Friday, 31 December 2010

Prosecutions, persecutions - last thoughts

Another year closes with more political persecutions and the same high political villains still at large.

Binyamin Netanyahu and his coterie have continued to evade prosecution for outright war crimes, not least the murder this year of nine peace activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Meanwhile, the Israeli leftist Jonathan Pollak has been sentenced to three months in jail by a Tel Aviv court for daring to join a bike protest in support of the Palestinian cause.

Here's some of the noble words Jonathan offered to the judge in response:
"I find myself unable to express remorse in this case. 
If His Honor decides to go ahead and impose my suspended prison sentence, I will go to prison wholeheartedly and with my head held high. It will be the justice system itself, I believe, that ought to lower its eyes in the face of the suffering inflicted on Gaza's inhabitants, just like it lowers its eyes and averts its vision each and every day when faced with the realities of the occupation.

The State of Israel maintains an illegitimate, inhuman and illegal siege on the Gaza Strip, which still is occupied territory according to international law. This siege, carried out in my name and in yours as well, sir, in fact in all of our names, is a cruel collective punishment inflicted on ordinary citizens, residents of the Gaza strip, subjects-without-rights under Israeli occupation.

In the face of this reality, and as a stance against it, we chose on January 31st, 2008, to exercise the freedom of speech afforded to Jewish citizens of Israel. However, it appears that here in our one-of-many-faux-democracies in the Middle East, even this freedom is no longer freely granted, even to society's privileged sons."
Two years on from the carnage of Cast Lead, Gaza itself still remains imprisoned, notes Jody McIntyre, yet another peaceful 'irritant' hauled-off by the law.

The year also ends with a guilty verdict and looming imprisonment for Tommy Sheridan.

We can discuss forever-more whether Sheridan said this, did that, went to a swingers club, kept indecent company and should, more prudently, have recognised the powers of Murdoch, the police and other elite interests all-too-eager to see him broken and jailed. 

Some others purporting to be committed socialists will have to reconcile their own consciences in taking The Digger's filthy lucre and revelling in this tragic outcome.  Again, much of that will remain the stuff of bitter hindsight and sad reflection. Hubris, pride and a trail of toxic division: nothing politically useful will ever be built on hate and recrimination.

Yet, beyond the schisms, legal intrigues and this 'public interest' prosecution, here's a more sobering thought to ponder.

Whatever the grubby detail, a man who has stood up for ordinary people all his political life now faces years of painful incarceration over seeming personal indiscretions.  Meanwhile, another who has used his political career to help launch the genocidal killing of over 1 million Iraqis is still at large, feted by the establishment and made a Middle East peace envoy.  £5 million of public money spent on pursuing the victor of a libel case.  Not a penny on bringing to book the architect of this country's highest war crime. Where's the justice?

The capacity of the elite to protect their own while hounding radical others should never be underestimated.

Michael Moore rightly laughed out loud when Newsnight's Gavin Esler suggested that the 'sex charges' against Julian Assange should still be seen as unconnected to his Wikileaks activities.

But while Assange has been pursued by the US and its proxies through the international courts, a more appalling injustice goes virtually ignored by a subservient media and even human rights bodies like Amnesty International. 

Bradley Manning languishes in a US jail, contemplating an actual lifetime behind bars.  As noted:
"Manning expressed disillusionment with American foreign policy, opining that the diplomatic documents expose "almost criminal political back dealings" and expressed a wish that the release of the videos would cause large-scale scandals and lead to "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms." "
The man who risked his liberty to alert us to the West's most wicked doings in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere should be hailed around the world for his services to humanity.  Instead, while Bush's memoirs boast unsparingly of torture and killing, Manning is painted as a deviant crank, the proverbial threat to international security and deserving of the most reactionary sentence.  Again, where's the equivalent justice?

 I'd like, in my token capacity, to nominate Bradley Manning for bravery of the year award. 

Wishing everyone who has happened in on this humble blog a kind new year, and for those wrongfully and selectively imprisoned by the forces of repression, my compassionate regards.  


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