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This site gets much traffic from all around the world, from people searching for news from Iraq, making it an ideal place to host stories from deployed forces in harm’s way.  In my travels I’ve met many budding writers who are now wearing boots and carrying rifles, and I found their stories so compelling that I want the world to see.

Air Force being Downgraded to "Air Persuasion Task Force"

26 Comments

Published on: 12 December 2013

From:
Eric K. Fanning, Acting Secretary of the Air Force
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff
Chief Master Sgt. James A. Cody, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

To the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

We are the best Air Force in the world because we attract, recruit, develop and retain Airmen with the strongest character and commitment to our core values.

Even though we just finished over a decade of extended combat operations, retention in our Air Force remains at an all-time high. While this is a testament to the selfless service of all members of our Air Force family, we are now faced with some very difficult financial choices that force us to reduce the overall size of the Air Force.

To be blunt, we are going to get smaller... smaller than we've ever been as an Air Force. Over the next few years, we may have to reduce our force by approximately 25,000 Airmen and as many as 550 aircraft if we do not receive any budget relief.

Read more: Air Force being Downgraded to "Air Persuasion Task Force"

Storm Warning: The Trial and Conviction of CJ Grisham

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by Barbara Lawrence, witness to trial

26 November 2013

Prelude

Two days before I left to attend the retrial of Master Sergeant CJ Grisham, I received my annual National Rifle Association membership card in the mail. It was a reminder that though MSG Grisham has sought and received considerable attention and support regarding his charge of “interfering with duties of a public servant,” the NRA wants nothing to do with him.

That is not surprising.

He claims to have been on an Eagle Scout hike with his son Chris within Temple, Texas, city limits on March 16, 2013. What is unusual is that he carried an AR-15, while having a cell phone camera within ready access.

This is likely to excite attention in an area that has seen two previous mass shootings: Fort Hood in 2009 and Killeen in 1991.

When a concerned citizen calls police to inform them of the suspicious pair, Sergeant Steve Ermis is dispatched to investigate. He is met with uncooperative defiance as he attempts to disarm Grisham, who is quick to video the incident. Grisham is charged with “rudely displaying a weapon” and “resisting arrest”. Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols later changed it to “interfering with the duties of a public servant.”

The first trial on October 15 ended in a mistrial after 16 hours of deliberation with 5:1 favoring conviction.

This is where it gets weird.

Read more: Storm Warning: The Trial and Conviction of CJ Grisham

Burma Army Captures, Kills and Tortures Villagers in Kachin State, Forcing Over 2,000 to Flee

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19 November 2013
Written By: Free Burma Rangers

Mansi Township, Kachin State, Burma

In This Report:

-       Burma Army Attacks in Mansi Township send 2,000 Villagers to Flee Nam Lim Pa IDP Camp

-       Burma Army Troops Kill Kachin Villager

-       Burma Army Captures Villagers; Tortures Four Men

Burma Army Overruns Nam Lim Pa Village, causing 2,000 IDPs to flee Nam Lim Pa IDP Camp

At 2:00 pm on 16 November 2013, over 100 Burma Army soldiers from MOC 21 came to Nam Lim Pa Village. Soldiers held and threatened about 300 students at the Nam Lim Pa IDP school compound.   Many of the villagers had already fled to Nam Lim Pa IDP camp. Now the Burma Army occupies both Nam Lim Pa village and Nam Lim Pa IDP camp.

Burma-Army-occupying-NLP-1000The Burma Army soldiers (pictured here at Nam Lim Pa village) are currently occupying both Nam Lim Pa village and Nam Lim Pa IDP camp.

At 10:00pm, all the villagers from Nam Lim Pa IDP (Internally Displaced Person) Camp, totaling over 2,000 men, women and children, began moving towards Man Gau Da Nam Hkyet Village.

Read more: Burma Army Captures, Kills and Tortures Villagers in Kachin State, Forcing Over 2,000 to Flee

Grisham Trial in Texas: The Party’s Over

23 Comments

19 November 2013
by Barbara Lawrence, courtroom eyewitness

This time it’s a beautiful sunny day, mild and temperate, despite being mid-November in Texas. The trees have turned luscious red, gold and tangerine colors throughout, and a light wind ruffles their leaves.

The parkway has an empty canopy with no visible Grisham supporters.  The tenor of this trial is different than his first trial.

Master Sergeant CJ Grisham has none of the bravado he exhibited before. The circus atmosphere is gone. No glad-handing or working the crowd. The crowd has shrunk visibly.  Instead of the 25 supporters before, I counted only eight.

Grisham seems serious and preoccupied. He stares off into space often, as if troubled by something. Perhaps something other than the trial.

Read more: Grisham Trial in Texas: The Party’s Over

Justice in Texas

23 Comments

18 November 2013
By Barbara Lawrence

Trial No. 2 for Army Master Sergeant CJ Grisham begins this Monday morning in Temple, Texas.  The once smugly confident Master Sergeant has been floundering as his once cozy relationship with his legal team turns cold.  

His first attorney quit the case without warning or explanation.  His second attorney, Blue Rannefeld, proved awkwardly incompetent in the first trial, to which I and various news outlets were witness.  

This odd misdemeanor trial and the Army soldier’s escalating public drama in defiance of UCMJ regulations continues to garner national news at outlets such as the New York Times and Fox News.  Only capital murder trials gain this much attention.

Read more: Justice in Texas

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