Four short texts on the latest NO TAV arrests: 1 - When the enemy speaks clearly 2 - The world as they want it 3 - Letter from Mattia, Niccolo, Claudio 4 - Call for a nation-wide day of mobilization
*When the enemy speaks clearly*
There was something in the air. This past December 9th comrades Chiara, Mattia, Claudio and Niccolò were arrested and ccused of attempting to dismantle a part of the TAV (Turin-Lyon high-speed rail) construction site of Chiomonte on the night between May 13th and 14th, 2013. Nobody knew who inside the movement was going to be damaged by this and for what articular reasons. But the way the TAV supporters responded in the press and all major media left no space for doubt – it was lear there were going to be major consequences. Another red flag was the fact that Chief Prosecutor of Turin, Giancarlo Caselli, announced he would retire early: it’s hard to believe that such a prominent figure would leave the scenes so quietly.
After spending the summer leading investigations into several No Tav protesters for “actions aimed at a terroristic attack” ursuant to article 280 of the Italian Penal Code, the two Public Ministers of the Prosecutor of Turin, Andrea Paladino and ntonio Rinaudo, succeeded in arresting Chiara, Claudio, Mattia and Niccolò this fall. They followed the path of Prosecutor aselli, who had previously ordered the arrests and trials against No TAV protesters (approximately 500 were persecuted, and there were more than 50 trials).
Besides article 280, the four comrades were charged with “Terrorist action and use of deadly weapons or explosives, causing damages by starting a fire, violence against public official, illegal detention and transport of war weapons”. These accusations don’t allow for the use of alternative measures of detention such as house arrest or mandatory residence, but instead call for prolonged and preemptive incarceration. Should the charges remain as they are after the initial trial, the accused could be sentenced for twenty or more years of incarceration.
More specifically, the four arrested comrades have been accused – along with others who are “currently being identified” – of attempting on the life and safety of the construction workers and the police on site, “thus forcing the public power or an international organization to perform or abstain from performing any acts” (i.e. financing and building the high-speed rail between Turin and Lyon) “and causing great damage to Italy and the European Union” says article 270 sexies.
However on the night between May 13th and 14th no workers, policemen or soldiers were even slightly injured, and there are no medical reports from that night. It is important to look at previously cited article 270 sexies more closely.
After the massacres that took place in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005, and taking advantage of the emotional wave those events had caused, in July 2005 the Italian government – specifically Minister of Internal Affairs Giuseppe Pisanu – created a new set of laws that redefined and widened the concept of “terrorist conduct”. These new laws were allegedly formulated as a consequence of the Madrid bombings (and forced Zapatero to withdraw the Spanish troops from Iraq), and were purposefully left vague.
From the beginning, both comrades and lawyers were aware of how these new, vague rules would have penalized No Tav protesters and any other fighters. The use of article 270 sexies against this movement is not fortuitous; it is the intentional application of a law that was specifically created to obstruct social conflict.
And it’s no accident that they would use this measure for the first time to defend the construction site of Chiomonte, where the presence of Israeli barbed wire, soldiers, and tanks from Afghanistan were already making this internal conflict look like an external war.
That night, a generator, the power supply for an air vent, several power supply cables and an extension pipe for the vent itself were set on fire. All of this equipment was necessary to the realization of an exploratory tunnel. These damages were active obstacles and forced the work to slow down. This act wasn’t indiscriminate at all; rather, it was direct and it precisely stated its objective. It was exemplary sabotage; a stone was thrown into the machine, and jammed it.
And, as their public announcements during the days following the act show, these were the clear intentions of the No Tav fight. For the first time in Italy in at least thirty years, a mass movement was reclaiming the validity of sabotage. In reality, which is far from that of “justice” and legal documentation, the movement took on sabotage as their main tool because any of the constant and unequivocal displays of discord and opposition to the realization of this major infrastructure from the masses has been ignored systematically. The fact that the construction site for the exploratory tunnel suddenly became a “site of strategic national interest” is yet another proof of that. All of this, along with the exposure the fight in Val Susa, has made life difficult for the TAV party.
The idea of sabotage has become crucial in other contexts too – for example the No Muos fight in Sicily – and intensified the concerns and preoccupations for the “mother of all preoccupations”, as Cancellieri-Ligresti said (Justice Minister Annamaria Cancellieri defended her friend Giulia Ligresti, daughter of a former insurance magnate, after she was accused of fraud). We should examine this investigation in this light.
