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johnw
04-15-2009, 05:05 PM
So, here's Ron Paul's proposal for dealing with the piracy problem:

From TPM:


Enter Ron Paul

Man, this is just getting better and better. Ron Paul is now suggesting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrCqVYVxEoA) what he, I guess, thinks is a libertarian solution to the growing piracy problem. Have Congress get into the idea of issuing "letters of marque and reprisal," which as Paul notes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_marque#United_States) is actually a power expressly granted in the US constitution. On MSNBC, they just had The Politico's Erika Lovley on talking about Paul's support. But she didn't seem to have a really clear idea of what privateering actually was.
In any case, it's sort of an intentionally ambiguous subject. But privateering was essentially government licensed piracy. Say, we're at war with the French. Congress gives me a letter of marque and then I have the US government's permission to go out and capture French ships on the high seas. I then bring the French ship back to a 'prize court' and if everything's in order, it's mine and I get to sell it.
It's a classic stage of under-developed state power, in which we may not have the capacity to have a fully built out Navy but we can subcontract the harassment and capture of enemy shipping and commerce by setting up privateers to do the job for them.
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/images/somali-pirates-blog.jpg
Now, there are a few problems with this. But here's the big one. Are you going to fit out a a group of small armed warships in order to vie for the chance of bringing in and being able to sell off some inflatable motor boats piloted by a few Somali 'pirates'? Maybe you could even sell one of their outboard motors on Craiglist?
Actually, Paul manages to say something even stupider -- which is that rather than having a powerful Navy, which keeps the oceans safe and provides a vast support to global commerce, we should leave it to the individual companies and ship owners to keep their shipping safe.
Late Update: Interestingly, this is not Paul's first go at this. He came up with a similar proposal just after 9/11 (http://www.house.gov/paul/press/press2001/pr101101.htm), albeit one that made slightly more sense. In the case, the government could deputize you as a private terrorist hunter. And if you tracked down a terrorist bad guy and captured him you could then take possession of his cash assets or perhaps his training camp.
--Josh Marshall

bamamick
04-15-2009, 05:52 PM
iirc the reason that countries like Great Britain and later the United States were so eager to issue letters of marque is that it cost them very little to do so beyond the cost of the paper and ink, and that it hurt the enemy's commerce with very little risk to themselves. The reasons why this wouldn't work today are as many as the day is long, but it is interesting to think about what would happen if someone did petition the government to be allowed to act in such a way. I am sure that the first repsonse would be laughter, then bemusement, and then, when no one else was around, some serious thought as to how such a thing would even work.

If Maersk decided to put Blackwater 'agents' on their ships with rpg's of their own or .50 caliber guns, would that incriminate the US government or create any sort of liability situation for us as a country? Easy to laugh about, but without knowing the no-doubt extremely complicated ins and outs of maritime law how could anyone really answer?

Maersk is based in my home town. As such there has been a lot of conversation about this subject. I think that most people here would like to see the merchant shipping companies take this into their own hands rather than depend ont he government to do it for them. There certainly is a precedent, but does it apply with today's laws?

Mickey Lake

rbgarr
04-15-2009, 06:04 PM
I had a very strange and totally absurd dream a few months after 9/11. In it I stole into Afghanistan (IIRC Bora Bora (?), where the attacks were being directed at caves, etc.) and somehow found OBL, spirited him out of the county onto a trawler, trussed him up in the engine room and brought him back to NYC. The authorities reneged on the bounty on his head and took the credit for his capture, kind of pushing me out of the picture (not that I cared to be marked for reprisal anyway). I wasn't surprised by that official response, somehow, and kind of laughed at myself in the dream.

2MeterTroll
04-15-2009, 06:15 PM
works for me; these days the word of the end of hostilities would be within the day. so the control issue experiance in the past would be gone.

johnw
04-15-2009, 06:16 PM
iirc the reason that countries like Great Britain and later the United States were so eager to issue letters of marque is that it cost them very little to do so beyond the cost of the paper and ink, and that it hurt the enemy's commerce with very little risk to themselves. The reasons why this wouldn't work today are as many as the day is long, but it is interesting to think about what would happen if someone did petition the government to be allowed to act in such a way. I am sure that the first repsonse would be laughter, then bemusement, and then, when no one else was around, some serious thought as to how such a thing would even work.

