Ex-mil­i­tary lawyers see ‘un­law­ful’ in­flu­ence Push for in­quiry of com­man­dant in Tal­iban uri­na­tion cases

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

More than two dozen for­mer Ma­rine Corps and Navy judge ad­vo­cates are ask­ing Congress to in­ves­ti­gate the Corps’ top of­fi­cer for what they say is un­law­ful con­duct in the Tal­iban uri­na­tion cases.

The 27 lawyers charge that Gen. James Amos, the Corps com­man­dant and mem­ber of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, vi­o­lated the rule against “un­law­ful com­mand in­flu­ence” by a be­hind-the-scenes ef­fort to dic­tate the ver­dicts against eight Marines.

“Our coun­try is en­ti­tled to trust her Marines com­pletely, and that trust starts first and fore­most with the com­man­dant him­self,” they said in a let­ter to the chair­men of the House and Se­nate Armed Ser­vices com­mit­tees. “Congress should not sit idly by when there are indi­ca­tions that the com­man­dant of the Ma­rine Corps may have en­gaged in or per­mit­ted un­law­ful com­mand in­flu­ence in the Courts-Mar­tial process.”

Gen. Amos’ spokesman did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

The for­mer judge ad­vo­cates say that Gen. Amos pro­vided mis­lead­ing sworn state­ments to the court when asked about his ac­tions and with­held doc­u­ments from de­fense at­tor­neys.

They also cite the ac­tions of su­pe­ri­ors against Maj. James Weir­ick, a staff judge ad­vo­cate at the Com­bat De­vel­op­ment Com­mand in Quan­tico, Va.

Af­ter watch­ing what he con­sid­ered in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions by the com­man­dant and his le­gal staff, Maj. Weir­ick filed a com­plaint with the De­fense Depart­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral.

Ear­lier this month, su­pe­ri­ors stripped Maj. Weir­ick of his le­gal du­ties, asked for his per­sonal li­censed weapons and ad­vised him to seek a men­tal health eval­u­a­tion — ac­tions his at­tor­ney calls bla­tant re­tal­i­a­tion. Maj. Weir­ick has re­ceived su­pe­rior fit­ness re­ports and was se­lected for pro­mo­tion to lieu­tenant colonel.

Gen. Amos’ le­gal ad­viser, Robert Hogue, told the Ma­rine Corps Times that Maj. Weir­ick’s as­sertive email to a po­ten­tial wit­ness in the in­spec­tor gen­eral’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion made head­quar­ters worry about another Wash­ing­ton Navy Yard mas­sacre.

The for­mer judge ad­vo­cates say Mr. Hogue’s com­ment was a con­tin­u­a­tion of ha­rass­ment against a whistle­blower.

“Such tac­tics ap­pear to be de­signed to dis­credit Ma­jor Weir­ick in an at­tempt to in­su­late the com­man­dant and his lawyers from the forth­com­ing re­port and con­clu­sions of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of the Depart­ment of De­fense con­cern­ing th­ese dis­turb­ing events,” they said.

Court doc­u­ments were at­tached to their let­ter. One showed that Gen. Amos met oneon-one with Lt. Gen. Thomas D. Wald­hauser on Feb. 10, 2012. At the time, Gen. Wald­hauser served as a “con­ven­ing au­thor­ity” over­see­ing the cases of Marines linked to a 2011 video of troops uri­nat­ing on Tal­iban corpses.

Gen. Amos or­dered Gen. Wald­hauser to court-mar­i­tal all de­fen­dants, whom he wanted “crushed.” Gen. Wald­hauser said in a sworn state­ment that he could not fol­low that or­der.

Gen. Amos re­placed him, but did not tell de­fense at­tor­neys why.

“We urge you to ex­er­cise your over­sight re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and fully ex­plore th­ese events so that due process, fun­da­men­tal fair­ness, and most of all, in­tegrity, re­main most revered within the mil­i­tary jus­tice sys­tem and in the tra­di­tion of the United States Ma­rine Corps,” the re­tired lawyers said to Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can, and Sen. Carl M. Levin, Michi­gan Demo­crat.

The sign­ers in­clude re­tired Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms and Maj. Weir­ick’s at­tor­ney, re­tired Ma­rine Col. Jane Siegel.


“Our coun­try is en­ti­tled to trust her Marines com­pletely, and that trust starts first and fore­most with the com­man­dant him­self,” states a let­ter by 27 ex-mil­i­tary lawyers re­gard­ing the con­duct of Corps com­man­dant James Amos (above).

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