Justice?


Figureheads of repression and murder should be tried and dealt justice regardless of their health

Saturating the news at present are tales of endemic revolution in the Middle East and neighboring North Africa. Originating in Tunisia and spreading to the likes of Yemen, Egypt, Libya,  Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Syria, this wildfire has spread at significant cost and caught the attention of the worlds media. Successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have led to increased violence from leaders in nearby countries, out of fear, that they too, could succumb to the will of the citizens of the Arab world. Varying in severity, pro-governmental soldiers have employed any tactic necessary in order to deter protesters, leaving thousands dead. Yet in most cases, “the people” seem willing to risk bullets, truncheons and shrapnel, in their bid to free the Arab world from the bonds of repression, so many of these leaders have come to represent.

During the 2011 uprisings in Egypt that saw the end of Mubarak, over eight hundred people were killed. Upon his abdication, after significant external pressure, he went to stay in Sharm el-Sheikh. Mubarak, within days went from repressive autocrat to resident of the Red Sea Riviera (truly a deterring prospect for any Arab leader). Yet his health apparently deteriorated during his interrogation. If he is to be found guilty of authorizing violence towards anti-government protesters, he may face the death penalty. If Mubarak was healthy enough to authorize merciless slaughter of non-violent protesters then he should be trialled, regardless of his health. Preventing Mubarak from standing trial, which could result in execution, because of his poor health seems rather a kick-in-the-teeth for the families and friends of those he unashamedly murdered. Is this not just undermining the whole concept of justice?

Libya and Syria has seen some of the worst fighting and violence in response to these protests. Bashar al-Assad and Muammar Gaddafi have quite openly endorsed the murder of peaceful protesters; in Libya this has, of course, escalated to civil war and NATO intervention. Both leaders already have blood on their hands and are both quite open about supporting and sponsoring terrorism. To think that these men will not be brought to justice, for any reason (even health problems), must be quite sickening to any anti-government supporter. These leaders must be tried for their crimes, even on their death bed, to uphold any sense of justice.

Ratko Mladic, responsible for the Bosnian genocide, was captured last week and faces a trial at the Hague for war crimes. Yet, his lawyer is hoping to avoid such proceedings on account of Mladic’s declining health. At the time of writing, Mladic had been taken to the Hague, which is promising news. A man capable of such hatred and violence needs to be faced with what he has done and receive what he deserves. Saddam Hussein received a penalty befitting of the murder and persecution he had committed; even if it is not with his life, Mladic has to pay for what he has done.

Mubarak and Mladic still have supporters within their respective countries. Justice needs to be carried out, if for no-other reason than to demonstrate to these people their crimes and how they are viewed as punishable on the international stage in order to alter their opinion. Leaders who abuse power to serve their own ends and persecute their people should be tried, and suitably punished regardless of their medical status. Even if they are unable to stand or speak, their crimes still stand and are more than capable of doing the talking.

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Giggs issues new super-injunction preventing news of Champions League defeat being published


Ryan Giggs has now come to the realization that he is not James Bond. Bond never said, “I Do”.

Although this headline may not be true; like the Imogen Thomas affair, it seems ridiculous to prevent the public knowing about a note-worthy achievement any man (footballer) would be proud of. Like United, who were defenceless to stop the elegant, yet potent onslaught at the feet of the Catalan giants, Giggs could do nothing to stop the relentless onslaught of virtual chirping at the fingertips of over 75,000 Twitter users revealing the information a court-passed super-injunction had aimed to prevent from going public. Super-injunctions are an encroachment on the right to freedom of speech, according to journalists (with the exception of Andrew Marr who’s show should be renamed, “The Andrew Marr(ed reputation owing to his gagging order) Show”). Yet to adulterers, lotharios and all-round scoundrels they are an essential organ, an extension of their deceitful being, allowing them to continue their roguish lifestyle.

Giggs was quite adamant that he wanted the details of the 75,000 tweeters passed onto the authorities, so that they could be brought to justice for breaching a court-order. Giggs’ grasp on the judicial, legal and incarceration system appear to parallel his grasp on marriage vows and oaths… But is this not what we have come to expect from this generation of footballers? They all earn too much money and are constantly in the media for partaking in scandalous activities. But Ryan Giggs, really? Isn’t he the reliable, committed, yoga-loving United legend? He is the Elizabeth I of football; married and devoted to United as Elizabeth was to England. His commitment to his club is quite extraordinary… to his wife not so much. Although, it may be expecting too much of a footballer to concentrate his focus and efforts on two things at once.