If Maersk decided to put Blackwater 'agents' on their ships with rpg's of their own or .50 caliber guns, would that incriminate the US government or create any sort of liability situation for us as a country? Easy to laugh about, but without knowing the no-doubt extremely complicated ins and outs of maritime law how could anyone really answer?

Maersk is based in my home town. As such there has been a lot of conversation about this subject. I think that most people here would like to see the merchant shipping companies take this into their own hands rather than depend ont he government to do it for them. There certainly is a precedent, but does it apply with today's laws?

Mickey Lake

We haven't used letters of marque since the war of 1812, if I'm not mistaken, although the prize rules were still in effect during the Spanish-American war. The monitor Terror was the top prize getter. She was blockading Havana.

The thing is, privateering worked when harassing the enemy's commerce is the goal. For pirate hunting, it worked more like Captain Kidd. (Well, we're heavily armed, the pirates fight back, and there are all these rich merchantmen...)

Sounds like Josh Marshall has got a better grip on the possible rewards than Ron Paul. Selling the outboards on Craig's List.

Cuyahoga Chuck
04-15-2009, 06:21 PM
I was WRONG!
Many times I stated tht Ron Paul (R-TEX) was stuck in 1880 era. I suspect that letters of mark faded long before that. Maybe Ron should come into the House chamber in a three-cornered hat.
There must be something in the water in his congressional district.

bamamick
04-15-2009, 06:23 PM
iirc, the CSS Hunley, the first submarine used to sink an enemy's shipping in wartime, was originally commisioned under a letter of marque.

Mickey Lake

2MeterTroll
04-15-2009, 06:28 PM
Wwii

Tom Hunter
04-15-2009, 06:30 PM
I'm pretty sure the CSA issued letters of marque, though they is us, so the letters were illegal. Which is likely why the USA did not issue them, because it is allowing privateering against yourself.

Ron Paul is entertaining, but not very practical.

Canoez
04-15-2009, 06:36 PM
Gee, maybe Margo needed a bigger cannon for Sarah...

johnw
04-15-2009, 06:58 PM
Wwii

What?

Tom Robb
04-15-2009, 07:47 PM
How about back to using convoys? A more efficient use of resources and then in the meantime put a few photo-recon drones to looking for motherships and when identified, torpedo them one at a time after a suitable warning time to let the crew abandon ship for spin's sake. Efficient, effective.

2MeterTroll
04-15-2009, 08:30 PM
yes the last letters of marque where WW2.

boatbuddha
04-15-2009, 08:45 PM
Sounds like Josh Marshall has got a better grip on the possible rewards than Ron Paul. Selling the outboards on Craig's List.

Marshall has a Ph.D. in history so it doesn't surprise me.

L.W. Baxter
04-16-2009, 12:40 AM
Marshall has a Ph.D. in history so it doesn't surprise me.

Yes, knowing how to sell stuff on craigslist is an important skill for Ph.D's of the liberal arts in these troubled economic times.

James McMullen
04-16-2009, 01:08 AM
If I were King of the United States I would issue letters of marque against jetskiers--maybe even a bounty. No daily or monthly catch limit at least, that's for sure.

We could render out the blubber and reduce our dependence on foreign oil along the way.

Plumbtex
04-16-2009, 01:12 AM
I don't see letters of marque being much of an incentive to go after Somali pirates but if privateers were paid street value on captured drug shipments there might be a significant disruption to the drug trade.

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 02:25 AM
heck the salmon trollers would put short work to that if there was a living in it.

Michael Beckman
04-16-2009, 02:28 AM
If I were King of the United States I would issue letters of marque against jetskiers--maybe even a bounty. No daily or monthly catch limit at least, that's for sure.

We could render out the blubber and reduce our dependence on foreign oil along the way.

Wouldn't even need a bounty.. Plenty of people would pay for a license.

bamamick
04-16-2009, 02:47 AM
Do those things seem to be dying out a little where you live? They do down here. Thank goodness.

Mickey Lake

Michael Beckman
04-16-2009, 04:01 AM
To be honest I've never seen one on the Sound.. they seem to stick to lakes for the most part.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-16-2009, 04:14 AM
Do those things seem to be dying out a little where you live? They do down here. Thank goodness.

Mickey Lake

Ah - sorry.

Those sort of thing have a horrendously complicated life-cycle.

The land based equivalent starts life a a Push along trolley, then becomes a tricycle - third instar is either skates or a bicycle .... until eventually you get the White-Haired OldGit making a stately 37 mph along a road where the limit is 60.

So if they've "gone" - they will be back in a new, unpredictable and even more horrible form.

Have you seen a racing hovercraft?

bamamick
04-16-2009, 04:22 AM
No, but lawnmower racing is a growing sport where I live, so you are probably right in what you are saying. For a certain percentage of the population going fast and making noise is as close to heaven as they are ever likely to get :).

Mickey Lake

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-16-2009, 04:33 AM
No, but lawnmower racing is a growing sport ....

Good healthy exercise it is too.
http://www.blmra.co.uk/images/group1.jpg

johnw
04-16-2009, 01:17 PM
yes the last letters of marque where WW2.

This is fascinating. Who issued them? Did they capture many prizes? It seems like there was a whole legal structure behind letters of marque that would need to be there.

johnw
04-16-2009, 01:18 PM
If I were King of the United States I would issue letters of marque against jetskiers--maybe even a bounty. No daily or monthly catch limit at least, that's for sure.

We could render out the blubber and reduce our dependence on foreign oil along the way.

Get out the flencing knives!

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 01:52 PM
This is fascinating. Who issued them? Did they capture many prizes? It seems like there was a whole legal structure behind letters of marque that would need to be there.

Do a google of letters of marque and reparation. The US, france, england, And i forget the rest Issued then to merchant ships. I dont know how many where issued but i do know the US issued them. I have seem one in the flesh on a working ship in its papers. bloody well stunned me I had thought they where not issued since WW1.

johnw
04-16-2009, 09:28 PM
Now, Troll, this is just bizarre. A blimp? What were they thinking?
[quote]
Home (http://cei.org/) > News Release (http://cei.org/pubsbytype/news_release) > CEI Offers Potential Solution to Pirate Problem (http://cei.org/news-release/2009/04/09/cei-offers-potential-solution-pirate-problem)
CEI Offers Potential Solution to Pirate Problem

CEI OFFERS POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO PIRATE PROBLEM
Congress Should Consider Empowering Private Action Against Thugs of the High Seas

Washington, D.C., April 9, 2009— News that Somali pirates had seized an American ship and, after being repelled, held her captain hostage drew a response from analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: the United States should consider authorizing private parties to attack pirate ships under little used instruments called “letters of marque and reprisal.”

The letters, specifically authorized in the Article 1 section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, allow private parties to attack and seize the property of other parties that have committed violations of international law. Congress has the power to grant the letters. The United States made significant use of them during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and never joined 19th Century treaties in which European nations forswore their use. The U.S. issued letters of marque to ships during the Spanish-American War of 1898; and a civilian operated airship, The Resolute, operated under a letter marque during World War II. The letters also have a long history prior to the establishment of the United States. Elizabethan-era explorer and adventurer Sir Francis Drake operated under a letter of marque.

“The world has changed a lot since nations last made significant use of letters of marquee and reprisal. If Congress were to decide to issue them, it would certainly have to revisit the concept,” said CEI Senior Fellow Eli Lehrer. “It’s the type of free-market solution to a real problem that Congress should consider but hasn’t in any serious way.” Lehrer added.

CEI policy analyst Michelle Minton agreed. “American citizens have the right to defend themselves, regardless of their location,” said Minton. “If international governing bodies fail at the task, which repeated pirate attacks seem to indicate, the US government should do something,” she said. “Issuing letters of marque are one way to foster the protection of American citizens abroad without requiring an American military presence in foreign territory.”CEI OFFERS POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO PIRATE PROBLEM
Congress Should Consider Empowering Private Action Against Thugs of the High Seas

Washington, D.C., April 9, 2009— News that Somali pirates had seized an American ship and, after being repelled, held her captain hostage drew a response from analysts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute: the United States should consider authorizing private parties to attack pirate ships under little used instruments called “letters of marque and reprisal.”

