07/31/10: The Washington Post has an opinion piece by Georgetown law professor and Center on National Security and the Law contributor David Cole discussing American policy following the torture memos crafted by Yoo and Bybee and arguing, "[u]nless we acknowledge that what the United States did was not just a bad
idea, but illegal, we risk treating torture as simply another policy
07/31/10: CNN reports that Fidel Castro on Friday accused the United States of "torturing" a
Cuban agent imprisoned there, saying Cuba is being pressured to release
its spies. Castro said US
authorities have put Gerardo Hernandez, one of five Cuban agents
imprisoned in 1998, in an isolation "hole," even though Hernandez is
07/31/10: Jurist reports that the Supreme Court of Croatia on Friday upheld the conviction of former Parliament member Branimir Glavas, but reduced his sentence by two years. Glavas was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2009 for ordering the torture and death of Croatian Serbs in the town of Osijek in 1991 during the Serbo-Croatian War.
07/31/10: The New York Times reports that Abdel Ghani Meskini, who was charged in the failed “millennium plot” to blow up Los Angeles International Airport and pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Manhattan becoming the
rare convicted Islamic terrorist to cooperate with the United States
government, was recently rearrested, accused of violating the terms of his release by committing new offenses.
07/30/10: Jurist reports that the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday indicted former Serb policeman Srpko Pustivuk for allegedly committing crimes against civilians during the Bosnian civil war. Pustivuk was arrested on July 13 in Bijeljina and has been held in custody
since. According to a statement by the Prosecutor's Office, Pustivuk is
accused of taking part in a May and June 1992 "attack on civilians which
resulted in the death and severe bodily injuries to civilians, some of
whom were minors," as a member of the Bosnian Serb special police unit.
07/30/10: The Washington Times reports that the ACLU on Thursday excoriated President Obama for continuing the Bush administration's
strictest national security policies, including indefinite detention,
military commissions and a "targeted kill" program that authorizes the
government to take out suspected terrorists anywhere.
07/29/10: CNN reports that an Indonesian woman was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday
for aiding and harboring terrorists accused of suicide bombings and
other attacks. Putri Munawaroh was charged with harboring Noordin
Top, the suspected mastermind of major strikes in Indonesia, and a few
other suspected terrorists.
07/29/10: Jurist reports that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed into law a bill that will grant controversial new powers to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the Russian Federation's successor to the former USSR's KGB. The bill, which the Russian parliament approved earlier this month, will give the FSB authority to
question citizens about actions that may create the conditions for a
crime and issue warnings not to engage in unapproved acts.
07/29/10: CNN reports that a Spanish judge issued arrest warrants for three US soldiers on
Thursday in connection with the death of a Spanish TV cameraman in Iraq
in 2003, reopening a long-running legal battle. The judge, National Court
Investigating Magistrate Santiago Pedraz, indicted the three US
soldiers in April 2007, alleging they were linked to US tank fire
directed against the Palestine Hotel in 2003, where Spanish cameraman
Jose Couso was videotaping the US assault on Baghdad.
07/29/10: The latest issue of Criminal Law Forum is out. It is a special Issue on Bangladesh and the Prosecution of International Crimes from the 1971 War of Independence from Pakistan. HT to International Law Reporter.
07/29/10: Checkpoint Washington reports that the US Embassy in Bishkek has disclosed its payments to the
Kyrgyzstan government for the year so far, as well as funds spent
directly for use of the Manas air base, which plays a key role in
support of the fighting in Afghanistan. The unusual public disclosures, posted on the embassy Web site, were
prompted by allegations that money generated by US military's use of
the air base was flowing to the families of the country's deposed last
07/28/10: Jurist reports that General Electric Co. on Tuesday agreed to a $23.5 million settlement after the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint accusing GE of bribing Iraqi officials to receive contracts under the UN Oil-for-Food program.
The SEC claimed that, between 2000 and 2003, four of GE's subsidiaries
gave millions of dollars worth of computer equipment, medical supplies
and services to the Iraqi Health Ministry in exchange for contract
07/28/10: The New York Times reports that a suspected former Nazi death camp guard has been charged with
participating in the murder of 430,000 Jews and other crimes during the
Third Reich, German prosecutors said Wednesday. Samuel Kunz, 88, was informed last week of his indictment on charges
including participation in the murder of 430,000 Jews at the Belzec
death camp in occupied Poland, where he allegedly served as a guard from
January 1942 to July 1943, prosecutor Christoph Goeke in Dortmund said.
