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O.I.L. Media Roundup (April 23)

[Afghan soldiers at the Military Training Centre, Kabul. Image from ISAF Media/Flickr.] [Afghan soldiers at the Military Training Centre, Kabul. Image from ISAF Media/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to by Monday night of every other week]


39 Ways to Limit Free Speech”, David Cole
Describes the case of Tarek Mehanna, a 29-year old from Massachusetts recently sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison for translating an Arabic document titled “39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad”.  Cole criticizes the conviction on First Amendment grounds, asking "is this America?"

Interview: ‘Counterrevolution’ Threatens Mass Hunger Strike by Palestinian Prisoners”, Asa Winstanley
Electronic Intifada interviews Mourad Jadallah, legal researcher with Palestinian human rights group Addameer, on Khader Adnan’s hunger strike, the massive wave of hunger strikes set to begin on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, and the potential of factional divisions to threaten the unity thereof.   

Hacks of Valor: Why Anonymous is Not a Threat to National Security”, Yochai Benkler
Argues that Anonymous' activities represent “unpleasant pranksterism” and “nasty hooliganism” at their worst, rather than any vast criminal or terrorist collective; advocates a view of Anonymous as a “audacious provacateur” rather than a terrorist mastermind, holding that any organization failing to do so is likely to find itself at the end of Anonymous' unpleasantries.

CIA and the Rule of Law”, Stephen W. Preston
CIA General Counsel's speech at Harvard Law School serves as the latest in a series of public pronouncements by Obama officials on the legal framework that guides the administration's anti-terrorism efforts. Lawfare Blog has the full text of Preston's prepared remarks, which attempted to counter characterizations of the CIA as rogue and outside the law and assert that the CIA is “subject to strict internal and external scrutiny”. Daniel Klaidman, in a response published on Lawfare, derides the speech as “the most secretive” of many Obama Administration officials' attempts to spell out the Administration's legal approach to the War on Terror, but applauds Preston for showing “even a little leg.” Kenneth Anderson similarly commends Preston for “seeking to find ways to address” issues of legality and transparency. Deborah Pearlstein criticizes Preston's approach to the CIA's understanding of its domestic authority to use force, and Preston's take on precisely how international law applies to CIA operations.


Taliban's 'Spring Offensive' Reminds Kabul of Insurgent's Reach”, Emma Graham-Harrison
Taliban insurgents have staged complex, coordinated attacks in Kabul and several other Afghan cities, serving as part of the dawn of a larger spring offensive. While the death tolls of each attack were low, the audacity of the attacks, including simultaneous strikes in three eastern Afghan cities and sieges of military bases in Kabul, serve a harsh rebuke to claims that the Taliban has lost momentum.

NATO Sees Flaws in Air Campaign Against Qaddafi”, Eric Schmitt
Considers the justification present prior to the Libyan intervention that the United States would play a “secondary, supportive” role to NATO. Analyzes a confidential NATO report concluding that NATO relied heavily on US support in nearly every aspect of the campaign in Libya due to their own shortcomings in supplies, structure, and strategy. One aspect particularly criticized is the notion that nearly all of the bombs and missiles fired on Libya were provided “by default” by the United States.

Sudan Vows to Teach South Sudan ‘a Final Lesson’”, Alsanosi Ahmed, David Lukan, and Robyn Dixon
Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan have reached dangerous heights, less than a year after South Sudan’s independence.  Last week, South Sudan controversially moved toward claiming contested, oil-rich land, provoking condemnation from the African Union and an aerial strike from Sudan.  On April 18th, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir made vague threats about “liberating” South Sudan.  The following day, he openly threatened war, vowing to teach South Sudan a lesson “by force”.

Academic Journals

ICC Jursidiction in Palestine: Blurring Law and Politics”, Valentina Azarov
Criticizes the ICC's rejection of Palestine's claims to jurisdiction as further politicizing the Court's work and hostile to actors lying out of the Court's reach. Describes several legal and political options available to Palestine in the wake of the ICC decision, among them downlplaying the importance of the decision as merely procedural and submitting accession instruments to the Rome Statute through the United Nations Secretary General.

Do International Courts Require Democratic Jurisdiction?”, Marlies Glasius
Argues that while there is no practical argument for a direct democratic foundation for international criminal courts, there are a number of avenues for identifying “wider social aims” that courts ought to pursue.

Al-Skeini and Al-Jedda in Strasbourg”, Marko Milanovic
Writing for the European Journal of International Law, Milanovic examines the reasoning behind the ECHR's judgments in Al-Skeini v. United Kingdom and Al-Jedda v. United Kingdom, considering also the policy implications of the two rulings.

Conference Compendium

"Dialogue Under Occupation VII"; Tuesday, May 8, 2012 to Friday, May 11, 2012; Lebanese-American University; Beirut, Lebanon.  Register here.

"Islamic Law and the State: Doctrine and History"; Wednesday, May 30, 2012 to Friday, June 1, 2012; Ankara, Turkey.  Inquire about registration here.

On Jadaliyya 

Video: Palestine & Law Panel on 'The State Question'”, (George Bisharat, Victor Kattan, Noura Erakat, and Ramzi Kassem), Jadaliyya Reports

"No Boycotts Here: Veolia's Booming Business from OPT to KSA", Saleh Al Amer

Debating Palestine: Representation, Resistance, and Liberation” Rabab Abdulhadi

Press Release: Stop Home Demolitions and the Displacement and Disposession of the Arab Bedouin in the Naqab on Land Day 2012”, Adalah

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