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Fitzpatrick Court-Martial: Crime and Punishment of the Innocent

Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 2:31 PM

PEOPLE IN “POWERFUL” POSITIONS CHOSE COVER-UP RATHER THAN CONFRONTATION

by Sharon Rondeau

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.”

BITOFF LETTER TO NORM DICKS – 30 APRIL 1999

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 manJudge 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.

© 2013, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.


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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

by Sharon Rondeau

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 Corpshistory.”

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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Fitzpatrick: Navy “Willing to Destroy Subordinates to Protect the Institution”

Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Wednesday, September 25, 2013 @ 10:30 PM In National |

A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE”

by Sharon Rondeau

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.

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Culture of Arrogance, Corruption Mars U.S. Navy Officers for Decades

Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Saturday, September 21, 2013 @ 3:34 PM In National 

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 GeneraNanette 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.


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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

Admiral Zlatoper,

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.

No joy.

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.”

Always.

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

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