Monthly Archives: May 2011

Templeton’s Mobius: Another Financial Crisis is ‘Around the Corner’


31 May 2011

Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s emerging markets group, said another financial crisis is inevitable because the causes of the previous one haven’t been resolved.

“There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis,” Mobius said Monday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo in response to a question about price swings. “Are the derivatives regulated? No. Are you still getting growth in derivatives? Yes.”

The total value of derivatives in the world exceeds total global gross domestic product by a factor of 10, said Mobius, who oversees more than $50 billion. With that volume of bets in different directions, volatility and equity market crises will occur, he said.

The global financial crisis three years ago was caused in part by the proliferation of derivative products tied to U.S. home loans that ceased performing, triggering hundreds of billions of dollars in writedowns and leading to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008. The MSCI AC World Index of developed and emerging market stocks tumbled 46 percent between Lehman’s downfall and the market bottom on March 9, 2009.

“With every crisis comes great opportunity,” said Mobius. When markets are crashing, “that’s when we’re going to be able to invest and do a good job,” he said.

The freezing of global credit markets caused governments from Washington to Beijing to London to pump more than $3 trillion into the financial system to shore up the global economy. The MSCI AC World gauge surged 99 percent from its March 2009 low through May 27.

‘Too Big to Fail’

The largest U.S. banks have grown larger since the financial crisis, and the number of “too-big-to-fail” banks will increase by 40 percent over the next 15 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Separately, higher capital requirements and greater supervision should be imposed on institutions deemed “too important to fail” to reduce the chances of large-scale failures, staff at the International Monetary Fund warned in a report on May 27.

“Are the banks bigger than they were before? They’re bigger,” Mobius said. “Too big to fail.”

The money manager had earlier said at the same event that Africa has an “incredible” investment potential and that he has stakes in Nigerian banks.

“These banks are doing very well and are much better regulated than they were in the past,” Mobius said, without disclosing which lenders he holds.

Banks account for five of the eight stocks in the MSCI Nigeria (MXNI) Index. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, the country’s No. 2 lender by market value, surged 31 percent in the six months through May 27, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares of Access Bank Nigeria Plc recorded the second-biggest decline on the gauge in the period, the data show.

Read more: Templeton’s Mobius: Another Financial Crisis is ‘Around the Corner’

Advertisements

US ‘to view major cyber attacks as acts of war’


31 May 2011

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has adopted a new strategy that will classify major cyber attacks as acts of war, paving the way for possible military retaliation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper said the Pentagon plans to unveil its first-ever strategy regarding cyber warfare next month, in part as a warning to foes that may try to sabotage the country’s electricity grid, subways or pipelines.

“If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” it quoted a military official as saying.

The newspaper, citing three officials who had seen the document, said the the strategy would maintain that the existing international rules of armed conflict — embodied in treaties and customs — would apply in cyberspace.

It said the Pentagon would likely decide whether to respond militarily to cyber attacks based on the notion of “equivalence” — whether the attack was comparable in damage to a conventional military strike.

Such a decision would also depend on whether the precise source of the attack could be determined.

The decision to formalize the rules of cyber war comes after the Stuxnet attack last year ravaged Iran’s nuclear program. That attack was blamed on the United States and Israel, both of which declined to comment on it.

It also follows a major cyber attack on the US military in 2008 that served as a wake-up call and prompted major changes in how the Pentagon handles digital threats, including the formation of a new cyber military command.

Over the weekend Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, said it was investigating the source of a “significant and tenacious” cyber attack against its information network one week ago.

President Barack Obama was briefed about the attack.

Egyptian general admits ‘virginity checks’ conducted on protesters


 

Cairo (CNN) — A senior Egyptian general admits that “virginity checks” were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.

The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.

At that time, Maj. Amr Imam said 17 women had been arrested but denied allegations of torture or “virginity tests.”

But now a senior general who asked not to be identified said the virginity tests were conducted and defended the practice.

“The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine,” the general said. “These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square, and we found in the tents Molotov cocktails and (drugs).”

The general said the virginity checks were done so that the women wouldn’t later claim they had been raped by Egyptian authorities.

“We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place,” the general said. “None of them were (virgins).”

This demonstration occurred nearly a month after Egypt’s longtime President Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid a wave of popular and mostly peaceful unrest aimed at his ouster and the institution of democratic reforms.

