Tag Archives: court-martial

SHOCK: Army Prosecutor Cited Wikipedia as Source During Green Beret’s Court-Martial on Sexual Assault Charges

On Day Two of the Army’s court-martial of one of it’s finest Green Berets, a prosecution attorney cited a suspect source as he questioned Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart about his training. See if you can spot the source in the excerpt from the Record of Trial that appears below:

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Click on image above to order book.

TC: At the SERE course you’re taught how to resist violent captors, is that correct?
Stewart: Again, sir, unless I’m authorized by the SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer, I can’t discuss the training that I received at the SERE-level C School.

TC: You’re taught how to resist torture?
Stewart: Again, sir–

TC: We’re going to go through this, so, that’s fine–
Stewart: No, again, sir, I don’t know what I’m authorized to discuss with you because I’m not the releasing authority of my training.

TC: I got this off of Wikipedia.com.

[Legend: SERE = Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape; TC = Trial Counsel; SOCEUR = Special Operations Command Europe; CDC = Civilian Defense Counsel; and MJ = Military Judge.]

That’s right! He said, “I got this off of Wikipedia.” Unbelievable!

How would you feel if you were found guilty by a court-martial panel (i.e., the military equivalent of a jury) that sided with a prosecutor who cited Wikipedia.com as a source during your cross-examination?

Find out how Stewart feels about his conviction inside my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, which went on sale for the first time just over four years ago.

FYI: I shared the piece above for the first time four years ago today. Since then, I’ve covered many other military justice cases. I hope you’ll read and share this story as well as the others I’ve written and published. Thanks in advance!

Show your support and help keep these articles coming by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

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Defense Attorney Says Sexual Assault ‘Victim’ Who Appears in Oscar-Nominated Documentary Lied on Witness Stand

I’ve talked with dozens of military men about their experiences of being falsely accused of sexual assault during the four years since the release of my book, Three Days In August. Today, I learned some of their cases were likely tainted by the fact members serving on court-martial panels — the military equivalent of a jury — during their trials had watched “The Invisible War” as part of the Army’s sexual assault awareness and prevention training.

In an article published Monday about the case of former Army Sgt. Todd Knight, I mentioned the fact than an Army lieutenant colonel selected to serve on the court-martial panel during Sergeant Knight’s trial said he had watched a 20-minute clip from the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Invisible War,” as part of “a sexual assault special briefing” for Army leaders.

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

This photo shows Todd Knight in his Army uniform prior to being accused of rape and convicted on a lesser charge.

In the same article, I mentioned how that colonel, along with other members of the panel, had found Sergeant Knight guilty and sentenced him to one year behind bars and a reduction in rank to E-1, the lowest enlisted rank and a rank he would hold until the end of his sentence when he would be dishonorably discharged from the Army. What I failed to mention is that Knight is out of prison now and living as a convicted sex offender while working through the appeals process, hoping to see his conviction overturned.

Now, back to the documentary/training video.

In an article published three months ago on his firm’s website, Chicago defense attorney Haythan Faraj highlighted several military sexual assault cases he’s handled. It’s the second one, however, that has a link to “The Invisible War.” One of the women featured prominently in the documentary is Ariana B. Klay and, during examination at trial, according to Faraj, she contradicted herself under oath and told many lies.

Below is an excerpt from the aforementioned article:

CASE TWO: CONTROVERSIAL ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE

In another case that has become infamous and a rallying cry for politicians, is a case at Marine Barracks 8th & I, where a female officer alleged she was raped by another officer. In that case evidence revealed that the complainant, Ariana Klay, was cheating on her husband with the officer that she accused of raping her. That evidence is based on her own testimony. The relationship lasted for an 18-month period.

Before she made the allegations of rape, evidence revealed that she was caught in bed naked with a junior Marine from the barracks. During a formal investigation into other allegations made by Klay, the female investigator and former prosecutor came close to discovering the truth of the affair and of the romp with the junior Marine— which could have revealed Klay’s sexual relationship with the officer she later accused of rape. Shortly before the completion of the investigation, she alleged rape again. This alleged offense happened on the same day that her lover found her naked with a junior Marine.

Significant evidence stood in contrast with her claims: also present at the time of the alleged sexual rape was a witness who testified he could hear Klay and her lover in her bedroom laughing and engaged in what sounded like a good time. During examination at trial, Klay contradicted herself under oath and told many lies. She could not explain why she sent my client a nearly naked picture of herself in a bikini on the beach taken by her husband, a week after the alleged rape.

In spite of this information, Klay is featured in an HBO movie called The Invisible War. While I cannot comment about the other women in the Invisible War, I think Klay’s own testimony reveals the film’s lack of objectivity or validity regarding sex assaults in the military, at least with respect to the Klay case.

