Tag Archives: James Foley

Pussy in the White House?

Yes, the Washington Post is bringing us another White House, not the one that we see in some Debbie does Dallas version, the original movie, not the Broadway event. Yet in that version Bambi Woods shows to have more balls than the White House officials seem to have nowadays.

So the issue as shown (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-divided-over-how-to-handle-two-isis-militants/2018/02/09/17c2fafe-0dc6-11e8-8890-372e2047c935_story.html) whost the two parts, the first is the one I agree with. That view is: “top counterterrorism adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, favors sending the pair to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba“. The other one is “families of American hostages killed by the group want the men brought to the United States for a criminal trial“, the fact that this view was given any consideration was fair enough. Yet the dangers that wherever the trial will be, will have increasing dangers of Lone Wolf activities as well as the emotional ball that the media will play in every direction they can. It is nice for those families to have their day in court, but it is a view that is in every direction short sighted. Yes, I do feel for these families, yet in the end they will never get any justice, at best they end up having some peace of mind. Yet the price tag of that peace of mind, with the added dangers that they are inviting is just not worth it. The GB (Guantanamo Bay) solution by draining them of all intelligence and in the end when there is nothing more to get, a mere 9mm through the back of the skull is basically the best solution all around. So as we see the quote “The men, who grew up in Britain, had travelled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State and were part of a four-person cell known as the “Beatles” because of their British accents“, giving them a John Lennon end is not entirely out of bounds. So is that to be the fate of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey? Let’s not forget that they were seen in gruesome videos beheading American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and other hostages. So why should that fate not be theirs? Because we are so much better than they are? You only have to watch the cut throat activities in Wall Street to know that that part is not entirely true!

The Mother of beheaded victim James Foley stated: “I certainly don’t want them to go to Guantanamo or any place like that, because something like that would just bury the truth. I think there needs to be a public, open and fair trial” is fair enough. She has a right to speak and I will not invalidate her view. I would state that the truth was not buried, that decapitation was tweeted and social media channeled as much as those ‘terror Beatles’ could, as for fair trial? When you become a terrorist you throw away your rights, you decided to invalidate the right to life of others beyond any reasonable view, as such, why should they be given any. The only reason why I want them in GB is because they might still have info. Even as we see: “The two men have been undergoing questioning by U.S. officials, including Special Operations forces, for “operational intelligence,” said two national security officials“, there is a chance that they missed something, not intentionally, but because the data files have too many interactions and we want to make sure we know everything we can. If that was inaccurate these Special Forces could draw straws as to who gets to execute them, if they so desire.

I can understand that the UK has a few issues with this and when we see “Any effort to transfer Kotey and Elsheikh to Guantanamo will run into stiff head winds“, we see a view that is not really surprising, yet in opposition we see: “The citizenship status of the men, who both grew up in west London, is unclear. Elsheikh’s family emigrated from Sudan. Kotey has a Ghanaian and Greek Cypriot background“. This is interesting, because if the UK cannot provide actual evidence of their British citizenship, it would indicate that the UK has no opposition to offer. If there is no clarity, it implies that these two were either illegal immigrants who left the country, making it a non-issue for the UK, or they are British citizens removing the uncertainty of a citizenship status. You can’t have it both ways in this case.

I believe that it is Rita Siemion, international legal counsel at Human Rights First who gives the quality opposition that counts. As she gives us: “Sending them to Guantanamo to be prosecuted in the military commission or detained there would be a serious mistake, the federal courts have a proven track record for handling international terrorism prosecutions quickly and effectively, while military commissions are just the opposite” is a valuable view, yet how many of these federal court cases have there been and what has been the time span of those cases? That part is equally important as it puts a large target to any court facilitating to that trial and there had been Lone Wolf activities in the US. In that regard, any wannabe terrorist or upcoming ‘martyr for Allah‘ would want to hit that place for their limelight and the limelight support that their family could get. That risk is actually larger than it was a few years ago and that risk is only going to get larger and not just in the US. Jennifer Daskal, a former senior official in the Justice Department’s national security division gives an additional view that is legally important. With: “Most importantly they are connected to ISIS, as opposed to al-Qaeda, and the Supreme Court has never authorized the detention of ISIS fighters,” she said using an acronym for the Islamic State. “Bringing these men to Guantanamo would put their detention and possible prosecution on shaky legal grounds and set up a good legal basis for them to challenge their detention“. This is an important distinction. Yet I myself and many like me are in opposition with “Why are terrorists given any consideration or rights?” Let’s face it, their victims weren’t given any. Merely watching two beheadings will get you that evidence driven views, so why give them any? Because we are better? Because we believe in the rule of law?

I actually do, but there is a pragmatic difference. You see 99.9999% can fall under the law. This includes any first time offender, any repeat offender and almost every serial killing monster. Yet there is 0.0001% that is so driven to kill everyone, so driven to denounce the rights of others and so determined to blow up whomever they can that pushing them into that same jurisprudence setting whilst we know that dozens upon dozens would knowingly face death whilst the law remains idle is wrong. You see that degrades those victims to human sacrifices for the benefit of that Golden Cow names Jurisprudence and that is just a little too hypocrite for my blood.

The additional fact that the law would require to pass legislation for every splinter group, which we get to consider when we see: “a legal battle could undermine the U.S. government’s overseas military operations if a court rules that the government has no authority to detain ISIS militants under a 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress to be used when going after al-Qaeda and its affiliates” is also scary. It could mean that every extremist Muslim splinter commander would seek another name, getting the limelight as he is given consideration under US Congress, his acknowledgement and as such the US military could face additional complications. All this whilst the defined term ‘Terrorist’ could have settled it all.

In all this revisiting the discussions on Proportionality in targeted killing as discussed in the 2015 publication of ‘Global Alert’, a work by Professor Boaz Ganor might be a better path to take. In that keeping in touch with Professor Ganor might be more important than you think, because if there is a trial in for example New York, the fact that these Lone Wolves might be seeking ‘assistance’ or we see the internet growing call for martyrs is a view he discussed in his 2007 publication ‘Hypermedia Seduction for Terrorist Recruiting‘. Wherever that trial gets to be better prepared for a long hot summer and that hot summer can be viewed in the most negative narration possible.

So even as we understand that the White House is seeking a legally acceptable solution, yet as the events in the Middle East are still heating up, is that a path that they can afford? With ISIS all over the Sinai, Libya, Syria and still being a presence in Iraq, the lack of stability is working for ISIS, not against them. So it is in that setting that we need to contemplate, not merely the values we have, but also the pragmatism of them. You see it is great to have values and to keep them, but at what point in this changing world can we hold on to those values?

It would be great if that was an actual fact, but in this day and age you only need to look at the ever growing problems that the ‘pension crises’ represents, showing that governments at large (on a near global scale) do not have any solution, pushing forward actions on assuring pensions. The US and UK are the more visible ones, but they are not the only ones, not by a long shot. In this day and age where they all misrepresent the collapsing pension systems, at this point do those people want to be the bringers of ‘legally acceptable’ solutions to terrorists?

There is nothing more dangerous than relying on jurisprudential handholding whilst the politicians are largely in denial of the actual problems we face, because they all want to leave it for the next person as it is not an immediate concern. You only need to consider the fact that one firm alone (General Electric) is currently facing a $31 billion deficit, which they are trying to plug using a $6 billion loan. So in this face, whilst the US has currently a deficit of a number exceeding $200 billion, so as we are all so concerned for a decapitating population of 2, we see the White House in a light that it cannot make decisions, hiding behind the law in one side and refusing to enforce or strengthening laws to protect those who have worked a life time to making the US big, so how good is the US economy?

In my view not wasting the courts time on Terrorists and going after these companies who have basically betrayed their employees, who have given their life being faithful employees seems to rate higher on my ladder for a few reasons.

Yet that is merely my likely to be regarded as a ‘short-sighted point of view‘.

 

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Censoring – Censor out?

It is 18:11 and my assignments are done. I get one day of rest until the next batch off assignments start to twitch at the corner of my desk. No rest for the weary, so off to the Guardian I went a moment ago only to see an interesting article by James Ball. It is about Twitter. The headline ‘Twitter: from free speech champion to selective censor?‘ pretty much states it all (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/21/twitter-free-speech-champion-selective-censor).

