Off-Topic News: WW2/Iraq War Author Wins $100,000 Award

Historian Rick Atkinson To Receive 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement, Pritzker Military Library Press Release, June 21, 2010.

Rick Atkinson has been selected to receive the 2010 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The $100,000 honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation, will be presented at the Library’s annual Liberty Gala on October 22, 2010. The announcement was made today via Internet webcast at

The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award recognizes a living author for a body of work that has profoundly enriched the public understanding of American military history. A national panel of writers and historians – including previous recipients James M. McPherson, Allan R. Millett, and Gerhard L. Weinberg – reviewed nominations and definitive works submitted by publishers, agents, booksellers, and other professional literary organizations. Colonel James N. Pritzker, (Ret.), Founder and President of the Pritzker Military Library and Tawani Foundation, called it an honor to present Atkinson with the award.

“Throughout his multifaceted career, Rick has given readers accurate and frank analysis of military history from World War II to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Pritzker. “His independent voice, tempered with respect and compassion, has earned high esteem not only from scholars, journalists, and civilians on the home front but also the members of the Armed Forces about whom he writes. His life and professional dedication to military history truly represent the “Citizen” in Citizen Soldiers, who are essential for the maintenance of democracy.”

"This is simply thrilling,” said Atkinson. “I couldn't be more honored than to be selected by the Pritzker Military Library for an award that recognizes the literary aspirations of vivid military history. I'm grateful, and delighted." Atkinson is at work on volume 3 of his trilogy about the American role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn, won acclaim for its brilliantly researched, deeply felt narrative of the Allied campaign in North Africa. It was followed by The Day of Battle, which interwove portraits of Eisenhower, Patton, Roosevelt, and Churchill with unforgettable images of soldiers confronted with the transformative effect of fear and violence. He is also the author of In the Company of Soldiers, which followed the 101st Airborne Division and Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq; Crusade, a narrative history of the Persian Gulf War; and The Long Gray Line, a narrative account of West Point’s class of 1966.

Born in Munich, in the Federal Republic of Germany, Rick Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he worked as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor at The Washington Post for a quarter century, holding tenures as the assistant managing editor for investigations, the deputy national editor supervising national security coverage, and the Berlin bureau chief, at which he covered not only Germany and NATO but also Somalia and Bosnia.

Atkinson’s awards include the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting; the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for public service, awarded to the Post for a series of articles he directed and edited on shootings by the District of Columbia police department; the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for history; the 1989 George Polk Award for national reporting; and the 2007 Gerald R. Ford Award for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense.

For the 2004-2005 academic year, Atkinson was the Gen. Omar N. Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College and Dickinson College. His wife, Dr. Jane C. Atkinson, is a researcher and clinician at the National Institutes of Health. They live in the District of Columbia, and have two children.

The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award was established in 2007. The recipient’s contributions may be academic, non-fiction, fiction, or a combination of any of the three, and his or her work should embody the values of the Pritzker Military Library. The finalist recommendation was unanimously endorsed by the executive council of the Foundation established to oversee the award process.

The award will be presented on October 22, 2010 during the Library’s annual Liberty Gala at Chicago’s historic Palmer House. The evening will also include presentation of the Colby Award to Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs for his memoir If Not Now, When?

CWL: Atkinson's work on World War 2 is outstanding; Army at Day is well written, well organized, clear, concise, well researched and enjoyable. Day of Battle is on my bookshelf waiting for me.

Text Source: Pritzker Military Library

Image Source: Rick Atkinson

Confederate States Navy Department Seal-Official and Unofficial

Above is the the official seal of the Confederate States Navy, showing a  three masted sailing ship.  It is eriely similar to the current seal of the Department of the Navy.  However, in many ways, the image below should have been the logo.

This Southern belle version of "Columbia" holding the First National Flag, while sitting on bales of cotton and staring out a merchant ship sums up the main objective of the Confederate States Navy: get cotton overseas. The image appeared on "cotton bonds" that Confederate agents sold overseas. Sellers of the bonds pledged cotton with interest in order to raise needed hard currency to buy ships and weapons. By all accounts the program was extremely successful in convincing European investors to bank on the South. Stephen Wise in Lifeline of the Confederacy wrote that the agents raised $7 million in cash on $45 million worth of pledged cotton. The bond holders, however, lost millions as much of the promised cotton was never delivered and the U.S. Government refused to pay debts on the Confederacy after the war.

Fun with dynamic features: MSN article template

As I was skimming through the morning headlines and tweetdeck channels, I came across an MSN article about the first hurricane of the season, and was struck by how many dynamic HTML features had been packed into one article template. MSN must be testing these features, because in the time it's taken me to write this, they've added one and replaced another.

Check these out:

First, a persistent global header above "Today's headlines in two minutes"; also note the persistent app drawer at the bottom and icons on the side, more about those in a minute:

As you scroll down the page, "Today's Headlines..." scrolls away leaving the global header (which will scroll away momentarily...):

Each of the icons on the side follow you down the page as you scroll; each opens to provide a link to jump further down what is becoming a very long page:

If you decide at any point to share something, that persistent drawer at the bottom slides up:

And if you keep on scrolling down the page, you'll find the rest of the text behind a drawer control, and encounter rich media like videos (which you could have jumped down to by clicking one of those icons on the side):

But we're not done yet... next, you'll discover comments, with more expandable drawers:

And finally, the pièce de résistance, a draggable timeline of videos:

MSN must be testing these features, because in the time it's taken me to write this, they've added two other features: a storm tracker at the top of the article, and instead of the draggable videos, a trending chart of content:

Rich interactive experience, or dynamic templates run amok? What do you think?

"Our strong support for ratification of CEDAW"

Our commitment to the rule of law is also reflected in our strong support for ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and our signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities — the first new human rights convention of the 21st century.