In addition to the allegations-related content of Klay’s trial testimony, I found it interesting that Klay said her husband, Ben Klay, “works for the White House Budget Office.”

It will be interesting to find out how Army officials justify continued use of this documentary as part of their sexual assault awareness and prevention training.

Stay tuned for updates on this case and other military justice cases I’m following.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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‘Thirty Days of Hell in the Life of an Accused Army Officer’

It became obvious Monday that “THE FIX IS IN” for Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin as the Army’s marches forward with its prosecution of the Regular Army officer on allegations he sexual assaulted and abused members of his family. Below, I offer a recap of my coverage of his case. Let’s call it “Thirty Days of Hell in the Life of an Accused Army Officer.”

Thirty Days of Hell

Though Major Martin’s “living hell” has been going on for more than three years, I only became aware of it after seeing a familiar name, Jacob D. Bashore, associated with his case.

On Aug. 27, I published a short piece — the first of 27 pieces — under the headline, Army Lawyer Surfaces in New Bogus Prosecution Effort.

After interviewing the 47 year old via Skype Sept. 2, I knew he would need the public’s help to get some form of military justice. The next day, I issued a plea under the headline, Soldier Facing 58 Years In Prison Needs Your Help! In addition, I promised I would provide more details.

In keeping my promise, I went “full tilt” on his case Sept. 4, beginning with a summary post, Army Soldier-Aviator Faces Possible 58-Year Sentence As Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Seeks New Victim, in which I thought I had covered all of the major details of the story. In addition, I published the first three of 11 video clips from the aforementioned interview:

Gen. Raymont T. Odierno, USA Ret.

Gen. Raymont T. Odierno, USA Ret.

In an officer evaluation at Fort Lewis, Wash., several years ago, then-LTC Raymond T. Odierno described then-1LT Martin as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.” In video clip #1, I ask Major Martin how it felt as a young officer to receive such high praise from the man who would go on to become a four-star general and serve as chief of staff of the Army. It stands as a snippet of a more-serious conversation about his upcoming court-martial.

In video clip #2, Major Martin talks about his life before he signed on the dotted line.

In video clip #3, Major Martin talks about what it’s like to have had what many might consider a “dream job” — flying the world’s most-sophisticated attack helicopters and using weapons that “go boom.”

On Sept. 5, I published three more interview segments:

Major Martin and his first wife divorced amicably, and he maintains good relationships with her — now remarried — and their three children. After the divorce, he met a woman online. In video clip #4, he tells me about the early days of his relationship with the woman who would later accuse him of horrendous crimes.

Major Martin went to war three times and lived to tell about it. In video clip #5, however, he describes the beginning of another kind of battle he’s fighting, this time with the woman he thought was his legal wife. It’s a battle that reached the boiling point soon after he was assigned to the vaunted 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Major Martin accomplished a lot while wearing an Army uniform. Not only is he an elite Army Ranger, but he is a master Army aviator as well, having racked up some 1,000 hours of combat flying time, including 500 while using night-vision gear. In video clip #6, he describes what happened in his life after the woman he considered his legal wife went to the FBI and told agents he was an international spy.

Somehow, up until today, I had, for some inexplicable reason, overlooked publishing the seventh video in the series. So here it is:

In video clip #7, Major Martin and I discuss a second set of allegations made against him by the woman he considered his legal wife.

I published two more video installments Sept. 6:

Facing the toughest battle of his lifetime, Major Martin had the nerve to contact members of Congress after realizing the Army investigation into sexual assault allegations against him had turned into a witch hunt with him as the prey. In video clip #8, the veteran of three combat tours in Iraq describes the backlash that followed.

In a previous clip, I shared details about the backlash Major Martin felt after contacting members of Congress about the unfair prosecution he was enduring as a victim of the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt. In video clip #9, he describes how then-Brig. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, acting commanding general at Fort Campbell at the time, reacted to two of his subordinates telling him they didn’t think the charges against Major Martin should go forward.

The last two videos went “live” Sept. 7:

Major Martin told me he asked his second wife for a divorce in 2012, and she retaliated by making unfounded allegations against him. During the years that followed, multiple investigations found no wrongdoing on his part, but that didn’t stop the man known as “Stammer the Hammer” from ordering him to face a court-martial. In video clip #10, the distinguished graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha ROTC program shares his thoughts about whether intense political pressure forced the general into taking the unwarranted action against him.

In video clip #11, the major reveals what his private investigators found that prompted officials in two states to file their own charges against his accuser. In addition, he reveals what Army investigators did in response.

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, gives Secretary of State John Kerry a tour of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 6.

