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Here's my answer to Dr Bittner. As DIE ZEIT does not allow real-time comments (they are filtered ... err, proofread first) I'm not sure whether they will show it in their comments section.

---

Dear Dr Bittner

I just stumbled upon your blog entry. Being a very special member of
the US Armed Forces I will gladly review your request.

As I'm not constrained by the usual code of conduct I have a couple of
questions for you, too. I hope you can spare the time for a curt
reply.

First: Background on Mrs Sgrena

- Did your newspaper disclose to its readers that Mrs Sgrena works for
a communist publication in Italy, Il Manifesto?

- Are your readers aware of the fact that Il Manifesto is considered
to mount on the hard-left fringes even by Italian standards?

- Do your readers know that Mrs Sgrena was opposed to the Iraqi war
from the beginning?

- Are your readers aware of the fact that Mrs Sgrena claimed
innumerable times that Iraqi people were better off under Saddam than
after his downfall?

- Considering Mrs Sgrena's past and present credentials, do you
maintain that she's apt to provide unbiased reporting from Iraq?

- Given the fact that Mrs Sgrena plead for her life on the infamous
video, how come that Mrs Sgrena wrote in Il Manifesto after her
release that the hijackers urged her to beware of the Americans for
they wanted to kill her?

- If her account were true, the terrorists first threatened to kill
her, then later cared for her safety - do you believe Mrs Sgrena is
impartial to the so-called Iraqi resistance?

Second: The incident itself

- In light of the fact that Mrs Sgrena has been held in custody for
several weeks, do you think it's appropriate that she goes public
without prior psychological treatment?

- How was the number of rounds allegedly fired on the car determined
in the beginning?

- Since you published those unconfirmed numbers beforehand on the
ZEIT's website, why do you backpedal now?

- Are your readers aware of the fact that no neutral source determined
the number of bullets allegedly fired on the car yet?

- Considering the fact that Mrs Sgrena herself wrote in Il Manifesto
(translation available via CNN) that the car did drive too fast, how
come that in her own words at a different time in a different news
source the car at the same time drove slowly?

- How come the American soldiers allegedly shot 400 rounds on the car
according to Mrs Sgrena's account, but killed only one passenger
inside the car?

- Given the fact that the Italian secret service admitted that they
did not communicate neither the route nor the intent of the transport,
and given the fact that there were no visible signs on the car to
indicate that a high-profile transport was under way, do you believe
there was any chance for the American soldiers to determine the actual
threat level of the car?

- In light of the fact that neither Mrs Sgrena nor your own newspaper
ever disclose political affiliations, sources, or intent of your
publications, and given the fact that journalists still are not
considered to be part either of the executive, judicative or
legislative branches of state, do you think it is appropriate to
demand any answer to your question while the official investigation is
under way, and doing so in a blog that in the past has proven to be
beyond bias, publishing doom and gloom without end?

Just asking.

GI Joe

What? The USA is refusing to answer to Die Zeit because these events are up for official investigation that will be made public as soon as the facts are known!

Just more evidence of American arrogance and fascism!! LOL

@GI Joe

Great questions soldier. Keep us informed of any progress.


hasserfüllter dictionary-eintrag auf wikipedia http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliana_Sgrena

@"" well found!

"Sowohl der Spiegel als auch verschiedene dezidierte Internetseiten (wie Yahoo-Nachrichten) und sogar öffentliche Rundfunksender (wie Bayern 5 Nachrichten) stellen den Vorgang mitlerweile als gezielten Anschlag der US-Amerikaner auf die Geisel dar, um zu verhindern, dass auch weitere Regierungen und Nicht-Regierungsorganisationen ihre Geiseln auf dem Verhandlungswege frei bekommen."

That bit is crazy. Rough translation: It reports that different news organisations including Spiegel and even the public radio Bayern 5 portray the events as an attempted targetted killing of the hostage in order to avoid that govts and NGOs attempt to rescue their hostages by way of payment.

Here the english version, that is as always slightly different:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliana_Sgrena

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliana_Sgrena

utterly biased article on journalist GUILIANA SGRENA
in german version of WIKIPEDIA, with emphasis on SGRENA's mad conspiracy theories and citing (of course) spiegel online coverage as kind of "objective" proof thereof.
wikipedia remarks that the content of this article is "controversial".
there's a discussion going on reg. this "article" on wikipedia (germany) - the contributors of which are even more insane !

