Saturday, 17 February 2007

Strained relationships

Italian judges, particularly those in Milan, have been making themselves unpopular with the rich and powerful (read Berlusconi and his cronies/sponsors) for quite some time. But now they're taking on the big bad wolf itself: The CIA. Along with the ex-head of the Italian secret service and a netful of smaller fish, 26 CIA agents are about to be tried for their involvement in a case of 'extraordinary rendition'. They don't even have to be extradited. Italian law can try people in their absence. For more information read here.

Whatever the result, and it's unlikely that anyone will actually end up in jail, this might turn out to be as big a legal landmark as the Pinochet arrest in London. It also coincides with strong popular feeling against government plans to extend the US military base near Vicenza, as well as the irritated reaction of Massimo D'Alema, Italy's foreign minister, to a rather cheeky letter from a cabal of ambassadors (US, GB, etc.) complaining about Italy's lack of commitment to cleaning up Afghanistan.

Bush must be wishing Berlusconi hadn't lost the last election...

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