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WILL MILITARY TRIBUNALS REPLACE JURY TRIALS IN THE U.S.?
by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III
(Apr. 7, 2012) —[Editor’s Note: The following interview with Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III is a continuation from an article published on April 4, 2012 regarding the constitutionality of military tribunals and courts-martial. Fitzpatrick was court-martialed in 1991 for a crime which he said he did not commit, and he maintains that a letter in his file acknowledging the reprimand bears a signature that is not his.]
If you want a reason for why the government should be stopped, take a look at what they’re doing to me, and then decide for yourself:. Are you now still afraid to come forward and speak out against this? Or are you going to let them do it to you?
Let me make that point this way. I said to XXX today, “You walk out the door this afternoon, and you get picked up by a police officer who says, ‘We just saw you talking to Fitzpatrick; Fitzpatrick has been identified to us as a terrorist.'”…They can do that right now. They can name anybody in the country a terrorist for whatever reason. They’re getting a lot of mileage out of this 9-11 thing, terrorism, who they name terrorists and who they don’t name terrorists. And now this Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is coming up on a court-martial as a terrorist, and the military wants to be able to do it to him because the next terrorist who comes along could have been the guy who was talking to this “terrorist,” Fitzpatrick. They’re going to say that the civilian justice system isn’t strong enough; it’s too feeble, too weak. The Constitution doesn’t work when we’re dealing with terrorists. We’re going to have to prosecute that person in front of a military commission as well. That ties in with the NDAA bill; that’s what’s going on. And a grand jury that’s not obstructed by a prosecutor…Look at what they did to Col. Lakin. There’s no grand jury involved. This kid in Afghanistan: First Sgt. Bales. Who knows what happened in that circumstance? He went out and shot a lot of people. He shouldn’t have been there in the first place! That was his fourth tour of duty, and he suffered wounds and has family problems…the military has really done a number on this guy. And now they want to court-martial him? Let a grand jury hear this kid’s circumstances and let them decided whether or not he should have been over there. Who sent him over there? I don’t think he’s responsible for that. Same thing with Sgt. Hutchins. Same thing with SSgt. Girouard. It’s the same thing with all these kids…
You have the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, sitting next to General Martin Dempsey, a four-star general, a few weeks ago saying that we are now accountable to an international community. Well, you’re talking the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, all sorts of international opportunities here to sing “Kumbaya” and by allowing our military to court-martial civilians because you call them terrorists and bring them into a military commission means that you are now turning this over to the international community. This is where this is all going. Tim and I have been talking about this for years and years and years.
Understand that in the United States of America, we are sovereign; we have our own laws and rules; they work pretty gosh-darn well, and we do not want the military working in an international community of militaries to be running our law courts. You have a one-star Brigadier General talking to Harvard Law School saying, “It’s pretty good.” Read Winthrop’s Curse and the quotations in there. This is exactly the position that Col. Winthrop took back in 1888 in writing Military Law and Precedents. This is the same speech that General Martins gave to Harvard Law School because the military wants to do away with the Constitution because it’s weak, it’s embarrassing; it’s a delay; it gets in the way. It’s not nearly as effective or efficient. “We have a military code which is of greater age and dignity”…that’s a quote from Winthrop. This is the speech that Martins gave yesterday. I’m telling you that it is not better, that the Constitution is the better document; we better fall back on the Constitution and if we don’t, then what happened to me and what’s happening to me is going to happen to you or your kids or your progeny.
John Bitoff is a criminal. We have governments full of criminals, and we have not been able to find a way to fight back. In the meantime, these criminals are now trying to militarize our judicial system. Once they get one person in through there, there’s nothing to stop them. All they have to do is say, “You’re a terrorist; you’re going to a military court-martial.” It’s like Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. We are heading down that road. We do not want our military conducting these kinds of trials, willy-nilly, whenever they want…We have an example of how a court-martial worked. They didn’t think they were going to get caught, but now they have been caught. It’s the most examined court-martial in the history of America. I’m not making that up; those words come from other people. It’s been looked at over and over again, and in the end, they still have the forgery of my name.
We need to call out the court-martial system for what it is: completely corrupt. And we shouldn’t be allowing our military commanders to be in charge of this at this point for all the reasons that I’ve given over the years. The forgery makes the case. We don’t want the John Bitoffs of the world charging anybody, no matter how guilty or not guilty they may seem to be, no matter how heinous the criminal act. If our Constitution of our country doesn’t work for the regular person brought up on these kinds of charges, then it won’t work for anybody. They’re trying to destroy the Constitution. That’s what William Winthrop was up to back in 1888 after the Civil War. This is what they’ve been up to for a long time. “With its freedom from the technical forms and obstructive habits that embarrass and delay the operations of the civil courts, the military law is enabled to result in a summary and efficient administration of justice well worthy of respect and imitation.” This is the same speech that Martins gave at Harvard.
I see a way out of this: exploit the forgery. John Bitoff forged my name. It’s still a criminal act today. The Department of Defense maintains the forgery of my name as an authentic writing, which means that it’s a crime today, which means that everything else they did to me is a criminal act, which is, by the way, being ignored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was put on notice about this since about 1994.
The environment has changed as opposed to two days ago because we are moving into the first Guantanamo Bay terrorist trial, and a one-star Brigadier General is leaving as the chief prosecutor. For goodness sakes, militarily, this would be a good opportunity for him to promote to three stars and become Judge Advocate General of the Army. I’m speculating, but I think he doesn’t want to deal with the controversy about how corrupt the prosecution is, and how all the rights and the protections that you enjoy under the Constitution are stripped from you. Martins is saying, “Do not worry about that.” This goes back to Bush-Cheney when these commissions came into existence. Everybody was condemning them because they were so bad; the defendant had no rights. General Martins is trying to tell people, “Well, we fixed those problems and we don’t have them anymore.” And as I listened, I was saying to myself, “Excuse me; how do you reconcile the forgery of my name?”
There was one other thing I told XXXX today: I’m very proud of my father. My dad is a genuine war hero. We’re coming up on the 70th anniversary of the release of the movie Casablanca. Everybody is making a big deal out of that. That movie was released because of Operation Torch, which took place two weeks before the release of that movie. That movie wasn’t supposed to be released until 1943 and it was released in 1942, right around Thanksgiving, because the Allies, the British and Americans and others, went into northwest Africa and northern Africa. It was called Operation Torch. My dad was part of that mission. He awarded the Bronze Star with a “V,” the highest award combination for valor that they give doctors. It’s the medal of honor for doctors in the field of battle.
I want my name back. I want my father’s name back. John Bitoff took it from me. Why? Because he saw me as a problem…all the political issues. He has created for me one nightmare after the next after the next. He used the court-martial to destroy me, to destroy my family, to do all of the things that this court-martial system has been doing to people since it has come into existence and been abused. And the military has been protecting John Bitoff now for over a quarter of a century.
This is another attack on the Constitution. We don’t want to replace the Constitution with a military scheme of justice. Once it’s militarized and made operative in this way, it can be used against any American in the United States of America, and then it can be internationalized. It can be made to be homogenous with international norms with something like the International Criminal Court. It can be made to be normalized with the scope and operation of the United Nations Charter. Can you imagine having Mexicans or Canadians or Spaniards or guys from Britain, troops from other countries patrolling our streets, arresting Americans on the streets and then bringing them into a military trial? That’s what we’re looking at having happen here. This is the longer scope, but right now we’re looking at the Americans using this against Americans eventually. They’ve already done it, and they’ve done it to me, and you’ve seen the result. If you want to know where this system leads, here’s your example. And I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a bad person.
If I had promoted up, I would have been a problem in the military, which is a longer story for another time.
The way to take care of what they’ve done to me is for the government to come in and to admit their crimes, admit what they’ve done to me, and then provide remedy and relief. They owe me millions of dollars in back pay, back benefits; and that’s just in a financial sense. There are things that the military has done to destroy in my life for which they will never be able to provide remedy and relief, ever. This is what began my fight against government corruption. Look where it has led. This is not a surprise. And Obama’s taken full advantage of it. The first military officer to name Obama in treason…why did I do that? Because I saw it for what it was in the moment and then took action on it. I’m not afraid to stand up; I’m not afraid to face the consequences of the rest of my life; I’m not afraid to face the consequences for what I’ve done so far. This is what people have been afraid to do because they don’t want to face these consequences. I’ve been trying to say to them if they act in large numbers, as a group of people to protect and defend our Constitution together…other veterans. I’ve been told that veterans don’t care about this issue because they’re scared. They don’t want to have this happen to them. OK, fine. At some point, it’s going to happen to them.
What’s happening to me is what is going to happen to everybody in this country if they don’t put a stop to it. And the way to do that and undo the fear is to come together in large numbers and speak with one voice. I’ve been saying this for a long time. If it’s not stopped now, it will continue. This problem I’m facing right now could have all been avoided by bringing John Bitoff before a civilian court, before a real grand jury, a real trial jury, and hold him accountable with his criminal assistants, Tim Zeller, Kevin Anderson, for what they’ve done to my family. The government is not to be held to account in that way; it is flawless, undaunted in what it’s doing; it’s infallible. They will do whatever they want because there’s no grand jury; it’s been taken away from us. What are you going to do about it?
The thing that people can do is to start making a big deal of LCDR Fitzpatrick’s name. How about anybody at the Harvard Law School reconciling Commander Fitzpatrick’s forged signature? Go find where Commander Fitzpatrick committed a crime. The forgery of my name makes it very clear that I was innocent; they knew I was innocent; they were court-martialing me because I was a threat to the military politically because I would have reported criminal conduct when I observed it. I’m a whistleblower. That’s why this happened to me. I did stand up; I did take a stand. This is going to happen to you; trust me. It’s just a matter of time. Either to you, to your kids, or your progeny. How do we stop it? Well, I don’t know…one way I can think of is to get the grand juries back. And I tried to bring this information to a local local Monroe County, Tennessee grand jury, and had I been given to speak with a federal grand jury, I would have made mention of it there.