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Are retired military officers violating the UCMJ?

When you see some nut case birther with a military title ranting against Obama on the Internet, you will see a little “(ret.)” after their title, to indicate that they are retired. Military law demands that officers respect the country and its leaders. What about retired officers?

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) does not only apply to those actively serving in the armed forces, but also to “Retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay.” Article 88 of the UCMJ further states:


Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

This topic received some attention in 2006 in the context of criticism of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld by 6 retired generals. Fred Kaplan argued in a article, “Could Rumsfeld Court-Martial the Retired Generals?” that the answer to that question is “yes.” There is no exemption for someone who claims to be speaking as a private citizen. Limited criticism in the context of a political debate is permitted, as indicated by the Manual for Courts-Martial:

If not personally contemptuous, adverse criticism of one of the officials or legislatures named in the article in the course of a political discussion, even though emphatically expressed, may not be charged as a violation of the article.

This brings us to shocking remarks recently made by Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (ret.) at the Surprise Tea Party in Arizona, as reported by several web sites including Raw Story that includes a video link for the appearance.

“I had a call this afternoon from Idaho, the gentleman said, ‘If I give you 250,000 Marines to go to Washington, will you lead them?’” Vallely said as the group laughed and gasped. “I said, ‘Yes, I will, I’ll surround the White House and I’ll surround the Capitol building, but it’s going to take physical presence to do things.”

I was looking for something that one could label contemptuous. Certainly the call for the resignation of the top members of the government (Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner and Pelosi) borders on contempt, as does his comment: Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing the U.S. as a superpower….” Vallely wrote in an email to supporters: “I have already achieved a level of ‘no confidence’ in Obama as a leader.”

All of this said, prosecutions under Article 88 are extremely rare, and unlikely to impact Vallely, but it does point out the lack of respect he shows towards the military.

Former general confuses US with UK

My heart goes out to the victims of dementia and their families. I’m not a real doctor, and I don’t make psychiatric diagnoses on the Internet, but there certainly seems to be something wrong with retired major general, Fox News military analyst Paul Vallely and frequent source at WorldNetDaily.

Vallely started having memory problems as early as 2005, regarding some probably imaginary conversations about Valerie Plame. In that instance, he could just have been lying, but no one lies when everybody knows what they are saying is false, and this is exactly what we see in a blog post last month from Vallely, on his Stand Up America blog. Plain and simple, Vallely’s plan to get Obama out of the White House is to hold a “vote of no confidence” in the US House of Representatives.

While the necessity of confidence in the executive by the UK House of Commons is a fundamental requirement of the British Constitution, we don’t do that in the United States.  He also seems to be having some delusional thoughts about the President’s birth certificate. This is an editorial comment at the Stand Up America blog, which has Vallely’s name on the masthead:

By now, even the most ardent nay-sayer of so-called ‘Birthers’ must admit, this Obama document fraud issue, and ignoring the eligibility question stinks to the high heavens. In the privacy of their own abodes they surely must admit it when they look in the mirror in the morning.

His articles attract the usual rabid birthers and usurper haters as commenters.

Vallely is confused. Poor fellow.

Read more:

Birther announces military coup

This is not a drill!!! This is not a joke or parody!!! This is real bat guano crazy!

Bobby Powell, yes the same Bobby Powell who organized the million-man “Walk Like an Egyptian” march September 9 to oust President Obama, which no one including Powell attended, has erased that boondoggle from the public awareness by putting forward something even more bizarre, “military coup in progress in Washington D.C. 9/10/2013.”

photo of Bobby PowellI have received information originating from a well-known former General at the Pentagon; everybody knows this guy’s name. This information comes to me second hand, but I consider the go-between to be very reliable.

The information that I have received so far is that five of the US Military’s highest-ranking Generals have met with Barack Obama and warned him that if he orders an attack on Syria he will be arrested and charged with Treason for attempting to provide aid and comfort to our enemies, namely the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in Syria.

The generals reportedly punctuated that statement with a promise that if he is convicted of Treason, Barack Obama will find himself swinging at the end of a rope at Leavenworth.

