Pirate overkill

Check out this video of smiling Somali criminal mastermind malnourished 16-year old Abdul Kadhir Muse arriving in the U.S. to face trial. I counted about 20 guards from the NYPD and FBI escorting him which, I must say, comes across as a bit excessive.  This makes me worried that the inevitable U.S. media circus around ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
586557_090421_pirate2.jpg
586557_090421_pirate2.jpg
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Abduhl Wali-i-Musi who allegedly is involved in the hostage-taking of U.S. commercial ship captain Richard Phillips, is led into Federal Plaza by Federal agents April 20, 2009 in New York City. Wali-i-Musi was captured by the U.S. Navy shortly before snipers killed the three remaining pirates holding Phillips hostage on a lifeboat launched from his cargo vessel, the Maersk Alabama He faces charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Check out this video of smiling Somali criminal mastermind malnourished 16-year old Abdul Kadhir Muse arriving in the U.S. to face trial. I counted about 20 guards from the NYPD and FBI escorting him which, I must say, comes across as a bit excessive. 

This makes me worried that the inevitable U.S. media circus around Muse's trial -- the first U.S. piracy prosecution in over a century -- is going to try to paint him as some kind of arch-terrorist of the seas. He's unlikely to fit the bill. Muse's country has been wracked by civil war and anarchy since before he was born and he's quite possibly smiling because he's happy to be out of it and getting enough to eat for once.

Check out this video of smiling Somali criminal mastermind malnourished 16-year old Abdul Kadhir Muse arriving in the U.S. to face trial. I counted about 20 guards from the NYPD and FBI escorting him which, I must say, comes across as a bit excessive. 

This makes me worried that the inevitable U.S. media circus around Muse’s trial — the first U.S. piracy prosecution in over a century — is going to try to paint him as some kind of arch-terrorist of the seas. He’s unlikely to fit the bill. Muse’s country has been wracked by civil war and anarchy since before he was born and he’s quite possibly smiling because he’s happy to be out of it and getting enough to eat for once.

Muse should certainly be prosecuted for participating in a criminal act that endangered the lives of U.S. sailors, but it would be unfortunate if too much attention were paid to the trial of one teenage gang member while the hellish situation that produced him continues unabated.

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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