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A Belated Thought on Wikileaks

by Gra­ham Dumas (J.D. Can­di­date 2011)

I am a bit late in writ­ing about the Wik­ileaks issue, but I would like to pro­pose here a slight­ly dif­fer­ent way of view­ing the ques­tion through the lens of sys­tems engi­neer­ing. For a num­ber of rea­sons, Wik­ileaks has pre­sent­ed to mem­bers of the mil­i­tary a sim­pli­fied and seem­ing­ly less painful way to report vio­la­tions of IHL, lead­ing to a break­down in, or rather an excur­sion from, the process the U.S. Mil­i­tary has been using to report, iden­ti­fy, pros­e­cute, and ulti­mate­ly pre­vent vio­la­tions of mil­i­tary law and the law of armed con­flict. To rem­e­dy this prob­lem, the mil­i­tary should inves­ti­gate both the demand and sup­ply sides of the infor­ma­tion pipeline, sim­pli­fy the report­ing process, and ini­ti­ate a cam­paign to edu­cate ser­vice­men of the inter­nal report­ing chan­nels avail­able to them, the need to pre­vent extra­ne­ous leaks to the pub­lic, and the penal­ties for releas­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion.  More after the jump.

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Book Review: Begley’s Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters

This install­ment in our ongo­ing series of book reviews takes on Why the Drey­fus Affair Mat­ters by lawyer/novelist Louis Beg­ley.  Hugh Murtaugh’s com­pli­men­ta­ry review of Begley’s work inter­twines the Drey­fus and the Guan­tanamo nar­ra­tives.  Both Beg­ley and this review­er con­clude with the same lament from Proust: “As for ask­ing one­self about its val­ue, not one thought of it now .… It was no longer shock­ing. That was all that was required.”

By Hugh K. Murtagh

The sto­ry of Guan­tanamo Bay is not over. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma will not be able to shut­ter the island prison until at least 2011, and then only by mov­ing the remain­ing detainees to a state­side facil­i­ty. Time pass­es, details emerge: the “Camp Delta Stan­dard Oper­at­ing Pro­ce­dures” find their way onto the inter­net; a mil­i­tary judge will not allow the pros­e­cu­tion of a ter­ror­ist leader because he has been so bad­ly abused; Sami al-Hajj, the al-Jazeera jour­nal­ist held for years on chang­ing unsub­stan­ti­at­ed charges, is final­ly released to Sudan, with his diaries.

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Koskenniemi the scholar vs. Koskenniemi the commissioner

Sahib Singh of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Vien­na has post­ed a paper on SSRN titled The Ethics of Frag­men­ta­tion: Formalism’s Fal­lac­i­es and the Poten­tial of Inter­na­tion­al Law.  The paper is inter­est­ing not least because it takes a seri­ous and crit­i­cal work at the frag­men­ta­tion report of 2006, pre­pared for the Inter­na­tion­al Law Com­mis­sion by Mart­ti Kosken­nie­mi.  Singh’s paper inves­ti­gates the work of a first-rate schol­ar close­ly affil­i­at­ed with NYU Law’s Hauser Glob­al Law School pro­gram, and for that alone it would be worth read­ing for NYU inter­na­tion­al law stu­dents.  But Singh’s paper is fas­ci­nat­ing because it inves­ti­gates the ten­sion between Koskenniemi’s per­son­al work and the report.  Abstract after the jump.

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