Military / Military Law

On Tuesday, Army Colonel Denise Lind found Private First Class Bradley Manning guilty of 17 of 21 counts of charges related to Manning’s leak of some 700,000 classified documents to the website WikiLeaks. (See here for Alexa O’Brien’s helpful graphical summary of the counts and here for Freedom of the Press Foundation’s full trial transcripts.) Although Colonel Lind did not find Manning guilty of charges of “aiding the enemy,” she found him guilty of seven of eight counts of violating the Espionage Act for leaking intelligence “with reason to believe such information could be used to the injury of the U.S. or the advantage of any foreign nation.” Manning was also found guilty of “wrongfully and wantonly” causing to be published on the internet intelligence belonging to the U.S., “having knowledge that intelligence published on the internet is accessible to the enemy.” Sentencing proceedings, which progress rapidly in the military justice system, began Wednesday. Manning faces a possible 136 years in military prison.

Manning’s detailed statement offered to the court martial in February explains how a gawky, barely post-pubescent Army intelligence analyst from Oklahoma came to publicize virtual reams of national security security secrets with which his country had entrusted him. Manning said: “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within [the military’s own databases], it could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Bradley Manning wanted to spark a debate. Like a high school civics teacher trying to rouse his dozing students, he wanted to get us all talking. See? He’s not a turncoat willing to endanger the lives of Americans or a vainglorious and disgruntled soldier. He’s just a patriotic facilitator of conversation.

Rubbish. Manning’s acts were, at best, absurdly naive, and at worst, paternalistic and hubristic….

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Bradley Manning’s convictions today include 5 courts of espionage. A very serious new precedent for supplying information the press.

WikiLeaks, reacting on its Twitter feed to the verdict in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy but guilty of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Okay. It finally happened. Our colleague Tamara Tabo finally wrote something that required a response from one of your faithful regular editors.

Tamara makes some excellent points about the incidence of rape not necessarily being higher in the military than in civilian institutions (at least as reported).

Fine.

But the problem is not so much what she says, but why? What’s to be gained by taking to the pulpit and saying that the incidence of military rape is on par with civilian rape and that the concern of policymakers is misplaced?

The only answer is to suggest that military rape is not a problem because it’s in line with the rest of society. And that’s not a good argument.

But not as bad as the argument that drunk women are the real problem in rape cases…

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On Tuesday, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul joined Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in her push to pass new legislation that would remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases. Senator Gillibrand argues that women in the military are afraid to report rapes, and when they do report them, the crimes are not always prosecuted.

People of conscience want sexual assault victims to report. We want sexual offenders to be duly processed and punished. We want individuals wrongly accused to suffer as little harm as possible as they clear their names. We share these broad goals, though we may differ about specific means of achieving them.

I respect Senator Gillibrand for formulating a proposal. I respect Senators Cruz and Paul for crossing the aisle to support legislation they believe in. I am unpersuaded, however, that this bill would adequately and fairly address the problem.

Legislation like Gillibrand’s treats as unique a problem that is not. Relevant statistics suggest that young women may be at no greater risk of being sexually assaulted in the military than being sexually assaulted on a college or university campus. Why propagate a message of fear that sending our daughters (or ourselves) into the service amounts to handing them over to an unpatrolled, unrepentant rape culture, but shipping off young women to college is relatively safe? Why send the message that our women are more likely to be raped by a fellow Marine than by a frat brother from Sigma Chi?

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Make it rain, law schools!

* With the Supreme Court’s term winding quickly to a close, it’s likely that conservative justices will write for the majority in some of the most closely watched and controversial cases. Uh oh. [Washington Post]

* Judge Edward Korman, the man who slapped around the FDA like it owed him money in a ruling over access to the morning-after pill, is actually a very soft-spoken, kind-hearted fellow. [New York Times]

* Wherein a Chicago Law professor and a Vedder Price partner argue that instead of cutting law school down to two years, financial aid should be given out like candy. Hey, whatever works. [Bloomberg]

* Brooklyn Law’s got a whole lot of drama these days: Their president is stepping down, their dean is apparently still a full-time partner at Patton Boggs, and a law professor is suing over alleged ABA violations. [New York Law Journal]

* That’s not the only New York-area law school awash in scandal. Chen Guangcheng has received the boot from NYU Law due to alleged harm done to the school’s relationship with China. [New York Times]

* When questioned about the need for his school, Indiana Tech’s dean says the lawyer oversupply and lack of jobs don’t matter. It’s about the quality of the graduate. Good luck with that! [Journal Gazette]

* This came too soon (that’s what she said). The alleged porn purveyors at Prenda Law will close up shop thanks to the costly litigation surrounding their copyright trolling. [Law & Disorder / Ars Technica]

* Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan won’t be allowed to use a “defense of others” strategy in his murder trial, because not only does it fail as a matter of law, but it’s also ridiculous. [Associated Press]

* Harvard Law grad Cate Edwards, daughter of disgraced pol John Edwards, took a dramatic step away from her father’s tabloid-esque pubic interests by opening her own public interest firm. [WJLA ABC 7]

* Judge Thomas Jackson, well-known for his antitrust ruling against Microsoft, RIP. [New York Times]

Major Nidal Hasan in less murdery days.

