Monday, March 07, 2005


Giuliana Sgrena: "The Americans are against [paying ransoms]. For them, war is war, human life doesn't count for much."

Update: NBC'S Tom Aspell reported Monday morning that the controversial shooting happened at 9pm and that the checkpoint is on Baghdad's most dangerous road. Said Aspell, "they were excitedly talking in the car and didn't see the warnings. No one ever drives on that road, especially at night."

Giuliani Sgrena at the hands of her captors; she later praised them

The infamous shooting incident that involved the Italian hostage, Giuliana Sgrena, was a terrible event. The outpouring of grief for the slain Italian agent, Nicola Calipari, is justified.

However, the unrelenting outpouring of venom towards the United States regarding the shooting is not yet warranted. American politicians have become so media savvy over the years that none would dare make accusations, jump to conclusions or hurl invective before the facts are fully discovered. Italian politicians (especially the communist and socialist stalwarts) would be better served by holding their breaths for the time being.

It seems that a ransom was paid for Ms. Sgrena's release. The short-sighted policy of rewarding terrorist kidnappers only creates more opportunities to carry out further kidnappings. The United States does not compensate terrorist kidnappers for a reason. The American policy is not a cold-hearted one that lacks regard for human life as Sgrena claims.

The biggest instigator when it comes to poisoning Italian and American relations is Sgrena herself. Her comments while Mr. Calipari is lying in state are nothing short of disgusting.

1) Sgrena claimed that she was targeted deliberately

2) She criticized the American policy of not dealing with kidnapping terrorists

"The fact that the Americans don't want negotiations to free the hostages is known," she told Sky TG24 television by telephone, her voice hoarse and shaky. "The fact that they do everything to prevent the adoption of this practice to save the lives of people held hostage, everybody knows that. So I don't see why I should rule out that I could have been the target." AFR

3) She claimed that her kidnappers warned her that the Americans would target her for death. How a woman could claim that her terrorist kidnappers were looking out for her safety is beyond me.

"When they let me go, it was a difficult moment for me because they told me, 'The Americans don't want you to return alive to Italy'," she said in the interview aired last night. Ms Sgrena didn't elaborate and it wasn't clear if "they" referred to her captors. In an article published on Sunday, she said the captors had issued that warning, blindfolded her and driven her to a place to be released. She was turned over to Italian agents and they then set off for the airport. AFR

Even Ms. Sgrena's editor, Gabriele Polo got in on the act. He claimed that 300 to 400 rounds were fired into the car. If that were the case, no one would have emerged from the car alive. Gabriele Polo acted irresponsibly by speaking of essential facts of the case when he had no first-hand knowledge.

The fact is that checkpoints in Iraq are inherently dangerous operations. American soldiers carry out pre-approved procedures for how to deal with approaching vehicles. Perhaps someone should remind Ms. Sgrena how many Americans have been killed at checkpoints by speeding car bombs. Soldiers operating checkpoints do not have the luxury of waiting for a vehicle to get close enough so they can observe the passengers through the car windows.

Washington Times - Miss Sgrena, a reporter for the Communist daily Il Manifesto, charged yesterday that U.S. forces might have deliberately targeted her because Washington opposes Italy's policy of dealing with kidnappers.
There were conflicting reports on the extent to which Italian authorities had informed their American counterparts about the operation, in which a reported $6 million was paid for the journalist's release.

Italians kept U.S. forces in dark - The Washington Times: World - March 07, 2005


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