Dale Dougherty , founder of Make, wrote this for Boing Boing:
Pirate Ship, Pirate Ship, Pirate Ship. Hold the tip of your tongue and say it as fast as you can. Or hold your nose. I don't know what to make of the juxtaposition of the negotiations in Washington to pass a bailout plan for Wall Street and the negotiations off the Somali coast to pay a ransom to pirates who with small boats captured a Ukranian cargo filled with tanks and other military weapons. It's clear the pirate story has better quotes.
"We just saw a big ship," the pirates' spokesman, Sugule Ali, said in a telephone interview. "So we stopped it."
"We don't want that suffering and chaos to continue. We are not going to offload the weapons. We just want the money." He said the pirates were asking for $20 million in cash; "we don't use any other system than cash." But he added that they were willing to bargain. "That's deal-making," he explained.
Both quotes come from the NYT story Somali Pirates Tell Their Side: They Only Want Money. In today's followup story, we learn that the pirates who are surrounded by the US Navy have lowered the ransom price, but the advice from one "expert" is to pay it.
"It's down to $5 million," said Andrew Mwangura, program coordinator for the Seafarers' Assistance Program in Kenya, which tracks pirate attacks and communicates with the families of crew members. "But this needs to be done quickly. The longer that ship stays in Somalia, the more people who are going to get involved and the greedier they're going to get." "My advice," said Mr. Mwangura who has been involved in several hijacking negotiations, "is give these gunmen what they want before the sharks come."
I watch the market fall and then rise and then fall again. Is the bailout coming? Commentators speak as though the market is a person. "The market couldn't decide today whether the bailout would happen and so that's why we ended where we did." The Senate version of the bailout is going to vote, adding incentives to the package, incentives that will add to the cost.
"The whole thing now is about the price," said one Western official involved in the ransom negotiations. "The ship owners are talking with the pirates. But the two sides are still pretty far apart."
In Washington and on Wall Street, it's harder to figure out who is negotiating for the pirates and who is negotiating on our behalf.