Friday, April 29, 2005

Pantano Hearing UPDATES

Thursday's events are recapped, and looking ahead to what's expected for today (Friday):

Witnesses for the defense, six of them, all entered glowing testimony of LT Pantano's leadership qualities, conduct, and bearing.
Dmochowski said Pantano embraced the humanitarian element of the military’s mission “almost to the point he endangered himself.” He recalled a time when Pantano went door-to-door shaking hands until he was pulled away by worried colleagues.

Lance Cpl. James Faleris, a machine gunner who worked under Pantano in Iraq, said the officer gave local children candy, toys and soccer balls, and made his platoon study Iraqi language and culture for an hour each day as they prepared to deploy.

“He’s hands-down the best officer I’ve ever had the privilege to serve under,” Faleris said.

Earlier that day, however, a witness for the prosecution recalled a few incidents to try and show Pantano's state of mind, but under cross-examination admitted that he never considered Pantano's behaviour abusive.
Prosecution witness Cpl. Spencer Stringham recalled Pantano mockingly threatening to kill an Iraqi detainee who had feigned an inability to speak English. The man ultimately asked Pantano - in English - not to shoot him.

Stringham also recalled Pantano ordering a pair of detainees to roll off the back of a moving Humvee. He acknowledged under cross-examination that he never considered Pantano’s behavior abusive.

Good - net loss for the prosectution.

As to Sgt Coburn, he refuses to return to the stand unless he has full immunity from prosecution. I guess that begs the question: what's he afraid of prosecution for? Perjury? Perjury may be the least of his problems if more information about his conduct comes to light.

Go here for a recap of Thursday's events.

Ok, now moving onto today (Friday). It looks like Coburn will NOT be charged with violating orders to not speak to the media, since the court has determind that he wasn't given orders. But - GET THIS - he testified under oath, that he WAS given orders from two different Marine officers, Major Keane's senior prosecution council! Draw your own conclusions from that! That is f***'d up. Nevertheless, Coburn has still requested to remain silent for prosecution unless granted full immunity. I'm thinkin' there's something else he's afraid of - more so than the media thing. If the judge himself disregarded official testimony on Coburn's behalf, then Coburn is obviously more afraid of something else.

However, he does have to return to the stand in order to finish his cross-examination by Gittens, which should take another 5 or 6 hours. He was shredded the other day on cross, so I wonder how he'll fare today! :)

Just one more note I'd like to emphasize before sending you off to Euphoric Reality for more details:

The prosecution has so far brought several witnesses that disparaged LT Pantano's "gung-ho" attitude. One corporal, after stating how Pantano liked to micromanage and always volunteered for missions, commented, "It’s so motivated to a state of retardation".

This is what I'm thinkin': if all the prosecution can do is trot out a few slackers to make fun of Pantano, then their case is doomed. Let me tell you, folks, I LOVE our military, but every single unit has it's fair share of slackers. Those that are immune to motivation and ridicule the HOO-AH! attitude of better soldiers around them. In the Army we used to call them "ate up" - soldiers that just never got their shit toegther.

You'll need to go here to read how LT Pantano reacted to the "retarded" comment! :)

I'll keep the updates coming!