Sailing to Oxford

On September 27, 1961, almost all of the 31 other new American Rhodes Scholars and I gathered for a sailing luncheon at the University Club on 54th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Our host was Courtney Smith, the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the President of Swarthmore College. Mr. Smith wished us all well on this next stage of our journey, and we all met one another, most for the first time. (The only one of us who subsequently became well-known was David Souter as Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.)

S.S. United States
Duane Krohnke on S.S. United States

The next day we all boarded the S.S. United States for our voyage to the United Kingdom. For the next five days we met one another one-on-one and in group social occasions and enjoyed the ocean-liner experience.

After a short call at Le Havre, France, we disembarked at Southampton on the south coast of England. We were met by E.T. Williams, the Secretary of the Rhodes Trust and the Warden of Rhodes House in Oxford. He directed us to the motor coach that took us to Oxford where we were dropped off at our respective colleges. Bob Orrill, a Rhodes Scholar from Purdue University, and I were the only ones for Worcester College.

On a beautiful moonlit night the College porter escorted me to my room in the Nuffield Building. He proudly said that Worcester was one of the oldest colleges in the University. This was my introduction to the Oxford and English respect for (and worship of?) antiquity, real or imagined.

Worcester College's 13th century cottages

I was amused by the porter’s comment because I knew from books that Worcester was not one of the oldest colleges. Yes, it still used 13th century Dominican monk cottages, but they were from Gloucester Hall, which was dissolved by King Henry VIII, and only later incorporated into Worcester College when it was founded in 1714.[1]

In Nuffield Building, which was built in 1950, I had a small room on the third floor. The next morning I met my “scout,” the college servant assigned to the men in the rooms on one of the staircases of the building. I now was situated in my home for the first academic year at the University of Oxford.


[1] See Post: Celebrating Oxford’s Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011).

My Grinnell College Years

Grinnell College          Residence Halls

I was financially able to attend Grinnell College, 1957-1961, because of its awarding me a full-tuition George F. Baker Scholarship.[1]

The first semester of my freshman year at the College was an intimidating experience. I had excellent, demanding professors: Harold Fletcher for “Introduction to Political Science;”  “Freshman English” with Norman Springer; and “Modern European History” with Samuel Baron. To let the freshmen know how we were doing, we all were given mid-term exams and grades. As a 4.0 valedictorian of my small Iowa high school,[2] I was shocked to have a C+ average at the mid-term. I also was surprised when Professor Baron refused to grant me honors for an extra paper in the history course; afterwards I realized he was correct.

Norbert Weiner

I also was stunned that first semester at the College’s Convocation, “American Culture at Mid-Century,” to hear a speech by MIT cyberneticist, Norbert Weiner. He talked about the parallels he saw in the history of mathematics, on the one hand, and of music and art, on the other hand. This was something I had never imagined. Another speaker was Joseph Welch, the Boston lawyer for the Army in the 1954 McCarthy Hearings. Welch, I discovered, was a Grinnell alumnus (1914) from another small town in Iowa, but I was too timid to approach him with questions.[3]

Outside the classroom that first semester I was in awe of classmates from large, metropolitan high schools (New Trier High School in suburban Chicago was one) and from prep schools who had a much more sophisticated preparation for college and who had been overseas. Gradually I came to realize that those advantages did not automatically make for a better college student and that I could successfully compete with them academically.

By the end of the first semester of the freshman year, I studied harder and significantly improved my grades and made the Dean’s List. I maintained this performance through the rest of my time at Grinnell and was elected to Grinnell’s senior men’s honorary society (the Friars) as well as Phi Beta Kappa.

I majored in history with minors in economics and political science, and I especially recall the excellent teaching and passion for their subjects by Historians Al Jones and Richard Westfall in addition to those mentioned elsewhere. I also took advantage of the College’s Program in Practical Politics to have an internship in the summer of 1960 with the Democratic Party of Iowa.[4] At the time, there was a requirement for two years of a foreign language; I took two years of German. There were also requirements for at least two science courses. In all of these courses, I had excellent professors and always was glad to be at a small college where you developed real, positive relationships with your professors.

John Maynard Keynes
John Kenneth Galbraith

The academic highlight of my Grinnell years was the senior-year Seminar in Political Economy.  A group of 10 students joined Professors John Dawson, Robert Voertman and Philip Thomas from the Economics Department, Harold Fletcher from Political Science and Joseph Wall from History. Together we read John Maynard Keynes’ magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society and a book by a Polish economist, Oskar Lange, The Economic Theory of Socialism. Another work on our agenda was Economics and Action by Pierre Mendes-France, the former French prime minister and a lecturer at Grinnell that semester.

In December 1960 I was chosen as one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars to go to the University of Oxford the following Fall which I will discuss in a separate posting. Just before this unexpected and thrilling honor, however, I had an embarrassing faux pas at the College’s special Boar’s Head Dinner. Modeled after such a dinner at Oxford’s Queen’s College, it featured a fake boar’s head brought into the dining hall on a silver platter by men dressed in red English garb and by special music from the men’s glee club (The Scarleteers). Before the dinner I had attended a cocktail party. At the dinner I felt the effects of the alcohol and just managed to rush to the kitchen where I vomited into an empty water pitcher. (When I returned to the College after the vacation, I was justly fined by the men’s governing council and chastised by the College President, Howard Bowen.)

My major extracurricular activity for my first three years of college was intercollegiate baseball. I was awarded a freshman numeral and letters for the other two years even though I was at best a mediocre player. When I returned for my 10th reunion, the baseball coach said that on the 1971 team I would be Mickey Mantle. This was a commentary on the poor quality of that year’s team, not my ability.

My sophomore year I was a member of the intercollegiate football squad, but I was not fast enough, tall enough or strong enough to have a real position. They tried me at offensive guard, but that meant I was supposed to block much bigger and stronger defensive tackles, something I could not do. I sat on the bench and played on the kickoff team. My accomplishment was lasting the season.

Otherwise I was a quiet, reserved student who was not well known on campus for the first two years. I still saw myself as an outsider.

I spent the next semester (the first of my junior year) on the Washington Semester Program at American University.[5] Enjoying life in a big city and spending time with students from other colleges from across the country boosted my confidence in my abilities to handle new and challenging situations.

Thus, when I returned to Grinnell for the second semester of my junior year, I decided to run for president of student government on a platform of our becoming involved in state and national policies and decisions affecting higher education. Foremost was going on record as opposed to the loyalty disclaimer affidavit for federal scholarships and loans and then advocating nationally for its repeal. I also suggested the student government should be concerned with the College’s admission policy and curriculum as well as changes in dormitory arrangements and adopting a student honor court and system. I won the election, 323 to 300. I then embarked upon one of the most rewarding experiences of my college days.

In the Fall of 1960, I welcomed the opportunity as president of student government to address the incoming freshmen class to let them know that they were an important part of this community going forward. I titled the speech “The Year of the Student.” After reviewing recent student protests around the world and the work of Grinnell’s student government, I challenged them. “Know thyself. Know, value, and honor freedom . . . . Accept others for what they are, accept non-conformists. Meet and get to know students from other lands. Forget exclusive thoughts of personal security and extend your horizons to include the international community of students and the whole world. Ask questions and seek answers. Do all that you can to make your and our education at Grinnell better and thus adopt your part of the burden in our national purpose, the pursuit of excellence.”

In my year as president, the student council adopted a resolution opposing the loyalty oath, and this action and the College’s refusal of funds under the National Defense Education Act of 1958 were recognized with an award from the Iowa Civil Liberties Union. We then advocated for repeal of the oath through letters to government officials, newspapers and other student governments and obtained a similar resolution from a meeting of the Midwest Conference student body presidents. Other important achievements were the following:

  • We formed a National Affairs Committee to coordinate various campus social-political action groups, to bring national issues before the student body and to take stands on such issues. This included study of our students’ interest in the Point-Four Youth Corps (later known as the Peace Corps).
  • We formed a Race Relations Committee to investigate problems encountered by American students taking part in “sit-down” strikes in the South; two members of that committee attended a national student conference on the “Sit-Down Movement.” We sponsored a rally to raise money for the Movement.
  •  We organized a new Faculty-Student Encampment to discuss issues at the College and make recommendations that resulted in the College’s purchase of a bus for student activities and the expansion of the recreation program and consideration of having a one-month reading period in the academic year.
  • We held a constitutional convention that, subject to approval by the College President and Trustees, substantially changed the structure of student government. During the convention, one of the speakers referred to me as “the passive voice” behind many of the suggested changes.

At the end of my year in office an editorial in the campus newspaper commended my “enthusiasm and true leadership qualities” and “the Krohnke spirit.” A columnist for the newspaper said, “A new spirit has entered Grinnell: a spirit of honest evaluation, constructive criticism, open-minded discussion, awareness of our good and bad points as Grinnellians and as people, and interest in the world beyond.” She attributed this new spirit, in part, to “an articulate and clear-thinking Student council president.”

The election of the next student council president started with a convention to select two candidates to run for the office. We had a time limit on nominating speeches. When one speaker had reached the limit, I said as the convention chair, “Just one more sentence.” The speaker was quick on the uptake; he kept talking with the repeated insertion of an emphatic “and” between what were clearly separate sentences. I had to chuckle in the background. Near the end of the convention, as the College annual for 1961 reported, one of the delegates stood and said that I had “done much for Grinnell by filling his office and filling it well.” The report continued, “A convention in standing ovation to our past president; here’s hoping we choose as wisely this time.”

On an October Saturday evening of 1958, after returning to the campus from an out-of-town football game, I went to the college union. I saw a group of freshmen women standing by the jukebox. I went over and asked one of them, a very attractive young woman, to dance. She accepted. Thus started my courtship of Mary Alyce. We dated for the rest of my time at the College. After her graduation in 1962, she came to England and found a research lab job in an Oxford hospital and an apartment with the fiancée of a Canadian Rhodes Scholar. In June 1963 after I finished my examinations, we were married at Oxford’s Manchester College Chapel.


[1] Post: Selecting a College (Aug. 10, 2011).

[2] Post: Growing Up in a Small Iowa Town (Aug. 23, 2011).

[3] Post: Adventures of a History Detective (April 5, 2011).

[4] Post: Encounters with Candidates JFK and LBJ (April 26, 2011).

[5] Post: The Washington Semester (July 11, 2011).

International Criminal Justice: Developments in Spanish Court’s Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests

Over the last several weeks there have been significant developments in El Salvador, the U.S. and Spain regarding the Spanish court’s criminal case against 20 Salvadoran military officers for their alleged involvement in the November 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests. These developments arise out of the May 30, 2011, Spanish court’s issuance of arrest warrants for the 20 defendants on charges of crimes against humanity and state terrorism in planning and carrying out the murders.[1]

After May 30th Spain enlisted the assistance of the International Police Organization or INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, with 188 member countries, to facilitate cross-border police co-operation and to prevent or combat international crime. INTERPOL in turn issued RED NOTICES identifying the 9 of the 20 defendants believed to be living in El Salvador (the Salvadoran Nine) and their indictment by the Spanish court. (Another RED NOTICE is believed to have been issued for a defendant believed to be living in the U.S.) Such RED NOTICES typically are treated as requests for provisional arrests of the subjects of the notices so that the formal process of requests for their extradition to Spain, in this case, can be made.[2]

El Salvador Developments

In El Salvador, in late July a lawyer for the Nine requested the National Civilian Police (PNC) to not execute the Red Notices on the ground that the crime already had been prosecuted by Salvadoran courts.[3] In addition, on August 7th the Nine turned themselves in to a military base near San Salvador, presumably because of a belief that as former military officers they would have some protection there. That same day, however, the country’s Minister of Defense turned them over to civilian authorities who kept the Nine in custody at one of the country’s military facilities.[4]

Thereafter, the Nine filed habeas corpus petitions with the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court. On August 24th the Chamber rejected the petitions on the ground that there was a request for their extradition to Spain.[5]

Minutes later on August 24th, however, the 15-member Salvadoran Supreme Court decided, 10 to 2, that the RED NOTICES for the Nine only served to locate people accused of crimes by another country. The Notices did not authorize arrests. That could happen only if there were a formal extradition request, and no such request had been received by El Salvador. If Spain in fact made an extradition request, the court would consider it.[6]

The reaction to the decision within El Salvador was predictable; those who supported the military were happy; those who wanted to see justice for the Jesuits were disappointed.[7]

In response to the Salvadoran Supreme Court ruling, a Spanish court official has said that Spain cannot issue a formal extradition request to El Salvador for the Nine because Spain has not been notified that they are under arrest. The Spanish court, therefore, has asked El Salvador to clarify the legal status of the Nine after the Salvadoran court’s August 24th ruling. [8]

Does this leave the issue at an impasse? El Salvador will not authorize an arrest because there is no extradition request, and Spain will not or cannot issue extradition requests because there are no arrests?

Meanwhile in El Salvador, the controversial Decree 743 that required the Constitutional Chamber of its Supreme Court to act unanimously has been repealed.[9]

U.S. Developments

On or about August 19th defendant Montano was arrested in Virginia on charges of lying to U.S. immigration officials in applying for Temporary Protected Status in the U.S.  On August 23rd he made an appearance at a federal court in Massachusetts, where he had been residing. The next day he was released on a $50,000 bond and confinement to his sister’s house with electronic monitoring. Apparently there has not yet been a RED NOTICE for him.[10]

Earlier (in July) Senators John Kerry, Tom Harkin, Patrick Leahy and Barbara Boxer jointly signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requesting the U.S. to cooperate fully with the Spanish court in this case. The response from an Assistant Secretary of State said the U.S. was monitoring the case and would give any Spanish request for assistance the appropriate consideration.[11]

Spain Developments

In Spain, lawyers for the Nine apparently have decided that offense is the best defense. They have filed charges in the Spanish court alleging that the Spanish judge, Valasco Nunez, acted illegally in the May 31st arrest orders for the 20 Salvadoran former military officers. The basis for the charge is the prior Salvadoran criminal case regarding the murders of the Jesuits, the Salvadoran amnesty law and its statute of limitations barring any such charges at this time. The attorneys also are considering a charge of defamation against the Spanish judge.[12]

Conclusion

As this discussion indicates, the story is far from over. Further developments in this case are expected in all three countries.


[1]  See Post: International Criminal Justice: Spanish Court Issues Criminal Arrest Warrants for Salvadoran Murders of Jesuit Priests (May 31, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: The Spanish Court’s Criminal Case Regarding the Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 15, 2011).

[2]  INTERPOL, http://www.interpol.int/default.asp; Arauz, Dada & Lemus, Interpol arrest warrants processed 10 Jesuit Salvadoran military case, el Faro (July 29, 2011), http://www.elfaro.net (Google English translation). In addition to the RED NOTICES for the nine officers believed to be living in El Salvador, another was issued for Rene Emilio Ponce, who died in May 2011. (Id.)

[3]  See Post: International Criminal Justice: Salvadoran Criminal Prosecution of the Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 8, 2011).

