Blockbuster Exclusive: State of Tennessee: Grand Jury Foremen Are Not Jurors! by Post & Email’s Sharon Rondeau!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
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Blockbuster Exclusive: State of Tennessee: Grand Jury Foremen Are Not Jurors!
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Tuesday, November 26, 2013 @ 10:04 AM
IN CONTRADICTION OF STATE LAW
by Sharon Rondeau
The office of the Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter claims that the grand jury foreman is a state employee, not a juror empaneled by state statutes
(Nov. 26, 2013) — The Post & Email can exclusively report that the Tennessee state attorney general’s office has stated on the record that the “foreperson” of all grand juries in Tennessee is IS NOT A JUROR as Tennessee state statutes require.
In December of last year, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was convicted in the Monroe County, TN Criminal Court of “tampering with government records,” with Judge Walter C. Kurtz presiding.
Defense Attorney Van Irion submitted an appeal in the case of State of Tennessee v. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, IIIprotesting CDR Fitzpatrick’s innocence. One of Irion’s points was that the grand jury foreman had over-served her legal term of one year. Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) states that following their service on any jury in the state, jurors cannot be resummoned for a minimum of 24 months.
This past September, in his official capacity as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Division, Kyle Hixson responded to the Fitzpatrick appeal, writing a brief on the state’s behalf of which The Post & Email first came into possession last Thursday afternoon.
At the bottom of page 13 of his brief, Assistant Attorney General Hixson wrote:
“…the foreman of the grand jury is not ‘impaneled’ from the ‘summoned’ members of the ‘jury pool.’ See Tenn Code Ann. §§ 22-2-306, -307, and -310. The foreperson is ‘appoint[ed]’ by the trial court. Tenn. R. Crim. P. 6(g)(1). As such, section 314, by its terms, does not apply to the appointment process of the grand jury foreperson.”
The state’s entire argument can be read here: HIXSON BRIEF
Section 314 reads as follows:
“22-2-314. Limitation on jury service.
“A juror who has completed a jury service term shall not be summoned to serve another jury service term in any court of this state for a period of twenty-four (24) months following the last day of such service; however, the county legislative body of any county, may, by majority vote, extend the twenty-four-month period.”
Hixson clearly reports that grand jury forepersons do not come from the “jury pool,” are never “summoned” to jury duty, are never “impaneled” as a jurors, and never subject to state laws which deal with jurors and jury duty. Simply stated, Hixson affirms on behalf of the State of Tennessee that grand jury forepersons are never jurors.
However, Tennessee state law commands exactly the opposite: Tennessee statutes say that grand jury forepersons must always be jurors.
Tennessee state law, as tailored and refined by the Rules for Criminal Procedure, require that thirteen (13) jurors (or members) populate all state grand juries.
Hixson has now said, in clear terms in a statement against the state’s self-interest, that criminal court judges add a non-juror to the grand jury by their selection of the foreman. The 12 jurors plus one non-juror combination consequently leaves Tennessee grand juries one short of the lawfully-mandated requirement of thirteen (13) jurors. This has been and remains the case for decades.
Tennessee state law requires that all state residents, in the process of becoming jurors, must initially be randomly selected into the jury pool. From that pool, a smaller number of individuals are randomly selected to be issued summonses to report to the courtroom on a particular day, at which time jurors for the grand jury and trial juries are selected in but a third process of random selection.
In each of these three random selection rounds, the process used must be one that does not allow for the possibility of “human intervention.”
The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference describes the grand jury as:
…a group of thirteen citizens chosen from the jury panel. One of these thirteen is the fore person and will preside over the grand jury.
Assistant Attorney General Hixson now reports that criminal court judges have always been permitted to install a handpicked non-juror foreman, that is, to “appoint” the foreman from, as Monroe County Court Clerk Martha M. “Marty” Cook has said, “from wherever they choose“ because the state laws that apply to jurors do not apply to non-jurors.
As readers of The Post & Email are already aware, Fitzpatrick’s challenges to the scope and operation of Tennessee grand juries arose upon his discovery in 2010 that the Monroe County Tennessee de facto grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway, had held that position since 1982, a period of twenty-eight (28) consecutive years. Moreover, there was no appointing order or evidence that Pettway had ever been duly sworn in.
Fitzpatrick placed Pettway under citizen’s arrest in April 2010. State law enforcement officials ignored Fitzpatrick’s complaint and arrested Fitzpatrick instead. The Monroe County grand jury then indicted Fitzpatrick for attempting to intimidate a juror, Gary Pettway.
Fitzpatrick has demonstrated that the grand juries and trial juries in Tennessee are unduly influenced by prosecutors, grand jury foremen, and court personnel and contaminated by jurors serving consecutive terms in violation of state law (TCA 22-2-314). In one case in Davidson County, a grand jury foreman chosen by a judge was discovered to be a convicted felon, which violates Tennessee statute and required the review of approximately 800 cases over which the illegally-serving foreman had presided.
Grand jury foremen in Monroe County are reportedly “picked from wherever” the judge “chooses” by means of an unknown vetting process. Throughout Tennessee, grand jury foremen have served for decades or multiple times with occasional breaks in service.
Tennessee Code Annotated provides no special selection process for the grand jury foreman.
Grand jury tampering and judicial misconduct have been reported to The Post & Email in Campbell County, Roane County, Sevier County, and Madison County. Crimes against District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb of the Tenth Judicial District have been alleged but dismissed by Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr., although members of the Tennessee General Assembly are working to remove Bebb from his post.
Now, for the first time ever, Kyle Hixson explains that (1) Gary Pettway was never a juror, resulting in (2) the law limiting jury service does not apply to grand jury forepersons such as Pettway, and (3) judicially “appointed” Tennessee residents are allowed to serve in a career position as a county employee called the “grand jury foreman.”
Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 40-12-206 is the only state statute which details the composition of every Tennessee state grand jury. The law commands that all grand juries be populated with thirteen (13) jurors (members) and up to five (5) alternates. The law does not provide for the judicial appointment of a “foreman” into a Tennessee grand jury.
The same law makes no distinction among the jurors (members). There is no distinction or separate-identity, non-juror “foreman.”
The process by which all jurors are to be selected is described as (1) Randomly populate the “jury pool,” (2) Randomly select potential jurors from the “jury pool,” (3) “Summon” the potential jurors to court for random selection into the grand and trial (petit) jurors for identified term dates, and (4) “Impanel” the grand juries and trial jurors.
Hixson, representing the state of Tennessee, publicly declared in his September 2013 appeals brief that, in Tennessee, grand jury foremen are not jurors.
Restating the state’s now first-time ever publicly pronounced policy position more clearly:
The grand jury foreman is not a juror.
A criminal court trial judge individually and personally selects, then specifically delegates (appoints, employs) grand jury foremen in Tennessee state.
The grand jury foreman does not come from a randomly-selected jury pool.
The grand jury foreman is not summoned to a courtroom to participate in the process of jury impaneling.
Tennessee state statutes that apply to jurors and jury duty do not apply to the grand jury foreman who is, rather, a paid Tennessee state employee.
Judicial appointment of a grand jury foreman who is a “non-juror, as Hixson described the office and process, is illegal under the Tennessee statutes.
The Post & Email asks if the State of Tennessee is committing the same crime as that which the U.S. Navy continues to perpetrate after more than 23 years in which an honest person is sacrificed and condemned for the sake of preserving a criminal enterprise in which a judge’s personal appointee masquerades as a member of the grand jury, unduly influencing that body and often casting the decisive vote to indict.
Editor’s Note: More articles on Tennessee grand jury foremen and the law will be forthcoming in the near future.
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
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Friday, 22 November 2013
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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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Friday, 20 September 2013
SCARS AND STRIPES!
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Tuesday, September 17, 2013 @ 10:27 AM In National | 2 Comments
by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, ©2013
September 17, 2013
Rear Admiral John W. Bitoff, working closely and primarily with his staff JAG officer, Timothy William Zeller, began an unceasing flogging of me and what once was my family in 1989.
Bitoff and Zeller swore out false changes and advanced them against me in a court-martial that both men completely controlled and manipulated.
Bitoff and Zeller assigned co-worker staff officers into the court-martial panel to ensure and repeat a guilty verdict Bitoff had already clandestinely ordered.
Bitoff and Zeller knew these officers to be hostile in their intent toward me, officers who had engaged with me in severely acrimonious arguments regarding administrative and operational matters attendant to the USS MARS (AFS–1), to which I was assigned as the executive officer in that afloat command. One officer sitting on my court-martial panel, Lieutenant Commander Steve Letchworth, was a prominent player in Bitoff’s star-chamber court-martial.
Without my knowledge, Bitoff and Zeller hand-picked my defense attorney, an officer on the Judge Advocate General Corps named Kevin Martis “Andy” Anderson. Anderson held the grade of captain, United States Marine Corps.
Anderson, another key figure in the rigged disciplinary hearing, worked closely with Bitoff and Zeller behind my back.
The court-martial hearing ran from 2–5 April 1990.
Zeller wrote and Bitoff signed out a letter of reprimand dated 7 June 1990.
On 17 July 1990, USMC Captain “Andy” Anderson authored, created, printed out and signed what Bitoff, Zeller and Anderson intended to become my “confession.”
Anderson clumsily attempted a simulation of my name putting felt-tip pen to paper in the misspelling and forgery of my name. CERTIFIED COPY OF THE FORGERY – 17 July 1990
I discovered the forgery in July or August of 1992.
I reported the forgery immediately to appropriate law enforcement authorities at the time, and ever since. The forgery was widely reported to the Navy Secretary, Navy Judge Advocate General Rick Grant, and throughout a wide width of Navy commands and senior military governors.
As Bitoff’s villainous, rigged court-martial was becoming a matter of focused attention in 1993 and 1994, you personally used the “confession,” as Bitoff, Zeller and Anderson intended, to deflect, if not outright quash, any directed inspection of my court-martial.
The Navy, as I’m sure you’ll remember, was already suffering from thousands of pounds per square inch of pressure from the Tailhook scandal, the turret #2 explosion aboard USS IOWA and from other senior leadership failures, some of which were criminal in nature.
On 28 April 1994, you used the forged confession as Bitoff, Zeller and Anderson wanted it to be used…that is, as my confession.
Passing off a known forgery as an authentic document is just as much a crime of forgery as, in this instance specifically, that moment in which Captain Anderson fumbled in applying my name to the letter of reprimand response.
There were so many other lies you joined with Bitoff & Company in repeating.
CNO Mike Boorda, VCNO Stan Arthur and Navy TJAG Grant were right there with you, criminals in command, command racketeers shoulder-to-shoulder.
You continue to work in conspiracy with so many others to maintain a wrongful federal conviction on my back undisturbed. Incumbents CNO Greenert and Navy-Marine Corps TJAG DeRenzi are amongst your criminal clique.
You, sir, are a criminal and a liar.
You are caught.
Still the flogging, the scourge never ends.
Consider carefully, on this Constitution Day, as you read this, the damage and destruction you and others have wrought upon our Constitution in violent disobedience and perjury to your oaths.
For you and me, it’s a day of reckoning. It’s a day for confrontation! I’m calling you out. It’s time to engage.
I’ve come to learn firsthand how greed for rank and power propels and justifies the whipping beatings of subordinates. I can report in the first person how arrogance, avarice for rank and power, and pride serve as an antidote for shame.
President Fillmore abolished the practice of flogging in the Army and Navy 163 years ago on 28 September 1850, but you give the best evidence that the inhumane practice is alive and well in America today.
As I look up through blood, sweat and tears, I see you plainly standing there, smiling, a cat-of-nine-tails held in your hand resting between successive beatings now ranging over a course of nearly the past quarter-century.
This is about a matter of accountability, sir.
This is personal. Very deeply personal.
So knock yourself out. BE PROUD AS YOU CAN BE! You’re offered here a chance to show off with your admiral and general colleagues just to what levels of arrogance, obnoxiousness, and outlawry you’re able to ascend.
Beginning on 27 April 1994, then pulling an all-nighter with staff subordinates into 28 April, Rick Grant and you hammered away earnestly and urgently on a clandestine written talking points memo and policy statement. It’s attached. ZLATOPER LETTER OF 28 APRIL 1994
Your secret written work was to be relied upon as a foundation in further public utterances made to media reporters which Grant and you feared were paying closer and closer attention to the common practice of flag officers controlling and rigging federal military disciplinary hearings commonly known as courts-martial.
In the memo, Grant and you drew heavily upon work product that came from just such a rigged court-martial, the court-martial Rear Admiral John Bitoff and his staff officers created, conducted and controlled in 1989-1990.
The court-martial we’re talking about is mine.
Press overtures regarding the conduct of military discipline hearings had become more and more aggressive in the wake of the Tailhook scandal wherein 35 flag officers were involved, but no courts-martial resulted. When Bitoff’s court-martial showed itself on the horizon in early 1994, threatening to come more clearly in view, Grant and you moved quickly to neutralize the sort of disclosures you both knew were lurking.
One disclosure lurking was a bogus confession bearing an attempted simulation of my name.
Another revelation sinisterly loitering about was the participation of Steve Letchworth on my court-martial panel.
Then there came home to roost the Zeller-Bitoff 1989 turkey waddling about and squawking loudly, unable to fly away.
Bob Kihune, David Bennett, Richard Steward and Glenn Gonzalez took care of the early and heavy shovel-ready work. The four men buried Letchworth alive down deep.
Then the four men axed off the head of the turkey, plucked it, cooked it and feasted while the meat was warm.
In April 1994 Grant and you were handed the frozen cold leftovers.
The Zlatoper-Grant policy memo to Mike Boorda and Stan Arthur relied upon Steve Letchworth and the Bitoff-Zeller turkey remaining safely dead and buried.
Arrogance and pride blinded all of you to the fact that even cold (and cold-blooded) murder cases can leave behind enough proofs and evidences leading to satisfactory resolution.
Arrogance and pride are powerful and dangerous emotions. Driving this observation home, indulge me as I briefly recount why Bitoff had me court-martialed. You play a personal and crucial role in these matters presently. It’s important that we both understand each other and engage.
The terrorist group November 17 assassinated Navy Captain William Edward Nordeen in a vicious car bomb attack in Athens, Greece on 28 June 1988.
My commanding officer on the USS MARS at the time was Michael Brent Nordeen.
Bill and Mike Nordeen are brothers.
Bitoff personally accused me of stealing MWR monies used to send a continent of the USS MARS family to the funeral of Navy Captain William Edward Nordeen.
John Bitoff was an arrogant and prideful man. My court-martial was the product of Bitoff’s unstable emotional vendetta. Bitoff’s accusations against me regarding Morale, Welfare and Recreation funds about USS MARS (AFS – 1) were ridiculous.
Bitoff had been a Bill Crowe protégé for many years. Bitoff was every bit the political animal Crowe was. Bitoff served under Crowe in three different assignments as his “Number 1,” either executive officer or executive assistant.
Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey furiously fumed during the height of the earl 1990’s Tailhook scandal, “I believe there is a great power in having just one person shout No! as loud as hell in the midst of a room full of people going in the other direction.”
Bitoff forced me out of the naval service because of my character. Plain and direct. I was one of those guys who was standing in the room shouting “NO!” Bitoff used the court-martial process to punish me, using me as an object lesson throughout the fleet.
So did you! So did others in the admirals and generals’ club!
One-star Rear Admiral John W. Bitoff aggressively engaged in my character assassination using a court-martial process that runs from 1 September 1989 to this very day.
I knew at the very beginning that John Bitoff’s actions were in service to a malicious vendetta. I told Bitoff I knew his was a “kangaroo court,” immoral, malicious, unfair and a stark demonstration of poor leadership. I’ve not stopped telling people in the succeeding twenty-four years. I persevere. I persist.
I point to four men who are primarily, as I describe them, criminals in command or command racketeers.
The four men are Rear Admiral Bitoff (former commander, Combat Logistics Group 1), Bitoff’s staff JAG, Timothy William Zeller (then in the grade of Lieutenant, since promoting to full commander), former Captain of Marines Kevin Martis “Andy” Anderson, the man who Bitoff hand-picked as my defense counsel, and two-star Rear Admiral Harold Eric “Rick” Grant, former Judge Advocate General to the Navy and Marine Corps.
Bitoff, Zeller and Grant are all in retirement. Anderson left the Marine Corps in the early ‘90s and is currently a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for the County of Kitsap, Washington State.
Bitoff, Zeller and Anderson are chief engineers to the illicit court-martial proper. Grant is more culpable and more responsible than any other uniformed or civilian military governor in covering up what’s become the most reviewed, most troublesome and most talked-about court-martial in American history.
There remains no question whatsoever that my court-martial was rigged from stem to stern. Bitoff, Zeller, Anderson and Grant are now irrefutably caught in their villainous expedition.
One question for us today is, “What is my wrongful federal conviction, wrought at the hands of a malicious bad actor and political animal, to stand for?”
What stands out as the salient criminal act in Bitoff’s outlawry is a criminal instrument bearing my forged and misspelled name. It is a 17 July 1990 response to Bitoff’s 7 June 1990 letter of reprimand to me.
I discovered the Bitoff-Zeller forgery sometime in July or August 1992, about two years before your April 1994 missive to Boorda and Arthur.
I reported the bogus writing immediately as a criminal act targeting me.
At first I thought Bitoff’s staff JAG Zeller was the culprit who put pen to paper under Bitoff’s command.
Suspicions regarding Bitoff and Zeller’s criminality were confirmed and heightened one year later when on 2 July 1993, a first-class petty officer legalman assigned to the Oakland-based supply ship staff dropped a dime on both men.
Zeller’s holiday note to Bitoff was the first of a flurry of outrageously illegal correspondences and conversations carried out behind their curtain.
Zeller’s memos added to the still-growing body of evidence incriminating Bitoff, Anderson, Grant, Zeller himself and their protectors.
Running parallel to growing evidence regarding Bitoff’s rigged court-martial was Derek Vander Schaaf’s report about the criminal expedition involving tens of Navy-Marine Corps flag officers, other senior military governors and lesser-ranking civilian and uniformed officers.
In mid-April 1993, delayed for months awaiting a new Navy Secretary, Vander Schaaf released an inch-thick report about the Navy’s “Tailhook” scandal, recognized as the most serious in decades. Vander Schaaf publicly reported that 51 Navy officers lied to Defense Department investigators and that “several hundred” others actively obstructed the investigation.
Derek J. Vander Schaaf’s report said the conduct at the “Tailhook” aviators’ annual cultural celebration was so outrageous over so many years that it raised “serious questions about the senior leadership of the Navy.”
The report named the 35 admirals and generals in wrongdoing. Vander Schaaf commiserated about the extraordinary “stonewalling” he’d encountered during his investigation.
My report followed on 23 September 1993.
My 17-page criminal complaint was filed with Navy Secretary John Dalton, Admiral Charles Larson as Commander, Pacific Command; Vice Admiral David Robinson as Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific Fleet; Rear Admiral Vern Clark as Commander, Cruiser Destroyer 3; Rear Admiral Merrill Wythe Ruck as Commander, Naval Base, San Francisco and Commander, Combat Logistics Group 1; Captain John Payne, my skipper in USS CARL VINSON, and my Executive Officer, Captain Robert “Rat” Willard.
My report was also hand-delivered to NCIS Special Agent Mark Sakrada, special agent in charge at the NCIS office collocated with headquarters Commander Naval Base San Francisco aboard Naval Station Treasure Island.
Senior naval officers thwarted any attempts to publicly release Zeller’s 1989 Thanksgiving Day missive to Bitoff for fully a year. The requests for release made by Washington State Rep. Norm Dicks and Senator Patty Murray were denied.
I was denied.
At the same moment in time, four-star Admiral Frank B. Kelso moved up his retirement date under ever-increasing pressures due to an unceasing torrent of disclosures regarding the outrageous and alleged criminal conduct of 35 admirals and generals at the September 1991 Las Vegas “Tailhook” convention that included accusations naming Kelso personally.
Not missed by any observer was that the military discipline system, the court-martial system, under tight control as a function of command, did not touch any of the “Tailhook”-connected flag officer involvement and criminal misconduct.
It was in this environment, in the immediate aftermath of Tailhook, that the interest of renowned military correspondent and reporter Ed Offley was drawn and piqued regarding my case. The document record, seen and unseen, giving evidence of Rear Admiral John Bitoff’s criminal escapades, was overwhelming. Ed and I began a series of regular interview meetings and phone conversations whereupon I laid out the document record as it existed and was expanding at that time.
Into this environment you eventually showed up.
Not yet in physical possession of Zeller’s incriminating 1989 Thanksgiving Day memo, there was the daily increasing and already immense collection of documentary evidence amassed proving Bitoff’s command racketeering in cooperation with Navy TJAG Rick Grant.
With Tailhook still a burning issue in the press, Congressman Norm Dicks wrote to Navy Secretary John Dalton on 10 January 1994 requesting Dalton personally examine my proofs and evidences regarding Bitoff & Company’s outlaw rampages in the exercise of command influence.
SECNAV Dalton punted to Navy TJAG Rick Grant. In a letter to Dicks dated 9 March 1994, while sitting on Zeller’s Thanksgiving Day memo and the forgery of my name, Grant’s response to Dicks was essentially, “Go away, you’re bothering me.”
Norm Dicks called for reinforcements. Senior U.S. senator in 1994 Slade Gorton answered the call.
Federal legislators Dicks and Gorton are both attorneys trained and experienced in the law. Slade Gorton is a former Air Force JAG.
Former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton served as both junior and senior senators from Washington State at different times. A graduate of Columbia Law School, he also served as Washington’s attorney general during the 1960s.
Jointly, Rep. Norm Dicks and Senator Slade Gorton wrote to Navy Secretary John Dalton in a letter dated 15 April 1994 naming Rick Grant as “an interested party in [Lieutenant Commander Fitzpatrick’s] case which therefore [makes] it inappropriate for [Grant to respond].”
Viewed another way, Rick Grant’s name was now added to the list of Tailhook flag officers going to abuses of power and criminal misconduct.
Dicks and Gorton pleaded with SECNAV Dalton himself to review [Fitzpatrick’s] case and provide their offices with a comprehensive evaluation of my allegations. Dicks and Gorton said again they wanted a new court-martial convened, manned by an independent panel to hear my case, absent Bitoff’s and Grant’s illegal influence.
One week after Dicks’ and Gorton’s letter to Dalton was electronically transmitted and mailed, Ed Offley published his article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Thursday, 21 April 1994). Offley’s report was made available in that day’s edition of the Pentagon’s Early Bird.
Another Tailhook was in the mix, only it’s bigger than Tailhook.
Two days later, on Saturday, 23 April 1994, four-star Admiral Mike Boorda relieved Frank B. Kelso as Chief of Naval Operations. Kelso stepped down from his job months early under extraordinary pressure because of the Tailhook scandal and other embarrassments including Offley’s article published just two days before. The no-notice change of command ceremony was held aboard a cloistered Naval Academy reservation, in Smoke Hall, in the bowels of Bancroft Hall, with no press allowed.
Four days later, the Seattle P-I’s editorial board published an editorial dated Wednesday, 27 April, entitled, “naval probe [is] needed in [Fitzpatrick’s] discipline. This editorial also made it into print for flag officer review; your review, for instance, in that morning’s Early Bird.
Into the frenzied fracas bravely charged Ronald Joseph “Zap” Zlatoper, (then) three-star Admiral, Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training & Education).
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s 27 April editorial created a frenetic atmosphere, to be sure. I can see it. I can hear it. I can feel it right now. Folks assigned to your Bureau of Naval Personnel and Rear Admiral Grant’s JAG office sure enough pulled all-nighters to cobble together the memo you sent to CNO Boorda and VCNO Arthur the next day (28 April).
You generously quoted, and consequently own the forgery of my name Bitoff and his buddies inserted into the official court-martial record as my confession.
Bitoff’s design in ordering the creation and entry of the bogus, forged confession into the court-martial record was to deflect serious attention away from any post-trial examination or scrutiny my case might enjoy. Bitoff found it necessary as well to render false charges which he and his gang made against me to appear meritorious and righteous.
Rick Grant is the first uniformed officer known to have used the counterfeit confession as Bitoff and his staff officers intended it to be used.
You, sir, are the second.
I can attest with solid assurance that you and Grant knew what you were doing and were possessed of the necessary criminal intent in the conduct of your affairs.
In this I rely upon my observations and experiences regarding the criminal antics of the “Tailhook” admirals and generals.
You, Grant, Bitoff, and all the others are cut from the same sailcloth.
Quashing federal legislators’ Dicks’ and Gorton’s insistent demand for an independent review, and in the wake of Tailhook, your declaration to Boorda and Arthur became the Navy’s official and classified obstructing position.
It was as my confession that you represented the counterfeit writing to Chief of Naval Operations Mike Boorda and to Boorda’s Vice CNO Stan Arthur in your close-hold, secret internal memorandum dated 28 April 1994.
Undeterred, as we’d expect, Derek Vander Schaaf pressed Grant to unearth Zeller’s 1989 Thanksgiving Day communication. Zeller’s memo came to public view on 8 July 1994. Vander Schaaf, now bloodied and battered in Tailhook, instantly realized the forgery’s evidentiary significance as proof of criminal activity. DODIG recognized the part which Navy-Marine Corps TJAG Rick Grant played in the outlaw adventure and witnessed his attempted concealment.
Vander Schaaf turned Zeller’s memo over to Senator Murray who in turn sent it to me in July 1994.
In a separate move, Vander Schaaf named Grant as an interested party in a felonious enterprise and requested guidance on how to proceed against him as a criminal suspect by petitioning Assistant Navy Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Frederick Pang in a letter dated 8 July 1994.
So, as of mid-July 1994, Senator Slade Gorton, Rep. Norm Dicks and Defense Department Inspector General Derek Vander Schaaf had called out Rick Grant as a criminal actor based upon proofs and evidences available then. A press report and editorial sounded the alarm regarding the need for independent scrutiny and new court-martial.
Fred Pang, emboldened and buoyed by the successful bulwarks constructed defending against Tailhook villainy, ignored Vander Schaaf’s warning and took no action against Grant. Pang joined in your policy declaration to Boorda and Arthur.
Then Mike Boorda declared my case closed.
A month passed during which Bitoff sent Boorda a written statement regarding Bitoff’s handling of my court-martial. Bitoff’s statement to Boorda remains unreleased to the public, guarded and classified to this day.
Advancing your written policy position that the forgery, in the original, bore my authentic signature, among other skullduggery, Bitoff’s offering of the forged confession later profiled and endorsed by Rick Grant and you, Mike Boorda wrote to Norm Dicks on 8 August 1994 explaining that my case was closed and that I should apply for retirement at my earliest possible opportunity. Boorda admitted to personally reviewing my case “very carefully.”
But the case wasn’t really closed. It just lay dormant.
While you and the rest never looked back, I’ve never stopped looking.
All the while the forgery grows in magnitude.
Your direct criminal connection to the forgery grows ever more serious.
Folks holding down the fort began to leave the scene of action.
Mike Boorda shot himself on 16 May 1996. You retired on 7 November of that year.
Rick Grant retired in 1997.
All the time I continue to apply pressure from every angle of attack I’m able to advance.
Importunities to Defense Criminal Investigative Service federal agents working out of the mid-Atlantic field office in Crystal City, Virginia in March 1997 led to the involvement of senior NCIS agents stationed at the Washington Navy Yard.
As a direct result of your certification that the name applied to the questioned document was really my signature, and based upon your use of the criminal instrument as an authentic writing, the NCIS, now green-lighted, moved out aggressively to come after me.
I did not know at the time that I had Grant and you to thank for the confidence NCIS agents displayed as they forcefully asserted that I was the guy who authored and signed the letter of reprimand response.
I knew about Bitoff and his criminal allies. I did not know about you.
On 3 April 1997, with you, Grant, and Boorda gone, NCIS Deputy Director Gerry W. Nance initiated, finally, a serious investigation into the forgery, but it was I who was the main object of the law enforcement effort.
The NCIS investigated the Tailhook scandal and Fitzpatrick’s claim of forgery in his court-martial file in 1997, but promptly dropped the investigation once it became clear that a Marine Corps attorney, Kevin M. Anderson, had in fact created the forgery
Nance warned me that NCIS agents were confident I signed the document in question myself. They (he) “knew” I was just using the guise of forgery as a device to get them to look more closely and carefully into the 1989-1990 court-martial.
Nance promised me that should I continue to insist the response to the letter of reprimand was forged, NCIS agents were going to find it, prove the signature genuinely my own, then force my return to active duty to stand before a court-martial once more.
After that, no one could find the original of the court-martial record, never mind the forged confession.
April, May, June, July and then August. There’s a nationwide search under way looking for the record.
On 5 September 1997 I went to the Pentagon JAG office to talk to Rick Grant’s replacement, John Hutson.
Captain Don Guter intervened, backed me into the passageway, and shooed me away.
Later that afternoon, as occurred on 27 April 1994, there was a panic; an alarm sounded and folks scurried to general quarters stations to prevent any possible disclosure of the forgery.
The notion that the document in question really was a forgery, contrary to your 1994 policy position declaration, was finally sinking in, and it made the Navy-Marine Corps look “really bad.” 5 SEPT 1997 NCIS memo
Which is to say it makes you look really bad.
NCIS Deputy Director Ernie Simon additionally wrote that a forgery worked to prove my earlier protestations regarding the scurrilous, criminal adventures of by this time so many flag officers and their subordinates.
Navy Captain and OJAG IG Rand Pixa eventually turned up the original court-martial record and forgery on 4 December 1997. How Pixa came into possession of these original documents “is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
Just days ago a Marine Corps officer intimately involved in the chain of custody maze came forward only to make the travel history of these original papers muddier and murkier.
However, they were found and exhumed. NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen instantly identified Marine Corps Captain Kevin Anderson as the culprit in the forgery of my name.
So as to prevent making the Navy, or the Marine Corps, or you or any other flag officer connected in crime “look really bad,” NCIS Director David L. Brant closed the forgery investigation on 3 February 1998.
A memo dated 27 January 1997 distributed internally among the senior-most NCIS directors ran cover for you and the rest by stating, “Our reasoning for not investigating [the forgery] and other allegations [was] that they were beyond the statute of limitations and therefore could not be prosecuted…[Brant needs] to be ‘refreshed’ on the timeframe again, but I’m fairly certain that this was our reasoning. By the way our charter specifically says that the NCIS can defer investigations ‘when in NCIS judgement, the inquiry would be fruitless and unproductive.’ I’d say this would qualify.”
That’s how you dodged a bullet in 1997, just the year after your retirement.
Six months later, in June 1998, Navy Secretary Dalton gave Bitoff’s former staff JAG, Tim Zeller, a clean bill of health, once more standing upon the foundation you’d built with Rick Grant.
Dalton wrote: “Allegations which brought into question LCDR Zeller’s suitability for promotion to Commander have been resolved. An investigation into this matter by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and a complete review of the case by [Rear Admiral Rick Grant], the Navy Judge Advocate General, have both determined there was no misconduct by LCDR Zeller [regarding Zeller’s performance in the Fitzpatrick court-martial] and the alleged misconduct is determined to be unsubstantiated.”
To be sure, the reason the NCIS (or NIS) didn’t investigate the forgery or other criminal allegations beginning in 1990 was because of the intended impenetrable obstructions of men such as Bob Kihune, David Bennett, John Bitoff, Leon Schachte, Rick Grant, many admirals and generals, and you. That populates a very long list of admirals and generals.
Your April 1994 policy statement to Mike Boorda, holding up a known and reported forgery as an original writing, successfully accomplished much in the effort to run the clock.
Grant and you declared the questioned document to be a genuine article bearing my true signature. By so doing, he and you joined in the commission of a criminal act.
CNO Mike Boorda and VCNO Stan Arthur embraced and adopted the Zlatoper-Grant joint declaration and rendered it the official policy of the Navy-Marine Corps in all things related to my court-martial. By so doing, Boorda and Arthur joined in the commission of a criminal act.
The Boorda-Arthur-Zlatoper-Grant policy stands strong today, undisturbed, notwithstanding the fact that the fake confession is a forgery, a genuine, proven criminal instrument, the court-martial panel is a proven rig, and the Zeller-to-Bitoff memos have become the stuff of legend.
Years passed as proofs and evidences of Bitoff’s rigged court-martial continued to mount.
Still, arrogance and pride blinded senior military governors from doing the right thing, knowing they’d been caught rigging a court-martial, knowing that a growing number of admirals and generals who’d wrestled with this animal were known criminal actors.
On 4 October 1999, leaning back on your April 1994 memo to Boorda and Arthur, Navy Secretary Danzig wrote to Representative Dicks, “I’m very much influenced by Mike Boorda’s 1994 review [wherein Boorda, Arthur, Grant and you used a forged confession as a prop] and that of numerous other reviews [read Kihune, Bennett, Stewart and Gonzalez who knew first hand that Bitoff, Zeller and Anderson had rigged the court-martial panel, exchanged internal secret written communications with each other, and had in every way manipulated the disciplinary process].”
I met with Representative Dicks in his Washington, D.C. office on 14 March 2001, the day after testifying before the Cox Commission hearings at the George Washington University School of Law. I briefed Dicks on new developments and on my testimony from the day before.
After two weeks’ consideration, Dicks wrote to both Navy Secretary Pirie and to FBI Director Freeh, complaining once more about my rigged court-martial, focusing special attention on the crimes of perjury and forgery.
During a December 2006 interview, caught unexpectedly in that moment that a deer runs into the headlights unguarded, Zeller gave himself away when confronted with his clandestine memo stream exchange with Bitoff.
Until then, Zeller didn’t know his surreptitious missives had become public.
Excerpted from Zeller’s interview:
“Before you hang up on me,” I said, “I do need to tell you that I hold in my hand a number of memos that you wrote to an Admiral John Bitoff that are not part of the official record of the case.”
The line went silent. “What memos?”
“Well,” I went on, “there’s this one, a report that you sent to Admiral Bitoff, stating that Fitzpatrick was guilty before the Article 32 was even held. I also have one where you state that you don’t like to keep copies of memos in case your actions are questioned later…”
Zeller hung up on me after reading me the Riot Act, but as I went back to writing, the phone rang again.
“Yeah, this is Tim Zeller. What’s your radio show?”
“Did you talk to anybody at JAG?” Zeller demanded. I told him that I’ve talked to a lot of people, that this was the culmination of months of research. I explained that I wasn’t in the business of ruining people’s lives or careers, and that this information had dropped into my lap during an investigation into the misconduct behind the Pendleton 8, Haditha, and Airborne cases. I again offered him the chance to come on the show and talk about the accusations, but he refused.
“You even check your facts? You need to check your facts,” he kept saying.
“Why do you think I’m calling you?” I asked. “I’m giving you a chance to answer this, to come on the show or call in and tell your side. There’s evidence that this case was mishandled, and it’s part of a bigger picture of misconduct on the part of the JAG Corps.”
“I’ll tell you, if you think this case was mishandled, I could tell some stories…I’ve been a defense attorney, too.” He paused, then, letting the unspoken hang.
Zeller, just like your email to me on Sunday: “Check your facts!”
Release of many of Zeller’s illegal communications with Bitoff from 1989-1990 combined with your internal memo to Boorda and Arthur from April 1994 were blocked, remaining under seal until 28 July 2001.
More evidence is being withheld even now.
I’ve regularly reported Navy-Marine Corps Judge Advocate General Rick Grant as the flag officer who has done more to cover up Bitoff’s rigged court-martial than any other uniformed officer involved.
I name you as a flag officer holding the number two position.
Hear me. Hear me now. Hear me carefully. Hear me clearly! What you’ve done is very deeply personal!
My dad passed away when I was very young. I had to learn about him growing up reading history books. My father fought in World War II. He was assigned as a medical officer aboard USS COLE (DD – 155) as part of a suicide assault force invading Safi Harbor, Morocco from the sea to the south and east of Casablanca on 8 November 1942 during Operation Torch.
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, Jr., Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for valor, the highest award combination for valor available to doctors serving on the battlefield. For medical officers, the Bronze Star “V” represents the Medal of Honor.
LCDR Greg Palmer, my dad’s commanding officer in USS COLE, was awarded the Navy Cross.
I attended Annapolis because of my dad and am a distinguished military graduate from the Class of 1975, graduating third in the class for leadership.
I always sign my name formally as “Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III.”
In his attempted simulation of my name,, Captain of Marines Kevin Martis “Andy” Anderson betrayed his criminal act by failing to add the Roman numeral “III” generation suffix.
Anderson also misspelled my name.
Whatever anyone else might say, I assure you I know one reason why Mike Boorda took his own life.
Boorda died just a few feet away from where Anderson’s forgery of my father’s name and the forgery of my name was being secreted and hidden aboard the Washington Navy Yard.
Boorda took his last breath holding a gun in one hand and a cat of nine tails in the other.
Ol’ “Zap” Zlatoper had a part in it…holdin’ a whip in your hand, too.
I bear the scars and stripes to prove it!
I set out writing this open letter days ago thinking I’d cleverly bait you into a dialogue posing the questions why my character didn’t count before.
Why it didn’t ever count.
I caught myself in the folly.
This was never about my character. It’s always been about the lack of yours.
Which is to say that character content was never your concern.
More about character assassination.
You, Boorda, Bitoff, Arthur…you all knew what you did. You all knew what you were doing. None of you cared.
That arrogance and pride thing again.
Going back over dates and times, reorienting myself once again, I’ve come back to suffer a situational awareness I experienced so many years ago.
I see you for who you really are.
And the bad news for all concerned is that I’m just that guy still shouting “No! as loud as hell in the midst of a room full of people going in the other direction.”
Still persisting! Still persevering!
It’s time for you to come forward to publicly claim your crimes, condemn them, and atone for them.
I want my name back, sir!
Beware the Fury of the Patient Man,
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III
United States Navy Retired
Surface warfare – Qualified for command at sea – Naval parachutist
Distinguished Military Graduate
United States Naval Academy at Annapolis
Class of 1975
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
Article printed from The Post & Email: http://www.thepostemail.com
URL to article: http://www.thepostemail.com/2013/09/17/scars-and-stripes/
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
JAG HUNTER HERE on CONSTITUTION DAY 2013:
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The tremendously hard work of all three of these men regularly finds its way to these JAG HUNTER pages.
Taken together with the tremendously hard work of Sharon Rondeau at The POST & EMAIL.COM and
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These folks all subscribe to principals that make America exceptional and great…
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CLICK ON THE JOE DAN’S PICTURE ABOVE FOR MORE!
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THESE WORDS FROM BILL WHITTLE!
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These folks have permanent links on the right sidebar to this JAG HUNTER page. Check in here every once and again for more!
