Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs

Military Sexual Trauma – The New Face of PTSD (2007):

The Other PTSD – Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military -NBC Nightly News (May 4, 2007)

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Featured ‘The Other PTSD: Sexual Abuse of Women in the Military’ (May 4, 2007)

Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (2007):

The House debates the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which directs the VA to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. The bill is named for an Iraq veteran who took his own life, and recognizes the special needs of veterans suffering from PTSD and elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression and experience high rates of suicide. -Rep Leonard Boswell (October 23, 2007)

President George W. Bush Signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Into Law (November 5, 2007)

The Number One Problem Combat Vets Will Face is Mental Health (2007):

Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense tells Armen Keteyian that the No. 1 problem facing vets of Afghanistan and Iraq will be mental health. -CBS News (November 13, 2007)

Eye to Eye with Katie Couric on CBS News: Veterans and Suicide (November 13, 2007)

Veterans Who Get Help at VA Are Still at Risk of Suicide (2008):

CBS News first reported on the staggering number of veteran suicides in a report last year. Now, newly-released data shows that vets who get help from the VA are still at risk. -CBS (March 20, 2008)

CBS News: Veteran Suicides An Epidemic (March 20, 2008)

Seven Vets Under VA’s Care Died by Suicide in Washington (2008):

They served their country honorably but after risking their life in combat abroad, coping with coming home was too much. In the last three months seven servicemen being treated by Spokane’s VA Hospital have committed suicide. -4 News Now (April 29, 2008)

Army National Guardsman Spc. Timothy Juneman Died by Suicide; Family Shares Imminent Redeployment to Iraq ‘Major Stressor’ (March 5, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Alleges VA Cover-up of Veteran Suicide (2008):

Despite recent efforts by the Veterans Administration to prevent veteran suicide, seven have committed suicide in the Inland Northwest in the last four months and US Senator Patty Murray is calling the situation unacceptable. -4 News Now (May 1, 2008)

Senator Patty Murray Calls for Changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Wake of Suicides (May 1, 2008)

“The Betrayal Issues Are Really Deep” (2009):

Katie Couric investigates an alarming trend in the U.S. military, as more and more female soldiers have come forward with tales of sexual abuse at the hands of male soldiers and superior officers. -CBS (March 17, 2009)

Sexual Assault Permeates U.S. Armed Forces (CBS News, March 17, 2009)

Continue reading

Military Rape Documentary Funded and Distributed by “Serial Predator” and Hollywood Movie Executive Harvey Weinstein

Listen to a NYPD sting operation recording of Harvey Weinstein here.

Both “The Invisible War” and “The Hunting Ground” were documentaries produced and directed by Hollywood filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. The Invisible War was an unvetted documentary about sexual assault and rape in the U.S. military. It was lauded by the masses, showcased at the Pentagon, and apparently used to influence Senator Claire McCaskill’s military justice legislation. Before we could wrap our heads around how these filmmakers had silenced veteran’s voices (again), they released The Hunting Ground, another unvetted documentary about sexual assault and rape on our nation’s campuses. And now we are learning that these documentaries were both funded and distributed by “serial predator” and Hollywood movie executive Harvey Weinstein of the Weinstein Company. In the wake of this provable scandal, Amy Ziering came to the defense of the indefensible and admitted in an interview that The Invisible War resulted in thirty five pieces of legislation passed by Congress.

The problem is the only laws passed were Senator Claire McCaskill’s bills. By taking credit for Claire McCaskill’s legislation (that military and veterans did not want), Ziering is admitting to undermining veteran’s efforts to secure due process rights for service members. We wanted them to have due process rights in the military justice system AND with non judicial punishment, retaliation, mental health, security clearance, and discharge. There’s nothing to take credit for unless you back Senator Claire McCaskill’s flawed military sexual assault legislation. Veterans resoundingly wanted the Military Justice Improvement Act sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and supported by multiple bi-partisan Senators including conservatives who saw the constitutional issues with the command directed approach. BUT it was railroaded by Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Carl Levin (now retired), and Senator Kelly Ayotte (now fired). And obviously backed by the filmmakers of a documentary about sexual assault funded and distributed by the very serial predator veterans were trying to hold accountable, especially the leadership tasked with implementing Senator McCaskill’s bills.