[4] Center for Justice & Accountability, Press Release: Salvadoran High Commanders Responsible for Jesuit Massacre in 1989 Under Custody in El Salvador (Aug. 10, 2011); Tim’s El Salvador Blog, Officers indicted for Jesuit murders surrender (Aug. 8, 2011),______     ;

[5] Gonzalez & Perez, Supreme Court in the event benefited the Jesuit military, diario colatino (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[6] Id.; Assoc. Press, Salvadoran Supreme Court refuses to detain men charged in 1989 killings of Jesuit priests, Wash. Post (Aug. 24, 2011); Released in the Salvador to military courts in Spain by death of Jesuits, lapagina.com (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[7]  General Zapeda,”national sovereignty has prevailed and has restored peace to the country, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011) (Zapeda is one of the defendants) (Google English translation); Perez, Munguia Payes, “an episode closes, whatever comes later, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Payes is Defense Minister) (Google English translation); Calderon, Rodolfo Cardenal, “The decision was somewhat expected, because,” lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Cardenal is former UCA vice chancellor) (Google English translation); Guzman, Siegfried Reyes: “El Salvador has a large debt tp truth and justice, lapagina (Aug. 25, 2011)(Reyes is President of the Legislative Assembly) (Google English translation).

[8] Sainz, Spain seeks El Salvador clarification on suspects, Miami Herald (Aug. 25, 2011); Assoc. Press, Spain Seeks El Salvador Clarification on Suspects, N.Y. Times (Aug. 25, 2011).

[9] Tomorrow Decree 743 will be history, diariocolatino (July 28, 2011). See Post: El Salvador’s Current Controversy over Its General Amnesty Law and Supreme Court (June 16, 2011).

[10] Arsenault, War crime suspect found in Everett [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 17, 2011); Assoc. Press, Salvadoran accused in Jesuit deaths held in Mass., Boston Globe (Aug. 23, 2011); Assoc. Press, Suspect in Jesuit deaths out on immigration charge (Aug. 24, 2011); Arsenault, War crimes suspect in house arrest in Saugus [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 25, 2011); Aragon, Military accused of slaughter in the U.S. Jesuit was arrested while fleeing to Mexico, elfaro (Aug. 25, 2011) (Google English translation).

[11] Arsenault, War crime suspect found in Everett [Massachusetts], Boston Globe (Aug. 17, 2011);

[12]  Lemus, Military sue Spanish judge to reverse the Jesuit case, elfaro (July 31, 2011) (Google English translation); Aguilar, Military accused of slaughter in Spain by Jesuits are delivered to the army, elfaronet (Aug. 8, 2011). See Post: International Criminal Justice: Salvadoran Criminal Case Regarding the Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 8, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: El Salvador’s General Amnesty Law and Its Impact on the Jesuits Case (June 11, 2011).

 

 

Employer’s Lawsuits Against Former Employees

Employers frequently get involved in lawsuits with former employees. That was not the primary focus of my legal practice, but I did represent former employees in two interesting cases. One was brought by  Green Tree Acceptance, Inc. of St. Paul, Minnesota. The other, by Surgidev Corporation of Goleta, California, already has been discussed.[1]

John Wheeler was an employee of Green Tree from 1977 through October of 1984. At the time, Green Tree was the largest U.S. company in the business of mobile home financing. Wheeler towards the end of his career with the company was its executive vice president and a member of its board of directors. In 1983 he entered into a written employment agreement and noncompetition agreement with the company, but in October 1984 he and the company agreed to a termination of his employment and, he testified, a release from the noncompetition agreement. In May 1986 Wheeler became the president and CEO of another company based in San Diego, California that was involved in financing mobile homes.[2]

In September 1986 Green Tree sued Wheeler for breach of the noncompetition agreement in Minnesota’s federal court.[3] In October 1986 the court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction barring Wheeler from working for his new employer. The next month (November 1986) the case went to trial before Judge James Rosenbaum and a jury. The jury’s special verdict found that the noncompetition agreement had terminated before Wheeler went to work for his new employer. Accordingly the district court denied Green Tree’s motion for a new trial or judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entered judgment in favor of Wheeler.[4]

Green Tree then appealed, and in October 1987 the appellate court reversed the judgment because of its conclusion that the district court erroneously had submitted to the jury the issue of whether the noncompetition agreement was still in effect. Accordingly the appellate court remanded the case to the district court for a new trial.[5] Soon thereafter the case settled.

This was one of those unfortunately rare cases in which the opposing lawyers were professionally civil with each other while simultaneously vigorously contested the case. I, therefore, commend Green Tree’s lawyers, Peter Hendrixson and David Lauth of the Dorsey & Whitney law firm and Rick Evans, Green Tree’s General Counsel.


[1] See Post: Intraocular Lenses Litigation (Aug. 18, 2011).

[2] Green Tree Acceptance, Inc. v. Wheeler, 832 F.2d 116 (8th Cir. 1987).

[3]  See Post: Minnesota’s Federal Court (June 28, 2011).

[4]  832 F.2d 116.

[5]  Id.

International Criminal Court: ICC’s First Trial To End This Week

International Criminal Court

This Thursday and Friday (August 25th and 26th), the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will hear closing arguments in its first trial. Thereafter in due course the Chamber will issue its decision. The trial started in January 2009, and the evidence phase concluded in May 2011 after 220 days of hearing of testimony from 62 witnesses, including four experts called by the Trial Chamber itself. The Trail Chamber issued 307 oral decisions and 624 written decisions.[1]

The accused in this trial is Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. He is the alleged founder and leader of UPC (Union des patriots congolais). He is charged with war crimes consisting of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 years and using them in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).[2]

In another ICC development, Grenada on August 1st became the 115th State Party to the ICC’s Rome Statute.[3]


[1] ICC Press Release, Trial of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo: The presentation of evidence stage is closed (May 20, 2011); Reuters, ICC’s Landmark Debut Trial Concludes After Two Years, N.Y. Times (Aug. 24, 2011).

[2] See Post: International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Protection of Witnesses (Aug. 19,2011).

[3]  ICC Press Release, ICC welcomes Grenada as a new State Party (Aug. 23, 2011).

Growing Up in a Small Iowa Town

In 1949 my parents and I moved to my Dad’s home town of Perry, Iowa– 6,000 population only 40 miles northwest of Des Moines. My Dad bought an interest in the Perry Granite Works. My Mother soon thereafter started working as an assistant librarian at the town’s Carnegie Library and later became its Head Librarian.

I finished my last two years of elementary school in Perry followed by six years of junior and senior high school. Although there were not many optional courses in the schools, I did have math through trigonometry, physics, chemistry, speech, American and English literature, world history and social studies. I also took typing and at least one shop class. (The only foreign language was Latin, which I did not take because I was confident I would go to nearby Iowa State University to become an engineer and have no need for the language and because I was scared of Latin.) I had some excellent teachers; the ones I especially recall are Emma Hepker, Charles Bennett, Elsa Hay, Gayle Junkin, David Evans and Leonard Rossman.

I always did well in school and finished as the 4.00 valedictorian of my high school class of 62 members and as a member of the National Honor Society. I was a finalist for a National Merit Scholarship and National Honorary Society Scholarship. (Close, but no cigar.) The local Elks Club named my best friend and me “The Most Valuable Students” of our class, and he and I were the town’s representative at Hawkeye Boys State where I was elected Secretary of the mock Iowa Senate.

I was active in the Speech Club and served as its president my senior year. I won top honors in state contests in radio speaking and extemporaneous speaking. (There was no debate program.)

I lettered in football my junior and senior years. I played offensive and defensive end even though I was not very big (155 lbs.), tall (5’10”), fast or strong. One of my favorite football stories is about tackling the star running back on the team from Winterset (John Wayne’s hometown); I did not tackle low like you are supposed to do; instead I tackled him straight up; he was carried him off the field on a stretcher while I put my helmet back on and continued playing. The captain of the team my senior year was my best friend, who played center at 135 pounds. (A medical problem prevented my playing my freshman and sophomore years.)

I also lettered in track as a member of relay teams, and in the summer I played shortstop or second base on a local town baseball team. The “Perry Wildcats” we were called. After finishing high school, I managed the team one summer.

Another extracurricular activity was concert and marching band. I played the alto saxophone and occasionally was a soloist in concerts and state music contest.

Playing the tenor saxophone with me in the band was Norman Lewiston, who was a year ahead of me and a tall, socially awkward, farm boy. He, however, excelled in the sciences and was the valedictorian of his class. Later he became a respected physician and Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. After he died in 1991, each of his three wives discovered the existence of the other two. This real-life drama was made into a movie–The Man with Three Wives–starring Beau Bridges as Norman. The concluding scene in the movie has one of the wives returning to the farm just east of Perry and throwing Norman’s ashes to the wind.[1]

 

Perry Methodist Church

The local Methodist Church was another center of activity. I was in the Youth Choir and a member of Methodist Youth Fellowship, and its president my senior year. I fondly remember when our church was visited by five college students on what they called a Youth Caravan to assist the MYF programming. The senior pastor was Rev. Arlie Krussell, who was reserved in what seemed like an English manner; he urged me to go into the ministry.

In junior high, I had a newspaper route for The Des Moines Register. Later for several summers I detasseled seed corn in the area. I also worked as a sales clerk at a local men’s clothing store and did all sorts of jobs at my Father’s monument store. After I had a driver’s license, I drove the Perry Granite Works truck to local cemeteries to deliver and often install the monuments. I also learned how to sandblast the names and dates of birth and death of the deceased into the granite stones.

On Saturday nights my friends and I frequently would “shoot the drag,” i.e., drive in one of our cars up and down the few main streets of the town. We also had pork tenderloin sandwiches at “Sam and Chuck’s” restaurant at the east end of town or a “Maid-Rite” sloppy-joe hamburger at the town’s only franchise operation. (We had no pizza restaurant. One had to drive to Des Moines to get this delicacy.)

There were many aspects to life in this small town that were enjoyable. I seized the many opportunities it offered.

I was interested in politics back then. For example, The Des Moines Register reported that a high school teacher in northern Iowa had been fired for assigning certain books to his students. My letter to the editor protesting his dismissal was published in the same newspaper. Soon thereafter I started receiving letters and materials from the Young Communist League in the U.S.S.R.

I was growing up during the presidencies of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. In the Fall of my senior year of high school I moderated a school assembly about the 1956 presidential election between Eisenhower/Nixon and Stevenson/Kefauver. As was true in Iowa and the U.S. as a whole, the Republican candidates won by a large margin in our mock election.

The Cold War overshadowed my high school years. The Korean Conflict ended in 1953 after “Ike” Eisenhower had pledged in his first campaign to go to Korea to end the war. Just before I entered high school, Joseph Stalin died, and Nikita Krushchev became the First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for transmitting U.S. atomic secrets to the U.S.S.R. J. Robert Oppenheimer was charged with possible treason. There was open-air testing of atomic and hydrogen bombs by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The Soviets crushed revolts in Poland and Hungary. The first nuclear-powered submarine and the first satellite–Sputnik–were launched.

In the U.S. civil rights issues were prominent. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education. In 1956 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., then 27 years old, organized a boycott of public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama while in Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus challenged the Federal Government over school desegregation in Little Rock.

It is perhaps difficult to appreciate now that television was new in these years. I remember when my parents bought our first small, black-and-white TV set. The first World Series I watched was the 1950 Yankees-Phillies match with Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford of the Bronx Bombers and Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts and Jim Konstanty of the Phillies. I also recall watching news of the Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954 when the Boston lawyer, Joseph Welch, punctured McCarthy’s big ego.

Elvis Presley burst onto the national stage with such hits as “Love Me Tender,” “Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Jailhouse Rock.” I remember watching Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, when the TV cameras were not allowed to focus on his shaking pelvis. Little did we know at the time that we were witnessing the start of an American cultural phenomenon.

In this and other ways, television was just starting to break down the sense of social isolation I felt growing up as an only child in a small town in Iowa, far away from where things were really happening–Washington, D.C. and New York City. Europe and the rest of the world were even farther away, places that I never thought I would visit some day. Iowa, of course, was (and still is) primarily an agricultural state, which did not have much status in the larger world. Nor did my Dad’s business. I did not want to be trapped into taking over this business although this was never mentioned as something expected of me. All of this produced in me a sense of being an outsider. This sense of isolation also helped motivate me to work hard at school as my way to escape this small town and its life.[2]


[1] Paddock, Doctor Led Three Lives with Three Wives: Polygamy: Stanford Professor never divorced and kept households with each of the women. Truth emerged after his death in August, L.A. Times (Oct. 14, 1991); The Man With Three Wives, http://www.fandango.com/themanwiththreewives_v467704/plotsummary.

[2] I already have mentioned my visits to eastern universities in the summer before my senior year of high school to explore the possibility of going there for college before I decided to go to Grinnell College. (Post: Selecting a College (Aug. 10, 2011).)

International Criminal Court: Potential Arrests of Three Libyan Suspects

As previously reported, the International Criminal Court (ICC), pursuant to U.N. Security Council authorization, has been investigating the situation in Libya and already has issued three arrest warrants, including Muammar Gaddafi.[1]

Recent gains by Libyan rebels have reportedly resulted in the arrest of one of the three suspects wanted by the ICC, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi. Today the ICC Prosecutor spoke with officials of the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) and emphasized his mandate to investigate and prosecute those charged with crimes by the ICC. They discussed the possibility of the apprehension and surrender to the ICC of the three suspects as well as the possibility of their being prosecuted and tried in Libya.[2]

The ICC seeks to encourage national judicial systems’ investigating and prosecuting individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes under what is known as the principle of complementarity. For this principle to be invoked in the Libyan situation, the ICC itself would have to conclude, under Article 17 of its Rome Statute, that Libya had a functioning national judicial system that was able to provide principles of due process recognized by international law and that any proceedings against the three or other suspects were not undertaken to shield them from criminal responsibility or with the intent not to bring them to justice.

In this still developing situation, it is conceivable that the U.N. Security Council, pursuant to Article 16 of the Rome Statute, could adopt a resolution under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter directing the ICC to suspend proceedings for renewable periods of 12 months. This scenario seems unlikely at this time.

The United States could play an important role in urging the relevant officials to transfer any Libyan suspects to the ICC. While President Obama did not mention the ICC in his statement released earlier today, he did indicate that “we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.” [3] The unanimous referral of the Libya situation to the ICC by the Security Council, including the United States, was an important action by the international community to protect the people of Libya and one which the U.S. has continued to support since the referral.

I, therefore, urge others to sign a petition asking President Obama to assist the ICC arrests of Col. Gaddafi and the Libya suspects: http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-president-obama-to-help-the-international-criminal-court-arrest-gaddafi. Hearing from the U.S. supporters of the ICC will help President Obama understand the importance of international justice for the serious alleged crimes in Libya and to build international support for ensuring that no suspects escape justice.


[1] See Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Libya Investigation Status (May 8, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court and the Obama Administration (May 13, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Three Libyan Arrest Warrants Sought (May 16, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigation of Gand-Rape in Libya (May 17, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Issuance of Three Libyan Arrest Warrants and Other Developments (June27, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: Libya, Sudan, Rwanda and Serbia Developments (July 4, 2011).

 

[2] ICC Press Release, ICC Prosecutor Talks to Transitional National Council in Libya (Aug. 22, 2011), http://www.icc-cpi.int.

 

[3] Statement of President Barack Obama on Libya (Aug. 22, 2011), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/22/statement-president-barack-obama-libya.