Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Sgrena's evacuation route = unsafe

Nicola Calipari's death in the car that carried Giuliana Sgrena away from the captors she clearly sympathizes with is a tragic accident; but the fact is, the troops seem blameless:

Italian security forces failed to make arrangements for safe passage out of Iraq for a freed Italian reporter, whose car was fired on by U.S. troops, killing intelligence agent Nicola Calipari who brokered the reporter's release, according to an internal Pentagon memo.

The memo says checkpoint soldiers are trained to deal with erratic speeding vehicles whose drivers ignored warnings -- a profile that matches the Army's version of events in Friday night's shooting.

The memo says more than 500 American troops have been killed on the streets and at checkpoints in Iraq. Mistaken shootings of civilians resulted in "few deadly incidents" since the U.S. started checkpoints in March 2003, according to the memo.

Meanwhile, the White House dismissed as "absurd" the stated suspicion of the reporter, Giuliana Sgrena, who said the United States tried to kill her because it opposes negotiations with terrorists to free hostages. Miss Sgrena, a reporter for the Italian communist newspaper Il Manifesto, provided no evidence.

In addition, Little Green Footballs has reprinted pictures from the Italian newspaper La Reppublica of the car Sgrena, Calipari and the driver were riding in at the time of the shooting. The pictures put the lie to her claims of 300-400 rounds shredding the vehicle.

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