Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

As CAAFlog begins another year, we ought to take a moment not only to thank Dwight and the other regulars for their work, but also to consider some New Year's resolutions to make this valuable blog even better. I'll kick things off:

1. We will not post anonymously except for good cause shown.
2. We will not be snarky, especially in the rare instance when circumstances dictate anonymous posting. See No. 1 supra.
3. We will re-read posts before hitting the Publish Post button.
4. We will read others' posts carefully before responding.

Over to you all for Nos. 5 et seq.


[NOTE: some comments were removed from this post's comment chain post because they made or related to allegations that the Kabul Klipper and I don't believe have been substantiated in any formal proceeding. dhs]

52 comments:

dreadnaught said...

Resolution #5 – Stop acting like a father, preaching about anonymity, and complaining that a topic is not pure military justice.

Just enjoy CAAFlog.

CAAFlog is a bit like Sports Center. SC it is about sports, but there can be humorous or off-topic comments. See e.g. Stu Scott. It is still about sports. CAAFlog is a less formal context to discuss military justice, thus your use of “I’ll” and not “I will.”

I hope that this post does not change the Terms of Service for CAAFLog. I do not want to be the next Lori Drew.

- Anonymous (d’oh)

Anonymous said...

# 6. The internet is serious business. You should always list your name and only post things approved by the chains of command.

How can we stay free to express ideas unless there is punishment for wrong views?

Anonymous said...

How about as a resolution everyone stop whining about anonymous posts. If the powers that be on this Blawg don't want anonymous posts, take away the option, and we'll stop making anonymous posts.

As far as the "snarky" comments, IT IS A BLOG!!!. We're not brief-writing here, and not everything needs to be so formal and proper. This is not to say anyone should be openly offensive, but maybe another resolution can be that we all stop taking ourselves so seriously.

Signed,
Mr. Snarky Anonymous, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1550,

Co-signed!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1620,

Notarized!

Dew_Process said...

Might I suggest a middle ground?

In the fashion and tradition of the authors of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, a "pen" name for public purposes - as I use - but Dwight knows my true ID and can slap my hands if necessary.

Ama Goste said...

I'm with Mr. Process. Maybe I spent too much time with rated officers, but I like call signs.
That protects those who fear retribution from superiors, yet it also keeps straight which "Anon" is which in a comment string.

Dwight might not know my nom de plume, but I know him and most of the other named regular posters on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Snarky Anonymous's argument is the most persuasive. Seriously, everyone needs to lighten up.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but the difference between "Dew Process", "Ama Goste", and any random anonymous blogger is totally semantic. So if I officially register as "Mr. Snarky Anonymous", my posts suddenly become acceptable?

I like this blawg because it usually has useful and up-to-date information on what's happening in our chosen field, but there are times when the "named regulars" come off with a pretentious and holier-than-thou attitude, which is pretty off-putting. The jihads against anonymous posting being one example.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Anon 1750. The pretentious attitude is but one reason I quit posting on here. Case in point is the over-the-top attack on that Army JAG's article a few days ago. Methinks there is some serious pro-jarhead/squid bias. A lot of Army envy on here, for sure.

dreadnaught said...

Dear Mr. Snarky Anonymous, Esq.,

You are, or are about to be, in a hurt locker. You used both “Mr.” and “Esq.” And as Mr. Fidell previously noted it is improper to use both honorifics when referring to an attorney.

You see, Mr. Fidell was not being snarky when commenting only on the honorific used in United States v. Wuterich. Rather, he was providing valuable insight on the merits of NMCCA’s opinion in the case. Or was he just being snide by drawing attention to this trivial issue?

Cloudesley Shovell said...

To all you anonymouses (anonymice?):

There's a difference between posting anonymously and pseudonymously. Anyone can be anonymous, including several different people in the same thread. It makes the comment conversation hard to follow. If instead, each person picks a different pseudonym, your fellow commenters can at least follow the conversation.

So live life on the edge, invent a google pseudonym. Takes just a couple minutes. Don't cost nothin'.

Anonymous said...

One of my new year's resolutions is to stop reading the comments on this blog because it is usually a waste of time.

Presley O'Bannon said...

Anon739,

And what exactly about the Army JAG Corps is there to be envious about?

The berets?

The Bronze Stars given out like candy?

The height and weight standards?

Wait, I know what it is, it's that unique 9-5 government bureaucrat attitude when it comes to accomplishing the mission...that is definitely something that is sorely lacking in the Marine Corps.

I will give you that.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? We all must have no life if you take what happens on this site too serious. Just enjoy it, and in the words of my Army breathren, "it is what it is."

If I was to pick a fake name it will be "Jackie Chiles."

I'm shocked and chagrined, I'm mortified and stupified.

