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On March 4, 2005, in Baghdad, the Italian secret services managed to get the release of Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist with Il Manifesto, who had been held hostage for 28 days.

She was immediately taken by the head of the mission, Nicola Calipari, and by agent Andrea Carpani to the international airport of Baghdad to be evacuated.

Although transportation was coordinated with the US army, both men ignored that at the same time the US troops were deploying a temporary blocking system to guarantee the security of US Ambassador John Negroponte and his escort.

While they were entering an approach road that leads to the airport, the vehicle with the three Italians inside became the target of shots coming from one of the provisional blocking points occupied by US soldiers.

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Report from the US Army partially classified
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The different reports and communiqués issued since then about this event have showed an extensive diplomatic exchange between Washington and Rome. Several accusations by Italian newspapers and testimonies, including that of Giuliana Sgrena, indicate that the US soldiers deliberately opened fire against the vehicle.

However, the conclusion by the US General Staff was that the vehicle had not respected the orders and had crossed the security line at a speed higher than authorized. During the week of May 2nd, 2005, shortly after the publication of the report of the official investigation carried out by the US Army and classified in its two thirds, Italian daily Corrieri della Sera affirmed that it had only ordered to “trace” the classified excerpts, copy them and paste the darkened parts in a text document. Less than 48 hours later, the Pentagon said it regretted the administrative error that, however, according to them, did not inform about data of “strategic” nature but simply tactic.

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Report decoded by Italian daily Corriere della Sera
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We have analyzed the full version of this document and we have realized that although it hardly showed clarifying information about the attack as such, it did revealed, however, some mysteries about the internal figures of the Pentagon which usually can only be accessed by congress people members of ad hoc commissions.

These figures completely question the media “official information” given every day to readers, and the radio and television audience of mainstream media who support the occupation of Iraq.

Actually, they not only validate the statements and figures of the attacks carried out by the Iraqi resistance [1], but also the testimonies of US deserters, according to whom the US casualties are many more than those generally announced by the Pentagon. Thus, they carefully establish the magnitude of the insurrection and try to show that the situation faced by US troops is worse than that of Viet Nam.

Here is then the first part of it, the introduction of the document, whose translation we have supervised and also some excerpts chosen from the long and diverse series of data that it includes.

It shows that it has never been possible to carry out any real investigation about the death(of Italian Nicola Calipari), because it was regarded just as a skirmish and not as a crime committed by military people against civilians.

Thus, most of the evidence was immediately destroyed in the course of events. In addition, it is clear that data hidden to the public is used before congress people and military authorities to justify a war error.

Excerpts from the official report of the US army about the incident on March 4th, 2005 [2]

Administrative Matters

«Appointing authority I was appointed by LTG John R. Vines, of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) on March 8th 2005 to investigate, per U.S. Army Regulation 15-6 (Annex 1B), all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident at a Traffic Control Point (TCP) in Baghdad, Iraq on March 4th 2005 that resulted in the death of Mr. Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Ms. Giuliana Sgrena and Mr. Andrea Carpani. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Thelin, was appointed as my legal advisor for this investigation. I was directed to thoroughly review

(1) the actions of the soldiers manning the TCP,

(2) the training of the soldiers manning the TCP,

(3) TCP procedures,

(4) the local security situation,

(5) enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs),

(6) the Rules of Engagement (ROE) employed during the incident [3] , and

(7) any coordination effected with the Soldiers at the TCP or their higher levels of command on the transport of Ms. Sgrena from Baghdad to Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). (Annex 1A).

(U) The note in Annex 1A refers to the location of the incident as being a Traffic Control Point (TCP).

As will be further explained in this report, the soldiers involved were actually manning a former Traffic Control Point, but executing a blocking mission. This mission took place at a southbound on-ramp from Route Vernon (also known as Route Force on MNF-I graphics) onto westbound Route Irish, the road to the airport of Baghdad (BIAP). The intersection of these two routes has been designated as Checkpoint 541. For purposes of this report, the position will be referred to as Blocking Position 541 (BP 541). [...]»

Brief Description of the Incident

«On the evening of March 4th 2005, personnel of A Company of 1-69 Infantry Division were patrolling Route Irish, the road linking downtown Baghdad with BIAP. Seven of those Soldiers were then assigned the mission of establishing and manning a Blocking Position (BP) on the southbound on-ramp off Route Vernon to westbound Route Irish. They were to man the BP until relieved, which was anticipated to be after a convoy transporting the U.S. Ambassador to Camp Victory had passed and arrived at its destination.

The soldiers established the BP by approximately 19:30 hours and began executing their mission. At approximately 20:50 hours, the car carrying Mr. Calipari, Mr. Carpani, and Ms. Sgrena, traveling southbound on Route Vernon, approached the on-ramp to enter westbound Route Irish. For reasons that are examined later in this report, the car came under fire. The shooting resulted in the wounding of the driver (Mr. Andrea Carpani), and Ms. Sgrena, and the death of Mr. Nicola Calipari. The Commanding General of the Third Infantry Division directed a commander’s preliminary investigation be conducted that night.»

Constraints and Limitations

«Ideally, the scene of the incident would have been preserved as it existed immediately after the shooting was over and the car had stopped. Doing so would have allowed the initial investigators to get precise measurements on the distances and locations of the significant objects involved in the event. An initial on-site investigation was conducted, but a number of circumstances that occurred on the site prevented the incident site from being treated as a sterile site. Both Humvees located in the blocking position were moved to transport Ms. Sgrena to the Combat Support Hospital in the International Zone. Further, the scene was not deemed to be a “crime scene”, and efforts were made to clear the roadway. As a result, the car was moved from its position, per the unit’s Standing Operating Procedure on Consequence Management, before a location using a global positioning system could be obtained. At the direction of the Commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, the car was placed back in the position that was thought to be its actual stopping point based on eyewitness testimony and digital photographs taken of the car before its initial removal from the scene.

A further constraint was the inability to reconstruct the event so as to provide accurate data for forensic analysis of bullet trajectory, speed of the vehicle, and stopping distance due to the inherent danger in the vicinity of the incident location. This was made evident during a site visit by the Joint Investigation Team when a hand grenade was thrown (from the Route Vernon overpass) at the Team’s vehicles as members were boarding, injuring one soldier.

These factors limited the forensic team’s ability to conduct an on-site, in-depth analysis, although extensive tests were performed on Camp Victory. As a result, the forensic studies of the car could not be as conclusive as they normally would be.

Other limitations include the removal and disposal of the shell casings to allow free operation of the turret in the blocking vehicle. Additionally, the cell phones involved in the incident were returned to Mr. Carpani before he left the scene. (Annex 4M). More importantly, while sworn statements were provided by all the key U.S. personnel involved in the incident, the Italian personnel provided only unsworn statements as they are not required under Italian law to swear to statements until appearing before a judge. [...]»

Global Security Situation

«1. Iraq. From July 2004 to late March 2005, there were 15,257 attacks against coalition forces throughout Iraq. The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone. (Annex 8E). 2. Baghdad. Baghdad is a city of six million people and is home to a large number of suspected insurgents operating both in the city and its environs. From November 1st 2004 to March 12th 2005 there were a total of 3306 attacks in the Baghdad area. Of these, 2400 were directed against coalition forces. (Annex 8E)

3. Route Irish. Route Irish is an East-West road along south Baghdad to the BIAP. The highway is a four-lane road with a 50 meter wide median. (Annexes 8E, 144K). [...] During the week of the incident, there were 166 attacks with improvised explosive devices (IED) with 131 detonations and 35 devices deactivated. Eighty-two soldiers were injured in these incidents (Annex 4E) [...] Seventeen car-bombs exploded during the week of the incident and five were deactivated. The average number of soldiers affected by the detonation increased to 23 due to the significant number of casualties during an attack of Al-Hillah. [...] In addition, two days before the incident, two soldiers of the same unit (1-69 IN) were killed by an IED in checkpoint 543. The commander of Company A and 1-69 IN lost a close friend during this attack. (Annexes 1E, 74C). [...] During the month following the transference of authority, the Third Infantry Division suffered 422 attacks from insurgents that resulted in 13 dead and 60 wounded.»

[1] See our special report “War in Iraq”

[2] We have indistinctly included excerpts authorized for their publication and others allegedly classified

[3] In other words, the directives that theoretically detail the conditions in which soldiers of the Traffic Control Point are authorized to open fire