Tagged: terrorism

Prof. Thomas McDonnell on military detention for terrorism suspects captured in the US 0

Prof. Thomas McDonnell on military detention for terrorism suspects captured in the US

Pace Law School Prof. Thomas McDonnell, an expert on terrorism, is available to speak to the media about the Senate rejecting a provision that would have prevented indefinite military detention for terrorism suspects captured in the United States.

According to Prof. McDonnell, “By authorizing indefinite detention, the Senate bill violates international law, if not the US Constitution. By implicitly authorizing the indefinite detentions of Americans, it violates both.”

Prof. McDonnell is author of The United States, International Law and the Struggle against Terrorism (Routledge, 2009), which discusses critical legal issues raised by US responses to the terrorist threat, analyzing whether the actions taken by the Bush-Cheney Administration and now the Obama Administration have complied with international law. The book highlights such issues as torture, indefinite detentions, right to trial, military commissions, the death penalty, targeted killing, the right of self-determination, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prof. Thomas McDonnell on the questionable legality of the U.S. killing Anwar Al-Awlaki 0

Prof. Thomas McDonnell on the questionable legality of the U.S. killing Anwar Al-Awlaki

Pace Law School Prof. Thomas McDonnell, an expert on terrorism is available to speak to the media about the questionable legality of the U.S. killing Anwar Al-Awlaki.

“The recent killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki is of questionable legality because it was carried out in Yemen, a country with which the United States has neither engaged in armed conflict nor intervened in a civil war on behalf of the government. Had this attack been carried out in Afghanistan or the tribal areas of Pakistan, it would more clearly pass the test of legality—though still morally questionable and unsound as a matter of policy. That Al-Awlaki is a U.S. citizen matters relatively little, from an international law perspective.

I believe the only basis for permitting this killing would be if there were evidence showing that Al-Awlaki posed an imminent threat to the U.S. or its allies. This seems unlikely, given that he appears to have been more of a propagandist and a recruiter for al Qaeda than a militant who was actually ordering and carrying out specific attacks. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has entrusted the CIA with the authority to carry out this attack (as well as those in Pakistan and Somalia). As a secret service, the CIA has little if any transparency. There should be an independent Congressional investigation to examine the evidence of Al-Awlaki’s status and activities and to determine whether he posed an imminent threat to the United States.”

Prof. Ralph Stein on newly released details on the NYPD’s counterterrorism intelligence gathering operations 0

Prof. Ralph Stein on newly released details on the NYPD’s counterterrorism intelligence gathering operations

Pace Law School Professor Ralph Stein, an expert on national security law and civil rights, is available to speak to the media about newly uncovered details on the New York Police Department’s previously unknown intelligence gathering counterterrorism operations.

“While major city police departments have long operated intelligence units or bureaus, the New York Police Department is unsurpassed both for the depth of its investigative operations and the controversies, including federal court cases, they produce. Known informally as the ‘Red Squad’ in past decades, the NYPD regularly renames its intelligence unit. Once the Bureau of Special Services (BOSS), it now has a more clearly understood name denominating its assigned duties.

Past NYPD intelligence activities have been found to violate individual rights under the First Amendment and a consent decree, known as the Handschu Decree, sought to limit impermissible activities. However, that decree has recently been modified in the wake of 9/11 based on NYPD assertions that a more proactive mission than the decree envisioned was warranted.

A distinctive feature of the NYPD intelligence operations, not matched by any other major police department, has been its relationships with other federal agencies, most notably the FBI, as well as the military.

While there is no question that investigating potential terrorism threats is both lawful and, obviously, necessary, there is a thin line between investigations based on reasonable grounds and wholesale surveillance of constitutionally protected political and religious activities.”

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