Friday, March 04, 2005

Italian reporter survives likely assassination bid by US Special Forces

U.S. forces have fired at a car carrying Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena shortly after her liberation, killing one Italian intelligence agent and wounding two others.

The just-freed journalist was later treated for a shrapnel wound in her shoulder at a U.S. military hospital.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has demanded an explanation from the United States. "The agent, Nicola Calipari covered Sgrena with his body, he was hit by a bullet which unfortunately was fatal," he said.

Berlusconi personally knew Calipari and the agent's wife worked in his Palazzo Chigi office. Calipari had worked on previous hostage release cases in Iraq "He was an extraordinary man," said Berlusconi.

Sgrena, was abducted while waiting outside a Baghdad mosque to interview refugees from the US-led assault on the city of Fallujah in November. She has worked for leftist Italian newspaper Il Manifesto since 1988. The paper is opposed to the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The kidnapping had already attracted much suspicion --as have other previous kidnappings of individuals hostile to US interests in Iraq. The circumstances of the shooting will do little to assauge those suspicions.

The US account of events is that a speeding car -which would not stop, had to be fired opon to halt it. But this account of the slain intelligence officer does not paint a picture of someone so inexperienced and inept as to attempt to run through a US checkpoint:
"Nicola Calipari was a veteran Italian secret service agent and practiced negotiator who had helped return two hostages kidnapped in Iraq home to their loved ones in Italy... Calipari, ...was a 20-year veteran of the police force, and before moving on to Italy’s secret services he had headed the immigration office for Rome’s police." [Source AP]
Another account paints a similar picture. Calipari was an experienced professional:
One Italian source said he was an officer in the Italian special forces, but the Washington embassy spokesman affirmed that Calipari was what Berlusconi had said he was, a member of SISMI, the Italian military intelligence service. Last September Calipari was behind the freeing of the two social workers Simona Pari and Simona Torretta. In June he was at the center of another negotiation that resulted in three Italian workers in Iraq being set free by their Islamic captors. Sgrena was kidnapped outside a mosque on Feb 4.

As in the earlier cases, the Italians appear to have secured the freedom of their nationals without using force, and sources said this was the result of having built a wide network of contacts that included people on the fringes of the Iraq insurgency.
[Source UPI]
Some suspect that Sgrena has specific information on US war crimes in Fallujah which could be damming if known internationally. Even without such evidence there are already clear signs that banned weapons were used by US forces. [See Our Article Fallujah's 9/11]

If the Italian intelligence agent who died shielding Sgrena had not courageously given his life, the outcome would have been the death of Sgrena and the injuring of the intelligence agents.

That would have made it look like she had been the primary target of a planned ambush. Which is precisely the conclusion many will reach. Especially those skeptical of mainstream media coverage on this spate of suspicious kidnappings in Iraq.

See our companion article:
Giuliana Sgrena :
Means, Motive and Murder

Just a day before she was freed an article on AL-AHRAM online weekly asked:
Is there more to the abduction of Italian journalist
Giuliana Sgrena than meets the eye?"

Samia Nkrumah, in Rome, reports

The secretary of the Rome-based National Federation of the Italian Press (FNSI), complains, "With so little information at hand, no one is saying that the Iraqi secret service is behind the latest kidnapping, but the nagging question as to who benefits from terrorising anti- occupation civilians persists"...

With the deteriorating security situation inside Iraq, the latest Italian hostages have been critics of the military occupation rather than employees in foreign companies. Enzo Baldoni another independent journalist who was killed while in capture was himself working on a Falluja story....

The question on everyone's lips is why are pacifist civilians kidnapped in Iraq? What sense is there in eliminating journalists who are known for publishing information that goes against the occupation?...

With so little information at hand, no one is saying that the Iraqi secret service is behind the latest kidnapping, but the nagging question as to who benefits from terrorising anti- occupation civilians persists.

