Metro-East News

Roger That: It’s OK to wear military medals, even if you didn’t earn them, court rules

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday tossed out a veteran's conviction for wearing military medals he didn't earn, saying it was a form of free speech protected by the Constitution, according to Military.com.

A specially convened 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment allows people to wear unearned military honors.

Elven Joe Swisher of Idaho was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a misdemeanor to falsely claim military accomplishments. President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2006, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of free speech protections.

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When President Obama gives his final State of the Union address tonight First Lady Michelle Obama will be sitting with one of the first female soldiers to graduate U.S.Army Ranger School and an Air Force staff sergeant who helped thwart a terrorist from attacking a train traveling to Paris.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone, Army Reserve Major Lisa Jaster and four veterans have been invited to sit in the guest box with the First Lady and Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill Biden, according to Military.com.

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The classified special operator team that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden gets the Hollywood treat. “SIX,” a new military drama about Navy SEAL Team Six that will air on the History Channel, will film in Wilmington, a studio spokesman confirmed last week.

The eight-episode first season, produced by A+E Studios and The Weinstein Co., will follow the team, whose 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry when it uncovers a U.S. citizen working with the terrorists, according to a release.

Military.com is reporting that the series was just announced Wednesday, but producers and local film executives have been in talks about bringing the project to Wilmington for several months.

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Washington and Moscow are supposed to be backing opposite sides in Syria’s war. But in the ISIS fight, enemies of enemies often become battlefield friends, according to the Daily Beast.

American-backed Kurdish and Arab forces have found an unlikely ally in their push to win ground in Syria: the Russians.

Some of the nearly 25,000 U.S.-backed forces made some of their biggest gains in Syria in recent months when they retook villages near the hotly contested city of Aleppo with the help of Russian airstrikes. The Russian attacks targeted other opposition groups, and the U.S.-backed coalition exploited them to gain back parts of the city.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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