Episode 110: This Podcast Is Not Subject to Military Jurisdiction

February 12, 2019

Your favorite weekly show combining serious debate about the latest national security legal developments with a healthy dose of frivolity is back! [ed. note: this is the only show like that, so you should delete the awkward bit where you claim this is their “favorite]

This week we open at the Supreme Court: What are the stakes in the Larabee litigation concerning the recall of retired military personnel in order to subject them to court-martial jurisdiction?  Is there anything to the claim in Hamidullin that U.S. courts should grant combatant immunity from prosecution to a Russian veteran who ambushed US and Afghan forces in 2009?  And while we’re talking SCOTUS, what was the deal with lifting a stay in a death penalty case in which a state was not in a position at that moment to provide access to a religious figure of the right persuasion during an execution? [ed. note: guys, guys…stay focused, that’s not exactly a national security case]

The Hamidullin case actually segues nicely [ed. note: Thank you for not writing Segway like you usually do.] to a review of the legal and other challenges that will arise if captured Islamic State fighters are taken to GTMO as part of a larger deal to resolve the fate of a large group of IS fighters currently held by SDF forces. [ed. note: I deleted the line where you made up a claim that an SDF wrote to you to say “Screw you guys in the West, we aren’t going to keep holding IS fighters from your countries if you are going to pull out of Syria and leave us to the mercy of Assad, the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, etc.  Detain ’em yourselves!”  No one will believe they wrote you, however accurate that sentiment may be.]  

Speaking of terrorists behind bars, we’ve also got the unbelievable situation that recently unfolded in Germany, where a guy served a (comparatively-short) sentence for involvement in a plot to kill Americans in Germany, and the United States had just unsealed an indictment charging him with crimes in Afghanistan including the death of two U.S. soldiers.  Extradited to the U.S., right?  No, sent to Turkey, apparently based on a double-jeopardy theory.  Vas ist das? [ed. note: I changed your, ahem, more colorful sentence to the more-polite “vas ist das.”  Diplomacy, guys, diplomacy.  After all, you don’t read German and probably have the underlying facts at least partially wrong.]

Well, as long as we are talking about the arrest of terrorism suspects, we’ve got a National Security Division update involving the arrest of two guys who were supporters of Lashkar e-Tayyiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist group responsible for the 2008 atrocity in Mumbai.  One of the guys had expressed interest in training to become an executioner, particularly on the beheading side of that line of work.

Next, we have a very quick run-through of the legal issues raised by Project Raven, based on the recent Reuters story describing former NSA employees working as contractors for the UAE’s SIGINT service.  Pro tip: If you go to work for the UAE’s SIGINT service, do not act surprised when you find out they are monitoring political critics.  [ed. note: This whole bit on the show was just a half-baked recap of what Bobby wrote on Lawfare here.]


But you are in it for the frivolity, no?  [ed. note: no, no they are not.]  Excellent!  Well, we’ve been going to concerts and watching the Grammys, and we have strong opinions about all of it!  [ed. note: oh, joy, they have opinions about professional musicians. No doubt they’ll ask you two to tag-team host the Grammys next year.]

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