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
- The Post & Email - http://www.thepostemail.com -
“Madisonville Hoax” Eyewitness Refutes Government’s Claims against Federal Prisoner Darren Huff pb
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 12:32 PM In National | No Comments
“I WAS ALWAYS WITHIN EYESIGHT OF DARREN HUFF”
by Sharon Rondeau
On April 20, 2010, the federal government, in concert with corrupt Monroe County, TN law enforcement, carried out a massive police presence based on the false threat of a “courthouse takeover” which never happened. Ten days later, Darren Wesley Huff was arrested for crimes he did not commit. He was convicted on one charge on October 18, 2011 after the judge refused to accept the jury’s “hung” verdict on one charge and acquittal on the other.
(Jun. 21, 2013) — On June 19, 2013, The Post & Email spoke with William R. Looman, who was with Darren Wesley Huff throughout the day and evening of April 20, 2010 and produced a notarized affidavit to the events that day in Madisonville, TN, the day on which Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III attended a short assignment hearing at the Monroe County courthouse located in Madisonville. Huff had traveled to Madisonville and locked his legally-owned firearms in his truck before entering a restaurant located across from the courthouse with Looman, who also secured his firearms before exiting his vehicle.
On April 30, Huff was arrested on two federal firearms charges after numerous eyewitnesses were interviewed following Fitzpatrick’s hearing ten days before. Huff was convicted on one charge on October 28, 2011 and is currently imprisoned at the federal prison in Texarkana, TX.
On April 19 and 20, 2010, members of a pro-Obama online group, The Fogbow, called then-Madisonville Mayor Allan Watson to convey false “threats” allegedly posed by Fitzpatrick which had, in fact, never been uttered.
Screenshot from The Fogbow’s “Forum,” where the group’s direct involvement in staging the “Madisonville Hoax” was discussed. The text reads, “Mayor Watson confirmed that they are working towards Fitzpatrick”
Despite mainstream news reports which failed to interview eyewitnesses, there were no threats made, confrontations with law enforcement, or arrests effected on April 20. Law enforcers had been present in an unusual showing that day of approximately 100 combined FBI, TBI, local police, sheriffs’ deputies, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and a sniper team on the roof of the courthouse. However, an affidavit from an FBI agent signed six days later stated that “at least a dozen” individuals were armed and planned to “take over the courthouse” with Darren Huff as their ringleader.
Huff’s arrest ten days later was based on the agent‘s “personal knowledge and observations” despite the agent’s second-hand account, lack of identification of law enforcement officers upon whose information he reportedly relied, and incorrect date and location of some of the events described.
Darren Huff has been incarcerated since October 18, 2011, when the jury found him guilty on one of the two counts with which he was charged. The jury initially acquitted Huff on one charge and produced a “hung” verdict on the other but was advised by Judge Thomas Varlan to “try again,” after which it produced a “guilty” verdict.
Since at least 2009, the federal government has been applying extra scrutiny to Second Amendment advocates, Christians, military veterans, members of various Tea Party groups, traditional marriage supporters, and “conservatives” in general as evidenced by the IRS, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI and Department of Justice. White male veterans appear to be a specific target.
Huff is white, male, Christian, veteran, pro-Second Amendment citizen and member of the Oathkeepers, which has been demonized by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC works in concert with the Obama regime to marginalize Americans who ascribe to some of the above beliefs and value systems.
Our interview with Looman follows.
FORMER SERGEANT OF MARINES WILLIAM LOOMAN
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you hear that anyone would be carrying guns illegally or with the intent to do harm on April 20?
MR. LOOMAN: No. Darren and I both knew that we would be carrying weapons because we both held legal conceal-carry permits and we have reciprocity. To be frank with you, I don’t go anywhere without a weapon, whether it’s Wal-Mart or Madisonville, TN.
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you recall what time you arrived in Madisonville?
MR. LOOMAN: Not off the top of my head; it was three years ago. It was in the morning, and I was about 30 minutes behind Darren when he got pulled over. I had been on the cell phone with him. I was about ten minutes behind him at one point, and then I pulled over, remembering that I had two five-gallon diesel jugs in the back of my truck that were empty. To eliminate the possibility, if there were law enforcement there (and I didn’t know that there would be) of them thinking that I was coming in to do something stupid, I pulled off an exit and got rid of the diesel cans in a dumpster about 20 miles outside of Madisonville. I didn’t want the local populace or officers or whoever thinking that I was coming in to burn down something. So I ended up 30 minutes behind him, and I was on the phone coming off the exit from I-75, and he said, “Hey, I have to go; I’m being pulled over.”
So I said, “OK,” and I hung up. That’s when I called Carl Swensson, who I had met before. I knew he was going to be in the area. He pulled over and took video of the traffic stop. He told me that the officers actually were approaching him and driving around him as he was taking the video, and he felt intimidated.
THE POST & EMAIL: I remember receiving a call from Carl after Darren was stopped. How long did you spend talking to Carl?
MR. LOOMAN: About 15-20 minutes. By the time I pulled off the same exit, they had just wrapped up their discussion and released Darren. He had been sitting there for a few minutes and called me back and said, “They cut me loose and had no problem with me.” At the time, he knew his rights; he knew he was allowed to carry; he told them that he had weapons. They asked him to secure those weapons in another part of the vehicle, and he did that, and they basically let him proceed.
THE POST & EMAIL: We know for a fact that he drove to Madisonville.
MR. LOOMAN: I know he did, because I followed him there.
THE POST & EMAIL: So at that point, you caught up to him. Did you literally follow him into Madisonville?
MR. LOOMAN: Yes. Not only did I follow him, but there were at least two police cars following me. I told Darren, “Observe that speed limit, do not swerve; go straight there.” So I followed him until there was a left turn into Madisonville. I forget the name of the road. At point he pulled over. Then he and the guy who was with him got out, and I got out. Then Darren said, “I want my flags.” He had “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, and he had just gotten done putting “Oathkeepers” all over his truck in vinyl yellow lettering; it was a beautiful truck. He wanted to set it off with some flags. So we took three-quarter-inch conduit to make it easy to put them up and down. It was more for show.
We eased into Madisonville and Darren parked his truck on the corner in a parking space near Donna’s Old Towne Cafe. So he had it displayed out there. People saw the truck; they loved it; they wanted pictures of him beside it and of them with him beside it, and Darren was eating it up. They were all civilians; I don’t think anybody was posing as a civilian but actually was law enforcement. I’ve been to a lot of rallies and done a lot of public speaking, and I think I can tell the difference now.
THE POST & EMAIL: What happened from the moment Darren exited his truck to the moment he left Madisonville?
MR. LOOMAN: I had parked my vehicle, which had an Oathkeepers logo on it, and then he and I went into the cafe, as we were running late. There were other supporters of Walt there saying that the hearing was either almost over or over, I’m not sure which. Because we were running late, we just kind-of hung out there. Carl was there, and I said, “He almost got arrested just coming in to town,” and we talked about how overwhelming the security was.
After being ten years in the Marine Corps and going to numerous events, I can say that they way overstepped.
THE POST & EMAIL: Why do you think there was such a large police presence?
MR. LOOMAN: Walt is very much a political activist, and my personal opinion is that he touched a nerve in the good old boys’ system when he became refocused on what was happening locally. When he did that, he started rooting out dirt.
THE POST & EMAIL: How many law enforcement people would you say were there?
MR. LOOMAN: Counting the ones in the helicopters, I’d say about 60.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did they seem to be in pursuit of someone?
MR. LOOMAN: No, ma’am.
THE POST & EMAIL: What were they doing there?
MR. LOOMAN: There were SUVs parked around the main courthouse. A couple of helicopters were flying over; there were guards at the courthouse and two at the main door of the courthouse. There was a lot of traffic, and a lot of police were cruising around. The Sons of Liberty was represented there; Oathkeepers was represented there by Darren and me. I also saw two individuals in woodland pattern who were unshaven, kind-of scruffy-looking, who for all I know could have been cops or militia. My first impression was, “These cops need to watch that guy,” or “These cops need to watch this guy.” They were walking around with a “don’t-see-me” attitude which was very obvious. But I didn’t see anybody with weapons.
I was seeing just the cops, who were strategically-placed in case something happened at the main courthouse. I still don’t know where Walt’s hearing was or how many cops were there. The cops were all over where we were, which was a logical location for a hit. That’s where there was a lot presence, and I saw the two helicopters which were different models and marked differently. What I saw there was, in my opinion, people waiting in case something were to happen and they were there as a backup force to react in case something happened at the hearing building. A lot of them were in SUVs. There were a couple of cops inside the cafe. There was one officer that a local identified as a jailer, and he actually rubbed up against Darren Huff with an attitude, and Darren just kind-of blew him off.
THE POST & EMAIL: Would you characterize the jailer as looking for trouble?
MR. LOOMAN: Yes.
THE POST & EMAIL: But Darren let it go?
MR. LOOMAN: Yes, he let it roll off his back. He was reliving what happened when he was stopped, talking about Oathkeepers and a little bit of religion. So he was kind-of a showman at that stage.
THE POST & EMAIL: When you said the two scruffy-looking men could have been “militia,” what does that mean?
MR. LOOMAN: They appeared to be militia, but for all I know, they could have been cops. As a Marine and one who is used to wearing the uniform, their uniforms were unkempt. If anything, I’d say they were “wash-’n’-wear” militia.
Militias have been given a negative connotation since the Oklahoma City bombing. To this day, in my opinion, it’s another way of saying “racist” to strike fear in the hearts of some uninformed people. Obviously, they weren’t there to start an incident, and they weren’t in large numbers. They weren’t marching in and brandishing weapons, but they may have been there to support Walt and civil rights. I know a lot of militia, a lot of Oathkeepers, a lot of Sons of Liberty, and they are very honorable people who don’t want to start anything. But if a fight is started, they won’t back off, either. The two I saw, if they were militia, were just walking around the neighborhood in support of Darren in case something happened.
THE POST & EMAIL: How long were you in the cafe?
MR. LOOMAN: At least a couple of hours. As a joke, I said, “Let’s go buy ‘em biscuits.” So we bought biscuits at the cafe, put them in a bag, and tried to hand them to what looked like federal agents kitty-corner across the street, but they refused them. So we took the bag and handed them to the guards and the local boys at the courthouse. They look like they eat well. They grabbed ‘em up and took ‘em inside. It was my way of trying to calm things down. They made sure they got a good look at me, and I wanted to get a good look at them, and I wanted to give them the proper body language so they would know we weren’t a threat. They could see that none of us were packing concealed; none of us had our weapons on us.
THE POST & EMAIL: After the two hours, did everybody decide to break and go home?
MR. LOOMAN: Walt was released, and he came over and met with us at the cafe. After talking to him and the crowd was leaving, Darren and I decided that we needed to move on. We had actually gotten a call from someone that Stewart Rhodes, the head of Oathkeepers, was going to be in Knoxville. So I said, “Let’s go to Knoxville and meet Stewart Rhodes.” He’s the one who founded Oathkeepers. The president of the Tennessee Oathkeepers, who was also a board member, was going to be there; he was also a Marine – a Marine sniper.
THE POST & EMAIL: Were they going to be speaking to a group that night?
MR. LOOMAN: They were actually having an Oathkeepers meeting that night. Stewart happened to be in town visiting the president of the Tennessee chapter, and they caught wind of what was going on down there, because we had corresponded back and forth. Stewart, Rand, Darren and I met in the parking lot in back of the Cracker Barrel restaurant before the meeting. He had the misconception that our being involved in Madisonville might embarrass him in some way or create a flash point. At the same time, the day before, the group was gathering in support of an armed rally on the Virginia border, next to DC. Stewart Rhodes and the Oathkeepers have been under attack from the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] for years.
THE POST & EMAIL: I’ve seen that on their website.
MR. LOOMAN: So they’re always doing damage control, trying not to embarrass themselves. He was worried that the name would get out, that some Oathkeepers were involved in the situation with Walt, and that it would embarrass them if things went south.
THE POST & EMAIL: But nothing happened?
MR. LOOMAN: No. Even the Sons of Liberty who were there – one of them said, “If I had known it was going to this stupid, I would have pulled my weapon out and put it on my side.” But nothing happened; there were no weapons presented. I can’t say it enough, to be honest with you. I was confused about this whole thing…I thought Darren was arrested on April 30 for what was happening on April 30.
THE POST & EMAIL: The affidavit says nothing about the 30th; I have a hard copy here. It says that he drove to Madisonville on April 20, 2010 with the intent to cause a civil disturbance with his firearms. District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb is quoted as having said, “It was the tensest day we ever had.”
MR. LOOMAN: They created a scenario which made them tense and overstepped their budget. I’m going to use an analogy: I’m home and it’s 3:00 a.m., and my wife isn’t home yet. There are two things that would go through my mind: either she’s cheating on me, or she’s been in a wreck. And I would be wound up like a banjo string when she pulls up in the driveway and I find out that it was just a flat.
That’s what they did to themselves; there was no intent. Darren popped off because he’s a showman. I told this to the FBI. He is all talk. He’s a Navy veteran who may or may not be impressed with Marines. I told them, “You don’t have to worry about Darren. He is harmless unless he’s been trained by somebody – and he has not been trained by anybody.” Darren’s primary focus is to get the Word of God out. People always fear the conversation about the Word of God.
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you have any idea what gave Monroe County the idea that they had to call such a heavy police presence that day?
MR. LOOMAN: I’m going to be honest: I think Darren popped off at the mouth. He’s a showman; I can’t reiterate that enough.
THE POST & EMAIL: When do you think he might have said something that would have caused concern?
MR. LOOMAN: From what the agents told me – and I kind-of rolled my eyes and said to myself, “What an idiot” – that he had made a statement in a bank to a friend of his that ended up not being such a good friend, that he was intending, with help, to go up and perform the citizens’ arrests, and he had warrants in hand, that Walt Fitzpatrick had not been able to perform.
So that’s why on the night before he got a visit from his FBI friend – he had one FBI friend – and the reason I know that that guy showed up was his wife was in a panic and sent me the guy’s number and said, “You need to talk to this guy. My husband isn’t a bad guy,” and she gave me his number. Then I put his number on the internet and said, “This is happening; this is the FBI agent’s number,” and I made him famous. The reason I know that is that when I had my visit from the FBI, they said, “Here’s our number; do not put it on the internet. Do we have your word?” and I said, “I will not put it on the internet. You don’t want to be famous like that guy, do you?” (laughs)
THE POST & EMAIL: Did Darren describe the FBI agent’s visit to you at all?
MR. LOOMAN: We talked on the phone after he got the visit, and I told him, “Don’t worry about it; just chill out; they’re just checking you out, and they’re well within their duties to do so.” Then we talked about it over the next few days, because after I got my visit, I had to tell him what I said. So, yes, we discussed it. Keep in mind: the whole time, I was trying to do two things: I was trying to calm Darren down a little bit, and he knows this, because I told him he needed to back up and readjust how you present yourself. At the same time, I was trying to recruit Darren because he’s a very good speaker, very eloquent; he can get his point across if he is focused on one topic.
THE POST & EMAIL: What were you trying to get him to be a spokesman for?
MR. LOOMAN: I was trying to get him to be a spokesman for Oathkeepers. He was good at it. With a shave, he would have definitely impressed a lot of people at a lot of speaking engagements. He would have been a poster boy for Oathkeepers if he had taken guidance on how he should present himself. For any speaking engagement I get stuck with, I always get out the things I do that I think are important: taking care of family and getting to know your neighbors, working from the neighborhood out for protection. There’s nobody out here who can guarantee the position of being the one riding George Washington’s horse. You shouldn’t be looking for notoriety; you shouldn’t be looking for grandeur; you should be trying to protect what’s home. If you end up stuck as an elected politician, you consider it an honor, or if you end up being the general in a revolution, you consider it an honor, or if you end up being the guy who jumps on a hand grenade to save his platoon’s life, it should be an honor. But Darren seemed to be in pursuit of notoriety, and I think that’s mostly what got him in trouble. It wasn’t his skill set; it wasn’t that he wasn’t abiding by the law, because when the cops told him, “Please put his stuff away and lock it up,” he did it immediately. He told me to do the same with mine; I had two weapons in my vehicle. Out of courtesy, not because it was unlawful, I secured my weapons and I did not carry.
THE POST & EMAIL: And you were not arrested.
MR. LOOMAN: I wasn’t arrested. Marines are a little better trained than Navy, and we know our skill set. Locking a weapon up, you know that you need to secure your skill.
THE POST & EMAIL: Are you accustomed to carrying all the time?
MR. LOOMAN: Yes, I’m always carrying. My wife carries; I carry; most of my neighborhood carries; most of my county carries, just as a carpenter would carry a hammer.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did the FBI interview you before April 20 or after?
MR. LOOMAN: It was a few days after but before Darren’s arrest.
THE POST & EMAIL: [Which was April 30.]
MR. LOOMAN: I have the agent’s name. My sheriff wouldn’t let them come to my house, so we met at a local truck stop and they ate. They asked me if I perceived Darren as a threat and they wanted to know if he was a member of the militia, and he was; he was a chaplain in the militia here in Georgia. They wanted to know his background, how we met; they wanted to know if I knew anything about his training. With a lot of the questions, they wanted to know my opinion of Darren: “Do you think Darren would do this or that? Does Darren have a propensity for violence?” – those kinds of things.
One guy – I’ll call him “Mike” – was the older gentleman who was playing “good cop” and throwing out those questions, and the younger one – I’ll call him “College Boy,” was the one taking all the notes. They sat there and ate. I didn’t eat; I sat there and drank some sweet tea. Mike told me about his roles; he said he had cancer. They went through a series of questions, and I knew where they were going. They were trying to get me to say that Darren was a nut-bag and was going to shoot people. They gently guided me through questions, and I never gave them an indication that that would be the case.
THE POST & EMAIL: And was that because you did not believe that he would?
MR. LOOMAN: I don’t think he had it in him, to be honest with you. If Darren was sitting in the house and somebody came in his house, he would not hesitate to eliminate that threat. But honestly, I think the only thing he’s aggressive about is trying to recruit for God. I say this because he’s been over at my house, and I said, “Dude, you’re preaching to the choir,” because he was trying to talk my wife into a version of Christianity she was already a member of.
THE POST & EMAIL: So he likes to talk.
MR. LOOMAN: He loves to talk, and he’s very structured. He doesn’t realize that he’s talking to somebody who is a Christian, who believes in God, because all the time he’s so focused on recruiting.
THE POST & EMAIL: Perhaps he feels that that’s his mission.
MR. LOOMAN: I honestly think that is the perfect way of saying it. It’s probably his calling, and wherever he’s at, he’s going to find an audience.
THE POST & EMAIL: At that point, Darren was not arrested. Did you get the idea that they already suspected him of having committed a crime?
MR. LOOMAN: No. I got the,e idea that they were focused on that he was going to commit a crime and they wanted some indication that that was going to happen.
THE POST & EMAIL: Were you surprised when you heard that Darren Huff had been arrested?
MR. LOOMAN: Part of me was and part of me wasn’t. Part of me was surprised because I knew Darren to be of good character, but the other part of me wasn’t because Darren has a tendency to pop off at the mouth and say things that just are not true. I’m not saying Darren was lying; I’m saying that Darren was thinking that there was a possibility that he or someone would be able to complete a mission that Walt had started. That actually came from Darren. Darren and I had a number of discussions, and I was all the time trying to pull the reins back on this, saying, “Walt’s got it under control. He knows what he’s doing. Obviously he does; he has paperwork that speaks volumes about his ability to figure out this legal system; he was an officer in the Navy and a very honorable person. Even Stewart Rhodes can be critical on only one point: that some sort of paper that he should have filed to assure that the citizen’s arrest was performed correctly and that Walt overlooked. So there was one little loophole that Walt missed, in Stewart Rhodes’s opinion.
But I was constantly pulling Darren back, and even Walt sent out an email saying, “Stand down. I’ve got it under control.” But all the time, Darren was saying, “We’re going to finish this. We’re going to complete these citizens’ arrests.” I used Athens, TN as an example, when the World War II vets came back. I said, “You have to let the neighborhood take care of the neighborhood. If there’s corruption, you identify it and bring it out, but the community that actually lives there has to act on it.”
But he did want to, all the time, finish the citizens’ arrests. I think when he saw Walt get arrested, he was a little traumatized and he wanted to finish the arrests, and I was pulling him back.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did Darren ever mention bringing firearms with the purpose of completing the citizens’ arrests or doing anything violent?
MR. LOOMAN: No, ma’am.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you attend Darren’s federal trial in October 2011?
MR. LOOMAN: No, ma’am, because I wasn’t invited. I fully expected to have a subpoena served. As a matter of fact, a close friend of mine who is also an activist named John Bigham was served, and he testified. This is not a small circle; this is a big circle. We happened to interact in a way that has put everybody together. John was served, and he testified, and he got a little aggressive on the stand, which I’m sure did not go over well from what he told me.
But I fully expected to be there. Think about it: I had already been to the event and was there on April 20. I haven’t brought this up, but about five days before, I went up there with Darren. We did a video interview with Walt where Walt started talking and there was a lot of traffic going through; it’s a really good video. Then we went up on April 20, and you always want to know what is going on. I fully expected to be there testifying because I could have answered questions such as “Did Darren sneak out the window?” to which I would have said, “Well, Darren is kind-of big, and the window is kind-of small.”
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you and Darren leave town together?
MR. LOOMAN: Yes. We weren’t in the same vehicle; I was 20-30 feet behind him in my vehicle, and then we went to Knoxville.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did you ever hear Darren say the words “take over the courthouse?”
MR. LOOMAN: No. To add to that, there is no way, based on what I have read on the internet or been provided by Walt Fitzpatrick, that that officer who swore out the affidavit who said he witnessed Darren at that building is telling the truth, because he was with me. The officer is lying and in my opinion, is an oath-breaker.
THE POST & EMAIL: He’s an FBI agent named Mark van Balen, and he said that his statements were second-hand and gleaned from unnamed public officials. He also stated that “at least a dozen individuals” were walking around the courthouse armed, but he doesn’t name any of them, either.
MR. LOOMAN: The only armed individuals who were concealing and in plain sight with weapons were law enforcement. Even the militia guys I spoke of earlier, I looked, and I looked hard, had no concealed bulges in their uniforms.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did those two men ever resurface before you left Madisonville?
MR. LOOMAN: No, and I’ve been to 20 speaking engagements across seven or eight states and have not seen them there. As time goes on, it makes me wonder if they were just dressed-up agents trying to look like the public’s vision of a militia. If they want to know what a militia guy looks like, then the NSA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security need to hire me and I’ll teach ‘em. (laughs)
The militia members I know are decked out; they all have a presence; most of them have prior service; some of them are current. Some of them just want to be patriotic. For the most part, they have a military presence about them that Walt smells; I smell; even Darren will smell or can sense. Those guys almost looked like homeless guys – wash-n-wear – they weren’t kept. It’s the difference between the Santa Claus at J.C. Penney’s and the real Santa Claus.
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you remember when you heard that Darren was convicted?
MR. LOOMAN: It was the day he was convicted.
THE POST & EMAIL: Have you heard from Darren at all since he’s been in prison?
MR. LOOMAN: No, ma’am. My opinion is that Darren is falsely accused. I think the officers blatantly lied to create an event so that they would have something to point at and say, “Look, this is how bad the conservatives are.” You know how many Tea Party events there are; there’s one going on right now. There isn’t going to be any violence or litter unless the other side comes unglued. But they needed a poster child to convict Darren; that’s my opinion.
I’ll tell you this: Darren was convicted of a thought crime that a Marine was holding him back on. And even if I wasn’t holding him back, I don’t think he would have been volatile. I don’t think he would have done anything other than look for Walt’s guidance. If Walt had said, “Step back, sailor,” he would have stepped back.
Editor’s Notes: Looman told The Post & Email that Huff was not a “Sovereign Citizen” because he paid taxes, had operated a business with a license, carried a driver’s license and registered his vehicles according to the law prior to his incarceration. “True “Sovereigns” don’t do those things,” Looman said.
Carl Swensson, who was present in Madisonville on April 20 and a witness for the prosecution at Huff’s trial told The Post & Email:
Prosecuting attorney Will Mackey [sic]…appeared extremely ineffective…as he, time after time, attempted to show that those in attendance on April 20th were wild eyed, crazy conspiracy theorists…
However, this case is no laughing matter as it will set precedence for future “Thought Crimes” prosecutions.
© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.
Article printed from The Post & Email: http://www.thepostemail.com
Monday, 24 June 2013
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Darren Huff: Obama’s Political Prisoner pb
Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Friday, June 21, 2013 @ 10:11 AM In National | 2 Comments
CONVICT OF “COURTHOUSE TAKEOVER” PLOT NOT WHERE GOVERNMENT SAID HE WAS
by Sharon Rondeau
Darren Wesley Huff was convicted of planning to engage in a civil disturbance with firearms on October 18, 2011. Despite an FBI agent’s affidavit stating that Huff was outside the courthouse on April 20, 2010, the government never presented photos or video of the alleged event and lied to a federal grand jury in order to obtain indictments against him.
(Jun. 21, 2013) — For more than three years, The Post & Email has reported on corruption in eastern Tennessee as exposed by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, following his filing of a criminal complaint for treason against Barack Hussein Obama on March 17, 2009.
The accusation of treason stemmed from Obama’s approval of the dispatching of U.S. Army troops into Samson, AL to perform civilian police duties after a shooting, in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. The Army Inspector General affirmed several months later that the law had, in fact, been violated.
Fitzpatrick first took the complaint to the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC and then to his local grand jury in Monroe County, TN. After several months of delay, the foreman refused to allow the grand jury to review it. During that time, Fitzpatrick discovered that the foreman had occupied the post for nearly 28 years in violation of state law.
On April 1, 2010, after having approached every possible local, state and federal official about the foreman’s illegal occupation of the post to ask for assistance, Fitzpatrick attempted to carry out a citizen’s arrest of the foreman. Instead, however, Judge Carroll Lee Ross ordered Fitzpatrick arrested, and he spent five days in jail. Two months later, the Monroe County grand jury indicted Fitzpatrick on “riot,” “intimidation,” and other charges. The acting grand jury foreman who signed the indictments had served a previous term on a Tennessee jury, which also violated the law.
The Tennessee General Assembly is aware of the entrenched grand jury foremen but has taken no definitive action to rein in the rogue judges who appoint them year after year, sometimes for decades. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department; detectives; local judiciary, including court personnel; and town officials have been known unequivocally to lie and break the law.
An assignment hearing for Fitzpatrick was scheduled for April 20, 2010. After hearing of Fitzpatrick’s arrest the heavy-handed and corrupt practices of the local government, concerned citizens from several states, some from considerable distances, traveled to Madisonville to observe the hearing. One of those was Darren Huff, who lived in Georgia. As a matter of course, he brought his legally-owned firearms with him and traveled with a passenger that morning.
Most of those who arrived to observe the hearing were not allowed to enter the courtroom, having been turned away by sheriffs’ deputies armed with assault weapons at the door. On that morning, more than 100 FBI and TBI agents, local police, county sheriffs’ deputies and Tennessee Highway Patrolmen were positioned at entrances and exits to Madisonville as well as around the courthouse, including a sniper team on the roof and a SWAT team with bomb-sniffing dogs. The media and public were told that a “takeover” of the courthouse had been planned and thwarted by the presence of the lawmen, but in reality, no such plot had ever been formulated.
Huff had been visited on the evening of April 19 by the FBI and explained to them why he planned to travel to Madisonville the next day. The agents did not tell Huff not to go.
William L. Bryan, founder of “The Fogbow,” an Obama-supporter site, said online that he was responsible for getting “more than 100 cops ready for Cdr. Walt Fitzpatrick, when he showed up on April 20 with a group of armed men who thought they’d take over the Monroe County courthouse.” But there were no “armed men,” and the hearing lasted only a few minutes without incident. There were journalists present in Madisonville that day, but their television footage did not indicate that anyone had been apprehended, arrested, or cited for carrying a firearm near the courthouse. There were no arrests.
To date, the government has produced no video footage or photographs of anyone committing a crime in Madisonville on April 20, 2010, despite the presence of multiple pole cameras placed in strategic places by Monroe County jail inmates the day before.
A man identifying himself as a “White House attorney” was associated with The Fogbow in September 2010 and possibly much longer. After the IRS’s targeting of “conservative” groups which had applied for non-profit status became public several weeks ago, ABC News reported that “there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS was doing, but authorized it.”
Significantly prior to the exposure of corruption within numerous departments run by the Executive Branch of the federal government this spring, Fitzpatrick had stated that the plan to frame Huff and him “goes right into the White House.”
The Post & Email submitted a FOIA request in March 2012 to obtain documentation from the FBI on the large officer deployment of April 20, 2010 in Madisonville but was refused after an initial search reportedly turned up no responsive documents. Two subsequent appeals were denied on the basis of “privacy.”
On April 30, 2010 ten days after Fitzpatrick’s hearing in Madisonville, Darren Huff was arrested on two federal firearms charges stemming from an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Mark van Balen on April 26, 2010. In the affidavit, Van Balen states, “On April 20, 2010, your affiant was present in a Command Post in Madisonville, TN, where he was informed by law enforcement officers who were reporting that HUFF and several individuals were in the possession of openly displayed and concealed firearms and were at the time present outside the Madison [sic] County General Sessions Court located in the Beecher Witt Government Building. HUFF and numerous others had also been observed gathering at restaurants and other locations near the Madison [sic] County Courthouse. Some of these persons gathered outside the Courthouse appeared to be conducting surveillance on law enforcement officers, their vehicles, and police observation posts, as well as the entrances to the court building.”
However, according to eyewitness William R. Looman, who was in Darren Huff’s company from the time he entered Madisonville to the time they left together, Huff was never present at the R. Beecher Witt building. Looman’s account that no civilian was seen carrying a gun, concealed or openly, agrees with sworn affidavits from other eyewitnesses that day and refutes Van Balen’s statement on page 8 which reads, “Your affiant knows that on April 20, 2010, there were over a dozen armed members of this loose knit group who had assembled with the stated intent to effect the citizens arrest warrants that had been issued by FITZPATRICK and/or take over the courthouse if it was deemed necessary.”
In August 2012, three of the officials who had testified against Huff were named by The Chattanooga Times Free Press as under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Tennessee Attorney General’s office, and the Office of the State Comptroller. The Times Free Press ran a six-day series exposing allegations of misconduct on the part of Tenth Judicial District Attorney General R. Steven Bebb, which included accusations of grand jury influence by a prosecutor in Bebb’s office who also happened to pursue a charge against Fitzpatrick last year.
After the attorney general declared that Bebb’s and others’ conduct did not amount to criminal wrongdoing, members of the Tennessee legislature took up the probe upon the demand of citizens who were not satisfied with the state’s investigation.
Two eyewitnesses in Madisonville on April 20, 2010 told The Post & Email afterward that they observed officers taking photographs of the license plates of those who had traveled to attend the hearing. One eyewitness said that when she stopped to refuel her car and purchase some coffee on the trip home from Madisonville, she believed she was being followed based on odd behavior and remarks exhibited by a stranger. She also thought it unusual that she and her husband were audited by the IRS for the second time in several years and was told that “about half” of those who had attended Fitzpatrick’s hearing were also audited by the IRS afterward.
On June 6, The Washington Post began to publish information provided by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, who revealed that the NSA under Obama conducts data-mining of virtually, if not all, American citizens when the NSA’s stated mission is to gather information from foreign countries to prevent attacks on the United States.
In October 2011, Huff was acquitted on one charge with a hung jury on the other, after which Judge Thomas Varlan ordered them to resume deliberations and “try again.” A “guilty” finding was then produced on the charge of “transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder.” Huff was sentenced in May of last year to four years in federal prison plus two years’ probation.
Despite Obama’s claimed public support of the Second Amendment, his regime has made considerable effort to change federal firearms practices by issuing “executive actions,” thereby circumventing Congress.
The office of U.S. Attorney William C. Killian of the Eastern District of Tennessee prosecuted Huff. Killian was nominated by Obama in 2010 and was the keynote speaker at the opening of a controversial mosque in Chattanooga, TN last August.
On June 4, 2013, Killian spoke at an event focused on “civil rights” of Muslims in Manchester, TN after having told the press that anyone posting derogatory comments or photos about Islam could be “subject to federal jurisdiction.” His presentation to the Muslim group was roundly criticized and heavily protested by local Tea Party members and blogger/author Pamela Geller, who has written extensively on what she perceives to be the dangers of Islam in America and to the world. The Tea Partiers booed Killian and Knoxville FBI Director Kenneth Moore, who delivered their remarks haltingly between the protesters’ shouts of disapproval.
The event earlier this month is not the first time Killian has spoken about Muslims’ civil rights.
Following Huff’s sentencing, Killian’s website proclaimed:
MILITIA EXTREMIST CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTING TO CAUSE A CIVIL DISTURBANCE WHILE ARMED
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, Darren Wesley Huff, 41, of Dallas, Georgia, was found guilty of transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder by taking over a Monroe County, Tenn., courthouse and executing “citizens arrest warrants.” Huff faces a maximum possible punishment of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As a convicted felon Huff will also be prohibited from possessing a firearm. Sentencing is scheduled for February 29, 2012, before the Honorable Thomas Varlan, U.S. District Judge.
The “citizens arrest warrants” were directed at numerous local, state and federal public officials, including sheriffs, police chiefs and United States President Barack Obama. The “citizens arrest warrants” Huff attempted to execute listed the public officials as “Declared Domestic Enemies” and cited them for treason. Huff traveled from his residence in Dallas, Georgia, on April 20, 2010, to Madisonville, Tenn., with the stated intent of “taking over” the courthouse in Monroe County, and arresting the public officials for treason. The treasonous acts Huff alleged stemmed primarily from the refusal of the Monroe County grand jury to indict President Obama, who Huff claimed was not the legitimate President of the United States. On the day of the offense, Huff carried in his vehicle a .45 caliber handgun and an AK-47 with ammunition. During a traffic stop by at Tennessee State Trooper on his way to Madisonville, Huff told the trooper, “I’ve got my .45 because ain’t no government official gonna go peacefully.”
U.S. Attorney William C. Killian commended the verdict and said he hoped it would send a strong message to those who attempt to take the law into their own hands. “Under our federal Constitution and statutes Mr. Huff and others like him can talk or write about their anti-government views. They cannot arm themselves and make threats to arrest public officials and takeover government buildings. The core of our democratic system is to allow peaceful protest, but prohibit armed threats to those who serve our government. His conviction is a great achievement by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore and Mackie and several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Their cooperative efforts resulted in this conviction, ” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Theodore and Will Mackie represented the United States.
A week following Huff’s sentencing, an FBI agent stated on a radio program, “This case is monumental to the FBI because it will set precedent for case law in future domestic terrorism cases throughout the United States.”
Unbeknownst to the public, beginning in 2009, Obama’s FBI had been instructed to “target” military veterans by way of programs entitled “Operation Vigilant Eagle” and “Sovereign Citizen.” Huff and Fitzpatrick were both identified as “Sovereign Citizens” in a law enforcement training program circulated nationally during the summer of 2011, just prior to Huff’s federal trial. The FBI states on its website that “Sovereigns” could include those who quote from the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. Supreme Court cases.
In April, an Army trainer in Pennsylvania was found to be teaching his students that “Christians,” and “Catholics” could be considered “religious extremists.” Christians in the military have been told they cannot discuss their faith with others under the threat of court-martial. In Northern Ireland on Monday, Obama told an audience that “segregated” Catholic and Protestant schools have “discouraged cooperation” and caused division among people. After promising the Catholic church that his health care bill would not force them to provide coverage for items they deemed immoral, Obama broke his pledge and is now attempting to force religious institutions to cover abortions and abortifacients or face hefty fines.
During the 2008 campaign, Obama made a statement about “bitter” people who “cling to guns or religion” with “antipathy towards others” out of a feeling of “betrayal by government.” Obama promised “an unprecedented level of openness in government” but has produced no documentation on himself except forgeries. His regime is currently embroiled in numerous corruption “scandals” involving intimidation tactics and subpoenas of reporters’ phone call and email records without their knowledge.
On June 19, 2013, The Post & Email interviewed Bill Looman, a former Marine of ten years, who was with Huff on April 20, 2010 in Madisonville from the time he followed Huff into Madisonville through that evening, when both men traveled to Knoxville for an Oathkeepers event.
In late 2011, Looman was interviewed by a local television station, Channel 11, because of a sign he placed on the back of his truck which said, “Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone.” At the time, Channel 11 reported that “someone, and he [Looman] thinks he knows who it was, reported him to the FBI as a threat to national security. He said the accusation filtered its way through the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and finally the Secret Service. Agents interviewed him. The Secret Service left here, they were in a good mood and laughing,” Looman said. “I got the feeling they thought it was kind of ridiculous, and a waste of their time.”
Fitzpatrick also received a visit from the Secret Service after lodging the treason complaint with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, F. Russell Dedrick, Killian’s predecessor, at the end of which one of the agents told Fitzpatrick privately, “We can’t arrest him [Obama], you know.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farah, Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney Jr., Pastor Chuck Baldwin, and “anti-government ‘Patriot’ groups” to be “extremists.” The SPLC has been an adviser to the Obama regime, and specifically, the Department of Homeland Security, which in its April 7, 2009 report stated that “returning veterans” could fall prey to “radicalization.” The SPLC deplores those who it perceives are “anti-immigrant,” “Sovereign Citizens,” “extremist,” members of “hate groups,” and “domestic terrorists,” the majority of whom are law-abiding citizens.
The SPLC’s theme of “extremist” and the 2009 DHS report contain similar language in describing “right-wing domestic terrorists” being tied to “the election of an African-American president.” The SPLC considers “anti-immigrant sentiment” to be “a hate crime.”
Looman told The Post & Email that he attended the hearing in Madisonville because he was acquainted with Huff, who had told him about the the citizen’s arrest on April 1. “We weren’t close friends at the time, but when I saw the videos going viral, it caught my interest and I wanted to help Walt however I could,” Looman said. “Neither Darren nor I knew Walt prior to the citizen’s arrest and the videos.” Looman was not present at the citizen’s arrest on April 1, 2010 but followed Huff into Madisonville on April 20, 2010, spending the entire day and evening with him.
In Looman’s sworn affidavit, he stated that he was “always within eyesight of Darren Huff” and that they spent nearly the entire time in Madisonville at Donna’s Olde Town Cafe, not at the courthouse. Therefore, Huff was not situated where the government placed him as the perpetrator of a crime.
On several occasions, Fitzpatrick has requested an opportunity to appear in front of a federal grand jury in Chattanooga or Knoxville to discuss the exculpatory evidence in Huff’s case but has been denied by U.S. Attorney William C. Killian, most recently on June 14, 2013. “The grand jury is being used as a tool against us; it’s being used to destroy our republican form of government. It’s the oversight function our founders gave us to stop tyrannical government,” Fitzpatrick said. “The government was able to convict Darren Huff because agents of the government lied to the grand jury. People who could report the truth to a grand jury are being prevented from doing so. The grand jury no longer operates as it was supposed to by the Fifth Amendment.”
Our interview with Looman on the events of April 20, 2010 in Madisonville, Tennessee will immediately follow this report (SEE FOLLOW-ON POSTING ABOVE).
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