Four years ago today, the paperback version of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, went on sale for the first time. Little has changed, however, when it comes to the Pentagon’s relentless campaign of political correctness (a.k.a., “witch hunt”) to convict any and all men accused of sexual assault, regardless of whether such crimes actually occurred.
Click on image above to order copy of book.
In Three Days In August, I not only chronicled the life story of former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, but I dissected the events leading to the false sexual assault allegations made against him by a German woman, the military trial that followed and his conviction in what can only be described as a “kangaroo court-martial.”
Still on sale at Amazon.com, Three Days In August is, in my biased opinion, a must-read book for active-duty, retired and former members of the U.S. military. Likewise, I believe it should be read by anyone who knows someone in the military or who cares about those who serve.
“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:
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.
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.
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.)
***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.
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!
SIX YEARS AGO TODAY, a trial began for Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart inside a military courtroom in Germany.
Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart went from being a highly-decorated combat veteran in the top one percent of his profession to being a convicted felon. It began with a night in a hotel room. It ended in prison. Read about his wrongful conviction in Three Days In August. Click on image above to order book.
After a German woman had falsely accused Stewart of rape and kidnapping, the politically-correct military justice system seemed to do everything it could do to convict the veteran of multiple combat tours in Kosovo and Iraq — and they did it in only two days, with the trial beginning early on Aug. 18, 2009.
During the trial, prosecutors presented no physical evidence and no eyewitnesses. When Stewart’s defense attorneys tried to obtain copies of the medical records of Stewart’s accuser so they could be shared in court, his accuser — and the German government — refused to produce the records. Had those records been shared during the trial, they would have shown she suffered from mental illness and had, in fact, spent several months in a care facility prior to the night she spent with Stewart after they met at See Studio, a discotheque in Stuttgart.
Incredibly, the military judge did not end the trial at that point. Instead, he allowed this miscarriage of military justice — and several others I highlight in the book — to take place before the trial reached its conclusions on the evening of Aug. 19, 2009, and members of the court-martial panel (a.k.a., “jury”) announced their verdict.
On Day Three, Stewart was sentenced to eight years in prison and sent away to the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Six months after the trial ended, I learned it had taken place and began to uncover details about Stewart’s case. Soon, I found myself reading the Record of Trial and speaking with individuals close to the case, including members of Stewart’s biological and military families.
Eighteen months after my interest was sparked, I finished chronicling Stewart’s life story and conviction and released it in book form as my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.
Click on image above to learn more about Three Days In August and read endorsements of the book.
Though I’ve written many articles about the case and some big names have endorsed the book, the only way you’ll understand why I remain so passionate about wanting to see justice for this TOP ONE PERCENT SOLDIER is by reading Three Days In August.
After release from prison March 31, 2011, SFC Stewart was forced to move to Virginia where he lived in an old 20 foot camper in a very, very rural area near the Shenandoah Mountain range. His wife divorced him, taking away his two children. Over the next 3 years he did not have funds to purchase propane gas on a regular basis and suffered through cold winter nights without heat. A water hose running from a well froze, and there was no water and he frequently went to use a nearby river as the bathroom facility. Having little funds for payment during the heat of summer, he had to significantly reduce use of electric and was without air conditioning.
This past year, with the assistance of his parents, he was able to rent and move into an unfinished garage of an old home, one without heat or any comfort items. Due to the house being unfinished, it’s not a very secure home. This can be problematic for anyone living on their own, especially in a garage that could be easily accessed by strangers or burglars. To try and protect himself, he should seriously consider trying to install a wireless alarm system to make sure that his living space doesn’t get invaded, leaving him with nothing. Although his house doesn’t contain many material goods, it’s still important that he protects what he does have. When he first moved in, he purchased a used wood stove, ran a stovepipe, to have heat in the garage. Wood was hung on the wall for shelves for food items, etc. An old, worn-out couch and chair were purchased from a thrift shop for about $25. A used bed and work table was found, the table serving as somewhere to sit and eat. Found some cheap throw rugs from a thrift shop for the unfurnished floor. A used refrigerator with a bad door and no icemaker were found, as was a makeshift kitchen stove to cook on. He was unable to purchase a microwave oven. Lighting is rudimentary at best. In a joint room through a large opening is a portion used by the owner for repair to motorcycles and other items. Obviously odors and fumes permeate throughout the living area.
Click image above to order book.
SFC Stewart has an entry-level job now at a local business (who’s the owner) stepped forward, (understanding) his situation and the outlandish conviction. Unfortunately, he makes a very, very small salary but it is the best that can be done for now. From that small amount of take-home pay he must pay a large child support payment, necessary utilities, food, insurance, and gas to get to work while using an old car purchased by his parents, medical bills must be paid (he has extensive health issues from military service and his without VA health benefits), clothing, etc., etc., etc. Additionally, the United States Army has billed him for over $27,000 in back pay issues while on active duty and shortly will begin garnisheeing his pay for a monthly amount that appears to exceed his entire monthly income. This is where Stewart needs to think smart, reduce on his utilities and monthly rent to ensure he can make these payments. Most veterans set-up a business after leaving so they can get a passive income, this is where everyone could be looking into Utility Bidder to get these bills down! Furthermore, quite often, it can actually be a pleasant surprise to discover how much money you can save by finding new ways to reduce your utility bills. For example, quite a few people I know have managed to reduce their electricity costs by switching to a more affordable energy supplier. There are some amazing energy suppliers out there such as Gexa Energy that offer affordable rates and policies so do not be afraid to shop around to determine your best possible course of action.
For now though, his parents are attempting to find an affordable and livable home in the near area allowing him to commute to work and have the amenities of comfortable living. They will make the payments until SFC Stewart gets back on his feet with sufficient income to pay the mortgage. It is difficult to find a home because of the rural situation, which is the lowest populated County in the State. Few homes are for sale within an affordable bracket not only from the aspect of parents being able to afford it, but in SFC Stewart being able to assume those payments should the death of his elderly parents occur. Both mobile homes and fixed homes have been looked at by SFC Stewart and his parents during a recent visit. Almost every home that has been reviewed (and there have been many) that are affordable have been in absolutely atrocious conditions and would be a complete waste of money due to improvement needs. Nearly every home visited under $75k has been in terrible condition, but his parents nor SFC Kelly can purchase a home without assistance.
You can help.
Money is needed for purchase of a house that is livable and affordable. 100% of your donation will be used in the purchase of a home for this Soldier. How much is need? A lot. Consider that 20% of the price will be needed for down payment, possible closing costs, purchase of appliances and furniture will be necessary, deposits for utilities, etc., etc.
Will you help this Soldier who served his country with honor, only to be erroneously and unjustly convicted by a corrupt military justice system? If so, click on this secure link and use your existing PayPal Account, create one, or use a credit card to make a donation. Thank you for caring.
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After reading the piece above, I hope you’ll find a way to help Chief Stewart help his son by making a contribution to the cause. If you want to learn more about Kelly Stewart, please order a copy of Three Days in August, the book New York Times best selling author Richard Miniter described as “Well-written and thoroughly researched, Three Days In August paints a convincing portrait of a military justice process that appears to have lacked one essential element – justice.” Thanks in advance for anything you can do!
UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:18 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.