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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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).

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sgrena-Calipari: More tampering

Update: If you're ever nabbed for a shooting up a car full of Italians, try these excuses.

1. I thought the car might kill me so I did it for my kids.
2. My buddy was killed last week by someone else.
3. The people in the car didn't look American.
4. I thought they were going over the speed limit.
5. They were driving while talking on the cellphone.
6. They drove past the warning line that I made with my pocket laser pointer.
7. I meant to shoot at the engine block just to scare 'em.
8. They scared me while I happened to be holding a machine gun.

The Italian version of events has just come out with even more censorship than the US version. But this really stinks.
The US "duty logs" relating to the patrols on the airport road were destroyed. The Pentagon claims that destroying duty logs is standard operating procedure.
Other outrages.
  • The Italian version was held back from reporters for 5 hours as Italian officials negotiated with the Pentagon for a few tweaks.
  • The Italian report says is was absolutely certain and undeniable that the US chain of command was informed that the car was heading to the airport.
  • The scene of the crime was washed of evidence and the blocking and overlook vehicles removed before Italian officials from Baghdad could investigate. A request for permission to view the scene by General Mario Marioli, Vice-Commander of the Multinational Force, was given then immediately revoked.
  • No signage indicating the presence of a checkpoint.
  • The famous 90-degree curve was taken at 24 MPH, not the 60 MPH alleged by the Pentagon.
  • No satellite imagery was ever mentioned or shown to Italian investigators
  • The patrol was "green", unsupervised and without formal orders.
  • No one in the internationational community in Baghdad--NGOs, diplomats, military, contractors--all of whom use "Route Irish" and "Route Vernon" regularly--were aware of any rules in force stating that an escort, prior permission, or notification was required.

And of course the Catch 22: There are no rules of engagement for a Blocking Checkpoint.


Blogger Traveller said...

See if anything turns up there about one Gianluca Priete who allegedly has a tape of a conversation proving that the US knew.

Inshala. Magàri. Ojalá. God willin'...

3:15 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

20:38 Italian MP receives audio file of phone call just before shooting.

"I have handed over to the Rome judicial authorities an audio file of the phone call, including textual transcripton, which reproduces the last minutes in which Nicola Calipari was alive", says MP Carlo Taormina. "The harrowing reconstruction which it reveals...had been kept secret and hidden from the magistrates conducting their own investigation into the incident".

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...

Nur, Are there any diagrams available? (I'm thinking of the standard crash scene reconstruction diagram here.) I'm particularly interested in the location of all checpoints in the area.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...


4:51 PM  
Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...

Something smells very funny here. Just one checkpoint yes? Not two and not one of their multi-part checkpoints?

6:15 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

Mark, this was not even a standard road checkpoint: it was a battlefield blocking checkpoint.

Something smells because some of the national guards in the patrol are New York City cops, notorious for corruption and happy to do a favor for an operative. It was the only one out. The duty logs are destroyed.

Does that suggest to you it was an ad-hoc and illegal mission?

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...

Nur I'm doing some digging. But even I need some sleep I'll get back to you on this tomorrow first thing I promise.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Traveller said...

I'm sitting here, quite late, US Central Time,reviewing the press coverage such as it is. Bland coverage in the Guardian. Nothing to speak of in the NY Times and Washington Post. Certainly nothing compared to what I'm seeing in Corriere and AGI and here.

Is Taormina releasing the transcript?

9:19 PM  
Blogger Nur-al-Cubicle said...

PW: Taormina gave it over to the Rome Public Prosecutor's office. But former President Cossiga says there's a deal to blame SISMI.

see you tomorrow. g'nite

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Mark from Ireland said...


Done some digging and the USA version of events simply doesn't add up.

What I was focussing on was asking myself this question:

"Was this similar in way to what Annia Ciezadlo had written on her experience of checkpoints in March?"

The answer to that is "no" - The car had NOT passed another checkpoint.

The car was not travelling quickly OR accelerating

- apart from anything else the road was both wet and ill lit.

- he was approaching a blind 90 degree turn.

- he was driving one handed.

Other points:

- I can't find any reference to clear signals being used. Specifically the spotlight.

- It has been admitted that comms were down on one channel and that the road block commander didn't try other channels.

- The USA soldiers' accounts are very contradictory. Personally I think they're lieing their little heads off.

As you can see I've been trying to eliminate things (excuses).

FWIW I think the decision to open a murder enquiry was a good one.

12:50 PM  

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