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Ending terrorism in Italy [1. publ ed.]
 9780415602884, 9780203786017, 0415602882

Table of contents :
Introduction 1. Political memoirs and the study of terrorism 2. Becoming terrorists 3. Disengagement and disassociation 4. Negotiating personal and collective healing and identity after terrorism 5. Italy in Comparative Perspective 6. Conclusion

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Ending Terrorism in Italy

Ending Terrorism in Italy analyses processes of disengagement from terrorism, as well as the connected issues of reconciliation, truth and justice. It examines in a critical and original way how terrorism came to an end in Italy (Part I), and the legacy it has left behind (Part II). The book interrogates a wide array of published memoirs and a considerable number of new face-to-face interviews with both former terrorists and first and second generation victims    In the last two decades, and especially in recent years, former extreme-right terrorists in Italy have started to talk about their past involvement in terrorist violence, including, for the first time, acts of violence which have for decades been considered taboo, that is to say, bomb attacks against innocent civilians. These narratives add to the perspectives offered by members of left-wing terrorist groups, such as the Red Brigades and Prima Linea. Surprisingly, these narratives have not been systematically examined, yet they form a unique and extremely rich source of first-hand testimony, providing invaluable insights into processes of youth radicalization and de-radicalization, the social re-integration of ex-terrorists, as well as personal and collective healing.    Even less attention has been paid to the victims’ narratives or stories. Indeed, the views and activities of the victims and their associations have been seriously neglected in the scholarly literature on terrorism, not just in Italy, but elsewhere in Europe. The book therefore examines the perspectives of the victims and relatives of victims of terrorism, who over the years have formed dedicated associations and campaigned relentlessly to obtain justice through the courts, with little or no support from the state and, especially in the case of the bombing massacres, with increasing awareness that the state played a role in thwarting the course of justice.    Ending Terrorism in Italy will be of interest to historians, social scientists and policy makers as well as students of political violence and post-conflict resolution. Anna Cento Bull is Professor of Italian History and Politics, University of Bath, UK. Philip Cooke is Professor of Italian History and Culture at the University of Strathclyde, UK.

Routledge studies in extremism and democracy Series Editors: Roger Eatwell University of Bath

and Matthew Goodwin

University of Nottingham

Founding Series Editors: Roger Eatwell University of Bath

and Cas Mudde

University of Antwerp-­UFSIA This new series encompasses academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’. These topics have traditionally been considered largely in isolation by academics. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism and democracy. Works will seek to answer questions such as to what extent ‘extremist’ groups pose a major threat to democratic parties, or how democracy can respond to extremism without undermining its own democratic credentials. The books encompass two strands: Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy includes books with an introductory and broad focus which are aimed at students and teachers. These books will be available in hardback and paperback. Titles include: Understanding Terrorism in America From the Klan to al Qaeda Christopher Hewitt Fascism and the Extreme Right Roger Eatwell Racist Extremism in Central and Eastern Europe Edited by Cas Mudde Political Parties and Terrorist Groups (2nd Edition) Leonard Weinberg, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger The New Extremism in 21st Century Britain Edited by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin

New British Fascism Rise of the British National Party Matthew Goodwin The End of Terrorism? Leonard Weinberg Mapping the Extreme Right in Contemporary Europe From local to transnational Edited by Andrea Mammone, Emmanuel Godin and Brian Jenkins Varieties of Right-­Wing Extremism in Europe Edited by Andrea Mammone, Emmanuel Godin and Brian Jenkins Routledge Research in Extremism and Democracy offers a forum for innovative new research intended for a more specialist readership. These books will be in hardback only. Titles include:   1 Uncivil Society? Contentious politics in post-­Communist Europe Edited by Petr Kopecky and Cas Mudde   2 Political Parties and Terrorist Groups Leonard Weinberg and Ami Pedahzur   3 Western Democracies and the New Extreme Right Challenge Edited by Roger Eatwell and Cas Mudde   4 Confronting Right Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA George Michael   5 Anti-­Political Establishment Parties A comparative analysis Amir Abedi   6 American Extremism History, politics and the militia D. J. Mulloy   7 The Scope of Tolerance Studies on the costs of free expression and freedom of the press Raphael Cohen-­Almagor   8 Extreme Right Activists in Europe Through the magnifying glass Bert Klandermans and Nonna Mayer

  9 Ecological Politics and Democratic Theory Mathew Humphrey 10 Reinventing the Italian Right Territorial politics, populism and ‘post-­Fascism’ Carlo Ruzza and Stefano Fella 11 Political Extremes An investigation into the history of terms and concepts from antiquity to the present Uwe Backes 12 The Populist Radical Right in Poland The patriots Rafal Pankowski 13 Social and Political Thought of Julius Evola Paul Furlong 14 Radical Left Parties in Europe Luke March 15 Counterterrorism in Turkey Policy choices and policy effects toward the Kurdistan workers’ party (PKK) Mustafa Coşar Ünal 16 Class Politics and the Radical Right Edited by Jens Rydgren 17 Rethinking the French New Right Alternatives to modernity Tamir Bar-­On 18 Ending Terrorism in Italy Anna Cento Bull and Philip Cooke

Ending Terrorism in Italy

Anna Cento Bull and Philip Cooke

First published 2013 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2013 Anna Cento Bull and Philip Cooke The right of Anna Cento Bull and Philip Cooke to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Cento Bull, Anna Ending terrorism in Italy / Anna Bull and Philip Cooke. pages cm. – (Routledge studies in extremism and democracy; 18) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Terrorism–Italy. I. Cooke, Philip E., 1965– II. Title. HV6433.I8C46 2013 363.3250945'09046–dc23 2012048808 ISBN: 978-0-415-60288-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-203-78601-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear

Anna Cento Bull would like to dedicate the book to William, Gregory and Thomas. Philip Cooke would like to dedicate the book to Jon Usher.

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Contents



Preface Acknowledgements



Introduction

1

Part I Ending the violence

15

1 Studying how terrorism ends: the Italian case

17

2 Ending terrorism through the law: the evolution of Italian terrorist legislation from the Moro affair to the end of the first Republic

30

3 Prisons and prison reform

51

4 Ending terrorism, as told by the former terrorists

73

Part II After terrorism

99

x xv

5 From conciliation to reconciliation?

101

6 From violent action to story-­telling: constructions of victimhood in the memoirs of Italian former perpetrators

118

7 The perspectives of the victims

153

8 The legacy of terrorism: story-­telling and truth-­telling

195



Conclusion: Italy in comparative perspective

208



Bibliography Index

224 237

Preface

On 9 May 2009, Giorgio Napolitano, the president of the Italian Republic, began the official Day of Commemoration for the victims of terrorism and bombing massacres by visiting Via Caetani in the centre of Rome, where the body of Christian Democrat politician Aldo Moro had been left by members of the Red Brigades in May 1978. There was nothing at all unusual about this commemoration. Later on in the day, however, when he gave a speech at the Quirinal palace, there was an, in many ways, extraordinary dimension to the customary stiff formalities. Seated in the second row, at a small distance from each other were Licia Rognini and Gemma Capra, respectively widows of Giuseppe Pinelli and Luigi Calabresi. The former fell to his death on 15 December 1969, while being interrogated at the Milan police headquarters under suspicion of having planted the bomb at Piazza Fontana on 12 December, while the latter was the police commissar responsible for Pinelli’s interrogation, shot dead on 17 May 1972 by unknown assassins. Subsequent investigations, lasting several years, only partially disclosed the truth about these two cases. As far as Pinelli was concerned, the police had at first claimed he had committed suicide; in 1975, a judicial investigation concluded that he had most probably been taken suddenly ill, and that this had caused him to lose his balance and fall from an open window. This version of events is widely contested and various circumstances remain unexplained. In the case of Calabresi, it was only in 1988 that a former member of the radical left-­wing group, Lotta Continua, confessed that he and other former comrades, including Adriano Sofri, ex-­leader of the group, had organized and carried out the assassination. The trial that followed found the defendants guilty but its findings have been widely contested by a spectrum of public opinion. Before the president gave his speech, Gemma Capra moved towards Licia Rognini and was met by Claudia, her daughter, who shook her by the hand. Licia Rognini then greeted Gemma and the two exchanged a few words. The encounter between the two women, who had never met before, was widely publicized and commented on. By bringing together the widows of Pinelli and Calabresi, Napolitano had sent out a series of important signals: that Pinelli had been an innocent victim, that the stories of the two men were inextricably linked and that the truth about their deaths and the Piazza Fontana bombing massacre had still to be fully ascertained. Thus, the meeting symbolized both the long-­standing legacy of

Preface   xi political terrorism in Italy and the continuing absence of an officially acknowledged truth concerning many of its events. Furthermore, the meeting clearly indicated that the terrorist period had not come to an ‘end’: there were still issues to be clarified, victims to attend to and, as Napolitano implied, continuing questions about the role of the state, of which he was the highest representative. He finished his speech by raising the issue of Cesare Battisti, a former terrorist living in exile in Brazil. The indulgence of the Brazilian authorities was, in Napolitano’s view, ‘incomprehensible’. It was, he said, wrong to confuse Battisti’s attacks against the Italian State with acts of political dissent. Lastly, he fulminated, it was unacceptable to have to listen to the self-­justifying and self-­absolving memories of those people who had taken an active role in that ‘tragic period’ (La Repubblica, 9 May 2009). It should be added that the meeting between the two women was not universally popular: several of the victims of terrorism voiced their dissent, while in Turin representatives of an anarchist organization daubed the walls of the Democratic Party headquarters and those of La Stampa newspaper (whose editor, Mario, is Calabresi’s son) with graffiti: ‘Calabresi was a murderer, Pinelli was murdered. No peace with the State’ (Calabresi assassino, Pinelli assassinato. Nessuna pace con lo Stato). This episode encapsulates the rationale and importance for writing a book on the end of terrorism and its legacy in Italy. Although the last significant violent acts took place over 20 years ago, terrorism is still at the centre of political and historical debate, and shows no sign of losing its importance. Trials for terrorist events which took place decades ago continue, the most recent of which was for the 1974 Brescia massacre. It reached its conclusion in April 2012, with all four of the accused absolved for lack of evidence. The victims’ families, on the other hand, were required to pay the trial costs. The death of Prospero Gallinari in January 2013, as this book was going to press, has also done much to stir debate, with his funeral in Bologna evoking conflicting memories of the past. Political terrorism has, therefore, left an enduring legacy in the country, with widespread feelings of bitterness and mistrust among the victims and many of the citizens, as well as untruths, misconceptions and contrasting representations of the past. As concerns the victims, as will be seen in Chapter 7, they feel they have been re-­victimized by the state as well as by the terrorists. In their view, the former sought to put an end to the violence through pacification but totally failed to involve the victims in a meaningful process of social reconciliation. The latter obtained lenient sentences and were able to rebuild their lives without having to tell the whole truth about their past deeds. Furthermore, there are persisting unexplained or puzzling circumstances surrounding various episodes of armed terrorism, while a heavy shadow still hangs over the role of the state in the bombing massacres. The main suspicion is that the state, or part of the state, connived with neo-­fascist terrorists in pursuing a strategy of tension aimed at curbing the increasing power of the Communist Party and fostering a turn to the right. The responsibility of neo-­fascist group Ordine Nuovo in the bombing massacres has indeed been fully ascertained by

xii   Preface the courts, even though it has proved difficult to incriminate individual defendants, not least due to (largely proven) acts of obstruction on the part of state bodies. As for the responsibility of the latter, starting with the secret service and parts of the armed forces, there exists very substantial circumstantial evidence pointing in the direction of their involvement in neo-­fascist terrorism, at least in the sense of aiding and abetting their subversive activities and/or protecting them from prosecution. Another suspicion is that the state did not do everything it could to fight left-­wing terrorism, allowing it some space to develop in order to keep the Communist Party at bay, since the latter’s gradual path to power and government was jeopardized by the emergence of revolutionary groups to its left. One of the main experts in the field of left-­wing terrorism in Italy, Donatella della Porta, wrote as early as 1990 that: The effect of state intervention upon the evolution of clandestine organizations thus appears, over a long period, to have been relevant but in the opposite sense compared to what is normally considered: in explaining the chances of survival of the armed groups, rather than in determining their disappearance. (1990, p. 270) In short, there are sufficient elements to argue that the behaviour of the Italian state in fighting armed terrorism has been relatively opaque and twisted. If we add to this the largely proven connivances between sectors of the state and neo-­ fascist terrorism it is legitimate to conclude that there is still a need for a process of truth-­telling involving the Italian state and the former terrorists. This is an interpretation many of the victims subscribe to, supported in their stance by Giorgio Napolitano himself, as we saw. More controversial is the issue of whether truth-­telling and truth recovery should be considered as part of a wider process of social reconciliation and what this should consist of. The enduring legacy of Italian terrorism is also apparent if one considers the very high number of books (and films) that have appeared in recent decades. As far as representations of terrorism in films and/or documentaries are concerned, they have been the object of sustained and highly sophisticated analysis by scholars working in the UK, the USA and Italy (Uva 2007; O’Leary 2007, 2011; O’Leary and Antonello 2009; Glynn et al. 2012). As far as books are concerned, journalistic and scholarly works addressing the numerous still-­unexplained episodes surrounding terrorism or its possible connivances with the state have been published at a growing rate and show no sign of drying up, indicating a markedly avid interest in these issues on the part of the public. Our book is not concerned with cinematic or literary representations of terrorism and its legacy, or with attempting to uncover the ‘truth’ as regards the role it played in the context of Italian politics during the Cold War. Rather, it has two main aims. Our first goal is to fill a gap in the scholarly literature, since there has been, thus far, no comprehensive attempt to understand and conceptualize the way Italy sought to bring an ‘end’ to terrorism. Italian terrorism has

Preface   xiii been analysed in depth by both Italian and non-­Italian experts and differing interpretations have emerged with regards to its origins and development (see Introduction). Much less scholarly analysis (and this is particularly the case for works in English) has been dedicated to the state’s response to it, both in terms of military actions and in terms of legislative measures designed to stifle it. There has recently, however, been much academic interest in processes of deradicalization and disengagement from terrorism (both in Italy and, above all, in other countries around the world). Scholars have recognized that understanding these processes at both the individual and the collective level is of vital importance for devising effective measures to counter political violence, yet they have for a long time been under-­researched, due to the perceived need to prioritize the study of how people become radicalized and join extremist and/or terrorist organizations. In the Italian case, the process of disengagement from terrorism has been partially addressed in the scholarly literature, yet there are still areas which in our view need further examining, especially as concerns the role of imprisonment and of the prison system as well as the role of the Catholic Church in fostering deradicalization. Ending Terrorism in Italy re-­examines these issues from the perspective of both the original legislators and the former terrorists themselves. Our book has, therefore, both a scholarly and an (albeit potentially modest) civic role. Our other goal is to analyse in depth the legacy of terrorism in terms of the perspectives of the victims and their relatives as well as of the former terrorists, because these are the two groups which have been most affected by the manner in which political violence was addressed and ended in Italy. This analysis was made possible by a quite extraordinary number of autobiographies published by the former terrorists and, in recent years, also by second generation victims. While the corpus of perpetrator memoirs have for some time now attracted scholarly attention, the victims’ writings have only just started to be analysed and examined. Indeed, the views and activities of the victims and their associations have been seriously neglected in the scholarly literature on terrorism, not just in Italy but elsewhere in Europe. This can be explained in part by the fact that most victims feel unable to speak out until several years after the acts of terrorism which targeted them and in part also by the attitude of the state, which tends to prioritize pacification over a wider process of social reconciliation. Our book intends to fill this gap in relation to the Italian case, by engaging with the victims’ testimonies, views and actions, as well as revisiting the perspectives of the former terrorists. To this end we have complemented existing published memoirs with a considerable number of new face-­to-face interviews with both types of witnesses. With these two goals in mind, in framing the original research proposal we posed a series of questions which, although partially addressed in the literature in Italian and English (see individual chapters for relevant references), have not so far been looked at in the context of one single, comprehensive study. How exactly was terrorism defeated in Italy? What was the role of the forces of law and order, and above all the Italian prison system? How effective was Italian

xiv   Preface legislation, particularly in terms of the laws of pentitismo which encouraged terrorists to turn state’s evidence in exchange for lighter sentences? How did the so-­called ‘dissociation’ laws contribute to the process of deradicalization? What role did the victims play, if any? Did the end of terrorism involve engaging in a process of reconciliation as well as conciliation? How can we interpret the very significant number of terrorist memoirs which have been published in recent years? Why have second generation victims recently started to recount their stories? And finally, what lessons may be learned from the Italian context? Having justified our decision to revisit Italian terrorism, it beholds us to explain the structure of this book. It is divided into two parts: Part I revisits the issue of the end of terrorism in the light of current scholarly debates, examining the parliamentary process leading to the reform of the prison system and the ‘lenient’ legislation of the 1980s as well as the testimonies of former terrorists, both in the form of published books and in the form of new original interviews. Part II explores the legacy of terrorism, paying particular attention to issues of, and debates on, truth, justice and reconciliation. In this context, the testimonies of the victims and their relatives, as well as the role played by their associations, are analysed in some depth. These are compared and contrasted to the testimonies of the former terrorists. The final chapter assesses the Italian case in a comparative European perspective, especially in relation to Northern Ireland and Spain.

Acknowledgements

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the many individuals and institutions whose help and support have made this book possible. First, we would like to thank the Arts and Humanities Research Council for awarding Professor Bull a Research Fellowship in 2011, which allowed her to carry out a series of interviews in Italy and to focus on the writing of many chapters in this volume. Without AHRC support this book would almost certainly not have seen the light. Philip Cooke would like to thank the University of Strathclyde for its continuing support of his research, and for a small grant which allowed him to carry out interviews and conduct research in January 2011. Second, we would like to thank the many individuals who very kindly gave up their time to talk to us about sensitive and difficult issues. We are extremely grateful to them for sharing their memories with us and for being prepared to relive their painful experiences of a violent past for the sake of independent research. We are conscious that many former terrorists, who have striven to rebuild a normal existence for themselves and their families, find it hard to be identified with, and interviewed on, their past behaviour, and are grateful to them for doing so. A special word of thanks should go to the many victims and relatives of victims of terrorism who talked to Anna Cento Bull, as in most cases it proved to be an emotional ordeal. To them the past is still very much in the present. We have, of course, respected the wish of our interviewees to remain anonymous, whenever this wish was expressed, and have endeavoured to represent the views of all these individuals as accurately and as fully as possible, often reproducing them verbatim, within the constraints of the overall word limit of this book. Third, we wish to thank the many institutions which provided support and encouragement for our research and contributed in many different ways to its realization. In particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the following victims’ associations: Associazione italiana vittime del terrorismo-­Aiviter (Turin); Associazione fra i familiari delle vittime della strage alla stazione di Bologna del 2 Agosto 1980 (Bologna); Associazione tra i familiari delle vittime della strage sul treno rapido 904 (Naples); Casa della Memoria (Brescia). We also would like to thank the Fondazione di ricerca Istituto Carlo Cattaneo, Bologna, for allowing us access to the DOTE archive with its original documentation on terrorism, the BNCF in Florence, and Massimo Storchi of the

xvi   Acknowledgements ISTORECO for assisting in setting up the interview with Loris Paroli and for checking a number of references. Our gratitude also goes to the many individuals who helped Anna Cento Bull with her research, especially Lucia Castellano, Lucia Clerici, Filippo Del Corno, Nicola Rao and Paola Villani. Regrettably, and rather surprisingly, one institution we approached, the Gruppo Abele, founded by Don Luigi Ciotti, refused to help us. Finally, we are grateful to our families for their continuing support and encouragement.

Introduction

In the face of such complex events, no-­one can claim to have a command of the whole truth: not the politician, not the magistrate, not the academic, not the citizen, and that should encourage us all to adopt an attitude of prudence and respect for the work of others. (Gotor 2011, p. 168)

Miguel Gotor’s comments, which appear in one of the most important books on Italian terrorism to be published in recent years, are a sobering warning for anyone wishing to enter this field of research. Italian terrorism is a complex phenomenon, with much that remains unclear or unexplained, despite countless publications of many and varying types and quality, lengthy trials, and even more lengthy parliamentary enquiries. There are a variety of contradictory and competing narratives fighting for their place, and it has been the subject of a range of interpretations and approaches – psychological, political, sociological, philosophical and historical – of which some are more convincing than others. However, even theories which might appear eccentric and even outlandish to the external observer should not be dismissed without due consideration. Furthermore, a huge range of individuals have contributed to the debate, from the politicians, magistrates and academics referred to by Gotor, to journalists, former terrorists, victims, relatives of victims, documentarists and film makers. As a consequence, Italian terrorism has been explored in a bewildering variety of different forms – memoirs, works of history, films, documentaries, television shows, novels and so on, all of which have, in various ways ‘mediated’ our understanding of the period and contributed to the formation and extension of the narratives. What follows is an attempt to give an overview of the explanations of the phenomenon of Italian terrorism which is sensitive to, and illustrates, these many different existing interpretations. By Italian terrorism we refer here to a series of bomb attacks and an ‘armed struggle’ carried out by diverse groups inspired by extreme ideologies, some of whom operated in connivance with, and/or were manipulated by, domestic state actors and external agencies in the context of the Cold War. Terrorism is thus best defined as a tool, and terrorists as diverse potential users of this tool with different ends. Among the variety of groups that make use of terrorist means we should include state actors.

2   Introduction

Piazza Fontana and ‘early’ right-­wing terrorism In chronological terms there is a widespread and, in some ways, misleading belief that the first terrorist attack in Italy took place on 12 December 1969, when a bomb, planted by figures from the extreme right, exploded at the Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana in Milan, killing 17 and wounding 88. Another bomb was planted on the same day in Milan, as well as others in Rome at the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. However, there had been bomb explosions in Milan earlier in 1969 (25 April), at the FIAT stand at a trade fair: five people were injured. On the same day, a bomb was discovered at the city’s central station. On the night of 30 April 1969 a bomb exploded outside the home of the questore of Padua. In May and July bombs would be planted in the main law courts in Rome, Turin and Milan. Ten bombs were planted on trains in early August. These earlier events in 1969 are all but forgotten, because of the exceptional nature of Piazza Fontana, but they are worth recalling as they help to establish that Piazza Fontana was not an isolated, one-­off, event, but part of a series of planned, co-­ ordinated attacks. From the very start of the terrorist era there would be ambiguity and doubt over the responsibility for terrorist acts. Some of these ambiguities have, admittedly, been cleared up in the courts, but, it is worth adding that many far-­right terrorists continue to deny their involvement in the massacres (Cento Bull, 2007). In the case of Piazza Fontana, as is well known, the police enquiries were initially and erroneously directed towards the anarchists, the so-­called pista anarchica, leading to the interrogation of Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Pinelli and the arrest of Pietro Valpreda. Pinelli would plunge to his death in circumstances which have never been clarified, and Valpreda would only be absolved of all responsibility in 1979 on the grounds of insufficient evidence. A separate line of investigation looked into the existence of a pista nera, or black path, leading to the bombings of 1969. The investigations were initiated following the apparently spontaneous decision by Guido Lorenzon, a schoolteacher and member of the Christian Democrat Party, to provide a statement which implicated Giovanni Ventura, a leading member of the extreme right linked to the neo-­Nazi ideologue Franco Freda. Two magistrates, Pietro Calogero and Giancarlo Stiz, conducted the initial investigation, before passing all the paperwork to judicial authorities in Milan in March 1972. In Milan, Gerardo D’Ambrosio, Luigi Fiasconaro and Emilio Alessandrini (later killed by Prima Linea) continued the investigation that led to a series of trials over a number of years. These trials concluded at the Court of Cassation in January 1987 with the decision that, notwithstanding all the evidence pointing to the guilt of Freda, Ventura and others, it could not be ascertained for certain who were the architects and material executors of the Piazza Fontana massacre. Freda and Ventura were, however, found to be responsible for the attacks of 25 April and early August 1969 and sentenced to 16 years. In a later trial of neo-­fascists in 2004, the Court of Appeal in Milan attributed responsibility for the Piazza Fontana killings to

Introduction   3 Freda and Ventura, but by then they were ‘no longer judicially liable’ (Cento Bull 2007, p. 21). Even though this judgement was upheld by the Court of Cassation, Freda and Ventura therefore escaped punishment for this appalling crime. In a separate development, the Milanese police commissioner, Luigi Calabresi, who interrogated Pinelli, but who was not present when the latter fell to his death, and was held in many circles to be morally responsible for his demise, was murdered outside his home in Milan in May 1972. In a response which initially went in the opposite direction to the Piazza Fontana enquiry, two neo-­ fascists, Gianni Nardi and Luciano Bruno Stefanò, were arrested for the crime. In 1988, following the testimony of the pentito Leonardo Marino, three former leaders of the extra-­parliamentary Lotta Continua organization were arrested. Adriano Sofri, Ovidio Bompressi and Giorgio Pietrostefani were found guilty at a trial in 1990, and the initial decision was confirmed on appeal and again at the Court of Cassation in 2000, leading to a widespread outcry in Italy. Piazza Fontana is therefore bound up in a complex nexus of linked events, scandals, deaths and trials so much so that, as Foot (2010) has shown, it constitutes a classic case of ‘divided memory’. According to one explanation of the strategy behind the Piazza Fontana massacre, which is powerful, popular and relatively easy to understand, the arrest of the innocent anarchists is evidence that the bomb was planted by right-­wing terrorists whose plan was to create a climate of fear which would lead to a backlash against the extreme left and, perhaps, its marginalization if not extinction. The ‘false flag explanation’ is an idea which certainly at the time offered a great deal of explanatory potential and, more importantly, a simple and convincing narrative. Faced with what appeared to be an inexorable shift to the left in Italian politics, a process which had begun in the early 1960s with the first centre–left coalitions, the extreme right had to find a way to discredit the extreme left – and Piazza Fontana was the result. The decision to embark on this ‘stategy of tension’ was, it is widely believed, taken at a meeting in Padua on the night of 18–19 April 1969 which involved Freda, as well as members of the SID (Defence Information Service) secret service organization. The idea of a false flag strategy or ‘stategy of tension’, devised and carried out by extreme right groups, is not entirely convincing, at least over the long term. It is important to emphasize that the extreme right was just as fragmented as the extreme left, with different and sometimes conflicting strategies. From 1969–75 there were two main organizations, Ordine Nuovo (founded by Pino Rauti in 1956) and Avanguardia Nazionale (founded by Stefano delle Chiaie in 1960), the latter the result of a split from the former. The two organizations would merge in 1975, at roughly the same time time as another, Ordine Nero, emerged; but there were many ideological differences as well as conflicts over methods. Another organization, the NAR (Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari) was found guilty for the 1980 Bologna bombing. Extreme right terrorism is, therefore, a complex, and at times unfathomable ocean. The methods employed by the extreme right were not uniform, either. The putative coup organized by Junio Valerio Borghese in early December 1970

4   Introduction would seem to indicate a desire by the extreme right to overthrow the state by ‘conventional’ means, even though it may have been part of a wider strategy that included the bombing attacks. As for the latter, they did not always aim at placing the blame on the left. Thus, the bomb at Bologna railway station in August 1980, now attributed to Valerio Fioravanti, Francesca Mambro and Luigi Ciavardini of the NAR (though they deny any involvement) targeted the innocent citizens of Italy’s quintessentially left-­wing city. The concept of a false flag strategy employed by the extreme right to foist blame upon, and thus destroy, the extreme left, does not therefore appear to apply over the medium to long term. Far more compelling, and straightforward, is the explanation that extreme-­ right attacks were part of a long-­running ideological battle played out along (reasonably) clearly delineated lines (Rao 2007, 2008, 2009; Franzinelli 2008). Even greater complexity is created when it comes to trying to understand the role of the Italian secret services in the promotion of right-­wing terrorism. The first anniversary of Luigi Calabresi’s death ended in more bloodshed when Gianfranco Bertoli, who claimed to be an anarchist, threw a bomb at the questura in Milan, killing four people. His trial in 1975 revealed he had connections with SIFAR (the Servizio Informazioni Forze Armate – Armed Forces Information Service), a secret section of the armed forces which had been involved, it was claimed, in a tentative coup in 1964, and that he was also a member of the extreme right Rosa dei venti. A similar case is the so-­called massacre at Peteano (Gorizia), where five carabinieri were lured by an anonymous phone call to a FIAT 500, abandoned near the border with Yugoslavia. Three were killed, and two injured, by a booby-­trap bomb in the car. Initially, a number of goriziani were accused of the killings, but they were absolved in a trial held in Venice in 1979. Subsequently, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who had links with a number of far-­ right groups, confessed he was responsible for the killings. Vinciguerra also, and more significantly, provided extensive testimony to the investigating judge Felice Casson, which suggested that the Peteano incident and others (including Piazza Fontana) were the result of initiatives steered and/or covered up by the secret services, or a ‘parallel’ structure which, after 1990, was identified as the ‘Gladio’ organization – a ‘stay behind’ operation designed to prevent a Communist takeover in Italy and, as it subsequently emerged, other European countries. These two cases, and others, point to a different kind of ‘strategy of tension’. In this model, right-­wing (and as we will see later, left-­wing) terrorism was guided and conditioned by actors such as the secret services working with (or against) the Italian state, the CIA, as well as anti-­democratic organizations such as the P2 masonic lodge (Biscione 2003a; Galli 2007b). The ‘strategy of tension’ was thus part of the Cold War; an attempt to stop the Italian Communist Party’s (PCI) rise to power. The strategy itself had allegedly been theorized at a meeting held in Rome at the Istituto Pollio in April 1965, at which various representatives of the political right and the military discussed the best ways to fight the revolutionary threat. There is now a large body of evidence which does, indeed, point to the involvement of the secret services, and part of the armed forces, in this kind of plotting. It is important, however, to clarify that there were two quite

Introduction   5 different, but related, strategies at play. On the one hand there were those who hoped that a stategy of tension would result in a Greek-­style coup – an aspiration which really began to fade by the mid 1970s. On the other there were those, such as Edgardo Sogno and Randolfo Pacciardi, who supported what was known as a ‘white coup’ aimed at establishing a stronger type of republic, in which the president would have a much more powerful role. In both cases, however, the threat to the nation was seen to come from the Communists. While there remains, then, a lot of uncertainty about some aspects of neo-­ fascist terrorism, particularly the motives which lay behind it, it is also fair to say that the trials have at least helped to establish the identities of some of the perpetrators. A similar situation applies to left-­wing terrorism, although there is arguably a greater degree of certainty over many cases, notably as regards its early manifestations.

Left-­wing terrorism – phase one Although there are just as many conspiracy theories surrounding left-­wing terrorism, such explanations tend to apply to the second phase of the phenomenon, running from the end of 1974 (the arrest of the ‘historical leaders’ of the Red Brigades) to the kidnap of Aldo Moro. In the first phase, from 1970 to 1974, the explanations are more firmly grounded in politics, ideology and in the specific historical context of the late 1960s and early 1970s (De Luna 2009; della Porta 1990, 1995; Galli 2007a [1986]; Lazar and Matard-­Bonucci 2010; Panvini 2009; Ventrone 2012). This context led to the formation of the proto-­terrorist organizations such as the banda 22 ottobre, responsible for the first kidnapping of the period – Sergio Gadolla, from a wealthy Genoese family, who was kidnapped in October 1970 (Progetto memoria 1994; Dogliotti 2004), The members of this organization were arrested in March 1971, when one of them, Mario Rossi, was photographed after a robbery which led to the death of a doorman, Alessandro Floris (Piano 2008). The banda 22 ottobre had links with another of the early formations, the GAP, created by the millionaire publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (Grandi 2000). Inspired by the example of the urban partisans who fought during the Resistance movement, the GAP was, in Feltrinelli’s conception, designed to counter a Chilean-­style coup. Feltrinelli himself would die in mysterious circumstances in March 1972, when his broken body was found near an electricity pylon at Segrate in the outskirts of Milan. It is now widely accepted that his death was a consequence of a botched attempt to blow up the pylon and interrupt the electricity supply to Milan, but at the time many laid the blame at the hands of the CIA. Feltrinelli’s organization was also accused of being linked to the Red Brigades (BR), whose origins can be traced to the Collettivo Politico Metropolitano, founded in Milan by Renato Curcio. This organization had itself developed from the Milanese Comitati unitari di base (Cub), active in the late 1960s. The

6   Introduction decision to create the BR, and to shift to the lotta armata, was taken in 1970, by which time sympathizers from the city of Reggio Emilia, such as Alberto Franceschini and Prospero Gallinari, had allied themselves to Curcio. The first BR action is considered to be the burning of the car of a Siemens executive in September 1970. The BR carried out its first kidnapping, of the Siemens industrialist Hidalgo Macchiarini, shortly before the death of Feltrinelli. Macchiarini was released unharmed. The same approach characterized the kidnapping of Mario Sossi two years later. Sossi was a Genoese judge who was in charge of the trial of the eight members of the banda 22 ottobre. The BR demanded the release of the prisoners, a request which was initially met by the Court of Appeal in Genoa. Three days later the BR freed Sossi, but the prisoners remained in custody. By mid-­1974 the BR had carried out a number of attacks, on property and on individuals, but no-­one had as yet been killed. In June 1974 this changed when, in an attack on the headquarters of the MSI in Padua, Giuseppe Mazzola and Graziano Girolucci were shot. By September of that year, however, following information provided by an infiltrator, two of the leaders of the BR, Curcio and Franceschini, were arrested during a raid on a flat in Pinerolo. Further arrests followed in October. Roberto Ognibene, another recruit from Reggio Emilia, was captured during a shoot-­out at Robbiano di Mediglia, and later that month Gallinari and Alfredo Bonavita were both detained. With these arrests the first phase of BR activity came to an end. These, then, are the main events of left-­wing terrorism from 1970 to 1974. But how precisely did the Italian context give rise to them? Unsurprisingly, the growth of left-­wing terrorism in this period has been conceptualized and interpreted in a number of ways. A first set of interpretations posits what might be termed a thesis of ‘continuity’, whereby the violence of the 1970s and 1980s is intrinsically linked to that of an earlier period. In one example of this approach it is suggested that throughout the twentieth century, and possibly even since unification, Italy has been through a low-­level, or submerged, civil war, that resurfaces periodically. This is the thesis, for example, of Franco Biscione (2003b), in a book which uses, amongst others, the writings of Aldo Moro to provide evidence for his case. This approach, however, has the disadvantage of seeing violence as a product of a specifically Italian context, with no reference to the wider world. Furthermore, it conflates very different experiences into one continuum of violence. Nevertheless, it is a powerful, if pessimistic, thesis. There are some similarities between Biscione’s approach and the arguments of the dissident Communist Rossana Rossanda. In a famous article published in Il manifesto (1978) she suggested, at the time of the Moro kidnapping, that the BR were part of the ‘family album’ of the Italian orthodox left, specifically the PCI. They were, in her thesis, an organic development of left-­wing culture. Naturally enough, the article provoked a strong response from the PCI, which hotly denied such a link in the party’s cultural journal, Rinascita. The issue of 7 April 1978 was entirely dedicated to this discussion. Of the various contributions, the most interesting is the discussion of Reggio Emilia by Alberto Bernardi (1978).

Introduction   7 In another similar narrative, which has widespread acceptance, the left-­wing terrorism of the 1970s represents a natural consequence of the student movement and labour agitations of the late 1960s. The violence which accompanied some of the student protests, such as the Battle of Valle Giulia in Rome and the agitation in the factories, escalated in the 1970s, leading eventually to kidnappings, knee-­cappings and murder. This narrative, most recently reprised in Clementi’s study of the BR (2007), lays the blame squarely on the climate of the period of ‘contestation’, but fails to explain why the vast majority of the student protestors and the workers did not turn to terrorism. Nor does it account for the fact that many of the more progressive achievements of the 1970s also developed from this context. The idea, then, of a causal link between the student and labour agitation of the late 1960s and the terrorism of the 1970s, needs to be looked at in a more nuanced fashion, as the political scientist Sidney Tarrow argued some years ago (1989). In a more convincing explanation, the left-­wing terrorism of the early 1970s is seen as a reaction to the circumstances at the time. In this model, the terrorists were responding to a situation in which the traditional parties of the left had failed to bring about substantial change in the country, let alone revolution. From the early 1960s the Socialist Party (PSI) had been involved in coalition governments with the DC which had failed to introduce reform. Equally, the Italian Communist Party had, since the Second World War, espoused a democratic strategy under the leadership of Palmiro Togliatti. The PCI had been excluded from government since 1947 but, as the 1970s wore on, there was an ever-­ increasing probability that the Communists would forge an alliance, or ‘historic compromise’, with the DC. The PCI, it was argued, had sold the working class down the river. The same could be said for the trade unions. This model looks, on the face of it, persuasive, especially when it is applied to those members of the BR who originated in Reggio Emilia, a PCI stronghold with an exceptionally enduring ‘resistance tradition’ and where the idea of a failed, or incomplete, revolution, was widespread. It does, however, attribute rather too much blame to the failures of the orthodox left. As Angelo Ventura has pointed out, one of the consequences of the labour agitations of the Hot Autumn was an increase in base salaries of 18.3 per cent in 1970, followed by rises of 9.8 per cent and 9 per cent in the two following years. There were wider changes in industrial relations as well, enshrined in the Statuto dei lavoratori of 1970 (Ventura 2010, pp.  6–7). And, while this is not the place to discuss the history of the PCI, it was not entirely toothless during these years. But this misses the point – whether or not the PCI and the trade unions had failed in their task to support the cause of the working classes was irrelevant. They were perceived to have failed, and this is what really counted. This perception of failure was strongly embedded and fostered in the ideas of the two largest extra-­parliamentary groups of the time, Potere operaio and Lotta Continua, who were largely made up of intellectuals and middle class students (Cazzullo 2006; Grandi 2003, 2005; Voli 2006). It is also present in the writings of Autonomia operaia and other analogous groups. However, the link between these groups and left-­wing terrorism is much

8   Introduction d­ isputed, and indeed exemplified by the case of the Marxist philosopher Toni Negri. An academic at the University of Padua, Negri was one of the founders of Potere operaio. He was arrested in 1979 and accused of being the mastermind behind the BR as well as being involved in a range of terrorist crimes. Although the most serious accusations were eventually dropped, Negri spent many years in exile in France, was able to return to Italy when elected as a member of parliament, but also spent several years in jail following a negotiated reduction to his sentence. The models described above take an essentially historical approach to left-­ wing terrorism. It is, however, important to recognize that a lot of the work that has been carried out on Italian terrorism employs a sociological framework. In the Italian case, such an approach had particular resonances as Curcio and his wife, Mara Cagol, who died in a shoot-­out in June 1975, both studied sociology at Trento University. Despite claims to the contrary made in some quarters, sociology was not, however, to blame for their decision to join the armed struggle. However, the fact that the director of the Trento programmes was moved to point out in 1984 that ‘no more than 11 (0.5 per cent) of the 2,312 people arrested for political violence between 1978 an 1983 had actually studied there’ (Moss 1989, p. 27), suggests that sociologists still feel that their discipline has been impugned. As Moss has argued, a lot of the early sociological work did not appear in academic journals or in the form of academic books. The exception to this was the programme of research carried out by the Cattaneo Institute in Bologna which has led to an impressive list of publications, including much of the work of Donatella della Porta, as well as the work of Moss himself. Adapting the sociological theory of ‘translation’ elaborated by Michel Callon, Moss sought to understand how: social actors persuade others of the existence of a problem, enrol them behind a certain version of its solution, provide them with defined roles and mobilize them to collective action or willed inaction. Distinct elements, practices and persons are thus brought into (temporary) alliances through successful persuasion by candidate spokespersons of their own indispensability to the resolution of the problem. . . . In this view power is the effect of successful translation and is highly context-­specific. (Moss 1989, p. 7, our italics) Della Porta, on the other hand, used a variety of approaches, including statistical analysis, to build an impressive body of work that covers a broad range of ‘terrorisms’ and that has, more recently, turned to the study of the end of terrorism as well (della Porta 1984, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2009; della Porta and Pasquino 1983; della Porta and Tarrow 1986; della Porta and Rossi 1984). The work of Moss and della Porta remained, for a period of 20 years, the most innovative and persuasive sociological accounts available in English and Italian. In 2009, however, the Italian sociologist Alessandro Orsini, based at the LUISS University in Rome, published a lengthy and challenging study which takes a new sociological

Introduction   9 approach to left-­wing terrorism and proved controversial (www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comments.asp?storycode=417069). Orsini’s approach, based on ‘subversive-­revolutionary feedback theory’, is summed up in the acronym DRIA, which stands for ‘disintegration, reconstruction, integration and alienation’. These terms correspond to four phases in the quasi-­religious conversion process of the terrorist subject which enable him/her to be ‘incorporated into the revolutionary sect’ and contemplate violence with equanimity. In order to understand the formation of the terrorist mindset or mental universe, Orsini traces the ‘pedagogy of intolerance’ through a labyrinth of texts written, inter alia, by Cromwell, Rousseau, Marx and Pol Pot. These texts and their readers ‘are all part of a shared history: the history of revolutionary gnosticism and of the pedagogy of intolerance’ (Orsini 2011, p. 2). It is difficult to do justice to, and at times to understand, Orsini’s highly suggestive theories. The main question the work raises, usefully summarized by Spencer Di Scala in the blurb to the English language version, is whether terrorism can be explained without reference to historical specificities: ‘What if the terrorism that shook the Western World from the late 1960s to the mid-­1980s, were unconnected to the economic, political and social conditions?’ This text-­based approach certainly seems to espouse an overly deterministic understanding of the effects of revolutionary writings, but might have some potential were it to be integrated with other, more historically grounded, approaches (a possibility which Orsini seems to exclude given the all-­ encompassing nature of his theory). Furthermore, and of particular relevance to this book, Orsini’s approach does not help to explain how deradicalization occurs.

Left-­wing terrorism – phase 2 Following the arrest of the capi storici of the BR, the one figure who remained at the top was Mario Moretti. Under his leadership BR tactics changed and took on more violent dimensions. On 8 June 1976 the judge, Francesco Coco, was killed in Genoa, together with his bodyguards, by the BR. In November 1977, the BR shot Carlo Casalegno, a journalist who worked for La Stampa. By this stage a variety of other left wing organizations were already involved in escalating the violence. In December 1976, for example, Alfonso Noce, head of anti-­ terrorist units in central Italy, was ambushed by members of the NAP (Armed Proletarian Nuclei). In the shoot-­out the police officer Prisco Palumbo and the nappista Martino Zichitella were killed. The following year (July 1977) the NAP leader, Antonio Lo Muscio, was killed in Rome and two nappiste, Maria Pia Vianale and Franca Salerno, were injured and captured. What led to the escalation of the violence, and the decision by the BR to carry their attack to the ‘heart of the state’? The ‘contextual’ approach argues that the decision was a result of the poor showing of the far left in the general elections of 1976. Conversely, the PCI did very well, winning 34.4 per cent of the vote. Meanwhile the DC gained 38.7 per cent. There was then a move to the left in Italian politics, but it was a move towards the orthodox left of the PCI, whose

10   Introduction leader Enrico Berlinguer was, in the eyes of the extreme left, showing more signs of treachery – such as support for NATO. In order for the extreme left to win more converts, so the argument goes, it needed to take matters a stage further. The situation was compounded by the ever-­increasing possibility of an agreement between the PCI and the DC to collaborate in government. From the DC side, the most important champion of this putative agreement was Aldo Moro – the victim par excellence of BR terrorism. Naturally enough, not everyone interprets the increase in violence, culminating in the kidnap of Aldo Moro, in this way. Adapting the ‘strategy of tension’ model applied to extreme-­right wing terrorism, the argument in respect of left-­wing terrorism is that various forces – the Italian secret services, the CIA, Mossad, the KGB and other Eastern European secret service organizations (such as the Czech StB), manipulated the BR in order to create a situation which would prevent the left from getting into power. By adding to the climate of fear and tension, the PCI would be the real victim, and thus be thwarted in its attempt to cross the threshold into government (Flamigni 2005; De Lutiis 2007, Bartali et al. 2008). Philip Willan, whose book Puppetmasters is the clearest account in English of the conspiracy theories, has most effectively summed up this ‘logic of Yalta’ interpretation, and the differences between its right and left-­wing versions: If many right-­wing terrorists were glove puppets, with their manipulator’s hand inserted up their backs and controlling their every move, left-­wing terrorists were more like marionettes, dancing on the end of invisible strings; their manipulation was an altogether more subtler art. (Willan 2002, p. 179) The Moro kidnapping therefore represents the key scene in this marionette show, and Mario Moretti the individual most strongly suspected of unwilling, or perhaps willing, manipulation (Flamigni 2004). The suspicions around Moretti centre on his earlier adherence to the Superclan organization, and on the issue of the Hyperion language school in Paris, variously interpreted as the BR operational centre for weapons acquisition and trading, or as the hub for CIA operations in Western Europe. It would take some time to go into the many complex arguments which have been advanced, and which have, at times, been robustly criticized (Satta 2002, 2003a, 2003b, 2006). Whatever the truth of the issue, and perhaps we will never know it, there has been one significant consequence of the odour of corruption emanating from Moretti. The second phase of BR operations is seen as not being ‘ideologically pure’. Conversely, the first phase can be interpreted as the real thing. Despite their crimes, the likes of Curcio and Franceschini did not kill anyone, and so emerge from the debate as relatively clean individuals. It is therefore of no little surprise that one of the most avid supporters of the phase two conspiracy theories, and one of Moretti’s fiercest critics, is Franceschini himself, who has, more than any former left-­wing terrorist, benefited from a carefully orchestrated and benevolent publicity campaign involving book interviews and, more recently, the 2010 documentary Il sol dell’avvenir.

Introduction   11 Aldo Moro was kidnapped on 16 March 1978 in Via Fani and on 9 May his body was found in Via Caetani, in central Rome. The bibliography on the Moro affair is extensive (Drake 1995; Biscione 1998; Giovagnoli 2005; Bianconi 2008), with many films and documentaries (analysed by Glynn and Lombardi 2012) adding to the range of interpretations. It is probably fair to say that the number of works which raise questions about what happened far exceed those which answer them. There are doubts as to the identity of the individuals in the squad that ambushed Moro’s car and his bodyguards. The efficiency with which Moro’s men were killed seemed to be beyond the capabilities of the BR, whose training was basic to say the least, and whose weapons frequently jammed. Ballistic examinations subsequently suggested that nearly all the shots had been fired by one weapon, in the possession of one individual, who demonstrated the skills of a seasoned executioner. Could it have been that this expert was a mafia killer, a secret service operative, a hired gun from Eastern Europe, or all three? The question remains open, as does that of where Moro was held captive during the 55 days of his imprisonment and why the police forces failed to discover it. According to the courts, and to the BR terrorists themselves, Moro was only ever held in one location in Rome: Via Montalcini. Other versions suggest more than one flat, as well as a location in the countryside (implied by the presence of earth on Moro’s shoes). Flamigni (2009), for example, describes Via Montalcini as a ‘phantom prison’. Wherever he was kept, he was put on trial by the BR and wrote copious numbers of letters to his family, as well as to politicians. The letters to the politicians were the subject of various extravagant interpretations at the time, including the suggestion that he was suffering from Stockholm syndrome (Clementi 2001; Biscione 2009). He also wrote a kind of memoir, of which a small handwritten extract amounting to eight pages was published during his captivity. A photocopy of a typed version of a longer extract of this memoir, amounting to 49 pages, was discovered in a raid on a flat in Milan in October 1978 which was carried out by carabinieri under the command of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, in charge of anti-­terrorist operations at the time. Twelve years later, in the same flat in Milan, a workman discovered, hidden behind a makeshift panel, the original handwritten version of the memoir ­(Biscione 1993). The story of Moro’s memoir has been reconstructed, with painstaking care, by the historian Miguel Gotor (2011) in a work which also places the complex history of the text and the kidnapping within the framework of the Italian political system. Gotor’s subtitle ‘the prison writings of Aldo Moro and the anatomy of Italian power’ is significant in this respect. Gotor’s scrupulous investigation, backed up by a rigorous methodology, does provide evidence of manipulation and dissimulation, although not to the extent suggested by some interpreters. Some elements of the conspiracy theories are efficiently dispatched by Gotor, but there are still unsolved riddles, particularly surrounding the role of the P2 Masonic lodge and the secret services – a point emphasized by the cover image of Antonello da Messina’s enigmatic and ambiguous Portrait of an unknown man.

12   Introduction

Left wing terrorism – phase 3 The Moro affair has tended to overshadow all other operations carried out by the BR, of which there were many, as well as those of other left-­wing formations, the most important of which was Prima Linea, an organization which emerged in the mid-­1970s and enjoyed its most rapid growth in 1977, a year of almost constant protest. Prima Linea’s leadership included Sergio Segio, Maurice Bignami and Marco Donat Cattin, the son of a leading member of the Christian Democrat Party. The organization’s most notorious action was the assassination in 1979 of Emilio Alessandrini, the Milanese judge who was one of the protagonists of the investigations into the role of the extreme right in the Piazza Fontana massacre. The choice of Alessandrini raises some legitimate issues. Why should the left have wanted to eliminate an individual who was doing so much to prosecute the likes of Freda and Ventura? Again, there is a suspicion (but no real evidence) that Prima Linea had been infiltrated by an agent provocateur. The protagonists of Prima Linea, on the other hand, argue that no such infiltration took place – their actions were a response to the situation, as well as an attempt to offer a different strategy to that of the BR. Prima Linea carried out a number of other killings, concentrating on individuals linked to the judiciary and the prison service. The organization began to disintegrate in 1980. Another organization that emerged in 1977 was the Proletari armati per il comunismo (PAC), formed in Milan. Its leaders included Arrigo Cavallina and Giuseppe Memeo, who was photographed pointing a Beretta revolver at police at a demonstration in Milan. The image would become one of the most infamous of the period. The PAC was responsible for four killings, including the murder of jeweller Pierluigi Torregiani and butcher Lino Sabbadin, who both tried to resist armed robbery. The organization folded in 1979, following a series of arrests, and surviving members joined Prima Linea. Probably the most notorious member of the association is Cesare Battisti, who escaped to France and later to Brazil where he has, so far, avoided extradition. His case has resurfaced periodically, as Napolitano’s 2009 speech at the Day of Memory demonstrated, but has above all been a focus of attention and media discussion in recent years. The BR themselves entered a new phase after the Moro killing, characterized by disagreements over future strategy which would lead to the creation of different ‘wings’ within the organization, as well as to the splinter formations, such as the Walter Alasia column and the BR-­PCC (Partito comunista combattente). In a clear change of strategy, in December 1981, the BR kidnapped an American general, James Dozier, a senior NATO representative. Dozier would be freed by carabinieri in late January, acting on information they had apparently extracted by using torture. Following the arrests of many leading BR figures in the early 1980s, the BR-­PCC formation would carry out a number of actions in the mid-­ 1980s, such as the assassination of American diplomat Leamon Hunt in 1984 and of economist Ezio Tarantelli in 1985. The last action of the 1980s was the killing of the DC senator, Roberto Ruffilli, in April 1988.

Introduction   13 The Ruffilli killing appeared to mark the end of terrorism in Italy. According to figures provided by the Ministry of the Interior, between 1969 and 1987 there were 491 terrorism-­related deaths in Italy, 1,181 individuals were wounded and there were 14,591 ‘politically motivated’ acts of violence on people or property (Fumian 2010, XV; della Porta and Rossi 1984; Galleni 1981; Moss 1989, pp. 33–80). However, the BR, or an organization claiming to be the BR, resurfaced in 1999 and assassinated Massimo d’Antona, an economics professor working for the centre-­left government on a reform of Italy’s labour market. In March 2002 another academic, Marco Biagi, who was also working on labour reform for the centre-­left government, was killed in Bologna (Cipriani 2004). There have been sporadic incidents over the last decade involving a variety of formations of diverse political beliefs. At the time of writing the most recent of these incidents was in early June 2012 when carabinieri arrested ten members of the Federazione Anarchica Informale (FAI) who, it was claimed, carried out an attack on Bocconi University in 2009 and whose most recent target was Roberto Adinolfi, a manager involved in nuclear energy. There are, then, still occasional episodes of political violence in Italy, although the extent to which there is a link between these incidents and the events of the 1970s and 1980s is debated. Former members of the BR, and other organizations, have openly condemned these actions, reiterating their position that the historical period which fostered the birth, growth and maturity of Italian terrorism, has come to an end. This does, however, not entirely preclude the possibility that later generations will emerge and take on the ‘chosen traumas’ (see Chapter 6) of their terrorist ancestors in order to attempt to stage a revival of revolutionary action and insurrectionism.

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Part I

Ending the violence

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1 Studying how terrorism ends The Italian case

Introduction Disengagement from terrorism has, until recently, been relatively under-­ researched, at least when compared to the vast literature on the origins and causes of political violence (Bjørgo and Horgan 2009a, p.  2; Horgan 2009a, p.  20). As Bjørgo and Horgan (2009a, p.  5) noted, ‘the analytical interest has tended to focus on the processes of recruitment and radicalization rather than on disengagement or deradicalization’. In particular, the authors distinguish between ‘individual and collective disengagement from terrorism’ (p. 4), pointing out that studies on disengagement that focus on the individual level, as opposed to the level of the group, are especially scarce: ‘the literature on individual disengagement remains highly underdeveloped’ (p. 6). Similarly, Horgan (2009a) claimed that the literature on ending terrorism ‘is focused at the level of organizations and networks. There is little within that research about how and why individual terrorists disengage and to what extent, if any, this can be considered a truly individual process’ (p.  27). According to Horgan, the dearth of studies on the individual level is puzzling, in view of ‘the obvious availability of, and accessibility to, disengaged individuals’ (p. 28). In addition, he cited the availability of ‘weblogs and other Internet sites’ by former terrorists who in many cases seemed ‘determined to speak out against their former comrades and leaders and, in some cases, to share their own opinions about what should be done to prevent future involvement by others’ (p. 28). This is not to say, however, that specific case studies on both individual and collective instances of disengagement have been lacking. Indeed, the Italian case has been perhaps one of the most studied cases in the scholarly literature thanks both to the novelty of the Italian state’s legislative and penal response to the terrorist threat in the early 1980s and to the availability of individual testimonies by former terrorists. Many of the latter, in fact, became ‘dissociated’ from terrorism and started to grant interviews to scholars. Between 1981 and 1988, a pioneering programme of study on terrorism was carried out by the Bologna-­based Istituto Cattaneo, involving the systematic gathering of primary documentation and roughly 60 interviews with former terrorists, whose transcripts are accessible in the Dote archive of the Institute and have partly been reproduced in a volume edited by Catanzaro and

18   Ending the violence Manconi and published by il Mulino in 1995, entitled Storie di lotta armata (‘Stories of the armed struggle’). Most of these interviews were carried out in prison and are extremely valuable for understanding individualized processes of both engagement and disengagement. The Cattaneo research programme led to numerous publications by prominent Italian scholars (Catanzaro 1985, 1990a, 1990b, 1991; della Porta 1984, 1990; della Porta and Pasquino 1983; della Porta and Rossi 1984; Pasquino 1982, 1984), which addressed issues concerning the origins, development and decline of Italian (mainly left-­wing) terrorism, often drawing on the above-­mentioned interviews with former terrorists collected by the Institute. Other scholars researching terrorism also secured testimonies by some of the protagonists. Thus, a pioneering book by Alison Jamieson (1989), was based in part on a series of interviews by the author with former Red Brigades leader Adriana Faranda. In the 1990s and 2000s many Italian former terrorists published their own memoirs, in which they offer their own reflections on both collective and individual engagement with terrorism and their subsequent disengagement from it. Apart from their intrinsic value, these memoirs also allow for an interesting comparison with the early interviews carried out under the aegis of the Cattaneo Institute in the 1980s or by scholars like Alison Jamieson. In the case of Adriana Faranda, for instance, there are transcripts of interviews she granted in 1987 and 2001, as well as in a book she published with Silvana Mazzocchi (Mazzocchi and Faranda 1994). This gives invaluable insight into processes of disengagement over the longer period and help us understand whether the former terrorists’ stories have evolved and changed over the years or indeed have remained substantially constant. Since disengagement often takes place in parallel with the search for a new identity to replace that of ‘terrorist’ or ‘ex-­terrorist’, it is possible that the former terrorists’ own memoirs, written when they had completed their prison sentences and started a new existence, reconstruct their individual path to disengagement in ways that differ from the stories they told while in prison. Thus far, these recent memoirs have been incorporated in part into della Porta’s (2009) contribution to Bjørgo and Horgan’s book (2009b), in which she revisited the issue of disengagement in the Italian case, but have not been the object of systematic analysis. Despite the relative scarcity of studies on disengagement, the scholarly literature has been able to identify the most important factors accounting for both collective and individual disengagement from terrorism. With particular reference to the Italian case there also exist some reasonably well developed interpretations of the end of the terrorist phenomenon, especially in relation to the behaviour of the state and the ‘dissociation’ of hundreds of former terrorists following their imprisonment. In the next sections we will first consider the more general theoretical and interpretative framework in relation to disengagement, and will then analyse the more specific interpretations of the Italian case.

Collective and individual disengagement from terrorism According to Horgan, the most effective model for analysing processes of disengagement is a multi-­level one; that is to say, one that ‘would integrate individual,

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   19 group, network, organizational, social movement and cultural levels of analysis’ (2009a, p.  18). The group and individual levels, therefore, constitute two of the building blocks of a multi-­layered model, where the analysis has the advantage of combining psychological insights with a sociological and contextual approach. In terms of group behaviour, Cronin (2009, p. 8) identified six patterns in the decline of terrorist campaigns, each of which also takes into account contextual and external factors as well as internal group dynamics. The six patterns are: (1) the capture or killing of a group’s leader, or ‘decapitation’; (2) negotiations leading to a legitimate political process; (3) achieving the aims of the group; (4) failure, especially through the implosion or marginalization of the group; (5) successful repression of the group; (6) transition to other forms of violence. Of all these patterns, the one that depends primarily on an internal group dynamic is the fourth. As Cronin specifies, there are numerous ways in which terrorism defeats itself, ranging from the inability to attract a new generation of activists to loss of operational control, in-­fighting, and finally, exit. Conversely, a terrorist group may simply become increasingly marginal and isolated from its sympathizers as well as unable to communicate with the wider public, which makes it even more prone to mistakes. Cronin makes it clear that all the factors leading to implosion or marginalization lie at the intersection between collective and individual behaviour. In-­fighting, for instance, or indeed disagreements over strategic and tactical goals, can lead to disaffection on the part of individual members which in turn accelerates the process of implosion or disintegration. Focusing on processes of individual disengagement, which he acknowledges can be as complex and prolonged as those leading to participation, Horgan argues that the main factors are either ‘psychological’ or ‘physical’ and that they often impact on each other. Among the former, he prioritizes feelings of personal disillusionment, due to unfulfilled expectations, or to disagreement over tactical or strategic issues, as well as feelings of being ‘burnt-­out’. It is also important to consider the ‘changing personal priorities’ of individual terrorists, such as wanting to lead a different kind of life (2009a, p. 22). Among the latter he cites voluntary and involuntary exit from the movement or voluntary/involuntary movement into another role (e.g. a supporting role or a political role). As he argues, ‘arrest, imprisonment, and obviously death, represent the most dramatic kinds of physical disengagement’ (p.  25). Physical disengagement can lead to psychological disengagement and vice versa, thus imprisonment can foster disillusionment and a critical rethinking of one’s own violent past. However, Horgan warns against viewing imprisonment as a pathway towards disengagement. He cites the example of the IRA, for which ‘imprisonment carried with it opportunities for continued involvement and engagement,’ not least through ‘ongoing political radicalization and training within the prison system’ (p. 26). In another study, Horgan also emphasizes the important role played by narratives in both engagement and disengagement processes. On the one hand, both active and former terrrorists rely on self-­narratives in order to sustain their convictions, but their self-­narratives will differ substantially (2009b, p.  158). According to Horgan, ‘if we are to effectively explore the feasibility of terrorist

20   Ending the violence de-­radicalization, we would do well to explore how explanatory styles develop and change’. One possible way of doing this would be to compare explanatory styles in members of the same movement who are at different phases of their involvement (becoming radicalized, disengaged, etc.), as well as to correlate specific ideological narratives associated with terrorist groups with the explanatory styles of its members. (2009b, p. 158) In this book, as will be seen in Chapters 4 and 6, the self-­narratives of former terrorists are paid particular attention and a systematic comparison is carried out between the explanatory styles of those who have fully dissociated from terrorism, and those who have not. Horgan concludes by stressing that the individual level of analysis is relevant in terms of policy-­making, since ‘identifying the reasons individuals come to disengage from terrorism, as well as how they do this, may have significant potential in the development of strategies aimed at identifying vulnerabilities in terrorist networks’ (2009a, p.  29). Specifically, such strategies could ‘promote and facilitate disengagement at particular junctures (both role-­specific and phase­specific) at all levels of the terrorist movement’ (2009a, p. 29). A policy report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, published in 2010 (ICSR 2010), also argues that government programmes and policies aimed at facilitating collective and/or individual disengagement can have a wider impact upon terrorist campaigns, helping to bring them to an end, but only ‘as long as the political momentum is no longer with the insurgents and other external conditions are conducive’ (p.  60). In short, ‘individual disengagement and deradicalization programmes . . . complement, rather than substitute other instruments in the fight against terrorism’ (p.  60). As far as the nature of these programmes is concerned, the report specifically identifies prisons as crucial sites for both radicalization and deradicalization. In terms of the latter, it argues that prisons have on many occasions been incubators for peaceful change and transformation . . . [and] have made significant contributions towards reversing the process of radicalization and undermining terrorist campaigns on the outside. Prisons, in other words, have served as engines for positive change whose impact has been felt far beyond the prison walls. (ICSR 2010, p. 8) Due to prisons’ crucial role, the report emphasizes that the most effective state programmes are those that target the prison system. It is worth analysing in more detail the pivotal role played by both imprisonment and prison systems and practices in fostering processes of radicalization and deradicalization, not least because, as will be seen in the course of this book, these are crucial factors in understanding how Italian terrorism ended. The ICSR policy report stresses that

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   21 prisons have played an enormous role in the narratives of every radical and militant movement in the modern period. [They] have all regarded their comrades’ imprisonment as traumatic turning points in the histories of their movements. The prisoners and the way they were treated came to be focal points for their groups’ campaigns, and they significantly influenced their supporters’ attitudes towards violence, and the state. (ICSR 2010, p. 7) In addition, prisons are sites in which it can be relatively easy for imprisoned terrorists to recruit new members and to continue to engage in the struggle. Indeed, it is often the case that terrorist groups treat their imprisoned comrades as an integral part of their operational structures and expect them to behave accordingly. As the ICSR report (p. 15) highlights, forms of behaviour involving imprisoned terrorists typically range from refusing to cooperate with the prison authorities to contributing to the development of their group’s ideology and strategy; from engaging in protests and media campaigns against real or presumed maltreatment or torture to participating in violent campaigns, notably to try and escape from prison. This type of behaviour tends to go hand-­in-hand with a prison system which emphasizes security at the expense of rehabilitation programmes, relies on poorly trained or inadequate staff and operates in overcrowded and badly organized jails. In extreme cases, this can lead to a situation in which the imprisoned terrorists in effect achieve control of a particular prison, as happened in the notorious Maze prison in Northern Ireland. Conversely, prisons can facilitate both collective and individual disengagement. The former takes place when imprisoned terrorists realize that their group is losing support, or the state is achieving military success in combating terrorism, so that they activate to bring all violent activities to an end, favouring negotiated settlements. Such instances tend to happen when ‘most of the group – including its leadership – is incarcerated and their command and control structures have remained largely intact’ (ICSR 2010, p.  41). However, another requisite is a government approach sensitive to changing attitudes among terrorists, ready to open channels of communication with their leaders, and capable of providing ‘the right mix of sanctions and inducements’ to bring the process to successful completion (p. 41). Individual disengagement also requires a mixture of ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors; that is to say, there has to be both an initial change of attitudes on the part of a terrorist and a government-­supported programme aimed at encouraging individuals to sever their links to a terrorist group and renounce violence. The ICSR report stresses that there is no single programme that can be applied to all situations; rather each programme has to fit the specific context to which it is applied. Having said this, important inducements include the possibility for prisoners to re-­establish close relations with their families and to engage in a dialogue with civil society, for instance by opening up the prisons to outside interlocutors and organizations. The aim is both to expose the terrorists to social networks capable of counteracting the influence of their previous comrades and

22   Ending the violence to facilitate their re-­integration into society. ‘Material’ inducements, such as more lenient sentences, are also important but ‘do not seem to be decisive on their own’ (p. 57).

Ending terrorism in Italy: contextual factors As mentioned above, the Italian case has been studied by a variety of scholars over the years and has given rise to a number of interpretations regarding the causes and modalities of the origins, development and decline of (mainly left-­ wing) terrorism. In this section the main accounts of why and how terrorism ended in Italy will be reviewed with reference to both collective and individual processes of disengagement. As concerns contextual factors, in line with the previously examined literature, specific studies on Italy highlight the way in which successful state repression and the imprisonment of growing numbers of terrorists triggered a sense of disillusionment among many of them. In short, what Horgan defines as both ‘physical’ and ‘psychological’ disengagement came forcefully into play. Yet the latter might have remained latent or indeed led to despair and despondency, with high suicide/homicide rates in the prisons and desperate guerrilla actions by those still at large, rather than to the abandonment of violence. Both types of violent reactions were in fact witnessed in Italy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Much attention has therefore been paid to the response of the Italian state in the early 1980s, when it laid the ground for imprisoned terrorists to openly and officially renounce violence and declare an end to the ‘armed struggle’, in so doing taking advantage of an innovative programme for early release, and social re-­integration. There is a general consensus, therefore, that terrorism declined in the first half of the 1980s when the state managed to respond to it with both decisive surveillance and military actions and legislation offering material inducements in the form of early release from prison in exchange for collaboration on the part of individual terrorists. Two successive laws, passed in 1980 and 1982 (the latter known as ‘repentance law’), established that those terrorists who collaborated with the magistrates in their investigations and identified one or more accomplices would have their sentences substantially reduced. The 1982 law also envisaged reductions in sentences for those terrorists who confessed their own crimes but did not collaborate with investigations. In 1987 a new law (known as ‘dissociation law’) established that more lenient sentences would also be applied to those former terrorists who genuinely dissociated from political violence, even though they did not reveal anything about their own or their accomplices’ deeds. The Italian legislation of the 1980s, which will be discussed in depth in the next chapter, is generally hailed as an example of good practice that other countries ought to take into account in their own anti-­terrorist strategies (Crenshaw 1991; della Porta 1992, 2009; Jamieson 1989; Stortoni-­Wortmann 2000; Weinberg and Eubank 1987). As Weinberg and Eubank (1987, p. 131) put it, ‘[The

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   23 Italian] strategy is one that policy-­makers in other nations confronted by terrorist threats might well study with benefit’. It is deemed to have been more effective than early 1970s legislation aimed at increasing security and introducing repressive measures, such as the widespread use of preventive arrest and detention or increased sentences to be spent in special prisons under harsh regimes. Hence the combined success, in the 1980s, of counter-­intelligence and incentive-­led legislation is at times contrasted with the relative failure of an earlier counter-­ terrorist approach. However, such a comparison is complicated by the fact that various scholars lend credence to the hypothesis that state actions against terrorism in Italy in the 1970s tended to be inconsistent and ambiguous, possibly because it suited some political groups and sections of the state to let political violence develop (della Porta 1992; De Lutiis 1991, Galli 2007a; Pasquino 1990). In terms of right-­wing terrorism, as we saw in the Introduction, there are numerous elements, including judicial findings and sentences, which indicate that parts of the state connived in protecting and shielding suspected perpetrators and indeed even in abetting a so-­called strategy of tension which relied upon bombing massacres. As regards left-­wing terrorism, there are persisting doubts concerning the state’s presumed weakness in allowing the Red Brigades to re-­ form following the capture of the historic leaders Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini in 1974, and above all in relation to the state’s handling of the Moro kidnapping in 1978. For these reasons it seems more appropriate to limit the analysis to the post-­Moro period, when the actions of the state appear to have been genuinely informed by a desire to curtail all terrorist activities and put an end to a widespread culture of political violence. It is also important to note that the Italian anti-­terrorist legislation of the 1980s is generally deemed to have been a success in accelerating the end of terrorism but it was, and continues to be, criticized from a moral standpoint, not least because it put political considerations before justice. As Jamieson stated: ‘the legal code no longer represents a moral concept of justice but . . . a flexible instrument to be bartered over’ (1989, p. 198). She added that as a consequence of this legislation the judges had become to a large extent ‘distributors of premiums’ (p.  199) and that the law favoured the terrorist leaders, often guilty of serious crimes, considerably more than their followers, due to the fact that the former knew a lot more and had more to barter over in court than the latter. It is also the case that the law (especially the 1987 dissociation law) was opposed by the associations of the relatives of the victims of bombing massacres whose members expressed the fear that, by reducing the length of sentences also to those terrorists who dissociated without contributing to clarify past terrorist events, it would hinder the search for the truth (De Lutiis 1990, pp. 178–9). As will be discussed in Part II, many of the relatives of the victims continue to hold fast to their conviction that the state facilitated an early release of ‘dissociated’ terrorists in the knowledge that it would also prevent its own ambiguous behaviour towards – even connivance with – terrorism from being exposed and revealed. The enduring legacy political terrorism has left in Italy can therefore be traced back at least in part to the incentive-­led legislation of the 1980s.

24   Ending the violence Going back to the contextual factors accounting for disengagement, a few scholars argue that a reform of the Italian prison system and innovative ways of handling the terrorists in prison, implemented in the 1980s in parallel with the anti-­terrorist legislation, also greatly facilitated a process of disengagement. Thus della Porta stresses that the introduction of ‘homogeneous areas’ in Italian prisons, where all ‘repented’ or ‘dissociated’ terrorists were transferred upon request and were held together at a safe distance from their previous hard-­line comrades, contributed to extending the phenomenon of dissociation (2009, p. 71). Before these areas were introduced, individual terrorists who were undergoing a process of ‘psychological’ disengagement were physically at risk of being killed by their comrades. Indeed, the Italian prisons witnessed a number of killings by fellow comrades of imprisoned terrorists who were rightly or wrongly suspected of defecting. According to della Porta, who cites a testimony by a former terrorist, the initial request for the creation of aree omogenee (‘homo­ genous areas’) came from some of the terrorists themselves (2009, p. 71). A recent study on the history of the Italian prison system by De Vito (2009) also stresses the key role played by the introduction of aree omogenee in 1983, but further argues that it went hand-­in-hand with a deliberate policy of facilitating contacts and exchanges between the imprisoned terrorists detained in these areas and the outside world (p.  110). Thus, politicians, university professors, representatives of voluntary associations, both Catholic and lay, were allowed into the prisons to take part in meetings and workshops as well as engage in political debates with the terrorists (p.  110). This novel approach to the prison system was made possible by a newly appointed general director, Nicolò Amato, who was personally convinced that there was a need in the country for a new phase of ‘social pacification’ (p. 109). Amato’s approach was later vindicated by the introduction of new legislation which aimed at reforming the prison system. Known as the Gozzini law, from the name of its proponent, it was approved by parliament in 1986. Thanks to this law, prisoners, including dissociated terrorists, were able to enjoy work and holiday permits as well as a regime of semi-­ freedom after a certain number of years in full detention (pp.  11–14). Indeed, according to De Vito, the prison regime applied to the dissociated detained in the aree omogenee had a direct influence in convincing Gozzini of the need for a comprehensive revision of the prison system (p. 111). Finally, until very recently few studies referred to the important part played by the Catholic Church and by some of its representatives in promoting disengagement from terrorism and influencing public policy in this area. Indeed, David Nelken (2005, p. 234) has highlighted the importance of the Catholic Church in conditioning penal policy and rightly indicated that this was an area which needed ‘much more extensive analysis’. This scholarly gap has since been partly filled by two books written by Anna Chiara Valle (2006, 2008), who has been able to retrace the role of chaplains and nuns in lending a sympathetic ear to the terrorists in the prisons. They often constituted the only contacts imprisoned terrorists had with other human beings apart from their inmates or the guards, and were particularly well placed both to detect any personal changes of sentiments on the part of the

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   25 terrorists and promote possible ‘conversions’ among them. In addition, when they detected widespread feelings of disillusionment among imprisoned terrorists, they were able to report them to their superiors, thereby contributing towards sensitizing the Church and, through it, the political and governing class, to what was going on inside the prisons. Valle also reconstructs the role played by prominent Church personalities, such as Milan-­based Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who chose to spend a few days in the city’s San Vittore prison talking to the imprisoned terrorists, listening to what they had to say and signalling his commitment to a dialogue. It is not a coincidence that, in a famous episode marking a significant case of collective disengagement, in June 1984, the terrorist group Prima Linea had most of its weapons delivered to the residence of the Cardinal, as opposed to handing them over to the police or the magistrates.

Ending terrorism in Italy: individual and group-­level factors Moving from general explanations at the ‘contextual’ level to specific analyses of the group and individual levels, a number of studies have highlighted the crucial role played by in-­fighting between groups. Thus Jamieson (1990a, p. 516) wrote that ‘even before the state’s counter attack became properly effective, infighting and competition set the decline in motion’. In-­fighting was closely linked, in her view, to strategic mistakes made by the main terrorist organizations. In the case of the Red Brigades, the main mistake consisted in the assassination of Aldo Moro on 9 May 1978. As she stated (1990b, p. 12), ‘the Moro kidnap set in motion the fragmentation of the whole revolutionary left, essentially divided over the level at which the state should be attacked’. Moro’s killing was compounded the following year by the assassination of Guido Rossa, a Communist Party factory worker who had denounced a fellow worker for distributing BR propaganda material. In the same year, the main rival of the Red Brigades, Prima Linea, killed judge Emilio Alessandrini. Both actions, according to Jamieson, contributed to a loss of popular support for these two organizations and to individual disengagement on the part of disaffected members. Furthermore, splinter groups started to be set up and disagreements also emerged between imprisoned terrorists on the one hand and the terrorists operating in society on the other (Jamieson 1990a, p. 518). Similarly, della Porta (2009, pp.  77–8) refers to a process of ‘internal fractionalization’ due to conflicts over ideological or strategic issues which extended to imprisoned terrorists. In turn, this process led to the increasing recourse to violent and brutal actions, which started to target group members themselves and alienated both supporters and activists (pp. 76–7). As Catanzaro (1990b, p. 243) remarked such actions led to ‘a contradiction between the “ideals” which had motivated the armed struggle at individual level, and the practice of many groups’. Another important factor, linked to state repression, consisted in growing feelings among activists and sympathizers of the ‘inefficiency of the armed struggle’ (della Porta 2009, p. 73). In the short run, such feelings led to defections, while in the longer run they also impacted on the ability of terrorist

26   Ending the violence groups to recruit new members. Group in-­fighting and personal disillusionment, therefore, are deemed to have played an important role in the Italian case. At the individual level there were also feelings of being ‘burnt out’, in line with Horgan’s interpretation. Della Porta (2009, p. 80), for instance, recalls how the testimonies of former terrorists revealed that they felt ‘a sense of relief over the arrest that interrupted an activity which had been too intense’. Similarly, Catanzaro (1990b, pp. 232–3) refers to the difficult existence of terrorists operating in clandestine conditions, which generated doubts among many of them regarding the personal price to pay for taking part in the armed struggle. In addition, he points out that the growing need to generate money in order to self-­ finance resulted in more and more armed robberies being carried out, which in turn resulted in feelings of disillusionment and loss of identity (1990b, p. 234). Paradoxically, however, Catanzaro links these factors to a process of successful recruitment of activists into clandestine groups once state repression in Italy became more effective. That is to say, it was an ‘excess of clandestinity’, rather than a shortage of new recruits, that led to organizational problems and a need to resort to robberies (p.  230). Weinberg and Eubank (1987) argue instead that a clandestine existence failed to live up to the expectations of many young terrorists, turning out to be boring rather than exciting (p. 129). The crucial role played by imprisonment in accounting for individual processes of disengagement in Italy is emphasized by most scholars, even though, in contrast to state repressive and legislative measures, it is not analysed in any great detail. According to Jamieson (1990a, 1990b), imprisonment, especially for Red Brigades’ members, at first marked a strengthening of group identity and a determination to continue the struggle behind bars. The latter ‘consisted of thinking up escape plans, discussing and analysing strategy and making tactical proposals for submission to the external group to which they felt inextricably bound’ (1990b, p. 17). Later, successful state actions against terrorism and prison conditions combined to instil a sense of disillusionment and defeatism among imprisoned terrorists: In the early 1980s, as revolutionary spirit gradually dimmed into hopeless defeat, hatred and distrust flourished in the prison community. Twenty-­yearolds locked in dark cells in total isolation for weeks on end and facing the prospect of a lifetime in prison began to pour out all they knew. (1990b, p. 17) This process, according to Jamieson, went hand-­in-hand with a loss of group identity: As long as a terrorist remains within the protective identity of the group to which he belongs and has faith, he has the moral courage to withstand the hardships of clandestinity or prison. [. . .]

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   27 But if the group identity falls away he is forced to assume his individuality, see himself as a murderer, and is left alone with his guilt. (1990b, pp. 18–19) Similarly, della Porta (2009, p. 76) points to the prospect of long prison sentences, accompanied by the realization of political defeat, as a psychological factor accounting for disengagement. De Lutiis (1990, p.  180) also argues that the prospect of a long prison detention, coupled with a perception of irreversible crisis and defeat, led many imprisoned terrorists towards disengagement and dissociation. In addition, in his view, changing personal priorities, such as the desire to start a new life and to establish new affective relationships, also played a part, together with a process of inner reflection leading to a reassertion of individual subjectivity (pp. 181–7). The importance of treating the terrorists as individuals is also stressed by Weinberg and Eubank (1987, p. 131), who argue that ‘when treated as individuals, when the terrorists were offered the opportunity to repent or disassociate, they were prepared to betray their comrades in exchange for a return to a normal life’. De Lutiis distinguishes between extreme-­right and extreme-­left terrorists, arguing that many of the former underwent a growing realization, when imprisoned, that in many cases neo-­fascist activists had been responsible for bombing attacks and/or had been manipulated by external actors, such as the secret services (1990, pp. 189–99). The refusal of this type of terrorism among imprisoned right-­wing activists contributed to their disengagement. De Lutiis also points out that imprisonment brought together members of left- and right-­wing terrorist groups, who in many cases started to revisit and discard those ideological and stereotypical representations of the ‘other’, which had played an important part in promoting political violence in Italy (p. 193). A similar argument is put forward by Weinberg and Eubank (1987) in relation to prison officers. As they state, with reference to the experience of repented terrorist Patrizio Peci: After his arrest, Peci, at least, reports being surprised by his feelings towards his captors [. . .] [T]his revolutionary enemy of the Italian state reported developing a sense of identification with the officers who held him in custody. As he perceived them, they turned out to be young and thoughtful men, such as he saw himself, not the sadists he had expected or imagined them to be. (p. 129) Interestingly, De Lutiis (1990, p.  187) refers to specific ‘variables linked to arrest – tortures, privations and blackmail’, which in his view, together with a perception of defeat, played an important role in accounting for psychological

28   Ending the violence disengagement. This is a somewhat contentious issue, since other scholars regard harsh repression in prison as counter-­productive and likely to cement the terrorists’ collective identity. Thus della Porta and De Vito, as we saw, linked dissociation in Italy to the more lenient legislation and innovative prison system of the early 1980s, as opposed to any harsh treatment meted out to imprisoned terrorists. Finally, according to De Vito (2009, p. 111), the imprisoned terrorists who dis­ sociated from their past actions had a significant role in bringing about prison reform. However, it is unclear whether De Vito refers simply to the legislators being influenced by the presence of these terrorists in the prisons, or whether the latter actively exchanged views and engaged in a dialogue, or even in negotiations, with the legislators. This is clearly an important issue that needs further examination.

Conclusion Scholars have taken into consideration a wide variety of factors when accounting for the end of terrorism in Italy, often basing their interpretations on first-­ hand testimonies by former terrorists themselves. At the contextual level, the main factors that explain the decline of terrorism are deemed to be effective anti­terrorist units, an enlightened incentive-­led legislation and an equally innovative treatment of terrorists in the prisons. At the group and individual levels, the three factors that stand out as the most important are in-­fighting, disillusionment due to increasingly brutal terrorist actions or perceived defeat, and personal reflection accompanied by a reassertion of subjectivity following imprisonment. While in no way disagreeing with the analyses put forward by authoritative scholars of terrorism, we believe that there is scope for revisiting the factors accounting for the end of political violence in Italy, with a view to integrating existing interpretations with new perspectives and insights. With specific reference to contextual factors, namely the introduction of new legislation and a new approach to the prison system, it seems to us important to bring to light the political and institutional process that led to these decisions, as well as the tensions and challenges underpinning such a process. In addition, the role of individual policy-­makers and civil servants in determining a change of direction in the dominant anti-­terrorist strategy needs to be taken into account, thus reasserting the importance of agency in the state’s own response. As concerns group and individual level analysis, we believe there is a need to explore further the process of disengagement, with particular reference to imprisoned terrorists. It seems important to understand better the mental, psychological and relational changes that many of them undertook once in prison, which gradually led them from an uncompromising position of open confrontation and determination to continue the struggle behind bars (and here we agree fully with Jamieson’s interpretation) to a position of openly pressing (even negotiating) for prison reform and lenient legislation. In our own analysis, we also intend to pay particular attention to the role of the Church as concerns both the process leading to the ‘repentance’ and ‘dissociation’

Studying how terrorism ends: Italy   29 laws and the process of disengagement following imprisonment. As mentioned above, the role of the Church has until recently been neglected in the literature concerning the end of terrorism in Italy, even though recent studies by Valle (2006, 2008) have partially filled this gap. We also intend to pay attention to the role played by the imprisoned terrorists themselves in contributing to, and indeed negotiating for, prison reforms and new legislation. This is another aspect that has been neglected in the literature yet which, as argued above, needs further examination. In the light of these considerations, the following two chapters examine in detail the political and legislative process leading to the ‘repentance’ and ‘dis­ sociation’ laws (Chapter 2), as well as to the reform of the prison system (Chapter 3). This is followed by a chapter in which, thanks to new original interviews with former left- and right-­wing terrorists, we re-­examine the process of disengagement at both group and individual levels, with an explicit focus on the period of imprisonment.

2 Ending terrorism through the law The evolution of Italian terrorist legislation from the Moro affair to the end of the first Republic

Introduction Boaz Ganor, one of Israel’s leading experts on counter-­terrorism, has argued that: ‘one of the most problematic issues in the war on terrorism, inextricably linked to the democratic dilemma, is the question of legislation – that is, passing special laws in order to promote counter-­terrorism and aid in its effectiveness’ (2005, p. 183). The ‘democratic dilemma’ to which Ganor refers is the issue of whether, and when, a state should bring in special measures which might run counter to the spirit of those democratic values enshrined in, for example, the constitution of a country under threat from terrorism. In the case of Italy, the Republican Constitution, introduced after the Second World War, contained a number of clauses which appeared to preclude the creation of special legislation. This was particularly the case with Article 3, which declared: ‘All citizens are equal before the law, regardless of gender, race, language, religion, political views, and personal and social conditions’ (my italics.) Other clauses in the Constitution, which were formulated as a response to the multiple infringements on individual liberties characteristic of the fascist regime, proscribed phone-­ tapping and other methods of state control. For these reasons, any attempt to bring in anti-­terrorist laws in Italy during the 1970s were bound to meet with hostility, and at the very least provoke searching debates in the press and parliament. The Italian legislators were, therefore, already facing an uphill task due to the (laudably democratic) nature of the nation’s Constitution. Added to this, Italian legislators, as with their counterparts in other countries, were operating in a policy vacuum. There was no real history of counter-­terrorism legislation on which to base decisions, no knowledge base, and no informed experts to assist in the process of elaborating laws. Furthermore, the academic, and highly technical legal discussions, such as the specialized commentaries published by Giuffré (see below), or the pioneering work of the Spanish academic Maria Cuerda Arnau (1991), which form the basis of this chapter, did not exist at the time. The situation is very different now and a great deal of accumulated experience has gone into the formulation of the anti-­terrorist measures formulated post-­9/11 and post-­7/7 – but this has not meant that recent legislation has been any less controversial. In many ways some of the recent debates have been

Ending terrorism through the law   31 remarkably similar to those in Italy (and elsewhere) in the 1970s: what should be the extent of police powers? How long should a suspected terrorist be held without charge? How long should a suspect be held before having access to a lawyer? Can special methods (i.e. torture) ever be justified? Should incentives, such as reduced sentences, be offered to terrorists who turn state’s evidence? In one of the first attempts to look at the many legal and moral questions raised by anti-­terrorist legislation, Ganor, whose book carries the subtitle ‘A guide for decision-­makers’, identified five legislation sub-­groups which, in summary, are as follows: (1) legislation defining terrorism and prohibiting terrorist organizations, as well as prohibiting membership and support of such organizations and the incitement to commit terrorist acts; (2) legislation describing special arrangements for prosecuting terrorists; (3) legislation defining types of punishment, and minimum sentences; (4) legislation requiring the public to contribute to the war on terrorism (financially or otherwise); (5) legislation allowing special investigative measures (such as phone-­tapping). Ganor’s typologies do not, however, encompass those laws introduced in Italy which addressed the issue of what to do with imprisoned terrorists who were willing to dissociate themselves from their past and re-­enter civil society. In this chapter, therefore, we will explore in some detail the Italian legislation, placing particular emphasis on the ‘dissociation’ laws which represent the most novel feature of the Italian approach (Grevi 1984). When the terrorist phenomenon began in Italy in 1969, the penal code, which had been drawn up during the fascist period by Alfredo Rocco, contained no clauses in which the word ‘terrorism’ appeared. Nevertheless, there were a number of articles to which terrorist-­related crimes were apparently relevant. Article 270, for example, referred to the crime of ‘subversive association’, which carried a sentence of between five and ten years. The article in question declared that whoever in the territory of the state promotes, constitutes, organizes or directs associations aimed at violently subverting the economic or social orders constituted by the state, or who attempts to violently suppress the political and juridical order of the state, is punished with between 5 to 10 years in prison. This article was, it needs to be emphasized, introduced by the fascist state in order to confront the conspiracy and subversion which was organized by advo­ cates of democracy – such as anti-­fascist members of the outlawed Socialist and Communist Parties, and the Justice and Liberty Movement. The use, therefore, of this article as a means of controlling terrorism carried with it some very uncomfortable historical resonances. In addition to Article 270, there also existed Article 306 which punished those who formed an ‘armed band’ with the purpose of committing crimes against the state; and Article 284 which defined the crime of ‘armed insurrection’ against the powers of the state. In addition to these clauses the penal code also provided for the ‘common crimes’ in which terrorists were frequently involved.

32   Ending the violence During the years from 1969 to 1975 the Italian judicial system therefore did not possess any specific anti-­terrorist laws. In a way, the absence of any such regulations was seen by many as an advantage in the fight against terrorism, as it denied any historical specificity to the problem. In one of the early trials of the Red Brigades, the strategy of the prosecutors was to deny any political dimensions to their activities, and to seek to punish them as common criminals. However, this situation changed, to a limited extent, with the introduction of the Legge Reale in 1975 (Oronzo Reale was the Minister of Justice responsible for the law). This law, n.152, increased police powers considerably by extending the length an individual could be held without charge (reversing a change in the law following the death of Pinelli), and permitting wider recourse to firearms. Although it cannot be considered a specifically anti-­terrorist measure the Legge Reale also banned the wearing of crash helmets at demonstrations, or any other method which helped to obscure the identity of protestors. The Radical Party organized a referendum in 1978 designed to abrogate the law, but the outcome was negative. Christopher Seton-­Watson sees this law as an example of the speed with which the Italian state responded to the threat of terrorism, but also concedes that it ‘reversed’ the directions of the previous five years towards enhanced civil liberties (Seton-­Watson 1988, p. 103). In other words, the Legge Reale constitutes a clear example of the ‘democratic dilemma’ highlighted by Ganor. Indeed, the fact that the law remains on the statutes today indicates that it was really about countering the diffuse violence of the 1970s, and the public’s growing fear of a breakdown of law and order, rather than the acts of terrorism specific to the period. The kidnapping of Aldo Moro in 1978 provoked the Italian state into taking more specific and far-­reaching anti-­terrorist measures. With this crime, Italy was in a state of ‘emergency’ and specific laws were required to confront the situation. A decree law (number 59) was passed on 21 March 1978 (five days after the Moro kidnapping). According to the Constitution such laws are permissible if required by an emergency situation, as was clearly considered to be the case at the time. This decree law was then converted later in that year to law number 191 (Dalia 1980). This new legislation introduced a new article into the penal code, namely 289bis, which covered the crime of kidnapping for terrorist or subversive purposes, which then became punishable by a period of imprisonment from 25 to 30 years. The same article also offered a reduction in the length of sentence to anyone who participated in a kidnapping, but then took steps to free the captured individual (Cuerda Arnau 1991). This incentive was limited in scope, and unlikely to reap concrete results. But it did indicate that, while the punishment of terrorists was at the forefront of debate, the question of how to deal with individuals who changed their views was also beginning to emerge.

The Legge Cossiga Subsequently, a more extensive anti-­terrorist law was introduced in February 1980 (law 15), which itself originated in a Decree Law of 15 December 1979

Ending terrorism through the law   33 (n.625) (Chelazzi 1981; Corso 1983; Vigna 1981) This law, known as the Cossiga Law, after Francesco Cossiga (who was president of the Chamber of Deputies and had been Minister of the Interior during the Moro kidnapping) required additional punishment for terrorist-­related crimes, whereby the sentence was to be increased by half the original tariff. Many welcomed this ‘hard line’ approach and it is interesting to quote (with necessary caution) the views of the pentito Patrizio Peci as regards their effectiveness. In the early stages of terrorism, Peci claimed: It wasn’t such a great leap in the dark: you didn’t put your life at risk, because at that stage nobody had died. As far as the chances of ending up in prison were concerned, that was only a vague possibility and not worrying at all: at that time the special laws, the laws on carrying weapons, the increases in sentences for belonging to an armed band or for terrorism, they didn’t exist; the State hadn’t yet got organized. When we went off on an action we did our calculations and said to ourselves: ‘At most we’ll get three years’. (Peci 2008, p. 52) For many observers, on the other hand, the provision for additional punishment, as well as other aspects of the law (increased police powers, the extension of preventive detention, the facilitation of house searches) ran against the spirit of the Italian Constitution (see above). The issue of the unconstitutionality of Italian terrorist legislation would be raised time and again in the 1980s and beyond. In May 1981 a referendum seeking the views of Italians on the abrogation of a series of laws (including law 15) was held, but over 80 per cent of those who voted preferred to keep this piece of legislation on the statute book. What this result suggested was that an overwhelming majority of Italians had confidence in the law, though this does not necessarily mean that it was actually effective – for some observers this was precisely the outcome the state desired. Law 15 also introduced Article 270bis, an adjunct to the already-­existing Article 270 (see above), in which individuals who ‘promote, constitute, organize or finance associations which propose to carry out acts of violence for terrorist ends or for the purpose of subverting the democratic order’ are liable to a prison sentence of between seven and 15 years. Membership of such associations would be punished by between five and ten years in prison. Law 15 also introduced another article (280) into the penal code relating to terrorist crimes against the lives or safety of individuals. Significantly, the law also introduced incentives (Article 4), in terms of reductions in sentences, for those who ‘dissociated themselves . . . and took measures to prevent criminal activity from having further consequences, or who assisted the judicial authorities in the collection of evidence’. In these cases a life tariff would be reduced to between ten and 12 years, and other lesser sentences would be reduced by between a third and a half. In the original decree law this provision was more generous – the sentence would be halved. Evidently the law gave judges a greater element of discretion and, it can

34   Ending the violence be inferred, this created a greater incentive for the dissociato to collaborate in the fullest terms. In other words, dissociati would receive the same length of sentence as a non-­terrorist, and the additional punishment contained in the legislation would be removed as a form of ‘prize’. This was an important characteristic of the legislation – there would be no special treatment for dissociati, they would simply get the same sentence which in normal circumstances would be meted out to ‘ordinary criminals’. The law also introduced an element of exemption from punishment (Article 5) in cases where an individual made an attempt to prevent the terrorist crime from taking place and then, additionally, provided evidence for the ‘exact reconstruction of the event’ and the ‘identification of the participants’. The earlier decree law did not require anything more than the attempt to prevent the crime. Hence the addition of the phrase ‘elementi di prova determinanti’, more rigorous than the ‘prove decisive’ of the original Article 4 (although the difference is impossible to render in English), was an attempt to exact a greater degree of collaboration from the dissociato. This extra requirement was requested by the Minister of Justice, as transpires from the discussions in the Chamber of Deputies in January 1980 (Chelazzi 1981, p. 65; Padovani 1981, p. 62). What is both interesting, and confusing, about these provisions is the fact that, while the term dissociato is used in the text, the behaviour described in the law would become associated with pentitismo – a term invented by the press. There are divergencies of opinion of the exact interpretation of ‘dissociation’ and the behaviour which was thereby required (Padovani 1981, pp. 54–6; Chelazzi 1981, p.  21 and p.  28). Dissociation, in later legislation, would exclusively refer to individuals who did not collaborate with justice, but who recognized that they had erred. This is a difficult distinction to grasp and the source of some confusion. In many ways, it simply shows how complex the situation was, and how important was the choice of accurate terms and precise language. 1980 saw the emergence of the phenomenon of pentitismo, with the arrest of Patrizio Peci, a leading member of the Turin column of the BR, in February. The arrest of Peci, together with Rocco Micaletto, was the culmination of a series of raids carried out in Turin from early 1979 onwards. Peci was responsible, among other BR hits, for the killing of La Stampa journalist Carlo Casalegno. Peci was quickly persuaded to turn state’s evidence, and his testimony directly contributed to the discovery of a number of weapons caches, hideouts, and the arrest and subsequent trials of many members of the association. Peci was released in April 1983, after spending 38 months in prison. Comparisons can be made with the ‘supergrass scheme’ in Northern Ireland, which ran from 1981 to 1985, and which saw large numbers of convictions. In Northern Ireland, however, many of these convictions were subsequently overturned when the original evidence was deemed unreliable. In the Italian case there were also frequent question marks over the reliability of the evidence, and the motives of the pentiti, but fewer cases where the evidence of a pentito has been subsequently discounted – one example being that of the black pentito Elio Ciolini whose testimonies on a variety of subjects, most importantly the Bologna massacre, have been shown to be, at best, the result of a febrile imagination.

Ending terrorism through the law   35 In retaliation for Peci’s treachery, his brother, Roberto, was kidnapped in June 1981 by the BR, and executed after 54 days of imprisonment. Roberto Peci’s trial at the hands of his captors, and the moment of his sentence, were recorded on video – they make for difficult viewing. While this grim case would appear to indicate the extent to which the BR feared pentitismo, and wished to stop it at whatever cost, we need to approach the issue of the centrality of pentitismo to the end of terrorism in Italy with some caution. It was only part of a much bigger picture which also includes the efficiency of the carabinieri under the leadership of General Dalla Chiesa, and the changing ideological situation. For those who believe in the various conspiracy theories, the testimonies of the pentiti, and the decimation of the terrorist movement which ensued, only go so far, failing to reveal who was really behind the violence of the period.

Law 304 (May 1982) While those who supported the Cossiga Law could point directly to Peci, and the incentives it offered to him and other pentiti, as well as the threat of increased punishment for terrorist attacks, others pointed to numerous terrorist attacks in 1980 (for example, the killings of Bachelet and Galli), which suggested that members of the BR and other associations were carrying on regardless. Nevertheless, the Italian state saw the encouragement of pentitismo as central to anti-­ terrorist strategy, and duly proceeded to draw up further, more specific, legislation. The law (n.304) on the pentiti was passed on 29 May 1982, and contained 13 separate articles, of varying length and complexity (Corso 1983; Laudi 1983, 1984; Maddalena 1984). Article 1, which was both long and complex, provided for an exemption from punishment for those who had, before receiving their sentence, facilitated the disbandment of the terrorist organization to which they had belonged; withdrawn from the band, given themselves up and/or provided information on the structure of the band and the association; and helped prevent crimes for which the band or association had been formed. This exemption, however, applied to individuals who had only committed minor crimes for the purposes of terrorism. As a number of commentators have rightly pointed out, it was most unlikely that an individual who had committed no significant crimes would have the power and influence to disband an organization, so the first clause of Article 1 was an irrelevance (Caselli and Perduca 1982, p. 547; De Maglie 1985, p.  155; Laudi 1983, p.  16; Salvini 1983a, p.  1259 and Salvini 1983b). Likewise, there were problems with the issue of the ‘information’ that was required of the pentito. This element had not been present in the original draft of the law, but had come about as a result of an amendment proposed in the Senate on 28 January 1982 (Laudi 1983, pp. 243, 272). But what was meant by structure? Did this mean the names of the members of the organization? The language chosen was not clear, and presented judges with considerable difficulties of interpretation (Magistratura Democratica 1988, pp.  471–6). Furthermore, in connection with Article 1, it was unclear exactly how many crimes the pentito had had to prevent in order to qualify for exemption from punishment. Whatever

36   Ending the violence the case it was unlikely that a ‘minor pentito’ could have such influence, so it was unclear who exactly would benefit from this provision. Article 1 also contained other provisions which require comment. It was up to the judge to establish the ‘unequivocal’ and ‘contemporary’ nature of the behaviour. In other words was the ‘repentance’ genuine and did it still apply at the time the judge had to make his decision? This was not likely to be a simple matter. Finally, the article extended its range to include a wider range of individuals who had supported terrorism, but not been actively involved. In these cases, they would be exempt from punishment if they gave ‘complete information of their activities in this regard’. Article 2 favoured terrorists who made a full confession and who, during their trial, made attempts to prevent further crimes. Article 3, however, was the most important in this particular piece of legislation as it provided incentives for those who actively collaborated with justice. In their case, the sentence would be reduced by half (and would not exceed ten years in any case), and for those terrorists who had been sentenced to life imprisonment their punishment would be reduced to between ten and twelve years in jail. Collaborators were defined as those who had confessed to all their terrorist-­related crimes, and who then assisted the police or the judicial authorities in the collection of decisive evidence which allowed, or enabled, the identification or capture of other terrorists, or facilitated the exact reconstruction of terrorist crimes and the identification of the authors of them. Along with Peci, the most famous individuals who benefited from the regulations on pentitismo included Roberto Sandalo (whose revelations about Prima Linea had a devastating effect on the organization), Carlo Fioroni (Toni Negri affair), Antonio Savasta and Emilia Libera (BR arrests following the release of General Dozier), and Marco Barbone. Barbone collaborated with justice over the killing of the journalist Walter Tobagi and, in exchange for information which the investigators already had, secured his release as well as that of his girlfriend Caterina Rosensweig. This case, above all, provoked widespread outrage, with Tobagi’s father proclaiming that his son had been ‘killed twice’. Tobagi’s daughter’s judgement, in her 2009 book on her father, is no less corruscating.

