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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Dear Readers: You’re all stuck with me for the next week and a half while Raffaela takes a bit of a break.

Let’s begin with more news on those three comrades of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who were arrested in connection with the Boston marathon bombings. The two Kazakh citizens, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov—who were being detained on allegations that they overstayed their student visas—were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements, and an American friend of Tsarnaev’s, Robel K. Phillipos, faces only the latter charge. Note this chilling vignette from the New York Times:

Three days after the blasts, as photographs of the then-unidentified suspects blanketed television and the Internet, Mr. Kadyrbayev sent Mr. Tsarnaev a text message: one photograph, he wrote, bore a marked resemblance to him.

“lol,” Mr. Tsarnaev coolly replied. “you better not text me.”

He added: “come to my room and take whatever you want.”

Later that evening, he told interrogators, he came to see that request as a thinly veiled plea to cover up his crime.

The Boston Globe is on top of the latest details with its complete coverage of the bombings.

Michael Mukasey, former U.S. attorney general, discusses Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s legal rights in this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, arguing that the suspect should not have been afforded those he was given:

There is one question about the Tsarnaev legal matter for which no answer readily appears: Why did the Justice Department order U.S. Marshals to bring a magistrate judge to Mr. Tsarnaev’s hospital room on April 22 to advise him of a right he did not have if he was being questioned for intelligence purposes, and to introduce him to a lawyer with no authority to advise him in connection with such questioning?

Why indeed. Regrettably, it appears that here we must fall back to the Obama administration’s frequently articulated concern, always presented in overarching moral terms, that America must prove to a constantly doubting world that the U.S. can follow the law even—especially—when it confers rights on unlovely folk like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and even if those rights don’t quite exist. Here, maybe it is time that our hectoring schoolmasters and schoolmarms consider a lesson taught by the philosopher Blaise Pascal: The first rule of morality is to think clearly.

Peter Finn and Julie Tate of the Washington Post discuss the fate of the ever hungrier detainees at Guantanamo Bay—now 100 strong—in the wake of President Obama’s comments on Tuesday.

Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai believes the detention facility should be shuttered—for whatever his opinion is worth. Jeremy Herb at the Hill has the story. But President Karzai isn’t the only one; Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Cuba’s foreign minister, told the United Nations that the prison “should be shut down and that territory should be returned to Cuba,” according to Agence France Presse.

The invaluable Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald talked to National Public Radio about force feeding at Guantanamo Bay:

The Wall Street Journal argues in this editorial that President Obama is going against his own administration’s terrorism policies. (See Ben’s post arguing just this). The editorial concludes:

In other words, Mr. Obama as Commander in Chief wants to use the means that the Bush era gave him to fight terrorism, but he also wants to pretend for political reasons that he’s somehow different. This pose isn’t protecting him from criticism on the left, and increasingly it is creating an opening for the misrepresentations of a Rand Paul to undermine the tools the U.S. still needs to avoid more Boston marathon bombings. Mr. Obama should try honesty instead.

The FBI is appealing to the public once again for help identifying suspects it believes might have more information about the Benghazi attacks, reports the Associated Press.

The Department of Defense has published this lengthy report on military and security developments in North Korea.

The Times has this account of the path Adm. William H. McRaven is charting for Special Operations Command, as well as the obstacles he faces. The Hill has more.

Mosi Secret of the Times gives us some of the just-released details about three men who were charged with providing material support to Al Shabaab last year, and who are being tried in federal court in Brooklyn. One is a British citizen, one is a Swedish citizen, and the nationality of the third remains unknown.

In news from the Indian subcontinent, ever-simmering Afghanistan-Pakistan tensions flared yesterday, with a cross-border clash leading to the death of an Afghan border policeman. Two Pakistani soldiers were injured, says Rod Nordland of the Times and Reuters.

Much ado over the death of Sarabjit Singh (no relation), the Indian prisoner who was jailed in Pakistan for spying, and was severely beaten with bricks by his fellow inmates. The BBC has the story.

And, take note, people. Today is a big day for feminism. After all the obstacles women have faced in this regard, one of us has finally stepped up to the plate—and leaned way in: The FBI reports that, for the first time, it has added a woman to the Most Wanted Terrorist List. It’s today’s Moment of Zen-der Equality.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter and check out the Lawfare News Feed, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief,  Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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