From the dark horse at the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards 2009’ where he shockingly beat Jenson Button, to the dark horse in the ‘Manchester United’s Most Heavily Publicized and Scandalous Extra-Marital Affair Award’ narrowly beating Wayne Rooney, who still managed to bag both the, ‘Most Likely To Swear Into A Camera And Set A Bad Example To Your Kids Award’ and ‘Scorer Of The Most Over-Hyped Over-Head Kick In History Award’.

All this proves, is that football is taken far too seriously; it’s not an ambassador to how people should act or behave. Footballer’s shouldn’t have to be role-models, they play football because they enjoy it (if their pay-check hasn’t yet reached an audacious sum). Yet at the same time, they shouldn’t moan when the over-sensitive British public take offence. Perhaps they should revert the sport back to the amateur level. It won’t be long until Giggs will be too old to cut it at Manchester United, then he could do a Lineker and travel to play in Asia; clubs in North Korea would jump at the chance to welcome an ex-Manchester United star and luckily for Giggs there are also plenty of jobs going in the censorship and the more general, ‘Prevention of Personal Freedom’  (especially Freedom of Speech) industry. Sorted.

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Some, more serious, thoughts on Pakistan


How symbolic success has simply illuminated the cavernous differences between the states 

Ryan Cordell & Danny Janes

Outside the White House and in sports stadiums as ‘Americas Game’ played out the reaction to the news that Osama Bin Laden, the world’s number one terrorist and all round figurehead for Islamist extremism, had been killed was that of chants of, ‘USA, USA’ and the more viral, ‘America, Fuck Yeah!’ For many this looked like a true World Police moment but was it anything more than a symbolic victory and has it only served to strain the already circumspect relationship between the US and its ally in the campaign against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and associated extremist groups.

The most disturbing aspects of this new chapter in America’s battle is the reliability of and the posture towards extremist groups, most notably the Haqqani network, of the ISI (Inter-services Intelligence). With fears already present in America over the internal reliability of the organization as well as the security behind military and nuclear establishments in Pakistan the Bin Laden killing as well as the Kirachi attacks have only compounded these fears. The sheer number of insurgent groups in some of Pakistan’s tribal regions, who in many cases share an address, with major nuclear establishments is startling even more so with the ISI’s ‘pick and choose’ approach to combatting them. Fears that the ISI were sympathetic towards Al Qaeda’s leader were certainly intensified when he was found, just outside the Pakistani equivalent of Sandhurst in a military-style compound fitted with nothing short of eighteen foot fences, barbed wire, few outwards-facing windows and no telephone or internet access. With the raid occurring without the knowledge of Pakistan intelligence, they feel violated in terms of state sovereignty, alienated and embarrassed, yet critical of American actions and Obama’s decision to act without the approval or input of the U.S. ally. The real dilemma is however, in deciding whether Pakistan can credibly justify a complaint against the U.S. actions in Attatobad, considering the circumstances.

It serves to demonstrate how, many people in these volatile areas such as Afghanistan and Pakistan support the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and most worryingly their cause – jihad against the west. Pakistan may present themselves as an ally against terrorism, but they are fundamentally a state divided between insurgent sympathizers and allies of the West – unfortunately the ISI are divided even further, making co-operation increasingly difficult. The level to which the insurgents are based and operational in Pakistan is demonstrated by the 22nd May 2011 attacks on the military base in the port of Karachi. Ominously this is outside the most common base of operations for Pakistani insurgents, in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. Pakistani insurgents are willing to attack their own state in order to avenge Pakistan’s position in the fight against terror and for failing to prevent the death of Osama Bin Laden. This puts Prime Minister, Makhdoom Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, in an awkward position; already Pakistan’s commitment and reliability is doubted by the American government, yet if they are seen to be acting positively against terrorism than he is effectively jeopardizing his own people and nation.

Barack Obama’s decision to act without informing Pakistani intelligence or leadership and then to openly admit concerns about their reliability has both embarrassed and offended Pakistan. However their relationship is mutually dependent; Pakistan rely on U.S. financial aid and the U.S. rely on Pakistan for a logistical base and shared intelligence. Although, in the aftermath of the Abbottabad raid, Pakistan have sought to strengthen their links with China, their other major ally. In fact the base in Kirachi had both US and Chinese personnel working at it. America cannot afford to let Pakistan swing too far to the East as despite improving relations with China, there are still obvious differences between the two states. A strengthening relationship between the two nuclear powers, China and Pakistan, would only intensify tensions with India; potentially sparking another nuclear stand-off. If Pakistan and the U.S. were to drift apart, the Americans would have far less scope to diffuse any potential nuclear crisis between the arch rivals. Stability is what is needed in Pakistan and for that to occur America and Pakistan need to work even more closely; unfortunately it seems relations with Pakistan will simply continue to perpetuate the war on terror and crises in Asia and the Middle East.

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