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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Marine suspected of murdering toddler now in civilian hands

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

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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.”

Marine Corps Major accused of taking reconstruction funds

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – A Marine Corps fighter pilot accused of stealing $440,000 in Iraq reconstruction funds turned himself in on Monday, federal officials said.

Maj. Mark R. Fuller, 42, of Yuma, Ariz., is facing 22 counts under an indictment issued by a federal grand jury, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix. An arrest warrant was issued for Fuller, who appeared before a federal judge Monday and “was released on his own recognizance,” said Special Agent James McCormick, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors charge that Fuller took cash earmarked for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, or CERP, and made 91 cash deposits totaling more than $440,000 into bank accounts with Navy Federal Credit Union, Bank of America and Chase Bank from October 2005 to April 2006. Each deposit was less than $10,000, the threshold at which federal law requires banks to report cash deposits.

While he was in Iraq in 2005, Fuller was assigned as a project purchasing officer with 5th Civil Affairs Group, officials said.

Fuller is an F-5 pilot assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 401, the Corps’ aggressor squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Lisbon, an air station spokesman.

The case stems from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction, officials said.

USMC Recruiter arrested on child porn charges

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — A Marine Corps recruiter for the Grand Junction area faces charges alleging more than 200 files of child pornography had been downloaded to his computer.

Craig Thomas Walker surrendered Monday on a warrant alleging sexual exploitation of a child.

An arrest warrant affidavit says authorities tracking IP addresses of computer systems that were sharing pornography files were led to the 25-year-old’s computer.

Walker’s attorney, Edward Nugent, told a judge Tuesday that Walker cooperated with investigators. He says Walker has served active duty with the Marine Corps for eight years, is a combat veteran, and has worked the past three years as a local recruiter.

Walker’s bond was set at $60,000.

Japan minister fired over US airbase

The Japanese premier fires a minister for rejecting Tokyo’s recent compromise with Washington on a controversial US airbase on Okinawa Island.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama dismissed consumer affairs minister, Mizuho Fukushima, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Tokyo and Washington have issued a statement, saying that Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the southern island of Okinawa would be relocated to a new site on the same island.

Fukushima told a press conference that she “could not betray the people of Okinawa,” Press TV’s Michael Penn reported. The former minister added that she “could not accept the plan to create a new US airbase on the island which would increase the burden for Okinawan people.”

Fukushima said that politics demanded trust and that if she betrayed her campaign promises to the people, she would be breaking that trust.

Hatoyama had run for premier on a campaign to materialize a “more equal” relationship with Washington. He had also promised to move the base off the island which houses three-quarters of the thousands-strong Japan-based US military.

Locals there have for long protested the presence of the military personnel who are allegedly involved in crime, pollution, noise and accidents.

Fukushima had stood up to Hatoyama’s and other Cabinet ministers’ plea for her to endorse the agreement.

Her party, the Social Democratic Party of Japan, could, meanwhile, leave Hatoyama’s coalition, jeopardizing his chances in the Upper House elections set to be held in July.

Marine confesses threatening, robbing cabbie last August

A 19-year-old Marine has pleaded guilty to injuring a taxi driver with a knife last year, and then robbing him, during the first ever lay judge trial involving a U.S. serviceman.

The Marine, who the court declined to identify, was accused of stealing ¥21,000 and $100 cash from the driver at knifepoint on August 1, 2009. The lay judges were chosen from the public at the Naha District Court for the trial.

The next trial sessions will be next Tuesday and Wednesday, with the judge handing down a verdict on Thursday.

3rd Quantico death in one week

For the third time in a week, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., has seen the death of a Marine on base.

The latest incident occurred early Sunday morning in base housing with the shooting death of Lance Cpl. Kevin P. Grant of Harvey, Ill., according to published reports.

Base spokesman Chuck Jenks said Grant, 20, was with friends when he was shot, but declined to say whether the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or the result of an action by another person.

“Circumstances indicate it appears to have been an accidental discharge of a firearm,” Jenks told The Washington Post.

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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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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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Former Murrieta Marine beat, strangled ex-girlfriend

A former Marine from Murrieta beat and strangled an ex-girlfriend because she had left him and was seeing someone else, a prosecutor said today, but a defense attorney said her client did not commit the murder.

Wade Griffin III, 41, is accused of killing 34-year-old Ever Council on March 19, 2007.

In addition to a first-degree murder charge, Griffin faces two special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and committing murder during an attempted rape.

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“Honored” Miramar Marine Beats Son of 4 Months to Death

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Days after he was first questioned by police, San Diego police arrested a Marine whose infant son died one day after he was brought to a hospital with injuries.

Police and military authorities said Lance Cpl. Michael D. Bixby, 22, was arrested shortly after noon Tuesday. He is expected to be arraigned this week in a San Diego court on a possible murder charge, police Lt. Ernie Herbert said in a news release.

Paramedics said they found Bixby trying to resuscitate his 4-month-old son, Andru Bixby, at the family’s home at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar on Feb. 17. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital; he died the next morning.

An autopsy by the county medical examiner found Andru Bixby died of blunt force trauma and classified the death as a homicide.

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Army recruiter arrested in sex case

For the second time in less than a year, an Inland military recruiter has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in a sex act with an underage girl.

Christian Rigal Mercado, 25, of Moreno Valley, was jailed Wednesday after a security guard at the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino reported that he saw him involved with the girl inside a parked car. Mercado later posted $50,000 bail.

The 17-year-old girl was a potential U.S. Army recruit, said San Bernardino Police Department Lt. Dan Keil.

Mercado, who was booked on suspicion of oral copulation with a minor, worked as a recruiter out of the Army’s office on Mt. Vernon Avenue in San Bernardino. He has been suspended from recruiting duties pending an investigation, army officials said.

“We’re a values-based organization, and basically, we have no tolerance for infractions of the law,” said Nya Paul, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Southern California Recruiting Battalion, which oversees the Inland region’s offices.

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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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Marine scum Cesar Laurean: murder trial to move

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A former North Carolina-based Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague has been granted a change of venue for his murder trial.

Onslow County Superior Court Judge Charles Henry issued an order Monday, saying the trial of Cesar Laurean should be moved because pretrial publicity surrounding the case might influence jurors. Laurean’s attorney had requested a different venue, and prosecutors did not object.

Laurean is charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. He fled to Mexico shortly before her charred remains were found buried in his backyard in Jacksonville in January 2008. He was arrested in April 2008 and extradited to North Carolina last year.

A judge has scheduled the trial to begin June 28.

Former Pendleton Marine scum sentenced in DUI killing

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A former Marine has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for a deadly drunken driving crash that occurred hours after he attended a driving safety briefing.

Former Lance Cpl. Elijah Ferguson was sentenced Friday in Santa Ana for the crash that killed an Orange County doctor and injured the victim’s wife in February 2008.

The 22-year-old was convicted in December of second-degree murder and driving under the influence causing injury.

The crash occurred after Ferguson attended a safety briefing at Camp Pendleton that addressed the dangers of drunken driving.

Prosecutors say Ferguson rammed into the back of a car in Newport Beach, killing radiologist Michael Sein.

A message was left for deputy public defender Stephen Michael Womack.

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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Twentynine Palms Marine who solicited the rape of ex-girlfriend with a knife-sharpening file is arraigned

CASPER, WYO. — Prosecutors on Tuesday, Jan. 19 formally charged a California man with five felonies in connection with allegations that he posted an advertisement on an Internet site requesting the rape of a Casper woman.

Pfc. Jebidiah James Stipe — a maintenance mechanic with VMU-1 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms — is accused of posting the Craigslist advertisement that led to the brutal rape of a 25-year-old woman inside her Casper home on Friday, Dec. 11.

The 27-year-old Mar-ine — who has been in custody since Wednesday, Dec. 16 — made his initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Tuesday. With his hands and ankles shackled, he wore a dark green jumpsuit during the proceeding.

Judge Steven Brown set bond at $500,000.

Stipe, a Carbon County native, has been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault, along with four other felonies.

He faces life in prison if convicted of all charges.

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Authorities say Marine’s wife was strangled

Kalyn Denise O’Barr-Poteat Patrick Poteat

SAN DIEGO – Investigators say they now know how the young wife of a Marine Corps Air Station Miramar soldier was murdered, but they still don’t know why.

San Diego Homicide detectives said 18-year-old Kalyn Denise O’Barr-Poteat was strangled to death with some sort of cord or rope.

Police said her husband, Lance Cpl Patrick Poteat is the killer. They say he called a friend Tuesday and asked him to call 911. He wanted police to check his apartment in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego. When officers went to the home on Tuesday, they found the young woman’s body of his wife.

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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.

Air Force to take over ‘Trust’ case

The Air Force has taken over an investigation of an airman accused of fatally shooting another airman during a game of “Trust.”

Airman 1st Class Corey Hernandez allegedly shot Senior Airman Michael Garcia on Dec. 11 while playing the game at an apartment near Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where the two were stationed.

Hernandez’s civilian lawyer, James Martin Davis, told Air Force Times in December that Garcia brought out a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, gave it to Hernandez, and said, “Trust me. Now point it at me and shoot.”

Hernandez had been charged with manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony in Sarpy County Court, the local civilian jurisdiction. It is not yet known what charges he will face in military court. The Air Force will complete the investigation begun by Sarpy County officials, said Offutt spokesman Ryan Hansen. Lt. Col. Randy Sparks — commander of Hernandez’s unit, the 55th Communications Squadron — will then make a recommendation and send it up the chain of command.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Kenneth Polikov said the Air Force requested jurisdiction over the case, and it was appropriate to hand over control because Garcia, Hernandez, and all witnesses were on active duty.

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3rd Lejeune Marine charged in triple shooting

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – Three Camp Lejeune-based Marines now face charges in a triple shooting here Jan. 3.

Sgt. Michael Sabestian Haridat, 28, and Lance Cpl. Erwin J. Rodriguez Jr., 21, and Lance Cpl. Robert J. Goense, 19, riflemen with 3rd Battalion 6th Marines, each face one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Authorities say the Marines were involved in an early morning scuffle outside of a restaurant that ended when three men were shot. All three victims, Christian Onate, 29, Jonni Aidoo, 27, and Enation Roney, 27, were taken to area hospitals.

Haridat allegedly shot Onate and Rodriguez was charged with allegedly shooting Aidoo. They were treated and released earlier this week. Roney, who was allegedly shot by Goense, remains in Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Haridat, of the Bronx, N.Y., was arrested earlier this week on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He joined the Corps in January 2002, according to a II Marine Expeditionary Force release. He has served two tours in Iraq, the first in 2007 and again in 2008.

Rodriguez, of Arlington, Va., joined the Corps in July 2006, according to a II MEF release. He has also served two tours in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.

Goense, of Union, N.J., joined the Corps in July 2008.

All three are in the Onslow County Jail. Police continue to investigate the shootings and would not release further details.

2 Lejeune Marines charged in triple shooting

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Two Camp Lejeune-based Marines have been charged in a triple shooting here earlier this week.

Sgt. Michael Sabestian Haridat, 28, and Lance Cpl. Erwin J. Rodriguez Jr., 21, both riflemen with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, were charged Thursday with one count each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Authorities say the Marines were involved in an early Sunday morning scuffle outside of a restaurant that ended with three men shot. All three victims, Christian Onate, 29, Jonni Aidoo, 27, and Enation Roney, 27, were taken to area hospitals.

Haridat allegedly shot Onate, and Rodriguez was charged with allegedly shooting Aidoo. They were treated and released earlier this week. Roney remains in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Haridat, of the Bronx, N.Y., was arrested earlier this week on charges of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Miramar Marine Held for Murder of his Wife

SAN DIEGO — The body of an 18-year-old woman was found inside a Mira Mesa apartment Tuesday morning, and a 21-year-old Marine believed to be her husband was arrested less than four hours later in San Bernardino County on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

San Diego police found the body shortly before 9 a.m. in the one-bedroom, second-story apartment on Hillery Drive near Westonhill Drive, said homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney.

Rooney said the body did not show obvious signs of trauma.

“The cause of death was not obvious, although several things in the apartment suggested it was a murder,” Rooney said, adding that he could not elaborate.

The suspect, Lance Cpl. Patrick Poteat, was arrested at 12:35 p.m. Tuesday by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies, who stopped him as he was driving in Yucca Valley.

Poteat is a telephone and computer repairman at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, a base spokesman said. He had not been deployed and had no previous duty stations.

Yucca Valley is about 30 miles from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, but it is not yet known where Poteat was headed, Rooney said. Records showed he previously lived in Twentynine Palms and Jackson, Ga.

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Another Stupid Soldier

Airman 1st Class Corey Hernandez pulled the trigger. Nothing was supposed to happen, except the metallic click of the hammer striking the firing pin.

Instead, the pistol fired.

Senior Airman Michael Garcia fell to the floor of his apartment, just outside Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., a bullet in his head from his own gun fired by one of his best friends.

Police called what the airmen were doing “horseplay.”

The men had been playing a game, one that tests faith and wills, one increasingly common in the military. Two months ago, four Marines received time in the brig for their roles in the death of a Marine killed in Iraq while playing the game, called Trust.

Until Dec. 10, when the 23-year-old Garcia died, the Air Force had not had any reported incidents of airmen playing Trust.

Today, Hernandez, 21, faces charges of manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 11 in Sarpy County Court, the local civilian jurisdiction. If convicted of both charges, he could be sentenced to up to 70 years in prison, according to Nebraska sentencing guidelines.

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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.

Jeb Stipe / Ty McDowell Procured Rapist Case

Jebidiah James Stipe Ty Oliver McDowell

CASPER — A man accused of violently raping a woman inside her Casper home about two weeks ago believed he was acting out a sexual fantasy the woman requested on an Internet site, according to his attorney.

Ty Oliver McDowell, 26, has been charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated burglary.

During a preliminary hearing in Natrona County Circuit Court on Tuesday, public defender Timothy Charles Cotton suggested that his client is accused of raping a woman he thought wanted to play out a lurid sexual fantasy.

Police, though, say the woman didn’t post the Craigslist ad that spurred McDowell’s alleged actions. Instead, authorities determined that Jebidiah James Stipe — with whom the alleged victim had a brief romantic relationship — posted the ad on Dec. 5. He pretended to be the woman named in the advertisement, investigators say.

Conspiracy charge

Stipe, a Carbon County native, has been charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault. The 27-year-old Marine currently based in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, remains in the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County, California

[ Booking # 0912090115 - 05/14/1982 - 170 / 5'6" - Brown / Blue - Arrested 12/16/2009 16:40 at 6527 Whitefeather Road, Joshua Tree - Charges: PC1551.1 - No Bail, no appearance date set as of today ]

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Are America’s Mercenary Armies Really Drug Cartels?

News out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India reports massive corruption at the highest levels of government, corruption that could only be financed with drug money. In Afghanistan, the president’s brother is known to be one of the biggest drug runners in the world.

In Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari is found with 60 million in a Swiss Bank and his Interior Minister is suspected of ties to American groups involved in paramilitary operations, totally illegal that could involve nothing but drugs, there is no other possibility.

Testimony in the US that our government has used “rendition” flights to transport massive amounts of narcotics to Western Europe and the United States has been taken in sworn deposition.

American mercenaries in Pakistan are hundreds of miles away from areas believed to be hiding terrorists, involved in “operations” that can’t have anything whatsoever to do with any Central Intelligence Agency contract. These mercenaries aren’t in Quetta, Waziristan or Federally Administered Tribal Areas supporting our troops, they are in Karachi and Islamabad playing with police and government officials and living the life of the fatted calf.

The accusations made are that Americans in partnership with corrupt officials, perhaps in all 3 countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, are involved in assassinations, “unknown” criminal activities and are functioning like criminal gangs.

There is no oil. There is nothing to draw people into the area other than one product, one that nobody is talking about. Drugs.

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Twentynine Palms Marine solicited and procured the sexual assault of Casper woman

“Enlisted in the Marines in 2001, went to Cherry Point NC, then to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, then back for OIFII, and in about 2 weeks I’m going back for a 3rd time. Married to a beautiful woman from Washington. Have 2 beautiful boys who are the lights of my life. I am getting out of the Marines in July and going up to Washington to be the town sheriff.” – Jebidiah James Stipe

Jebidiah Stipe Feb 03 2005
“NEW SON!!!  Born on March 19 2004, 6lbs, 7 ounces, red hair, blue eyes, GORGOUS!!”

Rawlins, WY
Yakima, WA
Sinclair, WY
Havelock, NC

Twentynine Palms, CA TWENTYNINE PALMS – A marine stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms is behind bars at the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County, charged with setting up the rape of a woman in Casper, Wyoming.

Prosecutors in Natrona County, Wyoming, say 27-year-old Jebidiah James Stipe (photo above) “solicited and procured the sexual assault of an adult female” in the Casper area through the use of Craigslist, an Internet site that allows users to post classified ads at little or no charge.

“All charges in this case stem from a series of activities alleged to have begun by Mr. Stipe by the use of the Internet site Craigslist,” said Natrona County District Attorney Michael Blonigen.

A Casper man has been arrested for the actual rape of the woman on December 11, and faces a preliminary hearing on December 29.  Ty Oliver McDowell, a 26-year-old, is jailed with $250,000 bail.

Problems for Stipe may not be confined to his native Wyoming.

A Casper newspaper points out eerie similarities between the Wyoming case and a North Carolina case, where a man hired someone to rape his wife while he watched.

