Back in November of 2008 the buzz of piracy took off when pirates seized the super tanker MV Sirius Star - which at the time marked the largest ship Somali pirates had hijacked. It was a high profile action, and with it came high profile news reporting. Among the news reports was an interesting detail regarding a Virginia woman who was in contact with Somali pirates regarding the release of the MV Sirius Star in late November of 2008, as well as some other unsuccessful negotiating for the release of the MV Faina (which was carrying T-72 tanks if you recall).
The ABC News story at the time reported it like this:
An American businesswoman with connections to U.S. intelligence and the military has been talking with the Somali pirates who have commandeered the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star, trying to get the ship released, ABC News has confirmed.Michele Lynn Ballarin is no ordinary 'horse country socialite,' she also owns Select Armor, Inc., a private security firm with a questionable record. She also wasn't an unknown in Somalia in 2008, as only two years earlier her firm had been centric to a public discussion regarding the role of private security firms working around the UN to overthrow the Islamic Courts and stand up the TFG.
First reported by Military.com, the pirates, who have halted all talks with the ship's owners, are talking to a woman named Michele Lynn Ballarin, instead.
Frustrated with the pirates, a senior government official told ABC News, "It's pretty sad when a horse country socialite has more sway in Somalia than the whole U.S. government."
Why does this matter?
I don't know what it means and I certainly can't read the article, but given the conditions in Somalia right now, I thought these pictures from a few days ago in Somalia were interesting - and I think you can figure out who the white American lady is. They say there is calm before a storm, but there are also high winds, rain, and big waves that tend to rock the boat before the hurricane makes landfall - and that woman has a history of associating herself in the shit storms of Somalia.
FYI - "Amiira" means Princess.