ITALY: When the enemy speaks blunt: a short note on last No TAV arrests
It came as no huge shock to us the police operation against four comrades – three males and one female – who were arrested on the 9th of December 2013, charged with the allegation of attacking the TAV [Treno ad Alta Velocità, High-Speed Railway] work site in Chiomonte, Valsusa, on the night of may 13th 2013.
Of course, nobody could foresee who they would have plucked out of us, and what we would be charged with. Anyway it was bound to happen: official media were beating on the same drum for months and months, so were all the members of the TAV gang such as politician, police cadres, journalists and so on.
Furthermore, the most diligent didnʼt miss the Chief Prosecutor Caselliʼs  announcement of his early retirement. Such a piece of news brings nothing good: this kind of personality is not leaving without a bang.
This past summer article 280  was used for the first time to give ground to search and charge some No Tav activists. We can say that it was tried as a test for future use. And now the same old duo Padalino-Rinaudo  is indeed using this article once again against the four comrades. Maybe to honor their godfather Caselli, possibly to achieve a good position in the race to his succession.
We find that our four comrades have been persecuted with “terrorist action with booby- trap, arson, assault of a public officer, possession and transportation of warfare weapons” in addition to the charges of the article 280.
The punishment for these crimes does not imply any alternative from detention [i.e. house arrests, banishment from a city and the regular signing at a police station] , besides they admit a very long precautionary imprisonment and, in the case of the acceptance of the allegations by the court, these precautionary measures will be transformed into definitive convictions, which can lead our comrades to face up to twenty years.
Looking at the prosecutorsʼ framework more closely, the arrested comrades, in complicity within them and with some others “not yet identified”, are being charged with attempts on the life and safety of workers employed in building the tunnel and the police who survey. The whole action was displayed with the aim of “forcing public bodies or international organizations to fulfill or to quit any operation  so causing a serious damage to Italy and European Union”, as stated in the ʻarticle 270-sexiesʼ of the Italian criminal code.
Even if it is clear that during this action nobody – no workers, soldiers or policemen – in the yard were injured (or produced any medical report), it is worth analyzing briefly this ʻarticle 270-sexiesʼ.
Conceived by the Home Office Minister Pisanu in 2005, this section was supposed to extend the definition of ʻterroristic behaviourʼ, exploiting the wave of panic produced by Madrid ʼ04 and London ʼ05 slaughters. While likely prepared to face the legal aftermath of the Madrid bombing (and in actual fact forced Zapatero government to move Spanish troops from Iraq), this new body of laws was marked by a notable vagueness.
Since then, comrades and lawyers noticed that those newly established laws could be used to deal with different contexts of struggle. It is not a judicial anomaly the fact that nowadays the ʻarticle 270-sexiesʼ appears in a No Tav inquiry: this is a clear application of a legal device conceived since the beginning to tackle social conflicts.
The gap between foreign and home warfare is reducing. Not only because of written laws but also because we all saw the Israeli barbed wire and the Alpini  armed troops and their camouflage vehicles defending that working site in Chiomonte.
On the night in question set ablaze were a generator, a power supply cabin of a ventilation fan, some electrical cables and tubes. Items which aided the perforation of the mountain and the building of the exploration tunnel: damaging these items and tools means concretely blocking, hindering and delaying the works.
The contrary of an indiscriminate act, a gesture indeed able to contain and to show clearly its goal.
A good model of sabotage, and clearly a spanner in the works for this worksite. This, indeed, has been well understood by the No Tav movement, as proved by the public statements made in the days which followed. For the first time in Italy, in the last thirty years, a mass movement reclaims the validity of sabotage. In the actual history, which is quite a different one from the courtʼs, the practice of sabotage has been publicly accepted and taken on by the movement because the constant and unequivocal forms of the massʼ dissent towards the “Grande Opera” (the “Major Work” as the High-speed railway is also known) have been constantly and unequivocally ignored. The fact that a working site for an exploration tunnel has become a “site of national strategic interest” (whose definition, in the Rinaudo and Padalinoʼs papers, has not been resumed from some sort of governmental law, but rather from a General Staff of Defenceʼs periodical) stands as a proof of this. All this has caused more than a few headaches to the TAV Party, given the compelling strength the struggle in Valsusa thrives on. As well as elsewhere – letʼs think for example about the No-Muos struggle – sabotage as a word is topical once again, making more worrisome “the mother of all worries”, as madam Cancellieri-Ligresti said.
The inquiry papers must be viewed from this perspective.
Following the 9th December arrests, many have justly underlined that the terrorismʼs accusations, about which the press has been rambling on, had no other aim than trying to split the movement for the umpteenth time. After the slogan “we are all Black Block” sustained loudly following the 3th of July, once again the attempt to divide the movement into two groups, the good ones and the bad ones, the peaceful inhabitants of the valley and the extremist from outside, an attempt aimed at cornering the 4 arrested comrades, failed miserably.
By now few could doubt and even the investigators themselves had no illusion about it. It seems the authority is determined to achieve something rather different through these terrorismʼs accusations.
In the inquiryʼs papers, the investigators, forcing the juridical level, sustain a exquisitely political thesis. After drawing up a short history of the proceedings and the international summits which have led to the Chiomonteʼs working site, the magistrates sustain the democratic nature of these procedures.
The action against the working site – along with the steady stream of disturbing practices listed in the judiciary folder – is defined as “terroristic” not so much as for its specific characteristics but rather for the fact that it stands in the way of the democraticity (the democratic nature) of an intergovernmental decision. Letʼs try to catch the investigatorsʼ drift. Every enforcement by the State has a legal shell (it is inscribed in the legal framework), that is to say, it is based on the Law. All that tries to bring into question a stateʼs project is liable to be considered as “terrorism”. Platonic dissent is all that is left. Giving concreteness to its own dissent, which is, at the end of the day, the No Tav movementʼs main characteristic, turns out to be undemocratic. Benito Mussolini would have said “niente fuori dallo Stato, nulla contro lo Stato” (nothing outside the State, nothing against the State). Nowadays totalitarianism speaks a different language. Youʼre not up to accept our democratic impositions? Youʼre a terrorist.
Democracy is a reinforced door against every form of dissent (except for the well-accepted complaint); If the dissent doesnʼt stop, the door will be reinforced with barbed wire and soldiers; the dissent turns into sabotage, this reveals the “finalità terroristiche” (terroristic ends) of the No Tav struggle.
Somehow, the two magistrates declare, explicitly, what so far has been implicit: democratic Stateʼs decisions are indisputable. Whatever struggle, even a labor dispute, always wants to push the counterpart to “fulfill or to quit any operation” (as the article 270 sexies recites). The so-called Social Contract, or dialectic among the social parts, was formally founded upon this: what is illegal today can become law tomorrow. It was the time, started in the postwar period, during which it was planned to include peasant and workers into the Grande Compromesso: labor force in exchange of the concession of rights. Well, that time has gone. This is Democracy. Outside and against stands the Evil, terrorism. It goes without saying that all this could concern whichever movement. But drawing consequences is a horse of another color. During epochal moments, the ruling class conducts frontal attacks against enemyʼs strongest points rather than focusing on the weak ones: in this sense, terroristic accusations thrown at the No Tav movement are to be considered as warnings.
In the eyes of Padalino and Rinuado what characterizes the NoTav movement as terroristic doesnʼt lie on a supposed “step(ping) up of the struggle” but rather on its own basic assumption: on that denial, that loud NO, made up by twenty years of experiences, knowledge, actions which is nothing other than its coherent development.
Not giving up not even in front of batons, tear gas, diggers, arrests, lies broadcasted by the media: thatʼs the crime which contains all the others.
Under this light, defending and supporting the arrested comrades, accused of being terrorist, is not only a dutiful act of solidarity but also a stubborn way to reclaim the struggle and its reasons.
Understanding what is at stake in this repressive operation and relaunching the resistance, in the Valley as elsewhere, is up to each and every one of us.
1 Very famous Italian judge active against mafia and revolutionaries since the 70s, and so seen as a “national hero”.
2 This section of the Italian criminal code defines the crime of “attempt with the aim of terrorism”. Historically it has been used against specifics groups or individuals involved in armed struggles or criminal organizations; it is now been applied and extended to social movements such as the No Tav movement.
3 Andrea Padalino and Antonio Rinaudo are two Public Prosecutors from Turin. For years they have been involved in each and every trial against comrades.
4 In Italy all these restrictions are commonly used as precautionary measures.
5 In this case, financing and realizing the High-Speed Railway Turin-Lyon.
6 Alpini is a section of Italian Army specialized in mountain operations.
SOURCE (Italian): Informa-azione
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