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Enzo Baldoni met the journalists of Fallujah

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On August 11, 2004, Enzo Baldoni and Ghareeb (Enzo’s Palestinian interpreter in Iraq) went to Fallujah. Enzo reported it in his blog (Blogdhad) and a phone interview with Baldoni was also aired by “Radio Città del Capo” in Italy. Here below the rush transcript of that interview. Enzo Baldoni spoke specifically about that tour and the related delivering of aids to some journalists of a newborn first independent newspaper in Fallujah. Enzo Baldoni and Ghareeb were to be killed in Iraq along the last decade of that very August 2004.

«We’ve travelled to Fallujah, I and Ghareeb, my interpreter, who’s a friend and a guardian angel above all. We’ve got there to deliver some aids and money to an NGO, greet and share solidarity to the journalists of this very first independent newspaper in Fallujah.
Fallujah is presently under armed Mujaheddins’ control. We were pretty tense because a fatwa was issued, just yesterday, against all the foreigners, the reporters, the photographers, and all the Americans of course. The dogs and slaves of their masters.
So really we were… The town was completely shut down, almost completely under siege by the Americans, who surround it. And there was tension around. We entered by a secondary, narrow road. Therefore, pretty luckily, we got to the office of that journal. Everybody there looked at us, thinking we were mad. We gave them the aids we had to, then suddenly they brought and showed us out, even saying to me: “Look, you’ve got to pretend you are an Iraqi, absolutely, do not show you’re a foreigner, sit straight, look straight in front of you, never watch at anyone’s eyes, don’t raise your hand” and all this stuff, don’t even mention picking up photos, of course.
At the checkpoint, one of the journalists [was surr…] He was bringing us on, he went ahead and made some mess in order to keep them a bit apart from us, and then …then they nodded: “Ok, go, go,” namely…
I don’t really know the risk we have run, in my opinion we did not run a particularly elevated risk. For sure there was tension, the worst thing is that they are divided in Fallujah. One Mujaheddin against another, the Mosques, one against another. And Ghareeb said, while getting out he said: “look, in my opinion, Fallujah is fucked up.” He means the Americans encircle it, maybe Moktada is probably hiding within Fallujah, and the Americans are going to carry on a last strike. Eh, yes, yes, yes, because at this point there is a struggle in Iraq, really hard. The Americans and the newborn Iraqi Army, from the one side, the Mujaheddins from the other. They say the Mujaheddins are quite divided and this, …and this is the problem, they cannot elect a clear leader, they’re one against another and this – according to Ghareeb, who knows them well and stuff – he says this will fuck them up.
Look, we went directly to this journal’s office, they gave us a sit and offered us some water, we talked for ten minutes and suddenly they escorted us toward the escape. The way out was watched by these Mujaheddins, all of them dressed in black, and with a bandage on their face not to be recognized, and these journalists and friends tried to get their attention so that we could gain the way out, yes, we got out, more or less unharmed, we got pretty scared because one of them [somew…] chased us on foot and made us open the baggage, but we had nothing inside, therefore…
Of course, when you are into a besieged town you turn a bit paranoid, moreover if there is a fatwa, a curse, a death sentence against all the foreigners, the journalists, against anyone …let alone being Italian. Ghareeb says we’ve run somehow a little risk. You know, in every movement there is a bunch of fanatics with blood in their eyes, sure there are also some of them. In Fallujah…»

[In italian see pipistro on line]
[See also Enzo Baldoni, who’s killing him one more time? in this blog and/or footnote #9 in Inge Van De Merlen’s In memory of Fallujah]

Written by pipistro

February 15, 2007 at 12:36 am

Posted in Enzo Baldoni, Iraq

Enzo Baldoni, who’s killing him one more time?

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On March 25 2006, Al Jazeera broadcast an interview with a man “identified” as Mr Ibrahim al-Shemmari and described him as the spokesman of the Islamic Army in Iraq. Talking about the kidnapping and killing of journalists in Iraq, this man said that his group’s interrogators questioned each journalist and a court-like body issued its verdict: “if he was found innocent he would be freed and if he was caught red-handed in a certain situation with the occupation then he would be handled in a manner that is in line with the interests of Jihad in Iraq”. He said also that Enzo Baldoni, the Italian journalist kidnapped and allegedly assassinated by his group in August 2004, was a spy, adding that journalists and other non-military foreigners were not targets “so long as they were committed to their professions”. We have not the text of the interview, but we know that, once questioned about Baldoni, he said that “it was clear from the beginning that he was a spy. Evidence were abundant but the French journalists were freed”. Strange indeed that while talking about two hundred abducted foreigners, this man stressed the killing of the sole Italian man, and emphasized the relation with the seizing of the French journalists Chesnot and Malbrunot, kidnapped in the same period. It has to be underlined that the French journalists reported they were told from the kidnappers that Enzo Baldoni was seized by their same group, but in their description about those days we cannot find a single moment, in the first times of their captivity, in which Baldoni should have been actually shot, at least not in the proximity of the same building. It has also to be stressed that Ghareeb, Baldoni’s so called interpreter, was actually a well known humanitarian in Iraq, at least since some reports were put on the internet in April 2004, and he was likely shot in the car in which he was traveling with Baldoni, at once, without any question or court-like verdict, just before Baldoni’s kidnapping. Enzo’s body has never been found, Ghareeb’s dead body simply vanished after having been carried to the nearest hospital, where anyway somebody took some shots of it. Well, is this so called spokesman of the Islamic Army a plain liar or a fake at all? Does he know actually something nobody else is aware of? Or was this man, this spokeman, simply used? Who “gave” him and his group the alleged evidence about Enzo being a spy? We don’t believe a single word about that and, more important, we know Enzo was well known as a fair man, a humanitarian and a great freelance, a brave journalist and blogger, and moreover he used to write on his blog, called “Bloghdad”, a report of every single movement in Iraq since his arrival in that country. He wrote about his travels to Najaf and Fallujah and how he had met journalists of a first independent paper down there. Those were the information one happened to find in the internet. We know the abductors were expert surfers of the net, at least that is what Chesnot and Malbrunot wrote. Who had any interest in spreading fake and dangerous things about Enzo Baldoni? We know somebody seized and killed him, we don’t know who is trying to assassinate his memory as well.

Written by pipistro

March 27, 2006 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Enzo Baldoni, Iraq

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