07/28/10: The Miami Herald reports that just weeks after breaking up a Russian spy ring federal authorities have charged a Dallas-area woman with trying to smuggle three night-vision rifle sights
to Russia. A federal court affidavit filed in New York accuses
24-year-old Anna Fermanova of suburban Plano of trying tried to move the
scopes in March without the proper export licenses.
07/28/10: Wired reports that US troops in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan in 2007 were
persistently attacked by militants identified as Turkish fighters,
according to the trove of documents released Sunday by WikiLeaks.
07/27/10: The Washington Times reports that France is "at war" with al Qaeda
and will step up efforts to fight the terrorist group's North African
offshoot after it executed a French hostage in the Sahara, Prime
Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday. Mr. Fillon acknowledged that the group may have killed 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau before -- not after -- a failed last-ditch raid to try to free him.
07/27/10: Afsheen John Radsan of William Mitchell and Richard W. Murphy of Texas Tech University have published Measure Twice, Shoot Once: Higher Care for CIA Targeted Killing.
The article assumes the application of
international humanitarian law and develops specific
regulations for the CIA’s targeted killing of active members of al Qaeda
and the Taliban. HT to National Security Law.
07/27/10: The Washington Post reports that after more than eight years of fighting in Afghanistan, the United
States and its NATO coalition partners continue to hire private
contractors to support their intelligence and counterintelligence
analyses and operations in that country.
Earlier this month, NATO's International Security Assistance Force
issued two solicitations for intelligence help, one to supply
individuals with 14 specialties as part of a "multi-faceted intelligence
operations support program" and the other to supply a 28-person team to
work in Kabul inside the intelligence and operations division of the
Afghan combined forces command.
07/27/10: The latest issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice is out. This issue is a special Issue on Transnational Business and International Criminal Justice. HT to International Law Reporter.
07/26/10: Ric Simmons of Ohio State University has published Searching for Terrorists: Why Public Safety is Not a Special Need. The article critically examines the courts’ application of the “special
needs” exception to Fourth Amendment searches that are designed to
prevent terrorist attacks. It concludes that the special needs doctrine
cannot justify these search regimes, and offers a proposal to ensure
that these searches comport with the Constitution. HT to National Security Law.
07/26/10: The US District Court for the District of Columbia granted a motion to dismiss a GTMO habeas petition based on
counsel’s inability obtain authorization from the detainee to proceed
with the petition. In this instance, counsel had traveled to GTMO on
seven occasions in an effort to get the authorization. The detainee was
willing to meet on only two of those occasions. Judge Bates notes the
possibility that in this circumstance the outcome might be different if
there is evidence of mental incompetence, but there was no such evidence
in this instance. HT to National Security Law.
07/26/10: The Independent (UK) reports that MI5 was directly involved in the rendition of a Moroccan national,
illegally taken from a Belgian prison to work for Britain's Security
Services in London. The man, now aged 29 and who cannot be named for his own safety, was
secretly transferred from a Brussels jail in April 2004 and then further
held and interrogated by senior MI5 officers at a secret base near
London. HT to the Lift.
07/26/10: CNN reports that a man who local police believe was responsible for a fatal car
bombing in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is in custody, a municipal police
spokesman told CNN Sunday.
But federal police, while confirming
that the man is in custody after a shootout with the Mexican military,
said they had nothing linking him to the bombing.
07/25/10: Chad Machiela has posted Gun Control in Counterinsurgency: A Game Theory Analysis in the Small Wars Journal. The article examines how a battlespace commander’s attempts in Iraq’s Salah Din Province in 2006 to reduce the number of weapons available to insurgents actually caused residents otherwise uninvolved in insurgency to violate the law, while effectively ensuring that the population had no means to resist insurgent theft of supplies or forcible recruitment. The article uses game theory to analyze the options available to different actors in a conflict, and to help identify courses of action more beneficial to all.
07/25/10: The Terror Finance Blog reports that a United States federal court has handed down a historic decision finding the government of North Korea and its intelligence service, the Cabinet General Intelligence Bureau, liable for an infamous terrorist attack perpetrated in Israel in 1972. The US District Court in San Juan, Puerto Rico has ordered the defendants to pay $378,000,000 in damages to two families. The case arises from a lawsuit brought by victims of the 1972 terror attack at the Lod Airport in Israel in which 26 people were killed and 80 injured. The plaintiffs alleged that the government of North Korea trained and financed the terrorists who carried out this heinous massacre.
