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BUT THEY HAVE BEEN TRAMPLING THE U.S. CONSTITUTION FOR DECADES
by Sharon Rondeau
In a memo exchanged between Staff Judge Advocate General Tim Zeller and Navy Admiral John Bitoff on 9 November 1989, a “grant of immunity” was approved for a civilian over whom they knew they had no jurisdiction. Lt. Brian Feeley, who had been the treasurer for the MWR fund aboard the USS MARS, was released from active duty before September 1988 and was asked to testify as a witness for the prosecution in the Article 32 (probable cause hearing) of Fitzpatrick in November 1989. When Feeley requested immunity from prosecution, the military chain of command up to the Rear Admiral granted it, although they were aware that doing so was outside of their jurisdiction.
The request for immunity from Mr. Feeley was first made to Lieutenant Tim Zeller who drafted the letter granting Feeley immunity needing only Bitoff’s signature to put the grant in operation. Zeller passed the formal letter to Captain Paul Romanski who then turned the letter over to Captain A. E. Millis. Captain Millis delivered Zeller’s letter to Admiral Bitoff. ADM Bitoff signed the grant in a breathtaking act of outlawry.
Bitoff held no jurisdiction “grant” immunity to Mr. Feeley, a civilian graduate student.
Admiral Bitoff’s duty was to alert the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agents to place Staff JAG Timothy Zeller under arrest on numerous counts of criminal misconduct.
Admiral John Bitoff and LT Zeller were Fitzpatrick’s accusers. Bitoff also acted as the convening authority in the case. In a letter to state of Washington U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks on April 30, 1999, Bitoff wrote, “I brought the charges and I convened the court-martial in the proper course of my duties.”
The text of the relevant sentence reads:
…I brought the charges and I convened the court-martial in the proper conduct of my duties…
General Carla Hawley-Bowland is acting as the convening authority in Lt. Col. Lakin’s case, but she and others claiming authority to do so have admitted that they do not know whether or not Obama is constitutionally eligible to serve. They claim that orders emanating from the Pentagon are valid, regardless of whether or not the civilian commander-in-chief is legitimate.
In the court-martial of Col. Lakin, for instance, we can demonstrate the lack of jurisdiction by crafting a hypothetical memo that might go to Hawley-Bowland from an Army JAG Maj. named Sharon Rondeau (please indulge my role-play). I’ll illustrate by offering the following hypothetical memo to underscore the fact that military governors act independently of civilian oversight.
PERSONAL FOR MAJOR GENERAL BOWLAND
Dear General Bowland,
Regarding future considerations in the case of Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin, I feel obliged to communicate some encouragements in regard to proceeding forward aggressively in Lt.Col. Lakin’s General Court-martial despite the absence of lawful jurisdiction.
As a practical matter you do not hold jurisdiction in Lt.Col. Lakin’s General Court-martial.
Neither you, the Army Secretary nor the Defense Secretary (the government) knows whether Mr. Barack Hussein Obama is eligible to hold the office of president of the United States as commander in chief.
However, lack of jurisdiction is not subject to question or challenge.
The Defense Department (government) holds absolute power and authority in matters such as these. Questions regarding jurisdiction are not relevant.
Said another way, military governors such as you, the Defense and Service Secretaries are not bound by any civilian jurisdictional constraints.
Military law and precedents are clear on this point: Congress vests in the Defense Secretary absolute power and authority that devolves to you as Lt. Col. Lakin’s convening authority. The power of your position is separate and apart from that vested in the Article II civilian executive. Your military punishment power is completely independent. It is unassailable and unchallengeable.
Furthermore, in the context of this Article I Court-martial challenging the constitutional qualifications to hold the office of the president as commander in chief, there is an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to established precedents.
It is impossible in the Lt. Col. Lakin Court-martial to undertake independent resolution of whether Mr. Obama is qualified under the Constitution to hold office without expressing a lack of respect.
The potential for embarrassment to both Mr. Obama and the Defense Department is manifest.
Truthful answers to questions so far raised regarding the constitutionality of either Mr. Obama or the scope and operation of the military’s discipline system could make everyone look really bad!
For all these reasons and to ensure fairness to Lt. Col. Lakin and the government, I recommend you proceed with all due haste in the Lakin Court-martial even though you lack jurisdiction.
Since I don’t believe in keeping a file to cover this office when decisions are later questioned, there is no copy of this letter in my files or on my computer.
Major, U.S. Army JAG Corps Staff Judge Advocate
Last week a former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps told this writer that The Post & Email should not publish articles about Lt. Col. Lakin’s case because it would encourage other members of the military to abandon their posts and fellow soldiers. He said, “What makes this one guy think he’s right? Now because he’s refused to go to Afghanistan, somebody else has to go in his place.” When The Post & Email asked the captain if he was aware that Obama might not be constitutionally qualified to serve as president and commander-in-chief of the military, his answer was, “Are you saying that Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison weren’t qualified to be president?”
Our reply was, “No, because Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states, “…at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution,” which means that those born in Great Britain but who had fought the Revolution and helped to form the new nation were themselves qualified to serve.