Syracuse University Mourns Passing of Longtime Benefactor and Life Trustee Gerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10

Gerald B. Cramer ’52, H’10, devoted friend, advocate, and generous benefactor of Syracuse University, died Feb. 13, 2018. Cramer, whose extraordinary philanthropy seeded opportunity for countless students and advanced faculty excellence, had served on the Board of Trustees since 1995 and was a Life Trustee at the time of his passing.

“He funded faculty positions in global affairs, economics and aging studies; provided leadership support for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism; and supported numerous scholarships and programs in international relations.”

Born in 1930, Cramer was a 1952 graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and remained deeply involved with his alma mater throughout his life. His dedication and impact were recognized with numerous University distinctions during that time, including a George Arents Pioneer Medal—the University’s highest alumni distinction—and an honorary doctor of laws degree.

After earning a degree in accounting from the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management and attending the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Cramer launched a successful career as an investment manager that would span 50 years. He was a managing director of GOM Capital and a co-founder and chair emeritus of the investment advisory firm Cramer, Rosenthal & McGlynn, where he held overall responsibility for the firm’s investment policy. He also was associated with the investment brokerage houses of Oppenheimer & Co., where he was a senior partner, and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner and Smith. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

“Gerry exemplified the power of one person to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “He funded dozens of scholarships and provided leadership support for innovative programs that were important to him. He had a big heart and an even bigger vision that will continue to shape Syracuse University’s legacy and impact for generations to come.”

Cramer’s love for Syracuse University touched every segment of the campus community. But his philanthropy had an especially transformative impact on students and faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He served on the school’s Advisory Board for more than 15 years and vigorously supported initiatives designed to foster global scholarship and engagement. He funded faculty positions in global affairs, economics and aging studies; provided leadership support for the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism; and supported numerous scholarships and programs in international relations, including a student exchange program between Maxwell and the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya, Israel …

Read the whole story here.

The Danger of a One-Sided Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

By Louis Kriesberg

(Re-published from The Hill | Feb. 15, 2018) The increasingly dominant role of the president, relative to Congress, has been troubling for many years. The dire consequences are evident with Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump’s policies relating to Iran, North Korea, and many other countries harm American interests and threaten to be disastrous. In particular, I believe Trump’s current strategy to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is misguided.

“Bad consequences for America are already evident and more will appear as this unilateral policy is pursued.”

Last December, President Trump began to force the Palestinian Authority to accept the “peace” terms dictated by the current Israeli government. This strategy is likely to have many unfortunate consequences for the Israelis as well for the Palestinians. But it will also have many bad effects for America and could unleash news dangers.

The strategy began ambiguously, when Trump announced his intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Initially, he slightly moderated the significance of the decision by declaring that final Israeli borders should be determined by Israeli and Palestinian negotiations. But soon thereafter, he said he had taken Jerusalem off the negotiation table.

Furthermore, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made clear that the embassy move would be swift. He also reduced by about half the usual U.S. contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the major program supporting Palestinian refugees. He announced he was considering closing the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington. Clearly, Trump is trying to impose a one-sided settlement on the Palestinians.

As in other Trump foreign policy decisions, this approach does not follow a comprehensive consideration of U.S. objectives, widely-sourced information about developments in the region, and review of alternative strategies. Instead, it seems Trump is pandering to some people among his base, particularly in this instance, some Christian Evangelicals and some supporters of right-wing Israeli policies. Moreover, as in other instances, he seems to insist upon acting contrary to whatever former President Obama did.

These are poor grounds on which to base foreign policy choices. Bad consequences for America are already evident and more will appear as this unilateral policy is pursued. The actions destroyed U.S. mediation efforts that were underway. He took an action that was decried by nearly all governments in the world, as demonstrated by the overwhelming votes against it in the U.N. Security Council and U.N. General Assembly.

This harms American standing and influence in the world. Furthermore, the policy increases the chances that fanatics in many parts of the world will undertake terror attacks against Americans. Indeed, organizations that wish to limit or counter U.S. influence and presence in the Middle East would be more able to recruit, mobilize and support such fanatics.

An imposed one-sided solution will have other grave consequences for America. There has been considerable security and other realms of cooperation between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. government has aided. President Trump’s moves to impose a settlement will undermine such cooperation …

Read the full article here.

 

“Threat to Our Democracy”: William C. Banks Quoted by the New York Daily News on Russian Election Meddling

H.R. McMaster says proof of Russian meddling in 2016 election is ‘incontrovertible’

(New York Daily News | Feb. 17, 2018) President Trump’s own national security adviser thinks there’s “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian efforts to undermine American democracy.

