Monthly Archives: May 2008

Top Marine General to Testify Against Lt Col Chessani June 2

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.

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.  When our defense team previously sought to take General Mattis’ sworn deposition to support our motion, we were denied.  Now prosecutors, with little trouble, get to call him as their witness.”

Continued Thompson, “We all have great respect for Gen Mattis.  Yet, there is irony with his involvement in this case.  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.”

The Military Judge’s previous finding of unlawful command influence shifted the burden to the prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the facts upon which the unlawful command influence is based are untrue; or (2) those facts do not constitute unlawful command influence; or (3) the unlawful command influence will not affect the proceedings.

The judge’s decision was based upon the evidence that the Generals who controlled the disposition of LtCol Chessani’s case, including Gen Mattis, were impermissibly influenced by Marine lawyer Col John Ewers, one of the investigators of the Haditha incident from the beginning.  He was permitted to attend an estimated 25 closed-session meetings in which LtCol Chessani’s case was discussed.

Thomas More Law Center attorney Robert Muise will get an opportunity to cross examine Gen Mattis after he has testified on behalf of the prosecutors.

Thompson concluded, “Considering General Mattis’ rank, tremendous popularity in the Corps, and the widespread political implications for the Marines, both Rob and the Military Judge are facing a difficult task in the courtroom ─ to get beyond Mattis’ reputation to the stark reality that there has been a pervasive taint of unlawful command influence throughout these proceedings.”

Thomas More Law Center lawyers, along with two detailed Marine lawyers, LtCol Jon Shelburne and Captain Jeffrey King, are defending LtCol Chessani, the highest ranking military officer charged in the November 19, 2005, Haditha incident.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

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No Nonsense From This Navy Seal – EXCELLENT VIDEO

Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL whose story of heroism in Afghanistan is told in his book “Lone Survivor,” shared his world view at the National Rifle Association event in Louisville on May 16.

Watch video here

NEFA TerrorWatch: The Spillover Impact of the Iraqi Jihad in Afghanistan

By Evan Kohlmann at Counterterrorism Blog

This week’s episode of NEFA’s TerrorWatch broadcast takes a closer look at Mohammed al-Thibaiti (a.k.a. Abu Sulaiman al-Otaibi), a Saudi Arabian national and a senior Al-Qaida lieutenant who was confirmed killed during recent clashes with the “crusaders and apostates” in the Paktia province of Afghanistan–and the larger spillover impact of the Iraqi jihad on the conflict in Afghanistan. On May 11, Al-Qaida leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid published a letter confirming that al-Thibaiti “was martyred in the Paktika province in Afghanistan… as a result of clashes with the enemies of Allah from the crusaders and apostates. Allah bestowed [him] with dedication and victory and [he] is an example of courage, sacrifice, and valor… We offer our condolences to… to brothers of Abu Sulaiman especially in Iraq and in the Arabian Peninsula.”

To watch the latest episode of NEFA TerrorWatch, click here.
May 22, 2008 12:16 AM

When a Soldier Comes Home

Commission Urges Americans to Pause, Reflect on Memorial Day

Commission Urges Americans to Pause, Reflect on Memorial Day
Thu, 22 May 2008 12:14:00 -0500

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2008 – While Americans enjoy the traditional summer kick-off weekend with vacations, backyard barbecues, pool openings and picnics, the White House Commission on Remembrance is asking them to take a moment on Memorial Day to remember the true meaning of the holiday.
The National Moment of Remembrance was created “to provide a time of remembrance for America’s fallen and to make a commitment to give something back to our country in their memory,” according to the White House Commission of Remembrance Web site. The moment gives Americans a way to “participate in an act of national unity and demonstrate gratitude and respect for those who died for freedom since the founding of our nation.”

Congress voted in December 2000 to set aside 3 p.m. on Memorial Day as the National Moment of Remembrance.

“The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday,” the site explains.

According to a Gallup poll, only 28 percent of Americans understand the true meaning of Memorial Day, and the White House Commission on Remembrance is working to underscore the holiday’s intent, officials said.

Carmella LaSpada, director of the White House Commission on Remembrance, said she first noticed there was a problem when she was asked some children on a Capitol tour what the meaning of Memorial Day was and they answered that it was the day the pools opened.

Memorial Day, which began after the Civil War, is observed on the last Monday of May and has also been known as Decoration Day, a day when people went out to leave flowers or patriotic items on the graves of fallen troops.

Though it’s appropriate and encouraged for people to observe the moment privately, group observances are planned nationwide. In addition, Major League Baseball games are expected to pause, train whistles will blow, radio stations will play “Taps,” and bells will ring around the nation in observance of the Moment of Remembrance.

Related Sites:
National Moment of Remembrance
White House Commission on Remembrance

Update on Chessani Court Martial

Major Setback for Prosecutors in Chessani Court Martial; Military Judge Finds Evidence of Unlawful Command Influence

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chessani Case – Shelbourn, Muise, Chessani, RooneyANN ARBOR, MI – Prosecutors yesterday hit a major speed bump in their rush to convict Marine LtCol Jeffrey Chessani when the Military Judge ruled that he found evidence of unlawful command influence. Courts consider unlawful command influence the “mortal enemy of military justice.”

Although the case is far from over, yesterday’s ruling now forces prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) the facts upon which the unlawful command influence is based are untrue; (2) those facts do not constitute unlawful command influence; or (3) the unlawful command influence will not affect the proceedings.

The Unlawful Command Influence motion (click here for Motion) was brought before Military Judge, Colonel Steven Folsom, by the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Law Center attorneys Robert Muise and Brian Rooney, both former Marines, wrote and argued the Unlawful Command Influence motion on which yesterday’s decision is based.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented, “Considering the politically charged nature of this case – and particularly this motion – Colonel Folsom made a courageous decision.”

Thompson went on to say, “The taint of unlawful command influence started from the inception of the investigation, when high-ranking Pentagon officials decided to make LtCol Chessani a political scapegoat to appease a liberal anti-war press and politicians. This ill-conceived prosecution has resulted in the removal of one of America’s most effective combat commanders in Iraq by the Marine Corps’ own standards. Although nothing can undo the harm caused to our Nation and to LtCol Chessani and his family, this ruling gives us hope that the military justice system will rise above the politics that fomented this prosecution and allow LtCol Chessani, who devoted more than 20 years to the Marine Corps and to the defense of our Nation, to get on with his life.”

Colonel Folsom found that the defense met its burden of presenting “some evidence” of actual and apparent unlawful command influence. His decision was based upon the evidence that the Generals who controlled the disposition of the case were apparently or actually impermissibly influenced by Marine lawyer Colonel John Ewers, who was permitted to attend numerous, closed-session meetings in which LtCol Chessani’s case was discussed.

Colonel Ewers was one of the investigators of the Haditha incident from the beginning. He is a witness that the prosecutors plan to call in its case against LtCol Chessani. Consequently, he should not have been involved in any of the meetings in which the disposition of the Haditha cases was discussed with the Generals who convened the court martial. During the hearing, the defense called Col Ewers as a witness. Col Ewers admitted that he was present during at least 25 meetings in which LtCol Chessani’s case and the other Haditha cases were discussed with the Generals and other legal advisors.

The criminal charges against LtCol Chessani stem from a house-to-house, room-by-room battle four of his enlisted Marines engaged in on November 19, 2005, after being ambushed by insurgents in the town of Haditha, Iraq. Even though LtCol Chessani promptly reported the events of that day to his superiors, including the deaths of 15 noncombatant civilians caught in the battle, nobody in LtCol Chessani’s chain of command believed there was any wrongdoing on behalf of the Marines.

However, months later, a Time magazine story planted by an insurgent propaganda agent, caused Pentagon officials to order the largest investigation in the history of the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS). As a result, LtCol Chessani, one of America’s most effective combat commanders in Iraq, now faces dismissal (an officer’s equivalent of a dishonorable discharge), loss of retirement, and imprisonment of up to 3 years.

Thus far, after 30 months of investigation costing millions of dollars, the cases against three of the four enlisted men charged for their part in the Haditha incident have been dismissed.

The Law Center, along with two detailed Marine lawyers, LtCol Jon Shelburne and Captain Jeffrey King, is defending LtCol Chessani, the highest ranking military officer charged in the November 19, 2005, Haditha incident.

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life through litigation, education, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at http://www.thomasmore.org.

U.S. Marine: The Marlboro Man – PTSD

Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller fought in the battle of Fallojuah.

Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller, 20, a country boy from Kentucky who has been thrust unwittingly and somewhat unwillingly into the role of poster boy for a war on the other side of the world from his home on the farm. He has had to endure battling with PTSD.

To hear Lance Cpl. James Miller speak about what he deals with by having PTSD and why, here are some videos.

Part One, Two & Three

I read about the Legend of the Marlboro Man here.

Quotes From The United States Founders

John Adams1776 – Thoughts on Government
Category: Judiciary

The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that.
Reference: The Works of John Adams, C.F. Adams, ed. (198)
John Adams

1776 – Thoughts on Government
Category: Judiciary
[J]udges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.
Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 198.
Alexander Hamilton

1788 – Federalist No. 78
Category: Judiciary
The Judiciary…has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither force nor will.
Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 78 (465)
Alexander Hamilton

1788 – Federalist No. 81
Category: Judiciary
[T]here is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.
Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 81 (482)
Alexander Hamilton

1788 – Federalist No. 78
Category: Judiciary
The standard of good behavior for the continuance in office of the judicial magistracy is certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government.
Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 78.
Alexander Hamilton

1788 – Federalist No. 78
Category: Judiciary
And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.
Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 78.

“SHARIA CREEP” AROUND THE WORLD

by Kathy Shaidle

In the blockbuster action movie Independence Day, alien spacecraft hover simultaneously above strategic spots around the globe, the better to maximize chaos and destruction when they finally attack all at once.

A more mundane version of that scenario played itself out in real life this week, when three new stories appeared within 24 hours, all documenting a worldwide phenomenon that has come to be known as “sharia creep.”

In Australia, Muslim students (mostly Saudi citizens) asked Melbourne universities to adjust class times to fit in with their daily prayers.[1] They also requested female-only recreational areas on campus.

One institution rejected their demands outright. “That would seriously inconvenience other people at the college and it is not institutionally viable,” La Trobe University’s Martin Van Run told The Australian. “We are a secular institution … and we need to have a structured timetable.”

In a surprise reaction, the Saudi Government unveiled a plan to curb radicalization among its students in Australia by ensuring they make up only one percent of the student body at any given campus.

The idea is to prevent radical students from reaching critical mass, and thereby encouraging all Saudi-born students to mingle with non-Muslims.

“The move is a marked turnaround from past initiatives by the Saudi Government,” reported The Australian,[2] “including allegedly bankrolling hard line Muslim clerics, such as Canberra-based Mohammed Swaiti who openly praised jihadists; and pumping an estimated $120 million into the local Islamic community since the 1970s to influence its ideological bent.”

Meanwhile, on February 26, local officials in Zwolle, Holland decided to lift a ban on Muslim women wearing so-called “burkinis” in public swimming pools.[3] The garment, also known as a hijood, leaves only the wearer’s face, hands and feet exposed.

But the next day, a different municipality pledged to retain the burkini ban, because the garment doesn’t meet regulations and “might scare off” other swimmers. However, the same Hanzebad public pool has already offered female Muslim swimmers separate hours for several years.

The Dutch TV newsmagazine Netwerk sent a reporter wearing a burkini to various public pools. According to one report,[4] “the fiercest reaction shown was by a Muslim man, who said the burkini was an example of oppression of women and tolerating it an example of the influence that orthodox Islam is gaining in the Netherlands.”

Closer to home, Harvard University announced new women-only access times at the student gym,[5] to “accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.”

This decision came one month after men were banned from the athletic center during certain times, following successful petitions from the Harvard Islamic Society as well as the Women’s Center.

Harvard Islamic Society’s Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary said she does not consider the women-only gym hours discriminatory against male students or a “case of minority rights trumping majority preference.”

“We live together in one community, it only makes sense for everyone to compromise slightly in order for everyone to live happily,” she said.

As one blogger[6] observed, “I also like how minorities have ‘rights’ while the majority has a ‘preference.’ And here I was thinking we all had exactly the same rights. How silly of me.”

News stories like these have multiplied exponentially during the past few years. Hardly a day goes by without similar reports, such as Muslim nurses in the UK[7] refusing to roll up their sleeves to scrub up before surgery, claiming that sharia modesty rules trump concerns about contamination.

“IT’S ALL PART OF THE CAMPAIGN OF SOFT JIHAD,” wrote Roger Kimball[8], editor of The New Criterion. “Traditional jihad is waged with scimitars and their contemporary equivalents, e.g., stolen Boeing 767s, which make handy instruments of mass homicide. Soft jihad is a quieter affair: it uses and abuses the language and the principles of democratic liberalism not to secure the institutions and attitudes that make freedom possible but, on the contrary, to undermine that freedom and pave the way for self-righteous, theocratic intolerance.”

Western countries do not always go along with the plan, however. Witness the public outcry back in 2003, when some Muslims in the province of Ontario, Canada demanded they be allowed to set up sharia courts, ostensibly to arbitrate domestic disputes in the manner of pre-existing Catholic and Jewish tribunals.

Public protests in Canada, as well as abroad, led Premier Dalton McGuinty, who’d initially voiced tentative support for the new courts, to rule against the move. Unfortunately, that meant that those long established Catholic and Jewish tribunals throughout the province had to be shut down too, in the interest of “equality.”

Author and expert on radical Islam Robert Spencer has been sounding the alarm about “sharia creep” for years at his website DhimmiWatch.[9] In an exclusive interview with FrontPageMag.com, Spencer reflected on whether or not his efforts to warn the public were paying off:

I think we may be getting through to a very small number of people, but Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the U.S. are still making tremendous headway by portraying these Sharia-creep initiatives as simple matters of civil rights, and playing on fears among public officials, and the public at large, of being seen as racist and bigoted.

It is getting worse, because there is a concerted effort by the MSA’s [Muslim Student Ass’n] on various campuses and other groups to push Muslim accommodation issues aggressively, but this effort is relatively new. We didn’t see it on this scale ten or even five years ago. I think it is a natural outgrowth of the post-9/11 anxiety on the part of government and media not to appear ‘Islamophobic.’ As long as that continues to be a matter for concern, there will be continued accommodation of Muslim practices and Islamic distinctiveness, which only aids and abets the Islamic supremacist agenda.

At the same time, Spencer sees “an increasingly discussion of the creeping Sharia/stealth jihad issue by an increasing number of writers.” Writers like Daniel Pipes and Diana West have devoted recent columns to the domestic front on the War on Terror. But despite the work they and others do, the “level of awareness right now is so abysmal,” continued Robert Spencer, “that I think the main thing people can do is try to call attention, via letters to the editor, contacts to their elected officials, the blogsophere, etc., to the explicit campaign being undertaken here. The idea would be to awaken as many people as possible to what is going on here –– who the groups are that are pursuing this agenda, and what the agenda really is, behind all the talk of ‘hate speech’ and accommodation of cultural practices in the name of multiculturalism and diversity.”

And that agenda seems to be everywhere –– from the big issues right down to British fish and chips. When it was revealed in late February that a popular British snack food contained traces of alcohol,[10] a Muslim Council of Britain spokesman declared, “Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol.”

In turn, Richard Kimball voiced “a modest proposal, which I offer to British Food and Beverage industry free and for nothing: start putting a bit of alcohol in everything edible or potable.”

“It’s only a start, Kimball continued, “but from a tiny acorn the mighty oak does grow.”

Footnotes

1. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/
0,,23269447-2702,00.html?from=public_rss

2. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/
0,25197,23282588-15084,00.html

3. http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2008/02/
swimming_pool_relents_on_burki.php

4. http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/
Row-over-Muslim-swimming-costume-in-Netherlands.html

5. http://media.www.dailyfreepress.com/media/
storage/paper87/news/2008/02/25/News/To.Accommodate.Muslim.
Students.Harvard.Tries.WomenOnly.Gym.Hours-3232133.shtml

6. http://pursuingholiness.com/2008/02/25/ivy-league-dhimmitude/

7. http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/020107.php

8. http://pajamasmedia.com/xpress/rogerkimball/2008/02/23/
quiet_crusading_vs_soft_jihad.php

9. http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/

10. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article3412749.ece

A blogger since 2000, Kathy Shaidle runs FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new e-book Acoustic Ladyland has been called a “must read” by Mark Steyn.

This article appeared March 3, 2008 in Front Page Magazine
http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID= C9A33CD4-88D4-4162-A1C1-6777D90821EC

8 year old girl used as Suicide Bomber in Iraq

An eight-year-old girl strapped with explosives has blown up and killed an Iraqi army captain.

An Iraqi soldier

The bomb was detonated by remote control, injuring four soldiers in addition to the one who died, an Iraqi Army spokesman said.

Local authorities imposed a curfew in the area and American troops launched a search for those responsible.

US soldiers confirmed that a young girl was involved in the attack, which took place near Youssifiyah, south of the capital, Baghdad.

The horrific bombing came as Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki flew to Mosul to take charge of a major offensive against al Qaeda.

The US military says the northern city is the terror group’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

Military officials hope the offensive will deliver a knockout blow.

Sunni Islamist al Qaeda gunmen have regrouped in Mosul and the surrounding province of Nineveh after being pushed out of Baghdad and western Anbar province by US and Iraqi forces.

Moqtada al Sadr’s opposition movement struck a deal the ruling Shi’ite alliance to end running battles in Baghdad, although sporadic clashes keep breaking out.