Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Testimony of Deputy Premier Gianfraco Fini on the Sgrena Affair

If you go over to La RepubblicaRadio.It, you can listen to the audio file (in Italian) of the testimony of Italian Deputy Premier Gianfranco Fini to the Italian House of Representatives on the airport road attack which killed special agent Nicola Calipari. I listened to it and prepared a summary:

The Carabinieri major at wheel knew Baghad very well. He looked for outline of the building known as Saddam Tower, the landmark for the turnoff for the airport.

Once on the airport highway, the driver observed a safe driving speed of 30 mph, a speed appropriate rain-slick road conditions. The interior car lights were kept on for ease of identification should the group be stopped at some checkpoint (they did not come across any) as well as for making phone calls to Rome to Calpari's superior, General Polli, and to US miltary authorities to inform them of the imminent arrival of their car at the airport in order to facilitate a direct and unhindered approach to the airport.

As the group entered a darkened area on the highway, the car slowed down. They then had to drive through an underpass, which was partially flooded by rainwater. The driver reduced speed again, knowing that he would be approaching a sharp turn at an approximate right angle. (During the journey on the airport highway, the Carabinieri major at the wheel drove in left lane of the highway because the right lane was not only flooded but was obstructed by two concrete blocks well known to regular motorists).

The car was now travelling at a speed of less than 17 mph. In the middle of the turn, a floodlight was illuminated from a rise adjacent to the highway on the right side of the road. The driver immediately breaked. The car then came under fire from the right side of the road for 15 seconds from several automatic weapons. The driver noted from tracer rounds that fire was being directed at the occupants' legs and chest.

When firing ceased, they were ordered out of the car and instructed to kneel approximately 10 meters away from the car. [Calipari was dead]. Despite the fact that he spoke in English, the Carabinieri major was not permitted to show his documents or safe conduct pass to US troops. The major informed the soldiers that he was escorting the released hostage, Mrs. Sgrena, to the airport. At this point, two young soldiers came forward and apologized. The major then realized that Mrs. Sgrena had been wounded. The US military then transported Ms. Sgrena to a hospital inside the Green Zone, followed fifteen minutes later by the Italian major, who had been wounded in the right arm.

The group was travelling in a Toyota Corolla, not an SUV which Il Manifesto had originally reported. Oh, and Col. Mike Caldwell has been shown to be liar by a Italian politician who is a member of the fascist party, AN.

Update: The pictures of the Toyota Corolla are up. There is evidence of directed fire carefully focused through the windows on the driver's side of the car--which were shattered. No sign of a sweeping or scattered burst. I find this degree of deliberate fire allarming. It would have been one thing if panicked troops had swept the vehicle with machine gun fire but the photos suggest something more...careful. With so many DoD special ops, special plans and special intelligence operatives permitted to give orders to troops through circumvention of the chain of command...well, you know. Bad.


Blogger idyllopus said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for going through the trouble of listening and making a summary. I joined dailykos hoping to make a comment there but new members can't post for 24 I followed here from your profile and am glad I did.

I've not left a comment before on a blogger account like this so don't know if my blog page will be included here, wanted you to know I've linked to you and referenced you. Came upon you through a comment at Washington Monthly.

I'm not read so you'll not get referrals from it. :) But I'm glad to have found your site. Again, thank you for the summary...and your stark rundowns of events.

5:49 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...


What do you make of the "400 rounds" early rumor now? Do you know where that came from?

The winger response on this one has been shameful. I dream of distant shores...

8:39 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

I just don't "get" what the wingnuts are after with Sgrena.

If you can stomach it, today's comments on LGF in response to the new photos of the car are disturbing. Several people suggest that the shooting happened from within the vehicle!

Are these fuckers incapable of yielding any compassion or understanding? The fundamental truth that even the Bush Administration is capable of acknowledging is that people were shot who shouldn't have been.

This asshole laments that the shooting victims weren't "the other way around" (Sgrena vs. Calipari - Killed vs. Wounded).

I'm seriously thinking about going "Colonel Kurtz" and hiding out in Southeast Asia for the rest of my life to escape these people.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

The report in the Manifesto newspaper on Saturday said that 400 maching gun bullets had been fired at the Toyota Corolla carrying Sgrena. Later the Italian government mentioned "less than 300 rounds". Today Gianfranco Fini said the car was fired upon by several automatic weapons, without giving a bullet count.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

The wingers are homicidal xenophobes and are in denial of the egg on Bush's face.

Remember, LGF stands for Likoudniques génocides foutus.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Nur said...

Hi Juli,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I'm heading over to visit your blog...

10:09 PM  

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