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Video: UK army abuse of Iraqi civilians 5, November 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iraq, UK.
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The following video is taken from The Guardian website. They describe its content as the UK’s ‘Guantanamo’.

As unpopular as this may well be, I wholly do not class shouting at a prisoner as abuse. The development of this kind of ethos, however, can be dangerous. Arguably the death of the man in UK custody whose case prompted the release of these videos is a case in point.

Much as with Godwin’s Law, I feel that we need to be much more careful with the use of the word torture than we currently are. I believe that I know what torture is – like pornography – when I see it. I am sure that lawyers can argue that according to various conventions this is an example of torture, but for me it is not.

Describing these activities as torture demeans what purportedly happens in jails in Egypt (the black house), Syria, Iran, North Korea etc.

Qatar: not paying its debts 5, November 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Some time ago Foreign Policy had an interesting article on Qatar not paying money that it pledged. Specifically the article is referring to $40 million pledged to help Gaza via the UN in February, 2009.

None of it has arrived even after repeated requests from the UN. This, of course, does not make Qatar unique.

This is curious. Qatar survived the financial crisis in good condition and its economy is growing at around 20%, though I did hear rumours when I was last in Qatar that there was a curious liquidity problem in the country: seems there was quite some substance to rumour.

By now I would have expected that such international coverage would have prompted Qatar to pay its debts to avoid the negative headlines.