Tag Archives: crime/punishment

imprisonment, prisoners, punishment, capital punishment, death penalty — the power of the state over the individual at its crudest

stupid religious tricks

Full Moon Investigations, a Scottish “paranormal group”, is trying to get their government to “pardon” people convicted under Scotland’s anti-witchcraft laws. These include Helen Duncan, a Scottish woman imprisoned in 1944 for conducting a séance in which she revealed information about the progress of the war (a sunken battleship) that the government had decided to keep secret.

I’m all in favor of eliminating state imprisonment for fake crimes, like practicing religion or pretending to practice religion. But what is a “paranormal group”? Do they investigate paranormal phenomena? This is very curious.

Also, how did the Scottish medium know that the battleship was sunk? Did she continue to claim that she knew it through her paranormal practice? Did she have a contact with the Scottish military? Did she happen to have personal experience? Or did she just guess it, getting it right through the law of averages?

BBC 2/28; Scott Horton at Harper’s, 2/29; and BoingBoing 3/3

iranian state murders 2 teens for same-sex activity

oh, this makes me sad: two teenagers in Iran were executed this week for same-sex sexual activity. M.A. and A.M., hanged in Edalat Square, in the City of Mashhad. [direland; seen on Pandagon] The direland site includes pictures of the young men, who are — were — just kids.

i want every fucking government in the world to stop killing people. and i want every fucking government in the world to get its fucking claws out of people’s sex lives. goddammit.

follow-up: 365gay.com reports that international protests are following. Russia is a potential key pressure point, as it does a lot of business with Iran. The HRC called for the US Dept of State to condemn the execution. (I won’t be holding my breath. While the US is interested in villifying Iran right now, I don’t think they’re going to start with where the Christian right in this country would like to end up.) OutRage, who has publicized the story in the English-speaking world, has gotten death threats to its officers from religious fundamentalists (Muslim).

update (7/30): Like Doug Ireland, I initially dismissed the allegations of ‘rape’ levied against the young men as cover-up for Iran’s government. The HRC did not, however, and removed their letter from their website. It’s too bad they removed the letter: sentencing same-sex sexual activity more strongly than opposite-sex sexual activity is still wrong, even where the underlying act is nonconsensual. As for whether or not the allegations are true, I am still disinclined to believe them. When sexuality is criminalized or socially repressed, crying ‘rape’ when caught can save one of the partners at the expense of the other. The history of interracial sexuality in the US is demonstrative, but same-sex sexuality has a similar, less commonly told, history. Sexual repression and criminalization thus add additional costs to society, in our ability to address sexual violence and assault.

action items: contact the US State Dept & ask for official condemnation.

Bush claims we’re a nation of laws …

From a Bush press conference last week:

Q: Mr. President, I wanted to return to the question of torture. What we’ve learned from these memos this week is that the Department of Justice lawyers and the Pentagon lawyers have essentially worked out a way that U.S. officials can torture detainees without running afoul of the law. So when you say that you want the U.S. to adhere to international and U.S. laws, that’s not very comforting. This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?

BUSH: Look, I’m going to say it one more time. Maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We’re a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at these laws. And that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions from me to the government.

… I’d just like to add that, as ever, it’s much more instructive to read or hear Bush speak without the artful ellipses so often inserted in pullquotes …