MEDIA, AIR FORCE BRASS PROTECTS FEMALE MAJOR
By Cliff Kincaid & Andy Selepak
It is being reported that the Air Force has given 34-year-old Air Force Major Jill Metzger a form of “temporary disability retirement” with full benefits as a result of a controversial and mysterious three-day absence from her base in Kyrgyzstan last September.
In a case some dubbed the “Runaway Military Bride,” critics said that Metzger, who was recently married, staged her own disappearance and then tried to cover it up.
The major, sometimes described as “the Air Force’s top female athlete in marathon running,” was on the fast-track to more promotions and glory in the military before she went “missing” and put her career in jeopardy.
Accuracy in Media has challenged the media to actively investigate the matter, noting that U.S. Army Major Glenn MacDonald’s website, MilitaryCorruption.com, has been leading the way in breaking and covering important developments in the case.
Metzger insisted that she was abducted while on a shopping trip away from Manas Air Force base, and then isolated and brutalized at a remote location. During her “disappearance,” the U.S. military tried desperately to find her. The 97-pound woman claims she “overpowered” one of her “abductors” and escaped, running some 30 miles to safety.
But the thugs who allegedly kidnapped her have never been identified or caught, and there is absolutely no indication that “they” are being currently sought. Local media said Metzger tried to procure an abortion during the time of her “disappearance” and cited details about an alleged taxi ride to a medical facility.
The Air Force says that an official investigation into the conflicting accounts is still underway 10 months later. But MilitaryCorruption.com revealed in June that it had copies of Metzger’s “retirement paperwork,” leaked to them by an inside source, and cited an Air Force regulation that prohibits any “favorable action,” i.e. processing for or being retired in any capacity, “while an investigation is still going on.”
MacDonald, a former public affairs officer during his long Army career, explained it was “an old trick” to tell the mainstream media that an “investigation” was still “ongoing” in order to “put off” press inquiries. “Many of these reporters have no military background whatsoever, so they’re easily snowed, and many are just too lazy to check and find out they’ve been lied to,” he told AIM.
Metzger’s father, retired Air Force Lt Col John Metzger, announced on July 10 that his daughter would be put on the “temporary disability retired list” after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, a condition usually ascribed to veterans whose engagements with the enemy during wartime have caused lingering psychological problems.
Metzger’s father was quoted as saying that she would draw retirement pay and be re-evaluated in 18 months to see if she would be returned to active duty.
This course of action had been predicted by MilitaryCorruption.com on June 12. MacDonald had told AIM that political correctness and fear of feminism in the highest reaches of the Pentagon were guiding the handling of the case, and that he anticipated that Metzger would be given a questionable diagnosis that would enable her to leave Air Force active duty on a temporary or permanent basis.
MacDonald’s report was followed by an erroneous Associated Press account that Metzger would be given a “leave of absence.” But MilitaryCorruption.com, citing Air Force administrative sources, reported that there is no such thing?a fact belatedly acknowledged by Stars and Stripes.
Dewey Mitchell, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Force, could not confirm anything officially but told AIM that he expected her active duty status to change.
He also said that media interest is now high. “Fourteen other media outlets have called and requested to be updated on information regarding her (Metzger’s) status when it changes,” he said.
MacDonald says the ploy enables the Air Force to temporarily avoid prosecuting the two-time Air Force Marathon winner for dereliction of duty and other crimes. His website has dubbed her the “Paris Hilton of the Air Force” because of the growing perception that she has gotten special treatment.
If Metzger in fact made up the abduction story and 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 department store, knowing it was forbidden to wander off; making a false official statement; conduct unbecoming an officer; adultery; and fraternization.
Militarycorruption.com reported that Metzger, upon her arrival back at Manas Air Force Base in Kyrgyzstan on September 8, 2006, looked fine. “There were no signs of any struggle on her,” a member of base security forces said. “No marks from any beatings or bruising, absolutely nothing!”
MacDonald states flat-out that “powerful friends in high places” have protected Metzger and he names them on the investigative website. He asserts that one general with “enormous influence within the Air Force” has had a close relationship with the female officer.
The major U.S. media have avoided any serious scrutiny of Metzger’s flimsy abduction story and the perception is growing that she is being protected, not only by the Air Force brass, but by media which do not want to see her status as a feminist icon go down in flames. MacDonald says that he’s seen firsthand how feminist sympathy for Metzger among female reporters is helping drive coverage of the case.
MacDonald has been particularly critical of specialized military publications such as Air Force Times and Stars and Stripes, which is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, for reporting the “official line” about so-called “on-going investigations” and for ignoring major developments in the case exclusively broken by MilitaryCorruption.com.
“It’s kind of pathetic to see them thrashing around in their politically-correct straight-jacket at Air Force Times,” MacDonald commented to AIM. He said the sensitivity of the case can be seen in a now-discontinued headline over an item that the paper ran on its website. Over a photo of Metzger returning to Moody Air Force Base last year was “Escapee or Fraud.” But that was quickly changed to “Father Speaks out.”
MacDonald said, “I guess the Pentagon public affairs officer called up Air Force Times editor Kent Miller and expressed displeasure.”
“We all remember reading in the Bible how little David defeated the arrogant giant Goliath with a slingshot,” MacDonald told AIM. “Well, we’re kind of in that same position ourselves,” the editor said. “We’re taking on a huge, powerful and yes, arrogant newspaper along with its politically-correct editor who I feel may have gotten too close to the folks he covers. Every time that paper offends a present reader or subscriber, they’re creating new readers for MilitaryCorruption.com. It’s a fact that thousands of their readers also are ours. Those folks are sophisticated enough to know who to trust in getting the real story and will not meekly accept what’s spoon-fed them from a Pentagon press release.”
MacDonald says that Stars and Stripes has finally “come to the dance,” in the sense of raising some critical questions about Metzger’s claims, but that it is still refusing to mention the ground-breaking role of Militarycorruption.com and seems “strangely gun shy” when it comes to challenging the Air Force brass and their handling of the case.
Slighting the Whistleblower
Stars and Stripes ran a July 5 story about the case mentioning MacDonald and MilitaryCorruption.com.
But the paper “didn’t even grant me the respect of using my retired rank of major,” said the “Mustang” soldier, who rose from private to field-grade officer over a span of three decades of military service. Yet other retired officers, such as Lt Col Oliver North and Fox News military expert Col David Hunt, are given the respect of having their rank acknowledged or even highlighted in their media appearances.
“I alone was denied the dignity of having my earned rank placed before my name,” MacDonald said. “Maybe it was an inadvertent mistake on the part of the female reporter, but I am sure the Pentagon took note of the slight and was not displeased.”
MacDonald says that he has received hundreds of e-mails about the Metzger cover-up from furious Air Force personnel, “including a surprising number of women,” and is continuing to pursue the story. He can be contacted at staff@MilitaryCorruption.com.
MilitaryCorruption.com has issued an “open letter” to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, asking him to call certain Air Force generals on the carpet in the Metzger cover-up case.
A Scottish-American with ancestral roots back to the days of William Wallace in the fight against the British, MacDonald is a longtime student of literature and quoted the great Edmund Burke as saying that “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing.”
MacDonald urged Gates, “an honorable man,” to “do the right thing.”
© 2007 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights
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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.
Andy Selepak is a writer at Accuracy in Media and can be contacted at:
But the thugs who allegedly kidnapped her have never been identified or caught, and there is absolutely no indication that “they” are being currently sought.