Some comments on the Jita 4-4 anti-smuggling summit

First of all, thanks to CONCORD and the various organizing committees for arranging for this important Summit and to inviting capsuleers to various discussions and roundtables so that we could voice our viewpoints and concerns. Smuggling on the space lanes could not have been comprehensively discussed without capsuleer input, both live and virtual.

Smuggler activity in our fringes, in Molden Heath especially, has for years been a concern in the Republic. The turf wars between criminal cartels and the illegal and untraditional drug traffic and piracy have caused unnecessary suffering and destabilized the already fragile region. News about cluster-wide co-operation between criminal organizations in smuggling and piracy are a cause of concern and it was good to hear about CONCORD also taking note of this.

That said, I am also concerned about some representatives making comments that seem to be aimed not at criminal cartels as such, but at enforcing on various borders and contested territories the laws of one jurisdiction over the other on what exactly is legal traffic and/or sanctioned warfare.

I understand the limits are difficult to draw where jurisdictions mix, but traditionally (if such a word can be used about a thing that is only a couple of decades old) independent capsuleer traffic has been immune to much control from CONCORD when it comes to trade goods and passengers transported across contested zones, enforcement of local law rather exercised by local authorities. Now several voices wished to use SARO/CONCORD manpower to enforce their local trade and combat regulations. This is a significant step up of force and interference, and a notable risk both for legitimate humanitarian and resistance operations, and for capsuleer traditional independence.

It is a real “baby with the bathwater” situation here, and I for one hope CONCORD proper will look away from such blatant promotion of national interests on the pretext of international space lane safety. CONCORD must stay in its lane and not try and enforce its regulations over all local jurisdiction.

Room must be left for individual capsuleers and organizations to exercise their own judgment in accordance to traditional regulations on capsuleer independence, as well as for loyal forces to decide case by case which actions best serve their tribes and nations.

Elsebeth Rhiannon
CEO, SoERR Roughriders
Head Diplomat, Electus Matari
Capsuleer Consultant to CONCORD subcommittee 13A, Interstellar Anti-Smuggler and Counter-Piracy Conference, Jita 4-4, YC124

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I would firstly like to agree with the sentiments expressed that recent moves by CONCORD, including the organisation of the recent capsuleer-inclusive summit and discussions therein, have been positive and welcome developments in our attempts to ensure the rule of law in New Eden. I am very much saddened by the fact that I was unable to attend and contribute personally to the initiative, yet I am encouraged by the lively and well-spirited debate that has seemingly been produced.

I do, however, wish to alleviate some of the concerns expressed here about the perceived increase in scope of the jurisdictions of SARO and the DED more generally. The practical realities of modern astropolitics in New Eden have been shaped by an intrinsic need - brought about by the ever increasing proximity of our nations - for economic and political harmonisation as they find themselves more reliant on cooperation and dialogue to maintain a still-fragile yet deeply-productive peace. These needs have become perhaps even more pronounced following the events of YC110, such as the emergence of the Elder Fleet and the near total destruction of international order that it so strongly threatened to bring about. Whilst such harmonisation is needed, it would be incorrect to state that it does not indeed present many complexities and challenges in its implementation. I fear the post above, however, both overstates those perceived threats to national security and downplays the benefits for our nations of such endeavours.

It can be argued that an important precondition for a more balanced understanding of the benefits of CONCORD’s increasing role in modern international affairs is to see both it and its sub-institutions less as static entities, to be resisted and contained, but rather as dynamic, active processes that we ourselves shape through our position as constituent members via its founding treaties. Indeed, we commit a grave error in judgement when give in to the more pessimistic view, thinking in terms of ‘surrendering’ control or sovereignty over local customs when we observe the expansion of CONCORD’s roles or responsibilities, rather than in terms of investing in a larger sovereignty that itself can benefit our nations’ interests.

Illegal smuggling is not merely a matter of internal security, it is very often an international affair and an effective response to it in this age of close-proximity between nations will necessarily need a harmonised, cross-border response. The role of CONCORD’s instituions, DED and SARO in this instance, should be seen as an opportunity, not as a threat.

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