Sunday, January 31, 2010


WASHINGTON POST Saturday, January 30, 2010

The U.S. government appealed a ruling by a federal judge that threw out all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards in a Baghdad shooting.


This day in 1968, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) launched what came to be known as the Tet Offensive. It was a military disaster for the Communists, but an overwhelming psychological victory over the American people. Despite catastrophic losses, the North Vietnamese Communists achieved a greater objective in showing their troops and the world that they could coordinate large scale operations over hundreds of square miles with perfect timing. It was a huge morale boost for the Communists, even though they took heavy casualties.

Through the years I served with many Vietnam veterans, and have heard incredible anecdotes from that war. It sounds better coming from a vet; I'd like to ask readers to share with us your memories of Tet, below.



Saturday, January 30, 2010


I love the American Revolution; the only successful revolution in the history of the world. Of the many amazing aspects of the American Revolution is the fact that it was not contained to a time and place in the late eighteenth century, but that it has continued throughout our nation's history - from the War of 1812 (the second American Revolution), through the convoluted legislative struggles that led to the War Between the States (known in the South as the War of Northern Aggression), through to the California Taxpayers Revolt of the Seventies that led in turn to the incredible Reagan Revolution of the eighties.

I have often stated on this blog that generally, I avoid politics; on account that it generates Dark Energy within me. But now we are witnessing a remarkable phenomena. What is playing out before us deserves comment.

The American Revolution continues to this day. Perhaps you didn't see it, perhaps you were not aware that it is playing out right now, before our very eyes. Bear witness:

The powers-that-be and their willing minions in the press may be dismissive of what took place this month in Massachusetts; of course they are - this a sign of desperation, a measure of defense against a remarkable groundswell, a popular uprising against the status quo. All of it; the tea parties, the populist sentiment prevailing time after time in Virginia, in New Jersey and now in Massachusetts - remarkably all scenes of significant events in the FIRST American Revolution - the rise of populist, charismatic leaders like Palin the MooseSlayer, and now truck-driving Scott Brown - represent a political vector that is impossible to ignore.

"Take Due Notice Thereof, and Conduct Yourself Accordingly."




From: Dan O'Connell

I thought you could use this mate as part of your safety training on why you don’t mess with electricity. Not sure where these were taken. Most likely Europe or Africa based on the insulators.

Interesting to note there's no evidence that the eyes pop out and explode, as suggested in those "Faces of Death" movies . . .

They are Crispy Critters!


Friday, January 29, 2010



In 2267 as a lieutenant commander on the StarShip Enterprise, Pike McCain led a reconnaissance-by-fire/landing party on an intercepted an old-style radio-interference distress call in the Demos Star Group, during they were attacked by NorVietCom warriors in what seemed to be an abandoned fortress, Hao Lo Hanoi VII.

Overpowered Pike McCain's brain was thoroughly washed, and he was placed in the Hao Lo Zoo where the Progressos of Demos stargroup went to work in an attempt to make him become an illusion-controlled Human servant.

A program of severe behavior modification began on Pike McCain - not to be confused with waterboarding - the most heinous torture ever devised or known to mankind. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from self-confidence disorder.

The Progressos forced Pike McCain to relive old memories and placed him in illusionary scenarios of lives he could have if lived if he continued his career as a Moderate Conservo. The scenarios included an illusory day in the life of an Orion slave-trader dealing in Green animal women. When Pike McCain refused to mate with Peta, one of the Green chicks, the Progressos began to take steps to convince Pike McCain to breed with other females. After an initial encounter with supposed friendly swingers, Pike finally weakened, for which he eventually accepted blame.

Later, Pike McCain encountered an out-of-place young beauty named Palin, who was not green-skinned. It was revealed that the native Progressos had used telepathy to create the illusion of intellect all around him; all of the Moderate-Conservos except Pahlin were brain-dead.

When Pike McCain finally managed to escape; after a standoff, he failed to convince the NeoCons to restore the beautiful Pahlin's illusion of intelligence while letting the Conservos have their mental freedom. The Progressos believed this violent reaction made Conservos unsuitable for breeding or any kind of conversion. Although his experience with the illusory worlds restored Pike McCain's confidence in himself, it was recommended that all contact with the Progressos be restricted. General Order 7 was enacted, threatening the death penalty should any travel there, for fear of the Federation falling to illusory indulgence.


