Introduction: Anatomy of a Court-Martial

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by Sharon Rondeau

The Joint Service Color Guard is part of the U.S. Special Operations Command and comprises members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force

(Sept. 28, 2010) — Lt. Commander Walter Fitzpatrick contacted The Post & Email out of his stated concern for Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who is scheduled to be court-martialed next month as a result of his refusal to follow orders on the grounds that Barack Hussein Obama does not meet the constitutional eligibility requirements to serve as commander-in-chief of the military.

As of 2:00 p.m. on September 27, 2010, Lakin’s defense team announced a new development in his case:

We have now filed our Petition for a Writ of Mandamus in the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, but the trial court is going to proceed with a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) as scheduled.

However, Fitzpatrick has stated that military courts-martial are “rigged” against the defendant with no appeal process, and that in his case, the accuser and prosecutor were one and the same, in violation of proper procedure.  He claims that “forgery has been proved” in regard to a “confession” document which was produced and put in his file (shown below) and that military commanders up to and including Admiral Michael Mullen are aware of  but have taken no steps to correct the injustice which he was dealt 21 years ago.

According to Fitzpatrick, “The official Navy-Marine Corps position remains undisturbed.”

The following is the first of a series of reports which The Post & Email will be publishing in regard to Cdr. Fitzpatrick’s court-martial, how his experience relates to Lt. Col. Lakin’s upcoming court-martial, and finally, how the absence of a jury trial within the military justice system has been imposed on the civilian population by the government takeover and/or abolition of Fifth Amendment-guaranteed grand juries.

CDR. FITZPATRICK: I was court-martialed in 1990.  The information that I was able to come into possession of is absolutely nothing but earth-shattering, and it’s nothing but a miracle that I actually obtained it.

MRS. RONDEAU: Does this have anything to do with Col. William Winthrop?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: Yes.  It’s because of what happened to me that I learned about William Winthrop.  I needed to find out what happened to me.  I didn’t understand how an innocent man could be brought through this court-martial process and handled in the way that I was.  So that began my study of William Winthrop.  I’ve read a lot. I’m not bragging; I’m just saying I read a lot, and Winthrop is a very small part of it.

I put together the documentation I have which now totals over 60 folders.  The story was so enormous that Norm Dicks, the congressman from Washington state (they call him the “third senator of Washington state”) who has been there since Moby-Dick was a minnow and since before I was a plebe at the Naval Academy, came in and spiked it.  Norm Dicks is a monster.  He and Patty Murray are both poster children for all things related to how a court-martial is rigged.

I’m going to give you the high points.  Each of the folders has on its front an executive brief, and when you open it up, you can read my main point.  I wrote a letter on the right-hand side of each folder explaining the documents; everything is there.   It is as if I were briefing a general.

My court-martial was held before the show trial, behind closed doors.  It happened on the 12th of October, and the men who were my accusers were John Bitoff, an admiral and the convening authority, and the other guy was Tim Zeller, who was the staff JAG working for Bitoff.  These two men rigged the entire court-martial process, from beginning to end.  They picked my defense counsel.  His name is Kevin Anderson. Anderson is working as a deputy prosecutor in Kitsap County, Washington state tonight, where I moved from three years ago.

On the 12th of October, Bitoff, Zeller, another officer named Paul Romanski and a guy named Capt. Mike Edwards got together and held my court-martial behind closed doors.  I was pronounced guilty in writing before anything else happened.   The two men who were my accusers were the two men who ran the court-martial.  Even in the military discipline system, you can’t do that.

One of the things that these men did was to threaten a civilian with a court-martial if he didn’t cooperate with John Bitoff and Zeller.  They approached a civilian and said, “We’re going to court-martial you if you don’t cooperate with us.”  Do you understand how extraordinarily powerful what I just said is?

MRS. RONDEAU: I believe so.

CDR. FITZPATRICK: That’s like your getting a phone call in the middle of the night from a Navy admiral saying, “Sharon, we have information that you are connected to a court-martial process.  We’re court-martialing this officer, and we know that you have information, and if you don’t cooperate with us, we’re going to court-martial you.  There was no criminal act.

MRS. RONDEAU: Of what were you accused?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: I was the executive officer of the USS Mars combat store ship. We were a floating naval supply center.  We had everything from microchips (micro-miniature repair parts) to jet aircraft engines; 10,000 pounds-worth of gear.  We carried all of that on our ship, and when other ships needed things, including groceries, they came to us.  We were the supply center.

My captain was a man named Mike Nordeen, and his brother was murdered in a car bomb attack by November 17th.  We sent people to the funeral.  I was court-martialed for “stealing” the money that was used for that funeral trip.  Not a single penny went into my pocket.  Everything was made up because I was the kind of officer who, if I had been promoted to senior rank, would have been causing trouble about the types of things that you and I are both discussing today.  Bitoff is a political animal.  I told you about the “Courtney Massengills” of the world, the court-martial people, the guys who climb on the backs of the people?  John Bitoff is one of those kinds of guys.

One case in the military discipline system can turn the entire system on its head.  It has happened over and over again.  This case of mine has been hidden for 21 years, and much of the information that I did eventually come up with was knowingly withheld from me because of its explosive nature.

MRS. RONDEAU: Why were you court-martialed?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: I had been transferred from the USS Mars to the Naval War College under orders.  I had finished my executive office tour with magnificence.  I received a 4.0 fitness report.  I got straight “As,” everything.  I have the “fit rep” and can send it to you.  It was a glowing report.  I was put in for the Meritorious Service Medal, which is the peacetime Bronze Star.  Part of what I was being commended for was the way I handled the ship as my captain had to go and attend to his brother’s remains.  We were going through refresher training at the time.  Mike Nordeen was the Naval escort to bring his brother home, and we sent a team of people with wives to escort the women in the Nordeen family to the funeral.  I was court-martialed 14 months later for “stealing the money” for that funeral.

Again, there was no crime committed.  The whole thing was nothing but a fabrication, and again, to this day, nobody can tell me what it was that I did for which I was court-martialed and then attainted.  The attorney who was assigned to me, Kevin Anderson, ended up moving to where I used to live.  We used to shop in the same stores.  At the end of all this, and because of what Bitoff and Zeller did, and because they didn’t want the information to eventually come to light and be seen, ever, they ordered Anderson to construct my confession and put it into the record.

MRS. RONDEAU: How did you find out about that?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: Through the Freedom of Information Act a little more than a year later.  After my court-martial was over, I was petitioning for records, and inadvertently, I was sent a document which bears my name and signature.  But you know what the problem was with the signature?  It’s a forgery.  My signature was forged to the confession, and the person who forged it was Kevin Anderson, working for Zeller and Bitoff.  My name is spelled wrong.  I’m Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, and I’m very proud of that.  My dad is Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, Jr., Medical Corps, U.S. Navy (Ret.).  My dad’s a war hero.  I’m Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III.  When I sign my name formally, you see a Roman numeral “III” at the end of it.  In Anderson’s forgery of my name, that Roman numeral III is missing.  Also, “Fitzpatrick” is spelled with a “t” at the end (Fitzpatrict); I spell it with a “k” at the end.  And you can see that.  It’s a clear forgery; it’s been declared a forgery over and over again.  The Navy criminal investigative team knows this.  They wrote a memo; they said, “If this proves to be a forgery, then everything else that Fitzpatrick has been saying about his court-martial is true, and it makes the Navy and the Marine Corps look really bad.”

NCIS Report dated September 5, 1997 regarding the court-martial of Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III which states, "...if you can prove the forgery, it totally supports his 10 years worth of contentions and makes the NAV look really bad."

Enlarged paragraph from NCIS memo

I’ve been following these people.  I know where Zeller is tonight; I know where Bitoff is tonight.  These people have committed a criminal act, and the Department of Defense has been trying to cover its up for 21 years. This is what Col. Lakin is walking into.

I’ve called this “The Anatomy of a Court-Martial,” and I’ve said to people, “It’s not about me, and it’s not what happened to me; it’s about how the court-martial system works.  We do not have a better example.  I have a box of materials that has more miles on it than a ’57 Plymouth.  It’s been all over the country.  People have looked at this, and they have been astounded by it.  My conviction remains undisturbed tonight, which means that Lt. Col. Lakin will never get a fair trial.

John Bitoff is my accuser.  He can’t, at the same time, be the convening authority in my court-martial.  End of story.

Zeller is my accuser; he can’t work on the case, but he did.  Behind the scenes, these two men went to a civilian and said, “If you don’t participate in this court-martial with us, we’re going to court-martial you.”  These things have never been reported.

I was in Washington, DC at the time working across the Potomac in Alexandria, and I pushed on them, and they finally started an investigation.  I had a call from an NCIS agent one day, and he said, “You know what, Walt?  We’re coming after you.  We are so g–d— ticked off at you that we are going to go out and find this forgery; we know you signed it; and then we’re going to come back and do things with it, and we’re going to lock you up, Fitzpatrick.  We’re going to call you back and lock you up.”

