22 September 2009

Request for Support of LtCol Jeff Chessani

Note: We at the Georgia Front Page have NOT researched this situation. If this is something that hits one of your hot buttons, please look into the issue. It's noteworthy that this group is representing LtCol Jeff Chessani pro bono. One of our staff has heard a bit about the situation and believes it is a travesty that Chessani is having to go through this... - MM

This is a Brave Marine
September 22, 2009
From: Richard Thompson, Thomas More Law Center

Dear Fellow Patriot,

He refused to throw his men under the bus to save his career. So the government intends to grind him up using their overwhelming resources.

He served three tours of duty in Iraq, including the Second Battle of Fallujah. He also served in Panama and in the First Persian Gulf War. He honorably served his country as a Marine officer for over 20 years.

His superiors considered him a superb leader, who demonstrated moral courage, with unlimited potential and value to the Marine Corps.

LtCol Jeffrey Chessani will face a Military Board of Inquiry (BOI) before year’s end to determine whether he should be demoted in rank as a result of the so-called “Haditha Massacre” – a massacre everyone now knows never happened. This will be the government’s last chance to punish him.

The bogus charges against LtCol Chessani were triggered by a fierce house-to-house, room-by-room combat action taken by four Marines after their convoy was ambushed by insurgents in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005. The rest later.

LtCol Chessani was first criminally charged with failing to accurately report and investigate that incident. Essentially, the government said he did not file the proper paperwork. Pretty lame!
With your help, and the help of thousands of patriotic Americans, we were able to defeat the prosecution at every stage of the criminal process.

But in a BOI, the government can ignore the rules of evidence. The Board can consider files without the benefit of a cross examination; they will consider the tainted record of the Article 32 Hearing; LtCol Chessani cannot subpoena witnesses; and the government need only prove misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence (50.1%) rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.
Should they succeed this time, it will not only be a tragedy for LtCol Chessani and his family, but for all our troops placed in harm’s way.

Your generous financial support can help end this personal tragedy and injustice to Jeffrey Chessani and his family... and insure the future of America’s fighting spirit.
Remember, your contributions are tax deductible.

Now, for the rest of the story . . . .

At great risk to themselves, the four Marines stormed the two houses used by the insurgents to fire on the convoy, and in the ensuing gun battles killed at least 9 insurgents and 15 civilians.
These Marines were members of LtCol Chessani’s battalion - the 3rd Battalion, (“The Thundering Third”) 1st Marines - one of the most decorated units in the Marine Corps.

In urban combat where terrorists purposefully use civilians as human shields, civilian casualties are a tragic and unfortunate, but not uncommon occurrence. LtCol Chessani immediately reported the deaths of the 15 civilian Iraqis to his superiors.

The Pentagon had his battlefront report within 24 hours.

Not one of Jeffrey Chessani’s superiors – including top generals – learning of the 15 civilian deaths considered it unusual. Not one of them suggested an investigation. In fact, his superiors commended him for a job well done.

But an inflammatory Time Magazine news lead, instigated by an insurgent propaganda operative, accused the four Marines of massacring innocent civilians.

The leading anti-war politician, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha appeared on major television networks and stated there had been no firefight. He publicly accused the young enlisted Marines of “cold blooded” murder and Marine officers of a “cover-up.”

Political and media pressure caused the military to buckle. At least 65 fulltime investigators, the largest investigation in the history of the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Services) were assigned to conduct a year-long, multi-million dollar investigation focused on LtCol Jeffrey Chessani and his four enlisted men.

Every patriotic American should be concerned with the outcome of this case because it could drastically curtail the future ability of American soldiers to defend our Nation.

For twenty years Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Chessani has been defending our nation... often away from his wife and children... so that we could be safely with ours.

LtCol Chessani could be forced to retire and be demoted in rank, which could potentially cost his family hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits. For a man and family that dedicated their lives to the defense of our great nation – you and I cannot allow this to happen. It’s mind-boggling that our government is sparing no expense to exact a pound of flesh from one of the most effective combat officers in Iraq on trumped-up charges.

I am aware that these are hard economic times for many, but please consider the sacrifices that LtCol Chessani and his wife and children have made for each of us and our families, so that we may have peace at home. This is one of those times that you can show your gratitude. So please be as generous as you can.

LtCol Paul Ware, USMC, a judicial officer who heard testimony in several cases involving the November 19th Haditha incident, had this to say about the incident:

"To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary and sets a dangerous precedent that, in my opinion, may encourage others to bear false witness against Marines as a tactic to erode public support of the Marine Corps and mission in Iraq. Even more dangerous is the potential that a Marine may hesitate at the critical moment when facing the enemy..."

Note the absurdity of it all... LtCol Chessani is charged with failing to accurately report and investigate a crime that the military now knows never happened.

With their false accusation, insurgents eliminated one of America’s most effective combat officers. They know...

“A nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”

Our representation of LtCol Chessani is without charge. But we need your financial support to carry on this fight.

Without our help, LtCol Chessani’s legal bills would already be astronomical — out of reach for a husband and father of six young children (the seventh on the way) surviving on military pay.
In preparing for the Board of Inquiry, TMLC lawyers will again examine thousands of pages of investigative reports and personally interview countless witnesses.

The Board of Inquiry will take place at Camp Pendleton, California. It could last several weeks. The Thomas More Law Center will bear the enormous costs associated with establishing a second office, paying hotels, and all the other expenses associated with two lawyers handling a case 2,000 miles away.

LtCol Chessani was in Iraq because his country sent him there. He willingly answered the call to serve his country in our defense. That's why he deserves the support of every patriotic American. Now is the time to show him our gratitude.

As tragic as these civilian deaths in Haditha were, it’s essential that we not shackle our combat commanders’ ability to make decisions by placing them in fear of criminal prosecution every time there are civilian casualties as a result of combat action.

LtCol Chessani has devoted his life to the defense of OUR country... NOW he needs OUR help.
I am counting on you to send the largest gift you can . . . and to rush it to me TODAY. Please click here to visit TMLC’s website to donate to this brave Marine’s cause NOW.

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.

Richard Thompson, Esq.
President and Chief Counsel
Thomas More Law Center

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."
-George Washington-


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