Monday, May 02, 2005

Sgrena : Army Report Admits Forensics not Preserved

Classified material within an U.S. Army report on the shooting of Italian journalist, Guiliana Sgrena has been recovered from an unclassified PDF file.

It seems the Army does not realize that one can recover blanked out data in standard PDFs.

Which seems suspiciously dumb -even for the Army.

Perhaps they wanted this material leaked to try bolster the official line on the killing. But, turning a focus on the official report may backfire. Here's why:

The most damaging admission -in an otherwise standard whitewash of the event- is that vital forensic information was renderd moot by a failure to preserve the forensic integrity of the shooting scene. By comparison, this is like running a vaccum cleaner over a murder scene -before the CSI team show up.

Apparently, the main excuse is that the scene of the wounding of an internationally known Italian journalist and the killing of an Italian military intelligence officer with the rank of Major General was hastily "not deemed to be a crime scene". Thus facilitating the loss of key evidence -in order to get the traffic running smoothly.

Here are some relevant sections of the "leaked" report:
Ideally, the scene of the incident would have been preserved as it existed immediately after the shooting was over and the car had stopped. Doing so would have allowed the initial investigators to get precise measurements on the distances and locations of the significant objects involved in the event....

An initial on-site investigation was conducted, but... both HMMWVs involved in the blocking position were moved to transport Ms. Sgrena to the Combat Support Hospital in the International Zone. Further, the scene was not deemed to be a crime scene, and efforts were made to clear the roadway. As a result, the car was moved from its position... before a location using a global positioning system could be obtained...

These factors limited the forensic team’s ability to conduct an on-site, in-depth analysis, although extensive tests were performed on Camp Victory. As a result, the forensic studies of the car could not be as conclusive as they normally would be...
A further key excuse is that the failuse to do on-scene forensic analysis of bullet trajectories, etc. -was because of the "inherent danger in the vicinity." The report says:
A further constraint was the inability to reconstruct the event so as to provide accurate data for forensic analysis of bullet trajectory, speed of the vehicle, and stopping distance due to the inherent danger in the vicinity of the incident location. This was made evident during a site visit by the Joint Investigation Team when a hand grenade was thrown (from the Route Vernon overpass) at the Team’s vehicles as members were boarding, injuring one Soldier....
So the entire might of the U.S. Army were unable to secure the scene for investigation, because someone threw a grenade at the investigators and they gave up.

After the scene had already been deemed not a crime scene -thus destroying vital evidence.

Give us a break. Please.


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