Bad Pentagon civilian leadership brings about one of two outcomes — really principled, good uniformed leaders emerge, or really corrupt, bad ones. USMC Commandant General James Amos is cementing his image as a really corrupt, bad one by attempts to ‘crush’ Major James Weirick. Weirick is the JAG whistleblower whose revelations about Amos’s perseverating Unlawful Command Influence led to the prosecution giving up on a case — we covered that prosecution collapse last month, and have further coverage (Google search) of the Case of the Micturating Marines.
Maj. Weirick, a staff judge advocate at the Combat Development Command at Quantico, Va., accuses Gen. Amos of violating the military edict against unlawful command influence by urging guilty verdicts to the general overseeing the cases.
The major also told the Pentagon’s inspector general that Gen. Amos’ legal advisers unlawfully classified most of the evidence, including potentially embarrassing emails at headquarters, to keep the material away from defense attorneys.
Earlier this month, Maj. Weirick sent an email to a lawyer who had worked on Gen. Amos’ staff, urging him in pointed language to cooperate with investigators.
That’s the key to their attack on him: he dared to urge another lawyer, in this case an ex-Marine now working as a Better Call Saul type civilian for Amos’s office, to tell the truth. Apparently that’s a major violation of what Amos expects his lawyers to do.
Marine higher-ups responded Tuesday with a series of retaliations against Maj. Weirick, Col. Siegel said.
- Marines escorted Maj. Weirick out of his office and seized his government computer.
- He was transferred to a nonlegal job as a training officer.
- His new commander suggested that he get a mental health evaluation and report for an interview with a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, to whom he refused to talk.
- The major was ordered not to communicate with officials, including Gen. Amos, and was denied leave.
OK, all this is kind of routine, petty harassment, like a gunny might do to a goldbricking lance corporal, with one exception: the seizure of the computer, which was then subjected to forensics to reveal the communications Weirick was having with his lawyer. (You know it’s not your daddy’s Marine Corps when even the lawyers need lawyers, and linedog infantry Marines, too, have to lawyer up in self defense against an out-of-control Commandant). But then they got serious. Viz:
- He was told to turn over his licensed personal firearms kept at home, which he did.
- The Corps also is doing a risk assessment to determine whether Maj. Weirick is a danger to himself or the base.
“These steps are all designed for a single purpose and that is to undermine the credibility of Maj. Weirick, the credibility of his complaints to the [Defense Department inspector general] and to push him very close to the very edge of being able to drum him out of the Marine Corps,” Col. Siegel said. “I’ve been practicing military justice exclusively for 40 years, 25 of which were in the Marine Corps, and I have never seen anything quite this destructive carried out by people who I considered to be heroes, the commandant of the Marine Corps.”
Seizing his computer is a way to find out what he has been telling the inspector general during its investigation, she said.
What’s the command saying about this:
“The Marine Corps has taken legitimate steps as the result of a recent incident that is unrelated to his previous protected communications,” [spox] Col. [Shawn] Gibson said.
The “recent incident” is a sharply worded email Maj. Weirick sent Sept. 21 to Peter Delorier, a retired lieutenant colonel who worked on the commandant’s legal staff at the time of events cited by the major in his formal complaints. Maj. Weirick urged Mr. Delorier to “come clean.”
Gibson’s argument is that by emailing Delorier, Weirick lost privacy and confidentiality, not to mention impunity, for his statements to the IG; and he can now be puished for going to the IG, as Commandant Amos demands.
Ex-Marines working for Amos as civilian lawyers, Peter Delorier and Robert Hogue, have been key cogs in the crushing machine, sworn to crucify the junior enlisted who whizzed on dead Talibs and their entire chain of command to company grade officers. “Different spanks for different ranks” appears to be Amos’s policy; as in the notorious Vietnam War My Lai war crimes (which were rather more serious than simply pissing on a few unlawful combatants’), the command has held higher-ranking officers, academy graduates, and the well-connected, like Major James B. Conway, the son of a former Commandant, to a lower standard.
Bear in mind that the exact dead talibs in question had desecrated Marine bodies the week before. They killed Marines with an IED and then hung the body parts in trees. The leader of that IED cell is one of the talibs being pissed on. But it’s his side the Commandant, and lawyers like Delorier and Hogue, take.