Archive for the ‘Military Rights’ Category

Restoring the Consitution

14 February 2007

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) has introduced the “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007,” according to the ACLU. If passed, the bill would fix many of the problems that came from the Military Commissions Act. Habeas corpus and due process would be returned to detainees, and the president would no longer have the power to declare anyone an “enemy combatant.” In addition, it would require the government to comply with the Geneva Conventions.

Currently, higher officials are given a “get-out-of-jail” free card in regards to torture and abuse, and Dodd’s bill would change that as well.

ADDED: Dodd has a website on the bill (related to his campaign website) at

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Blogs Surveilled

1 February 2007

Though there is obviously good reason to ensure that military secrets aren’t on the web, there is also good reason to ensure that free speech for the soldiers is protected. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the DoD is monitoring soldiers’ blogs, and the EFF is requesting information on the process, to see if opinions are also at risk.

The EFF’s lawsuit is part of its FLAG Project.

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Journalist Called to Testify in Court Martial

22 January 2007

Journalist Sarah Olson was recently called to testify in a court martial against Ehren Watada, according to the Progressive. Watada has called the Iraq War “illegal and unjust,” and is refusing to deploy there.

Olson, a freelance writer, was one of the first to cover the story, and is now being called to testify in the court martial. Though the military says that it is not asking for notes or tapes, others say it is wrong to make her essentially testify against her source, and on January 8th the Los Angeles Times said that “No prosecutor should be able to conscript any reporter into being a deputy by compelling testimony made by a source—or go fishing for information beyond what a reporter presents in a story—unless it’s absolutely vital to protect U.S. citizens from crime or attack.”

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DoD Changes Recruitment Policy

12 January 2007

Settling a lawsuit brought by the NYCLU, the Department of Defense made several changes to its database system, according to the ACLU. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of several high school students who were in the database.

Now, the DoD will not be able to disseminate information to law enforcement, intelligence, or other agencies, and the database’s use will be restricted to military recruiting. Also, the information on any given student will only be kept for three years, social security numbers will no longer be collected, and the procedure by which a student can block the DoD from collecting information on them will be clarified.

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Draft Registration

30 December 2006

The Future of Freedom Foundation recently published an article by Sheldon Richman against draft registration. George Bush has said that he has no intention of starting a draft, but that hasn’t convinced anyone in Washington to end draft registration.

From the FFF:

What possible reason is there today for imposing on 18-year-old males the requirement to register for a nonexistent draft and to compel them to inform the government whenever they change their address? If we don’t need a draft, we certainly don’t need registration for a draft. Even government officials ought to be able to follow that logic.

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More Quakers

23 December 2006

Not only are they pacifists, but they might be communists as well, according to old FBI files. Apparently in 1960 a Quaker group sent out letters informing young men that they could register as conscientious objectors, so that, if they didn’t want to kill, they wouldn’t have to if drafted. Quite frightening indeed. Well worth the 314 pages of information material that the FBI has released.

The Quakers sent 22,000 of these letters.

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Military Challenging Free Speech

23 August 2006

The US military is challenging a soldier’s right to freedom of speech after he spoke out against the war in Iraq and refused to be deployed there, according to an ACLU article. Lt. Ehren Watada said that he would not go to Iraq because it is an illegal war. He has been deployed to both Afghanistan and Korea before.

He is being charged with violating Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (which prohibits use of “contemptuous words” against the President and other top governmental officials) and Article 133 ( which prohibits “conduct unbecoming an officer”).

The ACLU is backing Lt. Watada, saying that although he showed disagreement with the government’s policies, he did not use contemptuous language and his conduct was not unbecoming an officer.

While the military is held to higher standards than the civilian population, soldiers have as much of a right to civil liberties as anyone else. To say they are fighting for freedom and then take freedom from them is ludicrous.

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