15 Movies & Documentaries That Expose the Broken Military Justice System

Soldier’s Girl (Showtime):

New Army recruit Barry Winchell is assigned to a base in Tennessee. One night out to a local bar hosting a drag show. Calpernia Addams an in-transition transsexual drag queen, fascinates Barry, and they strike up a relationship. -Soldier’s Girl, Showtime (January 20, 2003)

Showtime Entertainment Released ‘Soldier’s Girl’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Campbell Army Pfc. Barry Winchell

In the Valley of Elah (Warner Bros):

“In the Valley of Elah” tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones), his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective (Charlize Theron) who helps in the investigation. -Warner Bros. (September 14, 2007)

Warner Bros. Premiered ‘In the Valley of Elah’: Based on the True Story of the Murder of Fort Benning Army Spc. Richard T. Davis

The Tillman Story (The Weinstein Company):

Pat Tillman never thought of himself as a hero. His choice to leave a multimillion-dollar football contract and join the military wasn’t done for any reason other than he felt it was the right thing to do. The fact that the military manipulated his tragic death in the line of duty into a propaganda tool is unfathomable and thoroughly explored in Amir Bar-Lev’s riveting and enraging documentary. -The Tillman Story (August 20, 2010)

The NFL, the MilItary, and the Hijacking of Pat Tillman’s Story

The Wounded Platoon (Frontline PBS):

The Wounded Platoon

Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs have tripled. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st battalion of the 506th infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers. –The Wounded Platoon (May 18, 2010)

Frontline PBS: The Wounded Platoon Documentary [Full Episode]

On the Dark Side of Al Doura (Maverick Media):

U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura (2011)

On the Dark Side in Al Doura (Iraq): Documentary Gives You an Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the U.S. Army

The Invisible War (Cinedigm):

The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands. -The Invisible War (June 22, 2012)

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

Women of War Documentary (Sundance Films):

Military Sexual Trauma or M.S.T. has been a fixture in the military for as long as human war has existed, and is still quite prevalent even in today’s modern military. This feature length documentary uncovers the origins and offers solutions to M.S.T. -Women of War Documentary (February 4, 2013)

Women of War Documentary, Phil Valentine [Full Episode]

The Frozen Ground (Grindstone):

“The Frozen Ground” is inspired by the incredible true story that follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. -The Frozen Ground (August 23, 2013)

Serial Killer & Army Reserve Veteran Robert C. Hansen Died of Natural Causes While Serving Out a Life Sentence in Alaska State Prison

The Silent Truth (Midtown Films):

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)

‘The Silent Truth’ Documentary: The Rape, Murder & Military Cover-Up of Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson in Iraq

The Kill Team (PBS Independent Lens):

The Kill Team looks at the devastating moral tensions that tear at soldiers’ psyches through the lens of one highly personal and emotional story. Private Adam Winfield was a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan when he attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. But Winfield’s pleas went unheeded. Left on his own and with threats to his life, Private Winfield was himself drawn into the moral abyss, forced to make a split-second decision that would change his life forever. -The Kill Team, (July 25, 2014)

The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Reveals How the Military Justice System Operates in Response to Media Scandals

Gangs in the U.S. Army (A&E Television):

Sworn to protect us from every enemy, foreign and domestic, and every day the majority of soldiers do just that ! yet some units are being compromised and turn into street gangs. An FBI report recently showed an increased gang activity within US soldiers. -Gangs in the U.S. Army Documentary (2017)

Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces

Final Vision (Investigation Discovery):

The ID Original Movie, FINAL VISION tells the true story of Jeffrey MacDonald, a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night. -Final Vision, Investigation Discovery (December 10, 2017)

Investigation Discovery Premiered ‘Final Vision’: The True Crime Story of Former Army Captain Jeffrey MacDonald

The Kill Team (A24):

When a young US soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he begins to fear that the men he’s serving with might be the ones to kill him. -The Kill Team (October 25, 2019)

‘The Kill Team’ Movie Released: Based on the True Story of Army Whistleblower Adam Winfield

Leavenworth (STARZ):

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and executive producers Paul Pawlowski and David Check tell the story of First Lieutenant Clint Lorance. Watch the Official Trailer for the upcoming STARZ Original Docuseries, Leavenworth, premiering October 20 on the STARZ App. (August 28, 2019)

STARZ Premiered ‘Leavenworth’: Docu-Series Examines Army 1st Lieutenant Clint Lorance Afghanistan ‘War Crimes’ Case

Ready for War (Showtime):

Andrew Renzi sheds light on the lives of three of the estimated thousands of immigrants who volunteer for service in the American military, yet find themselves deported from the US once their tours of duty are over. -Ready for War, Showtime (November 22, 2019)

The ultimate threat for deported U.S. veterans? Drug cartels, new documentary says

‘The Kill Team’ Movie Released: Based on the True Story of Army Whistleblower Adam Winfield (October 25, 2019)

When a young US soldier in Afghanistan witnesses other recruits killing civilians under the direction of a sadistic sergeant, he begins to fear that the men he’s serving with might be the ones to kill him. -The Kill Team (October 25, 2019)

“When Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff), a young soldier in the US invasion of Afghanistan, witnesses other recruits killing innocent civilians under the direction of a sadistic leader, Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgård), he considers reporting them to higher-ups — but the heavily-armed, increasingly violent platoon becomes suspicious that someone in their ranks has turned on them, and Andrew begins to fear that he’ll be the next target.” –The Kill Team, A24 Films

Editor’s Note: If you would like to see ‘The Kill Team’ documentary released in 2014, please click here to watch the trailer and here to watch it on Prime Video (included with Prime). If you would like to see ‘The Kill Team’ movie released in 2019, please click here to rent or purchase it on Prime Video.

Related Links:
The Kill Team | A24
The Kill Team | Facebook
The Kill Team Movie (2019) | Prime Video
The Kill Team Documentary (2014) | Prime Video
Afghanistan War Movie The Kill Team Is an Absolutely Essential Documentary
Tribeca Film Review: ‘The Kill Team’
‘The Kill Team’: Tribeca Review | Reviews | Screen
Trailer for ‘The Kill Team’ spotlights Afghanistan war murders of 2010
‘The Kill Team’ and the Moral Injury of War: A Talk With the Film Director
‘The Kill Team,’ now a feature, revisits one of the most disturbing tales of the Afghanistan war
‘The Kill Team’ Star Nat Wolff and Director Dan Krauss on the Need to Protect Whistleblowers
‘The Kill Team’ Review: Bullying on the Battlefield
‘Kill Team’: The Documentary the Army Doesn’t Want You to See
‘Kill Team’ tells tough war story about a hard choice
The American Military Is Put Under a Microscope in ‘The Kill Team’ Trailer
‘The Kill Team’ Review | Hollywood Reporter
Inner Life, During Wartime: ‘The Kill Team’
‘The Kill Team’ Film Review: Nat Wolff’s Soldier Has a Crisis of Conscience in Afghanistan
Why Dan Krauss Turned His Documentary, ‘The Kill Team,’ Into A Feature Film
‘The Kill Team’ Review: Nat Wolff Leads a Harrowing Look at What it Means to Be ‘Army Strong’
The Kill Team Follows American Troops Intentionally Murdering Innocent Afghans. It’s Based On a True Story.
‘The Kill Team’: Dan Krauss’ War Film Spotlights Moral Questions Instead Of Non-Stop Action [Review]
‘The Kill Team:’ Skarsgard excels in the film based on a true story and the 2014 Krauss documentary
Review: The Kill Team Seeks to Dispel the Illusion of a Clean War
‘The Kill Team’ review: Afghanistan war film is punishing to watch
“The Kill Team” offers atrocities, but little insight into wartime murders of civilians
Review: ‘The Kill Team’ fails to match intensity of documentary account of war crimes
The Kill Team is a bleak but unspecific war drama
U.S. Soldiers’ War Crime Gets Hollywood Treatment
The Kill Team Tells a Familiar Story from a Different Angle
Interview: Dan Krauss on Going Deeper Inside “The Kill Team”
Alexander Skarsgard talks ‘The Kill Team,’ Meryl Streep and his famous father
The Kill Team Movie Review – Common Sense Media

Lt. Col. Teresa James Shares Experience with Sexual Assault & Reprisal at DoD IG Worldwide Hotline Outreach Conference (July 28, 2016)

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.35.17 PM

The Department of Defense Inspector General’s office held a Worldwide Hotline Outreach Conference today July 28, 2016. One of their keynote speakers was Lt Col Teresa James, US Army, Retired, highlighted before on this site. The DoD IG twitter feed shared excerpts from her presentation summarized below. As she spoke, I tweeted with them to bring awareness to the specifics that Lt Col James noted and why they are so important. For a complete listing of the tweets by the DoD IG, please visit their Twitter feed here.

Continue reading

United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals Upheld United States v. Jane Neubauer, US Air Force (2016)

Retaliation

On March 10, 2016 the United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals upheld United States v. Jane Neubauer, United States Air Force. Is this another case of federal government overreach and denial of due process rights? I think John Q Public‘s assessment of this case speaks volumes of the real issues behind the Command directed prosecution of an airman who blew the whistle after being recruited as an Office of Special Investigations (OSI) confidential informant. The same OSI office she exposed ended up investigating and assisting with her prosecution. This is yet another example of the importance of letting an impartial law enforcement official and prosecutor make decisions about whether to investigate, who should investigate, who to investigate, and whether or not they have the evidence to move forward with a case. The moment a military member asks for an attorney, all criminal justice communications with Commanders and their investigators must cease. Every accused military member should be represented by counsel and afforded their due process rights throughout the entire investigation including collection of evidence. Learn more about your due process rights here.

“There have been many sexual assault accusations far less credible than the accusation made by this Airman. Many that were enthusiastically pursued by prosecutors despite their frailty … many that did not result in disciplinary actions when they were revealed to have been false.

So, what was so special about this accusation?

Well, she was an OSI informant, and the situation cast OSI in an extremely negative light at a time when the OSI informant program was already under fire. The same organization that recruited her right out of BMT to help investigate drug activity at Keesler AFB conducted the investigation that eventually resulted in her prosecution.

If she’s wrong … if she’s bad … if she’s a liar … then obviously she’s the problem. She’ll absorb the negative attention and culpability … leaving OSI and its shady actions in this debacle comfortably out of the limelight.

Another example of prosecutorial inconsistency and arbitrariness in the USAF … demonstrating that it’s not operating an impartial justice system, but a score-settling control device on behalf of the chain of command.” ~John Q Public

Related Links:
United States v. Airman Basic Jane M. Neubauer, United States Air Force
Spies, Lies, and Rape in the Air Force: An Undercover Agent’s Story
Undercover Agent Says the Air Force Is Retaliating Against Her After She Was Raped
Air Force undercover informant claims she is being hounded out of the service after being raped while trying to root out drug rings
Gillibrand Reacts to Air Force Rape Case First Reported by The Daily Beast
The Pentagon’s shameful culture of sexual assault can still be uprooted
Air Force Charges Ex-Informant With Lying About Her Rape
Keesler Air Force Base ex-informant loses appeal
Former Air Force informant who made false rape charge loses appeal
Former Air Force Informant Who Made False Rape Charge Loses Appeal
Honor and deception: A secretive Air Force program recruits academy students to inform on fellow cadets and disavows them afterward
Air Force Cadet’s Secret Story: I Blew the Whistle on Football Players and Sex Assaults
Hearing testimony reveals subterfuge of Air Force Academy informant program
Informant Debate Renewed as Air Force Revisits Cadet Misconduct
Air Force Academy: Please Reinstate Cadet Eric Thomas and Reform the Confidential Informant Program!

NBC Washington: 62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (May 18, 2015)

Punishing the Victim Retaliation NBC Washington.jpg

“One of the women interviewed was Lt. Col. Teresa James, the highest ranking officer to come forward with a rape claim in the National Guard, according to a recent report by the Guard. The News4 I-Team first brought you her story when she said she believes her 34-year military career with the West Virginia National Guard was destroyed after she reported her rape. Lt. Col. James attended the news conference and told the I-Team, ‘There’s nothing else they can do to hurt me. They did everything they could possibly do. It’s effecting change. That’s why I’m out today. It’s effecting change, and if I have to speak it, shout it from the rooftops, that’s what I’m going to do.’ Read more from NBC Washington here.

Related Links:
Serving in Silence: Sex Assault Retaliation Complaints Investigated
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation
Troops who report sexual assault face retaliation
Highlights of Army National Guard Lt. Col. Teresa James’ Military Sexual Assault and DoD IG Substantiated Retaliation Case
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy: Regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment Reports
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy Implementation Plan
Military Sex Assault Reports Edge Up; Retaliation Persists
DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military
Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military
Military Sexual Assault Reports Are Up for the Seventh Year in a Row
Pentagon: Claims of Retaliation for Sexual Offense Complaints on Rise
Reports of Military Sexual Assault, Retaliation Increase
The Biggest Obstacle to the Pentagon’s War on Sexual Assault: The Military Justice System
Military sexual assault reports rise in 2017 but fewer servicemembers faced courts-martial
Sexual assault, harassment spikes at military academies, strategies fail to stem crisis
Reports of sexual assault in the military soar
Pentagon report shows sharp rise in military sexual assaults
Sexual assaults in military rise to more than 20,000, Pentagon survey says
“A cultural rot”: Sex assaults spike at U.S. service academies
Defense Department to make sexual harassment a crime
‘It was rape:’ Wisconsin Army National Guard officer Megan Plunkett says she was retaliated against, disciplined for reporting sexual assaults
Gabbard says ‘there is still a fear of retaliation’ in the military about reporting sexual assault
Senators Hirono, Gillibrand Reintroduce Legislation to Bring Justice to Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military
Sexual assaults in the military are on the rise. This bill would authorize Congress to intervene
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN.org

Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions (November 11, 2014)

Stephanie Schroeder addressing the United Nations

Marine veteran Stephanie Schroeder addressing the United Nations (November 11, 2014)

Stephanie Schroeder is a retired United States Marine Corps veteran who was wrongfully discharged from service after reporting a felony crime to USMC authorities. As a result of reporting these crimes, she experienced retaliation from her peers and leadership and was subsequently given a honorable discharge but her DD 214 indicated that she was released from duty due to a personality disorder. Stephanie sought justice to right a wrong committed by her leadership. She was never given any testing to determine if she in fact had a personality disorder nor did she see any medical personnel who would have had an opportunity to diagnose her with a personality disorder. Through research and determination, Stephanie learned that other veterans who had reported sexual assault in the military had also experienced retaliation in one form or another after reporting the crime(s) to leadership. She vowed to not only fight for herself and the correction of her records but also to help prevent other service members from experiencing the same.

Stephanie Schroeder has been leading the way on military retaliation & personality disorder discharge reform for years. She participated in two federal lawsuits (Cioca v Rumsfeld & Klay v Panetta) that were dismissed because rape is incident to service. She advocates for both the Stop Act (Sexual Assault Training, Oversight, and Prevention Act) sponsored by Representative Jackie Speier and the Military Justice Improvement Act sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She represented victims of military sexual assault at the United Nations at the Geneva Conventions in Switzerland. She continues to represent Cornell University, Service Women’s Action Network, & Equality Now as an advocate before the United Nations and monitors/advises on sexual assault & retaliation policy implementation in the military. She is a board member for the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) and the International Mechanisms Coordinating Committee Board (ICMM).

Related Links:
Stephanie Schroeder, USMC Veteran (Facebook)
Cioca v Rumsfeld First Amended Complaint Jury Demand
Military’s newly aggressive rape prosecution has pitfalls
Military Rape Speech 15 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Stephanie Schroeder’s military sex assault claim leads to psych discharge
Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’
The Military Labeling Rape Survivors as “Crazy” to Get Rid of Them?
Military May Be Gaslighting Sexual Assault Victims
Employers Gone Wild: U.S. military banishes rape victims with damning psychiatric diagnoses
‘Personality Disorder’ Discharge, Frequent Solution in Rising Number of Military Sexual Assault Cases
U.S. military banishes rape victims with damning psychiatric diagnoses
Fear of Reprisal: The Quiet Accomplice in the Military’s Sexual-Assault Epidemic
Now That Women Are Cleared For Combat, How About A Rape-Free Workplace?
Cioca v Rumsfeld US Court of Appeals Decision
Fear of Reprisal: The Quiet Accomplice in the Military’s Sexual-Assault Epidemic
Former Marine to Speak at Geneva Convention Against Sexual Abuse
Ex-Marine to speak at Geneva Convention against sexual abuse
Local Marine to speak against sexual abuse at Geneva Convention
UN Committee to Review Cornell Law Report on Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military
Building a U.S. Movement to End Torture
Powerful Stories from Directly Impacted Individuals at CAT Review
BARELY LEGAL: Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military
Exclusive: Victims of military sexual assault appeal to human rights panel
I’m a Military Sexual Assault Survivor & the US apologized at the Torture Review
Military Sexual Assault: Reporting and Rape Culture
Advice for Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma Claims
New rules on narcotic painkillers cause grief for veterans and VA
Davidson County veteran, victim of sexual assault changing the face of today’s military
8 women Marines define themselves within and beyond the uniform

A Very Realistic Military Game | Inside Amy Schumer (August 26, 2014)

Amy discovers that her boyfriend’s war game unfolds very differently when the player chooses a female character. -Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central (August 26, 2014)

The sketch says it all… there’s a reason the majority of service members don’t report crime. Character assassination and retaliation is real for both male and female victims of crime in the military. Their lives, reputations, careers, and futures are dependent on the actions of the convening authority who has the power to do nothing. In the civilian world, after reporting a crime to the local police department and evidence is gathered, a prosecutor determines whether or not a case moves forward in the judicial system. The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) attempts to mirror this process and was reintroduced in June 2019, yet again was not allowed on the Senate floor for a vote. The last cloture vote on the way the military should handle felony crimes was on March 6, 2014. Invoking cloture means 60 Senators or two-thirds is required for passage of a bill as opposed to the majority of Senators. The biggest opponents of the MJIA were former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), both since voted out of the Senate and replaced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ). This pair of military officers are proponents of keeping the Chain of Command involved in the decision making process of adjudicating felony crime despite what the majority of military sexual assault survivors have asked for because the fear and retaliation continues. Meanwhile, the fight for military justice reform rages on. #PassMJIA

Related Links:
Inside Amy Schumer – A Very Realistic Military Game (YouTube)
Inside Amy Schumer – A Very Realistic Military Game (website)
Inside Amy Schumer: Military Video Game and Victim Blaming
Best of 2014: Inside Amy Schumer’s military rape sketch
The 11 Best Sketches from ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Season 2
Amy Schumer Plays a Very Realistic Military Game (Trigger Warning)
Here’s Why You Don’t Want To Play A Female Character In A ‘Realistic’ Military Game
Amy Schumer Realizes Military Games Are Not Fun for Female Characters
15 feminist Amy Schumer sketches that will make you stand up and cheer
Amy Schumer’s Top 5 Feminist Comedy Sketches
The top 10 funniest sketches from ‘Inside Amy Schumer’
Amy Schumer: ‘I don’t try to be feminist. I just am. It’s innately inside me’
Amy Schumer Is A Feminist Icon & Here’s 5 Undeniable Reasons Why
5 jokes that explain how Amy Schumer became the new queen of comedy
Breathless: Why Amy Schumer Is an Amazing Feminist
Amy Schumer’s Call of Duty: The Comedic Art of Straddling the Line Between Humor and Hurt