Afterward, Egypt’s military — which had largely stayed on the sidelines of the revolution — officially took control of the nation’s political apparatus as well, until an agreed-upon constitution and elections.

Mubarak denies ordering shootings

The March 9 protest occurred in Tahrir Square, which became famous over 18 historic and sometimes bloody days and nights of protests that led to Mubarak’s resignation.

But unlike in those previous demonstrations, the Egyptian military targeted the protesters. Soldiers dragged dozens of demonstrators from the square and through the gates of the landmark Egyptian Museum.

Salwa Hosseini, a 20-year-old hairdresser and one of the women named in the Amnesty report, described to CNN how uniformed soldiers tied her up on the museum’s grounds, forced her to the ground and slapped her, then shocked her with a stun gun while calling her a prostitute.

“They wanted to teach us a lesson,” Hosseini said soon after the Amnesty report came out. “They wanted to make us feel that we do not have dignity.”

The treatment got worse, Hosseini said, when she and the 16 other female prisoners were taken to a military detention center in Heikstep.

There, she said, she and several of other female detainees were subjected to a “virginity test.”

“We did not agree for a male doctor to perform the test,” she said. But Hosseini said her captors forced her to comply by threatening her with more stun-gun shocks.

“I was going through a nervous breakdown at that moment,” she recalled. “There was no one standing during the test, except for a woman and the male doctor. But several soldiers were standing behind us watching the backside of the bed. I think they had them standing there as witnesses.”

The senior Egyptian general said the 149 people detained after the March 9 protest were subsequently tried in military courts, and most have been sentenced to a year in prison.

Authorities later revoked those sentences “when we discovered that some of the detainees had university degrees, so we decided to give them a second chance,” he said.

The senior general reaffirmed that the military council was determined to make Egypt’s democratic transition a success.

“The date for handover to a civil government can’t come soon enough for the ruling military council,” he said. “The army can’t wait to return to its barracks and do what it does best — protect the nation’s borders.”

‘Double-Dip’ in Housing Prices Even Worse Than Expected


Published: Tuesday, 31 May 2011

U.S. single-family home prices dropped in March, dipping below their 2009 low, as the housing market remained bogged down by inventory and weak demand, a closely watched survey said Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists’ expectations.

The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.

The 20-city composite index was at 138.16, falling below the 2009 low of 139.26.

“This month’s report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. “Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.”

READ MORE:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43222783

Al-Jazeera footage captures ‘western troops on the ground’ in Libya


31 May 2011

Julian Borger and Martin Chulov

Armed westerners have been filmed on the front line with rebels near Misrata in the first apparent confirmation that foreign special forces are playing an active role in the Libyan conflict.

A group of six westerners are clearly visible in a report by al-Jazeera from Dafniya, described as the westernmost point of the rebel lines west of the town of Misrata. Five of them were armed and wearing sand-coloured clothes, peaked caps, and cotton Arab scarves.

The sixth, apparently the most senior of the group, was carrying no visible weapon and wore a pink, short-sleeve shirt. He may be an intelligence officer. The group is seen talking to rebels and then quickly leaving on being spotted by the television crew.

The footage emerged as South Africa‘s president, Jacob Zuma, arrived in Tripoli in an attempt to broker a ceasefire. He described reports that he would ask Muammar Gaddafi to step down as “misleading”, and said he would instead focus on humanitarian measures and ways to implement a plan concocted by the African Union for Libya make a transition to democratic rule but not seek Gaddafi’s exile.

The westerners were seen by al-Jazeera on rebel lines late last week, days before British and French attack helicopters are due to join the Nato campaign. They are likely to be deployed on the outskirts of Misrata, from where pro-Gaddafi forces continue to shell rebel positions to the east.

There have been numerous reports in the British press that SAS soldiers are acting as spotters in Libya to help Nato warplanes target pro-Gaddafi forces. In March, six special forces soldiers and two MI6 officers were detained by rebel fighters when they landed on an abortive mission to meet rebel leaders in Benghazi, in an embarrassing episode for the SAS.

The group was withdrawn soon afterwards and a new “liaison team” sent in its place. Asked for comment on Monday, a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: “We don’t have any forces out there.”

The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”.

