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Companion of Freed Italian Journalist Says U.S. Attack Was Deliberate
by sources
Saturday Mar 5th, 2005 7:06 PM
The U.S. attack on the convoy carrying freed Italian journalist, Giuliana Sgrena to the Baghdad airport and on to her home in Italy was "deliberate" according to Sgrena's companion, Pier Scolari. As Scolari was leaving the military hospital in Rome where the journalist is being treated he insisted that both the Americans and the Italians were well aware that she was travelling on that particular route to the airport.
Scolari went on to say that the shootings were deliberate. "They were 700 meters from the airport which means that they had passed all checkpoints," he stated adding, "Giuliana had information, and the US military did not want her to survive."

Scolari added, "(the) last 24 hours have been hell with the murderous attack of the armored Americans who shot 300-400 rounds against her car, without reason".

At the time of Sgrena's kidnapping in February she had been researching and writing articles focusing on the Fallujah refugees who were forced to seek shelter in a mosque in Baghdad.

Scolari went on to state that during the attack on Sgrena's convoy, officials from the office of the Italian prime minister were in constant phone contact with the secrect service agents who were escorting the freed journalist. Soon after the car began being bombarded with bullets, phone contact was cut off.

Sgrena, during an interview with an Italian television station said that her car was attacked by a "hail of bullets". One secret service agent was killed during the assault. Sgrena is reported to be in good condition but will require orthopaedic surgery in the near future.

http://www.halifaxlive.com/artman/publish/italian_050305_883310.shtml

Italy Outraged: Charge Freed Journo Shooting Deliberate

The United States military has pursued shoot to kill policies on independent journalists at least since the opening days of the Iraq war. Dozens have been killed- all regrettable "accidents of war." As Bush Himself says: "It's a dangerous place." Now, they've been outed by a survivor.

Despite the universal reprinting of Pentagon press releases by the US media--the Italian car carrying the hostage and her rescuers was speeding towards the checkpoint and refused to stop despite warning shots--the foreign press reports the truth. When the USG soldiers opened fire, the car was 700 yards from the airport and had passed all checkpoints. Giuliana Sgrena had helped expose Abu Graib and other US military crimes, including massacres in Fallujah, and she has much more to say. She is hated for not being embedded and FOXified, so they opened fire. One can never rule out a snafu--this is the government, after all--but the rest of the world sees it as an attempted hit. Thanks for the link to Kevin Thomson and the link and translation to Christopher Manion.

by sbs
Saturday Mar 5th, 2005 7:07 PM
The Italian journalist shot by US soldiers after being released by kidnappers in Baghdad has denied the military's claim that her car was speeding past a checkpoint when the troops opened fire.

"I was especially shocked because we thought that by then the danger was past," she said.

Giuliana Sgrena, a veteran correspondent for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, was speaking in Rome after being flown home.

She was admitted to hospital where she has undergone surgery for a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

Sgrena was released on Friday after a month in captivity.

An Italian secret service agent who'd helped negotiate her release was killed in the shooting incident on the notoriously dangerous Baghdad airport road.

Some Italian press reports say a ransom was paid for Sgrena's release.

Italy has demanded answers from the United States.

President Bush has promised a thorough investigation.

http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=106586®ion=3
by UK Guardian
Saturday Mar 5th, 2005 10:04 PM
Outrage as US soldiers kill hostage rescue hero

Bush promises Italian leader a full investigation

Philip Willan Rome
Sunday March 6, 2005
The Observer

The Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq arrived back in Rome yesterday as fury and confusion grew over the circumstances in which she was shot and one of her rescuers was killed by American soldiers.

The shooting in Iraq on Friday evening, which occurred as Giuliana Sgrena was being driven to freedom after being released by her captors, was fuelling anti-war activists in Italy and putting pressure on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

'The hardest moment was when I saw the person who had saved me die in my arms,' she said. Her poignant words and weak, haggard appearance as she had to be helped from the jet that brought her back from Baghdad are fuelling national rage.

Berlusconi, a staunch ally of the US who defied widespread public opposition to the Iraq war and sent 3,000 troops, took the rare step of summoning US ambassador Mel Sembler to his office.

He demanded that the US 'leave no stone unturned' in investigating the incident. President George Bush called Berlusconi to promise a full investigation.

Sgrena, 56, a journalist for the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto, was hit in the shoulder when US soldiers opened fire on the car she was travelling in as it approached a checkpoint less than a mile from Baghdad airport. The Italian secret service officer who had negotiated her release was killed as he shielded her from the gunfire. Two of his colleagues were also hurt.

