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A "white lobster" bust in Britain

The British border agency discovered 728 pounds of cocaine off the southern coast of the country on Sunday, floating in bags attached to lobster pots. The three men charged with the conspiracy to import the drugs are due in court today, where they will likely confess to the crime, but remain ignorant of their invoking the drug's notorious double entendre: "the white lobster."

In the Caribbean, where the ban on coca leaves and the burgeoning cocaine trade are hot topics, many call cocaine "the white lobster." Faced with a law enforcement crackdown, Colombian traffickers often are forced to release their drug supplies into the ocean. From there, currents bring the bulging packages to the shores of some of the most impoverished surrounding regions, where fishing communities collect and sell them to make a living.

The contrast here elucidates just how vastly different the role of drug trafficking is in different areas of the world. The cocaine trade requires a crackdown; but certainly that crackdown should be executed very differently in countries like Nicaragua, where the presence of "white lobster" belies enormous financial hardship, than in Britain, where lobster -- in this case -- is merely the fancy floatie for 9 million dollars of narcotic loot.

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Mission accomplished?

The Obama administration has bent over backwards this week to protect Israel from the worst blowback from Monday's deadly commando raid on the Miva Marmara, the Turkish ship that tried and failed to break the Gaza blockade. U.S. officials successfully watered down a bid by Turkey to harshly condemn Israel for the raid, and headed off demands for an international investigation. Now, the Obama folks are proposing instead that Israel establish its own independent inquiry into the flotilla deaths and allow only an American "observer" to follow the proceedings. Seems like an artful solution to me -- protecting Israeli sovereignty while preserving the credibility of the investigation.

But some Iraelis don't see this as a reasonable compromise:

Calls in Israel for a commission of inquiry were also described by government sources as "exaggerated responses," and they warned against "self-flagellation."

Sources in the political leadership and in the General Staff reject the idea that the operation against the flotilla was a failure and argue it achieved its aim because it stopped the ships from reaching the Gaza Strip.

Kind of makes you wonder at the level of strategic thinking in the Israeli political leadership and military, doesn't it? Here you have mounting international pressure to rethink the Gaza blockade and a bizarre situation whereby a dubious Turkish Islamist group and a banned terrorist organization are winning the PR war, and some top Israeli leaders think this is all a huge success? Really, fellas?