H.R. McMaster’s blunt assessment Saturday — following an indictment charging more than a dozen Russians with illegal activity in the 2016 election — counters Trump’s claims that allegations of foreign efforts to sway the public in his favor were false.

“As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain,” McMaster told a Russian delegate at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Russian officials, meanwhile, dismissed the indictment as “just blabber.”

The country’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, brushed off charges from special counsel Robert Mueller that a troll farm with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to unlawfully influence the election …

… The President appears more concerned with his election win not appearing tainted by outside help than with securing against America’s vulnerabilities, experts warned.

 “These indictments remind us that the Mueller investigation has always first and foremost been about Russian interference in the election,” said William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School. “Just about everyone but the President has characterized their interference as a serious threat to our democracy.” 

Mueller, tasked with investigating Russia’s efforts after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, is also looking at whether anyone in the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin and whether or not the President has attempted to obstruct justice …

The full article can be read here.

Make Information Public: William C. Banks Discusses Manafort Money Laundering Case with Bloomberg Law

Judge Lashes Out at Lawyers in Manafort Laundering Case

(Bloomberg Law | Feb. 15, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses why the judge in the Paul Manafort money laundering case is complaining that there have been too many secret filings in the case. President Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman and his deputy Rick Gates have been accused of failing to register as foreign agents for political consulting they did for Ukraine and pro-Russian politicians there. Plus, Greg Stohr, Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter, discusses a group of Supreme Court justices who have emerged as consensus-builders in the court, even as partisan in-fight takes over much of Washington politics. They speak with Bloomberg’s June Grasso.

 

William C. Banks Expertise in Demand as FISA Court Remains in the News

INSCT Director William C. Banks has long studied the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the FISA Court (or FISC), which was established under FISA in 1978. The FISA Court oversees requests, often by the FBI, for warrants to surveil foreign intelligence agents and, occasionally, US persons suspected of working with foreign agents.

One such US person is former advisor to President Donald Trump, Carter Page, who is alleged to have long worked with Russia intelligence operatives and may have been under FISA warrant surveillance as early as 2014. The FISA warrants against Page, and the intelligence used to apply for those warrants, are in the national spotlight thanks to a memo largely written by Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, alleging that the FBI misled the FISA Court as to the partisan political nature of some of that intelligence.

Media outlets, including The New York Times and WIRED, reached out to Banks to gauge his opinion on the Nunes allegations, to explain how the FISA process works, and to understand what this controversy means for the Trump presidency and the US intelligence community.

House intelligence committee votes to release Democrats’ intel memo (CNY Central | Feb. 5, 2018)

The fact that any of the information about the FISA order against Carter Page came out to begin with is “extraordinary,” said William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

“It’s unfortunate that anything came out. It damaged the intelligence community and the Department of Justice and the FBI,” he said. But he still supports the release of the Democratic memo in order to “balance the record.”

Banks continued, “I think the intelligence community is completely aghast and abhors what’s going on here, whether it’s coming from the Democrats or the Republicans.”

Devin Nunes Promises ‘Phase Two’ of Investigation (Bloomberg Radio | Feb. 5, 2018) 

William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses the so-called Nunes memo, which president Trump said over the weekend “totally” vindicated him of any collusion with Russia or obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.

Reading Between the Lines of the Devin Nunes Memo (WIRED | Feb. 2, 2018)

… “The dossier and Steele and all that—it’s cherrypicking a piece of what was probably a 50, or 60, or 100 page application,” says William C. Banks, founder of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law …

How to Get a Wiretap to Spy on Americans, and Why That Matters Now (The New York Times | Jan. 30, 2018)

William C. Banks, a Syracuse University law professor who has studied the FISA Court, said that without reviewing all the documents involved in the surveillance request, it was impossible to judge the importance of how Mr. Steele was described. But he emphasized that the government had broad leeway in seeking FISA warrants.

“Carter Page was doing business in Russia, talking to Russian diplomats who may have been involved in intelligence activities directed at the United States,” Mr. Banks said. “Game over. The standards are incredibly open-ended” …

 

“Cherrypicking”: William C. Banks Weighs in on the Nunes Memo in WIRED

READING BETWEEN THE LINES OF THE DEVIN NUNES MEMO

(WIRED | Feb. 2, 2018) AFTER WEEKS OF Twitter users demanding Congress #ReleaseTheMemo, the House Intelligence Committee—chaired by Republican Devin Nunes—disclosed the contentious four-page report to the public Friday, after President Donald Trump signed off on its release. And while, as expected, the document alleges that federal law enforcement officials abused their surveillance powers in investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, national security experts see something very different. In fact, they see almost nothing at all—or at least not enough to make any definitive judgement calls.

