Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The heroic death of Nicola Calipari

Had everything gone as planned, an American sniper would have assassinated Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena with one shot, following the sniper's code of 'one shot, one kill'. The only independent witness to what happened would then be dead, as both her guardian, the heroic Nicola Calipari, the driver of the car, and the other two passengers were Italian secret service agents, thus worked for Berlusconi, and would be unable to say anything (on other accounts, the driver may have been an Iraqi, but he could easily be disposed of). The Americans obviously could have killed everyone in the car by simply blowing it up, but it would then have been impossible to claim that this was just another mistake made by a panicking speeding driver at a checkpoint. By firing lots of rounds, but with only one shot killing anybody, it is clear that either the Americans are terrible shots, or all the flying ammo was simply a ruse to hide the only shot that mattered, the one that would kill the person with the information on what happened in the chemical warfare attacks on Falluja. All the Americans, except for the sniper, were shooting to miss. The sniper had her lined up, only to be foiled by the heroic sacrifice of Nicola Calipari. Ironic that the neocons are stymied by a combination of altruism and duty, things they cannot possibly comprehend

All the American accounts I've read about this incident, including by those on the left, conclude that the Pentagon would never do such a thing as engage in this kind of assassination. This strikes me as being remarkable naive, but I guess you can believe what you want. The only independent witness who is speaking is Sgrena herself, and she is claiming that the basis for the Pentagon account is a lie. The Italians were not speeding, there was no checkpoint, there was no warning given, and the Americans almost certainly knew who was in the car. Rather than help the wounded obtain help, the Americans delayed and cut off cellphone communication. It's a clear choice: either she is lying, or the Pentagon officials are lying, and she has no motive to lie while they do.

Sgrena had been kidnapped by another one of these mysterious groups that seems to like to target those people who support their cause (kidnapping foreign pacifists just benefits the Americans, so you really have to wonder about many of these incidents). It appears this was a kidnapping for money, with the kidnappers taking the highest amount offered. Before they let her go, they warned her that the Americans wanted to see her dead ("the Americans don't want you to go back"). How would they know that? Presumably because the Americans offered them so many dollars to have her returned dead. Fortunately for her, the Italians offered more to have her returned alive.

It is illegal and immoral to use incendiaries on civilians, and there is increasing anecdotal evidence that the Pentagon did just that in the assault on Falluja. It starts to get a little tiresome to hear the same quibbling about what the Pentagon would or wouldn't do, given cluster bombs, DU, 'shock and awe' bombing of civilians, and the general attack on Falluja itself. The human rights standards of the Pentagon - and thus of the United States - are so incredibly low that it is impossible to give them the benefit of the doubt on anything. It is also odd that the Pentagon has clearly been blocking access of journalists to interview civilians in Falluja - the reason Sgrena was so important is that she is one of the first to be able to do so - and that there are claims that American soldiers have been taking steps to 'sanitize' the city by removing evidence. We also know that after an initial outraged lie denying Pentagon use of napalm in the attack on Iraq, Pentagon officials eventually admitted that they did use a napalm-like substance, but it was not technically 'napalm' so their lies were not technically lies. You really can't believe anything they say. Let's face it: the Pentagon was 'going medieval' on Falluja, both as a punishment for its failure to kowtow to Empire and as a warning to others, and they were attacking Falluja without restraints. Napalm or other incendaires would have fit right in. So would killing anyone who might be 'unembedded' long enough to discover the truth.

There was much made of the fact that the Israelis were going to be teaching the Americans their techniques on how to deal with insurgents. I don't know about that, but the Americans are clearly using Israeli torture techniques used by the Israelis against the Palestinians, and have also been using Israeli-style collective punishment. The 'sanitization' of Falluja is the same as IDF's removal of evidence of the massacre at Jenin, where the town was closed to international journalists for a few days so the worst evidence could be hidden. Shooting journalists is just like the Israeli shooting of journalists and international human rights monitors, and the entire Sgrena incident is just another Israeli-style 'targeted assassination'. The Israelification of the United States continues.

The Americans have lost - yes, lost! - the car. They don't know where it is. 'Nuff said!


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