Monday, March 07, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena, Hostage Or Hoax

Suspicion continues to mount that Giuliana Sgrena, the journalist for the Italian Communist paper Il Manifesto, either faked her own abduction or became an accomplice after the fact with her jihadi captors. Today Giuliana Sgrena told her version of the dramatic story contradicting US military claims that her car was fired upon when it failed to slow down at a Coalition check point.

Bloomberg:``It wasn't a checkpoint, but a patrol that started shooting after pointing some lights in our direction,'' the Ansa news agency cited Sgrena as telling the prosecutors. ``We hadn't previously encountered any checkpoint and we didn't understand where the shots came from.''
As if on cue, Sgrena then goes on to say what we at The Jawa Report had been predicting she would say all along:
``I was never treated badly,'' Sgrena told her colleagues at Manifesto upon her arrival in Rome, according to Ansa.
The Italian left-wing, as predicted, has siezed upon Sgrena's ordeal today. The headline at Sgrena's own Communist paper shouts the headline that the Italian secret-service agent who had negotiated her release had been "Assassinated" by America.

NPR now reports that an anti-war rally is planned to celebrate Sgrena's release.

Many BLOGS have been predicting from day one that Sgrena would be released unharmed, and that on her release she would blame the US for her ordeal. The fact that her driver did not stop at a US checkpoint on a road scattered with checkpoints is more than a little odd--it is canny. How does a driver in Iraq not know that the rules of engagement for Coalition forces are to fire upon any car which does not stop when ordered to?
While the Italian people wish to know why the US fired upon Sgrena, we in the US want to know why it was the Sgrena's car did not stop when ordered to do so?
Sgrena, continues her anti-Amricanism (Reuters): "We thought the danger was over after my release to the Italians but all of a sudden there was this shoot-out, we were hit by a barrage of bullets," she told RAI TV by telephone.

Nicola Calipari, the senior secret service agent who had worked for her release, was telling her about what had been going on in Italy since her capture when the shooting started. "He leaned over me, probably to protect me, and then he slumped down, and I saw he was dead," said Sgrena. Doesn't this whole incident seem odd?

Sgena was kidnapped by her admitted friends in Iraq.

She was kidnapped while on the phone with another journalist.

A tape was released of her begging Italy to cave to the terrorists demands of pulling Italian troops out of Iraq the day before the Italian Senate was to vote on that very issue. On the tape Sgrena appears to tell the 'terrorist' holding the camera to stop. He follows her order as if she is directing. The tape came exactly two-weeks after she was captured. One month to the day after her abduction she is released. On the day of her release her car speeds toward a US checkpoint, fails to stop when ordered, fails to heed warning shots, and the car is ultimately fired upon. In the end, who looks like the bad guys? The terrorists? The jihadis? The 'insurgents'? No, the US. And what possible motivation, as I am frequently asked, might Sgrena have in being complicit in this whole thing?
Wired: "I don't believe a word of the American version," said Oliviero Diliberto, head of the Italian Communist party, part of the main left-wing block led byformer premier Romano Prodi. "The Americans deliberately fired on Italians. This is huge. All of the center-left must vote in parliament for the withdrawal of our troops." If one actually believes in the Left-wing version of the world than aiding Michael Moore's 'Minuteman' is not only the right thing to do, but a moral imperetive. Sgrena holds the world-view, as evidenced in her body of journalistic work, that America is the cause of all the problems in the world. She believes the US is exactly as Ward Churchill describes it. America is just like Nazi Germany. And Iraq? Iraq is an imperialistic move motivated by greed, the desire for hegemeny, and to bolster the Zionist-imperialists in Palestine. Iraq has been a blood-bath with tens of thousands of children dying so that the US could gain control over Mideast oil. Normally we don't go in for conspiracy theories. We hate them. We despise them. But the speculation that Sgrena collaborated with the 'minutemen' of Iraq in demanding that Italy withdraw from that country does not involve layer upon layer of cover-up. It requires a few people, none of them working in an official government capacity. And if you really believed all that the Left says about the US in Iraq, wouldn't it be your duty to fight the occupation? And if it is morally acceptable to kill in that resistance then surely the lesser crime of lying is also acceptable.
Guliana Sgrena, you are a liar and a propagandist. Why should we trust you now?
I hope Italian and US investigators do not simply take this enemy propagandists word for it. She is every bit a suspect as she is a victim. Let me also remind readers that Sgrena's car was shot at night. The DU is now filled with posters claiming Sgrena was shot because "she was brown, like the Iraqis" or that "the US will shoot any brown person". The soldiers could not have known who was in the car. They had no idea a hostile journalist was in the car, and they could have had no idea there was a 'brown person' in the car.
Lets clarify a few points:

1) Nobody is accusing the Italian secret-service to have been in on this. No one is saying that a giant conspiracy exists. What we are saying is that Sgrena was amongst friends if her hostage takers were terrorists. That a ransom was paid makes Italy a victim, not a co-conspirator.

2) When the word of a propagandist is pitted against the word of a US soldier, I am inclined to believe that of the soldier.

3) If the speculation that the whole thing was a hoax is wrong, so be it. However, ample evidence exists that Sgrena was really in no danger if it was jihadis responsible for her kidnapping. If however the kidnappers were simple criminals, then all this is wrong.