Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (May 2018)

May 2018

Missing:
Family pleads for missing soldier battling PTSD to come home
Vets group calls for ‘CAMO Alert’
What really happened to Middlebrook’s Sgt. Gene Shultz?
Missing: Michael VanZandt (Hermosa Beach Police Department – 310-318-0308)
Missing in Hermosa Beach: What happened to Mike VanZandt?
He Left to Go to the Bathroom and Never Came Back: Where is Michael Vanzandt?
Missing: Trevor Nichols (US Army), New York
Soldier receives orders to Fort Riley, goes AWOL
Disappeared: Air Force Veteran Michael Vanzandt Vanishes During a Night Out with Friends in Hermosa Beach, California (March 5, 2016)
Jean-Marc Faubert has been missing since the early morning of Friday, May 25th

Cold Cases:
Georgia Marine’s murder in Belize remains unsolved one year later
No arrests made 3 years after soldier’s murder
New Hampshire unsolved case file: David and Deborah Carreau
Warwick murder case still unsolved, reward offered 5 years later
Cold Case: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; CID Offers $10,000 Reward (1987)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Petitions:
Presidential Pardon Petition | Free Lt. Clint Lorance
Fire Iron River, Michigan City Manager David Thayer For Firing Police Chief Laura Frizzo!

Continue reading

Top 10 Posts on Military Justice for All in 2017

toptips10

  1. Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
  2. Navy Veteran Richard Uffelman & Two Children Opened Fire and Killed Neighbors Michael and Florence Phillips in Maine, Richard Sentenced to Life in Prison (1989)
  3. Navy Spouse Susan Russo Hired Drug Addicted Hitmen for $100 to Murder Husband David for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (1994)
  4. Navy Wife Dina Kichler Raped & Murdered in Mayport, Florida by John Brewer Shortly After her Husband Deployed for Six Months on USS Forestall (1990)
  5. Joseph Snodgrass, US Air Force, Hired Hitmen to Murder Wife Julie at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for the $400,000 Life Insurance Payout (1991)
  6. Fort Bliss Army Commander Captain Lynn Reister Murdered by Enlisted Husband Roger and His Brother Rodney for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (2001)
  7. A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal
  8. Air Force Retiree Philip Inhofer Murdered by Nevada Escort for Money and 1975 Mercedes Convertible; Michelle Cummiskey Sentenced to 25 Years to Life (1991)
  9. Navy Petty Officer Elise Makdessi Double Crossed & Murdered by Husband Eddie who Came Up with a Better Plan Yielding him $700,000 in Life Insurance (1996)
  10. Air Force SSgt Michael Severance Poisoned with Animal Medications by Veterinarian Wife, Wendi Davidson Plead ‘No Contest’ to First Degree Murder, Sentenced to 25 Years (2005)

The Pendulum Has Swung: Defending Yourself Against False Allegations in Senator Claire McCaskill’s Military Justice System (June 4, 2016)

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a crime,
please contact Save Our Heroes.

This animated video describes the obstacles faced by military members who are wrongly or falsely accused of sexual assault. From the recent changes to the UCMJ to the barriers built around the alleged victim, wrongly and falsely accused service members face an uphill battle defending themselves. Court-martial defense lawyer Will M. Helixon, with decades of experience as a sex crimes prosecutor, can team with the military detailed counsel to level the playing field and defend the rights of the wrongly and falsely accused. (www.helixongroup.com)

Learn more:
Newsmax: Rowan Scarborough On False Complaints Of Sexual Abuse In Military (May 14, 2013)
Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights
Senate Armed Services Committee Sexual Assault in the Military Hearings (March 6, 2019)

Tracking Military Sex Offenders Prevents Crime

IMG_3070.JPG

If someone reports a crime to a police department, even if the person is not prosecuted, there is still a record of the complaint. This is not happening in the military because the Commander does not have access to law enforcement databases. So if the person was accused before in the military, the Commander has no way of knowing. And they are not entering data into the system if they are informed of a complaint. We are losing valuable data if the person is not prosecuted for the crime. The military currently prosecutes less then 10% of complaints.

If information was processed like in the civilian world, we quite possibly could prevent a rape or sexual assault. It could help establish a pattern even if one of the cases didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute. If the military had multiple complaints against one person then they would have a better chance at prosecution.

Continue reading

The Stop Act versus MJIA

image1.PNG

Amy Schumer, a comedian, has depicted the unexpected turn your career takes when you become the victim of sexual assault in the military. We are not only harmed by the perpetrator but we are again harmed by the system. And currently we have two proposals in Congress that begin to address the issue. One is the Stop Act sponsored by Representative Jackie Speier. The other is the Military Justice Improvement Act sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Please watch the Amy Schumer video here before reading further.

If you keep up with Congressional efforts to address sexual assault in the military, you will find that the media discusses Senator Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act the most. But what most people do not know is that the MJIA was a compromise to our original efforts. I supported any efforts made by the Senate at the time considering we did not get the support we needed for the Stop Act from either the House of Representatives or military and women organizations. At the time, it was better then nothing and at least Senator Gillibrand addressed an option for our military members who do not report due to fear of retaliation from their Chain of Command. But it is only one element of the big picture.

Continue reading

YouTube Movies Premiered ‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq (July 1, 2014)

Ninety-four US military women in the military have died in Iraq or during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). ‘The Silent Truth’ tells the story of one of these women, PFC LaVena Lynn Johnson, who was found dead on Balad Air Force Base in Iraq. The army claimed she shot herself with her own M16 rifle, but forensic evidence, obtained by the Johnson family through the Freedom of Information Act, brings the army’s findings into question. The Army refuses to re-open LaVena Johnson’s case, leaving the family in limbo. ‘The Silent Truth’ follows the Johnson’s pursuit of justice and truth for their daughter. -The Silent Truth Documentary (July 1, 2014)

“What happened to LaVena Lynn Johnson and so many others speaks to a Pentagon culture which more closely resembles a rogue government–than a legitimate branch serving under civilian control. It is highly telling that this family, along with the Tillman family each had to have a documentary film made JUST TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO THE TRUTH OF PENTAGON COVER-UPS. I urge everyone to view this important documentary–before the local military recruiter mandated under No Child Left Behind–‘friends’ their child at school. God forbid, they could wind up coming home in a body bag–like LaVena.” Read more from Truthout here.

In the News:

Nineteen year-old Army PFC LaVena Johnson, was found dead on a military base in Balad, Iraq in 2005. The U.S. Army ruled Lavena’s death a suicide, but an autopsy report and photographs revealed Johnson had a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, burns from a corrosive chemical on her genitals, and a gunshot wound that seemed inconsistent with suicide. LaVena’s father, John Johnson, shares his family’s fight to get answers from the military about his daughter’s death. -Protect Our Defenders (July 14, 2012)

Pfc. LaVena Johnson died in Iraq on July 19th, 2005 and her family needs your help. -Unsolved Mysteries (September 26, 2014)

Related Links:
The Johnson Family’s Military Sexual Assault Story
The Silent Truth Documentary | YouTube Movies
The Silent Truth Documentary | Amazon Video
The Silent Truth (FULL DOCUMENTARY)
Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Autopsy Report Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
The Silent Truth Documentary aka The LaVena Johnson Murder Cover-Up
PFC LaVena Johnson – Suicide or Murder – Massive Cover Up? The Silent Truth Documentary – Death
What Really Happened to Pat Tillman?
Pat Tillman: The US Army Murder Scandal
The Death of LaVena Johnson (Unsolved Mysteries)
Army Pfc. Tina Priest Died From a Non-Combat Related Incident in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Family Suspects Rape & Murder (March 1, 2006)
Army Pfc. Hannah McKinney Died of Injuries Sustained After She was Hit & Run Over by a Humvee in Iraq; Sgt. Damon Shell Left Her to Die on the Side of the Road (September 4, 2006)

Pentagon using change in diagnoses to hide sexual assault cases, critics charge Switch from ‘personality’ to ‘adjustment’ disorder discharges

Lawmakers say they fear the Defense Department has found a new way to drum sexual assault victims out of the service: by diagnosing adjustment disorder and having them discharged from the military.

It’s the latest technique the department has used to retaliate against troops who report they were sexually assaulted, according to members of Congress who are determined to use this year’s defense policy debate to curtail the practice and get justice for the service members who they say were illegally discharged in the past.

“It’s like a ‘Whac-A-Mole,’” said Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat. “Every time we shut them down on something, they’ll find a way around it.”

Read more here.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas Cosponsored the Military Justice Improvement Act; Says Shouldn’t Have to Report Crime to Boss, Wants MJIA in Place If Daughters Join (July 16, 2013)

Sen. Ted Cruz Q&A in Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Sexual Assaults in the Military -Senator Ted Cruz (June 4, 2013)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Senate Coalition to End Military Sexual Assault -U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (July 16, 2013)

Sen. Ted Cruz Supports Sen. Gillibrand’s Push to Stop Sexual Assault in the Military -Senator Ted Cruz (July 16, 2013)

Sen. Ted Cruz Joins Sen. Gillibrand in Press Conference on Preventing Sexual Assault in the Military -Senator Ted Cruz (November 6, 2013)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stops by to talk about what she’s doing to protect our soilders from military sexual assault. Find out why she’s getting support from both sides of the aisle and tune in to hear from a survivor. -Katie Couric (November 19, 2013)

Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks In Favor of Gillibrand Amendment to Combat Sexual Assault in the Military (November 20, 2013)

Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz joined the New York Democrat in support of taking the chain of command out of military sexual assault cases. -The Washington Examiner (February 18, 2014)

Senator Ted Cruz speaks out in support of a military sexual assault bill that was blocked in the Senate. -CNN (March 6, 2014)

Sen. Ted Cruz at MJIA Press Conference -Senator Ted Cruz (December 2, 2014)

[Full Video] Senator Gillibrand was joined by Senators Grassley, Blumenthal, Cruz and Wyden to discuss next steps in the effort to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act. -U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (June 16, 2015)

Sen. Ted Cruz at Military Justice Improvement Act Press Conference. -Senator Ted Cruz (June 16, 2015)

Ted Cruz speaks out on sexual assault in the military. -CNN (April 1, 2016)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is reaching across the aisle to prevent military officers from reaching into their subordinates’ pants. #passMJIA -Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (June 7, 2016)

Support the Military Justice Improvement Act, and help protect our privates’ privates. #PassMJIA -Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (June 7, 2016)

Related Links:
Ted Cruz | U.S. Senator for Texas
SASC Members & HASC Members (2019)
S.967 – Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 Cosponsors
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (2014)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Townhall: Paul, Cruz Turn Military Sexual Assault into Bipartisan Issue
Press Release: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Praises Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz for Support of Military Sexual Assault Legislation
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Praises Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz for Support of Military Sexual Assault Legislation | Hawaii Reporter
GOP Senators Line Up With Democrats In Support Of Military Sexual Assault Bill
Unlikely Senate Allies Gillibrand, Paul and Cruz Take on Military Brass
Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Beef Up GOP Support for Military Sex-Assault Bill
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Back Overhaul of How the Military Handles Sexual Assault
Two Republican Senators sign on to military sexual assault bill
Sens. Paul, Cruz Join Efforts to Reform Military Sexual Assault Management
Unlikely Allies Shake Up Military Sex Assault Debate
Paul, Cruz join Gillibrand on military sex-assault bill
Tea Party Joins Gillibrand’s Campaign Against Military Sexual Assault
Editorial: The military’s enemy within
Senator Gillibrand targets military law over sexual assault
Why is Obama AWOL on Gillibrand’s bill to curb military sexual assault?
Rand Paul and Ted Cruz lend GOP support to military sex assault bill
Why Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Really Want Their Names on the Military Sexual Assault Bill
Gillibrand’s Drive Challenges Senate Power Brokers on Military Sexual Assault Remedy
Reports Of Military Sexual Assaults Up 46 Percent — But Why?
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Teams With Ted Cruz And Rand Paul To Reform Military Sex Assault Justice Cases
Senate showdown over military sexual assault bill
Gillibrand Sexual Assault Bill Headed to Vote
Gillibrand & Cruz: Stop sexual violence in the military
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand answers your questions on military sexual assault
Broken Senate Delays Military Sexual Assault Reform
Why Do Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Support Kirsten Gillibrand’s Sexual Assault Bill?
Was the Senate Right to Block Gillibrand’s Bill?
Senate Blocks Bill To Overhaul Military Sex Assault Prosecutions
Gillibrand bill on military sex assaults fails
Everything You Need To Know About The Military Sexual Assault Bill That Passed In The Senate
The Senate Thinks They’ve Done Enough to Stop Military Rape
Kirsten Gillibrand’s Sexual Assault Bill SNAFU
Military Sexual Assault Bill Months In The Making Fails In Senate
The Quest for Military Sexual Assault Reform
Gillibrand makes new push on military sex assault bill
Military sex assault reform bill revived
Bipartisan Push for Military to Improve Handling of Sex-Assault Cases
Senators renew push to change military’s handling of rape
Gillibrand Seeks Another Vote on Military’s Handling of Sexual Assault
Push to reform military justice system revived in Senate
Opinion | Military Sexual Assault Still Unresolved
Ted Cruz Was 25 Years Ahead Of His Time On Fighting Campus Rape
Senate Blocks Military Sexual Assault Legislation
Gillibrand determined to force change in military justice system, but it’s an uphill battle
Exploiting Sexual Assault in the Military
Ted Cruz makes personal link to military sexual assault reform
Cruz-supported military sexual assault reform fails in Senate
Senator renews drive to reform military sexual assault prosecutions
Cruz: We have an obligation to protect our servicemen and women
The Democratic Bill Even Ted Cruz and Rand Paul Support
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained
Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Support Democrat’s Military Justice Reform Bill, to Liberal Host’s Surprise
Watch Samantha Bee Agree With Ted Cruz About the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act (2019)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gains some GOP support on bill to combat sexual assault in military
Gillibrand reintroduces proposal to confront military sexual assault

Video Links:
Sen. Ted Cruz Q&A in Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Sexual Assaults in the Military
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Senate Coalition to End Military Sexual Assault
Sen. Ted Cruz Supports Sen. Gillibrand’s Push to Stop Sexual Assault in the Military
Sen. Ted Cruz Joins Sen. Gillibrand in Press Conference on Preventing Sexual Assault in the Military
Senator Kirsten’s Gillibrand’s Measure to Protect Our Soldiers From Sexual Assault
Sen. Ted Cruz Speaks In Favor of Gillibrand Amendment to Combat Sexual Assault in the Military
Gillibrand grabs crucial support for military sexual assault bill
Sen. Ted Cruz at MJIA Press Conference
Sen. Cruz: They didn’t sign up to be sexually assaulted
Military Justice Improvement Act Press Conference (6/16/2015)
Military Justice Improvement Act Press Conference
Sen. Ted Cruz at Military Justice Improvement Act Press Conference
Military Sexual Assault HRG-Cruz: Not Working
#passMJIA | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS
The “Ted Cruz Caress” Challenge | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS