Two Army officers, Terry Lakin and Ehren Watada took oaths to preserve and defend the United States Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Yet, in their efforts to do just that, both were court martialed. Each made a personal sacrifice based on principles of moral judgment, intellectual depth and ethical integrity, which is critical to the survival of our nation as a free people.
If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. Samuel Adams
These timeless words by Samuel Adams are a warning against those who would use cunning acts of deception to try and separate us from our liberties by redefining how we should think of ourselves as a free people. In fact, I argue that we now live in just such a time. A vain and aspiring man, Barack Obama sits in the White House. He is the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces and despite all the propaganda that we have been fed by a strong Left leaning news media for the last five years, we still know very little about him. So far any questions raised about documentation to validate his fictional life line narrative have been met with ridicule and accusations of racism from a press that is supposed to watch out for us, but doesn’t. It is for this reason that I present two different cases of Army officers who refused to follow orders and deploy to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. Two different reasons that two different men defied orders from two different presidents, but both did so based on principle.
The parallel between these two cases is intellectually and morally intriguing. In my scrutiny I do admit that it has been a real challenge to consider all the facts without assigning values of merit to one case more than the other, but I have tried. One thing is clear, the general mainstream media is far too biased to be trusted, entertainment and propaganda seem to be the name of their game. Could it be that getting to the down and dirty of a story only applies when the potential threat of that story does not endanger any ideological values or special interest groups that many reporters and editors have been trained to defend and even promote? If so, then any fruits of investigative reporting from such a press are sure to be toxic to any sense of objective truth. So it is easy to see why more well informed people are turning to the Internet for information, as well as the chance to participate in national discussions. We must be armed with knowledge and engage in the political process on all levels, if we want to remain free or even punch through the illusion that we still are.
In March 2010, one soldier, a commissioned officer and decorated veteran with 18 years of service, dared to challenge the official identity narrative of President Barack Obama. Lieutenant Colonel (LTC.) Terry Lakin, asked to see the President’s legitimate birth certificate as issued by the state of Hawaii before he would follow orders to report for a second deployment to Afghanistan. For two years speculation in some public sectors over the circumstances of Obama’s nativity had raised enough doubt to question the legitimacy of his right as defined by the U.S. Constitution to even seek office as President of the United States (POTUS), let alone issue orders to the military. In fact, prior to Lakin’s stand, another soldier, a commissioned officer in the reserves, Major (Maj.) Stefan Frederick Cook had also refused to deploy to Afghanistan until Barack Obama could prove that he was by birth constitutionally eligible to be Commander in Chief. Fortunately, Cook was delivered from the situation when his orders were conveniently revoked. Sean Hannity reported on Fox News that Maj. Cook and his attorney considered this act an admission of guilt on Obama’s birth status as unconstitutional. Perhaps the White House wished it had attacked this issue head on and made an example of Cook, instead of waiting until another soldier could make such a challenge. Make no mistake, the White House was concerned, but Obama and his thugs knew that a military court would handle the situation to their advantage. This story only begins to address the nature and mission of just what a military court martial is all about, much more will be said in future articles.
For a soldier to question Barack Obama was audacity not to be tolerated; After all, he had been elected, right? So for his efforts, LTC. Lakin was swiftly persecuted/prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), convicted and sent to Fort Leavenworth for six months. With only two years to go, Lakin lost a career, an annual pension worth more than $46,000.00, a chance for promotion, his medical license, his freedom and his dignity but never his honor!
Yet, just three years earlier another commissioned officer Lieutenant (Lt.) Ehren Watada, with four years of service, challenged presidential orders to deploy to Iraq, not because he doubted that George Bush had the right to issue those orders, but because he believed that the war itself, was illegal. Ehren Watada’s case ended in a mistrial, so no prison (good for him), not enough time served for any loss of pension, no wife and children yet to support and young enough to go in any direction for a career. Both men refused to follow presidential orders, but each was treated differently by the press and the military courts that tried them, why?
In addition to a biased media, this story is about an oath that both men took to preserve and defend the U.S. Constitution and their efforts to do just that. Finally, this story is about honor and the dangerous shark infested waters in which we now tread because ‘We the People’ have been distancing ourselves from the principles as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights on which this nation was founded. Since my analysis of these two cases is rather detailed and to present both at the same time would be a tome rather than an article, I have decided to deliver this work in three parts. Part one will focus on the court martial of Terry Lakin. Part 2, will be an analysis of Ehren Watada’s court martial in comparison with that of LTC. Lakin’s. Part 3 will be an analysis of Ehren Watada’s stand against an “illegal war”. To make this project more interesting, I invite both gentlemen to respond to my articles with their own essays, which I will promptly post. They may or may not agree with me, but I invite their voices to be heard.
For LTC. Terry Lakin’s story I had the added advantage of his book, Officer’s Oath: Why My Vow to Defend the Constitution Demanded That I Sacrifice My Career, as well as the transcripts from his trial. For these aids I am grateful.
The Court Martial of LTC. Terry Lakin
Within his chain of command and without success, Terry Lakin had tried for over a year to get answers concerning Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to hold office as POTUS. The idea that information about the President of the United States as uncertain, hidden and brushed aside was unsettling to him, as it should have been to news networks everywhere. Lakin argued that “Because all lawful orders have their origin with the Commander in Chief, it is important that no doubt should exist as to that executive officer’s right to issue such orders in the first place.” On this principle, Terry Lakin was credited for speaking up for every man and woman that Barack Obama sent into harms way during the Afghanistan ‘surge’ initiative that began in 2010. Others argue that Lt. Watada did the same thing concerning George Bush and Iraq.
If Terry Lakin thought that Barack Obama would do the honorable thing and give in with a simple little piece of paper that we all must have and that Lakin was required to present no less than five copies of for his deployment to Afghanistan, then the joke was on him. The assumption that his status as an active duty member of the Armed Forces ordered into a hostile war zone would give him any ‘standing’ and compel the President or the state of Hawaii to hand over the so called original long form birth certificate as sworn to exist in it’s archives, was another miscalculation. To make matters worse, most of the mainstream media didn’t even care. So far his sacrifice has done little to bring the issue of Obama’s birth and ID legitimacy to the attention of the American public. At the time, what notice LTC. Lakin’s defiance did get from the media was hostile and belittling. Witness this interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN.
As revealed in his book Officer’s Oath, this so called meeting with Anderson Cooper was really a sham. Lakin and his attorney Paul Jensen were led to believe that they would be speaking with Cooper in person, but just before the interview they were informed by the producer that some technical difficulties had required a new arrangement; Therefore, Anderson Cooper would not be with them, but in a separate booth. So they were perched on some high, uncomfortable stools and told to look at a blank gray screen with a camera behind it. They could not see Cooper, but were only allowed to hear his voice, which was rude and badgering, Lakin called the experience unnerving. This explains why the interrogation/interview looked so off to the public. Throughout this entire ordeal Terry Lakin may not have been the most media savvy hero to his supporters, but he certainly had the moxie to see the situation through. What motivated his stand other than a strong sense of right and wrong was what should motivate every soldier, ‘Duty, Honor and Country’.
All recruits, be they officer or enlisted are required to take an oath upon entry into service of the Armed Forces. Commissioned officers take one oath and the enlisted ranks take another. Below are two different oaths, the first is taken by commissioned officers, such as Lakin and Watada and the second by members of the enlisted ranks, notice the similarities, as well as the differences.
I, _____ (SSAN) having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God. DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.
I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. Oath taken by enlisted members. Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962.
There is a bold difference between these two oaths. The officer does not swear to obey orders from anyone. An officer only swears,
to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
Now notice how the oath for the enlisted ranks specifically states,
I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Clearly the enlisted ranks are expected to follow the orders of the officers and senior NCOs appointed over them, unless those orders blatantly conflict with the UCMJ. However, officers are obligated to disobey any order that violates the U.S. Constitution and if the president is suspected of being a fraud, a usurper, then what part of this vow remains unclear? On the other hand, enlisted personnel are expected to obey all lawful orders that do not violate the UCMJ. Was Terry Lakin a fool for taking the Officer’s Oath too seriously, which specifically stipulates,
To preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic?
From the way his court martial played out, it appears so. After all, if those in the higher echelons of the chain of command do not care, or are hesitant, if not downright fearful to do their duty, then what can one soldier do? What is a family without mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters? Certainly, all branches of the Armed Forces tout themselves as being family, but this case proved a family very confused and dysfunctional.
In the military, a male officer who overseas a unit (group of soldiers Company level or higher) is often referred to as the ‘Old Man’ by his troops. This is a term of affection because by the time an officer commands a unit the size of a battalion, he is old enough to be considered a ‘father figure’ to his young subordinates. After all, it is good to remember that young blood is what makes the military strong, so a man of 37 is indeed considered to be a sage of wisdom! Note – I never heard a female officer referred to as the ‘Old Woman’ regardless of seniority, nor do I think such a term of endearment would be welcomed to female ears, but maybe that is just me. In any case, these officers are charged to look out for their people, to train them, to care for them and to lead them to victory. This responsibility becomes second nature as they too are mentored by other officers of experience and virtue. At least that is how it is supposed to work. By the time an officer has risen to the stratosphere of rank that General Colin Powell achieved, he/she is expected to be concerned about the integrity and welfare of the entire military and nation as a whole.
For generals and admirals the cries of a nation and it’s military in distress should never diminish after retirement. If such an officer/statesman is needed, it is their duty to respond, or at least listen to those who plead to be heard, especially when evidence of forgery and deceit is so strong. Yet, witness this National Public Radio (NPR) chat with Colin Powell and evidence how NPR censored/scrubbed the interview.
So the General doesn’t want to hear the argument, then what must he think of Obama’s leadership skills now with Benghazi, IRS, API and soon Extortion 17 scandals in his face? Is he still convinced that Barack Obama knows what he is doing and has a right to be in the White House? An incompetent president is one thing, this nation has suffered through such men before, but a puppet is quite another issue altogether. To expose this ‘imperial’ president would be a constitutional crisis of unprecedented proportions with national security at grave risk but something we could survive, to continue to let it go unchallenged, is the greater danger.
So in addition to the oath, it goes without saying that officers are also expected to have a solid grip on the UCMJ because they are responsible for setting the policies and directives from which lawful orders originate. Yet, their responsibilities do not end there. Though all members are expected to reflect highly on the core values of the branch in which they serve, officers are expected to lead by example. Furthermore, it is their responsibility to be educated about the Constitution, so that they can recognize an attack against it when they see it. Though similar, each branch of service promotes its own creed and core values. However, because both Lakin and Watada served in the Army, as did I, my focus will address the core values of the U.S. Army, which are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Why is this important? It is important because both oaths include,
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
This means that everyone pledges allegiance to the nation as a whole and by working together to support and defend the Constitution all branches of the Armed Forces protect the nation. Officers are directed to oversee this responsibility, so the expectation of their conduct is met with the highest standards. In Lakin’s book he refers to an article from his hometown newspaper the Tribune, which at the time intensionally juxtaposed another article about the development of his case with that of an announcement concerning two reservists who had decided to enlist for full time active duty. The soldier in Lakin, referred to these men as ‘brothers’, the officer in him reflected,
On the one hand, it made me feel horrible that these guys were signing on and I was not going to be there to take care of them. On the other had, since they were enlisted men, I felt all the more responsibility to assure that all orders are lawful and coming from a duly appropriate source, a Commander in Chief who has validated his constitutional eligibility. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg.83.
