Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Spanish judge reinstated charges Thursday against three American soldiers in the death of a Spanish journalist covering the Iraq invasion in 2003.

Judge Santiago Pedraz said he had obtained new testimony from witnesses contradicting the U.S. argument that the tank crew was responding to hostile fire when it shot at a Baghdad hotel housing Western journalists.

[...] These reporters — Jon Sistiaga, Olga Rodriguez and Jesus Quinonero — testified that the tank had not come under fire before shooting at the Palestine Hotel. They said that morning of April 8, 2003 was particularly quiet outside the hotel, the judge wrote.

"There was nothing to film. It was a rather calm morning, and that is why they were all standing by the window," the judge wrote.

"Obviously, this contradicts the argument that the company was under strong enemy fire," the judge wrote.
I also remember some journalists who were at the Palestine hotel back then that they day of the incident they didn't hear the shell that impacted on the 14th floor where Couso was killed, but somehow they were totally, positively sure that there hadn't been any fire whatsoever aimed at the US tank from the rooftop, several floors above the 14th. Somebody explain this to me, please, how could they hear nothing of the big shell blast, but were so sure that there had been no other fire from the hotel.

In any case, if this contradicts the argument that the US company was under strong enemy fire, I'd challenge the Spanish judge to get the testimony of Jules Crittenden, who was with the US company at that very moment, and who has offered to come to Spain to testify. C'mon, judge.

UPDATE. Jules Crittenden has much more on this.