Two disjointed stories on the shooting of Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena and her Italian intelligence officer escort Nicola] Calipari are being examined on top weblogs this weekend. I’ve yet to see anyone tie the two together.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A US satellite reportedly recorded a checkpoint shooting in Iraq last month, enabling investigators to reconstruct how fast a car carrying a top Italian intelligence official and a freed hostage was traveling when US troops opened fire.
The report, which aired Thursday on CBS News, said US investigators concluded from the recording that the car was traveling at a speed of more than 60 miles (96 km) per hour.
Giuliana Sgrena has said the car was traveling at a normal speed of about 30 miles an hour when the soldiers opened fired, wounding her and killing Nicola Calipari, the Italian agent who had just secured her release from a month’s captivity.Rusty Shackelford is immediatly skeptical of the satellite story, citing the inherent difficulty in measuring speed from satellite images.
Then comes news that the released version of the official US report was sloppily redacted, allowing anyone marginally competent with Adobe Acrobat can see all the redacted information [download via Corriere della Sera]. The unredacted version of the official report should provide an excellent opportunity to verify the satellite story, but the term “satellite” appears nowhere in the report and every mention of “speed” indicates that speed was calculated using standard crime scene forensic techniques. If there really is satellite proof that Sgrena’s car was going 60 mph, you’d expect to find some passing mention of it in the official report, right? Even if the satellite data itself is classified, if it was as exculpatory as CBS claims it certainly would be alluded to in the official report.
It’s worth noting that CBS is the only one reporting the existence of satellite proof of the speed of Sgrena’s car. That story, absent additional proof, appears to be collapsing quickly.
Update: Maybe the L.A. Times gets the story right, inspite of itself.