Unfortunate series of events

reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=7815750

U.S.-Italy Relations Chilled by Killing of Reporter
Sat Mar 5, 2005 08:21 AM ET

                     By Philip Pullella ROME (Reuters) - The United States and its staunch Iraq war ally Italy face their worst falling out in years after U.S. troops killed an Italian secret service agent and wounded an Italian reporter.

The shooting in Iraq on Friday, as the reporter was being whisked to freedom after being held hostage for a month, was sure to fuel anti-war activists in Italy and put pressure on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Berlusconi, who defied widespread public opposition to the Iraq war and sent 3,000 troops, took the rare step of summoning U.S. ambassador Mel Sembler to his office.

He demanded the United States “leave no stone unturned” in investigating the incident. President Bush was quick to call Berlusconi and promise a full investigation.

The shooting was the worst diplomatic incident between Italy and the United States since 1998, when a U.S. Marines jet flying recklessly low and fast cut a ski lift cable, killing 20 people.

U.S. troops at a checkpoint shot and killed agent Nicola Calipari and wounded journalist Giuliana Sgrena as they rushed to Baghdad airport.

The agent had helped free Sgrena a month after she had been kidnapped and held hostage. Sgrena returned to Rome on Saturday. Calipari’s coffin will follow.

                     NATIONAL RAGE

“The hardest moment was when I saw the person who had saved me die in my arms,” Sgrena’s long-time companion quoted her as saying on her flight back to Rome.

                     Such poignant words are fueling national rage.

Berlusconi, whom the opposition accuses of taking orders from Washington, put on a brave face but leading newspaper Corriere della Sera cited political sources as saying he was furious.

More than 20 Italians have been killed in Iraq and commentators said the opposition would make the latest tragedy a rallying cry in their campaign for regional elections next month, seen as a test of strength for Berlusconi’s government.

“Dhe idea of someone being killed by those who say they are in Iraq to protect its citizens is absurd,” said Piero Fassino, head of the largest opposition party, the Democrats of the Left.

Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini called Calipari’s death “a tragedy of destiny” and hoped it would cause no anti-American feeling in Italy.

There is an investigation, but first reports say that the car did not stop after repeated warnings. Strange after all that work to free her they would run a checkpoint.

According to MSNBC,

The U.S. military said the car was speeding as it approached a coalition checkpoint in western Baghdad on its way to the airport. It said soldiers shot into the engine block only after trying to warn the driver to stop by “hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots.”

In an interview with Europe Radio 1, French terrorism expert Frederic Helbert quoted intelligence sources in Baghdad as saying the Italians had wanted to evacuate Sgrena from Iraq as soon as possible and had embarked on the airport road, scene of frequent terrorist attacks, without obtaining the proper clearances or communicating with the U.S. forces.

It doesn’t help that she works for a communist newspaper that was against the war in Iraq to begin with. (don’t mess with people who purchase ink by the barrel full as they say).

Here is another report from cnn.com

The report from the BBC says that the woman confirmed the car was moving when hit:
She told Italian radio of the “rain of fire” on her car, which she said was not going particularly fast.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4321181.stm

“The prime minister expects that, in the spirit of the particular friendship that characterises relations between Italy and the United States, the US government leaves no stone unturned to shed light on what happened,” said a statement from Mr Berlusconi’s office.

President Bush has telephoned Mr Berlusconi to offer his condolences and apologies. He “assured Prime Minister Berlusconi that it would be fully investigated,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

When British soldiers used to shoot Irish ‘joyriders’ they always claimed that the cars approached them at speed. Sometimes they were telling the truth. Sometimes they were lying.

[quote=Matt25]When British soldiers used to shoot Irish ‘joyriders’ they always claimed that the cars approached them at speed. Sometimes they were telling the truth. Sometimes they were lying.
[/quote]

Sometimes people lie that is true. Somehow I doubt that is the case this time. If so, the troops made the stupidest move of their lives. The Whitehouse is involved now. This is a big deal.

Gilliam - Re There is an investigation, but first reports say that the car did not stop after repeated warnings. Strange after all that work to free her they would run a checkpoint. I presume you refer to the American investigation of the U. S. troops. One wondeers if there will be an Italian investigation of the actions of their people.

[quote=Matt25]When British soldiers used to shoot Irish ‘joyriders’ they always claimed that the cars approached them at speed. Sometimes they were telling the truth. Sometimes they were lying.
[/quote]

More Anti-Americanism. Just like Matt25 to assume the US willfully murdered a person rather than give us the benefit of the doubt.

I’ll be waiting for an apology from the Italians if this story turns out to have happened as reported. I won’t hold my breath.

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