Wow - you really can't make this sheiss up can you -

Is it correct that those very soldiers had been attacked at their
checkpoint a couple of days before?

YES - as they are soldiers in a war zone this does happen

- If this is correct, what did exactly happen in this prior incident?

WELL why don't you just report they shot up a bunch of nuns on their way to church - I heard someone say that somewhere so that should be enough hard evidence for you to go to press

- If this is correct, why did the soldiers have to maintain their duty
at the checkpoint?

JUST one of those things - see, the lack of any actual support from Germany or France in assisting the people of Iraq as they fight the terrorists seeking to return them to dictatorial rule means that US soldiers have to man the posts in Iraq

If you could perhaps editorialize in favor of sending a few German divisions to help out we might be able to give our guys some time off - how about it?

I hope it is Ok that I drag the ongoing examination in here. Dr Bittner just responded to my questions. Have a look.

- Did your newspaper disclose to its readers that Mrs Sgrena works for a communist publication in Italy, Il Manifesto?

Dr Bittner: We told our readers regularly that Mrs Sgrena works for Il Manifesto. As far as I am informed the newspaper is considered a left-wing publication which carries its name for traditional reasons.

- Are your readers aware of the fact that Il Manifesto is considered to mount on the hard-left fringes even by Italian standards?

Dr Bittner: Although that's a question to the readers - I think so, yes.

- Do your readers know that Mrs Sgrena was opposed to the Iraqi war from the beginning?

Dr Bittner: I don't know.

- Are your readers aware of the fact that Mrs Sgrena claimed innumerable times that Iraqi people were better off under Saddam than after his downfall?

Dr Bittner: I have not come across any such claims by Mrs Sgrena. If she said that I would strongly disagree.
But I don't think it would be ok to try to shoot her for that.

- Considering Mrs Sgrena's past and present credentials, do you maintain that she's apt to provide unbiased reporting from Iraq?

Dr Bittner: I have never claimed that, so I cannot maintain it.

- Given the fact that Mrs Sgrena plead for her life on the infamous video, how come that Mrs Sgrena wrote in Il Manifesto after her release that the hijackers urged her to beware of the Americans for they wanted to kill her?

Dr Bittner: This you have to ask Mrs Sgrena.

- If her account were true, the terrorists first threatened to kill her, then later cared for her safety - do you believe Mrs Sgrena is impartial to the so-called Iraqi resistance?

Dr Bittner: I don't know. But unlike you I think that all these questions have nothing to do with the shooting we are talking about.

- In light of the fact that Mrs Sgrena has been held in custody for several weeks, do you think it's appropriate that she goes public without prior psychological treatment?

Dr Bittner: I don't know her current state of mind well enough to assess that.

- How was the number of rounds allegedly fired on the car determined in the beginning?

Dr Bittner: I don't think they have been determined yet.

- Since you published those unconfirmed numbers beforehand on the ZEIT's website, why do you backpedal now?

Dr Bittner: I did not publish those numbers.

- Are your readers aware of the fact that no neutral source determined the number of bullets allegedly fired on the car yet?

Dr Bittner: I don't know.

- Considering the fact that Mrs Sgrena herself wrote in Il Manifesto (translation available via CNN) that the car did drive too fast, how come that in her own words at a different time in a different news source the car at the same time drove slowly?

Dr Bittner: I don't know.

- How come the American soldiers allegedly shot 400 rounds on the car according to Mrs Sgrena's account, but killed only one passenger inside the car?

Dr Bittner: I don't know. The US army refuses to give details on this point.

- Given the fact that the Italian secret service admitted that they did not communicate neither the route nor the intent of the transport, and given the fact that there were no visible signs on the car to indicate that a high-profile transport was under way, do you believe there was any chance for the American soldiers to determine the actual threat level of the car?

Dr Bittner: I don't know. The US army refuses to give details on this point, too.

- In light of the fact that neither Mrs Sgrena nor your own newspaper ever disclose political affiliations, sources, or intent of your publications, and given the fact that journalists still are not considered to be part either of the executive, judicative or legislative branches of state, do you think it is appropriate to demand any answer to your question while the official investigation is under way, and doing so in a blog that in the past has proven to be beyond bias, publishing doom and gloom without end?

Dr Bittner: I disagree with the basic presumptions of your question.

@GI Joe, well done soldier!

"- Are your readers aware of the fact that Mrs Sgrena claimed innumerable times that Iraqi people were better off under Saddam than after his downfall?

Dr Bittner: I have not come across any such claims by Mrs Sgrena. If she said that I would strongly disagree.
But I don't think it would be ok to try to shoot her for that."

Crazy stuff. Is he suggesting that this is the reason why she was shot?

No - I think he is just saying it was not ok to shoot her - intentionally or accidentally

Thank God for the internet or we would have to hear all about how an innocent journalist of no particular political pursuasion was the victim of an attempted murder by the US military in Iraq - something Eason Jordan warned us about

/sarcasm

You must have a lot of spare time to read Die Zeit. How do you manage your time so efficiently?

Here's my reply to Dr Bittner.

---

Thanks a lot for taking the time, Dr Bittner. I hope I can help filling the loopholes in your reply.

You wrote,

>>> We told our readers regularly that Mrs Sgrena works for Il Manifesto. As far as I am informed the newspaper is considered a left-wing publication which carries its name for traditional reasons. <<<

In actual fact Il Manifesto has strong ties to communist parties in Italy, and not just 'left-wing' ones. For instance, the weekend before her release protestors marched in the streets with the Il Manifesto label right next to the hammer and sickle sign of Soviet Russia.

To my question whether your readers know that Mrs Sgrena was opposed to the Iraqi war from the beginning you replied,

>>> I don't know. <<<

Don't you think it might matter that Mrs Sgrena was hijacked and threatened by the self-labelled 'Mujahedeen without Borders' although she was opposed to the occupation, too? We will see later why that matters.

To my question whether your readers are aware of the fact that Mrs Sgrena claimed innumerable times that Iraqi people were better off under Saddam than after his downfall you replied,

>>> I have not come across any such claims by Mrs Sgrena. If she said that I would strongly disagree.
But I don't think it would be ok to try to shoot her for that. <<<

You might want to take a look at this document, hosted at Il Manifestos website:

http://www.ilmanifesto.it/pag/sgrena/materia/sgrena_06.pdf

I'm sure there's someone in your office who can provide an accurate translation for you. But let me ask you - what exactly did you imply by stating, 'But I don't think it would be ok to try to shoot her for that'?

To my question that if her account were true, the terrorists first threatened to kill her, then later cared for her safety - do you believe Mrs Sgrena is impartial to the so-called Iraqi resistance you replied:

>>> I don't know. But unlike you I think that all these questions have nothing to do with the shooting we are talking about. <<<

However, initially you had written that,

>>> Our only witness so far is Giuliana herself. I think it is in the interest of all of us to not leave her account to be the only one. <<<

Subsequently you had drafted your questions solely relying on the eye-witness account of Mrs Sgrena. Don't you think it might be worth some time to establish Mrs Sgrena's credibility first before asking any more questions which directly hint at the possibility that Mrs Sgrena's car was deliberately shot at by American soldiers in order to kill the passengers? Let me be honest - did it ever cross your mind that Mrs Sgrena might be lying in order to advance her agenda?

Furthermore, to my question that in light of the fact that Mrs Sgrena has been held in custody for several weeks, do you think it's appropriate that she goes public without prior psychological treatment you replied:

>>> I don't know her current state of mind well enough to assess that. <<<

Then why did your editor-in-chief state in your own newspaper and via BILD that he deems her account trustworthy? You might want to consider that you did not write to the Army Major on your own behalf but as an employee of DIE ZEIT, so I guess we can happily assume that you share your editor's notions.

To my question that since you published those unconfirmed numbers beforehand on the ZEIT's website, why do you backpedal now you replied:

>>> I did not publish those numbers. <<<

But your editors did. Do you want to maintain here that you dispute what your own newspaper published the other day?

To the other questions you reply that you don't know. So given the fact that you don't seem to have any more information than your readers at this point, and given the fact that your only source so far is Mrs Sgrena herself, and given the fact that you don't know anything about the precise circumstances of the incident, how come that your own newspaper publishes,

>>> Tragischer Irrtum oder Hinterhalt? — Giuliana Sgrena widerspricht den Darstellungen der Amerikaner und vermutet, dass sie ermodert werden sollte. <<<

and

>>> Frei - und dann die Tragödie — In einem Telefongespräch erhebt die heimgekehrte Journalistin schwere Vorwürfe gegen die US-Armee. <<<

I hope you're aware of the fact that Army officials might want to determine the sincerity of your request by examining the track record of your newspaper concerning the incident.

Thanks for your time.

Joe - your missing the big picture here - this is a great opportunity to show the German public that the US military is the bunch of trigger happy morons we have been telling them they are lo these past years

How dare you expect us to follow basic journalistic techniques when such a rich opportunity to re-enforce our pre-held beliefs is right in front of us.

The next thing you'll be demanding is some kind of balanced portrayal of the United States and President Bush in our publications - and who knows where that may lead!

Sincerely,

Dr Bittner
Ministry of Truth

AUS DER SENDUNG VOM 07.03.2005

Todesschüsse im Irak belasten italienisch-amerikanisches Verhältnis
Europaminister Rocco Buttiglione im Interview
Moderation: Friedbert Meurer

Meurer: Was glauben Sie ist der Grund gewesen, dass es zu diesem verhängnisvollen Zwischenfall kommen konnte?

Buttiglione: Das kann ich natürlich nicht wissen. Wir müssen gerade deshalb ermitteln, weil wir die Wahrheit nicht wissen. Eines scheint mir durchaus unwahrscheinlich und nur eine politische Spekulation, die gerade in diesem Moment nicht passieren sollte. Alles sollte eher den Menschen respektieren, der gestorben ist, und was unwahrscheinlich ist, dass mit Absicht die Amerikaner Giuliana Sgrena und Nicola Calipari ermorden wollten. Das ist unmöglich. Die moralische Verantwortung und die politische Verantwortung für den Tot von Nicola Calipari tragen die Terroristen. Die Amerikaner können schlecht behandelt werden, können beruflich unvorbereitet sein, können zu allem gebracht werden, aber die Kriminellen sind immer noch die Terroristen.

Meurer: Aber gestorben ist der Geheimdienstagent an US-amerikanischen Kugeln, Herr Buttiglione. Wie erklären Sie sich diesen Verdacht, den Frau Sgrena gegen die US-Truppen geäußert hat?

Buttiglione: Das kann ich mir nicht erklären. Es gibt einen Anti-Amerikanismus, der durchaus die Grenze des Vernünftigen überschritten hat. Die Kugeln waren von den Amerikanern, aber er war dort, weil die Terroristen Giuliana Sgrena mit dem Tod bedroht hatten. Es ist ganz einfach zu verstehen, wenn Giuliana Sgrena in den Händen der Terroristen war, dass wir uns um ihr Leben fürchteten. Als sie in einem amerikanischen Hospital untergebracht wurde, waren wir um ihr Leben sicher. Diese Haltung gegen Amerika als System, als Staatsmacht ist unakzeptabel.
Eine ganz andere Frage ist, dass einige Amerikaner sich gefürchtet haben, für ihre Arbeit unvorbereitet zu sein und geschossen haben, ohne genug Gründe dafür zu haben. Leider ist dies nicht der erste Fall, der im Irak passiert.

http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/interview_dlf/353568/

Die Antwort, Bittnerchen, ist Lima, Mike, Alfa, Alfa.

i'd just given them, Die Zeit the finger. and a smile.

I just wanted to say that I think it is sad that the following was also left out in the excerpt on medienkritik:

--- http://blogg.zeit.de/bittner/eintrag.php?id=147
I know that an investigation in the affair is underway. Nevertheless, I
should be very grateful if you could provide as many details on the
incident as possible. Our only witness so far is Giuliana herself.
I think it is in the interest of all of us to not leave her account to
be the only one.

---

This, by itself, is exactly what I would have expected from a journalist. That a subset of the questions can be seen to put the blame on the soldiers (namely the "how old are they", "remaining in duty" and the "is there always enough time for warning signals"), is a matter of interpretation. If you assume that Bittner is trying to do just that, these questions will fuel you. If you go by the old "What, Who, Where, When, Why" thingy, all the questions, whether or not quoted on medienkritik, are fair. In particular, some of them are not related to the current investigation but general rules of engagements.

