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PENTAGON SPINS MEDIA IN MILITARY BRIDE CASE

 

 

By Cliff Kincaid & Andy Selepak

June 16, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

The hard-hitting website Militarycorruption.com calls her the Paris Hilton of the Air Force. Some others call it the case of the “Runaway Military Bride.”

Air Force Major Jill Metzger is an attractive blonde, 34-year-old newlywed and two-time Air Force Marathon winner who was reportedly abducted by thugs in Kyrgyzstan last September. She surfaced three days later and returned home. She said she overpowered her abductors and escaped. But local media in Kyrgyzstan claimed that she had been procuring an abortion. Her case has been under seemingly endless investigation by the FBI and U.S. military authorities.

In a major development, Military-Corruption.com reported on Tuesday in a copyrighted, exclusive investigative report that Metzger was being quietly retired July 2 on a “disability” pension. Retired U.S. Army Major Glenn MacDonald, editor-in-chief of the website, said this favorable treatment is an outrage that reflects political correctness and fear of feminism in the highest reaches of the Pentagon.

Media Cover-Up

The major media ignored MacDonald’s charges. Then, suddenly, an Associated Press story appeared, saying that Metzger was going on a voluntary leave of absence from the military. The AP reported that “Maj. Jill Metzger’s 18-month leave will start next month, said her mother, Jeannette Metzger.” MacDonald calls it disinformation and a diversion from the truth about what happened in this highly sensational case.

MacDonald’s website reported that there is no such thing as an “18-month leave of absence” for an active duty member and there is no military regulation that will allow it. “We telephoned numerous Air Force personnel and administration people to get their opinion on this and were told there is no regulation that allows that,” MacDonald said.

He also told AIM, “I am personally incensed by Air Force Times, which had a copy of our investigative article on Metzger, yet ignored our copyrighted and exclusive story and published an Associated Press dispatch containing erroneous information on Metzger that they knew was wrong. They froze us out. If that isn’t censorship, what is?”

MacDonald said that he telephoned an editor Wednesday to alert him that the content of the AP report was wrong and misleading, but that as of Thursday afternoon, Air Force Times was still featuring that misinformation as the lead story on its online edition.

Pleasing the Powers That Be

“I guess that will earn them more brownie points as they genuflect before their pals in the Pentagon public affairs office,” MacDonald said, “but it is a disservice and insult to their readers to try and conceal all the facts about the Metzger case. Thousands of their readers also see MilitaryCorruption.com each day.”

MacDonald told AIM, “I spoke with Air Force Times editor Kent Miller before this story went up and he had lamely told me his reporters at Air Force Times called the Pentagon each week to see if there was anything ‘new’ in the Metzger case. He even admitted—his word—that he knew they were ‘stonewalling’ the paper. I asked the obvious question: then why didn’t you have the balls to write an editorial or article saying you were being ‘stonewalled’ and asking ‘What has the Air Force got to hide?’”

Even before MacDonald’s story appeared, reporting that Metzger was being retired with a pension, various blogs were following the case, with one commenting, “We think the brass is waiting for the furor to blow over so they can then sneak ‘silly jilly willy’ out the back door with a big fat taxpayer-paid 100% medical pension (this while honorable women injured in Iraq receive far less).”

The Heroine

The story of Metzger’s disappearance was widely covered in the media, with CBS News reporting that the Kyrgyzstan Interior Ministry said Metzger and another U.S. servicewoman were recorded on a security camera entering the TsUM department store in central Bishkek. The cameras, however, showed Metzger leaving her companion just three minutes later.

Three days later, the AP and CBS News reported a remarkable tale of a heroic escape by Metzger from her captors. Metzger told the Kyrgyz police she had been abducted by three young men and a woman in a minibus and held in a rural area 30 miles from Bishkek. Metzger told Kyrgyz police chief Kemilbek Kiyazov that someone put a hard object and a note in her back pocket, saying it was an explosive. The note also included detailed instructions about where to go and what to do.

Kiyazov said the major reported that she was met by three men and a woman who put her into a vehicle, took her to a house and placed her in a dark room. Metzger reportedly said that she managed to escape after an abductor brought her food and she struck him.

Militarycorruption.com, which was suspicious of her story, noted that local media reported that Metzger was actually seeking an abortion. A television station provided details, even naming the medical facility that performs the procedure. According to this version of the story, Metzger had an extramarital affair and planned to have the abortion and return to the base the same day. But the abortion went badly and she had to stay at the medical facility for an extended length of time. That’s when she realized that she had to come up with a cover story explaining where she was.

Metzger and her family have refused to comment, except to say that they back up her story of being abducted and then freeing herself.

But if she was indeed abducted, why hasn’t there been a full-court press by U.S. authorities to find her kidnappers and punish them?

Is there a reason why the Air Force would want the truth covered up?

Metzger was a poster child for the Air Force. What’s more, her husband is an Air Force officer, her father-in-law is an Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) agent, and her own father is a retired Air Force colonel.

Very Important Persons

So she has some very high-level connections.

If it is true that Metzger made up the abduction story and in fact had an abortion, militarycorruption.com reports that she could have violated the following regulations: disobeying an order because she didn’t stay with her group in the store, knowing it was forbidden to wander off; making a false official statement; conduct unbecoming an officer; adultery; and fraternization.

On June 12, 2007, Lt. Col. Kathy Reardon, the Chief of the Air Force Press Desk, told AIM that Metzger did disappear for three days and did turn up at a house in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. She said that Metzger did ask the occupants of the house to call the Kyrgyz police, who called the U.S. Embassy. Metzger was then sent to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan for a medical evaluation, then off to the Ramstein AFB in Germany, and finally to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. She said that she was unable to divulge what, if anything, Metzger was treated for because of privacy laws. She also said privacy laws prevented her from discussing if Metzger has or had any medical issues that might necessitate a disability retirement pension.

Reardon said that the case was not closed and was being investigated by the OSI and the Department of Justice. She said the Department of Justice was investigating the incident because it involved the reported abduction of a U.S. citizen on foreign soil.

OSI Public Affairs Office spokesperson Capt. Christine Millette had no additional information, saying that while Metzger claimed to be abducted while serving overseas, she was not abducted on a U.S. Military base. Therefore, the Department of Justice had “the lead” on the case and OSI was playing a supporting role.

The Department of Justice would not comment.

Rank-and-File Outrage

MacDonald added: “Why should Metzger, if she engaged in misconduct while in uniform, be rewarded with a disability pension when genuine combat veterans, especially our Marines in Iraq, are coming home with an arm or leg shot off and they have to fight for every cent in compensation they receive from the government?”

The retired field-grade officer and three-year Vietnam vet believes that if Metzger were to receive a disability pension it might be for PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, because you can’t test for it. Major MacDonald added that if Metzger is given a disability pension for PTSD it would be an insult to all combat veterans who actually do suffer from PTSD.

MacDonald believes that this story is important because “the morale in the Air Force, if she gets away with this, will be devastated.” He adds, “we were practically alone among the media investigating this story beyond the Pentagon press releases,” adding that “the mainstream media is reluctant to cover a story where a feminist ‘celebrity officer’ gets in trouble.”

Militarycorruption.com is an Arizona-based website founded by MacDonald and the late General Peter E. Genovese Jr. Online for seven years, it gets up to 250,000 hits a day and is read on every military base in the continental U.S. and overseas. “We are clicked on by readers in over 120 countries of the world,” MacDonald said.

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“I don’t draw a dime for what I do as editor, by my own choice,” MacDonald said. “As a former enlisted man and NCO, I’ve never forgotten where I came from and will continue to fight to my dying day [MacDonald is rated 100% disabled, combat-related, by the VA] to get justice for the troops. We take very seriously our motto here at MilitaryCorruption.com: ‘Fighting for the truth…Exposing the corrupt.’”

© 2007 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.

Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.

Web Site: www.AIM.org

E-Mail: cliff.kincaid@aim.org

Andy Selepak is a writer at Accuracy in Media and can be contacted at

E-Mail: andrew.selepak@aim.org


 

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In a major development, Military-Corruption.com reported on Tuesday in a copyrighted, exclusive investigative report that Metzger was being quietly retired July 2 on a “disability” pension.