The connection has been made. In the wake of the flawed and failed policy in both the military and on college campuses, what these folks felt they knew was best actually created new victims. And it isn’t coincidental that the legislation passed in the military mirrors the unconstitutional use of preponderance of the evidence (50%+) on college campuses. This 2011 guidance came from Obama’s Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and Senator Claire McCaskill and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are trying to get the policy codified as law with the CASA Act. In a stunning twist, newly appointed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos reversed the harmful policy and reinstated due process protections for the accused on campus. The days of believe all women OR ELSE and holding institutions of authority hostage if you don’t believe the alleged victim are over on our college campuses. Campuses are able to reverse the harmful policy guidance but veterans have to reverse 35 pieces of sexual assault specific legislation that have had devastating consequences on military members and their families.

For all of its flaws and fabrications, “The Hunting Ground,” Harvey Weinstein’s activist documentary film about sexual assault on college campuses, finally succeeded in helping to actually identify a real predator — the filmmaker himself. And, although some of his apologists like filmmaker Rob Reiner tried to excuse Mr. Weinstein’s predatory behavior by saying that he should be lauded for having funded the film to expose the epidemic of rape on college campuses, “The Hunting Ground” helped to fuel a moral panic about sex abuse that directly led to Mr. Weinstein’s own professional demise…The good news is that as more and more powerful people become swept up in the hysteria surrounding sexual assault and people see themselves as vulnerable to such charges, the panic will end as spontaneously as it began. In some ways, a moral panic can be viewed as a “correction” — not unlike a market correction. We needed to bring attention to the Harvey Weinsteins lurking among us. Perhaps now we can now begin to look at sexual assault more rationally — identifying the “real” predators among us. Prof. Anne Hendershott, Washington Times

Related Links:
Claire McCaskill’s ‘lonely’ sex-assault stand
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained
How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth
The big lie behind the campus-rape crusade
Major Study On Campus Sex Assault Debunked
19 Harvard Law Professors Defend Law Student Brandon Winston, Denouncing His Portrayal in “The Hunting Ground”
Professors Dispute Depiction of Harvard Case in Rape Documentary
How The Hunting Ground Spreads Myths About Campus Rape
The continuing collapse of ‘The Hunting Ground,’ a campus sexual assault propaganda film
Betsy DeVos’s full speech on Title IX and campus sex assault
Harvey Weinstein: Secret recording of undercover sting
Wendy Williams: Harvey Weinstein Speaks Out
Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood and hypocrisy
Actress Heather Graham Confirms EVERYONE Knew About Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein Proves Money Matter to Democrats, Not Women’s Lives
Hillary Clinton falsely claims Donald Trump is an ‘admitted sex assaulter’ as she compares him to Harvey Weinstein – but claims allegations against Bill are ‘clearly in the past’
Here’s A Live Look At The Women’s March Group Protesting Hollywood’s Rampant Sexual Abuse
Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades
Jane Fonda Feels ‘Ashamed’ for Not Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein Earlier
Hollywood’s dishonest campus rape panic
An Interview with the Producer of the Harvey Weinstein-Distributed Rape Documentary
Harvey Weinstein’s history begs for a documentary about Hollywood abuses. But can it be made?
California’s Attempt To Reject Betsy DeVos’s Campus Rape Policies Just Failed

Army Captain Nathan Smith Sued Barack Obama Claiming ISIS Fight is Illegal, Unconstitutional, and US President Lacks Authorization (May 4, 2016)

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Captain Nathan Smith, U.S. Army

Army Intelligence Officer Captain Nathan Smith, 28, is suing President Barack Obama in federal court claiming the war with ISIS/ISIL is unconstitutional and illegal. Captain Smith alleges President Obama does not have authorization to engage in a fight with Syria. At the time of the case filing in May 2016, Captain Smith was overseas deployed to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. The original suit was rejected in November 2016 ruling that Captain Smith ‘didn’t have standing to sue and that disputes over war powers are best left to Congress and the president to fight out in the political arena.’ In April 2017, Captain Smith asked an appeals court to take the case and settle the issue once and for all.

In his own words:

Nathan Smith’s Lawsuit Against the President of the United States on Rackets: Who Are the Real Gangsters? Podcast

Why I Sued My Commander-in-Chief, President Obama

“As a soldier, I thought the war in Syria was illegal, as I do now. That’s why Trump is right to get out.” -Nathan Smith, Army veteran

Related Links:
Nathan Smith, US Army v. Barack Obama
Army Captain sues Obama over ISIS fight
Is the U.S. War Against ISIS Illegal?
Army Captain sues Obama over ISIS fight
An Army Captain Takes Obama to Court Over ISIS Fight
Deployed Army captain sues Obama over ISIS fight
U.S. Army Captain Is Suing Obama Over Legality Of The War Against ISIS
Army Captain Sues Obama For Unconstitutional War Against ISIS
Army Captain Sues Obama over Islamic State War
Army captain sues Obama over lack of ISIS war authorization
28-Year-Old Army Officer Suing Obama Over ISIS
Soldier Suing Obama Over ISIS War Is Doing Fine, Lawyer Says
Army captain sues President Obama over claims the war on ISIS is illegal
Army captain sues President Obama, saying he lacks authority to fight ISIS
Who Is Capt. Nathan Michael Smith? US Intelligence Officer Sues President Barack Obama Over Legality Of ISIS Fight
‘My conscience bothered me’: Army captain sues Obama over ‘illegal war’ on the Islamic State
My Brother’s Challenge to the Undeclared War Against ISIS
Analysis of Lawsuit Challenging War Against ISIL
Constitution Check: Has the U.S. war against ISIS in Syria been illegal from the start?
Does the president think his own war is illegal?
The Dangers of the Ever More Powerful Presidency
When The U.S. Military Strikes, White House Points To A 2001 Measure
Suit Calling War on ISIS Illegal Is Rejected
Soldier who supports war against Islamic State files lawsuit calling it illegal
US Daesh fighter in Syria poses dilemma for White House
Yale prof presents case against Trump
AUMF: The Latest Weapon in America’s Illegal Perpetual War
Judges ask if challenge to Trump’s war powers is moot after waiting 6 months to rule
Nathan Smith’s Lawsuit Against the President of the United States
Why I Sued My Commander-in-Chief, President Obama

The Clay Hunt Act: What President Barack Obama Just Signed (February 12, 2015)

On February 12, 2015, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law at the White House. -The Obama White House (February 12, 2015) 

Summary: Learn more about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act and the Administration’s commitment to help veterans.

The new suicide prevention law is named in honor of Clay Hunt, an extraordinary young Texan and decorated Marine who served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like too many of our veterans, Clay struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress after he came home. Sadly, Clay’s life ended much too soon when he tragically committed suicide in 2011 at the age of only 28.

This new law builds on a long history of executive actions the President has issued to improve access to mental health services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. The Clay Hunt Act will:

  • Require annual third-party evaluations of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs
  • Create a centralized website with resources and information for veterans about the range of mental health services available from the VA
  • Require collaboration on suicide prevention efforts between VA and non-profit mental health organizations

President Obama passes law to prevent suicide among military members. -CNN (March 31,2016)

Read more from the The Obama White House here.

Related Links:
The Clay Hunt Act: What the President Just Signed
President Obama on Veteran Suicide – Clay Hunt Act
President Obama Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Remarks by the President at Signing of the Clay Hunt SAV Act
Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act
H.R.203 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Clay Hunt SAV Act
Senate Report 114-34 – Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act
Casey Statement Following President’s Signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Pelosi Statement on President Obama Signing Bipartisan Law to Prevent Veteran Suicide
President Signs Clay Hunt Act, Says ‘Stigma Has to End’ | Dept. of Defense
Clay Hunt Act complements VA’s ongoing commitment to mental health
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act | IAVA
President Obama Signs Into Law Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
President Obama Signs Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Obama signs veteran suicide prevention bill
American Federation for Suicide Prevention Supports Our Veterans
Ranking Member Corrine Brown Stresses Importance of Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act’s First Anniversary
Clay Hunt Act Serves To Prevent Veteran Suicide | NAMI
Clay Hunt SAV Act Update: May 2019 | IAVA

NPR: Pentagon Revamps Rules On Reporting Sex Crimes (June 19, 2012)

xl_deptofdefenselogoNPR: Pentagon Revamps Rules On Reporting Sex Crimes

“The Pentagon has announced new steps to deter assaults and make it easier to prosecute offenders, a move that follows President Obama’s recent remark that sexual assault “has no place” in the U.S. military.

Still, many victims believe it will be difficult to change a military culture that makes it tough for the victims to report these crimes. For victims, the nightmare starts with the attack. Many say that things get worse when they try to do something about it.”

“We anticipate maybe about 14 or 15 percent of people who have been sexually assaulted come forward to report.” -Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog

Read more from NPR here.

Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)

Maria Lauterbach

LCpl. Maria Lauterbach, U.S. Marine Corps

The family of slain Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach is hailing recent provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that profoundly change the way the Department of Defense will handle sexual assault charges.

The Defense STRONG Act has cleared both the House and the Senate and is awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature. Provisions include access to legal counsel for victims and the right to request a base transfer.

Lauterbach’s mother, Mary Lauterbach of Vandalia, said the new law would have made the difference in the case of her daughter, who was denied a base transfer after accusing fellow Marine Cesar Laurean of sexual assault. “Maria would be alive today if the base transfer had been available to her,” she said.

Turner concurred, “In civilian life you have complete control of your movements, and if you’re in an unsafe situation you can remove yourself. In military life, the victim needs permission to take even basic self-preservation actions.”

In the News:

New provisions handed down from the Department of Defense are giving sexual assault victims in the military rights they never had before. It’s all thanks to the fight from Congressman Mike Turner and a local mother Mary Lauterbach. The provisions make certain that a victim has legal counsel throughout the whole process so they understand what their legal rights are and how to protect themselves. The provisions also remove the accused from the situation and not the victim. -WKEF/WRGT (August 15, 2013)

A major hurdle cleared for sexual assault victims in the military. Congress passed a bill that would give victims rights and protection they never had before. The push came after the tragic murder of local marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son. Congress approved a bill that would give military sexual assault victims legal counsel and criminalize retaliation against any victim. “If Maria had had this, she would be alive today, it’s very important.” The bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. -WKEF/WRGT (December 20, 2013)

Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed. -WDTN-TV (May 1, 2018)

Key changes in military policy

  • By executive order, communication between victims and victim advocates will now be privileged. Previously conversations between victim and victim advocates can be subpoenaed in court, making victims reluctant to come forward. Pending legislation HR 1540, passed by both the House and Senate, provides for:
  • Legal assistance for victims of sexual assault. Previously, only defendants in the military have been guaranteed access to a lawyer.
  • Stricter training guidelines and greater oversight for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Sexual Assault Victim Advocates.
  • Retention of sexual assault records with lifetime access for service members.
  • The victim’s right to a base transfer or unit transfer. Under the new law, these requests will be expedited, with decisions being made within 72 hours and the bias should be in favor of the victim.

Read more here.

Marine Veteran & PTSD Advocate Clay Hunt Died by Suicide in Texas Home; Death Prompted the Passage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act (March 31, 2011)

A profile of Clay Hunt, a Marine who recently took his own life while waiting for upgraded benefits from the VA. (May 31, 2011)

“Clay had the world at his fingertips,” a friend recalls. Why did the Marine combat vet take his own life? -CBS News (March 3, 2013)

President Obama makes remarks before signing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. -CBSN (February 12, 2015)

On February 12, 2015, President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law at the White House. -The Obama White House (February 12, 2015)

President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. -C-Span (February 12, 2015)

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is law tonight. -WGAL TV (February 12, 2015)

Deep Forrest Custom Effect refined

Clay Hunt, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

Marine and veteran advocate Clay Hunt died by suicide in his Sugar Land, Texas home on March 31, 2011. Clay Hunt was open about his journey with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from combat and used his advocacy to help other service members and veterans struggling with the invisible battle. His unexpected death prompted his family to speak out and they shared that his perceived ill treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs was part of the reason he took his own life. In their quest to get justice for their son, they were able to inspire the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act for Veterans passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on February 12, 2015. According to President Obama’s website, the bill would require annual third-party evaluations of VA’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs; create a centralized website with resources and information for veterans about the range of mental health services available from the VA; and require collaboration on suicide prevention efforts between VA and non-profit mental health organizations. On March 13, 2019, AMVETS published a press release revealing their outrage with the Department of Veterans Affairs Clay Hunt Report. They requested a new report from the Veterans Affairs immediately, one that utilizes an outcomes based approach.

