Monthly Archives: July 2007

Haditha Update: Wired Magazine Reports Use of Live Internet Video

Wired is reporting on the use of a live two-way video stream during testimony in the Article 32 investigations of Marines charged with murder in Haditha, Iraq. Wired does a good job of explaining the technology, but falls a bit short on the law. The hearings held for the Marines are all Article 32 investigations not courts-martial. This is a critical distinction for the law.

At an Article 32 investigation, a witness will be produced if her presence is relevant and she is reasonably available. “Reasonably available” is defined as the witness being located within 100 miles from the situs of the investigation and the “significance of the testimony and personal appearance of the witness outweighs the difficulty, expense, delay and effect on military operations of obtaining the witness’ appearance. R.C.M.405(g)(1)(1)(A). Essentially a witness must be at the hearing unless his commanding officer determines the cost, difficulty, expense, or effect on military operations outweighs the necessity of his presence.

At a court-martial the determination is different. Under United States v. Shabazz, 52 M.J. 585 (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 1999), remote video testimony was not allowed, as it violated the accused’s Continue reading

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Filed under Haditha, Iraq, Law, Military Law, Tech

Halo 3: 4-Player Online Co-op (CONFIRMED)

Sweetness and light.

That’s how I respond to Bungie’s press release today.

The 4 online-playable co-op characters.

All the hubbub about whether or not Bungie would have online co-op at all was wasted energy–online co-op was never in question. Bungie today released that it was, in fact, whether 4-player online co-op would work out was the only question.

It will.

According to today’s press release, 4-player co-op will work in Continue reading

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Filed under Gaming, Science Fiction, Xbox 360

Babylon 5: The last, best hope for peace…

Heads up for anybody who still remembers this series, but it was one of the best shows on television at the time. (Well, at least for seasons 1-4).

The creators of Bab5 are now releasing a mini-reunion of sorts with a new story (or stories, I believe). What is strange is that B5: The Lost Tales was filmed in Hi-def, but is being released in standard widescreen. <shrug> Anyway, goes on sale tomorrow at Babylon 5 – The Lost Tales: DVD: Bruce Boxleitner, Tracy Scoggins, Peter Woodward, J. Michael Straczynski.

[Lime adds: And, Xbox Live is supposed to see the simultaneous release of Lost Tales for download, according to THIS MS press release (and the E3 briefing).]


Filed under Movies, Science Fiction, Television, Xbox 360

NMCCA: US v. Bossheart (Jul 07)

26 July 2007, Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals released U.S. v. Bossheart, No. 200602420, unpublished op. (N.M.Ct.Crim.App. 26 Jul 2007). GCM, military judge alone, guilty pleas to Arts 80 and 8 specs of 112a drug offenses. Sentence: 3 years, E-1, BCD. CAX approved but per PTA suspended all confinement in excess of 2 years 6 months from 12 months from date of CAX. Appellant claimed MJ’s failure to announce findings to one of the 8 specifications of 112a drug offenses prejudiced him. Appellant cited US v. Diaz, 40 MJ 335 (CMA 1994), where CMA reversed and dismissed NMCCA’s opinion in part where CA had approved findings per the SJAR, (1) where the SJAR had omitted findings of 2 of the charges, and (2) there was no evidence the CA considered the record of trial when taking action.

Court held: Statutory right of announcement of findings indeed is a statutory right of an accused, but not all errors are prejudicial. NMCCA said it followed the Army in US Continue reading

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Filed under Appellate Law, Criminal Law, Law, Military Justice, Military Law

Nevada Supreme Court Issues Opinion: Judge Halverson is Back

The Nevada Supreme Court, on 27 July 2007, issued its opinion in Halverson v. Hardcastle. The result: Judge Halverson is back.

Judge Elizabeth Halverson

Judge Halverson petitioned the court for a writ of quo warranto to challenge the authority of the chief judge, Chief Judge Halverson, to take away her criminal caseload, form a committee to evaluate her conduct, and to bar Judge Halverson from entering the courthouse. That is correct, the chief judge had issued an order prohibiting Judge Halverson from entering the courthouse. The Continue reading


Filed under Law

CONFIRMED: XBLA Marathon 1 Aug 07

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson spilled the beans today. Marathon: Durandal is confirmed as one of the two XBLA games this Wednesday, 1 Aug 07, at 800 points ($10). The other game is Spyglass Board Games (400 points) which includes Chess, Checkers, Mancala, and Reversi, online and webcam enabled. The clear winner between the two of these is Marathon–720p and online multiplayer, it’s been eagerly awaited by many Bungie/Marathon/Halo fans.

Two interesting tidbits from the interview with Freeverse’s Bruce Morrison over at IGN. He says:

  1. “We are fans of content packs, and our game is compatible with levels built with Forge (the official Marathon 2/Infinity map editor). Maybe something will happen in the future.” And he says
  2. “Our achievements directly reflect the cult-like devotion and community behind Marathon. We hate grind achievements here in the office. So we chose not to use any. . . . And in keeping with Marathon tradition, several of our achievements are cryptic and contain hidden messages instead of a clear ‘Kill 50 guys’ message some games use. We have one ultimate achievement for true Marathon fans; it awards a gamer pic and really feels like an achievement when you get it.”

So, the possibility of mods on the 360 (?!) and a special gamer pic–any thoughts about who/what it might be?

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Filed under Gaming, Xbox 360

Laser to be Developed for Use by United States Army: Destroys Rockets, Artillery Shells, and Mortar Rounds

The laser is to be mounted on the HEMTT and will be capable of destroying rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds.

Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)
Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)

The initial contract has been awarded to the Boeing Company to develop a control system for a solid-state laser to be mounted on the HEMTT. The control system, known as a rugged beam control system (BCS), will used to accurately point the laser beam on an enemy target, be it a rocket, shell, or mortar round. The Army has chosen a solid-state laser over the chemical laser because the former is lighter and does not require the constant supply of chemical fuels.

Boeing is one of several companies building an airborne laser weapon (ABL) to be used by the Continue reading

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Haditha Update: LCpl Tatum’s Article 32 the Final Day

In the final day of the Article 32 investigation into LCpl Tatum’s role in the action in Haditha, Iraq, both the prosecution and defense gave their respective summations of the case. The defense emphasized that,

You can’t sit back in an air-conditioned room at Camp Pendleton and second-guess these men. It’s 20/20 hindsight.

While the prosecution maintained its mantra of retribution and a rush to use force,

In an effort to avoid unnecessary suffering of innocents, you are not permitted to go straight to deadly force.

LtCol Ware will likely submit his report within the next ten days.

Previous posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. Days 6 and 7

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Filed under Criminal Law, Haditha, International, Iraq, Military Justice, Military Law

Supreme Court or YouTube: Scott v. Harris

Scott v. Harris, 127 S.Ct. 1769 (2007), involves a 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 action against a state police officer. Harris was involved in a high-speed chase, during which he was being chased by the police. Deputy Scott pulled Harris over by hitting the rear of his car, known as Pursuit Intervention Technique, attempting to get him to come to a stop. Harris lost control, crashed, and thereafter found his limbs inoperative.

Harris sued Deputy Scott on the theory that hitting the back of his vehicle was excessive force resulting in an unreasonable search under the Forth Amendment. The 11th circuit held that Deputy Scott was not entitled to immunity, because the law was sufficiently clear at the time to give reasonable law enforcement authorities fair notice that ramming a vehicle under the circumstances of this case was unlawful.

The Supreme Court found that the threshold question of whether Deputy Scott violated the Fourth Amendment was resolved, in large part, by the video Continue reading

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Filed under Appellate Law, Culture, Law, Supreme Court

Quote of the Day

From the BBC:

UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer said: “We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area.”

Though I think it would have been better if he had said: “Badgers? We don’t need no stinking badgers!”

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Filed under Humor, International, Iraq

“MasterChief Went Into Seclusion . . . Drinking Heavily”

That’s a direct quote from the above movie. Check out this EXCLUSIVE and very funny interview with MasterChief.


