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News Flash: Hagel steps down while Obama extends US mission in Afghanistan, Sen. Lindsey Graham “trashes” GOP Benghazi report, Protesters in Ferguson anxiously await Grand Jury announcement

Uprising’s guest expert Rahul Mahajan, Sociologist and news analyst and author of Full Spectrum Dominance: US Power in Iraq and Beyond, analyzes today’s news headlines:

President Obama has quietly extended the US mission in Afghanistan despite a public pledge to draw down troops. Previously, only about 10,000 troops were to remain as per a bilateral “status-of-forces” agreement signed by Afghanistan’s new President, Ashraf Ghani. Now, according to a story based on unnamed officials, the New York Times reports that, “The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.” The paper speculates that the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as pressure from the Pentagon may have led to the decision to extend combat missions. And, in news that may be related, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is reportedly stepping down. Hagel, who is a Republican, may represent a different direction than the one the President hopes to take for the remainder of his term, as he contends with a GOP-dominated Congress. Click here for the NY times article on Obama extending the US role in Afghanistan. Click here for the NY times article on Chuck Hagel stepping down as Defense Secretary

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, released a report on Friday investigating the government’s role in Benghazi, Libya, over a deadly incident that took place nearly 2 years ago involving the death of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Since then, Republicans have tirelessly attempted to use the issue to find fault with the CIA’s actions, hoping to implicate the Obama Administration in wrong-doing. But the report has found none. In response, Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday told CNN, that he thinks “the report is full of crap,” and “a complete bunch of garbage.” Sen. Graham promised to do a “hard review” of the report himself. Click here for the CNN report on this story.

And finally, the much anticipated announcement by a St. Louis, Missouri Grand Jury over whether or not to indict officer Darren Wilson with charges, has not yet happened. The Jury reconvenes today as anti-police brutality protesters, and pro-police activists continue to wait with bated breath. Store fronts have been barricaded, a hundred FBI agents have been deployed, and police have taken over part of a shopping mall outside Ferguson to use as a command headquarters. Protesters are still marching on the streets and have been arrested in small numbers each night. Two men associated with the political group, the New Black Panther Party, were recently arrested for illegal gun purchases, while a woman who reportedly bought a gun in preparation for the decision, accidentally killed herself when her gun discharged during a car accident. Click here for the Reuters article on this story. Click here for The Guardian article about this story. Click here for the CNN article about this story.