Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Friday, December 2, 2011, 7:58 PM

(Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh)

As we've covered the NDAA fight pretty exhaustively, we're not going to dwell on it much here. For those who want links, however, here's the New York Times, the Politico, and the AP on the lay of the land. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate concludes:

At this moment in America we seem to be so fond of dividing Americans into us and them that we have created all sorts of intriguing new legal double standards for the thems. Don’t think for a minute that these new powers will be used only against suspected terrorists. We already know that suspected illegal immigrants, suspected environmental activists, and suspected protesters have very different legal rights—which is to say, far more limited rights—than anyone else. And as Benjamin Wallace Wells detailed last August, the landmark anti-terror legislation known as the Patriot Act has, in the 10 years since its passage, been used in 1,618 drug cases and 15 terrorism cases. You’d never know it from watching the GOP hopefuls joyfully demonize women, immigrants, the poor, the prisoners, OWS protesters, and union members, but at some point, them always becomes us.

Adam Serwer of Mother Jones also argues that the provisions will apply to American citizens. Bobby commented on this question here.

The Washington Post's trio of Sari Horwitz, Shyamantha Asokan, and Julie Tate write on the lack of U.S. government regulation in the sale of U.S.-designed surveillence equipment to repressive governments.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey categorically denied accusations that the attacks were deliberate, reports Mackenzie Weinger at the Politico.

Former DNI Dennis Blair is urging that the drone program be removed from the CIA's portfolio and placed solely in the hands of the U.S military. Josh Gerstein has the scoop.

From the department of unexploded World War II ordnance: German explosive experts have given notice to citizens of Koblenz to leave for the weekend while they defuse a WWII era 3,000 pound bomb. We're not making this up. NPR reports.

Over at the Harvard National Security Journal, David Husband has a post on the Anwar Al-Aulaqi killing, which argues for balance between the government's interest in responding to threats and the Fifth Amendment. Ty Cobb also has this interesting piece on the Department of Defense's shift from "people-centric" counterinsurgency to naval and airstrike capabilities.

In other news, President Obama will not offer a formal apology to Pakistan for the deaths of two dozen Pakistani soldiers in NATO airstrikes last week, report Helene Cooper and Mark Mazetti over at the Times.

Al Qaeda claims it has kidnapped Warren Weinstein, a 70-year old American aid worker who has lived in Lahore, Pakistan for seven years, says the Times. The Post also reports on the hostage situation. Here, from CNN, is the bulk of what the group is demanding in return for his release:

[T]he lifting of the blockade on movement of people and trade between Egypt and Gaza; an end to bombing by the United States and its allies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza; the release of anyone arrested on charges of belonging to al Qaeda and the Taliban; the release of all prisoners in Guantanamo and American secret prisons and the closure of Guantanamo and the other prisons; the release of terrorists convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; and the release of relatives of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda who was killed in May in Pakistan.

Hussain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States (and who is not, to our knowledge, affiliated with the Haqqani network), has been banned from leaving his country until the investigation into the "memogate" scandal concludes, reports the Times.

Check out this op-ed in Al Jazeera by Robert Grenier, ex-Director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, on why the U.S. must understand how much of a stake it has in Pakistan, and this op-ed by Jane Harman and Robert Hathaway arguing that "writing Pakistan out of the U.S. foreign policy script is not an option."

In news about your favorite ongoing terrorist trial, Tarek Mehanna's defense attorneys tried to show that Kareem Abuzahra, who has recieved immunity for his testimony, is the real terrorist, according to the Boston Globe.

Wired's Danger Room blog provides an account of the "comedy of errors" that led to the non-cyberattack on an Illinois water facility.

The Post informs us that the House Intelligence Committee passed a cybersecurity data-sharing bill.

Karen J. Greenberg, Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, asserts in this op-ed in the New York Daily News that if President Obama signs the NDAA into law, he will "achieve everything that the Cassandras of the war on terror predicted: the removal of constitutional guarantees for U.S. citizens; the further emasculation of the criminal justice system; and the planting of both feet firmly in the camp of detention without due process."

And Amna Akbar and Ramzi Kassem of City University of New York School of Law argue in Al Jazeera that this AP article insinuating that Muslim communities are refusing to cooperate with law enforcement "could not be futher from the truth," and that, more generally, "[t]o call Muslims 'uncooperative' for exercising their rights [to remain silent, to an attorney etc.] in the face of such broad-based surveillance programmes is unfair and absurd."

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, and visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief as well as the Fordham Law Center on National Security’s Morning Brief. Feel free to email us noteworthy articles we may have missed at [email protected] and  [email protected].