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Saturday, Nov 29th

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Marine’s sexual assault conviction overturned because of commandant’s tough talk

Gen. James AmosThe Marine Corps commandant’s uncompromising talk against sexual assault looked like unlawful command influence, a military appeals court said Thursday, as it overturned a Parris Island enlisted man’s conviction on sexual assault charges.

The high-profile ruling by the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals frees former Staff Sgt. Steve Howell. The ruling also casts stark light on the unforeseen consequences that have ensued from high-level Pentagon and congressional attention to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

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Air Force is reviewing rule that bars proselytizing by superiors

AF Gen. Mark Welsh IIIThe Air Force’s top general appeared to be losing his cool. But it wasn’t over a controversial plan to scrap an aircraft prized for protecting ground troops or billions of dollars in cuts that are straining a service striving to recover from the grind of 12 years of war.

“The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh III told a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this spring. “It’s not true.”

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Price for new prison at Guantanamo rises to $69 million

GitmoThe proposed price of an exclusive new prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rose by $20 million in a year because designers added meeting rooms and a medical clinic for 15 former CIA captives, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a military spokesman saidMonday.

Last year, the military estimated it would cost $49 million to build a new Camp 7, Guantanamo's name for its clandestine high-value detainee lockup. Last week, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee earmarked $69 million in its proposed budget for 2015 Defense Department spending to build the new prison.

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Senate report set to reveal Djibouti as CIA ‘black site’

Secret prisonThe legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity.

But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.

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Expert testifies accused USS Cole bomber was tortured

USS Cole bomberThe Saudi prisoner awaiting death-penalty trial for the USS Cole bombing was tortured physically, mentally and sexually, an expert in torture treatment testified Thursday in a war court defense effort to get the captive better health care.

Dr. Sondra Crosby offered the diagnosis in open court in carefully choreographed testimony that never once mentioned that the accused Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, got to Guantanamo from four years of CIA captivity during which he was interrogated with waterboarding, threatened by a revving power drill and threats to his mother.

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A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list

Veterans on secret waiting listAt least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

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Supreme Court hears crucial Camp Lejeune water pollution case

SC to hear Cmp Lejeune caseRaw emotions bubbled just below the surface Wednesday as the Supreme Court considered a crucial North Carolina groundwater pollution case.

For experts, the case called CTS Corp. v. Waldburger centers on the relationship between state and federal laws and the ticking of the courthouse clock. Simply put, it’s about how long people have to sue polluters when they’ve been harmed. Being the law, though, it’s rarely that simple.

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