Pirate Intelligence Agency

Last week, in his regular WPR column, David Axe drew the distinction between the often-incompetent foot soldiers conducting pirate hijackings off the Somalian coast, and the more sophisticated criminal networks that finance and direct them. Today, Nicolas Gros-Verheyde flags an article in the Spanish press. The article cites an EU NAVFOR military report to the effect that the Somalian pirates are being fed precise data on commercial shipping in the region by “well-placed persons” in London, and that the pirates avoid certain (read: British) vessels.

Gros-Verheyde adds the caveat that the document just happened to make its way into the press at the very moment when British commitment to the EU naval force has been questioned. But if true, the allegations demonstrate just how transnational the Somalian piracy threat is, and just how sophisticated the criminal networks Axe described are.

Once again, asymmetric war is corruption by other means, meaning that armies — and in this case, navies — will increasingly find themselves deployed as the hard-power element in what amounts to a transnational police operation.

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