Tag Archives: Military

First Woman Tried for War Crimes in Bosnia

The trial of Albina Terzic for charges of inhuman treatment of prisoners began Tuesday.  Terzic is the first woman tried for war crimes in Bosnia.  If she is convicted, she will be just the fifth woman in the world convicted for war crimes.  Terzic entered a plea of not guilty in response to the charges.

The trial for Albina Terzic for warcrimes began this week (Photo courtesy of Radio Netherlands)

The trial for Albina Terzic for warcrimes began this week. (Photo courtesy of Radio Netherlands)

Terzic’s indictment, filed in April 2011, states she

used to hit [the detainees] with a police baton on their necks, shoulders and heads, slap them, encouraged dogs to attack them, tortured, abused, humiliated and insulted them in various ways, by, among other things, forcing the detainees into having sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence.

The alleged mistreatment occurred in a school building and a factory from May to July 1992.

Only one other woman from Bosnia has been convicted for war crimes, and she was tried in The Hague.  Biljana Plasvic pled guilty to crimes against humanity and was released from prison in 2009 after serving most of her eleven-year sentence.  Twenty to thirty women are being investigated for war crimes by the State Prosecutor’s office.  Two women accused of committing war crimes were apprehended in the United States earlier this year.

Azra Basic, who went by the alias “Issabell”, was arrested in Stanton, Kentucky last May.  She is accused of abusing and murdering civilians in 1992 in Derventa prisons.

Last April, Rasima Handanovic was arrested in Oregon for helping the Army of Bosnia attack a village in central Bosnia.  The attack left sixteen dead and four injured.

A 2010 report from the International Court Tribunal for Yugoslavia reported only 526 female fatalities out of 62,626 total combatant fatalities in the war.  About 5,360 of the 90,000 troops serving with the predominantly Bosniak Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina were women.

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Gabrielle Giffords Attends Husband’s Retirement Party

In a rare public appearance on Thursday, Representative Gabrielle Giffords attended an event to mark the retirement of her husband Mark Kelly. She pinned a medal on Kelly’s jacket and, while she didn’t make a statement, offered plenty of smiles.

Of Rep. Giffords and her astronaut husband, Vice President Joe Biden offered the following:

It’s not every day you encounter examples of sheer, sheer courage and selflessness and dedication like you see in this couple.

In his remarks to the audience, Kelly said of his wife, “Gabby, you remind me every day to deny the acceptance of failure. I look forward to the next phase of our life together and watching all of your future achievements.”

The next phase includes plans to release a memoir together next month.

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First United States-Born Target Eliminated in War on Terror

Imam Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen October 2008, ta...

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Yemen’s defense ministry reported that Anwar al-Awlaki, an imam allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, was killed on September 30. Tribal sources reported to the AFP news agency that al-Awlaki was killed early on Friday in an air raid that crushed two vehicles travelling through an al-Qaeda stronghold in central Yemen.

The forty-year-old U.S.-born al-Awlaki was a father of five children.

Another U.S. citizen, Samir Kahn, was killed in the air raid. Kahn was the co-editor of al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine and wanted by American and Yemeni authorities.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the killing of al-Awlaki was a “significant milestone in the broader effort to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”

Al-Awlaki had been targeted for some time.  In May 2011, a U.S. drone aircraft targeted him but missed. In July 2010, the Obama Administration placed al-Awlaki on its list of terrorism supporters, freezing his assets and banning transactions with him. On December 24, 2010, the Yemeni defense ministry announced his death, only to admit later that he was still alive.

Pres. Obama’s counterterrorism advisor John Brennan directly accused al-Awlaki of having links with Major Nidal Hasan, who is suspected of killing thirteen people at Fort Hood military base in Texas in November 2009. Hassan will face a trial in a military court in March 2012.

Also, al-Awlaki may have had contact with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian student accused of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas 2009.

The news of al-Awlaki’s death comes among daily reports of new violence in Yemen. The impoverished Arabian Peninsula country has witnessed demonstrators staging protests, demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power since 1978.

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Georgian President Addresses U.N. about Georgia-Russia Relations

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia addressed the United Nations, accusing Russia of violating human rights, international law, and a 2008 ceasefire between the countries.

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia. (Photo courtesy of the UN)

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia (Photo courtesy of the UN)

Thousands of people were displaced when a five-day war erupted between Georgia and Russia on August 7, 2008 after Georgia tried to retake control of South Ossetia.

Saakashvili claims that dozens of terrorist attacks targeting Georgia are directly linked to Russian secret services.

Russia’s deputy justice minister, Georgy Matyushkinl, said Russia’s involvement was in response to illegal and deliberate attacks launched by Georgia.

Europe’s Human Rights Court has received over 1,900 complaints related to the Georgia-Russia conflict since 2008. Most of them have been against Georgia.

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Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Granted Amnesty

On Thursday, Uganda‘s highest court ordered amnesty and release for a rebel commander from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who was charged with 53 counts of willful murder.

Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Thomas Kwoyelo (Photo Courtesy of usaforicc.org)

Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Thomas Kwoyelo (Photo Courtesy of usaforicc.org)

Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled that Thomas Kwoyelo, a former colonel in the LRA, is eligible for immunity even though he is charged with 53 counts of murder against civilians, destruction of personal property, hostage taking, kidnapping, and robbery.

Kwoyelo denied all the charges and petitioned the Constitutional Court for amnesty. The decision to grant amnesty was based on a 2000 amnesty law that has been used to pardon more than 10,000 LRA fighters.

Kwoyelo was taken into custody in March 2009 in Garamba forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Some of the LRA’s commanders, including Joseph Kony, have eluded capture and continue to commit atrocities in neighboring countries.

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Marines Determined to Be the Best at Everything, Including Recruiting Gays

Marines from 1st Battalion 7th Marines enter a...

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The Marines were the service most opposed to ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but they were also the only one of the five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table to a gay community center in Tulsa. Marines ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best, so with DADT gone, they have decided to recruit gays, lesbians, and bisexuals better than the other branches.

Only one in ten applicants qualifies to serve as a Marine. Most are turned away for asthma, attention deficit disorder, excessive tattoos, excessive weight, history of drug use,  joint injuries, or lack of a high school diploma.

A bad economy has also made jobs in the Marines more desirable when Marines anticipate shrinking their forces due to the ends of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Consigned to History

United States Navy Admiral Michael G. Mullen, ...

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After years of debate, the military can no longer prevent gays from serving openly in its ranks.

Repeal of the 1993 law that allowed gays to serve only if they kept their sexual orientation private took effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

The Army stated simply today, “The law is repealed,” and reminded soldiers to treat each other fairly.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, scheduled a Pentagon news conference later today to field questions about the repeal.

Gay advocacy groups scheduled celebrations across the country today.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said yesterday that the military is adequately prepared for the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Last week, the Pentagon said 97% of the military has undergone training in the new law.

For weeks, the military has accepted applications from openly gay recruits while waiting for the repeal to take effect.

The lifting of the eighteen-year-old ban also halts all pending discharges and investigations begun under the law.

There will be no immediate changes to eligibility standards for military benefits.

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