Anonymous said...

Presley O’Bannon,

Anon739? Are you sure that’s not Anon1939. In my Corps we use military time. You know the one with the 24-hour clock.

Chesty Puller

Anonymous said...

Dwight, I really wish it weren't necessary to post anonymously, and it isn't, except for those of us with the slightest care about continuing to feed our families and avoiding the possibility of a life of begging on the street. I have a great respect for you and what you do here, I only wish I could express that same respect for parties in positions of higher authority that are often the subject of much of what is written here. While they will adamantly claim an interest in robust debate and independent opinions, it is an absolute joke to think that they will not cut anyone off at the knees who disagrees with them or voices, no matter how cogently or articulately, a contrary opinion on nearly any subject. They know the "right" answers and anything that keeps the "enterprise" (their tribes word, not mine) from getting there is considered decidedly less than helpful. They live in their own world. This is one of the only forums where those of us who think for ourselves get a chance to really express ourselves. It is also important for those I complain of to have a channel where they can hear from the ground up. That may be first step in resolving this issue. DC is really a very insulated and esoteric world where groupthink prospers and appears to be an integral part of the culture. This blog may offer an end-run around DC groupthink.

Anonymous said...

Presley O'bannon,

I get the impression your a marine. I've always wondered, do marine corps jags (or navy, same thing) have to go to law school or do they get a law "certificate" when they leave quantico. I know Army JAGS have to graduate from law school and pass a bar exam, but I've always heard it's different for marines (and possibly navy).

Anonymous said...

whoops, edited to say "you're"

Snarky Shark said...

How many wars has America won since establishing the JAG Corps?

Anonymous said...

Anon 0836,

I think you are right about the marines/navy boys not having to go to law school, but I think they do have to have a certificate from an accredited paralegal program before they can practice law.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a Navy JAG and an Air Force JAG? The Navy JAG is a member of a bar.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but none of you has this correct. The way it works is navy and marines do not need a law degree to practice in JAG, but they must have an Army sponsor to guide them through their jobs. After four or five years of satisfactory performance under the tutelage of an Army officer, they can get a "certificate" to have a limited practice of law.

Dew_Process said...

C'mon children, behave and show some respect!

As an AF JAG, I'll take the well-deserved hit. We didn't have the balls to court-martial our errant TJAG, instead, gave him an Article 15, and retired him as an 0-6.

We don't have the brains, to figure out how to prosecute a fraudulent 0-6, non-lawyer JAG [unless you're cynical like me and believe the "fix" is in], like withdraw the court-martial charges - jeopardy hasn't attached - and indict him under 18 USC 1001, and let a federal judge sort it out.

But, having been around long enough to have tried courts-martial in every single Service, to include the Coast Guard, I can assure you that every Branch has its super-stars, just as they all have their slugs. The differences appear to be in who gets promoted, i.e., the better lawyer or the better bureaucrat?

Anonymous said...

First, assume I have some inside information regarding the decision making process of what happened to the AF TJAG. I am ashamed to admit that when it came to decision making, it appeared that a quiet resolution was more approprite than an appropriate resolution. Retiring as an O-6 is something that the vast majority of JAGs would aspire to, and those are ones who did not commit the crimes he did.

But I think all services should be honest. As far as I know in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army, very few judge advocates face courts-martial for offenses that we routinely recommend courts-martial for other non-JAGs.

Anonymous said...

So if navy/marines aren't law school graduates, what good is their "certificate" when they get out of the service? I guess they'd be very competitive for paralegal positions....

Dew_Process said...

Anon 2135 - assume that I also have inside knowledge of the Fiscus Affair(s). Allowing him to retire PERIOD was a gross distortion of justice. Does the suicide of Karen Tew ring a bell?

Under the rationale used to "retire" Fiscus, he should have retired as a Captain, not a Colonel. The "quiet" solution was not anything that he ever practiced as a JAG - the "fear factor" wasn't the can of worms prosecuting him would cause, it was the Statute of Limitations issues and the fact that the female officers involved would also have to be openly disciplined. It was also going to open up the duplicity of his SJA "Recommendations" in the many GCM's that he encouraged in the frat and adultery charges that he so vigorously championed as SJA.

And, of course, he did NOT go quietly. Have you looked at his website???
http://www.thomasjfiscus.net/

Then of course, there's the Mike Murphy Circus. Did it ever dawn on anyone that by signing the NDA he "waived" any right to use the classified info for his own personal purposes? Or, once the good Army Judge ruled that he could use it for the "Good Airman" defense, why not simply indict him for the multitude of Title 18 violations, where that defense isn't a defense, convict him, sentence him and then separate him with an UOTHC.

If you're in a position to do something about this, I hope this helps in the decision making process.

