A former Army lieutenant who was convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi detainee suspected of being an Al Qaeda terrorist received a pardon from President Trump Monday evening.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Michael Behenna, of Edmond, Okla., would receive a full pardon after he was sentenced by a military court to 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.
“After judgment, however, the U.S. Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court handled Mr. Behenna’s claim of self-defense,” Sanders said in a statement. “Additionally, the Army Clemency and Parole Board reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible in 2014 – just 5 years into his sentence.
Sanders characterized Behenna as a “model prisoner” when he was serving his sentence.
A year after Behenna deployed to Iraq in 2007, he was on the scene when two members of his platoon were killed in a roadside explosion. An intelligence report released after the soldiers’ deaths claimed then-Iraqi operative Ali Mansur likely helped organize the attack.
The military did not have conclusive evidence tying Mansur to the attack and he was interrogated and released. After Mansur was freed, Behenna took Mansur to a railroad culvert, interrogated him at gunpoint about the roadside bombing without authorization, stripped him naked, shot him twice and left his body.
Iraqi police found Mansur’s body the next day.
Then-24-year-old Behenna maintained he killed Mansur in self-defense after the suspected terrorist threw a chunk of concrete at him and reached for the lieutenant’s handgun. However, military prosecutors argued during his 2009 court-martial that Behenna had his weapon pointed at the prisoner first and the lieutenant murdered Mansur to avenge the loss of the two soldiers.
Behenna’s case “has attracted broad support from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, and the public,” Sanders said. “Thirty-seven generals and admirals, along with a former Inspector General of the Department of Defense, signed a brief in support of Mr. Behenna’s self-defense claim.”
“In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of his Grant of Executive Clemency,” she added.
Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project slammed the White House for pardoning the former first lieutenant, arguing the president is endorsing “a murder that violated the military’s own code of justice.”
“The military appeals court found Behenna disobeyed orders, became the aggressor against his prisoner, and had no justification for killing a naked, unarmed Iraqi man in the desert, away from an actual battlefield,” Shamsi said in a statement.
Upcoming Book Shows the Heroism of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Who Exposed Defrocked Sex Abuse Cardinal
Viganò would make a great candidate for saint.
An upcoming book, Finding Viganò: In Search of the Man Whose Testimony Shook the Church and the World, profiles the courage and strength of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a whistleblower who exposed how a pedophile priest was being harbored by marxist apostate Pope Francis.
LifeSiteNews explains that book author Dr. Robert Moynihan was able to spend a few days with Viganò in July 2019, a rarity considering his reclusion since 2018. Viganò continues to stay in touch with a close circle of family members and friends while worshipping the Lord out of the public eye.
Viganò showed himself in public in January 2020 to pray and protest against the German Episcopal Conference and its President Cardinal Marx, who are pushing for Christian acceptance of homosexuality and other forms of sexual deviancy. However, Viganò has largely been in hiding since he published his iconic report regarding the rehabilitation of pedophile Cardinal Theodore McCarrick by Pope Francis after the Vatican fully understood that he preyed upon innocent children.
Big League Politics reported on McCarrick’s defrocking by the Catholic Church last year in the aftermath of Viganò’s shocking allegations:
A former Roman Catholic Cardinal who was forced to resign from his office for sexual abuse last summer was dismissed from the clerical state in a Vatican trial on Friday.
Theodore McCarrick, 88, is the most senior member of the Catholic clergy to be defrocked in modern times. McCarrick was officially removed from the clergy on charges of soliciting sex while hearing confessions.
McCarrick had been first busted in July when a former altar boy went public with a story that involved McCarrick unzipping his pants and groping him in New York 1972. Another adult man then came public with his account of being abused by McCarrick as a boy, beginning when he was 11.
The sexual abuse accusations against the Cardinal led to several former Catholic seminarians stepping forward with accounts of McCarrick’s gay relationships with them. McCarrick had gained a reputation for abusive solicitation of men studying at seminaries to become Catholic priests.
The church judicial proceedings in regards to the abuse attributed to McCarrick revealed what many saw as a lack of will to confront allegations against the Archbishop of Washington among senior Vatican officials.
An Italian bishop, Carlo Maria Vigano, has accused Pope Francis of having prior knowledge of the accusations against McCarrick before they surfaced publicly. Vigano even took the almost entirely unprecedented step of calling for the Pope’s resignation over his handling of the now-disgraced former Cardinal.
Church authorities in the United States may have been secretly aware of the accusations against McCarrick, sweeping the reports under the rug.
Moynihan describes Viganò as “arguably one of the loneliest men in the world” while being forced into hiding to protect his own safety. Viganò is paying the price for having integrity and character in a world that is increasingly dominated by the Beast.
Despite the hurdles, Viganò does not regret exposing the Vatican’s protection of McCarrick and demanding the resignation of McCarrick’s enabler Pope Francis.
“Having clearly covered for McCarrick, it was only right that he first did what he asked the Chilean bishops to do,” Viganò told Moynihan about why it was right to demand Pope Francis’ resignation,
“It was something I had to do.” he explained. “I think that I have been a witness to the truth.”
He added that “my conscience is telling me to protect the Church. I see that the devil has been entering into the Church, on the top of it, and so that I have to stand up.”
If righteous Catholics can ultimately rise up and defeat the “deep church,” as Viganò refers to it, he will likely be remembered as one of the greatest followers of Christ ever to live and be a prime candidate for sainthood. Finding Viganò will be available for sale in November.
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