Tag Archives: Julie Bishop

By what standard

An article appeared several hours ago that brings forth questions. The Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/03/saudi-execution-call-for-west-to-condemn-killing-of-shia-cleric), gives several causes for concern. The first one is in the title ‘Saudi execution: call for west to condemn killing of Shia cleric‘, why? The subtitle ‘UK Treasury minister describes the killing of Nimr al-Nimr as a ‘worrying development’ as tensions escalate‘ is cause for additional concern. In my (simplistic) viewpoint, why is David Gauke, financial secretary to the Treasury speaking here (read: quoted)? Why is this not voiced by the UK foreign office (and the Home office for that matter)? THEY are spokespeople in this case, well the Foreign Office more than the Home Office in this case, but the home office would be voicing the ‘home front’ feelings. No, it is the financial secretary to the Treasury, whose voice does not count in this situation that is the view that is voiced.

You see, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation where the use of capital punishment is based on Shari’ah (or Islamic law). I did not study Shari’ah Law and as such I cannot answer the legality in this, but Saudi Arabia is a sovereign nation with its own set of laws and it is time for people to start understanding that other cultures have other rules and laws. For me, I am still amazed on how capital punishment is not in existence in Commonwealth Law, in addition, I am amazed how targeted killing is still not a legal option, an absence I still believe is more an act of cowardice than anything else (I will address this part later in this article).

So Saudi Arabia has the death penalty, this is not new, it is a given. Yet, what people seem to forget is that when you look deeper into Islamic Banking and Finance that this system is not greed driven, that what is regarded as Sharia compliant finance. It approached the view where Sharia prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money, whether the payment is fixed or floating, which as I understand it implies any excess compensation without due consideration (absent of time value of money), which implies (without deeper investigation, cannot be stated as for certain by me) that the hedge funds nightmare that Wall Street bestowed upon the world would never have happened under Shari’ah Law, I will let you contemplate that thought by yourself!

Let’s get back to capital punishment! When we look at an article by Elizabeth Peiffer (at http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1132&context=wmjowl), we see the following on page 508 (page 3 of the article), “The harsh punishments required for hudud crimes are intended to deter those who might commit crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society“, in additional support there is something I should add from the Catholic Education Resource Center (at http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/social-justice/catholicism-amp-capital-punishment.html), where we see “At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die” (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 2l:17; cf. Leviticus 20:9)“, in addition I offer “The last case of an execution by the Catholic Church was that of the schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoll, accused of deism by the waning Spanish Inquisition and hanged to death 26 July 1826 in Valencia after a two-year trial” (at http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/805877-196/daily-twip—the-spanish-inquisition-executes.html).

We seem to impose ‘our’ values on every nation, yet we do not take responsibility or repair the damage we allow others to make under either a Christian or atheist guise, how just is that?

Let’s get back to the issue that started all this, you see Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was sentenced to death. The BBC (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29627766) gives us “he was found guilty of seeking “foreign meddling” in the kingdom, “disobeying” its rulers and taking up arms against the security forces“, ‘taking up arms against the security forces’ could be seen as insurrection at best and treason at worst, when I point back to the issue shown in the article by Elizabeth Peiffer we get ‘intended to deter those who might commit crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society’, is that not the case for both insurrection and treason? Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was himself a cleric, so how was the consequence a surprise? Because he was regarded as ‘popular among youth’? The sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia has a set of laws, this is known, so again, why do we read that David Gauke sees this as a ‘worrying development’? Shouldn’t the man be playing with an abacus and solving the UK economy issues (the UK has plenty of those)? In addition, he represents South West Hertfordshire, which is part of Hertfordshire, where less than 1% is Muslim, a county where 90% is either Christian or has no religion (27.3%), so again, what gives, personal interest or unofficial messenger?

The blunt cold issue is that a cleric went against the established order and Shari’ah Law intervened directly and definitively, which I admit is my rather simplistic view on the matter.

In an age where culling over 30% of the planets population could solve food issues, housing issues and several other issues, we seem to embrace the solution that does not get us anywhere. Now it is time to get back to an earlier statement and explain my reasoning. In our day and age, capital punishment should not be seen as a bad thing, we should see this as the ultimate form of accountability. Consider the News in Brisbane where “Cole Miller, 18, was allegedly struck in the head from behind as he walked with a friend through the Chinatown Mall about 3.35am yesterday (AEST)” (at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/01/03/07/16/young-man-randomly-king-hit-while-walking-through-brisbane-mall-overnight). Why not ‘reward’ Armstrong Renata and Daniel Maxwell with the death penalty for such a cowardly attack? I feel certain that after a few of these executions teens will get hit in the head from behind a lot less. Why was he attacked in the first place? That is still for a court to decide, but too often and for too long the victim and its family gets to suffer whilst the courts ‘go soft’ too often on the transgressors and it is not because there are so many jobs or there are so many apartments available. As stated, it is for a court to decide and there is of course the need for evidence, because we know how it ended, but how did it get started? I do not have the facts, but that is an important element in Common Law, I am just no longer willing to see that the abolishment of capital punishment is a good idea.

I also mentioned cowardice earlier, for this I need to address the issue of targeted killing. You see, the law as is seems to revere ‘non-permanent’ solutions. In all that people are faced with dangers and risks. Consider that 70% lives in a legal way, no crimes committed, now we get 29.9991% that does have a criminal side, for that we have the law, I do not oppose this, they are criminals of all kinds, from pickpockets, to robbers to murderers, for those we have the law. There is a very small group, 0.0009%, this group is so malignant, so violent (read: extremely fanatic or terrorist), that their presence is a direct threat to the people and to our way of life. In all this, we ‘hide’ behind Common Law and its settings, like it is a Golden Calf (I am referring here to Exodus 32:1–6), how dare we revere a book to that level whilst knowingly endangering the people we swore to protect, are those victims in that same view not degraded to simple human sacrifices for the existence of a book of rules? How can we sacrifice those lives and are we not willing to take the lives who are knowingly and intentionally threatening those innocent (and some less innocent) lives? Are we not bound to protect the people in any accountable way we possibly can? It is the word accountable that should have opened the door to targeted killing a long time ago, I am not referring to 9/11; I am referring to events even before that. To the days of Baader Meinhoff and the Rote Armee Fraktion. Italy had the Red Brigade, Japan the Red Army and that list goes on for a while. We seem to focus on Islamic groups, yet we forget that the Ku Klux Klan, White Power groups as Christian groups and most other religions have their terrorist organisations, groups with members focused on extreme violence against a specific group or a nation in general, as such, when that government has a direct responsibility to keep its citizens safe, where is the logic to not pursue these extremists with all options, including terminal ones?

So by what standard are we judging?

We seem to push our standards onto others, whilst in most western European nations we have only succeeded in making a bigger mess, whilst not holding anyone accountable for anything, as I see it, Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr decided on a course of action, here (Australia, UK, Canada, sometimes the US too) we all believe in freedom of speech, yet In Islamic nations there seems to be an interpretation that ‘crimes that are dangerous to an Islamic society‘ are strictly dealt with by holding that person accountable. Please consider that I am voicing a view based on the ‘facts’ as I see it published, I am not stating on the ruling of the specific court case of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr as I do not have all the facts on that case. And consider again, why is the voice of David Gauke quoted and not from the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP? In this case it is his voice as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that sets the tone of how we as a Commonwealth (read: United Kingdom) shall deal with our allies, our connected nations and our enemies, not David Gauke. In Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated today that the Australian government is deeply disturbed by Saudi Arabia’s mass execution of 47 people that same approach was taken by Canada where Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion condemns Saudis over Mass Execution (including the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr). So why did the article by Martin Chulov not mention the big names from Canada and Australia within that article? OK, in all fairness, the response from Julie Bishop was only voiced a few hours ago, but the Canadian voice was given yesterday, plenty of time to include that one, it seems to me that the article is about careful ‘voicing’ what does not really matter for the political field that becomes a lot less maneuverable over the coming year, another fact conveniently ignored.

All this regarding the standard a sovereign nations holds. We might not agree and we can voice that, but we must equally accept that every nation has its own rights in dealing with transgressors, even if we are too unwilling to do this ourselves. Consider that hypocrisy is knowingly not practicing what you tell others to do (like having just laws against crime and for victims), now consider that Irony is becoming a judge after illustrating the failure of law.

So is this a mere case of Hypocritical Irony?

 

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A beefy certification!

There was an unsettling report on the news at 06:30 this morning. It showed issues with Halal classification with references to terrorism. Oh, the man was very ‘precise’ in stating there were at present no indications, it was all about clarity. So before we take a look at this, let’s take a look at George Christensen, a Liberal who seems to represent the people from MacKay going north, his area stops before Townsville, which beckons the question how many Muslims are there in his constituency? Did he meet with them, or with a Muslim spokesperson to discuss this BEFORE this was given to the press for HIS visibility? (Ne thinks not, but I could be wrong).

