Sunday, May 01, 2005

More On Sgrena and Calipari

Repubblica, a left-wing Italian daily, has discovered that the American report into the death of Nicola Calipari, an Italian secret service agent and the wounding of Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist, and of Andrea Carpani, another Italian secret service agent, on a Baghdad motorway by American soldiers during the rescue of Sgrena from Iraqi kidnappers, can be viewed with the sections blacked out put back in. This is apparently because of some cock-up with the transfer of the original document to PDF for public consumption. The document is here, and I will save a copy so as to be able publish it should it 'disappear'. My better half is translating the Repubblica article, and I'll add the translation once she has finished it. I haven't read the report, as it is more than forty pages, and I need to do some work, but I will do later, and summarise the contents.

Update by the better/other half. Have removed the article explaning just how the full text of the report became available - if you're really dying to know, email me at ardief AT gmail DOT com. But here is a much juicier article, also from Repubblica, discussing the omitted bits. Apologies for the slightly dodgy translation, did it in a hurry and am not very au fait with military terms. The article in Italian is here

The article begins by giving the names of the soldiers at the checkpoint and revealing they are all national guard/policemen normally. Then it says:

one of the most crucial passages [of the document] regards the communication problems the americans had that evening, unacceptable in the light of the delicate moment it was, with Negroponte in the area. The report says that normally communication occurs via VoIP, but there were hitches that evening. The commander of the 76th company [?] who was in charge of co-ordinating the whereabouts of the US amabassador was not able to communicate them to the check-point patrol. Nor did he attempt to do so via radio.

The result was that the order to dismantle the extra checkpoints set up for Negroponte's visit didn't get to them. This is why the men at the 69th company [?] checkpoint were still at highest alert level.

This is all in a rather long omissis. There is also another which specifies that the company in question was new to the area having only arrived in Iraq on February 21.

Then the article explains that the report also gives stats about the road on which the attack occurred - 135 attacks between nov 2004 and 12 march 2005 - and about attacks in Baghdad in general - 3306, of which 2400 against coalition forces - and that these figures, too, were obscured.

The report also describes the guerrilla techniques and weapons used by the insurgents, and the army troops and divisions stationed in the area. It also mentions that the US soldiers learn things such as how to search cars 'on the field', receiving no previous training for it.

The article concludes:

Finally there are reccomendations to improve the check-point control procedures to avoid other episodes like that involving Calipari. Among these, is 'to take into consideration the use of further non-lethal means', and not being in the situation where just one man is responsible for both shining the lights used to identify people and for opening fire. An admission of responsibility of sorts, or at least an acknowledgement that something more could have been done to avoid that death. But it was all covered in omissis.

1 comment:

t.o.h. said...

the whole thing has been slashdotted ( and the comments are a mix of fair-i-suppose (e.g. it is not fair to reveal the names of people and other sensitive info), conspiracy theory (of course), and just-unbelievable ('sgrena is a communist therefore we can't believe anything she says')...hmm...