Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 11:28 AM

I bet you thought we'd take today off of the roundup, didn't you? But as long as there are reporters out there covering things other the opening of the polls in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location at midnight, we’ll be here.

The U.N. Security Council's sanctions committee has added the Haqqani network to its blacklist, says Reuters. Qaru Zakir, one of the network's commanders, has been singled out both by the Security Council and by the U.S., which by adding him to its list of designated terrorists, has made it possible to freeze assets over which the U.S. may have jurisdiction. Here's the official record of the UNSC's decision and the State Department's media note on its designation, and here's Al Jazeera's story.

On yesterday's Article 32 hearing in the prosecution of Staff Sargent Robert Bales, Ernesto Londono provides some new details about the March 11th attack provided by both the prosecution and defense. It seems from the hearing that Bales' defense attorney may make the case that warning signs about Bales' mental state were missed by leaders. Witnesses from Afghanistan will provide their testimony by video. Said the brother of one of the victims: "We are willing to collaborate with the U.S. as witnesses... If the trial is in the U.S., we will go by plane. If it is in Kandahar city, we will go by car. And if it is in Panjwai, we will attend on foot.” Kirk Johnson of the New York Times also details the hearing, noting that the Army prosecutor, Lt. Col. Joseph Morse described Bales' demeanor as "lucid, coherent and responsive."

Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times reports on the oral arguments in the Second Circuit appeal of the conviction of four men in a plot to blow up synagogues in the Bronx. In questioning the government's tactics in investigating the plot, the judges were very critical. Asked Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs: “Is there another case that you can talk about where the government’s level of involvement in creating and animating and realizing the offense was so all encompassing?” Judge Reena Raggi said at one point: “It would be one thing if the defendant had conceived the crime and then, as obstacles arose, the government removed them. But I think you have to deal with the problem of the full circumstances here. . . . The government comes up with the idea, picks the targets, provides all the means, removes the obstacles."

Over at Jurist, Kent Roach of the University of Toronto Law brings some much-needed attention to the U.K. Supreme Court's decision to dismiss both the government's and Bagram detainee Yunus Rahmatullah's appeals of its circuit court's grant of a writ of habeas corpus. Rahmatullah initially petitioned for habeas corpus in the U.S., and his petition was denied. Ben initially posted the UK Supreme Court's decision here. Roach concludes:

The UK Supreme Court's decision does not reflect well on the reputation of the US either in providing justice for its detainees or honoring commitments it made to the UK with respect to the transfer of detainees captured in Iraq. Substitute justice that challenges US counter-terrorism activities in non-US courts often fails to produce effective remedies. It often proceeds on the fiction that US activities are not being reviewed. Substitute justice is not ideal, but it is better than no justice at all.

Looks like the U.S. and Japan are conducting a military exercise without one of its critical components: an amphibious landing on an island stuck in the middle of Japan and China's tug-of-war. The landing is being left out because it would have antagonized a certain country. Here's Martin Fackler of the New York Times.

A car bombing near a base in Taji Iraq killed at least 27 people and wounded 40. The AP says that the casualty count is high because the suicide bomber detonated as "large numbers of soldiers" walked to and from a parking area on their way to work.

Are you worried Israel's allies (ahem-the U.S.-ahem) might be too afraid to strike Iran's military facilities if diplomacy continues not to work? Prime Minister Netanyahu has some reassuring words for those in support of such an attack: “If someone sits here as the prime minister of Israel and he can’t take action on matters that are cardinal to the existence of this country, its future and its security, and he is totally dependent on receiving approval from others, then he is not worthy of leading,... I can make these decisions.” Here's Jodi Rudoren's story in the Times.

For those wondering which member of Congress has spoken out most recently demanding a U.S. response to the Benghazi attack, here's Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Rogers on CNN:

And, in the spirit of today, if you simply must take your national security law news with a splash of election, here's Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg, who says that "The fact that we have barely debated this issue makes it hard to believe that our political system is getting it right, either." And here is Matthew Stevenson, a contributing editor of Harper's, with an op-ed in Politico that concludes:

Neither President Obama nor candidate Romney question the catechism that the military knows best in most foreign matters. Among the countries in the past 20 years where American weaponry or troops have seen action are Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Yemen, Sudan, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia. How can the next four years not add to such a roster?

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