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News----Museum of the Confederacy Offers Online High Res Digital Images of Its Collection

The Museum of the Confederacy's [MOC] collections department is featuring its new high resolution digital photographs that allow viewers to virtually explore artifacts right down to the threads. MOC's digital images' details are enhanced through Zoomify, a software application created by Adobe. Recently upgraded photographs of the new conserved 41st Georgia's flag, Stonewall Jackson's kepi, and Beauregard's revolver are amazing. New high-resolution digital photographs allows views to virtually explore in great detail these artifacts. Donations will fund additional digital photographs of the MOC's collection.

Above is the newly conserved 41st Georgia Infantry Flag. This Army of Tennessee pattern battle flag was issued to the unit in 1864 and believed carried until its surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina, April 1865. It was found in Yonkers, New York, by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and given to the Museum in 1935. Its conservation in 2009 was funded by major contributor Martin Tant along with other generous donors.

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's wore this forage cap during the Civil War. It is an infantry officer's forage cap, made of wool with a leather brim and brass buttons. MOC's online collection is stunning when used with Zoomify.
The Museum of the Confederacy's online homepage is located here.

Image and Edited Text Source: Museum of the Confederacy

Outsourcing Investigations: The ICC and Intermediaries

The International Criminal Court’s first trial is once again on the verge of coming to an abrupt end before the completion of the proceedings. The defendant, Thomas Lubanga has again been ordered released, and the Office of the Prosecutor (“OTP”) is again appealing that order. (Prior IntLawGrrls posts) It’s déjà vu all over again – and why? For the second time, because of the controversial role of intermediaries in building the prosecution’s case.
What’s all the hubbub about? IntLawGrrl guest/alumna Yvonne McDermott's earlier post provides the details, but the big picture is this: the OTP has been using third parties to assist it in conducting its investigation of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”). These third party intermediaries include organizations like MONUC (the UN Mission in Congo) (emblem below left) that have long been involved in investigating the atrocities that have occurred in the conflict there. In June 2009, the OTP was unable to disclose evidence as ordered by the court because of confidentiality agreements with the third parties who provided the evidence; now, the OTP has not identified an intermediary whom witnesses have claimed encouraged them to provide false testimony.
In my recent article, Outsourcing Investigations, I assessed the benefits and risks that come with using third parties as intermediaries in an international criminal investigation.
On the one hand, it makes enormous sense for the OTP to make use of the contacts that MONUC and other IGOs and NGOs already have with victims and witnesses in the DRC and to take account of the evidence they have already uncovered. These organizations know the country, the situation and the involved parties very well. They have already carried out their own investigations and produced their own reports on the war crimes and crimes against humanity that the OTP began investigating far more recently. The OTP is also no competition for MONUC in the size and scope of its investigations, particularly since it has adopted a targeted and sequenced investigations policy that deliberately limits its investigations’ aims and resources. Due to all of these factors, the OTP has relied on the work done by third party intermediaries at a minimum as the basis for selecting the incidents on which it has focused, making initial contact with the witnesses the third parties have already interviewed, and obtaining and reviewing any evidence they have already secured.
But this reliance creates problems: problems with reliability, credibility, equality of arms, the right of the defense to confront witnesses, and confidentiality. The Lubanga case has demonstrated that these problems are very real. And the Lubanga case is not a one-off: similar questions have emerged in at least one other DRC case. Unless the OTP radically changes its investigations strategy and the amount of resources it puts into its investigations, it will continue to need intermediaries. But unless the OTP changes its approach to using intermediaries, the problems that have arisen in the Lubanga case are not going to disappear on their own.
Accordingly, the OTP needs to develop a more effective set of policies and practices for dealing with intermediaries. At a minimum, it needs to reach agreements with intermediaries in advance that will permit the disclosure of evidence and of sources of evidence that is necessary for the defendant to have a fair trial. In Outsourcing Investigations, I suggest two approaches that could help the OTP maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of using intermediaries:
► (1) The OTP could draw experts into its investigations from the UN mission and other IGOs and NGOs operating in the area and/or
► (2) The OTP could develop a detailed set of guidelines for intermediaries to follow in carrying out their investigations.
By taking either or both of these steps, the OTP could maintain some control over the methods of the investigation and thereby maximize the reliability of the evidence it obtains as well as the transparency of its provenance.

On August 31

On this day in ...
... 1981, Johanna Sunarti Nasution (right) received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, an award that, as we've posted, is known colloquially as the Asian Nobel Prize. Nasution was honored for her social welfare work. Born in Surabaya, Indonesia, in 1923, to a Javanese father and Dutch mother, she eventually married a general, but "pursued her work independent of her husband's military career," organizing the Indonesian National Council on Social Welfare, which today includes many nongovernmental organizations, coordinating councils, and social work schools, and works in divers communities within Indonesia.

(Prior August 31 posts are here, here, and here.)

Off Topic and New---Cold Cases And The Ninth Level of Dante's Inferno

The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases, Michael Capuzzo, Gotham Publishing, 448 pages, $26.95

I've read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I've read Arthur Conan Doyle's biography. I've read enough of the history of crime detection to know who Eugene Francois Vidocq was. So I'm not in the center of this author's target audience. The book may have been written for a much wider audience. And during middle school, I read lots of Readers' Digest condensed novels. If I was still reading RD's condensed novels I would have been satisfied with Michael Capuzzo's effort to tell the story of the Vidocq Society, which come to think of it he really doesn't do. The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases, is really a greatest hits [excuse the pun] of the Vidocq Society.

I have been trained as an historian and am sensitive to issues of chronology, cause and effect, and unsupported generalizations. Somehow the word 'hoopla hoops' and the 'serial killers' search for authentic self-expression' are in the same sentence that attempts to describe the 1950s. The initial chapters come across as being interview notes poorly knit together. Paragraph transitions must have been written by fictional detective Philip Marlowe created by Raymond Chandler during the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s. At times Capuzzo inserts his own character into the story and I began to wonder how accurately he transcribed the interviews he made with the three leading characters.