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, gives Secretary of State John Kerry a tour of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, May 6.

Via email Sept. 8, I contacted now-Major General Stammer — yes, he received a promotion after decided to send Major Martin to trial (coincidence?) — at his new headquarters in the East African nation of Djibouti where he serves as commander of Africa Command‘s Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. I asked him to explain his decision to prosecute, and he responded as I suspected he would.

On Sept. 9, I offered an up-to-date summary of my coverage under the headline, If You’ve Ever Known An American Soldier….

In a piece published Sept. 10, I highlighted two topics, unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct, as reasons cited by Major Martin’s defense team for the charges against their client to be dismissed. One day later, I added more fuel to the fire of the defense argument in a piece under the headline, Attorneys Cite President’s Unlawful Command Influence, Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Army Helicopter Pilot.

On Sept. 15, I described how members of the national news media, politically-active filmmakers and attorneys are willing to overlook facts in order to promote an agenda. Inadvertently, I left out slimy politicians like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY). My mistake. The story, however, remains worth reading for those who like to deal in facts and truth. See Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics Used as Weapons Against Honorable Military Men in Sexual Assault Witch Hunt.

On Sept. 17, I shared details of a 754-word letter written by Major Martin’s sister and sent via email to General Stammer. Unfortunately, the well-written electronic letter only seems to have stoked the general’s anger. Within hours of receiving the letter, he was in contact with Army prosecutors who, in turn, began harassing Major Martin’s letter-writing sister.

On Sept. 20, I shared news that backs up claims that Major Martin’s accuser can’t be relied upon to tell the truth. The news appeared beneath the headline, Reportedly Decapitated in Logging Accident Almost 19 Years Ago, Man Ready to Testify on Behalf of Accused Army Officer.

News about Major Martin’s trial date being pushed back to Dec. 1 was the least interesting of several topics that surfaced Sept. 21 and 22. It was during a two-day hearing that Col. Andrew Glass, the military judge, heard arguments from attorneys on both sides regarding whether unlawful command influence and/or prosecutorial misconduct had tainted the case against Major Martin.

On Sept. 26, I published my first piece of hearing-related news which focused on the credibility of Major Martin’s accuser. The matter came to the fore when her older sister told the court via phone she did not want to testify and had no opinion as to her sister’s credibility. After that, the defense immediately played an audio recording on which the sister could be clearly heard telling a private investigator that her younger sister — again, Major Martin’s accuser — had been “untruthful since childhood,” had a propensity for making up stories for no apparent reason and could not be believed.

The words above appeared in an email from Maj. Jacob D. Bashore to the local prosecutor, Katherine Foster.

The words above appeared in an email from Maj. Jacob D. Bashore to the local prosecutor, Katherine Foster. Click on image above to read story.

On Sept. 27, I shared two more pieces of news from the hearing. The first appeared under the headline, Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser. The second appeared under the headline, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell.

On Sept. 28, while waiting for Colonel Glass to rule on the two topics –unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct — that were the subject of the two-day hearing, I shared another previously-unmentioned tidbit about about how the vast majority of defense witness requests were inexplicably denied by the military judge.

Later the same day, I shared more troubling news under the headline, The Fix Is In: Army Judge Denies Defense Motion Concerning Unlawful Command Influence, Prosecutorial Misconduct. Despite the fact the defense seemed to have presented strong cases for both unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct, Colonel Glass denied the defense motion that both elements were present in the case.

YOUR CALL TO ACTION

To show people in charge of this kangaroo court-martial effort how you feel about the case against Major Martin, contact your elected officials as well as the officials listed below and let them know the prosecution of this Soldier, who’s already been cleared of wrongdoing by multiple investigations, needs to end immediately:

Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer
c/o CJTF-HOA Public Affairs Office
Phone: +253 21-359-523
Email: africom.cldj.cjtf-hoa.mbx.public-affairs@mail.mil

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky
c/o 101st Airborne Division
Bldg. 2700, Indiana Avenue
Fort Campbell, KY 42223
(270) 798-3025
Email: usarmy.campbell.93-sig-bde.list.public-website@mail.mil

Mr. Ashton Carter
Secretary of Defense
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
https://kb.defense.gov/app/ask

Mr. Jon T. Rymer
Inspector General
U. S. Department of Defense
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1500

John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

General Mark A. Milley
Chief of Staff, United States Army
1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

Senator Rand Paul
167 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
(202) 224-4343
http://www.paul.senate.gov/connect/email-rand

Senator Mitch McConnell
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2541
http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm

Senator Lamar Alexander
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4944
http://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email

Senator Bob Corker
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3344
http://www.corker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/emailme

COMING SOON: I’ll share comments from a civilian defense attorney who handles military clients. In short, he tells me Fort Campbell has become a choice location for Army prosecutors who are “venue shopping” — that is, looking for prosecution-friendly environments in which to practice their craft.

