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Is the mainstream American press
in cahoots with the Pentagon?

Horror story of 6 murdered Iraqi girls and their mother
by U.S. soldiers brushed aside

By Angela Alioto

Special to Fog City Journal


January 18, 2007

On a cold and foggy Umbrian night in December 2006, I was preparing to go to a small dinner party in the center of Trevi, the roman hilltop town next to Assisi. I walked over to turn off the TV when I heard the BBC talking about Iraq. The announcer's voice was trembling when he said, "six little girls ranging in age from 6 months to 8 years old were shot to death in their home. An unidentified woman was lying next to them grasping the baby."

The reporter talked to the American soldiers who nervously explained that they thought they were "firing at insurgents." The reporter then went into detail about the condition of the six little girls and the "unidentified woman" and showed the inside of their home. No one had taken the bodies yet.

I was stunned. Stunned. Feeling my heart thumping in my throat, I sat down on the couch and uncontrollably wept. It was so real, so visual, so gut wrenching, so horrible.
Did I really hear and see what I just heard and saw? I asked my friends to repeat to me what the reporter had just stated and they did. I sat there in pure heartache.

Later that evening, I told my friends that we, as Americans, will not accept this, especially San Franciscans. I predicted mass anti-war marches. I waited until 2 a.m. to go on line and see what the American press was saying, and to see what the U.S. reaction was, especially San Francisco's reaction.

There was no press.

At 7 a.m. I went back online to see the reaction of the American press. To my astonishment, there was still no press on the story anywhere in America! Not the San Francisco papers, or the New York papers.

It was on the Italian news, the British news and Al Jazeera played it all day, but there was not one word, not one, in our American papers. I called home and asked everyone if they'd heard about it. No one had heard about it. They thought I was kidding.

I needed some fresh air.

I walked up the hill, two blocks to the piazza for my morning cappuccino. The old road is lined with thousands of old olive trees, overflowing with black olives. The trees are a symbol of peace, just standing there and screaming out for peace.

I then passed three cloistered Franciscan Poor Clare monasteries, paused for a moment, and silently thanked all of the cloistered nuns who, inside the monastery walls, pray day and night for peace and for an end to this horrific war.

As I rounded the first medieval walls and then the inner Roman walls, I thought of all of the wars these walls have seen and how, now, they sit here in the midst of Saint Francis' most tranquil valley in the world, where one can actually hear the troubadours sing.

There was celebration in the piazza. The last Italian soldier had left Iraq and was coming home.

I picked up a copy of the daily Corriere Della Sera. The newspaper's headline read, "Murder of Six little Girls and Their Mother," and ran a picture of the house where the girls and their mother were murdered and another picture of the American soldiers who had just sprayed the home with bullets believing they were killing "insurgents."

What is an insurgent, I asked myself. Is that a person?

What is causality? Is that a person?

All of the words that take a human face off of this criminal war need to be done away with. And if every American were to watch the world news from the BBC everyday, they would be shocked at what we are not being told by our mainstream press.

I love America very much. I adore San Francisco. But it is tough to be American today. Over the next three months, we Americans need to gradually withdraw from Iraq and infuse that country with humanitarian aid. San Franciscans need to speak up in a way that can't be ignored, as we have always been famous for.

Walking back down the hill I was looking up at Mount Subasio where Saint Francis would go to meditate and I thought, how great would it be to have Saint Francis as our Secretary of Defense? It would take "Francesco" just one day to get us out of Iraq, to send humanitarian aid, and work out a peace accord with the "insurgents", just as he did when he dared the Sultan of Egypt, Malik al-Kamil, the Ayubid.

Later that day, I called home. Still there was no press. The story had been shamefully buried.

In the evening, I left for Rome for a book opening I had sponsored. The event included a discussion on Franciscan and Augustinian thought, as seen through the eyes of the poet Francesco Petrarca. Giampietro Marconi, the world director and scholar of Latin writings from the famous Sapienza University spoke first. During his opening remarks, Marconi looked at me and said, "I especially want to thank Ms. Alioto. It is wonderful to see an American invest in culture instead of investing in war."

Being taken back would be an understatement for my feelings at that moment. There is a reality there that I own as an American, however.

After gathering my thoughts, I thanked Marconi for his kind words and for his warm welcome. When the talks ended I spoke privately with him about the gratitude Italians showered on Americans for helping to defeat Nazism and Facism. I also expressed my disgust at this war in Iraq.

Italians and Europeans are getting the real press. Americans are not. Or, are we just not listening?

"Over 34,000 Iraqi dead in '06, U.N. says"

Do we hear that? 34,000 Iraqi's slaughtered! We are participating in that slaughter. Add that number to the 3000 troops who have given their lives for us.

Is there anyone who could say with a straight face that the 3000 Americans who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 would have ever wanted us to participate in this slaughter in their name?

I don't think so. We need to get out now.

Angela Alioto is the former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a trial attorney and a steadfast champion of efforts to end homelessness.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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