The Marine Corps. couldn’t comment on Stipe’s performance on-base, other than to say Stipe was being processed for administrative separation as a result of a pattern of misconduct at the time he was arrested for the Wyoming case.

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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Locals not happy with Marines’ new plan

The U.S. Marine Corps’ latest alternative is a bit friendlier to off-roaders, but most of the Johnson Valley OHV area would still be off-limits to the public under the new plan.

Alternative 6 is the Marines’ latest proposal to take over the country’s largest off-highway vehicle area and use it for training exercises.

The plan, released late last month, is a response to thousands of comments from concerned off-roading enthusiasts who want the Marines to expand eastward from their Twentynine Palms base rather than going west into Johnson Valley.

But Alternative 6 does not go east. It still proposes that a vast amount of Johnson Valley OHV will be completely in the hands of the military. The main difference is that there will be some public access to the southern part of the area. This includes The Hammers — rocky, treacherous trails where enthusiasts put their 4×4 vehicles to the test. This section would be closed for Marine Corps training maneuvers twice annually, for about a month each time, leaving the area open to the public 10 months out of the year.

However, a sizable chunk of Johnson Valley would be permanently closed to civilians. That area includes tracks used for annual races as well as historic mining sites.

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Marine sergeant charged with sexual battery of a minor and indecent liberties with a child (3 yrs.) with the knowledge that the child was mentally disabled

A North Carolina-based noncommissioned officer faces charges for allegedly sexually abusing a 3-year-old.

Sgt. Duane F. Bachesta, 26, of St. Clair, Illinois,, with 2nd Intelligence Battalion out of Camp Lejeune, was charged Monday with sexual battery of a minor and indecent liberties with a child with the knowledge that the child was mentally disabled, according to warrants.

Bachesta, an imagery analyst, was placed in Onslow County jail on a $20,000 bond, according to a II Marine Expeditionary Force release.

He joined the Corps in March 2002 and served an eight-month tour in Afghanistan last year.

This incident remains under investigation.

Ex-Marine indicted in slayings of 5 California women

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) – A convicted triple murderer has been indicted in the slayings of five Southern California women in the 1980s and ’90s.

Andrew Urdiales, who’s currently on death row in Illinois, was indicted Monday by an Orange County grand jury.

The former Marine is accused of killing one woman in Orange County, two in Riverside County and one in San Diego County while he was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in between 1984 and 1991.

Orange County prosecutors say he killed the fifth woman while on vacation in Palm Springs in 1995.

Prosecutors say Urdiales will be transported to California to face the charges after the evidentiary portion of his death penalty appeal concludes in Illinois.

Kin of slain Marine Maria Lauterbach sue for wrongful death

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — The family of a slain Marine lance corporal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the 22-year-old former Marine accused of killing her.

The wrongful death suit was filed in Onslow County, N.C., on Monday on the two-year anniversary of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Frances Lauterbach’s disappearance.

Cesar Laurean will go to trial in June in Lauterbach’s death. Her burned body was found buried behind Laurean’s house.

Lauterbach was about eight months pregnant when she died, but DNA tests revealed that Laurean wasn’t the father.

The lawsuit names Laurean and his wife, Christina Laurean, as defendants. It seeks damages in excess of $10,000. Actual damages will be determined at trial.

U.S. Marine Corps Selects HK IAR Candidate as Replacement for FN M249 SAW/LMG

Marine Times (a.k.a. Marine Corps Times) is reporting on the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) selecting the Heckler & Koch Infantry Automatic Rifle–or HK IAR, for short–to replace the FN M249 SAW/LMG (Squad Automatic Weapon/Light Machine Gun). The HK IAR is a 5.56×45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO) gas piston/op-rod AR-15-config carbine that’s based on the HK416 carbine/SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) platform.

The IAR is designed to give FN M249 SAW/LMG-type capability in a lighter-weight rifle/carbine package that’s not only easier for mobile infantry warfighters to carry and employ/deploy than an M249, but also give them an similar weapons signature to the rest of the fire team/rifle squad, so they’re harder to identify, and thus target, by enemy forces. The enemy will tend to go for (i.e. kill) the machine gunner first, in order to render the fire team less lethal and effective. The IAR camouflages the infantry automatic rifleman, and his ballistic capability.

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Marine shooting death tied to football spat

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina-based Marine was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow Marine on Sunday as the pair argued over a football game, according to local media reports.

