Repent – you sinners

The Anglican Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali has come out and said that the church welcomes gays but that we should “repent and be changed”.

Why should I repent when I have done nothing wrong? Last weekend I took the bf to church where my mother was blessed before her operation. The minister and congregation warmly welcomed us – in full knowledge of who the bf is to me.

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Cheney of Heart, on some things

Amazing how once someone gets out of power they finally gain a conscience – well on some things anyway.

Dick Cheney yesterday appeared at a luncheon in Washington where he said that he supports gay marriage.

“I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish. And I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today, that is, on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that,”

Did he do anything to support this when he had a chance? I think not. In fact, wasn’t the Bush administration pushing for a change to the federal constitution to stop any gay marriages?

But if you read on in the article that he is still trying to defend the Bush administration’s stance on prisioners at Gitmo, and he still wants to link Iraq to nuclear weapons. Even though there was no program in Iraq.

(hat tip to Daphon for the original link)

No photos, please!

As we know from recent comments, Obama has decided to supress the photos from Abu Grahib because they might “put troops at risk”.

Now the Telegraph in London (which by the way is doing a splendid hatchet job on all MP’s in the UK) has a report that is quoting an Major-General Antonio Taguba, who led an investigation into the abuses.

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan. The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

Some of his allegations of what when on are indeed horrific.

IMHO, I think that the US would gain more in the long run by being honest about what happened, and not by trying to hide. After all: Fear grows in darkness; if you think there’s a bogeyman around, turn on the light.

Torture Memos

I have been reading the torture memo’s recently released by the US, and note that the following comment at the end of a memo from Steven Bradbury (Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General) to the CIA – note that the text is exactly as it is in the PDF:

Finally, we emphasize that these are issues about which reasonable persons may disagree. Our task has been made more diffIcult by the imprecision of the statute and the relatiwabsence ofjudicial gUidance, but we have applied our best reading of the law to the specific facts that you have provided.

When you read the full memo, I believe that any “reasonable” person would conclude that the “techniques” would constitute torture as defined in the law (18 U.S.C, §§ 2340-2340A). And note yje “the specific facts you have provided” part.

He says elsewhere in the memo that:

As we have previou’sly advised, however, ‘-‘courts tend to take atotality”of-the-circumstaoces approach and consider an entire course of conduct to detennine whether torture has occurred,”

And:

In conducting this analysis, there are two additional ill’eBS ofgeneral concern. First, it is possible that the application ‘of certain techniques might render the detainee unusually susceptible to physical orniental pain or suffering.

So it seems that they did have concerns that the “techniques” could be construed by “reasonable” persons as being torture.

Nothing has changed at Gitmo

And we have another story that nothing has changed at Gitmo since Obama took office.

A DETAINEE at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay said he was beaten almost daily and that nothing has changed since Barack Obama took over as US president, it was reported today.

The Obama administration must start to meet their rhetoric with actions.

And in other news, the CIA has formally started to close it “black sites” where contractors where used to conduct the interrogations of detainees.

The Central Intelligence Agency announced on Thursday that it will no longer use contractors to conduct interrogations, and that it is decommissioning the secret overseas sites where for years it held high-level Al Qaeda prisoners.

And finally there are reports that the Spanish prosecutors are going ahead with the charges against Alberto Gonzales and five other Bush administration associates.

Scott Horton has reported that “Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo.” The others targeted are John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, Doug Feith and William Haynes.

As we have said in the past, the US signed the treaties under which these charges are proposed and from what I have been reading and have heard, this could force the US into either bringing proceedings against the Bush administration officials who approved the “enhanced interrogation” techniques or running the risk of extradition requests being made for those who are accused by the Spanish prosecutors.

Human Rights Act – Part I

Last week the boyf and I attended a public forum on the Human Right Consultation process that is being undertaken by the federal government.  The purpose of the process is to gain input from all Australians, not just the usual suspects (politicians, lawyers, etc.), by making submissions via the website above, via mail or via a community roundtable discussion.

Here is a short clip I made at the forum. Continue reading

Censoring the Internet

Originally post on Political Duo.

According to wikileaks, the German authorities have shut down German, wikileaks.de without notice, a fortnight after the house of the domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by the police. Continue reading