Ustica Massacre ("Strage di Ustica")

Ustica Massacre ("Strage di Ustica")

The Libyan leader meets first with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano ahead of talks with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Mr. Gadhafi is staying in a tent erected in Rome's Villa Pamphili park.

Last year, Italy agreed to pay Libya $5 billion to compensate for decades of Italian occupation during the first half of the 20th century.

In return, Libya agreed to crack down on the thousands of illegal migrants who travel from Africa to Europe each year. International rights groups have criticized the policy under which Italy has repatriated migrants who have been intercepted before reaching Italian shores.

Relations between Libya and the West have improved in recent years, since Tripoli announced it was abandoning efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Gadhafi has plans to meet with a group of Italian Jews who were expelled from Libya in an anti-Jewish backlash after Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Jewish leaders are expected to press the Libyan leader on the fate of a Palestinian man, Osama al-Zomar, convicted in absentia in Italy for a 1982 attack on a Rome synagogue. A two-year old boy was killed. The Palestinian was arrested in Greece but authorities there denied an Italian extradition request and instead deported him to Libya.

Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 as the Ustica Massacre ("Strage di Ustica")

Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 was an Italian fl ight that suffered an in-flight explosion while in route from Bologna, Italy to Palermo, Italy.
It was a regularly schedu led flight from Guglielmo Marconi Airport in Bologna,Italy to Palermo International Airport in Palermo, Italy.
The flight departed 2 hours late at 8.08 pm CETJune 27, 1980.
At the controls of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-15 that evening were Captain Domenico G atti and First Officer Enzo Fontana.

The aircraft (registered I-TIGI), which left GuglielmoMarconi Airport bound for Palermo International Airport, crashed at 8.59 pm CET intothe Tyrrhenian Sea near the island of Ustica, Italy about80 miles (130km) southwest of Naples, Italy.
All 81 people on board were killed (2 flight crew members, 2 flightattendants, and 77 passengers).

Two Italian Air Force F-104s were scrambled at 9.00 pm CET from Grosseto Air Force Base to locate the accident area and to spot any survivors but they failed due to lack of visibility. In July 2006 the re-assembled fragments of the DC-9 aircraft were returned to Bologna from Pratica di Mare Air Force Base near Rome. Jun e 23, 2008, Italy announced that they have reopened the case of Flight 870.

Offic ial explanation

After years of investigations, no official explanation or final report have been provided by the Italian government. In 1989 the Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism, headed by Senator Giovanni Pellegrino, pronounced itself content concerning the disappearance of Flight 870, which thus became known as "Ustica Massacre" (Strage di Ustica).
The definitive sentence asserted: "The DC9 incident occurred following a military interception action, the DC9 was shot down, the lives of 81 innocent citizens were destroyed by an action properly described as an act of war, real war undeclared, a covert international police action against our country, which violated its borders and rights.
"L'incidente al DC9 è occorso a seguito di azione militare di intercettamento, il DC9 è stato abbattuto, è stata spezzata la vita a 81 cittadini innocenti con un'azione, che è stata propriamente atto di guerra, guerra di fatto e non dichiarata, operazione di polizia internazionale coperta contro il nostro Paese, di cui sono stati violati i confini e i diritti."

January 10, 2007, the Cassazione Court of Italy conclusively closed the case, fully acquitting two former Italian Air Force Generals, Lamberto Bartolucci and Franco Ferri, of any wrongdoing.

In June 2008, Rome prosecutors reopened the inves tigation into the crash after former Italian President Francesco Cossiga said that the aircraft had been shot down by French warplanes.
On July 7 2008 a claim for damages was served to the French President.

Alternative theories

Speculation at the time and in the years since has been fueled in part by media reports, military officials statements, and ATC recordings, including radar images and trails of debris; particularly, trails of objects moving at high speeds.
A terrorist bomb After the series of bombings which hit Italy in the 70's, a terrorist act was quite naturally the first to be proposed. It must be considered that the flight was delayed outbound from Bologna by almost three hours, so apparently the timer would have been set to actually cause an explosion at Palermo airpor t, or on a further flight of the same plane.

