bin Laden and the demise of justice?

US propaganda leaflet used in Afghanistan.
US Propaganda (via Wikipedia)

Extrajudicial punishment or Extrajudicial killing. Every heard those terms? Do they scare the poop out of you?

This is the category under which the US military unit has killed Osama bin Laden. Over the past days since his death (May 2, 2011), American media has obsessed over the terrorist’s death, overwhelming any meaningful challenge to the execution-style assault, or debate whether this actually brings any satisfactory conclusions for the surviving family and friends of 9/11’s and other victims of terrorism’s atrocities.

I fear that perhaps this is opening a Pandora’s box much wider than it has been in the past. Nothing covert about the operation. Nothing sovereign about the decision to send an offensive team of highly skilled killers into another country to execute a citizen of a third country. Here is how Wikipedia defines extrajudicial killing:

An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur. Extrajudicial killings often target leading political, trade union, dissident, religious, and social figures and may be carried out by the state government or other state authorities like the armed forces and police.

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02:  A passer by looks at...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Perhaps I have missed something in the last 10 years, but I don’t remember bin Laden’s trial, legal defence or conviction in due court of law, whether in person or in absentia. All that we, the rest of the world have to go on, is bin Laden’s own video bravado and other communiqués, which seem as much a de-construction of democracy and western beliefs and practices, as they are claims of credit for himself or the terrorist people he claims/ed to lead, al-Qaida.

Is this the very public demise of sovereignty, of due justice, of democracy in the west? Have we become just like them?

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Depression and Leo Tolstoy and Me

portrait of Leo Tolstoy
Image via Wikipedia

An insidious state of mind

A note… I have copy/pasted this from my online journal at Penzu title simply Depression, but I think it’s worth sharing here at riotthill.

“This entry is a reflection of the fact that I have not a lot to say these days, even though my mind is constantly cooking up new thoughts, some completely original, others a re-hash (pardon the pun) of old thoughts from here and there, spiced up, shaken (not stirred) and otherwise altered to appear wholly fresh and new.

From ideas bar… What do you love in life?

At the moment, not much of anything, although that has not always been the case. That’s the problem with depression — one loses all sense of excitement and enthusiasm.

Oh, there is an occasion flash, a puff of brightly coloured smoke to charge the moment, but it is quickly lost as the mists of sadness close in and swallow the smoke, reducing it to a grey film of sameness.

Even the thought itself is depressing.

If I remember correctly, Leo Tolstoy suffered from depression. I think he took himself up to his study while the rest of his family lived vibrantly all around him. He wrote about it, and then one day, he suddenly came back to a life without depression, re-involving himself with his family, his writing, his imagination and so on.


When does that happen to me, and why or why not now?

here’s some links to sites referencing Tolstoy’s depression:

I will spend some time reading up on these articles and Leo Tolstoy. I’ve read both of his greatest novels, War and Peace, written between 1863 and 1869, and Anna Karenina (1877). It was between the writing of these 2 great novels that he suffered bouts with depression.

Image via Wikipedia

Isn’t this amazing that one can go from not having much to say, to reading a simple prompt (in this case, ‘What do you love in life?’) and on to what appears to be an unrelated subject, in this case, depression and the author Leo Tolstoy. And my bouts and struggles with depression.

The prompt has led me too, to several pages with details and biography on Leo Tolstoy and his novels. It reminds me that I should re-visit Gutenberg and download translations of his novels. I think I will do that today. I can add them to Calibre and read them at leisure.”

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New Look for riotthill


Image by tcwanat via Flickr

Well, as I suggested in my previous post, I’ve changed the look with this new WordPress theme, called Monochrome. I will continue to play and doctor, as I did with Fastfood (see my previous post, Changing a Website Appearance) and update this blog entry as I go along.

Actually, as I work on this, I discover that there isn’t a great deal to do. I like it the way it is, with a few widget changes.

At this point, it seems as if there is no sign of Apture, my favourite in page link service which pops up a window with relevant links to Wikipedia, Videos and others. I will continue to explore this.

Since this is a relative short post, I won’t add a page break.


I’ve added in the code for Apture, to the footer.php file, which means the settings should now work. A tiny book icon appears beside any link that is Apture enhanced, allowing for a popup window connecting to further information, without leaving the current page.

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