Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rogue Navy Unit Tied to Texas Sheriff?

High-profile Texas sheriff tied to a rogue Navy unit facing a criminal probe
The Washington Post
Published: September 30, 2016
Why so many Pentagon officials and their relatives were working on the side as sheriff's deputies in Texas has not been explained in court, where much of the evidence has been sealed to protect national security. What a training base would have been used for there is just as murky.
Even among the colorful pantheon of Texas lawmen, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West has seized his share of the limelight. In his 16-year career patrolling the West Texas outback, he has busted crooner Willie Nelson for pot, accused the Mexican army of invading U.S. territory and repeatedly ripped the federal government on television over border security.

Less well known are the country sheriff's strange connections to a rogue Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon that has been under criminal investigation for the past three years.

The former director of the intelligence unit, David W. Landersman, a civilian, is facing federal conspiracy charges for allegedly orchestrating a mysterious scheme to equip Navy commandos with hundreds of untraceable AK-47 rifle silencers.

A new wrinkle in the case, however, has recently emerged in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, where prosecutors have suggested that Navy officials from the intelligence unit also sought to funnel military equipment to rural Hudspeth County and set up a secret training base near the Mexican border.
read more here

Veterans denied millions in benefits by VA

Veterans denied millions in benefits by VA
Published: September 30, 2016

WASHINGTON — Roughly $110 million in payments to thousands of housebound veterans was withheld from them by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a new report from VA inspector general’s office.

The IG report found approximately 186,000 veterans as of March 2015 were designated as housebound because of illness or injury with errors in payments to about 33,400 of them. Others did receive payments, but they were delayed anywhere from five days to six years.

The report also found some veterans who were not designated as housebound received $44.3 million in money meant for housebound veterans.

“Staff did not accurately address housebound benefits,” the report concluded. “As a result, some veterans did not receive benefits to which they were entitled, while taxpayer funds were wasted paying other veterans who did not meet the eligibility criteria.”
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STARRS Research Holds More Worthless Information on Army Suicides

Army Suicides In the first quarter of 2016, the military services reported the following:
 58 deaths by suicide in the Active Component  18 deaths by suicide in the Reserves  34 deaths by suicide in the National Guard
Sounds really bad until you actually remember the number of enlisted also went down and these tragic ends to lives dedicated toward saving the lives of others ended because they were unable to find one reason to stay alive for their own sake. Over a decade of so called mandatory "prevention" training and that was the result for the first quarter of this year. Still wondering why the DOD repeatedly states that a lot of these troops committed suicide without being deployed. Obvious question should be, if the training didn't work to prevent those suicides, then how the hell did they expect it to work on those with multiple deployments?

I am still searching for the second quarter report even though this is October 1st. 

Within the above report, there is a chart showing what all these "efforts" has produced from 2012 for all branches. 
2012 Active 321 Reserve 204 525
2013 Active 255 Reserve 220 475
2014 Active 273 Reserve 179 452
2015 Active 266 Reserve 212 478
All branches for 1st Quarter 2016 Active 58 Reserve 52

These two charts show what the numbers were like in 2010 vs 2016

Pretty much shows that as the number of enlisted went down, the number of suicides did not reflect anything being accomplished by all the training these men and women received, but is worse is that when these young men and women became veterans, the DOD stopped being held responsible for their lives afterwards.

Does the research really shed any light on anything other than they lack the ability to actually see the obivous?

Research sheds new light on Soldier suicides
By Gary Sheftick
September 28, 2016
"We're not trying to identify Private Smith, the ticking time bomb ... our goal is to identify a thousand people with a higher concentration [of risk factors]." Michael Schoenbaum

FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service) -- Women who join the Army at age 25 or older are the most likely Soldiers to attempt suicide during their first years of service, researchers found. Soldiers who have not yet deployed are also more likely to attempt suicide than their more experienced counterparts.
These are among a host of findings from the Army's multi-year "Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members," known as STARRS.

At the same time, the research found that women and Soldiers who never deployed are actually not the most likely to die by suicide. Soldiers who use firearms in their suicide attempts are more likely to end up as fatalities, while women are more likely to attempt suicide by drug overdose, with a better chance of rescue.

STARRS, which began in 2009, was actually a grouping of eight different studies conducted for the Army by the National Institute of Mental Health, along with several universities. Harvard Medical School, the University of Michigan and the University of California-San Diego all participated in the study.

STARRS examined the records of 1.6 million Soldiers on active duty from 2004 to 2009. It also collected new information directly from more than 110,000 Soldiers at various points in their careers, from 2010 to 2014.

Participants included new Soldiers in basic training, established Soldiers in units around the world, and members of several brigade combat teams before and after deploying to Afghanistan.
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Fraud Veteran Owned Business Head Gets Jail and Fine

Chelmsford man sentenced in veteran-shamming case
Wicked Local Chelmsford
September 27, 2016

A Chelmsford man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with recruiting veterans as figurehead owners of a construction company in order to receive specialized government contracts, according to a press release.

“Taking advantage of set-aside programs intended to support the economic welfare and stability of veterans is appalling,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “Through his scheme, Mr. Gorski undercut the efforts of hard-working veterans to compete for valuable government contracts and, as such, defrauded federal agencies dedicated to serving veterans of our armed services.”

David Gorski, 51, of Chelmsford, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $1 million, the press release said.

In June 2016, Gorski was found guilty by a jury following a 12-day trial of conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing the lawful governmental function of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Army, and the Navy in the implementation and administration of the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program. He was also convicted of four counts of wire fraud.
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Nasir Siddique Motives Unclear in Murder-Suicide Investigation

Man fatally shoots wife, son and himself in Maryland
Washington Post
By Dan Morse and Justin Wm. Moyer
September 29, 2016
Nasir Siddique, the father, was an employee at the Department of Public Works for the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. He had served in active duty in the Army and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

By Wednesday night, friends of University of Maryland college student Farhad Siddique had grown deeply concerned. He’d missed a class that afternoon and couldn’t be reached. They reported him missing.

At 10:30 p.m. as the friends walked through a parking lot just outside the College Park campus, they spotted a red Jeep that belonged to Siddique’s father. The passenger-seat front window was shattered.

A police car, arriving to check on the young man, pulled into the same lot.

What soon became clear was a terrible sequence of events.

Siddique’s father, 57-year-old Nasir Siddique, had shot his son and then killed himself inside the Jeep, miles away from the family’s home in Harford County. Some time earlier, at the home north of Baltimore in Bel Air, Nasir Siddique had fatally shot his wife, 48-year-old Zarqa Siddique, who worked for the Harford school system helping students with severe disabilities.
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Friday, September 30, 2016

Air Force Couple Flying High

Face of Defense: Married Air Force Pilots Serve, Fly Together
Department of Defense
By Air Force Senior Airman Christopher Thornbury
22nd Air Refueling Wing
September 29, 2016
“It makes it easier to talk about what’s going on at work, because we understand very intimately what’s going on in terms of the struggles to make the mission happen,” Chrystina said. “We understand each other’s challenges better than most.”
The couple that flies together
Capt. Chrystina Jones, left, 350th Air Refueling Squadron pilot, and Maj. Matt Jones, 349th ARS pilot, pose with their son, Dec. 2015, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. They both “refuel the fight” as KC-135 Stratotanker pilots, an aircraft that first took flight for the first time 60 years ago. (Courtesy photo)
For Air Force Maj. Matthew Jones and Air Force Capt. Chrystina Jones, love found them as C-130 Hercules pilots, and, over the years, gave them a different set of wings as KC-135 Stratotanker pilots and even added two more to their aircrew: their son and daughter.

The couple is relatively new to the KC-135, qualifying 14 months ago. Although a different mission brought them together, Matt relates his past and present with his wife with the tanker as it approaches its 60-year anniversary of its first flight.

“Chrystina and I share history together,” Matthew said. “The KC-135 has its own great history; it is just incredible for us to be a part of it.”

Before marriage, the couple served in the same squadron as C-130 pilots where they trained together. While they never operated a mission together, they did deploy with each other for five months to Iraq. As tanker pilots, they are assigned to different squadrons: Matt is a “Bandit” of the 349th Air Refueling Squadron; and Chrystina is a “Raven” of the 350th ARS.
read more here

Unclaimed Veterans Left to Rot in VA Morgue

Bodies Of Unclaimed Veterans Languish At Hines VA Hospital, Whistleblower Claims
CBS News
By Charlie De Mar
September 26, 2016

(CBS) – The bodies of military veterans lay unclaimed for weeks at a time at the Hines VA Hospital, a whistleblower alleges.

Staff from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington are in town looking into that complaint.

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reports.

When 68-year-old Marine veteran George Taylor died, no family or friends claimed him. Earlier this month, Jackie Gluekert and her funeral home made sure the hero got a dignified send-off — a burial in an a national cemetery.

“It is a final salute, and I’m proud to do it,” Jackie Glueckert says.

A whistle-blower inside the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital says unclaimed vets aren’t getting the proper goodbye they deserve.

Internal emails obtained by CBS 2 reveal at least two unclaimed vets sat inside the morgue for at least 30 days this summer, allowing the bodies to badly decompose.
read more here

And from the VA rules,
***If a Veteran dies while at a VA facility under authorized VA admission, and the remains are unclaimed, the facility director will ensure proper burial for the Veteran as defined by VHA Handbook 1601B.04, Decedent Affairs, Section 8, “Unclaimed Remains.” If a Veteran dies at a non-VA facility under authorized admission at VA’s expense, and is unclaimed, contact the closest VA healthcare facility to arrange for proper burial of the unclaimed Veteran. A listing is available here.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Florida Combat Medic Veteran Thinks Suicide is His Only Answer After Decades of "Awareness"

Jacksonville veteran feels suicide is only answer despite push to raise awareness during September
Florida Times Union
Joe Daraskevich
September 28, 2016

Terry Russell Bass Jr. joined the Army when he was 19 years old. He believed in the military and was willing to give his life for his country so strangers could enjoy the feeling of freedom.

He’s now 35, living with his wife and three children in a mobile home on Jacksonville’s Westside, and he’s ready to kill himself so his family doesn’t have to struggle anymore.

“I’m tired,” Bass said recently as he sat on his couch wearing one of his four white undershirts and a pair of ragged athletic shorts. “If it’s OK for me to die for my country, then why is it not OK for me to die because I’m tired of being tired?”

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the military and veteran communities in Northeast Florida have been working to spread the message of awareness and assistance that has eluded Bass for so long.

The Navy announced a new suicide-prevention program Sept. 16 called Sailor Assistance and Intercept for Life, or SAIL. The new national program provides continual support to supplement regular mental-health treatment for the first 90 days after suicide-related behavior.

“We are going to assign an advocate to follow up with them, kind of like being in aftercare,” said Command Master Chief Donald Henderson of Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at Jacksonville Naval Air Station.

He said a lot of times suicidal thoughts among sailors stem from something happening away from the base. Issues with family life or illicit drug use are common things that can lead to suicidal thoughts, Henderson said.
read more here

Duck Dynasty Legacy Of Service Vietnam Veteran to Iraq Veteran Son

Duck Dynasty's Si Robertson Reveals Son Suffers Post-Traumatic Stress From Iraq War
Christian Post
September 29, 2016

"America sends these boys and women to war. They come back. [And when we came back from] Vietnam it was not a good reception. So today, we've gotten better. I've actually been in airports where a soldier walks on a plane, some people out in first class get up and say, 'Hey soldier, take my seat," he told CP.
Si Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame and actor Kevin Downes take to CP Voice about the new film "Faith of Our Fathers" on July 1, 2015.
"Duck Dynasty" star Si Robertson revealed in a recent interview that his son, a U.S. Army veteran who completed eight tours in Iraq, suffers from post-traumatic stress, and urged Americans to do more to help veterans.

Robertson made the revelation in an interview with FOX411 while promoting his new book, Si-Renity.

"Look, we send them off to war, OK. We send them over there and we ought to look after them when they come back," the reality TV show and outspoken Christian said about veterans.

"My son had that post-traumatic stress from what he saw over there. He did eight tours of Iraq. I hadn't thought about it 'til he had one of those episodes one day. His wife called me, and I went over to help her because he was out of it. And afterward we got to talking and he said, 'Dad, you've got to understand, I've got three years of that in my mind,'" he explained.

The elder Robertson, who is a Vietnam veteran, admitted that he hadn't thought about it in that way until then.

"We have some of our soldiers who've done seven or eight tours either in Iraq or Afghanistan. So they're dealing with a lot of trauma. We need to do a better job when they come back. Take care of 'em better," he said.
read more here

Fort Bragg Whistleblower Office Special Council Servant of the Year

Well folks we have a great update to the story Army settles Womack whistleblower case with former employee 

OSC Awards Its 2016 Public Servant of the Year 
CONTACT: Nick Schwellenbach, (202) 254-3631;

WASHINGTON, D.C./September 29, 2016 –
This afternoon, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) honors Teresa Gilbert as its 2016 Public Servant of the Year. Ms. Gilbert was a civilian infection control analyst at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She disclosed violations of infection control policies and regulations that created a significant threat to the health and safety of members of the military and their families treated at Womack. Her disclosures resulted in improved hospital conditions and significant disciplinary action against senior leaders at Womack.

OSC gives its Public Servant of the Year to a federal whistleblower who has demonstrated exceptional courage in bringing to light a serious disclosure of wrongdoing. The award recognizes the whistleblower’s bravery and dedication to public service and furthers public understanding of the important role that whistleblowers play in holding government accountable.

As the hospital’s only board‐certified infection control specialist, Ms. Gilbert observed the use in operating rooms of unsterilized equipment, as well as other deficient infection control practices. She initially made her disclosures to the hospital, which failed to act. She then turned to the Joint Commission, a nonprofit that accredits hospitals. The Joint Commission confirmed that the hospital had 19 systemic deficiencies, including the lack of an infection control plan and a staff inadequately trained to perform their duties.

In response to the Commission’s findings, the Army began an internal investigation into the problems in April 2014. Ms. Gilbert provided information to Army investigators, including the actions taken against her after disclosing problems to the Commission. As a result of the Commission’s findings and the Army investigation, operations at the hospital were shut down for over a week, senior leadership was relieved of command, several managers were disciplined, and Ms. Gilbert’s second line supervisor was issued a reprimand. During the course of the investigation, Ms. Gilbert’s first line supervisor retaliated against her by cutting her work hours in half and engaging in other pretextual personnel actions, which culminated in her proposed removal.

Over much of 2014 and 2015, OSC investigated her case, finding no legitimate basis for Ms. Gilbert’s removal. In September 2015, the two sides reached a settlement on her whistleblower retaliation claim.

“Teresa Gilbert is a true hero whose efforts likely saved the lives of soldiers at the Womack Army Hospital in North Carolina,” said Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner. “When Ms. Gilbert became concerned about the unacceptable risk of infection at Womack, she refused to stand idly by and watch. Her tenacity and bravery should serve as an example for us all.”

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Our basic authorities come from four federal statutes: The Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). OSC’s primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing, and to serve as a safe channel for allegations of wrongdoing. For more information, please visit our website at