This part was the part I had an issue with: “I have never said there is any evidence of links between halal certification and terrorism in Australia. Consumers should be able to know where proceeds derived from all forms of certification go, including kosher certification. There is a clear reason why many Australian’s are talking about halal certification and not kosher certification. There hasn’t been any terror plots found in Australia nor have there been any terror attacks killing Australian’s in Bali or New York City or elsewhere that were masterminded by Jews or even extreme sects within Judaism

The first question in my mind is why? If I do not live for Halal foods, why have the interest on how certification is set and where proceeds go to? In my mind I am at times curious how Halal and Kosher certification is done, but that is for a mere academic curiosity. I would think that George Christensen should look into other meaty issues. Perhaps some will remember the scandal that had hit the UK a little over a year ago, on how 29% of beef had added horse to it. So George, how much Phar-Lap can we find in a Queensland hamburger? Have you looked into that part at present? You know, whilst having your Vegemite sandwich, as you come from the land down under!

You see, when we see news like ‘Campaign to boycott halal food gains momentum in Australia after yoghurt company ditches certification‘ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/campaign-to-boycott-halal-food-gains-momentum-in-australia/5907844), I wonder what is driving this. It is as I see it a deceitful approach to anti-Muslim sentiment. Australia is not and should never be anti-Muslim. Like the UK we are anti-Extremism and as such we keep our watchful eyes open, but to attack Muslims all over by becoming anti-Halal is like Idi Amin walking up to Mahatma Ghandi stating ‘Dude, you are too intense!‘.

Consider the quote regarding the anti-Halal movement “Its carefully anonymous leaders keep a low profile, directing their members to swarm target companies’ online profiles and boycott their products“, this reads like a page of the manifesto of white supreme-cysts letting the dumb masses do their dirty work. It is not unlike some early KKK approaches into changing commercial interests to fit personal needs.

When we consider the quote “I think it’s fair to say that people from all walks of life, should be able to ask are you halal certified? It’s not a hard question“, we need to ask another hard question. Why? You see, Halal is an issue for Muslims and Muslims alone. As far as I always have known it to be: ‘the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained, it is done according to religious standards’ (I got this part from Wiki, because I was lazy formulating my view on this). In the back of your mind, these animals are slaughtered in a humane way (it sounds strange, I know), so this meat is prepared in a certain way, so that it is the finest beef, now consider the slaughterhouses Christians use (in mass quantities), one could consider that Kosher (Jewish), Halal (Muslim and Jhatka (Sikh) will always have the best meat. When we see in definitions ‘killing the animal whilst causing it minimal suffering‘, gives thought to a humane approach on preparing food, I can guaranty you that when you see modern slaughterhouses, ‘humane’ is a word we need to leave behind before we get within a mile of many slaughterhouses (isn’t there at least one in Christensen’s district?) I wonder if George Christensen ever took time to properly investigate matters before he started, you know, opening his mouth.

There is one additional part that should be looked at, which is that the killing of animals, in Islam is set in two categories: 1, for food and 2, to eliminate danger (like rabid animals). In response to this anti-Halal I would like to add the quote in the second article: “‘If they don’t change their ways and start acting as patriotic Australians, they deserve what they get. Its market forces,’ he said“. Is that so? In that case, I reckon their next change is to shut down EVERY Target and K-Mart, which should be closed until all the cheap $3 articles from Myanmar and Sri-Lanka have been removed and replaced by articles made in Australia. You see, when your members see the quality of life decrease as expenses go up from +50% to +150%, they will likely move away from sanctimonious statements regarding ‘patriotic‘. It seems to me that Certifications like Kosher, Halal and Jhatka do have a religious ground, yet behind that is a hidden quality because of these practices, making these certifications interesting to consumers all over the religious spectrum. In the end, we the people want good food, good quality items.

So when I see opportunists talk about ‘patriotic’, then I wonder if they are aware of ‘Value of ‘more sophisticated’ counterfeit goods increases by millions‘ (at http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/value-of-more-sophisticated-counterfeit-goods-increases-by-millions-20140426-zqzu8.html), where we see the two quotes “Among the 2012-13 seizures were 43,200 bottles of beer in Western Australia in March 2013” and “Up to 86 per cent of all goods are manufactured in China, he said“, so Mr Sanctimonious, when did you last buy your Australian beer on special? How Australian was it, or perhaps you could not tell the difference?

It seems to me that local certification is preventing counterfeit and forged processed foods just fine, by not letting this happen. A local market like that cannot cheat when there is a clear view of where things came from, from Cow and Lamb to final piece of red meat. Something the ‘mass-market’ seems to be completely unaware of, that part was shown a year ago when most European nations enjoyed Phar-Lap sprinkled burgers and sausages.

So back to George Christensen, why is he on this horse-meat to begin with? When I see the following in the ABC article referred to earlier “The trouble began for the Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company last month when Mr Hutchinson received an email asking to confirm whether his company had halal certification. Six months earlier, the company had gained halal certification as a requirement to supply a $50,000 yoghurt contract with Emirates Airlines. ‘It was a $1,000 fee. It opened up a business market to continue to become viable. It was a necessary step,’ Mr Hutchinson said“, here we see a simple certification step, which brings a $1000 fee, but opens up a $50,000 market for an Australian company. I think that Fleurieu is doing a good thing here, they went to adhering to a market, which requires certain high standards, they met the challenge and they are in business, in this regard how UN-Australian are the people attacking this? Is this about where the $1000 went to, as George Christensen seems to question? If that is true, then I wonder what George Christensen is up to wasting our precious time on this issue (I do not care if he wastes his time on this, but his constituents might ask). What was this really about? If my ‘response’ would be a personal one, I might ask why this ‘entertainer’ (can we call George Christensen a politician when we read these facts?) is a Liberal member, he sounds like Labour party material at present. Yet when we see the mention “George Christensen wants halal certifiers to open up their books“, I wonder what he is really trying to get at, the people who paid for certification, or the list of certifying instances. When we see the $1000 fee, to make any serious contribution one would need many thousands of companies getting certified, I think that this is about something else entirely. That view became visible as I found a blog regarding Carol Vernon, running for the Greens in September 2014 (at http://mncgreens.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/george-christensens-statement-labelling.html), the quote is “Mr Christensen is referring to people who oppose the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef as terrorists and in the current climate that is utterly unacceptable, wrong and incredibly dangerous and irresponsible“, yet in August we see his statement that his approach was wrong (self-admitted by GC, at http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/great-barrier-reef-federal-mp-george-christensen-says-i-got-it-wrong/story-e6frflp0-1227040230696), so what is this about? When we consider the site ‘they vote for you’ we see that George Christensen is labelled as ‘George Christensen voted very strongly against increasing marine conservation‘, this makes sense when we see his view on the Great Barrier Reef and on other matters. It seems to me that he is firmly in the pocket of ‘big business’, you see, as I personally view it, Halal, Kosher and Jhatka is all about quality oversight, something big business abhors. they want freedom of unaccounted actions (like the Phar-Lap burger), so, when we see businesses making changes that could be regarded as morally correct activities like Halal certification, we see that it is not about the dollars, but about the quality, an approach the connections of Christensen might not like as it undermines their profitability as they are stopped from dredge dumping and so on, Dawson has abattoirs and mining items in their constituency, which beckons other questions too. As a population wants a better quality, we see a better community, seems to me that Halal certification might be a threat to these abattoirs, for who do (or did) they cater to?

An electorate with 92,000 votes (at 94% turnout), is not that sizeable a community. So why was George Christensen bothering with all this?

Consider the quote “there has been some evidence in other countries that there has been dubious activities on halal certification“, so where is that evidence? George Christensen is outraged that his grocery spending could be propagating a religion, in regards to Vegemite (as stated by ABC news), we should consider the following: There are 22 million jars produced every year. Halal certification is $1000, according to one source stated earlier, which means $0.00454 per jar, which is less than half a cent, so when we consider this in regards to George Christensen, should he be regarded anything less than a joke? There was never a security issue, as I see it, there was never any issue on religious certification, it was as I see it a waste of time from beginning to end, perhaps to avert talk from his disastrous approach to the Great Barrier Reef. Which is of course a second joke (a story lacking humour in this case) when we see Julie Bishop state that there was no threat in response to the quote by President Obama “Mr Obama told the audience the ‘incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened’ because of global warming and said he wanted to be able to return to Australia with his daughters when he had more time“, that statement that there is no threat, is of course debatable as George Christensen was extremely willing to use it as a dumping ground for dredging activities, which we see at “In January 2014, a proposal for Abbot Point was approved to dispose of 1.3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil“, so how will that ensure a long lasting reef? If we are to accept the report (at http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/17164/ShenNengGroundingImpactAssessmentReport.pdf), we see “contamination by TBT such as from anti-fouling paints is likely to have a significant and persistent ecological impact on biota at a ship grounding site and potentially the surrounding physically non-impacted areas“, which is just one quote from the 160 page document. As we saw that the captain was given a $25,000 fine, how large was the total fine for this one event, and how much will it take to fix the reef? In light of the fragility of the coral reef, how could any positive light ‘be given’ towards dumping sludge on ecology this fragile?

It seems to me that in regards to the reef, both sides have been playing it fast and loose towards the health of the Great Barrier Reef, when we see that 85% of Australia is all for a healthy GBR, we can only wonder why George Christensen is all about certification of red meat and not that much for a great reef.

Did I oversimplify matters again? Silly me!

 

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