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Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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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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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WaPo: Ashton Carter to be Nominated As Next SecDef

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

The Washington Post reports: President Obama will nominate Ashton B. Carter, a physicist with long experience in national security circles and at the Pentagon, as his new secretary of defense, according to a person familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Carter would succeed Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator who is being pushed aside . . .
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How to Deep Fry a Turkey Safely

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Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 2:00 PM

My favorite ever Washington Post editorial was this one, entitled “A Deep-Fried Thanksgiving Tradition,” which was a sort of comic meditation on the dangers and attractions of the deep-fried turkey. It concluded: To be fair, turkey-frying (which seems to be done mostly by men) reflects features of the national character for which we can, as a . . .
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What Does the Swiss Coat of Arms Have to do with the Immigration Imbroglio?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM

If you peruse the darker corners of the U.S. criminal code—as I used to do in my youthful efforts to educate myself in law without going to law school—you’ll eventually stumble across 18 U.S.C. § 708, which bizarrely makes it a federal crime to “willfully use[] . . . for any trade or commercial purpose, the coat of . . .
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Confiscating Passports: Is this a Good Way to Stop Citizens from Joining Jihadists in Syria and Iraq?

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Thousands of westerners, including at least 100 Americans and more than 500 Britons, are known to have joined ISIS or the Al Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq. In the United States and the United Kingdom small numbers may have already come back, and some of these may have nefarious plots in mind. An undisclosed number . . .
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A Charlie Brown Congress

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Sometimes metaphors are subtle … but sometimes they just slap you in the face.  So it has been the past two days as my wife and I went walking on Capitol Hill.  As we did we saw the Congressional Christmas tree being planted in all its splendor. Except it wasn’t that splendid.  It reminded us . . .
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Happy Guy Fawkes Day

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 5:59 PM

The only holiday devoted to celebrating the failure of non-state actors to destroy the symbols and institutions of state power.

KSM: The Face for Hair Removal Product

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 11:17 AM

It’s Ben’s birthday, and a very kind person sent over this excellent story in Slate as a present. It begins:   Turkish hair removal product ad featuring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed pic.twitter.com/KImYWPjaop — yusuf sayman (@ysfsymn) October 31, 2014 A Turkish cosmetics company committed—in nonadvertising speak—a bit of a marketing no-no when it used a picture of . . .
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The First Rule of Brookings Fight Club

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Friday, October 31, 2014 at 4:38 PM

The first rule of Brookings Fight Club is: Ask a guy in a bunny suit to serve as your referee. Ever wanted to kick your boss’s ass? Ever been so frustrated with an intern you just wanted to clock him? It’s been one of those weeks at Brookings, so we started Brookings Fight Club. Intern . . .
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Dronestagram

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Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Stumbling around the internet last night, I found this gem: Dronestagram. It’s exactly what you would think; a free, user-built collection of videos and pictures shot by drones from all around the world. In this great little project you can… Take part in the “Drone de France”: Or, tour the rest of the world with . . .
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Hawk v. Drone

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Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Excellent!

Is “The Death of Klinghoffer” Anti-Semitic?

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Monday, October 6, 2014 at 9:22 AM

A fight has broken out in New York over an opera: Jewish groups are protesting the Metropolitan Opera’s production of a work called The Death of Klinghoffer, which dramatizes the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking by Palestinian terrorists and the resulting murder of a wheelchair-bound Jewish vacationer named Leon Klinghoffer. The complaint against the opera? It supposedly . . .
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How a Blonde Tattooed Texas Girl Became an ISIS Twitter Star

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Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Last Monday, I had 60 followers on Twitter. Today, I have more than 4,300. Not to brag or anything, but that’s more than Benjamin Wittes; more than Bobby Chesney; more than Jack Goldsmith; more than my boss, Daniel Byman. But here’s the problem: A healthy number of them are Islamic extremists, including no small number of . . .
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In Spate of New ATS Decisions, Courts Are Divided About Meaning of Kiobel’s “Touch and Concern” Standard

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Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

During the last several weeks, four different federal courts have issued decisions in high-profile and long-running ATS suits against U.S. corporations, all addressing whether the conduct of the defendants in the United States satisfies the amorphous “touch and concern” standard enunciated by the majority in the Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision. In brief: the Eleventh Circuit . . .
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Drone Dance

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Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Austrian drone-swarm dance with lights. Very cool.

A New Readership Demographic?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Wells, always on the lookout for new readers, does some market research in Massachusetts. At least they didn’t answer, “Just Security“!

Deteriorating U.S.-Russian Relations and Treaty Compliance

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Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Proceeding in lockstep with a general chill in relations brought about by the Ukraine crisis, the United States and the Russian Federation are currently at odds over compliance with international arms treaties, most notably the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement (INF). Reuters reported that American and Russian officials will meet in Moscow today to discuss allegations . . .
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World War II-Era Herbert Weschler Memo on Conspiracy as War Crime

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Monday, September 8, 2014 at 4:20 PM

This is a pretty interesting document: A 1944 memo from Herbert Weschler, then assistant attorney general, outlining the U.S. government’s developing view of conspiracy as a war crime. The interesting thing is how similar the internal discussion of the subject in 1944 is to the one going on now in the Bahlul case—and how similar . . .
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Obama’s Foreign Policy and the Nirvana Fallacy

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 1:03 PM

President Obama’s foreign policy appears in shambles.  Many of his major decisions – decisions to act, and not to act – seem to have turned out badly.  To take a few examples of prominent criticisms: If the President had not intervened in Libya, we would not now face the large terrorist threats and related disorder . . .
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