This was repeated by Piet Hein in 1628, who made a profit of 12 million guilders for the Dutch West India Company. This substantial profit made privateering something of a regular line of business; wealthy businessmen or nobles would be quite willing to finance this legitimized piracy in return for a share. The sale of captured goods was a boost to colonial economies as well."
Merry Andrew
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:07 pm
BTW, did you know that 2 of the most infamous pirates in 17th century were women?? Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Yup. I knew that. In fact one of them (I forget which one) narrowly escaped hanging by "pleading her belly" before a sympathetic judge who refused to condemn to death an obviously pregnant woman.
Merry Andrew
Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:12 pm
Yup, again. That's how that scoundrel named Francis Drake got his knighthood and became Sir Francis Drake. He started out as a privateer and cut a fairly bloody swath throughout the Spanish main. But he shared the bounty with HRH Elizabeth, the first of that name. And his ship The Golden Hind circumnavigated the globe, the first British-registry ship to accomplish this feat. The Queen, who, it is rumored, wished to hang him, was now obliged to knight him.
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Reply Tue 23 Jun, 2009 05:35 pm
@Merry Andrew,
I believe both ladies were preggers, thus saving both of their necks.

Anne Bonny is probably the most famous female pirate to sail the Spanish Main. She was a ruthless plunderer, raider, and menace to the sea faring vessels in the Caribbean Sea. She is commonly referred to as "Toothless Annie."

Anne was born in Ireland during the 1690's. Her parents moved to America and became well respected plantation owners. She grew up in South Carolina and was fascinated with stories of pirates that were told at the nearby Charleston Port. At Charleston she met a pirate named James Bonny. She married him and the two of them moved to an island in the Caribbean named Nassau. This island was basically run by pirates. Here Anne was surrounded by famous pirates.

James proved a coward and a traitor, becoming a paid snitch for the governor. Anne distanced herself from him, preferring the company of the island's notorious pirates.

She soon became romantically involved with the dashing pirate "Calico Jack" Rackham (nicknamed for his loud striped pants.) When James Bonny objected to the affair, he abducted Anne, brought her naked before the governor and charged her with the felony of deserting him"Anne was considered to be stolen property. Calico Jack suggested instead putting Anne up for sale to the highest bidder, a 'kinder' legal practice for divorce at the time. Despite Jack's rather less-than-romantic proposal, as well as a court order James got forbidding Jack and Anne to see each other, Anne ran away with Calico Jack, joining his ship's crew, apparently disguised as a man.

At that time there was a code of piracy that stated women crew members were forbidden. This didn't stop Anne. She went aboard the ship as a man and fought just as the rest of the crew did. Eventually she was discovered and some of the crew members openly voiced their opinions. Anne returned these opinions by killing those crew members.

Anne was not the only female pirate aboard Rackham's ship. Mary Reed was another woman disguised as a man. She was captured from an English ship in 1717 and turned pirate.

Mary's mother who had a legitimate son became pregnant after her husband died. She fled to the country to give birth to Mary. During this time, her son died. The mother returned and brought Mary up as the dead son to get money from her husband's parents.

Still pretending to be male, Mary joined first the navy, then the cavalry. She loved and married a fellow soldier and lived a few years as his wife. When he died, she put on male clothes again and went to the Caribbean.

Before long, Mary fell in love with a man forced to join the pirates. She let him know her secret "by carelessly showing her breasts, which were very white." The man "being made of Flesh and Blood," wanted to go further but Mary resisted. Soon after he quarreled with another pirate and was challenged to a duel. Mary deliberately picked a fight with the same man and ran him through with her cutlass.

Having thus proved her love, Mary and the forced man "plighted their troth to each other, which Mary Read said she look'd upon to be as good as a marriage, in conscience, as if it had been done by a minister in Church."

Through these pirates she met Anne Bonny. Mary learned Anne's secret when Anne seduced her, thinking her a handsome fellow. In any event, the women became friends and she ended up as a pirate with John Rackham and Anne Bonny. She became Rackham's lover. It is not clear if her 'husband' had died, or Rackham persuaded her to leave him.

Both women were very good at pirating, never shirking from battle. According to one witness, none among the crew were "more resolute, or ready to board or undertake anything that was hazardous."

On a night in October, 1720, sloop William was attacked by a privateer commissioned to take pirates. Witnesses from the privateer stated that only two of the pirates had put up any fight. These two fought like wildcats using pistols, cutlasses and boarding axes. One of them fired a pistol into the hold where the other pirates were hiding while screaming they should come up and fight like men. When the pair were finally overpowered it turned out that they were Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

A trial followed and Rackham, Bonny, Read and many other members of the crew were sentenced to hang. When asked if they had anything to say the women replied, "Milord, we plead our bellies." Both were pregnant. The court decided it could not hang any woman who carried a child.

