The EU's naval force has freed six Somali pirate suspects, a day after they were captured trying to hijack a vessel off the East African coast.
They caught a gang of violent criminals in the act of committing a crime, and then they release them without any punishment. This is not how you preserve law and order in international waters. We are teaching this hive of scum and villainy that we are too weak, cowardly, and/or stupid to protect ourselves against blatant unprovoked attacks. Is it any wonder that piracy in particular, and lawlessness in general, are infecting the world?
The suspected pirates were allegedly part of a gang who attacked the Panamanian-flagged ship MV Almezaan.
I know they have to follow journalistic conventions, but it is just ridiculous to use the words 'suspected' and 'allegedly' in that sentence. They are definitely pirates. They were shooting at people.
Why do we even need the testimony of anyone the ship being attacked? Why is the word and expert opinion of a military officer not enough? Is the court system really so screwed up that they will refuse to convict on the testimony of a (presumably) respected and competent officer, but they would convist based on the word of some random merchant captain?
Cmdr Harbour told the BBC that the case against the suspects captured on Tuesday was "clear-cut".
"We intercepted the pirates, we destroyed their mother-ship and we went on board the cargo ship to get statements," he said.
"But we had to release them because the master of the ship would not testify."
The guards who shot the pirate suspect were also likely to avoid any censure, with Cmdr Harbour saying nothing could be done without statements from those involved.
Was someone seriously considering censuring the people who acted in self-defense? Why on earth would you get in trouble for shooting a pirate that was attempting to take you hostage? Maybe this is why they refused to testify. I would not want anything to do with a legal system that treats me the same as it treats a pirate.
The authorities have struggled to find a solution to the problem of piracy - both stopping the attacks, and how to punish captured suspects.
Here's a suggestion: Stop being such bloody wimps and cowards! Existing international law gives all naval officers the right to try and execute pirates. They were clearly guilty, so use them as target practice and send them to the bottom of the ocean.
But there is no consensus on how to prosecute the suspects, and moves to set up an international tribunal have foundered.
Why are we so obsessed with giving these thugs 'proper justice'? They have set themselves in clear violation of the law of nations. They are terrorists earning money that funds more terrorism. They are unlawful enemy combatants. They are pirates. Existing legal precedent, game theory, and common sense all agree that they should be killed on sight. I trust any naval officer in the military of any democratic country to tell the difference between 'pirate' and 'not pirate' and kill the pirates immediately after they are caught. It worked 200 years ago, and it will work today.
Giving legal rights to people who are actively engaged in the premeditated business of depriving others of human rights is stupid.
The really annoying thing is that we are willing to throw away all of our notions of rights and justice when we find it politically convenient and we can get away with it. Our ongoing drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, just because they happened to be in the vicinity of someone that an informant claimed was a terrorist leader. Why are we willing to slaughter hundreds of innocents in one war zone, but we are unwilling to punish a few dozen of the the clearly guilty in another?
It seems that the only things they really care about are status, image, and politics.