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Archive for the ‘Rule 303’ Category

100 to 1

is the rough ratio of how many Gazans died compared to the number of Israelis during the latest military operation by Israel called ‘Cast Lead’.

We are, generally, aware of the huge cost that this has wreaked in Gaza and few of us, even when realising we wouldn’t like it if someone was throwing rockets into our back yards for the last three years and our government did nothing, would like the whole operation to go ahead as it has. We hear stories of atrocities, our view of Israeli soldiers is coloured by them and we think worse of them despite the situation they were in, what they were asked to do and how that would effect them.

Sadly the realisation that 100 to 1 is the same ratio of those afghanies killed by the brits to the number of british soldiers killed there came from the Israeli Embassador in London. Why should we not have this information from our own papers? Is it because our soldiers are right and the Israelis are wrong? I think it’s more to do with our dead are our dead and that’s that. Besides the government has been on the ‘offensive’ in trying to root out bad feeling towards the armed forces and this little nugget would hardly help…

We may have committed far less ‘collateral damage’ than the Israelis but then it’s harder to do that in a huge country rather than in densely populated suburbs but we, and the americans, have been able to find wedding parties and, mistakenly, tried our best to wipe out the offending party. Now I’m not saying ‘we’  shouldn’t be there or that afghanistan would be better left to the taliban or whoever…

What I am trying to get at is that modern warfare is brutal and bloody and those who have a high tech advantage suffer radically smaller losses – and we make a fusss over one and we wouldn’t want to take higher losses. But when we think about how the israeli armed forces are brutes dealing out disproportionate casualties we should know that’s what all armed forces do when set to work from the high-tech world…

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Apart from a couple of quick personal asides this ones about freedom and what it means when we loose it.

This evening I’m off to stand outside an emerging church cafe evening because it’s about faith and politics – as a smoker I can no longer just go on in and if segregation isn’t political I don’t know what is. One of my posts has been tagged top mud here on Jabbertags, which I find almost ironic. It was The Blind Atheist which is a critical look at evolutionary theory – I just didn’t go back to the nut of primordial soup or mud…

It seems that the government wants to control our behaviour in new and interesting ways. There’s a guide to how you treat pets, story here, and that contravening these ‘guidelines’ may be a factor over whether or not we’re fined or even imprisonned – so more like laws then… It’s a small thing really as most folk will probably just cave and hand over whatever pet they’ve got to the RSPCA or whoever and be done with the pet, but for those who want to keep their beloved pet despite not being the best owners in the world…

Whilst this may seem a small step and has very little to do with Rule 303 but there is more that’s about at the moment – there’s this about all net visits and email on the net turned into evidence in a ‘black box‘ – for what is it if it is not evidence just waiting to be used – and what does that say about how the government views us as we tap away at our keyboards? Well, luckily for us – the government has been kind enough to tell us, and it isn’t happy. In the form of Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has said that we are ‘witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture’ and that we bloggers with our own views are the problem. True she does have a view on how to get other folk into politics, the article is here, if you’re interested.

This is all well and good but none of this touches our freedom if we follow the law… well, yes, except of course unless you are either part of the 20% of the population who still has the bloody mindedness to still smoke or are married/partnered to one of these 20% and want to foster as now there’s a possibility you might be banned – for health reasons… Of course what level of risk is it? Nobody says… The biggest chance of damage to a child’s health is that they model the behaviour of the smoker (evil as they are) and become smokers themselves (and thereby help contribute more to society than they cost…) Go Here for more… I wonder if it will be one of those many boxes on the ID card that the gutless totalitarian Jacqui Smith is starting to roll out on immigrants and workers in two airports… which of course the immigrants and workers will have to have and have to pay for….

Of course this is not to say that we suffer from any of this raft of legislation, however uncomfortable it may make us feel. Unless, of course you are a parent and your child has become overweight or obese – then you can have your child taken away and put into a smoke free care environment, you can go here, or even watch a news video here! How long will it be before parents who continue to smoke will risk their own children being taken away?

And here we have a government that is willing to get ever more personal with us in a legal fashion – forcing us to have ID cards and to try to keep as much DNA as possible on record, although it has run into trouble with that just recently, in the unelected house of Lords, here, and by the unelected information commissioner, here. These records are damaging as they show up where they are no longer relevant and DNA travels almost as if flapped about on the wings of that darn butterfly – I shake your hand, minute traces of my DNA rub off onto your hand, you shake hands with someone I’ve never met, my DNA rubs off onto them, they rub their hands somewhere I’ve never been and if a crime goes down there – I have to provide an alibi…

So for me, so for you, dear reader.

And another personal restriction is the rising of the marriage visa age for foreigners. Whilst a good aim is to try to stamp out forced marriages – how bluntly does this go?

At a time when we can actively contemplate Honeymoons in space within the next 50 years and a stop off by the end of the century we still have to live with the problem of Jean Charles de Menezes – with the pathologist now chipping in about how he was lied to by the police. Of course we also have the problem of closed ranks, however understandable, which led to an unofficial strike amongst firearms officers – so They Know they can rely on each other…

This is where I draw in the old Rule 303, if we lose our freedom to live our own lives, even within our family units are we not being made to live in a drastically real ‘prison in the community’? And if we somehow get on the wrong side then everything will be stacked up against us, no matter how little or large we’ve been infringed upon. Of course, if we have no freedom left, what is to stop us from either thinking, rightly, we may as well be physically imprisoned or feeling, depending on how strongly you feel, that the state might as well just get it over with. Because without freedoms what life do we have?

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or Blame Somebody Else

Whilst I don’t think anybody should plot to blow folk up, actually blow folk up or even help folk to blow other folk up there’s been an interesting spin on the ruling against Yeshiemebet Girma, the wife of Hussain Osman one of the 21/7 bombers and plotters and that is it’s her fault Jean Charles de Menezes was shot by police in the head more than once…

I can still remember the argument in the House of Commons as they debated whether it was right to change the long standing legal tradition of recognition that a spouse’s first loyalty was for the ‘other half’ and then denied that. Which says that in terms of loyalty – the state comes before spouse, nevermind anybody else. Now not only has she been found guilty of not treating the state with greater love than her husband but also for the police shooting an innocent man. This is an extreme case and I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had ‘informed’ on her husband to the security forces – but it does show this in harsh relief: Who would think that their loyalty to the state trumps their loyalty to their spouse?

15 years tells that story.

Unfortunately she’s now being cast as the scapegoat for the police’s grievous error and shoddy treatment [ie the lies, the ripping off of the cctv footage that told the tale (which is what the IRA did after the shooting of Robert McCartney), the holding up of the enquiry into the shooting…] after they had killed an unrelated party – Jean Charles de Menezes – this is a shoddy attempt to justify the police’s mistake.

To be honest, I don’t like the fact that she’s been convicted of not ‘telling’ on her husband – I think that there is enough evidence to convict her of conspiracy of various things – helping a criminal escape and evade being the most obvious and frankly that shouldn’t have any lower or higher penalty… and that the state should not demand such loyalty – it should realise that individuals have to decide where their loyalties lie.

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Rule 303 Revisited

This look at modern ‘Rule 303‘ infractions into our lives is not to mention more that have been killed by the state….

But that the state wants to be able to so from under a blanket of secrecy. I stumbled across a comment in the rag from Thursday about the ‘Diana Inquest’ which praised the fact that at least it was public whilst the BBC have posted pieces on this for almost a month now and longer as they followed the course of the inquest which in its fourth paragraph reads…

All parties are agreed that Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights imposes a duty on the state to investigate a death caused by an agent of the state: R v Secretary of State for the Home Office Department Ex Parte Amin [2004] 1 AC 653 and Edwards v United Kingdom (2002) 35 EHHR 487.

which is what the state wants to ditch, when convenient – the latest in the story as followed by the BBC is here. Because the only way we can truly verify an inquest does it’s job – especially in these circumstances – is that it is public.

What this means is that Rodney Azelle may not have been the nicest person you may never, now, meet – in the future you may not be able to find out why/how the police identified him and killed him. Of course if that’s true of Rodney then it also holds for terrorists or those shot as if they were terrorists like say, Jean Charles de Menezes – which would save the state a lot of fuss by being able to hold an ‘inquest’ and then make up whatever they thought would raise the least questions…

It could be used whenever the ‘information’ around someone’s death ’caused by an agent of the state’ could be deemed ‘sensitive’ – and just think who will make that decision. Yes – the state does – isn’t that convenient…

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‘Rule 303’

Harry Morant, as played by Edward Woodward in the film ‘Breaker Morant’, uses this ‘Rule 303’ to defend his actions against a trumped up court martial as the British were trying to settle the Boer War without the Germans getting involved. Apart from making the quick aside about leaving a conflict too soon can see a worse regime get settled in for a good long time I want to have a look at this from a more modern point of view.

Let’s start by saying that ‘Rule 303’ was a somewhat nasty defence – it is basically used to say that the generals wanted the enemy killed and that’s the weapon [the Lee Enfield bolt action ‘303 rifle] they were given to comply with that wish…

See here for a more in depth look at Breaker Morant’s story.

Now we have Sir Ian Blair, still at the top of the Metropolitan Police, who is now defending those who are using the same line of argument as Harry Morant – they were told to stop Jean Charles de Menezes and so they did just that… but we can look a little further backwards and find that, unfortunately, Jean is not alone – Harry Stanley was also shot and killed and he was carrying a chair leg… So we can see that when armed officers are confronted by a ‘risk’ and their peculiar modus operandi they shoot and walk away.

It has been observed by the more subversive amongst us that one of the state’s trump cards is it’s ability to terrorize it’s own citizens/subjects and here in the UK we can only be glad that the state chooses carefully who it will terrorize.

With Ken Livingstone and Gordon Brown supporting Ian Blair, amongst others, we could think that they may be secretly pleased that a bomber may fear that they might be killed before they are able to ‘deploy’ whatever device they have – not that this stopped those with jeeps or large cars filled with petrol and gas cannisters of late…

The somewhat self-serving claim that these (Harry’s and Jean’s) deaths were in the defence of ‘our security’ is rather noxious when you look at it closely. It basically means that any of us can be shot – whatever we may be doing at the time; going home from the pub or taking a tube train to meet friends – and it is for ‘our own security’…

Quite frankly when we can be shot because we live in the wrong block of flats or someone thinks our accent is strange and as long as the police are the ones that kill us then that’s alright because our deaths will secure others lives, no matter their accent or place of domicile, something is wrong at the heart of these matters.

A long time ago William Godwin wrote ‘The Adventures of Caleb Williams or Things As They Are‘ and it seems nothing has changed in any real sense – whenever the state is set against an individual we should be worried for them – our ‘freedoms’ and ‘liberties’ are not some strange things that do not serve us under threat they are our very real defence we have managed to demand from the state to defend us from it – for it to break these we should be able to demand a reason for it doing so, not surrender them meekly because we are being frightened into it.

Which under the present regime is swimming against the tide as it seeks to extend the state’s control – ID cards, bans on hunting, smoking, the growing illegality of taking a holiday when we wish (but only if you take the children – leave them behind and see what happens!) and there are other items that could be listed but this is about ‘Rule 303’ which is about the state strengthening it’s grip on our ‘right to life.’

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