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The Only 'Murder' Here Was Of Justice
Townhall.com ^ | August 5, 2011 | Diana West

Posted on 08/05/2011 12:57:03 PM PDT by Kaslin

They are the forgotten warriors of the Iraq War, the men whose lives and families and careers blew up in "murder" charges on a vicious battlefield, the pieces coming down in Fort Leavenworth's military prison where the men now serve long sentences. Together, they make up the Leavenworth 10, not always at Leavenworth and not always 10, a group of cold-luck cases still working their way up the ladder of appeals and the clemency process, their families hoping to free them before many more years go by.

They all got bad news recently when word came that the Army Court of Appeals denied Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, 28, a new trial despite the introduction of exculpatory evidence originally withheld by the prosecution. Behenna faces 13 more years of a 15-year sentence for the unpremeditated 2008 "murder" of an insurgent who killed two of his men in post-surge Iraq, an al-Qaida terrorist for whom the Army would issue a kill/capture order before realizing he was already dead.

Why no new trial?

At almost the same time, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia overruled recommendations from the Naval Clemency and Parole Board and from brig officials at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station that Marine Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins, 27, be granted early release. Hutchins has served more than five years on a 15-year sentence that was reduced to 11 years. The sentence was once recommended to be cut to five years, and once thrown out (he spent nine months free starting June 2010). He faces the balance of the 11-year-sentence for conspiracy and unpremeditated "murder" of a man he believed was the killer of Marines and civilians in pre-surge Iraq.

Why no parole?

I put quotation marks of incredulousness around "murder" because this was a war zone -- a chaotic, urban war zone in which counterinsurgency theory (COIN), winning hearts and minds, just didn't go according to the book. Those restrictive rules of engagement (ROEs) failed to impress jihadists or their clans with America's good intentions, and the schizoid mishmash of firepower, nation-building, harsh interrogations, bribery, police work and social work made our forces pawns of an untenable policy. These young men shouldn't be the ones to pay for that policy. We should use this week's one-two punch of "military justice" for some national soul-searching. It's the least we can do for men who risked everything for our country.

The two cases are quite different, but they share more than miscarriages of justice. Reading back before the judicial nightmares began is to follow two warriors contending with a basic COIN flaw: the notorious practice known as catch-and-release, the opaque, bureaucratic process by which U.S. forces risked their lives to "arrest" insurgents on the back-alley battlefield only to see them released to kill again for "lack of evidence." In both Behenna's and Hutchins' cases (and others), catch-and-release was the ultimate manifestation of chaotic command and no control, and served as a common trigger of events. Behenna himself had to drive home the very insurgent known to be responsible for the IED (crude, handmade bomb) that recently killed two of his men. He decided to perform one more interrogation himself during which the insurgent rushed him, at which point Behenna fired. This is the self-defense scenario supported by the prosecution's own forensics expert. It was suppressed at Behenna's trial and ignored on appeal.

Hutchins' case is more complex, involving an eight-man plot to "snatch" and kill a "prince" of the insurgency, someone responsible for everything from IEDs to recruiting suicide bombers. Again, it was catch-and-release, and not for the first time, that lit the fuse for this Marine squad. They caught the terrorist and then, on release, had to drive him home. They later decided to fake an incident in which the "prince's" killing would be ROE-lawful. While Hutchins waited in ambush, the wrong man was seized, they all shot at him and then covered up the incident. No Marine was confined for more than 525 days except Hutchins (11 years).

Hutchins also drew a rebuke from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who, while Hutchins appealed and sought clemency, slandered him as a premeditated and indiscriminate murderer. Hutchins lawyer, Maj. Babu Kaza, points out that Hutchins was found guilty of neither allegation and that Mabus' unprecedented public comments constitute "unlawful command influence" on the workings of justice.

At least that's what the military calls these nightmares. Do you?


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/05/2011 12:57:05 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Hey Kaslin. You do know my nephew, Sgt. Evan Vela, is one of the Leavenworth 10?


2 posted on 08/05/2011 1:13:49 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: bigheadfred

No I didn’t know that. I hope everything will turn out alright for him.


3 posted on 08/05/2011 1:35:15 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

He’s still alive, eh? And he only got 10. Really good now that they have changed the rules for the freshman class and made the mandatory minimum LIFE.