The letters, specifically authorized in the Article 1 section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, allow private parties to attack and seize the property of other parties that have committed violations of international law. Congress has the power to grant the letters. The United States made significant use of them during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and never joined 19th Century treaties in which European nations forswore their use. The U.S. issued letters of marque to ships during the Spanish-American War of 1898; and a civilian operated airship, The Resolute, operated under a letter marque during World War II. The letters also have a long history prior to the establishment of the United States. Elizabethan-era explorer and adventurer Sir Francis Drake operated under a letter of marque.

“The world has changed a lot since nations last made significant use of letters of marquee and reprisal. If Congress were to decide to issue them, it would certainly have to revisit the concept,” said CEI Senior Fellow Eli Lehrer. “It’s the type of free-market solution to a real problem that Congress should consider but hasn’t in any serious way.” Lehrer added.

CEI policy analyst Michelle Minton agreed. “American citizens have the right to defend themselves, regardless of their location,” said Minton. “If international governing bodies fail at the task, which repeated pirate attacks seem to indicate, the US government should do something,” she said. “Issuing letters of marque are one way to foster the protection of American citizens abroad without requiring an American military presence in foreign territory.”

http://cei.org/sites/cei.org/themes/cei/images/share_this_button.png (http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php)

johnw
04-16-2009, 09:34 PM
I don't think England or France issued any letters of marque after 1856. From Wikipedia:


Because the difference between a privateer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privateer) and a pirate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate) was a subtle (often invisible) one, in 1856 the issuance of Letters of Marque and Reprisal to private parties was banned for signatories of the Declaration of Paris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Paris). The United States was not a signatory to that Declaration and is not bound by it. During the 1861 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1861)-65 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1865) American Civil War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War) and the 1898 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1898) Spanish-American War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish-American_War), however, the United States issued statements that it would abide by the principles of the Declaration of Paris for the duration of the hostilities. The Confederate States of America (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_of_America) issued Letters of Marque and Reprisal during the Civil War. The only vessel to operate under a Letter of Marque issued by the United States Congress since the War of 1812 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812), was the airship Resolute, operated by civilians to patrol the seas for submarines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submarine) during the Second World War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_World_War) (see Airship, Second World War (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship#Second_World_War)).[citation needed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)]

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 09:36 PM
Now, Troll, this is just bizarre. A blimp? What were they thinking?
[quote]
Home (http://cei.org/) > News Release (http://cei.org/pubsbytype/news_release) > CEI Offers Potential Solution to Pirate Problem (http://cei.org/news-release/2009/04/09/cei-offers-potential-solution-pirate-problem)
CEI Offers Potential Solution to Pirate Problem

http://cei.org/sites/cei.org/themes/cei/images/share_this_button.png (http://www.addthis.com/bookmark.php) Dropping rocks? I dunno.... might be a big enough blimp to lift a ship.

they where issued however and like i said i am not sure to who or how many.

I looked into it a number of years ago cause an ancestor of mine was granted one and i was curious as to the powers it granted. there seemed to be more info around at the time. the one i laid my eyes on was in the papers of an old cargo ship.
like i said it was a surprise to me. I didnt even know about the resolute.

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 09:59 PM
Hmm I am not sure what to believe about Wikipedia. but for lack of better knowledge i'll go with it. I wonder what articles the convoy escorts where under? not all of them where military.

Captain Intrepid
04-16-2009, 10:09 PM
Hmm I am not sure what to believe about Wikipedia. but for lack of better knowledge i'll go with it. I wonder what articles the convoy escorts where under? not all of them where military.

Well, a lot of things were taken control of by the military. I'm pretty sure for example that the US salvage and rescue tug companies were under navy control.

Canoeyawl
04-16-2009, 10:18 PM
http://www.blmra.co.uk/images/group1.jpg
Great mowers - could that be a J.A.P. engine on the left?

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 10:26 PM
Well, a lot of things were taken control of by the military. I'm pretty sure for example that the US salvage and rescue tug companies were under navy control.

hmmm might be; WWII was widely supported in the us so very well could have been. WWII is not my strong suite in history.

johnw
04-16-2009, 11:27 PM
Tell me about the letter of marque you saw on the ship. Who issued it?

Wikipedia is under constant revision, because more information comes to light. You may be in possession of some of it.

Oh, and the blimp was hunting for subs. I suspect this was not a practical plan.

2MeterTroll
04-16-2009, 11:44 PM
Well in great florid script it said the Unites States of America. then if i recall something about congress. it had 6 to 8 paragraphs the name of the ship the name of the captain at the time and the date the signature was unreadable.
thats pretty much all i remember and was allowed to see. i was a deck hand at the time so i couldn't be slow and read the whole thing. the only reason i got to see what i did was that i had to unload the safe and take it (the safe) out of the room so there was space for the new ships safe.

johnw
04-16-2009, 11:48 PM
Too bad you couldn't read the date. I wonder when it was issued. How old was the vessel?

2MeterTroll
04-17-2009, 12:08 AM
she was a first off the line roro. the bloody thing was hell for stout but had bugs that chased us around for the year i was on it. so i would say first year of the war

johnw
04-17-2009, 12:14 AM
she was a first off the line roro. the bloody thing was hell for stout but had bugs that chased us around for the year i was on it. so i would say first year of the war

Which war? I'm not up on the history of roros.

2MeterTroll
04-17-2009, 12:18 AM
WWII she was running supplies in the pacific. ro ro is roll on, roll off they built alot of them. the portland ship yard was doing better than one a month.

johnw
04-17-2009, 12:58 AM
Yeah, I knew what roros were, just didn't know they went back that far. Makes sense. I wonder how many letters of marque were issued in that war. I suspect the blimp thing became known because it was a lark for some wealthy and well-connected people. Less dramatic stuff may have happened and not be widely remembered.

Landrith
04-17-2009, 01:41 AM
I think US corporations should turn to Liberia or whoever's tax haven flag they are flying for any protection from Somali pirates.

2MeterTroll
04-17-2009, 01:57 AM
I think US corporations should turn to Liberia or whoever's tax haven flag they are flying for any protection from Somali pirates.
Good gravy i wish. it would make those haven countries freak.

2MeterTroll
04-17-2009, 02:00 AM
Yeah, I knew what roros were, just didn't know they went back that far. Makes sense. I wonder how many letters of marque were issued in that war. I suspect the blimp thing became known because it was a lark for some wealthy and well-connected people. Less dramatic stuff may have happened and not be widely remembered.


thats what i was thinking, as a tool when the u boats and subs where hunting i cant imagine leaving the shipping defenseless.

Bob (oh, THAT Bob)
04-17-2009, 05:13 AM
O the year was 1778
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
A letter of marque came from the king
To the scummiest vessel I've ever see

God damn them all
I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears
Now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier,
The last of Barrett's Privateers

O Elcid Barrett cried the town
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
For twenty brave men all fishermen who
Would make for him the Antelope's crew
God damn them all . . . .


The Antelope sloop was a sickening site
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She'd list to the port and her sails in rags
And the cook in the scuppers with the staggers and jags
God damn them all . . . .


On the King's birthday we put to sea
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Ninety-one days to Montego Bay
Pumping like madmen all the way
God damn them all . . . .


On the ninety-sixth day we sailed again
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
When a great big Yankee hove in sight
With our cracked four-pounders we made to fight
God damn them all . . . .


The Yankee lay low down with gold
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
She was broad and fat and loose in stays
But to catch her took the Antelope two whole days
God damn them all . . . .


Then at length she stood two cables away
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Our cracked four-pounders made awful din
But with one fat ball the Yank stove us in
God damn them all . . . .


The Antelope shook and pitched on her side
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
Barrett was smashed like a bowl of eggs
And the main truck carried off both me legs
God damn them all . . . .


Now here I lay in my twenty-third year
How I wish I was in Sherbrooke now
It's been six years since we sailed away
And I just made Halifax yesterday
God damn them all . . . .

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-17-2009, 05:21 AM
Great mowers - could that be a J.A.P. engine on the left?

Not likely - looks to be a Suffolk 75G.

Though the JAP Model 0 Type 28 did see service in the Qualcast "Powered Panther "...