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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 12:09 PM

In the federal case brought by Judicial Watch in May to release photos depicting Osama bin Laden’s death, the federal government has filed several documents in support of its argument against release. Josh Gerstein at the Politico reviews the documents in depth, and posts all of the documents as well. They are: government’s motion, Bennett’s . . .
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A Move Toward Military Commissions Transparency–And a Promise

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Monday, September 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Raffaela linked earlier today to the Weekly Standard article in which the new military commissions chief prosecutor, Brig. General Mark Martins, announced some important new steps towards transparency in commission trials. The point appears in passing in what is really more of profile of Martins, and it reads as though the magazine did not quite understand . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, September 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Let’s start with some big military commissions news. Mark Martins, the new Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions has proposed that Guantanamo cases be broadcast on a 40-second delay to sites in the United States to allow more people, including the media and victims, to watch the court proceedings. Up until now only those actually at . . .
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The ICRC Has Launched a Blog

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Monday, September 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

And a rather snazzy-looking one at that. It’s called Intercross and its first post, by Simon Schorno, says it is about “the plight of children, women and men affected by armed conflict and armed violence. Intercross is about humanitarian action. It is about the work the ICRC and international humanitarian law and the rich history of . . .
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Charlie Savage on Legal Policy Inside the Bush and Obama Administrations

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Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Charlie Savage of the New York Times has a long essay, available on Amazon (for 99 cents), called Power Wars: Unmasking National Security Legal Policy Deliberations Under Bush & Obama.  The essay is adapted from his keynote presentation nine days ago at the Harvard-Brookings conference on “Law, Security, & Liberty After 9/11: Looking to the . . .
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Government Requests Rehearing in Vance

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Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 9:50 PM

The government has moved the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear en banc the Vance case, which last month allowed a suit to proceed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld by U.S. citizens who claim they were illegally detained and tortured in Iraq–and with some high-power amicus support. The rehearing petition summarizes the case as follows: . . .
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A Military Commission for Daqduq in the US?

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Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

I have written previously about the pros and cons of the military commission option for Ali Mussa Daqduq, a member of Hezbollah whom we have been holding in military custody in Iraq for some period based on his involvement in orchestrating attacks on American soldiers there.  The long and short of it is that we . . .
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Post-Argument Letter from the Government in Suleiman v. Obama

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Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 2:14 PM

An update on the Suleiman case: on Friday, the government filed this letter, which sought to clarify the government’s views of three issues that were raised at oral argument on September 16. First and most significant, attorneys Robert Loeb and John Drennan discuss the legal effect of a hypothetical peace deal with the Taliban. They . . .
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Second Circuit Affirms in Arms Sale Stemming from Sting

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Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 10:14 PM

A Second Circuit panel has affirmed, in United States v.Kassar (2d Cir. Sep. 21, 2011), the conviction of three defendants who were convicted on charges stemming from a sting operation involving a faux effort by the FARC to obtain weapons for use against U.S. personnel.  It’s a fascinating fact pattern.  As for the issues treated . . .
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Uthman Cert Petition

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Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM

Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Guantanamo habeas petitioner, has filed a cert petition, asking the Supreme Court to review the D.C. Circuit’s March decision in his case. The cert petition presents two questions for review: 1. Whether the Authorization of Use of Military Force, Pub. L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224 (2001) (‘‘AUMF”), authorizes the . . .
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Speaking of OFAC, the 9th Circuit Just Ruled Against Its Designation Process…But Also Found It Didn’t Matter as to al-Haramain

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Friday, September 23, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Speaking of OFAC’s process for sanctions designations, the 9th Circuit has just ruled against it in a case involving the constitutionality of its designation process, though it also held that the designation of the plaintiff (al-Haramain) was appropriate.  The opinion concludes: In summary, we hold as follows: 1. Substantial evidence supports the redesignation of AHIF-Oregon as a specially . . .
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The Haqqani Network Not (Yet) a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization: Ridiculous, I Agree, But How Much Does It Matter?

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Friday, September 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I had not realized till today that the State Department has not yet gotten around to designated the Haqqani Network to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization (see the current list here).  Such a designation would bring to bear, among other things, immigration-related constraints as well as the applicability of 18 USC 2339B (forbidding any knowing provision . . .
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Another Cert Petition to Get Munaf and Kiyemba II Before the Justices

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Friday, September 23, 2011 at 5:29 PM

It comes in the case of Abdah and is available here, posing the following question: Whether, in a habeas corpus action, a Guantánamo detainee has a right to challenge his transfer to a foreign country on the ground that he is likely to be tortured there, and a court has the power to enjoin the . . .
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Fourth Circuit Holds Tort Suits Against Military Contractors by Iraqis Alleging Abuse Preempted

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Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit announced decisions in Al Shimari v. CACI International and Al-Quraishi v. L-3 Services, Inc. Both cases involved tort suits brought by Iraqi civilians against U.S. military contractors alleged to have engaged in detention and interrogation abuses in Iraq in cooperation with U.S. military forces. The district courts in both cases denied the . . .
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Pakistan and Material Support for the Haqqani Network and for Attacks on American Soldiers

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Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Admiral Mullen, who will soon step down as CJCS, offered the following blunt language in his prepared testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning: Extremist organizations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians as well as U.S. soldiers. For example, we believe the Haqqani Network—which has . . .
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Civ-Mil Relations and the JAG Corps in the Bush Years: What Are the Best Analyses?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM

At Best Defense, Tom Ricks takes note of recent comments from Senator Graham relating to clashes between the TJAGs and DOD-OGC during the Bush Administration, and then asks: Is it time for a military journal or law review to step up and do an in-depth look at the Bush Administration vs. the JAGs? (If you . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary (Special Drones Edition, The Sequel)

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Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

A drone attack in southern Yemen has killed 10 al Qaeda suspects, reports the AFP. Greg Miller at the Washington Post reflects on lessons learned as the U.S. moves to build secret drone bases in Yemen and north Africa. Popular Science‘s  Clay Dillow opines on how long it will take for drones to become autonomous. . . .
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Another ATS Decision: Fourth Circuit Holds Aiding and Abetting Liability Requires Specific Intent

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM

Adding to the flurry of recent Alien Tort Statute appellate decisions, on Monday the Fourth Circuit issued its opinion in Aziz v. Alcolac, an ATS and TVPA suit brought by Iraqi Kurds against a US company that had supplied a chemical used by the Saddam Hussein regime to manufacture mustard gas used against the Kurds . . .
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Against a Crude Balance

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Those who enjoyed my two recent posts reflecting on Benjamin Franklin’s and Robert Jackson’s comments on the liberty-security relationship, may enjoy the larger piece of work from which those posts were spun off. The paper, just published on the Brookings web site, is entitled “Against a Crude Balance: Platform Security and the Hostile Symbiosis Between Liberty . . .
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Today’s Headlines and Commentary (Special Drones Edition)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Lots of drones news today. The U.S. is building secret drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Read Tim Mak’s report in the Politico here, the Washington Post’s coverage by Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller here, and the Telegraph’s Mike Pflanz’ story here. Peter Finn in the Washington Post writes about the potential for . . .
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