Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Italian Job (3)

The Italian press seems to be belatedly realizing they got it wrong. LGF draws our attention to an creepily objective-seeming BBC report.

US forces might not have known that slain Italian secret agent Nicola Calipari was in Iraq to secure a hostage's freedom, Italian papers say. Calipari was killed by US troops' fire while escorting journalist Giuliana Sgrena by car to Baghdad airport.

But the press quotes an Italian general who liaised between US forces and Italian intelligence as saying he did not know Calipari was on a rescue bid. According to newspaper La Repubblica, Gen Mario Marioli helped the two Italian secret service agents obtain a special badge from the coalition forces on their arrival in Baghdad.

But Gen Marioli, who is the coalition forces' second-in-command, reportedly was unaware that the officers were on a mission to free Ms Sgrena, and so the information he passed on to US officials was incomplete. Gen Marioli's testimony is crucial because he is the man who was keeping the US forces informed of the car's arrival before the fatal shooting, in which a US patrol killed the secret service agent and injured Ms Sgrena and a second officer.

Also, I'm relieved to see that my advice is being taken - Fox News reports:

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has ordered an investigation into the shooting, to be led by a U.S. brigadier general with Italian officials' participation. That will include an examination of the Toyota Corolla the Italians were traveling in, which is expected to remain in Iraq for the time being, according to news reports. (my emphasis)

Based on the Red Reporter's less delusional statements, the pictures of the vehicle & released autopsy data, I think this is what happened:

The vehicle raced up to the checkpoint in typical Italian manner, slowed for the concrete barriers, then shot through with the driver shouting "we are sovereign Italians, eat our dust" through his open window. The soldiers then followed ROE and halted the vehicle with a couple of 3-shot M-16 bursts.

I'll wager a decent bottle of Grappa on this, let betting commence.

I repeat, all this hassle is not worth their 2,700-strong contingent, which is operating as a sovereign entity, independent of Coalition C&C.