National-Guard-plans-exit-from-Baltimore

National Guard plans exit from Baltimore

Things could be returning to normal in Baltimore: The city has lifted its curfew, the National Guard is preparing its exit and a mall that had been a flashpoint in the riots has been reopened.

The “goal,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake “has always been to not have the curfew in place a single day longer than was necessary.”

The mayor spoke following a tour of Mondawmin Mall, which reopened Sunday after recovering from rioting that police said was spawned by social media rumors of a “purge” following Freddie Gray’s death.

Because of the improving conditions in the city, she said, the National Guard will be wrapping up its operations, but don’t expect the troops to leave immediately.

“It’s not like you flip a switch,” she said. “They have to unwind their operations, and they’re going to do that over this next week.”

Asked if she thought it was premature to send the military home, she replied, “It will either be too long or too early. You’ll let me know afterward.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, speaking at a separate news conference Sunday, said it “will take a couple days, maybe about 72 hours” to complete the drawdown, at which point the state of emergency can be lifted.

“We’ve already started to withdraw. It will take a little while. We brought 4,000 people in,” he said.

The city can now take a breath and assess the events that rocked the city since Gray’s death.

Since April 23, police made 486 arrests at protests, rallies and other gatherings related to Gray’s death, police spokesman Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk said Sunday.

Since last Saturday, 113 police officers have been injured. Forty-six people were arrested Saturday night, four of them juveniles, he said.

Two hundred Baltimore businesses — many of them minority-owned and many lacking insurance — were lost in the April 27 protests alone — the worst night of protests. It “will take a little while to get back to normal,” Hogan said, “but let’s get people back to normal, get people back in the city to visit devastated shops.”

The majority of stores inside Mondawmin reopened Sunday, Rawlings-Blake said, declaring it “a great day for this community.”

Six police officers have been charged in the death of Gray last month, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Friday.

The 25-year-old died after suffering “a severe and critical neck injury” while being transported “handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained” inside a police van, she said. It is against police policy to transport a prisoner without proper restraints such as a seat belt.

The police union called for an independent prosecutor, saying Mosby has conflicts of interests. They also criticized her for not waiting until police were done with their inquiry.

“We are disappointed in the apparent rush to judgment, given the fact that the investigation into this matter has not been concluded,” said Gene Ryan, president of the police union. “Our officers, like every other American, are entitled to due process.”

Police officers arrested Gray on April 12. He slipped into a coma after suffering a series of injuries and died a week later.

Mosby said the incident began when two police officers on bike patrol “made eye contact” with Gray, who then ran.

When officers caught up to him, he surrendered and was placed on the ground, arms handcuffed behind his back. He said he couldn’t breathe and asked for an inhaler, but he did not get it, according to Mosby.

Russian-Jet-Nearly-Collides-with-US-Spy-Jet-Over-Europe

Russian Fighter Jet Nearly Collides with U.S. Spy Jet Over Europe

A Russia Su-27 jet fighter flew dangerously close and nearly collided with a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft this week in the latest aerial provocation by Moscow, defense officials revealed to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Su-27 conducted the close-in intercept of an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, said officials. The incident prompted a diplomatic protest.

“On the morning of April 7th, a U.S. RC-135U flying a routine route in international airspace was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen M. Lainez.

“The United States is raising this incident with Russia in the appropriate diplomatic and official channels,” she said in a statement.

A defense official said the Russian fighter jet flew within 20 feet of the unarmed reconnaissance jet in what the official called a “reckless” encounter that endangered the lives of the RC-135 crew.

No details were available regarding the mission of the RC-135, which was in a position to monitor Russian military activities in western Russia and Kaliningrad.

In Moscow, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed the incident.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman, said the intercept was carried out after the aircraft was detected by Russian radar.

“Russian air defense radars spotted an unidentified air target over the Baltic Sea making steady progress toward the national border,” he said according to several state-controlled news outlets. The report said the U.S. aircraft was operating without its signal transponder turned on.

“No emergency situation was reported during the fly-by of the American reconnaissance aircraft,” Konashenkov said.

