Eight years ago, American forces invaded Afghanistan and during the hostilities captured dozens of men. Actually, after the fighting ended local Afghan forces turned over individuals t the Americans they claimed had been part of the Taliban. To this day, it is unclear whether some of those detainees were simply given to the Americans to settle grudges or because they were not wanted in Afghanistan. Eight years later, President Obama has decided to close the Guantanamo prison. A major problem is use of torture will make difficult introducing evidence into any trials these men might be forced to endure. No states in America are anxious to host in their prisons any of the detainees, no states want their court system to be involved in trying these cases, so the Obama administration is seeking the cooperation of European nations to take in the detainees.
Attorney General Holder is visiting European nations in hope of persuading some to take the prisoners. Hopefully, some of the detainees can be set free, some are unable to return to their own home countries because they will be subject to torture or death. Where does that leave America? On the short end of a very short stick. We wonder if there was a possibility the International Criminal Court could assume jurisdiction over the detainees. We are not certain if this is possible, but certainly it is worth investigating.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is prepared to defy the weight of medical and scientific opinion in order to issue togher new laws today on possessiion of cannabis. He is overruling his own expert advisers and will reverse the downgrading of illegal drugs from a Class B to a Class C substance. He is threatening cannabis smokers with five-yyear prison terms. There is evidence current cannabis on the streets is 20 to 30 times as strong as the cannibis smoked in the 1970. Brown has spoken of the “lethal” effects of the new strains as if they were comparable with the harm caused by heroin and crack cocaine. The prime minsiter apparently has bought into the hysteria which claims there is an epidemic of psychosis created by cannabis even though no medical evidence exists of such a situation.
Medical experts are concerned about any increase in the power of cannabis, but they regard the solution as lying in the area of education and support for cannabis users, not sending them to jail. Brown appointed an Advisory Council to investigate the situation and it recommended maintaining cannabis as a Class C level drug, but Brown has decided to go against the recommendation of his own panel. The advisory council concluded: “Th evidence suggests at worst that using cannabis increases the lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by less than 1 per cent.” Medical experts have no evidence that schizphrenia has increased by any significant factor over the past thirty years.
The Gordon Brown road leads to building more jails, imprisoning more people, transforming a drug user into a criminal, and, most probably ensuring poor people and those from minority backgrounds are the ones placed in prisons. The friends and colleagues of Gordon Brown will not be going to jail.
Alan Brown, correspondent for the London Telegraph made contact with a monk who had been jailed and beaten in Rangoon. According to the monk (his name can not be revealed) ‘Day and night, we had to sit on crowded rows with our heads bowed down. If we spoke, looked up or fell asleep, we would be hit. We weren’t allowed to move at all, not even to go to the lavatory– we had to just do it where we were sitting. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, the guards would come and give us water, but it would be only one or two bottles for 50 people or more.” No medical treatment was provided the wounded. He said some monk who backed the government came and asked the monks to exchange their filthy clothes for new ones, but they refused on grounds they intended to be as they were when entering the prison. Burmese authorities admit to imprisoning 3000, and claim all but 109 have been released, but no one believes their version. The monk who underwent this brutality was finally released and told to leave the area.It is so shocking that members of the military could submit their own clergy to such brutal treatment. One can only wonder if among soldiers inflicting beatings, some are wondering how their behavior can be justified.