Posts Tagged ‘Law’

The “in your face” gruesome picture seen around the world

August 19, 2010

(Reality is unpublishable)

When El Nacional published the very gruesome picture of the Caracas morgue in response to the cynical and hysterical laughs of Andres Izarra, President of Chavez’ pet international propaganda TV station Telesur, reactions were mixed. The comments section of this blog flared up with disparate positions. Curiously, my concern when I thought about whether to publish it or not in my blog, was that some may find it offensive. But this seemed to be the minority position. A larger fraction seemed more concerned with the publication of the picture backfiring against those that oppose Hugo Chavez (I am trying to differentiate them from the “opposition”)
But El Nacional’s picture, through the missteps of the Government, some cooperation from other media, and yes, some luck, has become the “in your face” picture seen around the world, that has revealed the lack of respect of Chavez and his cohorts for the right to life and freedom of the press. In fact, even VTV reporters have already spoken against the very clear act of censorship by the Judge who banned printed media from publishing violent pictures.
Things got complicated right off the bat, when, while you could still hear Izarra’s hyenic hysterics, a woman from Hong Kong’s team got shot by a stray bullet in the World Women’s Baseball tournament being played of all places at a Caracas military fort. As even the Vice-President tried to explain away this event as unusual, most Venezuelans who live in the barrios likely stared at their TV screens wondering where does Mr. Jaua live, as both specific purpose and stray bullets are part of the daily life of poor Venezuelans, where the strength of Chavismo happens to live.
On that same day, a bus filled with 69 campers was hijacked and all of their possessions stolen, as the 20 adults accompanying and protecting them also were forced to hand out their valuables.
The Government was caught off guard by theeffects of the “in your face” picture. As the picture went around the world, newspapers reported on the injunction on El Nacional not to publish similar pictures. The whole thing may have died there, but then Tal Cual also published the picture in its front page, accompanying its Editorial. The Government then also issued an injunction against Tal Cual, using the sensitivity of children as an excuse, but it began stumbling when a Judge then prohibited all printed media from printing violent, bloody or gruesome pictures.
It is unclear who or why the Judge ordered this, but his decision is so transparently political and cynical, that his order of censorship is only temporary, it expires in four weeks, as if the sensitivity of kids will harden a week before the upcoming National Assembly elections, just when campaigning ends.
And the significant impact of the “in your face” picture was such, that it forced Hugo Chavez to speak on the problem of crime and homicides for the first time, a subject he has consistently avoided and has always failed to address.
And the improvised response has been absolutely terrible and uninspired, for a Government well known for selling any explanation for its missteps, no matter how absurd they may be.
Because once again those living in the barrios will not buy the excuse that the criminals were raised during the IVth. Republic and that it is capitalistic desires that drive crime. Because each and everyone of the inhabitants of the barrios has been in contact with the crime, the deaths and the abuses, in the absence of a Government that has now been in power for eleven years. And it is precisely their desires to lead a better life that have been hampered by crime. Thus, blaming the messenger or calling the picture mediatic pornography, is very unlikely to sell well in the areas Catia or Caricuao, or in the mountains of Mérida.
140,000 people have been murdered in Venezuela since Chavez took power in 1999. Where have you been all these years Hugo? Its clear the Dictator no longer has the magic touch or is in touch with the people.
And meanwhile the cries of “Censorship” have also been heard around the world, as Oliver Stone and Sean Penn are probably wondering why the hell they had to make a defense of free speech being present in Venezuela. Being a Hollywood star makes no one an expert on democracy in far off lands.
And even the Investigative police and the Prosecutor act harshly, showing up at El Nacional at peak time, just as the newspaper is being composed, pretending to have 100 reporters and photographers leave the newspaper, so they can retrieve the memory card with the infamous picture to determine when it was taken. In the face of that crowd, already predisposed against them, and not ready to even consider obeying the order, the cops and the prosecutors decided not to create another show and simply left. Sans card!
Thus, thanks to Izarrita’s sordid and fake laugh and the picture, the Government, for once, has not been setting the agenda for the last few days, attempting to contain the effects of the picture. This distraction follows that of Pudreval, which has been forgotten only because of the “picture”, except that crime is more important an issue than food, more so among the poor.
And when Chavez says that in 20 years there will be no crime, it brings people back to the old promise of no kids in the streets in five years, a promise made 12 long years ago, as well as the promise of eliminating corruption, as the inhabitants of the barrios see their Chavista leadership move around with expensive cars and body guards, making them immune to the crime problem.
Which goes back to a post I wrote recently. I noted that Diego Arria and Alvarez Paz, had been more effective at challenging and making the Government react than the opposition, by confronting the Government with new issues or responding directly to the absurd arguments of the Chavistas.
The picture has been a wonderful example of that. It may have been unintended, but a Government with no scruples, used to winning every argument, has trapped itself in explaining away the problem that it has never cared about. And it was not ready for it.
In your face Hugo!

