Wednesday, April 6, 2022


(NB: This story is at least third-hand, so I can't vouch for it.)

This is no shit:

Over forty years ago, there was a coup in Liberia. The president was reportedly murderd in his bed. Most of the senior officials were given an essentially meaningless trial and executed.

Liberia, then and now, was one of the more favored nations for flags of convenience. As an aside, all merchant ships have to be registered in one nation or another and they are supposed to operate under the rules of that nation. Liberia was somewhat rumored to have the rule that the only effective regulation was paying the fees for use of the Liberian flag.

The post-coup government of Liberia was basically a bunch of heavily armed amateurs. At one point, they discussed the matter of the Liberian-registered mechant fleet with officials from the American embassy. The Liberians announced that they planned to order every Liberian-registered ship to sail to Monrovia for inspection. One of the American officals, possibly the naval attache, said that would be a bad idea, for the ships would merely paint out "Monrovia" on their sterns, paint "Balboa" and hoist the Panamanian flag before the day was out.

The Liberians were shocked. One of them said that would be illegal.

The naval attache shrugged and observed that it was also illegal to shoot the president.

That argument carried the day.

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