From 12 - 24 March, along Sicily’s Mediterranean coasts, the Nato naval drill, “Dynamic Manta” is taking place. Military navies from the US, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Greece and Turkey will all be a part of it. The launching pad for the 16 naval units earmarked [for the operation]? The Californian SSN-781, a US nuclear submarine for rapid attack. Armed with torpedoes and cruise missiles for attacking land targets, it is part of Task Force 69 and is responsible for US operations for submarine war in Europe and Africa.

In addition to the submarine attack, the U.S. Navy is participating in a drill with the Porter destroyer (from which missiles can be launched) and airplanes for maritime patrol, with the Muos station at Niscemi and the air-naval base at Sigonella.

Dynamic Manta 2017 is taking place in the area under the control of the Command of the Joint Allied Forces (headquartered at Lake Patria, Naples), under the orders of the US Admiral Michelle Howard, who concurrently commands the US Naval Forces in Europe and the US Naval Forces for Africa. Italy, in addition to participating in the drill with its own units, is undertaking what the rear admiral De Felice, Commander of the MariSicilia, defines as a “fundamental role” since it provides all the logistical support.

Particularly important is Augusta, “a strategic point as it provides the resupplies of combustibles, supplies and support for naval units that actually come from countries beyond the Atlantic”. The port of Catania is also strategic, ready to accommodate nine war ships without any problem.

At the same time, from February, live drills of US Special Forces have been taking place in the Polygon at Pacchino. Under an agreement which the third Berlusconi government (in power in April 2006) signed with the Pentagon, this area was officially granted for “exclusive use by the United States”.

Under this agreement, the United States was granted exclusive use of an area within the Sigonella base for its aero-naval station and an area at Niscemi, for the centre for naval radio transmissions and the subsequent land station at Muos. In such areas, it is clear that, “the US Command has complete military command over its personnel, its equipment and US operations”. The only condition is that “prior notice of all important US activities is provided to the Italian Commander”.

Regarding the costs of the US air-naval station, the agreement provides that only Nas I, the administrative and recreational area, is funded exclusively by the US. On the other hand, Nas II relating to operational units, which is therefore the most costly, is funded by Nato, which effectively entails funding from Italy.

The position of Sicily, which represents the national position, should be a central theme of the mobilization which will take place on 25 March, the day after Dynamic Manta has drawn to a close. We cannot think about liberating ourselves from the powers represented by the European Union without first liberating ourselves from the domination and influence which the US is exercising over Europe be it directly or through Nato. Today 22 of the 28 EU member states, representing more than 90% of the EU’s population, are Nato members. The EU recognizes Nato as the “foundation of collective defense”.

Meanwhile Nato, led by the US, is getting ready for more wars, after Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), Syria from 2011 and Ukraine from 2014. Dynamic Manta confirms this; it has also clearly tested the capacity for nuclear attack in the drill for submarine war. News that remained submerged in the vast channels of “information”.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)