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Category Archives: International Law

The SSCI Report and Its Critics: Torturing Efficacy

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Polarization surrounding the SSCI Report (see here for Lawfare’s coverage) has been most pronounced on the efficacy of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). The Report and its supporters have proclaimed that EITs never produce useful information. Unfortunately, that pat assertion undermines the possibility of a consensus on future interrogation tactics, including a consensus that rules out . . .
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Thoughts on the SSCI Report, Part I: Introduction and Overview

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Monday, December 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM

I have now spent enough quality time with the SSCI interrogation report—and with minority views and the CIA response—that I am ready to begin commenting upon it. This is not to say I have finished reading it all; far from it. A plane flight to Israel and a lot of other hours have only gotten . . .
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Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority, and the CIA: Part Five

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Friday, December 12, 2014 at 9:36 PM

Here is the fifth and final installment in our running, side-by-side comparison of the twenty findings and conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program—along  with responses by the Committee Minority and the CIA. Summaries of Study findings seventeen through twenty can be found below.  By way of reminder, . . .
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The UK’s Article 51 Letter on Use of Force in Syria

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Friday, December 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Several weeks ago, the United Kingdom submitted an Article 51 letter to the Security Council providing notice that the UK was taking measures against ISIS “in support of the collective self-defence of Iraq as part of international efforts led by the United States.”  The letter further stated that the UK “fully supports these international efforts, . . .
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Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority, and the CIA: Part Four

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Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 4:25 PM

In this post, we proceed with Lawfare’s ongoing, side-by-side comparison of the SSCI Study’s key findings, and responses to them by both the SSCI Minority as well as the CIA. By way of reminder, the SSCI’s Study made twenty findings and conclusions about the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices after 9/11—twelve of which the blog has summarized so . . .
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CIA Director Brennan Delivers a Statement on SSCI Report

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Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 1:28 PM

At approximately 1:40 p.m., John Brennan, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will make a statement on the SSCI’s detention and interrogation study.  Here’s the CSPAN video: Here is the text of Brennan’s remarks: It was 8:46 a.m. on the morning of September 11th, 2001, when the North Tower of the World Trade Center . . .
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Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority and the CIA: Part 2

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Below, you will find the second installment in our ongoing effort to identify, in summary form, key areas of dispute as between the SSCI, the SSCI minority, and the CIA with regard the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. As you surely know by now, all three today released long-anticipated reports regarding the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and . . .
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Released: SSCI Detention and Interrogation Study, Along With Minority Views and the CIA’s Response

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Here is the long-awaited Executive Summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The latter includes in a single file a foreword authored by Senator Feinstein, as well as the Study’s findings and conclusions.  Additionally, the Committee also has published these materials: Senator Feinstein’s statement;  a history of key dates in in . . .
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Senator Feinstein to Speak on the Senate Floor Regarding the SSCI Report and Torture

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

We expect the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman to address the chamber, and to discuss her Committee’s long-anticipated study, sometime between 11 and 11:15. A link to C-SPAN’s coverage is here;  the Washington Post’s live feed is below.  We will publish Senator Feinstein’s remarks, if and when we see them in print. Update: we have removed the . . .
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A “Buffer Zone” Inside Syria, and Its Complications

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Friday, December 5, 2014 at 6:34 PM

The United States and Turkey seem to be having increasingly detailed discussions about establishing a no-fly zone (or “buffer zone”) inside the northern Syrian border adjacent to Turkey. The press reports that Turkey is conditioning the U.S. use of Turkey’s Incirlik air base for armed flights on the U.S. willingness to establish such a zone. The . . .
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ICC Prosecutor Advances Examination of U.S. Detention Policies in Afghanistan

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

As Professors Ryan Goodman and David Bosco have both noted in excellent posts at Just Security and Foreign Policy, respectively, over the past seven years, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor has quietly but persistently advanced a “preliminary examination” of the conflict in Afghanistan.  Although it has been clear that the United States was one . . .
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Rules of Engagement for the War in Afghanistan in 2015

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 10:44 AM

As reported in an article in the New York Times back on November 21, President Obama recently decided to expand the set of circumstances in which the U.S. military might use force in Afghanistan during 2015. What is the precise nature of that expansion, so far as we can tell from that story? Or put . . .
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China’s ADIZ at One Year

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM

A year ago this week, China abruptly declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering a large area of the East China Sea, including islands the legal possession of which China disputes with Japan.  Over on the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative – a terrific new online resource for information, analysis and commentary on Asian maritime . . .
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U.S. Delegation Asserts Article 16 of Convention Against Torture Applies Outside U.S. Territority in Certain Circumstances, but Law of Armed Conflict “Takes Precedence” In Situations of Armed Conflict

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

As previewed by Charlie Savage in the New York Times this morning, the U.S. delegation appeared before the Committee Against Torture in Geneva today and announced a modest but important change in the U.S. Government position regarding extraterritorial application of Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture (which prohibits cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in . . .
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The Obama Administration’s Position on the CAT

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM

The New York Times’ Charlie Savage has the scoop: WASHINGTON — A treaty ban on cruel treatment will restrict how the United States may treat prisoners in certain places abroad, the Obama administration is expected to tell the United Nations on Wednesday, according to officials. That interpretation would change a disputed Bush administration theory that the cruelty ban does . . .
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A Primer on Japan’s Constitutional Reinterpretation and Right to Collective Self-Defense

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Friday, November 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

By the end of the year, the United States and Japan are expected to release revised Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. For the first time in seventeen years, the two nations will modernize the framework that governs the U.S.-Japan alliance in times of both peace and war. While the revised Guidelines will encompass many areas of . . .
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Folk International Law and the Application of LOAC in Counterterrorism Operations

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Naz Modirzadeh’s fascinating series of Lawfare posts (here, here, and here) discussing her article, Folk International Law, provides an excellent primer on the potential consequences and confusion that result from amalgamating distinct legal doctrines, regardless of whether such creative tinkering is couched under the rubric of “policy.” In particular, I think the debate between Modirzadeh and Professor Marty Lederman actually underscores one . . .
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A Bit More On the Debate About the Extraterritorial Scope of the Torture Convention’s Provisions on Cruelty

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Monday, October 27, 2014 at 7:45 AM

In his piece on Nobel Peace Prize Laureates pressuring the President to disclose information about torture, Charlie Savage explains why some officials in the administration oppose the broad extraterritorial expansion of Article 16 of the CAT: The officials opposed to accepting the cruelty provision as applying abroad insist they do not want to resume abusive . . .
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New CNAS Program on Autonomous Weapons

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) last week announced a new project on “Ethical Autonomy.” (This is a topic on which Ken and I have written, most recently in a piece co-authored with Daniel Reisner titled “Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems.”) CNAS’s description of the project is below. The . . .
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Folk Law and Obama Administration Mythology: Four Stakes

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Marty Lederman and I have been engaged in a debate over the past few weeks, and last Monday he wrote a lengthy and thoughtful “Monday Reflection” over at Just Security concerning some of my arguments here at Lawfare and in my article, Folk International Law. I would like to use this post, my last in . . .
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