Retaliation for complaint against Commandant?

Rowan Scarborough:
A Marine Corps whistleblower says the Pentagon is investigating whether higher-ups retaliated against him for filing complaints against the Marine commandant.

But Maj. James Weirick, a staff judge advocate at the Marine base at Quantico, Va., said the Pentagon inspector general reviewed his complaint that Gen. James Amos committed unlawful command influence and decided against a formal investigation. He said the inspector general decided that the military justice system should be the venue to settle such disputes.

The major said he spoke with the inspector general’s office this month and “they said they are reopening the case and it is a priority for them” on his retaliation complaint.

Rep. Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Committee on Armed Services, said he urged the inspector general to pick up the case.

“What has happened to Maj. Weirick is absolutely unacceptable,” Mr. Jones said. “It is an example of a man of integrity, meaning Maj. Weirick, who the leadership of the Marine Corps is trying to make a scapegoat for doing what he thinks was right. The leadership is threatening the integrity by going after Maj. Weirick.”

Maj. Weirick has been at the center of a court battle over the fate of Capt. James V. Clement, one of eight Marines singled out for punishment in a video posted in 2012 that showed sharpshooters urinating on bodies of dead Taliban fighters.

The video embarrassed the Obama administration, and Gen. Amos went on a national tour to threaten Marines who violate codes of conduct, citing rising sexual assault cases and the desecration video.

As the Clement case proceeded, Maj. Weirick learned that Gen. Amos took the unusual step of seeking to dictate the punishment of all eight Marines in a private meeting with the officer then overseeing the cases, Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser.

Maj. Weirick also observed that Gen. Amos‘ legal staff at the Pentagon was wrongly withholding documents — in his view — from Capt. Clement’s defense team on grounds that they were classified. The action was making it difficult for Capt. Clement’s attorney, John M. Dowd, to obtain information to defend his client, who was charged with dereliction of duty but did not take part in or know about the desecration.

Maj. Weirick alerted the defense about what he knew and filed charges with the inspector general in March. A military judge allowed the Clement attorneys to interview Gen. Waldhauser.

Gen. Waldhauser, who is supposed to be an impartial overseer, told Mr. Dowd that Gen. Amos ordered him to “crush” the defendants, court-martial all of them and kick them out of the Corps — an order he refused.

Having second thoughts, Gen. Amos replaced Gen. Waldhauser, but his staff did not disclose the reason to the defense or his replacement. They also misled reporters about the reason, according to the Marine Corps Times. 
What happened next are grounds for the major’s complaint of reprisal.

Gen. Amos‘ staff used the assertive email as justification to remove Maj. Weirick from his legal post. In an interview with the Marine Corps Times, Gen. Amos‘ civilian legal adviser, Robert Hogue, likened Maj. Weirick to the Navy Yard gunman.

Higher-ups also urged the major to turn in his licensed firearms, which he did, and undergo a mental health examination.

“I’ve never had any mental health issue at any time in my life,” Maj. Weirick said. “I was cleared by the Navy physician who looked at me.”

Then came a poor fitness review from his former supervisor, the same officer who gave him a glowing report a year earlier. Maj. Weirick has been selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel and expects to assume the higher rank next summer.

To Maj. Weirick and his many supporters in the criminal defense community, actions by Gen. Amos and his staff amounted to violations of the military code against unlawful command influence and the federal law against retaliations against employees who expose wrongdoing.
There is much more.

It is not clear why the Commandant is so upset about Marines pissing on the Taliban.  While they should be disciplined the efforts here appear excessive and the retaliation against Maj. Weirk look like something out of the Soviet Union.  I suspect the Commandant is being subjected to command influence from a higher authority, possibly the President,  Investigators need to keep digging until they find the source of this vendetta.


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