Wednesday 29 March 2017

Books to Read

A collection of academic book titles produced by Oxford University Press

It is perhaps the rule rather than the exception for teachers and academics to ignore what seemingly is an unceasing deluge of emails from representatives of conference-organising companies and book publishers. For some lecturers whose immediate reaction is to wince in annoyance, the automated response may be to ignore the message or to reach for the delete button.

Earlier this month I came across an email from a commissioning assistant of Higher Education Law titles at Oxford University Press who made an offer I found hard to refuse. The deal was that in return for using one’s subject-specific insight to review a revision guide for undergraduate level Criminal Law -effectively evaluating the current edition in order to improve the next edition- I would be given £100 worth of OUP academic books. A link was provided.

Now lecturers are entitled to a range of free ‘inspection copies’ of textbooks related to the subject areas on which they teach. However, the fact that this offer entitled one to select from a range of disciplines including medieval, military and contemporary history was an inducement which a bibliophile such as myself found to be simply irresistible.

Although I would not consider myself to be an avid connoisseur of books on European medieval history, I found the idea behind Debating Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263  to be very attractive both in terms of its subject matter and its presentation. It concerns the story of Nahmanides, that is, Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, a Jewish scholar based in Aragon who was summoned by King James the First to engage in a public debate with a Christian Friar about the role of the Messiah in Judaism and Christianity. Published in graphic history format, the book contains historical essays, historiography and study questions which enumerate on the methods historians use to frame narratives while at the same time enlightening the reader about the processes by which history is constructed.

The debate is historically important as it presaged the pogroms visited upon Jewish communities in the following century which culminated in the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the late-fifteenth century.

I also selected two books on military history: Churchill and Sea Power and Churchill and the Dardanelles. My rationale here is not based on a big interest in the life of Winston Churchill but in reading detailed studies of aspects of the history of the Royal Navy and naval warfare for which I have had a near life-long interest owing to my father’s career as a naval officer and his collection of books relating to British and German naval confrontations in the Second and First World Wars. Churchill of course presided over two naval disasters in both World Wars, first that of the doomed Dardanelles Campaign when he was the secretary of state for war and later when as First Lord of the Admiralty, he oversaw the failed action in Norway.

The remaining three selections concern the United States of America. George C. Herring’s The American Century and Beyond: US Foreign Relations, 1893-2014 forms part of the acclaimed Oxford History of the United States series. It was also the winner of the Robert H. Ferrell Book Award of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations when it was first published in 2007. A comprehensive and authoritative book on American foreign affairs is a most welcome addition to my library although I do not think that it will displace the high esteem and affection that I have for the Harold Evans-edited coffee table-sized epic, The American Century: People, Power and Politics which was published back in 1999.  

While both United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics and Pragmatics and National Security and Double Government are categorised as books on public international law, they focus on essentially different matters. The former relates to the United States role in the development of transitional justice institutions documenting and analysing six case studies: Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.

The author’s thesis is that political and pragmatic factors feature more prominently in US transitional justice policy than US government officials normative beliefs. ‘Prudentialism’, a term encompassing pragmatism and political considerations, has in the author’s view primacy over legalism in transitional justice policymaking. This is of great interest to me given the United States refusal to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. What will also be borne in mind is that war crimes tribunals of the sort that have been created to deal with conflicts in Africa and the Balkans are out of the question for the United States despite the sizeable segment of world public opinion in support of the trial of high-ranking American officials of state for what many believe to have been an illegal war of aggression and occupation of Iraq.

The final book, on Double Government is effectively recasting a lengthy academic article written by Michael J. Glennon for Harvard National Security Journal. It essentially makes the case for the existence of another layer of government termed the ‘Trumanite Network’ of military, intelligence and law enforcement managers which has usurped the power of forging US security national policy from the ‘Madisonian’ institutions of the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court.

It develops Walter Bagehot’s concept of the “double government” which the English constitutionalist formulated in the 19th Century.  There are echoes of what is termed ‘deep state’ and while Glennon’s work is focused on the evidence of minimal changes in security policy after the changeover from the administration of George W. Bush to Barack Obama, it has particularly resonance in relation to the ongoing tussle between the newly elected Donald Trump and the intelligence community.

My only regret is that I could not obtain all of my six selections as hardback copies and stay within the £100 limit. The one hardback I ordered was the Churchill and the Dardanelles book but they are all well bound and the Debating Truth book is particularly well designed.

I am very much looking forward to reading these books.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer and writer based in London, England.

Debating Truth: The Barcelona Disputation of 1263 by Nina Caputo & Liz Clarke (2017)

Churchill and Sea Power by Christopher M. Bell (2014)

Churchill and the Dardanelles by Christopher M. Bell (2017)

The American Century and Beyond: US Foreign Relations, 1893-2014 by George C. Herring Second Edition (2017)

United States Law and Policy on Transitional Justice: Principles, Politics and Pragmatics by Zachary D. Kaufman (2017)

National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon (2016)

Tuesday 28 March 2017

The London Attack: False Piety and Hypocrisy in the Aftermath of Terror

Theresa May

It never fails to amaze me the rank hypocrisy of Western politicians such as Theresa May whose countries are members of the Nato military alliance.

While bereaved relatives and a shocked population have to endure the bitter aftermath of an attack we hear the same automated platitudinous statements delivered in the defiant statesman posture such as:

1. "We will never give in to the terrorists".

2. "Hate and evil will not destroy our freedoms and our democracy".

3. "Our values will remain intact".

Yet, the sum "freedoms" that the British people have built up for centuries have been slowly but surely denuded by a series of Parliamentary Acts including the recent Investigatory Powers Act of 2016, the so-called 'Snoopers Charter', the passage of which was presided over by Prime Minister May’s government.

This law gives the state extraordinary powers of surveillance over its citizens. It effectively nullifies personal rights related to privacy as activity over the Internet can be intercepted at will. The security and intelligence services have been given carte blanche to monitor the day-to-day activities of citizens through a variety of means including the reading of private emails.

Thus it makes no sense for politicians to monotonously keep on asserting that "terrorism will not be allowed to destroy our democracy and take away our freedoms”.

When it comes to "values", people need to re-examine what precisely is meant by this. Are these the "values" sanctioned by both Parliamentary and executive action which has enabled Britain to contribute to and otherwise support invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria; actions that have led to the wanton destruction of human life and infrastructure? The accumulated loss of life over the past decade and a half runs into the millions.

If the average Briton nods in agreement to the sentiment expressed about "not giving in to terrorism", I trust that the average person who hopefully does not have the sociopathic traits of the average politician is capable of empathizing with those civilians in Yemen who are presently being massacred by bombs and munitions supplied by Britain to the government of Saudi Arabia.

One would hope that the average citizen is informed of current events to an acceptable level so that they are aware of the recent massacre of over 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul via the "collateral damage" of a US-led bombardment. Or of the fate of 33 people from 50 displaced Syrian families ripped to pieces at the Badiya Dakhilya school in Mansoura, a village located on the outskirts of Raqqa.

One would hope that the average Briton would recognise the stunning levels of hypocrisy by contrasting Western media reportage of the Russian bombardment of Aleppo with that of the US-led coalition bombing in Mosul. One would also hope that they are aware of proven Western facilitation of Islamic extremist groups in Syria which were created to overthrow the legitimate government of that country.

They must surely keep in mind the legacy of British involvement in illegal military actions in both Iraq and Syria as well as the curious case in 2015 where the trial of a man charged with terrorist activities in Syria collapsed on the grounds that Britain’s security and intelligence services would have been “deeply embarrassed” because of their covert support for anti-Assad (Islamist) militias.

Are the millions in these lands who have been maimed, dispossessed or who have otherwise had to endure the physical destruction of their loved ones also expected to refuse to bow to "terrorism"?

It is incumbent on the British population and citizens from other Western countries that are members of Nato to re-examine their understanding of the term "terrorism" as well as the "values" they profess to cherish.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Saturday 25 March 2017

About Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness, then the IRA’s  Deputy Commander for Derry at a funeral in 1972

