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Monday, Dec 22nd

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US air force sergeant barred from re-enlisting unless he swears to God

Air Force oathThe US air force has told an atheist airman he must swear his re-enlistment oath to God or he will not be allowed to reenlist, according to the American Humanist.

The airman, who is stationed at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, has not been identified. The service said he has until November to swear the oath required of all servicemembers, which concludes with the phrase “so help me God.”

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U.S. Air Force: Swear to God—or Get Out

Air Force AcademyIn a new, unexplained shift, the Air Force is compelling its troops to use the phrase ‘so help me God’ in their oaths or be discharged.

For years, allegations of religious intolerance have swirled around the U.S. Air Force, with officers accused both of pushing evangelical Christianity on the troops—and of hampering Christians’ practice.

Now, a new case threatens to reignite the firestorm. The Air Force has allegedly refused to allow a service member to reenlist, because he refused to use the phrase “so help me God” in his oath, the American Humanist Association asserts.

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Half of returning vets battle chronic pain, many risk pill addiction

Vets with chronic painChronic pain tortures nearly half of returning U.S. veterans, a new study suggests, and a large number of them — as many as 15 percent — are using narcotic painkillers to manage it.

Research shows that soldiers are four times as likely to use prescription narcotics compared to the wider civilian population. Such drugs carry the risk of lifelong addiction, fatal overdose and have been linked to the nation’s epidemic levels of heroin use.

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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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