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Treating our Enemies Better Than Our Own Soldiers

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The Testimony The Prosecutors Didn’t Let The Jury Hear (From Their Own Expert Witness)

MILITARY PROSECUTORS WITHHOLD EVIDENCE; ARMY RANGER GOES TO PRISON FOR 25 YEARS (recently reduced to 15 years) FOR SHOOTING AL QAEDA OPERATIVE

The Story

Michael Behenna

Michael Behenna

On March 20th, 2009, Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Ali Mansur, a known Al Qaeda operative while serving in Iraq.  Mansur was known to be a member of an Al Qaeda cell operating in the lieutenant’s area of operation and was suspected to have organized an attack on Lt. Behenna’s platoon in April 2008 which killed two U.S. soldiers and injured two more. Army intelligence ordered the release of Mansur and Lt. Behenna was ordered to return the terrorist to his home.

During the return of Mansur, Lt. Behenna again questioned the Al Qaeda member for information about other members of the terrorist cell, and financial supporters. During this interrogation, Mansur attacked Lt. Behenna, who killed the terrorist in self-defense. The government subsequently prosecuted Lt. Behenna for premeditated murder.

Not only is this a miscarriage of justice on the behalf of Lt. Behenna, who was acting to prevent further loss of life in his platoon, it is demoralizing to the U.S. troops who continue to fight on behalf of the freedom and security of our nation. Whether it is U.S. border patrol agents, members of the armed forces, or FBI agents, no individual who is serving on the frontlines in the War on Terror should be so blatantly mistreated.

We urgently need your help to correct this terrible wrong against a loyal and faithful soldier. Please contact your congressman and ask them to intervene on behalf of 1LT Behenna. Below is a brief recap of the relevant aspects of Lt. Behenna’s case.

  • September 2007: 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna deployed to Iraq for his first combat experience
  • April 21, 2008: Lt. Behenna’s platoon was attacked by Al Qaeda operatives. The attack resulted in death of two of Lt. Behenna’s platoon members, two Iraqi citizens, and wounded two additional soldiers under Lt. Behenna’s command.
  • May 5, 2008: Known terrorist Ali Mansur was detained at his home for suspected involvement in the attack on Lt. Behenna’s platoon
  • May 16, 2008: Army Intelligence orders the release of Mansur
  • Lt. Behenna, who lost two members of his platoon just weeks earlier, was ordered to transport Mansur back to his home
  • Lt. Behenna attempts a final interrogation of Mansur prior to his release
  • During the interrogation, Behenna is attacked by Mansur and is forced to defend himself. During the altercation, the terrorist is killed.
  • Lt. Behenna failed to properly report the incident
  • July 2008: The U.S. Army charges Lt. Behenna with premeditated murder for the death of Al Qaeda operative and terrorist Ali Mansur.
  • February 23, 2009: Lt. Behenna’s trial begins
  • Government and defense experts agree on the trajectory of the bullets killing Mansur
  • Prosecution expert Dr. Herbert MacDonnell initiated contact with defense attorneys explaining his agreement with the testimony of Lt. Behenna and his presentation to prosecutors supporting Lt. Behenna’s version of events.
  • Dr. MacDonnell is not called to testify in the case and instead is sent home.  Just before leaving the courthouse he picks up his coat from the prosecution room and says to the three prosecutors (Megan Poirier, Jason Elbert, and Erwin Roberts), ‘The explanation that Lt Behenna just testified to was the exact same scenario I told you yesterday.  Lt Behenna is telling the truth.’
  • Jack Zimmermann, defense counsel, asks prosecutors if they have any exculpatory evidence that should be provided to the defense (referring to Dr. MacDonnell’s demonstration). Prosecutors deny having any such evidence despite having been told by their own expert witness that Lt Behenna’s explanation was the only logical explanation.
  • Prosecutors withholding of this evidence allowed them to argue that Lt. Behenna executed Ali Mansur while seated when the forensic experts, including Dr. MacDonnell, agree that Ali was standing with his arms outstretched when shot
  • Lt. Behenna is convicted of unpremeditated murder and assault by a military panel of seven officers, none of whom had combat experience.
  • Dr. MacDonnell contacts prosecution requesting that the information provided in his demonstration be given to the defense.
  • Prosecutors provide such information after a verdict was rendered, but prior to sentencing.
  • At the request of the presiding judge, Dr. MacDonnell provides his information to the court via telephone
  • The judge orders both sides in the case to file briefs relating to a possible mistrial
  • After reading the briefs the judge set an additional hearing and ordered additional briefs, including one from the defense requesting a new trial.
  • On March 20, the judge denied defense motions to declare a mistrial and to order a new trial
  • Lt. Behenna was paraded in handcuffs through the Nashville airport, the Milwaukee airport, and the Kansas City airport enroute to Fort Leavenworth Prison
  • Lt. Behenna’s attorneys are appealing the verdict
  • Lt. Behenna is currently serving a 15-year sentence  (the 25 year sentence was reduced five years by the commanding general of 101st Airborne and reduced another five years by the Army Clemency Board.  The earliest he would be eligible for parole is after serving a third of his sentence.  Without parole or a new trial Lt. Behenna will get out of prison for the shooting an Al Qaeda terrorist in self defense when he is 40 years old.

1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna was an excellent officer. He received his call to serve his country while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. He is from a family of public servants, his mother being an Assistant United States Attorney and his father a retired Special Agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. He has served the Army and the United States with honor and dignity. To sacrifice the life of this Oklahoma soldier over the death of a known terrorist, is a breech of faith with all who are serving our country.

We’ll send you this DefendMichael.com wristband with any donation of $20 or more.

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Support Michael

We need your support now more than ever.  The government has unlimited resources and has spent accordingly.  1LT Behenna and his family hired civilian counsel,  Houston lawyers Jack B. Zimmermann and Kyle R. Sampson, at their own expense.   This Legal Defense Fund has been established for the sole purpose of helping ensure that 1LT Behenna has meaningful access to experienced legal defense counsel in the military prosecution.  The value of having experience in a case like this became very obvious when the issue of evidence withheld by the prosecution was discovered.  All donations to this Fund will be used exclusively for attorney fees and expenses associated with this legal defense and will be maintained in an independently administered trust account.  Funds will not be distributed directly to 1LT Behenna.

If you are able to help defray these costs, please send contributions to the:

1LT Michael Behenna Legal Defense Fund
c/o Jack Dawson, co-trustee
100 Park Avenue, Second Floor
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102-8099

or Rachel Lawrence Mor, co-trustee
3037 N.W. 63rd Street, Suite 251
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73116

Please read our Legal Disclosure before donating. Thank you for assisting Lt. Michael Behenna.

Responses

  1. Michael…NOW faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….For we walk by FAITH not by sight. The real America has awaken. You’ll be FREE soon.

  2. I am so outraged over this situation. I am on the phone EVERYDAY until something is done. I am pissed, we as a country are pissed. I will not rest until you are out. remember , our prayers and thoughts are with you and getting you back with your family.
    God be with you.

  3. Your service and the unwarranted persecution you have suffered at the hands of domestic enemies have brought me to the decision to issue a field promotion. Congratulations, Captain Michael Behenna. If any creeps disagree, I’m not hard to find. Remember, GOD is on our side and none can stand against us if GOD is with us!

  4. The mission is to free our fellow soldiers. Remember, whatever happens, “MISSION IS EVERYTHING”, let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing the mission. Anything, anytime, anywhere. I can’t understand why pencil pushers would set out to make enemies of head takers. I know they don’t understand combat, but how can they reasonably think to prosecute someone that fought to protect them and their families? DUH?

  5. Sir,

    Never forget what you stand for and that we will continue to fight for you and you with us.

    “Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.”

  6. I don’t care if LT. Behenna executed this scumbag in the middle of Times Square at high noon. We are fighting an enemy that is blind in their mission and they kill anybody that gets in their way. They hung a 7 year old boy in Afghanistan for talking to American GI’s and we are worried that this brave leader dispatched this ass-bite to the hereafter.
    Our press has taken on the role of being the unofficial feel good spokesperson for Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah; to us simple people that is treason and aiding and abetting.
    I want this brave LT freed and apologized to by his accusers and his 201 file cleared so his career doesn’t take a hit.
    This is war not some video game people are going to die, let’s hope its them not us.

  7. The situation is insane. The enemy has no rules at all and our rules are written by people that never saw combat and never will. If we intend to win this war on terrorism we need to throw out these so called civilized rules. WE ARE NOT FIGHTING CIVILIZED PEOPLE!!! They kill babies and not accidently! It isn’t war from their point of view, It’s a madhouse slaughter of innocents and we have rule makers doing everything they can to apologize to them for upsetting them. If they want respect for their religion, let them earn it by joining the peaceful people that are trying to stop violence. You Islamic people had better forget trying to convert me and the idea of killing me if I don’t convert is going to hurt Islam a lot worse than it will me . I don’t believe you can do a conversion on me and you will run out of idiots before you kill me! I suspect that our new rules of engagement are written by the ayatollah and his buddies since they sound like the garbage the president of Iran runs out of his mouth.

  8. Michael, don’t lose heart because of crooks in power. We the people of the United States of America are behind you and we will not stop until you and your comrades in arms that stood to defend us are free and home with your families. I want to change the words slightly, but you’ll recognize them, ” give our soldiers liberty or give the dishonorable death”. Come to think of it free them and give the dishonorable death anyway! DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR! Bet I can hit a dime from ten thousand feet with a crooked scumbag.

  9. I’ve written to the President at the Whitehouse for a presidential pardon for Michael as I feel that it is the fastest way to send him home to his family. I’m a member of American Legion Post 316 GA. ARE YOU LISTENING MR. PRESIDENT? I am the last of my family and to control someone you have to be able to put pressure on them through something or someone they care about. All I have left that I care about is the USA and that makes me dangerous to people that see it as a personal cash cow or a mass of servants. One thing I know from experience is that GOD is real and no one escapes HIM! Please start writing the President for a Presidential Pardon for Michael as it only takes a signature to bring him home.

  10. When I was a child, I was taught that the elected servants listened to the people they served. As I have grown older they seem to have become less responsive except as election time approaches. The promises they make then are usually only partially kept if they are elected. These days they are as responsive as our enemies, lie to us and break their promises as soon as it suits them. There has been too much change when patriotic young men go to war to fight our enemies and end up in our prisons. Our military operations are very changed from my day and seem to follow the style of a mix from past enemy command. GOD help us if our leaders have sold us out as is demonstrated in the selling of our mineral resources that contained enough value to pay off our national debt if we had mined them to our former enemies that rail ship them to the west coast to barge them to smelters in japan. They paid $1.50 an acre under 1800’s mining laws for billions of dollars in silver, gold, copper and other metals that we get a rental of nothing for the acreage. Thank goodness that our politicians got stock options on the deal. We are under the heel of oppression and it doesn’t matter which party is in power as they are all rich and all go to the same parties and drink from the same bottles. The Honorable Thomas Jefferson warned us about allowing the elite (in their own opinion) to gain control and they have. The innocent go to prison, the guilty go free, religious persecution in the nation that it made great. Laws written that have loopholes for the rich and powerful, written by the rich and powerful. For you crooked leaders, I may be someone you laugh at now, but you won’t laugh in my face! GOD BLESS AMERICA


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