Sgrena, and the story
Roger L. Simon’s analysis, The Case of the Big Trunk is excellent:
The only clue I see so far is this warning from her captors, reported by Sgrena herself in this article by the Associated Press:
Suddenly, she said, she remembered her captors’ words, when they warned her “to be careful because the Americans don’t want you to return.”
Really? Why? Just because she might say something favorable about the “insurgents”? This would hardly be amazing from a reporter for the communist Il Manifesto where scarcely a good word has been said about America since the fall of Mussolini. It would barely be news.
But how about this? Suppose it was the “insurgents” themselves, through a cut-out obviously, who alerted the Americans to Sgrena and her protectors, describing their car as something other than it was — a suicide bomber, perhaps, or some other possible terrorist-related vehicle. Of course, their motivation would have been to make the Americans look bad, no matter what resulted. Sgrena and the others would just have been collateral damage. And that, indeed, is what has happened.
There are lots of questions and details on this case:
1. Who kidnapped her?
2. Who paid the ransom? France2 news last night said there was a ransom paid, and speculated that it might have been $1,000,000. Bloomberg News says: “A ransom of “several million dollars” was paid in another Arab country at about the time of her release, the daily newspaper [Il Sole/24 Ore] said today.” The Australian says, “Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported yesterday that the Italian Government had paid a ransom of between E6-8million ($10-13.4million) to buy Sgrena’s freedom”.
3. Sgrena works for the communist newspaper Il Manifesto. She does have an agenda. She and her employer will be using this news to try to make the government withdraw Italian troops (3,000) from Iraq. This Barcepundit post quotes Italian blogger Enzo Reale
el funcionario del SISMI (el servicio secreto italiano) que ha negociado con los secuestradores y que ha muerto en el tiroteo para defender la periodista ha pasado de ser un “mercenario al servicio de las potencias ocupantes” (así la izquierda – y no sólo la más extrema- ha siempre definido todos los italianos que trabajaban en Iraq para contribuir a la reconstrucción y a la pacificación del país) a ser “un héroe”: la razón de ese repentino cambio de actitud es que su muerte
ha sido causada por los “imbeciles yanquees” (textual) y no por lo cortacabezas de la “resistencia” (textual);
The Italian Secret Service agent who negotiated the release and who died in the shootout defending the journalist has now gone from being “a mercenary at the service of the occupying powers” (as the left — and not only the extreme left — has always referred to Italians working towards Iraqi recontruction and peace) to being “a hero”. The reason for this sudden change in attitude is that his death was caused by the “imbecile yanquees” (their words) and not by the smallbrained “resistance” (their words”)
4. Who was the driver?
5. Why was the car speeding through a roadblock?
6. If the car had been fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle, how could there be any surviviors? Via Hispalibertas, as No Easy Answers points out,
300 and 400 bullets from an armored vehicle. If this is from a vehicle, and not from individual soldiers, chances are it’s from something like a .50 caliber machine gun. Assuming the low estimate, 300 .50 machine gun bullets would be roughly enough to completely pulverize the car and anybody in it. There would be no survivors. Period.
There are three other possibilities: 1) American tank gunners need better marksmanship training, because very few of those 300 actually hit the car. 2) It wasn’t a .50 cal, and was a regular 7.62mm machine gun – in that case, 300 bullets would still have a great chance of killing everyone inside, but (some) parts of the car might’ve survived. 3) The reporter is lying to turn this into a PR nightmare for the American army.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one is more likely.
Ed, one of Roger’s commenters, asks,
The dead Italian intelligence agent, from some reports, had been shot in the *temple* and in an autopsy the bullet was extracted from his *head*. Frankly I find this hard to credit so it might just be someone pulling this out of his ass. Because if anybody shot at the car it would be with .50 cal machineguns. And a .50 bullet to the head, wouldn’t leave anything behind. So there would be nothing to extract.
Frankly there are just too many unanswered questions about this.
a. What caliber was the bullet that killed the intelligence agent?
b. Is it a caliber that is used by American forces?
c. Who were the other passengers and who was the driver? Was the driver new to Iraq?
Barcepundit (in Spanish) posts that Sgrena’s boyfriend was told by her that she had picked up a fistful of empty bullet casings from the seat of the car. Barcepundit points out bullet casings fall where the gun has been fired from, not where the bullets have been fired to.
Dan Dragna, however, offers a much simpler, and entirely likely, explanation,
So the Italian government tried to pull off its daring war-zone “rescue” in operational secrecy, and the results have been, er, mixed. And now Berlusconi is desperately trying to cover his formidable behind by pointing fingers everywhere but in the direction of his own inept intelligence services. (Don’t look for any mea culpas coming from that direction anytime soon.)
Korla Pundit points out that the intelligence agent, Nicola Calipari,
was the same person who “freed” Simona Torretta and another Italian woman under similarly mysterious circumstances last year.
You remember: these were the two “aid workers” (aka human shields) who ran the pro-Saddam anti-sanctions NGO, A Bridge to Baghdad, who were also “kidnapped” under fishy and shadowy circumstances. And when they were released to Calipari, also allegedly for a million dollars ransom, they also praised their “captors,” justified terrorism, and condemned the U.S. and the Italian government that went along with it.
In the middle of all these questions and theories, Ms Sgrena’s being a little fluid with the details: First Sgrena said, her group had been fired on by an American patrol and not at a checkpoint. Now Sgrena claims “we on our way to the airport when the tanks started to strike against.
How many tanks, Giuliana?
Instead of telling us My Truth, how about telling the truth, for a start?
LGF, Michelle Malkin, and others are posting on this. Nicola Calipari’s state funeral (France2 video) was attended by thousands and was broadcast live on TV. Expect to hear a lot more on this story because of its propaganda value. As Enzo Reale points out, “in their parallel reality, the kidnappers “warn” and “worry”, while the Americans “kill” and “override”. It’s always the same equation, “resistance” good, Americans bad”.
Update More at Baldilocks. TigerHawk has strong words about the ransom. Friends sent links to Blithering Bunny, Cox and Forkum, The Moderate Voice, and Small Wars Journal. Many thanks to the people who sent the links.
Not related to the subject of the post: For some reason I can receive and read emails but can’t answer them. My apologies.