Italian journalist injured by U.S. fire after release from Iraq captors

Italian daily Il Manifesto's journalists
celebrate in the Manifesto's headquarters
inRome, Friday, after learning of the
liberation of their colleague Giuliana
Sgrena, who was kidnapped in Iraq a
month ago. (AP/Domenico Stinellis)

ROME (AP) - A freed Italian hostage was injured and an Italian intelligence officer killed Friday in Iraq after a U.S. armoured vehicle fired on a car in which they were riding, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

Berlusconi, an ally of the United States who has kept troops in Iraq despite public opposition at home, said he has asked the U.S. ambassador for an explanation. "Given that the fire came from an American source I called in the American ambassador," Berlusconi told reporters. "I believe we must have an explanation for such a serious incident, for which someone must take the responsibility."

In Baghdad, the U.S. military said coalition forces at a checkpoint have fired on a car carrying a freed Italian hostage.

The shooting occurred at a roadblock near the airport.

Berlusconi confirmed that the former Italian hostage, journalist Giuliana Sgrena, was injured by shrapnel. She was taken to a U.S. military hospital by U.S. troops, where she had a minor operation on her left shoulder to remove a piece of shrapnel, he said.

Nicola Calibari, the head of Italian Secret Services in Iraq, was shot dead.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said a shooting incident occurred as the Italian woman was being brought into U.S. military control at Camp Victory, the U.S. military base near Baghdad International Airport.

He offered no other details, including whether anyone was killed or who did the shooting.

Sgrena, who was abducted in Baghdad on Feb. 4, was shown in a video pleading for her life and demanding that all foreign troops - including Italian forces - leave Iraq.

So there. No need for terrorists to shoot hostages any longer, just ask the local US troops.


you know... I have nothing to say to this really. just watch as it will be swept under the carpet... 

Posted by anna.
3/05/2005 08:40:00 am  
I'm just waiting for the pictures of her being walked around on a leash, or piled up on a few jelly wrestlers as the US take her through the inevitable debriefing. 

Posted by ZenTiger
3/05/2005 11:22:00 am  
You made a very insensitive remark about the American troops and the incident at the check point, you should apologize.

There are procedures in place on how to deal with a car that is speeding toward a check point. In case you forgot, many soldiers have been killed by car bombs speeding through check points. The implemented procedures are for everyones benefit; the soldiers and innocent drivers.

The tragedy is that the car driving with the freed hostage did not slow down and identify itself. Americans and Italians on both sides feel awful about the tragedy.

You did not have to make a political cheap-shot regarding this tragic story.

Posted by TGO
3/05/2005 11:56:00 am  
"Italian secret service agent, Nicola Capilari, 51, was killed when he threw himself in front of her to protect her from the bullets. A second agent traveling with the two was still in serious condition on Saturday."

TGO the tragedy is one man is dead and another in serious condition protecting a woman that had been held hostage for a month. If not for these brave men she to would be dead.

On this most dangerous of routes I wonder if a stationary checkpoint is usual? Do we once again have a case of it being dark and the checkpoint not being visible? Was the US not informed of the hostage release and that her car would be speeding like a bat out of hell toward safety?

I find it quite interesting that Silvio Berlusconi felt compelled to make a sharp declaration and to summon the US ambassador for an explanation. The mobilizations in Italy in support of Italians taken hostage in Iraq have always been a protest against the troop presence, and a demand for their withdrawal. After this incident, the pressure will certainly increase; it remains to be seen if it will be sufficient to force a change in the Italian governments support for the occupation.  

Posted by Dianne
3/05/2005 01:08:00 pm  
From the reports I heard yesterday on National Public Radio, the cars speed down those roads in order to avoid sniper fire from insurgents, and this road to Baghdad Airport is the most dangerous of all. All of these checkpoint shootings I have heard about involve a car "speeding" toward a checkpoint. For safety, they drive as fast as they can through the zone, only to be shot for not slowing down at unexpected checkpoints. As well, these Italian secret service guys were apparently thoroughly familiar with the correct procedures at checkpoints and had spent years in Iraq already - this was not a case of misunderstood signals or language barriers - it was something else, and should be investigated. While I understand that our US soldiers are young men light on the trigger for their own survival reasons and I find it difficult to blame them for their warranted paranoia, at the same time I am furious at the unnecessary death this war represents. I am disgusted by the incessant justifications for the killing of civilians. Not one checkpoint shooting would ever have occurred if we had pursued civilized means for promoting democracy in Iraq in the first place, and people like Dianne have been saying this since before this invasion was launched. A good majority of the world predicted exactly these kinds of scenarios before they happened, and I for one am tired of the same old "war is necessary, war-is-hell-you-just-don't-understand" crap. This killing was just as repugnant as the women, children, and babies gunned down in previous checkpoint shootings. 

Posted by Sarah
3/05/2005 01:26:00 pm  
Hi my friends, what it happened during the liberation of the Italian journalist is a monumental smudge which must be sanctioned by proper authorities, it shows to the whole world all the nonsense of war, where can lead the madness of men when they act with weapons under a permanent tension, showing once again where lead consequence of war in Iraq = to the chaos, a real disaster! When I see this poor G.Bush apologising towards Italy, this man should be locked under bolts for crimes against humanity!!!
The democracy according to Bush is: manipulation, hypocrisy, liar and the seizure of power by force (WAR) for profit, petroleum, it doesn't matter the deaths every day in Iraq, it's a detail!!!
The president of the United States is an incapable, an imposter, a cheat, simple mind !
Guru G.Bush manipulates the collective unconscious since September 11th which served his interests, generating in a permanent way the fear of terrorism in the collective unconscious, touching essentially the most fragile beings, those whom I would name simple-minded to have voted for this moron, shame on you! Consequences of this rotten system established by G.Bush and his administration: racism, hatred, Iraq on fire and blood, deaths always more numerous, and a G.Bush who has a good laugh!
Bush is an asshole polluting the planet, he deserves a monumental kick in the ass! He will have it, what goes around comes around!


Posted by Jon-C.
3/05/2005 04:36:00 pm  

"I'm just waiting for the pictures of her being walked around on a leash, or piled up on a few jelly wrestlers as the US take her through the inevitable debriefing "

LOL, I think she was lucky and escaped the "special favor treatment" - she didn't look Iraqi enough. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/05/2005 05:15:00 pm  
TGO, Yes I did make an insensitive remark. The incident is nothing short of tragedy. It's quite possible the soldiers that fired are going through their own personal hell.

I must admit, I got the idea from:

"Apparently some do believe that leashes on prisoners is worse, or at the very least, on an equal par with beheadings."

Yes, if I show disgust at institutionalised mistreatment of prisoners, its apparrently exactly the same as me supporting beheadings. What great logic. Here's another bit of great logic: "Only evidence of the worst treatment was photographed and released."

My remarks pale into insignificance when considering issues like the formal response to the Abu Grahib prisoner treatment, the continued use of depleted uranium and land mines.

There may be long term benefits (a silver lining as it were) to installing a democracy in Iraq, but until the US Government make serious effort to live and act by a code of conduct and integrity that they proclaim, I'm inclined to believe far more people have died than was "necessary". 

Posted by ZenTiger
3/05/2005 10:41:00 pm  
Here is an interesting comment which I think takes the cake so far. It was left on my personal site where I crossposted this article:

“Blame the soldiers or blame the war, the jouranalist wouldn't have been there if the war wasn't there and she knew what she was up against going in. It's her fault the Italian secret service guy had to go in and get her” ,

LOL, so there ya go. It's the journalist's fault the secret service guy is dead!

I wonder if that could be considered an "insensitive" remark. Whatcha think ppl? 

Posted by WhyNot
3/05/2005 11:46:00 pm  
Hey ZenTiger,

"TGO, Yes I did make an insensitive remark.  "

I don't think your remark was insensitive in the least. If there IS  something insensitive, it's the obscenity of spending 150 billions dollars to invade a country under false pretence and murdering 17,000 civilians in the process. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/06/2005 12:13:00 am  
Hi Philippe, well said about this stupid comment left by "Dex21" on your personal site in answer to mine, there are many people without humanity in this world, who feel nothing, I pity them!!!
This is my answer to Dex21: it wasn't question to reprimand whoever it is in my comment (you can read above) where I simply notice that the bullshit has no frontiers, human bullshit (quite as the intelligence) doesn't know borders, it doesn't depend of the colour of skin, race (I write this for those who believe it and take pleasure in this low state of consciousness) because the human race is ONE race, Nothing is divided in the Universe, Man by his ignorance is the unique creator of all this shit which pollute the world, every individual human being is a spiritual and free human being, free to create the good (when he walks and works with God = enlighten by Love, sending Love (=Light) everywhere or the evil (when he walks in the darkness), it's a question of spiritual rise, understanding.
*** War in Iraq exists only for the biggest profit of G.Bush who messes the world, this man is totally in the darkness!
Have you already seen how the American army tout for the young people in discriminated districts to send them be killed in Irak on a lie, for petroleum, the bank account of the president of the United states? How many deaths every day in Iraq (American and Iraki), do you consider this as a detail?!!
I advice you to see Fahrenheit 9/11 if you are still blind, the light make you see! Tell me what justifies this conflict?!!!
It is easy to say that the Italian journalist would not have been there if there had been no war, this reasoning is hallucinating, how can you hold such comments towards journalists who are fired above(excuse if my English is not perfect, hope you understand my words) by American soldiers who become crazy always under tension in this muck-up!!!
Iraq is not a democracy, it is a total chaos, a monumental disaster, hell!

G.Bush himself is a monumental moron as well as all those who voted against the peace voting for this simple-minded, Bush pollutes the world with war and continues stubbornly and deliberately in spite of warnings to be the biggest pollutant of the planet, all this for the profit! Nothing justifies war, concerning the Earth, Humanity is in real danger!



Posted by Jon
3/06/2005 11:09:00 am  
I'm Italian and just wanted to say that reading comments like Sarah's makes my heart a little less sad and my anger a little less painful. We need to hear more American voices like yours. 

Posted by monica
3/06/2005 04:29:00 pm  
Hi Monica..

I'm sure Sarah will be pleased to know her comment has helped. We are also sad and angered by this tragedy. The best we can do is continue to fight the occupation of Iraq in hopes more Americans like Sarah will rise up and put a stop to the cause of it. In the meantime I hope to read in the future that Italy will be withdrawing their troops from Iraq. There is always hope. 

Posted by Dianne
3/07/2005 09:10:00 am  



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