By Ted Barrett
The Senate Tuesday easily defeated an amendment that would have removed from a defense policy bill new rules for the detention and due process of suspected terrorists.
The bipartisan 61-37 vote was a defeat for the Obama administration, which opposes the proposed changes and has suggested it would veto the bill unless they are removed.
The new rules would require suspected al Qaeda terrorists – even those captured in the U.S. - to be held in military, not civilian, custody.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, said if the controversial provisions weren’t stripped from the bill they would “give the military the power to indefinitely detain accused enemy combatants – including Americans captured on U.S. soil.”
By Larry Shaughnessy
The lawyer for the U.S. Army private accused of leaking thousands of classified documents said in a court filing that the information in question did not do "any real damage to national security."
Next month, Pfc. Bradley Manning will be flown from the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to Fort Meade, Maryland, where he'll appear at his first crucial pretrial hearing.
Manning's attorney, David Coombs, is requesting a number of items from the government as part of the mandatory pretrial discovery in the case, including full details on several investigations of the diplomatic cables Manning is suspected of leaking.
"The Department of State formed a task force of over 120 individuals to review each released diplomatic cable," Coombs wrote in the filing. "The task force conducted a damage assessment of the leaked cables and concluded that the information leaked either represented low-level opinions or was already known due to previous public disclosures." FULL POST
By Charley Keyes
America's newest Medal of Honor recipient has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, defense contractor BAE Systems, alleging the company and his supervisor there punished him for his opposition to a weapons sale to Pakistan and prevented him from finding other work by portraying him as a problem drinker and mentally unstable.
Dakota Meyer, who was awarded the honor in September, objected to the company's sale of high-tech armaments to Pakistan, according to the lawsuit, saying the U.S. weapons sale is "giving to guys who are known to stab us in the back" and "the same people who are killing our guys."
In response, BAE is carefully pushing forward with defending itself in the case while not personally criticizing the Medal of Honor recipient.
"As an organization whose core focus is to support and protect our nation's troops, we are incredibly grateful to Dakota Meyer for his valiant service and bravery above and beyond the call of duty," Brian J. Roehrkasse, a BAE spokesman, told CNN. "Although we strongly disagree with his claims, which we intend to vigorously defend through the appropriate legal process, we wish him success and good fortune in all his endeavors." FULL POST
Call it the ultimate in military logistics.
As land routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan are cut, sabotaged or otherwise interrupted, the U.S. military has developed alternative railroad routes that make the Orient Express look like a branch line. They are called - rather prosaically - the Northern Distribution Network, or NDN.
The main route begins at the port of Riga in Latvia, from where freight trains roll across Russia, and continues along the edge of the Caspian Sea. It crosses the deserts of Kazakhstan and into Uzbekistan. About 10 days after beginning their odyssey, the containers cross into Afghanistan, carrying everything from computers and socks to toilet paper and bottled water. Other routes begin at the port of Ponti in Georgia on the Black Sea and at Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.
The Russians first offered transit for nonlethal equipment bound for Afghanistan in 2008. According to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, it took nearly a year for the U.S. and NATO to negotiate transit rights with central Asian governments such as Uzbekistan, although two-thirds of jet aviation fuel bound for Afghanistan was already transiting Uzbekistan.
Mistaken air attack under investigation No more 'business as usual' with U.S. The first shipment of supplies crossed Russia in May 2009; just in time, because the "surge" meant that even more U.S. troops needed resupplying, and transit routes through Pakistan were about to become a pawn in the deteriorating relationship between the two countries. Read the full post