Despite more than two months of bombing by Nato, rebels have remained unable to advance west of Misrata, or west of Brega, 300 miles to the east. The capital, Tripoli, also remains in the grip of Gaddafi, who has defied all attempts to force him to leave.

However, a fresh blow to his position came yesterday as eight Libyan army officers appeared in Rome, saying they were part of a group of as many as 120 military officials and soldiers who had defected from Gaddafi’s side in recent days.

The eight officers – five generals, two colonels and a major – spoke at a news conference organised by the Italian government. The officers said they had defected in protest at Gaddafi’s actions against his own people, citing killings of civilians and violence against women. They claimed that Gaddafi’s campaign against the rebels was rapidly weakening.

Air force pilots landed in Italy and defected earlier in the rebellion. Under-trained and under-manned rebel forces have been encouraging defections as a way to whittle away support for Gaddafi in the absence of a ground army sent to assist them.

The latest group are reported to have been spurred largely by tensions arising from the appointment newcomers to senior positions in the security services.

The behaviour of these men, many of them relatively youthful Gaddafi loyalists in their mid-30s, are throught to have stirred anger and dismay among the army’s officer ranks.

In April, William Hague announced that an expanded military liaison team would be dispatched to work with the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council, which is positioning itself as a democratic alternative to Gaddafi’s rule.

The foreign secretary said the team would help the rebels improve “organisational structures, communications and logistics” but stressed: “Our officers will not be involved in training or arming the opposition’s fighting forces, nor will they be involved in the planning or execution of the [transitional council’s] military operations or in the provision of any other form of operational military advice.”

There were unconfirmed reports at the time that Britain was planning to send former SAS members and other experienced soldiers to Libya under the cover of private security companies, paid for by Arab states, to train the anti-government forces.

Bill Maher Tells Republican Crackers To Get Off Of Obama’s Ass


 THE FOLLOWING IS FROM BILL MAHER, NOT ME.  IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WHAT HE SAID, CONTACT HIM, NOT ME!!!

 

On his HBO show Real Time Bill Maher posed the question to Republicans, “How
many Muslims does a black guy have to kill in one weekend before crackers climb
down off his ass?”

Bill Maher opened up with, “Now that it’s become clear that the Republicans,
the fiscally conservative strong on defense party are neither fiscally
conservative nor strong on defense, they have to tell us what exactly it is
they’re good at. It’s not defense. 9/11happened on your watch, and you
retaliated by invading the wrong country, and you lost a 10 year game of hide and
seek with Osama Bin Laden, and you’re responsible for running up most of the
debt, which more than anything makes us weak.”

Maher continued, “You’re supposed to be the party with the killer instinct, but
it was a Democrat who put a bomb in Gadhafi’s bedroom, and bullet in Bin
Laden’s eye like Moe Green. Raising the question how many Muslims does a black
guy have to kill in one weekend before crackers climb down off his ass? Let’s
look at some facts. Now for you Fox News viewers feel free to turn down the
sound until the flashing facts light at the bottom of your screen disappears.”

He then rolled out the facts, “When Bill Clinton left office in 2001, the Congressional
Budget Office predicted that by the end of the decade we would have paid off
the entire debt and had $2 trillion surplus. Instead we have a ten and a half
trillion dollar public debt and the different in those two numbers is mostly
because Republicans put tax cuts for the rich, free drugs for the elderly, and
two wars on the layaway plan, and then bailed on the check, so so much for fiscal
responsibility.”

Bill Maher then destroyed the idea that Republicans are strong in national
security, “But hey, at least they still had the defense thing right? The public
still believed Republicans were tougher when it came to hunting down dark
skinned foreigners with funny sounding names. But Bush had 7 years to get
Osama, he didn’t. He got Wesley Snipes. Only 6 months after 9/11Bush said
he didn’t spend that much time on Bin Laden that he was no longer concerned
about him. Just as he wasn’t before 9/11when he blew off that mysterious
inscrutable memo titled Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States.

In under a year Bush went from who gives a shit, to wanted dead or alive,
back to who gives a shit.”

