Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You cannot tackle terrorism with the lawbook in your hand

Silvio Berlusconi, defending a football player who gave his fans a fascist salute: “Fascism in Italy was never a criminal doctrine. There were the racial [i.e., anti-Jewish] laws, horrible, but because one wanted to win the war [along side of] Hitler.” So that’s all right then. In the very same event (a dinner with foreign correspondents), he used the very same logic to defend Italy’s complicit role in America’s extraordinary renditions: “When hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk, countries have to use the secret methods... You cannot tackle terrorism with the lawbook in your hand. If they fight with a sword, you have to defend yourself with a sword.”

Israel will stop the January Palestinian elections being held in East Jerusalem, and not for the usual God-gave-Jerusalem-to-the-Jews reason (they didn’t stop voting the last time around), but explicitly because they don’t like the probable results of those elections, a sweeping Hamas victory. So the Palestinian government will probably cancel them.

The Russian Duma gives the government the absolute right to close down any NGO, giving no reason and with no appeal (the provisions applying to foreign NGOs like Human Rights Watch were watered down, but only slightly; they won’t be banned immediately, but the government can shut them down on vague grounds).

Scott McClellan accused Democrats filibustering the renewal (and making permanent) of the “Patriot Act” of “playing to certain special interests within their party that want to see authorities within this legislation killed,” without saying who those special interests might be. Could it be.... Satan?

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