The RC-135 is a militarized and upgraded Boeing 707 jetliner that can be configured for several types of intelligence gathering, including photo, nuclear monitoring, and electronic spying.

The RC-135U variant involved in Tuesday’s near collision is code-named Combat Sent and conducts technical intelligence gathering on enemy electronic signals and radar emitters.

The monitoring comes amid new worries that Russia is deploying new short-range Iskander nuclear capable missiles in Kaliningrad and Russian-occupied Crimea in the Ukraine.

A second defense official said there have been no recent Russian aerial provocations near U.S. coasts. But Moscow is expected to ramp up its training operations flights around this time of year.

“That means we’re probably due for [aerial encounters] soon,” the official said.

The most recent similar encounter took place March 24 when two Su-27s, along with two nuclear capable Tu-22 Backfire bombers, conducted flights over the Baltic. The Russian jets were flying without signal beacon transponders that permit air traffic controllers to monitor their flight paths. They were intercepted by Swedish jets.

It could not be learned if U.S. or NATO jets were sent to escort the RC-135 over the Baltic Sea.

The threatening aerial encounter followed a series of provocative Russian military aircraft encounters, mainly involving the dispatch of nuclear-capable Tu-95 Bear bombers near U.S. and European coasts.

Flights of Russian strategic aircraft near U.S. and allied airspace have sharply increased as part of a campaign of nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

Adm. William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, expressed his military concerns about the increase in Russian military flights and provocations during a briefing with reporters the same day of the RC-135 incident over the Baltic.

“The Russians have developed a far more capable military than the quantitative, very large military that the Soviet Union had,” Gortney said, adding that Moscow has adopted a new strategic doctrine that is being demonstrated by the provocations.

“At the same time, they are messaging us,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. “They’re messaging us that they’re a global power—we do the same sort of thing—with their long-range aviation.”

Gortney said the numbers of incidents have gone up but he did not have the percentages.

“And so we watch very carefully what they’re doing,” he said. The Russians need to adhere to “international standards that are required by all airplanes that are out there,” he said, “and everybody is flying in a professional manner on their side and our side as we watch very closely.”

Eric Edelman, former undersecretary of defense for policy, said the latest incident appears to be part of a pattern of activities by Russia that began around 2007 when Russian President Vladimir Putin began protesting U.S. missile defenses in Europe. The provocative activities have taken place in both the skies and on the sea, Edelman said.

The Russians are engaged in what Edelman said is “station identification”—signaling that they remain a relevant nuclear weapons power.

“It’s part of a pattern now of very, very provocative activities, both in the air and on the sea,” Edelman said in an interview.

The Russians are signaling that “we’re still here, we’re still an important military power, your nuclear peer, and they are seeking to intimidate the Balts, Swedes, and Finns,” he said. The Baltic states are Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

A report by the European Leadership Network, “Dangerous Brinksmanship: Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014,” states that last year NATO aircraft conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, three times the number of intercepts in 2013. A total of 11 encounters were described as being of a serious and “more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher level risk of escalation.”

“These include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions,” the report said, noting that the intensity and gravity of the incidents coincided with the Russian annexation of Crimea.

“These events add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided mid-air collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs, and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area.”

The report said the Russians appear to be testing NATO and European defenses, as well as using the provocative actions to contribute to an information warfare campaign.

The Russian provocations “serve as a demonstration of Russia’s capability to effectively use force for intimidation and coercion, particularly against its immediate neighbors,” the report said.

Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said in Senate testimony in February that Russian nuclear actions are a significant problem.

“Russia’s recent behavior currently poses one of our most pressing and evolving strategic challenges—challenges felt across the strategic forces mission space,” McKeon said.

“We are confronted with Russia’s occupation of Crimea, continuing Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s increasingly aggressive nuclear posturing and threats, including the prospect of nuclear weapons in Crimea, and its violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.”

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, stated in testimony to the Senate in February that Russian aerial provocations were part of a number of “troubling actions” by Moscow

Until recently, military spokesmen have sought to play down the Russian aerial provocations, frequently dismissing intrusions into U.S. and Canadian air defense identification zones as not a threat.

