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Category Archives: Terrorism Trials: Civilian Court

Thoughts on the Al-Marri Release

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 10:28 AM

In October 2009, Ali Saleh Al-Marri was sentenced to more than eight years in prison under a plea deal the Al Qaeda sleeper agent had struck with federal prosecutors. Quietly, on January 16, Al-Marri was released—having served just over five years of his time. Reports the Washington Post: Ali Saleh Mohammad Kahlah al-Marri, 49, was released from a maximum . . .
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Welcome to Brooklyn: 2 AQ members who attacked US forces abroad brought to US for civilian trial

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 12:27 PM

An interesting development in the ongoing debate regarding the optimal disposition for captured al Qaeda members: The Justice Department has just announced that two al Qaeda members (both citizens of Yemen) were captured in Saudi Arabia (and have now been “lawfully expelled” to the United States to face a civilian criminal trial in the Eastern . . .
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Did the FBI Just Prevent an Attack in DC from a Homegrown ISIS Supporter?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 6:12 PM

A very, very big arrest in Cincinnati today, involving allegations that a man named Christopher Cornell (online alias Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah) had planned to travel to DC in order to carry out an attack (via assault rifle) at the Capitol. It appears Cornell was arrested today after he purchased two ArmaLite M-15s. How did the . . .
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Law Enforcement as a Counterterrorism Tool

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Monday, January 12, 2015 at 10:39 AM

As I read the exchange between Bryan, Wells and Jack about law enforcement versus military methods of dealing with terrorism, I was reminded of a speech I gave at the Brookings Institution in 2010, which was later turned into an article.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, I found that I continue largely to agree with myself, . . .
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On War and Crime

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Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Yesterday at Lawfare, Bryan Cunningham sought to breathe new life into the “military versus law enforcement” debate over terrorism, along the way deeming the horrific assaults in Paris to be “consequences” of France’s police-centric strategy. He thus finds fault with the current counterterrorism regime generally, and invites others to join in a broader discussion about . . .
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Convening Authority Invalidates Military Commission Conviction

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Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9:19 PM

It seems the D.C. Circuit’s commission jurisprudence is kicking in. Here’s the news from The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg: A retired Marine general responsible for the Guantánamo war court has overturned the terror conviction through plea bargain of a Sudanese man who was sent home a little over a year ago as a war criminal, the Pentagon . . .
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Two Basic Problems With Abstention in Nashiri

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Wells already flagged yesterday’s D.D.C. decision by Judge Roberts, refusing to enjoin Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad Al Nashiri’s impending trial by military commission, and abstaining from reaching the merits of his habeas petition until and unless he’s convicted and is unsuccessful in the direct post-conviction appeal provided by the Military Commissions Act. Interested (or, at least, hyper-attentive) readers may . . .
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DDC Won’t Halt Al-Nashiri’s Military Commission at GTMO

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Such is the gist of Judge Richard Roberts’ order, issued yesterday in the context of the high-value Guantanamo detainee’s habeas case in D.C. district court. The opinion opens: Guantánamo detainee Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad Al Nashiri submitted an amended petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the respondents’ attempts to try him by . . .
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9/11 Defense Counsel on the CIA’s Response to the SSCI Study

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Friday, December 12, 2014 at 2:08 PM

James Connell III, lawyer for 9/11 accused Ammar al-Baluchi, had this to say today: “The CIA and its defenders are using Mr. al Baluchi as a scapegoat for its illegal and reprehensible use of torture,” said James Connell, civilian attorney for Mr. al Baluchi.  “The United States spent incredible amounts of money, energy, and American . . .
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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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The D.C. Circuit’s Mandamus Jurisdiction and the Legitimacy of the Military Commissions

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Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM

It now appears that the next military commissions case in which the D.C. Circuit will hear oral argument is that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (“Nashiri”), with oral argument scheduled before an as-yet unnamed three-judge panel on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. And although the underlying “merits” issue in Nashiri is hyper-narrow (whether two of the three judges set to hear . . .
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DC Circuit Temporarily Stays United States’ Appeal in Al-Nashiri, Pending Consideration of Mandamus Petition

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 8:55 PM

The order grants a motion filed by Al-Nashiri, and was handed down today by Circuit Judges Cornelia Pillard and Judith Rogers, over the dissent of Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It’s gist is temporarily to pause the government’s appeal, to the Court of Military Commission Review (“CMCR”), of the dismissal of some (though not all) of the capital military . . .
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Detainee Transferred from Afghanistan to US for Trial: A Model for GTMO Closure?

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

A very interesting development today with respect to the ongoing effort to complete the shut-down of US-administered military detention in Afghanistan: As you may recall, we have long since ceased holding any Afghans in military detention in Afghanistan, but we have maintained a rump population of non-Afghan detainees in our control. It has been clear . . .
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Russian Bagram Detainee Set for Federal Prosecution in U.S.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Or so I gather from this Washington Post piece, which opens thusly: A Russian captured fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan and held for years at a detention facility near Bagram air base will be flown to the United States to be prosecuted in federal court, according to U.S. officials. The move marks the first time a foreign . . .
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Supreme Court Denies Cert in Mehanna and Ali Cases

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Monday, October 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM

It’s not just the same-sex marriage cases. The Supreme Court today also denied petitions for certiorari in a pair of cases we’ve been following. The first petition was from Tarek Mehanna, a Massachusetts man who was previously convicted for providing material support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339. Andy Wang provided . . .
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Judge Kaplan Accepts Adel Abdul Bary Guilty Plea

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times has the scoop on the plea bargain, about which U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan initially had harbored reservations, given the 25-year maximum sentence in play: A federal judge in Manhattan said on Tuesday that he would accept a guilty plea from a terrorism defendant who would face a . . .
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Why Article III Matters: A Reply to Peter Margulies on al Bahlul

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 10:23 PM

I must confess that I don’t fully understand Peter Margulies’ response to my post from earlier today. My post argued that the bottom-side briefing in the D.C. Circuit in al Bahlul offers a relatively weak (and, in my view, already debunked) explanation for why Congess can allow allow military commissions to try enemy belligerents for wholly domestic offenses without . . .
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Will the Supreme Court Take Up Mehanna?

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Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Does translating “radical” Arab texts and videos amount to material support for terrorism? That is the question that would face the Supreme Court, should they decide to take up Mehanna v. United States. (For full background and facts on the case, see our extensive prior coverage here.) The basic facts of Mehanna are simple. The . . .
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Jose Padilla Re-sentenced to 21 Years

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 10:39 AM

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke has re-sentenced Jose Padilla to 21 years in prison for his 2007 conviction for conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and main individuals in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and providing material support to terrorists. An appellate court had vacated Padilla’s original, 17-and-a-half year sentence, after finding . . .
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Article III and the al Bahlul Remand: The New, New NIMJ Amicus Brief

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Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:59 PM

On July 14, the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled in al Bahlul v. United States that “plain error” review applied to Bahlul’s ex post facto challenge to his military commission convictions for conspiracy, material support, and solicitation–and then upheld the first of those charges under such deferential review (while throwing out the latter two). One of the potentially unintended consequences of the Court . . .
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