“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just how much money is spent by the World's navies?

Indian warship destroys pirate ship

MOGADISHU (AFP) — An Indian warship destroyed a pirate "mother vessel" in the Gulf of Aden, the navy said Wednesday, as bandits demanded a ransom for a Saudi super-tanker seized in the most daring sea raid yet.

The Indian frigate INS Tabar, one of dozens of warships from several countries protecting shipping lanes in the area, attacked the Somali pirate ship late Tuesday after coming under fire, navy spokesman Nirad Sinha said.

The incident came as shipping groups reported a new surge in hijackings off Somalia and the International Maritime Bureau said pirates based in the lawless African nation were now "out of control".

"The INS Tabar closed in on the mother vessel and asked her to stop for investigation," the New Delhi navy spokesman said.

"But on repeated calls, the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship if it approached," he added.

An exchange of fire ensued, causing explosions and the Indian navy ship then used heavy guns. "From what we see in photographs the pirate vessel is completely destroyed," a senior officer said on condition he not be named.

It was the first time a mother ship had been destroyed, in the most significant blow to pirates to date.

The piracy crisis has grown since the capture of the super-tanker Sirius Star on Saturday. The huge vessel was carrying a full load of two million barrels of oil worth an estimated 100 million dollars.

Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite television channel, broadcast an audio tape that it said was of one of the pirates making a ransom demand.

"Negotiators are located on board the ship and on land. Once they have agreed on the ransom, it will be taken in cash to the oil tanker," said the man identified as Farah Abd Jameh, who did not indicate the amount to be paid.

"We assure the safety of the ship that carries the ransom. We will mechanically count the money and we have machines that can detect fake money," the man said.

Vela International, owners of the ship, refused to comment on the report. "We hope there will be a quick solution," a spokesman in Dubai told AFP.

Seized in the Indian Ocean some 500 miles (800 kilometres) off the east African coast, the Sirius Star is now anchored at the Somali pirate lair of Harardhere, according to local officials.

The super-tanker has 25 crew -- 19 from the Philippines, two from Britain, two from Poland, one Croatian and one Saudi. It was the largest ship yet taken by Somali pirates and the attack furthest away from Somalia.

Pirates have hijacked three ships since capturing the Sirius Star.

Andrew Mwangura, from the East African Seafarers Association, said a Thai fishing boat, a Hong Kong-registered freighter, the Delight, and a Greek bulk carrier were seized on Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden.

The Greek merchant marine ministry said it had no word of a Greek-flagged or Greek-owned vessel being seized but the other hijackings were confirmed.

The Delight, chartered by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, was carrying 25 crew members and 36,000 tonnes of wheat when it was seized on its way to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

"So far no contact has been made with the ship and the hijackers," Majid Ensan Najib, a senior official with the shipping line, told the IRNA news agency.

On Wednesday, the pirates released another Hong Kong-flagged ship, MV Great Creation, and its 25 crew -- 24 Chinese and one Sri Lankan crew -- seized on September 18.

"The pirates released the Great Creation this morning and it is currently sailing to Abu Dhabi," Mwangura told AFP, adding that it was unclear whether a ransom was paid.

Pirates use mother ships, generally hijacked trawlers or deep-sea dhows, to tow speedboats from which they launch their attacks with grapnel hooks tied to rope ladders before neutralising the crews at gunpoint.

The Indian navy action could hamper the pirates in the Gulf of Aden in the near future but the group holding the Sirius Star operates from other mother ships further south.

The Gulf of Aden controls access to the Suez Canal, which allows trade between Europe and Asia without taking the longer and more expensive route around the southern tip of Africa.

NATO, the United States and a number of European nations have all sent ships to the region to try to stop the piracy, which has only increased instead.

The German navy said Tuesday one of its frigates had foiled attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Aden, using a helicopter to chase off pirates who fled in their speedboats.

The International Maritime Bureau has called on the United Nations to act over the piracy.

"The situation is already out of control," said Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the IMB in Kuala Lumpur.

