Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sex for Revenge? Britain Seeing AIDS Used as Lethal Weapon

Months ago I wrote about Sarah Jane Potter, who was sleeping with black men to get revenge after being infected with AIDS. Now meet Everson “Ace” Banda, an African asylum seeker who worked at a British resort and lured women to his room for sex and potential infection with AIDS.

Banda moved to Britain in 2000 on a tourist visa, and was staying at Orchards Holiday Village at St. Osyth, near Essex, where he hosted a holiday campsite caravan. There, he evidently made a practice of seducing scores of women by getting them drunk at pubs and walking them back to the caravan, where he would have sex with the women.

On August 19th, immigration removed Banda to Zimbabwe, who had long overstayed his stay in Britain. But they were surprised when examining his caravan to find letters from the lawyers of 5 distraught women who have been infected by Banda by the AIDS virus. The resort anticipates more women coming forward who have been infected by Banda.

More and more stories are coming forth of women who had unprotected sex with Banda, unaware that he was HIV positive. This includes a co-worker who was a virgin before sleeping with Banda, and has now contracted the disease. The police indicate if they had found the legal documents before evicting Banda from the country, they would have held him and tried him for assault.

Add in Owen Trowser, the 29 year old Brit who went on a 100 girl revenge spree after contracting the disease, and sex is becoming a deadly weapon in Britain. It leads to the serious question, which I posed many months ago, about whether the British laws for intentionally spreading the AIDS virus are too lax.

There is no question that, when faced with the slow death that often follows contraction of AIDS, there are very few punishments that will make a significant impact. But can there really be an act more morally depraved that wantonly spreading this disease? It seems that at some point the repercussions should match the crime.

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Posted by Scottage at 11:52 PM / | |  

Finally Balance! Amnesty International says Hezbollah Guilty of War Crimes

When Amnesty International came out last month with a report indicating that Israel was guilty of targeting civilian infrastructure, I was infuriated by the lack of balance in their reporting. It’s not to say that Israel didn’t target civilian infrastructure, because they did; but these actions do not exist in a vacuum, and to condemn Israel for them while not citing Hezbollah’s bombing of civilian populations is just ludicrous.  

Well today, Amnesty International righted that wrong.

Today, AI accused Hezbollah of “serious violations of humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes” for the 4,000+ missiles fired into civilian populations during the latest conflict in South Lebanon.  While Hezbollah argued that these missiles were reprisals for Israeli attacks into Lebanon, Amnesty rejected this claim out of hand, indicating that whether or not Israel violated international law in no way absolves Hezbollah of their crimes.

"The fact that Israel in its attacks in Lebanon also committed violations of international humanitarian law amounting to war crimes, including indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, is not an acceptable justification for Hizbullah violating the rules of war, whether as a deterrent or as a means of retaliation or retribution," the report said.

Amnesty’s secretary-general, Irene Khan, elaborated:

“The scale of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israeli cities, towns and villages, the indiscriminate nature of the weapons used and statements from the leadership confirming their intent to target civilians make it all too clear that Hezbollah violated the laws of war,” she said. “The fact that Israel has also committed serious violations in no way justifies violations by Hezbollah. Civilians must not be made to pay the price for unlawful conduct on either side.”

In my opinion, every conflict has at least two sides to it, and the conflict in South Lebanon is no exception. I feel bad for the hardships which the Lebanese people were forced to endure, and feel that Israel, in many ways, must accept responsibility for their actions there, even though they were fighting for Israeli survival. The struggle to exist does not exonerate Israel, nor does it free them from blame for their targeting the infrastructure of Lebanon, so recently rebuilt after the Lebanese civil war.

However, Hezbollah’s actions are equally liable.  I may believe they are more liable, as they were aggressive, rather than defensive, but then I hold a bias.  Either way, if one is to hold Israel responsible for its part in the war, one also must hold Hezbollah responsible for its part in the war, which includes deliberately attacking civilians with missiles filled with ball bearings, to maximize bodily damage.  For my part, I’m glad Amnesty is beginning to see both sides!

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Posted by Scottage at 10:55 AM / | |  

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Honor the Spirit: Stingray Scandal an Affront to Irwin's Memory

Steve Irwin was all about wildlife preservation.  He dedicated his life to it, and to creating a better understanding of our wildlife companions for the billions of people who inhabit and, frankly, dominate this earth. That he was killed by one of the creatures, a stingray, which he tried to educate people about, is a tragedy. That people are using his death as an excuse to execute and mutilate these animals is far worse.

By now, everyone knows that Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin was killed off the Great Barrier Reef while filming a stingray.  And most people know that the whole nation of Australia has grieved the passing of Irwin, who in many ways popularized Australia, and the cause of wildlife preservation, as none before him had. But what many know is that now Australians are beginning to take revenge on his killer, the stingrays.

