Monday, March 14, 2005

Odd kidnappers

From an article by Michael Leonardi on the attempted assassination of Giuliana Sgrena:

"Who was this group of hostage takers called former Saddam loyalists and criminals by the Italian media? They were the first to release the news of their abduction and subsequent video of Sgrena's plea for help to the international press agents from the Associated Press as opposed to Al Jazeerah and the usual channels such news releases and videos had gone through previously."


". . . why would a legitimate part of the Iraqi resistance not want witness to the atrocities of the occupation by a sympathetic journalist? I have often met Muslims and Arabs here in Rome who, after discovering that I am American, quickly point to Fallujah as the primary example of American war atrocities. Fallujah is a story I know well from international media accounts by primarily non-embedded journalists."


"Sgrena's account of her captors' behaviour describes an odd group. She talks of her confrontational attitude toward them during the early days of her captivity. She would ask 'But why did you kidnap me, I am against the war?' To which her captors would respond, 'Yes, because you go out and speak to the people. We would never kidnap a journalist that remains closed in a hotel and because you say you're against the war, you could be a spy.' Sgrena describes her captors as seeming 'quite a religious group, in continuous prayer over the Koran.' But she then tells of the captor that seemed most religious congratulating her on the day of her release by shaking her hand, 'a behaviour quite unusual for an Islamic fundamentalist.' She goes onto detail how one of her captors came to her surprised and excited on the day of her release because the T.V. was showing European cities with large photos of Sgrena and also of Totti (the captain of the Rome soccer team). 'He declared he was a fan of the Rome soccer team and was shocked that his favourite player went to play with 'Liberate Giuliana' on his T-shirt.' Funny that after holding a Roman hostage for over a month, he never mentioned he was a fan prior to the day of her release."

Here is an article (or here) on Islam and shaking hands with women. Here is Sgrena's account of her ordeal. I think we're entitled to wonder who these kidnappers really were and who they were working for.