Monday, May 02, 2005

Journalist Tells Her "Truth", Comes Up Short

I just got finished reading the U.S. report on the March 4, 2005 shooting in Iraq that involved an Italian journalist. I found a link in the comments section on an article about the new Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven over at LGF.

I found the report to be pretty well balanced. Of course I'm pretty pro-military so my opinion is biased.

Some highlights from the report (I quote the actual report in boldface):

The scene of the incident wasn't a Checkpoint but rather a Blocking Point. Both are a means of controlling traffic but a Checkpoint allows for inspection/searches of vehicles traveling along a road and a Blocking Point (BP) is used to prevent travel on that road altogether. The BP consisted of a Blocking Vehicle and an Overwatch Vehicle. Both Blocking and Overwatch vehicles had automatic weapon points but neither had their weapons pointed directly at the on-ramp, where the BP had been established. The BP had established an Alert Line and a Warning Line along the onramp which acted as designated points for certain warnings to be given to oncoming traffic. Prior to the Alert Line a spotlight would be directed at an approaching vehicle. As the vehicle neared the Alert Line, a green laser pointer would be directed against the driver side window in an attempt to get the drivers attention. If a vehicle approaches the Warning Line the shots are fired in yet another attempt to get the vehicles attention. If the Warning Line is breached then shots are fired into the vehicles engine block in an attempt to disable the vehicle. This is basically what happened that night. The BP had successfully turned around between 15 and 30 vehicles from 1930 (when the BP was established) to 2050 (when the Italian's car arrived).

The vehicle approaches the BP at high speed:
Though not in the habit of checking his speedometer, Mr. XXXXXX estimated his speed at 70-80 kph as he exited off of Route Vernon, heading toward the on-ramp to Route Irish.

It is at this point the vehicle is lit up with the spotlight:
Specialist XXXXX, holding the spotlight in his left hand, shined his spotlight onto the car before it arrived at the Alert Line.

The car did not slow down:
Both Specialist XXXXXX and Sergeant XXXXXX perceived the car to be traveling in excess of 50 mph. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 129C, 134C).
(U) The car crossed the Alert Line still heading towards the Soldiers’ position without slowing down.

Of interest at this point is that at least two of the soldiers at the BP were Police Officers in their civilian lives and are trained to judge car speeds. The car is also traveling at a speed faster than that of any car previously encountered that evening.

At this point the car has crossed the Alert Line and is approaching the Warning Line:
(U) The car continued to approach at a high rate of speed, coming closer to the Soldiers than any other vehicle that evening. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 129C). When the car got to the Warning Line, Specialist XXXXX, while still holding the spotlight in his left hand, used his right hand to quickly fire a two to four round burst into a grassy area to the on-coming vehicle’s right (the pre-set aiming point) as a warning shot. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 125C, 129C, 134C).
(U) The vehicle maintained its speed as it went beyond the Warning Line.

So - spotlight, laser pointer and now warning shots are all used in an attempt to gain the drivers attention. What does the driver do? He hits the gas:
(U) Mr. XXXX told Sergeant XXXXX who Ms. Sgrena was and that he was trying to get to the airport. He told Sergeant XXXXX that he heard shots from somewhere, and that he panicked and started speeding, trying to get to the airport as quickly as possible. Mr. XXXXX further told Sergeant XXXXXX that he continued to speed down the ramp, and that he was in a hurry to get to the airport. (Annexes 91C, 136C).

After the vehicle crosses the Warning Line, shots are fired into the engine block in an attempt to disable the vehicle. It is only after the shots hit the vehicle that the driver hits the breaks and the car comes to a rolling stop.

As for Ms. Sgrena's "avalanche of bullets":
This analysis disclosed 11 entrance bullet holes. They are consistent with 7.62 mm bullets. Three bullets perforated the front section of the car at the bumper, right head light, and right fender. Two bullets perforated the windshield. Six bullets perforated the right side, right door, right front and rear passenger windows. No bullet holes or ricochet damage was noted on the car’s undercarriage.

...(U) The ammunition box in the blocking vehicle originally contained 200 rounds. There were 142 rounds remaining in the M240B ammunition box. No casings were collected. Eleven rounds hit the vehicle. The weapon had been fired on seven previous occasions using the same ammunition box. As such, there were no more than 40 additional rounds that could have been fired.


U) Specialist XXXXX was the only one to fire his weapon. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 85C, 87C, 89C).
(U) The car was traveling at approximately 50 mph as it crossed the Warning Line. (Annex 83C). (U) Mr. XXXXX did not apply his brakes until after the rounds began striking the car. (Annexes 104C, 105C).
(U) Given the cyclic rate of fire of the M240B, Specialist XXXXXX's expertise with the weapon, and that only 11 rounds struck the vehicle with only five of those impacting the front of the car, it is highly unlikely that any shots were fired after the car came to a stop.

Of course this will be disputed by the Italians. It's expected, especially since their government is in flux and their leader is trying to garner popular support before elections. Machiavelli was Italian was he not? I can't wait until their report comes out.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Necess1ty said...

Well this ought to rile you up...

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=722687

5:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Irving said...

... The Italian's have won how many wars in the last two centuries?

8:34 AM  

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