This was the straw that broke the camel's back for Italian-involvement in Iraq, and has continued to have a chilling-effect on US-Italian relations since it occurred on March 4th, 2005. It wasn't just Iraq that killed the government of former-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, it was this incident that provided the tipping-point.
"You have a warning line, you have a danger line, and you have a kill line," Lozano told the newspaper from a relative's New York apartment. "Anyone inside 100 meters is already in the danger zone ... and you gotta take them out," Lozano said. "If you hesitate, you come home in a box—and I didn't want to come home in a box. I did what any soldier would do in my position." Lozano is set to be tried in absentia this month on a murder charge in the March 2005 death of Nicola Calipari. The intelligence officer was shot on his way to the Baghdad airport, shortly after securing the release of a kidnapped Italian journalist. Another agent and the journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, were wounded. (AP, 04.09.2007)
Notice how AP only refers to Calipari as "an intelligence officer"? That's common for the coverage of this story, and many others. Never mind the facts, power must be protected from accountability--hence the obfuscation and mangling of language. The problem is, military authorities still have the car that was showered with a hail of bullets. Until then, no real trajectory-evidence is available to anyone...except the Pentagon (who are under the command of the Bush administration). According to Sgrena--a correspondent for the communist "Il Manifesto"--the majority of the bullets were fired "from behind." Now, only the remains of the vehicle will likely prove or disprove this contention (or those of the Pentagon), but they're being held at the Baghdad airport, locked-away from view.
Around early-May of 2005, the Pentagon issued a report absolving the soldiers, and with lots of blacked-out lines and paragraphs ("heavily-redacted"). But that's OK, since a Bolognese college student found that the internet-version had the original-text underneath the censored portions. He found it was possible to copy it to a text-program, showing the under-text in two keystrokes. Today's "new" story adds nothing to the debate, or to the knowledge of the American public. How many of you know that "the Italian Secret Service agent" reported about in our media was Italy's number-two spy chief? The stories diverged from-the-onset:
Another Italian attache, who was at the Baghdad airport, also told U.S. military personnel the car carrying agent Nicola Calipari and journalist Giuliana Sgrena was on its way to the airport March 4 before the shooting occurred, Berlusconi told the Italian senate on Wednesday.
Differing accounts have emerged about Friday's shooting at a checkpoint on the road to the Baghdad airport, in which Calipari was shot and killed and Sgrena was wounded in the shoulder.
It's possible that what we have here is gross-incompetence and a miscommunication--or something else. More journalists were killed in Iraq by late-2005 than the entire twenty-year conflict in Vietnam (1955-1975). Having an enlisted man take-the-hit is typical of military "justice" and accountability, and we can assume that Spc. Lanzo is just another human-parachute for the Bush administration, a shield. If nothing untoward happened, release the car that Calipari was killed in, and do a real investigation that's open. It would even be best to bring-in disinterested parties to do the investigating.
This still burns in the hearts of most Italians. What will placate them? Justice, and a real investigation, not one merely by Washington, who has most all of the remaining evidence in their custody. Major General Calipari had been involved in negotiations to release Italian-nationals from Iraqi insurgents before. Why did this have such a different outcome? We don't know, but why wasn't a crime scene established when it was clear there was reason to believe one might have occurred? From the redacted-sections of the 2005 Pentagon report:
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. (voltairenet.org, 06.08.2005)
That's true, but why not turn-over the car to the Italians? The American military under the command of George W. Bush cannot be trusted to tell the truth, their careers depend on silencio. Is Mario Lanzo lying? This writer suggest putting him under oath. The Pentagon claims that a GPS recorded the car's speed at around 60mph--they're the only-source this writer can locate.
APing Today: http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_5626595CNN 04.09.2005: http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/03/09/italy.sgrena/
The Redacted Sections of 2005 Pentagon Report of the Death of Calipari,
and the Wounding of Giulia Sgrena: http://www.voltairenet.org/article30249.html