So, despite his record and his somewhat disappointed and disappointing remark at the end of his blog entry, the questions are valid. That the US Army did not reply is also valid and I cannot see that Bittner made a big deal out of it.

Note from David: As a rule we quote just excerpts, not full texts. We try to capture the main essence of what is meant, and I think the parts quoted of Bittner's letter are the most important. Anyway - I gave the link to Bittner's letter, and everyone interested in the full letter could read it (it's in English, anyway).
As to your assertion "I cannot see that Bittner made a big deal out of it" - that depends on what you mean by "big deal". Bittner closes his presentation (not the letter) by concluding: "Soviel live aus der Redaktionsstube zum Aufklärungsinteresse der Armee." (Difficult to precisely catch the spirit of this sentence. I try: "That much can be said ... about the interest of the army to clearing-up"). That statement clearly carries a negative, dismissive connotation. Bittner asserts that the army has no interest of clearing up the incident - just because the army respond to a request by a German newspaper wouldn't within 24 hours.
I stand to my opinion: Bittner's letter is just ridiculous; a document of the arrogance so prevalent in Germany's media when it comes to reporting on American politics.

Wasn't "DIE ZEIT" the last biotope of the so called "Transatlantiker"??? And now, they are leaving the boat, faster than rats of the sinking Titanic.

@ Niko

The problem I see is that even if Bittner had suddenly been brainwashed and asked completely fair questions out of pure journalistic curiousity would, say GI Joe, have reacted differently? While I consider medienkritik an informative site that challenges my views, some of the comments (from either side) are meant more serious than they can be taken. Sadly, the post "Zeit gets ridiculous" is not far away from the style of some of the comments.

I guess, we should also note that GI Joe accuses Die Zeit of making unconfirmed* statements and then backpedalling. One should only be accused of one of those for the same story.
(* = most likely false when it comes to the number of bullets)

On the bright side, Zeit is really backpedalling and it now says next to Bittners blog entry on the front page:

--- www.zeit.de/index
ZEIT-Chefredakteur Giovanni di Lorenzo warnt davor, über einen möglichen Hinterhalt durch die Amerikaner zu spekulieren.
---
ZEIT chief editor G. di Lorenzo warns of speculations about a possible American ambush.
---

The article ( http://www.zeit.de/2005/10/calipari_staatsakt ) quotes di Lorenzo that he shares the doubts about the official American account, but disregards the ambush idea as a conspiracy theory without any fundament.

And yes, there are some statements full of pathos in that short article. E.g., whether the shooting should really be called a "Feuerhagel" - hail of fire - is up for debate. That it might have felt worse to the passangers of this particular car than it really was (besides that one of them died) seems likely. Whether this justifies the unquestioned use of this word in an article that is neither purely informative nor entirely a laudatio of the agent, I do not know.

The Americans must be using French weapons with German ammunitions. Otherwise how could they only kill one person with 400 rounds. Anybody has half a brain would know that if you try to assassinate a person, you would not leave any witness alive.

Wow, Niko, I'm quite surprised and disappointed by Dr. Bittner.
If Dr. Bittner, educated journalist at one of the most prestigious publications in Germany, has problems with opinions that are different, then there is hardly any hope for the German journalism, and, by extension, for the German public depending on the likes of Dr. Bittner.

I for one find the questions rather understandable. I mean, look at how the answers can change the view to the whole thing:

The soldiers are 20 - 30 - 40
They had been in Iraq for 2 weeks - 1 month - 6 months
They had not been attacked before - had been attacked a month before by a group of armed rebels - had been attacked a week before by a suicide bomber driving up to the checkpoint

Just these few answers can dramatically change how you'd rate the incident. And therfore I wouldn't call it "putting the blame on the soldiers", but rather "excusing their behaviour under the circumstances", making it understandable. I for one can imagine how an attack just a week ago could make me a little less tolerant in regard of driver reaction time.

I haven't yet formed an opinion on that incident. One the one side, if the soldiers had wanted to kill her, then what should have possibly stopped them from killing her (and the rest of the passengers) after they car had stopped and they reached it?
On the other side, I personally cannot imagine that the driver wouldn't react to soldiers shouting, waving at him, and finally giving warning shots. I mean, wouldn't you slow down? Or, at the least, try and get away, but preferably not in the direction of the guys who are shooting at you.

I've stumbled across another article about the checkpoints, and that kinda gave credit to the US view, however at the same time putting blame on the US for their "checkpoint strategy" (as in how and where checkpoints are). Being more positive, you could say it's thoughtless, but directly coming to mind is "just plain stupid."

The other article, from the christian science monitor http://search.csmonitor.com/search_content/0307/p01s04-woiq.html

@ Niko

Personally, I believe di Lorenzo's above statement to BILD (uggh) to express his doubts about the current official account (i.e.: They were not slowing down, there were enough warnings and enough time to react to those warnings). Hopefully, he has a decent amount of trust in the final results of the investigation.

To quote the White House press secretary Scott McClellan from a CNN article on this accident, "Oftentimes, [Coalition forces] have to make split second decisions to protect their own security." I do not want to imply that this was the case at the checkpoint. However, assuming this was the case, I have doubts that the first thing a soldier or one of his superious would tell (maybe anti-American) media is "It was all happening so fast, we had to shoot." which could easily be mistaken as admitting an error. I do not expect complete emotional detachedness and pure objectivity from these soldiers either. Whatever happened, and the current official account can very possibly be completely accurate, and what will be told immediately after the incident has to be treated as two seperate things. In this aspect, Zeit fails, as trust and doubt were initally distributed very unequally.

What the number of the bullets should tell me about my post (where I said that this number is most likely false), I cannot see. I used them as an example, since they came up in this discussion quite often as an example of wrong statements by Zeit. It just struck me as odd that GI Joe held it against Bittner that Zeit is now making some more careful statements than simply repeating Sgrena's tale.

Regarding: F. Hoffmann

Please guys, tell us if you have any more facts than we do. I do not know what F. Hoffmann's full "Letter to the editor" (not "blog comment") was or whether "half of it" was deleted by Brittner. I do not find it particular unusual that a newspaper screens and edits such letters, in particular leaving out insults that serve no purpose or shortening long, unprecise rants. I think, F. Hoffmann was clearly given a chance to make himself heard and to express his opinions. The published part is certainly very opposing to Brittner's view and contains enough attacks upon Brittner, Sgrena and their articles.

The next entry is sad. It didn't have to be published, but if one chooses to do so, there is little that can be edited out, since the entire thing is insulting/anti-american/racist.

--- In light of the fact that Mrs Sgrena has been held in custody for several weeks, do you think it's appropriate that she goes public without prior psychological treatment?

Dr Bittner: I don't know her current state of mind well enough to assess that.--

She's a commie, she has no mind.

I talked one of my friends who commanded a battalion of the 3ID in Baghad. He is very familiar with checkpoints and roadblocks. In fact his unit at one time had the mission of protecting this section of about 8 miles of roadway from central Baghad to the airport.

He confirmed what techniques are used, the rules of engagement, factors in locating the positions as well as there rotations, etc. Later I saw on FOX News an interview with MG Scales who said pretty much the same things.

Here is the link http://www.foxnews.com/

You will see a video feature titled “Looking for answers”. I am not sure how long it is going to be up. I also do not know if it is not there, how you go about finding it on their site.

Of course, MG Scales is the first one to report that all of this took place at night. That is a bit interesting and makes it a lot trickier. Of course nighttime or daylight you are talking about making decisions in less than 15 seconds. Actually for combat ops this is like a lifetime.

The reports and the attitudes coming out of Europe, I find to be amazing, frankly. To a reasonable person many of these statements make no logical sense. Talk about thinking one is the center of the universe and of such importance. A simple question on this alone and an honest answer about an attempted assassination makes these reports nothing more than propaganda.

Unfortunately the damage has already been done.

As an aside and this has been mentioned before what is amazing is the lack of contacts the German M$M has in the US. If they were actually doing anything productive and wanted to report the truth as opposed to what is publicly acceptable, I would find it hard to believe they could have not gotten this same information.

I'd really like to see the full comment that Franz gave.

Oh, the beauty of it. Just in from Mr. Bittner's blog:

LIEBE BLOGG-LESER, BITTE SEHEN SIE VORERST VON WEITEREN KOMMENTAREN AB. UM ZU VERHINDERN, DASS BELEIDIGENDE INHALTE ONLINE GEHEN, MÜSSEN ALLE BEITRÄGE EDITIERT UND NOTFALLS GEKÜRZT WERDEN. DAFÜR FEHLEN UNS IM MOMENT DIE REDAKTIONELLEN KAPAZITÄTEN. MIT DER BITTE UM VERSTÄNDNIS, IHR JOCHEN BITTNER

Meaning: Dear Blog-Readers. please abstain from commenting any further. To prohibited insulting messages getting online we have to edit and shorten them. To do so, we however lack the capabilities at the moment.

Crappy translastion, I know, but funny nonetheless. So a differing opinion just became "insulting".

@Martin,
You wrote

On the other side, I personally cannot imagine that the driver wouldn't react to soldiers shouting, waving at him, and finally giving warning shots. I mean, wouldn't you slow down? Or, at the least, try and get away, but preferably not in the direction of the guys who are shooting at you.

-----------------------------------------

Knowing what Italian driving is like in general - I can easily imagine some guy speeding along to get to the airport with his ransomed charge and failing to slow down while approaching a US military checkpoint in an unmarked sedan

One of the problems in this scenario is that "warning shots" are frankly not all that clear to many people If you are driving along in a car in Iraq and you simply hear a few shots, your impulse as a westerner is not to slow down or to stop

I don't know if this shooting took place in day or night btw? Is this clear?

Anyway - two things are clear - the soldiers who shot at the car were not deliberatly trying to kill the commie reporter and her bagmen ( those who deliver ransoms ) although I frankly would be ok with them if they were

And second - no one can say " I can't imagine not slowing down"....you can't imagine being in a car in Iraq speeding toward the airport and how you might react to the sound of shots - or if you would recognize a checkpoint at 1000 meters distance ( an M4 rifle can hit you easily at this distance ) and how quickly a car driving at 90 kph would cover 1000 or 500 meters - and how you would react to such a situation with 1500 of your comrades dead, many of them from these kind of scenarios

Frankly I don't understand why the Italians were so concerned with this "lady" anyway - she went to Iraq on her own, she supported the "insurgency" with her writing - and she was then kidnapped by her heroe's in the Iraqi "resistance"

This is not tragedy - this is comedy

Pogue,

It was at night.

Actually they use tracers at night for warning shots. Usually one or two soliders have full magazines of 20 -29 rounds of nothing but tracers for this purpuse.

It would seem the Italian intell types should be familiar with what tracer fire looks like. This should have given them some hint.

Also realize that both the M1A1's and the M3's at the check point were also illuminated. So it is not like they were hiding. They were lit up like Christmas trees. Surely these intell types would recongize these vehicles as they would have a clear view from where the first set of signs were to the second set, to the firing of the warning shots, to the point of disabling the car. Had the car not been disabled, then there would be no one left alive in it, probably because that is the final rule of engagement.

These people were idiots and it resulted in the death of one and the wounding of others.


Thanks Joe - some more on this event -


The Washington Times has a report on an internal Pentagon memo that says Italy failed to coordinate their rescue of Giuliana Sgrena with US troops, and backs up the initial account that the Italian vehicle was speeding and ignored signals: Italy didn’t plan safe escape for hostage.

Maj. Gen. William G. Webster Jr., who heads the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, yesterday completed the “commander’s preliminary inquiry.” He has decided to conduct a more extensive inquiry, called a 15-6 for the regulation that authorizes it. Gen. Webster will name one officer to head the probe.

A U.S. official said that of all the cars that passed through the checkpoint that night, the reporter’s vehicle was the only one fired upon. “Something that car did caused the soldiers to fire,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

The shooting occurred at night at a checkpoint on a notoriously dangerous road that links Baghdad to the international airport.

Here’s another detail previously unreported:

The left-leaning Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported yesterday that Mr. Calipari decided not to use available escort protection from the elite commandos who protect Italy’s Baghdad embassy.

Instead, he rented an inconspicuous pickup truck to recover Miss Sgrena, wrote La Repubblica’s top investigative reporter, Giuseppe D’Avanzo.

“In Iraq, the United States makes the rules and the Italian ally also must respect them. If it wants to break them, it must do so with a double game and some crafty tricks,” Mr. D’Avanzo wrote.