For a member of the Armed Forces to challenge the Commander in Chief takes real courage, something that Terry Lakin’s critics will never understand, but I am quite sure that Ehren Watada does. When making a stand based on principle it is important to know that you are not alone. Just as Lt. Watada had his supporters, so too did Terry Lakin, but unlike those of the Lt., people who agreed with LTC. Lakin were then and even at the time that I compose this article, dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” and labeled with the derogatory term, ‘birther’. Regardless of the mounting evidence to support the claims that Barack Obama is not only ineligible to be president, but that his very presence on the political scene is part of a well orchestrated campaign by Marxist radicals to
Fundamentally transform the United States of America
into a place that people will want to flee from, rather than a land always known as a refuge, a place of sanctuary. Those who question the lies of the Obama myth are mercilessly attacked.
In the beginning, my own disgust with Barack Obama was based solely on his job performance, such as his seeming inability to grasp the desperate need to secure our border with Mexico despite clear evidence of foreign/Mexican bandit outposts in southern Arizona, his offensive bloated “affordable?” health care plan that now nobody, not even the unions want, his phony baloney concern for the middle class which in fact he is destroying, an excessive personal budget for a jet setting lifestyle at taxpayers expense, class warfare diatribes, billions dumped into failing green businesses, his war on coal which will make electricity in this country sky rocket (hello Third World), his failure to hold press conferences but always available for fund raisers, Hollywood extravaganzas and women’s programs like The View. However, after Benghazi and the media’s failure to dig deep enough into the ridiculous narrative presented by the White House before the 2012 election, I started to do my own homework and that was when I discovered the ugly truth about Barack Obama, the press and it’s impact on our nation but specifically on our troops, who really are at the mercy of the system.
Terry Lakin was ready and more than willing to deploy to Afghanistan, all he wanted to see was what should have been a small gesture on the President’s part, a valid birth certificate. This is a legal document that Lakin as a doctor, had certified for every baby delivered in his medical career. Of course, we are talking about Barack Obama and no threat, regardless of how small, goes unpunished, because for this president a valid birth certificate is no small matter. LTC. Lakin’s trial lasted exactly 2 days, he was not even allowed to present the argument that motivated his defiance and brought charges against him in the first place. In fact, at one point, his own counsel ambushed him with a well calculated attack. The strategy worked. Like a source in the hands of a skilled interrogator, Lakin broke and crumbled. That must have been a joyful moment for Obama’s minions, his personal army of mindless drones called O-bots who troll the Internet to keep their Messiah untouched from any barbs of truth that real intellectuals and people of virtue and courage dare to pierce him with. So Lakin was quickly convicted and dispatched to Fort Leavenworth. Forget Christmas. Then on 22 April 2011, Obama asked the state of Hawaii for a copy of his long form birth certificate, five days later it appeared on the White House website, a fake of course!
That the President of the United States could have presented his birth certificate, even a fake one, in time to save a man’s career, spare him a trial, jail sentence and help him keep his rank, dignity and benefits, but did not, is despicable! I for one will not let him get away with it, because this is not just about Terry Lakin, it is about all of us! LTCl. Lakin was once an outstanding Army officer, but still is and always will be a gentleman. I will also apply that attribute to Ehren Watada. Whether I agree with both of them equally is not the point, but I do respect each of them in different ways. Why we as American citizens should care and examine these two cases is worth our effort. I believe the understanding and values that we can gain from these stories will have an impact on events that are certain to challenge us in the near future.
To begin my review of the transcripts of LTC. Lakin’s Court Martial, I will highlight the most salient moments of the event. Terry Lakin’s original attorney was Paul Rolf Jensen of Jensen and Associates, Costa Mesa, California, who represented him on behalf of The American Patriots Foundation. His military counsel was Major (Maj.) Mathew Kemkes. In his book Lakin stated that even though Maj. Kemkes was smart and well organized he suspected the Maj., of posting comments to CAAFlog Blog, which could have hurt his chances for a fair trial. At this time let me please suggest, that even if Maj. Kemkes actually did such a thing and that is a big if, I doubt that it would have changed the conduct in which his trial proceeded. Furthermore, on team effort with regard to both attorneys LTC.Lakin stated,
From the beginning Jensen and Kemkes had different agendas. Jensen wanted to get at Obama’s eligibility; Kemkes wanted to get me off the hook. These strategies were at odds with each other. In addition, any number of outside attorneys offered advice. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg. 87
The first duty that Jensen advocated for his client was to argue that under U.S.C. Rule 46, a defendant put on court martial has the right to call any and all witnesses and obtain any evidence necessary for defense. However, Paul Jensen soon discovered just how different a military court martial can be from that of a civilian trial. The purpose of the UCMJ is to determine if a breach of military discipline has occurred and if so, to promote good order and discipline within the ranks by governing the conduct of service members. Hopefully individual rights and justice get in there somewhere.
At this point it is good to note that before LTC. Lakin’s arraignment, which in military terms is called an Article 39, the minutes of the transcript read:
No member of the prosecution has acted in any manner, which might tend to disqualify us in a court martial.
However, that was before it came to the judges attention that on the afternoon before the hearing, the lead prosecuting attorney LTC. Steven Brodsky had overstepped his authority by improperly inserting himself directly into Terry Lakin’s chain of command. The American Patriot Foundation reported that the Prosecutor instructed the Defense counsel to have their client report hours before the hearing to his duty post at Walter Reed Army Medical Center so that he could be escorted to the arraignment in order “to avoid embarrassing his unit.” Furthermore, Lakin’s counsel claimed that LTC. Brodsky rejected all of their pleas of respect for their client. Their efforts to point out that this action as highly unusual with regard to how even an enlisted person who faced similar charges would be treated was ignored. The fact that Terry Lakin had invited his own court martial made no difference to LTC. Brodsky, who made it clear that another officer had been detailed as an escort and that was that! My take, they did not want Terry Lakin talking to the press just in case he might actually come in contact with a real professional!
On the following day, outside the courtroom, it was reported that LTC. Brodsky again went far beyond his authority and continued to play the bully. While waiting near the courtroom and in voices easily audible, LTC. Brodsky spoke with Colonel (Col.) Melanie Craig, Lakin’s “escort” about the need to keep Lakin from speaking to the media, “signing autographs or kissing babies”. LTC. Brodsky then instructed Craig to “just taser him and throw him in the van.” Terry Lakin later said of the incident:
LTC. Brodsky meant for me to hear those words, no question. When Col. Craig returned to where I was, she said to me ‘you probably heard all that, didn’t you?’ I replied it would have been hard not to. After the hearing, my lawyers asked Col. Craig for permission for me to speak to the press, since both CNN and NBC had sent camera crews, but she rudely refused, and she ordered me back into her vehicle to be transported back to Walter Reed.
My personal take here is that LTC. Brodsky did not actually expect Col. Craig to take his suggestion literally. First of all, she out ranked him and second, the bully/belittling treatment is often standard operating procedure (SOP) for someone who is no longer considered a ‘team player’ but instead regarded as a trouble maker. Moreover, I suggest that Brodsky just couldn’t resist the temptation to bully Lakin’s civilian attorney, because unless that attorney has ever served in the military, especially its justice system, he is bound to feel a little like a fish out of water. Fortunately, the editor of LTC. Lakin’s home town newspaper in Greely Colorado got involved over the incident and it was reported to Major General (MG.) Hawley-Bowland. Since she had direct authority over Terry Lakin’s superiors, LTC. Brodsky was appropriately dismissed from the case. That an officer would treat another under such circumstances with such disrespect, is shameful and the higher brass did well to respond as it did.
It is also important that prior to his challenge to Barack Obama, LTC. Lakin’s commanding officer, Col. Dale Block had given Lakin a stellar officer’s job performance evaluation:
Dr. Lakin is an extremely talented and highly knowledgeable senior Army clinician. He can always be counted on to provide me with expert advice. LTC. Lakin is clearly one of the top clinicians in the Northern Regional Medical Command. He has superb clinical skills, rapport with patients and staff. Terry is the best choice for tough assignments…Already on the promotion list to Colonel, he should be groomed for positions of greater responsibility. WND, 15 June 2010, Bob Unruh
Col. Block concluded by recommending Terry Lakin for promotion as a Clinic Commander. However, that was before Lakin tried to embarrass Barack Obama by asking for proof of his constitutional eligibility to serve/govern/rule as president. Soon after that, LTC. Lakin discovered that his excellent officer evaluation had been altered to reflect derogatory comments. In addition to the doctored job performance evaluation, World Net Daily (WND) reported on 4 Nov. 2010, that it was suggested that Terry Lakin undergo a brain scan and medical review, which he wisely refused! Who knows how that might have gone!!
With all the Army’s efforts to besmirch LTC. Lakin’s character and competence
sabotaged by all those medals, letters of commendation and consistent glowing job performance reports accumulated over 18 years getting in the way, there was nothing left to do but strip him of any chance for a defense, at least one that brought Barack Obama into question. The presiding judge, Army Col. Denise R. Lind’s decision on Jensen’s claims for ‘discovery’ was surprising. It reveals the Military as anything but a think tank for recognizing and analyzing threats to the Constitution. This begs the question, how can the Military as an institution be expected to defend the Constitution when it cowers at the possibility of actually having to do it’s duty with regard to evidence that is so clear? Just label the whole thing a ‘Political’ affair beyond the scope of the court’s ability to address because orders probably descended from ‘above’ (I don’t mean Heaven) to direct the show and provide the illusion that we still live in a free Republic, for now! Stalin would have been so proud that this uppity doctor was about to get what was coming to him. Fort Leavenworth is no gulag, but just give them a little more time. On requests of evidence and witnesses from the Defense, Judge Lind ruled:
(12) The issues of whether Barack Obama is a natural born citizen and whether he is qualified under the Constitution to serve as President are textually demonstrable constitutional commitments of the issues to a coordinate political department. Artical 1, sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution give Congress the sole power of impeachment and removal of a serving President. The court further concludes that it is impossible for this Article 1 Court to take independent resolution of whether President Obama is a natural born citizen or is qualified under the Constitution to hold office without expressing lack of respect due coordinate branches of government.
(13) In context of this Article 1 court martial of a service member accused of disobeying orders to challenge the constitutional qualifications of the President to hold office, there is also an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political policy decision already made. The potential for EMBARRASSMENT from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question are uniquely powerful to ensure that courts martial do not become the vehicle for adjudicating the legality of political decisions and to ensure the military’s capacity to maintain good order and discipline in the Armed Forces.
So let’s not embarrass a potential fraud, let’s not tell the emperor that he has no clothes (not that he doesn’t already know) we might discover that a Coup d’état had actually taken place on election day! What about the lack of respect the president showed to LTC. Lakin, to the Military in general and to the American people as a whole? Our American troops charge hills, take bullets and when possible try to win, rather than bayonet the hearts of our enemies, do they not deserve some respect from their Commander in Chief? Let the president prove he is all that he has deceived so many to be!
The Prosecution pointed out that because the order for LTC. Lakin’s deployment to Afghanistan didn’t come directly from President Obama, but rather from the Secretary of the Army, as cited by Title 10 United States Code Section (3013)b, the LTC. should have been satisfied:
Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense and subject to the provisions of chapter 6 of this title, the Secretary of the Army is responsible for, and has the authority necessary to conduct, all affairs of the Department of the Army, including maintenance and mobilization.
So in other words, that LTC. Lakin’s orders to Afghanistan could be traced back to the Secretary of Defense were good enough for the court and therefore should have been good enough for Terry Lakin. That he would take his “Officer’s Oath” so literally and sincerely apply it to the entire Chain of Command must have been an amusing idea to many other career officers who just wanted to get to their own pensions without delay.
Evidently the buck doesn’t stop with this president unless he can gain glory for a final decision to send our very best warriors to invade the sovereignty of another country to slay a terrorist mastermind. What if the mission had failed? Would Obama then have claimed he didn’t know, like the IRS and API scandals? Would he have blamed it on a rouge lower level Secretary of Defense or Head of the CIA, or possibly some crazy over zealous Navy SEALs who just wanted to do the world a favor? With Barack Obama anything is possible! However, the real insult to logic and justice came when the Prosecution won their argument with the De Facto Officer Doctrine.
Assuming arguendo without conceding the point, even if President Obama is not eligible to hold office, the defacto officer doctrine, recognized by the Supreme Court in Ryder v. U.S., 515 U.S. 177 (1995), dictates that actions taken by ineligible President under color of office are still valid.
What does this mean? It means that this doctrine confers validity upon acts performed by a person acting under the color of official title even though it is later discovered that the legality of that person’s appointment or election to office is deficient. http://www.law.cornell.edu
During the pre-trial process and the litigation of motions, the Prosecution successfully achieved all of their goals, Col. Lind ruled in favor of every request they made. Yet, not one request from the Defense was granted, with an exception of two ‘good soldier’ ‘atta boy’ witnesses whose purpose was to try and soften the sentence in the foregone conclusion of a conviction. No other request was allowed for Terry Lakin’s defense and they were as follows:
- Discovery of all government evidence and witnesses such as –
Obama’s Long Form Birth Certificate, as well as the testimony of Dr. Chiyome Fukino of the Hawaii Department of Health and that agency’s records on Obama. Baptism certificate Records and testimony from custodians of Obama’s college financial aid and attendance at Punahou High School, Occidental College, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School, Harvard Law Review articles, Law practice client list, University of Chicago scholarly articles, Illinois Bar Records, Illinois State Senate records
The Illinois State Senate records request is especially troubling. Are not all decisions made by elected officials subject to review by their constituents Yet, the Illinois State Archives told Judicial Watch that they never received any request from Senator Obama to archive any records in his possession. Ok, so a Senator must let the state know that their ‘track record’ must be archived? How convenient! In 2007, Obama told Tim Russert that his records were “not kept.” Also alarming is that Obama’s entire Illinois State Senate schedule is lost! Now that is really amazing, the state of Illinois didn’t keep any records of Barack Obama’s “service?” to the people of Illinois. I guess when the famous ‘Chicago political machine’ really loves a politician, that “public servant” has nothing to worry about!
- Obtaining expert assistance and witnesses
Alan Keyes – Statesman, conservative political activist, author and former Ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations by President Ronald Reagan, among just a few of his accomplishments to explain the constitutional issues involved in the case.
Retired Air Force Lieutenant General (LTG). Thomas McInerney – was to talk about the training soldiers receive regarding when they should question and even disobey orders.
Now how could this very important testimony be disregarded by a fair judge?
- Obtaining favorable witnesses for the defense – 2 granted
What better reason to try and alter an excellent Job performance report? Furthermore, only 2 from a list of 14 ‘good soldier’ witnesses were allowed to testify on LTC. Lakin’s behalf. These witnesses were Col. Monty Willoughby, the executive officer of Lakin’s unit in Afghanistan and Timothy Mayhack, a civilian from North Pole, Alaska, who served with Lakin as a CW3 helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.
The American military was originally designed to be under the control of a legal civilian legislative authority, the key word here is ‘legal’. It is the ‘beast with teeth’ when the nation needs defense and it has been called to aid in various events of national crisis, but it was never intended to over ride and dominate the Executive and Congressional Branches, this is not Argentina 1970’s. Yet, here before it for the first time ever, a legitimate question about the very authority over it as in conflict with the Constitution, a vital part of a mission that it is sworn to uphold and defend. To helplessly throw the argument at the feet of Congress, who indeed is ultimately responsible for the failure to challenge this President, was that the only action that Col. Lind could have taken? Certainly the challenge went far beyond her pay grade but just where should the line be drawn? Terry Lakin tried to do just that! LTG. McInerney’s testimony along with that of Alan Keyes were precious moments denied that could have made this a historic trial, critical to the survival of a nation and the integrity of the military sworn to protect it.
The trial of LTC. Terry Lakin really was a complicated case and no doubt Col. Lind received her orders to keep it the simple issue of a “lawful” order given and disobeyed, but ‘lawful’ was the whole point! This was one hill that the Pentagon refused to take! However, in defense of the Army, why didn’t the FBI vet Barack Obama when it was still under the Justice Department of the Bush administration? The danger of a military influenced by values that offend the Constitution will have a detrimental impact on the welfare of the troops and the nation as well. This is another reason why ‘We the People’ need to care about our military, to some degree they cannot do it for themselves. They fight for us and we must know when to fight for them!
