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Saturday, Aug 23rd

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Chelsea Manning says she is being denied gender-reassignment treatment

Chelsea ManningA year after being sentenced to a 35-year prison term for giving secret documents to WikiLeaks, US army private Chelsea Manning says the military is continuing to deny her gender-reassignment treatment.

In a letter sent to NBC news and released on Friday, Manning says the Defence Department has not followed through with its promises after the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, approved a treatment plan that includes allowing her to dress as a woman.

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US tried but failed to free US hostages in Syria

James FoleyA US secret military mission had "recently" tried but failed "to free a number of American hostages held in Syria", the Pentagon has revealed.

It did not say whether the US troops had also tried to rescue US journalist James Foley, a video of whose beheading by Islamic State appeared on Tuesday.  However, senior US officials - speaking on condition of anonymity - said this was the case.

IS said Foley's death was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

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In Iraq, U.S. is spending millions to blow up captured American war machines

US blows up own tanksLast week was a weird one for American military hardware.

In the United States, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), AR-15s and camouflage body armor all made an appearance on the streets of a suburb in the heartland, helping to give a tense situation the push needed to turn into a week of riots. American citizens in Ferguson, Missouri, feeling they were being occupied by a foreign army, rather than their friendly neighborhood cop on the beat.

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How America’s Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program

Militarized policeAs many have noted, Ferguson, Missouri, currently looks like a war zone. And its police—kitted out with Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles—are indistinguishable from soldiers.

America has been quietly arming its police for battle since the early 1990s.

Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. In 1996, Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033.

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Military eases hairstyle restrictions accused of being racially biased

military hair dosUnited States military branches announced they have loosened grooming requirements that sparked controversy for allegedly targeting the natural hairstyles of African-American soldiers.

The U.S. Army on March 31 banned hairstyles including twists, dreadlocks, some types of braids, and Afros that were previously authorized. Following outcry from black members of the U.S. armed forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in April ordered the secretaries of all military branches to review their policies on grooming.

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Obama Authorizes Targeted Airstrikes, Humanitarian Aid In Iraq

ObamaPresident Barack Obama announced Thursday night he had authorized the Pentagon to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans from Islamic militants in northern Iraq and help Iraqi security forces protect civilians under siege, threatening to revive U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.

In a televised late-night statement from the White House, Obama also said American military forces had already carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Iraqi religious minorities desperately in need of food and water.

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Broken Code: Air Force Academy superintendent calls for investigation

AFAU.S. Air Force Academy cadet athletes flouted the sacred honor code by committing sexual assaults, taking drugs, cheating and engaging in other misconduct at wild parties while the service academy focused on winning bowl games and attracting money from alumni and private sources in recent years, a Gazette investigation has found.
The findings are egregious enough that academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told The Gazette that she has called for an Inspector General's investigation of the athletic department.
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