Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Giuliana Sgrena Update

The following was taken from an interview with a journo-activist named Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman from Democracy Now on March 25th. The subject was Klein's conversations with Communist Journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Goodman is the one asking the questions; Klein is the one wearing the tin hat.
The same tired conspiracy theories of the US Army going out and shooting at Giuliana's car were rehashed. The most amusing exchange involved a simple question which I do not think was ever answered.

AMY GOODMAN: Did Giuliana talk about her time in captivity and who held her, Naomi Klein?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes, she did. I mean, she talked about this incredible disorientation. I think -- I know that you have covered the case on your show, and you have really stressed the fact that Giuliana's experience is not at all unique from the perspective of Iraqis who are living in this sort of pincer of the fear of being caught in a bombing by the resistance or a fear of being shot by U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint, and this is an ongoing fear every time Iraqis leave their home, and we're only hearing about this because there was foreigner involved, because it was such a dramatic incident. But I think the other part of the story is the implications for journalists and for independent journalists, because Giuliana Sgrena is really a hero, and she is an incredibly committed war correspondent who has put herself in situations of tremendous risk around the world. She has been to Iraq many, many times. And she went back to Iraq after Simona Pari and Simona Torretta had been kidnapped and released. She told me she has met with the Simonas in her hospital room, as well as several other people who had been kidnapped. She referred to it as the ex-kidnapped club. And she went knowing these risks, but one thing she told me that I think is an issue that you have discussed often on the show is the implications for all of this, for whether independent journalists can do their job in Iraq. And coming from someone who has been willing to take such tremendous risks, she said she just cannot figure out how it's possible at this point. This is because the people who held her made it very clear to her that they don't want independent journalists working in Iraq talking to Iraqis. And this was really one of the most disturbing details and, I think, a very telling detail. She told them that that made them just like Bush, because the Bush administration has also made it clear that they don't want independent witnesses talking to Iraqis, counting the bodies, highlighting the civilian toll of the war, but there are also clearly some elements of the resistance that feel the same way, and this makes it very, very difficult for independent journalists to do their work.

An objective interviewer might have followed up this remark with "Thanks, but really, did Giuliana talk about her time in captivity?"

Klein also states early in the interview:
I want to be really clear about is that Giuliana is not saying that she's certain in any way that the attack on the car was intentional...
...but later states it is almost impossible that the shooting wasn't intentional
...But one thing that's very clear is that if she is on this road, and the way she explains it, she had to go through a U.S. checkpoint in order to get into the Green Zone. You can only access this road through the Green Zone... So, the idea that the American military didn't know that they were on the road, that they -- that didn't know about their presence is impossible.... What Giuliana was talking about was what she was -- the only thing she could figure out is that the people who they checked in with in the Green Zone, the U.S. soldiers they checked in with in the Green Zone in order to get in, didn't radio ahead to these mobile checkpoints and warn them that they were coming. And from her perspective, that could have either been a mistake, or it could have been some sort of act of vengeance and anger, you know, and we know that there's a lot of anger at the idea that Italians may be paying very large ransoms for the release of prisoners. She's not alleging some grand conspiracy. There could have just been a broken down communication. But the idea that they didn't know, I think, is impossible, if she was on this secured road, because it emerged out of the Green Zone and you cannot get into the grown zone without passing through a checkpoint.
Click here for the whole interview, but have a puke bag handy.

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