About the Cermis tragedy and NATO bases September 27, 2006Posted by dorigo in news, politics.
In the previous post, while discussing the liberation of Silvia Baraldini, I ended up dealing with a recent case when the United States frustrated all italian attempts at obtaining justice for 20 deaths caused by the negligent behavior of a US Marines.
In my post yesterday I wrote what I remembered about the accident but only used a quick web search to refresh my memory about the facts (dates, names of the pilots, etc.). Today, though, I found an article on wikipedia on the matter, which I think is very informative. You can browse it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalese_cable-car_disaster .
In particular, the trial where the american pilot Richard Ashby was acquitted from the charge of involuntary killing the 20 occupants of the gondola is discussed in some detail. It transpires that the usually dreaded court martial was rather benevolent on that occasion – indeed in stark contrast with Baraldini’s 43-year sentence.
On the other hand, I have to say it is not fair to compare Baraldini’s case to Ashby’s, despite the only purpose of the comparison was to illustrate the US-Italy political relationship when dealing with judiciary issues. And that for a number of reasons. One cannot really expect that a foreign alleged terrorist be treated fairly in a trial, in the United States or elsewhere: sad but true. And besides, one should not put on the same scale the participation in an illegal movement culminated in a criminal act which did not cause injuries (driving a car to help the escape of a fugitive) with a stupid and negligent act causing the death of 20 people.
I think the reason of the sometimes troubled relations between Italy and its ally are due to the evident habit of the US administration to consider Italy its outpost rather than a state sovereign in its territory.
As much as I think Italy owes to the US forces who liberated Italy from the nazists and fascists in 1943 – and which then decided to stay – I believe that NATO treaties (specifically, the London convention of 1951) should be modified, now that the threat of the “west” does not come from USSR anymore: the reason of existence of US military bases in italian territory is evidently not connected to the “protection” of Italy from the red block, but only to provide the US air force and navy with facilities that help them conduct operations on whose design Italy does not have any real decisional power.
Mind you, the London convention has been renegotiated by a number of NATO member states. In particular, Germany has now a convention which states that in case of alleged crimes involving the death of a person, robbery, or rape, the US has to yield jurisdiction to the german legislation.