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O.I.L. Media Roundup (21 May)

[E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse, home to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ] [E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse, home to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ]

[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 OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week]

 News

"Progress for Prisoners' Movement: Palestinian Prisoners' Mass Hunger Strike Concludes After Agreement Is Reached", Addameer
Surveys the circumstances leading up to the agreement made by around 2,000 Palestinian political prisoners with the Israeli Prison Service to end the end their mass hunger strike in exchange for the attainment of certain core demands and summarizes the demands met, warning that Israel has failed to respect similar agreements in the past. 

"CIA Defends Destruction of Waterboarding Tapes", Peter Taylor
Peter Taylor reports for the BBC on the destruction of secret CIA video tapes showing two men in CIA custody, Abu Zubaida and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, being subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.  Former head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, is interviewed and defends the destruction of the tapes, arguing that he possessed the legal authority to destroy the tapes at the time and acted to protect the identities of the interrogators in the video.

"Parents of P.O.W. Reveal U.S. Talks on Taliban Swap", Elizabeth Bumiller and Matthew Rosenberg
The parents of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only American soldier held captive by Afghan insurgents, have broken their silence regarding their son.  The parents have made public that he is the focus of negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban over a proposed prisoner exchange, expressing frustration with the progress of the negotiations.   

"Virginia appeals court revives former Abu Ghraib detainees’ suits against contractors", Associated Press
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia ruled that it's too early to dismiss the cases of former Iraqi detainees allegedly tortured by civilians during their detainment in the Abu Ghraib prison, stating that more facts needed to develop in trial courts before the possibility of dismissal could be considered. 

"Urgent Appeal: Abdulhadi Alkhawaja May be on His Deathbed (100 Day on Hunger Strike)", Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Page detailing on a semi-weekly basis since 12 February 2012 the hunger strike campaign of Adulhadi Alkhawaja's hunger strike campaign, which has now carried on for three months in the name of protesting government crackdowns in Bahrain.  

 

Blogs

"Israel's Prison Regime can no longer go unnoticed", Safa Joudeh
Argues that Israel's recent concessions in an agreement with hunger striking Palestinian political prisoners merely afford said prisoners "basic rights owed under international law", and is ergo only the beginning of much greater reform efforts needed.  Goes on to detail systematic human rights violations under Israel's adjudication process, comparing it to that of the United States towards detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
 

"Blogger Shines Light on U.S. Shadow War in East Africa", David Axe
Details recent posts of Ken Cenciotti, an Italian aviation blogger, on the prescence of American F-15s in East Africa.  Among other things, Cenciotti postulates that the F-15s are dropping bombs on al-Qaida targets in Yemen, and paints a picture of a shadow war in the region that is “far more forceful, and risky, than previously suggested”.   

"Drone strikes kill suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen", Hakim Almasmari
Two U.S. drone strikes killed 11 alleged al Qaeda combatants Saturday, 12 May in the Mareb province of Yemen, including operatives with ties to the U.S.S. Cole bombing, in what some U.S. officials are calling a blow to al Qaeda's presence in the Arabian Peninsula.

"Homeland Battlefield Act Portion Found Unconstitutional By New York Judge", Michael McAuliff
Describes a recent decision by a federal court in New York finding the portion of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act allowing for indefinite military detention unconstitutional.  The court found that the group of activists who brought forth the lawsuit had no means of knowing whether they could be detained under its provisions.  In addition, the court found the law violated the first Amendment by giving the government authority to detain individuals for their political speech.

 

Commentary

"America as a Shining Drone Upon a Hill", Tom Engelhardt
In the latest “Tomgram”, Engelhardt writes that the eagerness of American political leaders to engage in drone warfare in Pakistan is turning the county into a “Predator Nation”, one that is “transforming the promise of America into a promise of death...a global future for which, someday, no one will thank us.”


"Military Commissions on Trial in Guantánamo", Karen Greenberg
Opines that the opening of the 9/11 trials at Guantanamo represents the beginning of a long challenge to the very legitimacy of the trials.  Greenberg writes that “each and every step” of the trials stands vulnerable to challenges of legitimacy, and that the trials themselves will be used as a platform to challenge the legitimacy of the military commissions in which they take place.

"Ex-Somali Terrorist Helps a U.S. Prosecution", Benjamin Weiser
A former military commander in Al Shabab, not referred to by name in court filings, has agreed to become a cooperating witness and testify against Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, accused of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, this summer in a trial in Manhattan.  Robert Chesney speculates on Lawfare that the witness may be Ahmed Warsame in a plea-and cooperation agreement, and argues that this could mark a “big victory” for the Obama administration in handling Warsame's case.

 

Reports

"UAE: Arrest and on-going detention of human rights defender Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi, the Chairman of Islah" , Gulf Center for Human Rights
Details the arrest of human rights activist  and reform movement leader Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Kayed Al-Qasimi by UAE authorities in Ras al Khamina.  Demands his immediate release, along with guarantees for his physical and psychological health and security and a more general guarantee that all human rights activists can act without fear of arrest or other forms of judicial reprisal.

"Rep. Holt Challenged Over NYPD Spying", Jeffrey Wright
Describes recent failed attempt by Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey to strip federal funding from police departments that use ethnic or religious profiling, specifically efforts such as the New York Police Department's surveillance of Muslim communities in New York City.    

"Report: Appeals Court Chokes Off Guantánamo Reviews", Mark Sherman
A study by law professors at Seton Hall University finds that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has undermined the Supreme Court's decision in Boumedienne v. Bush, which established the constitutional right of suspects held at Guantánamo Bay the right to challenge their detainment.  Since a decision by the circuit court in 2010 on the detainment of Yemeni Mohammed al Adahi, one of the 12 detainees who have challenged their confinement has won release―only to find his release overturned.



Conference Compendium

"International Law Department Annual Conference: Cyber War and International Law"; Monday,  25 June, 2012 through Wednesday, 27 June, 2012; U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.  Inquire about registration here.
 

On Jadaliyya:

"Without Principle, There Is Nothing: On the Undignified Politics of the American Task Force on Palestine", US Palestinian Community Network

"The Andalus Test: Reflections on the Attempt to Publish Arabic Literature in Hebrew", Yael Lerer

"New Texts Out Now: Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine", Omar Jabary Salamanca, Mezna Qato, Kareem Rabie, Sobhi Samour

"Palestinian Hunger Strikes: Fighting Ingrained Duplicity", Richard Falk and Noura Erakat

"The DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival: Showcasing Subjectivity", Noura Erakat

"United Methodists Recommend Sanctions & Boycotts; Reject Divestment", US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

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