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Tag Archive: Iraq

Three Quick Observations on the U.S. Citizen ISIL Detainee


1. Like Bobby Chesney, I fully expected that “John Doe”–the U.S. citizen who the military currently is detaining in Iraq–would be “en route to the U.S. to face civilian prosecution . . . within a week or so.”  Turns out that’s probably not in the cards:  As Eric Schmitt and Charlie Savage report today, although the government apparently has sufficient evidence to conclude that Doe is part of ISIL forces, it does not yet have sufficient admissible evidence to prove that fact in an Article III trial (which is presumably what they’d need to show to secure a material-support conviction). …   continue »

New UN Team Investigating ISIS Atrocities Raises Questions About Justice in Iraq and Beyond


On September 21, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed resolution 2379 to pursue accountability for atrocity crimes perpetrated in Iraq by the Islamic State (also called ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh). The resolution, in paragraph 2, requests the UN Secretary-General

to establish an Investigative Team, headed by a Special Adviser, to support domestic efforts to hold ISIL (Da’esh) accountable by collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group ISIL (Da’esh) in Iraq .

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Bringing the AUMF Debate Back to its Constitutional Roots, and Recent History

A U.S. Army howitzer firing at Islamic State positions in Iraq in 2016.

Last Friday, Rita Siemion published an insightful analysis of the Trump Administration’s first meaningful public statement on its authority for the ISIS war, which came in the form of a letter from the State Department to Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Bob Corker.…   continue »

Letter to the Editor: There Is Much More to a Civilian Casualty Investigation than Eyewitness Accounts


I applaud and agree with Sarah Knuckey’s, Ole Solvang’s, Jonathan Horowitz’s and Radhya Almutawakel’s recent post (“Pentagon Admits Major Investigation Flaw: imeshey Rarely Talk to Air Strike Witnesses or Victims”) to the extent it suggests that more witness interviews would be helpful when investigating incidents involving civilian deaths, but their over-reliance on witness statements illustrates a lack of awareness about the limitations and hazards of what they call their “bedrock” fact-finding technique.…   continue »

Pentagon Admits Major Investigation Flaw: They Rarely Talk to Air Strike Witnesses or Victims


In a transcript of a Pentagon Press Briefing, released this week by Airwars, Central Command’s Deputy Director for Operations made a striking admission about U.S. investigations into civilian casualties in Syria:

Q:  Okay.  So, you didn’t talk to anybody on the ground and nobody visited the site. 

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