Mental MeanderingsThe Torture Judgment (8.12.2005, 12:53 UTC)
Kudos to the House of Lords. The full judgment in this case is available on the home page of the House of Lords. The case, by the way, is A (FC) & Ors v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2005] UKHL 71. All judgments are worth a read but I’m going to focus on that of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, who handed down the main opinion for the case.He started by outlining the common law prohibition of torture in England, which he describes in para. 11 as “the subject of pr...
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Mental MeanderingsWaziristan Out of Control (8.12.2005, 10:56 UTC)
In another worrying indication that the Government continues to struggle to control the Waziristan area of Pakistan (see here for a report on the ‘undeclared war’ there), BBC News reports on some worrying developments in Pakistan where violence is breaking out in an almost uncontrollable manner in the North West Frontier Province, particularly in Waziristan: At least 12 people have been killed and 30 injured in an explosion in Pakistan's troubled tribal area bordering Afghanistan...
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Mental MeanderingsTorture Evidence Useable but Not Admissable (8.12.2005, 10:22 UTC)
Sky News have just reported that the House of Lords handed down its decision on the admission into evidence in criminal trials of information acquired from terrorist suspects as a result of torture, even by non-British troops. This case was an appeal from a Court of Appeal decision of last summer in which the Court held that evidence acquired in United States detention camps as a result of torture could be used in the Special Immigration Appeals Court. This is the court in which certificates to ...
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Mental MeanderingsBoycott Ford (7.12.2005, 16:40 UTC)
Ford may have said that their accession to the American Family Association’s threat to boycott them over advertising to the gay market was only about a few ads but as industry magazine WardsAuto reports it goes much further than that. (Via AMERICAblog): Ford Motor Co.'s decision to cease advertising in gay publications for its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands is part of a truce between the auto maker and the American Family Assn. (AFA) to avert a threatened boycott by the right-wing ...
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Mental MeanderingsBloggeresses Unite (7.12.2005, 16:09 UTC)
I have decided to heed Suzy’s call for calm in the current debate about women bloggers in the Irish corner of the blogosphere. In response to Auds’ initial post I (and Beth and Maura) were pretty strong in our opinions (which of course can’t be seen as ‘strength’ but has to be defined as ‘catfighting’ by United Irelander…quelle surprise) and Auds responded to them in a recent post explaining why she does not define herself as a feminst. I have no...
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Mental MeanderingsASIL Centenary Conference (7.12.2005, 15:46 UTC)
I am beginning to look forward more and more to the ASIL Centenary Conference in Washington in March/April. I’m sure there will be a lot of international law bloggers there. I’ve already arranged to meet with Roger Alford of Opino Juris for a drink and maybe he’ll bring some of the other OJ gang (including Julian Ku…I suspect we might get into a bit of a tiff after a few G&Ts) and hope to be able to arrange a few more meetings with DC based people as well as other scholar...
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Mental MeanderingsWar Language (7.12.2005, 15:36 UTC)
Anne Applebaum takes an interesting perspective on the use of language around the war in Iraq. She’s concerned about the use of victory/loss language and I think she’s right. In the recent past we’ve heard Bush define victory in war, heard people worry about America losing the war in Iraq etc… but we’ve seen little reflection on the appropriateness of that kind of language. Applebaum rightly reminds us that there are some ambivalent wars, wars that end in partial...
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Mental MeanderingsWikipedia and Unreliability (7.12.2005, 15:04 UTC)
Everyone seems to be in love with Wikipedia, which is a great resource, but most people appear to somehow fail to grasp the caution that should be exercised in relation to it. My students appeared somewhat obsessed with quoting from it in their assignments last year until I suffered something akin to spontaneous combustion at the top of the lecture theatre and warned them against ever citing it as a source again. There was even an attempt to cite it in a report I’m involved in writing at t...
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Mental MeanderingsCondi for President? Those rumours again... (7.12.2005, 14:49 UTC)
This is interesting. The folks over at Rice2008 are still very excited about rumours that Cheney is preparing to move aside to allow Condi step into the VP’s role in preparation for 2008 and that Bush is now referring to her as 44 (i.e. the 44th President of the United States – the next one). The Cheney rumour's been circulating for some time (I wrote about it here) and there's been no action, but maybe Fitzmas Mark 2 will bring some progress. I think, however, Rice is unlikely to ...
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Mental MeanderingsCondi, Torture and Shannon Airport (7.12.2005, 14:25 UTC)
Condi is on a European tour trying to build relations and, in particular, trying to successfully rebut suggestions that people are being passed through European airports while being brought to places where they might be tortured in the course of interrogation. This project and her recent statements are of particular importance in Ireland given the use of Shannon airport in the ‘War on Terror’ and the lack of knowledge on the part of the Irish people about exactly who are what are bei...
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Mental MeanderingsTruth and Justice in Northern Ireland (5.12.2005, 13:07 UTC)
I’ve been meaning to talk about the ‘On the Runs’ issue in the North for a while but just haven’t had a chance to get around to it. The basic issue is that in order to bring an end to the issue of people being on the run for crimes committed in the north some kind of amnesty should be introduced. Hain has declared that in Northern Ireland there will be specially convened courts who may hand down convictions but people will not be imprisoned or punished: they’d be co...
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Mental MeanderingsMore Mania (5.12.2005, 12:02 UTC)
It's shaping up to be another crazy week with an amount of work to complete that is really quite frightening. This week I'll be (still) writing my paper on Jus Cogens, preparing documentation for submission to an American law school for PhD research there, collecting and starting to correct another 150-odd assignments, lecturing and generally going doolally. I will also have to go to the marvellous but manic Dundrum Shopping Centre on Wednesday evening to complete my Christmas shopping - only ...
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Mental MeanderingsDog-Killing Squirrels and Stray Commas (3.12.2005, 02:59 UTC)
According to Technorati the most discussed story on the blogosphere at the moment is the BBC Report that ‘Russian’ squirrels managed to kill a dog that was barking at them. While I’m sure some people are getting excited about the ‘science’ part of this story, the thing that struck me most was the part I’ve underlined in the following extract: Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly ...
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Mental MeanderingsThe Death Penalty and the Debasement of Society (3.12.2005, 01:23 UTC)
The other day America executed the 1000th person since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1974. This is a mark of shame on America. I fail to see, from any perspective, how the death penalty can be morally justified, but from a legal theory perspective I find it equally bemusing. The criminal law exists in order to identify and punish acts that are blameworthy, moral blameworthiness usually coinciding with legal blameworthiness. But what are the precise objectives or aims of the crimin...
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Mental MeanderingsBeing Googled (3.12.2005, 00:26 UTC)
Top Google Searches leading people to the blog at the moment are: Fiona de Londras Barry McSweeny AND PhD Barry McSweeny AND bogus degrees Lesbian AND sex I imagine the latter is a result of yesterday's Gay Blood 3 post. I continue to be amazed by the number of people being brought here on the Barry McSweeney issue (see here and here for example), with lots coming from EU offices and academic institutions in the UK. I really must start combining some words in strange ways in order to see wh...
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Mental MeanderingsMama Bush to the Rescue? (3.12.2005, 00:14 UTC)
Is Barbara Bush coming over all Mama Bear? Looks like it....oh well, it's about time someone gave Cheney a slap...
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Mental MeanderingsSame-Sex Marriage in South Africa (2.12.2005, 23:53 UTC)
The South African Supreme Court has handed down a momentous decision recognising the marriage of two women and giving the Government one year in which to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples in Minister of Home Affairs v. Fourie (judgment is available here in PDF). This is significant not only for South Africa but also for people interested in comparative constitutionalism on which the marvellous Roger Alford on Opinio Juris has an excellent post here. Fourie will also be important in forth...
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Mental MeanderingsBloggeresses and Feminism (2.12.2005, 15:51 UTC)
SiglaMag this morning featured a post on women bloggers in the Irish blogosphere (reminding me that I need to update my blogroll as well….that’s next on the list) which made some really good points on the importance of encouraging more women to blog. As blogging becomes more and more important culturally we should be concerned with ensuring that as many women as want to blog can blog. Now this is important – people will say things like ‘anyone can blog, that’s the w...
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Mental MeanderingsGay Blood 3 (2.12.2005, 15:24 UTC)
The IBTS conversation continues on Damien’s blog with an excellent post on why and how the policy of not accepting gay blood is determinatively homophobic. There’s also been a good bit of conversation about this over on SiglaMag where Sinead posted about this after I started the conversation this week. One commenter in particular (Dealga) wondered whether the policy could possibly be deemed homophobic when lesbians were not included in it. The answer, simply, is yes.First of all the ...
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Mental MeanderingsVaccinations and Other News (30.11.2005, 18:11 UTC)
I currently have Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus flowing around my body. Slightly groggy but my shoulders, where I got the injections, are absolutely aching now about five hours after getting the vaccinations. So while the actual injection is absolutely not painful the aftermath is. The point of the post, however, is a recommendation: if you need vaccinations for travel I highly recommend the Temple Bar Medical Centre. The service is excellent and the Doctor will answer all...
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Mental MeanderingsBloggers: Do You Believe in Equal Rights? (30.11.2005, 17:27 UTC)
I’m disappointed in you all my fellow bloggers. Since Cadavre Exquis created the button that we can add to our code as a link to the KALCase Initiative (the initiative supporting Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan in their case for recognition of their Canadian marriage) only me and FreeStater have added the button to our blogs. Come on lads and lassies – if you believe in equal rights for all add the button through using the code available here.
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Mental MeanderingsReunification Inevitable?? (30.11.2005, 17:15 UTC)
Irish Tribesman has been talking about the prospects for reunification of Ireland with particular reference to this Daily Ireland editorial (tastefully entitled Marching Towards End of Partition which says:In recent times justice minister Michael McDowell has joined the chorus of the various parties in proclaiming his republican credentials on several occasions. Now he appears to have gone somewhat further and declared the reunification is inevitable at some time in the not too distant future.Tw...
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Mental MeanderingsColonial Revisionism in France (30.11.2005, 16:52 UTC)
Following weeks of violent riots resulting from the creation of quasi-ghettoes in France in which most immigrants from former colonies live and experience under-representation, isolation and political and social deprivation, a disturbing story has broken about a recent education law introduced in France. From Yahoo News: France's parliament voted Tuesday to uphold a law that puts an upbeat spin on the country's painful colonial past, ignoring complaints from historians and the former French...
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Mental MeanderingsThe Vatican and The 'Objectively Disordered' (30.11.2005, 15:30 UTC)
I spent most of yesterday in student meetings or lecturing and so didn’t get an opportunity to write about the Vatican’s statement on homosexuality which not only reiterated our objective disordering but also claimed an inability on our part to relate properly to men or women. So we’re not people then, huh? Honestly – the edict is simply ridiculous and displays not only a complete lack of common sense and humanity but also an archaic attitude towards homosexuality and t...
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Mental MeanderingsGay Blood Part 2 (30.11.2005, 15:01 UTC)
In the comments to the recent thread on blood transfusions and the refusal of the IBTB to take blood from any male who’s ever had oral or anal sex with another male with or without a condom Sinead wrote: I'm not sure that it's a blanket homophobia though, as the criteria for donating blood changes yearly and could be said to discriminate against many groups, including mothers (women who've had kids aren't allowed to donate blood due to an antibody issue apparently). If you've snorted c...
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Mental MeanderingsGeorge Best (29.11.2005, 10:52 UTC)
One of my favourite questions on last night's Questions and Answers was "what would be a suitable memorial to George Best" and I have to say that although I thought he was generally an arrogant pig Eamon Delany, Editor of Magill Magazine, was dead right. George Best may have been a great footballer but he was also a wife-beating alcoholic and we should not to be too quick to revere him and forget his wrongs. All this talk about naming stands and stadia after him, erecting statues etc... is well ...
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Mental MeanderingsGay Blood (29.11.2005, 09:21 UTC)
I've been interested over the last while to hear the huge advertising campaign being run by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service asking for increased blood donations in the run up for Christmas. They're rightly concerned that the amount of blood donations is not at its usual level and are anxious that people would donate blood but despite their shortages the IBTS continues to enforce the current ban on people from donating blood: Never give blood if:.......You are a male who has ever had anal or ...
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Mental MeanderingsPinochet (28.11.2005, 18:36 UTC)
Augusto Pinochet has just posted bail and is currently free. Of course the brutal Chilean has been free for some time but in recent years there have been prolonged efforts to indict him for his policy of forced disappearances among other things. He has recently been indicted, again, with charges focusing on Operation Columbo in 1975 and the disappearances that resulted from that.(The BBC has excellent coverage on the case here.) For all the wrong reasons then Pinochet has helped us to develop ...
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Mental MeanderingsChild Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church (28.11.2005, 16:37 UTC)
The New York Times today runs an article that polls, in a very unscientific but still interesting way, the reactions of American Catholics to the recent Vatican edict that gay men are to be removed from seminaries and not welcomed in the priesthood. It appears that those questioned were split half and half between those who supported the edict and those who found it unnecessary and unjustifiable, particularly since it will reduce the number of priests entering an already over-stretched church.Wh...
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Mental MeanderingsFor Jus Cogens Fans (28.11.2005, 15:56 UTC)
In researching my paper for Pakistan I’ve read some really excellent articles that should be of interest to anyone into jus cogens and theories of compliance with customary law. Some of the best, in case you’re interested, are:Allen, “Globalization and Peremptory Norms in International Law: from Westphalian to Global Constitutionalism?”, (2004) 41(3) International Politics 341Norman & Trachtman, “The Customary International Law Game”, (2005) 99(3) American Jou...
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