U.S. Practicing Sea and Air Piracy

August 24, 2014

On August 4, as part of its Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), the U.S. military kicked off joint naval maneuvers called "Fortune Guard" with South Korea, Japan and Australia. The joint military exercises, which took place off the coast of Hawaii, included mock "stop and search" exercises involving the "interdiction" of ships and planes.

In a speech at the opening ceremony, Eric Rosenbach explained that, "PSI exercises are an important way that endorsing nations demonstrate this intention to act while enhancing their capability and capacity to do so....Exercise Fortune Guard represents the launch of a new level of commitment to PSI in the Asia-Pacific. Each year, one of the Asia-Pacific exercise rotation partners will host a PSI exercise, offering the region a key platform for cooperation on the critical threat of WMD proliferation and for the building of capacities needed to effectively counter this threat. Fortune Guard is the first exercise in this series and we are appreciative of our partners' efforts in helping to plan this dynamic exercise that will focus on sharing skills and best practices related to interdiction – from rapid, national-level decision-making to operational tactics and procedures."

During his keynote speech, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. said, "PSI has brought together an international community capable of acting at a moment’s notice who are committed to planning and training for any possible contingencies or eventualities, and who are willing to work together, government to government, to facilitate rapid decision-making...And now we’re upping our game, as we gather for the first exercise under the annual Asia-Pacific exercise rotation, starting here in the United States, then next year New Zealand, then Australia, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Japan."

Such "interdiction" exercises are targeting North Korea and other so-called rogue states by threatening to board and seize their vessels in international waters and airspace. Any attempt to force down planes or board ships, however, would clearly violate existing laws regarding the safe passage of ships on the open seas. In other words, "Fortune Guard" aims at instituting a regime of air and sea piracy.

Because PSI is illegal it has no permanent institutional structure and is often described as “an activity, not an organization." The PSI was launched by the Bush administration in 2003.

"Fortune Guard" is another signal that the U.S. is dangerously stepping up its aggression against North Korea. The Obama administration has targeted North Korea as part of its international war against any nation and people which refuse to follow the dictates of U.S. imperialism.