The “in your face” gruesome picture seen around the world « The Devil’s Excrement


July 19 2010 8:25 PM GMT
Factory damage is an affront to the rule of law

By Michael Skapinker

Anyone who opposes government policy on climate change, or genetically modified food, or arms exports to Israel can try to change it. That is democracy. Anything else is mob rule, writes Michael Skapinker

Read the full article at:

Sent from my iPad Article: US Probes Corruption in Big Pharmaceuticals
The US Department of Justice is scrutinizing payments by leading pharmaceuticals companies in markets around the world. The FT reports.
Full Story:
Sent from my iPad

A chance to change universal jurisdictionThe advent of David Cameron’s Conservative government has created the possibility for a change in the law within the U.K.

By Ze’ev Segal

Published 00:57 26.07.10   Latest update 00:57 26.07.10

The British ambassador to Israel, Sir Tom Phillips, who is widely admired here for his erudition and knowledge of the Middle East, concludes his term this week and is leaving the State of Israel a going-away gift.

During the past four years, Phillips and Israel’s ambassadors in London have dedicated much effort to conveying to the British government Israel’s strong opposition to Britain’s universal jurisdiction rules. These provisions in effect permit any individual to file a petition in a lower court for the arrest of persons suspected of committing “war crimes” without even having to produce substantial evidence.

Last week the British government announced it will soon be introducing new legislation in Parliament barring the issuance of arrest warrants on suspicion of “war crimes” without the approval of the chief prosecutor. The amendment to existing law seeks to create a balance between the British commitment to ensuring that suspected war criminals are brought to justice on one hand, and the requirement that there be solid evidence of the suspicions which justify limitations on a person’s liberty.

Within the past year, an arrest warrant was issued, and then rescinded, for Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak while he was visiting Britain. Pro-Palestinian activists also initiated such warrants against former foreign minister Tzipi Livni for her diplomatic involvement in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. For this and other reasons as well, Livni canceled a visit to London, but her case led to pressure on the British government. Meanwhile, senior Israel Defense Forces officers, both past and present, are avoiding visits to the U.K. out of concern that their presence will trigger arrest warrants.

It is not only in Britain that problems of this nature have arisen. The United States has shown interest in the subject, and brought about the repeal in Belgium of a law supporting universal jurisdiction after the U.S. threatened to withdraw NATO command headquarters from Brussels. In the meantime, via direct contact with the British government, Israel has stepped up its activity on the issue over the past year as well.

The legal situation in Britain is unusual. There it is a question of invoking universal jurisdiction against foreign nationals who were not involved per se in activities against Britain or its citizens. In 1957, the British Parliament passed the “Geneva Convention” law, which turned the provisions of the convention into concepts anchored in local British law. As a result, anyone in the U.K. can at present approach the courts and seek to invoke the law in an effort to turn ostensible international war criminals into criminal offenders in violation of British law.

The law in question had not been invoked until it was “discovered” in 2005, when an arrest warrant based on this law was issued for Maj. Gen. (res. ) Doron Almog, who was about to land in Britain. The warrant was premised on allegations involving the destruction of 30 homes in the Rafah salient. Decisive action on the part of the Israeli ambassador in London at the time, Zvi Hefetz, prompted Almog not to get off his El Al plane, according to the instructions of the most senior officials in Israel.

I was in London at that time, and met immediately afterward with the legal advisers to the British Foreign Office, who expressed determination to invoke the law in the future even though it had been a “dead letter” since it was passed. The British seem to view every piece of legislation as “vintage wine” and vigorously reject Israeli contentions that there is selective enforcement of this law when it comes to Israelis, in contrast to a lack of enforcement against other nationals.

I presented their position to the relevant officials in Israel, and did not get the impression that they took the prospect seriously that high-ranking Israelis would be arrested in the U.K. at the request of any person or organization by low-level courts, where some of the judges may not be professionals.

The advent of David Cameron’s Conservative government has created the possibility for a change in the law. Indeed, British Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has announced that he will introduce a bill in Parliament amending the “Geneva Convention” statute. It should be remembered that no one is talking about repealing the 1957 law that deems that acts involving international war crimes are criminal, as per the British system.

The issue will in the future be thrown into the lap of the chief prosecutor, who is not considered political by nature. He can approve a judicial arrest warrant, but in such a case, the senior Israeli or other official can probably manage to leave British territory on time. That’s much better than the current situation, but it’s not an insurance policy.


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