Military

What really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual? Come to OB Historical Society Presentation – Sept. 18th

September 18, 2014 by Staff
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Come to the OB Historical Society presentation, Thursday, September 18th for “the Battle of San Pasqual – Looking Through the Haze of Gunsmoke” – featuring local historian Richard L Carrico.

Ever wonder what really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual on Dec.6-7, 1846? Who really won the battle between Andres Pico and the Californios and General Kearny and the American forces?

What was Kearny’s objective? How many men did he lose in the ill-fated skirmish? What was the role of the Kumeyaay at the village of San Pasqual and who was the mysterious Indian Andre who accompanied Kit Carson to seek reinforcements? How can you visit the site of the battle and learn more?

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Air Force Helicopters Too Close to Ocean Beach Residents

August 20, 2014 by Staff
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A local OB man has complained to the media about low-flying military helicopters. Jim Baird sent a video to Channel 10News and was interviewed by their reporter.

Baird claims the helos are flying under 200 feet, whereas experts say the aircraft must be no closer than 500 feet to vessels, people or buildings. His video confirms his observation. Baird told the station:

“They were scary close. I mean, you could feel the pulsation of the blades on your body. And I was just standing there with my palms up and my hands out like this asking them, ‘What are you doing?!’ And they flew by.”

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Our Communities Are Not Warzones

August 18, 2014 by Source

fergusonmilitarizationTell the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice: Stop funding the siege on communities of color.

By American Civil Liberties Union

Last week, local police fatally shot an unarmed African-American 18-year-old named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the days that followed, there have been massive protests in Ferguson and heavily armed SWAT teams are roaming the streets in response. Our communities are not warzones.

And yet the police, armed to the teeth, treat us like the enemy, especially if we’re black, young, poor or homeless. Tanks are rolling through our towns. What will it take for police to start protecting communities of color, not waging war on them?

The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice are funneling billions of dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies every year to help them purchase military weaponry and equipment. What business do DOD, DHS, and DOJ have funding a war here at home?

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Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

August 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Robert Dodge, Ira Helfand / Common Dreams

As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues.

Nagasaki A-bombThat said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war. We have long known that the consequences of large scale nuclear war could effectively end human existence on the planet.

Yet there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world today with over 95% controlled by the U.S. and Russia.

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The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbuse in 1988

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

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The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

July 10, 2014 by Source

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

warispeachBy John Lawrence

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop.

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The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

June 19, 2014 by Source

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

warispeachBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop. Insatiable militarism is the single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global climate change.

The US military is the largest single consumer of energy in the world. If it were a country, the Department of Defense (DoD) would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

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Reshaping the Vietnam Narrative

June 18, 2014 by Source
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The Vietnam War was a turning point in U.S. history but not as many people may think. In defeat, the national security state changed the narrative into one that made American soldiers the victims and made anti-war activists into traitors who spat on returning soldiers, as Marjorie Cohn explains.

By Marjorie Cohn / Consortiumnews.com

We came dangerously close to nuclear war when the United States was fighting in Vietnam, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg told a reunion of the Stanford Anti-Vietnam War Movement in May 2014. He said that in 1965, the Joint Chiefs assured President Lyndon B. Johnson that the war could be won, but it would take at least 500,000 to one million troops.

The Joint Chiefs recommended hitting targets up to the Chinese border. Ellsberg suspects their real aim was to provoke China into responding. If the Chinese came in, the Joint Chiefs took for granted we would cross into China and use nuclear weapons to demolish the communists.

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Don’t Walk Away from War : It’s Not the American Way

June 13, 2014 by Source

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch.com

thEYHT689LThe United States has been at war — major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions — nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face. … So here are five straightforward lessons —

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Who’s Really the Traitor Here? Thoughts about Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

June 10, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

By Ernie McCray

My goodness, a man, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, gets released from a 5 year imprisonment in Afghanistan, and there are those who want to condemn him, as a traitor, allegations that are no more than speculations based on shaky observations.

“He walked away from his duty! And people died looking for him!” people say as though in war it’s out of the ordinary for someone to freak out and want to flee and maybe say to his foe “I don’t want to shoot another one of y’all anymore! I can’t stand to see another child run in fear when I walk near them. I can no longer stand to see them shake in their pants, ever again” – aka “consorting” with the enemy. We’re human beings. We’re supposed to care. It’s in our nature somewhere.

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Pilots Come Clean: Drone Warfare Is Riddled with Tragic, Bloody Errors

May 12, 2014 by Source
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Imagine if the drone wars going on in Pakistan and Yemen had a human face all the time.

By Pratap Chatterjee / AlterNet – Tom Dispatch

Enemies, innocent victims, and soldiers have always made up the three faces of war. With war growing more distant, with drones capable of performing on the battlefield while their “pilots” remain thousands of miles away, two of those faces have, however, faded into the background in recent years. Today, we are left with just the reassuring “face” of the terrorist enemy, killed clinically by remote control while we go about our lives, apparently without any “collateral damage” or danger to our soldiers. Now, however, that may slowly be changing, bringing the true face of the drone campaigns Washington has pursued since 9/11 into far greater focus.

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Diver Drowning in Navy Dolphin Program Should Never Have Happened

May 6, 2014 by Source
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Failed Program Has Drowned Dozens of Dolphins and Now San Diego Civilian

By Rick Trout / May 6, 2014

The recent drowning of Navy dolphin worker/Science Application International Corp. employee, 29 year old Coll Perske, during nighttime rehearsals for deployment of American dolphins into Black Sea waters near Ukraine’s turbulent coast is made even more tragic knowing that Congress tried to eliminate this ill-conceived program in 1992.

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Fukushima Meltdown – US Sailors Sue Japanese Electrical Company

April 14, 2014 by Source

050629-N-5060B-006By Kathleen Gilberd

Three years ago, a massive earthquake led to a triple melt-down and explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the wake of the disaster, the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was sent to Honshu Island, where the reactor is located, to render aid as part of Operation Tomadachi (Friendship). With the ship as close as a mile off shore, sailors worked 18-hour days to rescue civilians in the radiation area.

Now sailors from the Ronald Reagan have filed a one billion dollar class action suit against the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), owner of the nuclear plant, alleging that they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, far in excess of what TEPCO told the Navy to expect. There are over 100 plaintiffs in the class action, which was filed in San Diego on February 6

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Locally-Made Drone Deliberately Brought Down 20 Miles Off Point Loma

January 29, 2014 by Staff
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Border Patrol Drone Ditched Due to Mechanical Problems

Late Monday night, Jan. 27th, a Border Patrol Drone was deliberated crashed into the ocean about 20 miles southwest of Point Loma. Its government operators decided that due to mechanical problems, the un-manned plane could not return to its base at Sierra Vista, Arizona.

The locally-made drone was on a border security mission. US Customs and Border Protection issued a statement Tuesday that read in part:

“The crew determined that the UAS would be unable to return to where it originated in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and put the aircraft down in the water. The cause of the failure is unknown.”

We now know from the Wall Street Journal via CBS8 :

“… the drone’s onboard generator failed, and the backup battery lacked the sufficient power needed to keep it in the air.”

General Atomics Aeronautical, a San Diego-based company, made the drone …

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Environmental Group Sues Feds for Downplaying Harm to Marine Life With Sonar

January 28, 2014 by Source
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Suit alleges National Marine Fisheries Service ignored ‘best available science’ in ruling against ocean wildlife during during sonar military exercises.

See Petition below to stop Navy from harming wildlife

By Louis Sahagun / LA Times / January 27, 2014

The National Marine Fisheries Service violated federal law when it authorized the Navy’s use of sonar in training exercises off Hawaii and California through 2018, an environmental group said in a lawsuit filed Monday.

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USS Ronald Reagan Sailors to Refile Suit For Fukushima Radiation Poisoning

January 2, 2014 by Source

At least 71 sailors from San Diego-based carrier have reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co.

US Navy Photo

By Brandon Baker / EcoNews

After U.S. Navy sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan responded to the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan for four days, many returned to the U.S. with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, brain tumors and more.

At least 71 sailors—many in their 20s—reported radiation sickness and will file a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), which operates the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant.

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50 Years of the Big Lie – the Cover-Up of the JFK Assassination – Part 2

November 22, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s Part 1.

By Frank Gormlie

It’s finally here, Friday, November 22nd – exactly 50 years after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Of course you’ve noticed it – you can’t help but … as everywhere you go there are signs that everybody in the media is commemorating the half century mark of the end of the Kennedy Era – an era that was terminated with bullets.

It’s been 50 years since the end of Camelot and we are told it was the end of the “idealism of the Sixties”.

Well, it has been fifty years, and it’s been fifty years of the Big Lie – …

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Update – Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

October 24, 2013 by Judi Curry
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by Judi Curry / October 23, 2013

It appears that progress is being made at the cemetery. Slowly, in the areas I checked out, but some of the areas of the cemetery that were behind green fences are now sporting beautiful green grass. This is at the most northern part of the cemetery on the east side of the road and snaking down to the bay-side where there are benches to sit on while looking over the San Diego Bay and listening to the cry of the seals.

There was evidence of men working on cleaning the monuments; men were moving the flat markers from the “curb” to the headstones; grading was taking place close to the road on the inside of the eastern part of the cemetery and sod is due to be laid beginning next week.

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Shutting Down the Ocean

October 15, 2013 by Source
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By David Helvarg / Blue Notes

Work on ocean and coastal protection, management, law enforcement, federal science and safety ground to a near halt with the government shutdown when the Republican House majority refused to pass the nation’s budget because Obamacare became law.

This disaster comes on top of the ongoing budget “sequester” that randomly slashes funding for federal agencies dealing with our public seas including EPA, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard which has reduced its offshore patrolling roughly 15 percent and, with the shutdown, effectively ended fishing enforcement and marine mammal law enforcement.

Despite our Healthy Ocean Hill Day in May that saw seaweed activists lobbying Congress on behalf of an Anti-Pirate Fishing bill, right now is a good time to be a pirate. With over 90 percent of EPA shut down it’s an even better time to be a polluter dumping poison into our seas.

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Final Design of OB Veterans’ Memorial Plaza Made Public

September 19, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s happened. The final design for the new Ocean Beach Veterans’ Memorial Plaza has been publicly unveiled.

Over the last week and a half, presentations of the new design have been made in front of both the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association and the OB Community Development Corporation (OBCDC) – the project’s sponsoring organization. And both groups gave green lights to the project that will replace the current memorial, one that has been worn down literally by salt air, sand, ocean water, foot traffic – not to mention marshmallows – .

Yet it may be years before the new memorial project itself is completely constructed.

The OB Veterans’ Plaza has also been in the news for months (for instance San Diego Newsroom ) because of a connection with the developer Sunroad and accusations of ‘pay to play’ monies given to the City, that former Mayor Filner wanted to go to the memorial. (It was mentioned in last weeks San Diego Reader cover story entitled “Did Sunroad pay to play?” )

Once built, the new plaza will have a final design that resulted from a process that involved two community workshops earlier this year and the creative input of the design consultant, and will be located next to the current reserved parking lot south of the main lifeguard station, butting up to Abbott Street. It will have a mosaic walkway from Abbott Street to a gathering plaza next to the sand, and includes four granite walls with the names of the honored vets. A crosswalk at Newport Avenue and Abbott Street is also being considered as part of the design.

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Rep. Alan Grayson: ‘As a Congressman, I need all the facts on Syria – and I’m not getting them.’

September 10, 2013 by Source
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On Syria Vote, Trust, but Verify

By Congressman Alan Grayson / The New York Times / Sept. 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — THE documentary record regarding an attack on Syria consists of just two papers: a four-page unclassified summary and a 12-page classified summary. The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion.

On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was “no.”

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Has Assad Crossed a Red Line In Syria?

September 5, 2013 by Source

Syria fighterby Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Is the Gassing of 1400 Syrians More of a Crime Against Humanity Than the Slaughter of 100,000 Syrians?

Frank Thomas’ take:

Russia’s ongoing multi-dollar sales of advanced massively destructive weapons to Assad’s government has exacerbated the killing fields in Syria. Yet Russia sanctimoniously thinks the rest of the world, namely the U.S., has no right of humanitarian intervention to protect the lives of innocents being slaughtered by chemical weapons and more so by Russia’s own prolific arms sales to Assad’s military forces.

Russia would remind us that for many years (1980-88) Saddam Hussein’s army blatantly used mustard and nerve gases at will against Iran and even the people of Iraq. Foreign Policy has just published CIA documents confirming Washington and other western nations knew of Iraq’s production and use of chemical gases and even delivered some raw materials.

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Killing Civilians to Protect Civilians in Syria

August 29, 2013 by Source

by Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer / Common Dreams

The drums of war are beating again. The Obama administration will reportedly launch a military strike to punish Syria’s Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons. A military attack would invariably kill civilians for the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that killing civilians is wrong.

Credit: Wikipedia

“What we are talking about here is a potential response . . . to this specific violation of international norms,” declared White House press secretary Jay Carney. But a military intervention by the United States in Syria to punish the government would violate international law.

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Swimmers Reach Point Loma From Santa Barbara – Breaking World Record

August 27, 2013 by Staff
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Six swimmers swam ashore at a beach along Point Loma on Monday, August 26th – with quite a story to tell. They were finishing up a relay swim from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

And in the process, broke a world record for open water relay swim.

They began up north on Friday, the 23rd, at 6 in the morning. A friend raced along the land with them – and he ended up running a full 265 miles to the end. And it was all for charity – for the Monarch Schools for homeless children and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

One of them, Zach Jirkovsky, told local media: “This is going to sound crazy, but it was fun.”

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5 Companies That Make Money By Keeping Americans Terrified of Terror Attacks

August 22, 2013 by Source

CounterTerrorismA massive industry profits off the government-induced fear of terrorism.

By Alex Kane/Alternet

Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has invaded America’s television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden’s leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America.

But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants.

And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans.

Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America’s national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it’s gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as author Tim Shorrock reported.

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American Hero Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years

August 21, 2013 by Source

Bradley ManningComparisons between WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers cases raise serious questions about government and judicial discretion.

By David Gespass/Military Law Task Force

Today, Bradley Manning was sentenced to thirty-five years for the “crime” of revealing the seamy underside of US diplomacy and war-making. The sentence is substantially less than sixty years the prosecution asked for, but greater than what the defense requested. It was predicated on alleged damage done to the US, though it remains unclear what actual damage, aside from embarrassment, occurred.

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Mid-August Update on Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery: “… Virtually no improvements …”

August 16, 2013 by Judi Curry
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Update on Point Loma national cemetery – Thursday, August 15th, 2013

It is five days short of one year since I wrote my first article about the deplorable conditions at the Ft. Rosecrans national cemetery.

Over the past year, I have made numerous trips to the cemetery – my husband is interred there – and have been depressed, angry, sickened, etc. by what I have seen. Today I decided to go back and look for the improvements everyone has been talking about.

I am sorry to say that there are virtually no improvements in the section that Bob is resting in. (In fact, knowing Bob, he is probably very angry at what he sees when he looks out his door.)

Rather than just tell you about it – as I have done in the past – I have taken some pictures that will give you an idea of how our servicemen and servicewomen are being treated.

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Ten Things that Do Not Make Sense about NSA Surveillance, Drones and al-Qaeda

August 7, 2013 by Source
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by Juan Cole / Informed Consent/ August 6, 2013

In a Reuters Exclusive, John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke reveal that the National Security Agency shares information it gleans from warrantless surveillance of Americans with the Special Operation Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency, which then uses the metadata to develop cases against US citizens. The DEA then routinely lies to the judge and defense attorneys during discovery about how its agents initially came by their suspicions of wrongdoing.

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BREAKING: Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy

July 30, 2013 by Source
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By Julie Tate / Washington Post

An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with. She also acquitted him of one count of the espionage act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

Bradley Manning arrived at court to hear the verdict in his military espionage and aiding the enemy trial at Fort Meade Tuesday. Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy.

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The Widder Curry Makes It to “Turko Files” on Ft. Rosecrans Conditions

June 27, 2013 by Judi Curry
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By Judi Curry

I have written several articles about the deplorable conditions at Ft. Rosecrans. See here, here, and here.

Michael Turko of KUSI News did a story a week or so ago and I sent him the articles that I wrote. One of the real discrepancies in his report and mine was that he was told the problem began occurring in November of 2012. My first article was written in August, 2012 and it was already a problem.

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