Stay tuned for more details, and thanks in advance for reading and sharing the article above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:25 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:14 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

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Clemency Letter Reveals Much About Pentagon’s Eagerness to Convict Military Men on False Sexual Assault Allegations

Michael Silva wrote a letter recently, and it’s being delivered Monday to Brig. Gen. Robert D. LaBrutta, commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio who served as the convening authority in the court-martial during which Silva was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The content of the letter offers much insight into the lengths to which military prosecutors will go to get a conviction.

Silva: General has less than 30 days

Background: According to one news account, Silva’s case was the oldest yet in a scandal at Lackland AFB, Texas, that saw 35 basic training instructors investigated for misconduct with 68 recruits and technical training students over a four-year period. And it pitted the senior noncommissioned officer against victims who had remained silent for years.

Silva’s letter is seven single-spaced pages, contains nearly 4,000 words and stands as a key part of the clemency packet he hopes will convince the general to grant him full clemency for the sexual assault conviction he received Jan. 30 so that he can retire with the rank, pay and benefits of an Air Force senior master sergeant — the rank he earned Feb. 28, 2013, but was never allowed to wear.

Though General Labrutta has 30 days to decide whether or not he’ll grant Silva any form of relief, full or partial, I’m sharing details of the letter so that you can weigh the facts of the case as we wait for an official decision.

Because of the nature of Silva’s letter and some of the names mentioned in it, I’m unable to share it word for word. Instead, I’ll paraphrase on occasion and edit as best I can without clouding the content too much. In addition, I’ll decipher some military lingo and add links and boldface type as I see fit.

Finally, I must emphasize these are Silva’s beliefs and allegations, not mine. And so I begin.

Silva begins the letter by sharing a few details about his current circumstances:

My name is Michael Silva. At the age of 20, I proudly followed in my father’s footsteps by joining the military; in which I honorably served our country for over 24 years. As you can clearly see from my record, my goal was not just to accomplish the status quo; I chose to stay in past 20 years because I lived and breathed the Air Force Core Values. I was not done mentoring our Airmen; there was so much more I wanted to do. On 28 February 2013, I was selected and received my line number for senior master sergeant and aspired to make even more of a difference as a chief master sergeant someday. My plans were cut short by false allegations against me. Now, I sit in a prison cell hoping and praying that, although the military justice system that I once believed in and preached about failed me, the eyes of the blinded will be open and the truth shall set me free.

In the second paragraph of the letter, the 44 year old offers a few details about how he was accused of sexual assault as part of a larger scandal that made the national news (those accused of such things or facing criminal charges may want to make finding a criminal lawyer a priority):

Before I provide you with a brief synopsis of my military career, I would like to make a statement about my court martial and why the military justice system failed me. I feel that my court martial guilty verdict was decided prior to it even beginning. The fact that I had previously been a Military Training Instructor, resulted in my immediate connection to the current Basic Military Training sexual assault scandal and the political witch hunt began yet again. There were several instances of MTI’s misusing their power and authority to have inappropriate sexual relationships, whether forced or otherwise. This had nothing to do with me and in fact, during my combined 9 years as a MTI both at Lackland BMT and Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, I never once received any negative feedback from either BMT or OTS students or MTIS Leadership, only awards and other accolades. There is so much political pressure to end military sexual assault and prove to Congress that the military is handling these cases. But what they fail to see is there are innocent service members such as myself that are falsely accused and unjustly convicted. I was given a 20-year sentence for crimes I DID NOT COMMIT!

In the third paragraph of the letter, Silva describes his post-conviction state of mind:

For the last 7 months since my conviction, I have sat here in disbelief, waiting to wake up from this horrible nightmare. It is a daily struggle not to lose myself or to be angry at the Air Force and DOD for allowing me to be a statistic, making me a number and throwing me away like a piece of trash. I am just a number now and it’s not my service number or my Social Security Number; I have a prison number that I wear across my chest that replaces the words U.S. Air Force. I was given this number for doing nothing more than serving my country honorably and being the victim of false accusations. Although I have been wronged, I realize I have a choice. I could let this define me by being angry, or I can continue to have faith and believe that God will right this wrong. Even here behind these brick walls, secured doors and barbed wire, I continue to help others who are struggling, by mentoring those who need guidance, physically training those whom need strength, and preaching God’s word to those who are feeling weak. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t belong here and I should still be mentoring our great Airmen.

