Journal of National Security Law & Policy – call for papers

May 18, 2010

* Call for Papers: the Journal of National Security Law & Policy

The Journal of National Security Law & Policy (JNSLP) is soliciting articles for its winter 2011 issue. Since its founding in 2003, the JNSLP has quickly become one of the most frequently cited peer reviewed journals and the only one devoted exclusively to national security law and policy.

We accept article submissions on a rolling basis, but to be considered for the winter 2011 issue, submissions must be received by September 30, 2010. There is no page limit; however, our preferred article length is 5,000-10,000 words. Please include resumes with submissions. For past issues and information about the JNSLP, visit

GTMO habeas petition denied

May 18, 2010

* Abdah v. Obama (D.D.C. May 4, 2010) (Kennedy, J.) (denying habeas petition of GTMO detainee Yasein Khasem Mohammad Esmail)

In a 43-page opinion posted here, Judge Kennedy on May 4th denied Esmail’s habeas petition on the ground that the government proved by the preponderance of the evidence that Esmail was part of al Qaeda at the time of his capture in Afghanistan in late 2001. Specifically, the court concluded that the government’s evidence sufficed to prove that Esmail had (i) traveled to Afghanistan after being recruited by an al Qaeda facilitator, (ii) attended multiple military-style training courses sponsored by al Qaeda, (iii) stayed at multiple guesthouses sponsored by or associated with al Qaeda, (iv) studied at a religious institute sponsored by al Qaeda, (v) elected to remain in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and (vi) was present at the battle of Tora Bora as an al Qaeda fighter.

Substantive detention standard: Notably, Judge Kennedy did not say whether it would have been adequate to justify detention if the government had proved only the training and guesthouse facts. Footnote 25 on p. 42 acknowledges that the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in al Bihani asserts in dicta that such facts would suffice to justify detention, but goes on to state that the “Court need not evaluate the significance of this statement [from al Bihani] because the evidence in this case demonstrates that Esmail did more than stay in Al Qaeda guesthouses and attend Al Qaeda training camps.”

Reliability of interrogation and CSRT statements/Taint issues: Equally notable is Judge Kennedy’s analysis of the evidence used by the government to establish these facts. Most of that evidence consisted of statements made by Esmail either during (i) interrogations by U.S. officials in Bagram and Kandahar in early 2002 and thereafter at GTMO or (ii) Esmail’s CSRT appearance. Esmail argued that these statements were unreliable, contending that he had been tortured or at least abused repeatedly at all stages of U.S. custody (that is, in Bagram, then in Kandahar, and then later at GTMO) and that he frequently told interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear in order to prevent further abuse. The government denied the abuse allegations, and put forward evidence contesting them. Ultimately Judge Kennedy concluded that Esmail may have suffered some abuse, but also that he had exaggerated or invented the worst of his allegations. As a result, Judge Kennedy was willing to credit his prior, inculpatory statements.

forthcoming scholarship

May 18, 2010

* forthcoming scholarship

"The Requirement of ‘Belonging’ Under International Humanitarian Law"

European Journal of International Law, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 105-124, 2010

KATHERINE DEL MAR, affiliation not provided to SSRN

This article argues that the notion of ‘belonging to a Party’ to an international armed conflict under Article 4A(2) of the Third Geneva Convention is a necessarily low-threshold requirement. It is submitted that the requirement of ‘belonging’ demands no more than a de facto agreement between a state and an irregular armed group to the effect that the latter will fight on the state’s behalf against another state. The article critically examines how the ICTY Appeals Chamber in the Tadić case applied the requirement to ‘belong’ under Article 4A(2) not in order to classify persons, but rather to classify the conflict in the former Yugoslavia as ‘international’. The Appeals Chamber also considered that the same test should apply for the purpose of attributing state responsibility. It will be argued that there should be no underlying assumption that the same test applies for different purposes. Rather, it is to be expected that different tests developed for different purposes are different. This heterogeneous content of international law does not mean that international law is fragmented. Rather, an argument is made for the application of tests according to their respective purposes.

