|An innocent man looks to |
U.S. Supreme Court
I still can't get over the fact that Vietnam-era veteran, Keith Roberts was targeted by the U.S. Dept of Veteran Affairs (DVA), convicted and then jailed in 2005 for receiving PTSD disability benefits.
By Michael LeonHis crime? According to the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Stephen Biskupic (2001-08), Roberts did not know his fellow airman, Gary Holland, [an absurd suggestion] who was crushed to death by a C-54 airplane at a U.S. base in Naples, Italy in 1969, and that Roberts who was on line duty exaggerated his efforts to save his friend's life.
Furthermore, Roberts was wrong to follow the advice of his Veteran’s Service Officer (Shawano County (Wisconsin)) who had determined that Keith Roberts was entitled to an earlier effective date for his diagnosed PTSD.
In fact, Roberts had been a thorn in the side of the Milwaukee Regional VA’s office as well as the Illinois-based regional VA Inspector General’s office for insisting on his rights as a veteran to his benefits in less-than-diplomatic tones and language.
“Keith Roberts was granted a 100% compensation rate for PTSD from his date of claim. To grant PTSD, we need both a.) a current diagnosis and b.) a verified in-service stressor. We found not only a stressor, but an in-service diagnosis for Airman Roberts,” said a source at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee who e-mailed the Lee Rayburn radio show in Madison after a broadcast of a show on Roberts. “[T]he only reason Airman Roberts was ever prosecuted was because he was a ‘belligerent ass’ who kept insisting that he get paid back to discharge. He was demanding an appeal in Washington. I'd have to say that you guys are TOTALLY (uppercase in the original) right about Roberts' conviction being bullshit. ...”
So, in response the former VA General Counsel attorney and VA national Director of Compensation and Pension Services, Renee L. Szybala, pushed U.S. Atty Biskupic to indict Roberts of mail [wire] fraud, predicating the indictment, it bears repeating, upon the ludicrous notion that Roberts and Holland did not know each other, and that Roberts exaggerated his reported efforts to keep his friend from being crushed to death.
For the record:
Holland and Roberts were both on line duty when Holland was killed:
- - Took two weeks-long classes together while stationed together in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968
- - Were quartered in the same barracks at Lakehurst, NJ where they also trained together for weeks
- - Went into the Naval Air Force base in Naples, Italy together as two young airman
- - Slept in close quarters (feet away from each other) while at Naval Air Station base in Naples, Italy
- - Worked in the same and only base air hangar together
- - Took an advancement test together on the morning of the day Holland was killed on Feb. 4, 1969
Roberts' 200 page-plus appeal gets legal and complicated after that.
But as someone who has reported on this case from the beginning, let me break down what happened.
As readers of Uppity Wisconsin may notice there is a comment from a veteran posted some years ago about Roberts, who corroborates Roberts' narrative.
But the wronged Navy Airman Keith Roberts (1968-71) had POed the wrong people and a corrupt U.S. Attorney [see U.S. Attorneys Scandal–Milwaukee] saw to it that an innocent man was wrongfully imprisoned for "tenaciously pursuing a claim for VA disability benefits" when the neocons were in charge of the U.S. DVA and U.S. DoJ.
To give you an idea who Biskupic is, see:
- The proven-innocent Georgia Thompson
- Biskupic tried to 'squeeze' Georgia Thompson
- Voter fraud cases
- Voter-Fraud Complaints by GOP Drove Dismissals
As for Biskupic, he seamlessly moved from corrupt, Bush-era U.S. Attorney to defender of the corrupt Scott Walker campaign in Wisconsin.
Well, this regime is gone.
But the damage remains from this bunch, a fact worth noting in conclusion.
Politicalization of pubic officials - shocker
There are plenty of candidates for condemnation in this affair in today’s environment when whole agencies of the U.S. government have been usurped by an administration lacking in conscience and public accountability, politicizing virtually every agency in sight, including U.S. Atty Biskupic’s office.
· Special Agent Raymond Vasil of the regional VA Inspector General’s office [“A cop Vasil is not, just an idiot with a badge,” said one veteran assisting Roberts] who lied to and vocally mocked Roberts while flying around the country fabricating a case against Roberts.
· The VA benefits process that systemically wears down veterans with the apparent intention of inducing them to give up their fight for benefits [this process is being adjudicated in the unprecedented class action suit by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.] In fact, the VA claims process can be so frustrating that many vets (especially those suffering from PTSD) are thrown into fits of rage directed at the VA itself.
· The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that demeans veterans for seeking help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in this “culture of trauma.”
· The Pentagon that blames veterans “personality disorders” and lack of faith in God for veterans suffering after service.
· Former VA national Director of Compensation and Pension Services, Renee L. Szybala, and Jon Baker, director of the Milwaukee Regional VA office actively participated in efforts to have Roberts prosecuted, while they intentionally took steps to ensure the VA Regional Counsel did not have an opportunity to perform the mandatory legal review before the matter went to the U.S. Attorney, as required by federal regulations. Again, Szybala knew that Roberts had an appeal pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and that under VA regulations until that appeal was completed the case should not have been released for criminal or collection action.
· Barbra Nehls, formerly of the Milwaukee VA Regional office, who wrongly claimed at trial that Roberts’ benefits were reduced based upon the VA’s determination that Roberts’ statements of facts from 1969 formed the basis of the VA decision to grant or deny benefits. This is a material misrepresentation of VA procedure.
· And of course, Carolyn F. Washington, VA deputy asst general counsel, a woman without conscience and quintessential social climber.