Many people ask me who is Michael New and what is so special about him? If you ask him, he'll tell you that he's just an average American who loves his country. If you ask his parents, he's simply a son who learned how to think for himself and to do what is right regardless of peer pressure. A good work ethic, a man of his word, a young man who didn't want the publicity, who turned down the movie offers, who avoids the limelight, and yet who continues to stand in the one place where it counts - in a court of law. As the appeal slowly makes its way through the courts, Michael New will not back down. And he has the United States government in something of a quandary. If they let him off, then they'll have to let anyone off who refuses to serve the United Nations. If they hammer him, they have to admit in public that Americans are no longer free to serve their own country exclusively - an admission they do not want to make. No doubt, if he had it to do over again, Michael New would do the same thing. But the Army would no doubt give him the transfer he requested in the first place. Ironically, the very judges who are stalling the process are wearing the uniform that Michael is defending. These delays are unreasonable. And Justice delayed is Justice denied.
Michael has been the source of many news articles. He was the source of inspiration for Dave Riddell vonKleist's song "A Patch of Green in A Sea of Blue". Several states and political organizations have passed resolutions supporting him. There is a documentary about his journey for justice. Recently his father, Daniel New, and Cliff Kincaid wrote a book, "Michael New: Mercenary or American Soldier?". All of this and Michael still remains humble and continues to try and live the private life of an average American man.
Below is an accounting of the case of USA vs. Michael G. New to date.
William Jefferson Clinton is sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States of America.
February of 1993
Michael enlisted in the US Army. Michael took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States. His Army Recruiter, in Conroe, Texas, never mentioned UN command, foreign officers, or wearing the UN uniform; instead he was told he was signing up for the US military.
3 May 1994
President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD-25), a policy directive outlining the administration's position on reforming multilateral peace operations. Also see "Command" versus "Operational Control": A Critical Review of PDD-25.
Michael is assigned to Germany, 3rd Infantry Division. Company A is informed that they will be going to Macedonia as part of a "peacekeeping" mission.
21 August 1995
Michael is informed that his unit will be required to wear a blue UN helmet of beret and a UN armband or patch. Michael was told the order to wear the UN uniform was lawful because,"The President says so, therefore it is." But nobody provided a legitimate, legal or rational basis for the order. Eventually, a battalion briefing about the deployment offered the justification that, "We wear the U.N. uniform because it looks fabulous."
22 August 1995
Michael's father, Daniel New, sends a message about Michael to a friend (me) via a local electronic bulletin board (The Justice Advocate BBS cir.,1993 - 1997). Then the friend (me again) sends it out over the internet . The replies to that message haven't stopped.
29, 30 August 1995
Michael contacts attorney Col. Ronald Ray in Crestwood, Kentucky.
31 August - 1 September 1995
Congressmen begin hearing from constituents, and call Department of Defense for explanation. DOD releases information paper denying any charges against Michael New. (No order had been issued yet, so no order had yet been disobeyed.)
5 September 1995
Michael receives over 1000 pieces of mail in Germany from supportive American citizens.
18 September 1995
Michael sends a letter to his chain of command explaining his stand and requesting further direction.
2 October 1995
Unusual battalion briefing given on the "legal basis of uniform." No legal basis is presented. The only explanation provided is "Precedent ...," and "...because they look fabulous."
10 October 1995
"In about two months' time," Michael recalled,"no one gave me an answer and so, on October 10, the day we were supposed to be in formation in our U.N. uniforms, I showed up in my regulation U.S. Army uniform." However, some 549 U.S. Army soldiers did show up in formation, wearing a United Nations emblem on their baby-blue caps and U.N. patches on their right shoulders! Michael was immediately removed from the parade ground, where he was informed that he would be facing a court-martial. He was read his rights. And this began the chain of events that continues sending shock waves around the country and the world.
After Michael was removed from the formation, the remaining U.S. soldiers came to attention and saluted General Jehu Engstrom, of Finland, their new commanding officer for the next six months. General Engstrom, like other U.N. officers, had taken a pledge of allegiance to the U.N.
17 October 1995
Col. Eaton recommends court-martial and passes the case to Gen. Montgomery Meigs. Ten Special Forces senior sergeants at Ft. Bragg send a letter to the DOD and Senator Helms supporting Michael's stand.
13 December 1995
Michael has a Motions hearing in Warzburg, Germany. See Motion to Dismiss: Unauthorized Alteration in Uniform, Motion to Dismiss: Unlawful Deployment and Motion to Dismiss: Breach of Contract
15 January 1996
LTC. Gary Jewell renders highly irregular preliminary judgement declaring the order lawful. The defense is restricted to arguing the "obedience" issue only, effectively preventing any defense of the real issue.
18 - 24 January 1996
Court-martial Panel of seven, including three officers, return "guilty" verdict on charge of disobedience, but deny the Army its request for a prison term and Dishonorable Discharge. Michael is awarded a "Bad Conduct" Discharge instead.See Stipulation of Fact
11 July 1996
Gen. Meigs signs off on Michael's court-martial, authorizing the discharge and freeing Michael to return home.
28 July 1996
Michael speaks to a crowd of supporters at the homecoming rally in Conroe, Texas given in his honor.
25 September 1997
U.S. Representative Helen Chenoweth submitted the following concurrent resolution (H.Con.Res. 158) condemning the deployment of United States military personnel in the service of the United Nations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Argued 26 September 1997 Decided 25 November 1997
Opinion from the U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals
3 March 1998
National Citizens Legal Network files a AMICUS CURIAE in support of Michael New with the United States Court of Appeals
6 March 1998
Reply Brief to UNITED STATES ARMY COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
28 March 1998
Army Court of Criminal Appeals hears oral arguments from Michael's attorney, retired Army Col. Hank Hamilton.
As of 23 January 1999
9 months of silence. No denial, no phone calls, no questions, nothing!
Justice delayed is justice denied.
28 April 1999
11 months to the day the United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) affirms Michael's court martial and the conviction stands. The ACCA issues a 28 page opinion.
Daniel New issues press release.
4 Feb 2000
LTC Henry Hamilton, AUS (Ret.) brief to the CAAF
15 June 2000
Rep. Chenoweth introduces Citizen Soldier Protection Act of 2000
25 January 2001
After a election filled with controversy George W. Bush is declared 43rd President
4 February 2001
The one year anniversary since the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces (CAAF) heard oral arguments on a single and simple question regarding the case of Army Spc. Michael New. The question before the court is a profound one, but not a difficult one. "Is a defendant in a military court entitled to all the elements of a defense?" In other words, was Michael New entitled to introduce evidence in defense of his own contention that the order to wear a United Nations uniform was illegal?
24 May 2001
LTC. Henry Hamilton, AUS (Ret.) files Appelant's Motion for a Decision by the Court
13 June 2001
After 495 days of "deliberations" the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forced (CAAF) renders as decision reaffirming the Court of Criminal Appeals. Complete opinion here. Daniel New issues a statement.
9 October 2001
The Supreme Court declines to look at his case. See our Press Release here.
Citizen Soldier Protection Act of 2001
18 May 2002
Michael New Returns to Court, Seeks to Overturn Court-Martial Conviction: See our Press Release here.
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