Missile strike during training exercise

This involves NATO forces accidentally downing the DC-9 during an international exercise involving Italian, U.S., and French jet fighters. Aviation Week and Sp ace Technology reported that damage had been found consistent with a continuous-ro d warhead, which would have had to come from a surface-to-air missile.

Missile strike during military operation

Itavia DC-9 (I-TIGI) in a photo taken eight years before accident. Major sources in the Italian media have alleged over the years that the aircraft was shot down during a dog fight involving Libyan, U.S., French and Italian Air Force fighters in an attempted assassination by NATO members on an important Libyan politician, maybe even the leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was flying in the same airspace that evening. Gaddafi has denied being in the area of the accident that evening. This ve rsion was supported in particular by investigative magistrate Rosario Priore in 1999 [2]. The judge Priore said in his concludin g report that his investigation had been deliberately obstructed by the Italian military and members of the secret service, in compliance with NATO requests.

The media also reported that radar monitoring released in 1997 by NATO showed

that at least seven fighter aircraft were in the vicinity when the jet plunged into the sea off the island of Ustica.
According to these sources, the radar shows one or two Libyan MiG-23 had tried to evade detection by flying close to the airliner.

Three Italian

Air Force F-104S, one U.S.Navy A-7 Corsair II and a French fighter pursued the Libyan MiG-23 and battle ensued.
July 18, 1980 21 days after the crash, a Libyan MiG-23 crashed on the Sila Mountains in Castelsilano, Calabria, southern Italy,according to eye witnesses and official re ports. Media rumors reported that the plane may actually only have been discovered at that time, and that the pilot's body was decomposed, originated allegations that the MiG-23 may have been shot down at the time of the Flight 870 incident.

Conspiracy theories

There are many conspiracy theories surrounding this event. They are based on the series of events following the air crash. For example, the vessel that carried out the search for debris on the ocean floor was French, but only US officials had access to the aircraft parts they found. Several radar reports were erased and severa l Italian generals were indicted for obstructionof justice 20 years later.
Some of the Italian Air Force officials who might have k nown about the disaster's background died suddenly.

August 3, 1980: Col. Pierangelo Teoldi, was nominated to become Commander of Grosetto
AFB, but had not yet assumed command as of date of death -Car accident.
May 9, 1981: Maurizio Gari, Poggio Ballone air defense radar controller - heart attack at age 37.
March 20, 1987: Licio Giorgieri, Italian Aircraft Registry Commander - killed by a communist terrorist group. (see it:Unità Comuniste Combattenti)
March 31, 1987: Mario Alberto Dettori, Poggio Ballone air defence radar controller - suicide by Hanging. August 12, 1988: Ugo Zammarelli, Cagliari Italian Army Intelligence's Service Cagliari Section
(se e it:SIOS) - hit and run by motorcycle.
August 28, 1988: Mario Naldini and Ivo Nutarelli, Italian Air Force strike pilots crossed Flight 870s path on June 27
over Tuscany - mid air collision during the 1988 Ramstein Air Show.
February 1, 1991: Antonio Muzio, Lamezia Terme control tower Marshal - murdered, culprits unknown.

February 2, 1992: Sandro Marcucci, Italian Air Force 46a Aerobrigata Pisa pilot - air crash during wildfire firefighting operation.
February 2, 1992: Antonio Pagliara, Otranto air defence radar controller - car accident.
January 12, 1993 Roberto Boemio, Chief of Staff, 3a Air Region, ItalianAir Force - knifed during a robbery.
November 2, 1994: Gian Paolo Totaro, Italian Army Major medic - suicide by hanging.
December 21, 1995: Franco Parisi, Otranto air defense radar controller - suicide by hanging.
April 4, 2002: Michele Landi, IT consultant for the Italia n government and for the same Procura that was on the Itavia 870 case - suicide by hanging (soon after he revealed he had come in the possession of information regarding the incident)