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CNN places eligibility in primetime spotlight
Posted By Bob Unruh On 05/07/2010 @ 11:50 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is the highest-ranking active-duty officer to refuse to obey orders based on President Obama’s eligibility.
CNN, one of the mainstream media outlets that have either belittled or ignored the question of Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president since before the 2008 election, tonight gave the topic a primetime spotlight as Anderson Cooper defended the computer-generated online image of a Certification of Live Birth that lists a 1961 Hawaii birth for the president.
Cooper invited onto his “360″ program Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, an Army doctor who is facing court-martial because he has told the military he will not follow orders unless Obama can document his eligibility to be commander-in-chief.
The questions he is raising are like those raised in numerous lawsuits and other challenges to Obama – whether he qualifies to occupy the Oval Office under the Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural born” citizen.
While the term is not defined in the Constitution, many legal analysts believe at the time it was written it meant a person born in the U.S. of two U.S. citizen parents. Obama clearly does not qualify under that definition, since he has admitted his father never was a U.S. citizen. Some legal challenges have argued he wasn’t even born in Hawaii.
Lakin is not the first officer to raise such a challenge, and in at least one other case the Army rescinded orders so that a confrontation over the dispute would not develop. And a new Washington Post/ABC poll reveals that tens of millions of Americans doubt Obama’s eligibility.
Cooper dominated the combative interview, demanding answers from Lakin, telling his lawyer, Paul Rolf Jensen, to let his client answer and then forging ahead with his own arguments.
Lakin was able to explain that it is a constitutional issue that applies to the presidency.
“I submitted Article 138 [requests],” he said. “It was the only way I could research the issue. I was asking and begging my leadership for guidance on how to address this issue.
“It’s fundamental to the Constitution. My oath of office is to the Constitution. I believe we need the truth on this matter,” he said.
In the absense of substantive responses, Lakin eventually created a situation that he hopes will result ultimately in some answers.
Cooper argued that Lakin previously had taken orders from many officers without demanding their birth verification, and Jensen explained that was because the Constitution sets the specific requirement for the president, not military officers.
Cooper also cited the online “Certification of Live Birth” as proof of Obama’s Hawaii birth. Jensen responded that the law in the state created opportunities for individuals to obtain the Hawaii records – Cooper kept referring to the “Certification” as a “Certificate” – without having been born in the state.
The COLB is “an official document,” Cooper claimed.
“That is not correct,” said Jensen.
Cooper also accused Lakin of following “false” information about Obama. Jensen urged Cooper to “tell the truth to your viewers.”
Eventually Cooper cut off Jensen and Lakin, telling them, “I appreciate you being on this program.”
Lakin is working with the SafeguardOurConstitution website, which is generating financial support for him.
He is scheduled to have an Article 32 hearing sometime in the next few weeks, probably in the early part of June. The hearing will begin the court-martial process for him.
Lakin publicly had asked the president to document his eligibility and expressed a willingness to deploy with the 32nd Cavalry Regiment to Afghanistan. But he received no response from the White House.
The filing of charges, however, may be part of the still-unrevealed strategy Lakin and his legal counselors are pursuing.
Formally, Lakin is accused of “through design” missing “the movement of US Airways Flight Number 1123, departing from Baltimore/Washington International Airport arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina, in order to deploy for a Temporary Change of Station in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 32nd Calvary (sic) Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with which he was required in the course of duty to move.”
The second charge accuses Lakin of failing to report “to the office of his Brigade Commander, Colonel Gordon R. Roberts, at 1345 hours, or words to that effect, an order which it was his duty to obey.”
The SafeguardOurConstitution website explained the first charge, “missing movement,” is a serious crime in the nature of a felony. The second is “disobeying a direct order” and includes four specifications.
“Any soldier convicted on all charges and specifications would expect to be sentenced to years at ‘hard labor’ in the penitentiary,” the site said.
The charges against Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, the highest-ranking and first active-duty officer to refuse to obey orders based on President Obama’s eligibility.
Jensen in an earlier interview on the G. Gordon Liddy radio program gave hints as to what he expects.
“In the (Uniform Code of Military Justice), just as you would expect, criminal defendants have the process of the court, for subpoenas and depositions under the rules that are prescribed,” Jensen said.
Lakin had posted a YouTube video inviting his own court-martial because he believes military orders under an ineligible president are illegal. He then posted a letter telling Obama it’s up to him to provide the proof.
“I’m not going to say what we are going to do other than we are going to do what you would want us to do,” Jensen said on the Liddy program.
The attorney avoided broadcasting any specific defense strategy for the case. But he expressed confidence there will be an aggressive discovery phase in preparation for a defense of the charges.
“Every criminal defendant has to be allowed the benefit of doubt to discover information relevant or which may even lead to the discovery of relevant information that could support his case,” he said.
“It would be shocking to me that a defendant … would not be permitted to discover information that would lend itself to proving his [case],” he said.
The discovery issue previously was raised in court by attorney John Hemenway, who was threatened by a federal judge with sanctions for bringing a court challenge to Obama’s presidency.
Hemenway is serving in emeritus status with the Safeguard Our Constitution website. He brought the previous court challenge on behalf of a retired military officer, Gregory S. Hollister, who questioned Obama’s eligibility.
The Hollister case ultimately was dismissed by Judge James Robertson, who notably ruled during the 2008 election campaign that the federal legal dispute had been “twittered” and, therefore, resolved.
Robertson sarcastically wrote: “The plaintiff says that he is a retired Air Force colonel who continues to owe fealty to his commander in chief (because he might possibly be recalled to duty) and who is tortured by uncertainty as to whether he would have to obey orders from Barack Obama because it has not been proven – to the colonel’s satisfaction – that Mr. Obama is a native-born American citizen, qualified under the Constitution to be president.
“The issue of the president’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court,” Robertson wrote.
Then the judge suggested sanctions against Hemenway for bringing the case. Hemenway responded that the process then would provide him with a right to a discovery hearing to see documentation regarding the judge’s statements – not supported by any evidence introduced into the case – that Obama was properly “vetted.”
Hemenway warned at the time, “If the court persists in pressing Rule 11 procedures against Hemenway, then Hemenway should be allowed all of the discovery pertinent to the procedures as court precedents have permitted in the past.
“The court has referred to a number of facts outside of the record of this particular case and, therefore, the undersigned is particularly entitled to a hearing to get the truth of those matters into the record. This may require the court to authorize some discovery,” Hemenway said.
The court ultimately backed off its threat of sanctions.
WND columnist Vox Day earlier wrote about this very scenario, calling it a “get out of war free” card.
The comments followed the case of a reservist who challenged the legality of his deployment orders under Obama. The orders later were canceled by the government.
“Rather than contesting the suit,” Day wrote, “the Army took the highly peculiar step of revoking the major’s deployment order, suggesting that the Pentagon generals are not entirely confident that they can demonstrate the legitimacy of their purported commander in chief.
“The Pentagon’s decision to back down rather than risk exposing Obama’s birth records to the public means that every single American soldier, sailor, pilot and Marine now holds a ‘get out of war free’ card.”
Obama’s actual response to those who question his eligibility to be president under the Constitution’s requirement that the U.S. president be a “natural born citizen” has been to dispatch both private and tax-funded attorneys to prevent anyone from gaining access to his documentation.
Jensen also asserted the information obtained in any trial should be public record.
“There is no reason that I can foresee that classified information would come out [during a prosecution and trial],” he said. “These are public proceedings. I rather think the press will cover any trial and the evidence will be public.”
The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
WND has covered a multitude of challenges and lawsuits over the issue. Some have alleged that he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he has written, or that the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens – Obama’s father was a subject of the British crown at Obama’s birth – from being eligible for the office.
“It’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” Lakin said during the Liddy show interview. “The Lord blessed me with a great family, wife and good upbringing. I’ve tried to uphold the principles espoused by my parents and do the right thing and not take the easy way out. I just seek the truth.”
“My motivation stems from my oath of office to defend and uphold the Constitution,” Lakin said. “It’s the Constitution. That needs to be upheld.”
Lakin earlier released a copy of a letter he sent to Obama saying, “The burden of proof must rest with you.”
The letter, posted at the Safeguard Our Constitution website, describes how Lakin tried through his chain of command and his congressional office to get answers to questions about Obama’s eligibility.
Lakin originally announced his position with a video stating he would not follow orders because he was not sure of their legality under Obama, who has concealed personal information that could confirm he meets the constitutional requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen.”
Lakin is not the first officer to raise questions. Others have included Army doctor Capt. Connie Rhodes and Army reservist Maj. Stefan Cook. But Lakin is the first active-duty officer to raise the question.
Besides Obama’s actual birth documentation, the still-concealed documentation for him includes kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Because of the dearth of information about Obama’s eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 500,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.
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