Friday, March 18, 2005

What Are the Italians Hiding?

Italian security continues to stonewall the Iraqi investigators trying to get to the bottom of the Giuliana Sgrena "kidnapping". The International Herald Tribune reports:
Despite the successful release of the hostage, the Italians have angered the Iraqi major crimes unit that has been investigating the kidnapping by refusing to share intelligence on the case, even after Sgrena was freed, said Colonel Jabbar Anwar, chief of the major crimes unit in the sector of Baghdad that contains Gazalea...

...The Italians could have freed the hostage and also helped to break that ring, he said, but they chose not to.
What possible reason could there be for not sharing this information? Could there be more to the story of abduction than the Italians want the world to know? The report describes the standard bureaucrat's tactic of footdragging by passing the buck:
"I don't know what type of relationships our people have with the Iraqis in Baghdad," Amelio said. "Our people have a strong relationship with the Americans, and the Americans deal more with the Iraqis.

"We haven't received any request for information. Maybe they have approached some Italians there in Iraq, I don't know, but we haven't been asked officially."
Yeah, right. This is beginning to look more and more as if the abduction was simply to raise money for Giuliana's beloved "Resistance". In fact, the IHT report suggests that some suspect an inside job:
Jabbar and a second officer in the crimes unit said the investigation suggested that the kidnappers had been tipped off to Sgrena's itinerary that day - she conducted lengthy interviews at a nearby mosque - and that the kidnappers probably had a plan in place before she ever arrived on the scene.
An Italian photographer, Franco Pagetti, who had helped arrange Sgrena's visit to the mosque and left before she was abducted, said security guards at the mosque gate were acting suspiciously.
Just how far inside did the job go - all the way to Sgrena herself, perhaps? The Italian authorities obviously have information they're trying to conceal.