Italian investigation blames US troops inexperience & stress

#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4504855.stm
Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 03:59 GMT 04:59 UK

Italian report queries US claims

Entire pages of the US report had been blacked out
Italy has published a report into the shooting of a secret agent by US troops at a roadblock in Iraq, which conflicts with the US version of events.
The report blames the troops' stress and inexperience, and says the US authorities should have signalled that there was a checkpoint on the road.

But it adds that it was difficult to pinpoint individual responsibility for Nicola Calipari's 4 March shooting.

Calipari was killed as he escorted hostage Giuliana Sgrena to freedom.

The Italian foreign ministry delayed the release of the 52-page report, and it was given to senior Italian officials and to US ambassador Mel Sembler ahead of publication.

Disputed circumstances

The report, published on the Italian intelligence services' website, says that the roadblock from which Calipari was shot was set up ineptly and there were no signals indicating its presence.

DIFFERING ACCOUNTS
US military: Car approaches checkpoint at high speed
Troops attempt to tell driver to stop with arm signals, lights and warning shots
Soldiers shoot into engine

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Italian government: Italy makes all necessary contacts with the US for safe passage
Driver stops immediately after a light is pointed at the car
Right after, shots are fired into car without further warnings


Accounts in full
Profile: Nicola Calipari
Papers reject US findings
Readers 'declassify' text

"It is likely that the state of tension stemming from the conditions of time, circumstances and place, as well as possibly some degree of inexperience and stress might have led some soldiers to instinctive and little-controlled reactions," the report said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

It denied the US assertion that their military command in Baghdad was unaware of the Italian mission to secure the hostage's release, pointing out that the Italians had been allocated secure accommodation in an American-controlled area.

It said that the Italian car had been travelling at 40-50km/h, while the American version said it was going at about twice that speed.

The Italian report described the US soldiers' description of the car's speed as "emotionally biased".

Observers say that following the report from the US military's investigation panel, relations between the two countries have deteriorated considerably.

The findings in the US report were heavily censored, with large blocks of the text blacked out when it was published.

However, a university student in Italy claims he was able to remove the censored parts using his computer and has passed a seemingly full US report to Italy's media.

Details of personnel

The Bologna student, after surfing the web on Sunday, found he could restore censored portions of the 40-page US report with a couple of clicks of his computer mouse.

He passed the details to Italian newspapers, which put out the full text on their websites.

The apparently full text contains a few details that US authorities would have preferred to remain secret - such as the names and ranks of the US military personnel involved in Calipari's death - the BBC's David Willey says from Rome.

Our correspondent adds that the censored material also includes embarrassing details about communication failures and reveals the rules of engagement at checkpoints.

The US invited two Italians to join in their inquiry, but the Italian representatives protested at what they claimed was lack of objectivity in presenting the evidence and returned to Rome.

It is their dissenting report which has now been published.
I've seen pictures of the car posted somewhere - can't remember where - but there are few holes in it & it looks like a perfectly executed shoot-to-stop, with a nice cluster of holes in the driver's side of the windscreen. If anyone has the piccies handy, could they post them please?
 
#2
Found them:





And something else interesting:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=15676&only=yes
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US satellite reportedly recorded a checkpoint shooting in Iraq last month, enabling investigators to reconstruct how fast a car carrying a top Italian intelligence official and a freed hostage was traveling when US troops opened fire.

The report, which aired Thursday on CBS News, said US investigators concluded from the recording that the car was traveling at a speed of more than 60 miles (96 km) per hour.

Giuliana Sgrena has said the car was traveling at a normal speed of about 30 miles an hour when the soldiers opened fired, wounding her and killing Nicola Calipari, the Italian agent who had just secured her release from a month’s captivity. ...

CBS, citing Pentagon officials, said the satellite recording enabled investigators to reconstruct the event without having to rely on the eyewitness accounts.

It said the soldiers manning the checkpoint first spotted the Italian car when it was 137 yards (meters) away. By the time they opened fire and brought the car to a halt, it was 46 yards (meters) away. CBS said that happened in less than three seconds, which meant the car had to be going over 60 miles an hour.
 
#3
Just goes to prove all the conspiracy theorists were well out on this one!

So much for 30mph and 3-400 bullets lodged in the car. Never trust a lefty eyetie journo.
 
