A Really Strange Story
The story in the Virginian Pilot (reprinted over at Military.com) about the submarine Sailor from USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) who was caught as a deserter in March and has been held "secretly" since then in the Norfolk brig just does not make sense. Here's an excerpt:
A petty officer has been in the Norfolk Naval Station brig for more than four months facing espionage, desertion and other charges, but the Navy has refused to release details of the case. The case against Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Ariel J. Weinmann is indicative of the secrecy surrounding the Navy military court here, where public affairs and trial court officials have denied access to basic information including the court docket -- a listing of cases to be heard...Now, this could just be a story about how the press is unable to get the dockets from the Virginia military courts released, and they're just using this case as an example. (The majority of the article is about why the military court papers should be made available, and has a really inventive excuse from the Navy about why they haven't provided them.)
...The command's e-mail to The Pilot this week said that Weinmann was arrested at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on March 26 after he had been listed as a deserter. Fleet Forces officials refused to release the so-called charge sheet, which would detail the accusations against the Sailor.
Weinmann had been serving aboard the submarine Albuquerque until he deserted in July 2005, according to Brown. Weinmann enlisted in July 2003, he said.
While they say the Sailor is accused of "espionage", they later admit that the charge sheet hasn't been made available. Still, it's weird to have a run-of-the-mill deserter in the brig for 4 months awaiting trial. The Albuquerque seems to be out right now with the Iwo Jima ESG, but we haven't seen the normal "here's the sub visiting the fun port" stories about them, so maybe they're having a productive deployment. I really hope the kid wasn't planning on going somewhere to talk to someone about what the boat was planning on doing -- since he deserted over a year ago, though, that's fairly unlikely.
Staying at PD...