Mary died of a fever before she could deliver her child. It is not known what happened to Anne, but she may have been paroled because of her father's influence. No matter what happened to her, Anne is probably most famous for the words she exchange with Calico Jack when he was granted the permission to see Anne the last time on the night before his execution. She scolded him: "I'm sorry to see you here, Jack, but if you'd have fought like a man you needn't hang like a dog."

excerpt from:
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:20 pm
And no one has made a movie about these ladies? It's obvious they were "pisser" broads.
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Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 05:45 pm
Both Ann Bonny and Mary Read "plead their bellies," and were incarcerated pending the delivery of their children. Mary Read died shortly after delivery of childbed fever. Anne Bonny was delivered of a boy, and allowed to live in Jamaica with her son. About three years later, she and her son disappeared, and no reliable reports of her whereabouts were ever heard again.

I don't know where you got your information, but a lot of it is just plain wrong. The best source for Bonny, Read and Rackham is Captain Charles Johnson (which was almost certainly a pseudonym used by Daniel Defoe--although some scholars dispute this), in his book A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates. It was published in 1724, which makes it a contemporary account of the lives of Bonny (née Cormac), Read and Rackham, and as little other records survive, the most authoritative.

For example, Anne was the child of a lawyer, William Cormac and a maidservant, and rather than following the usual path of discharging the maid and to hell with her and her child, he abandoned his legal wife, and sailed for Charlestown, in the relatively new colony of South Carolina (which is, of course, modern Charleston). Because she was such a parcel of trouble (when she was 14 or 15, she alleged a boy had attempted to molest her, and she beat him so severely that he was bed-ridden for weeks), her father moved with her to New Providence in the Bahamas, which you would recognize as Nassau. It was there that she met and married Mr. Bonny, who soon abandoned her.

The account of Mary Read is also sketchy, and lacks some of the detail that Captain Johnson provides. The part about her mother passing her off as a boy seems to be true, or at least repeated by all accounts. But the deal was that the mother of her deceased (at least missing at sea) husband paid her a crown (five shillings) a week to keep herself and her "son." So Mary Read was raised as a boy all her life. When she was about 13 or 14, her "grandmother" reduced the support to a half crown, which would barely have kept her and her mother, and certainly would not have kept her mother in gin. So her mother put her out to service, still as a boy, to a French noblewoman, and it was from that situation that Mary fled, and joined the Royal Navy as a ship's boy, circa 1700 (Captain Johnson puts her birth at 1685). She then jumped ship in the Low Countries when she realized there was no real path for advancement for her in the Navy--she was to prove to be always ambitious. She first took service as a cornet (sort of an officer candidate, and a position which she would not be obliged to purchase) in a line regiment (infantry), but transferred to a cavalry regiment when she realized that she would never get even the lowest promotion in her infantry regiment--there was too much money in the system, and she would not be able to purchase a commission. In the cavalry regiment, she met and fell in love with another cornet, and when they were both promoted to lieutenant (there was still opportunity for promotion on merit in the cavalry, although any further steps would have to be purchased), she revealed her sex to him, and proposed marriage. Captain Johnson has it that she was so widely respected in Marlborough's army for the courage and initiative she had shown in both the line regiment and the cavalry regiment, that she was allowed to sell her commission, as did her new husband, and the members of the two regiments in which she had served clubbed together to provide her a trousseau and some start-up money. She and her husband purchased an "inn" (really, from Johnson's description, just an eating house with a couple of rooms) in Holland, and did well for a time because members of Marlborough's army favored them with their custom. But peace came in 1713, and their business fell off to the point that they were just scraping by, and then her husband fell sick and died. She sold the inn, and using that money, and once again posing as a man, she purchased a commission in a Dutch regiment. But, once again, she realized that without the wherewithal to purchase higher steps, it being peacetime, she had no future in the army. So, she sold her commission, and signed on to a Dutch merchantman bound for Curaçao, and it was aboard that ship that she fell in with Rackham and Bonny when they took the ship.

The trio were captured in 1720, so Captain Johnson's account is the only contemporary record which alleges to have been assembled from contemporary accounts. I would suggest that most internet sources which don't cite Captain Johnson, and hew to his line, have embellished the account (such as that "toothless Annie" crapola) to make their accounts more lurid. Captain Johnson's accounts are lurid enough, and he often relies upon admiralty court records, which have been verified in the almost 300 years since his book was published.
Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 06:02 pm
By the way, apart from Captain Johnson, the only other important contemporary account is that by Alexandre Exquemelin (also variously rendered as Esquemeling and Exquemeling), which was first published in Holland in 1678. The book was so popular, that it was revised and updated and republished several times, in Dutch, French and in English. Exquemelin claimed to have served in the Caribbean, and his name does appear on the muster roll as a surgeon for the 1697 expedition against Cartegena, although i don't know if his other claims for service there have been verified.

One of the best recommendations for the accuracy of Exquemelin's account is that when it appeared in an expanded and revised edition in English, Henry Morgan sued him for defamation of character--and lost.
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Reply Mon 29 Jun, 2009 07:58 pm
Many thanks for your plentiful posting on piracy.

As I stated at the bottom of the text of my previous post, the source is as follows:

excerpt from:
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