Is the mainstream American press
in cahoots with the Pentagon?
Horror story of 6 murdered Iraqi girls and their
by U.S. soldiers brushed aside
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
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
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,
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?
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.
is the former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,
a trial attorney and a steadfast champion of efforts to end homelessness.
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