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HOW MANY COURTS-MARTIAL HAVE BEEN CONTRIVED?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 10, 2013) — In 1991, CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was court-martialed for a crime he did not commit, and his name was fraudulently placed on a “confession” document which remains in his file to this day. His chances for advancement in the Navy ended with the conviction arrived at by a cabal of military officers who “made it all up” based on substantial documentation which The Post & Email has seen.
Although honorably discharged in 1994, Fitzpatrick has sought to correct the record and clear his name for the past 23 years. The U.S. Navy has proven uncooperative. Fitzpatrick reported that John Bitoff, who acted as both accuser and prosecutor in violation of UCMJ rules, also did not promote and eventually left the Navy as a one-star admiral. Similarly, Kevin Anderson, who Fitzpatrick stated is the author and signer of the forged confession letter while acting as his defense counsel, left the Marine Corps with 16 years of service without a pension, becoming a deputy prosecutor in Kitsap County, WA.
Lt. Timothy Zeller acted as the investigator in the charge against Fitzpatrick but did not summon the NCIS in the alleged wake of the crime. On October 13, 1989, the anniversary of the birth of the U.S. Navy and while preparing to move across the country to attend the Naval War College in Providence, RI, Fitzpatrick received a telephone call stating that he had been accused of something.
Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that all of Anderson’s decisions are open to question since Anderson committed a felony in forging Fitzpatrick’s name, which is misspelled and missing the “III” designation which Fitzpatrick routinely uses.
In a memo written by an investigator for the Navy Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in 1997, the author wrote of Fitzpatrick’s claim of forgery and cover-up, “…If you can prove the forgery, it totally supports his 10 years worth or contentions and makes the NAV look really bad…” and indicated that the Navy was avoiding contact with Fitzpatrick on the matter. Fitzpatrick paid a handwriting expert to analyze the signature, after which the analyst stated that it was highly unlikely that Fitzpatrick had signed the document.
Ten years later, an NCIS investigator, James Connolly, made an unscheduled visit to Fitzpatrick’s home with three other agents who threatened his life if he were to continue to probe the Navy about the circumstances of his court-martial. Despite reporting the incident to both the NCIS and FBI, no action against Connolly and the others was ever known to have been taken.
“There was a great deal at stake. The NCIS had let it be known that my defense counsel had forged my name to a confession and that this blew up the entire court-martial process. It was a very ugly situation that the Navy and the Marine Corps would have had to deal with at a time when they didn’t need that kind of exposure while they were trying to put together the LInX program,” Fitzpatrick said. “As the senior agent of the Pacific Northwest, Scott Jacobs should have been all over Tim Zeller. Coordinating with his NCIS counterpart in the Southwest, he should have been all over John Bitoff. The NCIS and the Navy could not afford the kind of public condemnation over their having ejected an officer who had spoken up about issues. When I put together a package for Christine Claridge at The Seattle Times, Rep. Norm Dicks found out about it and spiked the story.”
In 2006, Connolly was assigned to gather information on the Pendleton 8 case in Iraq. One of those accused was Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, III, whose conviction was overturned for the second time on June 26 after the appeals court found that Hutchins was denied his constitutional rights under initial questioning by Connolly.
Fitzpatrick and Sgt. Timothy Harrington, co-founder of the U.S. Patriots Union, believe that Connolly fabricated evidence against the Pendleton 8 and that statements made by Hutchins without the advice of an attorney or having been read his Miranda rights were coerced by Connolly.
At the end of 2006, eight U.S. attorneys were terminated by the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush for alleged politically-motivated reasons in a story which quickly gained the media’s attention. Fitzpatrick related facts which may be unknown to the general public about the firings and their connection to Connolly, the U.S. Navy, and the military’s expansion of its power to civilians.
Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email:
From 2001 to 2006, a man named John McKay was the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Seattle. It was in that day that U.S. Attorney McKay, who is now a professor at Seattle University School of Law, and the NCIS senior agent in charge of the Pacific Northwest NCIS office in Silverdale, WA, Scott Jacobs, launched a pilot project to share information between civilian law enforcement agencies and the military. The program was named “LInX,” which stood for “Law Enforcement Information Exchange.”
John McKay was fired by Bush. At the time, he reported that one of the reasons he was fired was that he had gotten together with another civilian, who was the civilian employee with the NCIS who happened to be the Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest Command of the NCIS headquartered in Silverdale, WA, where I lived. This is where James Connolly worked. Scott Jacobs was Connolly’s boss.
