Friday, December 23, 2005


What About the Rest ?

Dutch trader Frans van Anraat has been given a 15 year sentence for selling chemicals to Saddam. I hope they go after everyone who sold him weapons and chemicals then. Certain governments of the world spring to mind...

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Guily or Not-Guilty? Depends on the Court

So Hoogstraten was cleared of murder in the criminal courts. But was found guilty in the civil courts. So which one is right? I know the difference in how the civil and criminal courts determine guilt, but it doesn't stop it making it any less ridiculous. He either did it or didn't do it.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Another Complete Non-Answer from the Govt

Jack Straw seems to be competing with Condi Rice about who can say the most but actually say the least. After the "we do not torture" waste-of-hot air coming out her mouth, Jack Straw now gives us his reassurances regarding rendition:-

"There are no records of the CIA flying terror suspects through the UK to face torture, so we won't have an enquiry."

So all he's saying is "there are no records". Apart from every other reason that this sentence is worth absolutely nothing, is the fact that this is the whole point - they did it without anyone knowing! Why does he bother speaking if this is all he can say? We can only hope that his henchmen didn't decide to keep their eyes closed (literally) while looking for such records.

More details here in the article from the BBC.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Waste of Time and Taxpayers Money

From the article on the BBC:-

London Mayor Ken Livingstone is to face a charge of bringing his office into disrepute over comments he made to a Jewish journalist.

The mayor was caught on tape comparing the reporter to a "concentration camp guard", outside a party in February.

Okay, it wasn't the politest things he could have said, but what happened to freedom of expression? There are (at the last count) approximately 10 billion things more important going on in the world. And how much is this costing anyway? And who is "the Standards Board of England"?


Britains Own Guantanamo

90 days? 28 days? Four men have been held for four years. And never mind being charged, they haven't even been questioned, not even once. Why is this allowed to happen? Their detention was ruled illegal by the Lords a year ago, but they are still under house-arrest even now. In true cover-up style, the Government spokesmen said "We don't discuss individual cases". What a convenient argument that is.

Full article here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Underhand Tactics Used By Companies

I've just received a renewal notification for my about-to-expire subscription to Linux Format, published by the Future Publishing megacorporation. I had subscribed for a year, and it's not a bad magazine, but I don't want to subscribe again.

This "renewal notification" is on red paper (similar to the kind of letters you get when you haven't paid your council tax on time and there is a danger of going to prison), has "Payment Due" in big letters, an "amount due", and lots of sentences starting with "Failure to pay will result in..." This is the kind of letter that, when you open it, your first thought is "s**t, what have I forgotten to pay now?" However, it's only further investigation that reveals it to be a cheap attempt to make it look like I owe them money and must pay immediately. In small faint writing on the back it admits that "my subscription has expired, and failure to pay this will result in magazines not being delivered". So that's all. Well, thankyou for the worry.

It's this kind of underhand tactic that is so typical of todays commercial culture; companies will stop as low as it takes to try and trick you into handing over money. I'm not re-subscribing, and now I'm not buying any more Linux Format magazines.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Why Do People Read Newspapers?

I often ask myself this question. Just why? Do they think they contain news? Or facts? I've long hated newspapers for their baseless opinions, exaggerations and plain old and incorrect facts. I must admit, I only discovered myself today that the headline in the Sun just before the 90-day vote ("Tell Tony He's Right", with a bloodstained bomb victim covering the page) turned out to be pure propeganda - the man who's image (without his permission) actually thinks the complete opposite. Now, if I was ever caught in a terrorist attack, my greatest fear would be being photographed by a tabloid and used as a puppet in their agenda.

What makes me more angry is when newspapers claim to be representing the people. They certainly don't represent me, and just when do the journalists actually find out what public opinion is? The leader "TREACHEROUS MPs betrayed the British people last night by rejecting new laws to combat terror" is so loaded with [the complete opposite of my] opinions that it makes me want to vomit. Do people only read newspapers because they like to be told what their opinion should be?

Still, the Sun statistics on how they claim to speak for the masses is nicely deconstructed here, which makes me feel a bit better.

Friday, December 09, 2005



Remember kids, don't protest within 1km of Parliament without authorization from the police or you will be prosecuted!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Some Good News!

At least someone in charge can appreciate that there is a danger of torture becoming common practise and that must be stopped right now. The Law Lords of ruled that evidence obtained by using torture cannot be admitted. If they had allowed it, that would have started a snowball effect of torture being used everywhere.


Getting Round the Law

Here's a few choice quotes from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in her defence of US Policy:-

We must track down terrorists who seek refuge in areas where governments cannot take effective action, including where the terrorists cannot in practice be reached by the ordinary processes of law. [the law is so inconvenient sometimes.]