“The dossier and Steele and all that—it’s cherrypicking a piece of what was probably a 50, or 60, or 100 page application.”

As had been rumored, the memo details supposedly improper actions by law enforcement officials in seeking a warrant to wiretap Carter Page, one of Trump’s campaign advisors. But understanding what the memo says—and, critically, doesn’t say—requires familiarity with the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which governs requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, better known as FISA. Those who know the law best say the memo is largely bunk …

… “The dossier and Steele and all that—it’s cherrypicking a piece of what was probably a 50, or 60, or 100 page application,” says William C. Banks, founder of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University College of Law

FISA applications also have to go through an in-depth protocol known as the “Woods Procedure,” during which the intelligence community needs to verify every single fact. For example, if the application says a person was on a specific train at a specific time, the agent would need to show Department of Justice lawyers how they found out that information. There are other oversight mechanisms as well. For example, applications need to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI, as well as the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, or Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division. In other words, FISA warrants are reviewed at the highest levels, which is part of the reason Nunes’ allegations are so explosive—they implicate multiple parties at the very top of the US intelligence apparatus …

… “I can’t recall any instance in 40 years when there’s been a partisan leaning of a FISA court judge when their opinions have been released,” says Banks …

To read the full article, click here.

 

The Founders, Co-Edited by David M. Crane, Charts the Creation of the World’s First International Tribunals

The FoundersNever before have international chief prosecutors written in detail about the challenges they faced, but with the publication of The Founders—co-edited by David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University College of Law; Leila Sadat of Washington University School of Law, St Louis, MO; and Michael P. Scharf of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, OH—comes the complex story of four individuals who created the world’s first international tribunals and special courts.

A candid look at how the founding prosecutors sought justice for millions of victims, the backdrop to these tales are four of the most appalling conflicts of modern times: the Balkan wars in the former Yugoslavia (1991-2001), which included the Bosnian genocide and led to hundreds of thousands of casualties and displaced peoples; the 1994 mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government; the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979), perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge; and crimes against humanity committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002). The crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during these conflicts spurred the creation of international tribunals designed to bring the perpetrators of unimaginable atrocities to justice.

When Richard Goldstone, David M. Crane, Robert Petit, and Luis Moreno-Ocampo received their orders from the international community, each set out on a quest to build unique postconflict justice mechanisms and launch their first prosecutions. South African jurist Goldstone founded the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which indicted 161 individuals between 1997 and 2004. Crane was the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone from 2002 until 2005, indicting, among others, then-President of Liberia Charles Taylor for his role in crimes committed against Sierra Leoneans. (Incidentally, Crane was the first American to be named the chief prosecutor of an international war crimes tribunal since Justice Robert Jackson at Nuremberg, Germany, in 1945.)  The founder of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia was Canadian Robert Petit, who led the investigation and prosecution of five of the senior-most leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Lastly, Argentinian lawyer Luis Moreno-Ocampo is most famous for becoming the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. During his tenure, which began in 2003, Moreno-Ocampo opened investigations into crimes committed in Burundi, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Uganda, and Georgia.

“As we worked on this book it occurred to me the extraordinary professional and personal risk we took in establishing these ground-breaking justice mechanisms. We all had successful careers when we literally received ‘the call’ asking us to stop our life trajectory and to take on a task with absolutely no certainty of success,” says Crane, who continues to work on humanitarian and atrocity law issues at Syracuse University College of Law, including with the student-run Syrian Accountability Project. “We were in unchartered waters, yet we were drawn to the possibility of bringing justice to victims of horrific acts. This we did, and we took up the flaming sword of justice. It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to found these international courts.”

With no blueprint and little precedent, each prosecutor became a pathfinder. The Founders offers behind-the-scenes, first-hand stories of these historic journeys, the challenges the prosecutors faced, the obstacles they overcame, and the successes they achieved. Contributions are made by the founders themselves, as well as former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Hans Corell, Leila Nadya Sadat, Michael Scharf, William Schabas, and David Scheffer.

The Founders: Four Pioneering Individuals Who Launched the First Modern-Era International Criminal Tribunals
Edited by David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University College of Law; Leila Sadat, James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law, Washington University School of Law, St Louis, MO; and Michael P. Scharf, Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, OH
Cambridge University Press, 2018
ISBN: 9781108439510

Table of Contents

Foreword: Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General

Part I. Putting It All in Context (Introduction: Hans Corell)

1. International Criminal Justice: The Journey from Politics to Law (Leila Nadya Sadat)

2. The Cornerstone: Robert H. Jackson and the Nuremberg Tribunal (Michael Scharf)

3. The Balkan Investigation (William Schabas)

Part II. The Founders

4. The International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (Richard Goldstone)

5. The Special Court for Sierra Leone (David M. Crane)

6. The International Criminal Court (Luis Moreno Ocampo)

7. Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Robert Petit)

Part III. The Take Aways

8. Closing Perspectives (David Scheffer)

“Game Over”: William C. Banks Discusses FISA, Wiretapping, & Carter Page With The New York Times

How to Get a Wiretap to Spy on Americans, and Why That Matters Now

(The New York Times | Jan. 30, 2018) A fight over a classified memo written by Republican staffers on the House Intelligence Committee, which portrays as scandal-draped the early stages of the Justice Department investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, is heightening interest in legal issues about intelligence wiretap applications.