"The United Nations and the international community must find ways to stop this menace," Choong said. "With no strong deterrent, low risk to the pirates and high returns, the attacks will continue."


  1. it's 1783 all over again....

    islamic hijackers ride the seas....

    Maybe this time the philadelphia or betsy wont be ransomed over and over again...

    there is a quick way to fight this battle...

    death by walking the plank for all captured pirates

    no lawyers, no UN rights...

    either a bullet to their heads or feed them to the sharks...

    once this lesson is learn HOPEFULLY apply this to Hamas & company...

  2. We need a UN resolution that anyone caught killing a pirate gets a $100 fine.

  3. A few pesky pirates messing things up so makes you wonder what a few pesky Iranians could do to the Straits of Hormuz?

  4. Never send someone with a hyphenated name to do a man's job.

    HOUSTON (AP) - Flight controllers were revamping plans Wednesday for the remaining spacewalks planned during space shuttle Endeavour's visit to the international space station, after a crucial tool bag floated out to space during a repair trip.
    The briefcase-sized tool bag drifted away from astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper on Tuesday as she cleaned and lubed a gummed-up joint on a wing of solar panels on the space station. She and fellow astronaut Stephen Bowen were midway through the first of four spacewalks planned for the mission. The tool bag was one of the largest items ever lost by a spacewalker.

    On September 22, 2006, Stefanyshyn-Piper collapsed twice during a welcome-home ceremony with family and friends. She had "a couple of small dizzy spells" while speaking during the ceremony at Ellington Field in Houston. A flight surgeon examined Stefanyshyn-Piper, 43, and said she was fine, but still making the readjustment to Earth's gravity from the weightlessness of space.

  5. A few pesky pirates messing things up so makes you wonder what a few pesky Iranians could do to the Straits of Hormuz?

    Why the question mark? I'd really like to see what those pesky Iranians could do to. And even better what would be done to them in reply.

  6. Why the question mark? I'd really like to see what those pesky Iranians could do to. And even better what would be done to them in reply.

    Now is the time to strike iran, hezbollah, syria & hamas....

    it's the perfect storm....

  7. How To Build a Web 2.0 Government?

    Interesting comments.

  8. Well, since the "rule of thumb" is that the US spends more on Security than the rest, combined ...
    The US spends $139.8 billion
    figure all the rest, less than $100 billion

    From Navy News Service

    WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The nation’s top Navy and Marine Corps leaders told members of Congress March 1 that the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) proposed $139.8 billion budget request for fiscal year 2008 (FY08) fully supports near and long-term warfighting requirements and will help win the global war on terror (GWOT).

    In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Donald C. Winter, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway thanked lawmakers and the American people for their continued support and stressed the impact of DoN’s FY08 budget request on future readiness.

  9. Hm...Barack Obama must be doing an excellent job if there's nothing to report.

    Slow day?

  10. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former US Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle to be Health and Human Services secretary, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources close to Obama's transition team.

  11. NEW YORK ( -- Stocks fell hard on Wednesday as a selloff gained momentum near the close and the major indexes tumbled to 5-1/2 year lows.

    The Dow closed below 8,000 for the first time since March 2003 as investor confidence dried up amid ongoing worries about the economy and the future of the auto industry.

    The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) shed more than 400 points to close down about 5%, according to early tallies. All 30 Dow components ended lower.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index slid 6% to its lowest level since March of 2003. And the Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 6.5% to settle at its lowest point since April 2003.

    The market is focused on the implications of a possible bankruptcy in the automotive industry, said Todd Morgan, senior managing director of Bel Air Investment Advisors, a Los Angeles-based firm with nearly $6 billion in assets under management.

    "The crisis of confidence is back on the front page," said Morgan. "You need some positive catalyst, something, to change the attitude of investors [and] the auto debate is hurting confidence."

    Shares of General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) fell 10% while Ford's (F, Fortune 500) stock tumbled 25% as a second day of hearings by the chief executives of Detroit's Big Three wound up.

