Sunday, March 27, 2005


On the road to nowhere: Sgrena's car on road prepared for Negroponte

Thanks to Umkahlil for this tip to the Democracy Now radio interview with Naomi Klein. Klein had just met with Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian journalist who was shot at by US troops in Baghdad immediately after having been liberated from those who had kidnapped her.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue with independent reporter, Naomi Klein. She just met with Giuliana Sgrena, who has just been released from a Rome hospital to her home though she is still very ill, dealing with having been shot on the way to the airport after her release by -- in Iraqi captivity. Naomi Klein, the news that the checkpoint -- that the road that they -- that Calipari was killed on, that she was driving on, Sgrena, when she was being driven to the airport, had been set up for – that there had been a checkpoint set up for the trip of U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to a dinner that night with General George Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to provide security. U.S. soldiers established mobile checkpoint, clusters of humvees armed with 50 caliber machine guns on top. It was one of the details that opened fire on the Italians' vehicle. Have you heard anything about this?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, this would support what Giuliana told me, which is that the road she was on was not the public road that other journalists have traveled on, and that contractors and so on travel on, the very dangerous road. It was a secured road reserved for top Embassy officials, like obviously like Negroponte. 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. It's very, very difficult to get into the Green Zone. When I tried to get into the Green Zone, I had to go through six checkpoints -- six different passport checks. 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, if she was, in fact, on a road that emerged out of the Green Zone. And I think that the idea that there was a mobile checkpoint set up for Negroponte obviously supports this claim very strongly. 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.


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