Trial balloon

It’s official (2:30 pm): the Supreme Court is expected due to formally announce at 2 pm 4 pm that it has denied, with finality, the motion for reconsideration for the so-called “people’s intiative.” My understanding, though, is that the Supreme Court also reversed its previous decision that the initiative and referendum law is insufficient.

“Acting on the motions for reconsideration of the decision of October 25, 2006, the Court resolves by the same vote of 8-7 to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration, as the basic issues raised therein have been duly passed upon by this court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision,” the three-page resolution said.

The division of the justices’ vote was the same as when they ruled on the original petition.

In a separate vote, 10 justices ruled… that Republic Act 6735 or Initiative Referendum Act is sufficient to amend the Constitution through a people’s initiative.

But the high court stood firm on its position that the signature campaign conducted by the Sigaw ng Bayan could not be passed off as a people’s initiative to institute constitutional reforms because of the questionable procedures that the group had used.

This means that the law is fully in force, and no one has any excuse not to undertake a proper people’s initiative in the future -within the parameters described by the court. For example, the public could propose two 4-year terms for the presidency, or run-off elections for the presidency; still, future debates might be, could an initiative propose, a unicameral legislature? What is clear, though, is that initiative cannot propose the parliamentary system. But for the short term, the meaning of the decision is: the Legion can try again. Fair enough.

Looks like the Palace may be beating a strategic retreat after the Ebdane trial balloon inspired a critical reaction. Today’s trial balloon is the idea of a unity ticket for the senate (RG Cruz says Palace is giving up on Plans A and B and is thinking along campaign-related lines). What’s the purpose of the trial balloon? To determine if a presidential endorsement will be a political kiss of death or not. You have to tie in these trial balloons with other news. Such as this: new survey comes out, which seems to validate my observations. If you notice, the President’s core supporters amount to about a quarter of the population.

Look at the survey figures. In broad strokes, it shows a country divided, and the administration’s strongest suit, its economic performance, seems viewed by the public along the partisan lines I pointed out: the president’s hard-core constituency, 25%, thinks she’s doing great; the hard-core opposition refuses to see her achievements, and they’re at 39% (more or less the Estrada constituency holding firm); a huge percentage, 36%, is undecided and is the segment that the opposition and administration are battling for, but which to my mind, is more inclined to support the status quo.

Time Magazine has Andrew Marshall commenting on the political killings in the Philippines:

In August, in response to international concern, Arroyo set up the six-member Melo Commission, led by a retired Supreme Court judge, to probe the killings. Some bereaved families doubt its independence and have refused to testify. This distrust is symptomatic of a profound loss of faith in Arroyo herself. She is an unpopular President, plagued by corruption scandals and slammed for her failure to improve living standards. Arroyo has condemned the killings, but she will not implicate the military – even as it implicates itself. Col. Eduardo del Rosario, head of a military antiterrorist unit called Task Force Davao, admitted to TIME earlier this year that “individual commanders” might be responsible for the killings.

Investigations into these deaths yield hardly any results. Of 114 political murders recorded since 2001 by a special police task force, arrests have been made in just three cases, with no reported convictions. The President’s apologists will be hard-pressed on this one, since they’ve enjoyed trumpeting Time’s other stories about the Philippines in the past.

The figure of 114 murders is interesting. Using it in the report implicitly rejects the figure of 700++ murdered put forward by some human rights groups and which is used as the authoritative figure by the National Democrats.

USA considers playing a larger role in Mindanao peace process.

T-bills auction scrapped. Palace says cheaper housing loans reflect something “astounding”.

Tomas Osmeña asks Palace to release his brother’s pork barrel, and says it’s a misconception to think Cebu is rich.

On an earlier Osmeña, the historical document of the day is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last press conference was almost entirely about the Philippines. In my never-ending Roxas biography project, Osmeña’s greatest political misfortune was having someone knowledgeable and sympathetic to Philippine concerns drop dead, just as the crushing burden of the presidency was at its greatest. A certain momentum survived in the new Truman administration, but the relationship would never be the same.

In the punditocracy, Anding Roces (a former Secretary of Education) examines the origins of the decline of the educational system. Tony Abaya says the Palace’s real worries are over Joseph Estrada and Panfilo Lacson. Luis Teodoro wonders if it makes political sense for the President to keep cozying up to Dubya.

