Afore I forget
FAUXNews last week did one of their breathless headlines on a ship captured by Somali pirates who got a bit more than they bargained for:
On Aug. 21, the pirates, armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, stole onto the decks of the merchant vessel Iran Deyanat.
They ransacked the ship and searched the containers. But in the days following the hijacking, a number of them fell ill and died, suffering skin burns and hair loss, according to reports.
The pirates were sickened because of their contact with the seized cargo, according to Hassan Osman, the Somali minister of Minerals and Oil, who met with the pirates to facilitate negotiations.
Of course, being good Party comrades, FAUX decides it's WMDS:
Chemical experts say the reports sound inconsistent with chemical poisoning, but may reflect the effects of exposure to radiation.
"It's baffling," said Jonathan Tucker, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. "I'm not aware of any chemical agent that produces loss of hair within a few days. That's more suggestive of high levels of radioactive waste."
OOOH SOMALI PIRATES SNIFF OUT IRAN NUKES - DEVELOPING...
Of course, there's an alternate explanation. Earlier in the article there's a comment from the U.S. Department of Treasury about the alleged links of the company that owns the vessel the pirates seized as being used "to facilitate the shipment of weapons and chemicals for use in Iran's missile program".
The Iranian missile, the Shahab, uses a fuel mixture of nitric acid and a chemical called UDMH, which is a derivative of the classic rocket fuel hydrazine. All three chemicals, nitric acid, UDMH, and hydrazine, are highly toxic and damaging to human skin.
My guess? The pirates got into a shipment of either nitric acid or UDMH, not knowing what they were dealing with, and ended up badly burned. End of story, no speculation about secret shipments of radioactive materials necessary.
(And guys? Iran isn't Iraq. They haven't been under 13 years of sanctions, and there's no U.N. inspection regime combing the country. Iran does indeed have a well-established chemical weapons program; they don't need to be sneaking it in overseas.)