All entries for Tuesday 09 May 2006

May 09, 2006

I'd hate to piss off Amnesty International…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/4754515.stm

…but I figure a guy with a beard like that doesn't really care what other people think of him.

I'm not a fan of the death penalty. But let's leave that aside for the moment because one of my biggest problems with it is who makes the judgement that the person in question definitely needs the death penalty. You'd have to look a pretty long way down my list of suggestions before you'd come across Zimbabwe and even then it'd be written in orange crayon in the handwriting of Mr Mugabe.

So Mr Lucas…because I'm sure you're reading this…I would agree that the issue of the death penalty is one which could be seen from a number of perspectives. However, Zimbabwe probably can't be trusted to judge adaquately who should receive the death penalty. Unless you disagree, Mr Lucas? You obviously do so let's have a quick look at some Amnesty International stuff on Zimbabwe…it's all taken from their website and very easy to find so feel free to look for yourself:

Break-down of the rule of law

Intimidation of and attacks on judicial officials and lawyers intensified. Judges and magistrates who demonstrated judicial independence were threatened with investigation and disciplinary action for alleged misconduct. They were also subjected to intimidation and attacks for rulings perceived to be favourable to MDC supporters.

In August, Chipinge district magistrate Walter Chikwanha was dragged from his courtroom by people believed to be “war veterans” and assaulted. The attack was reportedly in response to his dismissal of an application by the state to remand in custody five MDC officials accused of burning two government tractors, on the grounds that the state did not have sufficient evidence.

Police involvement in abuses

The government intensified its misuse of the police to repress freedoms of expression, association and assembly. In the run–up to the presidential election, opposition rallies and other campaign gatherings were marred by political violence perpetrated by ZANU–PF youth militia, often with the direct collusion of the police. Police officers also actively committed human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, assaults and torture. The police failed to intervene to protect communities under attack by ZANU–PF militia, while protecting militia members alleged to have carried out assaults. Suspected perpetrators of these human rights abuses who were apprehended were not brought to justice, nor were police officers who colluded with or acquiesced in violations by the militia. Police who acted impartially were purged from service or transferred to inferior postings or administrative positions.

Torture and ill-treatment

More than 1,000 cases of torture and ill–treatment were reported during 2002. Victims were primarily targeted for their perceived or real affiliation with the political opposition. Among those responsible were members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the CIO and the Zimbabwe National Army.

ZANU–PF youth militia, trained in national youth service camps established throughout the country, were deployed to suburbs and rural areas in the run–up to elections and were implicated in the widespread harassment and torture of the political opposition. The number of reported cases of rape and other forms of sexual torture perpetrated against women suspected of supporting the political opposition increased. This intimidation and political violence created a climate of fear, and of impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses.
Five men – Tendai Maluzi, Cosmos and Barbabas Ndira, Tom Spicer and Reuben Tichareva – were arrested in September and charged under the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) with public violence allegedly in connection with an incident where police were stoned by a crowd in a Harare suburb. All five were MDC youth members. They were reportedly beaten and tortured while in police custody for three days. Tom Spicer was tortured with electric shocks and beaten on the soles of his feet.

I hope Amnesty don't mind that I took that from their website. Now I'm not saying that we have to believe them or the BBC or the UN, EU, UK…well pretty much nearly everyone, isn't it? However, we should probably err on the side of caution…y'know just to be safe.

If you didn't have time to read that Mr Lucas then let me assure you that what you're doing is sick or at worst a little bit iffy. In fairness you probably haven't watched a news report in decades and thus are probably blissfully ignorant of the problems in the world. If only everywhere was as blissful as Suffolk.


Happy Europe Day Everybody!

Writing about web page http://www.cafeeurope.at/sweet.htm

I do hope you had a very happy Europe day wherever you are in our great Union…except Luton of course.

"Sweet Europe, let yourself be seduced…" is the slogan of the day and has something to do with the Austrian Presidency celebrating the culinary richness of Europe and all the different sweets and deserts etc we have across Europe…or something along those lines – if you want the news then pay me and I'll read it to you. Of course the slogan gains added value when you remember the new Minister for Europe is Geoff Hoon
Hoon
…let yourself be seduced.

Britain's sweet thing is shortbread…I don't like shortbread. Ireland's is scones…are they really Irish? That's a genuine question. I like scones. Some of the other ones I've never heard of…Prekmurje doughpie, Kajmakowy, Sakotis to name but a few. Actually you can follow the link above and find the pictures for yourself but I just wanted to show you Sakotis…
Thing
…I'm sure something very much like it tried to destroy the Enterprise in Star Trek; this desert actually terrifies me.

I of course, therefore, took part by enjoying the culinary richness of Chinese cuisine (spell check that one later) and enjoying many American beveridges (hope you had a good birthday Coca Cola). It was probably all made in the Union though so that's ok.

Actually I did catch the end of an appalling drama on BBC1 called Brief Encounters which is a series of little one off stories…why am I telling you this? Well you can stop reading now if that's your attitude! I am telling you because it was partly funded by the EU. Why don't they do something better with their money and fund a revival of the Crystal Maze with Richard O'Brian and definitely not Edd Tudor–Pole or whatever his name was…some random family member of someone I know had a one night stand with him but I can't remember who it was.

The BBC had a few jokes for Europe day…

In Heaven: the cooks are French,
the policemen are English,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian,
and the bankers are Swiss.

In Hell: the cooks are English,
the policemen are German,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss
and the bankers are Italian.

Isn't racism hilarious?!

I bet the EU (based on that joke by an official) is such a fun place to work. You don't have to be le crazy to work here by it le helps.

Oh and some visitor to the Beeb left a joke:
"How many people work at the European Commission? About a fourth of them."

It's worth giving up the rebate for those jokes alone!

I love the European Union and my module 'Political, Legal and Economic Problems of European Integration' which I'm going to faaaaaail soon.


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