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Friday, Sep 19th

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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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War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt

Iraq vetsA veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Marine Capt. Timothy Kudo thinks of himself as a killer _ and he carries the guilt every day.

"I can't forgive myself," he says. "And the people who can forgive me are dead."

With American troops at war for more than a decade, there's been an unprecedented number of studies into war zone psychology and an evolving understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder. Clinicians suspect some troops are suffering from what they call "moral injuries" _ wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code.

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Protests mark WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning's 1,000th day in jail

Bradley ManningSupporters of Bradley Manning, the US soldier who is accused of being behind the largest leak of state secrets in America's history, held a series of rallies across the US and the world on Saturday.

The demonstrations in more than 70 locations were aimed at marking Manning's 1,000th day in jail and came as the young soldier prepares to appear again before a military court next week. Manning is being prosecuted by the US government for allegedly transmitting confidential material to the anti-secrecy campaigner Julian Assange's web organisation WikiLeaks.

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