Anonymous said...

Misconduct is different from incompetence, that is presumably why VADM MacDonald ordered that SJA names be placed on NMCCA opinions. VADM MacDonald has also not swept JAG misconduct under the run, unlike his predecessors.

Anonymous said...

There were more statute of limitation issues for his NJP than his possible court-martial, as may be expected.

Not sure how LtCol Tew is connected with Colonel Fiscus, unless he was leading the charge to her court-martial (another example of his hypocrisy). And why would sending him to court expose the duplicity of his recommendations in like cases. It would seem that it would be consistent?

I'm just saying if a JAG really screws-up like he did, who gives a damn about how long and litigious the case may be. The better for the corps that it push forward for a just result, especially when it is a high viz case of one of our own.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Just looked at the Fiscus website. He has some set of brass b--ls on him. Absolutely shocking, some of the stuff he says in there. I have read the investigation and it is a howl.

http://www.af.mil/library/posture/fiscusroi.pdf

For example, "Cootie" or "Homie" (terms used to describe Fiscus and in the investigation) talking about looking forward to cooking for one of the victims in an apron with nothing else on. HAAAAAA, and it is only funnier (and I am not making light of the victims, I do feel for them and the treatment they received at the hands of this sociopath bastard) if you know Fiscus. Total geek and king of the dead fish handshake, which he quickly and disinterestdly provides to male colleagues on his way toward the girls. Big Tom, the bespectacled owl, says he wants to hear from the public. If you feel like I do I suggest dropping him a line at:

tjf@thomasjfiscus.net

The second best laugh out of the Fiscus affair was a good friend of mine, a USAF JAG, remarking "I always wanted to be the same rank as Fiscus, I just never thought it would happen like this."

Dew_Process said...

Anon 2128 - when then Col Fiscus was the SJA at 15th AF, he bragged about the number of frat cases "prosecuted." LtCol Tew's case "broke" just before he PCS'd and he was livid that there would be no RILO, she "forfeited" her retirement was HIS mantra.

If you recall, shortly after Tew's suicide, Secretary Widnall and Gen Fogleman, as CoSAF sent out a joint letter "reminding" commanders that not every frat case needed a GCM to resolve.

Sending him to court indeed would have been consistent with his public positions. The potential problem was that it was the "do as I say, not as I do" thing.

I suspect we're on the same page, just at different paragraphs. It was an "image" thing - it was bad enough that there were submordinate officers involved, but a TSgt as well. The issue with Mike Hoover's wife would have been fine courtroom drama.

But, for him to still use his Major General's Bio, is as much of a misrepresentation [on-going at that] as anything.

But, at least he had a law license!

Anon 2211- I know Fiscus and you're spot on in your description. His "mentor" was C.Claude Teagarden, of Cook v. Orser infamy, when C.C. was the USAFE SJA.

Obviously you've experienced one of his Article 6, "visits" and the "social" hour..... I wonder how his AF Academy classmates felt.

Anonymous said...

Wow, y'all are some hang'em high mofos. Didn't Fiscus basically get busted for getting a little snizz on the side? Happens all the time. I'd say the guy paid a pretty high price for just trying to get a little action on the down-low. And, who is Karen Tew and what does she have to do with any of this?

Anonymous said...

Karen Tew, Lt Col, USAF, committed suicide after a GCM conviction and sentence to a Dismissal. She killed herself to preserve benefits for her two children.

Google "Karen Tew" and read all about it.

Anonymous said...

I just went to his web site and I am disgusted that he would use the torture and detainee issues to deflect the blame for his actions, creating some conspiracy against him. Funny how the other JAGs didn't get taken down in trumped-up charges. But I guess it is easy to create charges against a guy that exchanges those types of emails with women, kisses and hugs them, and basically acts like a knave.

Not surprising he didn't have the IG investigation on his self-serving site.

Anonymous said...

Was Fiscus a FLEP?

Anonymous said...

He went to law school [Ohio State I believe] right after graduating from the AF Academy. Technically it wasn't the FLEP program. I forget the precise name of the program, but it was funded "graduate" school. Same difference.

Anonymous said...

Oh, well that answers a question I had after reading the comments here. The Air Force JAGS do have to get a law degree. Can someone please clear up the issue with Navy/Marines - do they have to get a law degree to be in JAG or is there really some "certificate"?

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Fiscus's State Bar yanked his license.

Anonymous said...

On what basis, Anon 1910? As the commenter above noted, it appears this guy may have been guilty of dipping his pen in the company ink, but that doesn't reflect on his ability to practice law, does it?

Anonymous said...

Moral turpitude . . .

Dew_Process said...

Anon 1935 - the only real basis would be if they considered the Obstruction of Justice charge - that'll get you disciplined by most State Bars.

Here's his Article 15:

http://www.af.mil/library/posture/fiscus0370.pdf

Anonymous said...

Ummm, sorry, but deleting personal e-mails that only revealed you were committing a non-crime in the civilian world would not come close to actionable conduct for a state bar, IMHO.

As for "moral turpitude," I got a hearty LOL out of that. The moral "crime" here is being a sleazeball in his attempt to score some snizz (as one commenter put it). If that is actionable, we could really thin the ranks everywhere.

And, if I may, I'd like to point out the overall LOLness to this crusade against this guy. A lot of folks on this blog are defense hacks/criminal apologists who bemoan how screwed their dirtball clients often are. Yet, here, we have an all-out attack on a poor schmuck who was just looking for a little nooky. Jealous of rank much? Methinks so...

Anonymous said...

COL(R) Fiscus (ANON 2037) - thanks for your thoughts/insight into the "minor" nature of the misconduct.

Anonymous said...

a poor schmuck who was just looking for a little nooky. Jealous of rank much? Methinks so...

Anon 2037 --- first of all, you had to know the guy. And, it was far more than a "little nooky." As the SJA to a GCM/CA he led a callous morality crusade against "adulterers and fraternizers" and would not consider RILO's under any circumstances.

If you read the witness statements, cited somewhere in this thread, this was NOT someone, regardless of rank getting a "little nooky." Sorry.

Dew_Process said...

ANON 2037: deleting "personal" emails on a GOVERNMENT computer system that is charged as Obstructing Justice will get you disciplined in every State that has a "conduct unbecoming" provision in their Code of Professional Responsibility. The contents - "non-crime" as you say - would go to the punishment / sanction.

If you've ever represented lawyers at Disciplinary Proceedings, and it sounds like you haven't, things much less important bring sanctions these days.

As the self-appointed DIA, there may be "hacks" on this blog, but there are NO "defense hacks!" But, by and large, even those posting as ANON's are in the upper echelon's of military practice.

Anonymous said...

It is very clear from his modus operandi that he looked for victims that would be taken by his rank and the attention that he paid to them. Clearly predatory and clearly taking advantage of his victims and their insecurities and his position and rank. This was not a one night fling coming out of happy hour at the O-club. This was seeker and sought, and the sought were those those perceived as being susceptible to his predations. This was not George Clooney meeting girls in bikinis by the pool. No, something much darker and sinister here. I can understand the Major and the Captain getting a little snizz that has little effect on anyone. It is something else when it is a two-star PREYING on much more junior subordinate victims who were likely chosen due to their impressionability and susceptibility to his rank and position. This guy is romeo by no means, and my disgust for him is exponentially increased by his website and willingness to attempt to cover up his failures and weaknesses. I would have a much more favorable impression of Fiscus if he just spent the rest of his life under a rock like the toad he is. His attempting to come out in the sun demands that his ugliness be seen and examined by the world in a clear and forthright manner.

Anonymous said...

I e-mailed Fiscus last night (contact info is on his website). I asked him if his innocence is so clear and the facts, if more developed, would portray him as the true victim in this case, why didn't he just turn down the Article 15 and demand a court-martial. I will let everybody know if he responds.

Anonymous said...

Anon 0107: It didn't start when he was a 2 star - he was pulling the same stuff as a Senior Captain [0-3], only then he was hitting on enlisted and Lieutenants as an AF Academy ring-pounder and "bad-ass" prosecutor.

Anon 0905: Don't forget, he could also have gone to the AF BCMR about his grade reduction!

He should be "recalled" to AD and prosecuted for "conduct unbecoming" based solely on his website!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1856: Once and for all, all JAGs, regardless of service have law degrees and have been admitted to the bar of at least one state(except a few who deceived the system).

Anon 1317, you could not be more right. The guy was predatory in nature.

Anonymous said...

I never met Fiscus -- but it seems some folks here either knew the man or knew about him. My question -- did he hone in on the weak members of his JAGC flock to victimize or did he have a method to his predatory madness?

Still can't believe he didn't get a court-martial based on some of the comments on this thread.

Anonymous said...

ANON 0005 - I was a contemporary of his, he came in as a JAG 2 years before I did. There was a method - he took care of his "friends." The classic "quid pro quo" scenario.

Most of us couldn't believe that he wasn't "exposed" years before.

Shelton Smalls said...

I just went to Fiscus's website. Interesting read….I certainly support his position on the torture issues and I remember at the time his fight to keep the SAF general counsel’s office out of JAG affairs….But really it’s hard to believe his hypocrisy. Along with Col Murphy, it truly is amazing that these type of people can get so high in the JAG Corps and then get such light punishments. Something doesn’t smell right.