nationalsecuritylaw upcoming event (Brennan Center film screening and talk relating to intelligence oversight) (Apr. 4)

March 31, 2012

From the Brennan Center, please see the attached announcement for an interesting film screening (and talk) on April 4th.


nationalsecuritylaw upcoming event

March 29, 2012

Two upcoming events at Harvard, both next week:

The Harvard National Security Journal is proud to present the following two events next week on April 3 and April 6. Both events are open to the public.

The Legitimacy and the Limits of Command in Reformed Military Commissions.

Brigadier General Mark Martins ’90, Chief Prosecutor, U.S. Military Commissions. Tuesday, April 3 at 4pm. Harvard Law School. Langdell North.

The Law and Policy of Covert Operations: Current & Future Challenges.

2012 Harvard National Security Journal Symposium

Date and Time: April 6th, 11:30am-6:30pm
Location: Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East Rooms A/B (located on the second floor)

The law and policy of covert operations have grown to encompass some of the most complex questions in national security. Under what legal authority may the government act covertly? Against whom? Where? In what way? Covert operations is one area of national security law which demands that lawyers and policymakers bring together solid understanding of domestic and international law, and these legal challenges have only been augmented by technology. Are concepts of lawful use of force and, more generally, jus in bello, irretrievably distorted by remote technological warfare such as covert drone operations? When the government acts against individuals, in secret, does the current framework provide an appropriate balance of oversight, operational flexibility, and protection of rights or civil liberties? How will trends in covert operations be mapped onto, or force changes in the future law of covert operations?

The Harvard National Security Journal’s Third Annual Symposium will explore these questions with academics, public and private practitioners, and knowledgeable journalists through an opening discussion, two panels, and a keynote address. The Journal is hopeful that the Symposium will further the understanding and advance the quality of discussion on this important and timely issue.

Sponsored by Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

nationalsecuritylaw follow up on United States v. Stone (plea agreement)

March 29, 2012

Shortly after sending out the post below, I learned that David and Joshua Stone have now pled to a weapons charge (see the attached document), bringing the case to a close.


United States v. Stone (E.D. Mich. Mar. 27, 2012) (granting motion to acquit in Hutaree seditious conspiracy case)

The 28-page opinion is posted here. In brief, Judge Roberts concluded that the government had not presented sufficient evidence in its case-in-chief to sustain the possibility of a conviction on the core conspiracy charges—there were many “vile” statements and the like, but no real agreement, she concludes—and therefore granted the Rule 29 motion as to seven total counts in the indictment. The case will now continue as to other counts against two of the defendants.

stone pleas.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Stone (E.D. Mich. Mar. 27, 2012) (granting motion to acquit in Hutaree seditious conspiracy case)

March 29, 2012

United States v. Stone (E.D. Mich. Mar. 27, 2012) (granting motion to acquit in Hutaree seditious conspiracy case)

The 28-page opinion is posted here. In brief, Judge Roberts concluded that the government had not presented sufficient evidence in its case-in-chief to sustain the possibility of a conviction on the core conspiracy charges—there were many “vile” statements and the like, but no real agreement, she concludes—and therefore granted the Rule 29 motion as to seven total counts in the indictment. The case will now continue as to other counts against two of the defendants.

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Corley (S.D. Tex. Mar. 26, 2012)

March 26, 2012

A very, very interesting case. The complaint and indictment are attached, and the details from the DOJ press release appear below:

LAREDO, Texas – Several men have been arrested and charged in a conspiracy related to drug trafficking and/or an attempted murder-for-hire plot, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Kevin Corley, 29, Samuel Walker, 28, both of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, were taken into custody Saturday afternoon in Laredo, while Marcus Mickle, 20, and Calvin Epps, 26, both of Hopkins, S.C., were arrested in South Carolina. A sixth man, Mario Corley, 40, of Saginaw, Texas, was also taken into custody in relation to this case in Charleston, S.C.

The criminal complaint charging Corley, Walker and Davis was filed just a short time ago in Laredo federal court, at which time they made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga. Mickle and Epps, charged in a now unsealed indictment, are expected to make their initial appearances in Columbia, S.C., this afternoon.

The investigation began in January 2011, when Mickle began negotiations with whom he thought were members of the Los Zetas Cartel, actually undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, to purchase marijuana in return for stolen weapons. The criminal complaint indicates that as they began discussions about the distribution of marijuana in the Columbia, S.C., area, Mickle and Epps allegedly told undercover agents about a friend in the military who could provide military weapons to them. The agents were later introduced to Corley, who allegedly identified himself as an active duty officer in the Army responsible for training soldiers. He offered to provide tactical training for cartel members and to purchase weapons for the cartel under his name.

The complaint states that over the next several months, Corley continued to communicate with undercover agents regarding the services he could provide the cartel as a result of the training, experience and access to information/equipment afforded him as an active duty soldier. According to the criminal complaint, Corley allegedly mailed an Army tactics battle book to the agents, thoroughly explained military tactics and told undercover agents he could train 40 cartel members in two weeks.

On Jan. 7, 2012, Corley traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents at which time the agents inquired about his ability to perform "wet work," allegedly understood to mean murder-for-hire, specifically, whether he could provide a team to raid a ranch were 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by rival cartel members. Corley confirmed he would conduct the contract killing with a small team, at a minimum comprised of himself and another person who he described as an active duty soldier with whom he had already consulted. According to the complaint, Corley ultimately agreed to $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine to perform the contract killing and retrieve the 20 kilograms of cocaine, and he offered to refund the money if the victim survived.

Corley further offered to provide security for Mickle and Epps’ purchase of 500 pounds of marijuana for transport from Texas to South Carolina. He traveled with them to Laredo, where they loaded the marijuana into a tractor trailer and attempted to escort it back to South Carolina. However, the tractor-trailer carrying the load was stopped and seized in La Salle County, Texas, on Jan. 14, 2012. According to the complaint, Corley continued to contact undercover agents to discuss the possibility of future transactions with the agents. Corley allegedly arranged for 300 pounds of marijuana to be delivered to Mario Corley in Charleston, and allegedly assisted in brokering 500 pounds of marijuana and five kilograms of cocaine for Mickle and Epps and discussed the distribution of these narcotics in South Carolina, Texas and Colorado.

On March 5, 2012, Corley delivered two AR-15 assault rifles with scopes, an airsoft assault rifle, five allegedly stolen ballistic vests and other miscellaneous equipment to an undercover agent in Colorado Springs, in exchange for $10,000. At the meeting, Corley and the undercover agent allegedly again discussed the contract killing and the retrieval of the cocaine, which was to occur on March 24, 2012. Corley allegedly stated he had purchased a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a “Z” into the victim’s chest and was planning on buying a hatchet to dismember the body.

On March 24, 2012, Corley, Walker and Davis traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents, at which time they discussed the location of the intended victim, the logistics of performing the contract kill and their respective roles. The three were arrested, during which time a fourth suspect was shot and killed. A subsequent search of the vehicle in which Corley and the other co-conspirators arrived revealed two semi-automatic rifles with scopes, one bolt-action rifle with a scope and bipod, one hatchet, one Ka-Bar knife, one bag of .223 caliber ammunition and one box of .300 caliber ammunition.

The criminal complaint charges conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and carries a possible punishment of a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and/or a $10 million fine. Use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking or violent crime could result in up to 10 years in prison, which is served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. Those charged in the indictment for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, including Corley, Mickle and Epps, also face five to 40 years in prison if convicted.

Corley, Walker and Davis are set for a detention hearing on March 29, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Song Quiroga in the Southern District of Texas. They were all remanded to federal custody pending further criminal proceedings.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the DEA and the FBI with the assistance of U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto Ramirez and Jody Young.

Criminal complaints and indictments are formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

Corley et al Indictment (2).pdf

Corley Complaint (2).pdf

nationalsecuritylaw upcoming events: IHL event at American U; terrorism response simulation at Utah Law

March 24, 2012

1. IHL Emerging Issues at American University – Wed. March 28, 9:45 to 3:30 (please see attached pdf for the details)

2. Terrorism Response Simulation at Utah Law – Friday March 30 (please see details here:

nationalsecuritylaw upcoming event: TOMORROW (FRiday the 23) in Houston

March 23, 2012

South Texas College of Law is hosting a very interesting event that will be of interest to those of you who follow military justice matters. Details here:

nationalsecuritylaw upcoming event: U.S. / Israel Comparative NSL Event @ WCL on 3/27

March 22, 2012

My friend Steve Vladeck writes in with the following announcement:

For interested D.C.-area readers, we’re hosting what should be a fascinating panel discussion here at American University Washington College of Law next Tuesday (March 27), from 1-3 p.m., on “U.S. and Israeli National Security Law: What Can Each Learn From the Other?” In particular, the panelists (Amichai Cohen from Ono Academic College Faculty of Law, Jen Daskal from Georgetown, Laura Dickinson from GW, and Hadar Harris from WCL) will contrast U.S. and Israeli approaches to (1) targeted killings; (2) administrative detention / right to trial / military commissions; and (3) anticipatory self-defense and the broader relationship between IHL and IHRL.

The flyer is here. Folks interested in attending can register (and find more details) here.

03.27.2012 – Flyer.pdf

nationalsecuritylaw another student summer opportunity: internships with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee

March 21, 2012

From the Bill of Rights Defense Committee:

As the summer approaches, we at the Bill of Rights Defense Committee are seeking skilled and enthusiastic interns to join our team. If you have current or past students or know of others who would be interested in an internship focused on civil liberties, constitutional rights, and grassroots activism, please direct them to the internship listings on our website:

· Summer 2012 Internships – BORDC National Office in Northampton, MA

· Summer 2012 Internships – Telecommuting

We’re offering both full-time opportunities in our national office in Northampton, MA, and part-time opportunities for candidates with reliable phone and Internet access anywhere in the US. All internships require a commitment of at least 10 weeks. We will accept applications through Sunday, April 1.

Applicants need not be students to be considered, so please pass this information along to not only current students but also recent graduates, those embarking on a new career path, or anyone else you think might be a good fit for BORDC. Please also share the postings with other professors who may have students interested in the internship positions.

For those who might be interested in volunteering for BORDC with a lower level of commitment, we have a variety of other opportunities, including research, grassroots organizing, outreach, and writing. In particular, writing for our blog may be a good fit for talented writers looking for ways to bring attention to their work. Please refer potential volunteers to me at

Thank you,

Amy E. Ferrer
Associate Director
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
8 Bridge Street, Suite A
Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: (413) 582-0110
Fax: (413) 582-0116

Find out how you can help BORDC restore the rule of law

nationalsecuritylaw problems with the last post I sent

March 21, 2012

For reasons I haven’t yet determined, my attempt to circulate the Kadi v. Geithner decision just now came through entirely garbled. Rather than resend, simply note that the link to that decision is posted here. Sorry for the confusion.