Senator McCaskill Proves To Be Long on ‘Wind,’ Short on Wisdom

After watching the video that accompanied a news release I received this afternoon from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), I found the news release’s headline, “McCaskill Hears About Success of New Reform to Curb Military Sexual Assault,” incredibly misleading.

How was it misleading? The Show-Me State’s senior senator did more bloviating than she did listening. In fact, she rambled on for two and a half minutes about the so-called “reforms” in the military justice system’s approach to prosecuting alleged instances of sexual assault before Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno got a word in edgewise. And the video was only three minutes and two seconds long!

I guess that’s how she plays the game.

To learn more about the Senator McCaskill’s misguided push for reforms in the prosecution of cases of sexual assault cases — real and imagined — in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about one case, in particular, that resulted in the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Military Justice System Headed Down Same Path as Healthcare

“If you like your military, you can keep your military.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, then-deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

To my knowledge, President Barack Obama hasn’t said that yet — at least, not in public. But the military justice system seems to be headed down the same path as the nation’s healthcare system.

Unlike the debate regarding healthcare, the debate about the need for military justice reforms involves people in positions of power (i.e., President Obama and members of Congress) who have absolutely no concept of what is necessary in a military justice system, because they have never served. Led by people like Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), they advocate steps that will only worsen an already-flawed system.

One person who seems to understand what’s at stake is Patti Fruit, a resident of the Fayetteville, N.C., area near Fort Bragg. While I don’t agree with everything she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer about the headline-making outcome of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair’s court-martial, I do agree with the following point she made:

“Yes, he admits to adultery with underlings, but why military women who have achieved rank did not have the honor and courage to report the general’s advances from the beginning is a question that needs addressing.”

What was the outcome of General Sinclair’s case? Sexual assault charges against him were dropped after political influence, in lieu of facts, was cited as the driving force behind a higher-ranking general’s decision to prosecute Sinclair.

One-hundred-eighty-degrees opposite Ms. Fruit, members of The New York Times Editorial Board revealed in a letter published today that they don’t have a clue about the military justice system.  Their lack of a “clue” is illustrated in the two paragraphs highlighted below:

The deal followed a stunning ruling by a military judge last week suggesting that by holding out for more severe punishment, and by rejecting an earlier plea deal, the senior Army officer overseeing the prosecution might have been improperly influenced by political considerations in bringing the most severe charges against the general because of a desire to show new resolve in the military against sexual misconduct. The prosecution had also been badly shaken by revelations that the general’s accuser may have lied under oath.

The episode offers a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system, which gives commanding officers with built-in conflicts of interest — rather than trained and independent military prosecutors outside the chain of command — the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try.

The Times Editorial Board’s description of this week’s happenings in the case as “a textbook example of justice gone awry, providing yet another reason to overhaul the existing military justice system” is about as truthful as any of President Obama’s promises concerning the so-called Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., “ObamaCare”).

Three Days In August by Bob McCarty

Click on image above to order book.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” the president said.  We all know how long that promise lasted.

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” the president said.  Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who’ve lost coverage since ObamaCare went “live.”

“We’re going to work with employers to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family per year,” the president said.

Rather than telling us “If you like your military, you can keep your military,” it appears President Obama and his sycophants on The Left are determined to dismantle it without asking for input from anyone else and without regard for or our nation’s security.  In short, the military justice system seems destined toward the same fate as healthcare and, sadly, Republicans in Congress seem to lack the wherewithal (a.k.a., “spines”) to do anything about it.If Americans don’t stand up and demand their politicians stop meddling with the military, then they’ll deserve the military that’s left standing.  And it won’t be pretty.  Or, for that matter, an effective fighting force.

To learn more about sexual assault prosecutions in the military, read my series, “War On Men in the Military.”

To learn more about the case involving Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, order a copy of Three Days In August, the nonfiction book in which I chronicle his life story and wrongful conviction in a U.S. military courtroom in Germany.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Behenna Released From Prison

GREAT NEWS! First Lieutenant Michael Behenna, the young Army Ranger officer sent to prison for killing a known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq, walked out of the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., this morning, bound for his hometown of Edmond, Okla., barely a month after being granted parole by the U.S. Army Clemency and Parole Board in Washington, D.C.

Behenna, 30, spent five years behind bars after being sentenced to 25 years and, later, having that term reduced to 15 years.  While there, he and Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life story is chronicled in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, became good friends behind bars at Fort Leavenworth.

Since June 4, 2009, I’ve written and published more than 60 articles about Behenna’s case, including the four highlighted below:

Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive (Jan. 15, 2013);

Is Army Protecting Someone in Officer’s Chain of Command? (Aug. 20, 2012);

American Warfighters Deserve Same Consideration as Taliban (July 17, 2012); and

Photos Show Scene Where Trail of Injustice Began (Feb. 10, 2010).

Best wishes to all, and welcome home, Michael!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

War on Men in the Military: Cases Shockingly Similar

While reading a WRAL.com article today, I couldn’t help but notice similarities between the sexual assault prosecutions of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair and Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose wrongful conviction is chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is shown near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

One example can be found in the three paragraphs that follow an explanation of how the military judge in the case decided to prosecute despite a recommendation from the lead prosecutor that General Sinclair’s plea to a charge of adultery be accepted.  The example begins in paragraph four as follows:

The defense contends that the captain, who served with Sinclair in Iraq and Afghanistan, committed perjury in a January hearing about finding text messages form Sinclair on an old cellphone, making her a poor witness on which to build a case against the general.

The captain said in the January hearing that she came across the old phone in December and charged it up to see if there was anything on it that would affect Sinclair’s court-martial. A defense forensics expert contradicted her testimony, saying she had turned the phone on several times in the months before she said she found it packed in a box.

The defense argues in the motion that the Army continues to press the case only to support a get-tough policy against sex assault in the military.

Notice the word, perjury, and how a forensics expert proved it?  Apparently, perjury by a female in a military sexual assault case isn’t cause for concern.

In the case of Stewart, a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran, several instances of perjury surfaced during and after his court-martial.

Read the reviews.

Read the reviews.

Two that surfaced during the trial involved a German police detective and a taxi driver whose memory issues are highlighted in the article, German Police Detective Has Memory Issues Like Accuser.

One arose during the pre-sentencing phase and involved the accuser offering a strange definition of “contact.”

Yet another was brought to the court’s attention by a long-time friend of the accuser who made a post-trial statement that should have netted Stewart a new trial.

I, for one, can’t wait to read the trial transcript if or when General Sinclair’s case reaches the trial phase.  Why?  Because I suspect it will be as chock full of half-truths, lies and innuendo as Stewart’s trial was as the War on Men in the Military continues.

UPDATE 3/16/2014 at 8:11 p.m. Central:  Sexual assault charges dropped against general after case tainted by political influence.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty: Top 10 Military Justice System Stories of 2013

As a former Air Force public affairs officer and author of two books that involve military subject matter, I have an affinity for reporting on military-related topics and, in particular, the military justice system. Below are my Top 10 Military Justice posts of 2013:

Behenna Flag Officers#10. Flag Officers Back Supreme Court Brief Filed on Behalf of Lieutenant Michael Behenna — Thirty-seven retired high-ranking military officers, including a former Chief of Naval Operations, signed an Amicus Brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Feb. 27 in support of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna. An Edmond, Okla., native, Lieutenant Behenna is serving 15-years behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for killing a known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

#9. Comparing Messages Sent by Accusers — DoD War on Men — As part of my continuing series about the War on Men in the Military, I compared the handling of evidence in military court-martial cases to the handling of similar evidence during the prosecution of a civilian sexual assault case making news in Ohio.

Behenna Story 15-6#8. Army 15-6 Investigation Report Proves Elusive — Related to the Soldier whose case was highlighted in #10 above, I recalled details about my thusfar unsuccessful efforts to obtain a copy of the Army Regulation 15-6 Investigation Report prepared after Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna shot and killed the known al-Qaeda operative in Iraq.

#7. Retired Air Force Nurse Likens Senator Claire McCaskill’s Actions to ‘Witch Hunt’ — I shared an unsolicited message I received from a retired Air Force officer about the involvement of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in a high-profile sexual assault case.

#6. Is DoD Waging War on Warriors? — I offered details about an Army general’s case and several others brought to my attention by readers of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, which chronicles the life and wrongful conviction of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart on sexual assault-related charges.

Franklin Cases Online#5. USAF General Puts Sexual Assault Case Documents Online — I highlighted the fact that an Air Force three-star general showed he wasn’t going to back down to his detractors and made a plethora of documents related to the case mentioned in #7 above available to visitors on the Air Force Freedom of Information Act website.

#4. Senator Claire McCaskill Owes Air Force Officer An Apology — I offered another sad update on Senator “Claire Bear” McCaskill and her inexcusable actions, including the fact that she owes an Air Force officer an apology.

#3. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Reckless Effort to Undermine Military Justice System Continues — I highlighted the efforts of the aforementioned liberal senior senator from the Show-Me State seemingly aimed at destroying Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin.

Must-Read NDU#2. Must-Read Article About Military Sexual Assault Published by National Defense University — I pointed readers to a well-written must-read piece, Fostering Constructive Dialogue on Military Sexual Assault by Lindsay L. Rodman, that was published in Joint Force Quarterly 69 by National Defense University Press.

#1. Army Officer’s Attorneys File Supreme Court Petition — I offered details of how a new team of those legal experts filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of former Army Ranger 1LT Michael C. Behenna, the Soldier mentioned in #8 and #10 above and in more than 60 posts since June 4, 2009.

If you enjoyed these stories and others I shared during 2013, you’ll love reading my books. Be sure to add Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO to your libraries today! Both are available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

DoD War on Men: Comparing Messages Sent by Accusers

Today, as part of my continuing series about the Department of Defense War on Men, I compare the handling of evidence in military court-martial cases to the handling of similar evidence during the prosecution of a civilian sexual assault case making news in West Virginia Ohio.

ABC News broadcast a story today about the case of two Steubenville, Ohio W.Va., high school football players who stand accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she was drunk at an “alcohol-fueled party” the night of Aug. 11, 2012.  If the report is reliable, then it appears prosecutors will rely heavily upon text messages and mobile phone photos exchanged by party attendees — and, perhaps, others — as they pursue guilty verdicts against the 16- and 17-year-old boys who stand accused.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life story and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August, probably would have benefited from having members of his court-martial panel made aware of some text messages sent by his accuser.  But it didn’t happen.  Instead, the highly-decorated combat veteran was convicted of a handful of sexual assault-related crimes and sentenced to eight years confinement at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Several months later, however, Sergeant Stewart’s defense team had the rare opportunity to present new testimony during a post-trial hearing in Germany.  During that hearing, many people testified, essentially calling out the 28-year-old German woman who had accused the Solider of raping and kidnapping her in his Stuttgart hotel room as a liar.

Did it get him a new trial?  No.

Not even the testimony of Tamara Buehler, a woman who had known the accuser for more than 10 years as a friend, housemate and employer, earned him a new trial.  She reported receiving a text message from the accuser within 24 hours of the night she spent with Sergeant Stewart.

In the text message, Buehler said, the accuser described a lecherous night during which she “found my master.”  Of course, she took this to mean that there was sex of the sadomasochist type and noted that there was no talk of something happening that the accuser did not like.  And that wasn’t all!  Buehler also stated that the accuser had claimed her encounter with Sergeant Stewart was “great SEX.”

Incredibly, the military judge ignored the testimony of Buehler and several others who combined to paint a portrait of the accuser as a woman who had had sex with at least two more men between the day she met Sergeant Stewart and the start of the court-martial proceedings.  Her testimony takes on additional weight when one realizes the accuser had testified during the trial that she could no longer be around men after her night with the Soldier.  More details here.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. Sinclair was attending an open house, where Afghan students received backpacks full of school supplies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, the deputy commanding general of support with the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South, speaks with Afghan media outside of a school near Forward Operating Base Howz-e-Madad in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Nov. 16, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amanda Hils/Released)

Now to a more recent case — that of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair; if he receives the same treatment as Sergeant Stewart, he’s likely to receive an even longer prison sentence.

In what appears to be a smart move, however, General Sinclair’s defense team has gone on the offensive, launching a website, Sinclair Innocence, where one can read important details about the case which, for the most part, seems to be going unreported by mainstream news media outlets.

Under the tab, The Truth Behind the Case, several questions appear along with answers that tilt in favor of the accused general.  Two paragraphs from the bottom of the page, links to journal entries and text messages — described as having been sent by the accuser to General Sinclair — appear to reveal much about the consensual nature of their relationship.  If genuine, the documents also seem to shed much light on the mental state of the general’s accuser.