Berlusconi prides himself on his close personal friendship with President George Bush, but he was grim-faced when he told reporters that someone would have to take responsibility 'for such a grave incident'.

The US Army claimed the Italians' vehicle had been seen as a threat because it was travelling at speed and failed to stop at the checkpoint despite warning shots being fired by the soldiers. A State Department official in Washington said the Italians had failed to inform the military of Sgrena's release.

Italian reconstruction of the incident is significantly different. Sgrena told colleagues the vehicle was not travelling fast and had already passed several checkpoints on its way to the airport. The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle. Rather than calling immediately for assistance for the wounded Italians, the soldiers' first move was to confiscate their weapons and mobile phones and they were prevented from resuming contact with Rome for more than an hour.

Enzo Bianco, the opposition head of the parliamentary committee that oversees Italy's secret services, described the American account as unbelievable. 'They talk of a car travelling at high speed, and that is not possible because there was heavy rain in Baghdad and you can't travel at speed on that road,' Bianco said. 'They speak of an order to stop, but we're not sure that happened.'

Pier Scolari, Sgrena's partner who flew to Baghdad to collect her, put an even more sinister construction on the events, suggesting in a television interview that Sgrena was the victim of a deliberate ambush. 'Giuliana may have received information which led to the soldiers not wanting her to leave Iraq alive,' he claimed.

Sgrena was kidnapped on 4 February as she interviewed refugees from Falluja near a Baghdad mosque. Two weeks later her captors issued a video of her weeping and pleading for help, calling on all foreigners to leave Iraq. Italian journalists were subsequently withdrawn from the city after intelligence warnings of a heightened threat to their safety.

Italian newspapers reported yesterday that Sgrena had been in the hands of former Saddam loyalists and criminals, and that a ransom of between £4 million and £5 million had been paid for her release. The military intelligence officer who lost his life, Nicola Calipari, 51, was hailed as a national hero.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1431436,00.html
by ana
Sunday Mar 6th, 2005 6:00 PM
NEWS: Italian reporter's companion tells press Americans hoped she'd be killed  
 
 


Written by Mark Jensen  




Saturday, 05 March 2005

The web site of TF1, France's most popular television network, reported Saturday that as Giuliana Sgrena returned to Rome Saturday morning, her companion told the press that "the American military didn't want her to get out alive" because she was in possession of information embarrassing to the United States.[1]  --  The common joy at her liberation quickly degenerated into a political confrontation in Italy, whose population has never been in favor of the government's support for military intervention in Iraq.  --  An earlier report from Libération (Paris) evoked the "confusion" in Rome Friday night as news of the tragedy reached Italians.[2] ...


1.

[Translated from the web site of TF1]

World

'THE AMERICANS DIDN'T WANT GIULIANA TO GET OUT'

** Pier Scolari, the companion of the Italian reporter liberated Friday in Iraq, says that American soldiers had been informed about that the car heading for the Baghdad airport was passing through. Giuliana Sgrena was wounded and the leader of the team of Italian intelligence agents accompanying her was killed. Italy is demanding an explanation from the United States **

TF1
March 5, 2005

http://news.tf1.fr/news/monde/0,,3205999,00.html

After relief mixed with sadness comes polemic. Pier Scolari, Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena's companion, said Saturday that "the American military didn't want her to get out alive" because she had information embarrassing to the United States. When she was taken hostage last Feb. 4, the reporter was preparing an article on refugees from Fallujah who had taken shelter in a Baghdad mosque following American bombing of the Sunni bastion.

"RAIN OF FIRE"

Giuliana Sgrena, 56, was freed Friday evening after a month of captivity. But on the road to the Baghdad airport, her car was fired upon by American soldiers. The journalist was wounded, and Nicola Calipari, 51, the head of the team of Italian intelligence agents accompanying her, was killed. According to Pier Scolari, "The Americans and the Italians had been advised the car was coming through. They were 700 meters from the airport, which means they'd gone through all the checkpoints."

A "rain of fire" hit the car "at the very moment when I was talking to Nicola Calipari," she said by telephone to the TV station RaiNews24 from the Celio military hospital, were she was taken after her return to Rome at morning's end. "We weren't going very fast, given the circumstances. . . . The firing continued. The driver couldn't even explain that we were Italian," added the journalist. "The whole fusillade was heard live by the Council presidency, which was on the phone with one of the members of the special forces. Then the American soldiers confiscated and shut off the cell phones," added Pier Scolari.

ITALIAN-AMERICAN TENSIONS

Carlo Ciampi, the head of state, demanded an explanation from Washington. "Like all Italians, we are waiting for clarification from the United States on this painful tragedy," he announced Saturday morning. It was clear that Carlo Ciampi found inadequate the regrets expressed Friday evening by President George W. Bush in a five-minute telephone conversation with Silvio Berlusconi.

"The president has every reason to demand an explanation, because the United States is responsible for the death of Nicola Calipari. The only thing to do now is to withdraw our troops from Iraq," said Fausto Berinotti, the secretary general of the Party for Communist Refoundation. The incident, attributed to "destiny" by Gianfranco Fini, the head of Italian diplomacy, has degenerated into a new confrontation over the Italian military presence in Iraq between the left opposition and the right, which is in power. And it brought back to the surface anti-American resentment, which has often been expressed since President Bush's decision to intervene militarily in Iraq.

"THEY NEVER MISTREATED ME"

Wounded, tired, but free, the Italian ex-hostage was taken, as soon as she returned to Rome Saturday morning, to a military hospital for treatment. Her shoulder in a sling, the journalist walked down the ramp leaning on two people, one of whom was her companion Pier Scolari, who had gone to retrieve her in a Falcon 900 lent by the Italian government. Many colleagues, political figures like Silvio Berlusconi, the president of the Italian Council, and the chiefs of the Italian special forces also went to Ciampino on Saturday. "They never mistreated me," she said of her captors to colleagues from the newspaper Il Manifesto, who had come to greet her. "The hardest moment was when I saw the person who had saved me die in my arms," she said to Pier Scolari, her companion.

2.

[Translated from Libération (Paris)]

Top Stories

Hostages

GIULIANA SGRENA LIBERATED UNDER FIRE
By Eric Jozsef

Libération (Paris)
March 5, 2005

http://www.liberation.com/page.php?Article=280211

ROME -- Released on Friday, exactly one month after her kidnapping on Feb. 4 in the center of Baghdad, the daily Il Manifesto's special correspondent Giuliana Sgrena was wounded by American fire several hours after her liberation. The chief of the Italian intelligence team in Iraq, Nicola Calipari, who was with her, was killed. As the Italian soldiers were on their way from the Iraqi capital to the airport, where a military plane was waiting to take her straight back to Rome, a barrage of American soldiers opened fire on the convoy. In addition to the officer killed, another Italian soldier was wounded, and Giuliana Sgrena was shot in the shoulder. She was taken to the emergency room of an American hospital in Baghdad.

In Italy Friday evening, the greatest confusion reigned concerning these events, in particular concerning the hail of bullets. Toward the end of the afternoon, Al Jazeera television announced the freeing of Giuliana Sgrena, of whom no news had been received since Feb. 16, when a videocassette was broadcast in which, visibly distraught, she asked several times, in tears, for the Italian contingent to be withdrawn from Iraq. Since then, the mysterious "Mujahideen Without Borders," an organization not heretofore known, had given no further sign. But the government pursued negotiations on the sidelines. Friday evening, in a videorecording recorded by her kidnappers and broadcast by Al Jazeera, Giuliana Sgrena, in a black dress before a basket of fruit, said only that her captors "had kidnapped her because they were determined to free their land of occupation," and specifying that she had been well treated.

EUPHORIA

A few minutes after the broadcast of the news of the liberation by Al Jazeera, Il Manifesto, informed by the council presidency, confirmed the news of her liberation, as did the head of state, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who, just last Wednesday, had issued a solemn appeal: "Free Giuliana and Florence Aubenas, their liberation would be a good thing for everyone and above all for the future of Iraq."

Throughout Italy, which since Feb. 4 had intensely mobilized to demand that the hostages be liberated, in particular by means of a gigantic demonstration on Feb. 19 in the streets of Rome, the news caused a genuine moment of euphoria, with Italy's political class unanimously hailing the dénouement. As a sign of celebration, Rome's mayor, Walter Veltroni, announced that the Coliseum would be lit all night. Simultaneously, Gabriele Polo, editor-in-chief of Il Manifesto, was received by Council President Silvio Berlusconi.
by JA
Sunday Mar 6th, 2005 8:58 PM
Democracy Now / The Nation:

"SHOOTING THE MESSENGER"
by Democracy Now's Jeremy Scahill

http://www.democracynow.org/static/Eason_Jordan.shtml


The Nation:

"AL-JAZEERA GOES TO JAIL"
by Chrisian Parenti

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040329&s=parenti


CounterPunch:

ANTI-BLACKISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE EAST BAY:
NOTES FROM JOSEPH ANDERSON
by Joseph Anderson

http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn08282004.html


-

The only version of "Truth" permitted is from the U.S. govt and U.S. corporate media -- oh, and the Zionist lobby.
by JA
Sunday Mar 6th, 2005 9:12 PM
THAT'S HOW THE U.S. GOVT/MILITARY LIE AND BEHAVE!


AND THAT'S WHY I **OPENLY** SUPPORT THE IRAQI RESISTANCE!

THERE'S ONLY ONE LANGUAGE THAT "SAM" UNDERSTANDS!

IRAQ IS ARABIC FOR *VIETNAM*!

THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS BETWEEN US AND PERPETUAL IMPERIALIST WAR IS THE BRAVE IRAQI RESISTANCE!
by Nexus
Monday Mar 7th, 2005 7:00 AM
If this attack was delibrate, how do you suppose the solders knew that particular car carried this woman? If the car was riddled with 300-400 bullets, how is it anyone survived? Why not just finish her off when the car was stopped? Why take her to a hospital and save her life? How would wounding her prevent any government from negotiating for the release of captives? Why not make it look like insurgents had attacked the car? Wouldn't that be more effective?
by : >)
Monday Mar 7th, 2005 5:44 PM
You people really are stupid idiots
by Joel
Sunday Mar 20th, 2005 10:03 AM
Did mommy and daddy not love you? I see your posts and you are one angry individual. Like White Cops in the Ghetto? Is everbody in your world a corrupt racist out to hold you down and keep you from your dream?

I see a world with a few really nasty, evil pricks, follwed by a whole lot of lazy or criminally stupid people and a lot of good folks who have a bad day every now and then. I see lapses of judgement tempered with some greed, but you seem to see plots for world domination in everything. Why is that?

I fully expect you to respoind in the usual manner, racial slurs and the like.
Your buddy
Joel
by .
Sunday Mar 20th, 2005 10:16 AM



Letters From Paris
Sleight Of Hand
Carlos Semprún Maura
«No one had ever reached the shameful heights of Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena, who stated that her kidnappers treated her quite well and that she too held a profound hatred of “Yankee imperialism".»My readers will have noted the skill with which left wing spin doctors have transformed Islamic terrorists in Iraq, and everywhere else, into innocent victims and Americans into professional criminals bent on murdering “whoever, wherever”. This was proved once more in the sinister soap operas of kidnappings, slaughter, beheadings, blackmail and daily mortar attacks of which only the “gringos” are guilty while the true assassins are judged respectable and sympathetic, invited to roundtable discussions and to mutilate their women’s genitals.

But <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->no one had ever reached the shameful heights of Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena. She said her kidnappers treated her quite well and that she shared with them a profound hatred of “Yankee imperialism”. She accused American soldiers of shooting to kill her because she is (this is too rich) a symbol of, and sturdy pillar in, the fight to the death against this imperialism. And this is how a few reckless drivers going too fast and ignoring stop signs and some soldiers firing perhaps a little too soon turned this “war accident” into a crime against Humanity. Let’s not forget where these lies come from: none other that Il Manifesto, a communist daily acting as Bin Laden’s mouthpiece for the Italian left, a bunch for whom facts have absolutely no value while “classy lies” become holy truths.

Moving on to the trivial, there is a mysterious and delightful robbery in Paris whose ending is still up in the air: the 2003 tax returns for the illustrious Hervé Gaymard, former Economy Minister recently deposed for lying about his real estate holdings, Claudie Haigneré, another ex-Minister, Claude Chirac, daughter and dreadful advisor to the President, Laurent Fabius and Lionel Jospin, both former socialist Prime Ministers, Robert Badinter, ex-Justice Minister and socialist senator, have all disappeared. More famous names will probably emerge soon. It seems that while average citizens’ tax returns can be examined, alpha-men and women’s returns are confidential to protect them from possible media nastiness. Only high ranking civil servants in the Revenue Minister have access to them. What might be exposed? That they are all richer than they declare? Not much of a discovery. I pointed out in my last letter that the European referendum would take place June 5th. Well if I can trust a morning radio show I listen to, I was wrong. It will be May 29th. My mistake makes little difference. What is important is that the polls show the “No” vote rising, though still not enough.

On the menu for my next letter will be school demonstrations, investigative police demonstrations, transportation strikes and growing unemployment. Not to worry, everything is under control.