By News Bulletin; Axis of Logic commentary.
Editor's Note: This Al Jazeera news report is loaded with a number of absurd assumptions. The first being that the U.S. government has the right to have warships in Somali waters in the first place. Second, that the Somalis do not have the right to protect their waters and coastline from nuclear and other hazardous waste and have no right to protect one of their few food resources from big transnational corporations that illegally fish their national waters. The U.S. charge of piracy is of course ridiculous and the U.S. bringing them to Norfolk, VA to stand trial is even more bizarre. We suppose that Judge Jackson's ruling to drop piracy charges is meant to give the other charges some appearance of justice. The final absurdity is that the report is published in Al Jazeera, once a refreshing, independent media source. Since the U.S. bombed their office and homes of their employees in Kabul in 2001 and later killed other of their journalists, Al Jazeera has learned "how to behave."
- Les Blough, Editor
Somali 'piracy' charges dropped
|"Pirates" have been operating off the coast of Somalia for years [AFP] (quotes added)
A US judge has thrown out piracy charges against six Somali nationals who were accused of attacking a Navy ship off the eastern coast of Africa on April 10.
Judge Raymond Jackson dismissed the piracy charges on Tuesday, concluding that the US government had failed to make a reasonable case that the men's actions amounted to piracy, but the accused still face seven other charges related to the alleged attack.
"The court finds that the government has failed to establish that any unauthorized acts of violence or aggression committed on the high seas constitutes piracy as defined by the law," Jackson said in a 21-page ruling.
Prosecutors had accused the six men aboard a small skiff in the Gulf of Aden of opening fire on the USS Ashland, a warship that supports amphibious operations.
The six men, and a group of five other Somalis captured after allegedly firing on another US warship, were brought to Norfolk, Virginia, where they were charged in a US criminal court with the attacks on the vessels.
Lawyers for the six Somalis accused of attacking the USS Ashland argued that the piracy charge should have been dropped because they did not board or take control of the warship or obtain anything of value from it.
The men were also charged with other crimes, including attacking to plunder a vessel, acts of violence against people on a vessel, conspiracy and assault with a dangerous weapon on US officers and employees.
Their trial is due to begin in October.
Source: Al Jazeera