Friday May 06

The Nicola Calipari shooting report - It was all Andrea Carpani's fault

I don't post about current affairs or politics on this blog. But this became a geek issue when the Greek student managed to gain the uncensored details from the declassified military report. I got the original PDF doc from the's article about the availability of the uncensored report. And there is a HTML version here. Here's what the report says.

First, the shooting took place at 2050 at night when Specialist Lozano shone a three million candle spotlight on the car. It was 140 metres away. The Italians were speeding, estimated at 70-80kph by Andrea Carpani who was driving (and incidentally on the phone at the same time). Specialist Lozano shone the light on the car, shouted at it and fired two warning shots from his M240B machinegun. But the Italians kept coming. With no intervening orders from any superiors, Specialist Lozano fired on the ground toward the vehicle in an attempt to disable it. The report emphasised he was inexperienced with the use of the gun. 11 shots hit the car, 5 hit the engine block.

The Italians already admitted they told no one about their deal with insurgents. They said they felt that the Americans would hamper their efforts to secure Sgrena's release because they were paying the ransom. They didn't want to endanger their relationship between the two governments by putting the Americans in a position to have to stop them. However, the report goes on to say that the Americans were told of an Italian hostage release team. But no actionable details were given. No description of the car, no route, no time of arrival. Even then, the agents on the ground could have directly warned the Americans of their approach. There was a working phone in the car which was being handled by Andrea Carpani.

All this looks really clear to me. One of the points of contention is the warnings. Carpani said he heard the warning shots and panicked. The Italians also said that the roadblock was not visible. Did they expect anything in a city with no streetlights to be visible at 9pm at night? More to the point, the car was hit with a spotlight which ought to have been warning enough. Who else in Iraq has a spotlight that bright except the Americans? Carpani's ill-conceived reaction placed the Americans soldiers in an intenable position. In the end, it didn't matter whether the Americans were told of the Italians coming. No one could have determined who was in the car until they safely approached the road block. And Andrea Carpani really screwed that one up. No conspiracy can beat stupidity.

Now what I want to know is, who put a panic-monkey like Carpani behind the wheel?

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