Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus tells Navy Officials "Retaliation against members of the Armed Forces for reporting a criminal offense is prohibited." Unfortunately, in my case, he's a day late and a dollar short!



RTTUZYUW RUEWMCS0030 1151917-UUUU--RUCRNAV
ZNR UUUUU
R 251917Z APR 14
FM SECNAV WASHINGTON DC
TO ALNAV
INFO SECNAV WASHINGTON DC
CNO WASHINGTON DC
CMC WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS
ALNAV 030/14
MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/APR//
SUBJ/RETALIATION AGAINST MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES REPORTING A CRIMINAL OFFENSE//
REF/A/DOC/SECTION 1709 OF FISCAL YEAR 2014 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION
ACT//
AMPN/REF A ESTABLISHES POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR SUBJECT PROHIBITION.//
RMKS/1.  Retaliation against alleged victims or other members of the Armed
Forces who report a criminal offense is prohibited.  This prohibition
constitutes a lawful general order, is punitive, and is applicable to all
Department of the Navy (DON) personnel without further implementation.  A
violation by a person subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)
(Chapter 47 of Title 10, United States Code) is punishable as a violation of
Article 92 of the UCMJ.  A violation by civilian personnel may be punishable
under regulations governing disciplinary actions.

2.  Per Ref (a), at a minimum, retaliation includes taking or threatening to
take an adverse personnel action or withholding or threatening to withhold a
favorable personnel action, with respect to a member of the Armed Forces
because the member reported a criminal offense.  Additionally, retaliation
includes ostracism and such acts of maltreatment committed by peers of a
member of the Armed Forces or by other persons because the member reported a
criminal offense. 

3.  The DON is revising all appropriate instructions to incorporate these
changes.  In the interim, consult and coordinate with Command Inspectors
General on matters involving allegations of suspected retaliation. 

Additionally, recommend you consult with your Staff Judge Advocate, Office of
General Counsel Attorney, Region Legal Service Office, or Legal Services
Support Section, as appropriate, with any questions regarding this message. 

4.  Point of contact at Naval Inspector General is Mr. Richard Gambino,
Branch Head, Whistleblower Reprisal, at (202) 433-2097, or via e-mail at
richard.gambino@navy.mil.

5.  Released by Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy.//

BT
#0000
NNNN
UNCLASSIFIED//

Military Medicine, the new War against veterans...

In this photo taken, May 26, 2010, Shirley White holds a box of prescription medication while sitting next to her husband Stan White in the their son's bedroom in Cross Lanes, W. Va. Andrew White, 23, died in his sleep Feb. 12, 2008, while taking a powerful antipsychotic prescribed as a sleep aid. Read more:
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sleepless-vets-prescribed-seroquel-nightmare-beginning-article-1.206526#ixzz30HmXPflF

Navy Times reports -- "Campaign targets growing misuse of prescription drugs"...

The Navy is kicking off a campaign to curb misuse of prescription drugs after concerning trends among sailors since the service began testing for more drugs two years ago.

Five hundred and twenty-four sailors have popped positive for illegal prescription drug usage in the first seven months of this fiscal year — and the Navy is on track to surpass last year’s total.

That has Navy experts racing to find out what’s going on before it’s too late.

The “Prescription for Discharge” campaign aims to ensure sailors correctly take their meds, report prescriptions and dispose of unneeded extras.

The misuse and abuse of prescription medication is a growing concern throughout the Defense Department, and it has had substantial implications for readiness and the military health system.

Roughly 25 percent of sailors are prescribed some type of medication, according to LaNorfeia Parker, deputy director of the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Office.

Approximately 0.7 percent of sailors confidentially reported “misuse” of prescription meds, according to the 2011 DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors, which found the Navy’s rates below the DoD average.

The group most at risk for drug abuse: sailors ages 18 to 25. Though they constitute 30 percent of the Navy, they account for 71 percent of positive drug tests.

When it comes to prescription drugs, the old salts are more likely to pop positive.
“Prescription drugs are more associated with ailments and age, so it is more prevalent in older populations,” Parker said.

The drugs most frequently prescribed — amphetamines, hydrocodone, hydromorphones, oxycodone and oxymorphones — have many dangerous side effects.

Sedatives are the second most commonly used, with 9.8 percent of sailors reporting using them in 2011. Of those, 0.6 percent reported misuse.

Both stimulants and anabolic steroids were used by fewer than 5 percent of service members.

Sailor focus groups also raised troubling issues.  They found that many sailors thought it was OK to take medication that had been prescribed to a family member. They associated the label of “illicit drugs” with marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine — not a little pill taken for a backache or a headache.

Not so, officials say: If your name is not on the bottle, don’t take it. And if your name is on the bottle, take it only as directed.

“We do have an aggressive urinalysis program,” Parker said. “The probability of someone being caught misusing is extremely high. We really want to sailors to take heed.”

The Navy in 2012 added two commonly abused and highly addictive prescription drugs to standard urinalysis tests: benzodiazepines (such as such as Ambien, Xanax and Valium) and hydrocodones (such as Xanax and Vicodin).

Any vaild prescription obtained off base must be documented in your service record, officials said. This will help manage your medications and prevent problems when you pop positive on a urinalysis.

Another goal: properly disposing of unneeded meds. Having those meds stick around in your medicine cabinet or under your bunk increases the propensity for misuse.

Full article:  http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140429/NEWS/304290043/Campaign-targets-growing-misuse-prescription-drugs

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Military suicide on the rise at Fort Bliss




MilitaryCorruption.com reports -- Six “suicides” so far this month at Bliss, several are officers, including female Citadel grad – Capt. Kelly Hasselman was much decorated – Super-achiever – Led first all-female “F.E.T.” detachment to Afghanistan in 2013 – Mission ended on bad note when several women soldiers got pregnant, others posed for nude pix distributed among male troopers…

Scandal is nothing new to trouble-plagued Fort Bliss, Tex., (see related stories box below).

Now, "suicide" is on the upswing there, where reportedly six officers and enlisted members are dead by their own hand since the beginning of the month.
                       
Informed sources tell MilitaryCorruption.com that three of the deceased - two officers and an NCO - allegedly took their own lives over the Easter weekend.

One of them was a female captain who blazed the trail as first of her gender to command an all-female F.E.T. (Female Engagement Team) sent to improve relations with Afghan women.

ALL-FEMALE UNIT EXPERIMENT FAILED

Kelly Hasselman was a super-achiever, just the kind of young officer the Army loves to point to as an ideal. An honor graduate (2007) of the Citadel, she excelled at every challenge she took on. All except one.

The much-ballyhooed F.E.T. 55-woman detachment she commanded soon imploded, no fault of it's earnest leader.

"A number of women got pregnant and were sent back to the States," an officer in the know told MCC. "Others were producing pornography for American GI's, and some of the raunchy photos included females in lesbian poses."

Read more:  http://www.militarycorruption.com/hasselman.htm

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What is meant by the term Moral Injury? What is Survivor Guilt?



For years I tried to understand why was I punished (as a military whistleblower) for carrying out my military duties and moral responsibility to the American taxpayers?!

As far as survivor guilt, although I've never personally experienced it, I can only extend advocacy support to other military veterans who have returned home only to realize that we've been lied to, along with the rest of our country's taxpayers.

Unfortunately, returning veterans are being treated like lab rats to assist the VA, medical training schools and the pharmaceutical industry in their continuous bilking of more tax dollars from our citizens.  When is this vicious cycle going to end?!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thought for the day...


I'll take education and compassion anyday over a big house, fancy cars and designer labels. When all of that is gone, we will have to rely on brilliant minds to save our planet!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day


Prayer for Mother Earth
© Syneeda Penland 2014

Mother Earth, Mother Earth,
you are now home to me.
Over 40 years ago
you gave birth to me.

Like all of your most treasured creations,
my seed was planted upon God’s
most powerful nation. 

For centuries, man has sought
to destroy your seeds;
killing them slowly,
from their hearts you bleed.

For their blood has been spilled
upon your precious Earth,
their seeds will multiply
upon their rebirth.

The human soul will never die,
it ferments within Earth’s dimensions
to sustain eternal life. 

Mother Earth, Mother Earth
allow my element (water);
mind, body, spirit and soul
to serve as one;
to help nourish the soul
of all your children.

"Army Humanists No Longer Invisible", a blog article by By Major Ray Bradley


Courtesy of The ACLU.org

Disclaimer: All statements in this article reflect the author's position and opinions. They in no way represent the Army's views, concepts, or regulatory guidance.

Someone once asked me how many Humanists there are in the Army. I answered, "None, because the Army doesn't recognize Humanists."
While soldiers can choose what religion appears in their official military records, they are limited to a list of "faith codes" approved by the Army Chaplaincy. Despite repeated requests by me and others, the Army has, for years, resisted adding "Humanist" to that list.
This week, however, "Humanist" will become an officially approved faith code, and I will finally be able to accurately identify my belief preferences on my official records.
The faith codes recognized by the Army include, among others, designations for service members who identify as Muslim, Hindu, Wiccan, Jewish, Buddhist, or one of more than 100 Christian denominations. But the options for those who follow non-theistic beliefs systems are decidedly more limited.
Until this week, we could choose between "atheist" or "no religious preference." These codes do not reflect my actual identity as a Humanist. Humanism is a non-theistic, progressive system of beliefs based around the moral values of compassion, pursuit of knowledge, and commitment to human rights. These principles help me through life's challenges and provide me with a sense of purpose to experience life to its fullest in the same way that religious individuals are guided by their faith tenets.
The ability to accurately identify myself in my official Army records as a Humanist is not only a matter of personal integrity and dignity, but it also has important implications for my military service. These records are used by promotion boards, academic selections boards, supervisors, and commanders to see who I am, where I was born, my marital status, and other data. Upon arrival at a new duty station, this data provides key information for assigning a sponsor best suited to assist service members and their families settle into a new community. In addition, with the approval of the Humanist faith code, I and other Humanists can now ask for support from the Army Chaplaincy, including space to gather regularly and to have these meetings advertised as other religious services are.
The road to this victory has been challenging. I first requested that my religious preference be changed to Humanist in September of 2011. For over two years, I was given excuse after (often conflicting) excuse as to why this simple change could not be made. I sought assistance from the Office of the Inspector General and even my U.S. senator, but the stonewalling continued.
Ready to give up, I connected with Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, and he put me in touch with the ACLU. Within weeks of receiving a letter from the ACLU, the Army notified me that "Humanist" would indeed be added to the faith-codes list.


Once invisible in the Army, Humanists now have a voice. We can stand up and be counted. Hopefully, this is just the first step in ensuring that Humanists across the military are no longer discriminated against and receive the same respect, benefits, and treatment as those who live by other faiths and belief systems.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Learn how to recognize the signs of stress, its becoming the #1 silent killer.


For the past year, while advocating for active duty military officers I began to experience an increased elevation of my blood platelets, each time they shared their traumatic experiences of ongoing military workplace abuse.  While “fighting” the system myself, I was diagnosed with a rare chronic blood disorder, Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET), characterized by the overproduction of blood platelets. In some cases the disorder may be progressive, and rarely may evolve into acute leukemia.

I was first diagnosed with ET almost year before I was discharged from the Navy and began chemotherapy treatment a few weeks before my discharge.  Because of the negativity associated with of each of the victim’s experiences, I’ve had to end my one on one support to them and undergo additional chemotherapy treatment.  I’ve encouraged each of them to seek professional psychological counseling, especially while serving in uniform.  Your health is more important and there are hundreds of other qualified officers able and willing to “get the job done” to protect our national security!! 

I have not abandoned them and I sure as hell have not abandoned the cause for “military justice” for our veterans.  Yet I’ve adhered to the advice of my oncologist,
“We cannot all save the world, but we have to be alive if we’re gonna try”!

Once final words of wisdom, “Everybody’s got something”—Robin Roberts

Thought for the day...


Friday, April 18, 2014

Thought for the day...


Promote world Peace, Love and Harmony.... 
There is no other choice!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Another thought for the day...


We need younger people in Congress that can relate to America's younger generation. If we continue down the path we're headed, the results are going to be devastating for their future!

Another thought for the day...


Thought for the day...


Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind. -- John F. Kennedy

This includes violence against women. Rape, sexual assault and sexual discrimination is a crime, the time to end it is NOW!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marine guard shoots, kills another guard at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune




NY Daily News reports -- Less than a week after a solder went on a deadly killing spree at Fort Hood, a marine standing guard shot and killed another Marine guard Tuesday afternoon. The name of the shooter and the dead Marine were not released.

Sharpton secretly worked as FBI mob informant...


The New York Post reports -- Meet Al Sharpton, “Confidential Informant No. 7.”

The longtime agitator, civil-rights activist and TV host was exposed Monday as an alleged former key FBI informant whose tips helped take down some of the biggest names in New York Mafia history.

The Rev. Al launched his sensational secret life as a paid mob snitch in the mid-1980s, pressured to cooperate after being ensnared in a developing drug sting, according to a bombshell report bythesmokinggun.com.

As “CI-7,” the then-portly Harlem leader would tote a customized Hartmann briefcase equipped with an FBI bug to hobnob with members of some of the city’s most notorious crime families, the site said.

Sharpton’s main job was to dig dirt on the Genovese crime family, according to sources and court documents.

Full article: http://nypost.com/2014/04/07/al-sharpton-secretly-worked-as-an-fbi-mob-informant-report/

Turning Prisons into Schools: "A positive solution for effectively rehabilitating inmates, not perpetuating their criminal behavior."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

“We are Starseeds – Born from the Universe”, a guide to understanding Spiritual Awareness


Around this time last year, several poems came to me and I was a bit nervous of its content. See, as a naturally gifted poet, I fully understand how and why the heavenly Divine channels messages through Earth's "light" angels. It is so we can spread our seeds, as I like to refer to as, “nourishment for the soul.”  After receiving about 50 or more, I began working on my second poetry book, which I plan to release in a few months. 

Earlier today I came across an article where the author describes us as being "Starseeds". Like most information that comes my way, the Divine Spirit guided me to read its content. 

In several of my poems, I also refer to us as being "Starseeds" or Human Angels, whose duty is to protect our Mother Earth, not destroy her, or humanity.

When I opened my heart to care enough to advocate for other veterans who have been abused by the military's justice system (or lack thereof), I was not aware that I was opening my heart to begin caring about our planet.  Wow, talk about a Spiritual Awakening.

While writing and re-editing my memoir, "Broken Silence", I describe my life's experience as a spiritual journey.  While confronting my military trauma, as I finish the final editing of my manuscript, I thanked God for the experience, my resiliency, and most of all, for my natural gifts, primarily the ability to scribe my own story.

My spiritual awakening took place in the fall of 2011, and I must say, when the Divine Spirit anoints you for your calling, is when your soul begins to live its true purpose.  Namaste

“We are Starseeds – Born from the Universe" 
Full article: http://www.riseearth.com/2014/04/we-are-star-seeds-born-from-universe.html#.U0R23_lSadg


Monday, April 7, 2014

DoD Revolving Door Database Needs to Get into GEAR


Project on Government Oversight reports -- The Department of Defense (DoD) has made a complete mess of its system for tracking former employees who go through the revolving door to jobs with the defense industry. According to an Inspector General review, DoD’s revolving door database, the After Government Employment Advisory Repository (AGEAR), offers “marginal value” because it is not complete.
In fact, the IG stated that “DoD may not have fully complied with the intent of [the] law,” and as a result of the system’s flaws, the DoD IG “could not use” the database to “reliably determine the quantitative data requested” by Congress. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 requires DoD to store certain employee requests for ethics opinions and the final written opinions in a central database. The noncompliance is extremely distressing because the IG found similar problems with AGEAR in 2010.
Unfortunately, AGEAR isn’t public, although there have been legal battles to obtain the data. It took anact of Congress (p. 187) by Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and the House Armed Services Committee to get the DoD to offer a glimpse of the database and its compliance with the law. The IG had little if any good news, and provided a simple review summary of 379 post-2012 opinions requested by DoD officials and former officials. The Army (140 requests), Navy (124 requests), and Office of the Secretary of Defense (50 requests) accounted for more than 80 percent of the opinions requested. 
According to the IG, its review was limited because AGEAR:
  • has only limited records from January 2008 to December 2011, which the IG blamed on staffing and fiscal constraints;
  • isn’t operating as a centralized database because numerous records are kept outside the system at multiple locations;
  • is missing records for former employees of the Defense Logistics Agency and the National Security Agency; and
  • contains incomplete and inconsistent data.
The IG recommended that DoD clarify whether a single centralized database is required rather than multiple and decentralized databases. Additionally, the IG recommended that an official or office be delegated the responsibility and authority to centrally supervise the program.
For years, the Project On Government Oversight has been concerned about the integrity of the federal contracting system and about the revolving door between the government and contractors. The Government Accountability Office agreed with POGO, finding that revolving door transparency is lacking. Beginning in 2010, POGO submitted FOIA requests for the DoD revolving door database, and some of those requests are still open—DoD hasn’t sent us records in nearly 4 years. Unfortunately, DoD doesn’t appear to be taking POGO, Congress, or the revolving door seriously. But what can you expect when the defense industry provides such a cushy landing spot for so many former DoD officials?
Full article: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2014/04/20140402-dod-revolving-door-database-needs-to-get-into-gear.html

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Dr. Angelou, You are truly an inspiration!


Several years ago a dear friend challenged me to write a poem that would uplift and inspire our young black women, similar to Dr. Angelou’s poems, “Phenomenal Woman and Still I Rise".  As a gifted poet and avid admirer of her work, I accepted the challenge and wrote the piece, "Essence of Black Beauty, which later became the title of my first poetry book.  

In celebration of Dr. Angelou’s 86th birthday, for the first time on my blog I share with you, “Essence of Black Beauty”, I hope it will uplift and inspire all women of color to be proud of who we are and where we come from.





Essence of Black Beauty
© 2007 Syneeda Penland

As time has changed
so have generations of our times,
leaving intriguing tales
and mysteries of our past;
I search for answers, seeking to find…

I seek to explore the Essence
that defines the mystery
of our hidden taboos,
depicted by false labels and stereotypes;
shamelessly dictating all that we do.

Have we allowed these labels to shame us
from vicious acts exploited in the past?
Allowing this fear to still haunt us,
how much longer will it last?

No one put us on a pedestal
to be portrayed as delicate and pure.
Instead, curious of the ‘Essence of our Black Beauty’,
strongly desired by those seeking to endure.

To fulfill the desires of their fantasies,
to strip us of all that was once pure.
Planting a seed to become nameless,
scarring our souls leaving us shameless
of brutal acts never painless!

This scar, passed on to each generation,
left never to be discussed yet complete annihilation
from the history of the heritage of “African Queens”.

This heritage, so enriched by the beauty of her land,
cradled in the Essence of her bosom, her jewels
and all of her riches are strongly desired by man.

No longer will we be haunted
by the mystery of our hidden taboos,
which defaces our heritage
and wrongfully defines what is true.

For being Black, defines the beauty
that lies deep within our skin.
Either at its purest or mixed with other,
combining such a beautiful  blend.

To all my sistahs of color,
“Be proud of who you are!”
Show the world that you are able
to lift the taboos, stereotypes
and many false labels.

Look in the mirror
and inhale your beauty…
Embrace it!
And say out loud,
with a wink of an eye of acceptance, say:
“I’m Black!”
“I’m Beautiful!”
“I’m Proud!”

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chicago Reporter Attacked, Takes a Swing at Obama Protester



Wow, its obviously more news worthy to report how much money President Obama can squeeze out of big donors, for a few minutes of his time, than report the concerns of one outspoken citizen.   wonder if the citizen is a veteran war hero who’s seen his fair share of the tragic devastation of the gulf war, and how its taken a deadly toll on our veterans; primarily those suffering from PTSD.  

Or is he outright angry and is tired of the war profiteering that's run rampant for over a decade within all levels our military and political industrialized complex.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women.  Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

The Convention defines discrimination against women as "...any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field."


By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
  • to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  • to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  • to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
 The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women's equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life -- including the right to vote and to stand for election -- as well as education, health and employment.  States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations.  It affirms women's rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality and the nationality of their children.  States parties also agree to take appropriate measures against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.

Countries that have ratified or acceded to the Convention are legally bound to put its provisions into practice.  They are also committed to submit national reports, at least every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.

Full article:  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm

Full text of the Convention in English
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm