Special Courts

(This is an extract from my book “Rough Justice” which records some of my experiences in Rhodesia and Zimbabwe during and after the liberation war. –Available on Amazon)

Part of the strategy for combatting the war against terror, was the establishment of Special Courts, which travelled into rural centres to try offences against the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act.

Offenders were people who carried arms of war – active terrorists; gave aid and support to terrorists and / or failed to report the presence of terrorists, which were capital offences with a mandatory death sentence  upon conviction.

The death penalty was a very strong part of the judicial armoury in Africa up to the 1970’s. As was corporal punishment – a light cane for juveniles and a heavy cane for adults.

sten gunJudges’ Clerks were required to act as Chauffeurs and Bodyguards for our Judges and we were issued with Sten guns, 45 calibre sub machine guns, produced in WW2 for 2/6d, which usually jammed after the second round.

The best part was driving the big Mercedes Benz car merited by the judge.

The administration of Justice was very swift, with most of the accused admitting the facts, notwithstanding the mandatory death sentences and despite the efforts of their appointed defence barrister.

On one sad day we passed the death sentence on four people: two in Inyanga in the morning and two in the afternoon in Umtali.gallows noose

After the accused were found guilty, it was the duty of the Judge’s Registrar to address them were as follows:

You have been found guilty of the crime of contravening the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act by giving support to people bearing arms against the State: do you know of any reason or have anything to say as to why sentence of death should not be passed upon you?”

My repugnance for what we were doing grew after one dignified old gentleman replied: “My Lord, when a man bearing a rifle tells me I must report anyone who carries weapons who comes to my village or I will be hanged, and then later, another man also carrying a rifle tells me if I report his visit I and my family will be killed, what must I do?

He was duly sentenced as the Act required, but I know the judge recommended clemency. That evening was the only time I saw a judge get drunk.

He resigned after that.

In fact, most if not all mandatory death sentences which did not include murder or acts of violence were commuted to life imprisonment and these people were released on independence.

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It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in

Do not for one moment think that the Establishment exists for your benefit or that the government or the opposition or doctors or bankers are right.

 

Check the facts – make your  own mind up.

 

With that as a theme I reviewed some articles I had saved and these are a few quotes that I found thought provoking from an article called Intolerant Liberals by Tucker Fitzgerald 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”Isaac Asimov

Do not accept everything you are told by the Man:

There is no such thing as an outright political lie. Instead there’s distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation,deception, half-truth and overstatement. The assumption is that the risk is worth it.

Because democracy isn’t the only value we hold. We don’t accept the 51% enslaving the 49% by popular vote. Because Hitler was brought to power by a democratically elected government. Because American slavery was legal.

lenin deception

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Gary Kasparoff

Now  – getting closer to the point I want to make:

More people are recognizing that the economic paradigm that guides our global system today is deeply misaligned with a thriving future.

The Neoliberal economic system is a cultural construct. It has a particular history and espouses a cogent set of core beliefs, social values, and organizational practices. There is a narrative coherence to notions of “freeing” markets from regulation, letting wealth “trickle down” from the coffers of the rich, and a “rugged individualism” that pays too little attention to the social factors that shape economic outcomes.

Joe Brewer

Soreefersmetime last week Queensland news was filled with the successful busts by police of numerous marijuana growers who had rented suburban houses and converted them to grass growing hothouses. A number of serious statements were made about these heavy criminals.

 

There have been over twelve million cannabis arrests in the United States from 1996 until 2013.

35.6 percent of 12th graders in US and 67% of medical students had used marijuana during the year prior to a recent survey

Also last week, I received an article from an investment advisor heavily tipping investment in marijuana projects listed on stock exchanges.bank of ganja

The United States Marijuana Index (a stock exchange index) has jumped from a level of 48.39 a year ago to the current level of 70.83, an increase of 46%

Enjoying a growth rate of 77% over the last few years and an estimated 700% growth rate by 2018, it’s bigger than corn, bigger than cotton, and bigger than wheat.

In fact, according to UN data, it’s valued at about $142 billion. To put that in perspective, the global coffee market is valued at about $80 billion per year.

Possession and cultivation are Federal offences but lawful in over half the states in US. It will be totally decriminalised in Canada next year. Possession is lawful in South Africa and Netherlands. Medical marijuana can be lawfully prescribed in Australia.

Now how about that for a disconnect in values?

I am not a recreational user (yet), but I may well become an investor.

How does one reconcile that with being a law abiding citizen?

 

And just to see if you are awake and did read this to the end, I have included a quotation which should make most of my African readers grin.

This is a gentleman’s affectionate description of his donkey:

“most fokkin fency-schmency blerrie fokkin perd on the whole of the Cape-Flats, eating epples from fokkin Woolwurths.”

donkey grin

Would Jesus have escaped his fate in 2017?

The manner of Jesus’ death was not unusual for the times, in a conquered country ruled by powerful Roman overlords, who would have required Hebrew authorities to maintain a peaceful and calm populace.

Pilate washHowever, the attempts to evade responsibility for the decision to execute Jesus, suggest some uneasiness.

Jesus preached radical views and evicted the moneylenders from the Temple in Jerusalem and defied the Pharisees and Sadducees. He gathered crowds around him and had clearly attracted quite a following. He also defied the Sanhedrin – these were the power brokers of the times.

There would have been some who recalled the 12 year old boy Jesus,
who had displayed advanced scriptural knowledge in discussion with the elders in the Temple and who even then said he was about his Father’s business.

As a man, in accordance with custom, he read the scripture of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, and claimed to be the fulfillment of that scripture. No doubt there were reports about miraculous cures and the wonderful feeding of thousands and other miracles. Certainly 1000’s gathered to follow him and listen to what he said.

The Pharisees and Saducees were obviously sceptical and disbelieving and examined him. He remained obdurate and popular – a clear threat to the hegemony of the local government of the times, who had also caused the execution of John the Baptist who had announced the coming of the Messiah.

PalmSundayIn the book of Zachariah it was written: “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It suggests that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, to great popular acclaim.

revol doctrineNow these are acts which are of a political consequence. Here was a potential challenge to existing authority. The claim to be the Son of God was surely false.

coming of christ

Surely, God would inform his priests and give heavenly indication of His Son’s arrival,  by attending Him with Archangels, Seraphim and Cherubim?
So a political decision was made to remove the radical upstart who had attracted a large following and threatened their autonomy. The execution was conducted, comparatively humanely for the times, as his legs were not broken to hasten his demise, but he was stabbed in the side with a spear.

In modern times, rumours of poisoning of citizens in Syria, have attracted swift retribution from powerful military overlords. Yet the decimation of rural population with murdered citizens being thrown down old mine shaafrican-tyrantsfts by an African tyrant, did not even attract condemnation from the same military overlord who had installed the tyrant in years gone by.

Politics is a dirty game, in which compassion and tolerance are hindrances, not given any countenance.

Not much has changed. Even now, I wouldn’t be surprised at the same thing happening again to Jesus – save that His miracles would have gone viral. Mind you they would probably be written off as fake news !

Unstoppable

A very elegant wife of an advocate objected strenuously to a $15 fine for failing to stop at a stop sign. She was represented per amici by a colleague advocate, who rolled his eyes but called her to give evidence.

The woman agreed she had not stopped completely but had slowed right down and checked carefully to see that the way was clear.

She argued that she had complied with the spirit of the law and felt she should not be penalised. I disagreed.

A magistrate could not allow autonomy in selection of which laws to comply with and the choice of when it was suitable to do so.

I confirmed the fine, regretting that I could not treble it to shake her blinkered views. She was incensed and wanted to appeal.

(extract from “A Rough Justice – Reminiscensces of a Rhodesian Magistrate”)

I suppose she was unstoppable..?