Cpl. Johnathon Clinton Rodriguez, 21, an aircraft electrical systems technician at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, was shot in the chest around 1 a.m. at an off-base home in Havelock, according to an air station news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lionel Loya, 23, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to The Daily News of Jacksonville. His rank was not immediately available. Friends told authorities that he and Rodriguez were assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2.

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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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Assorted New Military Doctrine

According to a new U.S. Army field manual, when a soldier is about to throw a hand grenade at any enemy target he should normally follow the specified procedures and assume one of five authorized positions (standing, kneeling, etc.). However, “If a Soldier can achieve more distance and accuracy using his own personal style, he should be allowed to do so….”  See “Grenades and Pyrotechnic Signals” (large pdf), U.S. Army Field Manual 3-23.30, October 2009.

Other noteworthy new U.S. military doctrinal publications include the following (all pdf).

“Marine Corps Space Policy,” Marine Corps Order 5400.53, September 28, 2009.

“Joint Urban Operations,” Joint Publication 3-06, November 8, 2009.

“Counterterrorism,” JP 3-26, November 13, 2009.

Female Army Soldier Charged with Murdering Marine Couple and Abducting their Baby

An Article 32 hearing is scheduled to begin Monday at Fort Lewis, Wash., for Spc. Ivette Davila, who is accused of killing two fellow soldiers and abducting their baby in March 2008.

A Fort Lewis investigating officer will examine evidence in charges against Davila, who is accused of killing a married couple, both medics assigned to Fort Lewis.

Sgt. Randi Miller, 25, of C Company, Madigan Army Medical Center, and her husband, Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller, 27, of the 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade, were fatally shot at their home off post on March 1, 2008.

Davila, then 22, was arrested the next day by Pierce County law enforcement officials. The prosecutor deferred the case to Fort Lewis.

Davila is charged with two counts of premeditated murder, burglary, breaking and entering with intent to commit murder, kidnapping and obstruction of justice. She may face the death penalty.

Davila, a chemical operations specialist, allegedly shot Randi Miller twice while she was lying in bed and Timothy Miller multiple times as he took a shower. Police found the bodies in a bathtub in the home, doused with muriatic acid. The baby was unharmed.

Davila allegedly disclosed after her arrest that her ex-boyfriend had apparently chosen Randi Miller over Davila, according to court documents.

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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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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Ex-recruiter sentenced to prison for sex crimes

HEMET, Calif. — A former Marine Corps recruiter has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Southern California’s Riverside County after pleading guilty to child sex charges.

Prosecutors say former Staff Sgt. Bryan Damone Cunningham pleaded guilty Friday to felony charges of committing lewd acts and sodomy with a child under 14.

The girl told police she met Cunningham online and had sex with him and two other men. She also told police Cunningham wanted her to work as a prostitute and had tried to take her to Los Angeles County against her will.

Cunningham could have faced life in prison if convicted of a kidnapping for rape charge, in addition to an attempted pimping charge and two other felonies that the district attorney’s office agreed to dismiss.

Pendleton Marine Beats Woman’s Face with Beer Mug, Nearly Severs Ear

A woman’s ear was nearly severed at a Temecula bar early Wednesday when a 22-year-old Marine struck her in the head with a glass object, authorities said.

About 12:30 a.m., police were called to Aloha J’s at 27497 Ynez Road, where they found Jackson Gabriel Reyes, of Camp Pendleton, detained by security. They also found a Murrieta woman, who is in her early 20s, suffering from serious injuries, Temecula police Sgt. Mike Canizales said.

The woman was treated at the scene, then taken to a hospital, a news release said.

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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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Lejeune IDs NCO killed on base

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A Camp Lejeune Marine accused late last week of killing a noncommissioned officer is now in the base brig after spending several hours in a local hospital being treated for self-inflicted wounds, Marine officials said Monday.

Charges are pending against Pvt. Jonathan Law, 21, in the death Friday morning of Cpl. Joshua E. Hartzell, 22, according to a Marine news release.

Officials have not said how Hartzell died, confirming only that he was not shot. His body was found in the woods near Lejeune’s French Creek area.

Initially, Marine officials said the victim had been stabbed but later retracted that information.

Hartzell, of Hamilton, Ohio, was an electro-optical ordnance repairer with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, Marine officials said. He enlisted in September 2006.

Law, of Clark County, Nev., is a supply administration clerk with 2nd Supply Battalion. He was taken to the brig Saturday night from Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., officials said. They have not disclosed the nature of his wounds.

Law joined the Corps in August 2006 and served a seven-month tour in Iraq beginning in August 2007.

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

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