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Friday, Jul 31st

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Navy probes complaint of cancer 'cluster' among Guantanamo workers

GitmoThe U.S. Navy is investigating a complaint that seeks the evacuation of civilian and military lawyers from parts of the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following reports of cancer cases among personnel working on the trials of detainees there.

At least seven civilians and military members who worked on detainee trials at Guantanamo Bay have been diagnosed with cancer, according to the complaint, which was filed with the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The complaint calls on American military officials to remove personnel from court facilities on the base and test them and the base itself for carcinogens.

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How the U.S. is training China’s military – while inching toward conflict

US training Chinese militaryDespite tensions between the United States and China over the South China Sea, the two nations’ militaries train together at a very high level. Current “mil-mil” engagements are robust, with China participating in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC 2014, which is hosted biannually by the U.S. Pacific Command. The drills allowed China to learn a great deal about U.S. tactics, techniques and procedures (in military shorthand, “TTPs”).

But even as the United States provided China with its highest-level access to military drills, the U.S. military leadership consistently ratcheted up the level of confrontation in the South China Sea. Most recently, a top U.S. Navy admiral participated in a surveillance flight in the region. The United States is at once inching closer to armed confrontation, while at the same time training Chinese forces in the American way of war.

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Chattanooga shootings: 5 dead including gunman after recruiting centers gunfire

tennessee shootingFour Marines are dead after a gunman opened fire on two military recruiting centers on Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn., according to reports.

A police officer was also shot and the suspected shooter is also believed dead.  The deadly attack prompted lockdowns across the state.

A police officer went "down" at a Navy and Marines reserve center at Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told reporters around 11:30 a.m.

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Anthrax Lab’s History of ‘F-ing Around’ With Explosives

Anthrax lab f*** upsThe same facility that accidentally shipped live samples of the deadly pathogen was mixing powerful bomb-making ingredients with everyday kitchen tools, investigators found.

It came as a shock when the U.S. military came clean about one of the worst biodefense screw-ups on American soil in decades -- the release of live, lethal anthrax to more than 85 unsuspecting labs. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a complete surprise, given the anthrax’s source.

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Pentagon readying plan to lift transgender ban

PentagonPentagon leaders are finalizing plans aimed at lifting the ban on transgender individuals in the military, with the goal of formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service, senior U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

An announcement is expected this week, and the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday. Military chiefs wanted time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.

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Blowing the whistle in a war zone

John hatleyIn this month’s issue of Rolling Stone, alongside Caitlin Jenner’s dazzling new appearance, is the story of how my former 1st Sgt. John Hatley was found guilty of executing four bound and blindfolded prisoners during my first deployment in Iraq.

Hatley’s 2007 trial drew national attention because he was the highest-ranking service member at the time to be found guilty of premeditated murder. His investigation, arrest and conviction came to define military service for me. In the wake of the accusations, a kind of tribal mentality — “herd mentality” isn’t dynamic enough a phrase — connected many of the soldiers with whom I served. They came out strong in their defense of a leader who can best be described as a cross between legendary college football coach Bear Bryant and the Judge from Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” He’s huge, affable, violent, driven, competent and absolutely sure of himself.

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The Military Has a Man Problem

Military womenArmy Specialist Laura Naylor, a Wisconsin native, spent a year in Baghdad with the 32nd Military Police Company in 2003 and 2004. During that time, she—like all of the more than quarter-million women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan—was officially banned from ground combat.

That technicality didn’t slow down Naylor when an IED hit her convoy and it began to take fire from a nearby building. “We had to search this house nearby, thinking they were the ones doing the shooting, and I was the lead person the whole way. I had a flashlight in one hand, a pistol in the other, and I’d kick the door open with my foot, look both ways, give the all clear, go to the next room, do the same thing,” she recounted to me a few years later. “We were interchangeable with the infantry.”

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