Monday, 30 March 2009

Time to play connect the dots again...

Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots:

Others in the U.S. government, including CIA officials, fear the consequences of taking a man into court who was waterboarded on largely false assumptions, because of the prospect of interrogation methods being revealed in detail and because of the chance of an acquittal that might set a legal precedent. Instead, they would prefer to send him to Jordan.

Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials

LONDON — A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level Bush administration officials violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.

Son of Ex-President of Liberia Is Convicted of Torture

MIAMI — A federal jury on Thursday convicted the son of the former president of Liberia of torturing suspected opponents of his father’s government. It was the first case brought under a 1994 law that makes it a crime for United States citizens to commit torture overseas.

Testimony Is Said to Implicate C.I.A. in Seizure of Suspect in Italy

A former Italian intelligence chief's testimony obtained by Reuters says that this conversation took place about 16 months before prosecutors say the C.I.A. grabbed a radical Muslim cleric in Milan and flew him to Egypt, where, he says, he was tortured.
A court in Munich issued arrest warrants last month for 13 people suspected of being C.I.A. agents who were accused of kidnapping a German of Lebanese descent and flying him to Afghanistan, where he, too, said he was tortured.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Get those damned kids off my fence

Rolling-pin gran: I gave it to him

Pensioner Lois Thompson says the kids in her neighbourhood probably think she can be "a bit grumpy" at times.

"I tell them to get off my fence and climb on their own fence," says the 76-year-old.

"They say, 'We haven't got one', so I say to them, 'Well tell your parents to build one'."

Now the Hamilton great-grandmother has cemented her fierce reputation by using her rolling pin to fight off a teenager who tried to break into her house.


"So I grabbed my rolling pin and really gave it to him," said Mrs Thompson.

"And then I thought, 'Oh, I hope I haven't broken his teeth or his nose', but I really let fly. I hoped I really hadn't damaged him."

After receiving at least three blows to the head, the teenager slumped back on to the doorstep, crying and holding his face.

Police arrived not long after and found that the boy - who had had a "wee accident" and had stripped down to his boxer shorts - was keen to be taken away.

What ever happened to the good old days, when we had real teenage hoodlums?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

God Hates Figs

This is the way you do it:

That ain't the way you do it:

Shouting someone down when they have a right to speak in lieu of dealing with their ideas, however odious, is a failure. It's a failure if Bill O'Reilly does it; it's a failure if a LGBT group does it; it's a failure if Jesus Christ and a choir of angels from above do it. It is contemptible.

It's interesting to note yet again that it is precisely those that would yell the loudest against any attempt to silence their own voices who are most eager to silence the voices of others. I have contempt for Phelps, Sorba and their ilk; I have only slightly less contempt for those who would deny Phelps or Sorba - or any other hatemonger, poltroon or moron - their legitimate right to speak.

"Evil is not the attempt to eliminate the play of another according to published and accepted rules, but to eliminate the play of another regardless of the rules. Evil is not the acquisition of power, but the expression of power." - James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games.

It's interesting to note yet again that it is precisely those that would yell the loudest against any attempt to silence their own voices who are most eager to silence the voices of others.

Mockery, on the other hand, is a perfect way of puncturing the pretense to respectability of the like of Phelps.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Staying right here for the time being

The New Scientist this week has about given up hope on controlling climate change, and instead is looking at the effects of what now seems inevitable.

Of special interest is this graphic, which lays out the situation in 2100 (or 2050, in a worst case scenario).

This is going to be such an interesting century, in the Chinese sense. I wonder how NZ immigration can best keep the wingnuts fleeing the deserts spreading over their nation out lest they start spreading their stupidity here?