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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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Marine’s sexual assault conviction overturned because of commandant’s tough talk

Gen. James AmosThe Marine Corps commandant’s uncompromising talk against sexual assault looked like unlawful command influence, a military appeals court said Thursday, as it overturned a Parris Island enlisted man’s conviction on sexual assault charges.

The high-profile ruling by the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals frees former Staff Sgt. Steve Howell. The ruling also casts stark light on the unforeseen consequences that have ensued from high-level Pentagon and congressional attention to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

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Air Force is reviewing rule that bars proselytizing by superiors

AF Gen. Mark Welsh IIIThe Air Force’s top general appeared to be losing his cool. But it wasn’t over a controversial plan to scrap an aircraft prized for protecting ground troops or billions of dollars in cuts that are straining a service striving to recover from the grind of 12 years of war.

“The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh III told a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this spring. “It’s not true.”

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Price for new prison at Guantanamo rises to $69 million

GitmoThe proposed price of an exclusive new prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rose by $20 million in a year because designers added meeting rooms and a medical clinic for 15 former CIA captives, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a military spokesman saidMonday.

Last year, the military estimated it would cost $49 million to build a new Camp 7, Guantanamo's name for its clandestine high-value detainee lockup. Last week, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee earmarked $69 million in its proposed budget for 2015 Defense Department spending to build the new prison.

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Senate report set to reveal Djibouti as CIA ‘black site’

Secret prisonThe legal case of a former CIA detainee suing the government of Djibouti for hosting the facility where he says he was detained could be helped by the contents of a still-classified Senate report. Djibouti, a key U.S. ally, has denied for years that its territory has been used to keep suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in secret captivity.

But the Senate investigation into the agency’s “detention and interrogation program” concluded that several people had been secretly detained in the tiny Horn of Africa state, two U.S. officials who read an early draft of the report told Al Jazeera.

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