The Ballad of Michael Behenna
Atlas readers, get this out. It is a crime against freedom for one of America's fighting men to be left rotting in Leavenworth. Send it around. Post it, tweet it, forward it, email it. Do it.
From the family of Michael Behenna:
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To the thousands of Michael Behenna supporters,
On February 28, 2012 we filed Michael’s legal brief with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) outlining his trial issues. We were expecting that it would be some time before oral arguments were set. To our great amazement (and the Military’s great frustration) the CAAF has expedited the hearing of oral arguments. These arguments will be heard on April 23, 2012 in Washington D.C and they are open to the public. We will keep you advised as to the exact time and place of the arguments. This we hope is the beginning of the end of the injustice which Michael has suffered at the hands of the military justice system – an injustice that as of last week has already imprisoned him at Ft. Leavenworth for 3 years running.
We pray that Michael’s appeal before the CAAF will be successful and that he will once again regain the freedom that the rest of us take for granted. But no matter when that day actually comes, Michael will have lost years of his life which he will never get back. Unless Michael’s conviction is overturned he will reenter society as a felon and face all the challenges that come with that. To help Michael get back on his feet when he is finally released Vicki and I have decided to set up the Michael Behenna New Start Fund. Funds donated will be available to Michael to start a new life after all he has been through. On any donations of $30 or more we will send you the Ballad of Michael Behenna music CD. To donate to this new fund click on the following link and select the corresponding Paypal button: Michael Behenna New Start Fund.
Speaking of the Ballad of Michael Behenna music CD….this song was expertly written and recorded by the Chad Evan Todd Band. It is a special song with a lot of emotion, excellent music, and powerful lyrics. To watch a very moving video of this song on YouTube click on the following link: Ballad of Michael Behenna. Many things can be accomplished through music and we believe if we can get this song out on the airwaves we will see a lot of support trend towards Michael’s cause. You can help us in this effort. We will send you a free copy of the CD containing Michael’s Ballad if you let us know what radio station(s) you can deliver a copy to. Our goal is to get this song playing across America as soon as possible. If you will provide the following information we will get you the necessary number of CD’s in the mail:
1) Radio Call Letters (ex. WIOD)
2) Your name and address to mail the CD(s)
3) Person at the radio station who will ultimately be provided with the CD
We ask that if you do nothing else today, please pass this email or the YouTube link to all the people in your email box. We are confident that hits on Michael’s YouTube video will help us bolster even more support for Michael's release.
As always, thank you for all you have done and are doing for our son,
Scott & Vicki Behenna
Bev Perlson, band of Mothers, pleads:
Please send a donation to Michael's fund and PLEASE help distribute the excellent song/video "The Ballad of Michael Behenna". If we could just get radio stations playing this song, I believe the military just might decide it is time to release lst Lt Michael Behenna! This song exposes the injustices our Soldiers are enduring as they fight a war under policies that are insane!
If any of you out there have any contacts with Sean Hannity, please forward this to him! He made me a promise to promote this song, and if ever our Soldiers needed his help, it is now! Sean told me he always keeps his promises!
Also, if possible, please attend Michael's hearing on April 23rd:
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces courthouse is located at 450 E. Street, Northwest, Washington D.C., the argument begins at 9:00 a.m.
Please always remember, Michael never left his men!
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 Army intelligence believed he 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: 1LT Michael Behenna deployed to Iraq for his first tour of combat.
- April 21, 2008, Al Qa’ida operatives attacked LT Behennaʼs platoon. The
- IED attack resulted in the death of two of LT Behennaʼs platoon members, two Iraqi citizens, and wounded two additional soldiers under LT Behennaʼs command.
- May 5, 2008: Based on information from US Army intelligence, LT Behenna’s platoon detained known terrorist Ali Mansur at his home for the attack on LT Behennaʼs platoon. Mansur had illegal weapons and a passport indicating trips to Syria.
- May 16, 2008: Without explanation, Army Intelligence ordered the release of Mansur.
- LT Behenna, who lost two members of his platoon just weeks earlier, was ordered to transport Mansur to his home.
- LT Behenna attempted a final field interview of Mansur prior to his release.
- During the interview, Mansur attacked LT Behenna, and LT Behenna reacted to defend himself by firing two shots which killed Mansur.
- July 2008: The U.S. Army charged LT Behenna with premeditated murder for the death of the Al Qa’ida operative and terrorist Ali Mansur
- February 23, 2009: 1Lt. Behennaʼs trial begins.
- Defense experts testify that Mansur was standing with his arm outstretched when shot.
- On the evening of February 25th, prosecution expert witness Dr. Herbert MacDonell told the prosecution attorneys the only logical explanation for what happened was that Mansur had to be standing, reaching for LT Behennaʼs gun when he was shot. This contradicted the prosecution’s theory that Mansur was executed while seated on a rock.
- On February 26th LT Behenna testified that while he was interrogating Mansur he turned his head towards his interpreter, and when he did, Mansur lunged for his gun. The LT fired a controlled pair of shots. This explanation was identical to what Dr. MacDonell told the prosecution team in a private meeting the night before.
- During a recess after 1LT Behennaʼs testimony, Dr. MacDonell met with the prosecution team and told them again that the LT’s testimony was exactly what he had demonstrated to Prosecutors the day before and that the LT must be telling the truth. The prosecutors sent Dr. MacDonell home to New York. Leaving the courtroom, Dr. MacDonell told defense counsel he would have made a great witness for LT Behenna.
- The defense counsel asked prosecutors if they have any exculpatory evidence about Dr. MacDonell, and the prosecutors denied possession of such evidence.
- In the prosecution’s closing arguments they argued LT Behennaʼs testimony that Mansur was reaching for his gun was “impossible” based upon the evidence (despite knowing that their own expert witness had told him it was the only logical explanation.)
- Later that Friday night a military panel of seven officers, none of whom had combat experience, convicted LT Behenna of unpremeditated murder and assault.
- After LT Behenna was convicted, but before sentencing, Dr. MacDonell sent an email to the prosecution team requesting that the information provided in his demonstration be turned over to the defense.
- A mistrial was requested by the LT’s defense counsel, but on March 20, the military judge denied both defense motions to declare a mistrial and to order a new trial.
- LT Behennaʼs attorneys are appealing the verdict based on the denial of a fair trial. An oral argument has been scheduled before the highest military court – The Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces – on 23 April 2012 in Washington D.C.
- LT Behenna is currently serving a 15-year sentence in Ft. Leavenworth (the original 25 year sentence was reduced five years by the commanding General of 101st Airborne and the Army Clemency Board reduced it another five years.) 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 breach of faith with all who are serving our country. Please stand with us and demand justice for this American hero!!! He fought for you; now please fight for him!
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