Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Will Italians forgive? U.S. Forces Fired on Car Carrying Freed Italian Hostage in Iraq

by AP
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- American troops fired on a car rushing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena to freedom on Friday after a month in captivity, killing the Italian intelligence officer who helped negotiate her release and wounding the reporter in another friendly-fire tragedy at a U.S. checkpoint.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of the United States who has kept Italian troops in Iraq despite public opposition at home, demanded an explanation ``for such a serious incident, for which someone must take the responsibility.''

The U.S. military said the car was speeding as it approached a coalition checkpoint in western Baghdad at 8:55 p.m. It said soldiers shot into the engine block only after trying to warn the driver to stop by ``hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots.''

The Americans said two people were wounded, but Berlusconi said there were three -- Sgrena and two intelligence officers. One of the officers was in serious condition with an apparent lung injury, according to the Apcom news agency in Italy. The U.S. military said Army medics treated a wounded man but that ``he refused medical evacuation for further assistance.''

The intelligence agent was killed when he threw himself over Sgrena to protect her from U.S. fire, Apcom quoted Gabriele Polo, the editor of the leftist Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, as saying. Sgrena works for Il Manifesto.

Berlusconi identified the dead intelligence officer as Nicola Calipari and said he had been at the forefront of negotiations with the kidnappers. The prime minister said Calipari had been involved in the release of other Italian hostages in Iraq in the past.

U.S. troops took Sgrena to an American military hospital, where shrapnel was removed from her left shoulder. Apcom said Sgrena was fit to travel and would return to Rome on Saturday.

Sgrena, 56, was abducted Feb. 4 by gunmen who blocked her car outside Baghdad University. Last month, she was shown in a video pleading for her life and demanding that all foreign troops -- including Italian forces -- leave Iraq.

Berlusconi said he had been celebrating Sgrena's release with the editor of Il Manifesto, and with Sgrena's boyfriend, Pier Scolari, when he took a phone call from an agent who informed them of the shooting.

``It's a shame that the joy we all felt was turned into tragedy,'' Berlusconi said.

The shooting came as a blow to Berlusconi, who has kept 3,000 troops in Iraq despite strong opposition in Italy. The shooting was likely to set off new protests in Italy, where tens of thousands have regularly turned out on the streets to protest the Iraq war. Sgrena's newspaper was a loud opponent of the war.

``Another victim of an absurd war,'' Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, leader of the Green Party, told Apcom.

``It's incredible that a man who was busying himself with the difficult task of saving a life was killed by those who say they are in Iraq to safeguard the life of civilians,'' said Piero Fassino, leader of the Democratic Party of the Left.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said ``details are still unclear'' but ``we regret the loss of life.''

``We are coordinating closely with Italian authorities in Iraq to investigate the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the Italian citizen,'' McClellan said.

Iraqis have reported numerous incidents where confusion at U.S. checkpoints has led to U.S. soldiers killing innocent civilians.

In a 2003 friendly-fire incident involving Italians, American soldiers in northern Iraq shot at a car carrying the Italian official heading up U.S. efforts to recover Iraq's looted antiquities. Pietro Cordone, the top Italian diplomat in Iraq, was unhurt, but his Iraqi translator was killed.

Cordone, also the senior adviser for cultural affairs of the U.S. provisional authority, was traveling on the road between Mosul and Tikrit when his car was fired on at a U.S. roadblock, according to an Italian Foreign Ministry official.

Also Friday, four U.S. soldiers were killed west of the capital in sprawling Anbar province, where American troops launched a massive sweep two weeks ago to root out insurgents, the military said. The soldiers, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, were killed ``while conducting security and stability operations.''

The circumstances of Sgrena's release from captivity were unclear.

The Italian government announced earlier Friday that Sgrena had been freed, prompting expressions of joy and relief from officials and her family.

Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini expressed ``great joy and enormous satisfaction,'' the ANSA news agency said.

The reporter's father was so overwhelmed by the news that he needed assistance from a doctor, ANSA said. ``This is an exceptional day,'' Franco Sgrena was quoted as saying.

At Il Manifesto's offices, reporters toasted the release with champagne.

On Feb. 19, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Rome waving rainbow peace flags to press for Sgrena's release. Il Manifesto and Sgrena's boyfriend organized the march.

