Merry Christmas Everybody

December 24th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Labels: Christmas

Authorised Absence

December 18th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Due to the arrival of my son & heir, I’ll be taking a break, so, er, just talk amongst yourselves for a while.



Fancy a Sing-Song?

December 14th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

You are cordially invited to a public carol service in Parliament Square at 7pm on Wednesday the 20th of December 2006.

This inclusive service will contain both Christian and secular verse, and is expected to last no more than an hour.

Candles and song sheets will be made available, with donations going to Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.

Please note that if you attend this carol service, it will classify as a spontaneous demonstration (of faith, hope, joy and/or religious tolerance) and there is a possibility that you will be cautioned or arrested under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act (2005).

Public Carol Service
Click here for more information.


High Court will destroy Israeli democracy

December 12th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Refering to the story I posted about below.

Following a High Court of Justice ruling on Tuesday, MK Michael Eitan (Likud) warned that if the High Court of Justice continues to dismiss Knesset legislation, “the High Court will destroy Israeli democracy and the army’s defense capabilities.”
Other right-wing politicians also castigated the High Court’s decision and called for legislative reform.

National Union chairman MK Benyamin Elon said, “The High Court of Justice, which dismisses laws and doesn’t understand we are at war, is becoming on of Israel most substantial problems to Israel’s existence. The system must be changed.”

Now where have we heard that before?
Mr Elon has been listening to Blair going on about the public not understanding the terrorist threat and we need to have stuff like detention without trial, oh, I forgot, Israel already does that one doesn’t it.
Maybe Our Tone has been watching how Israel does things…

Court eases compensation ban for civilians harmed by IDF

December 12th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

The High Court of Justice on Tuesday took a step toward relaxing legal curbs that had prevented civilians harmed by “non-belligerent” IDF operations in the territories from demanding state compensation.

The ruling cancels a portion of the “Intifada law” which exempts the state from paying compensation for harm caused by IDF operations against civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in areas considered “conflict zones” by the defense ministry. The clause was meant to clear the state from the responsibility for compensation for damages caused directly or indirectly by security forces operations in these areas.
The High Court’s decision to cancel the clause was spurred by an initiative on the part of nine human rights groups led by the ‘Adalah’ organization. The groups argued that the law is “racist and inhumane” because it frees the state from the responsibility to pay compensation to civilians hurt in non-belligerent IDF operations carried out since September 2000.
Cabinet minister Shaul Mofaz, in his former capacity as defense minister, declared nearly all of the West Bank and Gaza for most of the time since September 2000 as one large “conflict zone”, therefore making the IDF virtually exempt from responsibility for damages caused there.

Good news, should make the IDF more carful about who they/what they damage, although there is probably something that will block the compensation claims, not having the Israeli flag tattoo’d on you arse.
I used to be an optomist, y’know.

Labels: Compensation, Israel

Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte 1915-2006

December 11th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

General Pinochet, well can be said about him?

Wikipedia gives a good overview of his life here but to get to the crux of why he’s a (now extinct) tosser, read Lenins’ obituary here.

Augusto Pinochet. Capitalisms’ guinea pig.


The Road Ahead for Venezuela

December 11th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

The Opposition’s Historical Concession and the Road Ahead for Venezuela

In most liberal democracies a concession by the losing candidate is an ordinary event that takes place once every election cycle. In Venezuela, though, it has become an extremely rare event, so rare that it has not happened since Chavez was first re-elected in 2000. That is, in Venezuela the losing side, which since Chavez’s first election has always been the country’s former political elite, has almost always denied that it was the loser. Instead, it went about claiming that it didn’t really lose and that Chavez was actually an illegitimate president.

The first time this happened was following the April 2002 coup attempt, when most of the opposition flatly denied that a coup ever took place. Instead, it claimed the incident was a “vacuum of power” and that Chavez had orchestrated it himself, in order to increase his power. Only four years later have opposition leaders, such as Súmate director Maria Corina Machado and opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales acted with embarrassment about the suggestion that they signed the coup decree that eliminated all of the country’s democratic institutions. Rather than take responsibility for their action and admitting it was a serious mistake, they have consistently denied either knowing what they signed or that it was just an “attendance sheet” for coup president Pedro Carmona’s swearing-in ceremony.

