March 08, 2005

Italy Demands Justice in Sgrena Incident

Italy's Foreign Affairs minister announced today that he believed the version of events offered by Giuliana Sgrena in a dispute over the facts on what really happened when American soldiers openned fire on the freed hostage's vehicle. The incident left on Italian secret-service agent, Nicola Calipari, dead near the Baghdad airport.

Giuliana Sgrena is a known anti-American propagandist and liar with a history of accusing the United States of the most outlandish crimes. In the past Sgrena has claimed the US used napalm on civilians, massacred thousands, and tortured children. Sgrena has even hinted that the U.S. used nuclear weapons during the Iraq invasion. Sgrena's lies and propaganda are documented here.

In a bizarrely contradictory statement, the foreign minister claimed the incident was both an "accident" yet that some one needed to be punished.

"It was an accident," Fini told lawmakers. "This does not prevent, in fact, it makes it a duty for the government to demand that light be shed on the murky issues, that responsibilities be pinpointed and, where found, that the culprits be punished." (AP)

The Italian minister also bought one version of Sgrena's story.

"The car was travelling at a speed that couldn't have been more than 40kph," Fini said. He said that a light was flashed at the car after a curve and that the gunfire -- lasting 10 or 15 seconds -- started immediately afterward, disputing US military claims that several attempts were made to stop the car.

Sgrena, in one version of the story written for Italian audiences disputed a US claim that lights were flashed at the car to warn it to slow down. However, in an English language interview with the BBC she admitted lights had been flashed.

In another version of the story Sgrena also claimed the vehicle she was driving in was speeding so fast in the rain that the driver almost lost control.

The US claims to have shot warning shots at the car, something Sgrena denies. However, Sgena does claim that between 300-400 shots were fired. A single bullet hit one of the three passengers making it all but certain that the US version of events is accurate and that Sgrena is intentionally lying to make the US look bad.

In comparison, Bonnie and Clyde's car was hit with a comparable number of bullets, 300-400, yet both were hit about 50 times. It is likely that the initial shots Sgrena heard were warning shots. The incident happened on a rainy night.

Sgrena has called the incident an "ambush" and has alluded to the US trying to send a message to anti-war reporters. Sgrena made a similar claim during the US invasion when the hotel she was staying at was hit by coalition fire causing minor damage.

The incident has heightened the unpopularity of Italian participation in the US led occupation. Italy has about 3,000 troops in Iraq. Sgrena is not only openly anti-war but also openly anti-American. Her communist newspaper, Il Manifesto, has used the incident to rally anti-war sentiments. An anti-war protest has been scheduled by Il Manifesto to honor Sgrena's release.

UPDATE: Jack Lewis also documents Sgrena's contradictory stories here.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:16 AM | Comments |