21 August, 2012

Ricardo Patiño Aroca: Why Ecuador granted Julian Assange political asylum

In fairness to the Ecuadoreans, this post offers a link to an article setting out the reasons why they granted asylum to Julian Assange.

Ricardo Patiño Aroca is the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister.

Ricardo Patiño Aroca: Why Ecuador granted Julian Assange political asylum ~ Article in International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

20 August, 2012

Asylum ~ Some notes

No legal term in common use is perhaps so lacking in uniformity and accuracy of definition as the 'right of asylum' ~ John Bassett Moore, Digest of International Law - 8 Volumes (1906).

Asylum - Refugees - Diplomatic asylum - Assange

Setting the scene:

Wikileaks founder, Mr Julian Assange was granted "Asylum" by Ecuador.  He is in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.   The Embassy is inviolable under ~

Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

08 August, 2012

State sponsored juicing ~ Arizona USA

Update 9th August:  Cook was executed in Arizona on 8th August - Reuters  He was sentenced to death in 1988 and was the fifth person to die by lethal injection in Arizona this year and the 33rd since the state reintroduced the death penalty in 1992.


"State sponsored juicing" is a disgusting and abhorrent phrase which appears in an article in Phoenix New Times 12th June 2012.  The phrase conjures up an image of rejoicing at the deliberate killing of a prisoner.  It refers to the execution of Daniel Wayne Cook scheduled for 8th August 2012.  He has spent 24 years on Arizona's death row. 

The murders in question occurred in 1987 and were particularly brutal.  The detail is in the 1991 judgment of the Supreme Court of Arizona - Arizona v Daniel Wayne Cook 170 Ariz. 50 (1991).

With facts such as those in this case it is not at all easy to find sympathy for those convicted.  Nevertheless, unless one adopts an entirely retributive stance and nothing else, the use of the death penalty should be condemned.  Arguments for and against this are presented here.

Amnesty has published  "Know the facts about the death penalty"  where they argue that

06 August, 2012

Texas USA - Executions scheduled

Updated 8th August 2012

The next planned execution in Texas (USA) is that of Marvin Wilson.  According to an article published by The Guardian 5th August 2012, Wilson is "mentally retarded" as assessed by a battery of tests.  The execution of those who are 'mentally retarded' was declared unconstitutional by a 6 to 3 majority in the United States Supreme Court in Atkins v Virginia 2002.  However, it has been left to individual States to determine who is within that category.   According to The Guardian's article, Texas rejects scientific consensus and instead applies its own definition of learning difficulties based on the character Lennie Small in John Steinbeck's novel - 'Of Mice and Men.'  The so-called "Briseño factors" apply - see Death Penalty Information Center - and Texas stands alone in having this unusual test of mental retardation (or intellectual disability).

A list of planned executions in Texas is here.   Eight executions planned between 7th August and the end of 2012.

Ex parte José Garcia Briseño - Court of Criminal Appeals Texas - 9th June 2010

Amnesty USA 

Article by Lisa Falkenberg - Texas view of executing mentally ill based on fiction  - 'the goal is to spare as few as possible"

05 August, 2012

Attorney-General vetoes Information Commisioner' decision

The Attorney-General - Mr Dominic Grieve QC MP - has used a power in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 section 53 to veto a decision notice of the Information Commissioner.  The decision notice related to extracts from minutes of two Cabinet meetings held on 13th and 17th March 2003 in the run up to the Iraq war.  The advice of the Attroney-General as to the legality of the war was considered and discussed at those meetings.
The Information Commissioner issued a statement on 31st July expressing disappointment at the Attorney-General's decision. The Decision Notice of the Commissioner is accessible via this statement.  (The case Reference is FS50417514 - 4th July 2012).

I am totally unsurprised by the Attorney-General's decision.