Dateline - August 15, 2009, New Orleans (History Network reporting)
Today a large cargo vessel was brought into territorial waters of the United States by a group of individuals known as "The Jolly Black Crew" flying a black skull and cross-bones on the background of a Confederate States of America flag which is their company logo. This organization is a privately held corporation that started up after Congress offered Letters of Marque and Reprisals against all terrorist owned air and naval vessels meeting certain tonnage and capacity requirements. With a bounty of $10B "The Jolly Black Crew" has established the ownership of a Liberian flagged freighter to the approval of the US Navy and the Department of Justice.
Operating on an oil platform bought from ConTexIble for salvage and reclamation rights, this organization had the platform towed outside of territorial waters of the US and incorporated themselves as "The Jolly Black Crew". The CEO of this company is Sgt. Alexander Corrida, US Army (ret.), his brother Clarke, an ex-oil rigger, and their crew of various individuals that seem to have a wide array of skills. It is rumored that one of the large information storage companies, possibly TRW, has signed on for contingency fees based on 15% of the gross of each of the first ten vessels brought in via the Congressional authorization. This group is operating as privateers, although they claim to be a more general security and goods retrieval service.
It is believed that "The Jolly Black Crew" has ongoing operations in Africa, where it is rumored that two 5-man teams are operating to bring in cargo jets owned by al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations listed in the Letters of Marque program. Contacted on this, Sgt. Corrida has said, "No Comment". Further when asked about other countries, notably the United Kingdom, Iraq, Pakistan, India and the Philippines offering similar though much smaller bounties, Sgt. Corrida has responded, "You can ask those folks about what they are doing."
Started in 2007 as part of a campaign promise by the Republican Leadership, the GOP rode in to larger majorities in both Houses of Congress based on their tough stance and Letters of Marque Program. Largely derided by many news organizations and leftward leaning groups, the GOP stuck with a deep sense within the electorate that Congress was not serious about Terrorism. Growing out of the disgust with earmarks in the Federal budget, also known as pork, many Senators and Congressmen vowed that they would redirect all pork projects under their purview to fund a Letters of Marque program. The GOP took the election slogan, "Safety at home, Pork is for terrorists" and won wide margins in most states, and even put such stalwarts as New York and California 'back in play'.
Many critics have claimed that even though this is specifically allowed under the Constitution, that it was illegal under various laws and Treaties. Department of Justice experts noted that if a law or Treaty violates the powers granted in the Constitution, then that law or Treaty is void in those areas. Until the Constitution is amended, the DoJ spokesman noted, "The American people have the right to offer such programs through their elected representatives."
"The Jolly Black Crew" was the first organization to sign up for this program, and even offered 100,000 shares on eBay for bid starting at $5 each. By the end of the last sale of 100 shares, bidding had skyrocketed to $300/share, as it was seen as a novelty item. Sgt. Corrida reports that the company considers 50,000 shares to be 1 full-time person in their crew and all proceeds are divided evenly amongst all individuals of the company. When asked what the allotment will be of the $10B award he said, "Well, after paying off debts, putting real money into some bonds, starting up our second platform and other expenses, and monies to other investors, there will be about $6B left. Along with the shareholder representatives, that will be divided by about 120. Shareholders can expect to get a $500 payment per share from this vessel."
So to those holding "The Jolly Black Crew" shares, your first payment check will be arriving. Free and clear of all taxation by the US Government and prohibited from being taxed by any of the States.
This is Christopher Jennings via PodCast for History News.
The above is fiction.
Congress can start this with legislation TOMORROW, if it so chose, under this part of the US Constitution:
- To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
And I think that the program itself would be a winner for the first party wanting to establish its premier security credentials in the fight on terrorists. Totally Constitutional, thus totally legal. Money sequestered from earmarks into this program and held until payout. I am sure that the American people will be more than happy to pay out more if the program proves successful.
Congress *can* actually help.
If they would grow a backbone.