[Marxism] Complementary NY Times articles
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Fri Apr 29 07:45:16 MDT 2005
ACCUSED MARINE HEARS COMRADES PRAISE HIM
By JOHN DeSANTIS, April 29, 2005
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., April 28 - On the third day of hearings to
determine whether a Marine officer should face charges of premeditated
murder for shooting two Iraqis suspected of being insurgents, former
comrades praised his leadership on Thursday and said they would
willingly go to war with him again.
None witnessed the shooting, so they shed no light on why the
defendant, Second Lt. Ilario Pantano, killed the two Iraqis, Hamaady
Kareem and Tahah Ahmead Hanjil, a year ago near Mahmudiya.
Lieutenant Pantano has said he acted in self-defense. That explanation
was good enough for his commander, Capt. Brad Weston, when he was told
of the incident. "He told me they tried to attack him, moved in an
aggressive manner towards him in such a way he felt he was in imminent
danger," Captain Weston testified on Thursday via telephone.
Captain Weston acknowledged that he made no further inquiries after
talking to Lieutenant Pantano and said that he was unaware of certain
details - including assertions that Mr. Kareem and Mr. Hanjil were shot
in the back - until a Navy Criminal Investigative Service inquiry into
the incident early this year.
Maj. Stephen Keane, the lead military prosecutor, asked Captain Weston
whether the number of shots fired - at least 50 rounds from an M-16
rifle - was appropriate. "It's not something I would congratulate an
individual on," Captain Weston replied. "I would not recommend that
anyone shoot that many rounds, no sir."
Lieutenant Pantano, who has appeared poker-faced during most of this
week's proceedings, had tears welling in his eyes as he listened to
testimony on Thursday from some of the marines he once commanded. "He
is a great marine who has the attention to detail to bring the men back
alive," said Martin McPherson, who is now a civilian.
Another ex-marine, Judd Word, said Lieutenant Pantano bought soccer
balls for Iraqi children. "He loved to play with little kids, always
carrying candy or stuff like that," Mr. Word said.
SOLDIER SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR GRENADE ATTACK
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, April 29, 2005
FORT BRAGG, N.C., April 28 (AP) - A military jury sentenced an Army
sergeant to death Thursday for a grenade and rifle attack on his own
comrades in the opening days of the Iraq invasion, a barrage that
killed two officers and that prosecutors said was driven by religious
The defendant, Sgt. Hasan Akbar, gave a brief, barely audible apology
hours earlier and showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered.
Sergeant Akbar, 34, could have been sentenced to life in prison with or
without parole for the attack in March 2003, which also wounded 14
fellow members of the Army's 101st Airborne Division at Camp
Pennsylvania in Kuwait. The 15-member jury, which took just two and a
half hours last week to convict Sergeant Akbar of premeditated murder
and attempted premeditated murder, deliberated about seven hours in the
The sentence will be reviewed by a commanding officer and automatically
appealed. If Sergeant Akbar is executed, it would be by lethal
injection. "I want to apologize for the attack that occurred," he told
the jury before it began deliberations in the sentencing phase. "I felt
that my life was in jeopardy, and I had no other options. I also want
to ask you for forgiveness."
While the defense contended that Sergeant Akbar was too mentally ill to
plan the attack, it did not dispute that he threw grenades into tents
and then fired on soldiers. Capt. Chris Seifert of the Army and Maj.
Gregory Stone of the Air Force were killed.
Prosecutors said Sergeant Akbar, a Muslim, attacked his camp - days
before the soldiers were to move into Iraq - because he was concerned
about American troops killing fellow Muslims in the Iraq war.
Maj. David Coombs, a defense lawyer, urged a sentence of life without
parole. "Death is an absolute punishment, a punishment of last resort,"
Major Coombs said.
Sergeant Akbar is the first American since the Vietnam era to be
prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier in wartime.
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