-- Remarks by Mary McLeod, Legal Adviser, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Debate on Justice and the Rule of Law, 29 June 2010. Full text of remarks here.

Q: What are the seven UN member states that have not ratified CEDAW?
A: Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, United States of America.

CEDAW was included in the treaty priority list sent by the Obama administration to the Senate in May 2009, and administration statements supporting ratification continue. The opening quote in this post and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks at the United Nations on 12 March 2010 (text and video here) are but a few examples.
But Senators need to hear from their constituents that ratification is a priority if CEDAW is to move forward. A list of Senators with their contact information is available here; Senate Foreign Relations Committee members are listed here.

'Nuff said

(Taking context-optional note of thought-provoking quotes)

She genuinely sees her party as a vehicle for good and her pragmatism is not the least bit cynical. She is the most powerful woman in the country, the most fearless person on Capitol Hill and on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history.
-- New York Times columnist Gail Collins, extolling achievements of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Pelosi, a Baltimore-born San Francisco Democrat, became Speaker in January 2007, the 1st woman ever to hold that congressional leadership position. (credit for 2009 photo)

On June 30

On this day in ...
... 1860 (50 years ago today), a famous debate over evolution took place at the natural history museum in Oxford, England (right). Opposing ideas set forth in the just-published The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin, an Anglican bishop
ended his speech by archly asking one of Darwin's biggest supporters, Thomas Huxley, if it was his grandmother or his grandfather who was descended from an ape.

As re-enacted in this National Public Radio broadcast, biologist Huxley replied:
If I had to choose between being descended from an ape or from a man who would use his great powers of rhetoric to crush an argument, I should prefer the former.

(Prior June 30 posts are here, here, and here.)

Recent Issue Of Army History Journal: Pennsylvania Division at Antietam and Fredericksburg

Just recieved this pdf of the Army History Journal. The issue leads with an article on the Pennsylvania Division at Antietam and Fredericksburg.

"No Heroism Can Avail": Andrew A. Humphreys and His Pennsylvania Division at Antietam and Fredericksburg by Matthew T. Pearcy. Here is the link: Army History Summer 2010, no. 76 . Enjoy and pass it along.

Image Source: Pennsylvania Reserve Division monument at the Cornfield, Antietam

Developing Countries Confront Global Economic Crisis

The global economic meltdown was so yesterday. Seldom does the crisis make it on to the front pages of any of the major newspapers anymore, but the struggle for recovery continues in the shadows. Already, fissures are appearing in the once-unified front of the developed countries. European governments such as Germany are calling for a greater focus on controlling deficit spending, while President Obama has called for more spending to shore up flagging economies. But while the North struggles over the various modes of recovery, the developing world must deal with the fallout. This week, for the first time the World Trade Organization is set to discuss the impact of the financial crisis on those countries. A powerful coalition of developing countries, including India, South Africa, Argentina and Ecuador, had lobbied vigorously for such a discussion because in their view the North's massive bailouts amounted to illegal subsidies that have adversely impacted financial markets in the developing world. Can these bailouts prompt a WTO dispute brought on by developing countries?

Hamid Mamdouh, director of the WTO's services division, is reported to have said "There is a legal cover for situations where members might deviate from their legal commitments and obligations" but the situation is not so clear cut. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) does include what is known as a "prudential carve-out," which is meant to allow regulators the policy space to address financial crises. Article 2 of the GATS Annex on Financial Services states that a WTO member “shall not be prevented from taking measures for prudential reasons.” The prudential carve out is subject to WTO dispute settlement, however, if a member believes the provision is being abused, is discriminatory or is a disguised non-tariff barrier to trade. The matter has never been litigated before, and what standard of review the WTO would apply under the circumstances is an open question.

But would a developing country (or a group) actually raise a dispute settlement claim? Beyond the legal issues, there are both economic and political considerations for developing countries to deal with.
Countries like the United States have the political clout to fend off a potential case. Moreover, the economic recovery of the North is in everyone's interest -- developing countries rely on their markets, not to mention their technical and financial assistance. A dispute on this issue -- at least in the near future -- seems unlikely. But this makes the upcoming discussions at the WTO all the more important. The organization must provide a forum to at least acknowledge that developing countries are another in a long line of innocent victims of this economic crisis (photo credit).

Gender equality & the G-20bis

This year's official photo from the G-20 summit, held this past weekend in Toronto, Canada, looks pretty much like last year's from London, England: there's German Chancellor Angela Merkel in orange, Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in white, and standing 2 rows behind her, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, till tomorrow the President of the Philippines. Et alia. Another G-20 country now also has a woman leader, but Julia Gillard, Prime Minister only since Friday, sent Australia's Treasurer, Wayne Swan (top middle).

On June 29

On this day in ...
... 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that execution of petitioners would violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The single-page per curiam opinion was followed by 200 pages of concurrences and dissents, resulting in a moratorim on executions but no clear direction regarding the future of capital punishment in the United States.

(Prior June 29 posts are here, here, and here.)

Pittsburgh Scholar's Urban History Recognized For Research and Narrative

Civil War Books and Authors is one of CWL's frequent destinations on the Internet. CWBA offers reviews, news, views, and interviews about non-fiction Civil War books, publishers, and authors. This week Author Fox, who teaches at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is recognized for the second edition of his history of the Iron City during the American Civil War. CWBA's review follows.

Pittsburgh During the American Civil War 1860-1865, Arthur B. Fox, Firefly Publications/Mechling, 2009 2nd ed.). Softcover, maps, tables, photos, illustrations, notes, appendices, bibliography. 237 Pages. $29.95.

When it comes to Pennsylvania cities and towns, Gettysburg and Philadelphia (as one might expect) get most consideration from the publishing world, but author Arthur B. Fox has done much to bring attention to the western part of the state, specifically Allegheny County and the emerging industrial city of Pittsburgh. His book Pittsburgh During the American Civil War 1860-1865 (Mechling Bookbindery, 2002) was reissued in paperback last year. An excellent all around survey of the city's participation in the war, it is well worthy of the privilege.

