Archive for June, 2007

Weirdest thing I saw today (Korla Pandit)

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

It’s so. damn. creepy!

I now have a very clear picture of the hotel lounge in purgatory.

via neato cool

Habeas Corpus (all roads lead to xkcd)

Monday, June 11th, 2007

A bit of hopeful news on Habeas Corpus, see: Senate committee supports restoring habeas rights to Guantanamo detainees, also: Senate Begins Real Push on Habeas Corpus and an earlier post.

Some historical quotes:

Freedom of the person under the protection of habeas corpus. I deem one of the essential principles of our government.
-Thomas Jefferson

The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.
– Winston Churchill

Of course, almost unavoidably, there is the realization I’ve tripped over Goodwin’s Law (see xkcd).

See: Day of Action to Restore Law and Justice (ACLU), including a web-form for sending a petition to your Congressperson.

Irate thoughts on prisoner ‘news stories’

Monday, June 11th, 2007

At first I was just annoyed, I tried the theory that if people just stopped talking about her, she’d go away, but then slowly, the continuing media frenzy around spoiled, rich girl drunk-driver Paris Hilton, started to enrage me. Juan Cole offers a stinging reality check in his blog entry Paris Hilton & Iraqi Prisoners.

The US military is holding 19000 Iraqis, 16000 of them at Bucca. Although most are guerrillas or their helpers, a lot of them were picked up because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once arrested, an inmate often cannot clear himself for months or years. I don’t think they have access to attorneys. No one cares if they are depressed. At Abu Ghraib earlier on, some inmates were systematically tortured. It is unclear if all such practices have ceased.

Some Iraqi women have been held in this way. Some were essentially hostages, taken to make them reveal where their husbands or fathers were or to guarantee their good behavior. Their reputations were shot, since Iraqis think Americans are sex fiends and wouldn’t trust the virtue of a woman who had been in their custody. The unmarried among them are likely doomed to be spinsters.

A Guardian article from 2004 gives even more brutal facts about female prisoners:

In Iraq, the existence of photographs of women detainees being abused has provoked revulsion and outrage, but little surprise. Some of the women involved may since have disappeared, according to human rights activists…

Honour killings are not unusual in Islamic society, where rape is often equated with shame and where the stigma of being raped by an American soldier would, according to one Islamic cleric, be “unbearable”. The prospects for rape victims in Iraq are grave; it is hardly surprising that no women have so far come forward to talk about their experiences in US-run jails where abuse was rife until early January.

It makes me sad, there just have to be more important things to discuss than someone famous for being so privileged.

See: Killing for Honour and

Things I saw today (gorgeous graphics)

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

From this week’s web zen, . Absolutely gorgeous graphics.