Friday, March 11, 2005

Sgrena: How much of a liar?

By now most folks know about the basic story about the Italian Journalist, Guiliana Sgrena, and her events in Iraq. To recap, she was abuducted by terrorists in Iraq, and an Italian secret agent went to free her (with, presumably, a ransom payment). But then, her accusations were that US troops fired on her car, and killed the agent, and wounded her. She claimed that the US soldiers were out to kill her, because, well, they're US soldiers! Gasp! They kill baby seals for fun! Oh, the humanity! And of course, the leftist media in Europe ate her words up without bothering to do any fact checking.

And now her whole story is collapsing around her. First, only an idiot would try to run through a US checkpoint in Iraq- on one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq. And the American soldiers would have given fair warning that there A) was a checkpoint upcoming and B) followed the rules of engagement. Sgrena's statements were that there were "300-400 bullet holes in the car" and that she "was able to pick up bullets that fell into backset with her hands". Firstly, if American troops were to fire that many bullets at her- she'd be deader than dead. Secondly, if they wanted to kill her.....why is she alive and well, having been sent to a hospital by American soldiers? And thirdly, why have pictures of her car ( (hat tip: Jawa Report and House of Wheels) shown that it's pretty much NOT shot up? There are a few bullet holes in it.....but not many. And then Sgrena goes and changes her story, saying that American soldiers fired at her from the REAR of the car (I guess she saw the pictures herself, and realized that she's full of crap, so she changed her story).....which would either indicate A) that she's just making this up as it goes by or B) whoever was in the car completely blew the checkpoint, and chucked the rules of engagement out the window ( hat tip: Captain Ed's). Apparently, the US troops had NO foreknowledge of the resuce attempt (or the whole ransom issue, but I'll get to that), and all they saw was an unmarked car barrelling down on them on one of the most dangerous highways in Iraq.

And at Captain Ed's blog (also above link), there are also reports that the Italian military in Iraq didn't even know about the rescue attempt. It could be for multiple reasons:
- they didn't want the Americans to know about the ransom
- they didn't want to let the Italian military know about the ransom (they'd have pressured to do a REAL rescue attempt)
- Someone screwed up in the negotiations for her release, and forgot to tell the chain of command (American AND Italian) what was going on.

The folks at the Jawa Report ( are speculating that Sgrena was never kidnapped. And that the whole thing was an elaborate ruse to throw a monkey wrench into the Italian and American efforts in Iraq. Sgrena has certainly tried to do that since the event. I don't know if the speculation will pan out, but it does raise alot of good questions.
1. Sgrena went to Iraq to present an anti-American view of the war, and the American military.
2. Sgrena all but admitted that she'd search out for the terrorists, and get their stories.
3. The kidnappers of Sgrena were unknowns, with a name that doesn't jive with the normal names for terrorist groups (Mujahedeen without Borders?!?!?!).
4. Sgrena's kidnapping "just happened" to take place when she was on the cell phone with another reporter.
5. Much of the info about her abduction and clash with American forces have come from sympathetic colleagues and friends, who are not considered unbiased sources.
6. Sgrena was released a month to the day of her capture.
7. Why in the hell would Berlusconi pay ransom money out of his own pockets for a rabid anti-American communist reporter?
8. Why didn't the American and Italian military commanders know about the rescue attempt?
9. Why did Calipari- the agent- use an unmarked car that offered no protection and identification markings- knowing that they were going into a hostile area?
10. Why did the terrorists warn Sgrena about the "Ameircans wanting to kill her"? Do terrorists normally give their victims such consideration?
11. Why does Sgrena's story keep changing? And the American story does not?
12. Why was Calipari's body flown directly to Italy for a state funeral? Was there ever an autopsy (I think there wasn't)?

It would not suprise me if the Italian government was hoodwinked into paying millions of dollars for what may well turn out to be a fake abduction. And that the Italian government knew it was fake, and tried to cover it up. Calipari may well have gone to extradite Sgrena from Iraq, and either A) the mission blew up when they ran into the American checkpoint, B) Sgrena knew that Calipari had uncovered the truth about the abduction, and staged a attack on their car, and then set the Americans up for the blame.

This is, of course, pure speculation. But there are enough holes in Sgrena's story that you can bet top dollar that SOMETHING fishy is going on here. She's already proven to be a liar multiple times, and her motives are pretty clear. At the rate that the story is unraveling, we'll get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.


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