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O.I.L. Media Roundup (May 7)

[The International Criminal Court in the Hague. Image by Vincent van Zeijst. From Wikimedia Commons.] [The International Criminal Court in the Hague. Image by Vincent van Zeijst. From Wikimedia Commons.]

[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]


Senate Probe Finds Little Evidence of Effective ‘Torture’”, Mark Hosenball
A year-long investigation by Democrats of the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to report that it found little to suggest enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA against detainees “led to counterterrorism coups”, a direct rebuke to the claims of many of the Bush administration’s defenders.

Supreme Court: PLO, Corporations Can't Be Sued Under Torture Law”, David G. Savage
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously, with an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, that victims of torture may sue individuals (such as an “officer who gives an order to torture or kill”) but not organizations such as corporations or political groups like the Palestine Liberation Organization.

CIA Seeks New Authority to Expand Yemen Drone Campaign”, Greg Miller
CIA director David H. Petraeus has requested the authority to expand the agency’s covert drone strikes program in Yemen to allow strikes against targets based on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior alone, an operational framework that has long been part of the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan.

Hamas Says It's Holding Talks with 5 EU Countries”, Ibrahim Barzak
A senior member in Hamas has told the Associated Press that the group is holding political talks with five unnamed European Union member states.  In an interview, another Hamas official identifies changes int he region and the resurgence of Islamist movements following popular uprisings in a number of Arab countries as leading these European countries to "review their policy" towards Palestinian causes.

US Appeals Court Clears Torture Memo Author”, David Kravets
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that John Yoo, the lawyer responsible for memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture of suspected enemy combatants, cannot be sued by said combatants.  


An Incomplete Justice”, J. Peter Pham
Argues that Charles Taylor’s recent conviction at The Hague may protect West Africa from further atrocities, but does not go far enough to prosecute the extent to which Taylor destroyed his country, thus exposing serious limitations in the international justice system’s capabilities when it comes to deterring further crimes of such a nature.

Reflections on the Finkelstein Controversy: BDS and the Palestine Solidarity Movement”, Anaheed Al-Hardan
Takes on the controversy surrounding comments made by Norman Finkelstein in a recent interview, comments iinterpreted by some as suggesting latent Zionism on Finkelstein’s part or a “wrong-headed focus on international the ultimate source of justice for Palestinians”.  Argues that both strains of criticism are somewhat off the mark and contends that the interview controversy presents an opportunity for activists to “critically engage with, and reflect on” a variety of challenges facing the Palestinian advocacy movement.

The Rise of Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret”, Michael Hastings
Surveys the expansion of covert drone strikes under the Obama Administration, a program that amounts to the “largest unmanned aerial offensive ever conducted in military history”, and the dismissive contempt with which those who run the program face its critics--particularly those who criticize the program’s legality under international law.  

Why the Obama Administration's Drone War May Soon Reach a Tipping Point”, James Joyner
Argues that the Obama administration has, through it's drone program in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, expanded the "War on Terror" in all but name, and that while the targeted killing of major terrorist leaders made "tactical and strategic sense", an escalation of the drone war free from scrutiny stands to "kill more terrorists than we produce".



Making the Case Against Extraordinary Rendition” (Audio), James Goldston
On the Leonard Lopate Show, James Goldston of the Open Society Justice Initiative discusses arguing the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who says he was detained and tortured by the United States for five months, before the European Court of Human Rights.  He also discusses abuses such as the alleged torture of El-Masry in the context of the CIA's policy of extraordinary rendition. 

Hamdan Oral Argument Preview”, Larkin Reynolds and Wells Bennett
Summarizes the background facts of the case, Hamdan's opening brief, and the government's brief for the May 3 arguments in the District of Columbia Circuit and distills the issues relevant to the case.  Briefly summarizes the larger significance of the case, holding that while a win for Hamdan would take the offense of "material support for terrorism" with which Hamdan was charged off the table permanently, such a win looks unlikely.  A win for the government, on the other hand, stands to stamp out controversy over the offense, ensuring that it remains viable in the near future.

The El Masri Case”, European Center for Constitutional and Human RightsDetails the case of Khalid El-Masri, one of the “best documented extraordinary renditions” by the CIA, as well as the efforts of ECCHR to enforce arrest warrants against former CIA officials responsible for El-Masri’s kidnapping and subsequent detention.


Conference Compendium

"Ambivium Institute Annual Terrorism and Global Security Conference: What Constitutes a Legal War in the 21st Century?" Wednesday, May 30 to Thursday, May 31, 2012; Washington, DC.  Inquire about registration here or here.

"The Messages of Hizbullah: Communication Forms and Political Contexts"; Friday, May 25, 2012; SOAS, University of London, Khalili Lecture Theatre.  Inquire about registration here.

"The Bible, Zionism, and Palestine", Thursday, 24 May to Saturday, 26 May, 2012; University of Sheffield; Register here.




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