– The Post & Email – http://www.thepostemail.com –

Fitzpatrick: “Court-Martialed for Nothing”

Posted By Sharon Rondeau On Tuesday, November 19, 2013 @ 4:45 PM In National | No Comments

FABRICATION, FALSEHOODS AND FORGERY

by Sharon Rondeau

CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III has illustrated through his own experience at court-martial that commanding officers have virtually unlimited discretion in formulating charges against a subordinate, at times using the system to retaliate against whistleblowers and others for personal and political reasons.

(Nov. 19, 2013) — CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) and The Post & Email are preparing the manuscript for a book which will detail the numerous crimes involved in his Special Court-Martial of April 1990 which produced the largest criminal cover-up in U.S. military history.  Dozens and perhaps hundreds of officers are aware of the injustice meted out to Fitzpatrick wherein a forged document continues to be maintained as authentic after more than 23 years.

From beginning to end, the process was fraught with procedural violations, dishonesty, fabrication, and finally, the forgery of Fitzpatrick’s name to a “confession” document dated 17 July 1990 which he never saw.

Fitzpatrick has described the complicity of Naval officers and the Judge Advocate General’s office as their having been “willing to destroy subordinates to protect the institution.”  Having sought redress since the court-martial concluded, Fitzpatrick has named specific individuals as criminals, including his former defense attorney.  None will speak on the record or have filed a lawsuit against Fitzpatrick for defamation.  Had they done so, Fitzpatrick would be entitled to discovery in his own defense.

After having been missing for almost a year, Judge Advocate General Inspector General Capt. Rand Pixa reported that he discovered the original court-martial record.  Capt. Pixa alerted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the next day, NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen discovered the original of the criminal forgery.  At that time, Allen discovered other documents in the original record of court-martial that matched the forgery.  Because of the matching documents, defense counsel Kevin Martis “Andy” Anderson was named as the primary suspect in the forgery.

Three months prior, on September 5, 1997, Fitzpatrick had gone to the Pentagon to speak with TJAG John Hutson about the forgery in his file.  Although blocked from speaking with Hutson directly, according to Fitzpatrick, Hutson called the NCIS director, who told NCIS Deputy Director Ernie Simon, “This forgery is real; we have a problem on our hands.”  Simon then generated a memo to various parties reflecting that conversation which said that if the forgery could be proved, “it makes the Navy look really, really bad” (see memo below).

The American taxpayer continues to pay for corruption and abuse within the U.S. military as well as a system of “justice” which is not constitutionally-based, but rather, emerged from the British Articles of War.

Many segments of the Fitzpatrick saga which will be incorporated into the book have appeared at The Post & Email with supporting documents released by the Navy in response to dozens of FOIA requests submitted over more than a decade following the sham proceeding.

The forgery remains in both Fitzpatrick’s service record and Record of Court-Martial.

Fitzpatrick describes the military system of “justice” as a function of commandand describes the proceedings against him asa vendettaconducted 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

Page 2

Page 3

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 BasinBefore 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.

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


Article printed from The Post & Email: http://www.thepostemail.com

URL to article: http://www.thepostemail.com/2013/11/19/fitzpatrick-court-martialed-for-nothing/

The Post & Email – http://www.thepostemail.com 

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

© 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/