In the fourth paragraph of the letter, he recalls how he reacted upon being charged:

In 2013, when the charges were filed against me I took the advice of my lawyers and did not discuss the case because I thought it would hurt me. For nearly 2 years I lived in hell, constantly worried about what other people were saying or thinking. I was so prideful; more worried about my image, and wondered how I would ever recover to get my career back on track, because mind you, even after these allegations I still wanted to be that chief. I laugh about it now; I was simply worried about not getting senior rater endorsement. I was worried about my reputation as a senior noncommissioned officer. It never crossed my mind that I could ever end up here. But I have lost so much more than my image and my chance to be that motivating chief; I have lost my freedom, my family, my career and my line number for senior master sergeant, all while doing nothing to discredit the United States Air Force. Luckily, I have a huge support team rallying behind me who are continuing to gather more evidence to contradict the allegations.

Silva goes on to write about his chief accuser in the next two paragraphs:

I do not feel I received a fair hearing. To this day, I have no recollection of my accuser, supposedly a student in one of my flights (i.e., groups of basic military trainees). Based on her records, I assume she was in my flight for a couple of days, but I had no significant interaction with her that would make her memorable. I certainly never engaged in sexual activity with her. I have no idea why she chose to make up this story or why she chose me, but when you only fulfill a few days in Basic Training your options at choosing a perpetrator are few.

I am requesting for you to look at this with an open mind regardless of any rumors you may have heard. This trainee’s entire life is a lie and she has no integrity as you will see in other documents provided for your review. As you will see both of the alleged victims had much to gain monetarily.

In the seventh paragraph, he shares some — but, by no means all — of the most-interesting aspects of the case, each of which should, by itself, cause General LaBrutta to pause:

• A basic trainee comes forward 17 years after she was medically separated for migraines in 1995. This basic trainee was only in my squadron for the first 3 nights of basic training. Any enlisted person knows that a member of the same gender sleeps (i.e., “oversees”) the flight the first 2 nights. Therefore, a female MTI sleeps the female flights, I had no access to this trainee, nor would I have. I was a single father with much more to lose than my career; I had a 4 year old son who had only me.

• There were 3 MTI’s, including myself, assigned to the flight. There were 20 other trainees of that flight that were interviewed and none of them had anything negative to say, quite the contrary.

• My accuser couldn’t explain any detail about the BMT process, and everything that came out her mouth contradicted the policies and procedures that were in place at BMT to safeguard them, account for and train our Airman.

• Expert BMT witnesses also contradicted her story of BMT processes not just in my squadron, but also in two others and at the Airman’s Chapel and Wilford Hall Medical Center. From dorm guard procedures, entering and exiting the dormitories, being recycled, movement between squadrons and movement for medical treatment, her lies go on.

• She also stated that she was chosen to be an element leader, but this was not true either. Element leaders’ sleep in the first couple of beds by the MTI office, and she stated her bed was further back toward the rear of the bay, which means she wasn’t an element leader.

In the eighth paragraph, Siilva addresses what he calls his chief accuser’s “motive to lie”:

• It wasn’t until after she remarried an Army Veteran living off VA disability that she began making these false claims and then here comes the “Lackland, BMT Sex Scandal.” Now she has an “in” to tell her made up story in order to continue to receive any VA compensation she was claiming and/or get a higher rating or possibly retroactive pay from 1995. Say she got the max 100% disability, with 6 children (although 5 do not live with her) $3,200.00 a month x 12 months x 20 years = $768K. She had been following the story of Ruth Moore whom first made national news around the time my accuser first told her family she was sexually assaulted and started making VA claims. Mrs. Moore was petitioning for the VA to accept victims stories of assault and provide them treatment, Mrs Moore later sued the VA and won her case and was awarded retroactive pay in the amount of $405K in the Spring of 2014.

• In my accuser’s first statement (Fall 2012), she stated she didn’t tell anyone this happened to her – not even her first husband who was with her at medical hold and gave her five children. She told Air Force Office of Special Investigations that she did not tell her mother, or anyone else in her family, most of whom work in law enforcement.

• At trial, her mother testified that her daughter told her when she returned from Basic Training, but that her daughter must not have remembered. So for 17 years she never asked her daughter how she was doing dealing with this rape? This is completely unbelievable.

• My accuser later claimed to investigators that she told one other person, another Trainee she met at the BMT who died in July 2008. This is too convenient of a story.

• My accuser claimed I showed up at the chapel on base in civilian clothes, like I was stalking her, and introduced myself to her uncle whom is a sheriff in the state of Washington. Her uncle stated in a sworn statement to the AFOSI that the incident never happened; he did not meet a drill instructor nor did one introduce himself to him.

• My accuser also changed her story and stated not only did it happen once, but twice.

• My accuser testified on the stand that the only reason she came forward was to prevent this from happening to anyone else. She waited 17 years to make sure it never happened again? She was already seeking compensation for it over 2 years before she made this allegation against me. If it wasn’t about the money, then why did she go after the money first?

He continues to address the matter of his chief accuser’s motive by informing the general about other issues, including her mental health, publicity surrounding the case, financial issues and family history:

• Unfortunately, this woman (self-proclaimed in social media posts) suffers from a mental health disorder. [NOTE: An accuser’s mental health status played a key role in the case of an Army Green Beret convicted of sexual assault in 2009. Details here.]

• She had clear motive to make up this story. She got the attention of both military and political figures that vowed to ensure her case would be handled effectively. By all the attention she received and the publicity of this case, I did not receive a fair trial.

• Significantly, she lived off Social Security benefits prior to age 30. She had a Habitat for Humanity Home built for her, that she left and forfeited in a last ditch effort to force her ex-husband to once again reconcile with her by relocating out of state with their 5 sons. She also owned and operated a psychic website.

• Her father has a history of fraud. Her biological father was an alcoholic and a drug addict and was in and out of prison before her parents divorced. He is currently serving time in an Oklahoma prison for embezzlement.

In the ninth paragraph of his letter, Silva highlights allegations made against him by an ex-wife who also testified against him during his 2015 trial. Without getting into any of the sordid details, I’ll condense Silva’s description of their relationship: After he asked for a divorce, she objected and allegedly told his mother during a phone call, “I’m going to ruin your son’s career” and hung up. [NOTE: “Ruin” is a word readers of my work have seen used before by a sexual assault accuser. Details here.]

The next thing Silva knew, according to the letter, he was under investigation by the AFOSI for an allegation she had made years earlier and then recanted in the form of a sworn statement. Below is the text of the handwritten sworn statement that appeared on an AF IMT 1168 Form (a.k.a., “Witness Statement Form”) dated May 7, 2007, that is not included in Silva’s clemency letter but is included in the clemency packet:

“I do not feel after reading Article 120 that the situation reported to OSI meets the criteria of this allegation. I consented to intimacy with Michael Silva. I only thought it necessary to report since my leadership advised it was the right steps to take. I had no intention of reporting this, I had wanted to put this behind me. Master Sgt. (last name redacted) asked if Mike was forceful or had aggressive behavior in intimacy. I wasn’t aware this was headed toward rape charges. I didn’t know where this fit. I know Mike has an aggressive and controlling personality, but don’t reel that rape depicts our situation.”

[NOTE: Despite the fact she had recanted her allegation seven years earlier and said Silva had not raped her, she appears to have changed her mind again and testified during the 2015 trial that he did. To wit, Silva explains “my story never changed, but hers did in all the statements she made since 2013 and in her sworn testimony.”]

In the 10th paragraph, Silva focuses on what he believes was his ex-wife’s motive to lie:

She admitted on the stand that she has been collecting VA money since she separated from the AF prior to these charges even being filed against me. She was collecting VA money with a recanted statement. She had no choice but to testify against me or she would likely have lost her VA benefit for it. She was getting out of the military, just had a new baby, and her new husband was not working. She needed the money.

In the 11th and 12th paragraphs, he reflects on many of his personal and professional accomplishments. In the interest of saving space, however, I will not include them here. Instead, I’ll skip forward to the next paragraph:

In early 2009, I received a Red Cross message that my father was in a coma following an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. I applied for a humanitarian assignment back to Texas to take care of my father who could not talk, walk, feed himself, bathe, or use the restroom. He could not do anything unassisted. He needed around-the-clock care and assistance. I was his sole caregiver and tended to him every evening after work, leaving his care to a medical aide I hired during the day.

He continues in that paragraph, describing the many responsibilities of his assignment in San Antonio, concluding with this statement:

In early 2013, I found out I had been promoted to senior master sergeant; not long after that, I learned I was being investigated for an alleged sexual assault from 1995 and was removed as the Airman Leadership School commandant.

In the next three paragraphs, Silva reflects on his situation before asking the general for clemency:

If I was guilty of the crimes I was accused of, why would I have not dropped my paperwork to retire? We all knew they were investigating BMT. I did not drop my paperwork, because I knew I was innocent. I loved the Military Training Instructor Corps and what I was able to instill in our Airmen and our Air Force. A lot of them still sought guidance from me over the years. I would never have done anything to discredit myself, my professional appearance, or the United States Air Force.

Any person with the slightest connection to the military can now seek and obtain monetary benefits by merely accusing someone of sexual assault, whether it’s true or not. The military and VA have created incentives to fabricate sexual assault and the result is that innocent people are suffering trials and convictions for crimes they never committed. That is what happened to me. I never raped, struck, nor purposely harmed any woman in my life.

I am respectfully requesting that you grant me full clemency for this wrongful conviction and that I am able to retire with the rank I rightfully earned in the grade of senior master sergeant with all my benefits and pay. I honorably served for 24 years, with “Integrity,” putting “Service Before Self” and “Excellence in All We Do.” I applied these Core Values both on and off duty. The only thing I am guilty of, and regret, is putting the Air Force before my son all these years. I could have managed that aspect better. All I want is a chance to put this behind me and move on with my life. I understand that this is political; I understand that you Sir, would be forced to somewhat put your reputation and career on the line for me. But a trainee with a made up story infiltrated our Air Force, BMT and our way of life. All of this for VA money that our taxpayers are now burdened to assume. If this isn’t stopped it will continue to happen to others. At the very least, please grant me another chance at a fair trial, with an unbiased judge and jury. This is my life. My Freedom has been taken from me and I respectfully request that you help me right this wrong.

Silva ended his letter with a quote from Thomas Aquinas: “as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.”

If, based upon the details highlighted above and in the previous article, you believe Silva deserves some form of clemency, I encourage you to reach out to Maj. Gen. Mark A. Brown, 2nd Air Force commander, who is the convening authority (a.k.a., “the decision-maker in the case). All three of the men listed below, however, are worth contacting with your concerns:

MAJOR GENERAL MARK A. BROWN <– Update: He is the convening authority!
2nd Air Force
Keesler AFB, MS
Email: mark.brown@us.af.mil

BRIGADIER GENERAL ROBERT D. LABRUTTA
c/o 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2080 Wilson Road
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5004
Phone: (210) 671-2907
Email: usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.fsh-public-affairs-office@mail.mil

LIEUTENANT GENERAL DARRYL ROBERSON
Air Education and Training Command
1 F Street, Suite 1
JBSA Randolph TX 78150-4324
Phone: (210) 652-5224
Email: darryl.roberson@us.af.mil

Thanks in advance for reading and sharing the articles above and those to follow, and please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

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Attorneys Cite President’s Unlawful Command Influence, Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Army Helicopter Pilot

In an earlier article, I highlighted unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct as reasons cited by defense attorneys William L. Summers and R. Tucker Richardson III to warrant the dismissal of all charges against their client, Army Maj. Christian “Kit’ Martin. In this piece, however, I focus only on what those same attorneys wrote about the current political environment and the impact it’s having on members of the U.S. military.

Major Christian "Kit" Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

Major Christian “Kit” Martin is shown at the controls of an AH-64A Apache helicopter in Iraq.

Taking up almost three pages of the 37-page Motion to Dismiss document dated June 28, the attorneys’ words speak volumes not only about the case of Major Martin, 47, but also about others like him, including Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, an elite Green Beret combat veteran whose life story and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

Without further ado, I share the attorneys’ words below while taking the editorial liberty of deciphering some of the military jargon as needed and adding a few notes:

Major Martin’s case is just another example of how far some commanders are willing to go to gain political favor. Brigadier General Mark Stammer’s* Memorandum, Policy Letter 7 dated October 4, 2013, was posted on the Fort Campbell Portal and distributed to all commanders. It states that any allegation of domestic violence will result in immediate steps, including a 12 point checklist. It then states that these are the minimum actions commanders will take, they can make more if they wish (hint). The allegation does not have to be proved and no evidence is required. This is definitely a guilty until proven innocent policy and clearly shows BG Stammer’s inherent bias with regard to alleged domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

*NOTE: the attorneys referred to Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer as “BG Stammer,” because he was a a brigadier general at the time the document was submitted. Today, he serves as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in Djibouti, located in East Africa.

Many commanders like Brig. Gen. Stammer are now circumventing standard Uniform Code of Military Justice procedures and overruling Investigating Officers as a means of covering themselves and preventing further congressional inquiry into changing the role of commanders in the UCMJ process. Some commanders are also sacrificing soldier’s careers and lives in order to gain political favor and earn their next star, as well as a means of facilitating the army downsizing process. The stench of elitism and double standards has most recently been revealed by the case of General (Ret.) David Petraeus. General Petraeus had an extra marital affair, maintained private Top Secret information at his home including undercover agent’s identities, Security Council notes, etc. and then went to his paramour’s house and turned over these same highly classified documents to her. After all of this he then lied about his actions to the FBI. In return he received only a two year probation and $100,000 fine. Compare his proven actions to MAJ Martin’s allegations of mishandling classified information and how his case has morphed from a divorce, to an EPO, to a spy investigation, and now into now a court martial with sexual allegations.

1. Presidential UCI

The Unlawful Command Influence of BG Stammer at Fort Campbell is just one of many military examples of UCI throughout the armed services starting with the Commander in Chief and working its way down. In fact a military court has already ruled that President Obama as Commander in Chief has exerted UCI. In the trial of United States vs. SH2 Ernest Johnson, the judge ruled that the President’s statements did constitute unlawful command influence.

The President stated “The bottom line is this; I have no tolerance for this, I expect consequences…they got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharge. Period.”

This is almost verbatim what has happened to MAJ Martin.

Judge Marcus N. Fulton** found that “the Presidents statement raises concern that a particular result is required and this impinges on a convening authority’s discretion to refer or not refer a case to court martial.” He also stated that “these words must be evaluated for their capacity to improperly influence or appear to influence those with roles” (in a court martial). The court found that the case of United States vs. Johnson and United States vs. Simpson that the Presidents statement did “present some evidence of unlawful command influence.” He further found that the Presidents statement “could be interpreted as administrative steps that ought to be taken in addition to the specified judicial action and punishment.” He also stated that “the overall atmosphere surrounding the topic of sexual assault in the military…tends to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the effect of the comments in question.”

**NOTE: One source for comments similar to those attributed to the judge above is this one.

Judge Fulton also said these statements “constitute some-indeed substantial-evidence that the President would tend to impinge on the discretion of the convening authority to come to an independent decision” (EX U Military Authority Article, EX V US. vs Ernst Johnson)

2. CSA General Odierno***

The Chief of Staff of the Army has stated that “Sexual assault is the greatest threat to our service.” As the U.S. Army is still engaged in combat operation in Afghanistan, Iraq, most of the Middle East, and facing huge potential adversaries in North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China, this shows how politically pressured senior commanders are to show they are taking sexual assault and domestic violence seriously. (EX W.)

http://archive.armytimes.com/article/20130610/NEWS06/306100038/Odierno-leaders- We-lost-soldiers-trust

***NOTE: General Odierno retired from the Army after the Motion to Dismiss was submitted. See also my video related to General Ordierno here.

3. BG Stammer

General Stammer asserted, that if assaults occur in his military jurisdiction, he insists that they stay there because he has-

“absolute trust, faith, and confidence in the chain of command and our judges that they will address these issues fairly and timely…The Commander… is the leader…he is singularly responsible… him and him alone…I am going to hold him personally accountable for doing his job. He is not going to have an excuse.” (EX X.)

In a June 16, 2013, article**** in the Fort Campbell Courier, General Stammer reportedly said,

“I believe that leadership responsibility and accountability are crucial to successfully addressing the sexual misconduct issue. Most important, we need responsible leadership to change the culture of even the slightest bit of tolerance for ill-disciplined and criminal behaviors.” (EX Y)

****NOTE: The article actually appeared in the June 6, 2013, issue of the cited newspaper.

4. Policy Letter 7

BG Stammer’s Policy Letter 7 shows blatant UCI in that it directs commanders to take negative actions against Soldiers based merely on an allegation, even if this is an obvious ploy by an ex-spouse, and even if they no longer live together. Among its many requirements it directs that commanders will issue a protective order, move the Soldier to the barracks, require them to turn in their private weapons, and consider separation from service. Commanders will also contact social workers, consult the Family Advocacy Program, trial counsel, the victim advocate program, etc. all based on one person’s allegation.

5. Billboard

Another obvious example of BG Stammer’s UCI at Fort Campbell was the recent picture of a male soldier on an electronic billboard. The billboard was in front of the Family Resource Center directly across the street from the senior leadership housing at Gate 1, and the house of Acting Senior Commander BG Stammer. The message concerned sexual assault and depicted a male soldier, the sign read:

“Your new year’s resolution is to get the F$*K (bleep) away from him.” (EX Z.)

This billboard, along with BG Stammer’s public comments and interviews represent Undo Command Influence (UCI) of a personal interest and inflexible attitude toward Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Cases at Fort Campbell. (Article 37 sections III and IV). In January of 2015, the National Coalition for Men posted a picture of the billboard on their website and sent a letter to the CG, Major General Gary J. Volesky***** requesting the removal of the offensive picture and message, which thereafter rapidly occurred. (EX AA.)

*****NOTE: General Volesky is the commanding general at Fort Campbell now.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again: there’s much more to come for Major Martin, a man who put on his first military uniform as a private in 1986, marking the beginning of a career that would not only include serving as an Army Ranger, cavalry scout and attack helicopter pilot but also include becoming a Regular Army officer and serving three combat tours in Iraq.

Learn more about Major Martin and his case by reading this story as well as others. After you read them, please SHARE THEM and stay tuned for more updates!

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