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Filed under Gaming, Humor, Windows Vista, Xbox 360

Haditha Update: LCp Tatum’s Article 32 Days 6 and 7

LCpl Tatum testified that he did not “know that there was women and children in that house until later . . . otherwise, I would have physically stopped everyone in that room from shooting.” This testimony came during his unsworn statement during an Article 32 investigation in his actions in Haditha, Iraq. The prosecution has maintained that the Marines killed civilians in retaliation for an explosion that killed a fellow Marine. The Marines maintain that they were following the rules of engagement while in pursuit of their attackers.

LCpl Tatum explained that the visibility was very poor during the battle, making it very difficult to identify targets, as anything more than that, targets. He explained that only later did he learn that the targets were women and children. He entered the first house after his squad leader told him the house was “hostile” and continued to the second house because he heard the sound of an AK-47 Continue reading

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Filed under Criminal Law, Haditha, International, Iraq, Law, Military Justice, Military Law

UPDATE: $50 Xbox 360 price cut details emerging

Yesterday (the 24th of July), AO updated the 1 August $100 price cut rumor with news from XboxScene, which vaguely commented that the 360 would see a price cut of $50. No further details had emerged from that original rumor about a 1 August price drop, and the news from XboxScene seemed not worthy of more than a quick update.

Close on the heels of the XboxScene report, however, The Hollywood Reporter comes with more details that mirror the XboxScene report. With the corroborating reporting, it now seems the appropriate time to revisit the rumor mill.

David Ward over at Hollywood Reporter reports that “sources” have said that 8 August 07 is indeed the date of a 360 price drop, and that the price cut will be $50. Microsoft would respond only indirectly, saying: “”We have no announcements to make on pricing at this time. While price matters, content is king. And no other system is offering all the games people want to play this holiday at a better price than Xbox 360.”

The reporting doesn’t specify whether the $50 cut will be across the board, only apply to a few SKUs, or if, in fact, some SKUs will see a larger price drop.

As you know, the report we had on 13 July, which I discussed HERE, predicted an across-the-board price cut of $100 across the board.

Continue reading


Filed under Business, Gaming, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360

UPDATE: Court of Military Commissions and Review Rules available

The Pentagon has freshly updated and made available to the public a cartload of Military Commissions materials. Earlier this month we noted that the site hadn’t been updated for several months. That’s been remedied. On the site are:

  • Rules of Practice for the Court of Military Commission and Review
    • After a very quick perusal, I notice nothing too remarkable here–they look like, as we were led to suspect, a typical Court of Criminal Appeals’ rules, modified for the Commissions context. Many rules are footnoted “taken from ACCA (Army Court) rule” this or “Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Rule” that. I will note that Rule 30 states that “The Clerk of Court is authorized to release unclassified filings with the CMCR and CMCR decisions. Filings and decisions will be available at:” That openness is certainly welcome, hopefully the link will be continually and timely updated.
    • Admission to practice requirements (as if you’d want to): “to be eligible for admission to the Bar of the CMCR, an attorney must be a member in good standing of the Bar of the highest court of a state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, or of the Bar of a Federal Court.” Proof of good standing is required. Foreign attorneys may gain honorary membership.
  • Approval and Promulgation of Rules of Practice
  • Multiple recent documents from the Khadr Commissions case that AO has reported on, inter alia, HERE (Khadr and Hamdan dismissal), HERE (reconsideration denial), and HERE (Khadr appeal), including: Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Appellate Law, International, Law, Military Justice, Military Law, Supreme Court

P0wn’d!!! (those who think US Defense spending has gone through the roof)

In fact, Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post reports, it’s just the opposite. The real story is the rise of the American welfare state. Whereas in 1956 (see chart) defense spending was nearly 60% of the US budget, now it’s just less than 20%.

In comparison, the roles have switched: in fiscal year 2006, the US Federal government spent $2.7 trillion, of which Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined formed approximately $1 billion. Almost $200 billion came from payments to poor, earned-income tax credit and food stamps.

Those who are concerned with the size of the U.S. Defense budget should take a good look at all U.S. government expenditures before spending their talents barking up a sapling: European governments now are largely considering reversing decades of welfare-state policies, and going the American route (and more recently British route) by privatizing state industries and minimizing the welfare state.

So for 50 years, we’ve been striving to be more French. Sacre bleu! Bring on the wine and cheese! If we can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! (What was the quote about monkeys?)



Filed under Culture, International, Political Commentary, Politics, Social Sciences and History