Monday, March 07, 2005

Giulana Sgrena

To summarize:

Italian reporter Giulana Sgrena was doing anti-war reporting in Iraq. She wanted to get to the truth so she went out in the field. Because she was out on her own, she was kidnapped and held for ransom. (I got this from her own account.)

In the first days of my kidnapping I did not shed a tear. I was simply furious. I would say in the face of my captors: "But why do you kidnap me, I'm against the war." And at that point they would start a ferocious dialogue. "Yes because you go speak to the people, we would never 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."

The US government is against paying ransom because it encourages further kidnappings. In this case, ransom was paid and the US government was not notified.

Sgrena was released and picked up by Italians. They raced through the streets fast enough that they almost lost control in the rain. As they approached the airport, they were fired on. The driver was unharmed. Sgrena was hit and a third person was killed.

The US military says that they first tried to signal the car to stop, then they fired warning shots, and finally fired into the engine block.

Sgrena says that no warning shots were fired and that the US wanted her dead because of the policy against paying ransom. Some accounts also say that she was fired on by an armored vehicle and that over 400 rounds were expended.

The Democratic Underground is full of conspiracy theories about the whole thing. Here's one thread. If you read far enough down the thread you get to arguments saying that US troops deliberately targeted Sgrena but that the DU still supports the troops. Does this mean that they support the troops for doing the wrong thing?

Like most conspiracy theories on the DU, this one relies on a combination of amazing knowledge and complete incompetence. The troops are supposed to have known who was in a car and have had orders to kill her, but they didn't manage to do it!

On the one hand you have the US troops (possibly at the command of Negroponte) finding out about the reporter being released and ordering her death. The troops were able to pick out her car and attack it.

But on the other hand, the troops are there with guns in hand, one Italian already dead. Why didn't they finish it? They could just as easily have shot the other occupants of the car. In fact, they could have then hauled it away, blown it up, and claimed that it was terrorists.

Do I need to go on? This is Bush hatred to the Nth degree - if something bad happens Bush must have planned it.

To their credit, when NBC broke the story on Friday, the followed it with one on how dangerous the airport road is and how many times it is attacked daily. Here is a lengthy analysis of the checkpoint policies and how often civilians are fired on.

No comments: