Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Liberia weighs in on Taylor

Interesting to note that the interim Liberian Government is starting to put some pressure on Nigeria re: Charles Taylor. It called for the review of the exile agreement of former president Charles Taylor after indictaing that he has been breaking the terms of his asylum in Nigeria through daily phone calls back to Liberia and orders to supporters that could threaten the peace of the country and the region.

Letter from Zim

A letter from Zim...

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF.

The darkest hour is always before dawn.We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next...

I mean they are actually plowing down brick and mortar houses and one white family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was "too close to the airport"..so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help?Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help - but I feel so cut off from you al l knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable.

There is no ways we can leave so that is not an option. I just ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all.You can't just be in denial and pretend its not going on.

To be frank with you, its genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are IN level seven (level 8 is after its happened and everyone is in denial).

If you don't want me to tell you these things then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation.We need you to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa. This governm ent has GONE MAD and you need to publicize our plight or how can we be rescued?You can't just say "oh you attract your own reality". The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We alreadysupport 8 people and a child on this property and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water. How can I take another family of 4 - and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?I am not asking you for money, or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and I want you to pass on our news and pictures and don't just press the delete button for God's sake. Help in th e way that you know how. Face the reality of what is going on here and SEND OUT THE WORD. The more people that know about it, the more chance we have of United Nations coming to our aid.Please stop ignoring and denying what's happening. Would you like to be protected from the truth and then if we are eliminated how would you feel? Surely you would say "if only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way". I know we chose to stay here and so we "deserve" what's coming to us. For now we ourselves, have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those I can't fight for my rights.We no longer have SW radio which told us everything that was happening because the government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of everyone's homes which are supposed to be "illegal but which a huge percentage of them actually do have licenses for. Please my children - have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can be DONE.

Darfur Peace and Accountability Act

A bipartisan groups of legislators in the House and Senate is trying to reach a compromise on a new piece of Darfur legislation - this bill the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act - tracks the earlier Darfur Genocide Accountability Act to a large degree.

It does tone down a few areas where the Administration has concerns.

Important from an accountability standpoint is the good ICC language.

Bolton still in limbo

Interesting that Bolton still hasn't been recess appointed - I wonder why?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Breaking news from England

Indicates that the top British military commander at the start of the Iraq war believes that if he or senior soldiers are charged with war crimes, Tony Blair will join then in the dock.
The furor sprung from a recent leaked memo indicating that the top government lawyer was not convinced that the war was legal.

This is huge news and goodness knows what impact it will have on the elections...

Friday, April 29, 2005

From the UK v Ireland (1978) case on whether torture works

Wanted to share this footnote with you from the European Commission case Ireland v. UK (1978)

Footnote 19:

(19) Prefacing the passage from paragraph 167 of the Judgment quoted
first in my paragraph 34, and which sets out the Court's notion of
what is not torture, are some lines qualifying this by an "although"
clause, and stating that although the object of the five techniques
was "the extraction of confessions, the naming of others and/or
information, and although they were used systematically", they did not
cause the necessary intensity of suffering, etc. This qualification,
in slightly different terms, also precedes the second passage quoted
in my same paragraph.

It is not clear what the purpose of the reference to extracting
confessions, the naming of others, etc. is. If it is intended to
indicate that the existence of such objectives is a necessary
ingredient before the treatment concerned can constitute torture, such
an idea must be firmly rejected. Torture is torture whatever its
object may be, or even if it has none, other than to cause pain,
provided it is inflicted by force - (of course the suffering
experienced in the dentist's chair, however intense, is not
technically torture because the patient submits to it of his own
volition).

However, the real question suggested by the references to the
objectives of the torture is whether there can ever be an objective
justifying its use. In strict terms of Article 3 (art. 3) of the
Convention, the answer must be in the negative: the prohibition is
unqualified and therefore absolute - see paragraph 14 above. Yet there
have been cases in which the extraction of information under torture
or extreme ill-treatment has led to the saving of hundreds, even
thousands of lives. On this matter the temperate and carefully
balanced separate opinion of Mr. J.E.S. Fawcett, President of the
European Commission, recorded on pp. 495-7 of the Commission's report
in the present case, repays careful study. (European Commission of Human Rights, Application No. 5310/71, Ireland against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Report of the Commission, January 25, 1976.
Mr. Fawcett's remarks: pp. 495-497

Bolton

Well the President came out in support of JB during his press conference last night. I think that Bolton is in trouble and would be very surprised to see his nomination get out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation. We will find out whether I am right very soon!

Arnold supports the minutemen...

This story really troubled me - in addition to the support of non law enforcement types carrying out law enforcement type functions the posture of the Californian Governor re: water being made available to those crossing the border is massively disappointing.

Check these excerpts out:

"Said Schwarzenegger, "What we're doing basically is, by not really securing the borders, we're saying: 'Look, here are the various water stations. Here are the places where you can cross the borders. Here is where we're going to help you.' The whole system is set up to really invite people to come in here illegally, and that has to stop."

"Enrique Morones, president of the Border Angels, an immigrant rights group, responded to the governor's comments. "I assure you, nobody is coming here for the water, and the stations we have set up by various organizations is a humanitarian effort."We don't respond to Arnold Schwarzenegger; we respond to a higher authority. We're a nonpolitical, humanitarian organization."

Check out the new HRW report

The report is well worth looking at - as usual it is high quality.

RE: Abu Gharib

I wonder what the human rights community should be doing to break through with the American public?