Friday, August 29, 2003

Interview with Luis Moreno-Ocampo the ICC

This week's grassroots interview is with Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Elected by the ratifying countries in April of this year, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo has tried criminal and human rights cases involving the extradition of a former Nazi officer from Argentina, political bribery, journalists' protection, and the military junta during Argentina's dictatorship and "dirty war." Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine lawyer, has also been a visiting professor at Stanford University and Harvard University in the United States. Read the interview.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Idi Amin, a Brutal Dictator of Uganda, Dies at 80

Idi Amin called himself ''a pure son of Africa,'' but his bizarre and murderous eight years as president of Uganda typified the worst of the continent's military dictatorships. He was 80.

Mr. Amin died today at King Faisal Specialist hospital, a hospital official said. He had been hospitalized on life-support systems since July 18. He was in a coma and suffering from high blood pressure when he was admitted to the hospital. Later, hospital staff said he suffered kidney failure.

A onetime heavyweight boxing champ and soldier in the British colonial army, Mr. Amin seized power on Jan. 25, 1971, overthrowing President Milton Obote while Mr. Obote was abroad.

What followed was a reign of terror laced with buffoonery and a flirtation with Palestinian terrorism that led to the daring 1976 Israeli raid to rescue hijacked hostages in his country.

Mr. Obote once called Mr. Amin ''the greatest brute an African mother has ever brought to life.'' President Jimmy Carter said events in Uganda during Mr. Amin's rule ''disgusted the entire civilised world.'

Published in the New York Times, 16 August, 2003. Article here.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Study of Bush's psyche touches a nerve

There's an article in the Guardian about a $1.2m study done by US psychologists on "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition" which apparently concludes that "conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity" and that George Bush is a textbook case. Now I could have told them that for much less money. Seriously though - clearly there is something about the way Bush and those around him think that seems unpleasant and odd (and even insane) to more liberal-minded people. However, I have my doubts about turning it into a psychological pathology. I think Bush et al. do bad things for selfish reasons and then use dishonest intellectual tactics to justify their actions. I think they sometimes tell deliberate lies and sometimes they just delude themselves. But I don't think they are any more 'neurotic' than the rest of us...

Monday, August 11, 2003

When will WMD be found?

Was thinking: I bet the famous Weapons of Mass Destruction will astonishingly be found the week the Hutton Inquiry is to report on its findings regarding the death of Dr David Kelly, or am I just cynical, or do I really understand the spin machine?

Friday, August 8, 2003

US Prison Population now 2.2m

According to the Economist the prison population in the US grew by 2.6% in 2002 and is now 2.2 million. One in ten black men aged between 25 and 29 are in jail in the US. Louisiana has the highest figure with 794 for every 100,000 residents being incarcerated. [Note to self: Seems like this is becoming an anti-American blog, this is not the plan....just seems to be a lot of what is sent to me these days, guess that says something].

Friday, August 1, 2003

SA Won't Indemnify US Troops From ICC Prosecutions

BuaNews (Pretoria), July 24, 2003
Richard Mantu (Pretoria)

Cabinet says government will not enter into a bilateral agreement with the United States to indemnify US troops from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Cabinet said this today during its mid-year Lekgotla, which started in Pretoria yesterday and is expected to end tomorrow. Cabinet said the South African government would communicate through appropriate channels with the US, and reiterated that Pretoria 'would not enter into such a bilateral agreement.' More...