On June 1

On this day in ...
... 1660, in North America, the British colony of Massachusetts hanged Mary Dyer because she was a Quaker. Dyer and her husband William had immigrated there, from England, around 1635. The couple were supporters of religious dissident Anne Hutchinson, and Mary accompanied Anne out of church when the latter was excommunicated in 1638; the Dyers then moved with Hutchinson to Rhode Island. In her final return to Massachusetts, Dyer "deliberately challenged the legal right ... to carry out the death penalty."
... 2000, the Patent Law Treaty was adopted at Geneva, Switzerland. "Its aim is to harmonise the formal requirements set by patent offices for granting patents, and to streamline the procedures for obtaining and maintaining a patent." Today the treaty has 53 contracting parties; the United States is not among them. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

News--Harpers Ferry, WV Gets $122 Millon Weapons Center

Byrd Visits New Firing Range: Senator, Officials Celebrate Opening Of Harpers Ferry Facility, Beth Henry, Journal-News Staff, May 31, 2008.

U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd has helped funnel more than $122 million into Harpers Ferry’s state-of-the-art training facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and he isn’t finished yet. Byrd visited the site for a special ceremony Friday, where two events were wrapped into one. Byrd and U.S. CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham participated in a ribbon-cutting for the center’s new Firing Range Complex, while they helped celebrate groundbreaking for construction of the facility’s Leadership Academy.

“Today, the efforts of hundreds of people are spread before us like a blessing,” Byrd said to the crowd of more than 300 federal leaders and community members who gathered for the afternoon ceremony inside one of the firing ranges. He said he started securing funding for the Advanced Training Facility in 1999, and he is proud that he has obtained nearly $123 million in design and construction dollars for the center’s construction. That funding was supplemented by more than $26 million from Customs and Border Protection.

“That ain’t chicken feed,” Byrd joked, getting one of many rounds of applause. He also received standing ovations when he arrived, when he was introduced and when he finished his 15-minute speech. In addition to discussing the center’s importance to the nation’s security, Byrd also pointed out the significance of the site’s location near Harpers Ferry, where one of only two U.S. Armory and Arsenal facilities was built in 1799. It operated there until 1861, when it was closed to prevent its capture during the Civil War.

“Now, more than 200 years later, a new top-of-the-line firing range complex has emerged in the same geographic vicinity,” he said. “Here, much-needed firearms training will be available for the men and women on the front lines of protecting the borders and economy of this great nation.” The Firing Range Complex covers 65,000 square feet, with five different ranges designed for rifles and handguns. It also includes classrooms, weapon cleaning areas and firing range control rooms.

During the ceremony, Basham praised Byrd’s leadership and vision, and said the Customs and Border Protection’s training center would not have been possible without him. “In this age of global terrorism, it is essential that those sworn to protect the borders of our nation are fully trained and prepared to do so,” Basham said. “We are extremely proud of this first-rate training facility, which would not exist were it not for one single driving force — Sen. Robert C. Byrd.” The firing range center was open for tours following the ceremony, while Byrd met with a long line of well-wishers who wanted to shake his hand and take pictures.

The 124-acre Advanced Training Center sits along School House Ridge off U.S. 340 near Harpers Ferry, and it opened in August 2005. The center features a range of training environments, including facilities such as a land border crossing, airport terminal and marine and urban areas. The center also includes an administration building, welcome center and classrooms. Byrd said the facility is the first in the nation to provide advanced law enforcement training specifically for Customs and Border Protection efforts.

Besides the CBP Leadership Academy, other planned facilities include a warehouse and a dormitory complex. The academy will provide a range of training for officers and agents, and the more than 600 new supervisors who are added to Customs and Border Protection each year. The agency has more than 50,000 federal employees, making it the nation’s largest group of armed federal law enforcement officers.

Wes Windle, the acting director of the Advanced Training Center, said he’s been thrilled to watch the center expand with cooperation from Byrd, the CBP, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and police agencies from throughout the region that also use the facility. “I’m just astounded with what we’ve been able to do,” Windle said after the ceremony . “For me, working in this type of facility is just phenomenal. ... The CBP has a great, great home here.”

Contact: Staff writer Beth Henry can be reached at (304) 725-6581 or bhenry@journal-news.net

Text Source: http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/507285.html?nav=5006&showlayout=0

Photos: Top--U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham, left, cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the Firing Range Complex and the groundbreaking of the Leadership Academy at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advance Training Center on Friday afternoon in Harpers Ferry. (Journal photo by Martin B. Cherry)
Bottom--Gary Kable observes the targets used in the new Firing Range Complex in the new 124-acre facility. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a component of The Homeland Security Department. (Journal photo by Martin B. Cherry)

News---Vicksburg Post Celebrates 200th Anniversary of Jefferson Davis' Birth; His Mansion/Presidential Library Reopens

Jefferson Davis Bicentennnial, Gordon Cotton, Vicksburg Mississippi Post, May 14-24, 2008.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis, who was born in Fairview, Ky., on June 3, 1808, and at the age of 2 moved with his parents to Rosemont Plantation near Woodville, Miss. In 1835, Davis moved to Warren County where he spent the most productive years of his life. This is a series of 11 articles about Davis as a local Citizen.