From the moment the death of Martin McGuinness was announced, it was a given certainty that the eulogies -in the widest possible sense of that word- would range from descriptions of his having been among the fiercest of the modern Irish Republican freedom fighters to that of a common terrorist-murderer.
But to friend, foe and neutral must have been unanimity in acknowledging an aura and legend surrounding the man. This after all was a person who rose to the ranks of the Irish Republican Army at a very young age. He was apparently a man of great charm and ruthless cunning. And his levels of personal discipline, organisational resourcefulness and ability to command loyalty did not escape the attention of the British intelligence services; his MI5 file recording the view that his talents as a strategic thinker made him “officer material”.
Attached to McGuinness was much in the manner of myth and mystery. Questions arose over the years about his specific role in various aspects of the conflict. Did he fire the first shot on Bogside during the 1972 demonstration when British paratroopers massacred innocent Catholic demonstrators? Did he ever remove himself from the decision-making structure of the IRA as he repeatedly claimed he had done at an earlier stage of the conflict? And given the increasingly high level of penetration achieved by British intelligence as the conflict endured, did he at some point in fact become an asset of his sworn enemies?
These are but a few of which some resolution has been forthcoming. The Saville Inquiry into the ‘Bloody Sunday’ massacre on Bogside made the finding that McGuinness was “probably armed with a (Thompson) sub-machine gun but that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he fired it. McGuinness himself vehemently denied firing a gun on that fateful day.
Of the commonly asserted British claim of his long-term membership of the IRA’s Army Council including a spell in the role of Chief of Staff, McGuinness also offered a consistent denial, insisting that he left the organisation in 1974. But he often asserted his pride at having been a member of the Derry Brigade of Oglaigh na hEireann. His influence endured even after he relinquished direct operational control of the organisation.
The claim that he was a British informer was based on the revelations of an IRA turncoat who accepted the purported evidence implicating McGuinness in good faith, but which was later pronounced as being a forgery.
Much opacity however continues to surround the specific decisions McGuinness may have made in a brutal conflict which encompassed bombings, shootings, executions, and kneecappings. What many of McGuinness’ opponents find hard to forgive or forget is the legacy of the slaughter of innocents; those non-combatants killed in bomb attacks and drive-by shootings as well as those disappeared and given secret burials.
The revival in the late 1960s of the Irish Republican Army of which Martin McGuinness would become a key player was a continuum of centuries of episodic violence within a province that is part of an island considered by republicans to be England's "first and last colony".
McGuinness unlike Gerry Adams did not come from a family steeped in republican history and instead represented an example of the radicalisation of many Catholic youth at a time of great social ferment.
It should not be forgotten that the ugliness which accompanied what came to be known as 'The Troubles' came after Protestant resistance to a civil rights movement led by figures in the Roman Catholic community who were seeking to end discriminatory practices in housing, employment and policing.
Alienated by the intransigence of a system seemingly bent on maintaining Protestant privilege at all costs, the likes of McGuinness turned to violence when the spectrum of disaffection had crossed the threshold of maintaining faith in the possibility of a legal and political solution to the causes of their grievance.
The power sharing arrangement that followed the Good Friday Agreement, of which McGuinness was the chief negotiator for Sinn Fein, included measures such as the reform of policing in Northern Ireland and more or less achieved what had been sought by the civil rights movement three decades earlier.
There are diehard Republicans who will cast him as a traitor for compromising on the ideal of only giving up the fight with the achievement of a united Ireland. This was the charge which had cost Michael Collins his life. Yet McGuiness and his long term collaborator Gerry Adams became peacemakers as had Collins before them and as did ANC leader Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
The background to what prompted the peace process is subject to partisan disputation. What the British establishment and Protestant loyalists see as the defeat and surrender of the IRA, republicans view as a compromise.
It is clear that the IRA's declaration of an unconditional ceasefire was brought about by the simple fact that it had been shorn of its capability of continuing as an effective guerrilla force. The British state had seen to that by waging a 'dirty war' which included orchestrating the compromise of many figures at all levels of the IRA.
Impending defeat and involvement in the peace process is claimed by McGuinness’ detractors as a self-serving and cowardly manoeuvre designed to save himself from responsibility for his crimes as the leader of a terror group.
Yet this view refuses to take into account the personal risks that both McGuinness and Adams were taking in starting the peace process, a process which after all could have led to his assassination by disaffected republicans.
Norman Tebbitt’s bitter denunciation of McGuinness on hearing of his demise can be contrasted with that of the daughter of a victim of the IRA’s bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984 who is one of many convinced by the sincerity of his role as a peacemaker.
But it is unsurprising that uncompromisingly negative views of McGuinness persist. There is perhaps something to the argument that once the peace agreement had been achieved, he and Adams should have stepped down and handed over the reins of leadership to a younger generation of nationalist politicians.
The bitter legacy of homicidal violence is not one which can be placed exclusively on the shoulders of McGuinness and his comrades in the IRA. There is still much to be unearthed about the conduct of the British state in its handling of the republican insurgency.
For instance, there are grounds for believing that the bombs which went off in near synchronous fashion in Dublin and Monaghan in May of 1974 killing 33 people were facilitated by agents of British military intelligence.
Kevin Fulton, the pseudonym of a British controlled double agent who had infiltrated the IRA, claimed that the security forces had agents embedded within the ‘Real IRA’ at the time of the Omagh Bombing atrocity of 1998. Fulton, whose real name is believed to be Peter Keely, a Catholic who had joined the Royal Irish Rangers and later co-opted into the intelligence corps, had been a member of the British Army’s Force Research Unit.
The FRU as was the case with several other concoctions of British Army Intelligence such as the Military Reaction Force (MRF), the Special Reconnaissance Unit (SRU) and 14 Intelligence were part of a ruthless counter-insurgency strategy pioneered by General Sir Frank Kitson.
Utilising amoral methods based on the idea of fighting terrorists by means of terrorism, Kitson’s concept of the ‘counter-gang’, provided the theoretical template for a strategy that included permitting extra-judicial killings through the use of loyalist terror proxies. These actions also involved the killing of innocent civilians.
It is while bearing this in mind that in the final analysis, Martin McGuinness will not be the only key player in Northern Ireland's recent troubles to die with blood on his hands.
(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2017)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Friday 17 March 2017

Adeyinka Makinde - Updated Academic Profile (March 2017)

Adeyinka Makinde LL.B (Hons) of the Middle Temple, Barrister has been a Visiting Lecturer at Westminster Law School since 2002. He has served as the Module Leader for Criminal Law and Public Law on the Solicitors Exempting Degree. Prior to this, he delivered the Public Law option on the ILEX programme from 2002 to 2009.
His teaching specialism in constitutional law allied to long term interests respectively in international politics, political history, military history and the history of espionage has over the course of time germinated into a research interest in the genre of ‘intelligence and security studies.’
In May 2013 he was invited to present a paper at the biennial international conference on security issues held by the Centre for International Intelligence and Security Studies (CIISS) under the auspices of the University of Aberystwyth where his paper, "Intelligence and Accountability: From the Cold War to the War on Terror" was presented as part of the theme, ‘The Past, Present and Future of Intelligence’
His analysis of the dangers of war between NATO and the Russian Federation was the subject of an interview he gave to the Voice of Russia. This was reported by RIA Novosti, Russia's international news agency.
He has peer reviewed articles for journals including the International Journal of Criminology and Sociology.
He has authored two books on pugilists and has written numerous features on boxing and produced articles on international relations, history and culture. He has served as a programme consultant and provided expert commentary for BBC World Service Radio, China Radio International and the Voice of Russia.
He was a talking head on 'The Rivals', an IMG Sport-produced documentary on boxing rivalries which was made for Sky TV in 2007.
He is among a group of scholars and journalists approached to contribute to the Cambridge Companion Series on the sport of boxing which is scheduled for publication in 2016.
Adeyinka’s writings, encompassing books, essays and commentaries have been cited by a host of researchers ranging from scholars to established writers for trade published books. These include a memoir by the world renowned literary figure Chinua Achebe and an activist advocating constitutional reform in Australia. The citations span books, academic journals, an academic textbook as well as miscellaneous reference books.
His biography on a world champion boxer, Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal, was designated as required reading for the topic “Sport, Migration, Post-Colonial Strife” on a course on Modern African Sports History at the University of Florida.
He has delivered talks before audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom. These have included GMB Trade Union-sponsored Black History Month workshops covering the connection between sports and the American Civil Rights Movement, a lecture given under the auspices of London’s Jewish Museum concerning the alleged Hebraic origins of the Igbo people of Nigeria and a book launch at the Jersey City Main Library in which he presented the findings of his research into the officially unsolved murder of a Mafia-connected boxer.
Subjects Taught
  • GDL Public Law
  • ILEX Public Law
  • LL.B Solicitors Exempting Degree Criminal Law
  • LL.B Solicitors Exempting Degree Public Law
  • LL.B Criminal Law
  • LL.B Public Law
Research interests
  • Intelligence & Security
  • The History and Culture of the sport of Boxing
JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula (iUniverse) 2010, ISBN: 978-1-45020-637-2, 274pp including b/w photographs
DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal (Word Association) 2005, ISBN: 978-1-59571-042-0, 312pp including b/w photographs
News magazine articles
"A Night To Remember But.." (Commemorating the semi-centennial of Black Africa's first world championship boxing contest fought between Nigeria's Dick Tiger and the American Gene Fullmer on August 10th 1963). Africa Today, Vol. 19, No. 0809, August/September (2013) 31-34.
Journal articles
