Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I hope this organization gets the signatures it needs!
If you believe in peace and freedom and haven't already signed it, please do.
Friday, October 13, 2006
What have they got to hide?
Apparently, the American Powers That Be do not like unilateral journalists. I understand that this is because, unlike embedded journalists, they have no control over where they go, what they find out and, more importantly, what they write.
One is forced to ask the question, was this independence-aversion in some way involved in the "unlawful killing," or as I prefer to call it, murder, of I.T.N. reporter, Terry Lloyd? Coroner Andrew Walker made it clear at the inquest that his death did not come about through negligence or foolhardiness.
I think there is a case to answer, yet, according to Paul McLaughlin of the N.U.J., the U.S. authorities not only failed to co-operate with the inquest but actually obstructed it, adding that, "they have not sent anyone to appear at the inquest and have shown complete contempt for the British legal system and it makes a mockery of the so-called 'special relationship.' "
Moreover, Major Kay Roberts, of the Royal Military Police, told the inquest that fifteen minutes of footage - including the moment of his death - appeared to be missing from a film of the incident which was supplied by the US military. Furthermore, it had not been handed over by the American authorities until some months after the incident.
Regarding the circumstances surrounding Terry Lloyd's death, as I understand it, he, two cameramen and an interpreter were effectively kidnapped by armed Iraqis shortly before encountering American tanks. He and his crew were caught in cross-fire and three of the four received survivable injuries. No blame attaches to the U.S. military for that as they were in a 'hot' situation.
The injured crew members were then transferred to a makeshift ambulance. This was stationary while the injured were being transferred into it. Furthermore, it was facing away from the American forces and clearly presented no threat to them.
It was at this point that Terry Lloyd was fatally shot in the head by an American bullet. Evidence strongly suggests that whoever opened fire on Mr Lloyd did so with the intention of "killing him or causing really serious injury."
In response, an anonymous 'Pentagon spokesman' said that their own investigation into the incident had determined that U.S. forces had followed normal rules of engagement, saying that, "The Department of Defence has never deliberately targeted non-combatants, including journalists. We have always gone to extreme measures to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage."
::cough::choke::splutter::wheeze::yeah right ! ! !Was this a deliberate act to silence an independent reporter? I think we should be told.
Friday, October 06, 2006
And we have P.C. nutters of our own back home...
Jack Straw, M.P. for Blackburn, Lancashire, finds it very unsettling when faced with constituents who - well, effectively have no faces, because certain visitors to his constituency surgery are shrouded from head to foot, showing only their eyes. If they want this anonymity, why go to the surgery in the first place? Why not 'phone or write? Problem solved.
Mr. Straw asks the shrouded ones to lower their veils, he says, so he can see their faces, but accepts their decision if they refuse. Which seems fair enough. He also has a woman member of staff present to allay any fears of hanky-panky or anything inappropriate happening, and says that his constituents often express relief at his request to lower the veil.
But when he went public about this, the balloon went up at this polite and not unreasonable request.
Anyone would think he was asking them to turn up in bikinis, and have a pint of beer and a ham sandwich! He isn't. He just wants an equal chance to see their reactions as they can see his. Or maybe he's a little deaf and needs to lip-read. Anyone thought about that?
Many of those protesting about Mr. Straw's 'insensitivity' have probably chosen - of their own free will - to come and live in the U.K. because of its tolerance and freedom. Yet it appears that they are now trying to place restrictions on that very freedom which attracted them here in the first place - and also on the freedom of the native inhabitants.
They seem very quick to take offence, and do so very volubly. They also seem to expect their adopted country to accommodate their way of life. Or else— Fatwa! Jihad! Holy war! The only good non-Muslim is a dead non-Muslim.
I appreciate that this is just a small section of the Muslim community as a whole, giving the rest a bad name, but this attitude offends me greatly. Yet it appears that while hurt Muslim feelings must soothed at whatever the cost, mine do not matter at all. I just have to 'suck it up.'
And in saying I'm offended, I'm probably risking being charged with racism or breaking some nit-picky law or other.
It seems to me we have this completely arse about face. Could someone please point the extremist Muslims at that great British proverb, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do?"
If you choose to make a home for yourself elsewhere than in the country of your birth, then you do your best to fit in; you do your best not to upset the citizens of your host country. Keep your own observances in your own home - and place of worship if you have a particular religion - but otherwise, adopt the conventions of your hosts.
This need not offend against your notions of decorum, but at least making an effort to fit in shows good faith and goes a long way to making friends and letting the others know you respect their ways too. There begins understanding and a little give and take. Respect is not a one-way street. What this insistence on total covering up does is to drive a wedge between the Muslim community and non-Muslims, to the detriment of both. 8-(
Here's a thought. When you go abroad, even just on holiday, try using the local language. It doesn't matter if you're not very good at it. (It'll probably give the native speakers a good laugh at least!) The fact that you've made the effort makes a big difference to the way the host citizens respond to you. 8-)
If you choose to live in another country, try to adapt to the life-style of your new home. If you aren't prepared to make at least a small effort to do so, then either move somewhere more in keeping with your own mores or shut the fuck up!
(I'm what right-wing Americans call 'a wishy-washy pinko liberal,' by the way, just in case you're wondering. In that great British tradition, I'm solidly on the side of the oppressed - the under-dog. These days though, that seems to be us...)
The irony is terrific...
Seen from this side of The Pond, the United States has a pretty poor record on human rights abuses, and trying to tar an entire community with the acts of one man, is tantamount to a violation of their civil rights.
Indeed, where the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community is concerned, it seems that the U.S. Government is doing its utmost to limit the rights of this community, even to the extent of steering them towards the status of a sub-group or underclass. Witness the rabid attempts to deny them the right to marry the person they love. It seems that, in America, Gay is the new Black.
But the hysterically funny part of this particular débâcle comes from Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council. This group claims that the House Republican leaders were afraid to investigate the Foley affair earlier - as they could and should have done - because they were afraid of being labelled "homophobic."
You have to laugh... Those members of Congress, who have been trying to write the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community out of the American Constitution, were allegedly unwilling to stop Foley because they were worried about their image as Gay Bashers!
Thanks to Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, for this information, and keep up the good work, Joe!
If you're interested in human rights, you might like to visit their website: