Saturday, 21 December 2013
- The Post & Email - http://www.thepostemail.com -
Tennessee Grand Juries Co-Opted by Government, Operating Illegally
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 8:39 AM In National |
“THIS GOVERNMENT IS COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 18, 2013) — On Tuesday, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) went to the McMinn County, TN courthouse to submit a criminal complaint naming the grand jury foreman, court clerk, three Tenth Judicial District prosecutors and two criminal court judges as “illegally, individually and judicially selecting installing [sic] people into the grand juries,” thereby wielding undue influence in order to obtain specific outcomes.
Rhonda Cooley is the elected Circuit Court Clerk for McMinn County, and Atty. Jeffrey Cunningham, who is also a local bank official, is the appointed grand jury foreman.
Fitzpatrick had wished to explain to the grand jury that while the state attorney general’s office claims that the foreman is not a juror, but rather, a county employee, state law requires that the foreman must be a juror. Criminal court rules posted on the website of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts state that “the foreperson shall possess all the qualifications of a juror.”
TCA 40-12-206 mandates that juries comprise 13 jurors and as many as five alternates. There is no mention in state code of a “foreman” who is injected into the grand jury or trial jury by the action of a judge, although the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts maintains that that process is legal. Local media have reported that “the foreperson is appointed by the judge and doesn’t necessarily have to come from the jury pool.”
the foreperson is appointed by the judge and doesn’t necessarily have to come from the jury pool. – See more at: http://advocateanddemocrat.com/story/21576#sthash.XqNwo0ZV.dpuf
Although the criminal courts in Tennessee have contorted the laws and court rules to allow the judges to choose the grand jury foreman, who often serves for years or decades at the judge’s behest, the District Attorneys General Conference has officially stated that the foreman is to be chosen from among 13 eligible citizens of the county who are selected by automated means.
Earlier this year, the Tennessee Attorney General declined to criminally prosecute District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb, who is named in Fitzpatrick’s current and previous complaints, after allegedly performing an investigation following extensive reportage at The Post & Email and The Chattanooga Times Free Press of Bebb’s alleged misconduct and criminal activity. The legislature, however, has taken action in an apparent attempt to remove Bebb from his post.
The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion contending that a district attorney general “is answerable to no superior and has virtually unbridled discretion in determining whether to prosecute and for what offense.” Historically, the Tennessee General Assembly and the judiciary have acted at odds with and in contradiction to one another. The original 1796 Tennessee constitution contained no judicial branch, although the legislature later created one. Current General Assembly members are aware of the corruption within the grand juries and criminal courts.
Fitzpatrick’s four-page criminal complaint, dated December 16, 2013, can be read in its entirety here: 17DEC2013 GJCRIMCOM
Monroe County, TN has misrepresented the grand jury foreman as a juror and based criminal charges against Fitzpatrick and Darren Wesley Huff upon that false statement. On June 3, 2010, then-grand jury foreman Gary Pettway was described as “a juror” in indictments issued against both men signed by Angela Davis, who acted as foreperson for that day. Davis was herself serving illegally in a second consecutive term as a juror in violation of TCA 22-2-314.
On Tuesday and three previous occasions on which Fitzpatrick attempted to present criminal evidence to the McMinn County grand jury, the foreman, Jeffrey Cunningham, refused to recuse himself despite his having been named in the respective complaints. Instead, Cunningham brought the complaint in to the members of the grand jury and presided over them, then conveyed their “conclusion” to Fitzpatrick, as he did on Tuesday.
“This government is completely out of control,” Fitzpatrick said. “The grand jury is being controlled by the judges who appoint the foreman. Cunningham should not have been in the room today. He should have said, ‘I’m named in this complaint; I’m going to step outside and give it to Jack or Sally or whoever…You guys decide for yourselves…’ It’s astounding how serious this is; it’s breathtaking.
“Today was a special day because the report that I was bringing to them wasn’t my report; it was the report of the Attorney General‘s office for the State of Tennessee. They had a decision to make. I have very clearly demonstrated to them that Mr. Cunningham is not a juror, and they refused to look into this. The government is controlling the grand juries, and you cannot bring a complaint against the government because of people like Jeff Cunningham. It’s not just the foreman; it’s all of them. This grand jury is not protecting the people of the county,” Fitzpatrick said.
After Cunningham re-emerged from the grand jury room, which is also the office of U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, he informed Fitzpatrick that the grand jurors would not take action on his complaint and had asked that a deputy escort Fitzpatrick out of the building.
On December 7, 2011, Fitzpatrick observed Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy, who is named in the complaint submitted on Tuesday, peruse slips of paper containing the names of prospective jurors and choosing those she wanted, a fact which was presented to the appeals court on November 20 by Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, who is defending him against the charge of “tampering with government records.”
One of the three appeals court judges appeared incredulous when Irion stated that Fitzpatrick had witnessed Reedy hand-picking jurors in open court. Fitzpatrick describes what Reedy did as “one example of how the system is vulnerable to human agency; picking your grand jury by pre-selecting them and knowing exactly what you’re going to get.”
The Tennessee constitution requires that evidence of a criminal nature be presented to a grand jury before a presentment against the person initiating a charge can be issued.
“This was historic. This grand jury in east Tennessee was shown unarguable, unassailable, unquestionable evidence that their foreman is not a juror, and they walked away from it, refusing to give their names. This is the kind of thing that would go into the history books when they used to be reliable.”
Tennessee state law requires that 13 people comprise a grand jury, but only 12 members routinely serve on a grand jury. Since the foreman is not a juror, but rather, represents the interests of the state, no grand jury in Tennessee can be operating impartially as is required by the Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights.
“This is the control that the government exercises over our jury system now. The jury system is completely unreliable and taken over. We don’t have any better example of that than what happened today. This is extraordinary. The person who was criminally accused, their buddy, the guy they’ve worked with all year, was standing in the room with them. The conflict here is just overwhelming,” Fitzpatrick told us.
Fitzpatrick has presented evidence to the local FBI in Knoxville as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), both of which have chosen not to act.
When The Post & Email asked Fitzpatrick if he believed that the grand jurors did not want to know the facts about their proper function and that of the foreman, he responded, “It’s not that they don’t want to know; it’s that they have been told not to act. ‘Do not do anything at all. You’ve been picked for a special purpose; you are not to act against the government. Cunningham is your foreman; that’s that; live with it. If you don’t like it, leave, and we’ll get somebody else.’”
At 6:35 in the following recording, Cunningham states that he was serving as the foreman on Tuesday, despite having been named in the criminal complaint: 17 DEC 2013 FIRST CONTACT WITH CUNNINGHAM
Fitzpatrick said that the inaction of the grand jury on Tuesday “washes over every grand jury that’s had a court-appointed foreman for the last unknown number of decades. There was no more clear a case than the one that walked in the door today, and they said, ‘We’re not interested.’”
Cunningham did not make copies of the complaint for the grand jurors, but rather, “read it to them” while he stood in the room, where Fitzpatrick was not allowed to enter. Cunningham also told Fitzpatrick that he “did not appreciate” that Fitzpatrick had accused him of “blocking” criminal complaints from reaching the grand jury. “His physical presence is an influence; it cannot be argued,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s the one who broke the seal on the package, even though it said, ‘Do not open unless you are a grand juror.’ He knew that he was named in the complaint, and he should have said at that point in time, ‘I’m sorry, but I know I can’t be in the room.’”
“This is exactly the function that these foremen have been serving for decades throughout the entire state of Tennessee. This is the reason that the judicial system is so highly successful in bringing in the amounts of money that they have been generating and sending people to jails and prisons for untold years.”
Cunningham did not return Fitzpatrick’s complaint or provide him with a signed statement from the grand jurors. 17 Dec 2013 PET 0838
Cunningham told Fitzpatrick that he “had made that mistake once and wasn’t going to make it again” when he provided Fitzpatrick a copy of the grand jury’s decision not to review his complaint containing their signatures. Tuesday’s “decision” was said to be “unanimous.”
At slightly past halfway in the following recording, Cunningham refused to return Fitzpatrick’s paperwork and contended that Fitzpatrick’s claims against him were “absolutely false.” Cunningham then said that “the grand jury would like for him to leave” and asked a deputy sheriff and chaplain to escort Fitzpatrick out of the building.
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
Article printed from The Post & Email: http://www.thepostemail.com
Friday, 22 November 2013
- The Post & Email – http://www.thepostemail.com -
Fitzpatrick: “Court-Martialed for Nothing”
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 4:45 PM In National | No Comments
FABRICATION, FALSEHOODS AND FORGERY
by Sharon Rondeau
CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III has illustrated through his own experience at court-martial that commanding officers have virtually unlimited discretion in formulating charges against a subordinate, at times using the system to retaliate against whistleblowers and others for personal and political reasons.
(Nov. 19, 2013) — CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) and The Post & Email are preparing the manuscript for a book which will detail the numerous crimes involved in his Special Court-Martial of April 1990 which produced the largest criminal cover-up in U.S. military history. Dozens and perhaps hundreds of officers are aware of the injustice meted out to Fitzpatrick wherein a forged document continues to be maintained as authentic after more than 23 years.
From beginning to end, the process was fraught with procedural violations, dishonesty, fabrication, and finally, the forgery of Fitzpatrick’s name to a “confession” document dated 17 July 1990 which he never saw.
Fitzpatrick has described the complicity of Naval officers and the Judge Advocate General’s office as their having been “willing to destroy subordinates to protect the institution.” Having sought redress since the court-martial concluded, Fitzpatrick has named specific individuals as criminals, including his former defense attorney. None will speak on the record or have filed a lawsuit against Fitzpatrick for defamation. Had they done so, Fitzpatrick would be entitled to discovery in his own defense.
After having been missing for almost a year, Judge Advocate General Inspector General Capt. Rand Pixa reported that he discovered the original court-martial record. Capt. Pixa alerted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the next day, NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen discovered the original of the criminal forgery. At that time, Allen discovered other documents in the original record of court-martial that matched the forgery. Because of the matching documents, defense counsel Kevin Martis “Andy” Anderson was named as the primary suspect in the forgery.
Three months prior, on September 5, 1997, Fitzpatrick had gone to the Pentagon to speak with TJAG John Hutson about the forgery in his file. Although blocked from speaking with Hutson directly, according to Fitzpatrick, Hutson called the NCIS director, who told NCIS Deputy Director Ernie Simon, “This forgery is real; we have a problem on our hands.” Simon then generated a memo to various parties reflecting that conversation which said that if the forgery could be proved, “it makes the Navy look really, really bad” (see memo below).
The American taxpayer continues to pay for corruption and abuse within the U.S. military as well as a system of “justice” which is not constitutionally-based, but rather, emerged from the British Articles of War.
Many segments of the Fitzpatrick saga which will be incorporated into the book have appeared at The Post & Email with supporting documents released by the Navy in response to dozens of FOIA requests submitted over more than a decade following the sham proceeding.
The forgery remains in both Fitzpatrick’s service record and Record of Court-Martial.
Fitzpatrick describes the military system of “justice” as a “function of command” and describes the proceedings against him as “a vendetta” conducted by a political admiral and his personal staff. Because there is no review by a grand jury before charges are leveled against a defendant, a subordinate can be convicted and his career ruined without the presentation of any evidence.
Emails and letters from The Post & Email to Navy personnel about the crimes committed have gone unanswered over the last 19 months. All of the principals involved or those who vouched for the authenticity of the forgery have been contacted over the last three months, with none responding.
The following segment describes how all of the “charges” except one against Fitzpatrick resulted in a “not guilty” verdict and that the only charge for which a “conviction” was pronounced was not a proper one.
Bitoff took action and decided what he was going to do with me on the 11th of April 1990, a week after my court-martial was over. At that time, John Bitoff did not have the court-martial record. His big initial “B” is at the top of a memo dated 18 April 1990, when he took action on my case. He didn’t formalize it in a letter that day, but that’s when he decided what he was going to do. He did not have the clemency request or the court-martial record at that time. All he had was Tim Zeller’s investigation report.
The thrust of the accusations that Zeller made against me, to include larceny, was for the funeral trip. There were three charges:
- Article 92, willful dereliction of duty;
- Violation of Article 108, wrongful disposition of MWR fund, and in the specification under charge 2, Zeller articulated misuse of MWR funds for the funeral trip;
- Violation of Article 121, was for larceny, in which Zeller accused me of stealing the money that was used for sending the females to accompany the female members of the Nordeen family. I was accused of stealing that money and using it for myself.
Those are the three charges.
Under Charge 1, they said that I was commuting with the MWR van, but that was all.
For Charge 2, the specification was for the money used for the funeral trip.
The government did not charge me; there was no specific information. Charge 1, Specification 1 was all that the panel found me guilty of. When you read specification 1, it does not lay out what it was that I did specifically to abuse MWR funds. Under that charge, Zeller did not lay out any specifics at all. He didn’t accuse me, for example, of using money to send people to Hawaii. He didn’t accuse me under Charge 1, specification 1 of misspending or stealing money for the electronic purchases; he didn’t charge me under Charge 1, specification 1 with any money that was spent for the funeral trip.
When you read the Letter of Reprimand, you see that the panel found me guilty of taking money for the electronics equipment and spending money for the trip to Hawaii. I’ve explained to you why those two findings are impossible to arrive at.
The government didn’t charge me with either of those events that are criminal in nature, so I’ve been found guilty of nothing. The government did not charge me with misusing, spending or stealing money for the electronics equipment or for misspending money for the trip to Hawaii, but these two things appear in the Letter of Reprimand, which is an impossibility because none of these things were discussed. So where there was specific information for every event, I was found “not guilty.” The government didn’t specify anything in Charge 1, Specification 1. They didn’t talk about any particular event. There was nothing there. They might as well have charged me in Charge 1, Specification 1 with dereliction of duty for the sun not rising in the East this morning. That’s not a crime. They didn’t even do that. “Fitzpatrick is being charged with dereliction of duty.” OK. In charging me with Dereliction of Duty, the government has to name the duty, and I had no assigned duties under the MWR program, so they didn’t do that. Then they have to name the actual event that represents the dereliction. They have to tell me what it was they say I did wrong; they didn’t do that, either. So what was I defending myself against?
Detail of Charge 1, Specification 1 of Special Court-Martial of Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III in April 1990
Page 1 of court-martial charge and specification report
The military hearing officer, George Wells, during the court-martial on the 4th of April, said, “The government hasn’t charged Fitzpatrick with a crime under Charge 1, Specification 1. I have some ideas about how we can fix it” – that’s what he said on page 98 and 99 of the court-martial record, but the government never fixed the charge. Also, on block 17 of the Article 32 report, Quigley raised up a red flag and said that the charges were not in proper order. Block 17, which is right above Block 18, said that there is no reasonable grounds to believe that Fitzpatrick committed the events of which he was accused.
The government charged me with criminal acts, and they gave out specifics. In all of the places where specific information was given, I was found “not guilty.” That’s consistent with what Matt Bogoshian said when he said, “There’s little, if any, evidence to believe that Fitzpatrick committed these crimes of which he is accused.” Where a specific event was written down and said, “He did this…he used money for the funeral trip” I was found “not guilty.” I was found “not guilty” of stealing the money for the trip.
Charge 1, specification 1 doesn’t name the duty, and it doesn’t name the act which violates the duty. They found me guilty of nothing. And in doing so, nobody’s ever had to explain how they were able to achieve that result. Fitzpatrick had to know that he was doing something wrong to be accused of willful dereliction of duty. That means he had to know. But they didn’t name the duty that I was assigned. If you look at my fitness report under “Duties Assigned,” you won’t find “Morale, Welfare and Recreation.” I had other duties; the MWR program was assigned to other people to operate. So if Zeller wanted to include me in that, by necessity, he would have had to charge other people, and they never did that.
The government didn’t charge me, and that charge for which I was found guilty, according to the Specification, doesn’t name an act. They didn’t name a crime. Zeller also had his dates wrong; he said that between July 1988 through January 1989, Fitzpatrick was involved in all this bad stuff. Well, the electronics equipment was purchased in August; the funeral trip was in July; what was it that they said I did wrong in September?
So Zeller accused me of breaking regulations from July 1988 to January 1989. Our ship deployed on September 12, 1988. We were overseas; the first week in October, we were just making our approach into the Philippine Islands. We did a pit stop, then from there, we moved into the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean through the Straits of Malacca into the Northern Arabian Sea. So the ship was deployed. So they accused me of nothing and they convicted me of committing a crime of nothing. Under Charge 1, Specification 1, I’m not accused of a crime. And that’s what I’ve been found guilty of. They didn’t accuse a criminal act, and the military hearing officer said, “You haven’t accused him of anything here; you need to go back and fix this, and they didn’t, and that’s the only thing they found me guilty of.
Then you see the post-trial documents which Zeller and Anderson were exchanging which say, “Nobody knows what this guy did.” And Anderson put it right out there; he had it correct in what he was writing in the Response to the Letter of Reprimand which he forged; the information that he put in there is correct. He said what I’ve been telling you: that “there were no warnings issued to Fitzpatrick.” The word “warning” does not appear in the court-martial record. Doug Dolan did not testify. Anderson, maybe to protect himself in future days if they got caught, I don’t know – he told the admiral about the MWR trip to Hawaii, “Yes, there was a trip; it was scheduled; there’s evidence in the court-martial record in the Article 32 that says that there was a message that the ship received, and that it was seen by other people, and that people were sent to this meeting and they attended the meeting.” Chief Wagner said, “Yes, I met with MWR personnel when I was in Hawaii.” So the Letter of Reprimand bears no connection at all to the Record of Court-Martial or to the Article 32 report. The only thing it refers back to is Zeller’s investigation reports, which were from September/October 1989.
Bitoff never looked at the court-martial record, and he never looked at the clemency request. It was all a charade; it was a kibuki dance, to make it look as though what they were doing was legitimate. All the time, it was nothing but a house of cards, a smokescreen, lining up dominoes.
The bottom line is that I’ve been found guilty of nothing.
Every place you look at this court-martial, you find a crime committed by Zeller or Bitoff. Because of what they did, there never was a real Article 32. What was going on was going on behind the scenes, and the Article 32 that was done in public was nothing but showcasing. The same thing can be said for the court-martial. The public court-martial in April 1990 was showcasing. My real court-martial took place on the 12th of October, the day before the Navy birthday, in 1989, and Zeller pronounced me guilty of all these things. Isn’t it interesting that at the end of the day, I was found guilty? What was I found guilty of? Nothing.
If anybody stands behind the court-martial of Walt Fitzpatrick and says he was properly tried and convicted, and we can prove it, then the question becomes, “OK, what was it that Fitzpatrick did? What did he do?” If they point to the Letter of Reprimand and say, “This is what Bitoff’s (hand-picked) panel found: they found that Fitzpatrick misused the money that was spent for the trip to Hawaii, and he misused the money that was spent for the electronics equipment.” Then the next statement to whoever would be, “Where do you find that accusation made against CDR Fitzpatrick in the first place? Cite the page, the witness…” It wasn’t made. They talked about it at the court-martial, but again, nothing came of it.
Then you go back to Zeller’s reports and you find out exactly where this information comes from in the beginning. Who said that it was against regulations to buy the electronic equipment? Well, according to Zeller, it was Doug Dolan. Who is Doug Dolan? I never talked to Doug Dolan about this in the first place; Zeller never talked to Doug Dolan; Zeller made this up.
By the way, the assistant supply officer, Doug Dolan, was not part of the MWR organization. He wasn’t assigned any duties with the MWR.
Doug and I were good friends. I used to have something called the “XO Beat-Me-Up.” We used to go to a bar at the end of the pier called “Olive Oyl’s.” It was named after Popeye‘s girlfriend, Olive Oyl. It was very close to the China Basin. Before we moved across from Oakland to San Francisco for the overhaul, we did it somewhere else; I can’t remember where it was.
The XO Beat-Me-Up was off the ship. I would walk in, and it was all the chief petty officers and me. The first thing I did when I walked in was take off my collar devices and put them into a glass of beer. It meant, “Chiefs, beat me up. Take me to task. Take me downtown. If there’s a problem with the ship, if there’s a problem with me, please tell me. There’s no attribution here. You’re speaking to me as if I’m a nobody.” I was taking the authority that I held as an executive officer and throwing it into a glass of beer. “Anything that is said here stays here, and I will take action on any problems that you’ve found.”
The chief petty officers ran the ship. One of the highest honors I ever received when I was in the Navy was to be picked as an honorary chief petty officer by the chiefs. I told these guys, “I was an E-1 before I ever became an Ensign, and I’m here now, listening to you as chief petty officers, and you can consider me lower than an E-1. Talk to me.” That’s the way we ran the ship, and we did that regularly. If there was a complaint anywhere on the ship, it would have come to me through the chief petty officer grapevine. And they had free access to me; they could have come in to me at any time and said, “Can you take off your collar devices?” and I would have said, “Sure, chief, whaddya got?” That never happened.
Nobody came to me when we sent people on the funeral trip, and the feedback that I got from everybody – and I’m writing this in the book – was that this was something that they needed to do.
I never talked to Doug Dolan about this. If Doug had come to me, he would have been one of many who would have come to me and said, “Hey, XO, we have a problem here.” But it never happened.
The purchase of electronics equipment that was distributed throughout the entire ship was common fleet practice; it was not a criminal act. So Zeller accused me in this Letter of Reprimand of doing something that was done by every ship I was had ever been on on throughout my career. Every ship did it. There was nothing wrong with it. It was perfectly acceptable and accepted; we put it into our report, we sent our report off to the chain of command…so this nonsense about Doug Dolan is just that: nonsense. No one would have come to me and said, “We’re not supposed to do this” because everybody was doing it!
We had what we called Sight TV on board the ship. In the old days, you would go out on one of the weather decks – and you see this in some of the old World War II movies where the sailors are out on the weather deck watching a movie under the stars. When we were able to have video equipment on board the ship where we could pipe the movies into the compartments for the sailors and they had TVs to watch, they didn’t have to go out on the weather deck; they could watch a movie in their compartment or at their work center. You could do it 24 hours a day and didn’t have to wait for a film to come on. We did training on the TV system; it was an internal television network, if you will.
So purchasing TVs to support this internal television stations was common fleet practice. To this day, I’m sure it’s common fleet practice.
Zeller made up the conversation before and after about my talking to Dolan. I never had those conversations with Dolan, and Zeller accused me of something that was not a criminal act. You see this in Zeller’s investigation report. Zeller attributes the “warning” to Doug Dolan in his investigation report, but there is no sworn statement from Doug Dolan. That never happened. Not even Zeller itemized his interview of Doug Dolan in his investigation report; he doesn’t put it there. Doug Dolan didn’t testify at the Article 32; he didn’t testify at the court-martial. So how does this make it into the Letter of Reprimand? Because Zeller made it up.
The same thing with the trip to Hawaii. Where does that information come from? It says in the Letter of Reprimand that the meeting was never scheduled and it was never held. When you read Zeller’s investigation report, he attributes that position to himself. He made it up himself. When this meeting was discussed during the Article 32, it was 1) Yes, there was a message that it was scheduled, and 2) Yes, one of our chief petty officers attended.
I was never accused of misspending, mishandling or abusing the MWR funds for the trip to Hawaii; that was not an accusation I ever faced. The government never accused me of a crime of any type or kind with regard to monies that were expended for the electronics equipment. And that bears itself out when you take a look at the court-martial record and the Article 32. Then the hearing officer, Wells, said, “You haven’t accused Fitzpatrick of a crime here; fix this. You need to state that he had actual knowledge; you need to state exactly what it is that he did; you need to state the duty, and you haven’t done that. So get it fixed.” So today I stand convicted of…NOTHING.
This is why Zeller and Bitoff and the others said, “We’re not calling in the NIS because they’re not available; we’re going to do this ourselves.” That is nonsense and goes to their criminal intent. They were going to set me up, and the only way they could ensure that they could frame me was to handle the “investigation” by themselves.
Every time you see Bitoff’s signature, he’s involved in making a false official statement. He was told a couple times that there’s nothing in the court-martial where these things that I was reprimanded for were even discussed. Tim Zeller’s investigation reports were never considered at the Article 32 at all. They were kept secret, and everything else that happened in between was all for show. Then when the Letter of Reprimand came out, John Bitoff cited me for things that were never proven and were never brought up during the course of the court-martial.
Letter of Reprimand, page 1
Nobody came in to testify that the MWR meeting in Hawaii was never scheduled and that it never took place. Quite the contrary, people came in and said, “Yes, I saw a message on the meeting,” or “Yes, I attended the meeting.” In other words, Zeller’s accusation was disproved, but Bitoff ignored it.
After the court-martial was over and I started digging into the records to produce evidence of what I told them was going on when it was going on, people started to look at this and the response was “Oh, my gosh. We have a real problem here.” And the NCIS was told to back off by the Judge Advocate General of the Navy so the NCIS didn’t really take a hard look at it until 1997, and when they did, they said, “Oh, my gosh.” And this makes the Navy and the Marine Crops look really bad, and it “proves everything that Fitzpatrick has been talking about for a decade.”
Memo written to various parties from NCIS Deputy Director Ernie Simon stating that if the forgery were proved, it would make the Navy “look really bad.”
In those specific things I was charged with doing, I was found “not guilty.”
I do not know how the vote went. I don’t know why they voted as they did, but my speculation is if they had found me guilty of anything specific, they would have had to explain themselves, and upon appeal it would have all unraveled. If they said, for example, that they found me guilty of stealing the money that was used for the female escorts for the females in the Nordeen family, they would have had to answer for that. Did Fitzpatrick put any money into his pocket? No. What was this money used for? It was spent to send a contingent of females to escort the four females in the Nordeen family at a time of extraordinary crisis. If they had found me guilty of that, they would have had to explain…if the entire crew knew that this was going on and nobody said anything, why 14 months later did this start? What money did he steal? Was this for personal use? No. Did anything go into his pocket? No. And Bitoff even said that. So they would have had to explain themselves: How do you find larceny there?
I was there. This was our “9-11.” The ship was knocked to its knees. We had just taken a sucker-punch in the gut at a very critical time in our operational protocol. The ship had been laid low. The commanding officer’s brother had just been decapitated and dismembered in a car bomb attack by terrorists in Athens, Greece. We came together as a crew, and this is something that the entire crew could participate in. This was the beauty of using the MWR fund. I’m writing this in the book. Everybody could say, “I was part of honoring this man who has been taken down in this terrorist attack.” Everybody contributed to the MWR fund. Every time you bought a soda, a baseball cap, a bar of soap, a belt buckle, you contributed something to the MWR fund. So by using that fund, which was the crew’s money, everybody could say, “I was part of this.” I can’t tell you how uplifting it was for the crew, and the crew was appropriately applauded and recognized for this coming together in this crisis. None of this was addressed in MWR regulations. This wasn’t something that was prohibited. It was not foreseeable, a tragic event, and the crew did what they thought was the right thing to do. There was nothing untoward, nothing done under the table. The entire crew knew, and we took a vote.
The MWR committee is made up of one person from each of the divisions. They called an MWR meeting right after we began considering sending a contingent of people. Only six or eight people showed up, and that wasn’t enough, so I said, “OK. We don’t have time; we have to know from the crew now: thumbs up or thumbs down. So we called a meeting on the flight deck and the entire crew was there. The entire crew was told, and the only people who weren’t at that meeting were, for example, the engineering department. We were at anchor; the engineering plant was still working. We were operating the boilers and all the machinery to keep the ship running at sea. We had a team of watch standards up on the bridge, but not many. So it was everybody on the ship except those people who had to be on watch, and of course, they learned about it from their division mates. I explained the relationship I had with the chief petty officers: I told the crew, “If you have a problem with this, tell your chief petty officer, or slip a note under my door, or tell your division officer.” The chief petty officers were always accessible. There wasn’t any dissent. And of course, in the Article 32, J.J. Quigley wrote that his impression was that “99% of the crew was behind this.” I would have said it was 100%.
So Zeller made up the misuse of the MWR funds. Everything was invented. There was no problem with the MWR fund. There was no stealing of money; there was no misuse of money; there was nothing that was done under the table. Zeller made all of it up. None of the things that Zeller laid out specifically held any water, which means that Zeller and Adm. Bitoff were told at the 32 there were no grounds to bring these charges against me. “You don’t have any grounds.”
Why did they say that they offered me Article 15, non-judicial punishment…which they never did, by the way.
The offering and the declination of the acceptance of the non-judicial punishment is a written event. Bitoff and Zeller handled the Article 15 issue the same way that they handled the Letter of Reprimand. They made believe that I was placed on notice; they made believe that I came in and said “no;” they made believe that Article 15 was offered and declined, but they have nothing in writing from me to support that. When you take a look at the documents that are associated with the Mast package – I used to do this all the time; I did Executive Officer’s investigations and I dealt with Mast issues all the time. There are boxes to check on the preprinted form: “Does the accused accept Article 15 or not?” If you’re at shore, you can decline it; if you’re at sea, you can’t. So I was assigned to an ashore command, under John Bitoff, Combat Logistics Group 1. If Bitoff was going to offer this, he had to do it in writing. And then it had to be delivered to me, and then there’s a block and a signature line for “accept” or “decline.” If it had been offered, I wouldn’t have signed it. At that point in time, the Article 32 hearing officer said, “There is nothing to support these accusations.” If it had been offered, I would have said “no.” They would have pushed the piece of paper across the desk to me and said, “OK, we want you to sign here ‘decline.’” And I would have said “no.” Then somebody would have written in the words “Refused to sign,” and then there would have been a witness to that. So Zeller would have been there, and he would have written in, “Fitzpatrick refused to sign,” and he would have put his initials or his signature after that, and it would have been countersigned by somebody else on the staff, “In my witness, CDR Fitzpatrick refused Article 15.”
This is the point: for this to go to court-martial, Bitoff had to make sure that Article 15 was not an option. In other words, if it had been put in front of me, he knew I would have turned it down, and that would have been written and just more problematic. Later, he said it was offered and that I turned it down. In other words, Bitoff forced the court-martial. He didn’t want me to accept Article 15 if he put that piece of paper in front of me and I put “yes” in the box… By handling the Article 15 package in the same way that they handled the Letter of Reprimand, by pretending that I was a participant in the process and never being a participant in the process, they guaranteed a court-martial. And what was I court-martialed for? Well, nothing. There were no charges to bring against me. There was no substantiation. That was borne out at the court-martial, because everything that they accused me of specifically I was found “not guilty.” In Charge 1, Violation of Article 92, willful dereliction of duty, and the Spec said that I used MWR funds…well, what duty was assigned to you? How did you misuse the funds? That needs to appear in the charge, and it didn’t.
There are two episodes in the Letter of Reprimand: one with the electronics equipment and the other with the MWR meeting in Hawaii. These comparisons show that Bitoff took excerpts from Zeller’s investigation reports and included them in his Letter of Reprimand, but they were never part of the Article 32 or court-martial. In each of the two episodes described in the Letter of Reprimand, we have comments that Zeller made in his investigation reports that track from those reports to the Letter of Reprimand but have no connection to the court-martial record or Article 32. They are directly taken from Zeller’s reports and put into the Letter of Reprimand.
Citations from Zeller’s investigation reports which appeared in Bitoff’s 7 June 1990 Letter of Reprimand but did not come from the Article 32 or the court-martial
Zeller states emphatically that there was no MWR scheduled in Pearl Harbor, HI and no meeting held. Then, parenthetically, Zeller wrote that “evidence used is investigating officer’s only.” This is where we find Zeller identifying himself as the source of this claim, which he made up.
The only testimony and evidence that John Bitoff relied upon was that which was taken from Zeller’s investigation reports. He didn’t have anything from the court-martial or Article 32. Zeller created a fiction which was not repeated at the Article 32 and the court-martial. But it was repeated in Bitoff’s Letter of Reprimand. That’s the only other place where you find these comments.
The references in Bitoff’s Letter of Reprimand which he says came from the court-martial record actually came from Zeller’s investigation reports
Zeller wrote these things in his reports, and then he kept the reports secret. There were three versions of them dated 5 October 1989, 10 October 1989 and 23 October 1989. We have the latter two. I’m sure that if we had the 5 October report, we would have another sentence that we could compare to Bitoff’s Letter of Reprimand.
The second set of comparisons is another example of Zeller having made up the accusation. In the case of the electronics equipment, he made it up by creating a phantom witness with whom he never spoke. In the second episode that deals with the Pearl Harbor trip, Zeller didn’t talk to anybody. He made it up himself!
For each of the two episodes that appear in the Letter of Reprimand – the electronics equipment and the Hawaii trip – the only other place where we find that language is in Zeller’s reports. It did not come from any transcript of the Article 32 or the court-martial. Zeller’s reports are the only other place where this language appears.
Zeller did not present himself or his investigation reports for examination at the Article 32 or at the court-martial. Nobody else came to the Article 32 or to the court-martial and repeated the information that came from Tim Zeller’s reports which was repeated in the Letter of Reprimand. Zeller made it up, so he made sure it didn’t get talked about at the Article 32 or at the court-martial. When push came to shove, he had nothing else; they didn’t find me guilty of anything specific, so Bitoff took it from Zeller’s investigation reports. Very few people knew about those investigation reports. I certainly wasn’t one who knew about them.
Remove the Article 32 transcript and the court-martial transcript. Those transcripts are not used in the Letter of Reprimand. It was as if they never existed. This was never examined; it was never brought up; it was kept secret. Bitoff’s Letter of Reprimand is a false official statement, as are Tim Zeller’s investigation reports. Bitoff didn’t need the Article 32, and he didn’t need the court-martial. He already knew he was going to find me guilty, and he had already determined what he was going to find me guilty of. None of it was ever proven in any of the intervening exercises, one of which was the Article 32 and the other was the court-martial. These things never came out in the transcripts. Instead, Bitoff went back to Tim Zeller’s reports.
Because they rigged everything between the 32 investigation and the court-martial, it was all for show. On the civilian side of the fence, what I’ve just described to you could never have happened. In the circumstance where I was falsely accused in the military system, where it would never have made it through civilian protocols, John Bitoff got it through the Article 32, and then he got it through his own court-martial because he controlled it all. The Article 32 came out and said that there was no reasonable grounds to believe that I had committed the offenses. Well, John Bitoff didn’t care about that; he took it to the court-martial anyway. Then who did he pick? He picked his own people, and he told them, “You’re to find Fitzpatrick guilty, no matter what; end of story.” And so they did. In the civilian world, this is simply impossible.
Tim Zeller put together reports that could not be substantiated in any way at all. He made them up, and we know this because they weren’t substantiated at the 32 or at the court-martial. So all the in-between part was nothing but a demonstration to the public, an illusion, that these accusation were actually considered. They never were.
This post was updated on November 20, 2013.
Second update on November 21, 2013.
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Thursday, 3 October 2013
Fitzpatrick Court-Martial: Crime and Punishment of the Innocent
PEOPLE IN “POWERFUL” POSITIONS CHOSE COVER-UP RATHER THAN CONFRONTATION
Rep. Norman Dicks retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 after serving since 1976
(Sep. 30, 2013) — In April 1990, a sham court-martial was held charging CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III with dereliction of duty for mishandling Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) funds on the USS Mars, on which he had served as Executive Officer. The alleged crime was fabricated, the adjudication panel rigged, and the outcome predetermined. In July of that year, a document titled “Response to Letter of Reprimand” which Fitzpatrick had never seen was filed with the court-martial record with his forged signature affixed to it.
After obtaining parts of the court-martial record piecemeal as a result of filing Freedom of Information Act requests, Fitzpatrick registered numerous criminal complaints with the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense alerting them to the forgery. He also cited Bitoff for his undue command influence in carrying out the court-martial instead of handing it to an impartial officer, as is required by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
This year, undue command influence has been claimed by USMC Maj. James Weirick against Commandant James Amos for his conduct regarding eight Marines accused of abusing Taliban corpses, and Weirick now faces evaluations and possible expulsion from the Marines. Weirick considers himself a whistleblower, which federal law states will be protected from retaliation for contacting members of Congress or law enforcement to report a crime.
In September 1997, turning his anger against Fitzpatrick, then-Navy Judge Advocate General John Hutson agreed to open a criminal investigation in an attempt to prove that Fitzpatrick was lying about his claim of forgery. On December 4, 1997, the entire court-martial file was located, and NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen subsequently matched the paper, font and ink used to create the forgery with documents signed by Capt. Kevin M. Anderson, Fitzpatrick’s former defense counsel.
Anderson was approached by the NCIS in early 1998 and told investigators that he did not know the origin of the fraudulent document. Five years later, however, he told a Port Orchard Police Department detective that he produced the document but did not admit to signing it.
Fitzpatrick did not discover Anderson’s police report until more than a year later, at which time he brought the evidence to the NCIS in Silverdale. Instead of reopening or launching a new investigation, the NCIS falsely told Fitzpatrick that his allegations could not be pursued because of the years which had elapsed and ultimately threatened his life if he were to continue to expose what he knew in order to seek justice.
Fitzpatrick was residing in the Port Orchard area after his honorable discharge from the Navy on September 30, 1994. For nearly a decade, Rep. Norman Dicks, who represented the Sixth District of Washington in the U.S. Congress, had assisted Fitzpatrick in obtaining documentation from his court-martial. Sen. Patty Murray also made requests on Fitzpatrick’s behalf, including a memo written by Lt. Tim Zeller which showed clear collusion between Zeller and Adm. John Bitoff.
The UCMJ states that an accuser cannot also convene the court-martial, but Bitoff disregarded the rules and played both roles, using his own staff to steer the outcome and create the false documentation. In a letter to Dicks in 1999, Bitoff attempted to appear surprised and concerned at Fitzpatrick’s claim of a forgery having been placed in his file. At the same time, Bitoff admitted that he “brought the charges and convened the court-martial.”
In 2003, Rep. Dicks’s office suddenly became hostile and evasive toward Fitzpatrick without explanation. Fitzpatrick attributes the sudden change in demeanor to the revelation in 2003 that Anderson created and signed the fraudulent court-martial document in July 1990. Dicks’s and Anderson’s respective offices were located in close proximity, and the two were acquainted. Dicks was also well-known to Russell Hauge, lead prosecutor of Kitsap County, where Anderson served as a deputy prosecutor. Having committed the crime of forgery to frame Fitzpatrick, Anderson has now served more than 15 years in that position of public trust.
“It just got too close to home,” Fitzpatrick said of Dicks’s new hostility. “He knew these guys; their offices were just about next to each other.”
Dicks ultimately became responsible for not only refusing to assist Fitzpatrick further, but also for having him incarcerated.
She did not invite me in any farther. Right above us was a good-sized video camera. I conducted myself with complete professionalism and aplomb, and I said, “I’m here to get a status report.” She was decidedly nasty and malicious. She was new at that point. I hadn’t had that much interaction with her, but she was a very unpleasant person to work with.
She told me to leave, and I did, and later on, she called the police. I was leaving the building, and at the corner of Sixth and Pacific, a patrol car came speeding up, stopped and a cop saw me and approached me, asked me who I was, and I told him. He said he had just had a complaint from Paula Blake, and I said, “Well, I was just there.” And I told him what I just told you.
I was pretty upset by the confrontation, so I went immediately to the Bremerton Police Department, which wasn’t that far away downtown. I met with the sergeant and said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” So he took down the information and I left.
The next thing I heard was that Cherylynne Fitz Williams went in and wrote out a request for a protection order against me and got it. She was complaining that I had interacted with her, but she wasn’t there that day at all.
So we went to court on the 27th, and the judge, whose name is Rio, said, “Don’t bother Scherri; the only way you can contact them is by mail.” And that was it.
Rep. Adam Smith represents the Ninth District of Washington in Congress
I had interaction with Rep. Adam Smith earlier, in 2001 and 2002. Adam Smith sent me a very nasty letter because I was trying to help out a soldier named Cory Cox, who lived in Adam Smith’s congressional district in Tacoma. I had met with Rep. Smith in his office and briefed him on the Cory Cox matter, and then I kept calling for updates and to see what kind of action he was taking. I got that nasty letter from him in 2002.
The order the judge handed down to me in 2003 looked very much like the letter that Rep. Smith sent to me in 2002: “You can’t contact this office unless you go through the mail.”
Cory Cox was let out of prison because of my intervention.
Rep. Smith’s was the first adversarial letter that I received. Then in 2003, all of a sudden, Scherri Fitz Williams, acting on behalf of Paula Blake, took up action against me and got the protection order issued. I said, “They’re lying; I did nothing wrong. There’s a video camera there; let’s have the footage. If Ms. Williams wants to make her case, then let her do it with the footage, and she said, “It’s not available,” and I was thinking, “Well, why not?”
For the longest time, Dicks was called “the third senator” from Washington State, so he was a very powerful man. Judge Riehl then took action against me and said, “You can’t send emails.”
In 2004, I was advocating on behalf of a chaplain and I was sending out an email about him. Scherri called the cops after she got the email. This is in a report dated April 26, 2004, and in it, she said I had violated the protection order by sending the email. The cop investigated and on the back of the report it says, “I contacted Williams via phone per her request. Williams stated that she works for Congressman Norm Dicks at this location, 500 Pacific Avenue. Williams stated she is a petitioner in a protection order against Fitzpatrick due to a problem he caused in the past.” I didn’t cause any problem in the past, as I’ve explained. “Williams stated she received an email today from Fitzpatrick which is a violation of the order. I observed the email as information and nothing threatening towards anyone.” That’s what it says.
“I’ve located the order, which is a protection order which is valid and served. The order prohibits Fitzpatrick to contact Williams in any form at work or residence. The notes state that Fitzpatrick can contact Norm Dicks through the U.S. Postal Service. “
The email was sent out to a list of people, and I just forgot to leave Norm Dicks’s name off of it.
A warrant was issued, and I was arrested. Nothing came of it; I was released, and the whole thing went away. Scherri had complained about me in April 2004, and I was arrested in August. I was in jail for a day or a little less. I was released, and that was the end of that. But that was all Norm Dicks’s doing.
Norm Dicks was behind it, and he could have stopped any of it from going forward. Scherri was not in the office when I first presented myself in October the year before. So Norm said, “Hey, we have to make this guy go away.” So Scherri went in and she filed a complaint, naming herself as the target of the incident that she alleged, and she wasn’t even physically present there that day. I told the judge that. I said, “She wasn’t there; I didn’t interact with her. I wasn’t there that long, and the only person I interacted with was Paula Blake, and the whole thing is captured on the video camera which is right there…” But the video was not brought into evidence.
The rig is in. Dicks was behind all of this, and before that, Congressman Adam Smith.
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Tuesday, 1 October 2013
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U.S. Marine Corps Retaliates Against Judge Advocate WhistleblowerPosted By Sharon Rondeau On Friday, September 27, 2013 @ 10:43 PM In National |
IN CASE EERILY SIMILAR TO THAT OF CDR WALTER FRANCIS FITZPATRICK, III
Maj. James Weirick, a judge advocate of the U.S. Marine Corps, has been removed from his position and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation following his outspokenness on allegations against Commandant James Amos of undue command influence, cover-up and suppression of evidence against eight Marines
(Sep. 27, 2013) — On Friday, the Marine Corps Times reported that Marine Corps Maj. James Weirick, a staff judge advocate who alleged undue command influence on the part of Marine Corps Commandant James Amos against eight Marines accused of abusing Taliban members’ corpses in 2011, was removed from his post and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, among other things.
Twenty-three years ago, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was railroaded in a sham court-martial orchestrated by his admiral, John Bitoff, and members of his staff, based on false charges and a fraudulent signature.
The Navy, though well aware that a forgery has been maintained as authentic for nearly a quarter-century, refuses to comment on their continued cover-up and the false conviction used against Fitzpatrick for having spoken out about his superior officers. Fitzpatrick’s Navy career was ruined as a result.
Fitzpatrick has told The Post & Email that the military “justice” system “is not justice at all” but only a “function of command.”
Weirick’s attorney, Jane Seigel, told the Times that “I think this is a last-ditch effort by some very heavy hitters to completely undermine the credibility of Maj. Weirick. If they push this rock down the slippery slope, he’ll end up out of the Marine Corps.”
Last month, Weirick filed a complaint with the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector Generalagainst Amos and his advisers for attempting to influence the outcome of the courts-martial against the eight accused Marines. A general whom Amos had tasked with conducting the investigation against the Marines corroborated Weirick’s claims that Amos wanted “harsh punishment” meted out against the defendants, that Amos “suppressed evidence” and orchestrated a cover-up.
When a military judge ordered Amos’s emails to be made public, the Marine Corps quickly dropped the charges against Capt. James Clement, who was the last of the eight to be disciplined. Clement’s attorneys had claimed that the case against their client was tainted with “blatant unlawful command influence that denied their client a fair court-martial.” Lead attorney John Dowd called the case “the largest case of unlawful command influence in the Corps’ history.”
The Marine Corps is a department of the U.S. Navy.
Putative Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed support for Amos at the end of July. However, in early 2012, Amos had appeared to admit his involvement in the outcome of the cases.
The Marines who have received some form of punishment may have reason to seek new trials or expunging of their records.
Weirick has been ordered to relinquish his personal firearms maintained at his home, undergo a “risk assessment” and the psychiatric evaluation.
One player in the Fitzpatrick court-martial with whom The Post & Email has spoken attempted to convince us that Fitzpatrick was mentally unstable, although he would not speak on the record. Another hung up on us and then pretended he was not at home. A third spoke to us at length but refused to go on the record, stating, “If somebody did this [forged Fitzpatrick's signature], they did bad…”
Through his attorney, Weirick said that he plans to comply with all requests from his chain of command, but in August he said that he “would not back down.” In addition to the DOD, he had taken his complaint to Congress, after which Rep. Walter B. Jones attempted to obtain information on the status of Weirick’s complaint.
Fitzpatrick had approached his U.S. representative, Norman Dicks, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray, both of whom were told by the Navy that they could not obtain a copy of an incriminating document signed by Lt. Timothy Zeller which stated that “no record” of the communication with Bitoff would be maintained on his computer or in his files. A year later, Navy Deputy Inspector General Derek Vander Schaaf located and sent the memo to Murray, who forwarded it to Fitzpatrick.
It took Fitzpatrick many years and FOIA requests to acquire many of the documents from his court-martial, with some still kept obscured the Navy nearly a quarter-century later.
When Weirick asked to obtain emails from Amos and his advisers about their possible roles in attempting to fix the outcomes against the Marines, he said, “I lack the power or authority to get the emails and other requested materials in the possession of the Commandant and his staff. To ensure a fair proceeding I need the assistance of those with much greater authority. I should have acted earlier, but I truly believed those with the authority to accomplish this would adhere to the Rule of Law and our shared value of due process. This, sadly, has not been the case. Both civilian and uniformed counsel for the Commandant have thwarted my efforts and remained silent, or possibly assisted in, this unlawful command influence.”
By August, Weirick’s allegations reportedly had “received attention in national media, on Capitol Hill and throughout the Defense Department.”
Media Affairs for the Navy and Army have refused to research, respond to or counter The Post & Email’s assertion of the forgery in Fitzpatrick’s court-martial file. A formal letter addressed in April 2012 to Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, a former classmate of Fitzpatrick’s, was met with no response.
Emails to primary participants in the Fitzpatrick court-martial, the creation of the forgery, and to those continuing to keep the deceit obscured have gone unanswered. Because the allegations against more than 100 former and current Navy and NCIS officers are criminal in nature, they can still be prosecuted.
“Here we see the DNA markers in the case of the Marine snipers as you see in what happened to me,” Fitzpatrick said. “Whenever you try to stand up and expose the command influence, you are yourself targeted for elimination, and this is what’s happening to Maj. Weirick,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s been relieved of his position; he’s been ordered to turn in his sidearms; he’s been ordered to go to a psychological evaluation; these things happened to me as well.”
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Sharon Rondeau at The Post & Email: Fitzpatrick: Navy “Willing to Destroy Subordinates to Protect the Institution”
Monday, 30 September 2013
Fitzpatrick: Navy “Willing to Destroy Subordinates to Protect the Institution”
“A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE”
Comparison of true signature of Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (top) and that which appears on a July 17, 1990 Response to Reprimand letter (bottom) and is an obvious forgery
(Sep. 25, 2013) —In a previous report, The Post & Email described how a culture of corruption permeated the U.S. Navy from at least the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, encompassing the Tailhook scandal and the court-martial of Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III.
In 1989, several charges without any basis in fact were brought against Fitzpatrick by his commanding admiral, John Bitoff, with the assistance of his staff JAG, Tim Zeller and Bitoff’s chief of staff, Capt. Mike Edwards. A Marine Corps attorney was hand-picked by Bitoff to serve as Fitzpatrick’s defense attorney.
While “convicted” on one of the several charges, Fitzpatrick has shown that the entire proceeding was carried out behind closed doors and the outcome predetermined. Although Fitzpatrick was accused of misusing $10,400, the NCIS was not contacted to initiate an investigation.
Fitzpatrick has reported that Anderson created and signed a fraudulent response letter to a Letter of Reprimand issued by Bitoff which Fitzpatrick discovered only after submitting multiple FOIA requests for his file. Anderson also made it appear that Fitzpatrick had received a copy of the response letter during the summer of 1990 when he had not. 7 JULY 1990 KEVIN ANDERSON LOR RECEIPT
As accuser, Bitoff was not allowed to convene the court-martial as stated in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). An officer whom Bitoff initially disqualified from participating in the alleged investigation for conflict of interest was later placed on Fitzpatrick’s panel which then issued the “guilty” verdict on the charge of misusing ship’s funds.
In a letter to Rep. Norman Dicks, who requested an explanation from the Navy on Fitzpatrick’s behalf in 1999, Bitoff lied by stating that he was “surprised” when he discovered that Zeller had conducted the investigation instead of the NCIS. He then admitted that he had acted as both Fitzpatrick’s accuser and convening authority. He also expressed “concern” that Fitzpatrick had charged the Navy with the crime of forgery.
Prior to the court-martial, the logs maintained by Fitzpatrick showing how the ship’s funds were spent were declared “missing” and have not reappeared. Fitzpatrick said he was meticulous with his record-keeping and that all funds were spent in keeping with a vote by the crew.
Only two months before the charges were brought against Fitzpatrick, he earned an outstanding review from his commander, Capt. Michael Nordeen of the USS Mars, where Fitzpatrick was executive officer.
Of Bitoff’s motives for framing him, Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email:
Bitoff forced me out of the naval service because of my character…Bitoff used the court-martial process to punish me, using me as an object lesson throughout the fleet.
Years later, after Fitzpatrick persistently brought the forgery to the attention of the Navy JAG Corps, he was threatened with another court-martial if he were found to have fabricated the story. Reluctantly, Navy Judge Advocate General John Hutson directed the NCIS to open an investigation with the purpose of proving that Fitzpatrick was lying.
Hutson and a subordinate admiral, Don Guter, warned the NCIS of Fitzpatrick’s claim and the decision to launch an investigation. In an interoffice memo generated the same day, September 5, 1997, NCIS Assistant Deputy Director Ernie Simon wrote, “…if you can prove the forgery, it totally supports his 10 years worth of contentions and makes the NAV look really bad.”
Instead of finding that Fitzpatrick had lied, an Inspector General for the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Rand Pixa, and NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen discovered that there was a forgery in Fitzpatrick’s court-martial file after the paper, font size and type matched other documents which Kevin Anderson was known to have generated with his own signature affixed.
When Anderson was confronted by the NCIS in early 1998, he said he knew nothing about how or when the document had been created and placed into Fitzpatrick’s file. However, five years later, in 2003, he told a police detective that he created the letter bearing the forged signature, although he did not admit to signing Fitzpatrick’s name to it.
The signature intended to look like Fitzpatrick’s is missing the “III” after his name and his last name is misspelled. Fitzpatrick has always included the “III” when signing his name, including during the period in question.
Inspector General Derek Vander Schaaf had issued a scathing report on the Tailhook matter in 1992 which was the catalyst for the resignation of two Navy admirals, one of whom was the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy. All told, Vander Schaaf identified 51 officers who had lied to his investigators. The irresponsible behavior of those involved in abusing female members of the Navy may have contributed to the suicide of Chief of Naval Operations Jeremy Michael Boorda in 1996. Boorda also knew about Fitzpatrick’s claim of forgery and fraud in regard to his court-martial and had sought, and received, assurance from Adm. Ronald J. Zlatoper which lacked any fact-finding that Fitzpatrick’s court-martial had followed proper procedure.
Vander Schaaf was able to procure a long-sought “Thanksgiving Day memo” written by Zeller to Bitoff which stated that no record of the communication would be retained on Zeller’s computer or in any file.
Repeated attempts to reach Anderson, Zeller, and the former JAG officers involved, particularly over the last several weeks, have been met with complete silence with the exception of one former JAG attorney who was willing to answer all of our questions in a two-part interview. That officer revealed that the place where Fitzpatrick’s file was reported to have been found by Pixa did not exist.
CDR FITZPATRICK: Look at what these people were doing 20 years ago, and they thought they got away with it. Now here we are 20 years later, and they’re caught in it. There isn’t a single officer or person who is at this moment defending the court-martial of Walt Fitzpatrick as legitimate; not even John Bitoff…with the exception of Kevin Anderson, the man who forged my name.
A four-star admiral…this is as high as you get in the military. If there were anything that they could hang their hat on that Fitzpatrick’s court-martial was legitimate, they ought to contact me right away.
If they could prove that my signature on that document was really my signature, which of course they can’t, we should be hearing from them right now.
DOJ’s spying on reporters. Someone must have had some pangs of conscience.
CDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, you have some of the institutional ineffectiveness of an organization unable to keep its dirty laundry concealed, but there are people like Richard Kadelec , the guy who dropped the dime on Zeller. They never in their wildest imaginations think that I would actually find the kind of document record that I now hold.
There are two different dynamics going on here. In fact, Tim Zeller knew what I was doing; he wrote about it. He said, “Fitzpatrick waits until new people come into a job, and then he starts to ask them questions, thinking that he’s going to get different answers.” It’s been a highly effective method, because that’s exactly what’s happened. New people come in and they release information about which they have no idea of the significance. So there is that dynamic going on where there is an institutional weakness where they can’t cover up for each other as effectively as they would want to if they could stay in the same jobs for years and years. They move on and other people come along.
But the other thing that you have is that there are people who want this information to be known and acted on, and I can’t tell which is which; I can only speculate.
THE POST & EMAIL: It sounds like the people who leaked the IRS’s targeting of certain groups and the Thanksgiving Day memo. Had he not told me about that memo, we wouldn’t know about any of them.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you ever speak with him?
CDR FITZPATRICK: I did speak to him. I was standing in a phone booth at the end of Pier #3 at the Naval Air Station at Alameda, CA. This is where the USS Carl Vinson was tied up at the dock. Because I didn’t want anyone listening in on my conversation, I left the ship and walked to the foot of the pier and made a phone call from the phone booth to Combat Logistics Group 1. I wanted to get a hold of the attorney who had replaced Zeller, and the guy I reached was a First Class Petty Officer called a legalman. He was not a trained attorney; in the Navy, we call them “legalmen.” This was on July 2, 1993, and Richard Kavlick told me about the Thanksgiving Day memo that he had seen, and he said, “Hey, Commander, you need to get your hands on this. I can’t release it, because if I release it, they’ll know it came from me.”
That was on a Friday, and on the 5th of July, after the July 4 weekend, I called Congressman Dicks’s office and I said, “We need to get this memo.” It was Congressman Dicks who sent in the first Freedom of Information Act request in July 1993. The Navy came back out of San Diego and said, “You can’t have it.”
In the meantime, I went to Sen. Patty Murray and told her the same thing. So Sen. Murray said, “OK, fine, I’ll ask for it.” And she did. And the judge advocate general of the Navy, Rick Grant, told her, “You can’t have it.” What he told her was, “I don’t have access to it, Senator, so go away; you’re bothering me.”
It was at that point that Sen. Patty Murray said, “Fine; we’ll go to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office and we’ll ask them if they can get their hands on it.” So that’s what happened, and that’s where Derek Vander Schaaf comes in.
THE POST & EMAIL: Derek Vander Schaaf seems like a “good guy” in all of this.
CDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, and he was a good guy in Tailhook as well. He was the one who blew the scandal wide open and said that the 35 admirals and generals who avoided criminal responsibility should have faced the consequences. This is the same environment now in which the court-martial of Walt Fitzpatrick is starting to emerge, and Vander Schaaf realized that. He went looking for the memo, and he got it. On July 8, 1994, he turned it over to Patty Murray, and on the same day, she turned it over to me. A year and a week after my conversation with Richard Kavlick, we finally got our hands on the memo…and it was as powerful and explosive as it could be. And it should have been enough at that point to order a new hearing.
We didn’t know about the rest of the memos. After the first one, the other ones started to seep out. That’s how all of that happened.
Back in the early 1990s, they knew that they had put Steve Letchworth into the panel, knowing that he had an axe to grind going in and that he should have been disqualified from that position.
THE POST & EMAIL: Should that one thing not have been enough to nullify it?
CDR FITZPATRICK: Correct. So I point now to the forgery and I say, “Excuse me, but the forgery was meant to cover up all of this, and the first person to use it as it was intended by Bitoff to be used in covering up what Bitoff had done was Judge Advocate General of the Navy Rick Grant.
THE POST & EMAIL: They all insisted that everything was done properly, but all of your appeals were denied for no reason.
CDR FITZPATRICK: That’s because I didn’t have enough information in that day to prove that these people were involved in a criminal enterprise.
THE POST & EMAIL: It seems as if they were battling to keep the lid on it as you were getting closer to exposing what they had done.
CDR FITZPATRICK: That’s correct, and that’s why they went into a panic when it finally got into The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, first as a story, and then as an editorial in the days before Mike Boorda came into the job as Chief of Naval Operations. So the third person who participated in representing the forgery as an authentic writing and confession was Mike Boorda, who shot himself in the chest two years later because he had to live with it.
In the meantime, more things were building up and more was coming out, and I hadn’t gone away, and he knew that. He knew I wasn’t going to go away.
So how many admirals and generals do we have wrapped up in this thing right now? It’s a whole bunch of people.
THE POST & EMAIL: You mentioned that you have contacted all of them, plus many reporters at the same time.
CDR FITZPATRICK: I don’t want anybody to think that we’re doing anything behind closed doors. I am doing this publicly and openly. As a reporter, you have to be able to independently verify that everything I say is as I have presented it.
Why do we say that this is the most-examined court-martial in the history of the country? These confrontations are being made in public with reporters watching, and if there were a squeak of protest from anybody, we would have heard it way before now. Instead, what we’re getting back is confirmation of the information we have. At this point, Tim Zeller has gone dark and quiet and is trying to keep this as buried as he can. And the one who did come forward said, “Well, that’s not the way I remember things.”
THE POST & EMAIL: When I spoke to him, I tried to keep a completely open mind.
CDR FITZPATRICK: Now Pixa becomes a question mark. He’s the guy who held the other guy out to dry. So I went and found Rand Pixa. We thought we knew what had happened to this court-martial record, but we really don’t. All we know is that its chain of custody is murkier now and that the one guy who had it in his hand that we know of is Rand Pixa. “Well, how did you get it, sir?” Is Rand Pixa coming forward? He’s been confronted. He’s working in DC, for goodness sakes.
It’s Rand Pixa who was good friends with Diane Carr and Kevin Anderson when they all worked together at the Navy Legal Service office at Treasure Island, CA. When the forgery was discovered, Pixa didn’t have any idea that it was going to lead back to Anderson.
One of the guys wearing a white hat is Richard Allen. He knew what was going on and did his best to get the word out. He did a very effective job with that but was overruled by his admirals and generals at the NCIS. He found this and said to Capt. Pixa, “Do you see these documents?”
I haven’t seen the original of anything, but Allen told me that the first thing he examined was the kind of paper that was used. I don’t know what type it was, but it stood out from the other paperwork in the record. Then the special agent said, “Well, this paper looks like that one,” and he started taking a look at the type, fonts, style, and he saw that they were identical. Then he saw that the other writings were signed by Kevin Anderson using his own name. Then Kevin Anderson became Suspect #1 in the moment.
In our next installment, The Post & Email will explain how Rep. Norm Dicks became hostile to Fitzpatrick and why, then had him arrested.
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
Article printed from The Post & Email: http://www.thepostemail.com
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Culture of Arrogance, Corruption Mars U.S. Navy Officers for Decades
EXTENSIVE DOCUMENT RECORD POINTS TO FORGERY, FRAUD, AND WIDESPREAD COVER-UP
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 21, 2013) — An open letter sent as an email to Adm. Ronald J. Zlatoper containing allegations of criminality made by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III regarding his court-martial of 1989-1990 has not received a response.
The message, sent on September 17, also went to other former members of the Navy JAG Corps and to Fitzpatrick’s former defense attorney, Kevin Anderson. “I haven’t gotten a single response from anybody,” Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email later that day.
“I sent it out to a lot of reporters as well. We’re doing this in the public with witnesses. I put Zlatoper on the spot. I said to him, ‘I’m doing this in the open and public, as opposed to what you did back in 1994, which was to put this memo together in the dark of night, behind closed doors. You didn’t send me a copy of that; you didn’t call me to ask for my participation in that memo so that you could have gotten it straight.’”
Fitzpatrick has named Anderson as the person who forged his name to the false “Response to Letter of Reprimand Letter” in 1990 without Fitzpatrick’s knowledge. Anderson’s coworkers and supervisor were copied on the emails.
As of this writing, Fitzpatrick has received no response from any of the addressees other than from a JAG officer who generously gave of his time to relate his recollections of the JAG Corps during the 1990s. His interview unwittingly elucidated some aspects of Fitzpatrick’s case, and he recalled that Fitzpatrick’s main complaint had been of “undue command influence.”
The Post & Email has spoken with Anderson and Adm. John Bitoff, who was Fitzpatrick’s commanding officer and accuser; however, neither Anderson nor Bitoff would consent to go on the record. In the near future, The Post & Email will be contacting all of those to whom Fitzpatrick has communicated in an attempt to obtain statements on the allegations made against them.
Anderson has been working as a deputy prosecutor in Kitsap County, WA, for more than 15 years. When questioned in his office by the NCIS in 1998 about the forgery, Anderson said he did not know how the confession letter came to be in Fitzpatrick’s file. However, in 2003, while speaking to a police detective on a complaint he lodged against Fitzpatrick for allegedly “stalking his family,” Anderson told the detective that he created and produced the letter but did not sign it.
Fitzpatrick inadvertently learned of the complaint against him more than a year later, in 2004. After obtaining a copy of the report, he went to the NCIS again to relate Anderson’s contradictory statements on the forgery. The NCIS refused to reopen the investigation and instead threatened Fitzpatrick’s life if he were to continue seeking justice for the forgery and rigged court-martial.
In an initial email to Zlatoper which Fitzpatrick sent four days before the open letter, Zlatoper responded, “I don’t know who you are.” Fitzpatrick then sent Zlatoper an electronic file of an April 28, 1994 memorandum which Zlatoper had signed and sent to then-Chief of Naval Operations Mike Boorda, assuring him that there was nothing amiss about Fitzpatrick’s court-martial.
Boorda had questioned Zlatoper after an article was published in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer on issues surrounding Fitzpatrick’s court-martial entitled, “Navy Officer Fights Exile from Service.” SEATTLE P-I ED OFFLEY – 21 APRIL 1994
Zlatoper’s letter quoted from the fraudulent “Response to Letter of Reprimand” which bore Fitzpatrick’s forged and misspelled signature without verifying any of the truths or untruths behind it.
An editorial dated April 27, 1994 opined that Fitzpatrick was the victim of a vendetta by his commander, Adm. John Bitoff, for voicing criticism over a support issue and that Fitzpatrick deserved a new trial. SEATTLE P-I EDITORIAL – 27 APRIL 1994
Fitzpatrick has maintained his innocence to this day and named a myriad of officers, both retired and active, as participants in the crimes committed against him.
“They can still be held to criminal accountability today,” Fitzpatrick said. “The forgery is still being used to hold an illegal federal conviction against me. Even if they do not prosecute anybody for the crimes they committed against me, they still are under an obligation to lift this federal conviction off of my back and to provide me with as much remedy and relief as they are physically able for what they’ve done to me by way of maltreatment, harassment, and financial harm.”
The court-martial took place a year before the Tailhook scandal was made public, after which none of the officers involved was court-martialed. Some, however, were not promoted as a result of their irresponsible actions at the conference; others received letters of reprimand.
James Webb is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran who served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. He served one term in the U.S. Senate from 2006-2012, representing the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that a culture of arrogance and corruption prevailed in the U.S. Navy in the years before and after his court-martial. “In the early ’90s, there was an extraordinary condemnation of leadership even from within their own ranks. James Webb came to Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy in April 1996 and gave a speech, then two or three weeks later, Adm. Boorda took his own life. Adm. Boorda didn’t commit suicide because of a “V” on his uniform; there were a lot of things on his mind at that point. One of them was that he had participated in a crime, which is the forgery of my name onto a fake confession, and he tried to cover-up a court-martial that was completely rigged. There has never been a court-martial in the history of the country which has been shown to have been as rigged as mine,” Fitzpatrick said.
On October 15, 1996, The New York Times reported that “the post-Tailhook spirit may have contributed to the suicide this year of Adm. Jeremy M. Boorda, the Chief of Naval Operations.”
Fitzpatrick has observed on numerous occasions that military officers “are running their own type of government.” He referenced the incident in Samson, AL on March 10, 2009, after which U.S. Army troops were dispatched from Ft. Rucker to perform law enforcement activity under the leadership of Gen. Martin Dempsey, who Obama promoted in 2011 to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Following an investigation, the Army Inspector General determined that the Posse Comitatus Act was violated by the Samson deployment.
“Andy Griffith is turning into “Col. Griffith.” One day we will have military officers walking the streets. Samson, AL happened on Obama and Dempsey’s watch. We predicted that Dempsey would promote to four stars, and sure enough, two years later, he’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
The email to Zlatoper copied in Navy Judge Advocate General Nanette DeRenzi, current Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, and numerous JAG Corps officers who were serving in 1997, when the NCIS was first commissioned to conduct an investigation into Fitzpatrick’s claim of the forgery of his name.
“If there was anything they could hang their hat on saying that Fitzpatrick’s court-martial was legit, they ought to speak up,” Fitzpatrick told us. “If they can prove that the signature on that document was really mine – which they can’t – we should be hearing from them right now.”
“They never in their wildest imaginations ever thought that I would ever acquire the kind of document record that I have now,” he added. “There are people who want this information to be known.”
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
URL to article: http://www.thepostemail.com/2013/09/21/culture-of-arrogance-corruption-mars-u-s-navy-officers-for-decades/
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
JAG HUNTER here:
So,six days before my scheduled 3 December 2012 trial, I sit here asking myself, wondering how many of the thirty bomb threats came from “P.J. FOGGY,” Mr. William L. Bryan (click here).
William Bryan, a.k.a. “P.J. Foggy,” pulled the same stunt in the days leading up to my Tuesday, 20 April 2010 court appearance.
TENNESSEE TREASON: The Monroe County Grand Jury is a Masquerade by Post & Email Managing Editor Sharon Rondeau
Friday, 23 September 2011
“THEY ARE NOT OPERATING UNDER THE LAW”
by Sharon Rondeau
A Robert Hefner click on illustration. Post & Email Managing Editor Sharon Rondeau may be contacted at: 203.987. 7948 or Email: email@example.com for interviews
It has recently been discovered that there is no appointing order for a man who allegedly served as foreman of the Monroe County grand jury for at least 20 years, nor any evidence that he was ever sworn in as required by the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. No identification for Gary Pettway can be produced by the Monroe County clerk’s office. The alleged current grand jury foreman’s first name is misspelled, perhaps purposely. Court personnel are aware of it, and similar “errors” have occurred multiple times in the Tenth Judicial District of Tennessee.
REEDY JUDICIAL ORDERS APPOINTING “JOE” THE FOREMAN:
REEDY JUDICIAL ORDERS APPOINTING “FAY” THE FOREMAN:
IN CLOSING: REEDY’S JUDICIAL ORDER APPOINTING RECYCLING 2009 TENNESSEE JUROR ANGELA DAVIS A 2010 GRAND JURY FOREMAN:
THE SMOKING GUN! Monroe County Chief Court Clerk Admits Grand Jury Foreman Gary Pettway of 27 Years Illegitimate
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO: The Post & Email, P.O. Box 302, Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Click on pix: Gary Pettway (left) under Citizen’s Arrest – The first Thursday of April 2010!
A chief clerk in Monroe County, TN has admitted, and The Post & Email can now confirm, that there has been no duly-appointed grand jury foreman in Monroe County, TN for at least the last 27 years.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
HERE’S A FIX TO GET TO The POST & EMAIL: You may disable the warnings in the Firefox options/preferences by clicking the Security tab, unchecking “Block reported attack sites,” and clicking OK.
PASS THE WORD!
SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO: The Post & Email, P.O. Box 302, Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Time-date stamp: Wednesday, 14 September 2011 – 1214 hours EDT