After the 12/9 arrests, many pointed out how the accusations of terrorisms were widely discussed by the press in an effort to create divisions within the movement. It’s the same scenario that followed the guerrilla attacks that took place in Val Susa on July 3rd 2011, which used the slogan “we’re all black blocs”; suddenly there were good guys vs. bad guys, pacifist inhabitants of the valley vs. extremists. But this attempt to isolate the four arrested comrades failed miserably.
The investigators themselves didn’t doubt it anymore: these accusations of terrorism served another purpose.The authorities turned the legal content of the inquiry into a political treatise. It starts with a brief history behind the construction site of Chiomonte, of the laws and international meetings that made it possible; the magistrates describe it as a democratic procedure. The action taken against the building site is called “terrorism” not because of its specific characteristics but rather as it is in direct conflict with a democratic, intergovernmental decision. Let’s try to follow this logic then.
Everything the State imposes on us has a strong legal basis, is rooted in the law. Everything that contrasts a national project can then be defined as “terrorism”. What’s left is nothing but platonic dissent. Turning your ideological opposition into something tangible, which is exactly what the No TAV fight did, immediately becomes antidemocratic. Benito Mussolini used to say “nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”. Today totalitarianism speaks a different language. You don’t agree with a democratic imposition? You’re a terrorist.
Democracy is an armored door, shut to any form of opposition (with the exception of complaint, which is allowed). And if the opposition refuses to stop, the same door is secured with barbed wire and soldiers. The opposition then turns itself to sabotage, and that’s where the No Tav movement reveals “terroristic intentions”. In a way, Rinaudo and Paladino are explicitly expressing an idea that, up until now, had remained implicit: the decisions made by a democratic State are indisputable. Any fight, whatever it may be, is always pushing the counterpart to “perform or abstain from performing any acts” (as expressed in article 270 sexies).
The so-called “social pact”, or the dialectic between different social groups, was officially founded on the idea that what is illegal today could be legal tomorrow. Since the post-war era the goal was to include peasants and workers into the “Great Compromise”: in other words, you give me labor, and we’ll give you rights. Well, that part of history is over now. This is a Democracy: everything outside of and against it is Evil, is terrorism. To say that this could be applied to any form of political movement is then banal. Less banal is to draw the necessary consequences.
Throughout time, the ruling class has always directly attacked the enemy’s strengths, not their weaknesses. Labeling the No TAV action – and all that this movement expresses and symbolizes – as terrorism, is a warning to all.
If you follow Rinaudo and Paladino’s logic closely, you’ll notice how the terroristic nature of the fight against TAV doesn’t lie in its quality, but in its premises; it lies in the loud and decisive “NO”, a strong rejection that is the logical result of twenty years of experiences, learning, discussion and action.
The real crime the government is punishing is the refusal to give up despite the batons, tear gas, bulldozers, tanks and media terrorism: the perpetual fight *is* the crime. For these reasons, defending the comrades under arrest is not just an obligatory act of solidarity, but rather a stubborn claim of this fight and its reasons for existing.
Understanding what’s at stake with this repressive operation and continuing to resist, in Val Susa as well as everywhere else, is everyone’s responsibility.
The world as they want it
The world they want is easily described in this way: someone stretched out on the seat of power who decides for everyone else; everyone has to accept the decision which has been made, silently with their head down; those who do not agree with the leaders’ choices can show their dissent in limited ways but in the meantime these choices shall be respected. The ones who dare to mantain their discord, by acting concretely and not only with words, will face police batons and legal measures. “This is democracy” they say; shame that they won’t say how rigged the system is, pity they hide the abyss that streches out between common people and politicians who have close relationships with business men. No one has ever signed a contract approving the state of affairs. Basically, the state of affairs is imposed daily by propaganda, social blackmail and through the use of strength.
In Val di Susa.
Most likely, more than a few people will know about Val di Susa and the No TAV movement. What exactly are we talking about? We are talking about an entire population which has decided to stand against such a shameless project and who has been fighting for this cause for more than 20 years. There are countless reasons against this ‘Massive/Great Work’/ “Grande Opere”:
- It’s useless: The railway line in Val di Susa has been recently renewed. Moreover, there has been a steady decrease in railway traffic.
- It’s harmful: the project (a 57 km tunnel) involves piercing mountains which are full of uranium and asbestos (harmless in nature if left untouched, whilst highly toxic if scattered in the air). Moreover, the project endangers the local ground waters/acquifers (as it similarly happened in Tuscany).
