Skip to comments.CNN WHITEWASHING GUILIANA SGRENA
Posted on 03/08/2005 5:50:38 AM PST by conservativecorner
Over the weekend, I caught CNN removing a damning quote from a story about Italian Communist journalist Guiliana Sgrena, recently released from some form of captivity in Iraq for a reported $6 million ransom, about why she was in Iraq in the first place. She was there, in her own words, to agitate against America and the war--
Sgrena said she "risked everything" to challenge "the Italian government, who didn't want journalists to reach Iraq, and the Americans," who she said don't want the public to see "what really became of that country with the war, and notwithstanding that which they call elections." I ran that quote in my post Sunday. It turns out CNN had also chopped out the next section. Fortunately I still have it. It indicates Sgrena was getting along amicably with her captors:
She said she told her captors they could not ask the Italian government to withdraw troops from Iraq -- "their political go-between could not be the government but the Italian people, who were and are against the war." What--she was planning strategy with these goons? Then why was she on video tape begging for her release as though her life was in jeopardy? Perhaps because it gave her the chance to appear before the world and denounce the Americans, an activity that had taken up most of her time even when she was not held "captive" by anyone.
In the interests of truth, here is the original version of CNN's story as I received in email over the weekend. Ordinarily, I wouldn't reprint an entire article, but since CNN has removed the most relevant parts of it--the ones that actually speak to Sgrena's motives--I think it's a fair use.
Shot hostage disputes U.S. account Sunday, March 6, 2005 Posted: 9:24 AM EST (1424 GMT)
ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena has challenged the U.S. account of a shooting incident that left her wounded and an Italian intelligence officer dead shortly after her release by Iraqi insurgents.
U.S.-led multi-national forces said the car carrying Sgrena was speeding and that soldiers fired warning shots in an attempt to stop it, before opening fire.
But the 56-year-old journalist, currently being treated for a shoulder injury in a Rome hospital, said the car was not speeding. Sgrena told Italian La 7 TV on Sunday "there was no bright light, no signal," according to The Associated Press.
And in an article for Sunday's edition of her newspaper, Il Manifesto, she said the shooting, which occurred Friday as agents were taking her to the airport in Baghdad, recalled her captors' warning that "the Americans don't want you to return."
Sgrena, who returned to Rome on Saturday, said she was doing well but was "upset" by the death of Nicola Calipari, who was killed protecting her from U.S. gunfire. Two other agents were also wounded.
Calipari's body arrived in Rome on Saturday night as top officials including Defense Minister Antonio Martino and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stood by.
Sgrena, who was kidnapped outside a mosque in Baghdad on February 4, said her captors treated her well and took her to meet the Italian security agents after blindfolding her, telling her, "don't give any signals of your presence with us, otherwise the Americans could intervene."
She said she was in the car with the agents and heading for the airport, which was less than a mile away, when they approached the checkpoint.
"I only remember fire," she wrote. "At that point, a rain of fire and bullets hit us." The driver began yelling that they were Italians, she wrote, and "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."
She said she remembered something her captors had told her: "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.'"
At the time, she said, "I considered those words superfluous and ideological. At that moment they risked acquiring the flavor of the bitterest of truths."
The U.S. government has pledged a full investigation into the shooting incident.
Multi-national forces have said troops tried to warn the driver of Sgrena's vehicle to stop using hand and arm signals, flashing white lights and firing warning shots in front of the car. The soldiers shot into the engine block when the driver did not stop, the forces said in a statement Friday.
Italian magistrate Franco Ionta, however, said Sgrena, interviewed in her hospital room Saturday, gave a different version of events.
"It wasn't a checkpoint, but a patrol that shot as soon as they lit us up with a spotlight," she told him. "We didn't know where the bullets were coming from. We had not met other checkpoints before. Our car was absolutely not traveling at high speed."
Rules of engagement permit coalition troops to use escalating levels of force if they feel threatened. They can use lethal force, for example, if a car refuses to stop for a checkpoint.
The road where the incident took place is particularly dangerous, said CNN's Nic Robertson.
Sgrena said she "risked everything" to challenge "the Italian government, who didn't want journalists to reach Iraq, and the Americans," who she said don't want the public to see "what really became of that country with the war, and notwithstanding that which they call elections."
She said she told her captors they could not ask the Italian government to withdraw troops from Iraq -- "their political go-between could not be the government but the Italian people, who were and are against the war."
Although she was taken care of by her captors, she said, at first she was "furious" and later was "on a see-saw shifting between strong hope and moments of great depression."
Calipari, who is being hailed as a hero, was flown home in a coffin wrapped in an Italian flag and was carried out of the military plane by a guard of honor. (Profile)
The return of the father-of-two's body on Sunday was broadcast on most of Italy's national television stations, Reuters reported, underscoring the shock and disbelief in the country over the killing.
The shooting prompted criticism from Berlusconi's political foes, who were eager to attack the government for its staunch support of the war.
Italy has 3,000 troops in Iraq, the fourth-largest foreign contingent after U.S., British and South Korean forces.
"Another victim of an absurd war," Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, leader of the Green Party, told the Apcom news agency, according to The Associated Press.
Berlusconi summoned U.S. ambassador Mel Sembler on Friday, demanding a full investigation. He also received a telephone call from U.S. President George W. Bush, who expressed his regrets.
Sgrena's partner, Pierre Scolari, blamed the shooting on the U.S. government, even suggesting the incident was intentional.
"I hope the Italian government does something because either this was an ambush, as I think, or we are dealing with imbeciles or terrorized kids who shoot at anyone," he said, according to Reuters.
Saturday's Il Manifesto accused U.S. forces of "assassinating" Calipari.
Il Manifesto is a left-leaning newspaper that has long opposed the Iraq war.
Thousands of Italians took part in vigils calling for Sgrena's safe return home.
At least eight Italians have been taken hostage in Iraq. Another journalist, Enzo Baldoni, was seized in August 2004 and later killed by his captors.
Berlusconi's government at the time said it would try to secure her freedom but, as in past hostage cases, refused to withdraw Italian troops in Iraq, as hostage-takers have often demanded.
Neither Italian nor U.S. officials disclosed details about how Sgrena was freed, but there was speculation over a possible ransom.
An Iraqi lawmaker, Younadem Kana, told Belgian state TV Saturday evening that he had "nonofficial" information that a $1 million (760,000) ransom was paid for Sgrena's release, according to AP.
Asked whether a ransom was paid, an Italian Cabinet minister said it was "very likely."
"Moreover, it is largely preferable to pay an economic price than the price of a human life, or a political price that would consist of blackmail to pull out troops," Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
CNN's Alessio Vinci and Elise Labott contributed to this report. (sections quoted above set in bold type)
Note also CNN description of Il Manifesto, Sgrena's employer, as a "left leaning newspaper." That's like calling Castro a "left leaning president." Il Manifesto is a Communist newspaper. Even Reuters acknowledged that.
Michelle Malkin caught CNN removing another interesting tid-bit from a story about Sgrena. I'll post a direct link to her piece once her site comes back online.
UPDATE: Michelle's back online, and she has caught CNN making up a quote from Sgrena out of thin air. Or actually, CNN altered a quote from Sgrena to make the US troops look bad.
What is CNN up to?
They missed her.
See no news can say whatever they want, it isn't like anyone is watching.
She's a mental defective. How could we have intentionally attacked her if we did not even know she'd been rescued?
I would like to know how much of the $4 million she received. I would not put it past her to have staged the entire thing.
I think she shouldn't be whitewashed. She needs to be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.
And Giuliana Sgrena too. :-)
A blogger was just given a press credential by the White House. One day soon we will move out of the dark ages. The important thing should be 1. Is it news worthy? 2. Does it provide a rational and well thought out piece concerning a topic? 3. It's not some crackpot blogger who thinks the invasion of earth by aliens happened 3 years ago. LOL! They can always look at each piece to see if it merits the front page or not. The snobbery continues, and they don't realize they are doing the same thing that the MSM did to conservative commentators for years. IGNORING THEM!
I think there is a method behind this though. "Credentialed" reporters ask a lot of stupid and asinine questions, and I think the President has had enough. Why not get some people in the briefings who can ask questions without a lot of posturing and politicizing? Why not get bloggers in? Or in the case of FreeRepublc, intelligent on-line commentators?
Was the ransom a set-up by Sgrena and the Islamofascists in order to fund their terrorism against the U.S. troops and the free Iraqi people?
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