Government steals Navy SEAL money:

WASHINGTON – The former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Usama bin Laden will pay the government more than $6.6 million for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without getting the document cleared by the Defense Department, according to federal court documents.

Matt Bissonnette, who wrote “No Easy Day” under the pseudonym Mark Owen, will give the U.S. government all profits and royalties from the book or movie rights. The proceeds already total more than $6.6 million. He will have four years to pay the bulk of that.

The payments were outlined in settlement documents filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

According to the settlement, Bissonnette also has 30 days to pay $100,000 from the proceeds of presentations he gave using slides that were not approved by the department.

This is insane. Look, I understand the need to enforce non-disclosure agreements. You can’t have your special operators in constant contact with media and book publishers just waiting to spill the beans. But this is ridiculous overkill.You’re telling me that the U.S. government, which is perfectly happy to exploit it’s enlisted force every which way it can, is going to drop the hammer on a man who, by all accounts, served the United States Navy with distinction? They didn’t just fine him an amount that they know would sting, and call it a day; they took EVERYTHING.

These books are quite common, and Bissonette is hardly the first man to write about these secret units. Indeed, since the beginning of the GWOT, the war novel has become a huge industry. CIA operatives, generals, and politicians have all penned books describing some exploit over in Iraq/Afghanistan. But I can’t recall ever reading about an author getting hammered like this, and basically having his story stolen from him.

Ex-Navy SEAL to pay feds $6.6 million to settle suit over book on bin Laden raid

Read Next: Ex-Navy SEAL to pay feds $6.6 million to settle suit over book on bin Laden raid

This is especially galling coming from a defense department that has been quite willing and able to lend out it’s equipment and men to Hollywood, figuring that seeing heroic military exploits up on the big screen will inspire little Johnny to become the first trans-species infantryman, or whatever. This stuff works. Remember Top Gun? That movie made an entire generation of young boys want to be Tom Cruise. The fighter-jockyin’, tail-chasin’, volleyball-spikin’ greased up Tom Cruise, not crazy-guy-who-cackles-manically-about-his-whacky-religion Tom Cruise. Look at that abortion of a movie “Act of Valor,” starring Real Navy SEALs. Remember that? (I couldn’t finish it.) That movie had a budget of 12 million and made over 80 million. Who got all that money? Or how about when Leon Pannetta told the SEAL Team 6 guys that they had to cooperate with the producers of “Zero Dark Thirty?” Did they get a cut of that?

The Pentagon even has an office devoted to this shit, the Film Liaison Office. Hence, they have no problem showing sensitive equipment or troop maneuvers, as long as they can control the narrative. Not to mention getting a big chunk of producing influence and deciding which movies they will or will not support, depending on whether or not that particular movie brings a positive image to the DoD. You can see why they went after the movie rights. They have no intention letting an enlisted man get a profit that they can’t stick the beak into.

It seems like overkill. At the end of the day, Bissonette is the guy that went thru the grueling training. He’s the guy who spent hours in the ocean. He’s the guy who spent hours on planes, heading to war zones. He’s the guy who was actually doing the tough, dirty work on the ground. For the Pentagon to seize  everything having to do with his personal story is petty and unfounded. I mean… going after the money that he made from giving speeches? For “unauthorized slides?” Come on, man.

Follow me on Twitter and get fight prognostication:

I’m 0-2 in picking these guys. The first fight, I had McGregor, who got choked out. This one, I was sure Diaz’s superior ground game would once again make it tough for the Irishman, but he got the majority decision. (For those of you who don’t know, a majority decision is when one judge has a tie scorecard.) But Diaz wasn’t able to take Conor to the ground until the very end of the fight. The rest of the time, he scored shots and turned Diaz’s face into hamburger.

That being said, I didn’t think he did enough to win. Diaz was clearly the aggressor in just about ever round, and, having been decisively beaten in their first fight, I didn’t think McGregor had done enough to win. But Diaz shouldn’t have let it get to the judge’s scorecard. Highway robbery? Nah, not quite, but I could have easily seen Diaz handed the decision. The third one is going to be epic.

Your VA update:

Detroit’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital spent $311,000 on TVs that were never used and remain in storage.

The federal agency’s facility ordered the 300 TVs “because they had funds available,” which “may have violated the bona fide needs rule,” according to a new report from the department’s inspector general (IG).

Now, the TVs have sat “in storage for about 2 1/2 years. Further, warranties for the TVs expired.”

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Officials were going to use the TVs for a new patient area that had not been built. In May, 2013, they met with the contractor who was planning the future stalls and agreed they would have ethernet hookups instead of cable. A month later, VA ordered cable-powered TVs instead of ethernet-powered sets…

…Jan Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, the top contracting official at the VA, said a culture of “lawlessness and chaos” reigns on high-dollar contracts, with officials wantonly misusing credit cards and managers ignoring procurement rule violations.

Fry said there was $1.2 billion of problematic credit card purchases in the prosthetic department alone in an 18-month period, including $70,000 spent on veterinary care for a pet dog.

What the hell is this? Your VA, fresh off of spending millions of dollars on artwork to build palacial facilities while vets are killing themselves, had another spotlight turned on their bullshit. This time, it was brand new-in-the-box TVs. Sitting in an empty room, wasting away. This is crazy.

Note that price tag. So a government agency spent over a 1000 dollars per TV on a bulk purchase? You know how little TVs cost right now? You can get like 60 inch flat screens for like 500 bucks. The feds couldn’t negotiate a little more on that price?

Campaign 2016:

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I read an article about the guy who made the statures, a fellow named Joshua Monroe. He isn’t a Trump hater, especially, but the artist sure knows where the limits to art lie:

Monroe was quick to claim that he had “no intent to fat-shame” Trump because he’s “not a skinny guy myself,” but thinks that there would have been “a lot worse reaction” to a similar statue of the Democratic Party’s nominee.

“If it were a statue of Hillary everyone would be crying sexism and misogyny. [The piece] was readily accepted because he is a man and one who is quick to body-shame,” Monroe told The Daily Beast.

Real brave guy, Monroe. Very edgy and DANGEROUS. There are some forces even transgressive modern artists cannot resist, and the “sexism and misogyny” labels are ones that they don’t dare risk being tagged with. Best to stick with crucifixes in buckets of urine.

Another female washes out of USMC Infantry Officer Course:

A female Marine officer who was dropped from the Infantry Officer Course in April has failed the course on her second try.

“At this time, there are no female officers enrolled or slated to attend IOC,” Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, said.

TECOM is not identifying the woman, who has been given a new military occupational specialty, Pena told Marine Corps Times.

The woman began the 84-day course on July 6 and failed to complete two conditioning hikes on July 18, Pena said. Marines trying to complete the course may not fall out of more than one hike during the entire course.

She and 33 male officers, out of an initial class of 97 Marines, have failed to complete the course so far, Pena said. That class is slated to finish the course on Sept. 20.

The woman was dropped during her first attempt to get through IOC class on April 21 after 11 training days. At the time, she was the 30th woman to give it a try. Military.com first reported on Friday that she had failed the course again.

One of these days.

Whoops:

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

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Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades.

For years, the Inspector General – the Defense Department’s official auditor – has inserted a disclaimer on all military annual reports. The accounting is so unreliable that “the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.”

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesman said the Army “remains committed to asserting audit readiness” by the deadline and is taking steps to root out the problems.

The spokesman downplayed the significance of the improper changes, which he said net out to $62.4 billion. “Though there is a high number of adjustments, we believe the financial statement information is more accurate than implied in this report,” he said.

Jack Armstrong, a former Defense Inspector General official in charge of auditing the Army General Fund, said the same type of unjustified changes to Army financial statements already were being made when he retired in 2010.

“They don’t know what the heck the balances should be,” Armstrong said.

Some employees of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS), which handles a wide range of Defense Department accounting services, referred sardonically to preparation of the Army’s year-end statements as “the grand plug,” Armstrong said. “Plug” is accounting jargon for inserting made-up numbers.

The O-club is becoming extinct:

Next month, the Fort Myer Officers Club will become the latest such organization to open its membership rolls to the enlisted ranks, continuing a trend that has nearly eliminated such clubs from Army installations.

Service members of all ranks from all branches will be eligible for membership, as will military retirees, contractors, military family members and federal civilian
workers, according to an Aug. 1 Facebook post and a follow-up article in the base newspaper.

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The move comes at the direction of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall commander Col. Patrick Duggan. Duggan told the paper that his inspiration came from Gen. George Patton, who used the Virginia club’s building as his headquarters prior to World War II, while the then-colonel commanded the installation.

The club’s changes are far from unique. USA Today reported in 2009 that seven officers clubs were left on Army installations, compared with about 100 in the late 1970s.

Two words can sum up the reason for the decline of the enlisted and officers’s clubs on base: Drunk Driving. In today’s military, it’s pretty much a career ender. Back in the good old days, a 5 PM beer call on base was a ritual performed by practically everyone in the military. Forty beers or so later, the various soldiers/pilots/special operators would stagger out of the bar, fire up the corvettes, and peel the fuck out of the parking lot, dangerously missing young children playing outside in the streets, because they didn’t have goddamn iPhones back then. Then they’d stagger in the door to a homemade meal provided by a beautiful wife, perform their husbandly duties heroically as able in the bedroom, and pass the hell out, only to wake up the next day and go train/fly/operate until 5 pm, then do it all over again.

Alas, that was a different time. In today’s professional military, there is no more room for youthful hijinks, or DUIs. Plus, God forbid your teetotaling boss sees you stagger out of some base club at ten PM. Nobody wants to do that shit around all the eyeballs anymore. It’s kind of a shame.

Thank you to the MANY of you who forwarded this story to me:

I can appreciate a good “Man attempting sex with automobile” story as any of you. Indeed, I am flattered that the first thing many of you thought when this story broke was to think of me and send it along. But we look for that little extra for the News Roundup’s “Nude person in trouble” story I like to close with every week.

They’ll give you hundreds of Oxycontin, but forget a joint:

The Army’s top doctor is skeptical that the first-ever federally-approved study will show that marijuana can help U.S. veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. “It’s been found that using marijuana has a lot of adverse health effects,” Lieut. General Nadya West says. In April, the federal government approved a three-year study to try to determine if actual marijuana, not merely chemicals extracted from it, can help those with PTSD.

Many veterans say smoking marijuana has eased their symptoms of PTSD. Like the Army, the Department of Veterans Affairs has doubts about its effectiveness. Proponents, the Army surgeon general adds, too often emphasize the benefits without acknowledging the downsides. Marijuana “is more dangerous, with some of the carcinogens that are in it, than tobacco,” West says. “So to make it sound as if it’s perfectly safe, the impact that it has long-term on certain areas of the brain, especially young people developing, that’s been proven: irreversible damage to the hippocampus and things like that that can really have impacts on individuals long-term.”

Can we stop right there for a second? Doc: Nobody is talking about giving marijuana to babies. For the most part, theses are fully formed adults. What’s with all the “young people developing,” concern-trolling? Reaching, also. Yeah, maybe the weed right off the corner from Javier the friendly-but-will-cut-a-bitch-if-she-don’t-pay drug dealer may have some carcinogens in it. But have you seen the products that are being put out in the dispensary these days? Shit is like laboratory-grade, made specifically for ill patients. I think the doc is a little behind the times on this one.

Jose Martinez knows trauma. As a U.S. Army infantryman in Afghanistan, he lost both legs, his right arm and his left index finger to a land mine in 2012. Recovery was challenging. “In my eyes, I had pretty much failed when I stepped on a bomb and lost three limbs,” he says. “I was going insane because I did not understand why I was still alive.”

Then, last December, he broke his maimed left arm, his lone remaining limb, when his car flipped over after hitting black ice in the high desert near his Apple Valley, Calif., home. It’s no surprise, then, that he also knows PTSD. Doctors plied him with pills after both calamities. “I started taking so many prescription pills,” he recalls, “I was numb to the world.”

Over time, he ended up replacing those pills—up to 150 a day, he says—with marijuana. While Martinez says he smoked pot occasionally before enlisting in the Army in 2010, he obeyed the military’s prohibition against it before that bomb blast near Kandahar.

Jesus. Give Martinez his reefer.

The signs were all there:

According to newly released Army documents, Micah Johnson, who killed five Dallas police officers in July, had his weapons taken away by commanders during a 2014 deployment to Afghanistan after a female soldier in his unit complained that he had sexually harassed her and stolen her underwear.

A redacted copy of the Army’s initial investigation into the allegations of the sexual harassment was posted on an Army website earlier this week.

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According to the report, in May 2014, a female soldier in Johnson’s Army Reserve engineering unit stepped forward to allege that he had stolen some of her underwear from her belongings and had sexually harassed her. She told investigators that she and Johnson had been platonic friends in the unit for five years and described a series of ups and downs throughout their relationship that included “fights and disagreements.”…

..A later inspection of Johnson’s personal belongings turned up a grenade round and a bag of prescription medications that belonged to another soldier, the documents show.

When confronted about the missing underwear, Johnson ran away and later admitted to investigators that he was trying to throw them away in a dumpster along the way, documents show.

Sailor gets year in prison; Hillary skates:

Navy sailor was sentenced Friday to a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas inside a nuclear attack submarine while it was in port in Connecticut.

Kristian Saucier, of Arlington, Vermont, appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, where a judge also ordered him to serve six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring during a three-year period of supervised release after the prison time. He pleaded guilty in May to unauthorized detention of defense information and had faced five to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

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Saucier admitted to taking six photos of classified areas inside the USS Alexandria in 2009 when it was in Groton and he was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the submarine. The photos showed the nuclear reactor compartment, the auxiliary steam propulsion panel and the maneuvering compartment, prosecutors said.

Saucier took the photos knowing they were classified, but did so only to be able to show his family and future children what he did while he was in the Navy, his lawyers said. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

Bro, you’re a child molester:

When detectives started asking questions about a recent break-in, police say, Joseph Allen tried to make it clear that he didn’t enter that west-side home intending to molest a sleeping 7-year old.

“It was very important to him to not be seen as someone who broke into a house to molest a child,” Detective Justin Hickman said in an exclusive interview with IndyStar.

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Police said Allen broke into a home on South Belmont Avenue on July 27, intending to steal items that he could quickly sell or trade for drugs.

As he was grabbing loot, police say, Allen stopped in the bedroom of a 7-year-old.

He touched her, Hickman said. The sleeping girl was startled.

Allen was wearing clothes when he ran from that house with some stolen items, but Hickman said video surveillance that captured him in the neighborhood earlier shows he had been outside in the nude.

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For that, Hickman said, Allen didn’t offer much explanation.

“I think the best explanation is his lifestyle choices include consuming a lot of drugs for a long period of time,” Hickman said.

That is, in fact, the best explanation. And it’s why we will always have nude men in the news for me to share with you every week: Lifestyle choices.

Not much to the roundup this week. I’m still getting settled back in here finally in America, so cut me some slack. I made a huge mistake by going into a Target the day after I got home. I almost ran out of there screaming. @BKactual