ANN ARBOR, MI – Military prosecutors are expected to call as their witness General James N. Mattis, a highly respected Marine officer and one of only a handful of four-star Marine generals, to testify in the court-martial hearing against LtCol Jeffrey Chessani on June 2, 2008, at Camp Pendleton, California.
Gen Mattis, recently given his fourth star, was the previous convening authority for the Haditha cases and the officer responsible for referring LtCol Chessani’s case to a general court-martial. Prosecutors are relying on him to rebut previous findings of the Military Judge that there is evidence of unlawful command influence.
So let me get this straight. When the defense asks for Mattis’ sworn deposition, they’re denied. Yet the prosecution can call him as a witness with no problems at all? And what will Mattis say? Well, of course he’ll say there was no undue command influence, and the judge will nod and say, “Oh, okay. Wow. Good thing you came on the stand and set that straight. Thanks, guys. Let’s all go get a brewski now.”
Am I the only one who thinks this fish smells worse than a two-dollar hooker? As it turns out, I’m not.
[I must point out here that those of us fighting for these and other Marines like SGT Lawrence Hutchins (of the Pendleton 8) have repeatedly tried to get Thomas More Law Center involved, but were rebuffed. Now suddenly it appears they’ve seen the light, sort of like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. We’re just happy they caught up.]
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, the national public interest law firm defending LtCol Chessani, commented, “This case is dripping with double standards and political intrigue as the Pentagon attempts to appease Washington’s political establishment and press…”
And here’s a little factoid you may not have known about:
“…Gen Mattis was investigated for ordering a ground and air assault of an Iraqi ‘wedding party’ in 2004 that resulted in the deaths of 40 men, women, and children. At a press conference shortly after the incident, he defended his actions by retorting, ‘I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my Marines.’ What is puzzling is that even though Mattis rightfully was never charged with any criminal wrongdoing in that case, he did not give LtCol Chessani the same consideration.”
Did you catch that? “I don’t have to apologize for the conduct of my Marines.” Brilliantly said, and yet here we are, with Mattis at the forefront of a witch hunt against the very men he claims to love and respect so deeply, in almost the same type of situation. Then again, when it comes to the Marine Corps leadership, it’s not about fairness, justice, or even honor–as we’ve seen time and time again in case after case.
What makes me so curious is how Mattis will explain away roughly 25 closed-session meetings where one of the investigators was allowed to attend and discuss the case with the officers controlling the disposition of the case. That’s like a homicide investigator meeting with the judges in a civilian case. In other words, not right.
Chessani’s attorneys will be able to cross-examine the general on the stand, but if past track record is any indication of how that will go, the prosecutor will object, the judge will sustain, and Mattis will not be exposed for the dishonorable man that he is. We shall see if the judge has the personal integrity and fortitude to make his decision based on facts instead[Note: I am well aware, dear readers, that my freedom to call Mattis dishonorable was given to me in part by Mattis himself. However, it was also paid for by Jeffrey Chessani and Larry Hutchins, so you’ll forgive me if my loyalty lies with them instead of the one who ruined their careers and traded their freedoms for his fourth star.]
As disgusting as these cases continue to be, and as much of a cesspool as the military “justice” system has become, each mistake, each over-the-top action that they take is one more arrow in our quiver. It is one more piece of proof of innocence for all of these Marines, one more way we can show how badly these cases are conducted. That means one step closer to freedom for SGT Larry Hutchins.
So hang in there, Hutchins and Chessani. If the NCIS, the JAG, and the Marine Corps leadership show their backsides any more, we’ll have caught them with their pants down completely–which is exactly what I, and others like me, intend to do.
All I can say is if you know anyone thinking of serving in the military tell them ‘no way’. If you want to go to jail rob a bank. It is destined to get much worse for anyone in the military and as a 22 year vet I tell everyone to stay away from it. If the liberals want protection let them start the draft with no ‘outs’, your number comes up you go.
As much as I love my nation, after spending the last three years advocating for these Marines and investigating their stories…I am disgusted to the point of near madness to see what the leadership and politicians have done to our ability to wage war.
The conditions these men have been held in (shackles, in solitary confinement for as long as ten months before seeing the inside of a courtroom), the rights they have had violated…it is beyond tragedy.
It’s good to see others are catching up to what Congress hath wrought across the Potomac. The Pentagon needs a clean sweep from end-to-end and a re-write of the UCMJ. If something isn’t done nobody will want to serve in the military.
I think it’s time to set up special civilian courts to try all military cases that threaten one year of liberty or more, as well as all combat related cases.
Frank, while I agree with your sentiment about needing a rewrite of the UCMJ. The system is highly flawed. That being said, I definitely disagree about needing civilian courts to try military cases. To ask civilians with no knowledge of the military, no understanding of combat…it would be a death sentence for our men in uniform.
The solution would be to revamp the UCMJ, but even more importantly is to limit the powers of the NCIS and other ‘investigative’ agencies that currently operate with full and total impunity, as mentioned by the judge in the Daniel Scott King case. (Read the brief by Jonathan Turley…it will terrify you.)
Too much power, no accountability. That is the current military justice system.
The NCIS (formerly NIS) is one of the most corrupt/incompetent Federal LE agencies around.
In ‘Nam we had a company CO that just loved prosecuting his company for minor infractions. The SOB never went into the bush with us because he knew that the first firefight would make him the first casualty.
We at the Thomas More Law Center have been involved in the Haditha cases in general and in particular with LtCol Chessani since he was charged well over a year ago.
My apologies if I wasn’t clear on what I said. I wasn’t intimating that y’all were not involved with the Chessani/Haditha case in general early on, and again, I’m sorry if that is how it came across. However, it is true that TMLC was sent multiple emails offering hard copy documentation showing undue command influence and misconduct in this case, well over a year ago. Those emails went unanswered. There are a few of us milbloggers who have been involved with investigating this and similar cases since day one, and we have a large amount of documentation that can help you.
Our reasons for offering this information are simple: 1) We are tired of a government that runs its cases with no regard for fairness, justice, or even facts, 2) We are aghast and furious at the idea of prosecuting Marines for doing their jobs, and 3) considering many of the same players in the Haditha case are also involved in the Pendleton 8 case (and the Fallujah Marines case), your victories are victories for all the Marines in these cases–including the squad leader of the Pendleton 8, who as you know is the only one there still serving time.
I sincerely thank you for your continued work on behalf of our heroes, and if there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then, I will continue to advocate for Marines who are charged for doing what Marines are trained to do. You can view my coverage of Chessani’s case at Euphoricreality.com.