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Friday, Jul 03rd

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Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops

US soldiers in AfghanistanUnited States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter.

The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.

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Russia reportedly paid Taliban-linked militants bounty money to kill American troops

Putin paid bounties for killing of US soldiers in Afghanistan

US intelligence officials assessed that Russia's military intelligence agency paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill NATO troops in Afghanistan — which include American forces, according to a New York Times report on Friday.

US officials discovered information about the bounties earlier this year. Some of the bounty money was collected by either Islamist militants or those associated with them, The Times reported.

In 2019, 17 US troops were killed in combat in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Interrogations of Afghan militants and criminals yielded the information indicating that Taliban-linked militants were offered bounties from Russian forces, The Times reported. The intelligence officials believe the bounties involve Unit 29155, a branch of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency.

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US soldier plotted with neo-Nazi group to attack own unit, indictment says

Neonazis plotted with US soldier to attack his unit

A US Army soldier was plotting with a British occultist neo-Nazi group to attack and kill members of his own military unit, according to a newly unsealed indictment by the Department of Justice.

Ethan Melzer, a 22-year old army private from Louisville, Kentucky, has been charged with conspiring and attempting to murder US nationals, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country, the DoJ announced on Monday.

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Air Force chooses JoAnne Bass as first woman to serve as top enlisted leader: 'The history of the moment isn’t lost on me'

JoAnne S. BassThe Air Force on Friday selected Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne S. Bass to be its next chief master sergeant, the first woman to serve as its top enlisted leader. Bass, whose mother is Korean, is also the first Asian-American to hold the position, the Air Force Times reported.

Her appointment comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown on June 9 to be the Air Force's 22nd chief of staff. He will be the first Black person to lead a U.S. military service.

It was Brown who appointed Bass as the 19th chief master sergeant, calling it one of his most critical decisions before taking office in August, according to the news release.

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Navy upholds firing of carrier captain who warned of coronavirus

USS Theodore Roosevelt

The Navy is upholding the firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, the former commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was relieved of duty after raising the alarm about a Covid-19 outbreak on his ship in March.

The decision marks a major reversal of senior leaders' previous recommendation to reinstate the captain, the Navy announced Friday.

The Navy will also hold up the promotion of the senior officer onboard the Roosevelt, Rear Adm. Stuart Baker, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 9. The carrier air wing commander and the ship's chief of medical operations will be referred for administrative action, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday announced.

Crozier will not be eligible for future command, effectively ending his Navy career.

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'I should not have been there': Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley says it was a 'mistake' to walk with Trump to church

Ge. Milley says he should not have walked with Trump to church

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said Thursday it was a "mistake" to accompany President Donald Trump and other top administration officials on a walk to historic St. John's Church after peaceful protesters were forcibly cleared from the area.

"My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics," the Army general said in remarks for a National Defense University commencement ceremony. "As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it."

Protests erupted in cities across the U.S. and have continued since George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed May 25 when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

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Aggressive Tactics by National Guard, Ordered to Appease Trump, Wounded the Military, Too

National Guard in Washington DCA white National Guard commander called the standoff in Lafayette Square “the Alamo,” implying that the White House was under siege. Black members of the D.C. Guard objected to turning on their neighbors. Army leaders told pilots to “flood the box with everything we have” as two helicopters buzzed protesters in the streets.

The National Guard is now engaged in an investigation of the havoc a week ago Monday in downtown Washington, similar to after-the-fact examinations more common to battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be questions, interviews and competing narratives.

But on one point everyone is agreed: The first days of June, a calamitous period for the Trump presidency, have been a debacle for the National Guard.

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