"Old Man of Biafra" (Chapter Excerpt from the biography Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal). African Renaissance, Vol 2, No 5 September/October (2005) 124-130
"Boxing: Rousing the Nigerian Giant." African Renaissance, Vol 2, No 2 March/April (2005) 68-73.
Book reviews
"On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World"​. Global Security and Intelligence Studies Journal, Vol 2, Number 1 (2016)103-105.
"Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire." Covert Policing, Terrorism and Intelligence Law Review, Vol 2, Issue 2 (2014)159-161.
Textbook contributions
"Pug of Ages: Weep for Me." Essay reproduced in Writing the Synthesis Essay, edited by John Brassil et al. New Jersey: Peoples Education, 2008 13-15.
Encyclopaedia articles
"The Africans: Boxing and Africa" in The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, edited by Gerald Early, New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
"Jose Torres: The Boxer as Writer" in The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, edited by Gerald Early, New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
Conference Papers
"Intelligence and Accountability: From the Cold War to the War on Terror." Presented at 'The Past, Present and Future of Intelligence' on 25th May 2013 at Aberystwyth University under the auspices of the Centre for Intelligence and International Security Studies (CIISS).
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following books:
Lis, Daniel. Jewish Identity among the Igbo of Nigeria: Israel's "Lost Tribe" and the Question of Belonging in the Jewish State. Africa World Press, Nov. 2014.
Oliver, Brian. The Commonwealth Games: Extraordinary Stories Behind the Medals. Bloomsbury Sport, May 2014.
Torromeo, Dario; Esposito, Franco. I Pugni Degli Eroi. Absolutely Free Editore, Dec 2013.
Achebe, Chinua. There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra. Allen Lane, Sept. 2012.
Hall, Karen L. Game Plan: A Social History of Sport in Alberta. University of Alberta Press, Jun 2012.
Hudson, David L. Boxing in America: An Autopsy. Praeger Publishers, Jun 2012.
Redner, Charles. Down But Never Out. Open Books Press, Feb. 2010.
Work cited: Democracy, Terrorism and the Secret State: From the Era of Gladio to the War on Terror., Jan. 2013.
Cited in the following book:
Paterson, Graham L. A Constitutional Journey. Xlibris, Feb. 2013.
Work cited: The Politics of Anthony Mundine., Oct. 2001.
Cited in the following book:
Sarra, Chris. Strong and Smart - Towards a Pedagogy for Emancipation: Education for First Peoples (Part of New Studies in Critical Realism and Education Series). Routledge, Aug. 2012.
Academic Journals
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following journal:
Gennaro, Michael. "The Whole Place is in Pandemonium: Dick Tiger versus Gene Fullmer III and the Consumption of Boxing in Nigeria." The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 30, Issue 16 2013.
Work cited: Retreading Hagler Versus Hearns., Apr. 2002.
Cited in the following journal:
Ehrlichman, Brad. "In This Corner: An Analysis of Federal Boxing Legislation." Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. May 2011.
Academic Textbooks
Work cited: Pug of Ages: Weep For Me., Oct. 2002.
Reproduced in the following textbook:
Brassil, John et al. Writing the Synthesis Essay. Peoples Education, 2007.
Reference books
Work cited: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal. Word Association, May 2005.
Cited in the following books:
The Editors of Salem Press. Great Athletes - Boxing & Soccer (Volume 1 of a 12-Volume set). Salem Press, Sept. 2014.
Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Boxing. Scarecrow Press, Jan. 2014.
Akyeampong, Emmanuel K.; Gates, Henry Louis (Editors). Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford University Press, Dec. 2011.
Hudson, David L. Combat Sports: An Encyclopedia of Wrestling, Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts. Greenwood Press, Apr. 2009
Gates, Henry Louis; Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks (Editors). The African-American National Biography. Oxford University Press. Mar. 2008.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)