"Controlling the Executive in Times of Terrorism: Competing Perspectives on Effective Oversight Mechanisms"

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 30, Issue 1, pp. 19-47, 2010

FIONA DE LONDRAS, University College Dublin-School of Law
Email: fiona.delondras
FERGAL F. DAVIS, Lancaster University – Law School
Email: f.f.davis

The well-established pattern of Executive expansionism and limited oversight of Executive action in times of terrorism is problematic from the civil libertarian point of view. How to limit such action has been the subject of much scholarship, a large amount of which focuses on perceptions of institutional competence rather than effectiveness. For the authors, the effective control of security-focused state action is to be judged by the extent to which it consists only of action that is necessary and proportionate and thereby strikes an appropriate balance between security exigencies and individual rights. This article, written and structured in dialectic form, presents competing perspectives on effective oversight mechanisms: on the one hand, an extra-constitutionalism perspective, proposing a limited role for the Judiciary and emphasizing the need for legislative and democratic controls; and on the other, an argument for judicial muscularity.

"Putting Terrorists Out of Business: Using Sarbanes-Oxley to Prosecute Terror Financiers"

Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society’s Practice Groups, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 91-96, March, 2010
George Washington University Legal Studies Research Paper
George Washington University Law School Public Law Research Paper

ADAM ROSS PEARLMAN, The George Washington University Law School
Email: arpearlman

This article examines the practicality and the utility of prosecuting terrorist financiers for anticipatory obstruction of justice under section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, codified at 18 U.S.C. s. 1519. Section 1519 was written to be a broadly applicable law, designed to go after the "individual shredder" or destructor of evidence in a way that other obstruction statutes (e.g. ss. 1503 and 1512) could not. It has been applied to a variety of defendants, ranging from those charged with possession of child pornography, to those being investigated for health care fraud. The article examines the legislative history and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Arthur Anderson (reversing convictions on obstruction charges), and applies that background to the possibility of using this law against those who finance terrorists.

"The Second Largest Force: Private Military Contractors & State Responsibility"

University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-10

MARKUS WAGNER, University of Miami School of Law
Email: mwagner

The paper is concerned with private military contractors, their expanding use and the challenges this poses to a system in which private actors – at least so far – have been considered to be acting outside of existing international accountability structures.

The paper proceeds from a brief historical overview of the use of non-state military forces to a delineation of what private military forces are (and what they are not), what distinguishes them from mercenaries (and what does not). This is followed by an analysis of how private military forces’ conduct can be attributed to the states employing them, thereby contributing to the debate over the advantages and disadvantages of their proliferating use in recent conflicts.

The article proposes a range of legal and policy rationales to reassess the arguments that are being advanced for the use of private military forces in today’s conflicts – with respect to their legal status, their political utility and their impact on democratic accountability mechanisms.

"The Inconvenience of a ‘Constitution [that] Follows the Flag … But Doesn’t Quite Catch Up with It’: From Downes v. Bidwell to Boumediene v. Bush"

PEDRO A. MALAVET, University of Florida – Fredric G. Levin College of Law
Email: malavet

Boumediene v. Bush, resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 2008, granted habeas corpus rights, at least for the time being, to the persons detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. The majority partially based its ruling on the doctrine of the Insular Cases, first set forth in the 1901 decision in Downes v. Bidwell. Additionally, the four dissenting justices agreed with the five in the majority that the plurality opinion of Justice Edward Douglass White in Downes – as affirmed by a unanimous court in 1922 in Balzac v. People of Porto Rico – is still the dominant interpretation of the Constitution’s Territorial Clause, abandoning the rule set forth in 1856 in Dred Scott v. Sanford. The Boumediene majority labels this a “situational” standard that allows it to pick which provisions of the Constitution will be enforced in the U.S. Territorial Possessions and now extraterritorially as well.

This article provides historical context and analysis of the Insular Cases, that series of decisions on the power of the U.S. government over territory and people under the Territorial Clause, and criticizes the Boumediene majority’s use of it to justify the “situational” application of constitutional rights to subjects of United States law, especially to those who are most “inconvenienced”: the territorial U.S. citizens. The article also points out the fallacy that these legal situations are temporary and transitional given that most of the current territorial possessions have been continuously occupied since the end of the Spanish American War in 1898.