Fox's book is not presented as a cohesive narrative history, but rather an informative and winding series of explanatory sections, replete with directions, maps, drawings, lists, and tables, more akin to a reference work. In line with the city's importance to war industries, several chapters are devoted to civilian businesses, war contractors, and military arms and ammunition production, most famously the Allegheny Arsenal and Fort Pitt Foundry. Local firms of all types are summarized and located for the reader. Events and circumstances surrounding the tragic series of explosions at occurred at the arsenal on September 17, 1862, killing close to 80 workers (mostly young women), are discussed. The foundry produced large numbers of heavy cannon for the war effort, and Fox goes into some depth describing the Rodman method of casting increasingly massive guns, the culmination of which was a colossal 20-inch smoothbore firing a projectile weighing over 1,000 lbs. Another interesting tidbit was the author's discovery, through local newspapers, of managers at the arsenal openly threatening workers with termination if they did not vote for Lincoln in the 1864 election, and following through with their threat. If true, one wonders how widespread was the practice.

Companies raised in Pittsburgh and the surrounding county are listed, and much information about the nine military camps that dotted the landscape 1861-1863 is provided. Pittsburgh hospitals are also discussed, as well as Confederate POWs. A pair of appendices additionally deal with city and county GAR posts and orphanages. As one can readily see, Fox's coverage of local institutions is quite comprehensive.

With the threat of Confederate raids into the state in 1863, a series of earthwork forts were constructed around Pittsburgh, ringing the city by the time of the Gettysburg Campaign. Period photographs do not exist, but a series of post-war images (several are reproduced in the book) documented the sites before they were destroyed by urban expansion. Aided by William McCarthy's 1992 history and archaeological survey of the dozens of forts, redoubts, and batteries, Fox provides a complete summary of these sites and their original location. A pair of period maps, including a large pullout, also reference these sites, as well as the arsenal and camps.

Well researched, and generously filled with images, maps, and data tables, Pittsburgh During the American Civil War 1860-1865 is a wonderful example of local history done right, as well as an invaluable guide for outside readers and historians seeking to learn more about the city's manpower and industrial contributions to the Union war machine. Highly recommended.

Source of Text: Civil War Books and Authors. The review was posted on June 27, 2010.

Off Topic: New and Noteworthy--- WW2: Survivors' Testimony

The Pacific: Hell Was An Ocean Way, Hugh Ambrose, New American Library (NAL) Company, end notes, illustrations, maps, 490 pp., 2010, $26.95.

Yes, the author is Stephen Ambrose son. Like father, like son? Yes, trained in history and a fine writer. Is this a tie-in-to-a-movie book? Yes. Which came first the film or the book? It is not clear. Hugh Ambrose, historian, has been working in the WW2 field as historian, museum director, tour guide for over a decade. He has had a working relationship with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks before this project. The bottom line is that the books stands very well apart from the HBO series which I have yet to view.

The Pacific is reminiscent of Stud's Turkel's The Good War which is one of the finest oral histories on the war and possibly one of the finest collection of participant testimonies from the 20th century. Ambrose notes that his book has more characters than the video series. As an infrequent reader in WW2 history, especially the Pacific Theater, The Pacific pleased CWL. The pacing is steady, no push-shove between the narratives and no abrupt transitions. Military and civilian testimonies are balanced and reinforce each other. The adventures are harrowing; the capture of Corregidor, the Bataan Death March, the imprisonment of the survivors, and their successful and unsuccessful escapes are memorable and heartbreaking.

Medals, marines, massacres, and MacArthur; Ambrose takes sides without being heavy handed. For those who appreciate eyewitness stories, The Pacific offers 450 pages of thoughtful and reflective testimonies that underscores that war is indeed Hell.

Jim Cullen's Model Review With Clarity And Content: A Vast and Fiendish Plot

CWL previously reviewed Johnson's A Vast and Fiendish Plot. The following review by Jim Cullen of Johnson's work is offered to CWL's readers as an example of a fine book review that serves as a model of clarity and content.

Jim Cullen, Review of Clint Johnson's "A Vast and Fiendish Plot: The Confederate Attack on New York City" (Citadel, 2010), Special to History News Network, April 8, 2010. (

[Jim Cullen, who teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York, is a book review editor at HNN. He is the author of ten books, among them The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation (Oxford, 2003) and Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write, and Think about History (Blackwell-Wiley, 2009). He blogs at American History Now.]

This is a digressive, partisan, entertaining and unsettling book. Using an obscure failed 1864 plot to burn down New York City as its backdrop, popular historian Clint Johnson captures the aggrieved mood among die-hard Confederates in the closing months of the Civil War. His work also suggests the ongoing power such attacks on federal authority continue to exert in the imagination of the contemporary Right.

In the first and most fascinating section of A Vast and Fiendish Plot, Johnson traces the arc of what might be termed the romance -- or, perhaps more accurately, the marriage of convenience -- between the antebellum Cotton Kingdom and New York. The city's port facilities, financial infrastructure, and trade relationships made it the linchpin of the Southern economy, and while this interdependency periodically would cause resentment -- Johnson repeatedly cites a statistic that forty cents of every cotton dollar stayed in Manhattan -- the strong economic ties also had political as well as cultural consequences, principal among them a shared investment in slavery. The New York financial community remained sympathetic to secessionist sentiment for months after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, who lost the city by an almost 2-1 margin, and there was talk in some quarters of the city seceding from the Union as well in early 1861. Only with the Confederate decision to attack Fort Sumter in April did this sympathy weaken. (I never understood until I read this book what a political masterstroke it truly was that Lincoln maneuvered the Fire-eaters of Charleston to fire the first shot.) By the end of 1861, it was increasingly becoming clear to the city's finance, manufacturing, and trading elites that joining the Union effort was going to be more lucrative than the slave trade ever was. While antiwar sentiment would continue to run high in the years that followed in some quarters, notably the working classes that erupted in the draft riots of 1863, the breach in the antebellum basis of the relationship would never be re-established.

