Muerte de Calipari

Cable sobre la comparecencia de Berlusconi

En 2005, la Embajada en Roma informa de la comparencia de Berlusconi ante el Parlamento tras la publicación del informe sobre el 'caso Calipari'

ID:32245
Date:2005-05-09 15:53:00
Origin:05ROME1593
Source:Embassy Rome
Classification:SECRET
Dunno:05ROME1506
Destination:This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

091553Z May 05

S E C R E T ROME 001593

SIPDIS


BAGHDAD PLEASE PASS TO BG VANGJEL;
JUSTICE FOR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2015
TAGS: PREL, MOPS, KJUS, IT, IZ, IRAQI FREEDOM
SUBJECT: IRAQ/ITALY: BERLUSCONI IN PARLIAMENT ON CALIPARI-
STRESSES GOOD RELATIONS AND COOPERATION WITH US, COMMITMENT
TO IRAQ; ALSO MENTIONS WITHDRAWAL PLANS

REF: ROME 1506

Classified By: DCM Emil Skodon, reasons 1.4 b and d.

1. (S) Summary and Recommendation: On May 5-6, PM Berlusconi
spoke to both houses of Parliament about the joint
investigation and separate reports of the March 4 shooting of
Italian Intelligence officer Nicola Calipari by US forces
near Baghdad. While Berlusconi defended the Italian report
and took issue with some of the US report's findings (see
synopsis of his remarks at para 3), he reaffirmed the points
of most importance to us: the incident was unintentional;
US-Italy relations and our alliance remain strong; and Italy
remains committed to its involvement in Iraq. We continue to
recommend letting the US report speak for us rather than
prolonging public debate. While the issue appears to be
losing steam here, we still must deal with the MLAT requests
and the possibility of a continuing investigation by Italian
prosecutors. End summary and recommendation

2. (U) On May 5, PM Berlusconi briefed the Chamber of
Deputies and the Senate on the Italian and US reports that
concluded the work of the joint investigation in to the March
4 shooting of Italian Intelligence officer Nicola Calipari by
US forces near Baghdad. Berlusconi, in televised session,
was flanked by FM Fini and other cabinet ministers. A debate
followed. A synopsis of his remarks, as reported in the
Chamber of Deputies transcript follows (his report to the
Senate was nearly identical).

3. (U) Begin synopsis of transcript:

The impossibility of reaching shared conclusions....certainly
mean that the joint investigation...was not able to bring its
task to full completion. Nonetheless, it is also true that
the US decision to open a joint investigation with Italy is
unprecedented and came in response to a request by the
Italian government. Investigations were objectively
conditioned by the lack of preservation of the scene of the
incident. This notwithstanding, the work of the joint
investigation team was carried out in a climate of strong
mutual cooperation and the Italian members of the team had
full access to -- and were enabled to acquire -- all the
information available.

Discrepancies between the Italian and American reports turned
out to be irreducible and I will certainly not be the one to
minimize the size of the disagreement. Discrepancies in the
two texts touch on aspects that are far from being marginal.
The US considered reliable testimony and data that do not
coincide with what we collected and which we found were
reliable. In particular, the declarations by the two Italian
survivors are in contrast with those by the US military.
Given that the impartiality and good faith of the US
investigators cannot be under discussion, and I think we all
agree on this, we cannot but respect their conclusions,
noting that they do not coincide with ours. This is even the
opinion of the Americans on our results and also, their
report converges with ours on this -- it recognizes that not
everything worked as it should have in preparing/locating and
managing that blocking position.

Both sides, however, recognize that the incident was
unintentional and both sides recognize the need to take
concrete operational measures to avoid similar occurrences in
the future. Still, one thing is to conclude like the
Americans did, because of disciplinary measures, and another
is to underscore, as we did -- and I quote -- on the basis of
acquired evidence that there was a lack of intention . The
absence of criminal intent -- the intention -- does not rule
out the guilt/responsibility that is ascribable to
negligence, imprudence or even simply inexperience. And
this, you will agree, is not a small difference. The Italian
report concluded that the blocking positions was irregular.
It was set up with no written or specific instructions and
was located where it had little visibility and could not
protect the security of the military manning it nor that of
drivers of vehicles approaching it. Accusations and
criticism of the Government for how it managed the Calipari
case and for the conclusion of the joint investigation are

paradoxical. If we believe one vision of the facts is
credible rather than another, it evidently cannot be
friendship to make one change one's mind. This is elementary
and holds true for both the US and Italy.

The friendship between Italy and the US is not under
discussion. The alliance and the friendship with the United
states have solid foundations, foundations that we are
committed to consolidating every day against the threat of
totalitarianism and terrorism. Our friendship has overcome
even more difficult tests. To this day, Italy recognizes
itself in the Le Monde headline after the 9/11 tragedy that
read, "We are all Americans."

Our commitment to do what is possible to ascertain the truth
and possible responsibilities remains unchanged. It is a
commitment we intend to honor, first and foremost for the
respect we owe to the memory of Nicola Calipari. The Italian
judiciary can count on the firm support of the Government. I
want to free the ground from any misunderstanding: there is
no connection between the investigation into the
circumstances of the death of Calipari and the continuation
of the Italian commitment toward reconstruction in Iraq...We
do not intend to establish any kind of link between the
assessment of the event in which our official lost his life
and Italy's role in Iraq. Italy is in Iraq in compliance
with a UN Security Council Resolution.

End synopsis of transcript.

4. (U) In response to press questions after the debate,
Berlusconi said:

The Center-Left opposition's attitude was "responsible,"
because they did not place under discussion the alliance nor
the friendship with the US. The opposition continues to ask
for our withdrawal from Iraq, which is in the plans, in
agreement with the Iraq government and the allies. In the
past, we have made announcements to this effect and we hold
to this prospect. There is no reason today to say,
"everybody home." It would sound irresponsible and
incomprehensible. On the progressive withdrawal of troops
from Iraq we already announced our position some time ago.
We already discussed it with our main allies. We will
continue to talk with them. A progressive reduction of our
presence will certainly occur. I had even given an
indication of when. Everything will be in agreement with the
Iraqi government and with our allies. I even spoke about it
directly and personally with Bush and Blair. Therefore, we
continue in this direction. An international conference on
Iraq will soon take place. Italian efforts for the
reconstruction of Iraq are not isolated and even NATO and the
EU are now involved.

5. (S) COMMENT: Berlusconi's remarks, while reassuring on
Iraq and on US-Italy relations, also reflect a position he
and his government staked out on the Calipari case from the
beginning: a commitment to fix responsibility. Although this
commitment was not actually included in the joint
investigation's terms of reference, Berlusconi evidently felt
an obligation to adhere to it. We believe this was at the
heart of US-Italian disagreements over the joint
investigation conclusions and set the tone of both the
Italian report and Berlusconi's remarks to Parliament. In
particular, the determination to avoid any criticism of
Calipari's own role led the Italian government and
investigators to ignore a question that seemed obvious to the
US investigation: out of the 30 cars that came to the
blocking position, why was this the only car fired upon that
night? As in Reftel, we continue to urge Washington to
discourage USG spokespeople from point-by-point refutation of
the Italian report or Berlusconi's remarks. As much as
possible, we should allow our report to speak for itself on
our view of the incident. This will hasten the fading of the
case from the political radar screen.

6. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.

SEMBLER


NNNN
2005ROME01593 - Classification: SECRET

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