Two recent developments are worth noting. Earlier in the year, Newsweek reported that the Pentagon is considering using the "Salvador Option" in reference to a counter-insurgency strategy of the 1980s which saw the CIA-train local secret forces to go after leftists insurgents and their sympathisers in the Central American country and which led to tens of thousands of deaths.

A few weeks ago, and of particular interest to Italy, researcher Daniele Ganser with the Centre for Security Studies at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich published a book on the NATO's Secret Armies after WWII. The research offers plenty of proof on how NATO and the secret services in various European countries collaborated in attacks on civilians that were blamed on left-wing groups. It was not till the early 1990s that a former Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti confirmed that the secret group, code- named Gladio, existed.

Ganser's book contains various documented confessions including this chilling statement by former Gladio member, a right-wing extremist who was convicted for his part in one fatal attack, "You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will be interesting if not depressing to hear what the real motive behind this was. Any ideas beside the obvious anti-terror/occupation?

12:12 am  
Blogger Kathy Mcahon said...

Hi Ginia
Well Giuliana Sgrena was against the war, she was waiting to interview refugees from Fallujah at a Mosque in Baghdad when she was abducted.

"With the deteriorating security situation inside Iraq, the latest Italian hostages have been critics of the military occupation rather than employees in foreign companies. Another Italian, male, independent journalist who was killed while in capture was also working a Fallujah story: "Shattered bridges".

So I don't think there was another motive other than the fact that Giuliana Sgrena was abducted under very suspicious circumstances to begin with, for example, why would resistance fighters abduct someone who was basically on their side. She was against the war and she was not an imbedded reporter.

1:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's no surprise that the person sitting next to Sgrena died from a bullet to the head, it was meant for her. Also she was in a "convoy". A convoy menas several cars, several no-numberplated black 4x4's carrying Italian Special Forces. This was an attempt to silence here

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Sgrena live to tell what the enemies of freedom do not want her to tell?
Did she hear about or witness- torture? poison gas? outrages against civilians? popular disgust with the occupation?
The next chapter in this drama will unravel soon.

6:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ciao, we saw how people power changed the political landscape in Lebanon recently, "inspired" by the killing of one man. Italians should demand that their troops are withdrawn from Iraq immediately.

7:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't give much credibilty to Sgrena. Have you guys read anything she wrote over the past 25 years? The only paper that would publish her was Manifesto since it is still unabashedly Stalinist (and a joke in Italy).

Manifesot main line on Lebanon yesterday is how the events there are not from the people!

What was Manifesto's reporting on the election in Ukraine? I can tell you but you probably can guess.

My guess is this woma was a paid agent of Saddam long before this war, her slavish support of him was astounding.

2:56 am  
Blogger Aaron said...

If this was a targeted assassination attempt, why would the US forces that shot up the car provide medical attention and not finish the job when they had the chance? Your conspiracy theories don't make sense here.

8:15 pm  
Blogger Coach Marty said...

This is almost comical. First- IF the US forces were attempting to assasinate this insignificantItalian journalist whose biggest claim to fame is being "kidnapped," (Oh- and being rabidly anti-American) why is she alive?

Second- 300-400 bullets fired into a vehicle and only one of the four people in the vehicle died?

Let's talk a little weaponry here- armoured carriers are equipped with .50 caliber guns. 300 bullets fired from such a weapon would render a vehicle into an unrecognizable scrap heap and its passengers into hamburger.

But let's say that the armoured carrier's weapon wasn't used and it was strictly the soldiers standard issue M-16s. An unreinforced vehicle is not enough protection to save anybody from such a barrage of bullets fired into and at a vehicle. you wouldn't only have a vehicle riddled with bullets. You would have four passengers riddled with bullets.

Out of four passengers, one was killed by a possible richocheted bullet or a shcrapnel wound- the other three suffered minor injuries from the subsequent car crash.

There is definitely something majorly wrong with this lady's story.

4:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 75 year old formerly fiercely patriotic citizen of the USA I am saddened by the path my country has taken. We need to hear more truth telling--no matter how much it hurts. Thank You

3:38 pm  

Post a comment

<< Home