ON AUGUST 20, 2009, Stars and Stripes editors were understandably quick to publish Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s mugshot after he was convicted and sentenced by a court-martial panel during three days in August 2009. Since then, however, they have been unwilling to publish details of what actually took place inside a U.S. military courtroom in German and resulted in the wrongful conviction of a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.
ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS AGO, I was interviewed by John Vandiver, a Stuttgart-based reporter for the 70-year-old publication for members of the U.S. military community in Europe. The subject of the interview was the book I had written and published last fall about Stewart’s life and wrongful conviction, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.
FIFTY-TWO DAYS LATER, it became clear that Stripes editors were not interested in publishing the nitty-gritty details of the case.
In a Feb. 27 post, I speculated about several possible reasons why they had yet to run an article based on the interview. Among the reasons I cited was the fact that Vandiver, through no fault of his own, was unable to land the extensive interviews with key players or obtain a copy of the Record of Trial — two things that make my book about Stewart’s case so captivating at the same time as it dismantled the prosecution’s case against the soldier.
ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY DAYS after my interview with Vandiver, Stripes continues to sit on the story about my book and, in turn, continues to sit on the facts underlying his wrongful conviction, many of which were never heard by members of the 10-member court-martial panel that heard the case.
TODAY, on the day Stewart’s case went before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, Stripes published a 400-word piece, Ex-Green Beret begins appeal of sex assault conviction. Unfortunately for those who hunger for the truth, the article made no mention of the book or the fact that its author — yours truly — had been interviewed about it almost six months ago.
WHAT AM I TO THINK NOW?
I’m convinced Stripes editors are content running interference for a system that wrongfully convicted an elite soldier based almost solely on the words of an accuser with a history of mental issues that were never allowed to surface during the trial. Apparently, they don’t fear being held responsible when tens of thousands of members of the military eventually learn about Stewart’s case and realize, “That could’ve been me!”
Want to find out what Stripes editors are not willing to share with you? Read Three Days In August, a book that paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.
UPDATE 4/20/12 at 12:33 p.m. Central: This morning, I attempted to leave a comment below the above-referenced story published by Stripes yesterday. Hopefully, by Monday morning, the site’s moderator will have approved my comment.
UPDATE 12/28/2012 at 9:43 a.m. Central: Five days ago, I shared a new observation about the latest Stripes article on Stewart’s case. It’s a doozie. See German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.