For those still peddling the line that piracy is carried out by poor, starving Africans, victimized by evil European fisherman, this article not only provides evidence to the contrary, but speaks to the advanced nature of it in both a business and social sense.
It is a lucrative business that has drawn financiers from the Somali diaspora and other nations — and now the gangs in Haradheere have set up an exchange to manage their investments.
[...] “Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 ‘maritime companies’ and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,” Mohammed said. “The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials … we’ve made piracy a community activity.”
[...] “The district gets a percentage of every ransom from ships that have been released, and that goes on public infrastructure, including our hospital and our public schools.”
Reading the article, I almost think I’m reading Global Guerillas. As pirates continue to extend their reach offshore, and Western nations continue to needlessly devise ridiculous non-lethal anti-pirate weapons, despite the fact that the problem of piracy was solved centuries ago with firearms, it would seem naive to believe a few semi-coordinated naval ships unwilling to actually use lethal force will solve the problem. If anything, I’d wager that piracy will actually increase due to the international naval presence as that will drive up the profit margin for successful raids, similar to the failed American War on Drugs where the DEA serves only to maintain and ensure the profitibility of drugs.
Lastly, given a previous Wired article discussion of the international side of the business, this blogger wonders whether such a new “stock exchange” will further internationalize the business past the traditional diaspora connections and secondly, whether this could be an early attempt, or even precedent for similar “black stock exchanges” in other illicit businesses such as drugs, weapons, people and other smuggling for example. If decentralization and internationalization are key driving forces in crime and terrorism, it would seem that “publicly traded criminal enterprise” may be a logical extension. Readers?