Rep. Allen West: Lt. Col. Lakin was “Led Astray”

AND PLACES NO BLAME ON OBAMA

Handwritten note received from Rep. Allen West, who claims he assisted Lt. Col. Lakin in retaining defense counsel

by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 22, 2011) — The Post & Email published a citizen letter dated May 15, 2011 sent to Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.), now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 22nd District.  West’s response came in the form of a handwritten note on official stationery, pictured at right.

Sir, first of all thank you for your service in the US Marine Corps.  I must explain the LTC Terry Lakin case.  He was led down a horrible path & was used.  When he came to realize that he asked for my assistance.  I was able to provide him with my defense counsel from Iraq.  Things could have been much worse for Terry.  The people who led him astray are to blame.

Steadfast & Loyal, Allen

However, in regard to questioning Obama’s eligibility, Dr. Lakin asserts here that “the decision I made was my decision.”

It appears that Allen West is a candidate for president in 2012.  As a candidate for Congress, he spoke about the American Revolution and restoring “freedom and liberty.”  He also mentioned his 22 years of service in the U.S. Army.

Democrat “challengers” state that West “was investigated and fined $5,000 by the Army for abusing a prisoner in Iraq when he unlawfully detained the man and fired a pistol at point blank range above the man’s head.”  In 2003, while serving in Iraq, West was subjected to Article 15 punishment for using “shock interrogation tactics” to obtain information from an Iraqi policeman which he believed would secure the safety of the U.S. troops under his command.  There was also reportedly an assassination plot under way against West. In December 2003, West was fined $5,000 but was able to secure his military retirement and avoid a court-martial.

Lt. Col. West’s attorney was Neal Puckett, who also served as defense attorney for Lt. Col Terrence Lakin at his court-martial in December 2010.  Lakin was brought up on charges of “missing movement” and “disobeying a direct order” after he refused to deploy to Afghanistan following a period of more than a year during which Lakin had sought answers from his military chain of command and representatives in Congress about Obama’s eligibility to serve as president and commander-in-chief.

Lakin had spent 18 years in the U.S. Army and was a highly-decorated flight surgeon, serving under General George F. Casey.

Lakin’s court-martial concluded on December 16, 2010 with convictions on both counts.  His sentence consisted of forfeiture of his income from the Army, six months in prison, and ultimate dismissal from military service.  Lakin spent a total of five months in prison, mostly at Ft. Leavenworth, his sentence having been reduced by one month for good behavior while there.

It was reported by an eyewitness at Lakin’s court-martial that Puckett ridiculed and derided Lakin for the decisions he had made rather than mount a defense against the charges.  Puckett also reportedly left the proceedings early.  Puckett maintains that the methods he employed during Lakin’s court-martial amounted to a “surprise move.”  He also stated, “This defense tactic totally surprised the client, but enabled the jury to see the depth and agony of the moral issues that led Lakin to make those choices.”

CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr. (Ret.), the eyewitness at the trial, stated that the underlying question of the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to serve as president was barely touched upon.

Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (Ret.) had issued a statement several months before Lakin’s court-martial urging him to retain legal counsel other than his original attorney, Paul Rolf Jensen, who is a personal injury lawyer practicing in California.  At the time, Vallely said:

We are very concerned that continuing with the current defense strategy, the search for a birth certificate will likely end in the wrongful conviction of LTC Lakin, establishing a horrific and unnecessary precedent in the Courts-Martial system of the US Military, as described above. We feel obligated to do all that we can to avoid this outcome.

According to the Terry Lakin Action Fund website, Lakin has begun to look into an appeal of his convictions and is seeking employment in the medical field. The site also affirms that “The decision Terry made to invite his own court martial was his and his alone. Everyone, including the attorneys, cautioned him to reconsider,” which contradicts the assertions made in West’s handwritten note.

Why, then, is Rep. West stating that Lakin asked for his help?  Did West really have anything to do with Lakin retaining Puckett as his defense attorney?  Did West play any part in assisting Terry at all?  If so, where is West on Terry Lakin’s sentence and discharge from the Army?

And where does he stand on the question of Obama’s eligibility under Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution?  If he cannot define the president’s qualifications, can he serve as such?