About 200 foreigners have been abducted in Iraq in the past year, and more than 30 of the hostages were killed.

Another European reporter, Florence Aubenas, a veteran war correspondent for France's leftist daily Liberation, is still being held in Iraq. Aubenas and her interpreter, Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi, disappeared nearly two months ago.


by BBC (reposted)
Saturday's Italian papers are dismayed at the tragic sequence of events that followed the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena, held hostage by insurgents in Iraq for a month.

"Giuliana Sgrena is free - her liberator is murdered," reads the simple, uncompromising headline in Il Manifesto, the Rome daily for which Ms Sgrena works.

"A hero dies to save Giuliana" is the message on the front page of another Rome paper, Il Messaggero.

For Sergio Romano, a former ambassador writing in the Milan daily Corriere della Sera, many of the events surrounding Ms Sgrena's abduction and release remain "murky". But one issue is quite clear.

"Like all hostages," he says, "Giuliana Sgrena has been used."

The journalist's kidnappers were, Mr Romano believes, not alone in exploiting her. Her case was also used by Italian left-wingers who "transformed the country's pity into demonstrations for peace".

Ultimately, he adds, Ms Sgrena fell victim to the US troops who shot at the car in which she was travelling, killing one of the Italian security agents escorting her.

But Mr Romano insists the "tragic outcome" of her abduction should not be allowed to fuel anti-US sentiment in Italy.

"We would not like Giuliana Sgrena, at the very moment in which she has found her freedom once again, to become a hostage to our worst kind of politics," he says.

'High price'

In Turin's La Stampa, Lucia Annunziata also senses the episode may place considerable strain on the "carefully woven" relationship between Italy and the US.

"If Washington has any skilled diplomats between Rome and Iraq," she says, "it would be well advised to activate them at once."

And the political repercussions within Italy, for government and opposition alike, are likely to be just as serious, she says.

"The government is paying a high price for this tragic conclusion: it has lost one of its men and is on a collision course with its own allies," warns Ms Annunziata, former chairwoman of the state broadcaster Rai.

"But the Left, too, is in danger of reacting by falling back on phobias rather than theories."

But it is Ms Sgrena's newspaper which best reflects the mixed emotions triggered by the nature of her release.

A first draft of Il Manifesto featured a cartoon of a man hugging a dove with an olive twig in its beak, accompanied by the caption "You've brought her back to us."

But the cartoon was redrawn for later editions, with the dove shown dragging itself along the floor in a pool of blood.
by AmigaPhil
(Image from Micah Wright's Propaganda Remix collection)
by karl roenfanz ( rosey ) (k_rosey48@
think about the history of the "war" in iraq. u.s. forces have been killing reporters not in bed with u.s. forces. back in the early days of the battle of bagdad, even the reporters who gave their locations to the u.s. forces were shot at or killed.
by JA

Democracy Now / The Nation:

by Democracy Now's Jeremy Scahill

The Nation:

by Chrisian Parenti


by Joseph Anderson


The only version of "Truth" permitted is that from the U.S. govt and U.S. corporate media -- oh, and the Zionist lobby.


by whats worse?
In terms of how Iraqis see the war, is deliberate targetting of foreign journalists or random shootings because of a total disregard for Iraqi lives worse? The tendency for the radical left to portray the US government as all powerful and assume motive behind accident is often self defeating. Iraqis would probably support the US more if it started acting like Saddam Hussein and only killed dissidents; at least then people would know where they stood and while there wouldnt be freedom you could avoid getting shot by keeping your head down. While the US and the current puppet government do torture and kill those they suspect of dissent, they also torture and kill randomly and it was by torturing supporters of the US invasion and killing familly memebrs of those who supported the US that the resistance grew to what it is today. When the US attacks AL Jazeera its expected but when the US accidently killed the children of the head of the US backed state TV station last year the effect on public opinion was more tangible. Viewing the US government as run by evil geniuses conspiring for world domination may seem worse than seeing it as a bunch of bumbiling idiots with a huge amount of power but little control over how the power effects the world. But, stop for a second and think of which view of the world is more scary? If you are walking down a dark alley who would you be more afraid of, a mobster with a gun who will shoot you if you crossed him or a crazy person with a gun who might shoot you for no apparent reason. The radical myth of US omniscience only helps to prop up US power since for most poeple the idea of a controlled but dominated world is comforting compared to our unfortunate reality.
by against memory hole
The guardian, Sunday March 23, 2003:

