Sunday, April 22, 2012

Remember G8 Genova

Susan Brannon
20 April 2012
On the night of July 21, 2001 more than 400 peaceful G8 demonstrators who came from all over Europe to protest the G8 meeting, were either hospitalized, beaten, arrested and jailed. Carlo Giuliani of Genoa, was shot dead by Mario Placanica who was released of any "wrong doing" in the case. It was determined that he fired his weapon in self defense after being hit by a stone. The European Union requested an investigation of the Italian police and what occurred on that day. Italy, with its new Prime Minister, Berlusconi, denied to investigate. At least seven of the injured have live long disabilities and say that the police had the intent to "kill". Mark Covell, an Indy-Media journalist was also brutally attacked, with six broken ribs, a punctured lung in three places, massive destruction on his spine and neck. He has had to undergo several surgeries and is still ongoing.

Mark decided to file a lawsuit against the Italian government and for him, it has been a long haul that costs him thousands of British pounds for representation and travel, and promotional awareness campaigns. The Italian legal system has much to be desired and it takes years to complete any legal action. As of May 18th, 2010, senior police officers and 44 policemen have been given jail sentences for up to five years for what the prosecution called a terrible attack on the demonstrators and an attempted cover-up.   

The Reports of Torture and the Case More than 150 masked police officers wearing unnumbered uniforms attacked a school "Scoula Diaz" being used as a "safe house" and a place to sleep for the foreigners who came for the demonstration shortly before midnight. One commander said that the school was "left like a Mexican slaughterhouse". Ninety-three people were sleeping in the dormitory and after the slaughter 76 were taken to the hospital for multiple injuries and later taken to the Bolzaneto jail where a total of 252 demonstrators were tortured. This continued for three days and nights along with systematic denial of human rights and degrading treatment. Some women reported being raped. The Ligurian Appeal Judges chaired by Maria Rosaria D'Angelo did not mince words about what had happened at the Bolzaneto police barracks during the sentencing.

One of the victims said, "Many of the victims who were detained and beaten in the barracks of Bolzaneto reported phrases and hymns sung by the Nazis and Fascists during and after the police torture that the detainees were subjected." A turning point for the case was when two police officers confessed, “When we dragged them from the cells inside the Bolzaneto police barracks, we beat them”. Many of the victims reported that they were forced to stand for more than twenty hours in feet legs apart facing wall. Most were preventing from going to the toilet. A few however had their heads shoved down a toilet full of police shit in a crude form of 'waterboarding' for the pleasure of the accompanying police. One of the police who admitted the crime was Barbara Amadei who beat and forced the head of Ester Percivati down the infamous Bolzaneto toilet. Amadei received a sentence of only 10 months.

A welcome sign greeted the prisoners, and when they entered they were forced to walk in single file, suffering brutal kicks, beating from the batons, punches, while their injuries were left untreated. Some reported that the police urinated on them. Others reported being thrown into a room, then they closed the door after throwing tear gas into the small room and left there. One infamous case is that of Massimo Pigozzi who sprayed teargas into the face of Joseph Azzolina and then broke every finger on both of his hands. Pigozzi got three years 11 months for this crime and ordered to pay compensation.

Senior GOM mobile commander Antonell Gaetano, beat a French demonstrator fracturing two of his ribs forcing him to sign a document to waver rights to a lawyer. He forced another victim to get down on all fours and bark like a dog and say, ""long live Il Duce" he received one year and four months. Not only were the policemen involved in the torture, the medical staff at the Bolzaneto prison were also involved. James Toccafondi was convicted of breaking the EU convention on medical ethics. He took part in several beatings, denied medical treatment and cut off the hair of females to be used as "trophies". He received three years and six months. Two other doctors were involved but were not sentenced.
Photo by Massimo Sestini

The cover up was so criminal, that an officer stabbed himself with a knife to try to "validate" and justify the attack. The Italian courts ruled that none of the victims had been violent, and Molotov cocktails had been planted by the police in the school before the attack. Among those convicted was Francisco Gratteri, the head of criminal investigation, Giovanne Luperi who was promoted to a senior position in the Italian intelligence both men were given four years. The head of the squad unit who was commander of the riot unit in Rome ,Vincenzo Canterini, was given five years. The two policemen who planted the Molotov cocktails,Gilberto Caldarozzi and Spartico Mortola, were sentenced to three years and nine months.

The ruling overturned any of the previous conclusions in the 2008 trial. However, the policemen charged for their crimes did not go behind bars because the case took so long, that the sentencing was "timed out" according to the Italian statue of limitations. Despite most of the original charges being spent, two charges of false arrest and false statement have statute of limitations of 12 1/2 years so they still carry a prison sentence. Most of the 25 are convicted of these two offenses and have received sentences of three to four years.   

The Politicians The politicians involved were Ginfranco Fini and Castelli, while Berlusconi was only in office for one month as Prime Minister. There is little or no evidence that Berlusconi approved or authorized the events. There is evidence that links Fini and both Diaz and Bolzaneto. Fini was fortunate because he was saved from questioning because of the 9/11 raids on America. All eyes in the world were turned to the events in America. Fini has always had immunity from prosecution during the years of the investigation, indictments and trials in Genoa. Fini was involved in the day to day events of the protests, and the planning for the Diaz raid before G8.  At that time, Fini was the head of the Facist Party, "Alleanza Nazionale" (National Alliance) that later united with the Berlusconi called, "Popolo del Liberta" (People of Freedom)

Alleanza Nazionale started in 1994 as the successor of the "Movimento Sociale Italiano" (Italian Social Movement) begun by Benito Mussolini's supporters after he died in 1945 and his fascist movement was outlawed.  Fini once described Mussolini as the greatest statesman of the 20th century.   

There are many reports and video's that capture infiltrators that were dressed up in plain clothes who pretended to be part of the protest.  They were seen talking to the Italian police, and entering in and out of the "red zone"  (The boundary set by the city, the protesters were not allowed into the red zone, close to the G8 meeting)  They were also seen to intimidate the police by throwing stones, and thought to have possibly brought inside the "yellow zone" (the area where the protesters were supposed to be allowed to march) Molotov cocktails to throw at the police. There was also a group of people dressed in white clothes wearing blue helmets that would march among the protesters, grab and beat them before arrest. There is another group called the "Black Block" that is reported to be a group of protesters that destroyed many of the buildings, infrastructure and cars.   However, it is also reported that some of the Black Block people have been seen talking to the police, entering in and out of the red zone, and issuing instructions to their peers.  (more on the Black Block)

A Short Film - Italian and English

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