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An Air Force veteran accused of being a mercenary was just freed from detention in Libya
A U.S. Air Force veteran held captive for six weeks by the Libyan military amid allegations that he was a hired mercenary was freed by the U.S. government on Tuesday, the Washington Post first reported.
- Jamie Sponaugle, a 31-year-old mechanic who served on active duty between 2006 and 2013, was captured by the Libyan National Army after his aircraft "went down" near the country's capitol of Tripoli on May 7, several unnamed U.S. government official told the Washington Post.
- Sponaugle served as an active-duty airman from November 2006 until April 2013, and he went on to serve in the Air National Guard from December 2013 to February 2017, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.
- His Air Force Specialty Code was command and control battle management ops and he left the service as an E-5 staff sergeant. When he left active-duty, he was serving as an airspace technician with 6 Medical Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
- Sponaugle's military awards include the Air Force NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border, Iraq Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, and Nuclear Deterence Operations Service Medal.
- He was accused by the LNA, one of the two major political factions currently locked in a civil war for control of the country, of "piloting a Mirage F1, a French-made combat jet, while conducting bombing missions against its forces in the area," according to the Washington Post.
- On May 8, the day after Sponaugle's reported downing, LNA claimed it had shot down a Portuguese mercenary "flying a Mirage F1 warplane of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord," the LNA's main political rival.
- The Washington Post confirmed that video footage published by an Libyan media outlet that same day showed a bloodied Sponaugle receiving medical treatment and identifying himself as a 29-year-old Portuguese national named "Jimmy Rees."
- "It's not clear whether Sponaugle violated U.S. law by working for or fighting with any party in Libya," the Washington Post notes. "Many countries including the United States employ foreign security contractors, who can play a variety of roles and are sometimes armed."
- Read the whole story at The Washington Post
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.