On the other had the murder stories are compelling as are William Fleisher, Frank Bender and Richard Walter, the prime movers of the Vidocq Society. Fortunately the subtitle of the book is wrong. The Vidocq Society members are not the 'heirs of Sherlock Holmes'. They are real people who are brilliant, hardworking, intuitive and possibly flawed individuals. In a stunning monologue detective Richard Walter, having reading the classics of Western Civilization, graphically describes how the descent of serial killers' personality corresponds to Dante's levels of hell. The cases covered in The Murder Room are at times heartrending and horrific. Other cases are mundane and presented in a fashion which encourages the reader believe that local police detectives at times are lazy, uncreative and out of touch with their profession.

Compelling stories are told without suspense in The Murder Room. A newspaper journalist and I read the book during the same week. Though debating some merits of Capuzzo's style and organization, we both agreed that there are currently too many unemployed book editors and proofreaders. What is the difference between a benefactor and a beneficiary? Capuzzo needed a professional editor/proofreader. There are no footnotes, although there is a long bibliography. In the acknowlegements Capuzzo states that he did more than 1,000 hours worth of interviews with the three investigators he upon which he focuses. He also cites many other interviewees.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, but not as a model for style, organization or clarity. The substance of the stories is compelling even if the handling of the material by the author is not.

Forthcoming and Interesting----The Wicked Father Of Waters And The Siege of Vicksburg

Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild, Lee Sandlin, Pantheon Pres, Hardcover, 304 pages, $26.95, October 19, 2010.

A riveting look at one of the most colorful, dangerous, and peculiar places in America’s historical landscape: the strange, wonderful, and mysterious Mississippi River of the nineteenth century.

Beginning in the early 1800s and climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Wicked River takes us back to a time before the Mississippi was dredged into a shipping channel, and before Mark Twain romanticized it into myth. Drawing on an array of suspenseful and bizarre firsthand accounts, Lee Sandlin brings to life a place where river pirates brushed elbows with future presidents and religious visionaries shared passage with thieves—a world unto itself where, every night, near the levees of the big river towns, hundreds of boats gathered to form dusk-todawn cities dedicated to music, drinking, and gambling. Here is a minute-by-minute account of Natchez being flattened by a tornado; the St. Louis harbor being crushed by a massive ice floe; hidden, nefarious celebrations of Mardi Gras; and the sinking of the Sultana, the worst naval disaster in American history. And here is the Mississippi itself: gorgeous, perilous, and unpredictable, lifeblood to the communities that rose and fell along its banks.

An exuberant work of Americana—at once history, culture, and geography—Wicked River is a grand epic that portrays a forgotten society on the edge of revolutionary change.

Garrison Keillor[creator of National Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion]says "A gripping book that plunges you into a rich dark stretch of visceral history. I read it in two sittings and got up shaken."

Text and Image Source: Wicked River

Caroline postcard

As intlawyers well know, a foundation of contemporary rules regarding the use of force is the Caroline affair.
As posted, U.S.-Britain negotiations more than 170 years ago articulated a concept of "anticipatory self-defense," subject to conditions of necessity and proportionality.
Perhaps less well known is the underlying incident.
Spurring the diplomatic exchange of notes was 1837 unrest in Canada, then a British colony. Anti-British rebels encamped at Navy Island in the middle of the Niagara River, which marks the U.S.-Canada border. Rebel night-raids of Britain's Canadian forts prompted Britain to seize the Caroline, a rebel vessel. They torched it and set it loose; it broke up in the rock-strewn rapids. Eventually, what was left of the Caroline went over the Niagara Falls.
Hence this post-card: photos of those rapids and falls made on a lovely summer Sunday, en route to the 4th Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua, New York, about which more to come.

ECOSOC Consultative Status at last

After three years of delay and "no action" motions in committee, ECOSOC finally granted consultative status to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) on July 19, 2010. The resolution passed -- by a vote of 23 for, 13 against, 13 abstaining and 5 absent (vote breakdown by country here) -- despite a "no action" decision on the group's application by ECOSOC's Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations in June. A summary of the ECOSOC debate on IGLHRC's consultative status is available here. (Photo: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator)
The US government worked hard to achieve this success. After the ECOSOC decision, Ambassador Susan Rice stated that the vote
reaffirmed the Economic and Social Council's commitment to include a diverse range of voices from civil society in the work of the UN. More important, the vote was a significant achievement for all those who work to see the United Nations embody its founding principles and advance the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Consultative status allows NGOs to place items on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies; attend meetings; submit written statements and make oral presentations; and be involved in UN international conferences and their preparatory meetings. The vote to grant consultative status to IGLHRC was welcomed by human rights defenders the world over.
As human rights defenders and LGBT people living in countries where homophobic discrimination is a daily reality, we celebrate the accreditation of IGLHRC at the UN.
IGLHRC's access to the UN means that we too will have greater access to international human rights mechanisms that can prove invaluable to LGBT people's lives.
- Frank Mugisha, Chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), one of 13 NGOs from Uganda to publicly call for IGLHRC to be accredited (see the over 200 NGOs worldwide that signed the petition for accreditation here)

The experience of IGLHRC is a familiar one. The few LGBT NGOs that have consultative status -- just ten in total -- attained it only after ECOSOC disregarded a negative or "no action" recommendation by its Committee on NGOs. Egypt has led the opposition to LGBT NGOs, with a strategy of continually postponing committee decisions on applications. The United Kingdom has been a leader in supporting LGBT NGOs, and has emphasized that disagreement with the policies of an NGO should not mean excluding them.
The UK statement during the ECOSOC debate on IGLHRC's application is here; the US statement is here.
Just what are the criteria for granting consultative status? Article 71 of the UN Charter provides that ECOSOC "may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence." ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which governs consultative status, "confirm[s] the need to take into account the full diversity of the non-governmental organizations at the national, regional and international levels."