So far, 10 dead and mutilated stingrays have been found on the beeches of Queensland State on Australia’s East coast, also home to Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin. The stingrays have been found with their tails cut off, an obvious reference to the way one stingray took his life.  Michael Hornby, executive director of Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors conservation group, had this to say about the attacks:

"We are disgusted and disappointed that people would take this sort of action to hurt wildlife. We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who has taken a form of retribution. That’s the last thing Steve would want."
"Stingrays are beautiful creatures and play an important role for the environment. I hope everyone understands we have to protect wildlife now more than ever. This is what Steve was all about."

Stingrays are fairly docile fish.  They are bottom feeders, often burrowing in the sand, and are normally shy and unobtrusive.  Certainly, they are not the type of creatures to generally merit 10 murders in a week.  

There is also a video game being distributed by email called Terri Irwin’s revenge, showing Irwin’s wife trying to kill as many stingrays as possible before getting stabbed. So far the game, produced at, has not received great reviews.  Still, the whole concept again really goes against the grain of what Irwin stood for.

You would have to think that Steve Irwin, only laid to rest last week, is already rolling over in his grave.

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Posted by Scottage at 3:43 PM / | |  

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Victims of 9/11: Angela Susan Perez Remembered

D. Challener Roe began a project called 2996, where volunteer bloggers would each write a tribute to a single victim of the 9/11 attacks. I’m honored to be a part of the project, and to honor Angela Susan Perez.

Angela Susan Perez was a 35-year-old clerk for Cantor Fitzgerald, and a single mother of 3 children. She lived with her sister Donna, 45-years-old, and her eldest niece, Kelly. She had a regular boyfriend, Carlos Castillo, and many friends, and was remembered for her honesty and directness. Her niece, Kelly, had this to say:

You were the aunt that took us to PS 8 park, brought home big giant coloring books, gave us nicknames that made us cry (and laugh!), danced with us to Footloose, came as the chaperone on class trips, (and let unruly boys let them know what they were!) , told us not to suck our teeth at you! :)

You were afraid of a rubber bat and you hated having your picture taken. You had a distinct laugh and unique sense of humor, a love of life and the people you knew were most important in that life. Remember that picture of Bo in the closet when we shared a room? And that pink brush I was never allowed to use?? Remember how I snuck out of the room when I saw someone kissing someone else and was so upset? And you made me feel better? Thanks.

You were a Yankees fan, a Rangers fan, a Carlos fan! I loved embarrassing you on train rides. You always kidded about being the favorite aunt because you were the only aunt... that was never the only reason.

Angela was from the Bronx, and lived there until September 11th, making the site of this tragic event her back yard. She was a regular person like you and I, just going to her job on a September morning, having done nothing to deserve her fate. But deserve had nothing to do with what occurred in New York that day. Her friend James Price said this about Angela:

It was a long time ago. Too long. I lived in the shadow of the World Trade Center just across the Hudson. You lived in the Bronx. We were best friends. We were Yankee fans. We worked together. We spent our free time together. Looking back, I remember that I could never get my lips to speak the words that were in my heart.

I love you, my friend from so long ago. I have thought about you almost every day of my life. Now I will miss you for the rest of my life. My deepest sympathies go out to Susan's family. She was one of the best things that ever came into my life. I will always be grateful for our brief time together.

In, where I found the most information on Angela, there were two pages of kind messages from people whose lives were touched by her. One of the most touching messages was from Frank Fitzsimmons, also of the Bronx:

You will be missed. God must have wanted someone who could make him laugh up in heaven, so he picked you. We all have great memories of you, birthday dinner, Christmas, picking you up downtown with Carlos (we won't go into details...:) Whenever someone says SUSAN it brings a smile to my face. May God bless you and keep you in his arms forever.

Yes, the list of people taken in this attack include the movers and shakers of the New York business community, it includes heroes from the Fire and Police department, and great people innumerable.

But we have to take a special moment to remember the victims like Angela Susan Perez. There are no long eulogies in the papers for her, and no spectacular marble tombstones on websites for her like there are for some of the other victims. But her loss is immeasurable. It will be felt in the lives of her sister, her nieces, her children, and her friend. It will be felt in the lives of all those lives Angela touched, and can no longer touch again.

Today I honor Angela Susan Perez, on the 5th anniversary of her murder at the hands of terrorists during the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. Her life is a real indicant of the tremendous loss our nation experienced on that day, and the wounds that will never heal. Remember her with me, and honor the contributions she made to this country and the world.

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Posted by Scottage at 10:14 PM / | |