Tag Archive: Reuters News

Taliban Torture America

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, aged 23,

Afghan Soldier Captured: Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho

Afghan Soldier Captured: Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho

of Ketchum, Idaho, is a member of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Fort Richardson, Alaska.  He was captured in circumstances that aren’t clear and has appeared in a Taliban video (prev at http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/20/world/fg-afghan-soldier20), seen world-wide.

So far, it appears he’s been well treated, although three soldiers captured in Iraq by the same mob were all killed, so this must obviously prey on people’s minds.

Torture

(see my rampant post, Americans Love to Torture – OfficialIf you’re offended by it, you’re not listening.)

What I’d like to know, given that in a recent poll, over 50% of Americans think torture is okay, is he one of the 50%?  Are his parents?  Is his battalion commander?  Is US Military spokesman, Capt Jon Stock?  Is Navy Lt. Robert Carr, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan?

Capt Stock said this, while condemning the use of the video.   He told Reuters news agency:

“The use of the soldier for propaganda purposes we view as against international law.”

Lt Carr said:

“The Taliban are using the soldier for propaganda purposes”

Illegal Imprisonment and Adherence to International Law

Now some facts.

  • The USA continues to imprison people in Guantanamo Bay without trial or due process.
  • The site in Cuba was obtained illegally and is operated illegally even under the ‘rules’, agreed under duress, of it’s illegal occupation.
  • The USA (& UK) has recently tortured people in strict denial of the rules of the Geneva Convention, their own laws and/or constitutions, and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Sad Chickens Roosting

Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper

So while people wring their hands over a very short list of very likely fates for Pte Bergdahl, it’s only karmic retribution for their historical and continuing acts.  They must change, as Obama was wont to say in his electoral campaign.

I say;

  • They cannot continue to act in this way, killing people with scythe-like impunity using robotic planes in some bizarre kids computer shoot-up.
  • They cannot continue to act towards people in flagrant disregard of their own constitution and laws.
  • They cannot even think that torture, of any kind, is okay.  Not just “don’t do it” – No!  They must not even think it.

Because what happens is that it’s all thrown back, tenfold.

Justice

New York´s Liberty Island - Statue Of Liberty & Seagull

A Beacon

Like Justice, being “seen to be done”, US actions, at home and abroad must be above reproach.

They must be a beacon – a pure demonstration of good civil behaviour, in words, thoughts and deedsThe beacon light though, is very dim.

Eagle Peak

Something like this was said by Shakyamuni – the Buddha of legend.  In Chapter 16 of “The Lotus Sutra”, a compendium of his later sayings, he said, in qualifying what it takes to be a Buddha (which anyone can be, let it be known):

When living beings become truly faithful, honest and upright, gentle in intent, single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their own lives, then I and the assembly of monks appear together at Eagle Peak.

Eagle Peak represents a place of happiness for all sentient beings.  It means that if you behave like that, happiness will undoubtedly appear – you will be a Buddha.

If you don’t, then shit happens.

The USA & UK are most definitely NOT “honest and upright, gentle in intent”, and the shit is happening.

Of course, the Taliban and all misogynist, small-minded folk like that are the absolute pits.  And yes, shit is happening for them as well! It’s not all hunky-dory by a long chalk.

The point is, that we (meaning the USA & UK) do not have to act like them.  The surest way to prove the justness of your cause is to behave properly.  In short,

  1. Don’t bomb haphazardly killing all in sight with a lame excuse.
  2. Don’t torture
  3. Don’t disregard your own laws and international laws of behaviour

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl might then have a chance.

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French prisoners Ride Tour de France

A Week is a Long Time in..

Peparing for the Tour de FranceQ.  In What?

  • In prison – yes obviously
  • In politics – yes
  • In a relationship – well yes, especially the past week for me
  • In Between News Items….

Yes! That’s the one!

Last week it was announced to the world that 196 convicted French prisoners are going to cycle this years Tour de France route.  See the Reuters News item here which originally reported the story: What could possibly go wrong?

It’s an enlightened bit of prisoner rehabilitation.  The 196 inmates plus 124 obviously fit guards are doing the 17 stages, stopping in towns each night that all have a prison, but staying in hotels.

Now contrast this with the report last month about the shocking state of French jails (Prison guards’ strike hits packed French jails).

In fact, there is no contrast.  It’s the French guards who are protesting about the poor state of things, with five to a cell etc.

Taken in this context, the cycle ride does not sound so strange now, does it?

Today the Ride Sets Off

Penal Tour de France pedals offMany news organisations have reported the start of the run today.  They are all using the same copy, many using the same images as well.

 

FILE - This Wednesday June 4, 2009, file photo shows a pack of convicts, joined by their jailers, preparing to take the start from Villeneuve d'Ascq to Valenciennes, northern France, of the prologue of the "Tour de France Penitentiaire" for the jailed. Most days, they live behind bars. But last week, a pack of convicts, joined by their jailers, a police escort and a string of support vehicles, embarked upon the inaugural two-week, 2,200 kilometer cycling trek across the Gallic countryside, organized by French prison administrators. (AP Photo)

Penal Tour de France pedals off

They all report that 194 prisoners are doing the ride compared to the fact that they all reported that 196 were going to do it last week.

So what happened to the 2 men? !!

Did they, as all the news outlets so humourously remarked, go on a “breakaway sprint” which “are obviously not allowed”?  Or maybe they feared they’d have to cycle through Mulhouse which has this interesting cycle lane to negotiate.

Keeping cycle lanes clear of parked cars is a problem the world over. This design from Mulhouse in France provides a self enforcing solution; yellow bollards have proved to be much more effective than yellow lines at deterring illegal parking. Picture from Warrington Cycle Campaign

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