Tag Archives: Iraq

GREEN BERET: ‘The next thing you know, it felt like someone put lighter fluid on me and caught me on fire’

Having already survived several combat deployments in Iraq, Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart never expected to come face to face with death during a tour of “schoolhouse duty” at a NATO training center in Germany, but he did. Some of the details of the Green Beret’s brush with death appear in the excerpt below from my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August:

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Panicking because they had eaten up some time, they began hooking up bottles and IVs and then another bad thing happened: Stewart had an allergic reaction to a drug the German doctors used and went into anaphylactic shock.

“(There’s) nothing like being double-handcuffed and (having) your feet shackled and strapped to a bed (while) going into anaphylaxis,” Stewart said. “I’ve seen a lot of people go through it, but being conscious and going through it is very difficult.

“It just started off as being real tight in the chest,” he continued. “The next thing you know, it felt like somebody put lighter fluid on me and caught me on fire.

“I couldn’t breathe at all, and everybody was kind of panicking around me, trying to give me medication to stop what was happening.”

Soon, the Germans said they didn’t have a doctor who could treat him, that he was probably having liver and kidney failure and was probably going to die. Their message to the American cops: “We need to get him out of here.”

“Of course, I’m understanding what the Germans are saying and what they’re telling the cops,” Stewart said. “They’re kind of underhanded, saying, ‘We can’t treat him here. We need to send him over to Landstuhl,’” the U.S. Army’s largest hospital in Europe.

“What they’re saying in German is, ‘We need to get him out of here, because he’s not going to survive,’ and they didn’t want that (outcome) in their hospital.”

To learn details about the events leading up to and following Stewart’s hospital stay, order a copy of Three Days In August today!

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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Letter Warns Army Chief of Staff About ‘Rat’ at Fort Campbell

As an investigative journalist and author whose nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, was described by David P. Schippers as “perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years,” I like to think I’m pretty good at sniffing out “rats.” Of course, it helped to receive confirmation from Schippers, the man who served as the U.S. House of Representatives’ chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After detecting the odor of a Pentagon-sized “rat” at Fort Campbell, Ky., I decided to let Gen. Mark A. Milley know about it.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army (U.S. Army photo by Monica King)

Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army (Monica King)

Below is the text of the 700-word letter I mailed to the newest Army Chief of Staff today:

Dear General Milley:

Are you willing, in your role as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, to allow Army prosecutors at Fort Campbell, Ky., to continue the wrongful and reckless prosecution of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin on sexual assault allegations even after his female accuser pleaded guilty to a felony crime?

Yesterday, this woman — whose own sister recently described her as “untruthful since childhood” and whose own father told investigators working for Major Martin she had a long history of telling lies — entered a guilty plea before Christian County (Ky.) Judge Andrew Self on a single felony charge of bigamy (i.e., marrying one person while you are still legally married to another) and is now awaiting her sentencing Feb. 17, 2016.

The man she deceived for most of a decade is Major Martin, a same Regular Army officer, Ranger, attack helicopter pilot and Iraq combat veteran your predecessor, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, once described as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.”

This woman, now a convicted felon, is behind the slew of false allegations against Major Martin, the most outrageous of which is that he sexually assaulted her and her three children. Hardly coincidentally, her allegations began to surface only after Major Martin told her he wanted a divorce.

This woman’s allegations against this outstanding officer are nearly identical to those she made years earlier against her first — and, legally speaking, only — husband. While recently speaking to investigators working for Major Martin, that man said the woman had made the same kind of vile allegations against him but had not pursued them. Instead, she had opted to abduct the two children they had had together — her second- and third-born children — and never return.

This woman might have made similar allegations against the father of her first child, whom she never married, but did not. Instead, she came up with something more creative, telling anyone who would listen that he had been decapitated in a logging accident in Oregon 19 years earlier. She even told her first child that story when she determined him old enough to comprehend.

Something else you should know and might want to investigate, General Milley, is that agents from Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed not only that they had been unable to locate the reportedly-decapitated man, but that he was dead. It was only through the efforts of Major Martin’s private investigators — and not through the help of any medical examiner, undertaker or cemetery administrator — that the man this woman had hoped to keep in her past was located.

Also worth noting is that the two biological fathers of the three children born to Major Martin’s accuser — even the reportedly-decapitated man — are not only trying to gain back custody of their children, but both are planning to appear and testify during Major Martin’s upcoming military trial, set to begin Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell. Imagine the media circus that will generate!

General Milley, I trust you will look at the facts of this case seriously. I trust you will take a serious look at the outcomes of the multiple military and civilian investigations that found no substance to any of the allegations against Major Martin. And I trust you will cast aside political correctness and pressure from powerful lawmakers to obtain a conviction when all evidence points toward acquittal.

Likewise, I trust you will give serious thought to whether Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer is, after making the wrong decision in Major Martin’s case while serving as acting commander at Fort Campbell, suited to wearing two stars as commander of such an important organization as Africa Command‘s Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.

Finally, I trust you will take swift and immediate action to stop this reckless and wrongful prosecution of Major Martin!

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

cc: Senator Rand Paul; Senator Mitch McConnell; Senator Lamar Alexander; Senator Bob Corker; Ashton Carter; Mr. Jon T. Rymer; Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky; and Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer.

Stay tuned for more details, and thanks in advance for reading and sharing the letter above as well as my continuing coverage of Major Martin’s case.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:23 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 11:12 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Please show your support of my work by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

‘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.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Army Ranger-Aviator Fights Uphill Battle to Prove Innocence as Military Court Denies Vast Majority of Witness Requests

Over the weekend, I shared three new articles about some of the testimony that took place before Col. Andrew Glass at Fort Campbell, Ky., early last week. In short, the military judge heard arguments from attorneys on both sides about whether unlawful command influence and prosecutorial misconduct had surfaced in the prosecution of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin. Today, I share details about witnesses who were prevented from appearing and ask “Why?”

