My wife and I had an interesting conversation last night. She mentioned that disgraced former military writer Michael Yon hadn’t mentioned me in quite some time. Usually, friends or acquaintances will let me know when Michael Yon has once again sought to puff his chest at my expense. As if he’s bugged my bedroom, I find this email in my inbox this morning:
Over the years, I’ve gotten a LOT of emails from Michael Yon. I usually just confuse them for some drunk chimpanzee that probably stole his researcher’s computer and simply ignore them. After all, I don’t exist to answer the innumerable queries of a man who refuses to answer for his actions. Michael Yon is good at demanding “accountability” from others while refusing to be accountable himself. So, I ignored him. That’s generally my SOP because it doesn’t matter what I say, Michael Yon will simply edit out what he doesn’t like, twist what he can, and then rearrange my words to suit his narrative. He’s a VERY good fictional writer, so I do need to give him props for that. After all, this is the same man that in 2009 wrote that the only way a writer can make money is to lie. To punctuate that he hasn’t deviated from that script, he even republished that statement a couple of days ago on his own Facebook page:
Again, Michael Yon is not only good at “avoiding the truth”, but he’s even better at INVENTING the truth. Or, at least creating his version of the truth. I think that Orwell called it “newspeak.” As my wife and I were chatting last night, I opined that he probably hasn’t mentioned me because he’s been able to scam so many Thai people out of money that he’s forgotten about me. After all, every time he posts a lie about me, the intelligent people jump ship recognizing that Michael Yon is truly obsessed with me for some reason. I don’t ever mention him publicly because then I feel like I need to perform a virus scan on my system when I do.
So, a few hours after sending me that email (I suppose I’m not supposed to have a life and instantly jump at his every request) Michael Yon decides to publicly release his breaking news about me. Michael Yon is a master of distraction and projection. He knows that he’s lying when he writes stuff about me, so he invents these “sources” that of course have “always been accurate” when spreading his defamation. This theoretically gives him plausible deniability for whenever he decides to actually man up and come back to the United States to face the music. He thinks that by inventing these sources, he has placed a wall between the lies he tells and a potential lawsuit. My bet is that when he is slapped with a civil lawsuit for libel and defamation, he’ll puss out and dime out these so-called “sources” (if they even exist).
The problem is that his “source” obviously hasn’t “been accurate” yet. Michael Yon fails to recognize that and continues to double down on his lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths. But, let’s get down to business further discrediting Michael Yon with actual facts and proofs. Most of his accusations have already been debunked and proof provided, so I’ll simply link to those posts. This is what he posted today on his Facebook page that claims over 91,000 followers:
In the comments section, Michael Yon doubled down as well:
I will address these later.
Michael Yon falsely and with malice posted: “According to a source who has always been accurate, convicted criminal and US Army senior NCO CJ Grisham has been busted from Master Sergeant to Sergeant First Class. Grisham has not responded to questions.” Lie #1.
I don’t know how to prove a negative, but I’ve never been demoted in my entire career. Not once. Not even a threat of demotion. So, if Michael Yon doesn’t out his false source or evidence to support this accusation he is intentionally spreading false information for the purposes of libel and defamation. I could easily just put on my uniform and take a picture in my uniform, but he would just accuse me of posting an old picture or not wearing the right rank. The burden of proof is on Michael Yon to support his lies, not on me to defend against them. Either put up or shut up and provide the proof.
In order for me to be demoted, I would have to endure and lose a General Court Martial. I would have to be found guilty by a jury of my peers and I guarantee you that if someone like me that’s been in the news as much as I have was demoted, it would make the Army Times or local media at a minimum. Hell, the fact that I was being court martialed would be a story before it even happened. Only a general officer can order a demotion for a Master Sergeant and then only as part of a court martial. I don’t even have a relief-for-cause NCOER anywhere.
Michael Yon did tell the truth about one thing: I did NOT respond to his questions.
Michael Yon falsely and with malice posted: “Grisham was a terrible coward in Afghanistan, yet returned to Texas to stomp around with his guns like he owns the place.” Lie #2, though really just an ignorant opinion.
Here is another unsubstantiated claim that Michael Yon likes to throw out there. He followed this up with this: “He will harass the police, but he would not stand up to the Taliban. The Taliban scared the pee out of this guy.” These statements are actually quite ironic. While calling me a coward he admits that I’m willing to “harass the police.” How many cowards do you know that would “harass the police”? Standing up to any government official with a badge and a gun results in jail time, a friendly tasering, or even death in some cases.
But, let’s address this “Taliban scared the pee out of this guy” comment. Where does this come from? Michael Yon claims that I left Afghanistan out of fear. He mentions that somewhere I wrote about “hearing voices” and being scared. While I deny that I ever mentioned I was scared, I’ll admit that I felt fear in Afghanistan during each mortar attack. When that siren goes off, no one knows where it will land. The closest one landed to me was 150 meters away, but one also landed in the exact spot I was parked one night, though I had left it several minutes prior and wasn’t in danger when it landed.
If a Soldier tells you he’s never afraid, he’s either a liar or mentally disturbed. Fear is a part of combat whether you’re engaged in kinetic, small arms fighting or just located in the Taliban impact zone like I was. I swear that’s all Kandahar Airfield was – an impact zone for Taliban mortarmen. While I was there, we averaged at least one mortar attack per day. Some days we had as many as 7 attacks and a few days we had none. You just never knew.
While all Soldiers experience fear, most are well trained on dealing with it. And everyone deals with it differently. I actually use fear as motivation. It doesn’t cause me to freeze or make bad choices. I’ve always thrived on stress and fear is the ultimate stressor. Just as I will never back down from an abusive and oathbreaking police officer, I would never back down from the Taliban, Al Qaeda or anyone else threatening my life. I’ve already written about why I left Afghanistan, so I’m not going to revisit that argument. You can read my response to that claim here. I also challenge Michael Yon to produce the piss-stained clothing as proof that I urinated myself when confronted with a Taliban I never saw.
You know, let’s talk a little about cowardice. Michael Yon is the guy that, when the leaders of the unit he was photographing in Iraq were ambushed, picked up a gun and pointed it around a corner without looking and fired without knowing what he was shooting at. His actions actually endangered those troops when he hit a propane tank. Why didn’t he look at what he was shooting? Was it cowardice? A real man wouldn’t hide behind a wall and shoot blindly around a corner, but I know many Iraqi and Afghan cowards that do. You see, unlike Michael Yon’s claims of cowardice against me, he wrote about his own cowardice in firing blindly into a space where one of our own troops was engaged in bloody hand to hand combat. His cowardice could have very easily killed or injured that man. Instead, his bad-assedness hit a propane tank.
A little more about cowardice. Lately, Michael Yon has been “reporting from the front lines” in the battle for Thai sovereignty and liberty. Does it escape anyone else that Yon doesn’t have a single photo up close and personal with the real action and clashes between the police and the people? He’s got some great shots of the after party, taking photos of busted car windows (after they’ve been busted), smoke canisters (after they’ve been thrown and extinguished), protestors (after they’ve settled back in their camps to rest), riot police (when they aren’t actively engaging protestors), etc. Where is the “most embedded military writer in history” (Yon’s own claim) to document the real action taking place in his new adopted homeland? Truly brave photographers take pictures like these. They aren’t afraid to stick their necks out and get the real story where the action is. They aren’t afraid to suck down tear gas or risk being hit by non-lethal rounds or rocks. But, cowards stay as far away as possible or wait until the majority of the danger is gone before wading in bravely to photograph the aftermath.
Let’s talk about more cowardice. Michael Yon hides from the truth. He’s afraid of his sycophantic followers knowing the truth about his lies. So, he deletes comments that call him out on his Facebook. Michael Yon likes to claim that he has only banned “a small minority” of people from his Facebook page.
If Michael Yon is such a beacon of bravery and integrity, why does he ban so many people that disagree with him? Here are a few examples:
If you go to this post on Michael Yon’s Facebook page, you won’t see ANY of these comments anymore. Michael Yon has deleted all of them because they don’t conform to his tightly scripted slant. He wants his followers to think that most people agree with him. This is his MO. This active effort to suppress dissent strengthens my defamation claims because it proves he won’t allow comments from people that actually know me and can provide opposition and evidence contrary to his claims. That’s called cowardice. Those are the actions of a coward. And I have hundreds of examples like these of comments that no longer exist.
Michael Yon falsely and with malice posted: “The information I am getting is that he will lose this also in regard to firearms, and that separately he is barred by the military from handling weapons. (Maybe this explains his plastic gun.)”
I am not barred from the military from handling weapons and never have been. This is another unsubstantiated claim that his followers swallow without question. I have all kinds of weapons and no one has even suggested taking them from me. Prior to the holidays, I even qualified on my assigned weapons (M4 and M9 – both expert, by the way). The reason I took a toy gun that day was because I specifically DIDN’T want to get arrested. I went to the capitol to stand up against DPS Troopers violated our rights and the law and figured that if I took a toy gun they would have no reason to arrest me. I had information from within the department that there was a form of “bounty” on my head. Many of these guys were just dying to arrest me for ANY reason and I didn’t want to give them that privilege. So, I carried a toy gun in an over-the-top, cowboy dropleg holster so that anyone with a 6th grade education could simply look at the pistol and see it was a toy. Most black powder holsters have a flap over them that prevents people from actually being able to identify the pistol inside. I didn’t want to have that problem. I wanted it to be obvious I wasn’t carrying a real gun. This past weekend, I carried one of my AR15s (not the one that Temple PD still has) at a rally we had in Harlingen.
A few months ago, Michael Yon sent me an email asking several personal questions. As is usual in these screeds, Michael Yon levied several broad and unsubstantiated claims that were frankly insulting (not that I care what Michael Yon has to say). After getting literally hundreds of messages, emails and comments from Michael Yon through my various social media outlets and email, I finally parroted his bogus claims and used his tactics against him levying several bogus claims back at him from other anonymous “sources”. The idea was to show him how absurd his allegations were.
Instead of responding to me, Michael Yon decided to remove the portion of the email showing that I was merely responding to his ignorant email and instead sent my response to my chain of command all the way up to the Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno. Michael Yon thought he was being sly by making it look like I had emailed him out of the blue and unbaited (you can see what I’m talking about here). Naturally, my unit leadership was initially pissed until I showed them Michael Yon’s original email to which I was responding. And he wonders why no one in the Army is listening to his bullshit when he shrieks and shrills about me. He’s lost all credibility with anyone in the Army in positions of authority.
You see, Michael Yon keeps complaining that the Army isn’t doing anything about all these things he keeps saying that I’ve done. But, to those who actually open their eyes and evaluate the “evidence” Yon presents, they see that he’s just full of hot air. I don’t know a leader in the Army that wouldn’t string someone up by their toes if they even came close to the claims Michael Yon keeps making.
In fact, Michael Yon wrote an entire “dispatch” about how I was supposedly running rogue operations in Thailand. For the past several years, I found out that Michael Yon was accessing (or having people access for him) “For Official Use Only” Army Knowledge Online systems to get personal identifying information about me. When I discovered he was doing this, I decided to try and confirm my suspicions (something Michael Yon should learn to do) and I changed my AKO information to make it look like I was in the Defense Attache Office in Bangkok, Thailand. This is not something sinister as Michael Yon would have you believe. Most AKO profiles are either completely blank or contain bogus information because the site isn’t very secure – as evidenced by Yon gaining access to my personal information. But, I know that Michael Yon was in Thailand and wanted to see if he would notice. I did some quick research online, found some phone numbers and addresses, and let Michael Yon walk into my trap. He not only took the bait, but when others would try pulling the hook out for him he’d just swallow it all over again. In other words, Michael Yon was accessing FOUO information that he knew to be such and sharing it publicly. With the knowledge that Michael Yon was creeping my AKO page, did he really think I would have my actual unit information up for his consumption to use as he sees fit? There is no directive, order or regulation that requires we update our profile with accurate information (or at all). I can’t wait until he sees where I’m stationed now. I wonder what kind of wild story he’ll make out of that one.
You know, for such a mentally disturbed Soldier, I sure am good at making Michael Yon look bad without ever really doing anything. I guess I don’t expect much from a man that can’t hold down a real job and relies on legions of suckers to fund his vacations and worldly travels. He acts as if it’s so expensive to walk down the street and take pictures from far away of real fighting; to cover such hotbeds as Syria….from the safety of Turkey (if he was really ever there).
Yes, I’m the coward because I dared to stand up to a policeman who put a gun to my head instead of cowering in fear. I’m a coward for sitting in front of a police vehicle that was falsely arresting several Texans (also cowards by Michael Yon’s definition). I’m a coward for refusing to leave when a law enforcement officer abused his authority in telling me to leave. I’m a coward for standing up to a corrupt county and the City of Temple by looking the Chief of Police in the eye and demanding he resign. I’m a coward for helping to organize the largest pro-gun rally at the Alamo in history when everyone said it couldn’t be done – WITHOUT A PERMIT! I’m a coward for walking outside my home and lawfully carrying a firearm I know may very well get me arrested by an uneducated cop that doesn’t know it’s perfectly legal.
No. Real cowards hide behind keyboards in far-away countries levying false accusations thinking they there won’t be consequences.
UPDATE 9 Jan 2014 23:40 – I just received ANOTHER email from Michael Yon.
For the record, my toy gun was fused die-cast metal, not plastic. Of course, facts escape Michael Yon so the point is moot.