Old 5th March 2005, 02:41   #1
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Italian hostage freed... only to be shot by US troops

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117...-26618,00.html
Quote:
ITALIAN hostage Giuliana Sgrena was freed from her Iraqi captors today only to be shot and wounded by US troops firing at the convoy carrying her to safety, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

An Italian secret service agent who helped secure Ms Sgrena's release was killed when he threw himself in front of her to protect her from the incoming bullets.

Mr Berlusconi said his government had called in the US ambassador to Rome, Mel Sembler, to explain the shooting.

The US military confirmed the incident, but said the Italian convoy, speeding towards a checkpoint manned by US forces near Baghdad airport, ignored signals to slow down and stop.
It looks like there's some twisted humour in this somewhere, but to laugh would be politically incorrect.

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Old 5th March 2005, 04:04   #2
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Good thing we are killing those dangerous hostages now.

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Old 5th March 2005, 04:46   #3
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maybe they should have stopped

sucks about the secret service agent

when they say secured her release do they mean 'crack black-ops squad that went in and killed the fucking terrorists' or 'we just funded another 5 million dollars worth of RPGs to be used against US troops' ?
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Old 5th March 2005, 04:48   #4
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And we all fall down...

I am so important I feel the need to let it be known like a liberal discovering the internets for the first time. Uh hur hur hur. I also wash myself with a rag on a stick.
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Old 5th March 2005, 05:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spazz333
Good thing we are killing those dangerous hostages now.
I've been reading reports online and saw some coverage on tv. And from what I gather, the US soldiers had no idea that this un-marked car that was speeding towards their checkpoint on a highly dangerous road wasn't another car bomb. They were never informed of the hostage release and therefore could only treat the situation with their experiences of prior violence.

It was very unfortunate that this happened, which could have been prevented if people had been informed beforehand. A five minute phone call between the Italian agents and their superiors to US command would have more than likely kept this from occuring.

Edit: looking over more reports, nothing has yet been stated if prior knowledge of the hostage rescue was known.

Edit II: from The New York Times
Quote:
The military did not know that the hostage was in the car, a State Department official in Washington said.

According to a statement released by the United States Army's Third Infantry Division in Baghdad, the soldiers tried to warn the driver to stop before firing at the speeding vehicle's engine block.

"About 9 p.m., a patrol in western Baghdad observed the vehicle speeding towards their checkpoint and attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand-and-arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car," the statement said.

The circumstances of Ms. Sgrena's release remain murky, and Italian officials have shed no light on how, or from whom, she was released.

Mr. Berlusconi said that American troops had taken Ms. Sgrena to an American hospital to remove shrapnel from her left shoulder and that she had told an Italian government official on the telephone that "I am well."

The American military did not say whether she was still in Baghdad or had been moved elsewhere. People seriously wounded here are often treated at a military hospital in the heavily fortified Green Zone on the west bank of the Tigris River and, if needed, are flown on a C-130 transport plane to Germany.

The shooting occurred as the Italians were driving toward Baghdad International Airport and the headquarters of the American command here. Insurgents regularly detonate roadside bombs and shoot at military and civilian vehicles along the five-mile-long road to the airport. American soldiers across Iraq are wary of speeding cars approaching checkpoints or convoys.

Last edited by ShyShy; 5th March 2005 at 06:00.
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Old 6th March 2005, 13:06   #6
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Guy should have known better than to speed towards a checkpoint in this manner.
He's a hero for shielding her from the fire though
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Old 6th March 2005, 14:51   #7
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fromBBC:

Quote:
Hostage fears troops targeted her
Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena has suggested US troops deliberately tried to kill her moments after she was released by her kidnappers in Baghdad.

Ms Sgrena, writing in her left-wing newspaper Il Manifesto, described how her car came "under a rain of fire".

At that moment, she said she recalled her captors' words that some Americans "don't want you to go back".

The US military, who said troops fired on the speeding car after it failed to stop, has opened a full investigation.

A top Italian secret service agent, Nicola Calipari, died in the incident as he shielded Ms Sgrena from the gunshots.

He had led the efforts to negotiate the release of the correspondent, held captive in Iraq for more than a month. The body of Mr Calipari, who is being treated as a national hero, is lying in state in an imposing monument in the centre of Rome before a state funeral on Monday.

The incident in Baghdad threatens to have continuing political fallout in Rome, says our correspondent there David Willey.

Pressure will grow on Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a staunch ally of US President George W Bush, to reconsider the wisdom of keeping on Italian peacekeepers in Iraq, our correspondent says.

Already, the Italian foreign ministry has warned all Italian nationals to avoid travel to Iraq.

Sgrena's account

Details remain unclear about exactly what happened as the car carrying the Italian journalist, Calipari and two other agents made its journey towards Baghdad's airport late on Friday.

The US military says that the car was speeding as it approached a checkpoint and that soldiers used hand signals, flashed lights, and fired warning shots in an attempt to stop it, before opening fire.

In her account for Il Manifesto, Ms Sgrena said the kidnappers had released her willingly.

When she got in the car, Calipari took off her blindfold and was "an avalanche of friendly phrases, jokes".

"Nicola Calipari was seated at my side. The driver had spoken twice to the embassy and to Italy that we were on our way to the airport that I knew was saturated with American troops. We were less than a kilometre they told me... when... I remember there was shooting.

