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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, June 3, 2013 at 3:26 PM

After over three years of pretrial and motions hearings, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s court martial begins today at Ft. Meade, report Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post. Manning faces 22 charges for allegedly giving WikiLeaks 700,000 classified government and military files. Carrie Johnson of National Public Radio has more. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian is on the scene, and outlines the key issues at stake. And Eli Lake at the Daily Beast writes about Manning’s effect on the War on Terror.

From the Department of Finally: David E. Sanger and Mark Landler of the New York Times tell us that the U.S. and China have agreed to hold talks on hacking, beginning in July. President Obama and President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet next Friday to get the ball rolling on the process; they will also discuss the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called out the Chinese over the weekend for what he called “the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military.” Thus reports CNN’s Security Clearance blog. The Associated Press also covers his remarks, which came at a security conference in Singapore over the weekend.

Peter Finn of the Post says that jury selection begins today in the trial of three Somali pirates accused of killing four Americans on board their yacht in 2011.

A board of U.S. military mental health experts has found that Abd al Rahim al Nashiri suffers from PTSD and depression—but is competent to stand trial for his role in, among other things, the bombing of the USS Cole. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald has the story. Wells and Raffaela will be covering the hearing live from Ft. Meade when it resumes next Tuesday.

Ms. Rosenberg also reports that rumors that two Guantanamo Bay detainees had been repatriated to Mauritania were false.

The Congressional Research Service has a new report about the legal issues surrounding the closing of Guantanamo Bay. (h/t Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News).

Joe Nocera has an op-ed in the Times arguing that “force-feeding violates international law” and may even qualify as torture.

The Times reported over the weekend on Eric Holder’s critics from within the White House, who are “apoplectic” with the attorney general and would like him to step down. Josh Gerstein of Politico pushes back on some of the accusations and speculation reported in the Times story.

Bill Keller of the Times discusses the government’s recent leak investigations, saying that the current bill Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has introduced in the House is a good version of a federal shield law.

Iraqi authorities have uncovered an Al Qaeda plot to release chemical weapons using remote controlled toy planes, reports BBC.

A suicide bomber killed nine children and two NATO troops in eastern Afghanistan today, announces the AP.

Pamela Constable of the Post tells us about one Farhad Akbari, a construction engineer-turned-Batman who has formed his own fighting force against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kolangar region.

The news from CNN’s Paul Courson: the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 late last week. It revealed, among several important findings and trends, that Iran has resurfaced as a state sponsor of terrorism, Libya’s “security vacuum” has created space for terrorists to operate, and Al Qaeda core’s “ability to direct the activities and attacks of its affiliates has diminished, as its leaders focus increasingly on survival.”

According to Paul Sonne at the Wall Street Journal, the Russian Federal Security Service hinted to a Congressional delegation that it did not know about Boston marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s trip to Dagestan last year.

Speaking of not knowing, Reuters reports that German officials have said that they have “no knowledge” of U.S. drones flying to Africa from German bases.

Defense analysts from ten think tanks have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and leaders in Congress urging action on the defense budget. Jeremy Herb at The Hill has the details.

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 blog, 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.