4 posted on 08/05/2011 1:39:50 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: Girlene; jazusamo; smoothsailing; RedRover; Gene Eric; 4woodenboats; xzins; seekthetruth; curth; ...

Another piece by Diana West.


5 posted on 08/05/2011 1:43:38 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: bigheadfred

Thanks for the ping. Good to see someone writing about this disgraceful mess. It needs to somehow get out in the open.


6 posted on 08/05/2011 2:46:21 PM PDT by curth (Sarah Palin: THE Genuine Article - Accept No Cheap Imitation)
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To: curth

She’s written several pieces over the last several years.

We’ve tried to get it more onto a national stage. Col. Allen West is/was supposed to be getting it in front of the Armed Services Committee.

It is worse than disgraceful. And the perpetrators have a lot to answer for.


7 posted on 08/05/2011 2:52:57 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: bigheadfred
Another piece by Diana West.

I've always caught a whiff of "political show trial, Chicago-style" about these proceedings.

Although, to carry them off in true Chicago style, Obozo would have staged them at 2 a.m. in an empty warehouse with a rubber truncheon.

8 posted on 08/05/2011 2:55:20 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
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To: bigheadfred

I first learned about Lt Behenna’s case in this article from 2009 by Joan Swirsky from Canada Free Press.

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/11336

You just have to keep on pushing.


9 posted on 08/05/2011 2:57:39 PM PDT by curth (Sarah Palin: THE Genuine Article - Accept No Cheap Imitation)
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To: lentulusgracchus; curth
political show trial

And copy Bush?

Do you know anything about Andy Holmes or David Lawrence?

Both of these freshmen are like dead men walking.

David's case pisses me off so much I shouldn't begin to speak. With The Holy O rushing off to suck Karzai's 0!3k in appeasement.

Watch for as many plea agreements as the new ones can muster. Just think of all the money us taxpayers will save by not having long, long prosecutions the government can hardly afford, BUT WILL.

10 posted on 08/05/2011 3:03:34 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: curth
I first learned about Lt Behenna’s case in this article from 2009 by Joan Swirsky from Canada Free Press.

Search FR keyword Vela. The articles I've posted about Evan. Do the same for Behenna. Maybe you have on Michael's.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2678735/posts

I just got an update on Andy Holmes. But it is NOT for general distribution.

Some really good people are involved here.

http://warchronicle.com/TheyAreNotKillers/DefendOurMarines.htm

http://warchronicle.com/DefendOurTroops/Home.htm

11 posted on 08/05/2011 3:19:41 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: Kaslin

Kas, this cr@p started under GW, and his rules of engagement for the practitioners of the religion of pieces.

When a JAG goes with a unit, it is not to protect our men.


12 posted on 08/05/2011 4:59:04 PM PDT by itsahoot (--I will still vote for Sarah Palin, even if I have to write her in.--No more traitors.)
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To: itsahoot

JAGs don’t go out pressing for indictments. It’s up to the commander to decide whether to charge someone.


13 posted on 08/05/2011 5:21:49 PM PDT by chargers fan
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To: itsahoot

So it’s President Bush’s fault, huh?


14 posted on 08/05/2011 5:39:01 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: bigheadfred; jazusamo
Hutchins also drew a rebuke from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who, while Hutchins appealed and sought clemency, slandered him as a premeditated and indiscriminate murderer. Hutchins lawyer, Maj. Babu Kaza, points out that Hutchins was found guilty of neither allegation and that Mabus' unprecedented public comments constitute "unlawful command influence" on the workings of justice.

Unlawful Command Influence. Mabus learned at the knee of the serial defamer John Murtha, after all. Mabus loved Murtha's methods so much he named a damn ship after the disgusting old gasbag. Birds of a treasonous feather, and our warfighters suffer because of it.

15 posted on 08/05/2011 5:50:58 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Kaslin; itsahoot
So it’s President Bush’s fault, huh?

YES IT IS. But you can bet for all his I love the troops line he ain't losing any sleep.

16 posted on 08/05/2011 5:55:45 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: smoothsailing; curth

Amen.


17 posted on 08/05/2011 5:57:12 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: smoothsailing; bigheadfred
Unlawful Command Influence. Mabus learned at the knee of the serial defamer John Murtha, after all.

That's correct.

Murtha's defaming comment about the Haditha Marines being "cold blooded killers" and Mabus's defaming comment about Hutchins being a premeditated and indiscriminate murderer come from federal officials in our government that have taken an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

In my view if they didn't break their oaths with those statements they came damned close and neither were or are worthy of their positions.

