[Documents menu] Documents menu

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 17:08:02 CST
Reply-To: ww@wwpublish.com
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Workers World Service <ww@nyxfer.blythe.org>
Subject: NATO Exposed in Fatal Plane Crash
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>

Who are the real terrorists? NATO exposed in fatal plane crash

By John Catalinotto, Workers World, 18 January 1996

A new report based on documents seized from the retired head of Italy's counter-intelligence service has revealed that an Italian passenger plane which crashed in April 1980 just north of Sicily was shot down by NATO jet fighters.

The NATO unit consisted of U.S. and French planes on a secret operation. They were planning to shoot down a plane carrying Libyan leader Muammar Qaddhafi across the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the report, the NATO pilots panicked when MiGs escorting Qaddhafi counter-attacked. When the civilian airliner suddenly came into range, the pilot of a French Mirage jet opened fire without first checking its identity, killing all 81 people aboard. (San Francisco Examiner, Jan. 8)

Gen. Demetrio Cogliandro, former head of the Italian secret service, had hidden the report for 15 years. The Italian magistrate investigating the crash recently had these papers seized. In them, Cogliandro names then-Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga as the person responsible for covering up the truth. Cossiga's supporters suggested the plane was blown up by a terrorist bomb.

Cogliandro's papers also describe how one of the Libyan MiGs was shot down. He said that disinformation was spread about the MiG once it was found.

This little news item reprinted from the London Independent is filled with lessons for the working-class and progressive movement here in the United States.

First, it reminds everyone that the imperialist powers--in this case, U.S. and French imperialism--are capable of assassinating heads of state. This is part of business-as- usual in defense of ruling-class interests. Several years later, in 1986, U.S. bombers hit the Libyan capital of Tripoli, this time nearly killing Qaddhafi. U.S. President Ronald Reagan charged the Libyan leader with terrorism.

Second, these powers can pressure allied heads of state to cover up for them, as Cossiga did. This was true even though through the U.S.-French crime, 81 people, mostly Italians, were killed.

Third, all the Western capitalist powers will take such an incident and, through disinformation or direct control of the media, blame the crime on whomever they want to scapegoat.

The airliner crash over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 that killed so many people from the U.S. has been blamed on terrorists--either from Iran, Libya, Iraq, Syria, or the Middle East in general, depending on who Washington wants to demonize the most. Every anniversary of this event becomes another opportunity for racist bashing of people from that region.

It doesn't stretch the imagination much to think that someday uncovered papers will reveal that the Lockerbie crash was the work of agents of the CIA, British MI-5 or some other imperialist spy agency. It won't be the first time.