Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Stories!

I thought I'd share a couple of stories that caught my eye this weekend.

1. In this story, the LA Times reports on a US Army return to massive combat training in lieu of counterinsurgency. To quote from the piece:

"Writing recently in Foreign Affairs magazine, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said, "The United States is unlikely to repeat a mission on the scale of those in Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon — that is, forced regime change followed by nation building under fire." Instead, U.S. forces will probably be called on to help other countries' armies defend themselves, particularly against terrorist attacks but also against conventional armies"

Seems to me to be a pretty big snub of the Bush-era nation building strategy evident in their post-invasion operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2. . This article discusses a district court's recent overturning of the discharge of Maj. Margaret Whit under DADT. Interestingly, the case was remanded to the District Court by the 9th District Court of Appeals after they said that the judge had to look at whether Whit individually endangered her unit and the army's cohesion and security interests. Judge Leighton found she did not. Alarmingly, the Obama administration argues that the ruling overturning DADT should only apply to Maj. Whit. This seems backwards from a history legal jurisprudence perspective (e.g. Brown vs. Board of Education)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Obama Administration Attacks Court Ruling Striking Down DADT

What. The. Hell. Isn't this the man claiming to be "fierce advocate" of gay rights?!

To quote the Open Left piece:

"the Log Cabin Republicans brought suit on behalf of their members in the military. So now the Obama DOJ is arguing that they're the only ones who could possibly be affected. Meaning, by analogy, that Brown v. Board of Education should only have desegregated those children who were plaintiffs in the suits combined under Brown."

If the Obama DOJ had its way, the USA would still have segregated schools.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

State Secrets Upheld in Jeppesen Ruling, Will be Appealed to SCOTUS

Yesterday, the ACLU's team that was challenging a post-9/11 US program that flew terrorism suspects to secret prisons, suffered a major legal setback. Jeppesen, a Boeing subsidiary was contracted out by the CIA to conduct said flights. The ruling, which was handed down by the 9th district Court of Appeals, was divided 6-5 and narrowly upheld the state secrets doctrine used by the Bush Administration and now defended by the Obama DOJ. The case will undoubtedly be appealed to the SCOTUS, which in all likelihood will uphold the appeals' court's ruling.

In light of the recent developments Jeppesen case, I thought I'd share a couple of relevant links. In this first video from a panel hosted by the American Constitution Scoiety (ACS), Ben Wizner, the ACLU's attorney in the Jeppesen case, discusses state secrets and national security. This is back from 2008, but the points Wizner makes are the same as the ACLU made in Jeppesen

Here are two other great clips of Wizner on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show: - This one starts a little silly with a reenactment of a 9th circuit ruling on Jeppesen from 2009, but quickly gets serious as Wizner joins Maddow to discuss state secrets, national security and the details of the Jeppesen case. This clip is the only one I could find where Wizner specifically discusses Jeppesen. - This clip has Wizner discussing the Bush Administration's state secrets doctrine. Wizner additionally provides proof of the use of State Secrets for political purposes.

Ben Wizner also came and spoke at Oxy in October 2009 about Jeppesen, the history of the state secrets doctrine, and ACLU involvement with other torture cases. I took extensive notes on the lecture/Q&A and posted them on my blog here: