How US worked to get three soldiers off the hook for cameraman’s death

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December 2, 2010

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One of the biggest objectives at the US Embassy in Madrid over the past seven years has been trying to get the criminal case dropped against three US soldiers accused of the killing of a Spanish television cameraman.

According to a batch of secret cablegrams obtained by EL PAÍS through Wikileaks, US diplomats held a host of meetings about the case with then-Deputy Prime Minister María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the then-ministers of justice and foreign affairs, Juan Fernando López Aguilar and Miguel Ángel Moratinos, as well as Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido and High Court prosecutor Javier Zaragoza.

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The High Court has charged three soldiers – Sgt. Thomas Gibson, Capt. Philip Wolford and Col. Philip de Camp, all of the Third Infantry Division of the US Army – for the killing of Telecinco cameraman José Couso on April 8, 2003 during a tank shelling of the Hotel Palestine where he and other journalists were staying while they were covering the war in Baghdad. Also killed was a Reuters cameraman, Taras Protsyuk of Ukraine.

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