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O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 September)

[President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Photo by Lawrence Jackson. Image from Wikimedia Commons.] [President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Photo by Lawrence Jackson. Image 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] 


"Soldier Who Taught 'Total War' Against Islam Threatens to Sue Top Military Officer," Spencer Ackerman
Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a US Army Officer who once taught an elective course at the Joint Forces Staff College advocating "total war" against Islam, has issued a press release through attorneys at the Thomas More Law Center threatening a lawsuit against Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey for shutting down Dooley's course on Islam this past April.

"Algeria Should Reconsider Restrictions on Civil Society," United Nations Press Release
The United Nations High Commissionar for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, recently urged Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to expand a number of civil liberties, including press freedom and the ability of non-governmental organizations to "operate without undue impediments."

"U.S. Names 55 Gitmo Prisoners Cleared to Go," Josh Gerstein
The United States has, for the first time, released the names of Guantanamo detainees who despite being cleared for release or transfer remain at the facility because of problems finding a country willing to take them or sending them to their home country.  A significant portion of the prisoners are thought to be of Yemeni origin, a country where Obama suspended transfers to in 2010.  

"Iran Blamed for Cyberattacks on US Banks and Companies," Ellen Nakashima
In a C-SPAN interview, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, expressed his belief that recent cyber assaults on Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were carried out by Iran and the Quds force rather than unaffiliated hackers.  Lieberman framed the attacks as a warning of Iran's potential to strike back against potential US attacks on Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions.

"Libya Envoy's Killing Was a Terrorist Attack, the White House Says," Helene Cooper
White House Press secretary Jay Carney has told reporters that the Obama Administration considers the assault on American facilities in Benghazi a "terrorist attack," a change in direction from a past avoidance of such language to describe the attack.  Carney also drew a connection between the 11 September Benghazi attack and the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon of 11 September, 2001. 

"Final US 'Surge' Troops Exit Afghanistan," Jeremy Herb
Leon Panetta has indicated that as of 21 September, 2012, all of the 33,000 US troops ordered as part of a 2009 "surge" in Afghanistan have been withdrawn, ahead of President Obama's 30 September deadline and leaving a US presence of 68,000 troops in the country.

"CIA Role in US Strikes Scrutinized by Appeals Court," Tom Schoenberg
In ACLU v. CIA, ACLU lawyers have argued that the CIA's refusal to confirm or deny that it has records on a drone program in Pakistan and Yemen is unlawful, given that President Obama has publicly acknowledged the program's existence.  On 20 September 2012, three judges of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit questioned Stuart Delery, head of the Justice Department's civil division, over whether acknowledging the CIA has documents on drones "disclose[s] something that would harm national interests."

"Palestinians Seek UN Upgrade Opposed by US and Israel," Crispian Balmer
Saeb Erakat, a veteran Palestinian negotiator, has indicated that prior to the end of 2012, Palestine will ask the United Nations to upgrade the nation's status from "observer entity" to non-member "observer state," an upgrade in Palestine's legal rights at the UN.


"'Unleash the Dogs of War or at Least Unleash the AUMF in LIbya," Julian Ku
Writing for Opinio Juris, Ku warns that the decision of the Obama Administration to denote the Benghazi assault as a "terrorist attack" provides a basis for the legality of any US retaliation using armed force, particularly on the basis of the September 11 "Authorization for the Use of Military Force," though he warns that such an action would be unwise given Libya's new and tentative status as a US ally.

"Harold Koh on Cyber-Attacks," Harold Koh, Jens David Ohlin
Ohlin's blog, LieberCode, provides the full text of Harold Koh's speech on the law of cyberspace at the USCYBERCOM Inter-Agency Legal Conference.  Koh argues, among other things, that international law principles apply in cyberspace, that cyber activities may constitute a use of force under the meaning of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, and that complying with international law in cyberspace is part of the Obama Administration's "smart power approach to international law."  

"Senate Adopts Netanyahu’s Red-Line over Obama’s, 90-1," Phillip Weiss
Weiss reports on a recently passed US Senate non-binding resolution to "support any action against Iran lest it obtain nuclear 'capability,'" describing the language of the resolution as echoing that of PM Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC's "red line" on Iran.  Weiss quotes Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, who called the resolution "a motion to back a foreign prime minister…over the president of the US."

"The Counterproductivity of US Covert Action During The Cold War," Nicholas Lawrence Adams
In a long entry for e-International Relations, Adams details the history of the Central Intelligence Agency's "covert operations," including its role in the rise of the Shah in Iran and the agency's support of the mujahideen in Afghanistan.  Adams concludes that, despite having been deemed successes at the time, the legacy of these interventions is one of "anti-Americanism" in the respective countries where such operations took place.