“Carter Page was doing business in Russia, talking to Russian diplomats who may have been involved in intelligence activities directed at the United States.”

On Monday, the committee, which is led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, voted along party lines to set in motion a process to soon make the memo public under an obscure House rule, while rejecting a request to simultaneously disseminate a rebuttal memo produced by the committee’s Democrats.

According to people who have read it, the Republicans’ memo describes what they portray as an abuse of government surveillance powers. It centers on a classified wiretap application the government submitted to a judge in the fall of 2016 that targeted Carter Page, a onetime Trump campaign official who had traveled to Russia in July 2016 and was preparing to return there that December, along with renewal applications.

What is a FISA wiretap?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, signed into law in 1978, requires the government, when eavesdropping on communications on domestic soil for national security purposes, to obtain permission from a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The judge must agree that the target is probably an agent of a foreign power and will probably use the specific email accounts or phone numbers that the Justice Department wants to wiretap …

… David Kris, who ran the Justice Department’s National Security Division early in the Obama administration and helped write a book about FISA, says that when the department submits material from sources to the court, “it should also include information that would cast material doubt on their credibility — sources often come with bias or baggage of one sort or another.”

But, he said, “there is no requirement for elaborate accounting: Courts routinely accept and uphold affidavits that generally describe a source’s shortcomings” without every specific detail.

 William C. Banks, a Syracuse University law professor who has studied the FISA Court, said that without reviewing all the documents involved in the surveillance request, it was impossible to judge the importance of how Mr. Steele was described. But he emphasized that the government had broad leeway in seeking FISA warrants.

“Carter Page was doing business in Russia, talking to Russian diplomats who may have been involved in intelligence activities directed at the United States,” Mr. Banks said. “Game over. The standards are incredibly open-ended”  …

To read the full article, click here.

“An Amorphous Concept”: William C. Banks Weighs In on Executive Privilege in The Washington Times

Executive privilege battles between Trump, Mueller could color midterm elections

(The Washington Times | Jan. 25, 2018) The White House’s increasingly aggressive threat to invoke executive privilege to keep current and former aides from answering questions in the competing Russian election meddling probes could work in the short term but set up President Trump for some bigger headaches down the road.

While a constitutional battle over what advice and conversations a president can effectively wall off may delay congressional probes and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in the short term, legal analysts warn that the strategy risks dragging the toxic politics of the controversy into the heart of the midterm elections, which are just 10 months away.

With Mr. Mueller’s investigation, particularly, inching ever closer to a confrontation with Mr. Trump, legal scholars are divided over how Mr. Mueller may try to counter a potential White House claim of executive privilege and how quickly the courts can mediate any disputes.

 “Executive privilege is an amorphous concept,” said William Banks, a professor at the Syracuse University College of Law and a former special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It has never been tested the way it could soon be tested.” 

The two sides will clash if Mr. Mueller moves to subpoena testimony from the president or if Mr. Trump voluntarily agrees to an interview — a development that could happen as early as next month.

Executive privilege protects the confidentiality of presidential decision-making by allowing the president, and at times his staff, to keep certain information from the courts, Congress and the public. The concept is not mentioned in the Constitution, but since the presidency of George Washington the concept has emerged from the founders’ doctrine of a separation of powers giving the executive, legislative and judicial branches their separate spheres …

To read the full article, click here.

See Also: “Steve Bannon could go to jail if he won’t talk to Congress about Russia” (Vox | Feb. 19, 2018)

 

 

 

“Facts Will Be Discovered”: William C. Banks Updates Bloomberg on Jeff Sessions Meeting with Robert Mueller

In Investigation Milestone, Mueller Meets with Sessions

(Bloomberg Law | Jan. 23, 2018) William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University Law School, discusses Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. This week, reports emerged that prosecutors working for Mueller spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, making him the first Trump cabinet official to be interviewed by Mueller. He speaks with Bloomberg’s June Grasso on Bloomberg Radio’s “Politics, Policy, Power and Law.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2018-01-24/in-investigation-milestone-mueller-meets-with-sessions-audio