ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for April 25th, 2011

Middle East Roll Up.

leave a comment »

There’s a lot of things going on, and normally I would like to do separate posts, but following Bob’s shining example, here is a slew of Middle East and related issues:

The Syrian President (and presumably many of his entourage) might end up at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, according to the Torygraph, for their murderous behaviour. Chance would be a fine thing. At latest count 350+ killed by the Syrian regime.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Daily News relates that in Saudi Arabia preparations are underway for a Royal visit to Bahrain and then presumably on to the Royal wedding in London, with blood still dripping from their fingers.

In Royal matters, numerous bloodsoaked dictators are coming over to meet the newly weds, share canopies and chat about how best to shoot the plebs, or whatever counts for small talk in royal circles nowadays. The Bahraini Crown Prince said, regrettably he couldn’t come as killing protesters was a more pressing matter at the moment, or something like that.

We shouldn’t forget that the Bahraini rulers are very close to the Royal family, particularly Charles.

They are very chummy with David Cameron too.

Elsewhere, forget Gaddafi’s “ceasefire” his forces are lobbing rockets into Misratah, killing civilians all over the place.

As Syrian Army tanks move in to slaughter the people of Daraa youths show their contempt by throwing rocks at the tanks.

Modern slavery exists, as Burmese workers are enslaved in the Thai fishing fleet.

Fawaz Turki on the intolerant streak continues to afflict Palestinian society.

We should not forget the revolts have spread from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran and to Mauritania.

Reuters has more on events in Nouakchott:

“NOUAKCHOTT, April 25 (Reuters) – Security forces using teargas and batons dispersed several hundred anti-government protesters in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Monday, the most serious clash in the West African state for nearly two months.

Inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, critics of President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz began street protests in late February in the poverty-stricken desert country, although their number has rarely risen above one thousand.

“Mauritanians are fed up with this regime, and it is time that we said it loud and clear,” Cheikh Ould Jiddou, a leader of the protest, told Reuters.”

Jeff Goldberg is good on the Mysteries of Richard Goldstone.

Oh, just in case anyone asked, the US already has sanctions on Syria,

Gitmo, 150 Totally Innocent People.

with 6 comments

In olden times Kings and despots would invariably imprison their opponents. They would be thrown into a dark dungeon and forgotten about.

More recently in the 17th and 18th centuries the French King would use lettres de cachet to lock up those that annoyed or offended him.

The threat of arbitrary arrest or unfair imprisonment was one of the major grievances with the remnants of feudalism. In modern society, wherever possible, those arrested have certain rights to 1) be treated fairly 2) to know the charges against them 3) to receive a fair trial etc.

In fact, the Americans went so far as to enshrine many of these rights in the fifth and sixth amendments to the US Constitution:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.”

Rather commendable and forward thinking when you consider it, not forgetting Miranda.

However, all of these wonderful checks and balances which have developed in America were of little use to the detainees of Guantánamo Bay, or Gitmo as it is known.

Hundreds and hundreds of individuals were captured, kidnapped, many times just simply taken by local police forces or security services then handed over to the CIA (or the equivalent) and moved for rendition somewhere.

Rendition is the polite expression for forced travel and torture.

It is not quite as catchy as lettres de cachet, but the results are often similar. Instead of a dungeon the detainees would eventually end up in Gitmo, in a legal limbo, unaware of the charges against them and with no legal recourse until recently.

And all of these shameful practices have been going on since 2002, some nine years ago, and we know from recently released documents that at least 150 of the detainees were totally innocent.

The NPR’s take on it, Military Documents Detail Life At Guantanamo.

The NY Times, Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees.

This is the Wikileaks page on it.

The Washington Post’s Interactive graphic tour of Guantanamo Bay.

This is not good, Detainees Transferred Or Freed Despite ‘High Risk’.

Update 1: The Guardian has a good page on Gitmo.

Written by modernityblog

25/04/2011 at 04:21

The Web And Super-Injunctions.

leave a comment »

The Beeb has a good article on how the web is defeating super-injunctions:

“Injunctions have allowed entertainers, sport stars, actors and many more to protect what they see as their right to privacy from the press.

And this has left many in traditional media, from The Guardian and The Daily Mail to The Sun, furious about what they can, and what they cannot, report.

But on the internet, especially on social media, rumours about who the proceedings could be about circle and grow without any fear of legal reprisal.

Just the simple use of a search engine often brings back hundreds of results, each reporting (though unconfirmed) they know who the person is and naming the identity of those guarded by law. “

Holocaust Denier Hawks His Wares Around The US.

leave a comment »

I am indebted to Adam Holland for pointing me towards this marvellous post from Stephen Lemons on David Irving’s latest attempt to sell his tatty books across America:

“After I arrived, I walked into the “Brighton” room where Irving had set up to give a lecture about Nazi Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. I introduced myself to Irving, who didn’t recall me immediately, until he was reminded by one of the attendees of the brouhaha at Jerry’s, where he wouldn’t allow me to observe his event.

He demanded to know how I found out his location. I informed him that it was pretty much common knowledge at this point, particularly with a whole army of gendarmes outside.

Fuming, Irving first ordered me out of the room, then out of the hotel. He went to complain to the cops present, but I squared my being there with the management, so his whining fell on deaf ears.

He paced about the lobby for a while, glowering at me, obviously ticked, but utterly impotent.

I counted about 15 attendees, but there could have been a few more. Most of the faces were familiar. Local, neo-Nazi Nationalist Coalition leader Jesse Curnow was there, as was nativist nutbar Laine Lawless.

Lawless has taken up the cause of defending convicted child-murderer and minutewoman Shawna Forde, who was sentenced to death in February for her part in a deadly home-invasion raid in Arivaca that killed a 9-year old girl and the girl’s father. “

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a profile of Irving.