Saturday, March 19

Pantano's Loser Accuser

by Kit Lange

Who is 2 Lt. Ilario Pantano's accuser? Wouldn't you like to know? We all know his name: David L. Coburn. We all know he went from platoon leader to radio operator, although there's some question as to whether that was a voluntary move. Coburn says he didn't have a grudge against Pantano for the demotion.

What if you could hear from Coburn directly? What if you could engage in actual conversation, outside the "sworn statements" that have been released in the MSM?

Guess what? You may already have.

My first post on Pantano was dated 13 February.

On 14 Feb, someone posted with the nickname "Marinethatknows". His comment (#7)
reads as follows:

"NOTHING that has been in the news about this case is true. The facts
are all WRONG!!! The Prisoners were never a threat and they had nothing on them. They were shot AFTER the car was searched. Long after. So before you start to talk trash about this case.Learn the

Now, here's where things get interesting. Note that this anonymous poster mentioned that "they were shot AFTER the car was searched...Long after." This was a fact that had not been released to the media yet.

The people commenting after Marinethatknows (we'll call him MTK), some of them other Marines, basically ridicule him and call him out, challenging him to explain where he's getting his info. He posts this on 17 Feb:

"Here's a little advice, before you make a stupid comment, get the whole story. All you people have read is HIS side of the story. I must say that the lawer(sic) was very smart in putting in a false statement. Now all the stupid people that think they know something about what happend will have his story in their heads and think that
he is telling the truth. What person that is up on charges is going to tell the truth that will put them away? They all LIE. How about you all wait till the Marine Corps makes their statement. Until that happens, I can not tell what I know. If you Know anything about the military, you would know that a service memeber(sic) is not authorized to make a statement unless authorized by the legal department."

I emailed MTK at the address provided by him in the email field of the comment form, and asked him to prove the veracity of his claims. My email went unanswered, as I had expected.

Now, pay attention. On 8 March, three weeks after MTK first posted on my website, the accuser of Lt Pantano was finally given a name by the NY Daily News: Sgt. Daniel L. Coburn.

Reading that article, something flipped a switch in my mind, and I went back to my comment log to look at MTK's email address. What was it?

Maybe all this is some freakish coincidence. Maybe Sgt Coburn doesn't have AOL. Maybe the person posting as Marinethatknows doesn't know a damn thing. But let's say he does.

If MTK is Sgt Daniel Coburn, then a few things are true:

1. Sgt Coburn is publically discussing an ongoing military investigation.
2. He released facts about the incident in Iraq that at the time of
his posting, were not yet released to the civilian public.
3. He publically called his commanding officer a liar.

Now, I ask you. What kind of person does these things? If Pantano were guilty, and Coburn the ungrudging angel that he would like us to believe, why would Coburn need to post on a blog, calling his CO a liar? Why wouldn't he simply sit back and be quiet, secure in the knowledge that he told the truth, and confident that he would be
vindicated in the end?

In my opinion, the truth is almost never simple. Maybe it went something like this: Coburn saw Pantano kill two Iraqis under circumstances that could be considered questionable if spun the right way. He pocketed this info for later, because you just never know when you can use a tidbit like that. Coburn actually isn't that great a Marine, and gets the task of carrying the radio around because of it.

Coburn's not too happy about this, and through two wires in his head somehow managing to spark for a moment, he gets the bright idea of turning in the LT for the incident from a few months back. Of course, the firestorm that ensues is a bit bigger than Coburn had really counted on, and he certainly hadn't expected the outpouring of
disgust from the general public and other military members for his actions.

So, after the case breaks and goes big, Coburn's looking on the internet at all the coverage, and happens to come across a blog that's trashing him while supporting Pantano. He gets a bit irate, and so he runs off at the mouth a bit. It's not like no Marine's ever done THAT. (I live with one, so I've seen this phenomenon.)

The problem is, Coburn comes off looking less like the wrongfully scorned whistleblower, and more like a whiny child who's ticked off that his tattling didn't result in more kudos for himself.

Bottom line is, if MarineThatKnows is just some random person with an axe to grind, great. So be it. But if it's Sgt Daniel Coburn, he didn't do a whole lot to help his case against Pantano.

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