March 2005 Vol 5, No. 3
Attack On Italian Reporter Was Intentional,
The more than 300 bullets shot by U.S. soldiers at the vehicle taking Italian Journalist Giuliana Sgrena to a “safe” journey home, was a deliberate attempt to silence her, said Piero Scolari, who was in the car with her when it was attacked. Scolari said “Giuliana had information due to which the U.S. military did not want her to leave alive.”
He went to Iraq to get her back to Italy, 24 hours before her departure to this capital. At the time of the February 4 abduction Giuliana was working on a report on people who sought refuge at a mosque in Falluja during the U.S. air raids against the Sunni bastion. Sgrena had also questioned the invasion of the Middle East country by the U.S.-British coalition.
Sgrena, 57, was taken straight to Celio Hospital to treat the wounds from the attack in Baghdad perpetrated 700 meters short of the airport, after the convoy had safely passed every checkpoint, added Scolari. According to Il Manifesto Chief Editor, Gabriele Polo, a U.S. patrol shot more than 300 bullets at Sgrena’s convoy. Agent Nicola Calipari, chief negotiator of Giuliana’s release, was killed on the spot from a shot to the head while covering the reporter with his body. The U.S. version said they tried to stop a speeding car with a warning shot since gestures and flashlight signals failed.
Italy’s Defense Ministry said it will bring home the body of Nicola Calipari while the news of the inexplicable attack on the journalist’s convoy by U.S. troops turned Italys welcoming celebrations from joy to pain and mourning. On returning home, the journalist and her companions were welcomed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and, along with President Carlo Ciampi, joined the national demands for explanations for the U.S. soldiers’ behavior.
Great expectation has generated reaction by the government of Berlusconi, since his alliance with the United States during the invasion of Iraq had placed a 3,000-strong Italian force there, despite adverse public opinion in Italy.
—Prensa Latina, March 5