Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Justice Stacked Against the Seamen

Our troops are being tossed out in many ways. I came across accounts of two today.

The misuse of our system of justice for servicemen seems to have been mauled very badly. Now, it seems that those who were appointed to judge Coast Guard cases were told what justice to dispense. It was not what usually is called Justice.

Two retired U.S. Coast Guard judges are expected to tell a congressional oversight panel today that the agency's administrative court system is biased against civilian defendants.

Jeffie J. Massey, who retired as an administrative law judge in March and said in a sworn statement days later that she was pressured to rule for the agency, will testify before the Coast Guard subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee.

Also scheduled is a former judge, Rosemary Denson, whose job was eliminated 10 years ago by Coast Guard officials who complained that she was taking too long handling difficult cases.

A third retired judge, Peter A. Fitzpatrick, is also expected to testify. He could not be reached for comment.

The committee called the hearing to explore claims, detailed last month by The Sun, that the Coast Guard's administrative court system is stacked against the tugboat pilots, charter boat captains and other mariners who appear before it.

The courts, which handle charges of drug use, misconduct or negligence brought by the Coast Guard, can revoke the credentials a civilian mariner needs to work on the water.

Massey said her testimony will echo her sworn statement, in which she said Chief Judge Joseph N. Ingolia told her to always rule for the Coast Guard no matter the evidence. Massey also said she overheard another judge voice fear for his job if he ruled in a mariner's favor.

"I'll tell the truth to anyone who wants to listen," she said.

Where did all that money come from, that we're tossing into the quagmire called the Iraq War? Out of the pockets, and sometimes the skin, of our servicepeople. In November, it was our contractors, paid out of Americans' pockets, that left four servicement stranded, taken hostage. The contractors blame the servicemen. This is outrage number two from reading the news recently.

...Crescent violated U.S. military regulations while being paid millions of dollars to support the U.S.-led mission in Iraq. The company routinely sacrificed safety to cut costs. On the day of the kidnappings, just seven Crescent guards protected the immense convoy as it drove through southern Iraq, a force that security experts described as inadequate to fend off a major attack.

Former senior managers with Crescent denied any wrongdoing and said the guards who were seized had been well equipped and simply failed to thwart the kidnappers.

"We pretty much catered to them. We spoiled them," said Scott Schneider, the company's former director of security.

The atrocities grow ever larger, and ever more impossible to stomach. The systems have been stacked against our troops, yes, those much lauded heroic figures that we are setting up as targets for anyone to shoot at who gets in range. What are we doing for our troops? and the American public? Lying to them.

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