michael-behenna

1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna

UPDATE February 12, 2014

I’ve never been more thrilled to update a post. According to an email I just received from his parents – Michael Behenna has been paroled and will be back home with his family by mid March. That email in it’s entirety:

To the thousands of Michael supporters,

With tears of joy in our eyes we are happy to tell all of you that Michael is coming home!  He called us this morning to tell us his parole had been granted and he will be released on March 14, 2014.  So in one month Michael will finally be home with his family.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow…..

It has been, to say the least, quite a ride.  Michael signed up for the Army in order to serve his country and honor the innocent people killed on 9/11.  As a lieutenant he led his men in the ‘Mad Dog’ 5th Platoon into combat in Iraq and with them bravely faced a determined and ruthless insurgency.  Then his story took a bizarre turn when he was charged and later convicted of killing a known Al-Qaida cell leader who was directly involved in an IED attack that killed two of his soldiers, Steven Christofferson and Adam Kohlhaas.  He spent the next five years of his life in a small cell in the medium security wing at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth serving a 15 year murder conviction.

Life is often not fair, and as we have seen, justice is sometimes hard to come by.  For the innocent man who is sent to prison, life can seem especially cruel.  To survive that requires strength that comes from deep inside.  It also requires the love and support from family and close friends.  Michael always knew he could count on his family and friends to be there for him.  What has rocked his world is how thousands of people he has never met could will him through this struggle.  YOU DID THAT!  As you’re reading this I want you to say to yourself ‘they’re talking to me’.  YOU made the difference in how our son responded to this adversity.  Whether you sent him a postcard, a letter, put money in his prison account, contributed to his defense fund, wrote your Congressional Representative, shared Michael’s story with a friend, rode your motorcycle in a rally of support, or lifted Michael up in prayer to Almighty God, you made the difference.  YOU literally saved our son’s life with your love and support, and for that we will be forever grateful.

God bless each and every one of you!

Scott & Vicki Behenna

www.defendmichael.com

ORIGINAL REPORT & UPDATES

In March of 2009, convicted of killing a known Al Qaeda operative while serving in Iraq, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was sent to Leavenworth prison for a duration of 25 years. The Al Qaeda terrorist, ali mansur, had killed two of Behenna’s comrades and injured two others the previous year. Mansur was on the governments kill/capture list.

But Army intelligence ordered the release of the suspect and Behenna was burdened with returning ali mansur to his home. Throughout the Leavenworth 10 chronicles you’ll see many of the cases occurred because of the very same “catch and release” policy that “military intelligence” insisted upon.

During the return Mansur attacked Lt. Behenna and the Lieutenant killed the terrorist in self defense, doing the world and especially American citizens a huge favor. The United States Government, who itself ordered Michael Behenna to war in Iraq with the clear mission of defeating terrorism – who had a clear tag of kill/capture on this terrorist,  subsequently prosecuted Lt. Behenna for premeditated murder and won.

This, from a government that flies unmanned drone aircraft into foreign countries killing men women and children, blindly, for the purpose of political gain on the eve of a federal election. For that same government to stand in judgement of an American Hero like Lieutenant Behenna, is a most ironic travesty and a gross miscarriage of justice in the true sense of the term.

This case was brought to the attention of DCX recently because of the results of Michael’s July 5th final appeal just last week: it was denied and his legal defense has now exhausted all recourse.

Michael’s parents, family and friends, have set up a website to bring attention to his cause and that website is located here: http://www.defendmichael.com/

On their site you’ll find much more information about Michael Behenna’s case, current appeals status, media links, photo’s, video’s and much more. There’s also a link to an online petition which is located here: Michael Behenna Petition.

 

UPDATE 02.21.2013

(editors note: I received this email from Michael’s parents and wanted to share it with DCX readers)

To the thousands of Michael supporters,

With heavy hearts we must inform you that all our efforts to get clemency for Michael this year were for naught. The Army Clemency and Parole Board listened to our family’s plea concerning the facts and circumstance’s surrounding Michael’s case and decided four years in prison was not enough. The Clemency Board did not question us about Michael’s case, character, or whether he was a threat to society, so we are left to wait another year for an opportunity to petition for his freedom.

We truly thought this year would be different; that this year we would finally get our son back where he belongs. It is hard to convey the grief and despair we feel over this latest setback. It is only the love and support of all of you and our deep abiding faith in a Higher Power that sustains us through these dark days. I know all of you are equally disappointed and frustrated by the decision of the Parole Board. We still remain cautiously optimistic regarding Michael’s Supreme Court petition as we await the government’s response which the Supreme Court requested by February 27th.

Please pursue requests to your Congressmen and Senators to contact Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford to seek a path to a Presidential commutation. To find your Congressional Delegation click on the following link: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

Finally, please offer a prayer up for Michael and our family as you watch this Ballad written in his honor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMbytddDjWI

With you at our side we will continue this fight until our son is home.

Respectfully,

Scott & Vicki Behenna
Proud parents of 1LT Michael Behenna
http://www.defendmichael.com

 

UPDATE 02.07.2013

(editors note: I received this email from Michael’s parents and wanted to share it with DCX readers)

To the thousands of Michael Behenna supporters,

On January 2, 2013 we filed a petition to the US Supreme Court on Michael’s behalf. The Government almost immediately waived their response to this petition. However on January 28th, the Supreme Court, in a rare move for military cases, requested a response from the Government. This is a hopeful sign since the likelihood of the Supreme Court hearing a case where both sides have not responded is very low. Although this request does not guarantee the Supreme Court will hear Michael’s case, it shows that the Court is taking our petition very seriously as a landmark use of force issue for the protection of all our armed fighting forces, as well as US civilian law enforcement.

On January 22, 2013, Vicki and I testified in Washington, DC before the Department of Defense sub-committee charged with the responsibility to report on the use of military justice in a combat zone. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta set up the committee to determine if the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) was being correctly applied in war zone situations. Prior to our testimony we listened to five and a half hours of testimony from four Generals and one Admiral from the various service branches. These high ranking officers basically said that the UCMJ, from the initial investigations to the trial itself, was a viable tool of justice and that few problems with its application had been encountered. One Army General even stated that the Soldiers/Marines who were convicted were anomalies and any problems resulting from those trials had been corrected. In the half hour that we were given to speak we walked the committee through all the reasons why the Soldiers/Marines who are still incarcerated for war crimes did not receive anywhere close to a fair trial under the UCMJ. It is our sincere hope that the sub-committee will look into not only the investigative flaws and prosecutorial misconduct; but also the long sentences given to these Soldiers/Marines, which are far more severe than in any previous wars or even earlier incidents in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Finally, on February 7th we will be arguing before the Army Clemency and Parole Board in Washington D.C. to seek a reduction in Michael’s sentence. Please lift up this Board in your prayers so they will see that 1) Michael is not a threat to society, 2) he has been severely punished, and 3) further incarceration will not serve any benefit to the Army, the community or Michael.

We want to thank all of you who have been spreading Michael’s story through Facebook and other social media. The support and activity has grown to heights we never imagined possible, driven by word of mouth and opportunities to speak about Michael’s case on tv and radio programs. Vicki and I were recently on former Congressman LTC (Ret) Allen West’s new Internet TV show. You can view the interview at: http://www.nextgeneration.tv/?cmd=mpg&load=7965&mpid=517 (P.S. You must register with PJTV – but it is free.)

Other articles you might find of interest are below:
NewsOK article: http://newsok.com/edmond-parents-of-army-1st-lt.-michael-behenna-fault-military-justice-system/article/3748192
Edmond Sun article: http://www.edmondsun.com/local/x1633462716/Behenna-Military-injustice-contributed-to-sons-fate

God bless each of you for all your support and please keep signing the petition, contacting your Congressional Delegations, and notifying your friends and family of this injustice. Also, please send Michael a card or letter letting him know that you are still supporting him after four years of imprisonment.
Michael’s prison address is as follows:
Michael Behenna
#87503 1300
N. Warehouse Road Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304

Respectfully, Scott & Vicki Behenna
Proud parents of 1LT Michael Behenna
http://www.defendmichael.com

(end of update. everything from here down is original text: end note – EAB)

I’ve had a few readers request more information and/or sources I used to form my opinion of this highly controversial case. My opinion is based on many hours of research as well as an admittedly conservative perspective of how wars should be waged, ie. killing the bad guys as quickly possible and bringing our service members home as quickly as possible – not dragging out wars for 15 years, apologizing to our enemies, and training the very people who want to kill us.  Regardless, if for one single minute I felt that Behenna killed for retribution rather than to protect his troops as well as American citizens I simply would not have written this article. My list of sources of credible information:

The Michael Behenna Story by Carrie Fatigante

LA Times Story on Michael Behenna (Part 1) by Joe Mazingo

LA Times Story on Michael Behenna (Part 2) by Joe Mazingo

Flashpoint TV Show – Prosecutorial Misconduct (starts at 2:15 minute mark)

World Net Daily - Soldier’s Conviction Challenged

Song Recorded about Michael Behenna

The McCarville Report – Justice Denied

Chandler’s Watch – Military Jags Eat Their Own Again

Edmond Outlook – The Trials of War

Do The Right Thing with Pastor Boston

New York Times article - When Prosecutors Step Over The Line Former Senator Stevens conviction thrown out because of Prosecution Withheld Evidence

Newsmax.com article - Retrial Denied Despite Expert’s New Testimony

Newsmax.com article - Mother of Lt. Behenna Vows To Fight On

The Oklahoman video - Vicki and Scott Behenna discuss their son’s case, convicted of killing an Iraqi detainee.

Pat Dollard blog – Government Withholds Evidence

News 5 Video - Prosecution Withholds Evidence

The Oklahoman article – Edmond Family Fighting For Soldier’s Freedom

The Oklahoman article – Losses Deeply Affected Oklahoma Solider

Newsmax.com article – Army Officer Denied Retrial Despite Expert’s New Testimony

CAAFLOG blog – Military judge denies mistrial in Behenna but recommends 7 year cut in confinement

freerepublic.com article – Army Officer Denied Retrial Despite Expert’s New Testimony

screamingeagle326.com

Pissedoffandpointingfingers.com

Band of Mothers

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