After this promising beginning, Johnson gets sidetracked into a catalog of Confederate grievances with Union war policy in tactical decisions like the siege of Vicksburg in 1863 by Ulysses S. Grant, and General Philip Sheridan's systematic destruction of the Shenandoah Valley in late 1864, which sapped the Confederacy's ability to sustain its war effort. Johnson moves beyond portraying the Confederate point of view sympathetically to making some serious, albeit wobbly, allegations himself, as when he charges Lincoln with making "a horrendous mistake in judgment," in that he "may have expressly ordered or tacitly approved" an assassination attempt on Confederate president Jefferson Davis. (The evidence of this not-quite direct accusation is less than fully compelling.) By this logic, the 1864 attack on New York was no terrorist act, but rather a blow for justice in which those who sanctioned or condoned total war would get a taste of their own medicine.

This section of the book brings the underlying logic of the preceding one into focus: Johnson wants to show that the North was as racist as the South, and to suggest both a moral equivalence between the sections as well as a sense of legitimate grievance on the part of the Confederacy regarding Union conduct of the war that would justify the attempt to destroy Manhattan. The argument for Northern racism has, of course, long since been embraced as a staple premise of the academic left, so this is a fairly deft maneuver on Johnson's part. But a case that relies heavily on a coalition of slaveholders and bankers as a representative cross-section of American public opinion is not one that invites much in the way of identification or assent. One of the byproducts of this line of thinking, inside and outside the academy, is to make the fact that slavery did end, by Constitutional means, seem mysterious, if not impossible to understand.

In the second half of A Vast and Fiendish Plot, Johnson finally turns his attention to the sequence of events leading up to November 25, 1864, when a group of eight conspirators, many of them former colleagues of the dead Morgan, executed a long-planned operation in which they would break twelve dozen vials of an incendiary substance known as "Greek Fire" in twenty New York hotels. The conspirators expected their work would unleash the bottled fury of tens of thousands of city residents, who would express their solidarity with the Confederacy (or, at any rate, their hatred of the federal government). Needless to say, this wellspring of popular support for their actions was a figment of their imaginations. But Johnson also carefully traces the amateurishness of the conspirators, who not only did little to maintain their undercover operations, much of it based out of Canada, but who also failed to understand their chosen weapon. Never realizing that their fires would need oxygen for a true conflagration, they left the windows at their chosen sites closed, allowing the fires to be quickly doused. He also notes that by lighting the fires in the early evening, rather than the middle of the night, for supposedly humanitarian reasons, they blunted the force of their attack. While a number of the operatives were caught, only one was executed. Another, John William Headley, recounted the plot in his 1901 book Confederate Operations in New York and Canada. Johnson relies heavily on this source, which is of questionable veracity (as Johnson notes, Headley doesn't even remember the name of one of his collaborators). So while the whole incident is intriguing for what it might have been, it is finally an asterisk of Civil War history.

In a somewhat disquieting late chapter of the book, Johnson offers a five-part postmortem on the attack, pointing out (in disappointment?) the failures in execution that prevented an otherwise plausible plan from being realized. This analysis takes the form of crisply formulated principles, like "Good saboteurs wait for the right conditions," or ""Attacks are more successful when the target is sleeping." While it would not be fair to assert that Johnson actually endorsed what these people did, he never actually condemns them, either, and it's not hard to imagine a certain kind of reader interpreting his analysis as a kind of training manual.

Johnson, the author of eleven previous books, including The Politically Incorrect South (and Why it Will Rise Again), is a very good storyteller, and academic historians would do well to be attentive to the strong sense of narrative pacing that marks even his detours. But one finishes this book wondering to what ends, political and moral, his talent is being applied.

Text Source: History News Network

Tästä lähin Sulantoblogiin kommentointi vain omalla nimellä.

Silläkin uhalla, että kommentiti loppuvat, niin tästä eteenpäin en julkaise Anonyymilta tulleita kommentteja. Minusta on ihan kohtuullista, että kommentoijat kertovat nimensä, koska minä ja kaikki muutkin tähän blogiin kirjoittavat niin tekevät.


Monille suodattimille on käyttöä vielä näin digiaikanakin, vaikka kuvien muokkaaminen ja säätäminen on suosittua. Polarisaatiosuodatin on yksi hyvä suodatin, jonka vaikutusta on vaikea ja jopa mahdoton järjellisellä vaivalla jäljitellä kuvankäsitelyohjelmalla.

Polarisaatiosuodatinta kiertämällä objektiivin edessä vaikutetaan siihen minkä suuntaiset valoaallot pääsevät kameran kennolle. Tavallisimpia käyttökohteita on maisemakuvaus, jossa polarisaatiosuodattimella sinistä taivasta voi tummentaa. Ikkunoisssa olevia sekä muitakin heijastuksia voi myös vähentää polarisaatiosuodattimella ja puiden lehtiä tummentaa.

En käytä polarisaatiosuodatinta kovin usein, mutta on tilanteita, joissa p-suodatin on korvaamaton. P-suodatin on melko tumma ja vähentää kameran kennolle pääsevää valoa n. 2/3 - 2 aukkoa ilman suodatinta kuvaamiseen verrattuna. P-suodattimen asento vaikuttaa valon läpäisyyn.

Ohessa muutama kuvapari, joissa vasen kuva on ilman ja oikea kuva p-suodattimen kanssa kuvattu. Kameraan heijastuvan valon kulma vaikuttaa p-suodattimen tehoon, kuten ikkunaesimerkistä näkyy. Tässä suodattimen vaikutus ei ole dramaattinen, vaikkakin selvästi nähtävissä. Kuvasin Nikkor 24 - 70 mm zoomilla 24 mm asennossa ja laitoin p-suodattimen kirkkaan suojasuodattimen päälle, joka näkyy kuvien nurkissa tummenemisena.

