Friday, March 23, 2007

Mastrogiacomo: Part Deux

As the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo enjoys his freedom and returns to work after being kidnapped more than two weeks ago, controversy is growing over the methods used to obtain his freedom.

To secure the release of the reporter, who works for La Repubblica, five members of the Taleban who were in jail were released. It's not the first time Italy has used unusual ways to win back journalists and others who have been kidnapped during the War on Terror. Meanwhile, some sources in Italy are suggesting it wasn't just five Talebanesi released, but actually 10.

America is calling into question the country's methods; the New York Times quotes a State Department spokesman as saying one does not negotiate with terrorists. But in the same article, it's made clear America "allowed" the release. Just in case you thought America did not have its hand in everything.

From the Corriere della Sera, "Gli Usa restano all'attacco. E tornano a condannare, senza se e senza ma, le trattative compiute dall'Italia per ottenere il rilascio del giornalista Daniele Mastrogiacomo rapito in Afghanistan. Dopo una telefonata di Massimo D'Alema alla Condoleeza Rice di chiarimento, per chiudere la polemica dicono: Mastrogiacomo passi, ma non succeda più che si tratti con i terroristi liberandone inoltre alcuni."

Ciambellina readers will recall that Italy's government fell last month when the coalition in power, led by Romano Prodi, lost a key vote in parliament about reauthorizing troops in Afghanistan.

Italian newspapers, and the Times, are saying Italy negotiated Mastrogiacomo's release because the issue of the war is so controversial. Later on this month, the Italian Parliament will have another vote on the presence of Italian peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan.

So much to comment on here -- for starters, the increasingly strained relationship between Italy and the US (the American base in Vicenza; the killing of an Italian intelligence officer during the release of another Italian who was kidnapped; the Italian indictments of CIA operatives....all related to the much-hated War on Terror). Stay tuned for when and if Italy pulls all troops from the War on Terror effort.

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