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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM

The Senate’s Three Amigos (John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham) have penned this op-ed in the Washington Post on being successful in Afghanistan.

Jack has posted on Slate an account of how President Obama has come to accept, indeed approve of, military commissions to prosecute captured Al Qaeda operatives. Quote of the day:

The revival and acceptance of military commissions is a happy development in the long war against Islamist terrorists. These commissions provide the president with a third tool for terrorist incapacitation in addition to civilian trials (which have evidentiary rules that are sometimes too demanding for battlefield captures, and which in any event Congress has banned for GITMO terrorists) and military detention (which many believe is too lax in its criteria for indefinite incapacitation).

And TNR posts the Center on Constitutional Rights’ response to Jack’s prior post on civil liberties and the war on terror in that magazine as well as Jack’s response to that.

After reports that Mohammad Merah, the suspect in the killing in France this week, was arrested in Afghanistan and then escaped from the prison where he was held, Afghan police chief in Kandahar Province, Brig. Gen. Abdul Raziq, is denying that the prisoner who appears in these reports is the same person. Matthew Rosenberg and Sangar Rahimi at the New York Times cover his remarks.

Looks like U.S. talks with Qatar over the possible transfer of five Taliban detainees and Guantanamo have stalled over U.S. demands that the five not be permitted to leave the country. Read Adam Enous, Julian Barnes and Yaroslav Trofimov at the Wall Street Journal‘s story (caution: paywall).

The Arab Times reports that the Kuwaiti Parliament’s Human Rights Committee has requested inclusion at an upcoming meeting between Kuwaiti Guantanamo detainees Fayez Al Kandari and Fawzi Ouda and government officials. The committee also condemned their continued detention without trial.

And members of Congress are responding to the Pakistani parliament’s demands for an end to drone strikes and for an apology for the NATO strike that killed two dozen Pakistani troops: Senators Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham have all come out in support of the use of drones in targeting terrorists,  writes Voice of America.

Karen DeYoung at the Post then tells us that it is likely that Afghan officials will push for a veto power over the controversial night raids on private homes in Afghanistan in their meetings today with U.S. counterparts.

The Blog of Legal Times discusses the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s suit against the NSA over a FOIA request for details of the agency’s communication with Google regarding encrypting Gmail. The case is before the D.C. Circuit.

The Yemeni military attack in Abyan province has resulted in the deaths of 29 Al Qaeda militants, the AP tells us this morning.

Corey Flintoff at NPR writes on how the case against Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will work in the military justice system.

Jurist tells us that the ACLU has filed a petition against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on  behalf of six detainees held in Afghanistan and Iraq by U.S. military. This case was dismissed by the D.C. District Court back in 2007, and the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the dismissal last June.

Libya’s interim authorities are trying their darndest in the International Criminal Court to maintain custody over Muammar Qaddafi’s son and brother-in-law, who are considered to be the former dictator’s closest confidantes. Libyan officials would like to try them within the country for war crimes. Read David Kirkpatrick and Marlise Simons’ coverage of the two cases before the ICC at the Times.

Wired’s Threat Level blog covers the hearing yesterday in the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, in which NSA chief General Keith Alexander testified on the NSA’s warrantless monitoring of Americans’ communications. Get all the hearing’s documents and watch a video here.

ABC’s Boston affiliate WCVB interviews aero-astro Professor John Hansman at MIT as well as ACLU Massachusetts ED Nancy Murray on drones (video). MIT’s not the only one: that deal for Russia’s Irkut to design a small drone for Vietnam has been finalized, says Space Daily.

NPR’s Morning Edition has this great report on cybersecurity legislation.

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