The captured terrorists of the 21st Century do not fit easily into traditional systems of criminal or military justice, which were designed for different needs. [Why not?]

In some situations a terrorist suspect can be extradited according to traditional judicial procedures. But there have long been many other cases where, for some reason, the local government cannot detain or prosecute a suspect, and traditional extradition is not a good option. [Because then people would know about it.]
The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured.['Will be' tortured? As opposed to 'may' be tortured? That's okay then. It's subtle wording like this that mean technically she's not lying, but the differencebetween the two is a massive gulf.]

For starters, all of her speech implies that everyone captured and renditioned (sp?) by the US is guilty of being a terrorist. Is that true, Ms Rice?

[And for for record, she still goes on about torture and how America doesn't do it, which is all completely irrelevent given their definition of torture].


Something Smells Fishy in Europe...

After the internation furore regarding secret CIA prisons, suddenly everything is okay!

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the meeting was "very satisfactory for all of us".

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, one of those most concerned by the issue, also said he was "very satisfied".
Something doesn't seem right. All that debate and discussion, and now everybody's happy. Here's a couple of conspiracy theories:-

  1. Maybe the US had time to close them all and then deny they ever existed.
  2. Maybe certain European Governements were involved, so it is in there interests to suddenly play it down.
  3. Maybe the US it putting on the pressure.
Either way, I can't believe that there is no issue here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Rendition, Torture, etc...

Here's one account of rendition in The Times Online.

You have to be so careful when listening to what leaders say, especially when talking about rendition and torture. Here's a few choice quotes from this article in the Washington Post, where her remarks, on the face of it, seem to imply that all is well with the world:-

Ms. Rice insisted that the U.S. government "does not authorize or condone torture" of detainees. What she didn't say is that President Bush's political appointees have redefined the term "torture" so that it does not cover practices, such as simulated drowning, mock execution and "cold cells," that have long been considered abusive by authorities such as her State Department.

Ms. Rice said, "It is also U.S. policy that authorized interrogation will be consistent with U.S. obligations under the Convention Against Torture, which prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." What she didn't explain is that, under this administration's eccentric definition of "U.S. obligations," cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is not prohibited as long as it does not occur on U.S. territory.

It's a good job Germany didn't win the war, or what kind of world would be living in?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


108 People Have Died in US Custody

It's old news (from March this year), but none-the-less horrific. 108 detainees have died in US custody, 26 of them murder (as of that date - could be more by now)

If you're feeling up to it, you can read about their injuries here. I think unless you were present though, it must be impossible to even imagine the sheer horror and cruelty of what must have gone on.

Surely at least one of these must qualify as torture as defined by Bush?

A few more related news reports here and here, and lots of interesting facts here.


Whats Wrong With the World, Part 1

Our leaders are our role models, not directly but indirectly and subconciously. We don't actually look up to them, but their constant presence in the news means their actions and decisions are noticed far more than anyone elses, and no doubt affect us. So when they are greedy (re: voting themselves pay rises), or try and wriggle out of the truth (re: WMDs), or try and draw a line under any previous indeiscretions and continue as if nothing has happened (re: David Blunkett), or accept what would be bribes under any other name (re: donations to political parties), what kind of message does that send to the populace? How can we blame teenagers or criminals for their actions when dishonest behaviour goes unpunished and sometimes even seems to be rewarded (re: David Blunkett again)?

I don't think it's limited to leaders either. Companies perform actions that are constantly reported in the news. Companies are obviously made up of people, so we perceive them as the actions of those people. So if they can get away with unsociable behaviour and criminal actions, why shouldn't the rest of us? Why should we perform altruistic actions? Companies don't, and look how much money they have got!

Monday, December 05, 2005


US finally admits using CIA flights to move terror suspects

Who can trust the US Administration? A few choice quotes from the BBC report:-

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has denied that the US uses CIA flights to transport terror suspects to other countries for torture.
Since torture has now been defined only as bringing the subject to the point of near death or causing permanent injury, denying the use of torture is pretty much irrelevent.

But, before boarding a plane to Germany, she refused to say whether the CIA ran secret prisons abroad.
Far be it for me to guess, but it seems that whenever a question is refused to be answered by the US administration, it normally means the worst, i.e. true.

Ms Rice refused to address the question directly.
Ditto. The most worrying aspect of this is why do they need to fly the detainees out the country. Who knows what laws they are getting around.

I'm not a terrorist-apologist, but in the face of such hyprocisy, abuse of internation law, arrogance and english-language-redefining outright lying, what hope has your average Joe Terrorist got against the American machine except to try and take out as many troops lives as possible in Iraq? It's not like the world is worth living in at the moment.

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