World News Brief, Friday November 19

First Guantanamo detainee tried in US courts guilty on just one count (+ analysis); Ireland looks set to accept bailout worth "tens of billions"; UN warns of world food shortages, higher prices; China re-routes global internet traffic for 18 minutes; and more

Top of the Agenda: Verdict Tests Guantanamo Policy

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court, was found guilty of a single count of conspiracy to damage or destroy US property (WashPost) but acquitted of numerous murder and attempted murder charges for his role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa. The outcome was a clear setback for the Obama administration, which could be hard pressed to fulfill its promise to try other Guantanamo detainees in US civilian courts and not rely exclusively on the military commissions set up under the George W. Bush administration.

Several incoming Republican leaders in the US House– including Lamar Smith of Texas, set to be Judiciary Committee chairman, and Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, expected chairman of the Intelligence Committee –denounced the use of civilian courts for prosecuting terrorism cases (NYT). New York Rep. Peter King, expected to become the next chairman of the House homeland security committee, called the verdict a "total miscarriage of justice." He says Congress must approve any further transfers of Guantánamo Bay prisoners to the United States (Guardian), which is unlikely to happen once his party takes control of the House.


In this CFR roundup from earlier this year, four experts reviewed the legal and political ramifications of the Obama administration's promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

CFR's John Bellinger says the Obama administration has found itself struggling through a political and legal thicket about where and how to try those accused of war crimes.


The BBC profiles Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.


PACIFIC RIM: China Denies Hijacking Internet Traffic

China rerouted 15 percent of the world's internet traffic for 18 minutes earlier this year, including highly sensitive email exchanges between senior US government and military figures, according to a report by the by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (pdf). Chinese officials say that the re-routing was accidental, but the commission's report suggested the hijacking could have been "malicious." This Council Special Report outlines an agenda that the United States should pursue to address cyber warfare, cyber crime, and state-sponsored espionage.

Hong Kong: A woman has been hospitalized after contracting bird flu - the first human case of the disease to be identified in the territory since 2003 (BBC).



- Ireland to Get Bailout Funds
- World in Danger of New Food Crisis


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