Monday, March 07, 2005

Sgrena : Americans Knew in Advance and Arranged Ambush

Dont buy this line coming out of the mainstream: "Italians kept U.S. forces in dark" Wash Post
ROME - The decision by operatives of Italy's SISMI military intelligence service to keep the CIA in the dark about the deal for the release of reporter Giuliana Sgrena, might have "short-circuited" communications with U.S. forces controlling the road from Baghdad to the city's airport, the newspaper La Stampa said... That would help explain why American troops opened fire on a car whisking the released hostage to a waiting airplane, wounding Miss Sgrena and killing the Italian intelligence operative who had just negotiated her release.
But, as the following account by By Peter Popham in the UK Independent shows, American authorities at Baghdad airport knew that the Italian intelligence team would likely be returning late Friday with Sgrena. They surely knew the model and number of the car Calipari had hired at the airport just before 4pm on Friday.

No surprise then, that just after the car rounded a 90 degree turn in a single lane road at the airport, the occupants found a US tank blocking the road. Which immediately opened fire on them. No checkpoint, no warning, no "uninformed" US authorities. Just a hit.

The car, by the way, was impounded by the Italian authorities and is already on it's way to Italy for forensics; according to the online Corriere della Cera. It will arrive in Rome this week.

Here are extracts from the UK Indpendent article:
The story began early on Friday afternoon when Mr Calipari and his team of military intelligence agents arrived in Baghdad from Abu Dhabi....

At Baghdad airport Mr Calipari explained at the US headquarters what his team had come to do. It was arranged that an American colonel would be on hand at the airport when Ms Sgrena arrived for her flight back to Italy.

By the time the team had rented a four-wheel drive it was already 5pm.

At 8.20pm, Mr Calipari's team reached the rendezvous on the outskirts of Baghdad. The vehicle they were looking for was there. Ms Sgrena's abductors had left her blindfolded in the back of the car. The 57-year-old journalist was a bundle of tension as they got her into their vehicle and left for the airport....

They passed two American checkpoints along the airport road without incident and were 700 metres or so from the airport building. The road narrowed to a single, one-way lane and took a 90-degree turn. The car was going slowly now...

They found their progress baulked by an American tank. They were blinded by a powerful light. "Without any warning, any signal, we were bombarded with a shower of bullets," Ms Sgrena said. "The tank was firing on us, our car was riddled with bullets. Nicola tried to protect me, then his body slumped on top of mine, I heard his death rattle, then I felt a pain but I couldn't tell where I had been hit."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no excuse for this... A tank opens fire on a car? If we Americans start to accept this behavior from our military we are all at risk? even the apologists ought to have had a wake up call?

11:28 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

even in basic war tactics the main saying is do not fire unless fired upon. ive never known a journalist who decides to shoot anything more than a video camera. i would even believe that the gun mans finger slipped and fired a hundred rounds into a car. this is just a rediculous act that will not be believed except for the weak minded.

1:14 am  
Blogger ~A! said...

The accounts are differing all over the place, and the Italian Foreign Minister says two different things simultaneously:

I'm trying to cover the hell out of it.


PS -- Fintan, want to do a segment where we rip on this together?

3:09 am  

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