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September 21, 2012

News Briefs – September 21, 2012

Reservist, defense contractor plead not guilty

 

A military contractor and an Army reservist have pleaded not guilty to charges in what prosecutors call a multimillion-dollar scheme to win military contracts in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors say defense contractor Michael L. Taylor is being held on a related federal complaint of trying to bribe an FBI agent to drop the investigation.

The Army reservist, David Young, of Hernando Beach, Fla., was released after his court appearance Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Young’s lawyer denies the former Army officer leaked bid information that allowed Taylor’s Boston-based company to win $54 million in contracts to supply Afghan troops with weapons and training.

The case broke in Utah when a third business associate made a series of cash withdrawals from a St. George credit union just under the federal reporting limit of $10,000. Christopher Harris earlier pleaded not guilty to charges in the bid scheme. AP

 

Israel military holds largest snap drill in years

 

Israeli defense officials say the military is conducting its largest snap drill in years. The exercise comes against the backdrop of tensions with Iran and the civil war in Syria.

A military spokesman says the Sept. 19 drill under way in northern and central Israel is a planned, routine event.

But other officials say the exercise is unique in terms of number of soldiers and senior officers involved. Part of the exercise is in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights next to Syria.

They say tens of thousands of soldiers are participating, including the artillery and air force.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations. Israel is worried that Iran is closer to developing nuclear weapons. It also fears Syria’s chemical weapons and missile stocks will fall into rogue hands. AP

 

Report: Syria aimed at Turkish jet with missile

 

Military prosecutors investigating the downing of a Turkish plane by Syria say initial findings show Syria targeted the plane with a long-range missile while it was in international air space.

The report carried by the state-run Anadolu agency Sept. 19 backed Turkish government claims. Syria has insisted the plane was hit by anti-aircraft artillery while flying low in Syrian air space.

The report says radar data and an inspection of the wreckage show the plane was not hit, but that it lost altitude and crashed from the power of a missile blast near its rear.

The plane went down in the Mediterranean Sea near Syria, killing its two pilots.

The June 22 incident further strained ties between the two neighbors. AP

 

Military contractor cuts 145 jobs in Alabama

 

A major defense contractor is laying off 145 workers in Anniston, Ala.

The Anniston Star reports that BAE systems will shut down a plant that upgrades and overhauls military vehicles by the end of the year.

The company says it doesn’t need the site because a decrease in the use of tracked combat vehicles has resulted in less need for maintenance work.

BAE Systems says the closure doesn’t affect two other facilities in Anniston, site of the Army’s huge Anniston Army Depot.

The company is the world’s second-largest defense contractor. AP

 




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