To be eligible for consultative status, according to the resolution,
  • an NGO must be "concerned with matters falling within the competence" of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies,"
  • the group's aims and purposes must be "in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles" of the UN Charter, and
  • the NGO must undertake to support the work of the UN and to promote knowledge of its principles and purposes.
It may surprise some to learn that among the NGOs granted consultative status under these guidelines is the National Rifle Association.
The lack of guidelines to ensure the objective application of the consultative status requirements has led to criticism of the accrediting process. As this summary of the July ECOSOC session points out, states use the process to withhold or withdraw consultative status from NGOs that criticize them or with whose policies they disagree. This certainly reflects the three-year struggle of IGLHRC to attain consultative status.

'Nuff said

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

International organizations are often disparaged as talking shops. That, among other things, is what they are and requires no apology.

-- Brian Urquhart (right), who began his U.N. career in 1945 and served as Undersecretary-General from 1972 until his retirement in 1986. (photo credit) The quote appears in "Finding the Hidden UN," his well-worth-reading New York Review of Books essay about recent volumes about the United Nations -- including the ones here and here.

On August 30

On this day in ...
... 1924, the Permanent Court of International Justice, headquartered at the Peace Palace in The Hague (right), issued its judment on jursdiction in Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions Case (Greece v. United Kingdom). One passage read:
By taking up the case of one of its subjects and resorting to diplomatic action or international judicial proceedings on his behalf, a State is in reality asserting its own right — its right to ensure, in the person of its subjects, respect for the rules of international law.
Decades later the statement came under attack, in the First report on diplomatic protection, presented at a 2000 session of the International Law Commission. Special Rapporteur John R. Dugard characterized the passage as a "judicial blessing" of a legal "fiction," one that inter alia "provided a justification for military intervention or gunboat diplomacy."

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

Profiileista vielä, hyvä linkki, ja kuva Sony A55 kameralla

Pari päivää sitten kirjoitin kameraprofiileista. Minulla ei ole syvälle luotaavaa tietoa profiileista, mutta tässä linkki niille, jotka haluavat perehtyä asiaan huolella. Linkki johtaa blogiin, jossa on englanninkielellä muitakin kiinnostavia asioita. Ainakin joillekin kiinnostavia. Minulla ei kärsivällisyys ja into riitä ihan noin tekniseen asiaan, mutta olen varma, että monella riittää.

Yllä oleva kuva on Sony A55 kamerasta peräisin. Kuvasin juuri omasta puutarhasta keräämiäni mustia viinimarjoja, joista tulee erittäin herkullista hilloa, kun laitan sekaan omenaa ja mausteeksi aitoa vaniljaa.

Objektiivi oli Sony macro 100 mm f/2.8. Kuvasin jalustalta, koska valotusaika oli 1/3 s. aukolla f/5.6 ja herkkyydellä ISO 100. Kuva on kameran prosessoima jpg, jonka olen pienentänyt. Kuvasin 16:9 kuvasuhteella ja siksi kuva on tuon muotoinen.

Pitching in for Pakistan

The floods in Pakistan have rendered a reported 20 million homeless, destroyed an estimated 1.7 million acres of crops leading to the threat of famine, and given rise to an epidemic of diseases such as cholera, dengue, and malaria. Yet like the water itself, the crisis seems to have snuck up on the international community.
The Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan, prepared immediately after the flood, requested $459 million primarily for food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, shelter and other non-food items. The Financial Tracking Service (FTS) reports that $274 million has been raised, thus reaching a coverage of 59.6%. Despite an outcry that the international community is leaving Pakistan in the lurch, this is actually a fairly high number. The FTS also reports that other disasters this year, such as the civil unrest in Kyrgyzstan or tropical storm that hit Guatemala, have only been covered to the tune of 36% and 33% respectively. But there's no denying that the international community seems less concerned with Pakistan than it was with say, Haiti. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that while twenty-two U.S. aid groups have raised a total of $9.9-million for Pakistan, within two-and-a-half weeks of the earthquake, 40 aid groups had brought in a total of $560-million for Haiti. (photo credit, above).
Why? Well, in the UK it is being blamed on persistent negative images of Pakistan in the media and elsewhere. In India, the history of poor neighborly behavior has led to India's refusal to provide aid. And in the U.S., the low death toll, "summer vacation doldrums," and donor fatigue after the Haiti disaster are thought to contribute to the lack of interest in the crisis.
But the stakes are high. As an editorial in the New York Times last week put it:
The world, especially the United States, must not blow this one.
The editorial reminds us that Pakistan is armed with nuclear weapons, after all, and its destabilization could spell disaster. Moreover, the United States has put an awful lot of effort into suppressing Al Qaeda in the region, particularly along the border with Afghanistan. That work is easily undermined when radical Islamic charities are able to provide shelter and food ahead of the authorities or foreign aid organizations. The Pakistani Taliban has inserted itself, urging the Pakistani government not to accept aid at all, citing a need to maintain sovereignty and independence. The strategic implications (read: politics) of it all are hard to avoid. (photo credit, above left; photo credit below right)
While the rhetoric that this is a "battle for hearts and minds" strikes me as overly dramatic, maintaining peace and security in Pakistan through the crisis is an unquestionable must. And to the extent that it is a battle for hearts and minds, an outpouring of support from the international community ought to do the trick. Pakistan is facing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Angelina Jolie gets it. She recently donated $100,000 of her personal funds to help. You can too. But don't worry, the minimum amount is only $15.

On August 29

On this day in ...
... 2010 (today), is our day! Well, in Argentina at least. There, el 29 de agosto is el Día del Abogado/a -- Lawyer's Day. Proclaimed back in 1958, the date chosen to commemorate the birthday of Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810-1884), a jurist, political theorist, diplomat, and noted constitutionalist. The aim was to honor the "fight for the rule of law, justice and liberty," and it was hoped that remembering Alberdi's example would remind people to "conserve fundamental teachings in order to live together peacefully." (credit for photo of La Justicia, sculpture at Buenos Aires courthouse)

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

Look On! Hurricane Katrina Documentaries & Series

(Look On! takes occasional note of noteworthy films.)

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's impact on the Gulf Coast of the United States, here is a quick selection of documentary and fictionalized accounts. All well worth seeing. Previous Intlawgrrls posts on Hurricane Katrina appear here and here. ►Coming Home: The Dry Storm (2009 documentary by filmmaker Michele Stephenson and the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative documenting housing rights activism by MayDay New Orleans)
Frontline: Law & Disorder (2010 documentary investigating allegations of police brutality and murder post-Katrina)
If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise (2010 follow-up to Spike Lee's earlier documentary on Katrina; includes New Orleans’ Saints’ symbolic Super Bowl victory and impact of BP oil spill on region)
Treme (fictionalized HBO series set and filmed in post-Katrina New Orleans neighborhood known for its rich and complex cultural and political life) (See also Intlawgrrl Diane Marie Amann’s post on Treme here.)
Trouble the Water: It’s not about a hurricane. It’s about America.
(Tia Lessin and Carl Deal award-winning 2008 documentary; site includes community-based activist materials)
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in 4 Acts (Director Spike Lee’s 2006 documentary)

"Now is the Time:" Human Rights in the U.S. and Katrina 5 Years Later

This weekend presents both a time of remembrance and an opportunity to begin again.
29 August 2010 marks 5 years since Hurricane Katrina (soon to be followed by Rita) struck the Gulf coast of the United States. That disaster, one of many that devastates millions throughout the world each year, revealed catastrophic failures of federal, state, local, and private responsibility to the poorest people in one of the most highly-resourced countries in the world. It demonstrated that life chances are not necessarily determined only by which country one lives in, but also by where one lives on the socio-economic ladder in a divided society. It is the poorest and most vulnerable who bear the brunt of governmental failures to protect or fulfill rights. They also suffer from the deliberate effects of greed, neo-liberal privatizations, corruption, racial prejudice, and violence.
A Human Rights Lens
Shortly after the storm, Jeanne Woods and I submitted a statement
to the UN
on the need for international human rights scrutiny on what was essentially a man-made and continuing disaster. The UN Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Arjun Sengupta, was holding hearings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at which survivors from all walks of life, lawyers, and human rights activists testified about Katrina's aftermath. Sengupta's report, Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: A Mission Report on the United States is available here.
That mission was to be followed by further efforts among local organizers to attract international and national attention to past, present, or potential U.S. human rights violations in the region. Reports, press releases, and official statements were issued by the following:
the United States Human Rights Network
Independent Expert on Minority Issues, Gay McDougall & Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari
the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, Doudou Diene
Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Rachel Rolnik
Grassroots groups organized peoples’ tribunals to air continuing grievances and government failures to respond to the needs of the majority of survivors. (See here for a statement arising out of the 2007 International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and here for continuing advocacy by the Katrina Information Network about post-Katrina and BP oil disaster human rights issues.) I've reflected on these human rights efforts in Race, Class, and Katrina: Human Rights and (Un)natural Disaster, in Environmental Justice in the New Millennium: Global Perspectives on Race, Ethnicity, and Human Rights (Filomina C. Steady, ed., 2009)
Linking Human Rights and Disaster
In the early days after the disaster, friends and colleagues asked “What does a storm have to do with human rights?” Certainly, international human rights standards cannot prevent, or provide a single effective response to, a storm or a massive oil gusher in the Gulf, toxic waste releases in Mossville, Louisiana, an earthquake in Haiti, or floods across Pakistan. But international legal standards recognize or impose obligations on state and non-state actors to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of individuals and groups before, during, and after such natural and man-made disasters. See, for example, the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Lessons Learned?
Civil and Political Rights.
Katrina showed us how historical and contemporary discrimination results in racial and ethnic disparities in housing, education, and access to jobs and healthcare. We saw how minority status, internal displacement, and poverty can effectively strip individuals of their rights to vote or to participate in decision-making about rebuilding efforts. We learned that police and criminal justice systems intended to protect the security of communities can be abused or corrupted by some to turn against those same communities when an emergency occurs.
Economic and Social Rights. We saw how crucial hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other physical and mental health facilities are to the survival of any community. The poorest suffered the effects, not only of the disaster itself, but also the loss of medical records, regular doctors’ visits, access to medicines, and mental health care as mortality and morbidity rates rose from suicide, treatable diseases, and barriers to disability access. Rental housing was priced beyond reach, insurance claims unpaid, and viable public housing demolished. Workers’ rights to decent wages and safe working conditions were ignored in some rebuilding efforts. Even obvious lessons about the implications of environmental abuse on human and other life forms seemed to remain largely unlearned—workers were exposed to toxic construction materials and survivors to toxic FEMA trailers. Now the BP oil catastrophe has exposed clean-up workers to further contaminants.
Cultural Rights. Katrina also illustrated the importance of the right to participate in cultural life. Many focused on the city of New Orleans, influenced at one time or another by Native American traditions, the TransAtlantic slave trade, French colonialism, African-American traditions, Cajun traditions, Haitian traditions, jazz, blues, Catholicism, Mardi Gras, fisheries and seafood industries, and much more. These rich traditions were cultivated over generations and extended neighborhood and family networks that are recognized and to be protected under human rights norms.
Another Anniversary
Perhaps not coincidentally, 28 August is the anniversary of the great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was a historic call for the United States to make its constitutional aspirations a reality for all Americans, including African-Americans. King saw an end to poverty and the protection of economic rights as an important aspect of his dream of justice.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. …Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
For many, the images of Hurricane Katrina were a resounding indication that King's dream, either with regard to racial equality or economic justice, had yet to be realized.
Human Rights in the United States: Under Review
On 20 August 2010, the United States released an important report on its compliance with international human rights standards. Under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, the U.S. will be subjected to formal human rights scrutiny on 5 November 2010. (A U.S. Department of State webpage available here provides links to the official country report, summaries of civil society consultations, and summaries of the UN process.) In preparation for this historic review, a coalition of U.S. NGOs organized by the U.S. Human Rights Network has compiled 24 reports on human rights conditions as of April 2010 available here.
Five years after Hurricane Katrina, and nearly 50 years after Dr. King's speech, a quick read of these reports indicates that there’s still a great deal yet to be learned to make the full enjoyment of human rights a reality in the U.S. At least, the U.S. has begun to recognize the importance of shining the human rights light on its actions at home as well as abroad.