While it will be interesting to see how the case of the high school football players turns out, I will be more interested in General Sinclair’s case, hoping to see evidence of fairness and truth in the midst of DoD’s War on Men.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Suspicions Raised After Deaths of Three Firearms Experts

Thirteen months ago, I wrote a piece in which I compared Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL and lead author of the book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, to former Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life I chronicled in my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August. Then, late Saturday night, I read a shocking news report about Kyle being shot to death at a gun range. Amidst so much anti-gun vitriol floating about these days, something didn’t seem right, but I couldn’t place it.

photoThings started to come together today, however, after I saw a graphic posted by a Facebook friend. It showed the images of three firearms experts in the United States — Keith Ratliff, 32; John Noveske, 36; and Kyle, 38 — and information about their untimely deaths — all within a one-month period.

On Jan. 7, Guns.com reported the death of Noveske three days earlier after driving off a highway and “crashing into boulders.”

On Jan. 8, Defense Review reported reported the death of Noveske, describing him, among other things, as “known for building high-end/high-quality AR-15 rifles.”

Also on Jan. 8, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Ratliff had been shot once in the head on the evening of Jan. 3.

Alone, any one of the three deaths could be overlooked. Viewed together, however, it’s difficult to believe foul play is beyond the realm of possibilities.

It will be interesting to see if my suspicions “grow legs” beyond this page.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Yes, I Had Lunch With A Sniper

Today, I had the good fortune of being able to enjoy a good meal and good conversation with Kelly A. Stewart, a former Army Green Beret medic and sniper whose life story — including a wrongful conviction in a military court-martial — is chronicled in my book, Three Days In August.

L-R: Kelly A. Stewart and Bob McCarty.

Though I had communicated with Stewart countless times during the past three years, today’s meal at a Cracker Barrel Country Store in the St. Louis area marked the first time Stewart and I were able to meet in person.  It became possible as a result of Stewart passing through Missouri on the return leg of a cross-country trek to visit family.

Worth noting:  After spending more than two hours across the table from him, I’m convinced more than ever before that he is the victim of military justice gone awry.

To read the never-before-published details about Stewart’s wrongful conviction, read the book, Three Days In August.  Based on 18 months of research, interviews with the key players and access to the actual Record of Trial, this book is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Green Beret’s Defense Attorneys Cite Ineffective Counsel During Trial, Ask Court to Reconsider

Since publishing news almost two weeks ago about the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces denying former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s appeal, a new development has surfaced:  William E. Cassara and Philip D. Cave, the attorneys handling Stewart’s appeals, have filed a Petition for Reconsideration with CAAF, the nation’s highest military court.

Notably, the petition cites ineffective assistance of counsel — an item mentioned in the July 26 decision of the Army Court of Criminal Appeals to affirm Stewart’s 2009 conviction and sentence on sexual assault charges — and requests CAAF reconsider Stewart’s case.

In plain English, Stewart’s new defense attorneys argue that the defense attorneys who represented the highly-decorated combat veteran during his court-martial didn’t follow the legal steps necessary to compel — or attempt to compel — the German government to produce the accuser’s mental health records.  Those records, many believe, would have provided the court with a great deal of insight about the accuser and may have convinced members of the court-martial panel that the accusations against Stewart were baseless.

You can read more about these issues in my post, Army Judge Violates Soldier’s Constitutional Rights, published May 11, 2011.  To read the complete, never-before-published details of this case, obtained through interviews with the key players and access to the actual Record of Trial, order a copy of the book, Three Days In August:  A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

UPDATE 12/20/2012 at 8:30 a.m. Central:  Bad news received from the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces:  “On consideration of Appellant’s petition for reconsideration of this Court’s order issued November 15, 2012, it is, by the Court, this, 19th day of December, 2012,  ORDERED:  That said petition for reconsideration is hereby denied.  For the Court, /s/ William A. DeCicco, Clerk of the Court.”

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Highest Military Court Denies Green Beret’s Appeal

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has denied former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart‘s appeal of the wrongful conviction and sentence handed down by a court-martial panel in Germany almost 39 months ago.

The CAAF decision came today, almost four months after the Army Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the soldier’s conviction and sentence.  Stewart’s sentence came at the end of a two-day military trial in August 2009 during which Stewart was found guilty of a handful of sexual assault charges after a German woman alleged she had been raped and kidnapped by the soldier.

Now, unless the highly-decorated combat veteran receives a presidential pardon, he will likely bear the “sex offender” label for the rest of his life.

To gain an understanding of how Stewart’s prosecution went down, read “THE BASICS” of his case.

To read the never-before-published details obtained through interviews with the key players and access to the actual Record of Trial, order a copy of the book, Three Days In August:  A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  a

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.