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By Arnold Lewis
May 13th, 2011

In 2009, 214 ships were attacked by pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. In 2010, 219 ships were attacked. As of April 28, twenty-six ships were still being held by Somali pirates for ransom. In addition, forty-nine ships were hijacked by Somali pirates last year, with twenty ships hijacked this year. However, piracy in the Indian Ocean is not an extremely large problem; piracy barely makes a dent in international shipping worldwide. But, the international community cannot condone piracy. Although some believe that this problem can be solved through either occupation of the Somali fishing villages or through stationing massive naval fleets in the region (among other solutions), I believe that shipping companies should hire private security teams for protection. These teams can defend the ship when the navies of the world cannot, and the quartering of private security teams aboard shipping vessels offers a far more cost-effective solution to the problem.


 
 
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"The Ghost of Abbottabad" Tail
Analysis by Ryan Pearce, Michael Durao, and Arnold Lewis
May 4, 2011

Before we begin, I want to issue a disclaimer that Beowulf does not engage in flights of fancy. We very much like to deal with tangible facts and figures. However in the past few days, the rumor mills across the world have run rampant with speculation surrounding four pictures of the wreckage of one of the destroyed helicopter used in the raid to capture Osama Bin Laden. So allow us to apologize first and foremost for letting our imaginations run wild here. This is purely theoretical, as with most analysis of “Black” projects, and we may either be spot on with our conclusions — or we may have swung for a home run and instead struck out big time. Only time will tell. At the least, we can provide an entertaining idea for you, the reader, to ponder.

So, — disclaimers aside — let’s start from the beginning. It should be very obvious that this is not the run-of-the-mill Blackhawk derivative used by the US Armed Forces. A quick comparison of the types in use by other members of NATO only serves to increase the aura of mystery around what’s quickly becoming the “Ghost of Abbottabad”. Some experts, such as Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman claim it is a modification of the MH-60 Pavehawk — currently in use by the United States fitted with an experimental “Hush Kit”. This is not without merit — the MH-60 is currently the primary helicopter used to support Special Forces missions such as this. Others have gone a step further and claimed that this is a new type, never before seen except to the few privy to information about the classified program.

We side with the latter.