NATSECDEF 2018: "Preserving Justice in National Security"

Join Gitmowatch, GW Law, Witness Against Torture, Justice for Muslims Collective, and Defending Rights & Dissent for the 2018 NATSECDEF conference. Attendance is free.


8:30 - 9 am: Breakfast for all conference participants

9 - 9:15 am: Welcome Remarks

Hank R. Molinengo, Senior Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs, The George Washington University Law School   

9:15 – 9:45 am: Session 1 - "Truth & Consequences: Echoes of the Decision to Use Torture"

Human rights attorney James Connell (lead attorney for Ammar al Baluchi in the “9/11 Case”) explains recent attempts by the United States government to cover up the defendants’ CIA torture - and how it has led to near-collapse of the government’s case.

10 – 11:30 am: Session 2 - "The Meaning of Judicial Independence in Counter-Terrorism Cases"

Moderator Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal returns to NATSECDEF to lead a broad debate about whether "judicial independence" in counter-terrorism is achievable. Professors Tara Grove (William and Mary), and Marty Lederman (Georgetown, Just Security) will discuss domestic U.S. institutions (federal courts and military commissions), while international criminal lawyer Melinda Taylor (International Criminal Court; counsel for Julian Assange and Saif al-Islam el-Qaddafi), speaking remotely, shares her experience with international tribunals.

11:30 am – 1 pm: Lunch Break

1 – 2:15 pm: Session 3 – "Artwork as a Bellwether: Detainee Rights at Guantanamo"

The opening of a Guantanamo Bay art exhibition in New York in 2017 ignited a media firestorm around indefinite detention at Guantanamo and conditions of confinement at the prison. The Department of Defense reacted to the publicity by ending the detainee artwork program and banning all detainee artwork from leaving the base. Aliya Hussain (Center for Constitutional Rights) and Alka Pradhan (Military Commissions Defense Organization) will discuss the art program at Guantanamo, artwork as a human rights issue, and the effects of new government regulations on those rights. Former Guantanamo Bay detainees Mansoor Adayfi and Abdalmalik Abud will join remotely to share their experiences at Guantanamo and the meaning of expression through art or writing for long-term detainees.

2:30 – 4 pm: Session 4 – "The Scapegoating of Minorities as National Security Policy"

Journalist Laila al-Arian (Al Jazeera) will lead an important discussion about the role of Islamophobia in "national security" programs after September 11, 2001. Attorney Hina Shamsi (Director, ACLU National Security Project) will discuss her litigation involving the CIA's torture program and other "law of war" detention issues, while advocate Dr. Maha Hilal (Co-Director, Justice for Muslims Collective; Witness Against Torture) and attorney Deepa Iyer (former Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together; author, "We Too Sing America") talk about the impact of national security policies on the ground, how the post-9/11 Islamophobia has broadened to a general targeting of minorities, and how people can respond. 

4:15 – 5 pm: Keynote Speech  - "The State of the Military Commissions"

Brigadier General John G. Baker of the Military Commissions Defense Organization (MCDO) will give an overview of current challenges faced at Guantanamo Bay, and examine whether "justice" is achievable through the military commissions.

5 – 5:15 pm: Closing Remarks

Military Commissions Defense Organization

5:15 – 6:30 pm: VIP Reception for Speakers, Sponsors, and GW Faculty at Soft Lounge