- It’s expensive: it is expected to cost 20 billion (the cost will probably increase according to the Italian custom), partly covered by European funds. Obviously, this money could be put to better use, such as in schools, hospitals, etc.
These reasons have been proven true by technical data, specialist opinion and university evaluations. Pages and pages that show how the only two big parties, Pd and Pdl, are the ones who directly express the only real interest in the construction of the TAV: the interest of the building companies, CMC (Pd) and LTF (Pdl). The former leader of the Pd party, Pierluigi Bersani, was a member of the administrative committee of the CMC. At the same time, the Minister of Infrastructure of the last Berlusconi government, Mr. Lunardi, was part of the most powerful firm which is currently working on the TAV: Rocksoil. Lastly, there is every politician’s friend, the contractor Mr. Ligresti. Clearly, “larghe intese” … “broad agreements”.
For these reasons, the people from Val di Susa started the No Tav movement. This movement has gained growing approvement from every corner of Italy and from abroad, it became an example of a new way of living, resisting and thinking freely toward an alternative world. During the years, especially since 2005, lots of things were done: oceanic demonstrations and walks in the woods, petitions, legal appeals and campings, as well as prayers in churches and witches’ sabbath. Every time the construction site starts to work the voices of the dissent become concrete gestures opposing the TAV. The government militarized the area, sending hundreds of policemen and soldiers, hundrends of charges, “fogli di via”, tear gas fired in the protesters’s faces, blows, batons…
Who is the terrorist?
During the night between the 13th and the 14th of May 2013 someone slipped in the construction site of Chiomonte and set fire to some machines. An attack, a sabotage, as there have been dozens in recent times. For this reason, on the 9th December 2013 four arrests were performed, three of them in Turin and one in Milan, on charges of having participated in the attack and on charges of terrorism.
We don’t want to know if the people arrested, people we know and love, are responsible for the events of last May. We know that a “terrorist” is someone who strikes indiscriminately on the population, who bombards and who starts wars, who destroys the land, who intoxicates protesters with tear gas CS (forbidden by international conventions on chemical weapons) etc. Obviously, a “terrorist” is not someone who has an ideal and who fights to grab a better life, one without the exploitation of man.
Last Sunday, in a crowded square of Bussoleno, a nice town just outside Susa, a woman said loud and clear: “These four boys are our sons. They are the sons of the Valley, the valley of the resistence. We want them free, NOW!”
Mattia is one of them. He is one of them.
Freedom for Mattia, Chiara, Claudio, Niccolò!
Freedom for everyone!
Mattia’s friends and comrades
LETTER FROM MATTIA, NICCOLO’, CLAUDIO
It’s only four in the afternoon and the sun is setting behind the big metallic incinerator while in the distance it is possible to catch a glimpse of the nearest mountains of the valley and to imagine the profile of the Musiné. We have been detained for 10 days but still our thoughts travel far into the distance…
Everyone and their dog knew that the public prosecutor’s office of Turin was organizing something. The increasing number of charges against the movement was a clue and the biggest one was the intensive work of propaganda with which the investigators, the media and politicians tried to shadow the No Tav resistance under the magic word: “terrorism”. They talked obsessively about it for months, it was like a mantra that evoked a ferocious repression.
In the end, they used a few of the events from last summer adulterating and manipulating them in order to prove their vision of a world composed of soldiers, hierarchies, control and blind violence. And so, they justified the searches from last july and in the same way they justify our detention.
There is an abyss between what they want to see in us and what we really are.
We don’t want to know the names of the ones who really went in the woods of Clarea that night last May in order to undermine the building site -probably, even the investigators don’t care about it. What they really want is to theaten the movement with years of jail in order to smoothly continue with their project in Susa.
They would prefer people to stay home watching from their balconies the work in progress.
And yet, the people learnt how to oppose the work: we learnt how to block it when all together we shouted “No pasarAn” and how to break the cement of the jersey when it was in our way; we learnt to look far away when the horizon was covered in tear gas and to stand heads held high when everything seemed lost.
It won’t be the terror spread by them that will ruin the future harvest of this long fight.
We will need to keep building places and moments of discussion to exchange ideas and information, to make proposals and to be ready to go back in the streets and into the woods.
It’s evening here in Vallette. Apart from the darkness there is not much difference between evening and morning because the armored compartment is closed around the clock, 24/7: high security!
In comparison to Nuovi Giunti it’s calmer and cleaner but it’s the lack of human contact that debilitates us.
In the pit of the blocks B, C or F (Chiara is the only one forced in isolation)there are lots of stories and life experiences from which one can get complicity and solidarity. Last month, Niccolò, who was arrested in late October for other proceedings, saw how the echo of the struggles against the TAV came into the jails and how it represents the courage of those who have ceased to undergo the choices of an overwhelming state.
For us, forced into isolation, it is vital to reject segregation and the separation of prisoners: we are all “common” (?).
For these reasons it would be nice if within the movement there could develop a reasoning about and against prison.
Most of the guards of Vallette live inside the jail, in big buildings within the walls…they won’t ever be free from it.
Even if they treat us politely, they won’t pull back from spying on us for their superiors when we will decide to fight for whatever reason.
And then, with the memories that we hold dear, we will let these “key holders/keychains” regret their narrowness.
“Have you ever seen the sea make its way through the woods on a beautiful afternoon in July and go against the nets of a building site?”
“Have you ever felt the warmth of shoulders of every age while the shields move forward, the asphalt on the highway becomes liquid and the rear fills with smoke?”
“Have you ever seen a snake with no beginning or end or a rain of stars in the middle of a midsummer night?”
We have and we are not yet satisfied.
The road is long, there will be exciting moments and big setbacks, we will move forward and then backward, we will learn from our mistakes.
For the time being, we look at our prison and it is not easy, but if “la Valsusa paura non ne ha” we neither will be fearful.
Niccolò, Claudio, Mattia – Vallette, Torino, 20th December 2014
TERRORISTS ARE THOSE WHO DEVASTATE AND MILITARIZE THE TERRITORY
CALL FOR A NATION-WIDE DAY OF MOBILIZATION
There are approximately 600 people accused, over a thousand investigated, dozens of people under several restrictions (home confinement, expulsion order), fines for hundreds of thousands of euros, a trial against 53 No Tav protesters, and several comrades who have been under house arrest for months now. These numbers show the repressive fury against the No Tav movement. This August, the Prosecutor of Turin added yet another chapter to their crusade: No Tav protesters were investigated for “actions aimed at a terroristic attack” for one of the many actions taken against the construction site of Chiomonte – and for this reason subject to restraining measures.
After the No Tav fight was criminalized on the media for months, on December 9th, four protesters (Chiara, Mattia, Claudio and Niccolò) were arrested by the Prosecutor of Turin, who accused them of having taken part to an action against the construction site on the night between May 13th and 14th.
That night (as had happened on several other occasions) some of the tools and machinery present on site were damaged.
For the Prosecutor of Turin these are “actions aimed at a terroristic attack”. For us this is nothing but resistance.
The accusation of “terrorism” has very serious legal consequences. But this time the Prosecutor went even further and used, for the first time in Italy’s history, sections of the Penal Code that define any form of resistance to economical and political powers as “terrorism”. According to Public Ministers of the Prosecutor Rinaudo and Palladino, in the face of everything the State imposes on us, one can complain but one cannot actively oppose it.
In other words, this frontal attack against the No Tav movement is a way to test a model that will then be applied to any form of strong, real dissent in order to defeat it.
In this scenario, everybody’s freedom is at risk.
For these reasons we are making a plea for everyone to rally this February 22nd:
- Against the accusations of terrorism and the criminalization of all fights
- In solidarity with all the indicted and investigated No Tav’s
- For freedom for Chiara, Mattia, Claudio and Niccolò, and everyone still under house arrest
- To start fighting again
- Because those who attack some of us, are attacking all of us
- To strongly reiterate that it’s impossible to stop us
For all these reasons the NO TAV Movement announces a national day of rally on February 22nd where everyone shall fight in their territory.
This is for those who resist and oppose the waste of public resources, who are against the devastation of the land, and fight for the right to have a home, a respectable job, safe and paid adequately.
It will be a collective rally, in solidarity with all the imprisoned comrades, with the comrades who have already been condemned, to the countless comrades who are still resisting, waiting to face their trials, guilty of defending the common good.
This will be followed in March by another one, taking place in Rome, focused on the defense of social fights.
In preparation for this day of fight we encourage everyone to organize meetings and spread knowledge on these matters among people and what we are aiming to oppose.
Call from all committees of the NO TAV Movement.
Villar Focchiardo, January 29th 2014