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The Regional Administrative Court of Palermo has rejected an appeal of the Defense Ministry and to the contrary has accepted an appeal filed by the Italian Environment League and the No-Muos Committee, ruling that the Muos Satellite Facilities of the U.S. Navy are illegal.
The big radar antennas have been built on a long established Nature Reserve which has been ranked as a Site of European Interest and they were erected within an area where any type of construction is completely forbidden. As if this was not bad enough, making things even worse, this current situation shows how little transparency exists with this issue of how military facilities are being built illegally using inappropriate and outdated local permits. Not to mention the fact that the contractors carrying out these works are generally known to be closely linked with the Mafia.
Today, in a typically Italian scenario where the court ruling is being totally disregarded, on the strength of videos taken near the base and from various witness-reports by No- Muos activists from various associations, we know that there are members of the U.S. Military still entering the base with impunity, and builders are at work inside, as lights of the Antennas are visibly flashing, showing that the base is still operative. To put it briefly, nothing has changed one month after the court ruling, nor have the work-schedules of the men operating inside the base or working directly under the Muos Facility been in any way disturbed.
If it is true to say that we are dealing with a military facility that has been iillegally built bang in the middle of an area where any type of construction is absolutely banned, if this be true when there is a ruling on this issue by an Italian Law Court, why is it nobody is proceeding to seal-off the base? Why is it that a court ruling by an Italian law organ is totally disregarded? Why is it that one month after the ruling only the No-Muos activists have been physically stopping access to the facility, at the gates, using their bodies in order to prevent military and especially the builders from gaining access?
Where are the police, where are the national authorities, where are the various forces who for months, or rather years, have never hesitated to intervene, with great force and violence against the demonstrators during their protests? Where are they now that the famous piece of paper exists, i.e. the ruling of the Regional Court establishing it as their duty to stop construction works and seal off the whole plant, ensuring that the laws of the state are respected?
After having witnessed that the ruling has been completely disregarded, a few weeks ago the No Muos lawyers sent an admonishment to the Home Office, the Department of Home Territorial Affairs, the Prefecture of Caltanisetta, the Cabinet of the Superintendent, and the Police Security Headquarters of Niscemi and their P.R. Offices. On their side the police have declared it has not recieved any such communication, on the other hand the Home Office through its lawyers has sent a communication stating it is not competent to deal with the matter. The Commissariat and the Forest Guards Corps are not taking any initiative. On the contrary the police are escorting the builders into the US Navy Base, according to Goffredo D’Antona, the lawyer of the Rita Atira Antimafia Association who is also one of the lawyers defending the No Muos activists. Meanwhile, activists are not giving up. They are continuing to take parallel action by formulating fresh requests, issuing press releases and are preparing a national mobilization on the No Muos issue for April 4.
This is not the first time we are asking ourselves what the game is where the Muos issue is concerned. We are not as naive as to not understand what really is at stake, what it’s all for, but we are still here hoping that justice will be done and at the same time show that the State, and whoever is leading it in various periods, has been for decades trying to sow distrust among the population, to create a split between itself and the people and their aspirations, and to try to reduce or cancel any form of popular sovereignty.
Traslation from Italian by Francesca Piatti.