ITN said this afternoon that an ITV News crew came under
fire at Iman Anas, near Basra as they drove towards the
city in two vehicles.
One of the crew, Daniel Demoustier was injured but was
able to get to safety. This afternoon he spoke to the
ITV News Channel. Below is a transcript of his statement.
"What you do is you check, you know driving like that.
You wait, you go step by step, you see, you judge the
situation, you drive through. There was a lot of
civilians on the street, of course we saw tanks burning,
we saw trucks burning, Iraqi trucks, helmets, lots of
signs of heavy fighting from probably last night. But it
looked like it was pretty under control now. And so you
move step by step. And we put big TV signs of course on
the car everywhere and we continued on the roads.
"We passed on the left hand side a big British artillery
position tanks and right outside were some Americans and
we drive a bit further on the road and then there is a
bridge and almost when we got to the bridge we saw some
Iraqi soldiers coming towards our direction. They were
still carrying weapons. So I thought it was a better
idea to do a 'u-ie' and turn back straight away, so
that's what we did. We turned back.
"We were in two vehicles, I was driving the first vehicle
with my correspondent Terry Lloyd, and driving back I
could see in the mirror that there were actually two
Iraqi vehicles following us, and this happened only for a
couple of miles distance actually. And they overtook us
and they were doing signs and saying thumbs up that way,
and it looked like to me that wanted to give themselves
up, using us as a cover, or something like that. But that
same moment, very heavy gun fire started towards my car
from the right hand side and I had to duck down straight
away - windows exploding, everything exploding inside the
car, a split second and I looked to the right and the
right door where my correspondent was and it was open and
he was not there anymore. So I really sincerely hope he
managed to jump out of the car. I steered the car down
into the ditch about 200m further. They kept firing on us
and then it took [caught] fire and I jumped out and went
in a ditch and then the car blew up completely - we have
petrol on the roof and stuff.
"And then I had to wait and stay in a ditch for a while.
I judged the situation, I could see that the second car
was unharmed. The Iraqi car was blown up as well, there
was some shouting and screaming, I think there were some
wounded people. Some civilians, and at the same time
normal traffic was still going on - civilian traffic on
that road. But some people stopped and they tried to
help the wounded people and an ambulance arrived from
Basra probably, took some wounded people away, and took
off again in the direction of Basra.
"I tried at some stage to move some direction and a little
minibus - an Iraqi minibus arrived. They stopped, they
signed me that 'you can come in my car' so I tried to get
up out of the ditch, get in that car. But then they
started shooting at that car as well so we had to run for
cover, everyone out of the bus, back in the ditch.
"And then they drove off and I stayed back again and then
at some stage, about half an hour later or so, I saw
another press vehicle arriving with colleagues from the
Mail on Sunday. And they just arrived on the scene and I
took a run to that car and they got me out."

AFP AND REUTERS, Monday, Mar 24, 2003:

Journalist Terry Lloyd, 51, cameraman Fred Nerac and translator
Hussein Othman, 28, a Lebanese resident in Kuwait, went missing
as they were traveling to the southeast Iraqi city of Basra,
the immediate objective of US-led forces invading Iraq, Lloyd's
employer ITN television news said.
Another cameraman in the crew, Daniel Demoustier, was injured
in the incident at the town of Iman Anas, but was able to get
to safety.
Jones said in an article for her paper that Demoustier told her
his crew's Jeeps had been fired on by tanks while they were
trying to drive away from a group of Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqis
had apparently been trying to surrender.
"Immediately the allied tanks started heavy firing directly at
us. Rounds were coming straight at the Jeep, smashing the
windows and puncturing holes in the bodywork," Demoustier was
quoted as saying.
"Then the whole car was on fire. We were enveloped in flames.
It was terrifying.
"I'm so angry that we were fired on by the allies. The Iraqis
must have been their real target but I'm sure they were
surrendering -- and anyway they were all dead within minutes."

We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$ 25.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network