Skip to comments.Outrage as US soldiers kill hostage rescue hero
Posted on 03/05/2005 6:21:41 PM PST by Lessismore
Bush promises Italian leader a full investigation
The Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq arrived back in Rome yesterday as fury and confusion grew over the circumstances in which she was shot and one of her rescuers was killed by American soldiers. The shooting in Iraq on Friday evening, which occurred as Giuliana Sgrena was being driven to freedom after being released by her captors, was fuelling anti-war activists in Italy and putting pressure on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
'The hardest moment was when I saw the person who had saved me die in my arms,' she said. Her poignant words and weak, haggard appearance as she had to be helped from the jet that brought her back from Baghdad are fuelling national rage.
Berlusconi, a staunch ally of the US who defied widespread public opposition to the Iraq war and sent 3,000 troops, took the rare step of summoning US ambassador Mel Sembler to his office.
He demanded that the US 'leave no stone unturned' in investigating the incident. President George Bush called Berlusconi to promise a full investigation.
Sgrena, 56, a journalist for the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto, was hit in the shoulder when US soldiers opened fire on the car she was travelling in as it approached a checkpoint less than a mile from Baghdad airport. The Italian secret service officer who had negotiated her release was killed as he shielded her from the gunfire. Two of his colleagues were also hurt.
Berlusconi prides himself on his close personal friendship with President George Bush, but he was grim-faced when he told reporters that someone would have to take responsibility 'for such a grave incident'.
The US Army claimed the Italians' vehicle had been seen as a threat because it was travelling at speed and failed to stop at the checkpoint despite warning shots being fired by the soldiers. A State Department official in Washington said the Italians had failed to inform the military of Sgrena's release.
Italian reconstruction of the incident is significantly different. Sgrena told colleagues the vehicle was not travelling fast and had already passed several checkpoints on its way to the airport. The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle. Rather than calling immediately for assistance for the wounded Italians, the soldiers' first move was to confiscate their weapons and mobile phones and they were prevented from resuming contact with Rome for more than an hour.
Enzo Bianco, the opposition head of the parliamentary committee that oversees Italy's secret services, described the American account as unbelievable. 'They talk of a car travelling at high speed, and that is not possible because there was heavy rain in Baghdad and you can't travel at speed on that road,' Bianco said. 'They speak of an order to stop, but we're not sure that happened.'
Pier Scolari, Sgrena's partner who flew to Baghdad to collect her, put an even more sinister construction on the events, suggesting in a television interview that Sgrena was the victim of a deliberate ambush. 'Giuliana may have received information which led to the soldiers not wanting her to leave Iraq alive,' he claimed.
Sgrena was kidnapped on 4 February as she interviewed refugees from Falluja near a Baghdad mosque. Two weeks later her captors issued a video of her weeping and pleading for help, calling on all foreigners to leave Iraq. Italian journalists were subsequently withdrawn from the city after intelligence warnings of a heightened threat to their safety.
Italian newspapers reported yesterday that Sgrena had been in the hands of former Saddam loyalists and criminals, and that a ransom of between £4 million and £5 million had been paid for her release. The military intelligence officer who lost his life, Nicola Calipari, 51, was hailed as a national hero.
She didn't want to be questioned by the pro-American Iraqis.
Didn't they run a road block? (rhetorical question)
Let me think about this one. You threaten one of my soldiers and you die. What was the question again?
Damn!!! Missed her!!
Get on the clue train Silvio. If Socialist and Red Party groups want to vent their spleen on the US - that's not news. Neither is the fact that cars speeding toward US troops in present day Iraq are typically car bombs.
It's pretty obvious that the driver who tried to run the roadblock is responsible for the consequences, despite the rantings of the anti-American left both here and abroad.
I don't think the Italians want to admit that their people's actions may have caused this incident. It's unfortunate, but in war zones unfortunate things sometimes happen. I would hope that our people did not act outside the rules of engagement, but I suppose anything is possible.
I will wait for the full report. As of now, the U.S. troops acted within their mandate. It remains to be proven otherwise.
This is a sad incident. I do not approve of paying ransom for hostages. This only encourages future kidnappings. I am not convinced a ransom was paid at this point.
I'm glad she is safe but it does seem that they didn't coordinate with the Americans nor had a armored humnvee escort then.....what would they have us do.......invite them in for tea????????
Wasn't there some talk about whether she had acually been kidnapped or not?
Let's see. She's still alive. She wasn't driving, so she didn't threaten anyone. A senior Italian intelligence agent is dead. Another Italian agent is critically wounded. One of the last European coalition members is pissed. The conservative Berlusconi is under severe pressure from his electorate.
A really wonderful turn of events.
Something about this has my spidey sense tingling. Could this be some crazy martyrdom operation to drive a wedge in the coalition?
I don't put anything past the lefties anymore....
I wish only this disgusting b*tch had been the one who died, just like her terrorist brothers whom she so revered and praised in her Communist rag for 2 years.
It makes my heart sink that such a brave man should die protecting someone so unworthy of his sacrifice. My prayers go out for the family of this fine man. But my most bitter enmity and hopes for a slow and painful recovery go out to this scum of the earth Sgrena, who wrote thousands of words in praise of those who have the blood of our soldiers--and Italian soldiers too--on their hands.
The Italian people should be ashamed of themselves for honoring her in any way. She is a piece of excrement.
This will supply some fresh material for the America haters our there. Of course they will ignore the fact that the car was speeding and failed to stop and car bombs are common in Iraq, but that's okay for them. Since when do Communists and anti-Americans care about facts?
Well, if what she says is true, then how can she be alive? If they'd been under fire from an armored vehicle as she claims, wouldn't the entire car have been ripped apart from the hundreds of bullets fired?
If those agents were going to pick up the journalist and take her to Baghdad Airport, they should have taken the steps to previously coordinate their actions with all American unit commanders along their intended route.
In the modern battle field of instant death for a two second lapse of judgment, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) is Rule Number One for Staying Alive.
The Italian agents, of all people, should have realized that approaching a U.S. checkpoint without IFF and at a high rate of speed and refusing to stop would earn them an immediate Darwin Award.
Most of Europe has been at peace for too long and Europeans have lost the basic skills to survive in a battlefield.
Now there's a very credible story. /sarc
well maybe for the most part but the lefties are no where to be found in Iraq.....the media is left up to it's own devices.....they know the risks......we report....you decide..
Exactly. 300 to 400 bullets on a car would have killed everyone in it.
"hostage rescue hero"?
I'm sorry the man died but it's not as if he orchestrated a daring rescue mission. He was merely the facilitator for the payment of millions of dollars in ransom to the terrorists. How does that make him a "hero"? And since when is ransom payment a "rescue"?
no kidding......400 hits on that car would have resulted in an explosion at the least and NO survivors......that would have taken many clips of ammo or a few .30 or .50 calibers going full bore for half a minute...........no way
This is patently absurd. If this had happened, nobody in the car would have survived and there would be bushel baskets of evidence to support this silly story. The car would be chewed up like Swiss cheese and images of it would be paraded on TV all over the world as an example of 'American aggression and imperialistic belligerence.'
This story is just an effort at saving face...it's something to say instead of "Whoops! Our driver really screwed up....he should have slowed down and stopped at the checkpoint but he was terribly excited at the notion of being labeled a 'hero' upon his return and maybe getting some nookie from the reporter-ette later on, and he hates Americans too and so he simply didn't do what he was supposed to. Our bad....sorry to cause trouble for the Americans."
.....and her commie boyfriend too!
The bottom line is that the journalists are getting in the way of this war. If they go in there, then they are asking for it.
What coalition? We are wasting money and the only good thing i see happening is some europeans are getting killed.
"The US Army claimed the Italians' vehicle had been seen as a threat because it was travelling at speed and failed to stop at the checkpoint despite warning shots being fired by the soldiers. A State Department official in Washington said the Italians had failed to inform the military of Sgrena's release."
Seems like they were pretty stupid to run a checkpoint at a high rate of speed. Prosecute the driver.
I have impression that some of you guys here would like to see her dead.
Let's see: there was no communication between the Italians and the Coalition forces, as in "hey, don't shoot, okay? We're driving a 2003 Mercedes Benz, black with license plate number 12345. We'll be approaching your checkpoint at the intersection of Hammurabi Avenue and Highway 109, with an ETA of 0130. We will be flashing our headlights".
Don't you think that would've been the smart thing to do?
Really. Her boyfriend claims it was a deliberate sinister ambush to prevent her from leaving Iraq alive. She claims 300-400 bullets were fired at the car from an armoured vehicle at close range.
Yet she leaves Iraq alive with only a shoulder shrapnel wound and only one person in the car died. Damn, those American soldiers are bad shots!
She is alive because the killed agent have covered her with his body.
Exactly. There would have been no survivors and little of the vehicle left. Maybe they didn't call for help for over an hour because they were too busy policing brass...
She is alive because the killed agent have covered her with his body.
"Most of Europe has been at peace for too long and Europeans have lost the basic skills to survive in a battlefield."
When did Europe ever have the basic skills to survive in a battlefield? In WWII they became territories of Germany within days or weeks of being invaded.
If those dopes were on top of things, our guys would have known of her presence. Wait until Tuesday for the real story to dribble out about how her saviors couldn't shoot straight, IMHO.
Tragic, but, don't speed toward a check point. Now go away.
I start to wonder if such attitude could be the motive.
What is your point?
Again, what is your point? You're just sounding silly.
This was her naive impression or emotional exageration. She is not a professional soldier and there is not way she could have be able to count these bullers. I take her statement as meaning multiple bullets/rapid fire.
Motive for what? Implicit in that statement is the idea that because some posters here are chagrined by this whole deal (and a raw one at that) that yes, there was a Conspiracy to kill this silly woman. Do you really believe that?
Yeah, I don't know who the agent was, but I suspect he's worth 10 of the communist bitch. I'm swearing, but this is starting to really hack me off. We're going to end up with another grab abu media frenzy and I'm sick of it.
they should have used a Vulcan
How about a complete investigation into the ransom paid to terrorists to better fund them for future activities, eh, ol' Silvio? Whatcha think about that? There's a reason these dirtballs target eurotrash hostages these days.
So what? Are you trying to claim that the US soldiers were aiming directly at her? That sounds a lot like the CNN biggie who claimed the US military was deliberately murdering journalists. Is that your opinion?
The agent had been in the area since shortly after the invasion he knew full well the rules and procedures -- HE BLEW IT! Get over it Italy --- HE BLEW IT!
Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighting Troops
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