OFFICERS CLEARED IN AFGHAN "ROAD
The "good news" is, assault and other specious charges brought against Air Force Lt. Colonels Chris Hall and Gary Brown have been dropped. The "bad news" is, prosecutors may have broken the law trying to railroad the two officers into a jail cell at Leavenworth. Of course that's GOOD news, if they get punished for it. We'll see.
MilitaryCorruption.com has learned an Article 32 report on the September 2006 incident near Kabul, Afghanistan, where the officers were accused of "drawing down" their guns on Blackwater USA contractor Jimmy Bergeron, has uncovered possible witness tampering, altered documents, attempted bribery and falsified "evidence."
In their "the end justifies the means" goal to gain a conviction against the innocent Air Force pilots, the facts and truth be damned, corrupt military prosecutors tried to frame Hall and Brown using clearly illegal and underhanded tactics.
An honest investigating officer, Lt. Col. Leslea Pickle, recommended all charges against the light colonels be dismissed.
"Given the security situation in Kabul at the time and the facts and circumstances of their encounter with Mr. Bergeron on the road . . . I believe that they truly felt threatened and reacted exactly as they were trained to do," Pickle wrote.
"Therefore, I do not believe that either Lt. Col. Hall or Brown engaged in any criminal conduct. I believe all the charges and specifications against both officers should be dismissed."
Now the case moves on to convening authority, Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of the 9th Air Force and Central Command forces, to either follow Pickle's recommendation or decide to proceed to court-martial. If he does go to trial, the general needs his head examined.
Maybe Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who showed he had the guts to fire Army Secretary Frances "political hack" Harvey and two medical corps generals in the wake of the Walter Reed patient care scandal, should swing his axe at the top brass of the Air Force.
In fact, what's holding him up right now? We think it's time the Rumsfeld sycophants be shown the door. If nothing else, it would achieve a much-needed boost in USAF morale.
"ROAD RAGE" AND AN OUT-OF-CONTROL BLACKWATER USA CONTRACTOR
The incident began on a public road not far from Kabul. The two officers' Toyota Land Cruiser was struck not once, but twice, by Bergeron in his black-windowed sports utility vehicle.
Mindful the collision could be a terrorist attack, the colonels sped off. However, they encountered Bergeron again a few minutes later when they were stopped at a traffic gate. According to their testimony, the Blackwater contractor, bearded and dressed in civilian clothes, ran up to their vehicle in a rage.
He allegedly screamed threats and carried on so much the Air Force pilots were forced to "take him down." Only when Brown raised a weapon and clicked off the safety did Bergeron announce he was an American. Before leaving to go to the Camp Eggers Provost Marshall's office to report the confrontation, Brown tossed the irate contractor's car keys into a nearby bush.
This was very important, as later the prosecution was caught faking a video they alleged was taken at the traffic stop, showing Bergeron hopping into his vehicle and taking off without first searching for the keys.
There were more mistakes in the "railroad job." As ace reporters Rod Hafemeister and Kent Miller reported in Air Force TIMES, "After the Article 32 concluded, the police commander in charge of the Afghan gate guards told (Lt. Col.) Pickle he had been contacted many times in an effort to have the guards provide false testimony, and that someone had attempted to bribe some or all of the guards to give false testimony against Hall and Brown."
A FEMALE JAG MAJOR GETS INTO A JAM
Enter Maj. Sarah Scullion, chief of military justice, Central AF Judge Advocate's Office.
The TIMES reported, "On the day the Article 32 hearing began, prosecutors revealed that the charge sheets against Hall and Brown, reviewed and preferred by Col. Mark A. Morris of the Central Air Force, were altered at the direction of Maj. Scullion.
"The original charging documents stated that Hall and Brown were placed on restricted duty - confined to the compound at the airport without weapons - on Sept. 23. But the charge sheets served on the officers Feb. 4 did not include that notation, raising questions about whether their right to a speedy trial, defined as 120 days by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, had been violated."
When asked to testify about the possible obstruction of justice and alteration of a public record, Scullion declined and invoked her right to legal counsel. Let's hope for her sake, she finds a good lawyer, as the very sharp Lt. Col. Pickle noted the prosecution had illegally altered documents in the case by "whiting out" information instead of crossing it out, initialing it - according to regulations, and promptly notifying defense counsel. It wasn't done.
You don't pull a stunt like that when one of the officers has employed the top military defense attorney in the country - Charles Gittins. He, like next-ranked top barrister, John "Bulldog" Wells, can catch that kind of chicanery in a nanosecond.
MilitaryCorruption.com hopes this case - a disgraceful demonstration of how the Air Force tried to destroy its own officers in favor of a belligerent and perhaps bonkers Blackwater contractor (nice to have connections at the White House) - will prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Let's investigate Scullion and her cohorts, and if they are guilty, throw the book at them. It will be a healthy thing to see the prosecutors - "persecutors" - get a dose of their own bitter medicine.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We invite the aforementioned Maj. Sarah Scullion to take advantage of our offer of equal time and space on these pages to state her views, if she wishes. Just because it looks bad at the moment, doesn't mean the aggressive JAG is dishonest and deceitful. We'd get no pleasure at all if she were busted out of the Air Force and sent to the women's prison at Miramar However, it would send a clear message to others in the JAG Corps that their days of immunity from obeying the laws they enforce are over.]
AIR FORCE JAG COLONEL RELIEVED
OF COMMAND - HAD BEEN DISBARRED IN TWO
STATES 20 YEARS AGO - HOW MANY ENLISTED
MEN AND JUNIOR OFFICERS DID THIS PHONY
SEND TO LEAVENWORTH WHILE "PRACTICING
WITHOUT A (LAW) LICENSE?" - WORST SCANDAL
SINCE TOP JAG GENERAL - FISCUS - FORCED
TO RETIRE AFTER SEX WITH DOZENS OF WOMEN
COL MICHAEL MURPHY SHOULD BE COURT-
MARTIALED, BUSTED TO LT, SENT TO THE "DB"
WHERE "RECEPTION COMMITTEE" AWAITS
ERUPTS OVER GEN. FISCUS