Former military attaché set to expose new details on Ustica tragedy

  PALERMO -- New revelations on the Ustica tragedy which claim that flight “radar was under maintenance”, further incriminate the French military in the apparent cover up of their involvement with a stray missile which took down an Italian passenger jet near Sicily in 1980.

  The Itavia DC-9 plane came down during its flight from Bologna to Palermo on 27 June 1980, killing all 81 people on board. Former Prime Minister Giuliano Amato suggested the plane was taken down by a stray missile launched by the French intending to kill the Libyan dictator Muammar Gheddafi. 

  Tuesday night’s programme will see journalist Massimo Giletti interview a former military attaché at the French embassy in Rome in the late 1980s. The information shared by the attaché aligns with a statement released by former President of Italy, Francesco Cossiga in 2007 about the missile hypothesis. 

  The Ministry of Foreign affairs also released a statement in response to the interview. “Regarding this tragedy, France has provided every element in their possession when they have been asked, especially in the framework of this inquest conducted by the Italian justice system. We obviously remain available to work with Italy if they ask us to.” 

  "The Italian General Staff asked me to request the radar detection from the French General Staff for that night,” the man explained during his interview with Giletti, "the French colonel told me that since the Solenzara base was closed, and the Italian General Staff was informed that the radar was under maintenance."

  When asked if the French General Staff had instructed him to “handle it” or if the attaché was told what to report to the Italians, he replied, “They didn't explicitly tell me, but I understood that I had to deal with this on my own. They told me to respond to the Italians that the radar was under maintenance, full stop.”

  However, 10 years ago, on the 34th anniversary of the tragedy it emerged that the that the French base was not only open but operational after The Rome public prosecutor’s office traced 14 ex armée de l’air officers who said they had been on duty at the base in the evening, after the plane had come down.