When Italian communist and propagandist Giuliana Sgrena first began her rollercoaster ride to leftist stardom following the tragedy at the Bagdhad checkpoint, I thought that the most damage she could do with her crazy-quilt patchwork of lies and distortions of fact was in undermining the Italian government’s steadfast support for US policy in Iraq. After all, the Italians have 3000 troops assisting our military in trying to secure that country and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has had a tough time trying to maintain support for the mission while trying to stay in power himself.
It now appears that Sgrena’s lies have taken on a life of their own with devastating consequences for our military in Iraq as well as some innocent civilians here at home.
The fervor whipped up by Sgrena’s bloodcurdling tales of being targeted by the US military for her anti-war beliefs have roiled Italian politics. Not only has the Prime Minister agreed to start withdrawing Italian troops beginning in September, but the investigation into the checkpoint incident by the US government has been completely discredited by Italian investigators to the point where they will issue their own report later this week accusing the military of tampering with evidence:
The official Italian report on the incident expected to be published this week will accuse the American military of tampering with evidence at the scene of the shooting.
The Americans invited two Italians to join in their inquiry, but the Italian representatives protested at what they claimed was lack of objectivity in presenting the evidence and returned to Rome.
Relations between Rome and Washington remain tense.
In short, Berlusconi won’t touch the American report on the incident with a ten foot pole. Thanks to Sgrena’s propaganda campaign (with a great big wet kiss salute to the rabidly anti-American Italian media) and the fact that Berlusconi is in an impossible political position, Italian authorities are, in effect, forced to partially acknowledge Sgrena’s point, albeit in a roundabout sort of way. By accusing the American military of tampering with evidence, they concede American duplicity but not culpability. Sgrena’s claim she was targeted is allowed to die a quiet death while the Italian media rails against American falsity and a cover-up of trigger happy GI’s who shoot first and ask questions later.
It’s all Berlusconi’s got and it will probably work.
Meanwhile, the entire report absolving the soldiers at the checkpoint, including material that was orginally classified, was published over the weekend in Italian newspapers:
A Greek medical student at Bologna University who was surfing the web early on Sunday found that with two simple clicks of his computer mouse he could restore censored portions of the report.
He passed the details to Italian newspapers which immediately put out the full text on their own websites.
The missing text contains the names and ranks of all of the American military personnel involved in the killing of Nicola Calipari, the Italian agent who was given a state funeral and awarded Italy’s highest medal of valour.
Revealing the names and ranks of all the soldiers involved in the attack is flat out irresponsible. Not only does it place those soldiers at risk of retaliation by any number of loons and crackpots-including rogue elements in the Italian intelligence community who may seek revenge- it also places their families at risk here in the United States. As sure as night follows day there are already reporters hard at work trying to track down parents, spouses, siblings, and other family members of those soldiers who will just as surely reveal their location. These innocents will now live in fear for their lives as terrorists wishing to make a media splash or some domestic anti-war moonbat could target them.
At the very least, once their names are revealed, the families will suffer harassment at the hands of the anti-war crowd – a price no family with sons or daughters in a war zone should ever have to pay.
The classified sections of the report make pretty dry reading -unless you’re a terrorist or insurgent seeking to kill American soldiers. Here’s Austin Bay’s excellent analysis in which he points out an advantage to our enemies if they decide to target an armored vehicle called a “Rhino Bus.”
The â€œclassifiedâ€ sections on â€œRhino Busâ€ (armored bus) convoy operations leave me cold, but for that matter, so do the unclassified sections. If I could erase anything from the posted document it would be this materialâ€“ but I canâ€™t. Once itâ€™s on the Internet itâ€™s out there. (The Rhino Bus schlepps US and coalition personnel between installations in Baghdad. Itâ€™s an impressive beast with bullet-proof glass and armor.)
Thatâ€™s my gut reaction. Now a cooler caveat. Close observation of the freeway gives a clever enemy those details, and Route Irish passes hundreds of houses and apartment buildingsâ€“ each one a p0tential observation post. The Rhino Bus material from the report (probably) confirms the details gleaned by enemy observers.
So how do we deal with it? The enemy knows what we want to do (move the Rhino Bus). He knows how weâ€™ve done it in the past (based on his intelligence gathering and now this report).
Commanders will now change the routineâ€“ amend convoy times, vary routes, vary convoy vehicle mix, vary the lay-down of traffic control points. (The Sunni holdouts and Zarqawiâ€™s klan change tactics and proceduresâ€“ itâ€™s a vicious dynamic of war.
Other operational details could, according to Mr. Bay, simply confirm information that the insurgents already had. While not as damaging, by confirming intel the insurgents can now reassign assets that would have been used in trying to validate the information. In other words, the release of classified material just made our enemies job a little easier.
The released report comes on the heels of some leaked information regarding satelite evidence that confirm the fact that Sgrena was lying through her teeth when she said that the car was going at a “normal” speed of about 30 MPH. The images show the Italian’s car was travelling closer to 60 MPH which probably means the driver was intent on running the checkpoint.
At the very least, Giuliana Sgrena’s lies set in motion a series of events that now lead to the probablity that Americans both here and in Iraq are in greater danger. For that alone, she should be held in the utmost contempt by decent people everywhere. Her actions following the tragedy at the checkpoint have proven her to be a small time bunko artist whose 15 minutes of infamy have now turned into an unending nightmare for our military and their families.
Others with Analysis and Updates:
Michelle Malkin does her usual great job with some prescient analysis and links to the best sources of information on the story.
Blackfive points out why Kevin Drum and the gloating left should keep their damned mouths shut.
Kevin at Wizbang questions the CBS story on satelite evidence regarding the Italian car and links it with the released report.
Rhiel World questions the docs themselves finding some interesting discrepancies.
Cross Posted at Blogger News Network
The Captain points to the Italians issuing their report today. He also pokes some pretty gigantic holes in their story if they’re going to contradict what they said a few weeks ago about not informing the Americans of the transfer:
Readers who have followed this story closely will already see the holes developing in the Italian rebuttal, if the BBC report is accurate. First, the three-second warning does not reflect on American action nearly as much as it indicates the rate of speed that Calipari’s car approached the checkpoint. By acknowledging the three-second time span, Italy admits that the car traveled at much faster speeds towards the checkpoint than Sgrena first claimed, making the reason for shooting the car plain. Second, it demonstrates that the Americans did try to warn the driver to slow down and did not simply open fire, either out of malice or incompetence.
As far as whether the Americans knew about Calipari’s mission at all, Italian newspapers answered that question in March, when two of them reported that not only did Italian commander not tell the Americans about the hostage release, he may not have known about it himself. General Mario Marioli sent his report to Rome, where presumably investigators still have access to it. The reason for the secrecy emerged within days of Sgrena’s release and subsequent wounding, when Italy’s ransom payment to the terrorists became public knowledge.
I think the Capn’ has nailed it. Any way you want to look at it, the Italian report will be for domestic consumption. They’ll probably ignore any contradictory statements made previously and stonewall when it comes to any explanations for the discrepancies.