EXCLUSIVE: Army Officer Convicted for Disobeying COVID-19 Rules Speaks Out

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
May 10, 2022 Updated: May 11, 2022

The Army officer who was found guilty of disobeying COVID-19 rules says he tried to communicate concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccines but was instead court-martialed.

“I will always take responsibility for my words and actions,” First Lt. Mark Bashaw, formerly the Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander at the Army Public Health Center on Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, told The Epoch Times in an email.

“I have a Duty and an Oath. I take those very serious[ly]. I also have core values in the Army which I also try to emulate: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage,” he added.

Bashaw was convicted for not working remotely and reporting to his office without presenting a negative COVID-19 test, in addition to not wearing a mask indoors as required.

Following the conviction, Judge Robert Cohen, who was overseeing the case, declined to hand down a punishment.

Bashaw says he tried to raise concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccines and tests, as well as masks.

A whistleblower declaration dated March 3 that he submitted to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who has investigated COVID-19 products, says that Bashaw, as part of his duties as a preventive medicine officer, began researching the products.

He became concerned after reviewing reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which shows some vaccine recipients have experienced side effects.

U.S. health authorities say the vaccines are safe and effective, though they have acknowledged serious side effects.

Bashaw later reviewed data from the military’s Defense Medical Epidemiological Database (DMED), which indicated that disease rates among service members spiked following the imposition of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The military has said the data in the system was “incorrect” and that it is fixing it.

Underpinning the concerns is how the vaccines and treatments were available under emergency use authorization (EUA), which has a lower bar for clearance than approval. Some of the items have since been approved, though not all approved versions are available.

Bashaw says he raised his concerns with the Army Public Health Center, asking authorities to update certain documents, including one about communicating vaccination risks.

“I did my best to communicate this to leadership in an attempt to change the risk communication to service members. Instead, I was ignored and got court-martialed for not participating with said experimental EUA products,” Bashaw told The Epoch Times. “The echo chamber of ‘safe and effective’ doesn’t align with the VAERS data, DMED Data, and now the FDA released documents relating to these experimental ‘vaccines.'”

Bashaw’s lawyer, David Willson, tried convincing Cohen, the judge, that the orders Bashaw was court-martialed for disobeying weren’t lawful because of the law governing EUA.

“The judge ruled that they were, and we obviously disagree. The primary issue was whether ‘Informed Consent’ which includes the ‘right to refuse’ is automatic when a product, mask, test, or vaccine, is declared an EUA. We argued, and believe soundly, that informed consent is a natural part of the law. No one argued the products, like masks and tests were not EUA, but the govt argued that informed consent did not apply,” Willson told The Epoch Times in an email.

“The judge said he agreed with the govt argument, but from our perspective and reading of the law, it was a misreading of the law based on the word ‘may.’ ‘May’ in a law means there is discretionary authority while ‘shall’ means there is no discretion allowed. 21 USC 360bbb-3, the EUA law, clearly says that informed consent and the right to refuse ‘shall’ be given as required conditions of EUA.  The judge misinterpreted these requirements as discretionary. The judge believes his ruling will be upheld but we believe it was a stretch to make that finding.”

Bashaw may appeal his ruling, but has not decided yet. He is waiting for the commanding general to approve the findings in the case.

An Aberdeen spokesperson has not responded to requests for comment.

The future of Bashaw’s service is uncertain. He remains in his position, but submitted a request for a religious exemption to the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Many such requests are denied, as are appeals of the denials.

“[I’m] assuming they’ll deny it and then I’ll cross that bridge,” Bashaw said.

Correction: Bashaw was not the commander of the Army Public Health Command. The Epoch Times regrets the error.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.