May 14, 2008 Brother's home lured young couple to Warren County

May 15, 2008 Political career started with a one-day campaign, and a loss at the polls

May 16, 2008 Varina was met on an errand, and courtship followed

May 17, 2008 Washington and war with Mexico kept time at Brierfield brief

May 18, 2008 Brierfield lush and productive in years before the war

May 19, 2008 Locals first to cheer reluctant-yet-confident president

May 20, 2008 Union general's wife curious about husband's classmate

May 21, 2008 Mutual fondness clear on final visit

May 22, 2008 Last stop at Brierfield complicated by illness

May 23, 2008 Unexpected tributes were also unequivocal

May 24, 2008 Local friends, distant ediorialists offered tributes

Source of Articles: http://www.vicksburgpost.com/jefferson_davis/jeffersondavis.txt
Also Beauvoir Plantation, Jefferson Davis' retirement home was severly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The house is reopening in June. Go to the Beauvoir's wwwsite at
http://www.beauvoir.org/ and read the scanned newspaper story of the rebuilding of the house.

News---Gettysburg Country Club, Site of Confederate Attacks on McPherson Ridge, In Bankruptcy

Gettysburg Country Club Goes Belly-Up, Alex J. Hayes, Gettysburg Times, Friday, May 30, 2008.

The doors of the Gettysburg Country Club are locked, but the organization’s board members say they are working diligently to make the shutdown temporary. “There are several different irons in the fire, so to speak, three or four,” said board member Tom Campbell. “Most of them are pretty sensitive, so we can’t really talk about a lot of details.”

Thursday’s shutdown is the latest development in the club’s financial saga. Members were informed recently the organization owes several thousand dollars in back taxes. Susquehanna Banks, M&T Bank, People’s Bank and Northwest Bank plan to foreclose on the Chambersburg Road property June 2 because mortgage repayments lag. Campbell would not discuss if refunds will be issued to members.

“In all honesty, we do have different target dates to open certain facilities,” he said. “If certain things fall into line and get in sync, the facilities will be open. Until we know for sure that we can’t, we are holding. General Manager Isaac Davis assures all staff will be paid today for time they worked.

“Our staff is our number one priority,” he said. “They have been here to support us and we appreciate that.” The club’s members voted this week to allow the eight-member board to subdivide, sell or lease all or a portion of the club’s assets. Previously, any such decisions required approval by a majority of the entire membership. The National Park Service hopes to obtain a scenic easement, or an outright purchase, of the club’s 120 acres of land, Gettysburg National Military Park spokesperson Katie Lawhon confirmed last week.

There are also possibilities of outside businesses leasing or owning the clubhouse and a sale of the entire facility to create a semi-private club, board members said. Board member Nate Hockley said the board is not releasing the target reopening dates because it does not want to give members “a sense of false hope.” The problem began when the members decided several years ago to open a new clubhouse. None of the board members interviewed for this report held seats on the club’s board of directors at that time.

“The membership voted overwhelmingly to build the new clubhouse,” Campbell said. “There were cracks in the walls (of the old clubhouse) that were visible and the social aspect of the club deteriorated to the point there wasn’t New Years Eve parties here; there weren’t social events.”

The facility opened April 2007 and offered a full-service restaurant, banquet facilities and pub fare. The members were accustomed to a “soup and sandwich bar,” and the new offerings did not sell as well as the club’s board hoped. “When it first opened, the general manager at the time went 100 percent – full service, every day; which we learned since, in a new enterprise like that, may not be the way to go,” Campbell said. When the general manager was replaced in August 2007, the board and new manager, Davis, realized the dire financial situation.

Campbell, Hockley, Board President Jon Miller and board member Eric Aumen say the situation was not solely the manager’s fault. “It wasn’t that the general manager ran it this way and that was the wrong way, or this happened,” Hockley said. “Things really were not in sync. One thing led to something else, which led to something else.”

Campbell also attributed the club’s problems to the decline in the housing market. He said club members knew current membership could not support the new clubhouse, but numerous housing projects in the area meant there was a good possibility membership would rise. “The feeling was, you build this facility and the members will come,” he said. Trying to improve the situation, the club’s board placed a $600assessment on the approximately 300 members.

“This is something country clubs do all the time when they need additional revenue,” Aumen said. “It is usually a lot more than $600, but we wanted to make it affordable.” Instead of the club being able to add approximately $180,000 to its cash flow, it went further in the red. “At that time, we lost 40 percent of our members,” Campbell said.

The loss of membership dues, added to existing problems, equaled seriou trouble. “If we didn’t have the loss of members that we realized, we wouldn’t be here right now talking with you (this reporter). There would be no problem; it would be a profitable enterprise. Because of the folks who quit over a $600 assessment, we went down,” said Campbell.

The board then kicked-off a $13,000 advertising campaign with hopes of recruiting new members. Monthly memberships, with a year commitment, were reduced to $200 from $283. Packages that provided access to only the pool and/or tennis courts were also introduced. “That was 26 newspaper ads; one every other day for 50 days; 200 radio ads and a 5,000-piece direct mail drop,” Hockley said. Like the assessment plan, the marketing campaign failed miserably.

Why board members spent so much time and effort into saving a club they do not have significant financial interest in may baffle some; but to Campbell, Hockley, Aumen and Miller, the answer is simple. “My parents were members here and I grew up here. To me, summer is Gettysburg Country Club,” Campbell said. Aumen and Miller found it a great place to meet people when they moved to the area a few years ago.

“The great thing about it is, there are people I wouldn’t necessarily invite over to my house, but I enjoy coming to the club and I enjoy seeing them,” Aumen said. Even though the doors are closed, the four say they will work “day and night” to reopen. Even if the banks foreclose June 2, they will still have six months to a year to figure out a plan, Miller said.

If those efforts are fruitless, the four have no idea what they will do. “We will tell you when we get there,” Hockley said. “Right now, we are going to paint the picture that we are going to turn this thing around. We will give it 120 percent.”