Well, they went and actually found the original forgery.  I can send you a copy of the certified true copy that the Navy sent to me, which is still today under seal.  There’s a cover sheet and then there’s the actual copy, the certified true copy, and they put three holes in it:  two at the top and then one at the side, and then they tied a ribbon through it.  They put a seal on the front document; they bring the ribbon up from around the back of the document, and on the front, they actually seal it, so this certified true copy is a copy of the forgery that bears my forged, misspelled name.  That means that the Navy has the original today.  And I have a memo from the NCIS that says, “If you prove forgery in this case (and the forgery has been proven), then it makes the Navy (it says “the NAV” in the memo, but it’s the Navy and the Marine Corps) look really bad,” because the guy who forged my name at the time was a captain of the United States Marines.

First page of "Confession" document which Lt. Cmdr. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III has stated bears a forged, misspelled signature on the third page

Page 2 of the "Response to Letter of Reprimand" dated 17 July 1990

Page 3 bearing the last name "Fitzpatrict"

Criminal Complaint filed against Barack Hussein Obama on March 17, 2009, signed by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III

MRS. RONDEAU: So why wasn’t he court-martialed for forging somebody’s signature?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: He was part of the rig of the court-martial.  They do this routinely.  In other words, in the eyes of the military, this Captain Anderson didn’t do anything wrong.  He followed orders.  They rig court-martials all the time.  They’re rigging Lakin.

You have the example with this Anatomy of a Court-Martial where the officer was found guilty before the court-martial process ever really got going. In the investigation stage of this, Tim Zeller wrote, “Lt. Cdr. Fitzpatrick is guilty.”  I can send you a picture of that page.

MRS. RONDEAU: It is therefore no wonder that you’ve been researching and writing about “attainder” for many years.

CDR. FITZPATRICK: Yes.  There was no jury.  And the men who attainted me are on Bitoff’s staff; they were his own staff officers.  And Bitoff was my accuser.  They can’t do that.

MRS. RONDEAU: What was their motive?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: There’s a guy named William Crowe.  Do you remember him?


CDR. FITZPATRICK: He appeared once on the television show “Cheers” playing himself.  He’s a big man.  He was  the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Navy Admiral.  Bill Crowe was a political animal, and throughout his career, three times, he had John Bitoff as his executive assistant.  John Bitoff was Bill Crowe’s “XO” three times.  That’s astounding; it doesn’t happen.  But Bill Crowe and John Bitoff were bosom buddies.  Bitoff was as much a political animal as Crowe was.  Bitoff saw that I was the kind of officer who would blow the whistle, so he needed to find a way to get me out of the military.  So this is the way that he used:  he rigged a court-martial.  If I were still on active duty today, or if I had been promoted into the Pentagon, I would have been looking at the kind of corruption that we see now today in plain view.  They saw me as a Boy Scout, as a guy who was actually going to stand behind the Constitution and defend it; where I saw corruption, I would report corruption.  I was on my way to the War College.  I was being groomed for flag rank, and Bitoff knew that.  He took me out of the game when he was able to do so, and that’s what’s been going on in the military everyplace.  You have senior officers now in command who have been groomed to be criminals.  The people who would have fought against this kind of corruption have been removed; they’ve been ostracized.

The forgery proves everything.  I have the documents where Zeller wrote it out long-hand and threatened a civilian with a court-martial.  The civilian who was put upon said, “Hey, if you want me to talk about any of this, then you’re going to have to give me immunity.”  Now why would he request immunity unless he had been threatened with a court-martial?

MRS. RONDEAU: As a civilian, how could he possibly have been court-martialed?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: But you see, he had been hoodwinked.  He didn’t know enough to say, “You can’t do this to me because I’m not in the military.”  In the memo that this attorney, this staff JAG named Zeller, wrote to Bitoff, it says, “We no longer have jurisdiction over him, but let’s do this anyway.”  What I’m telling you is that in just these two pages you have extraordinary criminal conduct on the part of a Navy admiral.  That’s martial law.  You can’t do that.  You cannot threaten a civilian with a court-martial.  We’re not even supposed to be court-martialing our own people because, as I told you, there’s no jury in a court-martial.  John Bitoff, as an admiral, threatened a civilian with a court-martial and then that threat became operative.  Brian Feeley did come in; he did testify; no big deal.  There was no crime committed, but the rig was in.  Again, the attorney working for me as my defense counsel had been assigned by Bitoff, and Bitoff had him forge my name.

So everywhere you look in this case, there is no question but that Kevin Anderson, my defense attorney, was working with Bitoff and Zeller.  So I’m trying to tell Col. Lakin, “Hey, shipmate, you’re walking into a buzz-saw.  If you think you’re going to get a fair hearing, you’re wrong.”  So when Lakin’s attorney, Paul Jensen, is talking about working on an appeal, I know about this.  No one has an appeal.

