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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Friday, August 26, 2005

Italian red cross aided insurgents

This is kind of..eh..... unsettling: Italy's Red Cross treated four Iraqi insurgents and hid them from U.S. forces in exchange for the freedom of two Italian aid workers kidnapped last year in Baghdad, an official said in an interview published Thursday. Maurizio Scelli, the outgoing chief of the Italian Red Cross, told La Stampa newspaper that he kept the deal secret from U.S. officials, complying with "a nonnegotiable condition" imposed by Iraqi mediators who helped him secure the release of Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, who were abducted on Sept. 7 and freed Sept. 28. How far did the Red Cross go? "The mediators asked us to save the lives of four alleged terrorists wanted by the Americans who were wounded in combat," Scelli was quoted as saying. "We hid them and brought them to Red Cross doctors, who operated on them." They took the wounded insurgents to a Baghdad hospital in a jeep and in an ambulance, smuggling them through two U.S. checkpoints by hiding them under blankets and boxes of medicine, Scelli reportedly said. Ok, color me confused, and I am just wondering here, but is this , ehh, legal? Isn't Italy fighting this War with the US? Isn't what they did , technically, aiding an enemy and helping them escape? Isn't this, technically also, I don't know, TREASON? Just wondering is all.


At 8/26/2005 03:28:00 AM, Blogger stefania said...

Italy is not a true US ally. This story confirms it even more

At 8/26/2005 03:47:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

The US seems to be running out of true allies, huh? Makes you understand why they unwaveringly support Israel: the Israelis would never punk out the US like that.

It sucks though that this is ahppening. I am guessing Burlesconi decided not to crack down on the Red cross people in order not to get less popular with the Italians? What do you think?

At 8/26/2005 11:07:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

It's not treason, because the Red Cross is officially (by international law) a neutral organization. It's also not "neutral" though, and I would think thise red cross workers could be prosecuted. They could probably be charged with espionage, posing as neutrals while participating in the conflict. But my guess... they won't be. Iraq is full of people who pretend to be neutral, but aren't.

At 8/26/2005 11:44:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

PC: the red cross may be neutral, but the italian employees are still italians at the end. Working for a neutral organization doesn;t give you immunity from aiding your country's enemies, especially at war.

But what do I know? The Italian government is OK with it. right?

At 8/26/2005 12:25:00 PM, Blogger programmer craig said...

They aren't supposed to be aiding any combatant, SM. Aiding a combatant, makes you a combatant! It's their neutral status that allows things like Red Cross workers inspecting prisoner of war camps and delivering care packages, etc. If they lose that, they lose their reason for existing!

I still think the charge would be espionage, not treason, though. And, historically, spies in a war zone get executed. Although, I suppose they lost their neutral status the moment they assisted those "insurgents" - which means they lost their immunity under international law. So, there's the treason charge. You're absolutely right. But I still think no action will be taken. It sure would be nice though. Somebody needs to send a message to journalists and aid workers and activists that if they want to keep their official neutral status, they need to be neutral.

At 8/27/2005 08:07:00 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

Treating wounded criminals is OK, but after treatment they should have been handed over to the Iraqi security forces, not let go free. It is releasing them that is wrong.


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