Monthly Archives: October 2011

Legal support for servicemembers, reservists and veterans participating in Occupy Wall Street actions

The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and thousands of cities world-wide and offered legal support.

Members of the US military have joined the OWS protests in many locales. As the Military Law Task Force of the NLG, we stand ready to coordinate legal support for active duty servicemembers, reservists and veterans who are facing harassment and/or legal sanctions for participating in these important protests. (We can be reached by telephone at (619)463-2369 or on our website at this link.)

We also want to correct some of the misinformation given to members of the military about the right to protest. Contrary to popular opinion, active-duty members of the military do retain some of their constitutional rights. While there are some military-specific restrictions on these rights, most protest actions are in fact legal.

NLG endorses Occupy Wall Street movement, calls for members to join


WHEREAS, on September 17th, 2011, two thousand people rallied in response to a call, using the General Assembly process, to occupy Wall Street and march to protest corporate influence in the political process. As of today, over 1500 cities have formed their own Occupations, gathering in General Assemblies in public spaces across the United States. Applying principles of direct democracy and consensus, and using the internet, these General Assemblies are determining the grievances, solutions and systemic changes needed to protect the 99% from the environmental, social and economic abuses of the 1%. This includes, which this Resolution incorporates by reference, the Declaration of the Occupation approved by consensus on September 29, 2011 at the New York City General Assembly in the occupied Liberty Square.

WHEREAS, the United States government and the U.S. Courts have repeatedly violated the United States Constitution in repressing 1st Amendment rights of freedom of association, assembly and speech, and in denying habeas corpus and due process first to foreign enemy combatants and now to U.S. citizens accused of terrorism abroad,

WHEREAS, when the rule of law was no longer respected in Argentina, Pakistan, India, Tunisia, other nations during the Arab Spring, and worldwide, exasperated lawyers marched in protest hundreds of times,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Lawyers Guild endorse the Occupy Wall Street movement, encourage legal observation and mass defense and call upon lawyers, legal workers and law students to march alongside the people in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. The National Lawyers Guild will also support the Occupy Wall Street movement by providing specific information on the U.S. treaty laws protecting the rights demanded by the people.

Submitted by Valeria A. Gheorghiu, Esq.
Approved by the membership at the NLG National Convention, Philadelphia, PA, October 2011

“AWOL in the Army” version 3 now available

Photo by James M. Branum

Photo by James M. Branum

The MLTF has just released version 3 of James M. Branun’s AWOL in the Army memo. Branum is currently co-chair of the MLTF Steering Committee. The memo includes a flow chart and addendum on AWOL/UA policies for other branches

“This edition of the article includes lots of new information and resources,” Branum explained, “such as (1) a better flow chart, (2) new info on new efforts by the Army to apprehend AWOLs, (3) more discussion on alternatives to court-martial, (4) discussions on mitigation/defenses to absence offenses, and (5) updated information on policies and practices currently used at the Fort Sill and Fort Knox PCF’s (personnel control facility)”

The addendum is by Kathy Gilberd, an experienced military law worker and GI Rights counselor currently serving as MLTF co-chair, on AWOL/UA policies for the Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

The 34-page memo can be downloaded as a PDF at: