"Journalist Sgrena detested yankees"

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Not the Bronx Bombers, 'Mmericans. Or at least that is what the combination of a free Web translating site and a Dutch dispatch on the Sgrena affair relate.

If I read the Yoda-speak results correctly, a Dutch correspondent says the Italian journalist told him she had no fear of being a kidnap target in Iraq because, "We stand on the side of the suppressed Iraqi people." Oh.

More according to Harald Doornbos' account of their conversation during the flight into Baghdad from Beirut, by way of our trusted Yoda-izer:

"You get the situation not. We are anti-imperialists, anti-capitalists, communists," said she. "The Iraqis only kidnap American sympathizers, the enemies of the Americas have nothing to fear."

And this tidbit as picked up by the Command Post:

"The Americans are the biggest enemies of mankind."

This thing just keeps getting better and better.

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  1. I don’t know how good you are at translating from Italian, to Dutch, to English; you don’t seem to have much confidence in your abilities there, so why be in such a hurry to infer and imply that

    American troops shot at her because she deserved it

  2. “This thing just keeps getting better and better.”

    Nothing makes an operative happier than some really good oppo on one of his boss’s critics.

  3. Operation She Hates Freedom and Had it Coming to Her seems to be underway. I don’t care all that much about Sgrena but I wonder how many times a day something like this happens to Iraqi civillians.

  4. well, it is sort of funny, in the unfunny way politics has of making liars out of people.

  5. Hey, if the Bybee memo proves that Bush did his National Guard service, then these quotes prove that the military didn’t screw up.

  6. Just another flesh wound, joe.

  7. I preface this by saying that I have only a cursory understanding of dutch, but I could more or less understand the article.

    My favorite parts:

    “Americans are the greatest enemies of humanity.”

    I was also an embedded journalist…I was treated as the Great Traitor.

    “I did not want to be kidnapped…that is the only reason I was with the Americans.”

    I saw three Italian women in Sgrenga’s group walking around and crying because the Iraqis had stolen their computers and cameras.

    with her prejudice Sgrena not only endangered herself, but because of her behavior a security guard is now dead

    Take it for what it’s worth. I tend to trust the article, as while (last I checked) the Dutch were in Iraq, the people (from my understanding) are not so supportive. I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue that this journalist is part of the great american media propaganda machine.

  8. Oops. The Bybee memo was about torture. I meant the Rather memo.

  9. Why would anyone think that a reporter for a Communist publication was anti-American?

  10. A communist publication? An anti-American reporter from a foreign country? Shoulda shot the bitch’s head off, that’s what!

    (So that CNN exec should be getting his job back any day now, right? Right?)

  11. This chick is not exactly doing a bang-up job of pandering to my sympathy.

  12. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that, when the dust settles and the information is all in, we’ll learn the following:

    1) Sgrena is probably not the most reliable source of information in the world. And to some people, that will be all we need to know.

    2) The surviving intelligence agent who was with her is probably considerably more reliable, and probably thought he was doing everything right when he approached that checkpoint, but….

    3) When stressed out 19 year-olds are manning checkpoints and have seen their buddies killed by suicide bombers, they don’t always run their checkpoints in a transparent manner that will make them accessible to people who are experienced at working in high security environments. Frequently they’re more interested in just keeping people away than checking them out. And no matter how minor the miscommunication or error may have seemed to the intelligence agent, from the perspective of the soldiers it was justification to open fire.

    Now, some on this forum (OK, one or two people) will say “Oh my God! That’s horrible! Rumsfeld should resign if that’s the way checkpoints are being run!” And others (OK, quite a few) will say “Hell, it’s a war zone, and anybody who can’t read the minds of our soldiers deserves to be shot.”

    And the rest of us will simply say “Man, that’s messed up, and they should probably change a few things ideally, but none of this is a surprise, since, you know, it’s a freakin’ war zone.”

    4) Finally, the point that will be completely neglected, is that stuff like this probably happens every day to Iraqi civilians, and the only reason we’re learning about it now is that a Western journalist learned about it the hard way.

    Of course, I could be wrong. There could always turn out to be a smoking gun that completely vindicates one side or the other. But the most likely outcome, when the dust settles, is that we’ll find out it was simply the sort of thing that happens all the time in war zones.

    Now, please resume your usual bickering, so we can get it out of the way before acknowledging that it was probably a simple miscommunication for which neither side can be completely blamed.

  13. Just wanted to let you know that I am from the Netherlands and can confirm your translation of this newspaper article. The journalist, Harald Doornbos wrote it down because he was outraged by these stupid comments from the three Italian female reporters. He himself is a very experienced war reporter (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq )

  14. thoreau,

    This is going to be a repeat of the Swift Boat controversy from last summer. No thanks. πŸ™‚

  15. thoreau, your comments posted here are both well-reasoned and insightful. Get out.

  16. Thanks SPD. This just strikes me as a tragic but all-too-common incident being blown out of proportion by the shrill rhetoric of Sgrena and the reflexively hostile reactions of others. If we could just focus on the statements of the Italian intelligence agent we’d probably learn that there are better ways to run checkpoints but it isn’t quite as bad as Sgrena says.

    But where’s the fun in that?

  17. thoreau, did you recieve just enough love as a child or did something else make you so violently reasonable?

  18. Pavel, I’ve read too many Cathy Young columns.

  19. I’m just gratified she referred to herself as a Communist. It’s not everyday that someone who opposes the expansion of liberal democracy is so honest about the reactionary ideology they actually support.

  20. I wonder how many times a day something like this happens to Iraqi civillians.

    Quite often, if this NYT column paints an accurate picture.

  21. Then there’s the fact that the Italians paid a ransom to get her back. I understand the temptation, but goddamn, that’s a bad idea.

  22. But where’s the fun in that?

    Now you’re catching on!! πŸ™‚

  23. Theo:

    Thanks for your input. What little a could make out about Harald Doornbos pointed to a reporter of some substance, a rare thing these days.

    JAT

  24. yet another Steve,

    The Berlusconi regime finds it politically expedient to pay such ransoms.

  25. Don’t know if anyone read my comments from a day or two ago about the matter, but:

    I saw the Frontline episode where reporters were embedded with a cavalry platoon. I won’t expound as much here, but they showed soldiers shooting at an approaching car when it was still at least 200 yards away. They easily shot for a few seconds, maybe as many as 10. Finally the car realised it was being shot at, stopped, and turned around.

    So it seems totally plausible that her car was shot at from a rather large distance by US troops, not because they wanted to kill an Italian journalist, but because they didn’t want to be blown to bits. Unfortunate, but plausible.

  26. So it seems totally plausible that her car was shot at from a rather large distance by US troops, not because they wanted to kill an Italian journalist, but because they didn’t want to be blown to bits. Unfortunate, but plausible.

    That’s a shorter version of what I was trying to say.

  27. Yes, I understand thoreau, but I was just throwing in my .02 because I actually saw an example of it (unless, of course, it was staged :/).

  28. So the good news is they probably weren’t targetting her. And the bad news is they probably weren’t targetting her! (To make an even shorter version of thoreau’s point!!)

  29. Mmkay, now I’m wondering how the hell an ardently Communist “journalist” from Italy ended up in Iraq in the first place. One would think true communists wouldn’t have the money for such on-the-spot coverage…

  30. “You can’t shoot me! I’m a fellow traveler!”

    Talk about famous last words…

  31. Sgrena’s wild tale is self-unraveling: if the U.S. war machine wanted her dead for dishing whatever scandal on which she’s supposedly got all this dirt, she’d already be toast. Italy is quite well within the reach of Sidney Bristow’s real-life counterparts, and, as has already been mentioned, certain fascista elements of the Berlusconi regime would gladly help rid themselves of one loud-mouthed Commie broad and PR nightmare.

  32. “The Berlusconi regime finds it politically expedient to pay such ransoms.”

    Remember those two French reporters who were held for more than a month, then mysteriously freed? I suspect the Chirac regime also hands out the moolah when it’s expedient. In fact, I think this is standard European “diplomacy”.

  33. In fact, I think [paying ransom] is standard European “diplomacy”.

    Hmm. If U.S. covert forces were to kidnap a European … demand $1 million ransom … release … repeat with another European…

    I think 750 million people live in Europe. Multiply by $1 million each = $750 trillion.

    People, I think our “how will we pay for Social Security?” conundrum has just been solved.

  34. Stevo: I think Kim is working a pilot program using Japan for similar ends.

    Rather than cash, USA demands Europe stop selling military technology to Iran. It’s hostages for arms…

  35. Ken Layne says:

    “A communist publication? An anti-American reporter from a foreign country? Shoulda shot the bitch’s head off, that’s what!

    (So that CNN exec should be getting his job back any day now, right? Right?)”

    Sgrena claims that she was targeted for assassination by US military forces. That claim is ridiculous, given the circumstances- had the Army wanted her dead, she would be dead. Her extreme (“Americans are the greatest enemy of mankind”) anti-Americanism is worth noting.

    Eason Jordan seems to have claimed that the US military was deliberately killing reporters. Your post is oblique, but I can’t find any way to read it that isn’t a claim that the Army was trying to kill Sgrena, specifically (it makes no sense otherwise, and I think you write well enough to avoid making no sense). The facts seem to flatly contradict this.

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of your writing, and I’m not castigating you for that claim, but… I think you’re going pretty far when you imply that a regular Army unit was used as a hit squad against an Italian journalst, especially when that conclusion is not supported by the facts.

    Looks like an accident to me. Might be that the Italians were reckless, maybe because they didn’t want us to know about the ransom. Might be that the soldiers at the checkpoint were very trigger-happy. Might be both. Doesn’t look to me as if there is much support for your claim that the soldiers were paid assassins.

    If it looks that way to you, in the face of all the evidence, I can only conclude that you _really_ want it to be true. Which is OK- but I hope you don’t get outraged in the future when it is suggested that at least some critics of the war and the administration are irrationally hostile toward the troops. Your post is proof by construction.

  36. hot head,

    Got any proof of the accusation? Or are you merely committing a Sgrena? πŸ™‚

    France has always stated no ransom was paid. I don’t believe there has been any substantiated report that a ransom was paid. Neither Christian Chesnot or Georges Malbrunot have ever stated that they were freed via a paid ransom.

  37. Dynamist,

    Curbing arms sales begins at home: http://iht.com/articles/2005/02/25/opinion/edgodsey.html

    As to arms sales to Iran, that’s largely Russia and Italy; remember, Putin and Berlusconi are Bush’s friends. πŸ™‚

  38. “I’m just gratified she referred to herself as a Communist. It’s not everyday that someone who opposes the expansion of liberal democracy is so honest about the reactionary ideology they actually support.”

    Being openly Communist is not such a rarity in Europe, Wopland especially.

  39. jon,

    Most of the Europoean communist parties are dead or in swift decay.

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