And they have apparently located the vehicle:

Italian magistrates have opened an inquiry into the killing and are arranging for the truck to be flown to Italy for examination by ballistic experts, judicial sources said. The magistrates also have obtained from the U.S. military the cellular phone that Mr. Calipari was carrying when he was shot.

The best part comes at the close of the response, "SSG Dees." Die Zeit the high and mighty didn't even rate the attention of a green 2nd Lieut. They got a staff sargant who's obviously not intimidated.

Isn't the proper response to this sort of thing from a pompous German

"NUTS"

After some confusion yesterday, LGF has now got some pictures of the car that was shot at on these two threads

here and

here

There are also available here
From La Repubblica

Looks like those 16 year old probably drunk and drugged up gun crazy yank occupying soldier assassins really fired the s**t out of the car! /sarcasm

But why would she lie???!!!!!!!! ROTFLOL

This is the bottom line--

THe Italians kept secret from the Americans the fact that they are paying ransom for hostages, and paid for Giuliana as well.. they kept their travel plans secret, presumably because they knew the Americans would know they had ransomed Giuliana if they were asked to help transport her safely. THey refused to stop at the checkpoint on the same grounds, that they didn't want the Americans to know that Giuliana was free, because they'd then know about the ransom.

The Italians played a secret game and paid the price. Not to mention there is now an official travel advisory to Iraq for the Italian public. In other words, "now that the terrorists know for sure that we have a policy of paying big bucks for ransom, they'll be kidnapping every Italian who shows up. So don't go, because we're not made of money!"

From an Retired American Soldier: Thanks a hell of a lot to you guys to posting the truth about communist lies. After spending as many years as I did in the military for the purpose of fighting communism I can only say one thing: TOO BAD IT DID NOT KILL THE COMMUNIST BITCH

I personaly have a problem with the questions that we asked.
Why would you only have here comments and the US comments?
I think one of excorts did suvive.
So shouldn't the Italian gov't be questioning him.
Should questions be sent to that gov't also?
Why are there no pictures of the car?

We Refused Ransom for Italian Journalist
http://www.zaman.com/?bl=hotnews&alt=&trh=20050308&hn=17287

Maybe they did warn her, because she was so friendly to her?

What bothers me with Dr Bittner and his questions is that the investigation is going on now and the Italians and the Americans are both involved. The car has been shown and is being checked out as is the cell phone. Stopping all this to answer Dr Bittner's questions at this time takes the attention of those involved away from what is potentially a very serious and dangerous situation. I think someone should just tell Dr Bittner to go away until the investigation is done and then there will be a full report as to what happened. What he is asking for is totally counter-productive and he should just go pound salt (or something). Give the investigators time to do the work and then we will have good answers to his questions.

Back to Dr Bittner. But maybe getting good answers to those questions is what Dr Bittner is afraid of and he is in reality trying to short-circuit the investigation for his own reasons. Sounds reasonable under the circumstances. That is what Sgrena is trying to do.

1) The Italians car was not on the main airport road, they'd driven into the Green Zone and passed all the security controls which were required to do that, then they used the high security VIP road that's reserved for diplomats, top brass, and people like John Negroponte.
2) It was a NOT a checkpoint, it was a single armoured vehicle with some US soldiers who were part of John Negroponte's security detail, assigned to to protect the route used by John Negroponte.
3) This armoured vehicle was parked around a blind corner, and they fired upon the Italians car as it passed them by.
4) The Italians car was shot at FROM BEHIND, that's why the only photos that the US military released DON'T SHOW THE REAR OF THE CAR, or even the right side which were probably shot to pieces. They only show the left side and ONLY PART of the front.
5) The bullets which killed the Italian agent (Calipari) and almost killed the Italian journalist (Giuliana Sgrena) hit them from BEHIND. The driver in the front of the car was the only person not injured.
6) With a muddy road (there'd been a storm that night), around a blind corner, at night, do you REALLY think that the Italians were going to be driving much faster then 40-60kmh? Don't be ridiculous, and that 100mph quote by some US military smartass liar is just so much BS.
7) The Italians had informed the US military of their planned route. There was a top Italian military officer waiting at the airport talking to the people in the car on his cellphone and speaking with a US top military officer who was right next to him.
8) The Italians car had already passed all the very tight security controls required to get into the Green Zone, there's NO WAY that the US military didn't know who the fuck they were!

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