Next, following the disastrous two month shutdown of the oil industry, from December 2002 through January 2003, the opposition leaders responsible for this action, Carlos Ortega, Carlos Fernandez, and Juan Fernandez, fled the country with hardly a single opposition leader that supported the action admitting to how disastrous this failure was or taking responsibility for it.

Then, following the opposition’s loss to Chavez in the August 2004 recall referendum, instead of admitting defeat and offering a concession speech, the opposition, without a shred of proof, claimed that fraud had been committed in the referendum. Eventually, it seems, the truth of the loss sank in with a large part of the opposition’s followers, but, in the process, they realized just how irresponsibly the opposition had been acting. This is what explains why the percentage of the population that said it identified with the opposition dropped so dramatically following the recall referendum, from about 30-40% it dropped to around 15%.

As if this lack of responsibility taking were not enough, the opposition committed yet another blunder in December 2005, when it boycotted the National Assembly elections. It had hoped to cast doubt on the election by claiming they were not fair and transparent, despite the assurances of international observers that they were. When the plan backfired and the opposition was left without a single representative in the new and internationally recognized National Assembly, again there was not a single opposition leader to take responsibility for the failed action.

Not that Rosales has explicitly taken responsibility for his loss to Chavez in this election. However, the mere admission of defeat is a highly significant move already because it is a recognition by the opposition, for the first time since 1998, that Chavez is indeed the legitimately elected president and that that the opposition does not currently enjoy the support of the country’s majority. For a political class, which for decades was used to the idea that it represented the country’s mainstream and the only rational way to conduct politics, to finally recognize such a defeat is highly significant because it opens up the possibility for a new era in Venezuelan politics; one in which the opposing sides recognize each others’ legitimacy.

Where Will Venezuela Go From Here?

With the opposition finally having become more “normal” and with Chavez and his supporters not only firmly in power, but with the ability to claim a mandate, given Chavez’s 26 percentage point advantage over the opposition, the Bolivarian Revolution is free to pursue 21st century socialism in earnest. Chavez has repeatedly declared that should he be reelected he would “deepen” the revolution. What, if anything, does this mean, though?

Read the rest here

Labels: Politix, Venezuela

The Next Big Thing? From SEMA

December 9th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Labels: Motors

Isreal Demolishes Entire Beduin Village

December 6th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

Israel denies Palestinian children are jailed illegally

December 6th, 2006 § 0 comments § permalink

WEST BANK, 5 December (IRIN) – Palestinian Layth Ghalib Bedwan, 14, was arrested and detained by the Israeli authorities on 28 August 2006. Since then, his family has waited anxiously for him to return home.

“His mother is crying all the time. I contacted all the children’s rights organisations in the hope that they can do something to accelerate the release of my son, but all my efforts were in vain,” said Ghalib Bedwan, 36, Layth’s father.

On 9 September, an Israeli military court accused Layth of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, sentencing him to three months in prison, and imposing a US$400 fine on him.

“The occupation force stormed into our house at 2am in the morning on 28 August,” his father said. “They were shouting and threatening to use their guns. They asked me to get my son Layth, and soon after they tied his hands, covered his eyes and put him in a military vehicle and drove away.”

Activists say the manner of the arrest and detention of children like Layth contravenes international laws protecting children.

Iyad Misk is a lawyer for the NGO Defence for Children International (DCI) in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT). He said international law allows for the detention of children or adolescents under 18, but under specific conditions.

“A specialised interrogator for children should interrogate them. The interrogation should be filmed and the parents should attend to be sure that the child was not subject to psychological pressure or abuse,” Misk said.

He added that minors should appear before a special tribunal for children and only be detained in facilities dedicated exclusively for them, never with adults.

“All these conditions are not provided to Palestinian children detained by the Israeli authorities, although they do provide it for Israeli child prisoners,” Misk said, adding that Israeli authorities try Palestinian children in military courts – another contravention of international law.

later on in the article, an Israeli spokeswoman says “These young Palestinian terrorists…”.
this kid isn’t a terrorist, he’s thrown some stones at soldiers, who shoot unarmed Palestinians, restrict the movement of civilian Palestinians, imprison without trial members of the Palestinian Authority, shall I go on?

Labels: Israel

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