Gender off the agenda in Australian election aftermath

(We are delighted to welcome back IntLawGrrls guest/alumna Susan Harris Rimmer with a special post on the recent Australian election)

There is a website that contains all the information the rest of the world needs to know about the recent Australian election on 21 August: It is a black screen with one large white word - no. Yes, we are still cheeky and irreverent. No, we no longer have a dominant two party system, and the change this is causing is painful, but hopefully good for Parliament in the long term. Yes, policy issues played out in a weird bubble during the campaign, as if the rest of the world and climate change and the financial crisis and the causes of boat arrivals of asylum-seekers simply did not exist. Most of the messages from the two major parties were negative and targeted at a few marginal seats. But we did get our youngest ever MP (at 20 years old), our first Indigenous MP, and our first Muslim MP.
The fact Australia had the chance to elect its first female Prime Minister seems not to have had much impact on the way the polls played out. At least overtly. Julia Gillard (credit for photo below right) did not sweep to power on a feminist voting landslide, that much is for sure. Research before the poll suggested that 64% of women participants would choose to vote for Gillard because they are strongly influenced by Gillard’s views and priorities first and foremost, her leadership style, second and her achievements, third, before the considerations that she is the first woman PM in Australia and that she will do more for women’s issues if elected.
Except they didn't. At least they didn't in the 20 odd marginal seats that counted. And the way that Julia Gillard took power from Kevin Rudd -- in a very sudden and clinical fashion -- was certainly a factor in the election, as was the deep unpopularity of two governments at the State level, New South Wales and Queensland, which are also led by women, Anna Bligh (credit for photo below left) and Kristina Keneally (credit for photo below right) .
Ostensibly, the election couldn't have been more stark on women's issues at the level of representation. In one corner was a feminist and the first female PM, who was famously denigrated for being 'deliberately barren' by a fellow Parliamentarian (as best described by Kathy Lette in the UK Daily Mail). Gillard is tough and competent and resolutely cool under fire. She stated early and often that the campaign wasn't about gender, then promptly did a cover shoot for the Australian Women's Weekly.
In the other corner was Tony Abbott, an uber-masculine, fitness junkie ex-novitiate with such a negative background on women's issues that activists were able to create a full advertisement by simply cutting together his previous comments. But Abbott ran a disciplined campaign with clear messages, announced a very generous paid maternity leave scheme, and gathered his wife and daughters about him at every opportunity. Abbott also managed to curb his normal enthusiasm for gaffes about women, except for saying 'no means no' to a repeated request for Gillard to debate her on economic issues. (And he kept his clothes on - Tony Abbott is famous for getting about a in very small swimming costume, known colloquially in Australia as 'budgie smugglers'. Think Putin, but cheekier).
But in meaningful terms, there was no emphasis on any women's policy issues in the campaign whatsoever, neither at the domestic or international level (see the election platform calls from the women's sector). Admittedly there was almost no social policy or foreign policy either. The BBC always saves its best dry wit for its Australian reportage and their Sydney correspondent Nick Bryant gave the best analysis I've seen, despairing that the campaign was parochial, scrappy and lacked vision.
So here we are, many days after the election with no end in sight, and the players now are five independents in the House of Representatives, four representing rural and regional electorates. One is a very colourful character, Bob Katter - his 'Force from the North' rural rap is a big hit on YouTube. It is unlikely that women's issues are going to get much play in what is likely to be a difficult negotiation leading to a fragile minority government. It is also likely Australia might head back to the polls.
Overall? An election campaign full of sound of fury, signifying nothing? It often felt that way. Is the fact that Julia's gender did not turn the election one way or another to be celebrated? What will be the long-term impact of this election on the participation of women in public policy decision-making?
For thoughtful commentary on the role of gender in the Australian election, these opinions columns by Marian Sawer and Julia Baird are well worth a read.

(credit for map of Australia top left)

Parit potretit

Tässä pari kuvaa, jotka hyvin havainnollistavat valaisun ja miksei mallin asennon, ilmeen sun merkitystä kuvan välittämälle viestille.

Tämä ensimmäinen kuva oli tavallaan vahinko, sillä otin kuvauksen alkuun pari testikuvaa, joilla tarkistin valaistusta. Ensimmäinen testikuva oli alla oleva, jossa malli ei ollut ihan vielä saanut ilmettä kohdalleen varsinaista kuvaa varten. Kuva on kuitenkin hauska, koska se välittää mallina olevasta ihmisestä lähes päinvastaisen vaikutelman verrattuna todellisuuteen. Taustan valinta liittyy kuvattavan henkilön toimenkuvaan. Olen lisännyt kontrastia ja vinjetointia tunnelman vahvistamiseksi.

Valaisu on yhdellä Nikon SB-900 salamalla, joka sijaitsee kuvaajasta oikealla ja on suunnattu mallin kasvoihin. Salaman valo osuu taustaankin, mutta puun lehtien välistä paistanut aurinko tekee suurimman osan. Kuvassa on exiffit, jos joku kaipaa tarkempia valotus- tai muita tietoja.

Alla oleva kuva on kuvattu eri paikassa, avoimessa varjossa. Tässä kuvassa henkilö näyttää siltä kuin oikeasti on. Kuvan tunnelma on kaikkiaan melko erilainen verrattuna yläkuvaan.

Valaisin tämänkin yhdellä SB-900 salamalla, jossa oli Honlphoton traveller8 minitasovalo. Valo tulee kuvaajasta katsottuna oikealta yläviistosta, ja olen annostellut salaman tehon niin, että vallitseva valo täyttää varjoja runsaasti. Olen salamalla vain muotoillut, koska avoimen varjon valo oli mielestäni liian lattea.

Molemmissa kuvissa olen väläyttänyt pääsalaman Nikon D700 rungon omalla pikkusalamalla Nikonin langattoman järjestelmän avulla.

Look On! Suffragists

(Look On! takes occasional note of noteworthy films.)

Just finished watching Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony. The several-years-old documentary is available on Netflix as well as in DVD.
It's worth watching, though best watched in several segments. By filmmaker Ken Burns, it 1st aired as a documentary series on PBS, which maintains an informational website. As is common in works of the kind, the repetition of static photos (necessary given how little motion picture footage there was back in the day), coupled with folksy-Americana music, can make one a bit drowsy at times.
But stick with it. The story's a good one -- one of which this 'Grrl knew precious little.
Told well are the life journeys of 2 very different persons, at one in their passion for changing the role of women in the United States:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (near right), a mother, wife, and writer, loved good food and took care to keep her hair curled.
Susan B. Anthony (far right) was an austere, cerebral woman who never married.

They met in 1851 in Seneca Falls, New York, where 3 years earlier Stanton had convened the 1st-ever women's rights convention. From then on, the 2 (both IntLawGrrls foremothers) worked tirelessly together for women's rights -- especially, for the enfranchisement of women.
Particularly interesting in Not for Ourselves are the moments when that last, singular goal conflicted with others. The conflict saw the women, who'd been staunch activists on behalf of abolition, oppose post-Civil War Reconstruction Amendments because they kept from women what they granted to former slaves. And as the goal of women's suffrage grew nearer, they distanced themselves from African American women in an effort to shore up support in the South. Conflict also arose between the 2 women themselves. The 1890s publication, by an ever-more-radical Stanton, of The Woman's Bible drew censure from the movement she'd started -- a movement that Anthony chose to continue to lead notwithstanding its ouster of her longtime friend and ally. As a result Anthony, alone, appears on the 1st U.S. coin depicting a woman.
Both women would pass away more than a decade before their work took form in the 19th Amendment. This film serves as a reminder of their legacy.

On August 28

On this day in ...
... 1934, Sujata Manohar (right) was born into a family of jurists. Following graduation from college in Bombay, she would read philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford, then be called to the Bar. Manohar returned to India and practiced law, often representing legal aid clients in family law matters. In 1978, she became the 1st woman appointed to the bench, and in 1994, the 1st woman Chief Justice, of the High Court of Bombay. She then was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, and retired in 1999. Manohar was the 2d of 4 women who've held that position. She currently serves as a member of India's National Human Rights Commission.

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

"Daar kom die Alibama"

Rarely do scholars note the impact the Civil War had on other countries, especially non-European ones. The South African folksong “Daar kom die Alibama” is a great example of the influence of international Civil War naval operations.

Daar kom die Alibama,
Die Alibama, die kom oor die see,
Daar kom die Alibama,
Die Alibama, die kom oor die see...
Nooi, nooi die rietkooi nooi,
Die rietkooi is gemaak,
Die rietkooi is vir my gemaak,
Om daarop te slaap...
O Alibama, die Alibama,
O Alibama, die kom oor die see,
O Alibama, die Alibama,
O Alibama, die kom oor die see...
There comes the Alabama,
The Alabama, it comes o'er the sea,
There comes the Alabama,
The Alabama, it comes o'er the sea...
Lass, lass, the reed bed calls,
The reed bed it is made,
The reed bed it is made for me,
To sleep upon...
Oh Alabama, the Alabama,
Oh Alabama, it comes o'er the sea,
Oh Alabama, the Alabama,
Oh Alabama, it comes o'er the sea...

This song speaks of the CSS Alabama’s expeditionary raid around the Cape of Good Hope in 1863. During the raid, the CSS Alabama and the CSS Tuscaloosa captured approximately five ships. Despite not incurring as many prizes in South Africa as it did in other areas of the world, the CSS Alabama left a definite mark on Cape Town’s history and culture.

Mixed Migration in Southern Africa

This month, UNHCR released a report assessing its response to three African mixed migration movements: those from the Horn of Africa (pictured left), the Great Lakes region (pictured below right), and Zimbabwe to South Africa. These flows are "mixed" because they include both refugees and labor migrants, groups that can be nearly indistinguishable both facially and legally. Mixed migration movements raise questions about the adequacy of protection categories created by international refugee law and the need to address the interaction between asylum systems and restrictive labor migration policies.
The first two movements, encompassing migrants from Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi, often pass through Malawi and Mozambique en route to South Africa. The migration management systems in Malawi and Mozambique, both signatories to the UN and OAU refugee conventions, are struggling to cope with the migration flows. Their response has been to accommodate most refugees in camps, an approach that is bound to fail. Many of these refugees have no interest in staying in camps; indeed, some are fleeing refugee camps in Kenya and Tanzania. They have come to Malawi and Mozambique so that they can get to South Africa, where they hope to find work, family, members and possibly transit onwards to North America or Europe. And of course, while all of the migrants arriving in Malawi and Mozambique face significant protection issues during their journeys -- including inadequate access to food, water and shelter; harassment; robbery; extortion; and exploitation -- only some of them are refugees entitled to the protection of UNHCR.
The report is critical of UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration for failing to engage with the "mixed migration issue" in Malawi and Mozambique, but it is difficult to know exactly where UNHCR should draw its boundaries. Should its mandate be extended to cover those who do not fall within the UN Refugee Convention definition? If not, which UN entity should bear responsibility for protecting non-refugee migrants -- the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or even the UN Development Program or UN-HABITAT? More importantly, does it make sense to distinguish between refugees and other mixed migrants given the "poor governance and harsh economic circumstances" in their countries of origin? These flows are primarily composed of young men, the vast majority of whom are presumably seeking greater economic opportunity as well as greater political freedoms.
These questions are no more easily resolved in the case of Zimbabwean migration flows, which are characterized by increasingly blurred lines between labor migrants and refugees. The report suggests that most Zimbabwean migrants fall somewhere in between, in a category the authors describe as forced or 'survival' migration.
The migration management system in South Africa further contributes to the blurriness. In 2009, South Africa registered over 220,000 new asylum seekers (most from Zimbabwe). Part of the reason for these extremely high numbers is that the easiest and often only way for migrants to stay and work in South Africa is to apply for refugee status. Because the lawful immigration channels for non-refugees are inadequate to address the demand for labor migration, most migrants turn to the asylum system. Unsurprisingly, South Africa's asylum system has become overwhelmed; it suffers from severe backlogs and exceptionally poor quality decisions. (credit for map of South Africa above left).
These are problems faced by immigration systems around the world; as borders become tighter, pressure on asylum processes increases. It is folly to imagine that mixed migration flows can be stopped through higher fences. Those desperate for a better life will find a way around them. We might do better by designing programs that provide safe and legal means for labor migration, recognizing the humanity in the search for greater opportunity, whether economic, political, or both.