    Meanwhile, weak readings on the nation's housing market and a sharp decline in consumer prices reflected the challenges facing the economy and drove down shares of financial services firms.

    Shares of banking giant Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) were down 23% after hitting a session low below $7. Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) fell 14% and JP Morgan (JPM, Fortune 500) was down about 12%.

  12. Infighting amongst the Dems, a joy to beold

    ABC News' Jonathan Karl Reports: ABC News has learned that House Democratic leaders have voted to strip Representative John Dingell of his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce committee, replacing him with Henry Waxman.

    In a stinging rebuke, the House Steering committee voted 25-22 by secret ballot during a closed-door Democratic leadership meeting.

    The move was a dramatic one for House Democrats -- considered a victory for House liberals and environmentalists, a big defeat for Michigan and the auto industry.

    Dingell has been in Congress for 53 years, making him the longest currently serving member of the House and the second longest serving in history.

    The vote now moves to the whole House Democratic caucus who will vote Thursday morning. Given Dingell's role as a political mover in the House, despite his loss at the Steering Committee today, he could still pull off a victory tomorrow.

  13. The Dow Jones industrial average has finished below the 8,000 mark, amid concerns about the auto industry and the overall economy. The Dow finished down nearly 430 points for the day.


    Top Senate Democrats say a bill to rescue Detroit automakers is stalling. Auto executives were back on Capitol Hill today, appealing for $25-billion in loans.


    There's more word of likely picks for the Barack Obama Cabinet. Democratic officials say former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has been tapped to be secretary of Health and Human Services.


  14. It sure was a good idea playing hardball with the housing mortgage crisis. We really showed the bums who were behind on their mortgages.

    Citlbank is now in the $6 range and now deflation is washing away commercial real estate values.

    No problem with a little deflation.

    Our rulers and masters have everything under control.

  15. Are you referring to those rulers and masters whom you voted for and advocated strongly for all those years?

  16. BBC reporting:

    The pirates organize themselves and plan their raids but the booty is shared with the rulers and masters of Somalia. The big money winds up in Dubai banks.

    The UN is gearing up to do something about it!

  17. I voted for Bush and then turned on him. Tell me who else I supported. Perhaps I made a mistake because of my contempt for Kerry.

  18. I voted for McCain. I fought against Obama, but Obama is now my President. I wish him well. He has the toughest job any new President has faced in my life time. I feel sorry for him.

  19. I never planed to retire. I like to work. I like a good fight. I am basically a simple guy who takes his pleasures when I find them. I have my health and am in way above average physical shape for a man my age. I can keep up the pace. I feel bad for those who are getting needlessly beat up because our betters have allowed the pukes on Wall Street to pillage the country.

  20. Interesting Times....

    I am a Democrat who still dislikes Obama and all he has surrounded himself with for his entire adult life....

    The "ONE" will be POTUS, and I will help in any legal way to help get him out of office as soon as possible.

    I will accept the results of the Electoral College in December.

    That does not mean I will give him any pass....

    Every fart he passes should be examined for anything illegal.

    He should now be accountable for his POV and not be able to vote "present"

    time for him to be who he is...

    what ever that is...

  21. Moved ahead from last thread:

    Blackwater: We'll Fight Somalia's Pirates

    "As a company founded and run by former Navy SEALs, with a 50,000-person database of former military and law enforcement professionals, Blackwater is uniquely positioned to assist the shipping industry."


    What's all the fuss about?

    Wed Nov 19, 02:08:00 AM EST


    A ten man team with a few shipboard modifications could secure any tanker or freighter in the area.

    Blackwater, and/or a few Israelis could make the problem disappear.

    Just declare a 500m zone around any ship in the troubled waters a no-go zone, and sink anything that penetrates without permission.

    Leave no witnesses, and fire the lawyers.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. The UN is gearing up to do something about it!


    If they put a World Court Lawyer on board each vessel in the danger zone, along with a merc security team, they'd soon have ROE that made sense. They'd cover their own asses first.

    No hostage rations for the lawyer-class.