Contact Alex Hayes at ahayes@gburgtimes.com.

Source: http://www.gettysburgtimes.com/articles/2008/05/30/news/local/doc483fe7e04b1fb679921665.txt">

Map: http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/getttour/day1.htm

CWL: The Country Club is between Herr's Ridge and McPherson's Ridge; the club's eastern border is Willoughy's Run. The Country Club was built on Heth's advance. In a decade after the battle, a hotel featuring mineral waters was built on the site. The mineral springs hotel was developed into the country club during the next century.

Additional News Story: Hanover Evening Sun http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_9415797?IADID=Search-www.eveningsun.com-www.eveningsun.com

UN: A Post-Racial America? Not Yet.

So. The United States of America is not a “post-racial” (or “post-gender” for that matter) society after all. The racial and gender vitriol and resentment apparent in the current U.S. presidential campaign threatens to overwhelm the early celebratory mood of women (including women of color), people of color, and people hoping for an end to racism and sexism in public office. Let’s hope some optimism remains (about ending “racism” as opposed to “getting past race” as a useful social, political, or cultural construct).

We’ll need optimism, whether or not the post-identity dreams of some pan out. Whatever happens in the U.S. presidential election, either the “new” or “old” politics will have to deal with issues that threaten human survival on a global scale: violent conflicts (including in our own poorest neighborhoods) and the related trade in small arms, disease pandemics, global climate change and “natural” disasters, fair terms of trade and the rights of workers, massive refugee and migrant flows, and extreme poverty. Race and racism play a part in the way such problems play out—on who they impact first or most severely, and the urgency or lack of urgency with which they are resolved.

For those of us who grew up both Black and female in the 60s or 70s, the fact that our country’s final candidates for the nation’s highest office included a talented African-American male Senator and a talented white female Senator should still be inspirational and symbolize progress. It means that at least some entrenched ideas and behaviors are capable of change after years of struggle by many unsung s/heroes. (Photo: Ida B. Wells-Barnett, anti-lynching and African-American women's suffrage campaigner.)

Symbolism is important. It inspires the young and the not-so-young. It grabs media attention that can translate into popular political support on key issues. But our next president (who I hope will be Senator Barack Obama) must move beyond symbolism to address harsh racial and gender realities in this country.

The U.S. is still smarting over recent strong UN critiques of its racial record (see links in "Concluding Observations?": Just the Beginning," “Race-ing Human Rights in the U.S.,” and “UN on Katrina, Race, and Housing.") The administration has, to its credit (I don’t get to say that very often), opened itself to some additional scrutiny. It has invited an independent international expert to review its current practice on race.

Diene has been meeting with officials and grassroots groups in Chicago, New York, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington, DC, Miami, and San Juan to gather information about racial realities in the U.S. Recent reports on racial injustice and poverty in the U.S. by Global Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the US Human Rights Network (a coalition of groups) detail the widespread human rights impact of employment, housing, and educational discrimination, racial disparities in health care, police brutality, racialized imprisonment rates, and abuses against immigrants.
Information on the Special Rapporteur’s meetings so far, remaining schedule of public meetings, and on how to submit written documentation can be found here and here.

Diene’s review occurs during the lead-up to the separate UN Durban + 5 Review—Durban Review Conference 2009, scheduled for 20 April-24 April, 2009, in Geneva (see choike.org’s list of related links here). That conference will attempt to take a global snapshot of responses to racism and progress on recommendations made at the World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa in 2001.

The next U.S. president must come to terms with racism (and the sexism and other forms of discrimination that often intersect with it). And that president will have to do so on a much deeper level than mere exchanges of competing internet video soundbites and dueling media pundits can provide. Our discriminatory past and present, in all its complexity, is not only reprehensible and unjust: it violates our international human rights obligations.

(Photo: U.S. anti-apartheid activist Sylvia Hill (center) with Gay McDougall (now UN Independent Expert on Minorities (right) and former President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. From No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half-Century: 1950-2000 (William Minter, Gail Hovey, and Charles Cobb, Jr. eds., 2007).

On May 31

On this day in ...

... 1678 (330 years ago today), the City of Coventry, in England, staged the 1st annual Lady Godiva procession in honor of a legendary noblewoman who'd lived 6 centuries earlier. It is said that she annoyed her husband, one Leofric, with her pleas to free the townspeople from oppressive service and taxation. Finally, "exasperate[d]," he said:
'Mount your horse and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of this town from one end to the other, and on your return you shall have your request.'
In response she "loosed her tresses," which covered all but her legs as she rode nude through Coventry, so that the husband was compelled to fulfill his promise. (image credit) Godiva's impersonator in Coventry's 1st commemorative parade was a male, identified only as "James Swinnerton's son."

... 2008 (today), the World Health Organization observes the annual World No Tobacco Day, 1st established in the late 1980s. This year's theme is "Tobacco-Free Youth," aims at discouraging children from trying tobacco products -- and at encouraging businesses not to market these products to children.

