Court Martials For Two Air Force Training Instructors At Texas Lackland Air Base In Latest Sex Scandal – 35 Instructors Removed From Posts, Dozens Suspected, Four Accused

June 27, 2012

TEXAS – The Air Force announced Wednesday that two training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas were referred to special courts-martial in a growing sexual misconduct scandal.

Master Sgt. Jamey Crawford was accused of wrongfully conducting a sexual relationship with a basic trainee and other offenses. Allegations against Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith included wrongfully making sexual advances toward a trainee.

Their trial dates have not yet been set.

A dozen instructors have been suspected of assaulting female recruits.

Allegations of sexual misconduct between instructors and cadets began there last summer, and the Pentagon has ordered a comprehensive strategic review of the entire Air Force training community.

The widespread criminal investigation is looking into the possibility that cases of sexual misconduct extend beyond Lackland.

Investigators are looking at four Air Force bases in two states.

Since allegations of misconduct began, 35 military instructors have been removed from their posts. Four have been accused.

Sgt. Luis Walker, one of the accused instructors, pleaded not guilty and faces court-martial. He’s charged with raping or sexually assaulting 10 recruits between October 2010 and January 2011.

The Air Force says it’s being fully transparent.

“I want the public to know what’s going on,” said Lackland’s Col. Glenn Palmer. “I don’t want the possibility of someone saying, ‘Well look – they’re trying to cover it up.'”

The investigation comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced wider plans to deal with the issue.

In April, he said, “We will continue to develop our strategies. We’ll continue to devote our energy and our intention to enforcing our department’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual assault.”

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers such as Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., want to investigate the matter further with a hearing of their own.

“Congress has known about this problem in the military for 25 years,” she said in an interview broadcast on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday. “We’ve had lots of hearings, lots of reports. But are we willing to step up and do the right thing by taking it out of the chain of command so the victims really have the freedom to report these crimes and feel that they are not going to be marginalized and labeled and then dismissed from the military?”

This could be the worst sexual misconduct scandal to hit the military since a similar case involving the Army in Aberdeen, Md., in 1996.

On Wednesday, victims of military sexual assault planned to lobby members of Congress seeking support for legislation sponsored by Speier called the Stop Act. It would take probes of military sexual assault away from commanders and put them in the hands of a separate military unit.

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US Air Force Doesn’t Have A Problem With Spying On Americans With Unmanned Drones

May 13, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A newly discovered Air Force intelligence brief states that should fleets of unmanned drones accidentally capture surveillance footage of Americans, the data can be stored and analyzed by the Pentagon for up to 90 days.

The instruction, dated April 23, admits that the Air Force cannot legally conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” on Americans, but also states that should the drones”incidentally” capture data while conducting other missions, military intelligence has the right to study it to determine whether the subjects are legitimate targets of domestic surveillance.

“Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” the instruction states.

The Air Force can take advantage of “a period not to exceed 90 days” to use the data to assess “whether that information may be collected under the provisions of Procedure 2, DoD 5240.1-R and permanently retained under the provisions of Procedure 3, DoD 5240.1-R.” it continues.

The Pentagon directives cited authorize limited domestic spying in certain scenarios such as natural disasters, environmental cases, and monitoring activity around military bases.

Should the drones capture data on Americans, the Air Force says that it should determine whether they are, among other things, “persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities.”

A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The instruction also states that the Pentagon can disseminate the data to other intelligence and government agencies, should it see fit.

“Even though information may not be collectible, it may be retained for the length of time necessary to transfer it to another DoD entity or government agency to whose function it pertains.” the document reads.

The document was discovered by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

As we reported in February, Over 30 prominent watchdog groups have banded together to petition the FAA on the proposed increase in the use of drones in US airspace.

The groups, including The American Civil Liberties Union, The Electronic Privacy Information Center and The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, are demanding that the FAA hold a rulemaking session to consider the privacy and safety threats.

Congress recently passed legislation paving the way for what the FAA predicts will be somewhere in the region of 30,000 drones in operation in US skies by 2020.

The ACLU noted that the FAA’s legislation “would push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance without any steps to protect the traditional privacy that Americans have always enjoyed and expected.”

In addition to privacy concerns, the groups warned that the ability to link facial recognition technology to surveillance drones and patch the information through to active government databases would “increase the First Amendment risks for would be political dissidents.”

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Fighter Jets Escoted Airliner – Detroit Michigan Law Enforcement Cuffed And Strip Searched Ohio Mom Simply Because Of Her “Appearance” On Airline

September 13, 2011

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – A woman says she was taken off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated by authorities in Michigan on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks “simply because” of her appearance.

Shoshana Hebshi said Tuesday she was one of three people escorted off a plane in handcuffs from a Denver-to-Detroit Frontier Airlines flight. The 35-year-old mother from Ohio says they didn’t know each other but were in the same row.

Hebshi says the men were Indian and describes herself as half-Arab, half-Jewish, with dark complexion.

Two fighter jets escorted the plane after its crew reported suspicious activity.

The FBI says it questioned Hebshi and released her after finding no reason to suspect her. Messages seeking comment were left for Frontier and police.

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