The Business Mirror editorial says a new “economic story line” is required. Dr. Michael Alba, head of the Economics Department of De La Salle University, begins a series: The Philippine Economy from the Perspective of Growth Economics (Part I). (During meetings for a book to be released by the AIM Policy Center in which we participated, I recall Dr. Alba making the interesting observation that 1983 marked a watershed year in Philippine history: the year, he says can be proven with data, that corruption became endemic in our society).

Naima Bouteldja argues the ban of Muslim headscarves in Europe didn’t originate with the public, but the politicians instead.

In the blogosphere, The Unlawyer ponders conflicting news of no DND appointments before January, 2007 and other news of an appointment by December.

A Hundred Years Hence thinks a new national capital is a bad idea, and prefers a more integrated and fresh look at Manila and Quezon City.

baratillo@cubao noticed how boxing trumped Mass and offers some thoughts on heroes and heroism (and how’s this for a Memento Mori! Gotta love the picture). The Warrior Lawyer weighs in on Honasan as Sarcasm Aside weighs in on Pacquiao.

Carlos Celdran meets Imeldific. Brilliant.

As a fan of Delicious Library and a Mac user, it’s interesting to me that a debate’s taking place over pretty applications. Rogue Amoeba (makers of an app. I really like, Audio Hijack Pro) wrote the essay contended over; see responses by Dustin MacDonald and MK&C on the fine balance between pretty, and actually useful, software.

Call Me Fishmeal offers up a reflection on the nature of fighting, by way of a failed pissing contest with Nicholas Negroponte.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

76 thoughts on “Trial balloon

  1. anna,

    Thanks. With the PI line now open, why settle for 2007 elections as indirect referendum? Let’s go get Glo, let’s TANGLO! TANggalin si GLOria! Let’s PI for Snap elections.

  2. Let TANGLO also a Global Pinoy Initiative. Let’s now draft the petetion and pass it on.

    Calling on lawyers on the blog. Please post “a draft a petition for a people’s initiative that complies with the provisions of RA 6735 that may now be entertained by the Commission on Elections.”

  3. I can pass it on the Fil communities presidents in France and Belgium respectively for signature gathering.

    Jm, it might be a good idea to take this up with One Voice or with Leah Navarro of B&W. I understand there’s a meeting called by B&W or could be by Leah, am not sure by whom.

  4. jm, hate to burst your bubble but what you dream is not possible. as in any contest, be it sports, politics, or litigation, you cannot change the rules just after the game is played and the winner is declared. i think you will just have to wait, wail and gnash your teeth, until the next contest. either that or change the rules in such a way as not to affect the current winner. better luck next time. like morales, you should know when you are vanquished.

  5. thanks for your encouragements, legally PI is now possible; morally, an imperative.

    Survey after survey show that the people want Gloris out Now. The SC decision shows us how.

  6. “as in any contest, be it sports, politics, or litigation, you cannot change the rules just after the game is played and the winner is declared…like morales, you should know when you are vanquished.”

    it doesn’t take a sagan or an einstein to realize the fallacy of this metaphor. a boxing match is not a dynamic process as politics is. the law is made for man, not man for the law.

    patalsikin ang pekeng pang-gulo.

  7. *, wallow in ignorance, if you insist, but calling PGMA names will get you nowhere. for sure, it won’t make you a “great” person worthy of pansin.

  8. *, Bencard

    Bobby not Manny Pacqiao is more like GMA. Stripped of the belt for being overweight and disqualified for repeatedy hitting below the belt, Bobby Pacquiao must be awarded in Malacanang with a Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Medal of Honor.

  9. GMA and Milosevic, and other war criminals like him, are galaxies apart…” – Bencard

    Actually, they’re two of a kind. Both have initiated ‘all out war’ on a segment of their own civilian populations and have tolerated atrocities committed by their respective subordinates during the course of these wars. I doubt if Gloria can step on European soil after her term ends.

  10. check your facts. milosevics engaged in ethnic cleansing. GMA declared all-ou-war against an armed rebel group (of course, dressed in civilian clothes, not unfiform, to do their nefarious activity with virtual impunity) that has been pestering the country for decades. This group wages war not only against the government and its military but against civilians and businesses. Landowner-farmers could not even enter their land without first paying so-called revolutionary tax from these rebels, or be summarily executed.

    why would GMA not be able to step on European soil? have Europeans become lawless bullies and arbitrary avengers not amenable to law and justice? who are you to regard Europeans that way?

  11. Who are these Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno?…

    My problem here is that while we tract the casualties that “seems” to be attributtable to the government, we dont seem to care the “casualties” that were perpetrated and punblicly claimed by the other side as there own killing.

    NPA thrive in our province. Everyday people are killeed in NPA infested areas. I just lost uncle recently and the NPA own its killing. A quarter of our land is being controlled by NPA ( sad to say, that is thr portione that was awarded to me as inhereitance when my mother died last year.) We have been very fair on giving the share to tiller. 50% of the income goes them and that is for teh primary crop only ( copra) while all income for secondary crop are 100% theirs…

    This is the reason why I just cannot relate to this political killing issue!

  12. Bencard, Gloria (like Milosevic) has nurtured a culture of divisiveness and impunity for the purpose of holding on to power. She has become an enabler of repression of the kind seen in the former Yugoslavia in the 90’s and Latin America in the 70’s. As for your characterization of the Europeans, everyone can see that those are your words, not mine.

    Rego, google ‘Cadapan’ and ‘Empeno’. There are enough accounts of their case on the web. Also, you can read Patricia Evangelista’s column that hvrds linked to in the previous thread (‘The Undecided’ Nov-19 at 12:40pm). These students have nothing to do with your Uncle’s killing. (Condolences re: your Mom.)

  13. cvj,

    PGMA has been imploring unity and reconciliation with her political enemies since she assumed the presidency. she appointed to her cabinet and helped elect candidates that were of questionable loyalty, and which later proved to be riders of trojan horse that stabbed her in the back. you call these “nurtur(ing) a culture of divisiveness and impunity”? if ever PGMA could be accused of repression, if it can properly be called that, it is by applying the full force of the law against known enemies of the state which is her sworn duty to do.

    As for Milosevic, he not only did what you accused him of doing. he also caused to be killed vast number of innocent men, women and children (in the magnitude of the holocaust). to equate GMA’s alleged actions with that is intellectual dishonesty in its worst variety,

    Didn’t you write that you doubt GMA can step in European soil after her term ends? If you so admit, can you explain what you mean by that and why?

  14. Bencard, (as manuelbuencamino previously pointed out) GMA has long recognized her own divisiveness:

    If I were to run, it would require a major political effort on my part, but since I am one of the principal figures in the divisive events in the last two or three years, our political efforts would result in never-ending divisiveness.” – Gloria Arroyo 30-December 2002.

    As for impunity, you only have to look at the list of noncombatants who have become victims of Arroyo’s ‘all out war’. There is nothing intellectually dishonest in pointing out that GMA’s approach is similar to Milosevic’s in quality (if not in quantity). In the Philippines today, ‘applying the full force of the law’ no longer equates to justice being done.

    Gloria will not step into Europe when she is no longer President because i don’t think she wants to become a permanent fixture in The Hague.

  15. I think you and your colleague are taking GMA’s words out of context. If you were taking the liberty of interpreting it, so would I. I think what GMA was saying was that she was the object of intense jealousy and hatred by her enemies, e.g., rabid Estrada-Marcos fanatics, presidential wannabees trapos who were on the outside looking in, communist extremists who were the object of GMA’s so-called “repressions” and their sympathizers, oligarchies whose stranglehold on political power and economy were threatened, adventurists in the military who want to dabble in politics while in uniform and wielding high-powered weapons supplied by the government, and perennial malcontents who were never satisfied with anyone or anything in the government (attributing their personal miseries and misfortunes to everyone but themselves), that probably it would help lessen the destructive rivalries, and thus enable the country to focus on economic survival, if she would not seek a re-election. But then, that would mean delivering the presidency to a very controversial, inexperienced candidate who evidently would be an easy prey to the opportunists around him, and therefore, the same divisiveness, confrontations, back-stabbing, sabotage, blame games, all in the midst of worsening national economy and ruin.

    GMA made the right decision to run in 2004 to the bitter dissapointment of the salivating wannabees and hungry opportunists. Now, they are on jihad for revenge.

    GMA made the right decisioon of

  16. cvj, so that’s what you mean, GMA would be a “permanent fixture at The Hague”. Your hyperbole doesn’t work, I’m sorry to say.

  17. Bencard,

    Re your “i wouldn’t worry about PGMA’s ability to defend herself in any court, at any time.”

    Indeed, I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about Gloria’s ability to defend herself after all, she’s known to lie so effectively, without flinching or even batting an eyelast that one wouldn’t be surprised that even SHE has started to believe in her own lies; furthermore, to give credit where credit is due (I have no doubt that you will agree with me), this exceptional ability will and should serve her well, per what you said, IN ANY COURT at ANY TIME.

    And no, I never considered, not even remotely perceived that the International War Crimes court was/is a ” kangaroo court ” (Didn’t I cite Milosevic, an international war criminal, who was caught, was tried, was in the process of being convicted by the same Court when he unceremoniously died?) so I’m infinitely confident that Gloria will be tried fairly and squarely not only for the 114 politically motivated killings on the police blotter which you termed CASUALTIES of her ALL OUT WAR, but also for the hundreds of victims of extra-judicial/politically motivated killings and for politically motivated abductions like Sheryl Capadan and Karen Empeno. They are all victims of her ONGOING WAR, a war you yourself boasted about in this blog.

    Bencard, I told you, you weren’t doing Gloria a favor, you a lawyer whom we (thanks to mlq3) now know are quite close to Gloria by raising the sceptre of Gloria’s WAR, CASUALTIES OF WAR, ONGOING WAR, ALL OUT WAR in the Philippines, not with the hundreds of extra-judicial killings under her belt. And even for the sake of argument, we do not equate the CASUALTIES of WAR in Gloria’s ONGOING WARFARE to Milosevic’s war crimes, she still might find herself in the docks like Augusto Pinochet who was brought to trial many many years after he committed his crimes against his people thanks to the unflailing efforts of Amnesty International.

  18. anna, for the record, I am not in any way, shape or form close to GMA. She doesn’t know me and I don’t know her personally, never even seen the lady in person, either here in the U.S. or elsewhere.

    But I have always been an admirer of her since she entered politcs as a senator. I think she had been a credit to that body. As president, I see her as competent, hardworking, strong, personally incorruptible, and the best person to lead the country in these trying times, and to solve the monumental problems that she herself did not cause but inherited from her predecessor.

    Concerning Milosevic and the war crimes court, I think I have said enough. If you don’t grasp what I wrote above, too bad, but I don’t have time to keep repeating them. I think the problem is that our brains are not on the same plane and we don’t speak the same language. I think you should just stick to researching and reproducing the works of renowned writers and then sharing them with your fellow travelers, sprinkling them with french words from time to time. I think that’s your niche, ’cause you’re good at it.

  19. Bencard, you’re right about Anna’s ‘niche’. Since i don’t know French, i find her expositions of French literary, philosophical and historical works valuable as it allows me to peer into a world i would otherwise not see.

    Regarding the different planes that you speak about, aside from our respective political preferences, i think one noteworthy difference between you and Anna is that your legalistic mindset acts as a filter to real world events. That is why your brain exists in a world where everything that Gloria has done is ‘legal’ which is all that matters to you. Anna (and i) are more traditional in the sense of taking in real world events as they happen, as well as in not prioritizing legalities over matters of justice.

  20. cvj, i expected a response from anna de brux but since you seem to be taking the cudgels for her, i would adderess you. First I’m glad you are benefitting personally from anna’s philosophical quotations and/or historical observations.

    But, as you can see, anne de brux is debating with me about legalities, i.e., comparing GMA’s alleged actions vis a vis her country’s rebels,with Milosevic’s genocidal activities; and de Brux’s idea of elevating GMA’s case to international war crimes court as easy as jamby madrigal’s grandstanding resort to international human rights group to seek adjudication of a puely internal matter involving a sovereign state, and advancing the opinion that GMA would be “in the docks” there.

    I don’t understand your problem with “legalities”. Perhaps it would give you a better appreciation of the “Law” if you find yourself invoking it to assert a right, defend yourself from an unjust accusation, or protect youself and your loved ones from arbitrary governmental action. Nothing could be more “real world” than that, and philosophy, poetry, literature, languages (including French), or even “morality” may not be of much help other than keep your mind active during detention (legal or otherwise). You see, cvj, every society, be it democratic, communist, totalitarian, tribal, familial, religious, or international, has some form of Law that governs the day to day (real world) activities of its members as well as its government. For as long as you are a part of any society, you cannot escape Law wherever you go. So you can only ignore it at your risk.

    Since modern law is a product of enlightened mind (except perhaps those of “rogue” societies who still follow cave-man standards of “justice”), I don’t think law is bad a “filter” to “real world” events. In any event, as I demonstrated, we cannot escape it, nor put low priority to it.

  21. bencard, i don’t think the crimes against humanity committed under GMA’s ‘all out war’ need to be at the scale of Milosevic’s ‘genocidal activities’ for it to warrant prosecution. Under the principle of universal jurisdiction, neither can she use the excuse that this is ‘purely an internal matter involving a sovereign state’.

    I am also not arguing against the importance of laws. What i am against is a legalistic mindset. It is commonly understood that expertise in the law without a corresponding sense of justice renders a person unable to appreciate the difference between right and wrong. What i have come to realize in my discussions with you is that it also tends to limit a person’s comprehension of what is real and what is not.

  22. cvj,I don’t think you are qualified to judge the “sense of justice” of any person or lack of it. Neither can you make a generalized appraisal of any person’s comprehension of reality and fiction. You are entitled to your opinion, but if you are going to make a derogatory comment, better be prepared with facts to back it up. Never heard of your “universal jurisdiction ” as an accepted legal principle. Perhaps you can teach me some “law”. While you’re at it, maybe you can also explain to me what you mean by “legalistic mindset”, can you? If you are applying the term to me, will you cite specific reasons why you think I have that?

  23. bencard, if you sincerely believe everything you have asserted about Arroyo’s innocence (i.e. on allegations of election cheating, extrajudicial killings and abductions etc.) then i cannot question your sense of justice. However, your unwillingness to accept the facts that would otherwise undermine your beliefs is what has led me to doubt your comprehension of reality. Back in the ‘Get out of jail free card’ thread of this blog, i asked you to read up on ‘Hello Garci’, ‘Palparan’, ‘Joc-joc Bolante’, ‘Proclamation 1017′, ‘EO 464′, ‘Calibrated Preemptive Response’, and ‘Mega Pacific’. You then responded by saying that:

    “those are mostly unresolved issues that you have enumerated, not proof of ‘offenses against human decency’ as you insist. In human terms, you need evidence that will stand up in a court of law to prove an assertion and arrive at the ‘truth'”

    The approach of requiring evidence that ‘will stand up in a court of law’, even when outside the court of law is the hallmark of a ‘legalistic mindset’. It seems to me that it is your legal training and experience that has led you to act like (what Anna has called) ‘horses [wearing] blinders’. Even laypersons know that there are some aspects of reality, that for some reason having to do with legal procedure, strategy or technicalities cannot be admitted in court as evidence. (If this were not the case, Al Capone would have been convicted of more than tax evasion.)

    As for ‘universal jurisdiction’, you can read up on the wikipedia entry as well as those in Amnesty International’s web site.

    Traditionally, states have enacted criminal laws which provide that their national courts can prosecute anyone accused of committing crimes on its territory, regardless of the nationality of the accused or the nationality of the victim (territorial jurisdiction).

    However, under international law states can also enact national criminal laws which allow national courts to investigate and prosecute people suspected of crimes committed outside of the state’s territory, including crimes committed by a national of the state, crimes committed against a national of the state and crimes committed against a state’s essential security interests. There is, however, an all inclusive form of jurisdiction called universal jurisdiction which provides that national courts can investigate and prosecute a person suspected of committing a crime anywhere in the world regardless of the nationality of the accused or the victim or the absence of any links to the state where the court is located.”

    [Source: Amnesty International web page Universal Jurisdiction – Questions and Answers]

  24. cvj, as a semi-retired practitioner (I have mostly turned over my practice to my son), I do have some free time to post in this blog, but evidently not in the same quantity as yours. You seem to be all over the place. My compliments to your energy and persistence.

    Regarding your favorite coin words “legalistic mindset”, let me just ask you this. What would you expect a lawyer would think when you call another person (client or not) a thief or a cheat. He, the lawyer, would, of course, either think that the person has already been convicted of theft or cheating, or that you are just trying to defame him. To find out whether you were telling the truth, the lawyer would have to resort to legal rules and procedures, which in a civilized “real world” are the only acceptable instruments of ascertaining the truth.
    Otherwise, “truth” would be nothing but a subjective, amorphous concept that would only depend on the person claiming it, and probably would be verifiable only in the afterlife. If this the “legalistic mindset” you are referring to, or de brux’s “blinders”, how does use of those terms help your argument vis a vis PGMA?

    As to “universal jurisdiction” (as embodied in the Rome Statute ratified by the Philippines in 2003)it is a complex subject that I don’t intend to make a dissertation on in this blog. Suffice it to say that GMA’s actions, including against the enemies of the State, are, in my opinion, not justiciable in the international crimes court because of built-in safeguards in the said Statute against abuse of the system or process, including matters of jurisdiction, admissibility, and of course, the problem of proof. It is not as easy as you and de brux seem to make it sound.

    Oh, by the way, Pinochet was a long-term dictator in the tradition of Marcos and a proven human rights violator. GMA is not, never has been, and (hopefully) never will be, a dictator, and, of course, never been convicted of human rights violation, as far as I know.

  25. bencard, in terms of keeping up, i don’t think you’re doing too badly either. i fully expect a lawyer to adopt a ‘legalistic mindset’ when defending a client, most specially if the client happens to be me. However, my point is that what applies in the courtroom during legal proceedings is not necessarily the right approach when perceiving and evaluating reality in the outside world. There are many channels for the truth to reveal itself, and if we prematurely use a courtroom judge’s standards to reject pieces of information because these do not meet certain legal criteria for evidence, a substantial chunk of reality will be missed out.

    The alternative does not mean giving free rein to subjective definitions of truth as we still have the scientific method as well as the principles of probability available to guide us. The existence of the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes, for example is not a matter of opinion. These are real world artifacts that have increased the epistemic probability that Gloria conspired to cheat. Even a certain segment of Arroyo supporters and the Undecided acknowledge that. Rather than dispute the reality of the tapes, some question the timing and political motivations of whoever released the tape – something which i’m interested in finding out as well. There are also those who argue that Arroyo was acting in self-defense as well as those who excuse or tolerate her actions on the basis of lack of viable alternatives or avoiding a greater evil. All of these are premised on the reality of the conversation between Arroyo and Garcillano which can hardly be disputed.

    As for ‘universal jurisdiction’, i recognize that it is still a controversial issue in legal circles but the direction, as shown in the case of Pinochet, is toward acceptance of this principle at least in places like Europe. By her previous actions suppressing authentic deliberation (e.g. CPR, EO464, PP1017, Con-Ass initiative), Arroyo has demonstrated her dictatorial bent. We can be thankful that the Supreme Court has so far done its part in defending the Constitution, but it has been a relentless game of cat and mouse.

  26. Bencard, cvj,

    I see that you are still both at this Gloria thinggy. Was pretty busy during the weekend hence accessing only this redoubtable blog only today.

    Thought should remind Bencard that universal jurisidction is indeed recognized in the UK – where Pinochet was tried, judged and convicted – and in the rest of Europe in spite of Bencard’s strong opinion against it when he said, “Never heard of your “universal jurisdiction ” as an accepted legal principle.”

    Bencard, it is all in your honor to try very hard to defend Gloria’s poor human rights record per Amnesty International, Transparency International and other human rights groups but since YOU YOURSELF opened “the can of worms” qualifying the victims of extra-judicial killings, politically motivated murders in the Philippines to Gloria’s “casualties of war” in her ongoing war,” etc., I doubt you will go very far in defending her unless you become familiar with “Universal Jurisdiction.”

    With regard to what you said, “GMA is not, never has been, and (hopefully) never will be, a dictator, and, of course, never been convicted of human rights violation, as far as I know.”, I recommend you start getting acquainted with Gloria government’s human rights record before she becomes officially accused under the tenet of Universal Jurisdiction so as not to replicate your earlier spiel of “”Never heard of your “universal jurisdiction ” as an accepted legal principle.””

    It would do you well Bencard to stop lacing your diatribes against cvj and me with veiled and outright sarcasm because such method only shows bad faith on your part.

    And by the way Bencard (and cvj), here’s the latest on Augusto Pinochet in The Daily Telegraph UK (today’s edition). I agree Gloria’s record is has not reached the 3,000 benchmark and I’m all for not reaching the Pinochet record if we could all help it, don’t you think?:

    Pinochet shows no remorse

    By Jeremy McDermott, Latin America Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:50am GMT 27/11/2006

    Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, used the occasion of his 91st birthday at the weekend to accept, for the first time, responsibility for the crimes committed by his military junta.

    Yet there was no remorse for the 1973 coup and the subsequent killings of suspected Left-wing sympathisers and activists, some 3,000 of whom were murdered by military death squads.

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