News---And The Segway You Came In On

Horse tours, walking tours, auto tours and Segway tours. Is Gettysburg the first battlefield to have Segway tours?
Check out http://www.segtours.com/index.htm

Eastern Battlefield Tour: approx. 1.5 hours)
The tour route takes us to the East side of the battlefield. Although less well-known, it was the site of many pivotal engagements on each of the three days of the battle.
Visit: East Confederate Avenue
Spangler's Spring
Culp's Hill
Observation Tower
East Cemetery Hill
Soldier's National Cemetery ...and many other sites and memorials along the route

Western Tour Approximately 2.5 hours
Visit: Lutheran Theological Seminary
Seminary Ridge
McMillan Woods
North Carolina Memorial
Virginia Memorial (start of Picketts Charge)
Pitzer Woods / Longstreet Headquarters
The Peach Orchard
The Wheatfield
Devil's Den
Little Round Top
Cemetery Ridge
Pennsylvania Memorial
High Water Mark / The Angle / Copse of Trees
Meade's Headquarters
Brian Barn
National Cemetery ...and many other sites and memorials along the route.

For the Eastern Tour: $45 and for the Western Tour $65.00 per person.

Escorts and Guides:
Both tours include an audio tour that was designed and narrated by a Licensed Battlefield Guide. The tour is directed by a staff escort and takes a prescribed route which includes at least four rest stops plus photo opportunities.

Staff escorts are not Licensed Battlefield Guides and, under the rules of the National Park Service, are not permitted to answer questions about the Battle of Gettysburg. Reservations are recommended but walk-ins are permitted if staff and equipment are available.

For a Licensed Battlefield Guide, add $15.00 per person. A group of 4 or more is required or a minimum guide fee of $60 applies. The group may include others outside your party. A live guide requires a reservation.

Skill level: Training and helmets are provided at no additional charge. Minimum age is 16.

Biofuel versus food?

Yesterday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD) released their joint Agricultural Outlook 2008-2017. The Report makes for sobering reading. All of the commodities covered in the report (cereals, oilseeds, sugar, meats, milk and dairy products) are at record highs. When the average for 2008 to 2017 is compared with that over 1998 to 2007, the Report projects that
beef and pork prices may be some 20% higher; raw and white sugar around 30%; wheat, maize and skim milk powder 40 to 60%; butter and oilseeds more than 60% and vegetable oils over 80%.

The Report attributes these price increases to fundamental changes in demand (ethanol and increased demand for meat in developing countries) as well as changes in agricultural productivity due to climate change. It seems that higher food prices are here to stay.
The only glimmer of good news comes in the form of FAO/OECD projections that prices will retreat from their record highs. Of course, these projection rest on the assumption that weather patterns have been only temporarily disrupted and will return to "normal." Even if this optimistic projection about the effects of climate change is proved right, prices that are merely elevated will still put hundreds of millions at risk of hunger and malnutrition.

Food insecurity is growing
The FAO's slogan is "helping to build a world without hunger." It seems a fairly modest goal, particularly since Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen convincingly demonstrated decades ago that food insecurity is primarily a distribution problem. If that remains true, all it should take to make the FAO slogan a reality is political will. And, that of course is the catch. In our globalized economy, food is a commodity available to the highest bidder. If that high bidder wants to turn food into biofuel rather than feed it to those in need, so be it.
The real world consequences of this approach are ugly; and they are only going to get worse! In many low-income countries, food expenditures already average over 50% of income. Higher prices mean that more people will be undernourished. This hunger map compiled by FAOSTAT shows how high the percentages of food insecurity already are.
In the poorest countries, more than half the population is undernourished! The UN Millennium Development Goals set a target of halving the number of people suffering hunger by 2015. It is important to read the FAO/OECD Report with these Millenium Goals in mind.
There are relatively easy steps that could take us closer to the Millenium Goals. For example, the FAO/OECD Report calls biofuel demand

the largest source of new demand in decades and a strong factor underpinning the upward shift in agricultural commodity prices.

Characterizing the energy, environmental and economic benefits of biofuels made from agricultural commodities as "at best modest, and sometimes even negative,” the Report recommends considering alternative approaches that offer potentially greater benefits with less of the unintended market impact.
Food prices and the global economy will be one of the issues addressed at the June 4-5 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris. FAO is holding a separate High-Level food crisis summit in Rome on June 3-5. Let's hope that they focus more on feeding those in need, and less on boosting nascent biofuel industries.

On May 30

On this day in ...
... 1992, by Resolution 757 of the U.N. Security Council, an embargo "of any commodities or products" was imposed on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) as a sanction for its failure to end fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
... 1907, Germaine Tillion (left) was born in Allègre, France, to a mother who was a writer and a father who was a judge. An anthropology student at the University of Paris and other schools, she went to northeastern Algeria 4 times in the 1930s on missions to study Berbers and other groups. She would become, in the words of the French daily Libération, "a pioneer in anthropology and a visceral opponent of all totalitarianisms." On August 13, 1942, the Gestapo arrested her for having helped form the French Resistance to Nazi occupation. She endured 3 years at the Ravensbrück concentration camp for women in eastern Germany (a camp about which we posted here in last year's Women at Nuremberg series). At the same camp her mother, Emilie Tillion, perished in a gas chamber on March 2, 1945. In the post-World War II period she condemned torture of Algerians by the French and violence on both sides of the conflict. "As a Gaullist and a Catholic, she worked on several occasions as a 'middle man' between French authorities and Algerian activists." A leading intellectual, Tillion was the author of many works, among them France and Algeria: Complementary Enemies and Ravensbrück. Tillion was honorary director of the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris when she died on April 19 of this year, at her home in Saint-Mandé, France. Tillion was 100 years old.

(Not) 'Nuff Said

A sample of interrogation-related documents that the U.S. government released this week, in redacted form, in response to ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation. (hat tip)
The 1st line reads:
These enhanced techniques include:

The 2d line reads:
Water Board

You can fill in the rest.