This is so over top that I could just let it stand without comment, but I will, however, point out a couple of things for educational purposes.

First, the piece is an appeal to anonymous authority, which is worthless. We don’t know who this “well-known former general” is supposed to be, nor who the reliable go-between is. The “five generals” are also nameless. The meeting doesn’t have a date.

I find the piece insulting to the US Military, who are loyal to the Constitution and have a noble tradition of staying out of domestic politics. While Powell and his right-wing nut job cronies may want to turn the United States into Egypt, I see no such sentiment in our military leadership. The President of the United States can be impeached by the Congress and removed from office, but not tried for a crime while in office. The US Military does not arrest Presidents.

Photo of Anton LeVeyThe hate-filled Powell is a blight on the American landscape. A few Nut job blogs are picking it up—Godlike Productions, PP Simmons and Oppressed Sons.

OK, tell me. Do you think that Powell is going for an Anton LaVey look?

Birther smacks headlong into real world

Sharon Rondeau is a birther who runs a subscription web site called The Post & Email. Rondeau styles herself a journalist, and in that guise, she approached the US Defense Department with a rather bizarre query1 addressed to Lt. Col Catherine Wilkinson (MPS Georgetown University, US Military Academy West Point), a media relations officer:

Hi Cathy, my newspaper has been following the Obama eligibility/identity question for the last four years since its inception in August 2009.

May I obtain a statement from the military about whether or not they are aware that the long-form birth certificate image posted on the White House website since April 27, 2011 has been declared a “computer-generated forgery” by a law enforcement investigation?

Is the military aware that a congressional investigation into the forgery might be launched as a result of the Cold Case Posse’s investigation?

Does the military have the ability to analyze the Obama birth certificate image and Selective Service registration form to determine if they are authentic?  If so, why has that not been done?

What are the ramifications if the U.S. military has been taking orders from someone who achieved the office of president and commander-in-chief by fraud?

Thank you very much.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
[address redacted]

Wow! Sounds a little like “have you stopped beating your wife?” In the real world, the Cold Case Posse is a bunch of volunteer clowns. Obama’s Selective Service application is confirmed both by FOIA from the Bush administration, and an online registration query run by a reporter in California. And most important, I think anybody in the US military ought to know that they don’t police the political process in the United States. There are laws against that sort of thing. This isn’t some third-world dictatorship, despite what birthers may think.

The Defense Department provided a succinct reply courtesy of Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, Press Officer for the Department of Defense:

Photo of Todd BreassealeDear Ms. Rondeau,
We can only assume that your query is not a legitimate question and is some sort of nonsensical joke.

We are happy to consider reality-based requests, but do not entertain absurdities from the web.

Very respectfully,

Yes folks, the Defense Department blew her off. This veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan  called her absurd. Now he could have said more about the proper role of the military in US Politics (i.e. none) but he didn’t, perhaps because he recognized that he was dealing with a nut case. Of course you cannot shut up a birther, and Rondeau sent an even longer response that she was dead serious and that it must be true because she heard it on the radio and saw it on YouTube (linking to an article on her own subscription-restricted web site was definitely not cool):

Dear Lt. Col. Breasseale:

It is absolutely not a joke.  I provided references to legitimate sources with evidence made public on numerous radio shows and in a 57-page affidavit in a current court case in Alabama, a copy of which I have received personally from its author, the lead investigator on the case:

I am stunned at your response and can obtain an interview for you with lead investigator Michael Zullo if you wish, as I have spoken with him directly on many occasions.

Here are articles and interviews which Zullo has provided:

I also interviewed him here:

Two formal press conferences were held last year announcing the findings of fraud and forgery, one on March 1 and the second on July 17, calling for a congressional investigation:

Rep. Steve Stockman has pledged to launch an investigation, and that is certainly not “nonsense.”

Here, a second congressman states his support for a bill requiring an investigation:

How can this issue possibly be ignored?

