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The Conference on Maritime Safety, Lome, Togo: The Real Challenges Ahead!

By Dr. Mehenou Amouzou 


In recent years, major international Media organizations have been constantly talking about Piracy and the potential and subsequent relative problems to Boaters, Trawlers, and Cargo Carriers. Meanwhile, no reference is made to what could possibly cause and or drive such apparent desperate behavior or the current demands placed upon these alleged perpetrators of criminal acts.


This article is not intended to defend the ideas behind any alleged wrong doing (Piracy) but to critically and rationally analyze the possible causes of the resurgence of this ancient work and activity that had been used for Century’s in the world and in particular in the Western World. During the American Revolution, George Washington and America’s founding fathers did not hesitate to pay Pirates to protect America’s territorial waters on the basis there was no navy or coastguard to protect themselves. At that time, the majority of the American population supported this initiative. How is this situation different from the case of small developing countries? (Of course serious consideration needs to be given to the intention of the Act of Piracy at any given time – In today’s world Defending ones territory is considered acceptable regardless of the method used and an Act of Piracy on the grounds of pure theft, Tyranny or persecution is considered morally wrong)


History indicates that Piracy was probably the initial concept of an individual’s ability to rebel against injustice and exploitation whilst in the employment of others. They mutinied against Tyrannical Captains and Sea Lords hence creating an entirely different method and approach to “Working at Sea” on behalf of Employer and Employee. Once a vessel had been over turned in favor of the Pirates, the then Pirates would elect a Captain and the decision making process thereafter would be made collectively. (An Egalitarian Democracy maybe?-questionable acquisition, cause and effect methods-does the end justify the means?)


According to Marcus Rediker, (Renowned historic Maritime Author and Pirates shared equally their booty (Rewards) and claims it is a method and plan of egalitarian ideas for the disposition of wealth and resources. Pirates would even accept into their ranks the likes of escaped African slaves whom would then live and work with them as equals. Pirates have shown historically that they do not share the brutal way that sovereign Merchant or Royal Navy’s ran their nautical endeavors. Any booty was shared equally amongst the members of the crew. Hence why, despite their status as thieves, they were popular within the circles of the common man and ordinary sailor. (Could be considered the Robin Hood Effect)


During the past 25 years, it is argued that the country of Somalia is directly to blame for the Piracy resurgence. However, the actual causes of these behaviors maybe deliberately concealed and could in real terms be classified via reasons of third party influence and or conspiracy. The objective of this article is not to relieve the developing countries from their responsibilities or obligatory behavior, but to highlight that the northern countries maybe playing a role in helping create or facilitate the current situation of developing countries like Somalia. (George Washington and the founding fathers!!!)


Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has a population estimated by the World Bank at 10.5 million. The coast line is extensive. It extends over 3300 km and is located in the Horn of Africa and has a very important geo-strategic position: it is the commerce route for large oil tankers and container ships alike. Historically Somalia has been both Italian and English colony wise. Under the chairmanship of Mohamed Siad Barre and between 1969 and 1991, many social programs were undertaken in the areas of Health, Education, Agriculture and Infrastructure. Good Literacy programs were also established in the 1970’s. Somalia has untapped reserves of numerous natural resources, including uranium, iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt and natural gas. Due to its proximity to the oil-rich Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the nation is also believed to contain substantial unexploited reserves of oil.


What are the external forces that contributed to the destruction of the Somali state?


Somalia was a prosperous and self-sufficient country in the field of agriculture whose economy was sabotaged in the 1980s. This massacre has been accentuated by the ten years of presence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which through the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) has contributed to socio-economic problems and famine of 1980s and 1990s. Thus, Somalia as was fell apart and into the general social chaos of today.


According to the New York Times, before the coup that ousted President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, four major US oil companies Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips were listed and controlled 2/3 of Somali oil.


Albeit the Administration and the US State Department did not publicly affirm that American military presence at the time in Somalia was strictly justified by and for the protection of the Oil and exploration personnel, official documents and US oil companies have largely proven that American troops were there to ensure the safety of US lead explorations and not for reasons of Humanitarian protection as alleged at the time.


According to Michel Chossudovsky, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Ottawa, the experience of Somalia shows that the famine in the late 20th century is not the consequence of a lack of food by any means, but rather that famines are the result of a global cereal overproduction and greed.


Since the 1980s, grain markets have been deregulated by grain surpluses from the World Bank and the United States who do not hesitate to use this surplus, as in the case of Somalia, to destroy the local peasantry and destabilize national food agriculture. The latter becomes, under these circumstances, vulnerable to the vagaries of drought and environmental degradation.


Across the African continent, the pattern of “sectoral adjustment” in agriculture under the auspices of the Bretton Woods institutions has led to the destruction of food security. The dependency of the world market has been strengthened; “food aid” to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than seven times since 1974 and commercial grain imports more than doubled. These imports are thus increased from 3.72 million tons in 1974 to 8,470,000 tons in 1993. Food aid increased from 910,000 tons in 1974 to 6,640,000 tons in l993 and is constantly to increase.


In 2009, the United Nations and the United States accused Al Shabab of imposing “a ban on foreign assistance in their territories”, but what has not been said or mentioned in this report is that Harakat al Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) is funded by Saudi Arabia and supported latently by the services of the West.


The support of the Islamic militia by Western latent driven service is part of a larger historical pattern of covert support to Al-Qaeda and its affiliated branches in countries such as Libya, Syria. One can legitimately think that this support also extends to Boko Haram.


Who would have thought that in 2009 the Governments of the United States, Europe, and China would declare war on the Pirates? The British Royal Navy ships supported by more than two dozen countries sailing in Somali territorial waters in search of Somali pirates, with the aim of combating them. They do not hesitate also to continue to the interior of Somali land.


A young British man called William pirate Scott, said just before being hanged in Charleston (South Carolina): “What I did allowed me to survive and I had to hack for a living.”


In 1991, the collapse of the government of Somalia has led to a general destabilization of the country and famine conditions. Nevertheless, some Western countries have found grace in this situation, the opportunity to use for free the country’s natural resources while discharging nuclear and other toxic wastes into the sea.


The civil war has had the effect of removing the central government (President, Government and various offices in charge of national affairs), as soon as it began, mysterious European ships appeared off the Somali coast and dumped in ocean barrels of nuclear waste. The coastal population began to sicken. At first it was strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of barrels that are found on the coast of Mogadishu and other questionable liquids came from the barrels. People began to suffer from radiation and there were more than 300 dead. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia, said: “Someone is responsible for the unloading nuclear waste on the coast, there is also Lead and other heavy metals such as Cadmium, Mercury and others.” Much of this waste can be traced to hospitals and factories in Europe, which seem to have made “provision”of the Italian mafia mentality. The question was put to Mr. Ould-Abdallah: “Do you know what the European governments are doing about it?? He replied with a sigh: “No cleaning, no compensation, and prevention or treatment has been done.” At the same time, the European media are quick to show pictures of children and women with diseases that their States are allegedly responsible for.


Several European and Asian vessels have looted the greatest resource of the Somali seas and its catch; Europe after destroying its own fish stocks by overexploitation, has now turned towards Africa and especially to countries that have no ratified sovereignty such as Somalia. In the Western media, Somalia “is one of the poorest countries in the world and also one of the most barbaric.” However, this country provides more than $500 Million dollars’ worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster, and other seafood each year. These natural resources are taken by big trawlers illegally sailing in unprotected waters of Somalia. Since the civil war was declared in 1991, Somalia suffered a loss of annual revenue of $ 500 million in fishing alone. Hence for 24 years, Somalia has lost a minimum of 12 Billion dollars. It is therefore understandable why Somalia is still in this disastrous situation. Somalia really needs help? Africa needs help? Where is the help? This causes the local fishermen to lose their livelihoods, and they are hungry. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman living in a city 100 km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there will soon be no big fish in our coastal waters.”



October 2016 – Conference on Maritime Security in Togo, Africa


The Organizing of a conference on maritime safety is obviously an excellent initiative. However, what decisions need to be taken there?


Firstly, is to prohibit Western countries imposing their laws and visions on the world by trying to give carte blanche to fish and pollute the maritime waters of poor countries.


Secondly, research the sources of the real problem which forced some people to react on the basis they were doing no more trying to protect their water’s edge.


Thirdly, the opportunity for discussion at the summit of the global growing insecurity due to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria, etc. and also less severe conflicts in the unstable areas like Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, etc. Also to address the problem of Mercenaries who are paid outlaws, which could be the real threat to maritime safety? Albeit Mali is not a coastal State it has been destabilized by armed men who have managed to compromise its territorial integrity.


Fourthly, the willingness of all attendees and their respective governments to apply faith and courage to the concept of “doing the right thing”.


It would be desirable to invite one or more Somalia representatives to the summit to talk about what really is happening and what is really needed for a legitimate, safe, ally going onmmore proper and achievable “local humane” solution to be found.


The problem is the same for Libya, despite of the personality of its former leader, Libya was a stable state. This stability has enabled Libya to prevent the current carnage caused by the migration of thousands of Africans trying to cross the Mediterranean. This stability also initially helped prevent the North African region becoming a base for terrorists. It should be noted, that it was only after the death of the “Libyan Guide” that Libya became a stronghold of terrorists, radicals, and mercenaries of all kinds who gradually extended their sway over the Middle East (Iraq), Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, CAR, etc.


When one looks closely at the war in Libya, national belligerents in this conflict account for only about 10%. And of those 10%, we can consider 2% as disgruntled. 4% are moderate and remaining 4% are radicals. The remaining 90% are mercenaries, jihadists; moderate or radical terrorists recruited from different countries and are paid by agencies belonging to foreign States. These mercenary and other converted businessmen gradually take control of the petroleum fields and refineries in conflict states. It is important to ask where such individuals obtain their weapons. Who informs or provides their intelligence? Who advises on logistics? Who buys the products from oil wells and refineries they control? Who profits from this situation?


Continuing the reflection, one must ask about how our governments work to protect us against terrorism and the growing insecurity that grows in our cities, our regions and our countries. However, we must remember that there are countries that do not hesitate to sponsor terrorism by financing and arming such terrorists. As the Russian President said at the G20 summit in Turkey, November 2015, 40 countries fund and help equip international terrorism. At the forefront of these countries, we can count 20 Western countries.


Also, in the fight against terrorism, it is important to first identify the countries that finance, arm, train, and give air cover to terrorists. By simply declaring war on all terrorists will not solve the problem. We must focus on the countries sponsoring the terrorism. Strange also that when considering these sponsoring countries of terrorism continue to be welcomed on the red carpet around the world.


For many months, the Chadian Minister of information publicly stated that 40% of the weapons used by Boko Haram are of French origin. However, no investigation has been launched by the French Government to determine the real origin of such. Meanwhile, the French Government has not denied the words of the Chadian Minister of information.


In a video clip James Corbett shows three cases clearly demonstrate that the war against terrorism is a fraud and is actually a series of made shots created for a specific political purpose.


The First case :


James Corbett begins with what he calls “unlikely source” Washington Post, with title “The absurdity of the war in Syria,” accompanied by a video which clearly shows an American anti-tank missile guide, used by a fighter FSA (free Syrian Army) to destroy what is clearly an American-made Humvee driven by ISIS. In other words, a US-backed army pulling a US missile on a US target, likely driven by an American soldier trained fighter for ISIS.


For months James Corbett declared simultaneously with Mr. Edmonds, a Turkish-Azerbaijani FBI Whistleblower, how many ISIS fighters were trained in Jordan in the last few years, via a covert operation, prior to the big traditional media organizations finally reporting on such he said.


The second case:


In the video, for 5 seconds, Corbett sums up the absurdity of all-out war in Syria, which was officially represented for years as an “internal type of civil war conflict”, despite the fact that all the players and all their equipment, all military action weapons, funds, logistical and everything concerned is provided by foreign countries, and in association with finance also borne by foreign countries. And all is regarded in the media as an alleged Syrian internal conflict and accordingly want the population of other foreign countries to believe such?


Corbett then continues with a little heartwarming story about how PBS ‘”News Hour” has used the image of an air strike on an alternative target as the images of air strikes on oil infrastructures held by the Islamic State. Rigging is increasingly difficult to stop when the deceit of people is the intended ethos. (Smoke and Mirrors)


The third case


Colbert goes on to show how an alleged terrorist plot in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, was recently tried by a judge of the Supreme Court of this province, Catherine Bruce who oke and Mirrors)osage of thnconcluded that there was close link between unlawful acts by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka “RCMP”) and those accused of a crime, hence it could be argued the RCMP were guilty of supporting an “abuse of process” at best.


The policemen in civilian clothes, posing as jihadist warriors, provided the associated accused with not only groceries, cigarettes, bus cards, cell phones, phone cards, clothes, cash, and a portable hard drive, they also provided them with a place to work on their terrorist plot and activities and a location to build explosives. Also a “driver” to lead them to different stores to buy bomb-making equipment and also led them to Victoria and its surrounds during the four months in mention to assemble the operation in full. In other words, the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka” the RCMP” were actively involved throughout the various stages of the terrorists plots. Without the active involvement of “RCMP”, potentially, terrorists would not be successful in executing these attacks. However, Canada is not the only country to use these unfortunate actions in the fight against terrorism. These types of procedures are becoming normal practices around the world.


The conference on Maritime Security was in the days of Colonel Gaddafi, 70% funded by Libya. However those days are history.


It is very difficult if not impossible to organize an international conference when one (a country and or region) does not have the financial means or international weight required to be taken seriously. More importantly, basic infrastructure such as hospitals, education and personal well-being or security may be missing in the country hosting or coordinating such an event.


On the basis the conference will be secured largely via external funding, the turn of events and agenda will probably be purely a pre-determined formality. Ultimately all and any contributions to the host country and Africa as a whole are more than uncertain. It is likely the conclusion of events as a result of the “third party funded” conference will be on an “our way or no way basis”. Topics and issues for discussion and hopeful resolution will be “progressive” at best and certainly not conclusive and assistance of certainty for the benefit of the African nations and its Maritime reform!!


In the case of the Somali Pirates, the so-called “pirates” do not identify with that name. All Somalis agree that they were ordinary Somalian fishermen whom took their speedboats to try to dissuade foreign trawlers and vessels from illegally poaching their catch. They call themselves the “Volunteer Coastguard” of Somalia – and it’s not hard to understand why. In a surreal telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali, said their motive was “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters” … We do not see ourselves as bandits of the sea. We consider sea bandits those who illegally fish and dump in our seas, nuclear waste, and carry weapons in our seas.” (Irony)


The war against piracy was best summarized by another Pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought before Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what the Pirate meant by taking to own the sea-The pirate smiled, and responded,-What do you Sir mean by taking to seize and own the entire earth,-because I take to the sea and do such with a little ship, I am called a Pirate, when you do such with a great fleet, you are called an emperor”. Like in Alexander’s time, “The great imperial fleets’ sail on today.



In Conclusion:


Are you fishing illegally in the waters off Marseilles in France, on the Italian coast etc.? Do you dump nuclear waste in the Russian waters, American or French?


Be certain in advance that your actions will contribute to a major catastrophe. Please spare a thought for countries like Somalia and other African nations whom are suffering at the hands of global and corporate governance, greed, deception, legerdemain and sleight of hand!!!




Dr. Mehenou Amouzou received his Master in Business, from the European Advanced Institute of Management, also a Certificate in Finance and Investment in Paris, France. He completed his Post Graduation work in Political Strategy, International Relation and Defense Strategies and earned his Ph.D. in International Finance.





West International Petroleum LTD; Fundacion Paraiso Sin Fronteras; Antoinette Bowie; Amouzou Nkrumah Production; Lee Bryant, EMBA; Paul Kokou Amouzou.




























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