Thursday, February 02, 2006

Friends like these

The evolving narrative of yesterday's near-tragic shooting of Canadians in the Green Zone bears a strong resemblance to another "accident": remember Giuliana Sgrena?
On Monday [April 25, 2005], a US Army official reported that a military investigation has cleared the soldiers who shot dead Nicola Calipari on March 4 after US troops opened fire on the car that was also carrying Giuliana Sgrena - the Italian journalist who had just been freed from captivity. Sgrena has publicly rejected the U.S. claims that the shooting was justified. The leaking of that report sparked outrage in Italy.
The Italian officials on the US-led commission are reportedly refusing to endorse the U.S. Army's findings. Italy maintains that that car carrying Calipari and Sgrena had been driving slowly, received no warning and that Italy had advised U.S. authorities of their mission to evacuate Sgrena from Iraq.
[...] AMY GOODMAN: Giuliana, the US military says your car was going very fast.
GIULIANA SGRENA: That’s not true, because we were slow, and we were slowing down, because we have to turn. And before there was some water, so it’s not true that the car was going fast.
AMY GOODMAN: They say the soldiers used hand and arm signals, flashed white lights and fired warning shots to get the driver to stop.
GIULIANA SGRENA: No, they didn’t. No, no. No light, no air fire, nothing at all. They were beside the road. They were not on the street. They were away ten meters, and they didn’t give us any sign that they were there, so we didn’t saw them before they started to shoot.
AMY GOODMAN: Did they shoot from the front or from the back?
GIULIANA SGRENA: No, on the back, not on the front. They shot on the back, because Calipari was on the back on the right and he was shot dead immediately, and I was injured on my shoulder, but I was shot by the back. So I am a proof that they were shooting on the back and not in front of the car. We can see by my injured where I was shot.
Fast-forward to today:
The U.S. military released a statement after the shooting saying the Canadians' vehicle failed to stop after they were warned with hand signals and a round of warning shots in front of the vehicle. [...] Yesterday, a different version of events emerged.
"Let's just say we don't confirm the American version. I'll give you a hint. The Americans just did a rotation of their military personnel inside the Green Zone. We can draw all of our conclusions from there," a Canadian diplomatic source familiar with the incident told the Toronto Star.
Cameron told CTV News that the Canadian convoy was keeping a good distance and that no one in her vehicle saw any hand signals from the Americans to indicate they were too close. She also said the three shots fired were not a warning and that one of the bullets went right through the windshield and narrowly missed a passenger.
"How many warning shots go across a vehicle into the passenger compartment?" Cameron asked yesterday.

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