During his tour as a Starfleet officer, Pike McCain was aboard an old J Class Starship when a baffle plate ruptured and exposed many helpless Citizens to Delta Radiation. Pike McCain dragged many from the danger, but in the process was hopelessly crippled by the rays. In a state of advanced life support which sustains his withered body and life functions, but too weak and incapacitated to ever move or respond to physical stimuli again, the disfigured Pike McCain was put into the Senatorium. A wheelchair tuned to his brain uses blinking light signals to respond to simple queries in the affirmative (one beep) or negative (two beeps), but that is the extent to which he could communicate.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I can't believe I posted that whole thing about Ode to Billie Joe and then forgot to post the clip . . .

This is the trouble with blogging too early in the morning . . .



In 1967 country singer Bobbie Gentry released the bluesy Ode to Billie Joe. The song's haunting and mysterious lyrics made it an instant hit, and today it remains one of the most popular country songs of all time.

The lyrics of Billy Joe recount an odd Southern gothic tale of a young man's tragic suicide. The story is incomplete however, and we are left with many unanswered questions.

It was the third of June,
another sleepy, dusty Delta day.
I was out choppin' cotton
and my brother was balin' hay.
And at dinner time we stopped,
and we walked back to the house to eat.
And mama hollered at the back door
"y'all remember to wipe your feet."

And then she said she got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge
Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Papa said to mama as he passed around the blackeyed peas,
"Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense,
pass the biscuits, please."
"There's five more acres in the lower forty I've got to plow."
Mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow.

Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge,
And now Billy Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

And brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billy Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show.
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night?
"I'll have another piece of apple pie, you know it don't seem right.

I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge,
And now you tell me Billy Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge."

Mama said to me "Child, what's happened to your appetite?
I've been cookin' all morning and you haven't touched a single bite.
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today,
Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday. Oh, by the way,

He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge."

A year has come 'n' gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe.
Brother married Becky Thompson, they bought a store in Tupelo.
There was a virus going 'round, papa caught it and he died last spring,
And now mama doesn't seem to wanna do much of anything.

And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge,
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The mysteries surrounding the characters in the song created something of a cultural sensation at the time and at least one urban legend. A popular speculation at the release of the song in 1967 (unsupported by the song's lyrics) was that the narrator and Billie Joe threw their baby (live, stillborn or aborted) off the bridge, and Billie Joe then killed himself out of grief and guilt.

Singer Bobbie Gentry walking across the bridge, photo from Life Magazine November, 1967

Gentry has stated in numerous interviews over the years that the focus of the song was not the suicide itself, but the rather matter-of-fact way that the narrator's family was discussing the tragedy over dinner, unaware that Billie Joe might well have been her boyfriend.

What I like about the song: I can feel the Southern heat right through the haunting tune, and the sublime Southern sense of acceptance of a senseless tragedy; even the girl who wrote the song doesn't know why Billie Joe committed suicide.
- S.L.


The U.N: Corrupt. Incompetent. Unnecessary.

Aid Piling Up at UN's 'Cold Beer' Compound as Red Tape Keeps Aid From Desperate Haitians - While UN Staff Have Wi-Fi and a Bar

- from the U.K. Mail:

It is a tale of two cities. One has ice-cold beers, internet access, thousands of men and billions of dollars’ worth of gleaming machinery, together with piles of food, blankets, generators and other aid relief from around the globe.
This is the heavily fortified US-controlled Port-au-Prince airport and neighbouring United Nations compound.

The other is the devastated city of Port-au-Prince, where the stench of death fills the air and starving people are in utter despair, still in need of the basic necessities of food, water, shelter and medical care...'


STORMBRINGER has a new friend . . . Crusader Rabbit - from whom I got the above story . . . I will position Rabbit's 'license plate' in the rack to the right, as soon as I figure out how without bothering Theo . . .


I'm not watching the State of the Union Show, on account I don't believe in subjecting myself to enemy propaganda.

Instead, we present . . . . . . ( drumroll ) . . . . . . STORMBRINGER propaganda ! ! !

Opie is extremely picky about who he takes his treats from.

This next guy is worth watching, if only to see how long it takes until his head explodes:

This next guy slams the Climate Change movement; it's sort of COUNTER-propaganda propaganda:

That's all for now, I'm at risk of getting called out on my "anti-politics" stance here . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . S.L.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



Police Find Weapons After N.J. Arrest

Lloyd Woodson was apprehended after a convenience store clerk thought something was wrong with him (bulges under coat) and called the police.

Police found Woodson wearing a bullet proof vest; in his nearby motel room they found assault rifles, hundreds of rounds of .50 cal and .308 ammunition - fifty cal, people - a grenade launcher, night scope, map of a nearby military base, and a "Middle Eastern red and white colored traditional headdress" (keffya). The FBI are investigating a potential terrorism link.

Yesterday I stated: "You can't conduct a war like a law enforcement operation."

Scott Brown's pollsters said it was his criticism of the Christmas Underwear Bomber being given Miranda rights that gave Brown the surge that put him over the top.

It isn't just health care; the people get it.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Pardo's Push was an aviation maneuver carried out by Captain Bob Pardo in order move his wingman's badly damaged F-4 Phantom II to friendly air space during the Vietnam War.

Captain Bob Pardo (with back-seater 1st Lt. Steve Wayne) and wingman Captain Earl Aman (with back-seater Lt. Robert Houghton) were assigned to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. In March 1967, they were trying to attack a steel mill in North Vietnam just north of Hanoi.


On March 10, 1967, the sky was clear for a bombing run. Both F-4 Phantoms were hit by anti-aircraft guns. Aman's plane took the worst damage; his fuel tank had been hit, and he quickly lost most of his fuel. He did not have enough fuel to make it to a tanker aircraft over Laos.

To avoid having Aman and Houghton bail out over hostile territory, Pardo decided to try pushing the airplane. Pardo first tried to use Aman's drag chute compartment to push the plane. However, turblence was too great and this failed.

Next, Pardo tried to use Aman's tailhook to push the plane. Pardo moved behind Aman until the tailhook was against Pardo's windshield. Pardo told Aman to shut down his engines; Aman was nearly out of fuel and the engine jets interfered with Pardo's plan. The push worked, reducing the rate of descent considerably, but the tailhook slipped off the windshield every 15 to 30 seconds, and Pardo would reposition his plane. Pardo also struggled with a fire in one of his own engines and eventually had to shut it down. For the last 10 minutes of flight, Pardo used the one remaining engine to slow the descent of both planes.

With Pardo's plane running out of fuel after pushing Aman's plane almost 88 miles, the planes reached Laos airspace at an altitude of 6000 feet. This left them about two minutes of flying time. The two pilots and their partners ejected, evaded capture, and were picked up by rescue helicopters.

Although Pardo was initially criticized for not saving his own aircraft, he and Wayne eventually received the Silver Star for the maneuver.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Bank of Nigeria

I get a LOT of emails from those "Nigerian Bank Scams". You know the deal:

Hello ,
I am writing to you for a business co-operation and your assistance .
I have some money, i will like to invest with you in your country on a good areas you could choose . . .

Dear Respectful One
I am writting this letter with due respect and heartful of tears since we have not known or met ourselves previously I am asking for your assistance after I have gone through a profile that speaks good of you. I will be so glad if you can allow me and lead me to the right channel towards your assistance .


Dear Winner,
We are pleased to inform you the result of the computer random selection for the LUCKY DAY LOTTO NL International program held on 4th of Feb,2010 as part of our new year Bonnaza.Your personal or company email address, attached to ticket number EE7-_____YH-__, with serial number PP___B-__ drew the lucky numbers 5-2_-_8-2_-_2-6_, and consequently won the lottery in the 2nd category . . .

Here's a new format I haven't seen before:

Hi there,

How are you doing today? I am Kenneth P_______, a US Marine currently serving in Iraq. I am actually one of the few Marines remaining in Iraq. We are waiting for executive order for our next deployment to Afghanistan this new year. I got your email from a business directory and I believe that you will maintain the level of confidence and trust that this mission I am about to inform you of require. Several months ago, my unit discovered some abandoned cash in the mansion of a militant ruler during a covert military raid. The total cash we discovered was $11.5 Million USD. We stashed all the funds in one trunk box and moved it secretly out of Iraq to Kuwait for safekeeping. We waited for several months to ensure that nobody is on our trail. Now, we need to move the money out of Kuwait. I am contacting you because we need your assistance in receiving the box for us on our behalf, and securing the cash until we return home from service. Please note that we cannot use any of our known relative or friend for this

1. Your Full name
2. The address where you want the box to be delivered
3. Your private telephone number where you can be reached 24 hours

If for some reasons you don't want to or can't help us, I want you to delete this message immediately and assume we never had this conversation. However, if you are going to fully cooperate with us in this transaction, we will compensate you with 25% of the total cash after the mission is accomplished. Like I said earlier, we are a GO and waiting for your response. This is a very serious deal and I wouldn't be asking for your help if I am not convinced that this is not going to bring any harm to you or your family, or put you in a risky position. We have worked the kinks out and am very convinced this is gonna be successful.

Once we get a positive response from you with the info requested, we will proceed into the next step and I will give you further instructions. I hope I can rely on your sense of discretion. Write back soon buddy. Wishing you a prosperous new year.

In God we trust,


What's interesting is this one seems to be genuinely written by an American; "We have worked the kinks out and am very convinced this is gonna be successful." but I doubt he was a Marine, or even in the military. Indicators: "trunk box" - we call it "foot locker", and a Marine doesn't end a letter with "In God we trust," he says "Semper Fi".

The greatest indicator is the email address suffix: '' - no .mil or .gov

My instincts aroused, I ran the " " suffix through Google and came to SCAM-O-MATIC - a site that alerts on such scams. It turns out I WAS RIGHT! In fact, they have a copy of the email I posted above practically verbatim from a different guy but with the same email address at the end of it.

Some comments by the SCAM-O-MATIC:

* The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:

o "trunk box" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
o "million us dollars" (they want you to be blinded by the prospect of quick money, but the only money that ever changes hands in 419 scams is from you to the criminals)
o "i got your email address from " (this SPAM email was probably sent to thousands of people)

* This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.

I know plenty of Marines - they are honorable, decent upright people; the Marines I know and have worked with, I would trust with my life.

"No Greater Friend, no Worse Enemy."

This guy is a wannabe, a phisher and a scamster. Be warned.

- Sean Linnane



Let me go on the record here: STORMBRINGER is for THE SAINTS

If for no other reason my loincloth-wearing neighbor - Gonad the One Hung Low - is for the Colts -

and YES he is a READER ! ! !

They're already going hog-wild down on Bourbon Street!


As usual, all my heroic teams are in the toilet . . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010



Yesterday I posted about Australian hero Harry 'Breaker' Morant - this was actually a prologue to a current issue; the extraordinary case of American Army Ranger 1st Lieutenant Michael Behenna of Oklahoma.

1LT Michael Behenna

In March 2009 1LT Behenna was sentenced to twenty-five years for the premeditated murder of a detainee while serving in Iraq. He is currently serving his sentence at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Another soldier from Behenna's platoon, Staff Sergeant Hal Warner, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the case and was sentenced to 17 months in prison. Warner is from of Braggs, Okla.

Michael Behenna's platoon in Iraq, 2007-2008

According to the prosecution Behenna killed Ali Mansur, a known al-Qaida operative, whom Behenna organized an attack on 1LT Behenna’s platoon in April 2008 which left two of Behenna's soldiers dead and another two wounded. Mansur was taken into custody in May of 2008 and then later ordered released. 1LT Behenna was instructed to escort him to his home.

En route there Behenna stopped in a secluded railroad culvert near Beiji, Iraq, and began questioning Mansur, seeking to obtain information about his terrorist confederates and the identity of those financially backing them. Up until then there is no dispute about the facts of the matter. It was what happened next that created the controversy.

During this interrogation that Behenna said Mansur suddenly lunged at him and so he shot him twice, in self-defense.

Behenna's lawyers claimed that Behenna fired one shot at Mansur as he had his arms raised and was lunging for the soldier's gun, then fired a second shot that apparently hit Mansur in the head as he fell.

The government, however, charged Behenna with premeditated murder. Prosecutors alleged that Behenna stripped Mansur naked, seated him on a rock and then executed him with a shot to the head.


In the trial that followed, expert testimony was presented that would have exonerated Lt. Behenna. This testimony was deliberately withheld from the court.

1LT Behenna's defense lawyer, Army JAG Officer James Phillips - now a civilian lawyer - explains the episode, and his version of how the government conducted the subsequent Court Martial:

JAG LAW Blog - LT Behenna’s Ongoing Defense.

"Several weeks before the killing of Ali Mansur took place, LT Behenna’s squad captured Ali Mansur at his home. They had credible information to believe he was part of Al Qaeda and that he was a terrorist that had been involved in the death of several of LT Behenna’s squad members. The members of LT Behenna’s squad, along with SSG Warner, showed restrained at that time. If they had wanted to, they could have easily made up a plausible story that Ali Mansur resisted his capture. There were illegal weapons at Ali Mansur’s home and it would have been a simple matter to kill him during the armed take down of that home. But, that is not what happened.

"LT Behenna and the members of his squad decided that they would let the authorities investigate Ali Mansur. They dropped him off at a detention facility with all of the information that they knew about his terrorist activities and hoped that justice would prevail. Instead, within a matter of weeks, LT Behenna and his squad were asked to return Ali Mansur to his home and his village. Military Intelligence determined that they didn’t have enough to hold Ali Mansur despite the RPGs, weaponry and illegal passports from Iran that were found at his home. Clearly, Ali Mansur was involved in nefarious activities and LT Behenna believed he had credible evidence to prove that.

"LT Behenna’s frustration at the release of Ali Mansur back to his family was understandable. After witnessing the death of the men in his squad, in what he believed was directly related to the activities of Ali Mansur, was surely a motivating factor in driving Ali Mansur to the desert and stripping him naked.

A Checkpoint in the Desert

"As a former JAG, I understand the need for the laws of war. I just don’t believe ultimately that the decisions that are made on the battlefield are so easily codified and analyzed as to fit in the Geneva Conventions. If SSG Warner and LT Behenna had deliberately decided to kill Ali Mansur when they picked him on that first day, would that have gotten LT Behenna 25 years of jail? Probably not."


One of the government’s expert witnesses; a highly respected Forensic expert, Dr. Herbert Leon MacDonell, Director of the Laboratory of Forensic Science in Corning, N.Y. Dr. MacDonell consulted in the O.J. Simpson case and participated in investigations into the assassinations of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. MacDonell insisted Behenna was innocent and he could prove it. His testimony would have proven that the angle of the gun shots and the blood spatter were consistent with self-defense not premeditated murder.

At the Court Martial, however, military prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence provided by their own expert witness from the defense team until after the trial wrapped up.

Soldier's Conviction in Death of Iraqi Insurgent Challenged -
Cites Evidence Withheld by Prosecutors

The controversy revolves around a statement from Dr. MacDonell, where described how the evidence indicated Ali Mansur was killed. In an e-mail obtained by defense counsel after the trial was concluded, MacDonell wrote that he was "concerned" that he was not allowed to testify "and have a chance to inform the court of the only logical explanation for this shooting."

Dr. MacDonell stated, "As I demonstrated to you and to the other two prosecutors, Dr. Berg, Sgt. McCaulley, and Sgt. Rogers, from the evidence I feel that Ali Mansur had to have been shot in his chest when he was standing. As he dropped straight down he was shot again at the very instant that his head passed in front of the muzzle.

"Admittedly, this would be an amazing coincidence, however, it fits the facts and … I cannot think of a more logical explanation," he continued.

"This scenario is consistent with the two shots being close together, consistent with their horizontal trajectory, consistent with the bloodstains on the floor, and consistent with the condition of the 9 mm flattened out bullet which was tumbling… When I heard Lt. Michael Behenna testify (Thursday) as to the circumstances of how the two shots were fired I could not believe how close it was to the scenario I had described to you on Wednesday. I am sure that had I testified I would have wanted to give my reenactment so the jury could have had the option of considering how well the defendant's story fit the physical facts," he wrote.

"This, of course, would not have been helpful to the prosecution case. However, I feel that it is quite important as possible exculpatory evidence," he said.


Dr.MacDonnell told Behenna's lawyer Jack Zimmerman, who had successfully represented one of the Haditha Marines, that he fully agreed with Behenna's account of what happened, essentially destroying the government’s case he had been called to support.

Incredibly, the key witness in the case was not called to testify in the
case. After telling prosecutors what the forensic evidence showed - that Behenna was guiltless - this expert witness was sent packing. Before he retrieved his coat from the prosecution room he told the three prosecutors, "The explanation that Lt Behenna just testified to was the exact same scenario I told you yesterday. Lt Behenna is telling the truth."

This dropped a bombshell on the government's case.

Despite the fact that prosecutors must disclose any exculpatory evidence they have to the defense, they denied having any such evidence despite having been told by their own expert witness that 1LT Behenna’s explanation was the only logical explanation.

Withholding of this evidence allowed prosecutors to argue that Behenna executed Ali Mansur while seated DESPITE THE FACT THAT forensic experts, including Dr. MacDonnell, agree that Ali was standing with his arms outstretched when shot.

After 1LT Behenna was convicted and sentenced in mid February 2009, the Defense, through Attorney Jack Zimmerman, made a claim that the trial was inherently unfair because a prosecution expert agreed with the defense experts that the forensic evidence suggested that Ali Mansur was probably standing at the time that he was shot. This was the central theme of the defense throughout the trial; Ali Mansur, although naked, had made a threatening move by standing up before he was shot by LT Behenna. This, combined with the fact that Ali Mansur was a suspected terrorist, should have lead the military panel to find that LT Behenna was legally justified in killing Ali Mansur.

In a sworn affidavit, dated April 21, Dr. MacDonnell explained how knowledge he acquired while waiting to testify in the case could have changed dramatically its outcome.

"When I heard Lt. Behenna describe what happened, I did not say other witnesses were lying, or that my conclusion was based on my opinion of the Lieutenant’s credibility. My expert opinion was based on the fact that the Lieutenant’s description as to how the shooting occurred fit the physical evidence."

1LT Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder and assault by a military panel of seven officers, none of whom had ever seen a minute of combat or ever heard a word of MacDonald's suppressed testimony, largely due to the fact the evidence that would have proved he was not guilty was never allowed to be heard during the court-martial.


Michael's Platoon on Patrol

Translator Testifies He Saw Officer Shoot Iraqi

By Kristin M. Hall, AP Feb 26, 2009

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — An Iraqi translator told a military jury at Fort Campbell on Wednesday that he saw an Army officer shoot and kill an Iraqi detainee.

The testimony came at the trial of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, of Edmond, Okla., who is charged with premeditated murder, assault and making a false statement.

Behenna is accused of killing Ali Mansour Mohammed in May 2008 near Beiji, Iraq. If convicted of premeditated murder, he faces a mandatory life prison sentence without parole.

A second Fort Campbell soldier charged in the case — Staff Sgt. Hal Warner, of Braggs, Okla. — agreed to testify against Behenna as a part of a plea agreement.

The translator, identified in court as “Harry,” also said he saw Warner set fire to the detainee’s body with a grenade.

Harry served as an interpreter with Behenna’s platoon when they went out on missions. One of those missions was a trip to a local Iraqi leader’s house to get information about suspected insurgents in the area. Harry said Behenna had been told Mohammed was “a bad guy.”

Prosecutors have said that Behenna believed the detainee had information regarding a roadside bomb that killed two soldiers in Behenna’s platoon.

When the soldiers went to pick up Mohammed from his home, Harry said he watched Behenna repeatedly strike Mohammed on the back with his helmet during an interrogation. Warner, who also testified Wednesday, confirmed that he saw Behenna strike Mohammed, but said he was only struck once.

Mohammed was detained and questioned by interrogators until he was ordered to be released on May 16, according to the Army.

That day, Behenna took Mohammed aside and with Harry started questioning him again about giving information about insurgents in the area. Behenna verbally threatened the detainee, Harry said.

“He told him, ‘Today, I’m going to kill you,”’ he told the jury.

Harry testified that he believed the threat was a tactic to scare the detainee and did not believe that Behenna intended to kill him.

Later that same day, near an isolated railroad culvert, Behenna began interrogating the detainee again, this time with his pistol drawn, Harry said.

Harry said he translated Behenna’s questions, then pleaded for the detainee to cooperate.

“I told him ‘You’d better talk. Why do you put yourself in this situation?”’ the translator testified.

The translator also said the man then agreed to talk, but before Harry could translate, Behenna fired.

As the detainee started to slump over, he was shot again, Harry said.

“I didn’t exactly see where the bullets hit, but I saw him fall and I saw blood,” he said.

Warner, who was a short distance away when he heard the first shot, came running to the culvert with his flashlight and weapon.

“I could see what appeared to be Lt. Behenna with a pistol pointing at the detainee,” Warner said.

However, Warner said he moved the light and as a result, did not see the second shot until the muzzle flashed.

Warner initially was also charged with premeditated murder, but those charges were dropped as a part of his plea agreement with military prosecutors.

Warner said Behenna told him to “throw it,” and Warner tossed an incendiary grenade on the body. Later Warner said he disposed of the detainee’s clothing.

According to Michael Behenna's JAG Lawyer:

Judge Dickson during the mistrial motion and the military panel during the finding of fact had to weigh the direct testimony of witnesses against the expert testimony. In this case, the experts of both the defense and apparently one from the prosecution were in direct conflict with the eyewitnesses, Harry the interpreter and SSG Mitch Warner. In this case, there may be a reason that there was such a big discrepancy.

When this case was initially investigated, the Iraqi police were not the first on the scene. Members of Ali Mansur’s family and friends initially arrived to inspect the body. They tampered with the evidence, moved the body and moved the forensic evidence. The main police video was taken on a handheld cell phone. The evidence of the grenade fragments were turned over to the the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division by the Iraqi police after they had retrieved them from Ali Mansur’s family. There was literally no chain of custody on much of the evidence. At the Article 32 hearing, the Iraqi Pathologist misidentified Ali Mansur’s body and much of his autopsy seemed questionable. And, finally, SSG Warner’s testimony was not fully explored until less than a week prior to LT Behenna’s trial. Most of the experts, who rely on some eyewitness testimony to recreate their crime scenes, had little or not reliable evidence to work with.

This unreliable evidence, couple with conflicting eyewitness testimony, made it extremely difficult for the military panel to use experts as the basis for their final verdict. Unfortunately for LT Behenna, the military panel was in a position where they had to use their own judgment to determine whether or not to believe the defense’s expert witnesses.

This is why it may be difficult to determine whether or not the prosecution was out of line in not calling their own expert witnesses to the stand after the defense expert witnesses testified that Ali Mansur was probably standing at the time he was shot.

The day Michael Behenna left for Iraq, in 2007

Michael's family has established the DEFEND MICHAEL website, to get the word out and help develop Congressional support for clemency.



This is yet another example that you can't conduct a war like a law enforcement operation. Behenna knew Ali Mansur was dirty - and yet the Army in it's wisdom released the al Qaeda operative back into the custody of 1LT Behenna; whose platoon had been ripped apart by the al Qaeda-planned operation.

The Army shouldn't have released the al Qaeda operative, MOST CERTAINLY not to 1LT Behenna; we know what happened after that. Behenna decided to conducted an impromptu interrogation - something he wasn't trained to do - and predictably things got out of hand from there.

Once it went to Court Martial the Army sat on their own expert witness testimony; testimony that would have cleared Behenna of the 'premeditated' portion of the charges at very least.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"War is simple, direct and ruthless."

- General George S. Patton

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"You kill one of ours, we kill ten thousand of yours."





Obama's Evolution as Commander-in-Chief

Never a soldier himself, but suddenly their commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama wanted to learn the job from the ground up. Including the salute.

"That attention to detail, that focus on the outward manifestation of what we expect, is compelling," said retired Gen. Paul Eaton, who advised Obama during the presidential campaign. "Whoever worked with him on that did a pretty good job."



The second I looked at those photos of The One saluting flag-draped coffins planeside at Dover, I could tell he'd been coached.

This is why I called him on his ghoulish photo stunt. He may be able to whip out a snappy salute, but any shred of class he might have had left him that day . . .


Under the guidance of an expert, aides say Obama privately repeated his salute over and over again until he got it down. In a testament to how sensitive the White House is about the commander in chief practicing this basic military gesture, aides would not say who taught Obama how to salute. But every time he uses it, Obama is trying to convey an insider’s respect for the armed forces without saying a word.

This has GOT to be some kind of Rahm Emmanuel-generated press release, something to make the Big Guy look good after the worst week of his Presidency . . .

White House Nightmare Persists

Dow Suffers Worst Week Since Last March

I love this Drudge headline best of all, borrowed straight from Legendary Bluesman B.B. King:


The Winter Blues just set in . . .

We don't do politics here at Blog STORMBRINGER - "Not my bag, baby" - but when it intersects with soldiering and international security, I won't hesitate lay it on thick and heavy . . . so enjoy it while it lasts . . . your comments - pro or con - are welcome below . . . . . . . S.L.


Saturday, January 23, 2010


Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant (9 December 1864 – 27 February 1902) was an Anglo-Australian drover, poet, and soldier whose misadventures in the Boer War of South Africa earned him a niche in Australian folklore and history.

The Boer War (1899-1902) was the final episode of the protracted guerrilla struggle of the Afrikaaner*-speaking Boer people against the Imperial British forces. A bitterly fought conflict featuring organized guerrilla warfare, the Boer War introduced several concepts of modern warfare: concentration camps, the term commando, and an occupying force conducting war crimes trials on their own soldiers (this conflict preceded the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which codified our modern Law on Land Warfare.)

* a dialect of the Dutch language

Afrikaner commandos.

Morant participated in the summary execution of several Boer (Afrikaner) prisoners and a German missionary, Daniel Heese, who had been a witness to the shootings. His actions led to his controversial court-martial for murder. Although acquitted of killing Rev Heese, Morant and his co-accused were quickly sentenced to death on the other two charges; his death warrant was personally signed by the British commander in South Africa, Lord Kitchener, although Lord Kitchener subsequently denied the issuance of it.

Major-General Lord Kitchener, Chief of the Staff in South Africa during the Boer War.

The events leading to Breaker Morant's trial and execution were complex. Lord Kitchener ordered the trial in hope of bringing the Boer War to an end with a peace conference. To that end, he used the Morant trial to show that he was willing to judge his own soldiers harshly if they disobey the rules of war.

The excellent 1980 film Breaker Morant explores these themes:

Morant had executed Boer prisoners in revenge for the killing and mutilation of his friend and commanding officer, Captain Hunt. Enraged, Morant led an attack on a Boer camp, where a Boer guerrilla was captured wearing Captain Hunt's khaki battle jacket. Morant had him executed on the spot. Morant also executed by firing squad six other Boer prisoners for the same reason after they had surrendered under a white flag. He later said of the incident, "You know the orders from Whitehall. If they show a white flag, we don't see it. I didn't see it."

