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The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

Benjamin Bissell
Saturday, September 6, 2014, 9:55 AM
This week, Bobby began providing a discussion from the Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict exploring when the Law of Armed Conflict ceases to apply, especially in instances of non-international armed conflict.

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This week, Bobby began providing a discussion from the Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict exploring when the Law of Armed Conflict ceases to apply, especially in instances of non-international armed conflict. Over the next few weeks, Lawfare will host a series of short pieces that provide readers with a sample of topics addressed at this summer’s second annual Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict. On Saturday, Ben brought us a Lawfare Podcast devoted to an emerging threat that has dominated public discourse recently: brain-eating zombies. Shane Harris of Foreign Policy magazine moderated “Bone-Crushing Zombie Action,” which featured a discussion between Bobby Chesney, Jennifer Daskal, and Ben focusing on the legal questions inherent in zombie apocalypses. Spoiler alert: there's a reason the post has a zombified picture of Bobby on it. Speaking of podcasts, Ben recommended a series of podcasts by Dan Carlin entitled, “Hardcore History,” which explore World War I in depth. Cody brought us a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Senator Patrick Leahy that endorses the Senator’s version of the USA FREEDOM Act. On Friday, Zoe Bedell summarized the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights on extraditions to the United States: Trabelsi v. Belgium. Jane and Ben tipped us off to their newest Brookings Institution paper, “Our Cyborg Future: Law and Policy Implications,” which analyzes the legal questions surrounding our existence as “adolescent cyborgs.” Unlike the zombies, this paper is actually serious. Stewart Baker brought us the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, which featured a discussion with David Hoffman, Intel’s Chief Privacy Officer, on, among other topics, the European Court of Justice’s decision regarding the right to be forgotten. On Friday, Cody shared a White House statement that confirmed the death of Ahmed Godane, the leader of Al-Shabaab in Somalia, in an airstrike last weekend. Earlier in the week, Bobby discussed the legal dynamics of the same reported drone strike in Somalia, and if true, whether the Obama Administration could reasonably invoke authority granted under the 2001 AUMF. Ben flagged National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen’s Wednesday speech at the Brookings Institution on the ISIS threat. To listen to the speech, make sure to check out this week's Lawfare Podcast. On Wednesday, Cody tipped us off about the recent resignation from the U.S. Army of Major Jason Wright, a (former) lawyer for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Wright reportedly resigned after the Army forced him to leave the legal team representing Mohammed in order to complete a graduate school program that would enable his promotion. Wells flagged the Second Circuit’s decision to affirm the denial by the Southern District of New York of a Freedom of Information Act suit filed to gain access to videos and photos of Mohammed Al-Qahtani, a high-profile Guantanamo detainee. Tuesday, Jack asked whether the President’s unusual, frequent, and repeated War Powers Resolution letters to Congress are a new tactic to avoid the Resolution’s time limits on operations without statutory Congressional approval. On Monday, Orin Kerr previewed the oral arguments in ACLU v. Clapper, a challenge to Section 215, heard on Tuesday in front of the Second Circuit. Kerr also provided the video of the argument after the day’s hearing closed. Later on Tuesday, Kerr summarized the CA2 ACLU v. Clapper proceedings and offered his impressions. Ben highlighted the recent seminar that Anne Neuberger, the director of the NSA’s Commercial Solutions Center, gave at the Long Now Foundation. In this week’s Foreign Policy Essay, Sumitha Narayanan Kutty, a foreign affairs analyst and journalist specializing in Iran and South Asia, detailed Iran’s four long-standing strategic objectives in Afghanistan as well as the potential challenges to its influence there. John Bellinger brought us news that SDNY Judge Scheindlin had dismissed the remaining Alien Tort Statute suits against Ford and IBM in what he characterized as the “largest, longest-running, and most expensive lawfare battle in history." And that was the week that was.

Ben Bissell is an analyst at a geopolitical risk consultancy and a Masters student at the London School of Economics. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Virginia with majors in political science and Russian in 2013. He is a former National Security Intern at the Brookings Institution as well as a Henry Luce Scholar, where he was placed at the Population Research Institute in Shanghai, China.

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