Deadly Prisons

Barry Bearak, the co-bureau chief of the New York Times’s Johannesburg bureau, recently recounted his brief but harrowing imprisonment in Zimbabwe (read his account here). Bearak, who was arrested for ‘committing journalism’ on April 3, 2008, spent four nights in jail before being released and fleeing to Johannesburg.
Bearak’s bleak description of prison conditions in Zimbabwe undoubtedly resonates with those who advocate on behalf of prisoners throughout Africa. Human Rights Watch, among others, has attempted to expose the horrifying prison conditions in a number of African countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia). The Legal Assistance Center (LAC), an active and well-respected human rights organization in Namibia (map at left), recently conducted a fact-finding investigation concerning the care and treatment of HIV-positive inmates in the national prison system. The fact-finding delegation, of which I was a part -- along with eight students from the University of Wyoming College of Law -- discovered that the prison conditions that Bearak describes were quite similar to the conditions in Namibia. Worse yet, HIV-positive inmates often lacked access to life-saving treatment and basic medical care. (Look for the complete report on LAC’s website in late summer). A number of factors contribute to the exceptionally high HIV transmission rates within Namibia’s prison system, including consensual, unprotected anal sex and rape. As in most prisons in the U.S., prison authorities refuse to distribute condoms despite their potential to prevent HIV transmission in many cases. Sadly, as Bearak experienced in Zimbabwe, prison conditions are often abysmal; for HIV-positive inmates the conditions may, indeed, be deadly.

On May 29

On this day in ...
... 2007, in Bermuda, Dame Lois Browne-Evans (right), "a pioneer in many fields," died from a stroke 3 days short of her 80th birthday. In 1953, Browne-Evans became the 1st woman called to the bar of the island state. She became the 1st black woman to be elected a Member of Bermuda's Parliament " in the history-making 1963 election, in which adults who did not own property received the right to vote for the first time." In 1968, she became the 1st woman to lead an opposition party anywhere in the British Commonwealth; 30 years after that, she was named Bermuda's 1st woman Attorney General. "Her career," the Bermuda Sun wrote at the time of her death, "was defined by one in which she championed the rights of black and working-class Bermudians, who stood on the margins of power, back in the 50s and 60s."
... 1677, Cockacoesk, the weroansqua, or female ruler, of the Pamunkey tribe, and her son called "Captain John West," the weroance, or male ruler, of the Nansemond, signed The Treaty of Middle Plantation, referring to what is now Williamsburg, Virginia, part of the Chesapeake Bay area shown at left. By this treaty certain Native Americans -- "the Powhatan captives" -- held captive by English settlers were to be returned to their tribes. "Because this treaty is still in force, the Pamunkey and Mattaponi still pay "tribute" of game to the governor of Virginia each autumn."

Transitional Justice in Cambodia

One final post on my recent trip to Cambodia (flag at left) to observe the proceedings before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. A challenge to the tribunal will be making its legal proceeding accessible to ordinary Cambodians, who may have only a rudimentary formal education.
Researchers and lawyers with the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) are travelling around the country (map, right) to interview survivors and former members of the Khmer Rouge and document their stories. These interviews will provide opportunities for Cambodians to participate in the upcoming trials before the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Part of this work has involved updating a set of complaints (the so-called Renakse Petitions) that were solicited in the early 1980s by the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea, which was placed in power after Vietnam invaded Cambodia (Kampuchea) in 1979 to oust the Khmer Rouge. DC-Cam is tracking down the authors of the Renakse Petitions to help them update their complaints and package them for submission to the ECCC, which will try surviving members of the Khmer Rouge (see photo below left—photo credit). For more on the origins of the Renakse Petitions, see here. This rolling work is the closest thing to a truth commission that Cambodia has ever had. Other transitional societies emerging from situations of mass violence and repression have staged truth commissions in order to provide an opportunity for victims to bear witness to the violence they survived under the prior regime.
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission also invited the participation of perpetrators, who could receive amnesty from prosecution if they met certain criteria and revealed details of the crimes they committed or to which they contributed. Our own IntLawGrrl Jaya Ramji-Nogales (below right) has been a longstanding advocate for a truth commission for Cambodia to complement the work of the ECCC. See Jaya Ramji(-Nogales), Reclaiming Cambodian History: The Case for a Truth Commission, 24 Fletcher Forum Of World Affairs 137 (2000). Regrettably, however, it is unlikely that the Royal Government of Cambodia or the international community will push for the establishment of a formal truth commission for Cambodia.
This makes the work of DC-Cam and other local organizations particularly important to personalize the quest for justice & accountability, as it will be impossible for the vast majority of the Khmer Rouge’s victims to participate in any meaningful way in the work of the ECCC. Moreover, only five individuals have been charged. With jurisdiction over only “senior leaders of Democratic Kampuchea [the Khmer Rouge] and those who were most responsible for the crimes,” the tribunal will not prosecute low to mid-level Khmer Rouge cadre who may have committed international crimes. The work of DC-Cam is thus necessary to dispel any misconceptions that only the top leaders were responsible for abuses. In fact, as research by Cambodian expert Steve Heder and others has shown, Khmer Rouge cadre were given considerable discretion to implement the sometimes cryptic directives from the Khmer Rouge Standing Committee, so some provinces suffered more than others. See Steve Heder, Reassessing the Role of Senior Leaders and Local Officials in Democratic Kampuchea Crimes: Cambodian Accountability in Comparative Perspective 377, in Bringing the Khmer Rouge to Justice: Prosecuting Mass Violence before the Cambodian Courts (Jaya Ramji & Beth Van Schaack 2005).
These stories are equally as vital to building a shared national history of life under the Khmer Rouge and to further understand the patterns of obedience and violence during that fateful time. For many years, students in Cambodia were taught very little about the Khmer Rouge era. History courses simply skipped over the years 1975-79 with a mere mention of the Khmer Rouge. To rectify this, DC-Cam has recently released a hard copy and online textbook that can be used in high school classes around the country (right). The center has also embarked on a 3-year project to develop human rights curricula for the primary, high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels that will consider the causes and consequences of genocide and mass violence in a number of different settings, including in Cambodia.
In addition to the standard goals of the criminal law—achieving retribution, promoting deterrence, and expressing a community’s opprobrium about disruptive acts—international tribunals are often established with a host of ambitious objectives that include achieving national reconciliation, rehabilitating victims and perpetrators, creating a definitive collective history, and repairing broken societies. Like domestic criminal proceedings, trials before international tribunals do well at ascribing individual criminal responsibility to individual perpetrators, particularly from a “top down” perspective. They can also engage in useful norm enunciation, which can inform domestic efforts to legislate against and prosecute international crimes. Ongoing research on the results of the ad hoc criminal tribunals suggests that international tribunals may be less effective at achieving these other ambitions.
Given the limitations of international trials, the international community must be more active about promoting (and funding) alternative mechanisms within societies to address the crimes of a prior regime. These initiatives can reflect the particular socio-cultural, historical, artistic, religious, and legal culture and promote reconciliation, rehabilitation, reparation, and accountability on the community level. In Cambodia, such an effort could tap into the widely held Buddhist beliefs of the populace (the vast majority of Cambodians practice Therāvada Buddhism), the high levels of respect felt for Buddhist monks and nuns (photo left—credit), and the existing network of monasteries and nunneries. While the work of the ECCC is important and deserves international support, a broader response to the massive crimes of the Khmer Rouge is merited.

