Friday, March 09, 2007

D'Alema is at it again

The other day the Italian Foreign Minister, Massimo D'Alema, made some comments on the Sgrena incident. Reuters reports:
Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema openly challenged the United States at a weekend commemoration of Nicola Calipari, the agent killed on March 4, 2005 at a U.S. military checkpoint near Baghdad airport. His speech made headlines such as that in Sunday's La Repubblica newspaper of Rome: "D'Alema accuses the United States over the Calipari case."
Calipari became a national hero for securing freedom for kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena. He died shielding her from gunfire at the checkpoint just after her release.
A Rome judge last month ordered the U.S. soldier to stand trial for the killing but Washington has refused to hand him over and considers the case closed. "The name of the person who is believed to have fired the shots is known. Whatever the truth is, this was a lost opportunity for the Americans," D'Alema said. "Right now, there is a need for justice to be done."
Today's Wall Street Journal (requires subs.) has an excellent editorial on the subject which reflects my sentiments:
If anyone lost an opportunity, it's Italy's government for failing to reject the indictment of a lawful U.S. combatant serving in a far-off war zone. Calipari was at the time approaching a U.S. checkpoint near Baghdad airport in a car with Ms. Sgrena. A joint U.S.-Italian inquiry disagreed on who was to blame for the death. The U.S. said that the unmarked car was speeding and shots were fired only after the driver ignored warnings to slow down. The Italians allege that the soldier was inexperienced and overreacted. But both governments considered it a friendly-fire incident.
Not the court in Rome, though. Its assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction comes amid another recent case of Italian lawfare against the U.S. Last month, a court in Milan indicted 26 Americans for the rendition of an Egyptian terrorist suspect, an operation carried out in Milan with the help of Italian agents. The center-left government of Romano Prodi hasn't been able to summon the moral courage to speak out against the judicial travesty of indicting American agents who, under international law, are immune from Italian prosecution. It has resisted pressure to try to extradite the CIA operatives, but the U.S. in any case last week ruled that out.
In the Calipari case, however, the Italians haven't shied from fanning the political flames. What makes this all the more galling is that the previous government of Silvio Berlusconi almost certainly paid a ransom to free the Italian hostage. It thus not only provided jihadis with the funds to buy weapons and ammunitions to kill more Americans but also with the incentive to take further hostages, preferably Italians but others as well. If anything, it is Rome that owes Washington an apology.
Meanwhile, Italians continue to make ripe kidnapping targets:
An Italian war correspondent in Afghanistan was taken prisoner after traveling into a Taliban-controlled area without permission, the group said Tuesday. Daniele Mastrogiacomo of La Repubblica apparently was in an area controlled by Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's military commander, The Independent reported.
At least the previous government tried to hide the fact that it had paid ransom for Sgrena. The present government has been advertising for days that it will bend over backwards to accomodate the kidnappers of Mastrogiacomo. What a bunch of loons!