Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

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Protest at White House: No New Korean War!

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

Child porn cases appear to dominate the caseload handled by the various military appellate courts

This is strictly an unscientific sampling, but Suits & Sentences has observed in regular checks of military appellate court opinions that, more often than not, the underlying charges involve child porn. Maybe this reflects a serious child porn problem in the military. Maybe it reflects underlying potential vulnerabilities in child porn prosecutions. Maybe the cases themselves are simply so vivid that they seem to appear in greater number than they actually represent.

On April 30, for instance, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals considered the case brought by Airman Richard A. Usry. The appellate court upheld Usry’s conviction, with this effective rejoinder:

The appellant possessed over 30 video files showing explicit sex acts with children, and both sides addressed the appellant’s motivations in argument. The trial defense counsel told the military judge that the appellant was ‘simply curious because of his own abuse,’ and the trial counsel countered that viewing videos with names such as ‘Six Year Old Bedtime Rape’ is not some kind of therapy.”

Two of the five opinions rendered April 30 by the Air Force appellate court dealt with child porn.

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Another soldier pig kills wife, self

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk police said a former naval officer killed his wife and then himself two days before the final hearing on the couple’s divorce.

Police found the bodies of 63-year-old Robert Klosterman and his 57-year-old wife Rebecca Klosterman inside the couple’s home Sunday. Police said Monday that Klosterman shot his wife and then himself.

According to court records, a final hearing on the couple’s divorce had been scheduled for Tuesday.

Robert Klosterman was the first commander of the nuclear carrier USS John C. Stennis, commissioned in 1995.

18 veterans commit suicide each day

Troubling new data show there are an average of 950 suicide attempts each month by veterans who are receiving some type of treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Seven percent of the attempts are successful, and 11 percent of those who don’t succeed on the first attempt try again within nine months.

The numbers, which come at a time when VA is strengthening its suicide prevention programs, show about 18 veteran suicides a day, about five by veterans who are receiving VA care.

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Court case reveals diocese pattern of sending problem priests to desert

BARSTOW • As the sex abuse scandals that plague the Catholic Church continue to make headlines, a recent lawsuit has brought new information to light regarding the San Diego Diocese’s placement of priests with a history of sexual abuse in desert parishes, including St. Joseph Catholic Church in Barstow.

One man involved in the lawsuit, known only as John Roe 65, says that he was abused by a priest at St. Joseph in 1972 while attending school there. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court last week for an undisclosed amount. The school at St. Joseph closed in 2002.

Roe 65 was able to file the suit because he served in the United States Navy from 1977 until 2006, and statutes of limitation do not apply while a person is serving in the military.

The two priests named in the lawsuit who served at St. Joseph are Anthony Rodrigue and John Keith.

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Thousands protest in Tokyo against U.S. military presence in Japan

Thousands of protesters from across Japan marched today in Tokyo to protest against U.S. military presence on Okinawa, while a Cabinet minister said she would fight to get rid of a marine base Washington considers crucial.

Some 47,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, with more than half on the southern island of Okinawa.

Residents have complained for years about noise, pollution and crime around the bases.

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Court upholds murder conviction of corpsman

ATLANTA — Georgia’s top court has upheld a murder conviction and life prison sentence given to a Navy corpsman who served two tours in Iraq.

The Supreme Court of Georgia on Monday affirmed the conviction of Robert Bella Devega III, who was convicted of the March 2007 killing of Saifullah Afzal. Prosecutors say officers located Devega, who had fled to Dobbins Air Reserve Base after the killing, by tracking his cell phone number.

Devega’s attorneys asked the court to grant him a new trial, contending that his attorney was ineffective. But the court’s unanimous ruling found no errors in the trial court that would warrant a reversal.

Weapons station CO fired, charged with solicitation

The commanding officer of Naval Weapons Station Charleston, S.C., was arrested Tuesday and accused of trying to pay a prostitute $20 for oral sex, police said.

Capt. Glen Little, 55, was immediately relieved of command and reassigned to administrative duties with Navy Region Southeast, said Scott Bassett, a spokesman for the Navy base.

Little, who is married, was charged with solicitation of prostitution, a misdemeanor, court records show.

Little was arrested about 9:30 a.m. after he allegedly approached an undercover police officer in the parking lot of a strip mall in a residential section of North Charleston about one mile outside the gate of the Navy base, according to a police report.

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Recruitment ad: About 66,000 gays are in military

Download the full research brief

About 66,000 gay men and women are serving in the military, making up 2.2 percent of the total force, according to a new study by demographer Gary Gates.

The number of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members represents a slight increase from the author’s 2004 estimates. At the time, Gates analyzed data from the 2000 U.S. Census to estimate that 65,000 gay men and women served in uniform.

The new study largely replicates statistical methods used in 2004, but with new data and assumptions about the prevalence of homosexuality in the general population.

Instead of the decennial Census, Gates draws on data from the 2008 American Community Survey, a smaller sample of the population. Neither the Census nor the ACS explicitly asks about military members’ sexual orientation, but inferences can be made based on whether respondents indicate they are in the military and part of a same-sex household.

Gates is the co-author of “The Gay and Lesbian Atlas” and serves as a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

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Psychiatric disorders spiral among US troops

A new study indicates US troops who were withdrawn from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for medical reasons were increasingly evacuated for psychiatric reasons.

Psychiatric disorders rose from 2004 to 2007, despite an increased focus on treating mental health problems, the research study revealed on Friday.

Only 14 percent of troops taken out of combat operations on medical grounds during the four-year period were because of a combat injury, AFP reported.

The biggest single cause for a pullout was ‘musculo-skeletal’ and joint problems, which accounted for 24 percent of medical evacuations.

In contrast, psychiatric grounds accounted for five percent of evacuations in Iraq and six percent in Afghanistan in 2004; these figures rose to 14 and 11 percent respectively in 2007.

Researchers also said that repeat missions and declining public support for the Iraq war may partly account for the rise.

The study drew on data from more than 34,000 US personnel who had been evacuated to the main US military receiving hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  [ Probably the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. ]

Steven P. Cohen of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore led the research team.

CO of Naval Supply Corps School fired

The commanding officer of the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia was fired Friday, Navy officials said.

Capt. John Titus Jr., 45, was relieved of command by the head of Navy Education and Training Command, Rear Adm. Joseph F. Kilkenny, because of a “lack of confidence in his ability to lead,” said Ed Barker, an NETC spokesman in Florida.

Titus’s removal, the first CO firing of 2010, comes after a Judge Advocate General’s Corps‘s investigation, Barker said. The spokesman declined to disclose the nature of the investigation.

The school will be run temporarily by its executive officer, Cmdr. Raymond Wilson, until a permanent replacement is identified, Baker said.

Titus, originally from New Jersey, was commissioned in 1987. He was last promoted in August 2008, about the same time he arrived at the Supply School, Navy records show.

Sub sailor accused of strangling children

A sailor from the attack submarine USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) was arrested in Connecticut on New Year’s Eve and accused of strangling and assaulting two children, police said.

Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Charles Youngberg, 24, was charged with third-degree assault, strangulation, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and two counts of risk of injury to a minor, according to police in Groton, Connecticut.

The alleged assault occurred in Navy housing in the town of Groton after police received a call about a domestic problem, police said.

State social workers and the Navy Family Advocacy Program will investigate the case, said Lt. Patrick Evans, a Navy spokesman for Submarine Group TWO.

It is not known if the children are related to Youngberg.

Youngberg will remain on active duty while local officials lead the criminal investigation, Evans said.

Youngberg was promoted Dec. 16, Navy records show. Originally from Massachusetts, he enlisted in 2006 and has spent most of his Navy career in the Groton area.

Iraqis outraged as Blackwater case thrown out

In this Oct. 2007 image, Mohammed Hafiz holds
a picture of his 10-year-old son, Ali Mohammed,
who was killed when guards employed by
Blackwater allegedly opened fire at Nisoor
Square in Baghdad. Iraqis responded with
bitterness and outrage Jan. 1 at aU.S. judge’s
decision to throw out a case against Blackwater
guards accused in the killings.

BAGHDAD — Iraqis seeking justice for 17 people shot dead at a Baghdad intersection responded with bitterness and outrage Friday at a U.S. judge’s decision to throw out a case against a Blackwater security team accused in the killings.

The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Many Iraqis also held up the judge’s decision as proof of what they’d long believed: U.S. security contractors were above the law.

“There is no justice,” said Bura Sadoun Ismael, who was wounded by two bullets and shrapnel during the shooting. “I expected the American court would side with the Blackwater security guards who committed a massacre in Nisoor Square.”

What happened on Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007, raised Iraqi concerns about their sovereignty because Iraqi officials were powerless to do anything to the Blackwater employees who had immunity from local prosecution. The shootings also highlighted the degree to which the U.S. relied on private contractors during the Iraq conflict.

Blackwater had been hired by the Department of State to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The guards said they were ambushed at a busy intersection in western Baghdad, but U.S. prosecutors and many Iraqis said the Blackwater guards let loose an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

“Investigations conducted by specialized Iraqi authorities confirmed unequivocally that the guards of Blackwater committed the crime of murder and broke the rules by using arms without the existence of any threat obliging them to use force,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Friday.

He did not elaborate on what steps the government planned to take to pursue the case.

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Threatening troops may become a felony in SC

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would make it a felony to threaten violence against military members or their families because they are serving their country.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the proposal would make the threats a felony with up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Rep. Harry B. “Chip” Limehouse III says he came up with the bill after authorities accused an Army major and psychiatrist of killing 13 people and injuring 30 at Fort Hood in Texas in November.

The Charleston Republican says he wants to create another layer of protection for American soldiers and their families, who should never feel threatened on this country’s soil because of their service.

Troops admit to abusing prescription drugs

About one in four soldiers admit to abusing prescription drugs, most of them pain relievers, in a one-year period, according to a Pentagon health survey released Wednesday.

The study, which surveyed more than 28,500 U.S. troops last year, showed that about 20 percent of Marines had also abused prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, in that same period.

The findings show the continued toll on the military from fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Those wars have required troops to serve multiple combat deployments.

“We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues,” Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, said Wednesday. “These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us.”

The survey showed that pain relievers were the most abused drug in the military, used illicitly at a rate triple that of marijuana or amphetamines, the next most widely abused drugs.

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Another high-speed chase – will this help them learn?

PHOENIX —  An Arizona law officer was struck and killed by another officer’s patrol car while he was laying down spike strips to stop a vehicle during a high-speed freeway chase, authorities said Friday.

The officer, Chris Marano, 28, of the Phoenix suburb of Surprise, was a father of four who worked for the Arizona Department of Public Safety for more than three years.

The chase reached speeds of 100 mph, starting late Thursday after a vehicle was spotted with a stolen license plate on a north Phoenix freeway, Lt. Steve Harrison said. One DPS officer pursued the vehicle, and Marano laid down spike strips near an overpass in an attempt to stop the driver.

Witnesses said Marano was standing in the right shoulder of the westbound freeway when he was hit by the DPS cruiser, Harrison said.

The fleeing driver exited the freeway, then ran away and was captured hiding on the balcony of a condominium.

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63rd District: You need to know Paul Chabot

Paul Chabot,  who is running for California’s 63rd State Assembly District, recently participated in a debate over drug legalization, which included former judge James “Jim” P. Gray of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Chabot was damaged in childhood by incompetent parenting and by the war on drugs. While compassion and support for the handicapped is honorable, outright patronization and exaggerated, unreal flattery is an insult.

The military, the criminal justice system and many religious cults go a step further and recruit from sources such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where a couple of percent of forced participants who actually are handicaps (euphemistically called “addicts“), buy into the concept of helplessness and are anxious to turn the control of their minds and bodies over to a “higher power.”  Chabot has been a subject of their nurturing since age 12.

These are the people sought by the recruiters.  They will do what rational people will not.  Note that 1 in 8 combat troops needs alcohol counseling.  Note the escalated activity by law enforcement to round them up during “wartime.”

Chabot has already proven his helplessness and mindless obedience to both the prison- and military-industrial complexes.  The next step for such victims is abandonment – or “promotion” to public office for one final round of exploitation.

If he is abandoned now, further damage to himself and his family might be avoided.  Even if this was not the case, society cannot accept the threat he will represent to all of us if he is patronized into a political career as a windfall cut-out for his handlers.

Do you want another “leader” who cannot handle his alcohol and/or drugs?  A leader whose goal is to punish all normal, healthy people for his disease and weakness?  It is time to take control of government away from the vulgar, self-serving military- and prison-industrial complexes and put them back under our control where they belong.  Have they not disgraced us all enough?  Listen to the debate…

Listen to the debate here.

His “testimonial-fired” personal website is here.

His political website is here.

His “bio” is here.

Court rejects rule making sailors report DUI Arrests

The Navy’s rule forcing sailors to “promptly” tell their commanding officers if they have been arrested for an off-base drunken-driving violation is unconstitutional, the Navy and Marine Corps’s highest military judges have ruled.

The requirement, which dates back to 1999, forces sailors to incriminate themselves, a violation of the Fifth Amendment “for which no exemption exists,” according to the Nov. 25 ruling from the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeal.

The case could force the Navy to change its policy and also prompt officials to reconsider some past punishments for drunken driving or failure to report a civilian driving-while-intoxicated arrest.

“There is no doubt that this case will be taken up to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, so we’ll have to see what shakes out,” said Michael Navarre, a former Navy judge advocate who is now a lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Navy officials declined to comment on the ruling. The Navy has 30 days to decide whether it will take the case to the CAAF, which is the last stop before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The Department of Gomer Pyle

I was an average high school student. I had to attend summer school between my junior and senior years just to graduate with my class and even then, on graduation night, I wasn’t sure thered be a diploma waiting for me. I was always more interested in playing ball and chasing girls. I was more successful at the former than the latter.

After graduation I did manage to earn an athletic scholarship to play baseball at a small Florida college but after two years of playing ball, and earning less than one years worth of college credit, I realized I was wasting my time as well as the colleges resources and decided I needed to do something else until I figured out what I wanted to do.

So, being the son of a 20-year retired Air Force Tech Sergeant, I joined the military. I spoke to all the branches and in the end it was the Navy that won me over for a six-year enlistment. They enticed me with visions of advanced electronics training, fantastic marketability in the civilian world and a chance to see the world. Remember the old Navy slogan: Its not just a job, its an adventure.” Oh boy!

From the moment I arrived in Orlando, Florida for my basic training I realized what a joke it was. If you want to know what military basic training is like just watch any episode of Gomer Pyle, its exactly like that. Just as ridiculous.

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Bahrain Commanding Officer Relieved

NAPLES, Italy – The commanding officer of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain was relieved of command due to loss of confidence.

Rear Adm. David J. Mercer, commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, relieved the commanding officer of NSA Bahrain, Capt. John Schoeneck, due to a loss of confidence in Schoeneck’s ability to command.

Capt. Fred Capria, deputy commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, has been named as the interim commanding officer of NSA Bahrain. He will be replaced by Capt. Enrique Sadsad in an assumption of command ceremony scheduled for December 6.

Schoeneck has been temporarily assigned to the Naval Forces Central Command staff in Bahrain pending further personnel actions.

Japan finds proof of 1960 secret deals with US

A state-commissioned research panel in Japan finds evidence of Tokyo‘s 1960 secret pacts with Washington which allow the US to ship nuclear weaponry via the Japanese territory.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada was notified of the discovery by the 15-member team, which found the files while examining ministry documents.

“The probe is now in the final stage, and we will announce the outcome in January,” Okada said, Kyodo News reported on Saturday.

Nuke-laden American Navy warships and Air Force aircraft were sanctioned by the 1960 deals to enter the Japanese waters. The clandestine understanding has already been pointed to in US documents and confirmed by those involved in the negotiations.

A former Japanese official who served in key ministry posts in the 1980s and 1990s has also confirmed the existence of the document.

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Psychiatrist warning of violence danger among returned Marines fired

UPDATED AND EXPANDED: In the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy, there have been media reports that mental health staff had been concerned about Major Nidal Malik “AbduWali” Hasan, but did not report their concerns to higher authorities. Rather, these staff hoped he would disappear, into Fort Hood and then Afghanistan. The press and pundits have been extremely critical of those professionals for failing on act on their concerns.

Meanwhile, Mark Benjamin today tells of a psychiatrist serving the military who did express his concerns about potential tragedy, and was “disappeared” by firing as a consequence. Benjamin tells the story of Dr. Kernan Manion, a civilian contract psychiatrist at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina who repeatedly warned that Marines recently returned from combat zones were in danger of acting violently, whether toward themselves or others.

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US navy crash blamed on ‘catastrophic’ leadership

A collision between a nuclear-powered US Navy submarine and a US warship in the Strait of Hormuz was caused by “catastrophic failure” in management, a US Navy report says.

US Navy investigators found that “ineffective and negligent” management and the failure of navigation practices were to blame for a March 2009 collision between the USS Hartford and the USS New Orleans, an amphibious vessel.

“This incident comes down to weak and complacent leadership, which led to inadequate planning and preparation of the crew,” the Navy Times said in its report.
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Judge: Retrial possible for pardoned Virginia sailor

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge says prosecutors can retry an ex-sailor who received a conditional pardon from Virginia’s governor after spending more than a decade in prison for rape and murder.

Derek Tice was one of four ex-sailors known as “The Norfolk Four” who claimed their confessions to the rape and murder of 18-year-old Michelle Moore-Bosko were coerced. Gov. Tim Kaine freed three of the men from prison in August. The fourth had already served his time and was not eligible for a conditional pardon.

Although the men were released, the convictions remained on their records. Tice’s convictions were later tossed out, but it was unclear until Thursday whether he could be retried. U.S. District Judge Richard Williams said Thursday that prosecutors have 120 days to decide whether to retry Tice.

Navy chief gets 18 months for lying about fraud

A Navy chief was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Tuesday for lying about his role in a credit card fraud scheme.

Chief Storekeeper Antonio Allen, 36, of Memphis, Tenn., pleaded guilty in April to making false statements about the wrongful use of government-issued credit cards used to steal more than $350,000 worth of computers and other items, according to the U.S. Attorney in Virginia’s Eastern District.

Allen was stationed at Naval Support Activity Norfolk (Naval Station Norfolk), where his job was to oversee and approve credit card purchases. He supervised an employee accused of fraud and initially denied knowledge of the fraud. Allen later admitted that he knew about and participated in some of the fraud schemes, federal officials said.

McDonald’s In Guantanamo Bay

Did you know there’s a McDonald’s In Guantanamo Bay? It’s true. They’re currently hiring for the position of assistant manager. Notice how the listing avoids referring to Guantanamo by name, instead calling it “the United States Naval base in Cuba.” Apparently, no special security clearance is need for the job, just a desire to “Enjoy the perks.”

America Owned by Its Army

Paris, November 3, 2009 – It is possible that the creation of an all-professional American army was the most dangerous decision ever taken by Congress. The nation now confronts a political crisis in which the issue has become an undeclared contest between Pentagon power and that of a newly elected president.

Barack Obama has yet to declare his decision on the war in Afghanistan, and there is every reason to think that he will follow military opinion. Yet he is under immense pressure from his Republican opponents to, in effect, renounce his presidential power, and step aside from the fundamental strategic decisions of the nation.

The officer he named to command the war in Afghanistan, Stanley A. McChrystal, demands a reinforcement of 40 thousand soldiers, raising the total U.S. commitment to over 100 thousand troops (or more, in the future). He says that he cannot succeed without them, and even then may be unable to win the war within a decade. Yet the American public is generally in doubt about this war, most of all the president’s own liberal electorate.

President Obama almost certainly will do as the the general requests, or something very close to it. He can read the wartime politics in this situation.
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Community Groups vs. Military Recruiters

Military recruiters today have unprecedented access to students and other young people, particularly in poor neighborhoods. There are generally more Army recruiters at high schools than there are college counselors, says Elmer Roldan, fundraising director at Community Coalition of South Central Los Angeles, and there is “a more aggressive strategy to militarize them than to prepare them for college.” He notes that military recruiters target the best and brightest students, particularly young women.

So when high school senior Stephanie Hoang started working with the Oakland, California–based organization BAY-Peace, educating her peers about the potential risks of joining the military and helping to build alternative education and employment opportunities, her truth-in-recruitment work was more than just an internship: “It’s my peers being affected,” she says. “[Recruiters] are looking at me and thinking that I’m the person they want in the military.”

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Military Children in Crisis

A seven-year-old second-grader attempted suicide while his father was serving yet another tour in Iraq. Seven years old. Seven. His mother was one of half a dozen military spouses I have spoken with about soldiers’ kids who have attempted suicide during their fathers’ deployments.

When I was seven, it was 1972, and there were 69,000 US troops in Vietnam. Men were still being drafted and deployed, but not my dad. So I was spared the circumstances that led a seven-year-old to try to kill himself.

Three-plus decades ago, parents were exempt from conscription because of overwhelming concern about the harmful effects of deployment on children. Today, roughly half of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are parents, many of whom have served multiple tours. Repeat deployments stress soldiers and escalate the likelihood of psychological injuries that can last for a lifetime. There is a small, but rapidly growing, body of evidence suggesting that the same is true of their children.

The Associated Press reported that “After nearly eight years of war, soldiers are not the only ones experiencing mental anguish…. Last year, children of US troops sought outpatient mental health care 2 million times, double the number at the start of the Iraq war…. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, inpatient visits among military children have increased 50 percent. (“War stresses military kids,” July 12, 2009.)

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs latest research on mental health issues of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that “the prevalence of new diagnoses in early 2008 had nearly doubled from four years prior in 2004.” (“Study reveals sharp rise in diagnoses of disorders,” Stars & Stripes, July 18, 2009.)

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Military Recruiters: Criminal, Abusive or Suspect Activity

Eight-year Chronological Review of Public Reports as of August 28, 2009 Compiled by Learning Not Recruiting – Toledo, Ohio

Click here for report

Invention Secrecy at Highest in a Decade

The total number of invention secrecy orders that the U.S. government imposed on patent applications rose again this year, reaching 5,081 by the end of last month, the highest figure since 1996.

Under the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951, U.S. government agencies may restrict the disclosure of a patent application whenever its publication is deemed “detrimental to the national security.”  In Fiscal Year 2009, 103 new secrecy orders were issued, while 45 existing orders were rescinded.  The overall number of orders in effect increased by about 1% over the year before, according to statistics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that were released to Secrecy News under the Freedom of Information Act.

The most vexing secrecy orders, known as “John Doe” secrecy orders, are those that are imposed on private inventors who are not government contractors so that the government has no property interest in the invention.  In Fiscal Year 2009, there were 21 new John Doe secrecy orders, according to the latest statistics.  An argument could be made that secrecy orders in such cases are infringements on an inventor’s First Amendment rights, but such an argument has never been tested in court.

In general, however, challenges or complaints concerning the operation of the patent secrecy system seem to be rare.  Most secrecy orders originate at defense agencies, with the U.S. Navy in the lead this year with 39.  (The National Security Agency issued 12 secrecy orders in FY 2009.)  In such cases, the most likely customers for the inventions are the military agencies themselves, not commercial enterprises, and so the secrecy orders may have no adverse impact on the inventors.    For other resources on invention secrecy, see here.

Military Drug Abuse: It Can’t Function Without It

(MOLALLA, Ore.) – The Oregonian reported this on Sept. 7, 2009. This should surprise nobody. Recruits historically are TRAINED to use alcohol and tobacco from their first weeks in boot camp, at least in the Army. If it wasn’t for the beer tranquilizer in the PX the rookies probably couldn’t survive psychologically the crap which is shoveled on them.

There’s gotta be some psychological escape if even for a few hours. On hourly(?) breaks, “smokum if you gottum” is almost biblical. Ok, do they still do that same crap now?

I’m not even writing about that stuff but the army does run on booze. More about that later.

The Oregonian quotes Col. Erin Edgar, a physician commanding the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad in 2006 & 2007. Where the unit treated 2,332 cases of drug induced heart arrhythmia or fainting spells. This is not acceptable! And much worse it is only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Probably thousands more are using these stimulants.

The drugs were caffeine pills and ephedrine pills (junior grade METH) both of which cause the above. In fact they both are dangerous but the worst part is that they both are a symptom of pushing the troops too hard just like my hated Gen. George “blood and guts” Patton did with my gang in ’44 & ’45.

If a soldier must use brain and heart stimulants to comply with rear echelon officers orders, they are being pushed beyond reasonable limits. It just reminds me of the saying They Are Expendable. This excessive PUSHING is responsible for the high levels of PTSD.

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Troops reportedly popping more painkillers

WASHINGTON — Narcotic pain-relief prescriptions for injured U.S. troops have jumped from 30,000 a month to 50,000 since the Iraq war began, raising concerns about the drugs’ potential abuse and addiction, says a leading Army pain expert.

The sharp rise in outpatient prescriptions paid for by the government suggests doctors rely too heavily on narcotics, says Army Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III, of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

By 2005, two years into the war, narcotic painkillers were the most abused drug in the military, according to a survey that year of 16,146 servicemembers.

Preschoolers with parent at war are more aggressive, study finds

CHICAGO — Preschoolers with a parent away at war were more likely to show aggression than other young children in military families, according to the first published research on how the very young react to wartime deployment.

Hitting, biting and hyperactivity — “the behaviors parents really notice” — were more frequent when a parent was deployed, said lead author Dr. Molinda Chartrand, an active duty pediatrician in the U.S. Air Force.

The study, which was small and included fewer than 200 children, adds to previous evidence of the stress that deployment puts on families. Last year, a study of almost 1,800 Army families worldwide found that reports of child abuse and neglect were 42% higher during times when the soldier-parent was deployed.

This time, researchers looked at families living on a large Marine base in 2007. (The base wasn’t identified in the study.) Children, 3 to 5 years old, with a deployed parent scored an average of five points higher for behavior problems on two questionnaires widely used in child psychology than did the children whose Marine-parents weren’t deployed.

About 1 in 5 of the older preschoolers with a parent at war displayed troubling emotional or behavioral signs.

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Corpsman pleads guilty to role in deadly game

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A Navy corpsman pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he pointed a loaded gun at a Marine in his unit while playing a dangerous game called “Trust.”

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Spencer Hamer, 23, was sitting in the back of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in Iraq in November 2008 when he aimed his 9mm at Lance Cpl. Emerson Boutin and asked “Do you trust me?” The game was popular with members of their unit, 2nd section, Scout Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion, and ultimately resulted in the death of another Marine from their battalion, military investigators say.

A military judge sentenced Hamer to two months in the brig and reduction in rank to hospitalman. During his special court-martial at Camp Lejeune, where 2nd Tanks is based, he pleaded not guilty to additional charges of dereliction of duty and failure to report.

Hamer is at least the third member of his section to be punished for playing Trust.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone died in Iraq on March 10, investigators say, after Cpl. Mathew Nelson allegedly shot him during a game of Trust. Nelson is expected to plea guilty Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and several counts of reckless endangerment, Marine officials say.

The Trust game was typically instigated by a noncommissioned officer who would partially insert a magazine into his M9 and pretend to rack the slide so it would appear a round was in the chamber, Marines in the unit told investigators after Malone’s death. The Marine holding the gun would then ask a junior Marine, “Do you trust me?” before either pulling the trigger or lowering the gun and clearing it.

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Can deadly ‘Trust’ game be stopped?

Retiree pleads guilty in videotaping of girls

A retired Navy supply officer who was featured on the “America’s Most Wanted” Web site for hiding a video camera in his step-daughters’ bathroom was sentenced Aug. 18 to a year in jail, a prosecutor said.

Retired Lt. Cmdr. Robert Thomas Franks, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree violation of personal privacy and will also serve five years’ probation, said Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Leilani Tan.

Franks made illegal videos of the girls, who were in their teens, for several months before his arrest in May 2008, Tan said.

After his arrest, Franks skipped out on $500,000 bail and was later arrested in Louisiana before being extradited back to Hawaii.

Franks, originally from Ohio, retired in 2004. He enlisted in 1978 and was promoted to chief electronics technician before becoming an officer. His last job was at Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Navy records show.

C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help to Kill Jihadists

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

Executives from Blackwater, which has generated controversy because of its aggressive tactics in Iraq, helped the spy agency with planning, training and surveillance. The C.I.A. spent several million dollars on the program, which did not successfully capture or kill any terrorist suspects.

The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.’s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.

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Suicide soars among US soldiers

As the US government throws its weight about the globe, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fall before Uncle Sam’s swinging scythe.

But, those at the cutting edge of the scythe are falling too, often by their own hands, in the inescapable confines of their homes or quarters in the barracks back on the US soil.

In 2008, 143 soldiers committed suicide, the highest number in the three decades that the army has kept records, reports Washington Post.

But, with months still to go till the new year and 141 suicides since January, that figure has almost been reached, with no sign of a slow-down in self-destructive drives of the US soldiers.

The US military, thus, faces a difficult challenge.

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Ex-Greeneville sailors charged with assault

Two former crew members of the attack submarine USS Greeneville were indicted Monday in the beating of a former town councilman from Maine, a court official said.

Yeoman Seaman (SU) Gerald Smith, 22, and Storekeeper Seaman (SU) Sandy Portobanco, 23, were charged with two counts of assault in the May 22 beating of Stephen Huntress, former chairman of the town council in Kittery, Maine.

Huntress suffered a skull fracture after the two sailors allegedly beat him after an argument late at night in Portsmouth, N.H., police said.

Smith was also charged with two counts of witness tampering for allegedly telling Portobanco to lie to police about the incident.

Smith and Portobanco were indicted by a grand jury in Rockingham County, N.H.

They are being held in jail in Portsmouth on $200,000 bail, a court official said. Shortly after their arrest, the Navy administratively transferred the two sailors to the Submarine Squadron Support Unit in Groton, Conn., Navy records show.

Sailor gets murder charge in gay sailor death

SAN DIEGO — A sailor assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5, who Navy officials say intended to burn and damage equipment at his Camp Pendleton unit, is facing murder charges in the June 30 fatal shooting of a fellow sailor.

On Thursday, the Navy charged Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class (SW) Jonathan Campos, 32, with 10 criminal counts, including murder, arson, attempted arson, wrongful possession of a concealed and stolen firearm, unlawful entry and stealing military property.

Campos is charged in the death of Boatswain’s Mate Seaman August Provost, 29, who was shot to death while he was standing duty at a small guard shack at the entrance to ACU-5’s beachfront compound inside Camp Pendleton, about an hour’s drive north of San Diego, in the early hours of June 30.

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Sailors escorted from country after fisticuffs

Two sailors traveling with Vice President Joe Biden’s advance team got into a scuffle with a foreign official in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Tuesday and were removed from the country under military escort, a Navy spokesman said.

The two sailors have been reassigned while the incident is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said Cmdr. Cappy Surette, a Navy spokesman.

The sailors, who were not identified, were working with Biden’s advance team. The fight involved a former Georgia government minister and occurred at a Marriott Hotel in the country’s capital, Tbilisi.

At the time of the fight, Biden was in the Ukraine, where he stopped prior to visiting Georgia.

The vice president’s office declined to comment.

Navy recruiter admits role in sex sting

A 32-year-old Navy recruiter from Kansas has pleaded guilty to attempted human trafficking for trying to arrange a sexual encounter with what he thought was an 11-year-old girl.

Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Shane Allan Childers of Olathe entered the plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo. He faces 15 years to life in prison.

The arrest stemmed from a sting operation by several law enforcement agencies in the Kansas City area that produced seven indictments.

Sanders admitted using government equipment at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Lenexa, Kan., to respond in March to a Craigslist ad offering “little girls.” Childers was wearing his uniform, but had taken off his uniform shirt and was wearing a white undershirt when he showed up at the residence, according to federal officials. He was arrested when he paid an undercover officer $60 to have sex with the child. He paid an extra $20 to have intercourse without using a condom.

Childers enlisted in 1997.

From recruiting to rape

Anti-war advocates aren’t surprised by shocking abuse charges

LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) - Prosecutors have set a $1 million bail for a U.S. Marine charged with pimping, kidnapping, and intending to rape a 14-year-old girl.

Reports indicate that Staff Sgt. Bryan Damone Cunningham, of San Pedro, California was previously honored three times for good conduct.

Military watch groups say the incident presents an opportunity to shed light on illegal recruitment methods, primarily targeting minors.

According to reports, after arranging the plot online, the recruiter drove 18-year-old Justin Willard and 19-year-old Homer Daskalakis to Hemet, Calif., to have sex with the girl. Afterward, he attempted to take her from the southeast location to Los Angeles.

Police discovered the plot when they stopped the car, which was being driven erratically, reports said.

See also:

Police: Marine recruiter planned to pimp Hemet 14-year-old girl

Marine recruiter, two others, charged with rape of Hemet girl

Assembly Bills Aim at Recruiting Youngsters for Overseas Wars

Former Marine recruiter pleads guilty to rape

Recruiter charged in child prostitution sting

Army’s New Recruiting Tool – Video Arcade for Mallrats

Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind

Former Marine Recruiter, Sgt. Victor Sanchez-Millan, Sentenced for rape

Marine Recruiter Sgt. Arthur Pledger Arraigned in Rape Case

“No Child Left Behind “: “Trojan Horse” for Pentagon Recruiters

America’s Child Soldiers: US Military Recruiting Children

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1 in 8 combat troops needs alcohol counseling

One in eight troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan from 2006 to 2008 were referred for counseling for alcohol problems after their post-deployment health assessments, according to data from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.

Service members complete their initial health assessments within 30 days of returning home.

The authors of the study, published in the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, compared numbers of active-duty service members who had an alcohol-related medical encounter with those who received counseling for alcohol, noting that studies have shown troops with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to be substance abusers.

Defense officials said they are aware of the data. “Substance misuse/abuse is a psychological health issue, and thus one we are actively involved with,” said Navy Capt. Edward Simmer, Senior Executive Director for Psychological Health Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health.

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Navy Chaplain Found Guilty of Rape

NORFOLK — A Navy chaplain who served aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson was found guilty Monday of raping a young enlisted woman.

Lt. Shane Dillman, a Pentecostal chaplain who previously earned honors for his work, faces up to life in prison on that charge. He also was convicted of fraternization but was found not guilty of making a threat.

Last week, he pleaded guilty to adultery, fraternization and other charges stemming from relationships with two other women. He faces up to nine years in prison on those counts.

The woman Dillman raped said that he befriended her after she came to him seeking help with problems. She said he attacked her in his apartment one afternoon after they had worked out together.

Dillman, 37, is an Oklahoma native whose ministerial credentials were sponsored by the Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches, based in Newport News. They were revoked after he was charged, and he has been on administrative duty since last summer.

A military judge, Capt. Moira Modzelewski, will determine Dillman’s sentence today. It is subject to approval by the admiral serving as convening authority in the case.

See also:  Navy Chaplain heading to general court-martial on sex charges

2 submariners charged with assault in NH

Two sailors assigned to the attack submarine USS Greeneville were arrested and charged with severely beating a man in Portsmouth, N.H., local authorities said.

The two sailors were driving a government van near the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard shortly before midnight May 22 when they stopped and beat up the 48-year-old man, said Ken Durand, a prosecutor in Portsmouth.

Yeoman Seaman (SU) Gerald Smith, 22, of District Heights, Md., and Storekeeper Seaman Sandy Portobanco, 23, of Los Angeles, were both charged with felony assault and each detained on $200,000 bail, Durand said.

The two also were charged with felony witness tampering because they are accused of trying to get a witness to lie about the incident, Durand said.

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Navy unveils ‘Bravo Zulu’ to target younger recruits

The Naval Academy yesterday debuted its newest recruiting tool __ a graphic novel called “Bravo Zulu,” which is Navy-speak for “Well Done.”

The 16-page, comic book-style publication is designed to get middle school and early high school students interested in attending the academy.

The short novel tells the story of five plebes who have become exhausted and discouraged during Plebe Summer. They talk about dropping out of the academy until they find themselves in the basement of the chapel, where they see the crypt of John Paul Jones.

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New Report on Energy and U.S. National Security

Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security

“To better inform U.S. policymakers and the public about the impact of America’s energy choices on national security policies, CNA, a nonprofit research organization that runs the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research, convened a panel of retired senior military officers and national security experts. The Military Advisory Board consists of retired generals and admirals from all four services, many of whom served on the Military Advisory Board that produced the 2007 report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change. That report found that ‘climate change, national security, and energy dependence are a related set of global challenges.’ This new volume builds on that finding by considering the security risks inherent in America’s current energy posture, energy choices the nation can make to enhance our national security, the impact of climate change on our energy choices and our national security, and the role DoD can play in the nation’s approach to energy security. See press release

These issues were viewed through the lens of the extensive military experience of the Military Advisory Board. The issues were considered solely for their impact on America’s national security. The Military Advisory Board and the study team received briefings from energy experts, DoD officials, representatives of the U.S. intelligence community, scientists, engineers, policymakers, senior military officers, business leaders, legislators and their staff, regulators, and leaders of public interest non-profit organizations.”

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