"The driver began screaming that we were Italian, 'We're Italian! We're Italian!'"

Ms Sgrena has said the car was not going particularly fast.

Upon her release, she said, "They [the kidnappers] said they were committed to releasing me, but that I had to be careful 'because there are Americans who don't want you to go back'."

In another interview with Sky Italia TV, she said it was possible the soldiers had targeted her because Washington opposed the policy of negotiating with kidnappers.

"Everyone knows that the Americans do not like negotiations to free hostages, and because of this I don't see why I should exclude the possibility of me having been the target," she said.

She said she did not know if a ransom was paid for her release - a policy the US does not approve either.

Ms Sgrena was abducted on 4 February, and later appeared in a video begging for help and urging foreign troops to leave Iraq.

Much of the country was opposed to the US-led war in Iraq and the government's decision to send 3,000 Italian troops to Iraq.

DIFFERING ACCOUNTS
  • US: Forces fired on a vehicle that was approaching at a high rate of speed
  • Troops attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand and arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots
  • When the driver didn't stop, the soldiers shot into the engine block
  • Sgrena: The driver had spoken twice to the embassy and to Italy that we were on our way to the airport
  • We were less than a kilometre [from the airport]... when... I remember there was shooting
    The driver began screaming that we were Italian
  • We weren't going particularly fast given that type of situation
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4323361.stm
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Old 6th March 2005, 16:24   #8
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I can see why they let her go, she helps their cause. Probably was never in any danger from her captors at any time anyway.
They never let the good ones go, they'd rather slice their heads off.
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Old 6th March 2005, 19:10   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by wildrose-wally
I can see why they let her go, she helps their cause.
What?

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Old 6th March 2005, 20:16   #10
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She is quite outspoken anti American, the terrorists certainly appreciate that.

It is very easy to blame the Americans for what happened to her. I doubt she has ever considered the captors might have had anything to do with it. They even released her willingly. What a great bunch of chaps they are.
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Old 7th March 2005, 05:42   #11
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Well, she was shot by Americans. I find it highly unlikely anyone other than the Americans, or the Italians, are to blame for her shooting. This was not a terrorist action.

As for letting her go, her expressing her freedom of speech to oppose America's policies (and, remember, by association her own country's) doesn't seem, in my mind, to make her a bad person. Or help the terrorists' cause. I'm not convinced that shutting up and agreeing with the government in all things is a productive way to fight terrorist. Dissent does not mean you hate your country. Quite the opposite.

A "good person" is not the same as a "pro-American person". You've made that implicit definition, and it's clearly invalid.

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Old 7th March 2005, 05:46   #12
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Statements from Italian officials have started the rumor mill that a ransom was paid. I would not be surprised.

And what surprised me was another Italian offcial has warned the journalist to keep her mouth shut until the investigation of the shooting has started. And an Iraqi official has also stepped up and said that the shooting could only be an accident.

I'm highly suspicous of Sgrena (and not because she's anti-American). She says she was warned that the Americans wanted her dead by her own captors, and yet, she didn't pass that info on to her rescuers? If I was told that, I would be shitting bricks and definitly would try to get to another safe area instead of heading straight to what I would think was a trap.
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Old 7th March 2005, 06:03   #13
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yeah I bet the US troops fired on them because they knew she was some journalist for some italian newspaper that hates america. That's why they sent her to the hospital afterwards. You know our policy is if we don't kill you outright the first time then we heal your wounds and let you go so you can tell everyone how horrible we are.
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Old 7th March 2005, 06:53   #14
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My personal opinion is that it's probably a tragic lack of communication between armed forces. There's so much shit flying around because of this, though.

I find it unlikely that the Americans fired in cold blood - it's something that would happen a lot more frequently, was that the case. Also, Sgrena's assertion that "we weren't going particularly fast given that type of situation" implies they were going fast.

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Old 8th March 2005, 04:29   #15
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I think it was an honest mistake. Anyway, what do people expect a reporter who works for a communist newspaper opposed to the war and america's role in it to say? She is probably still shell shocked, and instead of adding to international tension should sit back and get some R&R...
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Old 8th March 2005, 04:33   #16
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@ActivWiz

Loose your sig, are you nuts? It's way too large.
And on top of that, it's pure spam.

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Old 8th March 2005, 13:57   #17
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Boss,
That sig was there for all of 30 mins yesterday, it's been long gone ;-)

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@ActivWiz

Loose your sig, are you nuts? It's way too large.
And on top of that, it's pure spam.
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Old 8th March 2005, 21:04   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by zootm
I find it unlikely that the Americans fired in cold blood - it's something that would happen a lot more frequently, was that the case. Also, Sgrena's assertion that "we weren't going particularly fast given that type of situation" implies they were going fast.
An interesting transcript with Retired General Robert Scales:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,149764,00.html

And in that transcript, I noticed for the first time that this incident happened at night.
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Old 9th March 2005, 02:40   #19
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Good point. And on another point, if the speed was "not unusual given the cirucumstances", you're still travelling at speed.

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Old 9th March 2005, 04:31   #20
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another point, if the US troops wanted her dead, she would not have survived.
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Old 9th March 2005, 23:49   #21
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That I am not sure off. It is very likely that the person they
wanted dead is the person who died, the Italian Intelligence officer...
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Originally posted by Mattress
another point, if the US troops wanted her dead, she would not have survived.
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