February 05, 2005

Italian Hostage: Hoax or the Fruits of anti-American Activism?

UPDATE 2/07/05: Italian Hostage Hoax: Terrorists to Release Giuliana Sgrena
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The mystery surrounding the abduction of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena deepened today as Italy promised to negotiate with terrorists for her release. Yesterday we reported that something seemed a little odd about her abduction.

First, she was abducted while conducting interviews with refugees from Fallujah in Baghdad. Having read some of Sgrena's work in the past, there is very little doubt that the emphasis of the story would be on the horrors inflicted on that city by the American troops. Ms. Sgrena is an anti-war activist with journalistic credentials.

Second, she just happened to be on the phone with another journalist Barbara Schiavulliduring the abduction. Ms. Schiavulli recently interviewed the terrorist Abu Abid in the Gaza strip. Today, Schiavulli received this mysterious phone call. Reuters:

A friend of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped in Baghdad on Friday, received a call on Saturday from Sgrena's telephone but it was unclear who was at the other end of the line. Barbara Schiavulli, a correspondent for Italian radio news agency GRT, saw Sgrena's number appear on her telephone screen but when she answered she heard only Arab music and no one spoke, an editor at GRT in Rome said.

"The call lasted only a short moment and then the line was cut off. Barbara tried to call back but she couldn't get through. It was impossible to know if the call was intentional or if it was an accident," Simona D'Alessio told Reuters.

Then there is this report that two Iraqis working with Ms. Sgrena are being held by the police. News 24:
Iraqi police are holding two companions of kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena for questioning about her abduction, officials said Saturday.

Interior Ministry official Sabah Khazim said that the two were held for questioning "so that we can have a clear idea about the circumstances of the abduction of the Italian journalist and they will be released soon".

Colonel Adnan Abdul Rahman, another Interior Ministry official, said authorities wanted to gather as many details as possible from the two.

The officials would not identify the pair but sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they included her driver and interpreter.

There is also the generic name of the terrorist group said to be holding Sgrena, The Islamic Jihad Organization.

From Ms. Sgrena's history two things become clear. One, she has a long history of opposing U.S. military force and chooses to emphasize the innocent casualties of war rather than the innocent casualties of the evil regimes these wars topple. Two, her anti-war focus brings her into close proximity with terrorists and their sympathizers.

What kind of people, exactly, did Giuliana Sgrena think she was hanging around with? Unlike hostages such as American Roy Hallums or Italian reporter Enzo Baldoni, Sgrena was not in Iraq to help with reconstruction and abducted from her home. She was interviewing people who think that the Americans were the bad guys.

The leftist world-view is unified by only one theme: America is the bad guy. When seen from this view then it is perfectly logical to see terrorists in Iraq as 'partisans' or 'resistance fighters'. Sgrena seems to be the victim of her own naivity about those who are resisting America's efforts to build a democratic Iraq. Or worse.

Could her own sympathies with the 'resistance' lead her to stage her own abduction? The coming weeks will tell.

More on Sgrena from the pro-terrorist al Jazeera:

Giuliana Sgrena, 56, a veteran Middle East correspondent for the leftist Il Manifesto daily...

Within hours, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said talks had begun to try to secure her release, as the so-called Islamic Jihad Organisation handed him a chilling 72-hour deadline to pull his 3000 troops out of Iraq.

"The negotiating machinery has been set in motion," Berlusconi told a meeting of his ruling party, Forza Italia, hoping that it would be possible "to achieve a solution quickly". ...

Sent to Baghdad to cover Sunday's elections, Sgrena was described by colleagues as an Arabic-speaking feminist with a passionate interest in Islam...

"Giuliana is petite, reserved and the complete opposite of what you'd image a war correspondent to be, but she fears nothing," said her editor Loris Campetti.

"She has very good contacts in Baghdad, including with the ulamas [Muslim clergy], and is against the war, in keeping with the Manifesto line. She was never embedded and wrote very personal and documented reports."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:25 AM | Comments |