Italy: cover-up in Calipari affair?

From the AP, April 14:

Reluctance by Italian investigators to accept the U.S. version of the killing of an Italian security agent [Nicola Calipari] by American troops in Iraq last month is holding up the conclusion of a joint inquiry into the shooting, Italian newspapers said Thursday… The commission, ordered by Washington, includes two Italian members and is led by a U.S. brigadier general. It is expected to release its findings by mid-April. Members of Italy’s center-left opposition have demanded the government inform the country about the commission’s work, while newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Stampa reported Thursday that a final conclusion by the commission is being delayed by the reluctance of the Italian members to accept all the aspects of the U.S. version of events. According to the Italian papers, a point of contention is American authorities’ refusal to allow Italian investigators to examine the car in which Calipari was traveling when he was shot. Italy agrees that the shooting was an accident, but disputes key elements of the U.S. account. It has denied a U.S. claim that the car was speeding and refused to stop following warnings from the U.S. patrol.

The imbroglio comes just as Italy’s ruling coalition appears to be unravelling. From VOA, April 15:

Italy’s coalition government is on the brink of unraveling one week after it was badly beaten in regional elections. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi held a crisis meeting Thursday. At the meeting, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini pushed for a no-confidence vote and another partner, the Christian Democrats, threatened to withdraw from the coalition. The prime minister’s political allies are concerned about a dismal economy, unhappy about election results and unsure that he has a plan that can reverse Italy’s fortunes. Italy’s involvement in the Iraq war has also been unpopular. Mr. Berlusconi is resisting calls for early elections following losses in 11 of 13 regional races last week and has offered, instead, to reshuffle his cabinet and present a new program to parliament. He is Italy’s longest-serving post-World War II prime minister.

One possibly salient fact which has disappeared from the media accounts is that the shooting took place at the hands of troops assigned to security for John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Iraq (now appointed by President Bush as National Intelligence Director), who had just flown into Baghdad when the incident occured and was scheduled to be traveling on the same highway to the airport. Writing for his MediaChannel blog, Danny Schechter recalls early reports that Calipari was killed not by New York state Army National Guard troops (which is now the official line), but by a an elite secret CIA unit assigned to Negroponte’s personal security detail. Also dropped from both U.S.-Italy diplomacy and international media coverage are claims that the killing was deliberate because of suggestions that Italian intelligence had paid a ransom to Iraqi militants in order to have a hostage released. So despite the apparent diplomatic blow-out between Rome and Washington, Italy may, in fact, be cooperating in a cover-up.

WW4 REPORT recently aired claims that the real target in the hit was not Calipari but Guilliana Sgrena, the journalist he had just freed, who was wounded but survived–and had recently interviewed Abu Ghraib torture survivors for Italy’s Il Manifesto.