Yet More Sgrena

The Giuliana Sgrena fiasco just keeps on getting better. Even the Italian government has had enough of her lunacy.
Italy's justice minister urged former hostage Giuliana Sgrena on Friday to stop making "careless" accusations after being shot by US forces in Baghdad, saying she had already caused enough grief.

"She has created enormous problems for the government and also caused grief that perhaps was better avoided," Justice Minister Roberto Castelli told reporters in Bologna.

"Sgrena, I think, should perhaps be more careful. She has said a load of nonsense, speaks somewhat carelessly and makes careless comments," Castelli said.

Many Italians have been irked by her descriptions of her kidnappers. She said they were not killers and that she may have over-dramatised her videotaped appeal from captivity for Italy to withdraw its 3,000 troops from Iraq.

It would appear that Ms.Sgrena is not too popular with the Italian people.

In a related story, Italy has announced that it will no longer pay ransoms.
Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has promised President George W Bush that he will not pay more ransoms to free hostages in Iraq.

The Italian government has denied newspaper reports that $6m (£3.1m) was paid for the release of Giuliana Sgrena, who worked for the Communist daily Il Manifesto. But senior officials and intelligence sources have confirmed that money did change hands.

Last year Italy paid a reported $5m (£2.6m) for the freedom of two aid workers, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta. Hours after Sgrena was seized, Berlusconi announced that “negotiations” had begun.

The reports of ransom payments have infuriated American officials, who say they fund violence and encourage more kidnappings. Mel Sembler, the American ambassador in Rome, told Berlusconi last week that the money bankrolled “the war being waged by Sunnis in Iraq”.

The timing of the announcement is curious as it relates to their failure to inform the US of Ms.Sgrena's release. I wonder if the delay had anything to do with them not wanting the US to know a ransom had been paid for her release?

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