Additionally, I never received a response from you regarding the evidence I told you I possess regarding a politically-motivated court-martial which contains a fraudulent signature.  The case is well-known and has been covered up by the NCIS and the U.S. Navy for almost 24 years.  Earlier this week, I referred the matter to the House Armed Services Committee.

Late last month, Dr. George Little had promised future openness and “no spin” from the military, and I had hoped that his public affairs officers would keep that pledge.  I have always asked serious questions in my contacts with your office, and I assure you that this query is very serious.  In fact, it is a matter of national security, as Zullo has stated on many occasions that there is no evidence that Obama is even a U.S. citizen.

My father was a veteran of World War II in the China/Burma/India theater and I always had great respect for our military.  I can therefore assure you that I have no desire to engage in “absurdities” with anyone in your office.

I would be happy to speak with you by phone and provide proof of my identity should you need further assurance of my sincerity.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
[address redacted]

I would like to focus on one of the questions Rondeau raised: “How can this issue possibly be ignored?” Lt. Col. Breasseale demonstrated exactly how the issue can be ignored in his one-word reply:


You can’t argue with crazy.

I understand that Rondeau is dead serious. There are lots of kooks that are dead serious, but that doesn’t make them any less a kook. If the military had any responsibility related to the issues that Rondeau raised, perhaps a more complete response might have been warranted, but they don’t have any such role. She might as well have been demanding that they stop fluoridation of the water or stop the teaching of evolution in the schools.

Over at Obama Release Your Records, some think it’s the end of the world:

We are so desparately (sic) infiltrated by the enemy now. And, I feel within a very short time, weeks, we’re gonna’ be in some deep doodoo. I think there are many sleepers about to be activated. We’re going to have to be vigilante just to protect ourselves, family, etc… within the short term. I think you, and most of us here on the same page have fought the good fight against an enemy that has had time to assemble over a period of time. Hide your food & the other "you know whats"… I have a feeling they’re gonna’ make a move soon. If it comes to this scenario….we’ll find out just how many we have on the right side.

Read more:

1Most readers here will be familiar already with this story. I include it for posterity.

2Perhaps “nuts” would have been more appropriate, pun intended.

Extremist birther blogger anticipates martial law in Montana

I looked, and the The JAG Hunter blog isn’t on my Good/Bad/Ugly list, but it probably should be. The military-themed web site is jam packed with birther nonsense and the blogger makes a very prominent show of support for ex-Army doctor Terry Lakin, who was jailed and dismissed after refusing orders until Obama proved his eligibility (JAG Hunter is Walter Fitzpatrick, another veteran who just can’t seem to stay out of jail). JAG Hunter is one of those more paranoid anti-Obama sites that carries stories of the imminent attack on civilians by the evil government.

I’m not much of a military guy, but I did enjoy watching a few episodes of a TV series called Modern Sniper on the Military Channel. That show stressed that modern military activity often took place in urban settings, and that our tactics were changing and our troops were being trained for it. Our JAG Hunter seems to think that this urban warfare emphasis is preparation for an invasion of

Montana scenery showing empty spacesMONTANA1

This is touched on in the article: “UCMJ being reviewed to address urban warfare operation (like maybe in locations like Montana)” and the article: “Newly arrived military reported in Montana: They Are here” – ‘Looks like Martial Law is Next.’

I think JAG Hunter went to the same online school of web design as Orly Taitz — it’s pretty awful. I tell you what, just as soon as Montana is invaded, I’ll go buy a gun.

1OK, Montana is not all like that, but I thought all the gun nuts and militia types were out in the woods.

Taitz encourages military to openly demonstrate in uniform against Obama

Citing recent DOD approval for uniformed personnel to march in a gay pride parade, Orly Taitz says the door is open for anyone with a political agenda to push it in uniform.

Taitz said [link to Taitz web site]:

Important: if members of the military can demonstrate in uniforms in gay pride parade, they can demonstrate in their uniforms in front of the DNC convention and demand prosecution of Obama for usurpation of the Presidency using forged papers.

According to the DOD, the gay pride parade was a non-partisan patriotic community event. Read a more serious analysis of the issue from Stars and Stripes.