[Editor’s Notes: McKay was asked by the Obama State Department to work in Ramallah in the West Bank toward “helping the Palestinian courts and law-enforcement system prepare for eventual statehood” in an 18-month assignment beginning in June. His university biography states that he resigned his post as U.S. Attorney in 2007, although many news reports at the time said that he and eight other U.S. attorneys were “fired.” McKay said that he was “asked to resign,” and CBS News reported that the U.S. Attorneys were “targeted” in a politically-motivated move by the Bush administration. “Federal prosecutors are the backbone of the U.S. justice system,” CBS News said. The report also suggested that McKay would share his views on the dismissal with his law students in the classroom.
On January 17, 2006, McKay was honored by the U.S. Navy for his “innovative leadership” in developing LInX.
Former Deputy FBI Director and Obama’s nominee for FBI Director Robert Comey reportedly endorsed LInX. On May 2, 2007, The Seattle Times reported:
LInX was launched by the Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service to keep tabs on criminal activity near Navy installations around the Puget Sound area. McKay worked with local law-enforcement agencies to expand the program and urged the Justice Department to get on board by adding investigative files.
Comey had already concluded the department had to swap more information with state and local partners. He wanted to create a system as easy to use as an Internet search engine, accessible by all levels of law enforcement.]
Kevin Anderson was a Kitsap County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney at this moment, and had been in that position for many years when he gave up that he was the author of the forgery bearing my misspelled name. I’d been banging the pots and pans in the local Silverdale area with the NCIS and the FBI regarding Anderson’s forgery for nearly two years when Connolly and his team came to threaten my life, attempting to make me stop.
The NCIS perceived terrible exposure should the Anderson forgery, linked to the Bitoff rigged court-martial, become more publicly revealed.
[Former] Congressman Norm Dicks was also at risk of being identified as part of the cover-up of the Anderson, Zeller and Bitoff outrage.
It was after Scott Jacobs dispatched Connolly and Connolly’s team of four (Connolly + three) to come to my private residence to threaten my life should I continue to blow the whistle on Anderson, Zeller, Bitoff and the NCIS that SAC Jacobs deployed Connolly to Iraq.
[Editor’s Note: U.S. Attorneys John McKay and David Iglesias stated after their dismissals that they believed the perception that they had not pursued allegations of voter fraud might have been involved in the decision to terminate them. Both were advocates of the LInX program.]
The book is called Injustice, published in 2008, by former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias where he talks about this on page 108. The LInX program is a recorded event. Iglesias laments the fact that he couldn’t use the LInX program in his state of New Mexico because they were landlocked and the program was only being spread initially through coastal offices of the NCIS. Wherever there was an NCIS program that was tied to the Navy and the Marine Corps, then the LInX program was growing.
In his book, Iglesias complains about the fact that John McKay got fired and defended him. McKay states that he was fired because of his cooperation with the NCIS. On page 107, Iglesias wrote, “John McKay was about a lot more than putting together headline-grabbing cases. His real work was as far from the limelight as he labored tirelessly with great effort to improve the capabilities of law enforcement across a broad spectrum. He’s an exceptional public servant relentlessly focused on upholding the law and creative in his approach to improving the odds in the pursuit of justice.
“And nothing improved those odds better than the Law Enforcement Information Exchange program, a powerful criminal data-sharing network pioneered by McKay and without question, the most important innovation I had seen in my time as a U.S. attorney.”
Scott Jacobs was the NCIS agent. Both Jacobs and McKay received the highest award that can be awarded to a civilian by the Navy because of the LInX program. It was one of the reasons why Gonazales reported that McKay was fired.
[Editor’s Note: A spokesperson for the FBI also praised McKay’s work on LInX.]
Now the NCIS could not afford the kind of scandal that was about to be visited upon them, having found out that the guy who forged my name was Kevin Anderson and was working right under their nose. He shopped in Silverdale; I would run into him in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, which is just blocks away from Pacific Northwest headquarters of the NCIS where Scott Jacobs worked.
Former Rep. Norm Dicks had a lot to lose in this; certainly, the NCIS had a lot to lose at that point in time when they were trying to partner with the Department of Justice in the implementation of the LInX program. There was a lot that they did not want to have exposed during this very sensitive period of time, and they didn’t want people delving into what they were doing. And again, Kevin Anderson…right there in the back yard. Scott Jacobs would have been the senior agent in charge of seeing to it that Kevin Anderson was brought down and properly punished. At the time they were trying to put the LInX program together, they did not want to be made to look “really bad.” And in an NCIS document, we find that language.
We have military police enforcing civilian law. This is the background that Tim and I came with when we realized what Gen. Dempsey had done with the deployment of troops into Samson, AL. For Tim and me, that was not a stand-alone event. We had been watching the encroachment of the military discipline system onto the civilian judicial process for years and years, to the extent that we now see the arrogance of someone like Gen. Dempsey who thinks he can pick up the phone and speak with a pastor in this country and tell him, “You better watch what you say” as it goes to what this pastor has to say about Islam.