This graphic tells Maj. Christian "Kit" Martin's story in a nutshell. If justice doesn't prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

This graphic tells Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin’s story in a nutshell. If justice doesn’t prevail, he faces the possibility of spending 58 years in prison for something he did not do.

First, some background: Major Martin, 47, is an Army Ranger and attack helicopter pilot with a distinguished 29-year military career — including three combat tours in Iraq — under his belt. Soon after telling his “wife” he wanted a divorce, he found himself the target of serious allegations and multiple criminal investigations followed during the next three years. Today, he faces the possibility of 58 years in prison if convicted on the most recent charges stemming from his ex-wife’s allegations of sexual assault and abuse. Because there is much more to it than I can share in one paragraph, I recommend you read the overview article about the case published Sept. 4 before you read any further.

Now, I’ll briefly recap what I shared over the weekend:

• The headline of the first article, Officer’s Accuser Described as ‘Untruthful Since Childhood’, neatly summed up the testimony of a California woman who is the sister of Major Martin’s accuser;

• The headline of the second article, Local Prosecutor Says Fort Campbell Counterparts Tried to Pressure Her to Drop Charge Against Army Officer’s Accuser, did the same; and

• In the third article, Prosecutors Accused of Misconduct, Breach in Controversial Sexual Assault Case Against Army Officer at Fort Campbell, I focused on the testimony of Army lawyers and whether they were being honest with the court.

While important testimony was spotlighted in the articles above, several other witnesses were prevented from testifying during the Article 39A hearing — essentially a pre-trial hearing during which the parties hashed out details in advance of having panel members (i.e., jurors) present. In fact, prosecutors objected to 19 out of 21 witnesses requested by the defense, and only a handful of those witnesses ended up being allowed to testify.

SENIOR OFFICERS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Among those prevented from testifying were Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the recently retired Army chief of staff shown in the center of the graphic above. If you’re thinking he might have been called as a means for the defense to bring in “star power,” think again. Back when Odierno was a mere lieutenant colonel at Fort Lewis, Wash., Martin was a young lieutenant AND his executive officer. In fact, in an officer evaluation, then-LTC Odierno described then-1LT Martin as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.”

Also deemed “off limits” by the court was Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, the man shown at right in the graphic above. A brigadier general (a.k.a., “one-star general”) at the time he made the decision to prosecute Major Martin, he soon earned a second star and a slot as commander of Africa Command’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. It would have been interesting to hear his take on why he decided to pursue a conviction of Major Martin after investigations by multiple civilian and military agencies had found no substance in any of the accusations against the 29-year Regular Army officer.

In addition, it would have been interesting to hear General Stammer respond to the testimony of Major Martin’s letter-writing sister, Juliet Andes, whose name also appeared on the list of witnesses initially denied by the prosecution. Email evidence shows General Stammer alerted prosecution attorneys about her email within hours of receiving the electronic letter she had written to him. According to Andes, those prosecutors badgered her for days afterward.

I suspect courtroom observers would have salivated over the testimony of LTC Ryan P. O’Connor, a man who served as Major Martin’s brigade commander at the time allegations surfaced. The lieutenant colonel was denied as a witness, defense sources tell me, because he’d conducted his own investigation into the allegations and was known to have been appalled at the poor excuse for military justice he’d seen taking place before his eyes. Since being transferred from Fort Campbell to Fort Hood, Texas, he has steadfastly refused to reply to Major Martin’s investigators’ repeated attempts to contact him. Can’t blame him. He probably wants to safeguard his own career, too.

CIVILIAN PROSECUTOR DENIED AS WITNESS

Initially denied as a defense witness, Katherine (Garber) Foster, the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Attorney for Christian County (a.k.a., “the local civilian prosecutor”), was allowed to testify after she showed up in the courtroom on her own accord. Notably, she told the court Army prosecutors tried to pressure her to drop a bigamy charge against Major Martin’s Accuser. Makes one wonder if military prosecutors feared such prosecution might hurt the credibility of their star witness who, by the way, is set to go on trial Oct. 22 in Hopkinsville, Ky.

MILITARY INVESTIGATORS DENIED AS WITNESSES

Also on the list of witnesses who could have shed light on the weakness of the prosecution’s case are several individuals who investigated the allegations against Major Martin while working for civilian and military agencies.

For instance, it would have been interesting to hear Army Counter-Intelligence investigators testify about their investigation into allegations that Major Martin had been some kind of international spy. They could have told the court several things, including the following:

1) They could have told the court about how cooperative Major Martin had been during their six-month investigation which included surveillance and wiretapping as well as an extensive search of his off-post home;

2) They could have told the court about how the laptop allegedly stolen by Major Martin was inoperable and had been out of the Army inventory for seven years before his accuser and her new male friend, a former Army Supply officer, turned it over to the FBI; and

3) They could have told the court about how Major Martin had passed a three-hour polygraph exam they had administered.

Likewise, it would have been interesting to hear Army Criminal Investigation Command agents testify about how they had confirmed that the man who had fathered the first child of Major Martin’s accuser had, as she had long claimed, been decapitated in a logging accident in Oregon almost 20 years ago. Immediately after CID agents testified, it would have been interesting to see the shocked look on their faces when the reportedly-decapitated man walked into the court-room to testify as told investigators working on Major Martin’s behalf he is willing to do.

Finally, it would have been interesting to hear Military Police investigators explain why, during their investigation of allegations against Major Martin, they refused to accept documents and evidence he tried to deliver to them in an effort to further prove his innocence.

Stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile, be sure to read my other articles about Major Martin’s case.

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.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.