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.
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.
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.
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase popularized by Mark Twain and used to describe the persuasive power of numbers and, particularly, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. Especially during the past few years, lies, damned lies and statistics have been used in tandem with bogus sexual assault claims to end the careers and ruin the lives of military men.
More often than not, the folks dealing in lies, damned lies and statistics are members of the national news media, politically-active filmmakers and attorneys willing to overlook facts in order to promote an agenda. They’ve become so successful in spreading their misinformation that someone unfamiliar with military life might believe any woman who survives a single day in uniform has done the equivalent of surviving 24 hours inside a third-world prison.
For a stellar example of such biased reporting, one needs only turn to an ABC News Nightlinesegment about the Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Invisible War,” that aired Feb. 22, 2013. Featuring correspondent Cynthia McFadden, it includes mentions of a handful of cases purported to be representative of the so-called sexual assault “epidemic” in the military. Because I’m not privy to the facts of the individuals cases highlighted during the five-and-one-half minute segment, I won’t dwell on them in this piece. Instead, I’ll focus on the lies, damn lies and statistics pitched as truths.
McFadden begins by talking about sexual assault in the U.S. military:
“It has long been a shameful secret inside the U.S. military — the widespread epidemic of rape and sexual assault, where our countries defenders find themselves defenseless and, often, without a way to seek justice,” she begins. “Now, many of them are telling their stories in a powerful and moving Oscar-nominated documentary.”
McFadden continues speaking as images of aircraft and women in uniform flood the screen:
“Women have reached some of the highest echelons in the military. They are fighter pilots. Sit at the controls of Marine One. Have earned Silver Stars for courage under fire. As well as a general’s four stars. While they may be succeeding on the front lines, there is an invisible battle that is taking its toll. Listen to these women.”
The faces on the screen change as each woman has her say:
“Everything changed the day that I was raped,” says one woman;
“He hit me in the head and knocked me out,” says another; and
“I remember holding the closet thinking, ’What just happened?’” says a third.
McFadden’s voice returns to accompany slow-motion video of marching Soldiers, replaced seconds later by a logo for the documentary:
“Their stories are the heart of the Oscar-nominated documentary, ‘The Invisible War.’”
A quick dissolve brings the image of a fourth woman into focus, and the woman says, “If this is happening to me, surely I’m not the only one,” before McFadden’s voice returns to accompany more moving images of Soldiers on the march:
“A film that shines a light on a hidden epidemic. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, some 30 percent of women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted while serving their country.”
McFadden tosses out the “30 percent” figure as easily as a scantily-clad 19-year-old girl in short shorts launches free t-shirts into the bleachers at a semi-pro baseball game, prompting me to ask,“Was it a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?”
A simple online search leads me to believe it is, at best, a fudge-flavored statistic (i.e., a statistic about which someone “fudged” the truth). At worst, it’s a lie.
I found only two statistical entries offering such estimations. Both appeared on a VA fact sheet for which a more-detailed VA fact sheet is erroneously cited as a source for claims that 23 out of 100 women (or 23 percent) reported sexual assault when in the military and that 55 out of 100 women (or 55 percent) and 38 out of 100 men (or 38 percent) experienced sexual harassment when in the military.
Next, the Nightline segment moved indoors, into a studio, where Kirby Dick, the director whose filmography includes several documentaries on controversial subjects, sits against a black background and begins to gush statistics while unchallenged by the alleged journalist, McFadden.
Kirby goes on to say something I believe is true — “I’m just astounded by the statistics” — before he cites a statistic he declares to be truth: “Nineteen-thousand men and women are being sexually assaulted each year in the U.S. military.”But is that figure a lie, a damned lie or simply a statistic?
To understand what the number does represent, one can turn to an explanation that appears in a one of the report’s footnotes — that the estimate was computed using weighted population estimates of the 4.4 percent of active-duty women and 0.9 percent of active-duty men who indicated they experienced an incident of unwanted sexual contact in the 12 months prior to the 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) — but that explanation is not very helpful and might have you rubbing sleep out of your eyes.
At a press conference in January 2012, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated that he estimates there were 19,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2011. That number is derived from a statement in the Department of Defense (DOD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, Fiscal Year 2010. The report does not actually explain its methodology for arriving at the number, but it does state the number is based on data from the Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey. Perhaps more importantly, the report does not refer to 19,000 sexual assaults, but rather 19,000 reports by individuals of unwanted sexual contact.
The Defense Manpower Data Center 2010 survey never uses the number 19,000. Rather, the document relays the results of a survey of 10,029 Active-duty female Servicemembers and 14,000 Active-duty male Servicemembers. The survey itself is forthright and explicit about the numbers it produces and its methodology. The sample size and sample composition necessarily make extrapolation military-wide problematic. The sample was clearly weighted toward female responses, and the definition of unwanted sexual contact did not align at all with the colloquial understanding or any statutory or legal definition of sexual assault. Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.
If you suspect the JFQ article was written by a long-in-the-tooth male military officer eager to please his superiors, then you’re wrong. Instead, it was written by then-Captain Lindsay L. Rodman, a female Marine Corps officer who was serving as a Judge Advocate (a.k.a., “military lawyer”) at Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, at the time she wrote the piece.
A statement Captain Rodman wrote about the 19,000 figure stands as a sort of indictment of those who deal in lies, damned lies and statistics for personal gain:
“Nevertheless, the number 19,000 arose as an extrapolation from the numbers in this sampling, and this number has pervaded the media discussion ever since. Most practitioners of justice and criminal investigators throughout the military should agree that the figure cited by Secretary Panetta is unrealistically high.”
A telling footnote seems to target lazy journalists:
For the numbers to work out according to their math, this extrapolation necessarily requires that half of those victims (up to about 10,000) would be male, which anecdotally seems questionable.”
Other unsubstantiated figures are tossed out during the Nightline segment. Chief among them is one McFadden included in a statement — “In fact, only 8 percent of assault cases go to trial” — that’s not accompanied by any attribution or source document.
Incredibly, according to Dick, military leaders have made his documentary part of DoD’s sexual assault awareness program. Need I say more about how bent and twisted the military has become due to political correctness?
There are more issues l could tackle, but I think I’ve made a strong enough case without going beyond these lies, damn lies and statistics.
To see the impact the lies, damn lies and statistics associated with the Pentagon’s sexual assault witch hunt are having on honorable military men, I encourage you to read about two Army combat veterans:
Two U.S. Airmen were killed early Thursday in Afghanistan in what appears to have been another “Green-on-Blue (a.k.a., ‘Insider’)” attack at Camp Antonik in Helmand province. According to an Air Force news release, Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members returned fire and killed the shooters.
“Green-on-Blue” Casualties: Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31.
The attack on the special tactics experts came three years and 17 days after three Marines, Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr. and Cpl. Richard Rivera Jr., died as a result of a similar attack at Forward Operating Base Delhi. And it comes as only the most recent attack among dozens of attacks over the years that have resulted in hundreds of American and coalition casualties, including at least 150 dead and 186 wounded.
Believing they had been systematically misled about the death of their loved one at the hands of an Afghan “ally” during the days and weeks following the attack, family members of Lance Corporal Buckley filed a lawsuit against DoD seeking only information, not money. The complaint, according to a Washington Postreport, was filed Oct. 16, 2014, in U.S. District Court in New York, and named the Department of Defense, the Navy Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as defendants. In addition, it named Gen. James F. Amos, the now-retired commandant of the Marine Corps as defendants. The lawsuit is still active, according to Lance Corporal Buckley’s aunt, MaryLiz Grossetto, whom I contacted today by phone.
News of the lawsuit brought back memories of Grossetto’s response to a question — Should families of U.S. Soldiers be able to sue Department of Defense? — I raised Aug. 23, 2013, and posted on the Facebook page dedicated to her 21-year-old nephew who was killed during a “Green-on-Blue” (a.k.a., “Insider”) attack in Afghanistan Aug. 10, 2012.
Click on image above to read article.
Excerpts from her response appear below with only minor edits:
Bob, if you had asked anyone in my family that question a year ago I’m pretty sure the answer would have been “NO.”
What a difference a year makes!
A year ago, I would have thought, “God forbid something happens, that’s the risk you were willing to take.”
Of course, a year ago I was under the mistaken impression that this country was doing all it could to protect & provide for our military. Sadly, today I know that is not the case. This administration is more concerned with how the Afghans will perceive things than making sure our own men are as safe as possible.
Having learned a lot during the first year after her nephew’s death, Grossetto asked and answered some pointed questions late in her response:
Did we take measures to ensure our military would be safe? Did we order our men to carry loaded weapons at all times? Did we provide “Guardian Angels” to watch over our soldiers when they were most vulnerable? NO! WHY? Because we were too busy handing out pamphlets & ordering our soldiers to attend “culture & sensitivity training” so our heroes would not “offend” Afghans.
Did we use the best, most advanced equipment when it came to vetting these Afghan soldiers / police? NO!
Have we thoroughly investigated what happened to Extortion 17? NO!
Have we investigated & spoken the truth about Benghazi? NO!
Grossetto concluded her response this way:
So, in answer to your question, I guess we should start suing. Maybe that will help this administration get it’s priorities in order! Until Then, God Help Us All!
After reading my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, Grossetto recognized how I had connected the dots between three memos — including one issued by James R. Clapper Jr., now the nation’s top intelligence official — and the toll from Green-on-Blue attacks like the one that killed her nephew. In addition, she offered the following endorsement of my book:
“Read this book & you will see how our government has for many, many years deprived our military of the best possible tool for vetting & weeding out the enemy.” — MaryLiz Grossetto.
Grossetto’s endorsement joined those of five others, including a former U.S. Navy SEALs commander, a former U.S. Army general, the parents of a member of the U.S. Navy’s SEAL TEAM SIX and the man who served as chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Read their conclusions about the book here.
As an Air Force veteran, I’m convinced that what I did while wearing the uniform of my country pales in comparison to the sacrifices made by those who truly deserve recognition on Memorial Day. If you don’t get my point, please educate yourself about Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is NOT just another holiday to provide business owners a collective excuse for holding a three-day extravaganza sale and offer 10 percent discounts to military veterans and their families.
Memorial Day is NOT a holiday during which we should thank all veterans.
Memorial Day IS a day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price — including people from the military, intelligence, foreign service and other areas of government service — while in service to our nation.
My recap for the week of Jan. 25 offers looks at a wide variety of topics — some of them radioactive! Hope you enjoy and share what you find at BobMcCarty.com!
OnJan. 25, I found a check — dated Sept. 14, 1970, and payable to yours truly that appears to have never been cashed — and decided to look up the bank online to see if I might be able to cash it today. I was astounded by what I discovered. Details in my post,Author Finds Uncashed Check in Box of Memories!
On Jan. 27, I shared a link on my Facebook page to an article about former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko who is thought to have been poisoned with polonium-210 on Oct. 16 and Nov. 1, 2006. Along with that link, I wrote, “This reminds me of something I read — after I wrote it, that is — in my just-released crime-fiction novel, The National Bet.”
Click image above to order a copy of the book.
Twenty-nine years ago this week, I was a young Air Force second lieutenant attending the Public Affairs Officer Course at the Defense Information School, then located at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. During a break from morning classes, I gathered with a dozen or so of my classmates from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps in front of a breakroom television to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger launch. I share more details about that day in my Jan. 28 post,Challenger Disaster Recalled 29 Years Later.
Also on Jan. 29, my attention was drawn to news about the Malaysian government declaring the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 an “accident. On my Facebook page, I wrote:
No worries. It was simply an accident. Barely a month ago at http://bobmccarty.com/?p=1654, I couldn’t help but try to draw connections between Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370 that disappeared in March and a second Malaysia-owned jetliner that also disappeared. Do you believe MH-370 was an accident? Do you think there’s a connection between the two incidents?
The last item worth noting about Jan. 29 is the fact that I went to see the film, American Sniper, at a theater. Upon returning from that experience, I had a Facebook message conversation with Kelly Stewart, the former Army Green Beret sniper — and sniper instructor — whose life story is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August:
Me: “I went and saw American Sniper today. Did you see it Saturday? Thoughts? I thought it seemed a little too much Hollywood. Am I right?
Stewart: “Haven’t seen it yet. Gonna wait ’til it’s on DVD.”
Me: “I wish I had saved my money until it was at RedBox instead of wasting big $$ at theater.”
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While Chris Kyle’s exploits are legendary, the film seemed to lack the kind of emotion I expected to see. And, perhaps I’m biased, but I think Stewart’s story would make a better film.
Because another updated Weldon Spring (Mo.) Cancer Report is due to be released by early January 2016, I decided to revisit the subject of radioactive contamination dangers in the St. Louis area. Read about it in myJan. 30 post,New Weldon Spring Cancer Report Due Out Early 2016.
Click on image above to read article.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll buy my books to ensure my work continues.