Off Topic---House To House in Saigon, 1968

House to House: Playing The Enemy's Game In Saigon, May 1968, Keith Nolan, Zenith Press, 368 pp., maps, photographs, index, glossary, bibliography, $24.95.

Keith Nolan's House To House: Playing The Enemy's Game in Saigon, May 1968 relies on nearly 200 participant interviews from 12 units engaged in the post-Tet Offensive attack on Saigon. His book is one of the best descriptions of Vietnam combat CWL has read. The writing relies on the words of the soldiers, some of which are very personal. Descriptions of small units engaging the enemy in urban warfare and descriptions of both heroic and disappointing leadership are fairly balanced. The accounts of the Vietnamese civilians caught in the crossfire are stunning; the use of testimony of the medical staff, the civilian news reporters and both army and civilian photographers is incisive in a manner not often presented in combat books. In particular, the account of a massacre of news reporters in a jeep, as narrated by a survivor is stunning.

Incidents of combat causalities inflicted by friendly fire are presented with the actual causes of the friendly fire; in one instace the drop mechanism on a helicopter rocket launcher malfunctions with disastrous results.

The black and white photographs are selected both from division archives and personal collections; many photographs were taken during combat. Those photos from the Ken Pollard Collection are particularly striking. One in particular stands out. Ken Pollard, a combat photographer, is pulled out of a street and into cover after being wounded. The soldier who is pulling Pollard out of the street is Ransom Cyr, a fellow combat photographer, who was killed by a sniper upon immediately reaching cover with Pollard.

Look On! "Iraq for Sale"

(Look On! takes occasional note of noteworthy films.) Want to put in context recent headlines respecting 1 of the several private military contracting companies at work in Iraq; that is, "State Dept. renews Blackwater contract" and "Iraq Contractor in Shooting Case Makes Comeback" and "Blackwater’s Impunity"?
Then try to view the documentary "Iraq for Sale."
Though released 2 years ago, the film tells a story that remains fresh to this day. The 75-minute film is circulating widely now, not only via DVD sales and organized screenings, but also via some cable companies' "on demand" movie feature.
Thought I knew lots about the workings of these companies. The role that private contracting played in abuse at Abu Ghraib, for instance, a shameful episode that indeed is stressed in this film. But the film makes sadly clear that Abu Ghraib is only 1 of many stories to be told. Also aired are allegations that CACI hired translators who couldn't translate, that KBR supplied soldiers contaminated water, that Blackwater knowingly led unknowing civilian truckers into a combat zone where many died. More gripping than the allegations is the anguish of surviving former employees and of the survivors of those who died. A translator says people died because of bad translations. A purification specialist is visibly sickened when talking of the GIs who go home not realizing they have waterborne illnesses. The voices of the surviving truckers, big men, crack when they recall their friends' death under fire.
One of those interviewed puts it all in perspective: A true patriot, he says, would demand that these companies, and the officials who hired them, be held fully accountable.

On May 28

On this day in ...
... 1952, all adult women in Greece secured the right to vote in national elections; they would cast their 1st votes in parliamentary elections 4 years later. Though some women in Greece (flag at left) had been able to vote since 1934, suffrage had been limited to those who were literate and over 30 years of age.
... 1961, British attorney Peter Benenson published an essay entitled "The Forgotten Prisoners" in England's Observer. His account of prisoners of conscience -- in his words, "the several million people" who were "being imprisoned, tortured or executed because [their] opinions or religion are unacceptable to [their] government" -- led to the launching in Belgium next year of the nongovernmental organization Amnesty International.

Forthcoming---The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth

The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth, Earl J. Hess, Modern War Studies Series, University Press of Kansas, 288 pp., $29.95. September 9, 2008.

The Civil War's single-shot, muzzle-loading musket revolutionized warfare--or so we've been told for years. Noted historian Earl J. Hess forcefully challenges that claim, offering a new, clear-eyed, and convincing assessment of the rifle musket's actual performance on the battlefield and its impact on the course of the Civil War.

Many contemporaries were impressed with the new weapon's increased range of 500 yards, compared to the smoothbore musket's range of 100 yards, and assumed that the rifle was a major factor in prolonging the Civil War. Historians have also assumed that the weapon dramatically increased casualty rates, made decisive victories rare, and relegated cavalry and artillery to far lesser roles than they played in smoothbore battles.

Hess presents a completely new assessment of the rifle musket, contending that its impact was much more limited than previously supposed and was confined primarily to marginal operations such as skirmishing and sniping. He argues further that its potential to alter battle line operations was virtually nullified by inadequate training, soldiers' preference for short-range firing, and the difficulty of seeing the enemy at a distance. He notes that bullets fired from the new musket followed a parabolic trajectory unlike those fired from smoothbores; at mid-range, those rifle balls flew well above the enemy, creating two killing zones between which troops could operate untouched. He also presents the most complete discussion to date of the development of skirmishing and sniping in the Civil War.

Drawing upon the observations and reflections of the soldiers themselves, Hess offers the most compelling argument yet made regarding the actual use of the rifle musket and its influence on Civil War combat. Engagingly written and meticulously researched, his book will be of special interest to Civil War scholars, buffs, re-enactors, and gun enthusiasts alike.

Text: From Publisher

Forthcoming---Comrades In Arms: Loyalty, Betrayal, Heroism, Cowardice and Survival

Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War , Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn, National Bureau of Economic Research Publications, 304 pages, Princeton University Press, $27.95, January 1, 2009.

When are people willing to sacrifice for the common good? What are the benefits of friendship? How do communities deal with betrayal? And what are the costs and benefits of being in a diverse community? Using the life histories of more than forty thousand Civil War soldiers, Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn answer these questions and uncover the vivid stories, social influences, and crucial networks that influenced soldiers' lives both during and after the war.

Drawing information from government documents, soldiers' journals, and one of the most extensive research projects about Union Army soldiers ever undertaken, Heroes and Cowards demonstrates the role that social capital plays in people's decisions. The makeup of various companies--whether soldiers were of the same ethnicity, age, and occupation--influenced whether soldiers remained loyal or whether they deserted. Costa and Kahn discuss how the soldiers benefited from friendships, what social factors allowed some to survive the POW camps while others died, and how punishments meted out for breaking codes of conduct affected men after the war. The book also examines the experience of African-American soldiers and makes important observations about how their comrades shaped their lives.

Heroes and Cowards highlights the inherent tensions between the costs and benefits of community diversity, shedding light on how groups and societies behave and providing valuable lessons for the present day.

Text: from publisher

CWL---Critics of the Lincoln Memorial Insult It's Designers Intelligence

A Misunderstood Monument: Critics of the Lincoln Memorial Instult its Designer's Intelligence, Andrew Ferguson, The Wall Street Journal, May 24-25 2008, p. W12.

Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln, notes that four score and six Memorial Days ago, the ribbon was cut on the Lincoln Memorial with Robert Lincoln, and Presidents Howard Taft and Warren Harding officiating. The designers of the 1922 outdoor sculpture did not foresee that it would be interpreted as imperialist propaganda. Ferguson notes Lewis Mumford's remarks. "One feels not the living beauty of our American past, but the mortuary air of archaeology" and "Who lives in that shrine, I wonder---Lincoln... or the generation that took pleasure in the mean triumph of the Spanish America [War] and placed the imperial standard in the Philippines and Caribbean?"

Today many critics have drank from Mumford's fount. Kristopher A. Thomas , author of The Lincoln Memorial and American Life understands the memorial to be "a confection of a cultural and political elite bet on stripping Lincoln of his earthly imperfections." For Thomas and others who Thomas quotes, the memorial's designers were political reactionaries who induced a politico-cultural program into the memorial for the purpose of controlling the populace by sedating it with a mythology.

Ferguson assures the readers that the designers were as intelligent and worldly as the critics. A North Carolinian architect and a Yankee sculptor rejected proposals to idealize Lincoln's visage and dress him in clothes other than plain civilian attire. (CWL---Lincoln in a toga, like Washington in the Museum of American History?)

The designer wanted Lincoln seated, not standing like military commanders, with a reflective and contemplative expression on his face. With hair uncombed, a crooked tie, tension in his hands and the eyes not quite symmetrical, the designer's Lincoln is certainly not stripped of his earthly imperfections. For Ferguson, the memorial is not a starry-eyed, naive expression of imperialism but a subtle and natural expression of awe.

Ferguson quotes Harding's dedication speech to reinforce this opinion. Lincoln "was a very natural human being with the frailties mixed with the virtues of humanity. There are neither supermen nor demigods in the government of republics. It will be better for our conception of government and institutions if we will understand this fact." The truth of this statement for Ferguson is found on the walls of the memorial. There are no hidden codes of imperialism in the monument. "In the Gettysburg Address, in which Lincoln reminded his country that it potential for greatness lived in its founding proposition." The memorial is large and is perfect in form and scale because it honors "not just a man but a proposition---an idea that no wised-up debunker can hope to deflate."

