Wednesday, September 21, 2016

If You Carry An ID Card, You Are Subject To The UCMJ 24/7 Anywhere In The World

                            (Cadet 1/C Michael Shermot, USCG, pictured above.)

Cadet 1/C Michael Shermot, USCG was charged with sexual assault by impairment, meaning the alleged victim was unable to consent. His court-martial was held in Norfolk, Va.
Cadet Shermot was suspended from the corps of cadets on Dec. 29, 2015. He was a member of the wrestling team and a native of Shillington, Pa., according to the academy’s athletics website.
He faces up to 30 years in prison, dismissal from the Coast Guard and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
The alleged assault occurred in Westchester, Pa., sometime between Sept. 4 and 5 of 2015, according to Santos, a Coast Guard spokesman.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) became involved in the case after a civil investigation was started by local police in Westchester.
After concerns were made about Cadet Shermot’s military status and some of the witnesses involved in the case, the decision was made to have the Coast Guard take over jurisdiction of the case, said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Stiles, a legal instructor at the academy.
LCDR Stiles was previously the chief of military justice for the Coast Guard Legal Service Command.
Cadet Shermot was been reassigned to the Coast Guard’s yard in Baltimore, Md., while he awaited court-martial. He was assigned work that is comparable to what a lower-grade enlisted member does.
Because the military has much more control over the movements of its members, pretrial confinement is usually not used unless the person is a flight risk or poses an imminent threat, Stiles said.
THERE IS NO JUSTICE IN MILITARY JUSTICE, ONLY PUNISHMENT.
https://www.amazon.com/Court-martial-Webster-Smith-Last-Word-ebook/dp/B01GZL6XR6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) specifically requires active duty personnel to follow all applicable rules of military conduct, whether on or off duty, or on or off base. Furlough, a temporary leave of absence from the military, does not change this Rule.
 The UCMJ is federal law and as such, is not enforced by civilian law enforcement. The UCMJ is instead enforced by federal officers and federal military courts. This has practical implications for enforcement, especially because local law enforcement may not be aware of certain proscriptions on military life. Further, local police have no direct legal authority for enforcing breaches of the UCMJ.
 Many crimes under the UCMJ such as murder, rape or robbery, are defined the same way as they are in a civilian court. If a solider commits a crime off-base, and is caught by local law enforcement, the solider will still be under the jurisdiction of the UCMJ. The soldier will be tried for their crime in the military courts.
 The military justice system also enforces crimes under the UCMJ that are outside the realm of the civilian courts. However, this does not mean that local law enforcement is required to enforce these UCMJ provisions when a soldier is off-base. For example, the UCMJ prohibits certain adulterous conduct by active military members. This means that if an active military member is caught engaging in adulterous conduct, even if they are off-base, they may be still be subject to military law.
If an off-base soldier engages in adulterous conduct, local law enforcement does not have the responsibility of charging the solider with the breach of the UCMJ. Law enforcement may inform the military that the off-base solider breached the UCMJ, however, they are not obligated to. Further, civilian agencies may have jurisdiction over some off-base conduct that they are not required to inform the military of. Domestic violence incidents are an example of this type of conduct.

 The Issue of Personal and Subject Matter Jurisdiction was settled forever by the Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court
Solorio v. United States, 483 U.S. 435 (1987). It was a COAST GUARD Case.
The case presented the question whether the jurisdiction of a court-martial convened pursuant to the UCMJ to try a member of the Armed Forces depends on the "service-connection" of the offense charged.
It does not, and the decision in O'Callahan v. Parker, 395 U. S. 258 (1969) is overrule!
The petitioner Richard Solorio, USCG was on active duty in the 17th CG Dist, Juneau, Alaska. He sexually abused two young daughters of fellow Coast Guardsmen.
He engaged in this abuse over a 2-year period until he was transferred by the CG Base Governors Island, NY.
He later committed similar sexual abuse offenses while stationed in New York.
He was charged with 14 specifications alleging indecent liberties, lascivious acts, and indecent assault in violation of U.C.M.J., Art. 134, 10 U.S.C. § 934, 6 specifications alleging assault in violation of Art. 128, 10 U.S.C. § 928, and 1 specification alleging attempted rape in violation of Art. 80, 10 U.S.C. § 880. The specifications alleged to have occurred in Alaska included all of the Article 128 and Article 80 specifications and 7 of the Article 134 specifications.
 The CO convened a general court-martial to try Solorio.
There is no "base" or "post" where Coast Guard personnel live and work in Juneau.
The offenses were committed in his privately owned home.
The the fathers of the 10-12-year-old victims were active duty members of the CG assigned to the same command as Solorio.
The NY offenses involved daughters of fellow Coasties; they were committed in Government quarters on the Governors Island.
Solorio moved to dismiss the charges for crimes committed in Alaska on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction.
Ruling that the Alaska offenses were not sufficiently "service-connected" to be tried in the military criminal justice system, the court-martial judge granted the motion to dismiss.
The Government appealed.
The Court of Military Appeals reversed stating that "not every off-base offense against a servicemember's dependent is service-connected," but "sex offenses against young children . . . have a continuing effect on the victims and their families, and ultimately on the morale of any military unit or organization to which the family member is assigned."
The test for jurisdiction . . . is one of status, namely, whether the accused in the court-martial proceeding is a person who can be regarded as falling within the term 'land and naval Forces.' . . ."
Military jurisdiction has always been based on the "status" of the accused, rather than on the nature of the offense.
Military courts have identified numerous categories of offenses requiring specialized analysis of the service-connection requirement. For example, the courts have highlighted subtle distinctions among offenses committed on a military base, offenses committed off-base, offenses arising from events occurring both on and off a base, and offenses committed on or near the boundaries of a base, and other jurisdictional factors, such as the status of the victim of the crime, and the results are difficult to reconcile.
 DISSENTING OPINION:
The limitations may not, in the view of the majority, be desirable, but that does not mean they do not exist.
The requirement of service-connection recognized in O'Callahan has a legitimate basis in constitutional language, and a solid historical foundation. It should be applied in this case.
Application of the service-connection requirement of O'Callahan, as further elaborated in Relford v. Commandant, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, 401 U. S. 355 (1971), demonstrates that petitioner's Alaska crimes do not have an adequate service-connection to support the exercise of court-martial jurisdiction. Petitioner's offenses did not detract from the performance of his military duties. He committed these crimes while properly absent from his unit, and there was no connection between his assigned duties and his crimes. Nor did petitioner's crimes threaten people or areas under military control. The crimes were committed in petitioner's private home in the civilian community in Juneau, where there is not even a base for Coast Guard personnel. Petitioner's acts were not likely to go unpunished; the court-martial judge determined that the offenses were of a type traditionally prosecuted by civilian courts, that such courts were available, and that, while the Alaska courts had deferred prosecution in light of the court-martial proceeding, the State had not declined to prosecute the offenses. Nor did the crimes implicate any authority stemming from the war power; they were committed within the territorial United States while the Nation was at peace.