"The Guardian missed the point about MEK's rehabilitation in US," As'ad AbuKhalil
Writing for his own The Angry Arab News Service blog, AbuKhalil criticizes a Guardian report detailing a multimillion-dollar campaign to legitimize the Iranian dissident group Mujahidin-e Khalq (MEK) in the United States as failing to see the forest for the trees, arguing that the explanation for their recent removal from the State Department's terrorism list is much simpler, and has more to do with the group's ties to Mossad than any PR campaign. "MEK has been performing services for the Mossad and the Mossad has been grateful.  End of story."


"A Motive in Libya," David Ignatius
Writing for The Washington Post's PostPartisan blog, Ignatius discusses recent rumors of Al-Qaeda involvement with the recent attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, floating the notion that the attack may have served as a kind of revenge operation for the killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi in a drone attack in Pakistan last June.

"We Should Not Tolerate Human Rights Violations," Luma Haddad
Haddad, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, applauds the UC Student Association, a pan-UC student government, for recently passing a bill condemning California state legislation "which attempts to falsely equate divestment efforts like the one at Berkeley in 2010 with anti-Semitism," in Berkeley's student newspaper, The Daily Californian.  Haddad also singles out the absence of national lobbying forces from the process of the bill's passage as key to it's success in the UCSA.

"Cast To Their Fate," Haaretz Editorial
Haaretz's editorial board criticizes Israel's treatment of eighteen Eritrean migrants who sat at the southern border of Israel for more than a week in an attempt to gain entry; after giving the migrants "as little as possible" food and water, the Prime Minister's Office elected to detain several of the Eritreans and "send the rest on their way," then attempted to wash their hands of the situation after a public backlash at the United Nations, writing that "Israel can and must…take up the position that these refugees deserve protection."

"Turkey's Miscarriage of Justice," Dani Rodrik
Writing for The Washington Post, Rodrik criticizes the recent trial in which a Turkish court convicted more than three hundred military officers of planning a coup in 2003 as a "sham," lacking in substantive evidence and due process.  Rodrik speculates that the "coup" was fabricated by the Turkish government, and questions Turkey's self-touted status as "a leader of democratic freedoms in the Middle East" in light of the government's actions during the trial. 

"FIve Lessons from the De-listing of MEK as a Terrorist Organization," Glenn Greenwald
Greenwald criticizes the removal of Iranian dissident group Mujahidin-e Khalq (MEK) from the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, calling the decision indicative of a "separate justice system" for Muslim Americans, the meaninglessness of the term "terrorism," and "legalized influence-peddling" within the State Department in a series of five "lessons" to be learned from the State Department's decision.

"Libya Condemns the Embassy Killings, but its Sovereignty Must Be Respected," Abdel Hakim Belhaj
Belhaj, the leader of Libya's Al-Watan party, condemns the attack on the embassy in Benghazi while warning against a United States intervention, military (such as the rumors that the US plans to send drones into LIbyan airspace to attack those responsible for the attack) or otherwise, arguing such an action is likely to undermine Libya's justice system and increase American-Libyan tensions.


"UNCLOS at 30"; 22-23 November 2012; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Register here.

"American Branch of the International Law Association & International Law Students Association: International Law Weekend 2012"; 25-27 October 2012; New York City; Register here.

On Jadaliyya

"Statehood Bid One Year Later: No State, No Bid, No Freedom," Noura Erakat

"The Last Friday Film Review: DC Premiere at DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival," Nehad Khader

"Open Letter Regarding the Detention of Zakaria Zubeidi," Jadaliyya Reports

"From the American People”: Sketches of the US National Security State in Palestine," Lisa Bhungalia

"Of Stupid Men and Smart Machines," Ahmad Shokr and Anjali Kamat

"Libyan Humiliation a Driving Force for Anti-Americanism," Vijay Prashad

"The Economic Question for Palestinians in Israel (Jadal Issue 14, July 2012)," Jadaliyya Reports

"Roundtable on Occupation Law: Part of the Conflict or Part of the Solution?," Noura Erakat, Lisa Hajjar, Dena Qaddumi and Ahmed Barclay, Asli Bali, Nimer Sultany, Darryl Li

"Roundtable on Targeted Killing," Noura Erakat, Richard Falk, Leonard Small, Pardiss Kebriaei, Nathan Freed Wessler, and Lisa Hajjar

"Roundtable on Palestinian Diaspora and Representation," Naseer Aruri, Seif Da'na, Karma Nabulsi, Sherene Seikaly

"انتفاضةُ رغيف الخبز أم صراعٌ على السّلطة؟", Hani Masri

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