Lieutenants Harry "Breaker" Morant and Peter Handcock were executed by firing squad in Pretoria jail on 27 February 1902. Lt. George Witton's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by Lord Kitchener; he was transported to England and was released after serving twenty-eight months, his life sentence overturned by the British House of Commons on 11 August 1904. On his release he returned to Australia and for a while lived in Lancefield, Victoria, where he wrote a controversial book about the Morant case, Scapegoats of the Empire published in 1907.

The graves of Morant and Handcock have become a popular place of pilgrimage for Australian tourists in South Africa.

Breaker Morant's legacy as an Australian folk hero has much to do with Australia's relationship with the UK; unlike America, there never was a protracted series of wars for independence from the British 'Mother Country'; there is no Australian counterpart to George Washington or Andrew Jackson. At the time during the Boer War, Australia was transitioning from British Colony to Federation and the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, in 1901.

Although Morants' status as a convicted war criminal is acknowledged, it is felt that he served as a scapegoat for the British - an easily disposable Colonial - in a conflict that featured widespread British war crimes, endorsed by Lord Kitchener himself.*

A published poet, Morant was already a well-known figure in Australia at the time of his death. The Morant case added fuel to the growing public resentment of the British military and British rule in general — a feeling which, a decade later, grew into a major anti-British backlash as a result of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign - planned by Kitchener along with Winston Churchill - in which thousands of Australian and New Zealand troops perished. Largely as a result of the Morant case, the Australian army never again accepted British Army justice in cases involving its soldiers.

* Modern historians acknowledge British war crimes against Boer insurgents, particularly the original 'concentration camps' — in which over 28,000 people died. Kitchener responded to the Boer's blowing up of trains by ordering the placing of Boer civilians in flatcars in front of locomotives. Kitchener also ordered 'Boer rebels found wearing British uniforms might be shot without trial'; a claim central to Morant and Handcock's defence at their court-martial.


The most ironic thing about this map is they'll probably do it to themselves . . .

Friday, January 22, 2010


There are 90 stars carved into the Memorial Wall at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, each one representing a CIA employee who died in the line of service. Paramilitary officers of the CIA's Special Activities Division comprise the majority of those memorialized.

The Wall bears the inscription:


The Memorial is beautiful in it’s simplicity. Its message of sacrifice and service is a powerful reminder that "Freedom is not Free." The price of Freedom is paid for generation by generation with the blood of patriots.

A Book of Honor lays beneath the stars, encased in an inch-thick plate of glass. This book lists 56 names of those who died in CIA service; the other 34 names remain secret, even in death.

The Memorial Wall includes Christopher Mueller and William "Chief" Carlson, both Paramilitary Operations Officers killed in the line of duty.

Mueller, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and Carlson, a former Army Special Forces soldier, Delta Force operator, and member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, were killed while tracking high level terrorists near Shkin, Afghanistan, on October 25, 2003. Both officers saved the lives of others, including Afghan soldiers, during the ambush.

The pair were working for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, which conducts clandestine intelligence-gathering and covert operations. The CIA consulted the dead officers’ families and decided their names could be released without compromising ongoing operations.

"The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated," Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet told a gathering of several hundred Agency employees and family members of those "Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined."

The region where Carlson and Mueller were operating is part of the remote mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden is thought to be hiding. It is also a stronghold for al-Qaida, Taliban and other anti-U.S. fighters.

Carlson and Mueller are the third and fourth CIA operatives acknowledged to have been killed in the line of duty since the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington. The first, paramilitary officer Johnny Micheal Spann, was killed during an uprising of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners in northern Afghanistan on Nov. 25, 2001. The second, Helge Boes, died in a training accident in eastern Afghanistan, on Feb. 5, 2003.

I served with Chief Carlson. The irony here is the CIA thing wasn’t working for him like he thought it would, and he was talking his old outfit (SFOD-D) about coming out of retirement, going back INTO the Army, but he had to finish up his contract with The Company first. - S.L.




He's busting boulders with some pretty heavy artillery here . . . I've done this with .303 British . . . a heroic caliber . . .


Thursday, January 21, 2010



Polar Bear Attack in the High Arctic

This is from up in the Northwest Territories (Note to non-Commonwealth readers: that's in Canada) This chap is lucky to be alive. The guy survived the bear attack. The bear jumped on him while he was sleeping in his tent and he managed to get it off of him and shoot it.


This is call a see-through foot. Polar bears are the top predator in the North American continent.


NOTE TO SELF: Before going camping in the Great White Frozen NorthLand, get your hands on one of THESE:

Extra credit if you can identify that airplane . . . . . . . . . . . . . S.L.