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Category Archives: Unfiled

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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How the Supreme Court Should Resolve Zivotofsky

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Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Zivotofsky is an important case because it appears to require the Supreme Court to address the scope of the President’s exclusive foreign relations power vis a vis Congress.  This is a very hard question, rarely addressed by the Court, about which the relevant sources (text, original meaning, historical practice) are, in my view, unclear.  And . . .
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Toward a Different Kind of Transparency

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Over the last year and a half, the intelligence community has released a significant amount of previously classified material in an effort to be more transparent regarding matters pertaining to foreign intelligence surveillance activities, generally, and the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in particular. “Significant” is an understatement; the releases represent a . . .
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The Supreme Court Should Stay Far Away from the Vesting Clause in Zivitofsky

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The strange little case of Zivotofsky v. Kerry casts power politics as petty paperwork. But it might be one of the most significant non-terrorism foreign affairs cases in a generation. In the broadest sense, the case is about whether the President can disregard a foreign affairs statute. Framed most narrowly, it’s about whether Menachem Zivotofsky’s . . .
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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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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:43 AM

A new set of monitoring guidelines for people arriving to the United States from West Africa has been put in place by the federal government. The New York Times reports on new measures that are supposed to prevent Ebola from entering into the United States.  Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal further explains the new Center for . . .
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A Follow Up on the Postal Service Metadata Program

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

This morning, I posted some thoughts on a story in the New York Times about so-called “mail covers” by the Postal Service and their relationship to the NSA’s bulk metadata program. It turns out that I rather understated the matter. The reason is that mail covers are actually only one of the Postal Service’s programs that collect . . .
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Will Anyone Care About the Postal Service’s Metadata Program

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

I’m very interested to watch how the political system responds to this New York Times story about the U.S. Postal’s Service very old, sort-of-bulk metadata program. The Times reports: In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies . . .
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“Warm and Fuzzy with the North Koreans”

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Monday, October 27, 2014 at 8:29 AM

The other day, I posted this video of the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations giving a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations: The question of whether or not a think tank like CFR should host the worst people in the world—among whom the leaders of the North Korean state surely rank—is tricky one. As much . . .
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Susan Rice Did Not Consult DOD When She Urged Repeal of 2002 AUMF That DOD (Correctly) Thought Was “Still Needed”

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Monday, October 27, 2014 at 8:18 AM

Michael Hirsh has a piece at Politico on the disorganized, uncoordinated crafting and implementation of the administration’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State.  Of particular interest to Lawfare readers is the news that National Security Advisor Susan Rice failed to consult with DOD when she wrote a letter to Congress last summer asking for the . . .
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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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The Week That Will Be

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Monday, October 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Event Announcements (More details on the Events Calendar) Monday, October 27th at 3 pm: Johns Hopkins SAIS’s Center for Transatlantic Relations will host a launch of their new book entitled Advancing the US-Nordic-Baltic Security Cooperation. For a list of speakers and to RSVP, visit the event announcement at the Johns Hopkins website. Tuesday, October 28th at 6:30 pm: The . . .
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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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Oral Argument Preview: Zivotofsky v. Kerry

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

On Monday, November 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the long-awaited final act in a decade-plus-long saga surrounding the passport of an American boy born in Jerusalem. The issue before the Court this time around (the Court decided a preliminary issue in 2012) is whether a federal statute directing . . .
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The Convention Against Torture: Extraterritorial Application and Application to Military Operations

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Belatedly, I want to join the discussion about the extraterritorial application of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), about which Jack commented on Friday, drawing on an article by Charlie Savage earlier in the week. The New York Times opined on the issue on Tuesday in one of its typically misleading, “don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts” editorials that suggested that the . . .
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The Debate About the Extraterritorial Scope of the Torture Convention’s Provisions on Cruelty is (Almost Certainly) Not About USG Interrogation Policy

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Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10:22 AM

A week ago Charlie Savage reported that the Obama administration “is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the [Convention Against Torture(CAT)] imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders.”  The provision of the Torture Convention in question is Article 16, which provides: “Each State Party shall undertake to . . .
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President Obama Is Right

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Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:18 PM

President Obama is right. He was right when he said, as a presidential candidate in 2007, that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” And he was right that “military action is most . . .
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North Korean Ambassador to the UN Talks at CFR

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM

In case you need a macabre laugh. Transcript is available here if you can’t stand watching Jang Il Hun compare human rights in his country favorably to those in South Korea.