 Moreover, the crimes caused no measurable interference with military relationships. Though the victims were dependents of Coast Guard members, the court-martial judge found that there was only de minimis military interaction between petitioner and the fathers of the victims, and that the relationships between petitioner and the families of the victims "were founded primarily upon the ages and activities of the children, and additionally upon common sporting interests, common spousal interest, and employment and neighborly relationships," rather than the connection of petitioner and the families through the Coast Guard. Because the crimes did not take place in an area within military control or have any effect on petitioner's military duties, their commission posed no challenge to the maintenance of order in the local command. The military judge found that the Government had not demonstrated any impact of the offenses on "morale, discipline, [or] the reputation or the integrity of the Coast Guard in Juneau." The only connection between the military and the offenses at issue was the fact that the victims were military dependents. But the military judge found explicitly that the military association of petitioner and the victims' fathers did not facilitate petitioner's crimes, and that "[t]he impact apparent in this case, that is, on the parents and the victims themselves, is no different than that which would be produced by civilian perpetrator."

The Court-martial Of Webster Smith, UCGC Vol. 02, Nr. 02

https://www.amazon.com/Court-martial-Webster-Smith-Last-Word-ebook/dp/B01GZL6XR6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
We, as Americans, cherish fairness. We like to believe that people are not punished or unjustly rewarded without justifiable cause.
The Webster Smith case was a litmus test for justice in America. Every once in a while a case comes along that puts our humanity as a people, and as Americans, on trial. Everything that we profess to stand for as Americans was on trial. Our sense of justice in America and particularly in the U.S. Military was on trial. This was no ordinary trial. Our humanity was on trial. Our system of justice was on trial. This case dissolved the deceptive façade and exposed certain moral deficiencies in our system of justice. This case alone puts the legitimacy of the entire military justice system at risk.

Webster Smith availed himself of every path to justice that we have. He filed an Article 138 Complaint under the UCMJ. He faced the Article 32 Investigation with two lawyers. He asserted all of his Constitutional Criminal Guarantees. He knew and made appropriate use of the right to counsel, the right to remain silent, the right to a jury trial, the right to confront the witnesses against him, the right call witnesses on his behalf, the right to present evidence favorable to him, the presumption of innocence until his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the right to argue his case before the Jury.

His Appellate Counsel, Ronald Machen, was top notch. He became the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. In April 2015, he left the position and returned to the law firm WilmerHale.  Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr®  has played a leading role in historic events and landmark cases that have shaped the nation and left their mark across the globe. In matters ranging from the Army-McCarthy hearings to the legal defense of civil rights, from the 9/11 Commission to the restoration of the rule of law in apartheid-torn South Africa, their lawyers have made contributions that have profoundly affected our society. Because the law is still a profession as well as a business, lawyers have special obligations to the administration of justice and the development of the law. Their lawyers are  encouraged to meet these obligations through pro bono work. Attorney Machen represented Webster Smith on a pro bono basis. He received no fee.

Webster Smith appealed his conviction all the way to the United States Supreme Court. He lost at the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals. He lost at the Court Of Appeals for the Armed Forces of the United States. The U. S. Supreme Court dismissed his appeal without comment. And, on top of the aforesaid, he filed a Complaint of Discrimination, pursuant to Commandant Instruction 5350.11. He had an air tight and fool proof case of disparate treatment. Yet, he lost. He lost because the System was manned by the most incompetent people God ever created. They did not have a clue as to what was going on in their office. The most significant case in the history of the Department of Homeland Security and the Armed Forces of America came to them and they were not capable of processing it properly.

On top of everything else, Webster Smith had bad luck. At some juncture along the way, most other people would have won, but not Webster Smith. One has to wonder why.
We now see that there is little or no justice in military justice. Any reasonable person who looks at this case or any other high profile military justice case would have to conclude that the Military Justice System is not designed to render justice. It is a system designed to punish. The entire courts-martial system, from Summary Court-martial to General Court-martial, has one specific purpose; that is to punish anyone who commits an offense against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
This Case will serve as a witness to an era in the United States Military and its Service Academies that was ripe with cultural and ethical upheavals.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Webster Smith Case Repeats After 10 Years

On September 9, 2016 NEWS Channel 8 in Connecticut reported that the U. S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) was about to court-martial two senior cadets. This marks the first know court-martial of a Coast Guard cadet since 2006 when Cadet Webster Smith became the first CGA cadet to face a court-martial. The charges sound remarkably similar.
The Webster Smith Case was the subject of two books; Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Lady, and The case of Cadet Webster Smith, UCGC Vol02, Nr 01-03.
https://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-Conviction/dp/1460978021/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 https://www.amazon.com/Webster-Smith-Court-martial-Justice-Dead-ebook/dp/B01H12LGZW/ref=la_B006WQKFJM_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474417649&sr=1-8

The AP is reporting that Cadet 1/C Michael Shermot was sentenced to a year in prison for sexual assault and dismissed from the service after being found guilty at a court-martial.
The Coast Guard says Michael Shermot was sentenced Friday, September 16, by a military judge in Norfolk, Virginia. He was found guilty Thursday, September 15th..
Shermot was a senior at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, when he was charged and suspended from the school in December. Authorities have not disclosed details of the sexual assault.
The Day newspaper of New London reports the assault was reported in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in September of last year. Shermot was charged with sexual assault by impairment, meaning the victim was not able to consent. He’s from Shillington, Pennsylvania.

There was a total news blackout for a whole year until last week. This is what was reported.


NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — A court-martial has been scheduled in Norfolk, Virginia for two Coast Guard cadets who have been accused of sexual assault.
Coast Guard Academy spokesperson David Santos tells News 8 that Cadet Michael Shermot is charged with violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Sexual Assault. Shermot, a native of Shillington, Pa. will appear before a military judge on September 12.
Santos says Shermot’s charge stems from an alleged incident in Westchester, Pa., that occurred sometime between September 4th and 5th of 2015.


WHO IS MIKE SHERMOT?
Meet your SAAC President, 1/C Mike Shermot. Shermot is a member of the Wrestling team where he finished last season with a record of 21-6. He made it to the NCAA Championships and earned All-Northeast Honors.
He is also the Student Naval Architect and Marine Engineer Vice President. Mike has been wrestling since he was 10 years old and aspires to go to flight school.
Mike says he "loves long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, and laying down watching shooting stars."
 U.S. Coast Guard Academy Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's photo.
                             (Cadet 1/C Mike Shermot, USCGA, above)

A second cadet, Anthony Livingstone of Plainfield, N.J., faces charges of sexual assault, extortion, and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. A violation of the Uniform Code of Military   Justice articles 120, 127 and 133.
                            (Cadet 1/C Anthony Livingstone, USCGA, Below)
The alleged assault involving Livingstone occurred at the academy in September 2015, according to Santos. His court-martial is scheduled to begin on October 26.
Both Livingstone and Shermot are members of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2016.
 http://wtnh.com/2016/09/09/2-coast-guard-cadets-facing-court-martial-on-sex-assault-allegations/

Two Members of Coast Guard Academy Face Court-Martial
Gavel at rest
NEW LONDON -- Two members of the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2016 are facing court-martial proceedings after being charged in separate sexual assault cases.
The cadets are suspended from the corps of cadets following a recommendation by academy Superintendent Rear Adm. James Rendon, while their cases go through the judicial process, according to academy spokesman David Santos.
Michael Shermot is charged with sexual assault by impairment, meaning the alleged victim was unable to consent. His court-martial trial is scheduled to begin on Monday and will be held in Norfolk, Va.
Shermot was suspended from the corps of cadets on Dec. 29, 2015. He was a member of the wrestling team and a native of Shillington, Pa., according to the academy's athletics website.
Shermot faces up to 30 years in prison, dismissal from the Coast Guard and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
The alleged assault occurred in Westchester, Pa., sometime between Sept. 4 and 5 of 2015, according to Santos.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service became involved in the case after a civil investigation was started by local police in Westchester.
After concerns were made about Shermot's military status and some of the witnesses involved in the case, the decision was made to have the Coast Guard take over jurisdiction of the case, said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Stiles, a legal instructor at the academy.
Stiles was previously the chief of military justice for the Coast Guard Legal Service Command.
Shermot has been reassigned to the Coast Guard's yard in Baltimore, Md., while he awaits court-martial. He's been assigned work that is comparable to what a lower-grade enlisted member does.
Because the military has much more control over the movements of its members, pretrial confinement is usually not used unless the person is a flight risk or poses an imminent threat, Stiles said.
Anthony Livingstone is charged with sexual assault by lack of consent, extortion and conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.
His court-martial trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 26, and also will be held in Norfolk.
Livingstone was suspended from the corps on Dec. 1, 2015. He was a member of the football team and a native of Plainfield, N.J., according to the academy's athletics website
Livingstone allegedly assaulted another cadet multiple times at the academy in September 2015, according to Stiles. He also allegedly threatened others in an attempt to prevent them from speaking about the alleged incidents and cooperating with law enforcement.
He faces up to 30 years of confinement, disenrollment and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the sexual assault charge; up to three years of confinement, disenrollment and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the extortion charge; and up to one year confinement and total forfeiture of all pay and allowances for the unbecoming conduct charge.
Santos said information about the cadets being suspended was not made public until now because "we typically release information on a court-martial prior to the convening date."
Court-martial cases used to occur in New London, but in the last year the Coast Guard has moved most of its prosecutions to Norfolk and Alameda, Calif., where its two largest legal commands are located, in an attempt to create two large concentrated centers of prosecution, Stiles said.
The goal is to develop expert justice practitioners who can more quickly and ably handle prosecutions and sexual assault cases, he said.
In the past prosecutions took place all over the country, which provided challenges from a resource perspective, he said.
( The Day, New London, Conn. | Sep 12, 2016 |
 http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/09/12/two-members-coast-guard-academy-face-court-martial.html

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Swinger Mormon Army General Crashes and Burns

New details show how 'swinger' Army general's double life cost him his career

Play Video
Army Maj. Gen. David Haight had been relieved from a key post in Europe after determining he had misused government resources while having an extramarital affair
WASHINGTON — Army Maj. Gen. David Haight, Army Ranger, decorated combat veteran and family man, held a key post in Europe this spring and a future with three, maybe four stars.
He also led a double life: an 11-year affair and a “swinger lifestyle” of swapping sexual partners that put him at risk of blackmail and espionage, according to interviews and documents.  Jennifer Armstrong, 49, a government employee, said she and Haight had been involved in the torrid love affair that began more than 10 years ago in Baghdad and ended this spring. Badly.

 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/08/24/new-details-show-how-swinger-army-generals-double-life-cost-him-his-career/89220810/
His secret discovered, Haight was investigated by the Army inspector general, who issued a report in April, and fired him in May from his job running operations and plans at U.S. European Command, the Pentagon’s front-line bulwark against Russia. The Army hauled him back to Washington, reprimanded him based on an internal investigation and put him a placeholder job awaiting retirement. A board will determine the rank that he last served honorably. A demotion to colonel or lower would cost him tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Haight's removal from European Command was not disclosed. It was first revealed in July by USA TODAY, which received the Army inspector general's report Wednesday after a Freedom of Information Act request.
Armstrong, who told USA TODAY in interviews that the relationship began with a flirty email and ended after assignations with multiple partners at swingers’ clubs, hotels and her home, says Haight had promised a future together. “I gave him the best years of my life,” she said.
In a statement issued after news of his reprimand broke, Haight vowed to work with Army investigators untangling his dark, off-duty life.
"I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused my wife and family," Haight said in a second statement Wednesday. "On their behalf, I ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult time."

Security risks

How Haight, the married father of four adult children who has held a succession of increasingly influential jobs, maintained his intimate secret is unclear. His superiors promoted him three times since his affair with Armstrong began. Screeners of officials for security clearances — particularly those trusted with access to the nation’s most sensitive information like Haight — scrutinize financial and family stability to guard against vulnerability to bribes or blackmail.
If an adversary such as Russia had learned of Haight’s affair and sexual adventures, he would have been a prime target to blackmail, said four senior government officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Russia, one of the officials said, aggressively intercepts telephone calls. An investigative report showed that from June to November 2015 Haight used his government cellphone to make 84 private calls for more than 1,400 minutes of conversation. Further, testimony showed that Haight frequently left his office in Stuttgart, Germany, because it was in a building designed for secure communication, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF.
At European Command, he was in charge of the military’s plans and operations to confront Russia’s increasing aggression in Eastern Europe.
"When MG Haight disappeared and someone need to get a hold of him, (name redacted) knew to check the hallway, outside of the SCIF, where he was usually on his cellphone," the report notes.
Haight, in his job overseeing operations at European Command and previously as a top aide to Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would have had access to the most sensitive national security information. Indeed, Haight was a key adviser to Mullen at the time of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden and during the peak of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
Haight’s case also underscores the military’s continuing problem with misconduct among its most senior officers. In November, Defense Secretary Ash Carter abruptly fired his senior military adviser, Army Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis for allegations of personal misconduct still under investigation; the Pentagon inspector general continues to investigate Lewis. In March, the Air Force fired one of its top officers, Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, after investigators determined that he had sent sexually suggestive emails to a married female officer. And the Navy continues to investigate a slew of commanders ensnared in the “Fat Leonard” bribery scandal in which they traded secret information about ship movements for prostitutes and other blandishments to enrich Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its flamboyant owner “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis.
A senior Army official indicated that incidents of misconduct are rare among its 1,000 senior leaders. Less than 6% of allegations made against senior leaders were substantiated in fiscal year 2015, said the official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to comment publicly. Haight was removed promptly, reprimanded and effectively forced to retire after the allegations against him were substantiated, the official said.

How it began

The inspector general's report dates the affair to Feb. 12, 2005, when Armstrong was working as a contractor in Iraq handling the remains of combat fatalities. Smitten after seeing Haight at a base, she emailed every David Haight in the Army directory, saying that he had a “terrific smile.” Eventually, she found the right Haight — Lt. Col. David B. Haight, commander of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, elite troops who accompanied commandos on sensitive, dangerous raids. Haight is also a distant relation of an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Haight eventually responded to Armstrong’s email, and they hit it off.
Haight’s honesty and sociability were attractive, she said. But he had a “hard part,” a mark left by the war. They quickly became romantic, and he promised her they would spend their lives together after he left the military, she said.
Armstrong’s account of their affair is backed up by emails she said the two shared, indicating trysts involving other women, other couples and encounters with strangers at swingers’ clubs. However, Armstrong also misrepresented her educational background in the interview. She claimed to have a nursing degree from the University of California at San Diego. A check there revealed she did not, prompting Armstrong to claim a degree from California State University San Marcos. She does not. Records also show that she has twice declared bankruptcy, including last year in Virginia.
Armstrong's name is redacted in the Army inspector general's report about Haight. But she identified herself to USA TODAY as his longtime girlfriend and swinging companion.
Armstrong provided copies of emails from Haight’s official military account that show their relationship continued into 2015. One of the emails in December 2010 has explicit sexual chatter, and shows him asking about the availability of another woman for a tryst. The report also shows that Haight and Armstrong exchanged other emails with references to types of sexual activity. "I love hearing about women who like and giggle about (oral sex)," he wrote in a September 2012 email cited by the inspector general.
Their relationship, however, wasn’t all about sex. Armstrong furnished a copy of a handwritten letter from Haight who encouraged her while she fought breast cancer. She also bears a tattoo with his name on it.
Their affair continued through his postings, including at the Pentagon. The two lived not far from each other in Northern Virginia, and Haight stopped at her house most nights after work before going to his own home, she said.
Armstrong found partners for the couple, and email on his military account shows that he asked after them and their availability. These encounters took place for about a year when Haight asked Armstrong whether she wanted to involve men. “Do you want another guy?” She declined.
Soon, a friend suggested that they should go to a club where members engage in sex with strangers. They went to clubs in Baltimore and near the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., Armstrong said. They visited others when he traveled, including Tampa and Atlanta where they were almost recognized by another soldier when Haight was the Army’s Chief of Infantry, she said. Armstrong has also recognized other swingers at the Pentagon when her job took her there, she said.
The inspector general's report refers to testimony that indicates Armstrong and Haight "visited swingers' clubs while he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia." Haight was assigned to Benning from July 2012 to October 2013.
They also had “parties” at Armstrong’s house. Some of the sex parties were arranged with partners through emails pinged back and forth to find convenient times. She described the sex as “non-emotional intimacy.” There were no drugs or alcohol involved, she said.
She and Haight knew their relationship and “alternative lifestyle” put him at risk of being blackmailed. But they felt they were discreet enough — his face did not appear on their online profile for Swing Life Style’s website — that he would not be recognized.
In one December 2011 email attributed to Haight, he asked Armstrong whether Tabu Social Club in Maryland was open the night of “22/23 Dec?” Tabu is a members-only club in Maryland whose web site touts it as “Where Sexy Adults Come and Play.” Haight at the time was deputy director of the Joint Staff’s efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Erotic photos were shared among those in the swinging community. They didn’t stay there, however. Some of the photos were emailed to USA TODAY.

How it ended

Haight’s trajectory in the Army had been ever upward after graduating from the Army ROTC program at Brigham Young University and commissioning as a second lieutenant in 1986, according to his EUCOM biography. He graduated from the Army’s Ranger school and would go on to command its elite platoons and battalions in combat in Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In January 2009, he commanded the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division in a restive part of eastern Afghanistan. Successful command of a brigade is a key steppingstone to the highest reaches of the Army’s ranks.
It also earned him a coveted spot in June 2010 as a top aide to Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Haight parlayed that position — all the while conducting his extramarital affair and swinging — to become commandant of the Army’s School of Infantry at Fort Benning and promotion to brigadier general in 2013. News clips from the time show him crediting his wife and family for supporting him. His wife Bonnie told the Ledger Enquirer of Columbus, Ga., that his career had seen them move 15 times, uprooting their four children from their friends.
The story added that outside the Army, Haight was most proud of his family. We “provided well and raised our four fabulous children that have all been successful contributors to society,” Haight said. “They turned out to be much better children than I was a father.”
With one star, he became deputy commander of U.S. and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan. In Pentagon parlance, Haight had checked all the boxes for professional and personal accomplishment.
His last post, as a two-star officer, saw him heading plans and operations for U.S. European Command. EUCOM ihas responsibility for key Middle East allies Israel and Turkey.
In 2015, anonymous tips about Haight’s extramarital affairs were brought to the Pentagon’s inspector general. Ultimately, the Army’s inspector general took the case. The Army ordered Haight to sever contact with Armstrong. Investigators interviewed her and others and substantiated allegations that he had "had an affair and lived a 'swinger lifestyle.' " Investigators also determined that he had spent nearly 24 hours on his government cellphone and sent more than 800 emails on his military computer to Armstrong.
Haight, the report noted, declined to testify or answer questions provided through his attorney.
The letter of reprimand effectively ended his 30-year career. A board will determine his retirement rank. A clean record could have earned Haight as much nearly $123,000 in his first year of retirement. If he’s busted back to colonel, his pay could drop to about $98,000.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Author's Page

 http://www.amazon.com/Judge-London-Steverson/e/B006WQKFJM

Judge London Steverson,USALJ (Ret) is a 1968 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and a 1977 graduate of the National Law Center, George Washington University. He was a Coast Guard Law Specialist until he retired in 1988. He was appointed U. S. Administrative Law Judge in 1990. He retired again in 2009. He made a personal donation of his private collection of new and used books to the American Corner of the U. S. Embassy in Hungary. On 23 April 2009 at Opening of The Steverson Collection Book Club in Veszprem, Hungary, he was awarded a Cultural Diplomacy Award by the U. S Ambassador to Hungary.


The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland (Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles)

This case is historical. It is a Case of First Impression. Maybe this is not the first time something like this has happened in the Coast Guard; but, this is the first time it has been thoroughly documented. This Book is the result of hundreds of hours of research, eye witness interviews, and analysis. The actual parties in this tragedy were painstakingly interviewed and interviewed again. The facts were checked and re-checked. The facts are absolutely accurate and indisputable.
The Time Line is accurate right down to the day, the minute and the hour.
General David Petraeus, a 4-star general with over 37 years in the military, was the most senior officer to be prosecuted during the politically correct era between 2008 and 2016. He was a West Point graduate and former Director of the CIA. The 62 year old General Petraeus pled guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information and was sentenced to a fined of $100,000 and probation for three years. How could such a celebrated general be treated so badly? Well, he was not alone. He was just one of many distinguished senior officers to be purged from all branches of the military services during that period. What was a noticeable purge of commanders, by 2009 had topped 197. Why were these officers being fired? From dereliction of duty to not saluting properly, there was much speculation. Other reasons given were “leaving blast doors on nukes open” , and “loss of confidence in command ability” to “mishandling of funds” to “inappropriate relationships” to “gambling with counterfeit chips” to “inappropriate behavior” to “low morale in troops commanded” to politically incorrect speech. Commander Benjamin Strickland, U S Coast Guard was caught in this web of insanity. There was Cmdr. Derick Armstrong, Commander, guided missile destroyer USS The Sullivans;Cmdr. Joseph E. Darlak, Commander, USS Vandegrift;Cmdr. Jon Haydel, Commander, USS San Diego; Cmdr. Diego Hernandez, Commander, ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming; Cmdr. Michael Ward, Commander, USS Pittsburgh; and, Cmdr. Jeffrey Wissel, Commander, of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1. Not all of the victims wore the military uniform. There was Jeffrey Sterling a former CIA Officer and whistle blower. To this day the list continues to grow.
This Book captures a piece of living History. It hits the nail right on the head. There has never before been a CDR Benjamin Strickland in the Coast Guard Officer Corps, and there will never be again. What happened here will probably never again be repeated, partially because it was recorded and exposed.
Just like the first time a Coast Guard Academy cadet was court-martialed (The Case of Cadet Webster Smith). It too will never happen again. The book about that case exposed the fallacy, and the utter futility of it all.
The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland will go down in history as being one of a kind, unique. The story will be told again and again. Rumors will abound. People will embellish. But, here is the book. Here are the facts, the Truth, the piece of living History. It is eternal. It will live in infamy.
This book was written for posterity, not for profit.

on May 31, 2016
Very powerful book exposing the dark side of Coast Guard politics. Thank you Judge Steverson for taking on this story. I can’t wait to get the next in the series. As full disclosure I served with Ben Strickland aboard Sherman when he was a junior officer and I was a Master Chief. I have also written two books about the Coast Guard. And in my second book on the subject I detail a sea rescue that Ben and two other shipmates conducted off the coast of South Africa.
During my career I served as an enlisted man reaching the rank of Master Chief and commissioned officer reaching the rank of Lieutenant. The Judge is correct in his statement that the UCMJ is stacked against the accused. In the military you are guilty until proven innocent and subject to double jeopardy; being punished by civilian and military authorities for the same infraction. And as I state in my first book, making it through the service is like walking through a mine field of military politics, political correctness, and luck. I for the most part had the luck of serving under great people. Officers and enlisted who were driven to mold me into the next generation of the service. People who were concerned with helping me grow in my career and learn from my mistakes.They were not interested in scrutinizing every event to see how well it would play out in their OER/EPR or effect their next assignment. There are good people in Coast Guard leadership. But it seems that today’s military culture has morphed into an “everyone out for themselves” and “one mistake and your ruined” service. I see the line as being when your willing to sacrifice your career for what is right. Sadly to many are not willing to cross that line like Ben.

on February 14, 2016
This book is a definite must read! Judge Steverson , USALJ (Ret) captures the case of CDR Ben Strickland in great detail.

A different time, but the same corruption...

Such was the case of CDR Ben Strickland, a military man who was punished for helping a victim of sexual assault. CDR Strickland was a highly decorated officer in the U.S. Coast Guard with a promising career ahead of him, however, that all came to an abrupt halt when a young Sailor/victim of sexual assault approached him for help. Despite working in an environment that encouraged commanders to cover-up allegations of sexual assault, CDR Strickland made the morally courageous decision to support the victim; he personally ensured the young woman got the help she so desperately needed.

As such, CDR Strickland soon found himself in the cross hairs of his leadership and the victim of military witch-hunt.

on December 16, 2015
Till I read the book, I'll give it two stars on merit. I'm very surprised that non-military groups who have been pushing for changes in how the services handled sexual assaults didn't pick up on the CDR's situation as a poster case as to how bad it's gotten in the military. The CDR went outside the "Old boys club" and broke the code, now he's paid and paying the price. Is this book a swipe at the system and to damage those involved, who tried to sweep it under the rug? I damn well hope so. The people who go to jail should be the CGIS agents who failed to do their duty and bowed to above pressure to destroy the case much less this officer.


on October 30, 2015
I'll get the book, I am not a huge reader like once was due to family constraints but I'll read this one. I have met CDR Strickland several times and found him to be a very caring and personable officer who would uphold the office served to the highest standards and would respect the Constitution. I was medically retired in 2010 from the USCG after initially being medically separated in 2003. The USCG did myself and my family a huge disservice. It was thankfully the USAF that recommended the USCG change the character of my separation to medical retirement vice a separation. The USCG sat on the paperwork for a long time and never offered me the proper retirement information. All I received was a folder with retirement papers explaining nothing and they are still billing me for a SBP from 2003. It's really odd that I inquired for them to stop it but they just blew me off after a few emails, never heard from them again. How can I pay for something I never was able to be in the position to use? This is NOT, Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty but rather, Disrespect and no devotion to the expendable.


A Book Review by Candice L:
Format: Paperback
This review refers to the Kindle Version of this book...
A sad but all too common occurrence in today's Coast Guard. A Coast Guard commander blows the whistle on a sexual assault and later on the corruption and misconduct perpetrated at the highest levels to include abuse of authority, witness tampering, falsification of official investigation reports and ultimately retaliation. The case outlined here pulls back the curtain of how exactly senior Coast Guard leadership ruins anyone who has the courage to stand for what is right. While this commander's career was destroyed, those who took action against him were ALL rewarded for their retaliatory actions: VADM Zukunft promoted to Commandant, area chief of staff, Capt. Matt Bell, nominated for RADM, area operations chief, Capt. Tom Crabbes, promoted to area chief of staff, Coast Guard JAGs and CGIS investigators walk away scott free never held accountable for their transgressions and violations of the law and Constitution. A must read for anyone who wants to see the ugly truth about an organization that claims to be a law enforcement agency.

A Book Review by LT Fredd Milbry, USCG (Ret):
First and foremost buy this book! Why you say, because if you've done anything righteous in life, there should be no problem explaining to who ever inquires, what was your rationale behind your actions and most importantly you should be recognized for doing what's Right. The very essence of that statement is the basis of this book in my opinion.

As a retired CG Officer and former Enlisted with over 20 years service of in personnel matters, assignments, counseling, investigating various complaints/offenses of the UCMJ, etc. at different levels and assignments, I feel very confident to critique these matters. It was drilled into our heads that the leadership from the top sets the tone and in this case it seems the leadership was either grossly lacking, some subordinate(s) chose to dictate the scenario without being challenged or the Leadership was duped into believing and subsequently supporting another story.
Race was not an issue. All officers concerned were Caucasian and of the same race and sex. So Racial bias was not a factor in this situation. Which still leaves a bad taste in my mouth because simply put, right is right and wrong is wrong. And there were some wrongs done without ramifications to the doers, although the one right was met as though it was the wrong. A once rising career was dispensed as though the time spent cultivating it was not valued at the least.

A riveting story that will have you questioning how, when, who and ultimately why certain things took place with Commander Strickland's career. The Author (the retired Honorable Judge London Steverson) will guide you through the maze of incidents so that you will be able to formulate some opinions and conclusions based on the facts at hand. Several things concern me with the entire narrative, one of which, is that as a retired Coast Guardsman I have to question since this type of treatment could be so easily done to a member in today's Coast Guard with a career resume that is nothing short of spectacular. If in fact it could happen to a member with far less superlative credentials/accolades, time in service and rank but still very important and dedicated to the organization.

You will have a good idea and a look into the organizational framework with regards to following and executing orders by senior leadership and the possible ramifications of doing the right thing but nonetheless, something altogether differently happening with the outcome of those actions taken. You will have enough info to decide whether an injustice did take place considering the old axiom, there are two sides to every story. Well the jury is still out with the possibility of never shedding true light on the opposite story that would counter the story written in this book.
One thing is definite, a brilliant career was stopped dead in its tracks and a military family was rewarded with a questionable exit from a organization they had sacrificed and dedicated their lives for. This is not representative of the organization I served. It is up to you, the reader to draw your own conclusions of the events based on the information in this very well written story.

A Book review by Jeff:
A sad commentary on how the U.S. Coast Guard cares more about retaliation than justice.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 Conduct Unbecoming An Officer and Lady: A Review.,
March 6, 2012
By 
This review is from: CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady (Kindle Edition)
CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and a Lady: A Review.
I read this book. Judge London Steverson, the author, a 1968 Coast Guard Academy graduate, and retiree, did an outstanding job of parsing the facts of what is arguably a judicial tragedy.

According to the book, leaders at the Coast Guard Academy failed to follow the recommendation of the investigating officer, which was not to prosecute the accused of sexual assault, among other allegations, because evidence of the alleged crimes seemed insufficient; failed to follow procedures in responding to the defendant's Article 138 claim and failed to allow the defendant the customary grace period before reporting for confinement. There are a few other apparent missteps--like failing to instruct the jury that the defense does not have a burden of proof in criminal cases--that are capably documented in the book. Rather, according to the author, the Coast Guard Academy leadership chose to prosecute on the recommendation of a staff attorney in spite of the recommendation of the investigating officer the leadership appointed.

As for the defendant, some of his alleged conduct could, conceivably, call into question his judgment and discretion. To that end, he seemed to overlook a common, conspiratorial axiom: "There is no honor among thieves." As it relates to discretion, at his age he may not have heard the axiom, "Loose lips sink ships." The defendant was popular and athletic according to the book. These are traits that some others usually find attractive. Judge Steverson details how these traits attracted several cadets to the defendant. Consequently, one of the attractees had a mishap that directly involved the defendant and the two entered into a secret pact not to reveal the mishap because it could have an impact on both of their lives as cadets. Well, the defendant's second error seemed one of indiscretion because this particular attractee subsequently got wind of the tale involving the shared secret and turned her apparent affection into unabated vengeance. Not only did she turn to vengeance towards the once popular, now vilified athlete, but another five or six attractees also seemed to act in concert, according to the text. According to the author's account. All it took to convict the defendant was the allegations of sexual assault among other allegations.

The gist of the book is the author's plea to the Coast Guard to live up to the Constitution that its members, including the Court Martial's convening authority and the defendant, swore to uphold and protect. He pleads with Coast Guard Academy leadership not to substitute their personal feelings of how they think the world should operate for justice. The author asks them to remain faithful to this nation's long-standing creed of "Equal protection under the law." Finally, the author pleads with the Coast Guard Academy leadership to adhere to established legal procedures. Rather than answer the author's pleas to uphold and protect the Constitution, ensure equal protection under the law and adhere to established legal procedures, the author asserts the Coast Guard seemed to want to send a message to this cadet. Why this cadet? We may never know. He was talented, athletic and popular, but it is fairly certain most cadets are talented and athletic, even if not popular. Perhaps, the timing was wrong; perhaps the Coast Guard thought it was time to address the issue of sexual assault at the Coast Guard Academy or was it just bad timing for this cadet? That this cadet was the first cadet in Coast Guard history to be court martialed and had a distinguishable ethnicity is germane. Wrong place? Wrong time? You decide.

The author gives you a lot to work with. It is readily apparent the esteemed author thoroughly researched this matter and presented exhaustive explanations of law and fact. Transcripts of the legal proceedings are provided in the appendixes. This book is recommended to anyone interested in military legal proceedings or simple justice. The author's assertion that this case will live in infamy does not seem like an exaggeration. Only time will tell if it is the Coast Guard Academy's or the defendant's infamy.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word; UCGC Vol. 02, Nr. 01


http://www.amazon.com/Case-Cadet-Webster-Smith-Last/dp/1533400806/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Synopsis:

      We, as Americans, cherish fairness. We like to believe that people are not punished or unjustly rewarded without justifiable cause. We like to dwell on parables of white virtue and black advancement culminating in the flowering of goodwill all around. Events sometimes force us to widen our gaze and focus on terrain we would rather not see. The 2006 court-martial of Cadet Webster Smith at the United States Coast Guard Academy did just that. The Webster Smith case was a litmus test for justice in America. Every once in a while a case comes along that puts our humanity as a people, and as Americans, on trial. Everything that we profess to stand for as Americans was on trial. Our sense of justice in America and particularly in the U.S. Military was on trial. This was no ordinary trial. Our humanity was on trial. Our system of justice was on trial. This case dissolved the deceptive façade and exposed certain moral deficiencies in our system of justice. This case alone puts the legitimacy of the entire military justice system at risk.
We now see that there is little or no justice in military justice. Any reasonable person who looks at this case or any other high profile military justice case would have to conclude that the Military Justice System is not designed to render justice. It is a system designed to punish. The entire courts-martial system, from Summary Court-martial to General Court-martial, has one specific purpose; that is to punish anyone who commits an offense against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.


This is intended to be the definitive word on the first and only court-martial of a United States Coast Guard Academy cadet. The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word is written from the perspective of the accused, Cadet First Class Webster Smith. It is not written from the perspective of his accusers. A prior account of this case focused on the women involved. Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Lady told the story of the court-martial from the perspective of the witnesses for the prosecution.
Why now? Well, there are several reasons. This Case is unique in that this has never happened before. No other Coast Guard Academy Cadet has ever been punished at a General Courts-martial. That is saying a lot for an institution that has been around since 1876.
Also, it has been ten years since the trial and conviction. An entire decade has passed. The sentence has been served. The Supreme Court Petition for A Writ of Certiorari has been denied. The Record is complete.
Cadet Smith was a senior when the trial began. He was within months of graduating from the Academy, but he was expelled. No Clemency was granted. His career was ruined. His life was irreparably harmed. For ten years he was required to register in the State of Texas as a Sexual offender. He married, had children, and for ten years he was not allowed to attend the birthday parties of his children.
This Case has been hotly debated in certain quarters. The Coast Guard has tried its best to forget that this court-martial ever occurred. However, I fear that this Case will be debated and talked about for years to come. Long after the political and social climates that gave rise to this Case have abated; cadets, officers, politicians  and parents will be discussing the Webster Smith Case.
What distinguishes this book from other books on the Case is that this book distinguishes how the Coast Guard Legal Officers and the senior Academy officers disposed of this case as opposed to other cases with similar fact patterns.  This Case will serve as a witness to an era in the United States Military and its Service Academies that was ripe with cultural and ethical upheavals, proceedings with plenty of due process and  little justice, sexual assaults in the military, retaliation against whistleblowers, mind blowing results, aggravation and frustration.  
The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word
Title ID: 6293877
ISBN-13: 978-1533400802



The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word
Unrestricted Coast Guard Chronicles Vol 02 Nr 01
BY_AUTHOR Judge London Steverson
ISBN-13: 978-1533400802
6" x 9" on WHITE Paper
(198 pages, Black & White)
15.24 x 22.86 cm
Interior: The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word - updated version edited 2- formatted15Apr11.docx
Cover Finish: Glossy
Cover: cover-creator.pdf

The Case of Cadet Webster Smith, The Last Word
Title ID: 6293877
ISBN-13: 978-1533400802

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Save Our Heroes, The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland, UCGC Vol. 01, Nr. 01

The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland
A different time, but the same corruption...

Such was the case of CDR Ben Strickland, a military man who was punished for helping a victim of sexual assault. CDR Strickland was a highly decorated officer in the U.S. Coast Guard with a promising career ahead of him, however, that all came to an abrupt halt when a young Sailor/victim of sexual assault approached him for help. Despite working in an environment that encouraged commanders to cover-up allegations of sexual assault, CDR Strickland made the morally courageous decision to support the victim; he personally ensured the young woman got the help she so desperately needed.

As such, CDR Strickland soon found himself in the cross hairs of his leadership and the victim of military witch-hunt.
The assorted details of this commander's ordeal can be found on Amazon in the book “The Case of CDR Benjamin Strickland” written by Judge L. Steverson, USALJ (Ret).

http://www.amazon.com/Judge-London-Steverson/e/B006WQKFJM
Save Our Heroes has tracked down the honorable CDR Strickland (now retired and working in the Washington DC area) who made the following statement about his ordeal:http://www.amazon.com/Case-CDR-Benjamin-Strickland-Unrestricted/dp/1514682737/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
"The book you mention is indeed about me and the retaliation myself and my family endured at the hands of senior Coast Guard officials. On 23 May 2013, I was serving as Acting Commanding Officer of USCGC MUNRO (WHEC-724) homeported in Kodiak, Alaska. When I reported an allegation of a sexual assault to my Immediate Superior in Command. The allegation included a female E-3 (victim) and a male E-3 (accused) and involved multiple incidents of inappropriate (and potentially unlawful) sexual contact occurring over a period of several months pertaining to the same individuals. Under the authority granted to me as Acting Commanding Officer under Coast Guard Regulations as well as Coast Guard sexual assault prevention and response policies, I predicated an investigation by Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding what I believed to be potential sexual assault(s). My reports of an allegation of a sexual assault (as well as my subsequent complaint of mismanagement of the investigation predicated under my authority) are considered "protected communications" under 10 USC 1034, the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The statute prohibits retribution against an individual who files a report of waste, abuse of authority, gross mismanagement, or a sexual assault to "any person or organization in the chain of command".
Despite the accused E-3 (male) having confessed on the second day of the investigation, CGIS investigation remained open for months without resolution. I also received multiple first-hand reports from my subordinates of potential misconduct by CGIS agents as well as second-hand ones from USCG Pacific Area staff members regarding potential abuse of authority and unlawful command influence by CGIS and senior Coast Guard officials (to include the Pacific Area Chief of Staff and CGIS Director who were having daily telephone conversations regarding my report). This gross mismanagement culminated after the ship's change of command weeks later on 18 Jun 2013 in which my new Commanding Officer, CAPT Jeffrey W. Thomas suggested I depart the ship on leave, and the very next day had CGIS agents conduct an unlawful search of my private living quarters without written authorization by a military judge in accordance with the Manual for Courts Martial and the USCG Military Justice Manual where they seized my government computer and portable hard drive. Upon my return I expressed concerns to CAPT Thomas that CGIS agents were not properly investigating the alleged sexual assault; he dismissed my concerns and refused to discuss the matter further with me. Instead of focusing on protection of the victim and prosecution of the accused, CGIS and Coast Guard Legal representatives sought to retaliate against me. They made me an unlawful target of investigations which stemmed from my report when they searched my stateroom where I, as a witness and not having been a subject or accused in any duly authorized investigation at any time, had a reasonable expectation of privacy per the Constitution and existing case law. The extent of their targeting consisted of over 20,000 emails and instant message (IMs) communications dating back to October 2011, almost two years prior to my report of a sexual assault - IMs they sought to use as a pretext for which they could have me removed from my position.
Months later - in January 2014 - CGIS and Coast Guard Legal gave these IMs to Pacific Area senior management and the Commanding Officer for them to use as a basis for a derogatory OER from which they could have me removed from primary duties as Executive Officer (XO). Beyond my complaints of mismanagement by senior Coast Guard managers and CGIS and seeking guidance from my professional network about preparing a complaint to the DHS Office of Inspector General, these IMs had no nexus/connection to the sexual assault. Moreover, but for my report of a sexual assault CGIS, PACAREA and the Commanding Officer would never have retrieved and reviewed my IMs. These IMs were not only comprised of purely private conversations unrelated to official government business, but were previously routinely monitored by CG IT support with no issues or allegations of impropriety. Furthermore, there was no valid reason for CGIS and Pacific Area to make me the target of investigations I had requested in the first place. These IMs unlawfully reviewed without probable cause in many cases not only fell outside the reporting period for the OER, but also included protected communications with the Base Chaplains Office, Work-Life/HSWL staff, and Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC).
CGIS, PACAREA and the Commanding Officer acted against me without proper authority. The Commanding Officer admitted to me when I challenged his unlawful actions on 23 Jan 2014 that I was at no time ever the subject of any criminal or administrative investigation; no formal investigation was ever initiated against me in accordance with the Administrative Investigations Manual or the Military Justice Manual. Nevertheless, the chain of command unlawfully searched my stateroom, seized my work computer, retrieved my personal communications, and then improperly used IMs they obtained for the purposes of retaliation against me for my having reported an allegation of a sexual assault and for my later disclosure of what I (and many others at the O-6 level at the PACAREA staff) reasonably believed to be internal wrongdoing on the part of multiple Coast Guard management officials
I was removed from primary duties and sent to a junior officer billet inconsistent with my rank as a senior officer. At this time, no action whatsoever had been taken against the accused - clearly giving insight that the Coast Guard's priorities did not lie in protection of the victim and prosecution of the accused, but rather retaliation. I filed a complaint with the DoD Inspector General who conducted a preliminary inquiry and found sufficient evidence to refer my complaint to the DHS Inspector General for investigation. Having several opportunities come my way in the maritime industry last year, I opted to retire from active duty.
It is important that Coast Guard personnel recognize the corruption and misconduct that exist at the highest levels of the organization and CGIS. Reforms are desperately needed in order to prevent the use of criminal investigations by senior leadership as a form of reprisal for those who report sexual assaults and participate as witnesses. As it stands now, CGIS and Coast Guard legal are managed more akin to a criminal syndicate, "serving" a purpose of providing political hit jobs for the top brass, than existing as entities interested in the pursuit of military justice.
Respectfully,
Ben Strickland, CDR, USCG (Retired)"