Two wars too many?
January 5th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Two wars too many?

By Charley Keyes

In Pentagon speak the policy is "2MTW": two major-theater wars. Depending where they line up, observers of the U.S. policy of being ready to fight two major conflicts simultaneously see it as either a myth or a solid-gold guarantee of world peace and U.S. military dominance.

(Read also Battleland blog's take: Mythical Canard?)

When Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta unveils his vision for U.S. military posture on Thursday, the expected decision to end the two-war posture, part of the effort to deal with the billions of dollars in defense cuts, could be one of the most controversial aspects.

Two big reasons: Iran and China.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Budget • China • Defense Spending • Iran • Middle East • Military • North Korea • Security Brief
Iran's new show of force
Iran fires a mid-range missile during its naval exercises in the Persian Gulf
January 3rd, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Iran's new show of force

By CNN's Charley Keyes

Note to American diplomats: An old Iranian saying may carry a message for a new year.

"There's on old Persian expression that when you have a wildcat trapped in a room, you need to leave a door open to let it out," Carnegie Endowment analyst Karim Sadjadpour said.

The New Year has dawned with new saber-rattling from Iranian leaders, new displays of its military hardware and new claims of progress in its nuclear program. All this comes amidst new frustration in the United States about how to tighten the screws on the Iranian economy.

With the U.S. and allies working to isolate Iran's Central Bank and to impose additional restrictions on various high-ranking individuals and institutions, exits are slamming shut.

"The question is: What is the way out for the Iranian regime?" Sadjadpour said. "Can the Obama administration allow the Iranian regime a diplomatic way out in order for it to save face?"

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Ahmadinejad • Foreign Policy • Hezbollah • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Nuclear • Sanctions
Myth-making of a new 'Dear Leader'
December 23rd, 2011
04:25 PM ET

Myth-making of a new 'Dear Leader'

By Charley Keyes

When in doubt or in times of national turmoil - or, frankly, most days - the editors of the official North Korean news outlet pour on the superlatives, trot out the adjectives and pump up the rhetoric.

"The land and sky of the country seem to bitterly cry," says one official news agency report about public mourning for Kim Jong Il.  "Can anyone believe this was a reality? How lamentable it is! Isn't it possible for the hearts of all Koreans to bring him back to life?" says Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.

State media stories describe crowds overcome by grief and schoolchildren who "burst out sobbing before the portraits carrying his benevolent image that seems to be kindly calling them to come to him."

It's all part of governing by cult-of-personality. But between the lines, North Korea watchers are looking for indications of where the fallen leader's son and chosen successor, Kim Jong Un, now stands. The son remains a mystery both abroad and inside the country. FULL POST

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Filed under: Kim Jong Il • Kim Jong Un • North Korea
Did WikiLeaks pay for the documents?
December 22nd, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Did WikiLeaks pay for the documents?

By Charley Keyes

Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly suggested to someone at the Kansas military prison where he is being held that WikiLeaks paid for the hundreds of thousands of leaked documents, according to a legal document filed in the Article 32 proceedings for Manning.

This suggestion of payment for secrets could be a pivotal issue in the Manning case, and down the road in any potential effort by the government to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The heavily censored legal document filed by the defense lawyer for espionage suspect Bradley Manning suggests the admission came up in conversation between Manning and an unidentified person at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

The existence of the document was first reported by Politico.

"He will testify that he explained the purpose of his visit and asked PFC Manning who he was and why he was at the JRCF (Joint Regional Correction Facility)," the document says. The name and details were blacked out out in the document by the Army Criminal Court of Appeals before it was provided to CNN as the result of a Freedom of Information Request.

"PFC Manning allegedly responded with, 'I sold information to WikiLeaks,' " according to the defense document. FULL POST

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks founder keeps tabs on Army hearing
December 21st, 2011
05:58 PM ET

WikiLeaks founder keeps tabs on Army hearing

By Charley Keyes

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been 4,000 miles away from the military courtroom where Army prosecutors have rolled out their espionage case against Pfc. Bradley Manning.

But Assange's name has come up repeatedly and his lawyers have been in the third row of the spectator pews in the Fort Meade, Maryland, courthouse, listening to as much as they can and fighting to gain additional access.

It is one of the bizarre legal twists in this complicated case that the man responsible for posting the secrets Manning allegedly stole is fighting to be able to listen in, through his lawyers, to details of the leaked documents.

