Photograph via Konabish by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
March 14, 2012—A whistleblower’s claim that a 2007 spill of more than 60 pounds of mercury was not properly reported or cleaned up at this military base, where more than 24,000 military personnel and civilians work and live, has prompted a federal criminal investigation. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has backed that claim, concluding after an investigation in September and October that the base violated permits because it failed to report the spill and cleanup, improperly stored the cleaned-up material, improperly labeled storage containers that were also not in good condition and failed to inspect containers storing the hazardous waste.
March 15, 2012—The Pentagon chief says he is “confident” that the United States and Afghanistan would work out a treaty allowing the US military to stay longer in the country beyond the withdrawal deadline of 2014. Speaking to reporters after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the situation in Afghanistan will change once the two countries sign the strategic pact. During the meeting, Karzai urged visiting Panetta to accelerate the handover of security to the country’s army and police forces, and let Afghans take the lead responsibility one year earlier than previously planned.
March 16, 2012—The U.S. trooper who shot dead 16 Afghan civilians has been taken to Kuwait in defiance of calls from Afghan people and officials for his trial in Afghanistan. A U.S. defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity said on Wednesday that the suspect was transferred due to America’s shortage of “military legal infrastructure” and personnel in Afghanistan, CNN reported. The official added that the US soldier would remain in a military detention center in Kuwait until an investigation into the incident is completed.
March 14, 2012—With sirens blaring, emergency management vehicles raced down DP Road Wednesday, responding to a Hazmat situation at Enclosure 12 in TA-21. For two hours, DP Road was closed as the LANL Hazmat team, Los Alamos Fire and Police Department and FEMA assessed the situation. Most of DP Road was reopened around 1:45 p.m. as LAPD decreased its perimeter. Capt. Randy Foster said the initial call came into dispatch at 11:53 a.m. The road was closed east of 272 DP Road until the all-clear from the LANL Hazmat teams came in Wednesday evening. The situation has been categorized as a “non-emergency significant event” by the laboratory… Police said a voluntary evacuation was taking place on DP Road. Police said for those who are working on DP Road to remain inside if they chose to stay. Businesses along DP Road still were waiting for an all-clear signal as of 7:30 p.m.
March 14, 2012—Peter Van Buren, a foreign service officer who wrote an unflattering book about his year leading two reconstruction [sic] teams in Iraq, was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department headquarters for a time and transferred to a telework job that consists of copying Internet addresses into a file. Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information. Van Buren called the termination notice he received Friday the coup de grace in a series of blows he received since his book was published last fall.
March 15, 2012—Two French soldiers have been killed and another wounded in a shooting incident near a military base in the southwestern city of Montauban in France.
March 14, 2012—Barack Obama has agreed to top-level talks on cutting the number of Britons extradited to the U.S. for trial after David Cameron raised the plight of computer hacker Gary McKinnon with him. The Prime Minister told the President that more cases should be dealt with in the British courts. This would follow a joint review of the controversial extradition treaty between the two countries. Officials from the U.S. Justice Department and the Home Office will discuss how the deal signed by Labour’s David Blunkett in 2003 is being implemented, with new guidance for courts the most likely outcome.
This link roundup originally appeared at LegitGov.org.