March 07, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena Admits to Helping Terrorists, Lies About Shooting (UPDATED)

Here is some of Sgrena's interview with the BBC. You be the judge:

--What did your captors tell you when you were hostage?

That I needed to help them to ask [Silvio] Berlusconi to withdraw the troops. They saw all what happens in Italy, demonstrations against the occupation, demonstrations for my liberation. And so they [became] aware that I was really working against the occupation and people were supporting me and so they told me: "We have seen that you are very appreciated in Italy". And that helped me to be freed.

--Tell us about the car journey you shared with him.

We were on our way to the airport when the tanks started to strike against us and he tried to cover me and he was shot. He died and, me, I was safe but he was dead. [Sgrena now changes her story. It was tanks that fired on the car?]

Editorial update---Check what Sgrena says in this account:
The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle.
As Charles Johnson says it "Three hundred to four hundred rounds from an armored vehicle ... and there were survivors? OK, go ahead, pull my other leg." Update within an update: Digger notes that the Bonnie and Clyde car was shot about the same number of times but the bodies had 50 bullets in each. Compare that to the man who died. A single wound to the head.

Further, this contradiction from one story to another. BBC:

They started to shoot at us without any light or signal.
vs Guardian
The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired.

More from Sgrena:

--Do you think it was deliberate?

I can't say it was deliberate because we can't say if there was a lack of information. But also a lack of information in this case is [their] responsibility because you are in a war field and you have the responsibility to pass immediately any information.

However, look at what Sgrena says here in her own publication (via Chad at In the Bullpen):
"Everyone knows that the Americans do not like negotiations to free hostages, and because of this I don't see why I should exclude the possibility of me having been the target," she said.

And writing in her left-wing Il Manifesto newspaper, she said upon her release her kidnappers warned her to be careful 'because there are Americans who don't want you to go back'."

Off to edumacate the masses. Will update later.

UPDATE: CNN translates Sgrena's Il Manifesto article (ht: Secure Liberty who got the link from Captain Ed):

I learned to understand what was going on by the behavior of my two guards, the two guards that had me under custody every day. One in particular showed much attention to my desires. He was incredibly cheerful. To understand exactly what was going on I provocatively asked him if he was happy because I was going or because I was staying. ...

I experienced a strange sensation because that word evoked in me freedom but also projected in me an immense sense of emptiness. I understood that it was the most difficult moment of my kidnapping and that if everything I had just experienced until then was "certain," now a huge vacuum of uncertainty was opening, one heavier than the other.

Sounds like your life was really threatened to me. The Italian people deserve to know if the $6 million spent (via Pirate's Cove) on her release came from private or public sources. How is spending that much money justified if she was not in any danger at any time? Further, the money will now be spent on IEDs and other devices which will lead to more death and destruction.

Sgrena's article continues:

They came back: "We'll take you and don't give any signals of your presence with us otherwise the Americans could intervene." It was confirmation that I didn't want to hear; it was altogether the most happy and most dangerous moment. If we bumped into someone, meaning American military, there would have been an exchange of fire. My captors were ready and would have answered. My eyes had to be covered. I was already getting used to momentary blindness.
Notice how she equivocates here? The terrorists would simply fire back....they were forced to put a blind fold on her...none of this is their fault...it is the fault of the Americans.
The car kept on the road, going under an underpass full of puddles and almost losing control to avoid them. We all incredibly laughed. It was liberating. Losing control of the car in a street full of water in Baghdad and maybe wind up in a bad car accident after all I had been through would really be a tale I would not be able to tell.
As Captain Ed rightly notes "So they drove through Baghdad fast enough to almost lose control of the car, never slowed down as they approached a checkpoint they knew to be ahead, and the "rain of gunfire and bullets" apparently only hit two of the three people in the car -- hardly likely if the intent was to assassinate everyone in the vehicle. "

Further, this Washington Times article says that the Italians deliberately kep the US in the dark on the whole thing.

They told me that we were less than a kilometer away...when...I only remember fire. At that point, a rain of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up forever the cheerful voices of a few minutes earlier.
This contradicts other versions of her story where she claims she knew they were not approaching a checkpoint.
The driver started yelling that we were Italians. "We are Italians, we are Italians." Nicola Calipari threw himself on me to protect me and immediately, I repeat, immediately I heard his last breath as he was dying on me. I must have felt physical pain. I didn't know why. But then I realized my mind went immediately to the things the captors had told me. They declared that they were committed to the fullest to freeing me but I had to be careful, "the Americans don't want you to go back." Then when they had told me I considered those words superfluous and ideological. At that moment they risked acquiring the flavor of the bitterest of truths, at this time I cannot tell you the rest.
Another admission of what Sgrena's paper has been saying all along. Sgena was deliberately shot by US troops to shut her up.

More on the "harsh conditions" of her captivity:

But the months that I spent in captivity probably changed forever my existence. One month alone with myself, prisoner of my profound certainties. Every hour was an impious verification of my work, sometimes they made fun of me, and they even stretch as far as asking why I wanted to leave, asking me stay. They insisted on personal relationships. It was them that made me think of the priorities that too often we cast aside.
Yeah, sounds like a real "life lesson". I think Wuzzadem sums up my thoughts on her "ordeal".

Here is another interesting exchange where Sgrena tells them they should be kidapping pro-war reporters and American troops, not a fuzzy loveable anti-American like herself:

"Yes because you go speak to the people, we would never [ed: meaning, can't] kidnap a journalist that remains closed in a hotel and because the fact that you say you're against the war could be a decoy." And I would answer almost to provoke them: "It's easy to kidnap a weak woman like me, why don't you try with the American military." I insisted on the fact that they could not ask the Italian government to withdraw the troops. Their political go-between could not be the government but the Italian people, who were and are against the war.
Ok, if Sgrena was really held 'hostage' how did she know where she was and how was it that she was able to describe what the roof of her 'prison' looked like?
Like when it was a first Sunday after the Friday they kidnapped me, in the house in Baghdad where I was kept, and on top of which was a satellite dish they showed me the Euronews Newscast.
Great. I wonder if she got ESPN, cause she might have just missed a few football games. Oh wait, her gentle captors also were fans of Italian football:
"Come watch a movie on TV" they would say while a Wahabi roamed around the house and took care of me. The captors seemed to me a very religious group, in continuous prayer on the Koran. But Friday, at the time of the release, the one that looked the most religious and who woke up every morning at 5 a.m. to pray incredibly congratulated me shaking my hand, a behavior unusual for an Islamic fundamentalist -- and he would add "if you behave yourself you will leave immediately." Then an almost funny incident. One of the two captors came to me surprised both because the TV was showing big posters of me in European cities and also for Totti. Yes Totti. He declared he was a fan of the Roma soccer team and he was shocked that his favorite player went to play with the writing "Liberate Giuliana" on his T-shirt.
And finally, from Cox and Forkum (via Confederate Yankee):

Another update: Michell Malkin finds this nugget:

"Don't believe a word of the U.S. version," said Oliviero Diliberto, secretary of the Italian Communist Party. "There's an attempt to mask what actually happened. The Americans deliberately fired on the Italians."
Another UPDATE:Paul at Wizbang has the DU reaction. No surprises there.

Because of the large numbers of trackbacks, I have not been able to check out what every one in the blogosphere is saying. Also, the man is keeping me down by making me do this thing called 'work'. If you have further Sgrena related info, it is better to e-mail me right now until things cool off.


UPDATE:
New post is up on Giuliana Sgrena's Blood Libel Against the US which explores Sgrena's past anti-American utterances; including the accusation that the US was targetting journalists (said long before she was taken hostage), had used mustard gas on civilians, and tortured women in Iraq, and was complicit in the massacre of thousands in Afghanistan.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:00 AM | Comments |