In the spate of shootings this country has suffered at the hands of noble patriots exercising their Second Amendment rights, people may have forgotten about the shooting rampage at Fort Hood way back in 2009.

Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is charged with killing 13 people on post.

His trial is coming up and he just managed to get his court-appointed attorneys dismissed and now is asking the judge for a delay so he can mount his new defense.

Which is exactly the kind of strategy you’d expect from someone defending himself…

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* Because the Senate doesn’t work properly when it comes to doing things efficiently, Obama will nominate three candidates for the D.C. Circuit. The outrage! The horror! The court-packing! [Legal Times]

* Howrey going to sue everyone in time to meet this bankruptcy deadline? When you’ve only got a few days left before the statute of limitations expires, you file up to 33 suits per day. [Am Law Daily]

* Attack of the lawyer glut! If you’re a recent law school grad who’s still unemployed, chances are high that this chart detailing the ratio of lawyers to job openings will make you shed a tear. [The Atlantic]

* Tey Tsun Hang, the law professor convicted on corruption charges after having an affair with a student, is heading to jail for five months. Giving out all of that extra credit wasn’t worth it after all. [Bloomberg]

* Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood shooter, will be representing himself in his murder trial. He’ll use a “defense of others” argument, which seems obtuse given the nature of the crime. [Huffington Post]

* Bradley Manning’s court-martial began with a bang, with the prosecution arguing that the young intelligence analyst put lives at risk, while his own attorney called him a “humanist.” [New York Times]

* Jill Kelley, the woman who helped bring about the downfall of General David Petraeus by exposing his affair, has filed a lawsuit against government officials alleging privacy violations of all things. [USA Today]

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama reiterated his interest in shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay: “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that we can do administratively, and I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not in the best interests of the American people.”

President Obama isn’t alone in being troubled by goings-on at Guantanamo. This morning I attended an interesting panel discussion where a retired admiral, the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, spoke out in favor of closing Gitmo….

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* A full run-down of the suspension of a 7-year-old for brandishing a danish shaped like a gun. He was loaded for bear… claw. [Lowering the Bar, Part I; LTB, Part II]

* U.S. drones are helping out the French in Mali. Jeez, drones are getting used everywhere from here to Timbuktu. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Do you need to report to the SEC if your company gets hacked? Probably… if you don’t tell them about possible violations how would they ever know? [IT-Lex]

* Someone wants help finding a WordPress theme for their law firm. Totally Best Magazine, bro. That’s hawt. [Yahoo Answers]

* Just a reminder, Ms. JD’s Fellowship applications are due March 8. [Ms. JD]

Law school is a ‘debt wizard’ — it’ll make your money disappear like magic!

* In the nick of time, lawyers for the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to strike down California’s ban on gay marriage. Let’s hope their views have evolved. [BuzzFeed]

* As the lawyers and administrative staff who just got laid off at Patton Boggs can attest to, it sucks to be on the wrong side of “rightsizing.” We’ll have more on this developing story later today. [Reuters]

* Lanny Breuer is leaving the DOJ today, and he’s doing it with a bit of “swagger.” He’s shrugging off rumors that he’ll retreat to Covington, insisting he’ll interview at many firms. [DealBook / New York Times]

* It’s time for the changing of the guard over at Milbank Tweed. Mel Immergut, the longest serving chair of any Am Law 100 firm in New York, is passing the reins to Scott Edelman. [New York Law Journal]

* Michigan Law has a new “Debt Wizard” program that’s extremely useful in that it will allow you to see what you’re getting yourself into. Or, in my case, how poor I’ll be for the rest of my life. Yay! [National Law Journal]

* All he wanted to do was “make the world a better place,” but that didn’t work out so well. In a plea deal, Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the charges against him in his WikiLeaks case. [Los Angeles Times]

* Of all of the words that are used to describe Cory Booker, one of them is now “matchmaker.” The Newark mayor assisted a young Seyfarth Shaw associate with his engagement proposal earlier this week. [TIME]

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