Reporter: "Coalition Forces Asked Me To Dress Like Engine Block"Near fatal bullet stopped by Chairman Mao's little red book in breast pocket
Sgrena: Freed journalist says she was pressured
to dress as a V6, to place her in danger of American
Rome--The Italian journalist who was freed by her terrorist captors is denying the United States account of why coalition forces opened fire on her vehicle.
"As I was blindfolded and in the car, somebody whispered in my ear, 'the Americans may try to intervene. Here, dress up like an engine block as we speed up and ignore universal nighttime signals to stop," said Giuliana Sgrena.
Sgrena, a journalist for the communist paper Il Manifesto, has left Administration officials "shocked and saddened" by these comments.
"We expect nothing but the printed truth from totalitarian organs," said one source. "And here an honorable publication has decided to take the same roads of ignominy as CBS, Dan Rather, and The New York Times."
The American account insists the nighttime engagement emerged from the approaching vehicle's obliviousness to their signals to slow down.
Il Manifesto said that they "would not stand by and be tarred with the epithet, 'New York Times.,'" and then called for an invasion of the Vatican.
Sgrena also related a touching story, in which she said a bullet potentially fatal to her was thwarted by the copy of Chairman Mao Tse Tung's "little red book" in her breast pocket.
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"Here I was a hostage to the benevolent chains of the martyrs," she said. "And only when I started to place my foot in imperialist territory did I receive not one, but two bullets. One in my shoulder, and the other--near my own heart--that penetrated the book all the way to chapter 19. The bullet stopped at the quote that reads: Thousands upon thousands of martyrs have heroically laid down their lives for the people; let us hold their banner high and march ahead along the path crimson with their blood!"
Sgrena said she "thanks the powers-that-don't exist for my safety," and currently denies rumors that she is engaged to one of her captors.
"I can't do the distance thing," she said.