Soiled Rainbow

by Miguel Martinez (2/5/00)www.tenc.net [emperors-clothes]

It is not easy to sell wars to Italians. Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema managed to do so by presenting the war mainly in the guise of the so-called "Operation Rainbow" (Operazione Arcobaleno), a highly publicized joint action by private and public resources to help the Albanian refugees from Kosovo, set up under the auspices of the Ministry for Civil Protection (which usually deals with emergencies such as earthquakes, etc.). Instead of bombing victims, Italian TV watchers throughout the war saw refugees being fed by Italian soldiers.

Whenever D'Alema is asked critically about the war, he boasts about this "humanitarian mission."

Yesterday, January 20, 2000, the Italian police, on orders from the Bari magistrate Daniela Rinaldi, made four arrests among the main organizers of "Operation Rainbow:" the people in goal are the head of the operation in Albania, the secretary of the Minister, and two other officers. The investigation began this summer, after the war, when a German newspaper discovered no less than 914 containers of food rotting in the port of Bari. Shortly after, the Italian weekly Panorama released an amateur film taken by a (genuine) Albanian refugee at Valona (Vlore) in Albania, just before the Italians handed over the camp to the Albanian "authorities": hundreds of armed Albanian criminals were sacking the camp under the indifferent eyes of the Italian arm. The Vlore camp had been opened on Italian request in order to keep refugees in Albania (and out of Italy). During the war, a great amount of aid never reached the camps because NATO military were using the port of Durres and the airport of Tirana full time.

The inquiry revealed close links between the Italian authorities and Albanian Mafia boss , Rami Isufi, who regularly collected a share of the "humanitarian aid". The current arrests are based on the fact that the "Rainbow" people destroyed the documents proving their "donations" to Isufi and replaced them with false ones.

Meanwhile, more NATO cluster bombs have got stuck in the nets of fishermen off Caorle, near Venice: the NATO pilots used to drop their excess bombs into Italian waters. On November 21st, two more areas off the Romagna cost were declared off-limits for fishing due to cluster bombs.

Source: Italian dailies of January 21st, 2000.

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