U.S. looking into possible Syrian war crimes
The U.S. is looking into possible war crimes charges against the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad. Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images
June 17th, 2011
07:17 PM ET

U.S. looking into possible Syrian war crimes

Under pressure from critics who say the Obama administration is moving too slowly to respond the Syrian government’s violent crackdown on democracy demonstrators the Obama administration said Friday said the U.S. is collecting information on possible war crimes by Syrian security forces.

In a telephone briefing with reporters, a senior administration official said the U.S. is “looking into…whether there are grounds here for charges related to war crimes” and whether referrals to the International Criminal Court are appropriate.

The officials said also that the U.S. is considering further economic pressure on the Syrian government, in particular, sanctions on the oil and gas sector in Syria.
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America's only captured soldier in Afghanistan gets promoted
Brig. Gen. Rick Mustion, the adjutant general of the U.S. Army, presents Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's promotion certificate in Hailey, Idaho, to Robert Bergdahl, Bowe Bergdahl's father. US Army Photo.
June 17th, 2011
06:05 PM ET

America's only captured soldier in Afghanistan gets promoted

It's been nearly two years since Bowe Bergdahl, then a Private First Class, disappeared from his base in southeastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. It appears he is being held by insurgents loyal to the Taliban.

Thursday, for the second time since his capture, he has been given a promotion. He is now a sergeant. Thursday Brig. Gen. Rick Mustion, the adjutant general of the Army, traveled to Bergdahl's hometown, Hailey, Idaho, to deliver Bowe's promotion certificate to his parents.

The Army has been giving Bergdahl promotions that would have come to him had his Army career gone as planned. If he comes home safe, the Army, which has been holding his pay in an account, will give him all the back pay that he's earned. He remains assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Taliban
U.S. Army find no signs of Agent Orange near South Korean base, probe continues
South Korean and U.S. officials were at Camp Carroll June 2 to witness the start of the joint investigative team’s testing and assessment at the alleged Agent Orange burial site. U.S. Army photo.
June 17th, 2011
03:39 PM ET

U.S. Army find no signs of Agent Orange near South Korean base, probe continues

 
No traces of Agent Orange were detected in tests of ground water near a U.S. military base in South Korea, the U.S. Eighth Army announced Friday.

 
In May, Phoenix, Arizona television station KPHO reported that some veterans claimed they buried barrels of Agent Orange on Camp Carroll in South Korea in the late 1970s.

 
Agent Orange is best known as a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam war to make it harder for enemy forces to hide in the dense jungles of Southeast Asia.

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Filed under: Military
June 17th, 2011
02:50 PM ET

Key Democrat announces $6 billion in defense budget savings

Senators have found six billion in potential cuts to bring next year’s proposed defense budget to $682 billion, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Friday.

“In this time of fiscal problems for our nation, I am pleased that we were able to support our troops and their families while finding savings of more than $6-billion,” said Senator Carl Levin told reporters.

He was discussing the completion of the so called “markup” of the bill by the committee. It now goes to the full Senate for debate.

He said that potential cuts covered a wide variety of programs and would include scrapping an air defense program, cuts to military construction and family housing projects and to an Army airborne reconnaissance program.
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Filed under: Military • Pakistan
Charges against Bin Laden formally dropped
Photo credit: AFP
June 17th, 2011
02:32 PM ET

Charges against Bin Laden formally dropped

The United States has formally dropped criminal charges against former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. military raid in Pakistan last month.

In federal court in Manhattan on Friday, prosecutors disposed of a 1998 indictment that charged bin Laden with murder and conspiracy to kill Americans for his role in attacking U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. The indictment also alleged that bin Laden tried to attack U.S. defense assets.

The bombing of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed 224 people.

A raid by U.S. special operations forces killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2.
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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Military • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Terrorism
June 17th, 2011
11:15 AM ET

Most wanted: Anwar al-Awlaki

Each week, CNN examines one of the most wanted terrorists around the world. Check out more of the Most Wanted.

Who is he?
An American-born radical cleric who now lives in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki is the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates.

Born in New Mexico, he preached at a mosque in Virginia before leaving the U.S. for the Middle East. The U.S. regards al-Awlaki as the biggest threat to its homeland security.

U.S. officials say al-Awlaki helped recruit Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a transatlantic flight as it landed in Detroit, Michigan, on December 25, 2009.

The militant cleric is also said to have exchanged e-mails with accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hassan who killed a dozen fellow soldiers and a civilian in a rampage at the Texas base. FULL POST


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Most Wanted
June 17th, 2011
11:14 AM ET

Radical Indonesian cleric sentenced to 15 years in prison

Jakarta, Indonesia - An Indonesian court sentenced radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to 15 years in prison on Thursday.

Bashir was convicted of influencing others to provide funds with the objective they be used or likely to be used for terrorism acts.

Prosecutors had demanded that Bashir be sentenced to life in prison. FULL POST

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Filed under: Living With Terror
June 17th, 2011
10:12 AM ET

U.N. passes "historic" gay rights resolution

In what the State Department is calling an “historic step” the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Friday passed a resolution supporting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.

The resolution, introduced by South Africa, is the first-ever U.N. resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons.

It passed with 23 votes in favor, 19 opposed and three abstentions, amidst strong criticism of South Africa by some African nations.

Suzanne Nossel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, tells CNN

“It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally.”
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