#5
They had a satellite on station watching that road?
 
#6
PTP, The spy satellites are in low-earth orbit & will be configured so that they are passing over Iraq as much as possible. It's not totally outside the realms of possibility that one was coming over the relevant area at the right time.
 
#7
Not sure if it adds anything to the thread (as I can't be arrsed to check it all out), but the following site links through to the 'blacked out' sections that weren't.

full report
 
#9
Ahhhhh thanks Tom 6 . A UAV is very believable.
 
#10
Italian authors of the report make a big thing of that fact that the incident was ' cleaned up' in a ' rash and hurried' manner..

The 'subject car ' and the military vehicles were removed before their positions could be marked or investigators could arrive:
" That made it impossible to technically reconstruct the event, to determine the exact position of the vehicles and measure the distances, and to obtain precise date defining the precise trajectory of the bullets, the speed of the car and the stopping distance " [ translation of offical Italian document ]

Authorities claim that the Americans' temporary check point offered no signs, bright cones, concertina wire or anything else to warn drivers they were approaching a checkpoint.

US authorities claim that the troops didgive warning with bright lights and firing of warning shots [ though not where those 'warning shots' were aimed ]..

conspiracy or incompetence?
 
#11
Are there any bullet holes in the roof?
 
#13
Rocketeer said:
Italian authors of the report make a big thing of that fact that the incident was ' cleaned up' in a ' rash and hurried' manner..

The 'subject car ' and the military vehicles were removed before their positions could be marked or investigators could arrive:
" That made it impossible to technically reconstruct the event, to determine the exact position of the vehicles and measure the distances, and to obtain precise date defining the precise trajectory of the bullets, the speed of the car and the stopping distance " [ translation of offical Italian document ]

Authorities claim that the Americans' temporary check point offered no signs, bright cones, concertina wire or anything else to warn drivers they were approaching a checkpoint.

US authorities claim that the troops didgive warning with bright lights and firing of warning shots [ though not where those 'warning shots' were aimed ]..

conspiracy or incompetence?
The Italians screwed their operation up by not communicating with the CF HQ. This omission setup up the checkpoint incident. After all they paid a huge ransom for the journalist. The vehicle was speeding at a high rate of speed which reduced the reaction time of the troops at the checkpoint.
 
#14
Let's face it - wop driver meets yank soldier - a more excitable combination is hard to imagine. It was bound to end in tears ...
 
#15
Mobile_Infantry said:
Here´s a link to the offical report of the US-Forces:
http://download.repubblica.it/doc/omissis.doc
Thanks!

This place is very intersting:

Seven of those Soldiers were then assigned the mission of establishing and manning a Blocking Position (BP) on the southbound on-ramp off Route Vernon to westbound Route Irish. They were to man the BP until relieved, which was anticipated to be after a convoy transporting the U.S. Ambassador to Camp Victory had passed and arrived at its destination.
 
#16
anyone know an italian capable of driving in a slow sober manner :twisted:
apart from the popemobile driver
 
#17
I suppose there's always the chance that the SneakyBeaky Italian thought that the roadblock was the bad guys? After all, there he is exitedly escaping down a darkened road, suddenly dazzled by bright lights, shadowy figures with guns etc...

Three seconds isn't a long time to make the right decision.
 
#18
If the whole incident was seen by a UAV then where's the video ? Of course I'm used to professional organisations that record the take so I stand corrected if there isn't one.

Secondly, this stretch of road is the most dangerous on the planet. There's at least one attack every day. The only people who drive it are those who can't afford or aren't senior enough to get a flight. So why are we surprised that people tend to stick their foot down ? Again, a professional organisation putting a roadblock in would take that into account.
 
#19
The US military is quite professional. Too bad your ignorance/arrogance gets in the way of your judgement.

one of the strange said :

If the whole incident was seen by a UAV then where's the video ? Of course I'm used to professional organisations that record the take so I stand corrected if there isn't one.

Secondly, this stretch of road is the most dangerous on the planet. There's at least one attack every day. The only people who drive it are those who can't afford or aren't senior enough to get a flight. So why are we surprised that people tend to stick their foot down ? Again, a professional organisation putting a roadblock in would take that into account.
 
#20
Not sure who that is aimed at Tom? Genarally people here are supportive of the troops involved - we know what they are going through to an extent.
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top