Are two blogs better than one?
Two legs bad, four legs good. Remember that? Anyway, two blogs for the price of one today. First a quickie from me, then over to our NYC blogger.
Main news is the unbelievable bloodshed that greeted Benazir Bhutto, only hours after she arrived in Pakistan yesterday. Totally horrible scenes. And if, as seems likely, this has been the work of the Pakistani Taleban/Al-Qaida nexus, then its a chilling reminder of how dangerous this is.
But, what the Pakistani authorities shouldnt do is overreact with mass round-ups, secret detentions and torture. I say this because Pakistan has a disturbing record of doing just that, including handing over people to be rendered to secret prisons run by the CIA.
On the day that the film Rendition hits UK screens, the Guardian also has a big story on allegations that Diego Garcia, the British island in the Indian Ocean, might have been just such a CIA holding prison. The place has been an American military base since the UK government controversially signed a deal with the US in the early seventies. Now it could be a staging post in the dirty side of the war on terror. No evidence yet, but a parliamentary committee is now looking into it.
And speaking of America over to our New York correspondent!
Here in the US, I woke up to the good news that Mali has abolished the death penalty and the night before the Supreme Court had halted the execution of a Virginia man after concerns over the use of lethal injection. Such concerns were recently documented in a recent Amnesty report and has set the cat amongst the pigeons in the US capital punishment system.
All of this is good news for Amnestys campaign against the death penalty, and is particularly encouraging for me and the team here in New York. Were in the UN lobbying member states to accept a global moratorium on executions - a vote on this is coming up in November.
Earlier this week Amnesty had a panel discussion at the UN with three death row survivors from Uganda, Japan and the US. This created a stir. The testimonies from the three "exonerees" were so compelling that I think that if they heard these testimonies, it would be hard for representatives from pro-death penalty countries not to support the death penalty moratorium resolution.
New York is fast, furious and fun. Power-walking, horn-tooting taxis and oversized coffees are the menu du jour in the Big Apple. This week, I just missed the chance to see the Dalai Lama at New Yorks Radio City Hall where he was in town to speak there and to pick up a Congressional Gold medal, much to the consternation of Chinas government.
I may have missed the Dalai but I definitely hope to catch a gig or two. The Blue Note Jazz Club is pretty high on my list, as is Tyler Perrys new film. I must catch that out here because its unlikely to reach the UK, as Tylers films rarely do.
Thats all from your power-walking New York blogger. Get outta here!
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.