07/25/10: Jurist reports that A Honduran judge on Friday dropped two abuse of power charges against ousted leader Manuel Zelaya. Judge Humberto Palacios dismissed the charges because of the amnesty granted to those involved in Zelaya's removal by the Honduran congress in January. Zelaya still faces other charges including fraud, usurping other institutions' authority and falsifying documents.
07/24/10: Jurist reports that a Turkish court
on Friday ordered the arrest of 102 people, including two serving and
three retired military officers, in connection with an alleged coup
plot. The 2003 Balyoz Security Operation Plan,
or "Sledgehammer" plot, which included plans to bomb Istanbul mosques
and provoke Greece into shooting down a Turkish plane in order to
undermine the government, was revealed by the Taraf newspaper in January.
07/24/10: The Miami Herald reports that the world's nations took the first steps at a conference that ended
Friday toward a legally binding treaty that would try to regulate the
multibillion dollar arms trade and prevent the transfer of weapons to
armed groups fueling conflicts, terrorists and human rights violators.
07/24/10: The Washington Post reports that Mauritanian commandos backed by the French military carried out the
raid in the dead of night, guns blazing as they pounced on a small
terrorist campsite in a desolate stretch of the Sahara Desert. The troops killed six members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,
Osama bin Laden's loosely organized North African affiliate, but four
militants escaped into the surrounding wastelands, Mauritanian Interior
Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil said Friday.
07/23/10: BalkanInsight reports that the ICJ's advisory opinion in favour of Kosovo’s declaration of
independence has been welcomed by top US and EU officials, but several
countries that have not recognised Kosovo have said they will maintain
their stance, as this latest development in the Balkans continues to
capture headlines around the world.
07/23/10: The Washington Post reports that the US military said Thursday that it will resume relations with
Indonesia's special forces, an elite group blamed for atrocities and
repression during the country's dark years of authoritarianism. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, in a visit here, said the United
States will end its 12-year prohibition on contacts and assistance to
the special forces after the Obama administration concluded that the
unit had cleaned up its ranks and is committed to human rights.
07/23/10: The Jamestown Foundation reports that on June 29, a court in Dubai found two ethnic Uyghurs guilty of plotting
to attack a massive shopping mall made up of 400 shops selling
Chinese-made goods. This attempted
attack was not only the first terrorist plot to be disrupted in Dubai,
but also the first time that a cell tied to the East Turkestan Islamic
Movement has taken aim at a Chinese target outside China and
07/23/10: The Washington Times reports that four al Qaeda-linked detainees have escaped from a Baghdad area prison that was handed over by the US to Iraqi authorities a week ago, Iraq's
justice minister said Thursday — a daring escape that embarrasses a
government struggling to prove it is capable of operating without US oversight. Dara Noureddin said the four, awaiting trial on terrorism charges, escaped from the high security prison formerly known as Camp Cropper.
07/22/10: The Miami Herald reports that the Interior Ministry said Spain has taken in for resettlement, but not
travel beyond the country, a third freed captive from the US prison
camps for terrorism suspects at Guantánamo Bay. The ministry
said in a statement Thursday that the man was from Afghanistan and
arrived in Spain late Wednesday. His name and age were not released. Spain has said it will accept up to five people from Guantánamo to
help the United States in its bid to close the prison. The announcement
meant the prison camps census had dropped to 177.
07/22/10: The Miami Herald reports that a federal judge ordered the immediate release of a Yemeni man who has
spent long periods of captivity in the Guantánamo psych ward in split
decisions Wednesday that upheld the indefinite detention of another
Yemeni. Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. granted the petition
of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, 34, in a single-page order that instructed
the Obama administration to ``take all necessary and appropriate
diplomatic steps to facilitate Latif's release forthwith.'' In another court, Judge
Reggie Walton ruled for the government that it can continue to hold
Abdul-Rahman Sulayman, 31, picked up in Pakistan and handed over to US
troops in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
07/22/10: The New York Times reports that Iran
fired a new salvo on Wednesday in what is becoming a bizarre propaganda
war over the supposed defection and later return of an
Iranian nuclear scientist, with Iran’s semiofficial media suggesting
that he was a covert operative who had provided “valuable information”
about the Central Intelligence Agency’s inner workings. American officials have said that the scientist, Shahram
Amiri, was a CIA informant for years in Iran, providing
“significant” information about Iran’s nuclear program and voluntarily
defecting to the United States in 2009. Mr. Amiri returned to Iran last week, saying he had been
abducted and tortured by American authorities.
