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The U.S. Navy vs. ‘Fat Leonard’: Malaysian accused of buying secrets with prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets
Nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” the gregarious Malaysian businessman is well known by U.S. Navy commanders in the Pacific, where his company has serviced warships for 25 years.
But prosecutors in court papers say Leonard Francis worked his connections to obtain military secrets by lining up prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets and other bribes for a U.S. commander, in a scandal reverberating across the Navy.
The accusations unfolding in a federal court case in San Diego signal serious national security breaches and corruption, setting off high-level meetings at the Pentagon with the threat that more people, including those of higher ranks, could be swept up as the investigation continues. (Photo: YONHAP / AFP / Getty Images)

The U.S. Navy vs. ‘Fat Leonard’: Malaysian accused of buying secrets with prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets

Nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” the gregarious Malaysian businessman is well known by U.S. Navy commanders in the Pacific, where his company has serviced warships for 25 years.

But prosecutors in court papers say Leonard Francis worked his connections to obtain military secrets by lining up prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets and other bribes for a U.S. commander, in a scandal reverberating across the Navy.

The accusations unfolding in a federal court case in San Diego signal serious national security breaches and corruption, setting off high-level meetings at the Pentagon with the threat that more people, including those of higher ranks, could be swept up as the investigation continues. (Photo: YONHAP / AFP / Getty Images)

U.S. soldier pleads guilty to killing 16 Afghan villagers to avoid death penaltyThe American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year pleaded guilty Wednesday in a military courtroom to avoid the death penalty, setting the stage for him to recount details of the horrific slaughter.Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges in the March 2012 attacks on two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted.Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned; relatives have told The Associated Press they are irate at the notion Bales will escape execution for one of the worst atrocities of the Afghanistan war.A military judge still must decide whether to accept his plea. (Handout)

U.S. soldier pleads guilty to killing 16 Afghan villagers to avoid death penalty
The American soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids on two villages last year pleaded guilty Wednesday in a military courtroom to avoid the death penalty, setting the stage for him to recount details of the horrific slaughter.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges in the March 2012 attacks on two villages near the remote base in southern Afghanistan where he was posted.

Most of the victims were women and children, and some of the bodies were burned; relatives have told The Associated Press they are irate at the notion Bales will escape execution for one of the worst atrocities of the Afghanistan war.

A military judge still must decide whether to accept his plea. (Handout)

U.S. aiming to hit 6,000 km/h in test flight of supersonic ‘waverider’
The U.S. military conducted an unmanned test flight on Tuesday of its hypersonic Waverider aircraft, designed to move at six times the speed of sound using technology that bridges the gap between planes and rocketships, a military official said.

A B-52 bomber launched the remotely monitored, nearly wingless experimental aircraft, officially known as the X-51A, between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., John Haire, a spokesman for the 412th test wing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, said in a statement. Results of the brief test flight will be released on Wednesday, he said. (US Air Force / AFP/Getty Images)

Taliban vows revenge against ‘sick-minded American savages’ after U.S. massacre of 16 Afghan civiliansAfghanistan’s Taliban insurgents on Monday vowed revenge against “sick-minded American savages” for the weekend rampage by a U.S. soldier who killed 16 villagers in their homes.The Taliban would “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr,” the Islamists said in a statement on their website.The U.S. soldier walked off his base and broke into the homes of villagers in Kandahar province’s Panjwayi district before dawn Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children.A soldier has been detained and the United States has offered condolences to the families and pledged that action will be taken against anyone found guilty of the massacre. (Photo: Ahmad Nadeem/Reuters)

Taliban vows revenge against ‘sick-minded American savages’ after U.S. massacre of 16 Afghan civilians
Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents on Monday vowed revenge against “sick-minded American savages” for the weekend rampage by a U.S. soldier who killed 16 villagers in their homes.

The Taliban would “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr,” the Islamists said in a statement on their website.

The U.S. soldier walked off his base and broke into the homes of villagers in Kandahar province’s Panjwayi district before dawn Sunday, killing 16 people including women and children.

A soldier has been detained and the United States has offered condolences to the families and pledged that action will be taken against anyone found guilty of the massacre. (Photo: Ahmad Nadeem/Reuters)

U.S. surprises Kabul with early end to Afghanistan military operationsThe United States took Kabul by surprise by laying out plans to end its Afghan combat role earlier than expected, just after the leak of a secret report that the Taliban is confident of regaining control of the country.U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said late on Wednesday the United States would stop taking the lead role in combat operations before the end of 2013 and step into a supporting role as it winds down its longest war.He said U.S. forces would remain “combat-ready” but would largely shift to a train-and-assist role as Afghan forces take over responsibility for security ahead of a 2014 deadline for full Afghan control. (Photo: Aref Yaqubi//AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. surprises Kabul with early end to Afghanistan military operations
The United States took Kabul by surprise by laying out plans to end its Afghan combat role earlier than expected, just after the leak of a secret report that the Taliban is confident of regaining control of the country.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said late on Wednesday the United States would stop taking the lead role in combat operations before the end of 2013 and step into a supporting role as it winds down its longest war.

He said U.S. forces would remain “combat-ready” but would largely shift to a train-and-assist role as Afghan forces take over responsibility for security ahead of a 2014 deadline for full Afghan control. (Photo: Aref Yaqubi//AFP/Getty Images)

All for nothing? Pakistan-backed Taliban poised to reclaim Afghanistan upon NATO’s exitThe U.S. military said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw, raising the prospect of a major failure of Western policy after a costly war.Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, reported on Wednesday by Britain’s Times newspaper and the BBC.But he said it was not a strategic study.“The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions,” he said. “It’s not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis.”Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, dragging into its 11th year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai’s unpopular government while in a position of strength. (Photo: Mohammad Shoiab/Reuters)

All for nothing? Pakistan-backed Taliban poised to reclaim Afghanistan upon NATO’s exit
The U.S. military said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw, raising the prospect of a major failure of Western policy after a costly war.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the existence of the document, reported on Wednesday by Britain’s Times newspaper and the BBC.

But he said it was not a strategic study.

“The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions,” he said. “It’s not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis.”

Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, dragging into its 11th year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.

It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai’s unpopular government while in a position of strength. (Photo: Mohammad Shoiab/Reuters)

U.S.’s leaner military ‘turning a page’ on a decade of war: Obama President Barack Obama, rolling out a new defense strategy to shrink the country’s armed forces at a time of tight budgets at home, pledged on Thursday to maintain the United States as the world’s dominant military power.But Obama, anticipating attacks from his Republican rivals in an election year over the proposed $489 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years, said the reductions would be limited and not come at the expense of America’s military might.“Our military will be leaner but the world must know – the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats,” Obama told a news briefing at the Pentagon.To get a sense of the size of the U.S military, here is our graphic from earlier last year, looking at the scale of America’s forces.

U.S.’s leaner military ‘turning a page’ on a decade of war: Obama
President Barack Obama, rolling out a new defense strategy to shrink the country’s armed forces at a time of tight budgets at home, pledged on Thursday to maintain the United States as the world’s dominant military power.

But Obama, anticipating attacks from his Republican rivals in an election year over the proposed $489 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years, said the reductions would be limited and not come at the expense of America’s military might.

“Our military will be leaner but the world must know – the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats,” Obama told a news briefing at the Pentagon.

To get a sense of the size of the U.S military, here is our graphic from earlier last year, looking at the scale of America’s forces.

After nine years of hard fought battles, photos capture the U.S. pullout from IraqThey packed their bags, loaded them on trucks and boarded buses to leave the Iraq war behind forever. The  pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq is proceeding as scheduled, fulfilling one of President Obama’s election promises.U.S. forces are scheduled to entirely depart Iraq by December 31, there are currently around 4,000 troops remaining in Iraq. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After nine years of hard fought battles, photos capture the U.S. pullout from Iraq
They packed their bags, loaded them on trucks and boarded buses to leave the Iraq war behind forever. The  pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq is proceeding as scheduled, fulfilling one of President Obama’s election promises.

U.S. forces are scheduled to entirely depart Iraq by December 31, there are currently around 4,000 troops remaining in Iraq. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Army vs. NavyU.S. Military Academy cadets wave a flag in the stands prior to the 112th Army-Navy football game in Landover, Maryland. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  

nationalpostsports:

Army vs. Navy
U.S. Military Academy cadets wave a flag in the stands prior to the 112th Army-Navy football game in Landover, Maryland. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  

The Long RoadRead our special Afghanistan project featuring illustrations by National Post graphics editor Richard Johnson.

The Long Road

Read our special Afghanistan project featuring illustrations by National Post graphics editor Richard Johnson.