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A Culture of Legal Nihilism

Last year, two Russian oligarchs, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, both nearing the end of lengthy jail terms on corruption charges, were tried and convicted a second time. Observers of…

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Spy Games

In a feature at Foreign Policy, I explore in greater depth the case of Raymond A. Davis, a CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis on a motorcycle back…

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Inhumanity at Quantico

Bradley Manning, an American soldier under suspicion of having leaked classified and sensitive information to WikiLeaks, has been in prison since May, 2010. His conditions of confinement are increasingly strange…

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Qaddafi’s Dilemma

The Arab Revolution of 2011, still in progress, started in Tunisia, continued to Egypt, and is now being played out in Libya, the nation that separates them. Tunisia’s Zine El…

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The Obstinate Dr. Heicklen

The New York Times reports on the case of Julian P. Heicklen, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, who now faces federal criminal charges. What has the mild-mannered…

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Justice Cranks Up Its Covert War on Whistleblowers

As noted previously, candidate Barack Obama promised to protect whistleblowers who come forward with information disclosing government waste, abuse, and inefficiency. Unfortunately, President Obama has done exactly the opposite. Obama’s…

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State Stupidities, State Secrets

In the years after 9/11, national security agencies in the United States found themselves with a lot of money to lavish on contractors. They spent tens of billions, and there…

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Kill or Capture: Six Questions for Matthew Alexander

Career Air Force interrogator Matthew Alexander, who won the Bronze Star for leading a team in a series of intelligence breakthroughs in Iraq, has written a dramatic account of the…

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The Strange Story of a Double Homicide in Lahore

Raymond A. Davis is a U.S. government employee or contractor now in police custody in Pakistan in connection with the shooting of two men in Lahore on January 27. The…

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Obama and Egypt

In the New York Times, Helene Cooper, Mark Landler, and David E. Sanger offer a curious glimpse into the Obama Administration’s internal dialogue over Egypt. They lead with Frank Wisner’s…

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The Life of Wolkenstein

Es fügt sich, do ich was von zehen jaren alt ich wolt besehen, wie die werlt wer gestalt. mit ellend, armüt mangen winkel, haiss und kalt hab ich gebawt bei…

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Planck on Science’s Commitment to Truth

Sollte aber Ihr ehrliches, durch mehrfache Proben bewährtes Streben Ihnen mit Entschiedenheit besondere, von den bisherigen abweichende Wege weisen, dann—folgen Sie Ihrer eigenen Überzeugung mehr als jeder anderen. Denn diese…

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Gimme Shelter: The Game’s Afoot

The Swiss Federal Council acted quickly on news that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has resigned. Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports (my translation): The Swiss Federal Council has immediately frozen all money…

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The CIA’s Culture of Impunity

What happens to a CIA agent who authorizes the torture of an innocent citizen of a NATO ally, leaving a long trail of dumb mistakes behind? The answer appears to…

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The Institutionalization of Torture: Six Questions for Cherif Bassiouni

Cherif Bassiouni, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago, was one of the key authors of the Convention Against Torture and is one of the world’s preeminent experts in…

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Bush Cancels Trip to Switzerland

Former president George W. Bush was slated to speak at a gala charity event in Geneva on February 12, supporting United Israel Appeal. This weekend, a Bush spokesman announced that…

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Gimme Shelter

Why is Hosni Mubarak struggling to add a few more months to a thirty-year run as president of Egypt? Part of the answer lies in the fact that deposed dictators…

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Some Questions About Egypt

I spent the last week watching the developments in Egypt from London, where U.S., European, and Arab media are equally accessible. Watching them side-by-side, sometimes over many hours a day,…

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Because It Is Wrong: Six Questions for Charles and Gregory Fried

Beginning with the disclosures of Abu Ghraib and continuing over a period of several years, Reagan Administration Solicitor General and Harvard law professor Charles Fried discussed the Bush Administration’s policy…

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Australia Opens Probe of CIA Rendition

Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian citizen, traveled to Pakistan in 2001, seeking work and religious schooling for his children. On October 5, 2001, he was arrested by Pakistani police while…

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Fet/Rachmaninoff – In the Mysterious Silence of the Night

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Burke on Sharia Law

On one side, your lordships have the prisoner declaring that the people have no laws, no rights, no usages, no distinctions of rank, no sense of honor, no property; in…

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Boehner’s Challenge

In the current Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi offers an incendiary portrait of the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. It opens with a blast that is typical…

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Wall Street Sponsorship for the 112th Congress

The 112th Congress is the first since the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. How has that decision—which effectively opened the gates for corporate spending in election campaigns—shaped Congress? MSNBC’s…

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In Texas, 41 Exonerations from DNA Evidence in 9 Years

In a Dallas courtroom yesterday Cornelius Dupree, who had spent thirty years in prison on a conviction for rape, robbery, and abduction, was told that he had been exonerated. DNA…

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Bach’s Cello Suites: Six Questions for Eric Siblin

Bach’s cello suites are among the best known works of classical music, now risking popularization to the point of fatigue as they provide background music for cat food commercials. But…

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Justice Department Refuses Cooperation With Polish Prosecutors Investigating Torture at CIA Black Site

Polish prosecutors looking into the torture (including waterboarding) of prisoners held at the former CIA black site in northeastern Poland near Szymany air base turned to the U.S. Department of…

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How Prosecutorial Misconduct Helps Criminals Get Off

The USA Today series on the systematic misconduct of federal prosecutors continues today, with an examination of the consequences that prosecutorial misconduct has for criminal defendants. It considers the case…

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