Guest Blogger: Claire Moore Dickerson

It's IntLawGrrls' great pleasure to welcome Claire Moore Dickerson (left) as today's guest blogger.
Claire is the Senator John B. Breaux Professor of Business Law at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Lousiana, and also a permanent visiting professor at the University of Buea in Cameroon. She has conducted considerable research in that country and elsewhere in Africa, especially the Ivory Coast and Senegal. Her scholarship -- including the co-authored Unified Business Laws for Africa (2009) -- is noted for its application of socioeconomic principles to business-related areas and for its focus on the intersection of commerce and human rights.
In her guest post below, Claire discusses her article, forthcoming next January in the American Journal of Comparative Law; it examines business law and informal-sector entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Claire teaches Business Enterprises, International Business Transactions, Contracts, and a Comparative Corporate Governance Seminar. She came to Tulane from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey, where she was Professor of Law, Dickson Scholar, Schuchman Fellow, Co-Director of the Global Legal Studies program, and holder of the Visiting Lowenstein Chair. She also taught at the law school as St. John's University.
She holds an A.B. magna cum laude from Wellesley College, a J.D. from Columbia University, where she was a Stone Scholar, and an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University. Before entering law teaching she was a partner at the New York office of Coudert Brothers, and later at Philadelphia's Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis.
She's active in several professional organizations, including the Law & Society Association and the American Society of International Law, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Section on Socio-Economics of the Association of American Law Schools.
In a further guest post below, Claire dedicates her contribution to 2 foremothers, Maître Alice Roullet-Piccard and Dr. Dorothea May Moore.

Heartfelt welcome!

Sub-Saharan development & business laws

(Thanks to IntLawGrrls for the opportunity to contribute this guest post on research to be published as "Informal-Sector Entrepreneurs, Development and Formal Law: A Functional Understanding of Business Law," 59 American Journal of Comparative Law (January 2011), as well as my dedication below to two foremothers)

While discussing the policies of the prior US administration towards his country, a respected Senior Barrister in Cameroon trotted out the old adage:

'Give people fish, and you feed them for today. Teach them to fish, and you have fed them for a lifetime.'
He was, of course, asking that donor institutions and donor states provide tools that reinforce independence rather than mere handouts. This perspective does seem consistent with a trend by the World Bank, among others, to encourage business, including smaller businesses.
Indeed, prodded by economists seeking to encourage development by facilitating business, this international financial institution has over the past half-dozen years paid very serious attention to the role of business laws. Consider, for example, the World Bank’s “Doing Business” reports, annual compilations of studies focused on the contribution of law to the business environment in emerging economies.
It is easy for us in the global North, especially as we endure the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, to be cynical about the ability of business laws to facilitate development. Business laws have failed to protect the overall business environment, including the availability of credit.
As we consider what regulations to impose on the largest financial and other companies here, politicians and economists are contemplating the long-term impact on the entire business community. Thus, small businesses should care about the regulations constraining the most powerful actors in their economy. Still, their daily ability to work in sanitary, lighted, safe environments, and to expect the machinery of government to support their commercial contracts, continues to be protected.
In Sub-Saharan Africa,
► To what extent can law restrain the excesses of the most powerful agent, typically the state, while facilitating business on the ground?
► To what extent can laws help create a business environment that most closely mimics that of the global North — where, in the best of circumstances, the most powerful actors are adequately controlled?
The Sub-Saharan business climate is, of course, fundamentally different.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the informal sector represents 40-60% of gross domestic product, according to a study by Friedrich Schneider. International Labor Organization figures state that this sector employs as much as 93% of non-agricultural workers.
The informal sector thus is highly important. Yet formal law does not penetrate easily or predictably there. For this reason, simple transplantation of classic business law from the global North will not be sufficient to protect and support the business either of an informal-sector-market woman or street vendor, or even of the many business people who have a foot in both the formal and informal sectors.
The focus has to be on functionality.
The goal is to serve the informal sector with laws that accomplish there what classic business laws do for the smaller businesses of the global North. Specifically, laws should increase the predictability of transactions while limiting abuse from government and other powerful agents.
The attack should be two-pronged.
► Formal law both can constrain formal-sector actors, such as some landlords transacting with informal-sector businesses, and can mandate that formal-sector actors provide pro-business realities that Northern businesses enjoy, including sanitary work environments. Precisely because these actors are in the formal sector, they are subject to government regulation — even if the landlord is in fact the government.
► The second prong still cannot directly affect the informal-sector nano-entrepreneurs, those self-employed workers who typically operating alone or with family, and with very modest sales. These workers will not be directly affected because, almost by definition, they are at best unpredictably subject to formal laws and regulations. On the other hand, nano-entrepreneurs do tend to have a legal regime, or a quasi- legal traditional regime, that affects businesses.
This second prong, in turn, deploys two strategies to allow formal law to have as direct an impact as possible on the informal sector.
►► The first strategy aimed at the informal sector is to have formal laws that reinforce existing business norms. These laws are the most likely to support effectively a North-style predictability, since the informal-sector nano-entrepreneurs are primed to comply.
►► The second strategy aimed at the informal sector emphasizes the importance of encouraging coordination of consumers of law. This strategy is especially important when the applicable legal system is highly centralized — as is typically the case in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Discussion of relatively developed countries and their formal economies may be found in Law & Capitalism: What Corporate Crises Reveal about Legal Systems and Economic Development around the World (2008), by Columbia Law Professors Curtis J. Milhaupt and Katharina Pistor.)
Laws promoting coordination include West and Central Africa’s Economic Interest Group (specifically, Sections 869-885 of the OHADA Commercial Companies and EIG Uniform Act), as well as other laws that promote cooperatives. A case in point is the self-coordination effort in the Ghanaian chocolate industry, described here. (credit for photo of woman in Ghana holding fair-trade chocolate) (Prior IntLawGrrls post on problems in the chocolate industry.)
In short, the additional strategy aimed at the informal sector workers is to facilitate the formation of cooperatives.
The goal is for business-related laws to achieve in Sub-Saharan Africa the functionality that classic business laws offer, in the best of times, to businesses of the global North.

In honor of Maître Alice Roullet-Piccard & Dr. Dorothea May Moore

(Today's IntLawGrrls guest blogger, Claire Moore Dickerson, has chosen to dedicate her contribution to 2 foremothers)

I am delighted to participate in this project, and would like to dedicate my contribution to two formidable professional women whom I knew well and continue to admire fiercely.
Maître Alice Roullet-Piccard (right), born in 1890, received her degree in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva in 1912, and in 1914 was among the first woman admitted to the bar in Geneva. She opened a law office with her husband, a former classmate at university. From that perch she practiced law until her death in 1972, frequently representing wards of the state and the indigent. She also raised three children.
She became an institution within the Geneva bar. Walking in her wake through the city was a slow process: as she proceeded through the streets, stately, under full sail, she would be greeted by colleagues and clients. To her granddaughter, Maître Roullet-Piccard seemed in total command and absolutely fearless.
Dr. Dorothea May Moore (below right) was my pediatrician (and my first cousin). Tall and spare, her gray hair was swept up in a 1930s style, and her voice was slightly gravely but very elegant. Her gray eyes framed by steel-rimmed glasses, she offered her small patients an unfailingly bemused gaze, inviting and intimidating at once.
Born in 1894, she graduated from college in 1915 and medical school in 1922. She had her own practice, engaged in research, and taught at Harvard Medical School for over 30 years, where she was the first woman instructor in pediatrics. She continued to work under her maiden name even after her marriage in 1941, and, having started in medicine before the advent of antibiotics, persisted in her chosen her profession long after many of her age cohort had retired. She died just 15 years ago, at the age of 101.
Even as a girl, I understood both that the paths chosen by Maître Roullet-Piccard and Dr. Moore had been hard, and that their example made my own path smoother.

On June 28

On this day in ...
... 1635 (375 years ago today), the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique established a French colony at Guadeloupe (right), a Caribbean archipelago about 10 times the size of Washington, D.C., where the explorer Christopher Columbus had landed in 1493. "By 1674, Guadeloupe was annexed to the Kingdom of France and a slave-based plantation was established." Britain and other countries wrestled for control of the territory, but French colonization was confirmed in the 1815 Treaty of Vienna, and slavery was abolished in 1848. Guadeloupe remains a French colony and so is a member of the European Union.

(Prior June 28 posts are here, here, and here.)

Canon vai Nikon, kumpi on parempi?

Ikuinen kysymys ja jopa kiistan aihe, ainakin joillekin. Sulantoblogissa aiomme ottaa selvää ainakin osasta totuutta. Selvitämme nimittäin kumman, Canonin vaiko Nikonin, langaton salamajärjestelmä on parempi.

Paremmalla tarkoitan käytön helppoutta ja järjestelmän luotettavuutta. Mahdollisimman puolueettoman tuloksen varmistamiseksi kokeiluun osallistuu minun lisäkseni apulaiseni Sakke, joka kuvaa Canonilla.

Kokeilu on käynnissä ja tuloksia saat lukea täältä ensi viikon alussa.

...and counting....

(Occasional sobering thoughts.) It's been fully 14 weeks since we last took account of the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
The headline news this past week, of course, has been President Barack Obama's firing of U.S. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal from command of forces in Afghanistan. The Oval Office dismissal came days after the online publication of spoken, and gestured, criticisms by McChrystal and his staff, the crudeness of which reads as a juvenile and downright dumb effort by military brass to out-Rolling Stone the Rolling Stone. (Perhaps if they'd seen the Gaga cover that would cloak the McChrystal story, they'd have known the futility of any such effort.)
Also seizing headlines was Obama's in-an-instant replacement of McChrystal with Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.
But neither seems the real story.
More likely, the real story is Obama's insistence that no change in war-waging policy would accompany the change in war-waging generals:
We are going to break the Taliban's momentum. We are going to build Afghan capacity. We are going to relentlessly apply pressure on al-Qaida and its leadership, strengthening the ability of both Afghanistan and Pakistan to do the same.
Whether that's in fact the last word on policy remains to be seen.
On her 1st day in office Friday, Julia Gillard, the new Prime Minister of Australia, assured Obama in a phone conversation that "supports the war in Afghanistan and he can rely on her to continue the commitment of troops." (credit for 2009 photo of Gillard, then Deputy Prime Minister, visiting Australian troops in Iraq shortly before their withdrawal from that country)
Yet in the country contributing the most troops after the United States to the NATO effort in Afghanistan, the news of the week was the 300th British servicemember death there. Not surprisingly, yesterday the new Prime Minister, David Cameron, sounded a rather more measured tone after meeting with Obama on the 1st day of this week's G-20 summit in Toronto. Cameron said:

Making progress this year, putting everything we have into getting it right this year is vitally important.
Criticism of the tactics of the AfPak war also persist, as was evident in the attention paid the public defense of targeted-killing-by-drones, delivered in March by State Department Legal Adviser Harold Hongju Koh. Four persons were killed in a drone raid yesterday, another 13 last week; "Pakistani officials have told the BBC that the US have carried out at least 70 such raids since January."
Also of concern, the continued spike in civilian deaths, a trend that Obama's promised to work to reverse:
Figures from the Pentagon show 90 civilians were killed by American or NATO forces in the first four months of this year, compared with 51 in the same period last year ...
As for Iraq?
Far less news. About a hundred persons killed by car bombs in May, on the "bloodiest day this year." More recently, reports of scattered violence "as," to quote The New York Times, "as the country’s political stalemate dragged on."
With these developments in mind, we revisit the casualty count since our last "...and counting..." post 6 weeks ago:
► The U.S. Department of Defense reports that coalition military casualties in Afghanistan stand at 1,141 Americans, 308 Britons, and 425 other coalition servicemembers. That's an increase of 117, 43, and 32 casualties, respectively, in the last 14 weeks. The total coalition casualty count in the Afghanistan conflict is 1,874 service women and men.
► Respecting the conflict in Iraq, Iraq Body Count reports that between 96,813 and 105,563 Iraqi women, children, and men have died in the conflict in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, representing an increase of between 1,089 and 1,136 deaths in the last 14 weeks.
According to the U.S. Defense Department, 4,408 American servicemembers have been killed in Iraq, representing 23 servicemember deaths in the last 14 weeks. (As posted, U.S. troops are the only foreign forces remaining in Iraq.)

On June 27

On this day in ...
... 1950 (60 years ago today), President Harry S. Truman announced that he'd ordered U.S. troops to join South Korea in enforcing the June 25 U.N. Security Council Resolution 82, which, by a vote of 9-0 with 1 abstention, called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" on the Korean peninsula and withdrawal of North Korean armies to the 38th parallel. Later on this same day, Council would vote 7-1 in favor of Resolution 83, which
Recommends that the Members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore peace and security in the area.

War followed for years. Above left, a 1951 U.S. Army photo (credit) of Korean War refugees.

(Prior June 27 posts are here, here, and here.)

Camille A. Nelson named Dean of Suffolk Law

Camille A. Nelson (photo), Professor of Law at Hofstra University Law School, is slated to become the 12th Dean of Suffolk University Law School beginning September 1, 2010. She is the first woman, the first African-American, and the first person of color to hold that position in the university's history. (See article here.)
Professor Nelson, listed in my recent posts on "Black Women Teaching International Law" (part of our "Experts at Law" series), has taught Contracts, Sports Law, Comparative Criminal Law, Transnational Law, and Critical Race Theory. (On other law deans with international law expertise, see IntLawGrrls' prior posts here, here, here, and here.)
International foremother "Miss Lou" is particularly pleased to report that Professor Nelson has transnational roots in the Caribbean, Canada, and the United States of America. Nelson's book, co-edited with Charmaine A. Nelson, her sister, is titled Racism, Eh?: A Critical Inter-Disciplinary Anthology of Race and Racism in Canada.
Professor Nelson is highly respected and regarded throughout the legal academy as a leader, a scholar, and a champion of social justice and public service.
Heartfelt congratulations!

Understanding Aggression II

(Another in IntLawGrrls' series of posts in connection with the ICC Kampala Conference)

This post follows on the heels of a prior post discussing "understandings" attached to the crime of aggression at the ICC Review Conference in Kampala this month.
On June 8, 2010, Bill Leitzau, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Detainee Policy) of the United States (shown at right on the right meeting with the Chair of the Working Group on the Crime of Aggression, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, and the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Christian Wenaweser) informally circulated five sets of understandings addressed to different aspects of the definition of aggression and its application by the Court. In addition to the complementarity understandings already discussed, one set of understandings attempted to tether the definition of aggression and its interpretation more closely to certain aspects of General Assembly Resolution 3314 and in particular its threshold provisions. In particular, the United States proposed language (which became part of Understanding X) to the effect that

it is understood that, consistent with the principles set forth in General Assembly resolution 3314, only the most serious and dangerous forms of illegal use of force are considered to constitute aggression

it is only a war of aggression that is a crime against international peace.
As an interpretive guide, the United States proposed language (which became known as Understanding Y) stating that all three components of character, gravity, and scale must be sufficient to justify a “manifest” determination.
With a second set of understandings, the United States sought to gain acknowledgement that the U.N. Charter recognizes that certain uses of force remain lawful, notwithstanding Article 2(4) of the Charter. Accordingly, one proposed understanding read:

nothing in this resolution or the [aggression] amendments … should be interpreted or applied in any manner inconsistent with General Assembly resolution 3314, nor should they be construed as in any way enlarging or diminishing the scope of the Charter of the United Nations, including its provisions concerning cases in which the use of force is unlawful.
More pointedly, another proposed understanding stated, with reference to the Rome Statute of the ICC:

It is understood that, for purposes of the Statute, an act cannot be considered a manifest violation of the United Nations Charter absent a showing that it was undertaken without the consent of the relevant state, was not taken in self-defense, and was not within any authorization provided by the United Nations Security Council.
A third set of understandings explicitly or implicitly attempted to carve out an exception for the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. First, the United States sought recognition of the fact that
a determination whether an act of aggression has been committed requires consideration of all the circumstances of each particular case, including the purposes for which force was used and the gravity of the acts concerned or their consequences.
The reference to “purposes” provided an opening to argue for the legality of humanitarian interventions. Another proposed understanding drew upon a definition of “manifest” from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and was more explicit in addressing humanitarian intervention:

It is understood that, for purposes of the Statute, an act cannot be considered to be a manifest violation of the United Nations Charter unless it would be objectively evident to any State conducting itself in the matter in accordance with normal practice and in good faith, and thus an act undertaken in connection with an effort to prevent the commission of any of the crimes contained in Articles 6 [genocide], 7 [crimes against humanity] or 8 [war crimes] of the Statute would not constitute an act of aggression.
In an informal Working Group session, minor changes were proposed and made to Understanding Y. The other proposed understandings proved to be more controversial. The Chair of the Working Group, Claus Kress, did not put forward for discussion the understandings mentioning either the Charter or humanitarian intervention.
There was a scuffle about Understanding X, and it was revised to mirror more closely the threshold language from Resolution 3314. In addition, the language that would have mandated a consideration of the "purposes" for which force was used generated significant discussion. A few states led by Iran argued that the introduction of the subjective element of “purpose” threatened to compromise the entire process and amend the U.N. Charter by the back door. Detractors questioned what other purposes besides self-defense were lawful under the Charter. The United States ultimately acceded to the removal of the term “purposes.” At the close of the meeting, however, the United States reserved the right to re-open the question of a more explicit mention of humanitarian intervention.
Professor Kress forwarded the new language of Understanding Y to the Chair of the Working Group. It appeared in a Conference Room Paper as follows:

Understanding Y

It is understood that in establishing whether an act of aggression constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the three components of character, gravity and scale must be sufficient to justify a “manifest” determination. No one component can be significant enough to satisfy the manifest standard by itself.

