Greeley Native, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and full-fledged birther Terry Lakin is refusing to deploy to Afghanistan until he sees evidence he can believe in that Pres. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States. Lakin released a YouTube last week speaking in familiar talk-radio terms about his doubts regarding the president’s citizenship and his legitimacy as commander in chief. Today he received a letter from his brigade commander warning that he faced court marshal and time in prison. This would be Lakin’s second deployment to Afghanistan. He is fundraising for his legal defense, he says, looking to raise $50,000 by the end of the week. His Greeley relatives are putting distance between themselves and his birther campaign.
Lakin’s father Frank told the Greeley Tribune Friday that his son’s video wasn’t representative of the family. “This does not reflect the opinions or the attitude of the family by any means,” he said. “We’re Obama supporters.”
There have been a handful of soldiers in the last year who have refused to deploy for the same reason. Their cases have gone nowhere and have inspired little confidence. In July, Major Stefan Frederick Cook volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan and then refused and hired infamous birther lawyer Orly Taitz to represent him in a federal suit he filed against the president. But volunteers are under no order to deploy and so his request was merely rescinded.
In September, U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land tossed a similar claim placed by Capt. Connie Rhodes, another military doctor and another birther represented by Taitz.
“In a remarkable shifting of the traditional legal burden of proof, the plaintiff in this case unashamedly alleges that defendant has the burden to prove his ‘natural born’ status,” Land wrote at the time. “Any middle school civics student would readily recognize the irony of abandoning fundamental principles upon which our country was founded in order to purportedly ‘protect and preserve’ those very principles.”
Land said that Americans and their political parties had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the presidential campaign in 2008 when great teams of opposition researchers combed through Obama’s records and found nothing to substantiate these claims. He said Congress this year has had ample time to bring about impeachment proceedings. It has not. Indeed, Land was disgusted by the thinness of the case brought by Taitz and said he would sanction her if she were to ever again bring a similarly frivolous complaint to his court.
Greeley native Lakin was reportedly warned off his suit by sympathetic lawyers to no avail. Lakin has teamed up with the American Patriot Foundation, the group behind a website called “safeguardourconstitution.com.” He is the highest-ranking active duty officer to publicly challenge Obama’s natural-born citizenship and he seems intent to play a game of chicken with the president.
“If they court-martial [Lakin], it will be huge,” said American Patriot Foundation Spokesperson Margaret Hemenway. “They will risk making a martyr of him.”
The so-called birther movement has had at least some reported traction in the northern Front Range. In August, buzz surrounded a town hall meeting in Ft. Collins that featured Republican state Rep. and CD4 Congressional candidate Cory Gardner. At the town hall, Gardner seemed to waffle ambiguously on the birther issue after it was raised by a member of the audience. Gardner later stated plainly to the Denver Post that he believed the President was a natural-born citizen.
Yet comments made by Gardner campaign spokesman Mike Ciletti directly after the town hall to the Ft. Collins Coloradoan worked to cast doubts on the president’s legitimacy and track fairly closely to the comments made by Lt. Col. Lakin in his YouTube.
“Cory believes there’s probably, from the little bit that he has read on it, Obama is most likely a citizen. But he finds it very curious that this could all be ended if he just released the long-form birth certificate and put it to bed.”
“Conspiracy theories, whether they’re from the left or the right, they all have facts in them, and then they go askew. And in all honesty, Cory has not spent a lot of time reading and studying and trying to get to the bottom of Obama and his citizenship,” he said.
Called for response to the Lakin case, the Gardner campaign declined to comment.