Feb 27

House Republicans advance plan for security funding extension

A Federal Protective Service officer, which is a branch of Homeland Security, works outside the U.S. District Courthouse in the Brooklyn borough of New York February 25, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

A Federal Protective Service officer, which is a branch of Homeland Security, works outside the U.S. District Courthouse in the Brooklyn borough of New York February 25, 2015.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

(Reuters) – A Republican bill to provide a three-week funding extension for the Department of Homeland Security cleared a procedural hurdle in the House of Representatives on Friday, indicating support for final passage in the chamber.

The House voted 240-183 along strict party lines to approve a procedural rule that allows a vote on the funding extension later in the day, ahead of a midnight deadline that would trigger a partial shutdown of the domestic security agency.

The House temporary funding extension is aimed at allowing Republicans to continue their fight against President Barack Obama’s executive immigration orders that lift the threat of deportation from millions of undocumented immigrants.

The Senate on Friday passed a full-year $39.7 billion funding measure for Homeland Security that does not include any immigration restrictions. House Republicans have said they will only support a short-term extension of last year’s funding levels.

They want to enter into negotiations with the Senate to work out differences between the Senate bill and a House-passed version that aims to block Obama’s 2012 and 2014 immigration orders.

House passage of the stop-gap measure will put pressure on the Senate to also pass a temporary funding, or face a midnight cut-off in funds for the agency.

(Reporting by David Lawder and Richard Cowan; Editing by Susan Heavey)

Feb 27

Roger Williams Introduces Chris Kyle Medal of Honor Act

Chris KyleWASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Roger Williams (R-Texas) today introduced the Act, a bill that would authorize and request the president to award the posthumously to Navy Seal Christopher Scott Kyle for acts of valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Chris gave the ultimate sacrifice and served his nation with distinction and bravery while saving countless American lives,” said Williams. “There is no doubt that this true American hero is worthy of our nation’s highest military honor. While the will not bring back a husband, father, son and a model Texan, we owe and his family a great deal of gratitude for his relentless devotion to his country.”

Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq, is credited with the most confirmed kills in U.S. military history. He was murdered on February 2, 2013.

Since it was first presented in 1863, the has been awarded 3,507 times.

According to the Congressional Research Service, “On a number of occasions, legislation has been offered to waive certain restrictions and to encourage the president to award the to particular individuals.”

Feb 26

Marines Conduct Mock Air Raid

Marines and Sailors with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment worked alongside U.S. Army aviation to conduct a mock air raid and assault at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex as part of KMEP 15-15

Feb 24

Man Convicted in Death of ‘American Sniper’

‘I took care of business, and then I got in the truck and left’

Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle, author of ‘American Sniper’

STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — A former Marine was convicted Tuesday in the deaths of the “American Sniper” author and another man at a shooting range two years ago, as jurors rejected defense arguments that he was insane and suffered from psychosis.

The trial of Eddie Ray Routh has drawn intense interest, in part because of the blockbuster film based on former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir about his four tours in Iraq.

Since prosecutors didn’t seek the death penalty in the capital murder case, the 27-year-old receives an automatic life sentence without parole in the deaths of Kyle and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield.

The prosecution painted Routh as a troubled drug user who knew right from wrong, despite any mental illnesses. While trial testimony and evidence often included Routh making odd statements and referring to insanity, he also confessed several times, apologized for the crimes and tried to evade police.

Criminal law experts said the verdict hinged on whether the defense could prove Routh was insane and did not know the killings were wrong at the time they were committed. Jurors had three options: find Routh guilty of capital murder, find him not guilty, or find him not guilty by reason of insanity. If found not guilty by reason of insanity, the court could have initiated proceedings to have him committed to a state mental hospital.  Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 24

Baghdad bombings kill 37

Baghdad Bombing Iraq kills 37Baghdad: A wave of bomb attacks around Baghdad killed 37 people and wounded dozens more on Tuesday, as at least seven explosions struck in or near the Iraqi capital, police and medical sources said.

In the deadliest incidents, 24 people were killed in two blasts in Jisr Diyala district, southeast of the city.

The sources said the first bomb went off in a commercial area near restaurants, shops and street stalls.

Police tried to prevent people gathering at the scene, but shortly afterwards a car bomb was detonated in the same area.

Three of the people killed in the second blast were police, they said.  Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 24

Lawmaker, American legion head ‘disappointed’ in VA secretary for misstating military service

Robert McDonald

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A key committee chairman and the head of the American Legion have expressed disappointment with McDonald, who admitted misstating that he served in the military’s special forces. McDonald has apologized after making the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran last month. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald drew expressions of disappointment but no demand for his resignation Tuesday, one day after he apologized for erroneously claiming he served in the military’s special forces.

“A lie is a lie,” said Michael Helm, national commander of the American Legion, the largest veterans service organization. “I can’t believe people do this.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 24

70 years ago, Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima

Iwo JimaEDITOR’S NOTE — On Feb. 23, 1945, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal took a photograph that would become one of the most recognizable and reproduced images in history. It showed five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

Seventy years after its original publication, the AP is making Rosenthal’s photo and the story about the assault on Mount Suribachi available.

GUAM (AP) — Hard-fighting United States marines, who have paid the Pacific’s highest price for 58 hours of battle with 5,372 casualties at Iwo, wrested 546-foot Mt. Suribachi on the south tip of the island from the Japanese today. Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 23

Philippine court enters not guilty plea for US Marine

U.S. Marine Private First Class Joseph Scott charged with murder MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court entered a not guilty plea Monday for a U.S. Marine charged with murdering a transgender Filipino, allegedly after he discovered her gender when they checked into a hotel.

Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton refused to enter a plea in the brief proceeding in a court in Olongapo city northwest of Manila, according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Journalists were barred from the courtroom.

Dozens of left-wing protesters waved red flags outside the courthouse, demanding justice and an end to the U.S. military presence in the former American colony. Gay and lesbian groups have also staged protests denouncing the killing of Jennifer Laude, whose former name was Jeffrey, as a hate crime.

Monday’s arraignment paves the way for Pemberton’s trial, which lawyers of the victim’s family said is scheduled to start next month.

“Finally justice can be attained for our sibling,” Marilou Laude, the victim’s sister, told reporters. She said she was shaking in anger when she saw the handcuffed suspect, who was guarded by several security escorts in the courtroom.  Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 23

Marine who vanished in Iraq found guilty of desertion, gets 2 years

marine-who-vanished-in-iraq-found-guilty-of-desertion-gets-2-years-1.331219RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Marine who vanished a decade ago in Iraq was convicted Monday of desertion for leaving his post there and then fleeing to Lebanon after a brief return to the U.S.

The judge at Camp Lejeune, Marine Maj. Nicholas Martz, ruled in a bench trial that Cpl. Wassef Hassoun was guilty of deserting for the 2004 and 2005 disappearances. Hassoun was also convicted of causing the loss of his service pistol.

A sentencing hearing was expected to begin Monday afternoon. A spokesman for the U.S. Marines, Capt. Stewart Coles, said in a release that Hassoun faces a maximum penalty of 7 ½ years in prison, reduction in rank, loss of pay and a dishonorable discharge.

While the judge determined Hassoun intentionally fled during the two disappearances at the heart of the case, his ruling leaves the defendant facing a less severe punishment than he did at the trial’s outset. Had Hassoun been convicted of all charges and specifications, he could have been sentenced to a maximum of 27 years in prison.  Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 23

Welcome to the MEU: Underwater Egress Training

Get out your diving gear and get ready to make a splash with underwater egress training in this episode of “Welcome to the MEU”.

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