Professor Kress reserved Understanding X for further negotiation. The next day, Professor Kress announced by way of an email via the Assembly of States Parties that Iran and the United States (ironically both Non-State Parties that have butted heads over aggression charges, most recently before the International Court of Justice in the Oil Platforms Case) had accepted a final text. This was embodied in a new Conference Room Paper as follows:

Understanding X

It is understood that aggression is the most serious and dangerous form of the illegal use of force; and that a determination whether an act of aggression has been committed requires consideration of all the circumstances of each particular case, including the gravity of the acts concerned and their consequences, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The United States never did raise the issue if humanitarian intervention again in any formal setting (photo above is the plenary room from the perspective of the United States' chair), so it remains to be seen whether the Court, if faced with a putative humanitarian intervention, will consider the use of force to constitute a "manifest" violation of the United Nations Charter.
We have discussed this issue in more detail here.

On June 26

On this day in ...
... 1921, in Paris, France, a daughter was born to a French mother and English father. She would spend her childhood in England and take work at a perfume counter. At a 1940 Bastille Day parade in London, she met a French officer, whom she married, after 42 days. Her husband died in battle a couple years later, without ever seeing their daughter. Violette Szabó (left), codenamed "Louise" and "La P'tite Anglaise," then became an agent for the British Special Operations Executive (prior post), helping to organize the resistance in France. Eventually she was captured, interrogated, and tortured. Szabo was detained at the Ravensbrück camp, then, at age 23, executed, in 1945.

(Prior June 26 posts are here, here, and here.)

Doubling Back on Dublin

The European Union's Dublin II Regulation funnels asylum claims to the states through which applicants first entered Europe. But what happens when the state of first entry fails to uphold its obligations under international refugee law? The question of how other Dublin member states should address Greece's disastrous asylum system has been answered differently by nearly every national court that has entertained the question, illustrating the difficulty of reconciling competing legal norms.
In the first half of 2009, Greece saw over 80,000 undocumented migrants cross its borders and received the sixth largest number of asylum applications (nearly 10,000) in the EU. Greece's asylum system simply cannot cope with the flow of applications; in late 2009, only 20 claims were registered per day at the Asylum Department in Athens though up to 2,000 people each day wait in line to apply for asylum. Ninety percent of asylum claims are filed in that office, as it is reportedly difficult to file claims outside of Athens. Even those asylum seekers who are able to access the process are often interviewed in a language they can't understand, without interpretation, and without legal counsel to advise them of their rights.
In 2007, Greece granted 8 asylum claims in the first instance - a grant rate of 0.04% -- and 138 claims, a grant rate of 2.05% on appeal. All of the 305 decisions in late 2006 to early 2007, relating to applicants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Sudan, were negative. None of these decisions contained any discussion of the facts of individual cases or provided any legal reasoning. Greece's asylum system is, simply put, non-functional.
UNHCR first stepped into the fray in 2007, issuing an advisory note about the risks of refoulement for asylum seekers transferred to Greece under Dublin II. In 2008, UNHCR stepped up the pressure through a position paper communicating its grave concern with Greece's asylum system and advising governments "to refrain from returning asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin Regulation until further notice." And in 2009, UNHCR published a detailed observation paper indicting the the Greek asylum system.
Finally, last week, UNHCR released a report on Dublin member states' use of the "sovereignty clause", Art. 3(2) of the Dublin II Regulation, against transfers to Greece. The sovereignty clause authorizes a member state to process an asylum claim even where the Dublin criteria would require that the claim be heard in a different country. While data on the application of the clause are scarce, UNHCR reports that it is rarely used except to protect vulnerable asylum applicants. In the past year or so, however, states have increasingly relied on the sovereignty clause to suspend transfers to Greece.
And here's the legal tussle -- there's quite a dispute, akin to a circuit split in the United States, brewing over the interpretation of the sovereignty clause. In other words, national courts can't agree on the circumstances under which member states can double back on Dublin. Some national courts have focused on the sufficiency of procedural safeguards (France, Romania), while others ask whether transfer would result in a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) or 8 (right to family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (Austria, Hungary). French and Spanish courts emphasize the need to examine the risk of return on a case-by-case basis, with the latter providing an exception for vulnerable asylum applicants, including families with small children. On the other end of the spectrum, Belgian courts have found that since Greece is an EU member state, party to the ECHR and the Refugee Convention, and bound by EU instruments, the court must presume Greece will uphold these obligations. As a result, the burden is on the asylum seeker to rebut this presumption with proof of a risk of violations of ECHR Article 3. Similarly, Dutch courts have required tangible or specific indications that a member state isn't fulfilling its international obligations and have suggested that complaints about failure to implement EU law should be raised in Greece with Greek authorities.
It should come as no surprise that asylum applicants have petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to hear their complaints about Dublin transfers to Greece. At the beginning of this month, there were a reported 760 such cases pending before the ECHR. M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece, the lead case on this question, will be heard by the ECHR's Grand Chamber on September 1. Stay tuned!

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