It starts with a quote that sounds good, but is actually a statement of quicksand “The social network’s decision to remove all links to the horrific footage showing the apparent beheading of the photojournalist James Foley is one that most of its users, reasonably, support“.
I actually do not support it, but I understand the action. Why not?

Well, this is all about emotion, which is fair enough, but Twitter had given themselves a precedent of censoring. Now, let us be honest, I have nothing against the censoring, but they created a position for themselves that will drain resources in many way.

Why? What about the next beheading or execution that comes next? Other video smut we can all do without. Where will it stop and how can it be managed?

James Ball actually words an interesting view I had not considered when he states “the New York Post and New York Daily News’ decision to use graphic stills from the footage as their front-page splashes. Here begin the problems for Twitter: the network decided not to ban or suspend either outlet for sharing the images – despite banning other users for doing the same“, which constitutes discrimination. So, as I stated, Twitter entered a pool of quicksand and it will get them deeper into trouble sooner then they realise. That is shown with the quote “Twitter is absolved of legal responsibility for most of the content of tweets. But by making what is in essence an editorial decision not to host a certain type of content, Twitter is rapidly blurring that line“.

So under Common Law, Twitter got themselves in quicksand and hot water all at the same time (aren’t they the efficient Eager Beavers?).

If I go by the NSW Defamation Act 2005, we see a nice escalation in section 32, where it states:

Section 32   Defence of innocent dissemination

(1)  It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that:
(a)  the defendant published the matter merely in the capacity, or as an employee or agent, of a subordinate distributor, and
(b)  the defendant neither knew, nor ought reasonably to have known, that the matter was defamatory, and
(c)  the defendant’s lack of knowledge was not due to any negligence on the part of the defendant.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is a subordinate distributor of defamatory matter if the person:
(a)  was not the first or primary distributor of the matter, and
(b)  was not the author or originator of the matter, and
(c)  did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter (or over the publication of the matter) before it was first published.

Until now, they had gotten a clean pass and would remain to have one until they made the change they did. Because whomever starts any defamation case, will have cause to show the beheading censoring instance of James Foley and by Twitter acting, they gave away the defence: ‘did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter‘, because they just did that exact thing, which now gives them cause to see Defence of innocent dissemination melt away like snow in the sunshine.

As James Ball points out, the issue that I had taken offense to last year were the threats against Caroline Criado-Perez, who thought it would be a great idea if Jane Austen became the new face of the 10 pound note. I personally thought it was a brilliant idea. Some small minded people did not and as such, she got a dose of abuse and threats that were completely beyond belief. It is only one of many cases of bullying, trolling and harassment via Twitter. The quote we see in the Guardian is: “Twitter’s strongest, perhaps only, justification for its sluggish and minimal response was that it could only act through its harassment channels, and could not become a curator or editor of content on its site“, which in itself is perfectly acceptable, yet now, they have given that option away by acting and soon, Twitter might be confronted with other abuse and threat victims and as such their goose gets to be decently cooked (and broiled).

So, either Twitter takes a step back, which would be fair enough, or it becomes a policing entity, which might not be the worst, yet the issues from this choice will haunt them for a long time to come. That in itself seems unfair, but just moving to the plate (not arguing how justified it is), will leave them with bruises and scars. I get the issue that it is a consequence of choice, which I do not attack, but how consistent can they actually do this and more important, what issues will they open when they censored something that was lost in translation, how will they fix those mistakes at that point?

I think that they should state that the beheading intervention was a once off and not interfere again. Not because I want it, but because Twitter seems safer by remaining on the side of innocent dissemination, a side that they might not be regarded as ever again (speaking juridical), simply because the action has already taken place.

So is the censor in for censoring?

That is a question that only Twitter can answer, yet the emotional decision to intervene in this case was morally right, emotionally correct and decently good, this jurisprudential mouse will however end up having a slightly too long tail, I wonder whether Twitter considered that option, especially in regards to victims like Caroline Criado-Perez who did not get the intervening attention they rightfully deserved.

 

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