07/22/10: The Miami Herald reports that a National Weather Service employee and his British-born wife pleaded
guilty Wednesday to domestic terrorism charges of lying to the FBI about
a hit list of possible targets who the couple suspected were enemies of
Islam. Paul Rockwood Jr. and his wife, Nadia Rockwood, of King
Salmon, Alaska, were charged with lying about the list and making false
statements about domestic terrorism during interviews with FBI agents in
May. The FBI alleged that the list had about 15 targets. Its
contents were not made public, but officials said none of those targeted
lived in Alaska.
07/22/10: The New York Times reports that the Defense Department said on Thursday that it was lifting a more than
decade-old ban on contact with the elite Indonesian special forces,
Kopassus, and would take beginning steps to train the commando unit
which has been condemned by human rights groups for past killings of
civilians and widespread abuses. Pentagon officials made the announcement as Defense Secretary Robert M.
Gates arrived in Jakarta to meet with President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono to officially inform him of the decision,
reached after intensive internal debate among the Pentagon, the White
House and the State Department.
07/22/10: The Washington Post reports that the Russian Foreign Ministry accused the United States on Wednesday of
"kidnapping" a Russian pilot in the West African country of Liberia for
alleged drug smuggling. Konstantin Yaroshenko, 41, was arrested in Monrovia, Liberia's capital,
in late May -- by US agents, Russian officials said -- and extradited
to New York. Yaroshenko was charged with smuggling "thousand-kilogram quantities of
cocaine" throughout South America, Africa and Europe, the US Drug
Enforcement Administration said in a statement Wednesday.
07/22/10: The Washington Post reports that John D. Bennett, a CIA veteran who served as station chief in Pakistan
until last year and who has had numerous other overseas postings, has
been appointed head of the agency's National Clandestine Service,
Director Leon E. Panetta announced Wednesday. Bennett, a former Marine and a Harvard graduate, had retired in May
after a nearly 30-year career at the CIA, but was coaxed back to take
charge of the service, which runs human intelligence and covert
operations. Among other posts, Bennett previously served as chief of the
Special Activities Division, the agency's covert paramilitary unit.
07/22/10: Politico reports that two major court hearings set to take place in Phoenix Thursday could be
crucial to the future of Arizona's newly-passed law requiring local
police and sheriffs to detain suspected illegal immigrants who can't
prove that they're in the US legally. The first is between lawyers from the US Department of Justice and
attorneys representing the State of Arizona. Earlier this month, the feds
filed a suit seeking to block the Arizona statute on the grounds
that it usurps federal authority over immigration. The state claims its
law only parallels and complements federal immigration policy. The second face-off will feature lawyers
for the state and for civil rights, labor, immigrant aid organizations,
and private individuals who have filed suits over the law.
07/21/10: Jurist reports that Human rights
World on Wednesday renewed
calls for an International Criminal Court investigation into allegations of rape and torture in
Zimbabwe prior to the 2008
presidential elections. AIDS-Free World released a report
last December, detailing the systematic rape of female supporters of Movement for Democratic
Change candidate Morgan Tsvangirai by supporters of the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front party and President Robert
07/21/10: BalkanInsight reports that the appellate chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia has ordered a partial retrial of the case of Ramush
Haradinaj and two other former commanders of the Kosovo Liberation Army
(KLA), and the immediate detention of the three men.
07/21/10: The Financial Times reports that two security guards were killed in a suspected “terrorist act” when
an explosion struck a hydroelectric power station in the
Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia’s North Caucasus on Wednesday. Russia is trying to contain an upsurge of attacks
by rebels in the mainly Muslim provinces on its southern flank who took
their war to the Russian heartland in March with suicide bombings on
metro that killed at least 40 people.
07/21/10: Jurist reports that the European
Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Tuesday rejected
an appeal by a Dutch businessman convicted of selling chemicals used
by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to create chemical weapons. Frans Van
was convicted of war crimes in 2005 for selling 1,100 tons of
thiodiglycol (TDG) to the Iraqi government in the 1980s, which was used
to produce mustard gas used against Iraqis and Iranians during the Iran-Iraq
War. Van Anraat appealed to the ECHR,
arguing that because the Netherlands did not have jurisdiction over
members of the Iraqi government who perpetrated the war crimes,
including Saddam Hussein, he could not be convicted for his complicity
in the war crimes.
07/21/10: The Miami Herald reports that a Dallas man has pleaded guilty to posting on the Internet a threat
to kill President Barack Obama. Brian Dean Miller could be
sentenced to up to five years in federal prison and fined up to $250,000
after entering his plea in a federal court in Dallas on Tuesday.