18 posted on 08/05/2011 6:34:41 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

No. They broke them (oaths) and the law. Just wasn’t anyone in a higher authority who disagreed.


19 posted on 08/05/2011 6:40:17 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: Kaslin
On this thread, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2757523/posts I mentioned the “catch and release” policy of this Administration. When you read the article below, you will notice that the policy last year (2010) was to have the terrorists endure a 30 minute trial and then they were handed a pledge to sign stating that they would not return to battle. Once they signed the pledge they were released to their elders. NICE! And of course the percentage who return to fight our troops again is well documented! They ALL do!

The New York Times printed an article in May of last year entitled “US Tries to Reintegrate Taliban Soldiers.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/world/asia/24reconcile.html?src=mv.

Now we move forward to this year (2011). I am in the process of getting the audio/video of this testimony of Admiral Mcraven, but you will notice that the Admiral stated the policy was to release the terrorists to their elders with no pledge signed. (Not that the pledge would be followed anyway.)

Here is the article on Admiral Mcraven’s testimony from June of this year:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/obamas-terrorist-catch-and-release-policy/2011/07/06/gIQALpxb0H_blog.html

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
We all know the members of Congress are on August recess now, but many of us may have the opportunity to attend Town Halls and/or events where we might get to talk to our representatives. That would be the perfect time to ask them why our own soldiers are kept in prison for doing their job, while we release terrorists to return to battle to fight our troops again! Why not let Michael Behenna and our other soldiers at Leavenworth sign a pledge that they won't return to battle and release them to their elders...ie, their moms and dads?

Here is a link with ALL Representatives in the US House by state and district. Please start emailing and calling, even if your call is just leaving a message.
http://www.house.gov/representatives/

20 posted on 08/05/2011 8:38:39 PM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: bigheadfred

Yes, Congressman West is doing whatever he can to bring attention to these cases.


21 posted on 08/05/2011 8:40:56 PM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: bigheadfred; Marse; Marthon; martifr77; marviec; Mask316; MASS-2 FAC; Master of None; ...
California Freeper ping here to help spread the word about our sons in Leavenworth.

Other threads:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2757460/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2757523/posts

As always, if you wish to be removed from my ping list please let me know through FreepMail. Thanks!

22 posted on 08/05/2011 9:08:41 PM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: seekthetruth

If West is willing to do it, then we should pursue other Congressman who served in the military too.


23 posted on 08/05/2011 9:11:49 PM PDT by curth (Sarah Palin: THE Genuine Article - Accept No Cheap Imitation)
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To: curth; seekthetruth

I am so glad you have joined the fight.

There are some names of congressmen in this thread to contact.

We have been fighting for years. Kinda like beating your head against a brick wall. And yeah sure, the wall is still there. But so is my head.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2661688/posts


24 posted on 08/05/2011 9:55:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred ("I consulted all the sages I could find in yellow pages but there aren't many of them")
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To: itsahoot

Ibelieve that their counterparts in the Communists nations’ Armed forces were callled Commasars.


25 posted on 08/05/2011 10:04:48 PM PDT by sport
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To: bigheadfred
Really good now that they have changed the rules for the freshman class and made the mandatory minimum LIFE.

Mandatory minimum life for what charge (s) and when did this change? What's the background on this, if you know?
26 posted on 08/06/2011 5:38:18 AM PDT by Girlene
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To: bigheadfred; cruiserman; andyk; bedolido; BoiseChick; canis major; Disambiguator; dmeara; ...
I will not give up the fight until our sons in Leavenworth are freed. Doing an Idaho Freeper ping here in hopes to spread the word about the plight of our soldiers in Leavenworth.

Asking all who read this to contact their Representatives while they are home for August recess! An email, and phone call, and if any hold a Town Hall, ask them how it is we are releasing terrorists yet hold our own soldiers in prison for doing what they were sent to do....kill terrorists!

Ask your Representative to call for hearings on the present “Catch and Release Policy” and the “Military Rules of Engagement” in the war on terror. Here is the link which provides contact information for every Rep. to the US House:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/

27 posted on 08/06/2011 6:12:58 AM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: bigheadfred
Had missed your post about your nephew being one of the Leavenworth 10. Please know this fight is to free ALL 10 of our soldiers in Leavenworth, not just Michael Behenna. We just feel that Michael's case is such that more than likely he would be freed first...hopefully leading to the release of ALL our soldiers.

Please thank your nephew for me for his service to our country. God Bless all our Military!

28 posted on 08/06/2011 7:26:52 AM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: curth; grannyheart2000; TROOPCARRIER; Ed Nobles; N. Beaujon; bu9418; ...
If West is willing to do it, then we should pursue other Congressman who served in the military too.

YES! And the all are on August recess and home, with easier access to the voters in their districts! Great time to call, email, and if possible get to speak to them face to face....and ASK QUESTIONS! Like: “Why is it we are now releasing terrorists to their elders, yet holding our own soldiers in Leavenworth?”

Here is the link again for contacting all Representatives to the US House:http://www.house.gov/representatives/

Doing a Georgia Freeper ping here to help spread the word! As always, if one wishes to be removed from my ping list please let me know through FreepMail. Thanks!

29 posted on 08/06/2011 7:41:48 AM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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To: chargers fan
It’s up to the commander to decide whether to charge someone.

Sure it is. </sarcasm>

Of course the CIC could have pardoned these guys, or just ordered the courts not to proceed just like he should have for the Border Guards, or for that matter Scooter Libby. Truth is he didn’t because it was political.

When I see this Cr@p I always remember "Breaker Morant."

War with King's X zones, are un-winnable, and we should never commit troops to any situation with their hands tied. They only become targets.

No victory since Hiroshima, nor is there ever likely to be.

30 posted on 08/06/2011 10:01:57 AM PDT by itsahoot (--I will still vote for Sarah Palin, even if I have to write her in.--No more traitors.)
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To: Kaslin

“the Army Court of Appeals denied Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, 28, a new trial despite the introduction of exculpatory evidence originally withheld by the prosecution.”

There’s got to be more to that, whether it supports the court’s decision or stinks of corruption.

The CMA has to know that if there is actually is exculpatory evidence originally withheld by the prosecution, and if that evidence is significant, they are going to get slammed and slammed hard.


31 posted on 08/06/2011 1:22:57 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Kaslin

“the Army Court of Appeals denied Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, 28, a new trial despite the introduction of exculpatory evidence originally withheld by the prosecution.”

There’s got to be more to that, whether it supports the court’s decision or stinks of corruption.

The CMA has to know that if there is actually is exculpatory evidence originally withheld by the prosecution, and if that evidence is significant, they are going to get slammed and slammed hard.


32 posted on 08/06/2011 1:32:53 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: seekthetruth

Please add me to your Georgia Freeper ping list.
thanks,
Frank


33 posted on 08/06/2011 1:56:14 PM PDT by street_lawyer (www.georgiaright.com)
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To: itsahoot

“No victory since Hiroshima, nor is there ever likely to be.”

We achieved military victory in Viet Nam. The Cape Cod Orca and other traitors in congress threw the victory away, because they thought it would discredit the Republicans if we lost and the Demonrats if we won. Power, of course, was more important to them than the welfare of the United States.


34 posted on 08/06/2011 3:54:50 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: lentulusgracchus

“I’ve always caught a whiff of “political show trial, Chicago-style” about these proceedings.”

Sure. My Lai did a lot to make average Americans sick of the Viet Nam war.

American soldiers committing “murder?” That discredits the American military, our reasons for being over there, and the United States in general. And the demonrats don’t give two whoops in Hell that it’s BS.


35 posted on 08/06/2011 4:02:37 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Kaslin
I emailed my new Tea party critter in re this outrageous situation. He's new on the job and probably has very little influence with his peers, but he seems to be an aggressive, patriotic, hard core conservative, and one of the Tea Partyers who voted against the debt limit debacle. I believe he will at least do what he can, if anything, to help those men who are being persecuted by our Communist in Chief and his traitorous political cronies for simply doing what they were sent to do. How on earth can we ask men to give their lives defending our nation and then prosecute them for the alleged "crime" of killing the very same jihadist enemies who they were trained to kill?
36 posted on 08/07/2011 10:57:02 AM PDT by epow (I know not what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future)
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To: epow
Here is a great list of all members of Congress by state which links to their email contact info..and with phone number listed on first page.

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

37 posted on 08/09/2011 4:35:03 PM PDT by seekthetruth (Florida and the Nation needs Colonel Mike McCalister in the US Senate!)
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