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Friday, Dec 09th

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GAO: VA Failing to Serve Our Women Warriors

This week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, released a stunning new report detailing significant barriers that many female veterans face in accessing healthcare at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Not just for policy wonks, this report should be required reading for every American. Some of the critical findings include:

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Army: Soldiers in slayings faced intense combat

Soldiers from a Colorado unit accused in nearly a dozen slayings since returning home - including a couple gunned down as they put up a garage sale sign - could be showing a hostility fueled by intense combat in Iraq, where the troops suffered heavy losses and told of witnessing war crimes, the military said Wednesday.

The Army launched an investigation after soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division - nicknamed the Lethal Warriors - were accused in a spate of five killings around Colorado Springs, home to Fort Carson, in 2007 and 2008.
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Back From Iraq ... With A Traumatic Brain Injury

One out of every five U.S. soldiers reports coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with mild traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI. Roadside bombs and Humvee wrecks are often to blame.

TBI symptoms can be hard to identify, but Army doctors are finding more cases because of baseline testing that began two years ago.

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Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts

Two U.S. military officials pleaded guilty to various bribery, fraud and conspiracy charges relating to Department of Defense (DOD) contracts in Afghanistan. A third military official pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, which was obtained through the bribery conspiracy. In addition, four DOD contractors and four affiliated contracting companies were indicted for their roles in paying bribes to the military officials and otherwise defrauding the United States.

Christopher P. West, a U.S. Army Major from Chicago who served in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005, pleaded guilty to charges contained in the superseding indictment including three counts of bribery and three counts of conspiracy. West admitted to accepting $90,000 cash from contractors in exchange for awarding DOD contracts at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

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At V.A. Hospital, a Rogue Cancer Unit

Had the government responded more aggressively, it might have uncovered a rogue cancer unit at the hospital, one that operated with virtually no outside scrutiny and botched 92 of 116 cancer treatments over a span of more than six years — and then kept quiet about it, according to interviews with investigators, government officials and public records.

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VA Director Connie S. Wilkinson Sentenced to Federal Prison for Theft

Connie S. Wilkinson, 54, of Tucson, Ariz., was sentenced here Monday by U.S. District Judge David C. Bury to 27 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $365,816 to the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System. Wilkinson pleaded guilty on October 2, 2008 to Theft of Public Money, Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud.

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America a weapons supermarket for terrorists, inquiry finds

The US is a virtual supermarket for terrorists and foreign governments seeking high-end military technology, including components that can be used to build nuclear weapons and equip militants fighting US and British troops, the American government has found.

Over the past year, government investigators posing as private buyers purchased military-grade body armour, technology to stabilise and steer guided missiles, a device that can be used to detonate nuclear weapons, and other munitions through legal means in the US. They evaded export controls and posted dummy versions of the gear to countries known as trans-shipment points for terrorist groups and foreign governments seeking arms and weapons components.

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