My court-martial is the most examined court-martial in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces.


CDR. FITZPATRICK: Yes.  And it’s still in place, because if what I just told you becomes public, it changes the whole dynamic about how the military discipline system works, and that’s why they’re trying to cover it up so aggressively.  But the book about this has already been written.  Regarding “The Anatomy of a Court-Martial,” all you have to do is take my name out of it and say, “This is what the military did to ‘Lt. Commander Smith’ and this court-martial stands undisturbed today.  They pronounced him guilty before anything else happened; they held his real court-martial behind closed doors and pronounced his sentence behind closed doors,” and I can prove that.  “They forged his name to a confession afterwards to cover up their work.  They threatened witnesses.”

MRS. RONDEAU: This is not to minimize what you went through, but your court-martial was not even over the possible removal of a putative president due to ineligibility.

CDR. FITZPATRICK: We can prove that the court-martial system is completely corrupt and that there is no oversight except from the military.  There’s supposed to be a civilian commander-in-chief, and now we don’t even have that.

The forgery of my name says it all, and it’s an obvious forgery.  It has been confirmed independently.  There’s no question about its being a forged document, and the Navy knows that, and the NCIS knows that.  Now tonight, the  NCIS is being sued by the ACLU.  The story is at The Jaghunter.  The ACLU is suing the NCIS and the Navy because of what they did to this former Marine named Carolyn Martin.  She’s suing the NCIS because they came to her, detained her and threatened her with physical harm.  They did the same thing to me, and I reported it to the FBI over and over again.  The last time I reported it was on the anniversary of my fake court-martial, which was 12 October 2009.  The FBI hasn’t touched this thing because it’s so huge.  And this is what I’m trying to tell Terry Lakin:  “I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve got the T-shirt; I sold it at the garage sale.  I know what you’re heading into.”  I’ve lived it, breathed it, studied it, examined it; I’ve been there.  I’ve been into that combat zone; Jensen doesn’t have a clue about it.  That’s the frustration you’re hearing in my voice and the urgency that I know what’s about to happen, and I know that this court-martial cannot be allowed to proceed.

I can tell you with certainty that the following things happened:  Guilt was pronounced before the process ever began; there was a forged confession, and a civilian was threatened with a court-martial.  I know how this system works.

I go to bed at night, and sometimes it’s very difficult for me to get to sleep, because there are innocent men in Ft. Leavenworth tonight who were acted against by their own comrades; they’ve been set up to serve the state’s interests.  They’ve been set up, and they’re in prison tonight as innocent people.  For me, that’s like being buried alive.  That’s why every single night, I have to live with that.  I’ve worked on one case after the next after the next after the next, and the military has worked very hard to put this case, this Anatomy of a Court-Martial, to bed.  And it’s still out there.

So when we say to Col. Lakin, “You need to stand up and challenge the authority of this court-martial,” there is so much more that he can challenge.  The system is not lawful.  It’s unconstitutional.  The term “command racketeers” for me has a very real meaning.  And, by the way, the criminal act that I’ve described to you tonight, the forgery of my name, the document that bears my forged, misspelled name, is being maintained tonight by Navy officials:  Mike Mullen, the former Chief of Naval Operations, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; his replacement, Gary Roughead; the Judge Advocate General of the Navy and his assistant – all these people are maintaining the document that clearly bears my forged, misspelled name.  They maintain that document is authentic, which means that they are participants in the crime of forgery which is active and prosecutable today.

MRS. RONDEAU: Will you prosecute them?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: I have brought the accusations over 21 years.  There’s no statute here.  That’s why what I’m telling you is that the crimes that they’ve committed are active and alive tonight because they participate in the forgery; it extends the life of every other crime that is attendant to the forgery.  This has been a cover-up for 21 years.  That’s what I’m trying to convey to Lakin.

My name does not end in a “t.”  When I sign my name formally, it’s “Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III.”  And I know who forged it.  And by the way, the people who are involved in this have admitted in writing to the crime.  I have statements from Bitoff, one from Anderson, and Zeller has incriminated himself in so many different ways.

MRS. RONDEAU: What would have motivated them to put a confession in writing?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: If you go through and you are involved in extraordinary criminal enterprise as these men were, they were looking for a way to cover up what they were doing; in other words, sweep away the trail, cover their tracks.  If I were to confess to the crimes that they accused me of, then there would be no further scrutiny into the court-martial of Walter Fitzpatrick, so they actually forged my name to a confession and put it in the record.

I don’t believe they produced their own confessions knowingly; Bitoff came in with a statement to Congressman Norm Dicks back in April 1999 and said, “I was the convening authority, and I was the guy who brought the charges.”  Now I don’t believe that John Bitoff knows that in that declarative sentence, he just admitted to being the accuser and the guy who was the convening authority in my case.  That’s a criminal act.

MRS. RONDEAU: Because you can’t be both?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: That’s correct.  Sharon, let’s say you go out tonight, and you commit a crime.  Let’s say that you’re the daughter of a judge.  You walk into the courtroom and this crime is being prosecuted and you’re being prosecuted for it as the defendant, and your dad is sitting on the bench.  Is it OK?

MRS. RONDEAU: No, it’s not.

CDR. FITZPATRICK: Well, this is even worse than that.  Your accuser cannot be the person who prosecutes you.  The person who is bringing a charge against you cannot be the person who is going to be involved in examining his own charge against you.  You can’t do that, and that’s what they did, and Bitoff admitted to that.

Nobody is pulling the trigger on this Anatomy of a Court-Martial, and I don’t understand why.

Do you know what a miracle it is that the Navy has admitted to having the original of the document that bears my forged signature? That’s nothing but a miracle.  So all this conversation, chit-chat back and forth…guess what? We have what we need, and everybody is talking around it.

There are numerous folders from my court-martial.  If the Forgery folder is opened, boom! there it is.  The threat of a court-martial against a civilian:  you open it up, and there it is.  The investigation wasn’t even done yet, and the guy who was doing the investigation, Tim Zeller, was the staff JAG to the Admiral.  You can’t do both of those things.  And he said, “Lt. Cmdr. Fitzpatrick is guilty of this and that.”  Well, excuse me, then you remove yourself from a prosecution’s case.  It was Zeller who was part of the immunity grant to the civilians.  In other words, Zeller was asked to see that I was going to be court-martialed and convicted just because I needed to be removed from the military.  Why?  Because I was a Boy Scout.  Honest to God.

This has been out there.  Lakin is walking into an ambush.  I’ve asked for Col. Lakin to call me so I can tell him this, but he hasn’t done so.

A reporter from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Christine Clarridge, has seen the documents.  She pored over them.  She was going to write on this, and Norm Dicks spiked it.  I can give you her phone number.  I talked to her the other day.

Every day for two months, I got up and spent hours putting together a folder which I sent to Christine Clarridge.  Now we’re talking 60 folders plus.  And in the folders, I talked about the forgery, I talked about the fact that these guys threatened a civilian; and Christine was astounded by this stuff, and other reporters in the newsroom were just as astounded.  She knew what she had, but she couldn’t write on it because Norm Dicks, the congressman, who knew about this, and Kevin Anderson, who is working as a county prosecutor in Kitsap County, which is in Norm Dicks’s district, shot it down.  Norm Dicks is up to his eyeballs in corruption.  He becomes the poster child for all things that are wrong with the military today.  Patty Murray is a close second.  She’s running for re-election tonight for U.S. Senator from the state of Washington.  I’ve been to her over and over and over again, for years.

MRS. RONDEAU: And she did nothing?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: Nothing.  None of these people have done anything.  They have been dancing around the fire.  It’s like a moth around the fire, and at some point they need to be burned.

MRS. RONDEAU: Can Christine Clarridge report on it now?

CDR. FITZPATRICK: She works at The Seattle Times.  She works for other people who are controlled by Washington  Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks.  Norm Dicks is more powerful than Patty Murray, which is why he’s referred to as “the third senator.”  He is one of the most powerful legislators in Washington, DC.  He came in to the editors and the publishers at The Seattle Times and said, “Don’t print this.”  So although Christine Clarridge was working on the story and wanted to report it, her bosses turned in their swivel chairs and said, “Christine, no.”

I told Norm Dicks about the forgery of my signature, and he did nothing.

I am trying to tell Lt. Col. Lakin that the tools are there for him to fight back, and if he doesn’t use them, he’s going to be destroyed.  How do I know that?  I’ve been through the process.  I’ve been in the field of combat, and I came away from it having learned more about this system than anybody on the face of the earth knows.

Performance Review for Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III by Capt. Michael Nordeen which describes Fitzpatrick as "A Brilliant Naval Officer" and "A Surface Warrior without Equal."

Enlargement from Capt. Nordeen's performance review of Cdr. Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III dated November 1, 1988

Mr. Ed Pound of U.S. News & World Report prepared a report on courts-martial published in December 2002


Editor’s Note: The Post & Email will publish Part II of Lt. Cdr. Fitzpatrick’s story within the next several days.

© 2010, The Post & Email. All rights reserved.

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