After calling out the Republicans for criticizing Obama for during the 2008
campaign for saying that he would go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden, and asked
Republicans, “Why can’t you just admit that Barack Obama is one efficient,
steeley nerved, multitasking, black ninja gansta president? In one week he
produced his birth certificate, comforted disaster victims, swung by
Florida to
say hey to Gabby Giffords, did stand up at the Correspondents’ Dinner, and then
personally repelled into in Bin Laden’s lair and put a Chinese star though his
throat without waking up any of his 13 wives. That’s how it went down, I saw it
on MSNBC.”

*******************
The truth is that the 30% of
America that Bill Maher mentioned will never
support Obama no matter what he does. Unlike Democrats who did rally behind President
Bush after
9/11, many Republicans can only view the Obama presidency with bitter
jaundiced eyes that are only capable of seeing all the vast conspiracies that
explain why they were not able to keep the presidency, which they believe they
are entitled to.

Maher had it right. Obama had an incredible week last week, but within 48 hours
the right was back hard at work trying to delegitimize his accomplishments
while at the same time taking credit for themselves. What is absolutely eating
the Obama haters up inside right now is that he got Bin Laden.
Since 9/11 Republicans have treated the issue of national security as
their birthright, but Obama showed them what a real commitment to keeping
America secure looks like.

Barack Obama is one bad ass gangsta president. He is everything Republicans
wish they were, but don’t have the guts to be.

U.S.:“military research” “experiments that were designed to harm”!


COLONEL SIXX: THIS WAS SUBMITTED AS A COMMENT TO THE  POST:

“Trust Betrayed: Sexual Assault in the Military Gives Rise to Increased Levels of PTSD”

http://thefrontlines.com/

 

David Marshall

Submitted on 2011/05/30 at 2004

Veterans loose!

PLEASE HELP.

On May 23, 2011 was the U.S. Supreme, Court Brown v. Plata (09-1233) decision that crowded prisons are in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment no cruel and unusual punishments.

In 2011, still not Eighth Amendment addressed are the “military research” “experiments that were designed to harm”!

This is 1994 documented by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and U.S. Senate.[2 & 3]

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1950 Feres Doctrine [8] was used to ignore the Eight Amendment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Stanley case [6]. The Department of Defense (DOD) “to harm” experiment was classified as an “incident to service”!

These DOD experiments were conducted on “hundreds of thousands” [2], under the ongoing secrecy cover of our ‘national interests’, e.g., WWII, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn’t U.S. Service Personnel and Veterans get back those Constitutional Amendment 8 Rights that they die for and convicted rapists and murderers keep?

Please hold your members in the U.S. Congress accountable!

The 2002 U.S. Senate Hearing on the Feres Doctrine [8] is 127 pages of 19 Testimonials and Submissions for the Record that ignored the previously documented:

1. Fact that convicted rapists and murderers receive U.S. Constitutional Amendment 8 experimentation protection

[4] that U.S. Service Personnel DO NOT!! 2

GAO [2] and U.S. Senate [3] 1994 Reports that recorded “hundreds of thousands” of in-service personnel injured by non-consensual, experiments.

The Senate 1994 Report’s noted withheld needed for treatment but experiment identifying evidence [2] and the 1994 Court of Veterans Appeals (COVA) related “may not review” [5] were overlooked.

3. The U.S. Supreme Courts 1987 STANLEY case was a Feres Doctrine based approval of a 1958 injurious non-consensual, military experiment.[6] Disobeyed was the 1953 DOD order [7] and for military personnel lost was the U.S. Constitution, Amendment 8 protection given to U.S. Prisoners [4]! 4. Not 2002 recognized was that many experiments were in direct disobedience of the DOD Secretary’s 1953 NO non-consensual experiments.[7]

OVERSIGHTS: Starting on page 64 of the 2002 Senate Hearing PDF version, [1] the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE stated that in the 1950 U.S. Supreme Court’s Feres Doctrine decision [8], “The Court relied upon three principal reasons in coming to its decision:

(1) The existence and availability of a separate, uniform, comprehensive, no-fault compensation scheme for injured military personnel;….” Answering this issue are the millions of service records that were destroyed in a 1973 National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) fire.

Followed by Congress’s 1974 Privacy Act that censored experiment verifying witnesses from any surviving and future records and the withheld experimentation evidence of the 1994 U.S. Senate Report.[

2] The Report noted, “The Feres Doctrine should not be applied for military personnel who are harmed by inappropriate human experimentation when informed consent has not been given.”

Then, “During the last 50 years, hundreds of thousands of military personnel” were subjected to “experiments that were designed to harm”, e.g., their reported biological and chemical agents, radiation exposure, hallucinogenic and investigational drugs, experimental vaccines and behavior modification projects.

Overlooked is the “Basic Rights of Prisoners.” with its “Nonconsensual experimentation is illegal”

![4] In 2011 still ignored is this and the Senate Report’s past and present, “III. Findings and conclusions”, “K. DOD and DVA have repeatedly failed to provide information and medical followup to those who participate in military research…” and “N. Participation in military research is rarely included in military medical records, making it impossible to support a veteran’s claim for service-connected disabilities from military research.”, i.e., the withheld needed for treatment but “experiments that were designed to harm” evidence.

In 1994 COVA’s Chief Judge stated the related evidence restricting, “The court may not review the schedule of ratings for disabilities or the policies underlying the schedule.”[5] Based on the Senate’s, “the last 50 years” back to 1944, doesn’t the now 67 years of “underlying” policy mean the continuing use of deceived U.S. Service Personnel as guinea pigs in deliberate injury experiments?

In the “three principal reasons” continuation, the Dept. of Justice reported the Supreme Court’s, “….

(2) The effect upon military order, discipline, and effectiveness if service member were permitted to sue the government or each other; and,

(3) The distinctly federal relationship between the government and members of its armed services, and the corresponding unfairness of permitting service-connected claims to be determined by nonuniform law.” [1], i.e., the “unfairness” of applying the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, Amendment 8 to U.S. Citizens and Prisoners but NOT to U.S. Service Personnel?

U.S. PRISONERS PROTECTED OVERSIGHT: In 1992 the U.S. Senate signed the United Nation, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). with its “.. Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

It gives convicted U.S. rapists and murderers protection from experiments by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, Amendment 8. Under, “Basic Rights of Prisoners.” is, “Written policy and practice prohibit the use of inmates for medical…experiments.” and “Nonconsensual experimentation is illegal”! Nineteen (19) times cited is the U.S. Constitution plus its 8th Amendment’s no cruel and unusual punishment.[4]

U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION? Overlooked by many in Congress is their Oath of Office to defend the U.S. Constitution, their “Pledge of Allegiance” “with liberty and justice for all” checks and balances function, their U.S. Constitution 8th Amendment protection of convicted rapists and murderers (but NOT U.S. Service Personnel) with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ignored, carved in stone over its entrance, “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW”!

In 2011 shouldn’t U.S. Service Personnel have the same U.S. Constitutional Rights that rapists and murderers keep?

REFERENCES:

[1] “THE FERES DOCTRINE: AN EXAMINATION OF THIS MILITARY EXCEPTION TO THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT OCTOBER 8, 2002.” http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/senate/pdf/107hrg/88833.pdf

[2] December 8, 1994 REPORT 103-97 “Is Military Research Hazardous to Veterans’ Health? Lessons Spanning Half a Century.” Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, 103rd Congress 2nd Session.

[3] GAO September 28, 1994 “Human Experimentation Overview on Co1d War Era Programs” T-NSIAD-94-266 archive.gao.gov/t2pbat2/152601.pdf

[4] U.S. State Dept., “U.S. Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights July 1994, Article 7 – Freedom from Torture, or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

[5] “STATE OF COURT, CHIEF JUDGE FRANK Q. NEBEKER, STATE OF THE COURT, FOR PRESENTATION TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS THIRD JUDICIAL CONFERENCE, OCTOBER 17-18, 1994

[6] U.S. SUPREME COURT, JUNE 25, 1987, U.S. V. STANLEY , 107 S. CT.. 3054 (VOLUME 483 U.S., SECTION 669, PAGES 699 TO 710). http://supreme.justia.com/ us/483/669/ case.html

[7] Pgs. 343-345: “The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code; Human Rights in Human Experimentation” George J. Annas and Michael A. Grodin (N. Y.: Oxford University Press, 1992).

[8] Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, 146 (1950).

Lt. Michael Behenna’s Day in Appeals Court


http://colonel6.com/2011/05/27/sixx-agent-in-place-raw-radio-with-south-in-the-mouth/

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just came back from a tense morning in the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington, Virginia, where long-awaited oral arguments appealing US Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna’s surreal conviction for “unpremeditated murder” while fighting the war in Iraq were heard. Lt. Behenna, 27, is currently serving 15 years in military prison (reduced from 25 years) for killing a known al Qaeda operative named Ali Mansur  believed to have been responsible for attacks on Behenna’s platoon in 2008. Michael is one of the Leavenworth Ten we must not forsake.

Fifteen years is a harsh (insane) sentence, and harsher than other such sentences handed down for the same “crime,” as Michael’s father Scott Behenna explained to a Clemency Review Board on December 2. At todays appeal, civilian defense attorney Jack Zimmerman of Houston argued, quite convincingly I thought, two main points: 1) that key forensic evidence from a government witness in support of Lt. Behenna’s claim of self-defense was not heard during the trial; and 2) that, on a more arcane legal point (as I understood it), crucial instructions to the jury were unclear.  

By now, Michael’s nightmare is a familiar tale of the Iraq war: Sunni/Al Qaeda attacks. IEDs. Casualties. “Catch-and-release,” with Lt. Behenna ordered personally to release Mansur — actually, to drive him right to his home.  One more unauthorized try at interrogation. Mansur attacks Behenna. (US Government says Mansur didn’t attack, was seated on a rock the whole time; unheard forensic evidence mentioned above supports Michael’s story.) Two shots. Self-defense or murder?

I still find myself balking at the whole “murder” charge thing just as though this had been a barroom brawl. Indeed, there was a side discussion between one of the three judges and the defense attorney about a hypothetical example of murder involving two soldiers that seemed to take us to an alternate universe, albeit briefly. Strange, too, was the prosecutor’s discussion assigning “provocation” to Lt. Behenna — namely, that Behenna, a soldier in a war zone with the untenable mission of driving home a man Army Intelligence believed was responsible for recent attacks on his platoon that had killed two soldiers, had provoked Ali Mansur to throw a chunk of concrete at him and then lunge for his gun so Behenna therefore couldn’t claim self-defense. Sometimes the law is beyond baffling.

The hearing room was full — not full of reporters, alas, although I understand an Oklahoma media outlet was there. The Behennas are quite illustrious Oklahomans, with mother Vicki Behenna an Assistant United States Attorney who helped prosecute Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh, and father Scott Behenna a former investigator with the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation and current intelligence analyst with the FBI.

The judges promised a verdict “in due course.”

Clemency Denied!


To the thousands of Michael Supporters,

God bless each of you.  We have been in this fight together for the past two years and your encouragement and support has been the driving force behind all we have been able to accomplish.  Last year, the Clemency Board gave Michael a reduction of 5 years off his 20 year sentence.

On December 2nd we again pleaded Michael’s case before the Army Clemency Board.  We pointed out to them that Michael’s sentence was 50% larger than the highest sentence given to any soldier convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.  We also addressed Michael’s unblemished record in prison for the past two years, his many accomplishments while incarcerated, and his unblemished civilian record. We stressed that he was not a threat to anyone and offered many letters of reference including those from the Governor of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Attorney General, Law Enforcement Agency Heads, and all of the supporters who took the time to write letters of support for Michael.  In addition, the entire Oklahoma Congressional Delegation offered their support for Michael’s clemency. We also had three letters of immediate employment for Michael upon his release.

After our arguments to the Clemency Board, the Board had no additional uncompleted factors for Michael, and the Chairman of the Clemency Board stated that Michael had “turned the corner.”

Unfortunately, on December 22nd, Michael was notified that all of our efforts fell on deaf ears and he was denied even ONE day of clemency by the Clemency Board and the Secretary of the Army John McHugh.  We have no idea why they denied Michael’s clemency request and can only surmise that the Secretary of the Army desires Michael to spend a substantial amount of time in prison.

Michael’s Appeal Hearing before the Army Appeal Court took place on December 9th in Washington, DC and was well attended by Michael’s family and a courtroom full of supporters who drove many hours to attend the hearing.  In the Appeal’s Hearing the Army seemed to be taking a new position on the facts of the case.

During Michael’s trial in February 2009 the crux of the entire case revolved around whether Ali Mansur was sitting and executed or standing and reaching for Michael’s gun.

The Army prosecutor’s theory was that Michael executed Mansur while Mansur sat on a rock in a culvert.  Michael’s testimony was that he was questioning Mansur in the culvert when Mansur stood up and lunged for his weapon.  The Army prosecutors claimed Michael’s testimony was “impossible” and “self-serving” despite all the forensic evidence supporting Michael’s version (including their own expert witness who they sent home rather than have testify.)

During the appeal’s hearing the Army seemed to back away from its original theory stating that even if Mansur was standing and reaching for Michael’s weapon Michael would still be guilty of murder because he lost his right to defend himself by pointing a loaded gun at Mansur.   Telling a soldier that they lost their right to defend themselves in a war zone….against a known terrorist… is just plain crazy talk by people who have never been in harm’s way.

It reinforces the point made by a newly elected Congressman who said that soldiers have to watch their back against JAG officers even more than an enemy that is trying to kill them.  But the most disappointing thing we learned at the hearing was that a decision on Michael’s appeal could take as long as 15 months.

I promise you as we have promised Michael:  we will never cease fighting for Michael’s freedom no matter how high or how hard the climb.  When we spoke to Michael this week he wanted us to wish each of you a blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; and to let you know his spirit is as strong as ever because of all YOUR support – for that, we Thank You!

We appreciate the many letters to Michael inspiring him to fight through this ordeal.  We encourage you to continue to write to him with your kind words of support (his prison address can be found on the website defendmichael.com.)  Also please continue to write to your Congressmen and Senators to ensure that they are aware of your feelings about our government treating its enemies better than we treat our bravest heroes.

Here are some articles by two writers who attended the Appellate Hearing:

http://www.dianawest.net/Home/tabid/36/EntryId/1612/Lt-Michael-Behennas-Day-in-Appeals-Court.aspx

http://newsok.com/michael-behennas-attorney-argues-for-reversal-of-conviction-says-edmond-soldier-didnt-get-a-fair-trial/article/3522296

Peace to you and your families,

Scott & Vicki Behenna

www.defendmichael.com

Michael ‘Celebrates’ His 28th Birthday In Prison This Week!


http://colonel6.com/2011/05/27/sixx-agent-in-place-raw-radio-with-south-in-the-mouth/

To the thousands of Michael Behenna supporters,

On May 18th Michael will ‘celebrate’ his 28th birthday behind bars.  We use the word loosely of course because in prison there is no cake and candles and certainly no parties.  This will be Michael’s third birthday at the prison in Ft. Leavenworth since he was convicted of killing a known terrorist in self-defense.  Though his spirits remain high, life in prison takes its toll on even the strongest of men and that includes our Michael who waits patiently for a decision on his appeal.

The truth is we really don’t know when such a decision will be handed down.  Michael’s appeal was filed in December 2009, the government responded in July 2010, and the argument before the Army Court of Appeals occurred in December 2010. We have heard nothing since.  Michael’s remarkable attitude remains upbeat even in the face of these long delays.  We credit his impressive resolve to the many supporters who have not left him behind and continually remind him of their support through letters, cards, books and magazine subscriptions.

Although some of you may wonder what an encouraging word or thought might mean to Michael, please know that you are his lifeline to the world.  Unlike the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Michael has no access to the internet or any computer for that matter.  Through your cards and letters he at least gets a glimpse of what normal life is and can draw strength from your outstanding families and experiences.  We try to divert his daily Groundhog Day-like schedule and get him to focus on holidays and special events.  In that light, we would be very appreciative if Michael could be showered with birthday cards and letters from all of you.  What a powerful message to send to him.  You can send Michael your birthday well wishes to the following address:

Michael Behenna #87503

1300 N. Warehouse Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS  66027-2304

We wake every morning thinking this might be the day that the Appellate court rules on Michael’s case and he can finally come home. In light of Bin Laden’s death at the hands of the US military, we also hope that somehow the military might soften their stance and give clemency to our warriors incarcerated for killing Bin Laden’s henchmen.  I still believe that somehow, some way, God will help our leaders see that Michael and the other Leavenworth10 soldiers deserve to be home with their families.

Thanks again for all your support as it is how Michael and our family survive each day.

Proud Parents of 1LT Michael Behenna

Scott and Vicki Behenna

www.defendmichael.com
Forward this email to a Friend