“It’s ‘station identification’ and a former of intimidation, and it’s dangerous,” said Edelman, a former ambassador to Finland. “Some time something bad is going to happen, particularly against the backdrop of what’s going on in the Ukraine, and it could lead to inadvertent escalation and confrontation. It’s very dangerous.”

UPDATE Saturday, April 11, 11:10 A.M.: This article has been updated with comment from a spokesman for the Russian government, who confirmed the incident.

ORGANIC-MOLECULES-FOUND-IN-AN-INFANT-STAR-SYSTEM

ORGANIC MOLECULES FOUND IN AN INFANT STAR SYSTEM

Astronomers have detected a basic ingredient of life in an infant star system. The discovery shows that Earth is not the only star system that contains life compounds.
Researchers used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of European Southern Observatory for this purpose. They designed a video tour of the star to display their discovery.
The star, dubbed as MWC 480, is located around 455 light years away from the Earth. It is present in the constellation of Taurus. The size of MWC 480 is nearly double the size of sun. Even sun cannot compete with its high radiance.
The gas cloud of the star contains several molecules of carbon and methyl cyanide. Cynaides is quite essential as it contain carbon-nitrogen bond that are essential for the formation of amino acids. This is the first time when scientists have discovered such compounds in dust clouds of any star. . It confirms that numerous other Earth-like planets contain complex molecules. The molecules are the basic requirement of living organisms.
Karin Oberg, a researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, talked about the findings. He informs that the heavy organic compound is an evidence of cometary composition.

US-soldier-killed-in-possible-Afghan-insider-attack

U.S. soldier killed in possible Afghan insider attack

An Afghan man dressed in the uniform of local security forces opened fire on U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing one American and wounding several more before the shooter himself was killed, a U.S. official said.

Many details surrounding the incident were still unclear. The Pentagon and U.S. State Department only confirmed an exchange of gunfire between U.S. and Afghan forces, saying an investigation was ongoing.

“I can confirm that one American soldier was killed today,” Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters.

Asked whether this was an insider attack by an Afghan soldier turning his weapon against NATO forces, Warren said: “It’s a little early to tell. Indications are leaning that way.”

“But we need to let a little more information come out first,” Warren added.

Two Afghan soldiers were also injured in the shootout, but it was unclear who had fired first, Afghan police said.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said shooting was initiated by an unidentified Afghan man dressed in the uniform of Afghan security forces. He was killed in the ensuing return fire from American troops.

A second U.S. official estimated that around six Americans were wounded.

The U.S. State Department acknowledged only that an exchange of gunfire took place about an hour after State Department officials held a meeting with the provincial governor in Jalalabad. They had left the site before the shooting began, officials said.

“I have seen nothing to indicate they were targeted though, and I know the investigation is ongoing,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.

The frequency of “insider attacks” in Afghanistan has fallen sharply this year as most foreign forces withdrew from the country in 2014.

A small contingent of around 12,000 NATO troops remains in Afghanistan to train Afghan forces after the combat mission officially ended last year.

Wednesday’s incident was the first since January, when three U.S. military contractors were killed by an Afghan soldier in the capital Kabul.

In the final years of the war, dozens of incidents seriously eroded trust between Afghan forces and their international allies, forcing the coalition to scale back interaction with government troops.

The Taliban have sometimes claimed that insider attacks reflect their ability to infiltrate the enemy, but Afghan and coalition forces say incidents more often arise over misunderstandings or arguments between troops.

Yemen-conflict-Red-Cross-calls-for-truce

Yemen conflict: Red Cross calls for truce as thousands flee homes amid heavy fighting

Around 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes as heavy fighting rages in Yemen, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF says.

The World Health Organisation says at least 550 people have died in the fighting in recent weeks, with hospitals under increasing pressure as they run short of supplies and struggle to cope with mass casualties.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) plans to fly in 48 tonnes of medical help and other supplies over the next two days.

ICRC said the crisis was catastrophic, particularly in southern city of Aden where forces loyal to exiled president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi continue to battle Houthi rebels, backed by shelling from Saudi-led warships.

ICRC spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali is calling for an immediate truce so the aid can get through.

“What’s more important today is for the medical supplies to arrive to Yemen,” she said.

“We will manage its distribution to medical facilities and clinics and hospitals through the health and housing ministries in Yemen.

“We will also transport them via the Red Cross vehicles so that they are secured.

“The humanitarian conditions are very, very bad.

“Beside the airstrikes, which we can hear a little bit right now, there are also wars and battles that are still ongoing in some of the areas and particularly in Aden.

“The hospitals are suffering a lot. They are unable to care for the large numbers of wounded and there are also the bodies that are on the streets which the families are unable to pick up and bury in a suitable manner.”

Many Yemenis and foreigners have escaped by ship to neighbouring Djibouti

Tom Kelly, US ambassador to Djibouti, told the BBC the Houthi rebels should enter peace talks.

“We are told by evacuees who we’re talking to that the situation is extremely dire,” he said.

“Clearly what needs to happen is the Houthis need to come to the bargaining table.”

But there is no sign talks are imminent, as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia continues its air strikes against the rebels.

Meanwhile, the United States is firming up support for a Saudi-led coalition and says it is speeding up the delivery of weapons to those confronting Houthi fighters in the region.

McCain-to-run-for-sixth-term-in-2016

John McCain to run for sixth term in 2016

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared in separate media interviews he will run for a sixth term next year.

“The reason why I want to seek re-election is that there’s a lot more to do, both for Arizona and the country,” McCain told The Arizona Republic in an interview in his Phoenix office on Monday.

John McCain to run for sixth term in 2016

McCain told NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell in an interview posted online before midnight that he’s “more than ready” and “eager” for what could be a tough 2016 campaign.

McCain, 78, is currently chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The former GOP presidential nominee will be 80 in August 2016.

The senator is set to appear Tuesday at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry luncheon in Phoenix where he’ll formally announce his plans.

McCain had said previously he expected to be a top target in the next election cycle. The Arizona Republic recently reported that Tea Party groups are stepping up efforts to find a GOP primary opponent for McCain, who has long angered conservatives with his support for overhauling the immigration system.

McCain easily beat back a 2010 primary challenge from former congressman J.D. Hayworth, on his way to securing a fifth Senate term.

UN-demands-aid-to-Yarmuk-camp-in-Syria

UN Security Council demands aid access to Yarmuk camp in Syria

The UN Security Council has demanded access for life-saving humanitarian aid to reach refugees trapped in Syria’s Yarmuk camp after it was partly seized by the Islamic State group.

Islamic State fighters have captured large swaths of the Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus in an offensive launched on April 1 and hundreds of families have been evacuated.

The 15-member council yesterday called “for the protection of civilians in the camp for ensuring a humanitarian access to the area including by providing life-saving assistance,” said Jordan’s Ambassador Dina Kawar, who chairs the council this month.

Kawar told reporters after a closed-door council meeting that there was deep concern over the “grave situation” for the 18,000 refugees in the camp and demanded safe passage for the evacuation of civilians.

The council is ready to consider “further measures to provide necessary assistance,” said Kawar, but she did not provide details.

The council received a report from Pierre Krahenbuhl, of the Palestinian UNRWA relief agency, who described the situation in the camp as “more desperate than ever.”

Krahenbuhl told reporters that he appealed to countries with influence in Syria to act “for civilian lives to be spared and for humanitarian access to be given.”

The UNRWA chief said he was unable to verify that IS had carried out beheadings in the camp.

Jihadists from IS first attacked the camp, just seven kilometres (four miles) from central Damascus, on Wednesday.

The camp is encircled by government forces and was under a tight siege for more than a year.

The UNRWA chief said refugees were living on rations of some 400 calories per day, well below the minimum average of 2,000 set by the World Health Organisation.

“What civilians in Yarmuk are most concerned about right now is bare survival,” he said.

Palestinian refugees who leave Yarmouk will face relocation to some other area of Syria, Krahenbuhl said.

Doctor-says-Moscow-should-nuke-Yellowstone-if-tensions-boil-over

A Russian ‘Doctor of Military Sciences’ says Moscow should just nuke Yellowstone if tensions boil over

Earlier this week, the Russian president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems outlined two geophysically weak US regions to attack in order to combat NATO’s aggression toward Russia.

In his article, Konstantin Sivkov justifies the option of “complete destruction of the enemy” because NATO has been “moving to the borders or Russia.”

Sivkov, listed as a “Docter of Military Sciences,” described scenarios that involved dropping a nuclear weapon near Yellowstone’s supervolcano or the San Andreas Fault.

In the past 2.1 million years, Yellowstone’s volcano has violently erupted three times and “blanketed parts of the North American continent with ash and debris,” according to the US Geological Survey.
Some scientists argue that Yellowstone’s active supervolcano is long overdue for a colossal eruption.

“Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munition megaton class to initiate an eruption. The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States, a country just disappears,” he said, according to a translation by Sydney Morning Herald.

According to a Discovery Channel documentary, an eruption of this magnitude would bury North America, drape the atmosphere in a sulfur haze, dim sunlight, and plunge the world into a volcanic winter.

Another option would be to drop a nuclear bomb near California’s San Andreas Fault. “A detonation of a nuclear weapon there can trigger catastrophic events like a coast-scale tsunami which can completely destroy the infrastructure of the United States,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s translation.
Since last year’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to international criticism and economic sanctions placed on his country by flexing his nation’s military muscle around the world.

The crisis in Ukraine reflects a turning point in NATO’s stance on Putin and emphasizes a growing concern stemming from the origins of NATO, which was formed for collective territorial defense.

“He wants to restore the Russian empire … I don’t know where he’ll stop,” Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said of Putin earlier this month during a speech at the Center for Strategic International Studies.

Iran-ramps-up-sea-power

Iran ramps up sea power while negotiating nukes with West

While the U.S. haggles with Iran over nuclear weapons, the Islamic Republic is aggressively building up a navy — a move that has regional neighbors concerned.

The focus on Tehran’s nuclear weapons capabilities could be a mistake, if it comes at the exclusion of addressing the seafaring capabilities of the rogue regime, not to mention the active proxy fighting Iran is engaging in throughout the Middle East, a former U.S. Army officer with intimate knowledge of the Iranian military told FoxNews.com. And it isn’t just analysts warning that Iran has plans to project power and influence around the Persian Gulf — the nation’s top military officials are rattling their sabers on a near-daily basis.

“The Americans and our enemies cannot stand up against the Islamic system’s deterrence power no matter how hard they try,” Navy Rear Adm. Ali Fadavi, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, told Iranian state-run media.

International sanctions have long stunted Iran’s ability to buy weapons, but the nation has nonetheless managed to acquire and even build one of the world’s largest naval fleets, according to the website GlobalFirepower.com. Earlier this month, Iran touted its “homemade destroyer,” naval presence in international waters and “anti-surface and anti-subsurface weapons.” In February, Iran staged USS Cole-style missile and rocket attacks on a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The U.S. 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain across the Persian Gulf from Iran.

“We were aware of an exercise by Iranian naval forces involving a mockup of a vessel similar to an aircraft carrier last month,” U.S. Defense Department spokesperson, Cmdr. Elissa Smith, told FoxNews.com. “We are confident in our naval forces’ ability to defend themselves against any maritime threat.”

“They are reasonably capable by regional standards.”
– Michael Connell, Iranian military analyst

Iran’s naval headquarters is at Bandar Abbas, the southern coastal city on the Persian Gulf. Its frigates and destroyers are based there, and most of Iran’s higher-profile naval exercises have been launched from Bandar Abbas. The nation operates smaller bases on the Gulf and also has bases and its naval academy on the Caspian Sea, on Iran’s northern border.

Kenneth Pollack, a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution who testified on regional security during a March 24 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, says Iran’s naval abilities include mines, missiles and traditional assets.

“There’s no question [Iran] can do some damage,” Pollack told FoxNews.com. But “that crazy exercise” does not prove Iran “is a serious threat to the United States.”

Image taken from Iranian state TV shows damage to a mock U.S. aircraft carrier during large-scale naval and air defense drills by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, near the Strait of Hormuz, on Feb. 25. AP Photo/Iran TV)
“The mock carrier didn’t fire back,” said Michael Connell, a senior researcher with the Iranian Studies Program at Arlington, Va.-based CNA Corporation.

Connell believes the strengths of Iran’s two parallel navies include their “asymmetric” military investments in small boats that could launch “problematic” attacks, and their use of mines and missiles. But he also worries about their regional influence.

“They are reasonably capable by regional standards,” he said.

When the commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet warned its shipes were headed to the U.S. last year, the world snickered. But Iran’s navy is a regional threat, say experts. (FARS News Agency)
In February 2014, a top Iranian admiral warned that two Iranian warships were headed toward the U.S., a threat Adm. Afshin Rezayee Haddad said was in response to the ongoing presence of the U.S. Navy’s 5th fleet, which is based in Bahrain, across the Persian Gulf. But the British-built ships, which were reportedly carrying roughly 30 Iranian Navy academy cadets, likely never made it out of the Gulf, experts said.

Security experts say Iran’s conventional naval assets are no match for the U.S. and its allies. But American officials have pointed to Iran’s role in supporting the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Syrian government, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq as evidence of the country’s growing threat to the Middle East and the U.S.

“There is a dangerous delusion that Iran can be a force for good in the region,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said during Tuesday’s Senate hearing.

A spokesperson for McCain directed FoxNews.com to an earlier March joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in which the the two said:

“We cannot afford to treat Iran solely as an arms control challenge. Iran is a geopolitical challenge.”

The risk to regional security is among the greatest challenges Iran poses, according to Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and a former Defense Department advisor on Iranian nuclear, military and political issues.

“Their support for terrorism is a threat to regional security,” Goldenberg told FoxNews.com.

Goldenberg argues that while Iran’s nuclear program is a major concern, the U.S. should be doing more to address Iran’s other risks to the region and the world.

Iran’s nuclear program “is the most important challenge, but … we should be doing more to push back,” Goldenberg said.

Bergdahl-letter-outlines-torture

New Bergdahl letter outlines torture

Washington (CNN)House Speaker John Boehner said Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is “innocent until proven guilty” after the U.S. military charged him with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, but emphasized in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that he was more concerned about the circumstances of his release.

Bergdahl’s attorney also released a statement on Wednesday, outlining his defense of the soldier and containing a two-page letter from Bergdahl describing the torture he endured, which included months spent chained to a bed and further years spent chained on all fours or locked in a cage.

“Well, like any American, you’re innocent until proven guilty. And these charges are coming. There will be a trial,” he told Bash in an interview taped Wednesday to air Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Boehner said the “more troubling part of this” is the fact that the U.S. government traded five Taliban fighters for Bergdahl’s release, and that recent reports indicate one has returned to the battlefield. He expressed concerns about other detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, which President Barack Obama is working to close, “ending up back on the battlefield and threatening Americans here and abroad.”

Obama “violated the law” in failing to alert Congress before the prisoner swap occurred, Boehner added.

“And I still believe that’s the more troubling part of this,” he said. “We’ve made clear in the past that we won’t negotiate with terrorists, and but yet here we did.”

Military officials announced Wednesday afternoon they would charge Bergdahl with one count each of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan before being captured and held captive for five years. For that, he faces charges that carry a maximum penalty of life in a military prison, and he could also have to forfeit pay and be stripped of his rank, Army Col. Daniel King said as he announced the charges.

Bergdahl faces a military procedure similar to a grand jury that will whether charges are appropriate, King said. Then, he could face court martial proceedings.

The decision comes nearly a year after Bergdahl returned to the United States as part of a prisoner exchange and since the Army began a formal investigation into his disappearance from his unit in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009.

The Army concluded its investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture in December. Until now, it has been in the hands of Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, who made the decision to charge Bergdahl. Several U.S. military officials CNN has spoken with suggested privately that the process took longer than expected.

Ahead of Wednesday’s announcement, officials said Milley only had a few choices. Though the sense had been that Bergdahl must be held accountable for his actions, there had been little appetite for a lengthy term in military confinement given the five years Bergdahl was held by the Taliban.

Shortly after the charges were announced, Bergdahl’s attorneys released a lengthy statement that includes a letter sent to Milley earlier this month outlining their defense of the soldier.

“In light of the nearly five years of harsh captivity Sgt. Bergdahl endured, the purpose of his leaving his unit, and his behavior while a prisoner, it would be unduly harsh to impose on him the lifetime stigma of a court-martial conviction or an other than honorable discharge and to deny him veterans benefits,” attorney Eugene R. Fidell writes in the letter.

The statement includes a two-page accounting from Bergdahl of his time in captivity, in which he recounts months spent chained to a bed, then further years spent chained on all fours or locked in a cage.

Bergdahl said for years his body and health declined due to malnourishment, and sores on his wrists and ankles from the shackles grew infected.

“My body started a steady decline in constant internal sickness that would last through the final year,” he said.

Bergdahl was frequently beaten, at times with copper wire or a thick rubber hose, and forced to watch Taliban videos, he said. He had no concept of time, and was repeatedly told he would be killed and would never again see his family.

“I was kept in constant isolation during the entire five years, with little to no understanding of time, through periods of constant darkness, periods of constant light, and periods of completely random flickering of light and absolutely no understanding of anything that was happening beyond the door I was held behind,” he wrote.

Bergdahl tried a dozen times to escape, he wrote.

Now 28, Bergdahl was taken by the Haqqani terrorist network. But the circumstances of Bergdahl’s departure from his base and how willingly he left have not been clear.

King said he couldn’t offer those details on Wednesday, and that they’re being treated as evidence for the upcoming proceedings against Bergdahl.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Arizona, called the charges an “important step” on Wednesday.

“This is an important step in the military justice process towards determining the accountability of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl,” he said in a statement. “I am confident that the Department of the Army will continue to ensure this process is conducted with the utmost integrity under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, meanwhile, lambasted the “unevenness” of Obama’s swap of five Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl.

“I wouldn’t have done this trade for a Medal of Honor winner,” he told CNN. “No military member should expect their country to turn over five Taliban commanders to get their release. Nobody should expect that. It’s not the nature of his service that drives my thinking it’s just the illogical nature of the swap.”

Some members of Bergdahl’s platoon have criticized him, labeling Bergdahl a deserter.

“I was pissed off then, and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon when he went missing on June 30, 2009, told CNN last year. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war, and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”

Bergdahl was freed in May when President Barack Obama agreed to swap five Taliban prisoners who had been detained in Guantanamo Bay to secure Bergdahl’s freedom, sending those detainees to Qatar.

Obama announced Bergdahl’s release to fanfare in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by the Army sergeant’s parents, Bob and Jani Bergdahl. His hometown of Hailey, Idaho, had planned a parade to celebrate Bergdahl’s homecoming but later canceled that celebration amid security concerns stemming from the unanswered questions surrounding his disappearance and the resulting controversy over his release.

After returning to the United States, Bergdahl had been on active duty at an administrative job at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. There, the Army assigned Bergdahl a “sponsor” to help him adjust to life in his new post. Upon returning, Bergdahl refused to meet with his parents — and months later, Army officials had said he was communicating with them but still had not met them face to face.

The five figures the United States exchanged to secure Bergdahl’s release were Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq and Mohammad Nabi Omari. They were mostly mid- to high-level officials in the Taliban regime and had been detained early in the war in Afghanistan because of their positions within the Taliban, not because of ties to al Qaeda.

The detainee swap for Bergdahl has become increasingly controversial in recent weeks after a report published by the office of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said one of the 17 intelligence agencies operating under its umbrella had judged that a prisoner released in the exchange had since contacted the Taliban.