The military has never been called to account for the kinds of intrusions upon our freedom that they’re making. How do we stop this? Well, we bring back the grand jury and we tell them that they can go and take a look at what the military is doing just as much as they can take a look at any civilian. They can do that.
There was another general who thought his powers were boundless, and they called him the “American Caesar.” William Manchester wrote a book called The American Caesar, and it was about Gen. Douglas MacArthur who thought at one point in his career that he had transcended any kind of civilian oversight in his conduct of the police action in North Korea, and that’s when it became a very dramatic confrontation between the President of the United States, Harry Truman, and the “American Caesar.” And MacArthur was fired.
Our government has gone way beyond its bounds. Supreme Court Associated Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his opinion of the DOMA decision that the court is like a “diseased root.”
Bitoff used to be an executive assistant for a guy named William Crowe, who was a brilliant man and a four-star admiral. At one point, it was thought that his career was going to be over, and in fact, he promoted to his fourth star. He spoke a lot of languages and had a great hat collection. He was revered. I actually met him. He came out to the Middle East as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan. I briefed Adm. Crowe when he came out after the attack on the U.S.S. Stark.
President Clinton appointed Adm. Crowe to the ambassadorship to Great Britain, so he was highly-thought-of on both sides of the political aisle.
John Bitoff was William Crowe’s executive assistant four different times and was the reason that Bitoff became an admiral. When Crowe left the Navy, his patronage no longer existed for Bitoff. Another reason Bitoff didn’t promote to a second star was because of the court-martial of a guy named “Fitzpatrick.” It was and remains the most reviewed court-martial in the history of our country.
Zeller tells us that he didn’t promote because of the inquiry into the court-martial, and when people have looked into this, they have been very quick to cover it up.
One of the guys who looked at this was a man named Bruce MacDonald, then Adm. Bruce Houck. Bruce MacDonald would have been the 40th Judge Advocate General of the Navy. He was the first admiral to promote to three stars in the position of Judge Advocate General of the Navy. It had been the terminal position in the JAG Corps, which had been two stars up through that point. Because of guys like (Sen.) Lindsey Graham, they elevated the terminal position to three stars.
Bruce MacDonald was the first guy who promoted into that third star. I used to go to church with Bruce MacDonald in Silverdale, WA. He was at one point the head of the Navy Legal Service Office out of Bremerton, WA close to the time that Kevin Anderson had been exposed as the person who forged my name. So Bruce MacDonald went on to promote to become the 40th Judge Advocate General of the Navy. It was MacDonald, then Adm. Houck, and now Nanette DeRenzi.
The last time I knew, MacDonald was the civilian convening authority in all of the military prosecutions coming out of Guantanamo Bay. He retired with three stars from the Navy and stayed in Washington, DC.
I’ve been very deeply networked with a whole bunch of people who have been keeping that forgery under wraps. I’ve approached these people and told them, on behalf of my dad, that I want my name back. Kevin Anderson, working with John Bitoff and Tim Zeller, used the court-martial system to see to my removal because they knew that if I had promoted into a position of higher command, I would be problematic. I would have been the guy blowing the whistle. So Bitoff took me out early. A guy like Obama has taken out Gen. Ham and Adm. Gaouette late; they promoted first. A few of them got through the filter. It happened to me when it happened to me. But again, the good news is that we have, without question, the most important court-martial in the history of the country because of what they did and how it’s been covered up. The cover-up is more significant than the actual crimes they committed in the day. If they had to do this way back when, it wouldn’t have made nearly the kind of splash that it can make today.
If they’re not able to take care of the kinds of things they’ve done in the past in their law-breaking, then what makes anybody think that they’re going to handle Sgt. Hutchins’s case properly?
Every crime committed in my court-martial is still actionable; there’s no statute of limitations. They’re still committing a crime against me today. The forgery is still in the possession of the Navy. It’s not my signature, but they maintain that document as an original. If they were to say it were a forgery, that would change the whole landscape and their obligations to me. So in the meantime, it makes the Navy and the Marine Corps “look really bad,” because look who got caught doing it.
So the NCIS threats, coming to my door like that, holding me in a cross-fire as they delivered a letter, and then telling me that if I don’t shut up, they’re going to kill me…I went to the NCIS and the FBI the next day and spoke with Patrick Gann and Stephanie Gleason. I reported this to them, to others in the FBI office in Seattle, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), and no one has ever looked into it.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on July 11, 2013.