Related Links:
Veteran Suicide and Clay Hunt
The life and death of Clay Hunt
Obama: Stigma surrounding veterans and mental health “has to end”
President Obama signs Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (C-SPAN)
President Obama Signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
Obama signs veteran suicide prevention bill into law
Clay Warren Hunt Obituary – Houston, TX – Dignity Memorial
Clay W. Hunt, veterans’ advocate, dead of self-inflicted wound
Ex-Marine, veteran’s advocate kills himself
Veteran Loses Battle With Depression After Helping Others With Their Own
One Marine’s Journey: War, Activism, Then Tragedy
One big question haunts Marine’s suicide: Why?
Survivor’s Guilt Haunting the Military
The life and death of Clay Hunt | 60 Minutes | CBS News
Ms. Selke, Mother of Clay Hunt, Testifies Before Congress on Veteran Suicide & Mental Health Access
Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans
Parents of Veterans Who Died by Suicide Criticize VA’s Mental Health Care
The legacy of Clay Hunt: Marine recalled in new suicide legislation
Military moms: Suicides prove VA must improve services
Clay Hunt Veteran Suicide Bill Blocked in Senate by Coburn
Coburn Has Gone Too Far Blocking Veterans Suicide Bill
Vet Suicide Bill On the Move | AFSA
Clay Hunt veteran suicide bill returns in new Congress
APA Urges Senate Action After House Passes Clay Hunt SAV Act Legislation Would Improve Access to Care for Veterans
This Bill Could Help Veterans With Mental Health
The Other American Sniper: The Tragic Suicide of Former Marine Clay Hunt
Veterans March on Capitol Hill to Bring Suicide Prevention Bill to Floor
Whistle-blowers: VA still endangering suicidal vets
A soldier’s suicide, our second chance
Clay Hunt is a hero — then, now and always
Walz and co-sponsors reintroduce Clay Hunt SAV Act to address veteran suicide
H.R.203 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): Clay Hunt SAV Act
Senate Report 114-34 – Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act
Senate to pass first vets bill of 2015 honoring Texas sniper Clay Hunt
The legacy of Clay Hunt: Marine recalled in new suicide legislation
The Clay Hunt Act: What President Barack Obama Just Signed (February 12, 2015)
The Clay Hunt Act: What the President Just Signed
Pelosi Statement on President Obama Signing Bipartisan Law to Prevent Veteran Suicide
Obama signs Walz’s veterans suicide prevention bill
President Signs Clay Hunt Act, Says ‘Stigma Has to End’
Years after his death, Houston vet recognized with law to help prevent suicide
Bill to prevent vets’ suicides raises questions about funding
Blumenthal wins on veteran suicide prevention bill
WWP Applauds Passage of Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
The Fight To Stop Veteran Suicides
Bill requiring VA study of female veterans’ suicide prevention programs heads to President Obama
What Congress Is Doing to Help Lower The Number of Veteran Suicides
The Number 22: Is There A ‘False Narrative’ For Vet Suicide?
Veteran Suicide Prevention: By the Numbers
Clay Hunt Act Serves To Prevent Veteran Suicide
“Call to Action” on Veteran Suicide Yields Policy Shifts
The VA’s Faltering Battle Against Veteran Suicide
Veteran-suicide epidemic has many causes
Remembering Clay Hunt: The Marine, Advocate, And Friend
Hundreds of veterans ride to honor U.S. Marine Corps sniper, Clay Hunt
Campaign to Combat Suicide: Clay Hunt SAV Act Update
President Trump signs bill allocating government funds for veterans’ private medical care
Clay Hunt SAV Act Update | IAVA (2018)
Brown Applauds Executive Order to Reduce Veteran Suicide, Improve Transition from Military Life
Joint Action Plan – Veterans Affairs
VA to award contract for Clay Hunt Act OMH Reporting
AMVETS Outraged by Clay Hunt Report, Calls for Immediate Outcomes Based Approach
This VA report touts ‘positive outcomes’ from its suicide prevention programs — but veteran suicide rates haven’t slowed
VA Grapples With Issue of Veteran Suicide
Serving Those Who Serve: Upstream Intervention And The Uphill Battle Of Veteran Suicide Prevention In The US
Anguish into action on veteran suicide
Timeline of Veteran Suicides, Legislative Efforts, and Nationwide Negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs