Massacre of Ustica, Amato: ‘It was France that shot down DC9. They had to hit Gaddafi’

The former prime minister – who for years fought to bring out the truth about what happened – tells La Repubblica his version of the events: on June 27, 1980 “a plan had been launched to hit the plane on which the leader was flying” Libyan, who however “escaped the trap because he was warned by Craxi”. The son of the PSI leader: “There is confusion of dates, my father warned Gaddafi that he would be bombed in 1986, not in 1980”

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It was a French missile that shot down the Itavia DC9 plane, which crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea on 27 June 1980 together with its 81 passengers. The former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato clearly expresses his opinion, who in an interview with The Republic he explains: “A plan had been launched to hit the plane on which Gaddafi was flying. But the Libyan leader escaped the trap because he was warned by Craxi”. The “most credible” version of events, continues Amato, is therefore that of the “responsibility of the French Air Force”, aided by “the Americans” and “those who took part in the air war in our skies on 27 June”. Now, more than 40 years later, “the time has come to shed light on a terrible state secret – or rather – a state secret”, says the former premier: the head of the Elysée, Emmanuel Macron, could do so, or NATO, “which in all these years has stubbornly concealed” the information in its possession. And Macron himself, above all because he is young and distant from the facts, according to Amato should “remove the shame that weighs on France”, proving once and for all the extraneousness to the events in Paris or – otherwise – “producing the most deep to Italy and to the families of the victims”.

The reconstruction of Amato

While he waits to see what will emerge from the bis investigation into the massacre conducted by the Rome prosecutor’s office (if it goes ahead), Amato points his finger at the French military. That day, he says, a NATO exercise should have been simulated, in the middle of which – at a certain point – a missile should have hit Gaddafi, who was traveling aboard a Mig. The attack would thus pass for an “involuntary accident”. However, the Libyan leader never boarded that flight, thanks to a tip-off, while the missile went straight towards the DC9. According to the former prime minister, he would have departed from “a French fighter”, perhaps from Corsica or from the military base of Solenzara. The person who informed Gaddafi would instead have been Bettino Craxi. Amato would have discovered it “later, but without having proof”.

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“A secret that concerned NATO”

In 1986, when Amato was undersecretary to the Presidency of the Council of the Craxi government, he began to deal with the Ustica massacre. He recalls the misdirection attempts: the generals he received on visits wanted to “convince him of the thesis of the bomb that exploded inside the aircraft”. Amato never believed that version of events. “I understood that there was a truth that needed to be shielded”, he tells a The Republicand the fact that many officers – including Italians – had embraced this thesis led him to think that there was “a secret that concerned NATO” behind it.

Craxi and the massacre of Ustica

Amato also has his say on Craxi’s involvement: “He told me in no uncertain terms that I had to avoid bothering the military”, specifying however that then “he made me do it”. Craxi – whom the former prime minister defines as “a friend of Gaddafi, a friend of Arafat and of the Palestinians: a transgressive statesman in foreign policy” – would have tried in any case not to let his involvement in the facts come out, because “he would have been accused of infidelity to NATO and of espionage in favor of the adversary”. However, Amato does not believe that Craxi had been informed of NATO’s plans. Perhaps he too “had been tipped off”.

Reply from Craxi’s son: “Conspicuous confusion of dates, my father warned Gadafi in 1986”

The son of Bettino Craxi speaks of a “confusion of dates”, who replied to Amato’s interview with a post on the social X. “It is already written in the history books that my father warned Gaddafi that they would bomb him. But in 1986”, writes Bobo Craxi. And he adds: “Apart from that historical blunder; the French thesis has always been present, never fully proven and never denied. Put like this he brings up my father making a showy confusion of dates. In 80 it was literally impossible for him to be aware of allied operations.

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Bonfietti (Association of relatives of massacre victims): “Important beloved words, let’s fight together”

Those of Amato are instead “very important” words for Daria Bonfietti, president of the Association of relatives of the victims of the Ustica massacre, who‘Adnkronoshe says: “He goes over the whole story and puts together all the information that the judiciary already has but repeats it with the right tone of someone who cannot accept that in our country it is known that a civilian plane has been shot down – Cossiga tells us – that it was the French and it is not possible to obtain a declaration of their responsibilities”. Bonfietti adds that “unfortunately the judiciary has not yet managed to close and send politics the important signal to take greater action to obtain answers that we have wanted for years because we know that’s how it went”. And he concludes: “Amato was very important in this matter, his presence has always been there and today he reiterates and goes over all the written pages and strongly asks that politics be activated. I am with him, we are all really fighting together”.


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