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Wednesday, Sep 03rd

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Ex-Florida Marine fights cancer, government

Tom GervasiEx-Marine Tom Gervasi has spent the last 10 years fighting cancer and the U.S. government.

The 76-year-old Sarasota man has a rare form of breast cancer that he believes is due to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he trained in the mid-1950s.

On Friday, Gervasi went into the hospital so doctors could snake a camera into his lungs to check for cancerous lesions. He's been coughing and short of breath in recent months, and can barely shuffle from his living room to his screened-in porch without leaning on his cane and stopping to catch his breath.

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Army member gets 5 years for $1m Afghan scam

 

Tonya LongAn Army staff sergeant was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $1 million from the government in a scam while she was serving in Afghanistan.

Tonya Long, a 13-year Army veteran, pleaded guilty to stealing at least $1 million in cash payments meant for Afghan drivers of trucks delivering supplies to U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Budget deadlock squeezes military members seeking education

Tuition cutsThe tuition assistance program, which provides up to $4,500 per year per student, is one victim of across-the-board cuts known as sequestration that are forcing government agencies to reduce spending. The $85 billion in cuts began on March 1 after a gridlocked U.S. Congress was unable to resolve fiscal fights and find a solution to replace the sequestration.

Comments left on military message boards and Facebook show a widespread disappointment with the sudden termination of the tuition assistance program, which is not a part of the military contract, like the G.I. Bill for veterans benefits, but is considered an incentive to enlist.

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Scientists confirm Marines’ poisonous Camp Lejeune water wells date back to mid-century

Camp lejeuneFederal health officials continue to uncover excessive levels of previous water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. A new study of the North Carolina base’s main water system that was released Friday demonstrates a rapidly increasing level of human carcinogens in the drinking water starting as early as 1948 and peaking in the mid-1980s.

“These are highest levels of drinking water contamination in this country that I’m aware of,” said Richard Clapp, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Lowell who’s studied the findings.

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Court Docs Reveal Blackwater’s Secret CIA Past

BlackwaterLast month a three-year-long federal prosecution of Blackwater collapsed. The government’s 15-felony indictment—on such charges as conspiring to hide purchases of automatic rifles and other weapons from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—could have led to years of jail time for Blackwater personnel.

In the end, however, the government got only misdemeanor guilty pleas by two former executives, each of whom were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years’ probation, and a fine of $5,000. Prosecutors dropped charges against three other executives named in the suit and abandoned the felony charges altogether.

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Leaked Audio of Bradley Manning’s statement released by Freedom of the Press Foundation

Bradley ManningThe Freedom of the Press Foundation, of which I am a board member, today published the leaked audio of Bradley Manning's statements to the court during his hearing last week. A statement from the organization follows.Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation published the full, previously unreleased audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s speech to the military court in Ft. Meade about his motivations for leaking over 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks.

While unofficial transcripts of this statement are widely available, this marks the first time the American public has heard the actual voice of Manning.

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Combat stress felt far from front lines

LangleyThe gritty combat in Afghanistan is thousands of miles away. But the analysts in the cavernous room at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia relive the explosions, the carnage and the vivid after-battle assessments of the bombings over and over again. The repeated exposure to death and destruction rolling across their computer screens is taking its own special toll on their lives.

The military has begun to grapple with the mental and emotional strains endured by personnel who may never come face to face with a Taliban insurgent, never dodge a roadside bomb or take fire, but who nevertheless may be responsible for taking human lives or putting their colleagues in mortal danger.

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