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Pentagon knowingly exposed troops to cancer-causing chemicals, document shows

A newly leaked military document appears to show the Pentagon knowingly exposed US troops to toxic chemicals that cause cancer, while publicly downplaying the risks exposure might cause.

The document, written by an environmental engineering flight commander in December of 2006 and posted on Wikileaks (PDF) on Tuesday, details the risks posed to US troops in Iraq by burning garbage at a US airbase. It enumerates myriad risks posed by the practice and identifies various carcinogens released by incinerating waste in open-air pits.

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Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

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Brain-injured troops may reach 360,000

The number of US troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said yesterday.

The estimate of the number injured - the vast majority of them suffering concussions - represents 20 percent of the roughly 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where blast injuries are common from roadside bombs and other explosives, the doctors said.

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Vets Find Safety Net Online

Desperate for help and hobbled by federal bureaucracy, the men went public with their needs, recently posting their stories to total strangers on USATogether.org, a non-profit group created by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur to help injured veterans.

Strangers are coming to the aid of Soldiers with things such as auto repair, a new washing machine or lodging for family while a Soldier recuperates at a Veterans Affairs hospital far from home. Potential donors can read a Soldier's profile and either help financially or donate goods and services.

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Blackwater founder quits CEO post

Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial US private security firm Blackwater, has said he will remain the company's chairman after announcing he was stepping down as chief executive officer.

His resignation as CEO on Monday comes as five former Blackwater guards await trial in the US in connection with the killings of 17 Iraqis in a shooting incident in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, in 2007.

The guards are alleged to have opened fire on civilians in Nisoor Square in an unprovoked attack that provoked a wave of outrage in the country.

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Pentagon: Aid only for 'essential items'

The IDF can no longer use American foreign military aid to purchase "non-essential military items," The Jerusalem Post has learned.

According to defense officials, the Pentagon informed the Defense Ministry last month that the new instruction pertained to all countries receiving US foreign military financing (FMF), and not just Israel.

Officials said that according to the FMF regulations, the $3 billion that Israel receives was supposed to be used strictly for weaponry and defense-related projects. Over the years, however, the Pentagon made exceptions and allowed the IDF to purchase non-essential items such as covers for trucks, uniforms and even food for soldiers.

TVNL Comment: Of course Israel can still spend our money on illegal banned weapons.

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Soldier mom plans to report for duty with kids

Pagan is among thousands of former service members who have left active duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, only to later receive orders to return to service. They are not in training, they are not getting a Defense Department salary, but as long as they have time left on their original enlistment contracts, they are on "individual ready reserve" status — eligible to be recalled at any time.

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