Oslo Conference Results

Academics at the University of Oslo have posted the results of the Conference of women international law scholars held recently entitled: "The Creation of International Law: An Exploration of Normative Innovation, Contextual Application, and Interpretation in a Time of Flux." IntLawGrrl Alumna Cecelia Bailliet - who has posted on international kidnapping - organized the conference and will transform the proceedings into a book on the topic. Our coverage of the conference can be found here and here. Stay Tuned!

On August 27

On this day in ...
... 1952, in Wassenaar (right), a suburb of The Hague, Netherlands, negotiators who'd been at work for 5 months completed draft agreements by which West Germany agreed to pay reparations over a period of 14 years, totaling 3.45 billion Deutsche marks, or US $822 million, "basically in goods, to Israel and world Jewish organizations in compensation for Nazi antisemitic acts" in the 1930s and 1940s. (photo credit) The New York Times further reported that under the agreement, West Germany was to "improve its machinery for individual restitution." Israel was to establish a trade mission in Bonn so that the agreement could be administered.

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

Lentäviä lapsia

Kaiken tämän laiteuutuushässäkän keskellä pitää muistaa aina, että tekniikka ja laitteet ovat vain keino päästä päämäärään eli tunteita herättäviin kuviin.

Tässä hauska sarja, joka kannattaa katsella.

Teknoporno jatkuu, Sony A55 kokeilussa

Näin Photokinan alla uutuuksia tulee liukuhihnalta. Tänään viimeksi Canon esitteli uusia objektiiveja ja kamerarungon. Muutama päivä sitten Sony esitteli uutuuksia, joissa on uutta tekniikkaa. Tai oikeastaan ainakin osittain vanhaa tekniikkaa uudelleen sovellettuna.

Netissä on ollut jo muutamakin käyttökokemus Sony A55 kamerasta, mutta Sulantoblog tekee omansa. Minulla on Sony A55 käsissäni tällä hetkellä ja kuvaan sillä lähipäivät, jotta voin kertoa lukijoilleni millainen kone on kyseessä.

Sonyssa on perinteisen peilin tilalla puoliläpäisevä peili, joka ei liiku ollenkaan. Näin Sonyssa on voitu yhdistää sähköinen etsin ja vaiheeseen perustuva tarkennus, jollainen on peilikameroissa. Osa objektiivin läpi tulevasta valosta ohjataan tarkennussensoreille, mutta samalla osa menee suoraan kennolle.

Tuo järjestely mahdollistaa erittäin nopean tarkennuksen videokuvauksessa ja sähköisen etsimen kanssa. Lisäbonuksena tulee nopea sarjakuvaus, koska peili ei liikkeensä hitaudella rajoita kuvausnopeutta. Sony lupaa peräti 10 kuvaa sekunnissa sarjatulinopeutta.

Puoliläpäisevä peili kameroissa ei ole uutta, sillä ainakin Canon on käyttänyt sitä jo ajat sitten nopeissa filmirungoissaan, joilla niilläkin taisi sarjatulinopeus olla n. 10 kuvaa sekunnissa.

Kerron lisää kamerasta ja sen käyttämisestä, kun olen ehtinyt laitetta oikeasti käyttää. Kuvasin äsken pienen videopätkän, joka näyttää hyvin miten tarkennus toimii. Siis hyvin ja nopeasti.

SonyA55 from sulantoblog on Vimeo.

Elokuva on kuvattu käsivaralta, joten kuva heiluu hieman. Kuvasin hieman parempaakin pätkää, mutta en saa AVCHD videoita auki. Yllä oleva on kuvattu mp4-muodossa.

Tuo AVCHD on muuten ihan syvältä, koska se ei ole standardi, vaan jokainen kamera tekee omanlaisensa. Siksi AVCHD vaatii aina jonkin lisäohjelman, päivityksen tai jotain muuta, jotta sen saa auki. Tai sitten en ole ymmärtänyt jotakin.

Coral Reefs Dying From Climate Change

Last week, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported that coral reefs off the coast of Indonesia are being devastated by unusually warm sea waters. In what is being called "one of the most rapid and destructive coral bleaching events on record" large swaths of coral off the coast of Sumatra have died.Climate change poses a serious threat to coral reefs. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) devoted much of the marine ecosystems chapter of its 2007 Report to coral reefs. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists many species of coral on its "red list" of threatened species.
Corals reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. They occupy only one percent of the world's ocean surface but provide a home for 25 percent of all sea life - including fish that millions of people rely on for food.
Ordinarily coral reefs are brightly colored because coral lives in a symbiotic relationship with algae. Coral bleaching occurs when environmental stresses like excessive heat cause coral to expel the algae with which they normally coexist. When this occurs, the coral reefs turn a dull and lifeless grey. If the bleaching is severe enough, the coral die from a lack of the energy and oxygen that the algae provide.
Not only does the increased water temperature associated with global warming jeopardize coral survival, so does the increased ocean acidification caused by excess atmospheric carbon dioxide being absorbed by the world’s oceans. Reefs protect the coastlines of many countries, especially islands, from storm surges. Thus, coral reef losses put small island states, already threatened by rising sea levels associated with climate change , in further jeopardy.
Aside from their coast-protecting and biodiversity promoting utility, coral reefs are also breathtakingly beautiful. The loss of that beauty compounds the biological and ecological losses. If the current rate of loss continues, we may lose 70% of the world's coral reefs in the near future.
This past May, Indian Ocean water temperatures were significantly warmer than usual (about 7 degrees Fahrenheit above average.) The stress associated with warmer water is killing what had been some of the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. Indeed, the WCS reports that reefs are up to 80 percent bleached, with more colonies expected to die off in the coming months
The loss of these coral reefs (which incidentally were either unaffected or recovering well from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami) is a devastating blow to the region, and the world. Not only is the loss of biodiversity a tragedy in itself, but it comes as a tremendous loss to the regions inhabitants, many of whom are impoverished and dependent on the reef for their food and livelihood.
And, unfortunately, rather than a one-off occurrence, this is a harbinger of things to come. As climate change unfolds, the rate and nature of environmental changes will exceed the ability of coral to adapt. The steady warming and acidification of the world’s oceans will pose a threat to reefs around the world, and to the communities that depend on them.
Dr. Caleb McClennen, WCS-Marine Program Director, described the coral die-off as “another unfortunate reminder that international efforts to curb the causes and effects of climate change must be made if these sensitive ecosystems and the vulnerable human communities around the world that depend on them are to adapt and endure.”