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia: Mise En Scène

It was a great pleasure to be back in Phnom Penh (right, Wat Phnom) last week to witness firsthand the proceedings before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) with my colleague Ron Slye of Seattle University School of Law. (An earlier post discusses the substance of the hearings). Ron & I have worked on accountability for the Khmer Rouge since 1995. In that year, our law school received a grant from the U.S. Department of State to study the feasibility and desirability of staging an accounting for the massive crimes of the Khmer Rouge era (1975-79) pursuant to the 1994 Cambodia Genocide Justice Act. The Act called for the establishment of a documentation center, the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), which was founded and is still run by Youk Chhang (left in front of the then-empty ECCC). Ron & I had visited the site of the ECCC a few years ago, when it was largely empty. The site was “donated” by the Ministry of Defense, which still occupies buildings in the compound. At the time, the donation was highly controversial, as there were concerns that the military would attempt to influence trials or at least intimidate participants. This worry has largely dissipated. A bigger issue is the location of the ECCC—it is well out of town, and many NGOs (including DC-Cam) have begun bussing people to the site so that Cambodians can more easily observe the proceedings.

Ron & I attended the proceedings before the ECCC in our capacities as legal advisers to DC-Cam (staff at right, photo credit), a now independent Cambodian NGO dedicated to documenting the history and atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. DC-Cam’s objectives are the promotion of memory and justice, healing the wounds of the past, developing a sound rule of law, and preventing future human rights abuses in Cambodia and abroad. In our visit, we were accompanied by 50 people from various villages outside of Phnom Penh. Part of the work of DC-Cam is to conduct outreach in various parts of the country to educate people about the ECCC proceedings and enable them to participate by attending hearings, constituting themselves as civil parties, or filing complaints against particular defendants. DC-Cam hosted an information session in its office on Tuesday (above left) concerning the nature of the proceedings, the legal standards to be employed, and the various players, and then took the villagers to the Ieng Thirith hearing the next day.

After passing through security (left and below right), where we had to relinquish our cell phones and cameras, we proceeded to a small courtroom. The room seats only 14 members of the public. We were fortunate to be chosen as two of the 14 admitted into the hearing room itself. The larger courtroom is still a work in progress, but the hearing proceedings were broadcast on a screen there for members of the public and the NGO community (left—prior hearing depicted). The small courtroom contains three counsel tables: one for the co-Prosecutors, one for the Co-Defense Counsel, and one for Counsel for the Civil Parties. The defendant was already in the dock when we arrived. The members of the Pre-Trial Chamber (the chamber charged with adjudicating appeals of pre-trial detention orders) sit on a dais in the center of the room flanked by the parties (see photo below). Simultaneous translation is provided (with varying degrees of accuracy) in French, English and Khmer.

Prior to the entry of the judges, select members of the press were allowed in with their cameras. They immediately swarmed around the defendant, clicking furiously. She stared blankly ahead, as though she did not see the photographers. Next, the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber entered, and the press took their photos as well. The press were dismissed, and everyone was seated. Each key moment was signaled by the ringing of a bell by the National Greffier (clerk). The hearing officially opened with the reading of the report of the proceedings by Hout Vuthy, one of the judges. Ieng Thirith, the defendant (left—photo credit), was invited to address the court and answer certain basic biographical questions propounded by Prak Simsan, the Presiding Judge. Pursuant to Rule 22-2 of the Internal Rules, Thirith’s Cambodian lawyer then moved the recognition of his co-counsel, Diana Ellis, a British barrister, as this was her first appearance before the Court.

The parties then made their formal observations, each lawyer speaking in his or her native tongue. At one point, Ellis proposed a 20 minute in camera hearing to discuss particular pieces of evidence regarding the accused. The judges retired for half an hour and ruled that the motion would be granted. The public was dismissed for another half an hour or so, and then the hearing resumed. After the Defense closed, the Co-Prosecutors and Counsel for the Civil Parties made their case in support of the Co-Investigating Judge’s Order for Provisional Detention. The substance of all these arguments is reviewed here. During the recess, we ate a delicious curry in the Court’s canteen and were reunited with several old friends, colleagues, and former students who now occupy various staff positions with the ECCC. At the close of the hearing, Thirith was returned to the small detention center that is located next to the court building.

An interesting feature of the ECCC is that each position is jointly held by a Cambodian and an “international.” There were a couple of instances during the hearing in which co-counsel subtly contradicted or disagreed with each other. One of the criticisms of the ECCC structure is that there is no obvious mechanism to resolve such disputes between co-counsel. The Co-Prosecutors and Co-Defense Counsel are likely to coordinate their positions among themselves over time, but this might be more difficult for the representatives of the civil parties. (There were 5 representatives present during the Thirith hearing).

For me, the highlight of the proceeding was seeing the be-robed members of the PTC enter the courtroom for the first time. The PTC is composed of five judges (right): three Cambodian and two “international” (one is British and the other Dutch). The Pre-Trial Chamber includes Hout Vuthy (below left), a Cambodian jurist. Vuthy was trained in Odessa, Russia and is on the faculty of Norton University (the oldest private university in Cambodia). He has also served as a prosecutor in Kandal Province and was appointed as a member of the Council for Legal and Judicial Reform by the Royal Government of Cambodia. Vuthy was a student of mine in 1995 and 1996 when I co-taught a course in Phnom Penh on International Criminal Law through DC-Cam. Vuthy was a brilliant participant, so it was no surprise when he was appointed to the ECCC. I exchanged smiles with Vuthy at one point, and after the hearing I received a message that he had seen me in the public gallery. One of the greatest sources of pride for a professor is seeing the success of a deserving student. With people of this caliber on the court, there is hope yet for justice for Cambodia.
Bloggers Team