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Saturday, Sep 20th

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Prosecutor: five traded Taliban could not be successfully prosecuted

BergdahlThe chief prosecutor in the military commission said Sunday that he had concluded that the five Taliban members released for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could not have been successfully prosecuted.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said he concurred with a study conducted a few years ago that found prosecutors were unlikely to win convictions against about 200 detainees, including the five traded for Bergdahl. Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have derided the swap, saying it will put U.S. troops at risk.

"I concluded there was not a successful prosecution to be made," Martins said.

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Pentagon Preparing for Mass Civil Unrest

PentagonA US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD 'Minerva Research Initiative' partners with universities "to improve DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US."

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After Lull, U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 13 in Pakistan

Drone strikesMissiles from U.S. drones slammed into militant hideouts overnight in northwestern Pakistan, killing 13 suspected insurgents and marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break, officials said Thursday.

The strikes came just days after a five-hour siege of Pakistan’s busiest airport ended with 36 people, including ten militants, killed. The audacious attack raised concerns about whether Pakistan was capable of dealing with the Pakistani Taliban, which said it carried out the assault along with an Uzbek militant group.

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South Carolina OKs Confederate flag at Citadel military college

Citadel ok's Confederate flagA Confederate flag displayed at the Citadel military college in Charleston, South Carolina, can keep flying despite objections that it is offensive, the state attorney general's office said on Tuesday.

A Charleston official had objected to the presence of the flag in the college's Summerall Chapel, where it has flown since 1939, and called for cutting almost $1 million in public funding from the school.

In an opinion on Tuesday, Solicitor General Robert D. Cook said South Carolina's 2000 "Heritage Act" protects "monuments and memorials honoring the gallantry and sacrifice in this state's various wars."

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Military court probes ‘Dark Horse’ militia; may be intense, but it’s not ‘extremist’

Fort Bliss militiaSoldiers based at Fort Bliss in Texas joined a secretive group called ‘Dark Horse,’ which one member explained “was to support and defend the Constitution, and was designed to fight alongside the military if need be, if the government ‘goes corrupt.’”

Sounds intense, but is it criminally extreme? The answer, it turns out, is no.

As first reported Monday by CAAFlog, the military law blog, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals last month confronted several related cases arising from the Dark Horse organization. Two enlisted men had been convicted of, among other charges, violating an Army order by belonging to an “extremist” organization.

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Taliban posts propaganda video of Bergdahl's release to U.S. special forces

bergdahlThe Taliban has released a video showing the handoff of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to U.S. Special Operations Forces with the farewell message, "Don't come back to Afghanistan."

The video, originally posted on the Taliban's website, shows Bergdahl sitting in a white pickup truck in an open field, located in the remote Khost province. He looks confused and is blinking a lot as he gets out of the truck wearing white Afghan clothing. In the video, he looks thin, bald, and does not have eyebrows.

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Bowe Berdahl, Idaho soldier, held by Taliban since '09, freed in prisoner exchange

Idaho GI freedThe United States on Saturday turned over custody of five former members of the Taliban who were being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Qatar in exchange for the release of a U.S. Army soldier who’d been held in Afghanistan by the Taliban for the past five years.

A Defense Department official, who declined to be further identified, identified the five prisoners as Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq.

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