On August 26

On this day in ...
... 1969, C-150, an Omnibus Bill that revised Canada's Criminal Code to decriminalize sodomy, went into effect. The entry into force marked the end of a campaign touched off by the 3-2 Canadian Supreme Court judgment in Klippert v. The Queen (1967), which dismissed an appeal lodged by a gay man sentenced to an indefinite period of preventive detention on as "a dangerous sexual offender." Soon after the bill was introduced, and it became law after its parliamentary sponsor, Pierre Trudeau -- who'd defended the bill in a televised interview by saying: "There's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation." -- became Prime Minister. The legislation Canada's laws with regard to not only to this aspect of sexual conduct, but also to abortion, contraception, and other matters.

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

New York Infantry Unit's Shamless Recruitment Poster

This seems like a poster appealing to sailors serving in the U.S. Navy, with the patriotic images of USS Constitution and the sailor standing with the U.S. flag.  However, upon closer inspection, one sees that it is actually attempting to poach American sailors away from the Navy and have them enlist in the 5th Regiment of the New York's "Excelsior Brigade."  The small print even uses the sales pitch "Sailors who prefer active service and fresh beef to midnight watches and salt junk are invited to join." 

News---Door Opens for Gettysburg NMP To Add 95 Acres of July 1 Rebel Assault Path

Park To Get Country Club Land: Cumberland Township Approves Country Club Subdivision, Tim Purdente, The Evening Sun, August 25,201, 08/25/2010

The Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday evening to approve a subdivision plan that opens the door for the National Park Service to purchase 95 acres of the Gettysburg Country Club. The property saw significant fighting during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Since Susquehanna Bank foreclosed on it over one year ago, the Park Service has been interested in acquiring the property and adding it to the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the plan. Supervisor Debi Golden voted against the subdivision plan. She said that was because the township would lose as much as $150,000 in annual property taxes if the Park Service acquired the land. "It's tough (to do) when people are coming in to complain about their taxes," Golden said. The plan divides the country club property into two tracts, one of which would be about 15 acres and contain the developed portions of the property, with facilities such as the clubhouse, tennis courts and banquet hall. The other would be 95 acres and consist of the golf course and other undeveloped portions.

Golden said she also voted against the plan because of some questions regarding easements on the property and whether the remaining 15-acre lot will meet township code. "I like to treat applicants equally and if this was an issue not related to the Park Service it may not have passed," she said, after the vote.

With the decision, The Conservation Fund plans to purchase the property from Cumberland Club Investment LLC., the current owner, and then sell the property to the Park Service. "We'd like to have it for as little period of time as possible," said Todd McNew, Pennsylvania State Director of The Conservation Fund. "It will maybe be 90 days before the Park Service gets it."

Likewise, Cumberland Club President Martin K.P. Hill said the company plans to sell the property to The Conservation Fund "as soon as possible." Before the vote, Hill said if the plan was not passed he would pursue development opportunities for the property, which is zoned as residential and could include as many as 3.5 housing units per acre. "Dollar for dollar that would be the way to go, but we're most interested in seeing this become battlefield," Hill said.

In fact, Hill said the Park Service had previously expressed interest in purchasing 100 acres of the property, but township ordinances for open space, among others, required the remaining tract be at least 15 acres. The remaining lot will continue to function in its current state, meaning the pool and tennis courts will still be available for use, according to Hill.

Cumberland Club purchased the property in April of this year for $1.45 million. Prior to the sale, the club had fallen into financial distress and Susquehanna Bank ultimately foreclosed on the property. It went up for sale at a sheriff's auction for a minimum of $2.79 million in February 2009, but no one placed a bid so the property transferred back to the bank. At the time the Park Service had expressed interest in the property but a long-standing legal covenant on the land had prevented its purchase. The covenant - which stated no hog farming could take place on the land - proved a legal and bureaucratic hurdle for the federal government, according to Hill. "That was probably what prevented Susquehanna Bank from selling to them," Hill said. "We could go to settlement in 45 days but the Park Service has to go through the Department of the Interior and they got no word from Washington."

In fact, Hill said the Park Service had offered the bank more money than his own company but it would have been unable to close the deal in the necessary time frame. Although the covenant caused problems for the Park Service in the past, Hills said the issue has been resolved and the Park Service is now able to purchase the land."The contract has been sent to their attorneys for final review and we're expecting to reach an agreement in a week," he added.

Preservation groups have taken such an interest in the property because it proved the site of substantial fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg. On the first day of the battle, the famed Iron Brigade attacked across Willoughby Run, onto what is now the golf course, driving back a Confederate brigade and capturing its commander, Gen. James Archer. Later in the day, Confederate Gen. James Pettigrew's North Carolina brigade advanced across that same ground to attack the Iron Brigade near the run.

Text Source: The Evening Sun

Image's Source : Gettysburg National Military Park
Bloggers Team