Senator McCaskill Proves Herself Long on ‘Wind,’ Short on Wisdom

After watching the video that accompanied a news release I received this afternoon from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), I found the news release’s headline, “McCaskill Hears About Success of New Reform to Curb Military Sexual Assault,” incredibly misleading.

How was it misleading?  The Show-Me State’s senior senator did more bloviating than she did listening.  In fact, she rambled on for two and a half minutes about the so-called “reforms” in the military justice system’s approach to prosecuting alleged instances of sexual assault before Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno got a word in edgewise. And the video was only three minutes and two seconds long!

I guess that’s how she plays the game.

To learn more about the Senator McCaskill’s misguided push for reforms in the prosecution of cases of sexual assault cases — real and imagined — in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about one case, in particular, that resulted in the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

SHOCK: ‘If You Like Your Military, You Can Keep Your Military’

“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”

Click image above to read other articles in my series, "War on Men in the Military."

Click image above to read other articles in my series, “War on Men in the Military.”

To my knowledge, President Barack Obama hasn’t said that yet — at least, not in public. But the military justice system seems to be headed down the same path as the nation’s healthcare system.

Unlike the debate regarding healthcare, the debate about the need for military justice reforms involves people in positions of power (i.e., President Obama and members of Congress) who have absolutely no concept of what is necessary in a military justice system, because they have never served.  Led by people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), they advocate steps that will only worsen an already-flawed system.

One person who seems to understand what’s at stake is Patti Fruit, a resident of the Fayetteville, N.C., area near Fort Bragg.  While I don’t agree with everything she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer about the headline-making outcome of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair’s court-martial, I do agree with the following point she made:

“Yes, he admits to adultery with underlings, but why military women who have achieved rank did not have the honor and courage to report the general’s advances from the beginning is a question that needs addressing.”

What was the outcome of General Sinclair’s case?  Sexual assault charges against him were dropped after political influence, in lieu of facts, was cited as the driving force behind a higher-ranking general’s decision to prosecute Sinclair.

One-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite Ms. Fruit, members of The New York Times Editorial Board revealed in a letter published today that they don’t have a clue about the military justice system.  Their lack of a “clue” is illustrated in the two paragraphs highlighted below:

The deal followed a stunning ruling by a military judge last week suggesting that by holding out for more severe punishment, and by rejecting an earlier plea deal, the senior Army officer overseeing the prosecution might have been improperly influenced by political considerations in bringing the most severe charges against the general because of a desire to show new resolve in the military against sexual misconduct. The prosecution had also been badly shaken by revelations that the general’s accuser may have lied under oath.

The episode offers a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system, which gives commanding officers with built-in conflicts of interest — rather than trained and independent military prosecutors outside the chain of command — the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.

The Times Editorial Board’s description of this week’s happenings in the case as “a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system” is about as truthful as any of President Obama’s promises concerning the so-called Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”).

"Three Days In August" Promotional Photo

Click on image above to order book.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” the president said. We all know how long that promise lasted.

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the president said. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost coverage since ObamaCare went “live.”

“We’re going to work with employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” the president said.

Rather than telling us “If you like your military, you can keep your military,” it appears President Obama and his sycophants on The Left are determined to dismantle it without asking for input from anyone else and without regard for or our nation’s security. In short, the military justice system seems destined toward the same fate as healthcare and, sadly, Republicans in Congress seem to lack the wherewithal (a.k.a., “spines”) to do anything about it.

If Americans don’t stand up and demand their politicians stop meddling with the military, then they’ll deserve the military that’s left standing. And it won’t be pretty. Or, for that matter, an effective fighting force.

To learn more about sexual assault prosecutions in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about the case involving Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August, the nonfiction book in which I chronicle his life story and wrongful conviction in a U.S. military courtroom in Germany.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

War Against Men in the Military: Cases Bear Shocking Similarities

While reading a WRAL.com article today, I couldn’t help but notice shocking similarities between the sexual assault prosecutions of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair and Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose wrongful conviction is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

Click image above to read other articles in my series, "War on Men in the Military."

Click image above to read other articles in my series, “War on Men in the Military.”

One example can be found in the three paragraphs that follow an explanation of how the military judge in the case decided to prosecute despite a recommendation from the lead prosecutor that General Sinclair’s plea to a charge of adultery be accepted. The example begins in paragraph four as follows:

The defense contends that the captain, who served with Sinclair in Iraq and Afghanistan, committed perjury in a January hearing about finding text messages form Sinclair on an old cellphone, making her a poor witness on which to build a case against the general.

The captain said in the January hearing that she came across the old phone in December and charged it up to see if there was anything on it that would affect Sinclair’s court-martial. A defense forensics expert contradicted her testimony, saying she had turned the phone on several times in the months before she said she found it packed in a box.

The defense argues in the motion that the Army continues to press the case only to support a get-tough policy against sex assault in the military.

Click image above to read reviews of Three Days In August.

Click image above to read reviews of Three Days In August.

Notice the word, perjury, and how a forensics expert proved it? Apparently, perjury by a female in a military sexual assault case isn’t cause for concern.

In the case of Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran, several instances of perjury surfaced during and after his court-martial.

Two that surfaced during the trial involved a German police detective and a taxi driver whose memory issues are highlighted in the article, German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

One arose during the pre-sentencing phase and involved the accuser offering a strange definition of “contact.”

Yet another was brought to the court’s attention by a long-time friend of the accuser who made a post-trial statement that should have netted Stewart a new trial.

I, for one, can’t wait to read the trial transcript if or when General Sinclair’s case reaches the trial phase. Why? Because I suspect it will be as chock full of half-truths, lies and innuendo as Stewart’s trial was as the War on Men in the Military continues.

UPDATE 3/16/2014 at 8:13 p.m. Central: Sexual assault charges dropped against general after case tainted by political influence.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

War on Men in the Military Spawns New Book, New Victim

The War on Men in the Military spawned a new book and a new victim in recent days, thanks largely to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and her efforts to demonize people involved in the case of alleged sexual assault involving Air Force fighter pilot Lt. Col. James H. Wilkerson III.

NEW BOOK

The Whole Truth by Bob Harvey

Click image above to order.

Retired Air Force Col. Bob Harvey released his first book, The Whole Truth: The Tainted Prosecution of an American Fighter Pilot.

In 336 pages, Colonel Harvey reveals the lengths the military will go to appease politicians and aggressively prosecute sexual assault cases, even when the evidence doesn’t support a conviction or even going to trial.

More specifically, the former F-16 pilot and combat veteran focuses on details of the case in which Colonel Wilkerson was wrongly convicted and sentenced to one year in prison before his court-martial conviction was overturned by Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, then commander of Third Air Force, who was performing his role as convening authority in the case.  He also spotlights two key issues — no physical evidence and conflicting testimony — and points out how the Air Force ignored facts and used questionable tactics in a relentless pursuit of a conviction in the high-profile case.

Lt. Col. James Wilkerson

Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, USAF

The Whole Truth strikes me as similar to my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, in which I chronicled the wrongful sexual-assault conviction of Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.  Colonel Harvey puts the case against Colonel Wilkerson on trial and uses court-martial records to examine the story point by point and point out the wrongs against an officer who, despite having his conviction overturned, was forced into early retirement at the reduced rank of major.

I highly recommend you order a copy of The Whole Truth, read it, and tell your friends to do the same.

GENERAL RESIGNS, SENATOR CROWS

In announcing his retirement earlier this week, according to a report in Stars and Stripes, General Franklin was diplomatic and cited his belief that the public questioning of his judgment as a general court-martial convening authority had become “a distraction for the Air Force.”

Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, USAF

Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, USAF

Conversely, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was anything but diplomatic in a news release I received via email yesterday about the general she had lambasted for months:

“Lt. Gen. Franklin’s decision to resign is the right one.  His handling of sexual assault cases is the best possible illustration of why civilian review, elimination of commanders’ ability to overturn convictions, and so many other protections are included in our recent defense bill.”

To learn more about how the military command structure is being weakened via the overhaul of the military justice system by people like Senator McCaskill, follow my series, War on Men in the Military.  The first post in that series, published March 7, 2013, can be found here.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Today Marks 4th Anniversary of Green Beret’s Bogus Conviction on Sexual Assault Charges

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Four years ago today, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart was found guilty by members of a court-martial panel of several sexual assault-related charges despite the fact Army prosecutors presented no evidence of any kind to prove his guilt.  In short, the highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran became one of the early victims of the War on Men in the Military.  Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, provides graphic details of what happened the night after SFC Stewart learned he had been found guilty.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

Kelly A. Stewart

“So, they find me guilty.  It’s late at night.  In an instant, my whole life got flushed right down the toilet,” said Kelly A. Stewart, recalling the verdict that changed his life just before midnight on August 19, 2009.  “I am smart enough to know that my life is screwed.  The rest of my life.  No matter what.  My life is done.

“Clearly, I felt that I was shafted, and I knew there was no way to fix it,” the career soldier and Green Beret explained.  “This is an analogy I use.  It might come across as messed up, but this is my analogy, and this is why I chose to do what I did.

“I was not going to have everybody do prison time with me,” said Stewart, recalling his thoughts after a court-martial panel found him guilty of sex crimes against a German woman and handed down a sentence that included a reduction in rank, from E-7 to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, eight years of confinement and a recommendation for dishonorable discharge upon release.

“I wasn’t going to go to prison and have my kids have to go through having their dad in prison and my wife having to stand by my side and go without a husband for years —- and, at that time, I didn’t know the length of the years,” said Stewart, a Special Forces combat medic and Level One-trained sniper.  “I didn’t know the length of my sentence; I just knew that I was found guilty.”

That’s when he made a decision.

“I never thought I was going to prison,” Stewart said.  “When I got back after (being convicted), I had a reality check in the hotel room” at the Krystal Inn, the on-post hotel where he was staying near the court building where his trial was taking place at Rose Barracks in Vilseck, Germany.

About the only plans he made took place during the last intermission in the courtroom before his guilty verdict was announced.  After calling his wife and telling her he wouldn’t be coming home soon, Stewart also called his bank and transferred all of the money in his account into his wife’s account.

“I already knew what I was gonna do,” he recalled.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Stewart

Kelly Stewart

Back in their room at the Krystal Inn, Stewart and his buddy, Sergeant First Class Detrick Hampton, laid in their beds and talked most of the night until Sergeant Hampton fell asleep around 5 a.m.  Less than an hour later, Stewart began to implement his hastily-crafted plan.

Careful not to wake Sergeant Hampton, Stewart got up out of his bed about an hour later, put on his Army Combat Uniform and low-quarter shoes and collected a few items—including a combat knife and a rubber band—he thought he might need.  Oddly, he left his black Army jump boots in the room.

Quietly, he walked out of his second-floor room at the Krystal Inn where, even after he was found guilty, he was not kept under guard — an indication, perhaps, that some in the Army still didn’t think he was as dangerous as the charges, eventual conviction and news media coverage of his case might have indicated.  He had, after all, never been deemed a danger to others or a flight risk.

Because he had not planned to go away for a long time, Stewart didn’t prepare by gathering lots of clothes, money and 16 passports.  Instead, he ensured only that he had enough money for gas to go where he needed to go to take his own life.  And with three combat tours in Iraq and other stints in Kosovo and Macedonia under his belt, he knew enough about medicine to make it happen.

Once outside the hotel room, Stewart walked the short distance to a staircase in the center of the building, down a single flight of stairs and through an open-air hallway out to the parking lot where his rental car, an Audi Q5, was parked.

He drove the SUV a short distance to the Shoppette —- the name the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gives its convenience stores located on military installations -— where he purchased a laundry list of items:  three 50-count bottles of Tylenol caplets, one 72-count package of Sominex tablets, two 16-ounce bottles of Gatorade Riptide Rush, some writing paper and a couple of pencils.

“I thought about how other people have killed themselves, and they generally either hurt or make a display for other people, but I didn’t want to do is be found dead somewhere where some kid was gonna see me (and) I didn’t want to get drunk and drive down the road and do something irresponsible where I could injure someone else or another family,” he said.  Instead, he tried to pick an out-of-the-way place close by, in the woods, where he knew only an adult would find him.  In the end, he opted for a wooded park area at a nearby training range.

Kelly Stewart

Kelly Stewart

After leaving the Shoppette, he knew he had to reach his destination by 6:30 a.m., the time at which the perimeter road that encircled two Army posts and the training range in between them would close so troops could use it for physical training (i.e., “PT”).

Immediately after pulling off the road and parking his car near a trail, Stewart drank about a fourth of the contents of each Gatorade bottle.  Next, he used the flat surface of a tree stump and the flat edge of a large combat knife to methodically crush 150 Tylenol tablets (500 mg) and 50 Sominex tablets.  Finally, he scooped the now-powdered medicines into the bottles and shook them up.

From his experience in hospital emergency rooms, he knew the crushed tablets, when swallowed, would have a much more toxic effect than coated tablets designed to reach the stomach before their contents were released.  In addition, the sleep medicine would simply make it easier for him to endure his passage from life to death.

Next, he used a 12-foot length of CAT-5 cable that he had had in his room at the Krystal Inn to make a hangman’s noose on an A-frame-style deer stand he found in the woods only a kilometer or two away from the court building.

“I measured the CAT-5 so my feet wouldn’t touch the ground,” Stewart explained.  “There was a base I could stand on to get my neck in the noose, but the base was high enough that, when I passed out, my feet wouldn’t touch the ground.”

At one point before he put the noose to work, a German forest marshal working on the German-American post drove by, saw Stewart in his vehicle and exchanged pleasantries with him.  Upon learning from Stewart that he was “just waiting on doing some training here,” the forest marshal drove away.

Kelly Stewart

Kelly Stewart

In retrospect, Stewart said, “I think that was my divine intervention, telling me, ‘Don’t do it, stupid.’”  But he didn’t listen.

As soon as the forest marshal left, around 9:15 a.m., Stewart began consuming the drink in a process he compared to a Selection event—one of the grueling steps he survived en route to the SF Qualification Course.  In other words, consuming the drink—and keeping it down—was very difficult.

Trying to hold it down was difficult.  Every once in a while, he found himself throwing it back up into the bottle, because it burned so much on the way down.

“Everybody says, ‘I’m gonna kill myself,” he said, “but, to really do it and be successful is an event in itself.”

Why Tylenol, Sominex and Gatorade?  It was part of his plan.

“In SF, we have this acronym called a PACE plan—Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency.  Everything that we do has a four-step plan in there…a redundancy thing…

“I had a PACE plan, but it wasn’t very good,” he said, noting the fact that he had survived.

“The Tylenol was, I guess, the primary thing,” he said, explaining that he had seen enough Tylenol overdoses in emergency rooms to know that it was an effective, but very painful technique.

“The alternate was the sleeping medicine.

“The CAT-5 cable was the contingency.”

Kelly Stewart shakes hands with country music star Toby Keith at an undisclosed location in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart shakes hands with country music star Toby Keith at an undisclosed location in Iraq.

Consuming the toxic cocktail took close to 40 minutes.

“Basically, when I started feeling myself get drowsy, I knew it was time and kind of stood up in this little A-frame deer stand, and I had the CAT-5 cable,” Stewart said.  “I had it double-knotted, and I used a Prusik knot.”  Similar to a slip knot, it was invented by an Austrian for mountaineering and climbing purposes.

While waiting for the drugs to take effect, Stewart wrote one letter each to his wife and daughters, to his parents and extended family, to members of his SF team, to Judge Kuhfahl and to the members of the court-martial panel.  After writing the letters, he put a rubber band around them and placed his Tag Heuer wristwatch, his wedding ring and the money he had had in his pocket on top of them next to his vehicle.  Accompanying those items were instructions for whoever found him to make sure the letters were delivered and the watch and ring were returned to his wife.

It was approaching 10:30 a.m., the time the court was set to convene, and Stewart realized people would start looking for him soon.  Before he could worry too much about being discovered, however, the drugs began to take effect.

“I get drowsy (and) I realize, ‘Hey, it’s time,’ and said some prayers, because I knew I was gonna black out,” he said.  “I had to work my way over to where this hangman’s noose was, because I had to basically kind of climb a little bit on it so that, when I passed out, (it) would catch me” as the contingency and emergency elements of his PACE plan.  That was the last thing he remembered.

To read the remainder of this chapter and learn more about Stewart’s life and the events before and after those described above, order the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  It’s available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Book About Green Beret’s Bogus Sexual Assault Conviction to Mark Second Anniversary

To mark the upcoming second anniversary of the release of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, my publisher has reduced prices on the book!

"Three Days In August" by Bob McCartyReleased in October 2011, Three Days In August chronicles the life story of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Kelly A. Stewart. A highly-decorated combat veteran, Stewart had an unblemished military record and stood among the best of the best as one of the world’s most-elite warriors — a Green Beret. Everything changed after he was accused of raping and kidnapping by a 28-year-old German woman. The “he said, she said” trial, during which he was found guilty of several sexual assault-related charges, took place during three days in August 2009.

The ebook is now available at the retail price of US $3.99.  Sometime during the next 24 to 72 hours*, the paperback [previously US $14.99 (plus s/h/i)] will be available at the retail price of US $11.99 (plus s/h/i). Prices outside the United States will be based on these new U.S. prices. Order your copy today!

*UPDATE 8/15/2013 at 9:20 a.m. Central:  For reasons unclear to me, Amazon has, thusfar, refused to lower the price on the paperback version of the book.  As soon as the price does change, I will post another update here.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Parents of Imprisoned Army Officer Send Update

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve been following the case of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna since 2009. In addition, I wrote a book, Three Days In August, about Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, another wrongfully-convicted man he befriended while both served time behind the walls of the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Today, I share an email update (below) from Lieutenant Behenna’s parents, Scott and Vicki Behenna:

Clockwise from upper left:  Michael's family; Michael; Michael as a youngster; and Michael and his girlfriend, Shannon.

Clockwise from upper left: Michael’s family; Michael as a Soldier; Michael as a youngster; and Michael and his girlfriend, Shannon.

To all the thousands of Michael supporters,

Michael’s case, including the Petition, the Government Response, and the Reply to the Government Response, is now complete and before the Supreme Court. The Supremes have set Michael’s case to be initially discussed at their conference on May 30th which is ironically during the 50th Anniversary of Brady vs Maryland (the Supreme Court case demanding that prosecutors disclose all beneficial information to the criminally accused). During the conference, four out of the nine Supreme Court Justices must vote to hear the case in order to grant certiorari. If certiorari is granted in Michael’s case it would be the first time the Supremes would have granted a service member’s appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF). Needless to say, anxiousness will abound for the next few weeks and prayers are certainly welcome. We should have the Court’s decision sometime during the first week of June. If the Court grants certiorari, Michael’s case would proceed through a briefing process, oral arguments, and a decision by the Supreme Court hopefully before the end of the year.

We can’t thank you enough for all the encouraging cards and letters that you sent to Michael for his birthday. As Michael told us this past weekend it is these cards and letters that help him navigate the sometimes helpless and hopeless thoughts that have haunted him these past four years behind prison walls. He reads every card and letter sent to him, but given his prison schedule of work, exercise time, meals and early lights out he unfortunately does not have time to send out very many thank you notes. For this he sends his apologies and hopes a day will come soon when he can thank all of you in person.

If you did not see the Mother’s Day tribute to Vicki last Sunday in the Oklahoman, hopefully the attached video and article will describe the huge appreciation we have for all your support and what your individual words of encouragement have meant to Michael and our whole family.

Vicki’s Mother’s Day Video

Vicki’s Mother’s Day Article

Bless you all for your support of our son,

Scott & Vicki Behenna
DefendMichael.com

I pray for this young man’s swift release.

Order Books Graphic LR 6-15-13

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.