At this point LTC. Lakin’s entire hope for defense was shot out of the sky, because the judge made it very clear that her court room would not be the platform on which Barack Obama would be exposed for constitutional review. Since Lakin’s heart was with the troops anyway and his daring challenge to President Obama was a lost cause, the way forward was only going to get worse. Paul Jensen announced his intention to file a motion with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals to have Col. Lind’s ruling overturned, but that too failed. In short Jack Cashill of WND, summed the situation up very well when he said,
At the end of the day, U.S. Army courts sacrificed individual rights and constitutional probity for institutional stability.
Thank goodness there were others who spoke out! In addition to LTG. McInerney, two other retired generals came forward to publicly add their support for Terry Lakin’s courage. They were MG.s Jerry Curry, who served in the Defense Department during the Carter and Reagan administrations and Paul Vallely, a frequent Fox News analyst. So Lakin had some serious brass and one statesman on his side, but none of them were allowed to be heard at his trial. Below is McInernery’s statement to the press. Also, click here for his affidavit in support of LTC. Lakin’s defense – 8/19/2010.
For the foregoing reasons, it is my opinion that LTC. Lakin’s request for discovery relating to the President’s birth record in Hawaii is absolutely essential to determining not merely his guilt or innocence but to reassuring all military personnel once and for all for this President whether his service as Commander in Chief is Constitutionally proper. He is the one single person in the Chain of Command that the Constitution demands proof of natural born citizenship. This determination is fundamental to our Republic, where civilian control over the military is the rule. According to the Constitution, the Commander in Chief must now, in the face of serious — and widely-held — concerns that he is ineligible, either voluntarily establish his eligibility by authorizing release of his birth records or this court must authorize their discovery. The invasion of his privacy is utterly trivial compared to the issues at stake here. Our military MUST have confidence their Commander in Chief lawfully holds his office and absent which confidence grievous consequences may ensue. LT. Gen. McInerney, 1 Sept. 2010, Huffington Post
In the end Terry Lakin was allowed to present not one element of evidence in his defense. All witnesses – DENIED. All depositions – DENIED. All requests for documents were – DENIED. Only 2 ‘good soldier’ witnesses of 14 listed were granted. Yet, amazingly the Prosecution got everything that they asked for. How could this not be considered a kangaroo court?
At this point Terry Lakin was desperate for an attorney that understood the system. As I read through the dry facts of the transcript, I understood what happened and when, but it was not until I read Lakin’s book that I could see the color of why. The relationship between Paul Jensen and Terry Lakin was not what it should have been. No doubt his civilian attorney was frustrated that all his efforts had failed and like most lawyers he certainly had other cases in the fire, but a defendant on trial must know that he is well represented. Paul Jensen was late for court a number of times, so as of 13 October 2010, civilian counsel Neal Puckett replaced him as lead counsel for the Defense. Puckett is a retired USMC Military Judge, and retired USMC Judge Advocate who now practices military and civilian criminal defense. At this point the only way forward for Terry Lakin’s defense was a strategy to try and reduce the sentence of what was sure to be a conviction. From Terry Lakin’s book this passage about his first meeting with Neal Puckett is one to remember for anyone who tries to count the cost before making a decision to take a stand based on principle, especially within the military. Find an attorney who believes in your cause. In this case I have no doubt that advice from this man on how a military court operates would have been extremely valuable information that could have saved LTC. Lakin much heartache or armed him with the best way to proceed before he jumped into the fire.
Puckett was a sharp looking guy, well dressed, cocky, a Harley rider, well organized, totally professional. You knew that he knew what he was doing. We had a great conversation about the case. I suspected right then that he would be my attorney. I sensed something else too. The case would not end well. As sympathetic as Puckett was, he really did not believe in what I was doing. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg 91
It is important to note that prior to all of this drama, when Lakin was already in the final, fruitless stage of trying to get some answers through his chain of command, he did make mistakes. Lakin deliberately failed to report as ordered to his brigade commander, Col. Gordon Ray Roberts, a living legend in the ranks, Vietnam, 11 July 1969, Roberts single-handedly wiped out three machine gun nests, saving the lives of over 20 fellow soldiers and was awarded the Medal of Honor. Prior to that, he had already been awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, at the time he was just 19 years old. This mistake was huge and Lakin admitted in his book that he seriously regretted that decision, for two reasons. First, he regretted the decision because he had great respect for Col. Roberts, as everyone did. Second, by failing to report as ordered to this revered officer, the Prosecution could use this as grounds alone, to court martial the doctor. Failure to report for deployment to Afghanistan from orders handed down by an illegal president with intent established on a YouTube video was one thing, though the court established early that Obama would not be the issue, but Col. Roberts was quite another. Lakin confessed that it was a stupid mistake and he did sincerely apologize to the Colonel. He later explained that at the time he thought it prudent to stay consistent, since he thought that he had already crossed the Rubicon and could not turn back.
By the first day of trial LTC. Lakin and his lead counsel Neal Puckett had concluded that with regard to the charges of ‘disobedience’, it would have been much wiser if the LTC. had obeyed all orders other than the one to deploy for the Afghan 30,000 man surge, which had come directly down the chain of command from Barack Obama, because only the president can order a foreign deployment. This was a lesson learned the hard way and I note it for the benefit of others down the road, so that Lakin’s mistakes, as well as his courageous stand may continue to hold their value.
On the first day, 14 Dec. 2010, the trial began with a “providence inquiry”. This is done before the members/jury is seated.
Puckett hoped that by admitting guilt here I could show the jury that I was accepting responsibility for what I had done and was remorseful for it. We chose not to plead guilty on the “missing movement” charge, because, an innocent plea on this charge left the door open for appeal. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg. 95
In spite of the torment inflicted by this man, Terry Lakin does give credit to Captain (Cpt.) Philip O’Beirne as a formidable foe. His cross examination by O’Beirne who could have been mentored by Cicero in another lifetime went like this:
As we proceeded, Judge Lind had to satisfy herself that I knew what I was pleading guilty to. The trial counsel for the Army Cpt. Philip O’Beirne, came prepared. A cool customer, he casually drank from a water bottle while he cut me to shreds. To tell the truth, he outclassed both my attorneys. Never satisfied with my answers, he peppered me with questions that for some procedural reason had to be filtered by Judge Lind and reworded. All the while, my attorneys, one on either side of me, whispered advice. This was two hours of pure nightmare. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg.95
When Col. Lind asked lead Defense if he was okay with this line of attack, Neal Puckett said he “welcomed it” and allowed it to continue, Questions of Paul Jensen’s guidance in the early stages of this ordeal kept coming up and this worked with Puckett’s strategy to portray his client as a clueless victim of Jensen’s bad advice. Though Lakin certainly wanted to soften the impact of a jail sentence he never wanted to be portrayed as a dupe by anyone, nor did he blame Jensen. In his book he clearly takes responsibility for his decisions.
Here is where Puckett and I were working at cross purposes. Regardless of what kind of advice Jensen had given me, I always knew what I was doing and said as much. After all, I was under oath and if oaths did not matter, what was I doing here? Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg. 96
When Judge Lind announced her findings at the end of the “providence inquiry” on the four Article 92 specifications to which LTC. Lakin did plead guilty to four counts, one was subsequently dismissed at the request of Neal Puckett. So at this phase Lakin was convicted of two counts of failing to obey orders to meet with his commanding officer and one count of failing to report as ordered to Fort Campbell, Ky., to join the 101st Airborne Division prior to the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan.
Day 2 of his court martial must have been the longest day in Lakin’s life to that point. Just reading the transcript for that day was an exhausting exercise. That a jury had to sit through the entire trial and wrap it up in that one time frame was unfair in itself. By the time that all arguments from the Prosecution had been made and Defense rebuttal configured, 15 Dec. 2010, was one long affair, not exactly the way a defendant wants an exhausted jury to consider his case. On top of that, Neal Puckett had to leave the court before the jury could render a verdict, as he was already scheduled for another case in Italy right away, so not much rest for him either. From here a sentence of no less than 18 months in addition to loss of all benefits, pension and ‘dismissal’ from service, same as a dishonorable discharge, were the remaining issues sure to impact Terry Lakin for the rest of his life, including the right to practice medicine.
Having been a great fan for years of the TV show “Law and Order”, I loved the way Jack McCoy would always persuade the jury with a brief and clever argument. So I just assumed that both Prosecution and Defense would succinctly sum up their arguments in five minutes or less by hitting all the high notes to reinforce their points, but reality bites very differently. The transcript provides dry facts but only those who witness such an event can begin to understand the power and emotional turbulence that goes on in a trial. Some of LTC. Lakins supporters testified to the experience of how the drama unfolded. What began as a friendly question and answer session to portray Lakin as a nice and caring person, good doctor, excellent soldier, officer, husband and family man suddenly turned aggressive and hostile. Puckett switched gears to a line of questioning designed to crush his client’s comfort, to bring him down, to melt him into a puddle of tears on the floor. Only the most emotionally hardened person could have withstood the hostile nature of such an unexpected experience, certainly not a physician, a person sworn to do no harm, a person whose mission is to save lives.
Through Officer’s Oath, Terry Lakin reveals that he was completely unaware of what his lead counsel had in mind. Nothing was rehearsed. Neal Puckett wanted natural responses from his client so he asked Terry Lakin to trust him. Therefore, with a large portrait of his wife and children clearly in view the exchange between Lakin and Puckett began innocently enough,then suddenly Puckett changed tactics. Employing a classic interrogation technique called ‘Pride and Ego Up’ Puckett quickly maneuvered into the ‘Pride and Ego Down’ mode and the good doctor didn’t know what hit him. I am sure that it must have been extremely difficult for Lakin’s supporters to witness this terrible assault on someone they loved and respected. That Terry Lakin broke under the emotional pressure was the whole point of Puckett’s calculated attack.
Many have strongly criticized Neal Puckett for the way he handled this part of the trial, but under the circumstances I don’t see that he really had any other choice. I base that conclusion on three factors. First, Puckett understood the system, he knew how the court worked and how the jury would most likely be instructed to consider an appropriate punishment, which the Prosecution had already demanded no less than 18 months. Second, because ‘discovery’ had been denied in the earlier stages of the court martial process, no real defense was possible; Therefore, punishment diminished could be the only hopeful outcome. Third, since Neal Puckett did not believe in Lakin’s cause, there were no restraints on his efforts to do whatever he thought necessary to secure minimum negative impact from the jury at sentencing. The constitutional eligibility of Barack Obama was not Mr. Puckett’s priority, but reducing Terry Lakin’s jail sentence at Leavenworth was, even if it meant painting his client as a naive fool to get the job done. Perhaps, if Neal Puckett had believed in Lakin’s cause, he might have used a different approach, one designed to preserve his client’s dignity with respect to the integrity of a greater mission. The man before him had willingly served himself up as a sacrifice to try and get to the truth of just who Barack Obama really is, but to this day 12 Aug. 2013, we still don’t know.
From a possible sentence of 24, then 18 months dropped down to 6 was hard enough, but to suddenly loose rank, status, pay and benefits must have been unbearable for someone of Terry Lakin’s good character. To be publicly treated like a ‘dirt bag’ must have been harder than anything this fine soldier had ever experienced in Bosnia or Afghanistan. At the time of his trial, I remember hearing about it in Honolulu and I could not understand why the state of Hawaii refused to release Obama’s birth certificate. I know all about the excuses and I don’t buy it, but that is material for a future article.
In his essay “Orders and the Oath: Understanding a Military Officer’s Duty to Support and Defend the Constitution”, Major R. Davis Younts, compares Terry Lakin’s case with that of Billy Mitchel another military leader who chose to defy orders. History now credits Mitchel as having a tremendous impact on the development of a modern United States Air Force. These are a few highlights from his riveting essay.
His theories on the potential use of airplanes in combat formed much of the doctrine for World War II and helped to generate many of the intellectual concepts that have become the foundation for America’s global air power. What we also know about Mitchell is that his decision to continue to write material for unauthorized publications and his public attacks on military and civilian leadership was a breach of his duties and responsibilities as a military officer and resulted in his conviction at a court-martial.
It could be argued that Billy Mitchell believed he had a duty to support and defend the Constitution by publicly advocating for the creation of an Air Force and increased investment in air power. Arguments over his true motivation aside, his public comments created the impression that he believed he was defying orders and publicly criticizing his leadership, because it was in the nation’s best interest to be prepared for future air wars. Therefore, an argument could be made that Mitchell concluded that he was, in fact supporting and defending the Constitution. The passage of time and the development of air power have led to Mitchell being somewhat exonerated by history. However, the fact remains that he was a military officer who swore an oath and failed as a military officer by disobeying his military and civilian leaders. Mitchell could have resigned his commission and would have been free to criticize whomever he decided and ultimately run for political office.
Lakin, like Mitchell, learned that the oath to support and defend the Constitution does not mean that a military officer may disobey orders because of a personal belief unless that belief is based on clear proof that the order is unlawful or unconstitutional. Lakin, like Mitchell, chose to become involved in policy issues while wearing the uniform and the result was the same as Mitchell’s— conviction by a court-martial.
The oath of office and the commitment to serve in the military which corresponds with it, place a military officer in a special relationship with the Constitution. Under the Constitution and the system of checks and balances among the branches of government it established, the military is subject to the authority of the elected executive and subordinate to the legislative and judicial branches of government. Furthermore, the military is not only subject to the control of elected officials, it is without authority or imperative to act as a check or balance to the power of any branch of the government.
All military officers are required upon entering service to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. This oath places a burden and obligation on military members to give their lives, if necessary, in the service of the Constitution. The fact that the oath carries with it personal, moral, and legal obligations does not require that military officers become individual arbiters of the meaning or interpretation of the Constitution. A military officer supports and defends the Constitution by understanding his/her place and the role of the military in our system of government. Any attempt by a military officer to use their position as an opportunity to criticize civilian leadership, or to undermine or to question the authority of elected leaders endangers the system of government established by the Constitution. An oath to support and defend the Constitution is an oath to a system of government that places the military under the authority and oversight of elected civilian leaders. Major R. Davis Younts
This perspective is so unlike that of LTG. McInerney who boldly declares the necessity of the troop’s right to know that their Commander in Chief lawfully holds his office so that they may have confidence in the system of liberty they are sworn to protect. With all due respect to Maj. Younts, Barack Obama is not just another president anymore than he is just another Democrat. The security of our nation in the hands of an incompetent boob is bad enough, nor would it be the first time. However, if our president is indeed the usurper that many now believe him to be, then we are no longer a free people and tyranny is already upon us. We the American people have a right to know who and what this man is. The troops who bleed and die when executing his orders must know that they operate under an elected official who truly has the best interests of this nation at heart. Terry Lakin wasn’t trying to be a hero, he had no desire to be a martyr but some things matter. Here is what one supporter, Retired CDR Kerchner had to say about the trial.
Terry Lakin’s conclusion about his decision to challenge the President of the United States is as follows.
Under the judge’s questioning. I accepted responsibility for my actions. I understand it was my decision and I made the wrong choice, I had to make a choice. I chose incorrectly. Many people both friend and foe, would misunderstand my meaning, some, I think intentionally. Knowing what I knew in December 2010, I did choose incorrectly. I would not have pursued a path that could end only in failure. As I have said, I had no interest in being a martyr.
But did I choose incorrectly in challenging the president’s eligibility? I did not. Did I choose incorrectly in risking my career to get at the truth? I did not. Did I choose incorrectly in refusing to deploy to Afghanistan? Given what I know now, yes I did. This strategy did not produce the kind of information that I hoped it would. Was it worth the sacrifice? Yes, it was. Terry Lakin, Officer’s Oath, pg.96
Terry Lakin, I salute you!!
Terry and Pili Lakin
You are a racist for asking for Obama’s birth certificate
Note – This is a giggle video designed to make a point. There is no evidence to support one of the animated character’s claims that any of the people mentioned from Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly or Whoopi Goldberg ever called those who doubt Obama’s birth and citizenship status, racists. However, it has been a common tactic used to silence those of us who question and demand evidence to support this man’s constitutional eligibility to be President of the United States.
Finally, a word from Ann Barnhardt. If you want to know more about Ann Barnhardt click here.
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