I began work on this article a few weeks after the Boumediene decision was issued in an attempt to greatly expand a short contribution to an anthology into an article, and to discuss the Supreme Court’s most recent citation of the Insular Cases. But unforeseen circumstances forced me to move on to other projects and delay its publication. Luckily, this delay has given me the opportunity to revise the draft and to review the literature produced in response to the case. A LEXIS search of published law review articles found 506 articles that referenced Boumediene in their text. When that search was refined to articles referencing Boumediene and the Insular Cases together, it produced 48 article results. The study of the published articles leaves me almost as disappointed as I was in the Fall of 2008 with the level of study of the Insular Cases by the U.S. legal mainstream.

"Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project: Material Support at the Supreme Court"

The Investigative Project on Terrorism, p. 11, 2010

STEPHEN I. LANDMAN, Catholic University of America (CUA) – Columbus School of Law
Email: Landman_Stephen

Since September 11, 2001, the majority of “national security” cases to make it to the Supreme Court have dealt with America’s military strategy in the War on Terrorism – namely our policies at Guantanamo Bay. Although these cases have focused on detention authority and due process rights in a time of war, they represent only one facet of what is at least a two-front war. Alongside our military efforts, the United States has been engaged in domestic law enforcement to target international terrorist groups long before September 11th.

At the forefront of that battle is the “material support” statute – 18 U.S.C. § 2339B. Although both maligned and lauded, subject to numerous amendments and frequent litigation, the constitutional challenges have never made their way to our nation’s highest court – until now.

This term, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder (HLP) a case with significant national security implications. The case is already well underway, with briefs being submitted by both the government and a wide variety of interested amici on both sides. Oral arguments are scheduled for February 23, 2010, but there are a lot of materials and arguments to digest first.

This report will summarize and discuss the facts and arguments in HLP, attempting to put the challenge into context of everyday criminal prosecutions. Unlike most of the legal analysis sure to make it way into the press, this article will focus solely on the real-world, practical effects of the statute.

Part I will provide a brief overview of the litigation and background on the parties and issues involved. Tracing the procedural history of Humanitarian Law Project from its roots as an attempt to enjoin government counter-terrorism efforts in the 1990s to the Supreme Court 12 years later, the challenge serves as an excellent case-study for evaluating the constitutionality of a critical national security tool.

Part II will analyze the legal questions presented by the case from a policy standpoint. While briefly discussing the technical legal questions upon which the court will ultimately issue its ruling, this section will contextualize the case, explaining the possible implications of the court’s ruling.

Georgetown Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic Seeking Fellows (note deadline: NEXT MONDAY)

May 18, 2010

* National Security / Foreign Affairs Graduate Clinical Teaching Fellow

Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic

Georgetown University Law Center

The Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic (FLAC) at the Georgetown University Law Center seeks two bar-admitted legislative lawyers to supervise law students during two-year graduate clinical teaching fellowships. One fellow starts this fall, no later than August 19, 2010, and receives an LL.M. The second starts Spring Term 2011, with tenure and LL.M negotiable. Each fellow receives an annual stipend of approximately $50,000 (taxable and pro-rated for periods of under one-year), health and dental benefits, and all tuition and fees for the LL.M. program, supervises five students, and works with the FLAC Director and national security / foreign affairs clients on important real-world policy and legislative initiatives. More information about the clinical fellowship may be found at (page 26) Candidates must have excellent analytical, writing, and interpersonal skills, and keen interest in clinical teaching and learning. Experience in legislation and/or the national security / foreign affairs field is preferred but not required.

Not later than Monday, May 24 submit a concise statement of interest, CV, law school transcript (if possible), and writing sample to Visiting Professor Dakota Rudesill, Incoming Director, Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, 111 F Street NW, Room 340, Washington, D.C. 2000-2095. Please send a contemporaneous email, and direct any questions, to Loretta Moss, FLAC Executive Assistant, at moss.