NDAA Moves Forward Despite the Administration’s Objections

After the June approval of provisions in the new NDAA that will require that terrorist suspects be held by military rather than civilian authorities, Senate Democrats tried to block the spending legislation because of the Obama administration’s objections to it. Yesterday, Senate leaders McCain and Levin reached a compromise that could allow this legislation to move forward – a compromise hotly criticized by human rights groups for raising the possibility that U.S. citizens may be subject to indefinite detention by the military. According to the Wall Street Journal, McCain and Levin insist that the compromise clarifies that the provisions are meant to “avoid expanding on the government’s existing authority to detain terrorism suspects.”

According to Human Rights First, the President, Secretary Panetta, and the heads of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees have all strongly opposed this compromise for its potential to undermine the rule of law. The Human Rights First article can be viewed here.   

Another Member of the Stryker Brigade Goes to Trial

The court-martial of Staff Sgt. David Bram, another man accused of being involved in the Stryker Brigade’s “death squad,” begins today. He is charged with charges much less severe than many of the others. According to CNN, these include: conspiracy to commit assault and battery, unlawfully striking another soldier, cruelty and maltreatment, violation of a lawful order, endeavoring to impede an investigation, and dereliction of duty. He faces 9.5 years imprisonment.   

Deadlines Approaches to Decide What to Do about Daqduq

Controversy over what to do with Iraqi detainee and senior explosives expert Ali Mussa Daqduq continues in the US, as authorities must decide whether to prosecute him or release him. Lindsay Graham is calling for placing him - and any other high-value detainee – in Guantanamo Bay, arguing “we need a jail, we don’t have one, and Gitmo’s the only jail available.” The administration continues to resist this option because of its goals to ultimately close the prison. According to NPR, National Security Law Professor Bobby Chesney pointed out the irony that Congress “created a powerful disincentive to use Guantanamo, by making it almost impossible for anyone who is ever brought there at this point to ever be released or transferred out of there.”  As the deadline for pulling troops out of Iraq approaches, the administration has about 6 weeks to decide what to do.

More Big Changes May be Coming to Turkey’s Military

According to a blog post on the Wall Street Journal’s website, Turkey is considering a law that would allow Turkish men, who are otherwise required to serve in the military, to pay a lump sum (possibly $15,000) to be exempt. Regularly, those who do not serve a mandatory term in the military face imprisonment. While some commentators argue this will undermine the morale of the military since poorer Turks will be unable to take advantage of it, others see it as another step toward the civilianization/professionalization of Turkey’s military and a convenient way to deal with a poor economy. This goes along with a recent discussion among Turkey’s leaders about decriminalizing conscientious objection. For a story about this debate, click here.

Court-Martial for Lt. Col. Accused of Sex with a Minor

41 year old Lt. Col. James Richards was arrested last week after allegedly meeting a minor for sex. The 17 year-old victim in this case says that he has had a sexual relationship with Richards for over nine months; and according to authorities, Richards was suspected of having molested another child ten years ago in Texas. No word yet on whether he will be tried under the UCMJ or in civilian court. Read the story here.

One Response to “Military Justice News – November 18, 2011”

  1. Christopher Mathews says:

    Under the headline “Court-Martial for Lt. Col. Accused of Sex with a Minor,” we find the text “No word yet on whether he will be tried under the UCMJ or in civilian court.”

    So — which is it?