Wednesday, July 24, 2002

A gift to the poor

The Homeland Security Agency debate goes on. I want to point again to the exclusion of the ATF and my suspicion, which no one else has joined in, that this was a sop to the gun lobby. Today’s NY Times notes that when Ashcroft ordered the FBI not to use gun ownership background checks to investigate terrorism after 9/11, and ordered the records destroyed, he was ignoring Justice’s legal advisers, who said it was perfectly legal to use those records, and then lied to Congress about it.

In 1992 Valentine Strasser took power in a coup in Sierra Leone to become the world’s youngest leader at 25. Today he is broke and lives with his mother. Good.

Under Alberto Fujimori, upwards of 230,000 poor rural Peruvians were forcibly sterilized. Betcha we don’t ever hear much more than that.

Ariel Sharon has been forced by world revulsion to reverse himself and say that if he’d known all those civilians would be killed when he ordered a plane to drop a bomb on an apartment building in the middle of a very crowded city at night (a 10th child’s body was found today, by the way) he wouldn’t have ordered it. This would be more credible if he hadn’t crowed about the great success of the operation yesterday, when he already knew of the deaths. It’s almost enough to sully the reputation of assassinations. “Infanticidal tit-for-tat,” the Guardian calls it.

The Guatemalan government is to make payments to members of the old death squads for their glorious service (the death squads have recently been quietly reactivating). This is the government that acts as a figleaf for former dictator and scum Efrian Rios Montt, one of many, well ok, two, scummy leaders forced out on my birthday.

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