The government still considers those documents so secret that it repeatedly closes the courtroom to journalists and the public, and holds many discussions in the judge's chambers.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Army • Bradley Manning • Intelligence • Iraq • Lawsuit • Legal • Military • Pentagon • Spying • UK
U.S. hits Egyptian military on protester crackdown
December 21st, 2011
05:48 PM ET

U.S. hits Egyptian military on protester crackdown

By Charley Keyes

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's vocal criticism of the Egyptian authorities violent handling of protestors, especially women, is necessary and not undue interference in another country's business, a State Department spokeswoman insisted on Wednesday.

"We are going to speak out for the human rights of people around the world. We do not consider that interference," State Department spokesman, Victoria Nuland said at her afternoon briefing.
FULL POST

Pentagon Papers leaker tries to talk with accused Wiki-leaker
December 19th, 2011
03:01 PM ET

Pentagon Papers leaker tries to talk with accused Wiki-leaker

By Charley Keyes reporting from the Manning hearing at Ft. Meade

Longtime activists Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked top-secret Vietnam War documents, was rushed out of a military hearing Monday morning after he tried to speak to PFC Bradley Manning.

At a break in the proceedings, Ellsberg stood up and walked toward the front of the section for spectator sitting and leaned over to talk to Manning at the defense table.

Military police moved in quickly and grabbed Ellsberg by the arms and walked him out outside..

Ellsberg was later allowed to return after he told security officials he was unfamiliar with the courtroom rules that prohibit contact with the defendant.

Manning is facing a military Article 32 hearing, which like a civilian grand jury hearing, will determine if he goes to court martial on 22 charges against him. Manning is accused of stealing and leaking State and Defense Department secrets that were later published online by

WikiLeaks while he was serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. FULL POST

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • WikiLeaks
Wiki-leaker trial: the weekend developments
December 19th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Wiki-leaker trial: the weekend developments

A quick catch-up on some of the stunning revelations from PFC Bradley Manning's Article 32 hearing.

The first official WikiLeaks connection

For all the talk about Manning and WikiLeaks, the U.S. government had never officially said it was Manning who leaked the thousands of documents that the muckraker website posted. Until now. As Charley Keyes reported Sunday, an Army computer investigator testified that a search of Army computers used by Private First Class Bradley Manning in Iraq revealed that he had downloaded the same secret documents and videos that were released online by WikiLeaks.

This was the first evidence of a connection of Manning to WikiLeaks brought out in his preliminary military hearing. Shaver said a forensic analysis of Manning’s computers showed Manning had searched for information about WikiLeaks more than 100 times, as well as information about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

FULL POST

Officer recommended Manning's removal from computer room
December 18th, 2011
01:21 PM ET

Officer recommended Manning's removal from computer room

By CNN Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes

FORT MEADE, Maryland (CNN) - An officer who supervised the Army private accused in the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history said Sunday she had recommended his removal from a secure computer room after he scuffled with a fellow soldier.

Capt. Casey Fulton, the first witness on the third day of Bradley Manning's preliminary hearing, said she was concerned by his behavior, and had also recommended that his weapon be taken away.

Manning was back in the Army courtroom Sunday as military prosecutors continued to build their espionage case against the private, who's charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of secret government documents. The preliminary hearing will determine whether he faces a full military trial.

Follow the latest developments in the hearing here.

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Filed under: Bradley Manning • WikiLeaks
Medal of Honor recipient settles lawsuit
December 15th, 2011
07:52 PM ET

Medal of Honor recipient settles lawsuit

By Charley Keyes

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and defense contractor BAE announced Thursday an "amicable" end to their dispute.

Meyer filed a lawsuit in Texas in June claiming BAE, his former employer, had punished him for objecting to a weapons sale to Pakistan, and had prevented him from finding other work by portraying him as unstable and a problem drinker. The lawsuit against the company and his former supervisor has been dropped.  (Also read: Marines stand by version of Medal of Honor battle)

"BAE Systems OASYS and I have settled our differences amicably," Meyer said in a joint statement issued by the company, referring to the company by its full name. Meyer praised the defense firm's support for veterans and generosity to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

There were no details of any possible monetary settlement.

"During my time there I became concerned about the possible sale of advanced thermal scopes to Pakistan. I expressed my concerns directly and respectfully," Meyer said. "I am gratified to learn that BAE Systems OASYS did not ultimately sell and does not intend to sell advanced thermal scopes to Pakistan."

The company faced the difficult task of a potentially drawn-out legal battle against an American hero. FULL POST

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Filed under: Lawsuit • Medal of Honor • Military
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