  24. 2019.10.30知名酒店經紀調查酒店上班顯示,2019年酒店工作酒店打工有將近7成的上班族有意願酒店兼差在八大行業擔任酒店兼職坐檯小姐或打工,其中在中山區林森北路以及忠孝東路上的便服店酒店兼職的有(54.6%),比在白天正職的比例(29.8%)更高。進一步女大學生、上班族詢問未來想投入八大行業酒店兼差的比例達到7成3,其中想在八大行業擔任酒店小姐兼職有(17.8%),想擔任正職的有(23.9%)。知名酒店打工專業指出產業來進行交叉分析,結果發現,目前在傳產製造業的上班族想在八大行業兼職酒店小姐的比例最高,而服務業想投入兼職酒店小姐擔任正職的比例最高。主要的原因包括對客人買全場接S(性交易)額外收入感到有興趣(32.3%)想為未來事業多認識企業的大老闆(29%)、喜歡跟人相處(30%)以及酒店工作機會多(31%)、酒店工時彈性(16.5%)等原因。

  25. 2020.01.02酒店兼差正面臨持續下滑壓力,酒店工作分析,明年的酒店各大股東投資和酒店上班酒店小姐應徵率表現預估都不佳,以消費拉動經濟較為樂觀,但也充滿挑戰;2020年的大學生/上班族酒店打工壓力比今年更大,經濟成長率可能跌破44%,開啟「框出接S(性服務)」時代。知名酒店經紀指出,專家梁小尊1日在中國上海發表酒店兼職對中共經濟展望的看法。他表示,美「中」貿易戰就算能達成協議,衝突仍可能長期化。他也點出,「中」方以美元計價的出口額,今年1月中罕見出現負成長,夜總會酒店業者年減36%。

  26. 2020.03.03八大行業酒店工作就業博覽會今(3號)開跑!因應武漢肺炎(COVID-19、新冠肺炎)疫情,知名酒店經紀公司暫緩原訂於4、5、6月份的酒店上班就業博覽會,先於線上辦理,自3月20日起至3月26日於梁曉尊/梁小尊酒店打工網站開跑,有包括制服店、便服店、禮服店、鋼琴酒吧、日式酒店、飯局、傳播等八大行業者,提供9千個酒店兼差酒店兼職的機會。

  27. 2020.04.10台北市知名酒店工作酒店小姐潔西(花名)驚傳酒店上班確診新冠肺炎,為境內確診第379案例,有知情人士透露,「潔西」上周酒店打工3天班,行跡跨足3家不同酒店上班,有警員一聽直呼「好危險」,擔憂上周臨檢過該3家酒店。酒店業者透露,近期將朝「個體化」方向經營,盼度過歇業寒冬。

  28. 2020.05.01北部一名酒店工作酒店女公關私下接酒店S(性交易)月初被確診武漢肺炎,導致全國舞廳跟酒店,4月9日起遭勒令無限期停止營業,至今將近三個星期了,還不見酒店上班復工曙光,不少八大行業員工因為這波停業生計受損,就有任職台中知名酒店PT酒店小姐不滿中央停業兩套標準,打破沉默,站出來爭工作權。酒店工作人員陳小姐說:「台北的(酒店打工)女公關確診,可是其他店都沒事啊,叫我們停業的標準我也覺得很可笑。」北部酒店女公關一人確診,全國同業被停業,沒收入快三個星期,陳小姐再也忍不住開砲。陳小姐表示:「八大的停業標準我不服氣,按摩業跟三溫暖都可以(營業),磐石艦的軍官很像很愛去量販店,量販店消毒過後都可以營業,為什麼我們就是一個(女公關)離我們這麼遠的地方,就叫我們(酒店)全部停業。」酒店舞廳被停業,被衝擊的不只舞小姐們,像陳小姐就在台中知名酒店內負責音響設備維修超過18年,當年SARS疫情也沒這麼慘,現在卻被無限期停業,全公司所有人都快完蛋。謀職碰壁,生活快過不下去,陳小姐寫了這4張陳情書打算全公司連署,向中央請命。