Law 34 of 18 February 1987 – Misure a favore di chi si dissocia dal terrorismo (Measures in favour of ‘dissociates’ from terrorism) The parliamentary history of the 18 February 1987 law (number 34) on dissociation is long and complicated (Caselli et al. 1989). The process began, on a formal level, when a proposta di legge d’iniziativa (henceforth PLI) was presented to the Chamber of Deputies on 9 March 1983. This was, significantly, only six weeks after the end of ‘Moro 1’, a trial which had seen 32 life sentences meted out to Moretti, Gallinari, Balzerani, Morucci and others, while two pentiti (Libera and Savasta) received sentences of 16 years. A month later the trial of the Genoese column of the Red Brigades concluded with life sentences for

Ending terrorism through the law   37 Azzolini and Micaletto, while Patrizio Peci, the most famous of the pentiti, was set free (Peci 2008, pp. 54–5). These high profile trials indicated that the battle against terrorism was, apparently, being won with the help of the laws favouring pentitismo. The state was in control of the situation, and the phenomenon of terrorism could, it was hoped, be definitively extinguished in the context of an appropriate and forward-­thinking legal framework, which went beyond pentitismo, to embrace those individuals who no longer believed in, nor supported, terrorism and terrorist activities – the so-­called dissociati. The PLI was entitled ‘new measures for the defence of the constitutional order by way of dissociation from terrorism’. This was proposal number 3983 of the eighth republican legislature and was signed by 48 deputies from a number of political parties that did not, however, include the biggest players in Italian politics at the time – the Communist Party and the Christian Democrats. The Socialist Party, however, who would go on to have a key role governing Italy in the mid-­1980s and beyond, were on the list and their role would be important. The signatories included Marco Boato, Stefano Rodotà, Famiano Crucianelli, Luigi Covatta, Alberto Garocchio and Aldo Bozzi. Boato had been a student of sociology at Trento University in the late 1960s, was one of the founders of Lotta Continua, and was at the time a member of the PSI. Rodotà, on the other hand, was a former member of the Radical Party, but stood as an independent candidate on the PCI lists in the 1979 elections. He would later become the first president of Achille Occhetto’s relaunched post-­Communist Party, the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS). One of the founders of the dissident Communist Manifesto Group, he represented the Party of Proletarian Unity (PdUP). Covatta was a Socialist, as was Garocchio, while Bozzi was a veteran Liberal, and the leader of the Liberal Parliamentary Group at the time. This first draft contained a total of 11 articles. Before the legislation reached its final form, in the law of 1987, these articles underwent a number of significant changes. Article 3 of the original bill contains a definition of the meaning of ‘dissociation’ and offers interesting insights into the thinking at the time. The article is divided into three sections. Section A begins by creating a first category of ‘those who are accused of having constituted, promoted, organized, led a band or an association, or who have participated in such an organization’. Where such bands or associations had been dissolved prior to the investigation into an individual, then that individual could be considered to have dissociated himself, or herself, from criminal activities. A second category, closely linked to the first, described as dissociated those ‘individuals who, on the basis of objective circumstances, and in particular on the basis of the time that had lapsed from the cessation of participation in crime’, had not subsequently committed other crimes seeking terrorist ends or the ‘subversion of the constitutional order’. A third category, again closely linked to the previous two, included those individuals who had ‘successfully attenuated the harmful and dangerous consequences of their crime or who had taken steps to prevent the carrying out of terrorist activities’, or who had ‘nevertheless behaved in such a way which was objectively incompatible with the maintenance of an associative link or who, on the basis of

38   Ending the violence unequivocal circumstances had otherwise dissociated themselves from the type of criminal activities of which they were accused’. Plainly, it is evident from these rather tortured and inelegant formulations that defining ‘dissociation’ was a difficult task, and this would continue to be the case. The explanatory document which accompanied the bill offers further evidence of the nature of the thinking behind the proposed legislation. The authors sought to justify the PLI by making it clear from the start that dissociation did not and would not require any form of judicial collaboration or pentitismo. Providing evidence against other terrorists was not therefore a requirement. The need for the legislation was related to two ‘factual considerations’ as well as a ‘political evaluation’. The factual considerations related to the ‘political and military defeat of the terrorist organizations’. While there were some remnants of clandestine bands still operational, the authors argued that they were ‘residual branches’ whose capacity to reorganize, develop and recruit was highly doubtful given the ‘internal crisis of the terrorist project’, a crisis which the institutions needed to continue to foster. That acts of terrorism were on the wane was certainly true, however that optimistic evaluation of the situation would be regularly undermined, as was the case when Gino Giugni, a Socialist lawyer and author of the 1970s Labour statute, was shot in the legs by members of the Red Brigades in Rome in May 1983. The ‘political evaluations’ referred to in their opening paragraph were linked to a change in the context since the previous year when, following the kidnap of General Dozier, the law on pentitismo had been introduced. These laws had led to a large number of confessions and acts of collaboration from terrorists, which meant that any further laws promoting this type of cooperation with justice were not necessary. Indeed, it had not been deemed necessary to extend the chronological limits of law 304 of 29 May 1982. In other words, the history of Italian terrorism was entering a new and discreet phase. This first proposed legislation fell foul, as is so frequently the case in Italy, of a coalition crisis. In April 1983 Craxi, the leader of the PSI, announced that his party was withdrawing from the coalition, leading to the resignation of Fanfani, the DC president of the Council of Ministers. Pertini, the president of the republic, took the decision to dissolve parliament and elections were fixed for 26 and 27 June. This meant that any legislation which had not been passed would need to be re-­presented to a newly formed legislature which, it transpired, would be led by Craxi himself, who would remain president of the Council of Ministers until March 1987. The majority of the discussions about the laws on dissociation therefore coincided with the period which ran from the mid- to late 1980s in which the Socialist Party, but above all Craxi, were in the ascendancy. This was not an accident of history. It was Craxi’s PSI which had been most in favour of negotiating with the BR during the period of Moro’s kidnapping in 1978. The PSI at the time had been ignored for reasons which lie outside the scope of this book. In 1978 the PSI had only a marginal influence over Italian politics. By the mid-­1980s, however, things were very different and the dissociation laws can be viewed as an important aspect of Socialist policy in the period, although it would be wrong to attribute the laws solely to Craxi’s PSI.

Ending terrorism through the law   39 A PLI signed by a range of deputies was presented to the chamber on 12 July 1983 (this was n.47 of the ninth legislature). A separate, but related, PLI, signed by Violante, Spagnoli and others was presented later the same month. This sought to replace the system of preventive detention with house arrest in the case of terrorists who had dissociated. This was, as the signatories argued in their accompanying document, ‘an initial intervention in favour of those who have dissociated themselves from terrorism’, which left some of the more complicated legal considerations aside, but which constituted an important initial gesture whose simplicity, they hoped, would mean that it could be rapidly examined by parliament. The original PLI of March 1983 was then presented as a disegno di legge (DLI) to the Senate on 12 October 1983 (n.221). The principal signatories of this document were Senators De Martino, Bonifacio and Vassalli. De Martino was a former leader of the PSI as well as an extraordinarily distinguished constitutional lawyer. Vassalli was the leader of the PSI parliamentary group and would subsequently become the Minister of Justice on a number of occasions in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Bonifacio was the Christian Democrat Minister of Justice from 1976 to 1979 and a former President of the Constitutional Court. In other words, these were heavyweight individuals whose signatures sounded a clear message that the laws on dissociation were of the utmost importance to the PSI/DC coalition. The accompanying document provided by the senators largely followed, as was customary, the lines already established by their colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies. The senators did, however, seek to address the problem created by individual acts of terrorism in 1983, arguing that ‘far from bearing witness to the existence of a possible relaunch of the armed strategy, they were in fact unequivocal signs of a definitive crisis’. They also added that the Court of Assizes in Genoa, which had tried members of the Genoese BR earlier that year (see above), had specifically argued for, indeed championed, a new ‘legislative intervention’ in favour of those who dissociated themselves from terrorism, which would lead to the end of the period of ‘emergency legislation’. There was, therefore, during this period a symbiotic relationship between the courts and the state. On 12 January 1984 another DLI (n.432) was presented to the Senate by a number of Communist Party senators including Pecchioli, Ricci and Mario Gozzini (an independent Communist). This was an ‘alternative’ to DLI 221 in a number of ways that will be discussed in more detail below. In terms of their general approach to the issue the Communist Party senators argued that their legislation was inspired by a different interpretation of the situation regarding the ‘end of terrorism’. While the Socialist Party senators maintained that the collaboration of the pentiti had been the most significant factor behind the military defeat of the terrorists, the Communists argued that the hard-­line policy of non-­ negotiation had been the key to success. They therefore advocated a more hard-­ line approach to dissociation, as we shall see. Another alternative PLI was submitted in March 1984 (n.1354) to the Chamber of Deputies, and signed by Violante, Zangheri and others. This document dealt tangentially with dissociation, its purpose being a move away from preventive detention to house arrest

40   Ending the violence for those terrorists who were awaiting trial and who had dissociated. DLI 221 and 432 were then referred to the Justice Commission of the Senate which discussed them, for the first of many occasions, on 11 April 1984.

Justice Commission At this first meeting Senator Franza, who would represent the committee and act as its representative, indicated that, in addition to the two DLIs which had already been presented for scrutiny, the government was then drawing up a third DLI for their consideration. Given this situation it would be necessary to wait for the arrival of this document before the Justice Commission could begin its work in earnest. In an indication of the very tense climate in which they were working, Franza also related that a document drawn up by 36 magistrates had been sent to the president of the Chamber of Deputies, as well as the Ministers of the Interior and of Justice which warned that, in their view, the country was about to enter a new phase of intense terrorist activity. This document would soon appear in the pages of the weekly news magazine L’Espresso (as the Minister of Justice would later reveal). It was clear, therefore, that a large number of senior magistrates did not feel that historical conditions were right for the introduction of a law in favour of terrorists, as both DLI 221 and 432 argued. Franza praised DLI 432 for its ‘exhaustive definition of the phenomenon of dissociation’ but felt that DLI 221 was better suited to confronting ‘the problems posed by the dissociati’. In his view the key difference between the DLIs was represented by the requirement in DLI 432 for the dissociato to provide a ‘full admission of their responsibilities or to actively collaborate’ with justice. DLI 221 on the other hand required a lesser level of admission of guilt and was better suited to the task at hand; the battle against terrorism, as far as Franza was concerned, was related to the interaction between the political forces in the country and the collaboration of the terrorists, and DLI 221 went much further than DLI 432 in fostering this process. Franza then opened discussion to the floor. The first speaker, Leo Valiani, declared that he was far from reassured by what he had just heard. He was very concerned to hear of the possibility that sentences might be altered, indeed annulled, in cases where the individuals concerned had not made a ‘full confession’. He recommended both full confession and total collaboration with the judicial authorities, but also suggested that, rather than the proposed law under discussion, limited provisions for what is known in Italian as indulto (pardon) would be preferable. Valiani was an interesting case. He had become a life senator during Sandro Pertini’s presidency, was a veteran anti-­fascist, a former member of the Action Party, and one of the fathers of the Italian Republic. He was, therefore, a figure of some authority whose views were important. While it might be stretching the point a little, it could be argued that Valiani was Pertini’s voice in the Senate. The sceptical tone introduced by Valiani was maintained when Martinazzoli, the Minister of Justice, took the floor. On the basis of the evidence in his possession the phenomenon of dissociation was not as widespread as was believed. The

Ending terrorism through the law   41 government’s legislation would require a far more precise definition of dissociation: a dissociato would no longer be an organizer or a promoter of terrorist groups, he or she would have to have made a full confession and have maintained behaviour in prison which was consonant with dissociation. Finally, the dissociato would have to express their refusal of violence ‘as an instrument in the political struggle’. There was, then, at this stage a clear disjunction between the thoughts and philosophy of the Justice Commission and that of the government. Senator Gallo, who represented the Communist Party, recognized and acknowledged the concerns expressed by Valiani, but argued that a law on dissociation could be viable provided that a normative description of the phenomenon itself could be found. However, the generally negative tone of the meeting was continued by the Christian Democrat senator, Vitalone, who argued that the best way of addressing the problem was by using the provision for presidential pardon contained in the Constitution. It was not until late September 1984 that the Justice Commission met again, and on this occasion a decision was taken to reconvene at a later date when the government proposal was ready for discussion. Two weeks later they did indeed meet again, only to discover that the document was still not ready. Gozzini, an important individual in the whole process and to whom we shall return, chaired this session. The Communist Party representative, Senator Ricci, expressed his concern at this additional delay and stated that his party’s senators would not accept further delays. Despite this, further delays in the drafting of the government proposal did ensue and a decision was taken to discuss the two DLIs which were already on the table. At a meeting which took place at the end of October, Valiani once again described his utter opposition to the DLI. For him the amnesty provisions were those best suited to this issue and only, in any case, with reference to what were described as ‘crimes of association’; in other words ‘belonging’ to a terrorist organization. What were called ‘crimes of blood’ (reati di sangue in Italian) could not, in Valiani’s view, be eligible for amnesty. This was the first occasion that the question was raised of whether ‘crimes of blood’, could or could not be considered in the legislation on dissociation. This question, along with the need for the dissociato to confess or not to confess to his or her crimes, would represent the two issues on which most political and public debate would centre. At the next meeting Vassalli indicated that the amnesty route suggested by Valiani, and others, would require a very clear statement of position by the government. Such a statement was seen as a remote possibility, and therefore it was necessary to examine the proposals in front of the committee. His views were echoed by others. The Under-­Secretary of Justice, Cioce, confirmed the government’s opposition to the amnesty route, adding that the leaders of the terrorist associations should in any case not benefit from any of the putative provisions. The government was, therefore, keen to explore the dissociation strategy and, indeed, finally managed to present its own document (n.1050) in early December.

42   Ending the violence The government proposal consisted of three articles. It restricted benefits to those who had committed ‘minor’ crimes, and did not extend to specific terrorist crimes, such as kidnapping, as described in those clauses (280, 289bis) which were added to the penal code in the 1979 emergency laws. It required the dissociato to make a ‘full confession of the crimes which had been committed’ and to maintain ‘behaviour which was objectively and unequivocally incompatible with the maintenance of an associative link’ and ‘to repudiate violence as a method in the political struggle’. These conditions were, so the accompanying document argued, the normative fulcrum of the proposals. Provision was also made for ‘liberazione condizionale’ (conditional release) for those dissociati who had served at least a third of their sentence. In the accompanying document it was made clear that amnesty was not an appropriate strategy. Such then was the government approach to the issue at the end of 1984. The Justice Commission now had the three separate documents it was required to analyse and discuss. Its work began at the end of January 1985. On this occasion the first speaker was Senator Gozzini. Gozzini was a member of the independent left group in the Senate. A Florentine, Gozzini was one of a number of individuals who over many years attempted to create a dialogue between Catholics and Communists. He was also a passionate advocate of prison reform (Gozzini 1988), and the legislation which was introduced at around the same time that the dissociation laws were approved, bears his name – the Legge Gozzini. Gozzini was a frequent visitor to prisons, as he would make clear during his many interventions on the subject of dissociation, and he was therefore uniquely qualified to discuss the developing situation in the aree omogenee. Gozzini observed that, on the evidence provided by recent documents formulated by members of the aree omogenee, there had been an evolution in their thought. No longer did they give voice to ‘unacceptable ravings’, but instead seemed to have understood that the ‘armed struggle’ did not pay, and could not be ‘an object of political discussion’. They had also come to an acceptance that they had a debt to pay towards society, and that the best way to pay this debt was in the form of a job of ‘social relevance’. Lastly, so he claimed, they had modified their attitude towards the pentiti. Gozzini also referred to the attitude of the Catholic, as well as the Waldensian, Church, both of which had been instrumental in favouring a more humane prison system as well as emphasizing the need for pardon. He then moved on to the suggestion advanced by Senator Vitalone that the legislation under discussion should also extend to organized crime, such as the Mafia and the Camorra. There was, so he maintained, a substantial difference between the way terrorists and members of organized criminal associations related to the state. The former attacked the state, while the latter wished to exploit it. A general law for those who collabor­ated with justice was not acceptable. He used similar arguments to reject the idea of an amnesty. There had been, in the immediate post-­war, an amnesty (known as the Togliatti amnesty, after the leader of the Italian Communist Party at the time) but this had been introduced as a means of leaving behind the civil war which had lacerated the country. The Italian state had always explicitly denied that the struggle between the state and

Ending terrorism through the law   43 the terrorists constituted such a civil war. In order to accelerate the work of the Justice Commission, Gozzini suggested that a small sub-­committee should be formed which would look closely at the issues surrounding the concepts of ‘full confession’ and ‘dissociation’ and which would possess differing ‘interpretative values’ (valenze interpretive). Vassalli, the president of the Justice Commission, was open to the idea of a sub-­committee but felt that it was a little premature at the time (in a subsequent meeting the Communist Party’s Senator Ricci would make this proposal again, and it would be accepted). At this point Franza provided a summary of the differences behind the Socialist, Communist, and the government proposals, outlining how the historical conditions which had inspired the draft legislation were identical, but how the philosophy which lay behind the different documents varied. The committee, therefore, was not just analysing semantic differences, but ideological ones too. He also pointed out a problem that the committee would soon have to address – only 2 per cent of the terrorists who were then imprisoned had been found guilty of crimes of ‘association’. It was advisable, in his view, to extend reductions in sentences for all crimes which had been committed. He then invited Senator Grossi to speak. Grossi read out a document that had been unanimously approved by the Italian Association of the Victims of Terrorism. The association recalled how ‘red’ terrorism had not been completely defeated, while ‘black’ terrorism had gone completely unpunished. The association maintained the necessity for fully respecting the current laws, and therefore rejected any suggestion of a further reduction in sentences that it said represented ‘an offence to the rights of the victims’. General discussions continued in a series of subsequent meetings. Although the likes of Senators Valiani and Russo continued to express their disapproval of the legislation, in a significant development Vitalone of the Christian Democrat group declared that he and his colleagues had moved on from their earlier position. While still opposed to the idea of benefits to pentiti, which they interpreted as retrograde and ready for abolition, there was sympathy towards what he termed ‘modern criminological orientations’ towards the ‘social recovery’ of prisoners who no longer represented a danger to society. The Christian Democrat group, therefore, seemed to be embracing at least part of the philosophy which lay behind the dissociation legislation. Quite what had provoked this change of heart is difficult to understand. Sceptics might interpret it as a result of a change in political circumstances, but there is no reason to suspect that the new Christian Democrat perspective was anything other than genuine. The same can be said of the Communists, whose representative Ricci would also make at the same meeting an important concession in terms of the key issue of the admission of guilt. The Communists, it is worth recalling, had previously required full confession. Now Ricci suggested that an admission of responsibility did not have to apply to all the crimes carried out by a given dissociato, but rather what was required was a general admission of participation in terrorist activities. Ricci also took up the suggestion made by Gozzini to form a smaller committee that would help expedite the whole process and report back within a

44   Ending the violence month. This it did, producing a document containing six articles. In this document there was no reference to confession; the phrase used was ‘admission of adherence to subversive organizations or terrorist movements and of the activities carried out within these organizations’. In the course of discussions which took place throughout 1985 (and also involved a visit to the area omogenea at Rebibbia) this formulation, amongst other things, was the subject of much soul-­ searching. The Minister of Justice, Martinazzoli, indicated that, if the government was willing to concede on the issue of a confession, it did at least require an admission of ‘responsibility’ from the dissociato. Furthermore, the government was adamant in its opposition to the proposal, contained in Article 2, that the reduction in sentences should apply to those dissociati who had been responsible for the crimes of strage or homicide (omicidio volontario). Martin­ azzoli also criticized Article 3 which, in the government’s view, was too close to the regulations for indulto. On the basis of considerable further discussion the committee drew up a version of the legislation which amounted to eight separate articles as well as a lengthy document which described and commented on their deliberations over the previous two years. These documents were discussed in the Senate on 21 and 22 May and 3 June 1986.

Senate debate The Senate debate was preceded by a lengthy relazione given by Senator Franza, in which he outlined the background to the proposed legislation and described to his colleagues how the text which was currently before them had been drawn up by the Justice Commission and represented the distillation of three DLIs presented to the Senate over the course of a year: DLI  221 of 12 October 1983, signed by Senator De Martino and others; DLI 432 of 12 of January 1984 signed by Senators Pecchioli and others; and number DLI  1050 of 7 December 1984, which was a government initiative. All three initiatives, Franza commented, were the product of two shared premises: (1) the defeat and the crisis of terrorism and the positive evolution of the battle against it; (2) the existence of, and the ever-­increasing number of, dissociati. Terrorism was, Franza maintained, in a rhetorical flourish ‘dead, because it was linked to dead things, to dead ideas and to defeated “heroes” who were now in chains’ (Caselli et al. 1989, p. 224). Having given an exhaustive account of the context, Franza then went on to discuss the individual articles and the more detailed questions which had arisen during the course of the Justice Commission’s discussions. These centred on: (1) a definition of what behaviour amounted to dissociation; (2) the question of whether certain crimes should be exempt from punishment, and; (3) the issue of fatti di sangue. On the first point there had been what Franza euphemistically described as an ‘interesting and lively’ debate. The solution which the committee had reached was the requirement for the dissociato to ‘admit to the activities’ which he or she had taken part in, but not to make a full confession. This was, as he frankly accepted, contrary to the government’s position, but it did have two distinct advantages; the admission of the activities which had been carried out

Ending terrorism through the law   45 was a sign of a change of mind (resipiscenza) amongst individuals who were heavily ideologized, while a full confession ran counter to the fundamental principles of penal law (such as the right to defend oneself ), and also created a series of other problems connected to complex issues of legal procedure. Once the committee had got over this particular hurdle it was then much easier to define behaviour conducive to dissociation. The second point had produced just as much discussion. Franza recalled the objections to non punibilità for certain crimes, and the arguments that were put forward in favour of amnesty or other such solutions. Here the principal objection to an amnesty was that it would have negated the very ratio of the DLIs, the valorization of dissociation. More seriously, however, the statistics demonstrated just how few prisoners fitted into the minor crime category – four in total, 1.72 per cent of the prison population. This very low number had been created by the accusation of ‘concorso morale’ (moral complicity), which carried with it much higher penalties – indeed in the final speeches before the Senate vote the veteran senator (and dissident Socialist) Enzo Enriques Agnoletti described how one of his magistrate colleagues had felt ashamed to request 20 to 25 years for ‘moral complicity’ but, given the law, he could not do otherwise. As they stood the three DLIs would not have ‘reached any of the desired objectives’ (p.  231). Given this situation the small sub-­ committee took the decision to reject the idea of ‘non punishability’ and instead recommended reduction or ‘commutation’ for a wider series of crimes, provided of course that the individuals concerned had maintained appropriate behaviour. The wider ranging legislation that emerged from these deliberations fed into the third question, namely the issue of ‘crimes of blood’. While Franza conceded that the government and some of the commissioners had objected to the widening of the scope of the legislation, he nonetheless argued that the history of the period had been a history of blood, and this dimension of the anni di piombo could not be ignored. An intervention limited to events ‘non di sangue’ would have amounted to very little and would not have represented a solution to the phenomenon of terrorism. Having explained the reasons behind the ambitious nature of the legislation, Franza then went on to summarize the various articles before handing over to his fellow senators to continue the discussions. The Senate discussions opened with the contribution of Senator Gozzini who, it is worth recalling, represented the independent left and who also had a particular interest in prison reform. In his speech Gozzini concentrated on the documents produced by the members of the aree omogenee, commenting that their authors had not renounced their ideals for profound change in society; but the change which had happened was in their method of pursuing such goals, no longer through the armed struggle . . . but by adopting the method of a non-­violent revolution, of a cultural revolution. They continue to be revolutionaries, but the type which our times require. (p. 237)

46   Ending the violence Such a positive attitude towards the dissociati demonstrated by Gozzini had taken some time to develop. Initially, Gozzini admitted, he had felt a sensation of ‘human repugnance’, as when he had first encountered Morucci at Rebibbia. He had had dramatic meetings with parents defending their sons, and who spoke of them as heroes, but he had to remind them that they had provoked the deaths ‘like dogs of honest and innocent citizens’. Even his cordial relations with the Catholic Church had been compromised, and Gozzini referred to the work of Father Balducci, whose criticisms of the prison regime seemed to forget the number of people who had been killed. On occasions he had heard talk of lost sheep but, Gozzini recalled, he had never heard of a lost sheep who went on to slit the throats of others. But the situation within the prisons had changed. The previous week he had been to Pianosa, and he firmly believed that the legislation under discussion was the product of the aree omogenee. Like Franza, he was convinced that the discussion of prison reform (which was the next piece of legislation that the Senate was due to consider) was intimately linked to this significant development. Gozzini also attempted to include in his deliberations the victims of terrorism. He fully recognized the sense of outrage which many of them felt about the legislation in favour of the dissociati, but hoped that the deaths of their loved ones had not been for nothing if it meant that the perpetrators of these crimes had come to a realization of the ‘sterile madness of terrorism’. Gozzini’s speech was followed by contributions from senators from across the political spectrum: Mario Signorino from the Radical Party (who spoke against the legislation); Cristoforo Filetti (MSI – in favour); Ferdinando Russo (Independent Left – against); Giorgio Covi (Republican – against); Covatta (Socialist Party – in favour); Coco (DC – in favour) and Ricci (PCI – in favour). With the conclusion of these general discussions Franza was given the opportunity to speak, followed by the Minister of Justice, Martinazzoli. A series of emendations to the various clauses were then debated. Before the final vote, and in accordance with procedures, senators made concluding observations. By this stage matters were essentially over, however, and most of what was said added nothing to the already protracted discussions. There was an exception, however, in the speech given by Massimo Riva, another member of the independent left group. Riva, whose background was in journalism (he currently writes a column for L’Espresso), announced that his group would vote against the measures. This had not been an easy decision. Riva and his colleagues recognized the ‘dramatic human suffering’ within the prisons. However, Riva continued, there was another group which had experienced equally dramatic levels of human suffering, namely the victims. Riva extended the category of victims to include all those individuals in Italian society who had suffered either directly or indirectly at the hands of terrorists, and impugned the Minister of Justice for his attitude towards them. There were, Riva thundered, two faces of suffering: one inside prison and the other outside, and the state needed to pay attention to both sides of the coin. The DLI under discussion appeared to him to be a ‘unilateral’ document, which ‘squinted’ in one direction only:

Ending terrorism through the law   47 The need to alleviate the sufferings of one category – I’m sorry to say but it is the reality of the situation – means that the state still appears inert towards those many requests for justice which arise from large sections of society, requests for justice which are also requests for the truth about so many crimes which have, over all the terrorist events of these years, remained obscure. (p. 269) Riva became more and more explicit, referring to ‘grave doubts and suspicions’ about links between the official political world and the world of the terrorists, whose activities were manipulated for the purposes of political competition. While he and his colleagues did not doubt the good faith and legitimate interests which lay behind the initiative, they also feared there was ‘an intention . . . to finish an uncomfortable game with the payment of cheques which had been signed, in quite recent years, with fringe elements of terrorism’. In this way, Riva very effectively highlighted what continues to be one of the most significant problems with the dissociation laws – they did not clarify, or help to clarify, many of the outstanding questions which remained unanswered both in the courts as well as in the history books. The continued suspicion that certain elements of the state were assisting the terrorist organizations has meant that for the many victims of terrorism their experiences of violence remain inadequately explained. The document then went back to the Chamber of Deputies on 6 June 1986 when it was initially discussed by the Justice Commission over a series of meetings which ended with detailed discussions of a series of proposed amendments on 10 February 1987. Most of the amendments were withdrawn and 23 of the 24 members of the Commission voted in favour of the law and, with its publication in the Gazzetta Ufficiale of 21 February 1987, it entered the statutes. What was the effect of the dissociation laws in terms of those who benefited from it? The Minister for Justice sent two reports to the Chamber of Deputies which provided detailed figures for the periods March to September 1987, and October to September 1988. During the first period a total of 176 separate judgements were made. These referred to 271 different judicial sentences. In some cases a single judgement might reduce the sentences inflicted on an individual by a range of Italian courts. One pertinent example was Nadia Mantovani, whose case was considered at the Court of Appeal in Turin. She had previously been convicted by separate courts in Turin, Milan, Florence, Perugia and Messina. Turning to the bigger picture, 244 of the 271 decisions were connected to a reduction in the length of sentence. There were only four cases where a request was put in to reduce a life sentence to 30 years. Thirty-­three cases had led to a reduction of 25 per cent (these were the much-­debated ‘delitti di sangue’), 84 cases had led to a reduction of 50 per cent (for crimes of association, the possession of weapons and explosives, the crime of ‘apology’ for terrorism), while 127 cases led to a reduction by 33 per cent. This last category therefore constituted almost half of the cases examined. Only seven applications had been turned down. Of these, the reasons for the lack of success of the application varied, but

48   Ending the violence in three cases the applicant was deemed not to have fully dissociated himself/ herself from terrorism. There were no instances of benefits being revoked, nor at this stage had anyone been granted ‘provisional freedom’. A total number of 151 terrorists benefited from reductions in sentences during this first period. The minister revealed that a number of high-­profile individuals were involved: these included Nadia Mantovani, Giorgio Semeria, Alberto Franceschini, Valerio Morucci, Adriana Faranda, Sergio Segio, Maurice Bignami and Susanna Ronconi. Almost all of the applicants had presented their formal declarations of dissociation, as described in Article 4 of the law, immediately after the law itself became operative. Not all of these individuals, however, were what the minister described as ‘last minute’ dissociati. The likes of Morucci, Faranda and Bignami had dissociated before March 1987. In terms of geographical distribution the majority of the cases had been heard in the courts of the north of Italy, with the highest number in Turin. During the first two months of the existence of the law (March and April 1987) only six cases were heard. However, this number increased dramatically in May to 42, and then in June to 123 and July to 74. The month of August saw a decline in applications to three, but after the summer break the numbers picked up again, with 22 applications in September. There were a few examples of inconsistency of application of the law, however these were relatively minor. For example, two terrorists who had been found guilty of insulting a public official while in prison had received different treatment: Silvana Innocenzi, in prison in Turin, had benefited from a reduction in her sentence, whereas Corrado Alunni in Trani, had his appeal rejected. The patterns for the period from October 1987 to September 1988 were similar, with 182 cases examined. The geographical distribution was almost identical to the previous period. The largest number of cases examined was in October 1987 (48), while by September 1988 the number had reduced to two. The total number who benefited during this period was 179. The minister also gave figures for the total number of applicants to the scheme over the whole period since the law had entered the statute books: 561. This high take-­up rate certainly indicates a discreet level of success, or at least the attractiveness of the legislation to terrorists. However, it was almost entirely left-­wing terrorists who made applications: only four right-­wing terrorists, Sergio Calore, Bruno Mariani, Stefano Soderini and Antonio Proietti, had made applications. While from the left, the majority of requests came from members of Prima Linea (87, 48.6 per cent of the total), there were also a large number of requests from former BR (57, 31.84 per cent of the total). By this stage the number of dissociati who were granted provisional freedom from prison numbered 95, eight of whom were in a state of ‘semi-­liberty’ (including Alberto Franceschini). There continued to be some problems of consistency and of jurisdiction.

Conclusion As was pointed out in Chapter 1, a number of analyses of terrorism have written in positive terms about Italian legislation and the wider anti-­terrorist initiatives

Ending terrorism through the law   49 of the Italian state, particularly when discussing pentitismo. Of the early commentators Salvini (1983a and 1983b) was the most encomiastic. More recently, Andrew Silke, for example, states that the law on pentitismo ‘is widely considered to have played an important role’ (2011, p. 128) in disrupting the BR and the Mafia. Likewise Ganor, whose observations began this chapter, states that the ‘law [on pentitismo] apparently helped, more than anything else, to halt the terrorist activity of the Red Brigades’ (2005, p. 187). Richard Clutterbuck, in a wide-­ranging book (1990), compares the success of pentitismo with the failure of the supergrass initiative in Northern Ireland. Other observers are positively fulsome – in a chapter in a comparative book on the strategies of six different nations, Germana Tappero Merlo and Sergio Marchisio, while critical of Italy’s ‘stop and go policy’, write approvingly of the pentitismo laws: ‘their revelations of names, places, political links, and financial support stopped all subversive activities. This measure, together with efficient counterterrorist units and, above all, clear political will to act resolutely against terrorism, were effective weapons’. Furthermore, the dissociation laws are seen as ‘the turning point, at the end of the 1970s, in the struggle against terrorism’, while generally the state is deemed to have offered a ‘vigorous response’, leading to a ‘brilliant success against terrorism’ (Tappero Merlo and Marchisio 2006, pp. 103–4). A similarly glowing account is offered in Thomas Magstadt’s widely employed textbook which in one of its various editions contains a special box labelled ‘counter-­ terrorism in Italy: a success story’ (2003, p. 453). Yet, despite the widespread international endorsement of Italy’s counter-­ terrorism measures, not all scholars write with such enthusiasm. One early commentator, Cristina de Maglie, was particularly damning, and argued that the law was a product and symptom of a crisis of the state and the terrorists (1985, p.  176). A number of experts with particularly strong credentials, including Ventura (2010), Furlong (1981) and Galli (2007a) are sceptical about the state response, arguing that anti-­terrorist measures were brought in, and then relaxed, in order to comply with a state strategy which found that left-­wing terrorism possessed a ‘political value’ which helped to exclude the left from power. Galli, for example, argues that the state deliberately took its foot off the accelerator pedal in 1977, encouraging the establishment of a movement that effectively scuppered the historic compromise. While, as was argued in the Introduction, there is an absence of judicial proof about such conspiracy theories, there remains a lingering doubt about just how determined the state response was, above all in the period leading up to the kidnap of Moro. But there are also serious issues with the pentitismo strategy, most of which, such as the reliability of the witnesses and the morality of releasing individuals who carried out ‘crimes of blood’ while individuals who distributed leaflets languished in jail, have been addressed earlier. The legacy of the pentitismo strategy is long and bitter and it continues to haunt Italy today. It also needs to be added that the tactics employed to ‘persuade’ captured terrorists to turn state’s evidence require further investigation into their legality and morality insofar as there is an increasingly strong body of evidence which points to the use of torture. Writing

50   Ending the violence about pentitismo the American scholar Leonard Weinberg describes a story of success, even if that story did, he candidly and rather disquietingly admits, involve the use of ‘sleep deprivation, threats to harm loved ones, punches, kicks to the groin, the pulling out of pubic hair, [and] cigarettes extinguished on the backs of prisoners’. Such tactics were, apparently, used with pentiti in the making, such as Antonio Savasta. While these methods, Weinberg tells us reassuringly, did not rival those used by Saddam Hussein or the Argentines, they did lead to the liberation of Dozier: ‘without the use of torture Dozier would probably have been killed’ (Weinberg 2007, p. 49). Given these circumstances it is, however, surprising that in a recent book on the ‘ethics of terrorism and counterterrorism’ Laurence Lustgarten reported that: ‘No case involving . . . Italian legislation or other measures adopted in the 1970s to deal with domestic terrorism reached the [European] court of Human Rights’ (2005, p. 280). Overall, our judgement on the success and efficacy of the dissociation laws is more positive, but it needs to be nuanced. The laws represented, at the time, a novel and imaginative approach to the problem of the former terrorists detained in Italy’s prisons. The politicians, from across the political spectrum, were sincere in their motives and, in the case of individuals like Gozzini, were passionate about prison reform. On the other hand, it could be argued that the laws were more of a practical response to a criminological problem: a prison population that had begun to grow to numbers difficult to manage, and the need to ‘row back’ from the emergency laws which many, not only in Italy, felt infringed basic rights. Yet, this is a rather uncharitable and sceptical interpretation. Italian prisons did suffer from overcrowding, but the dissociation laws were not a quick population fix. For others, and this is a criticism made by many BR hard-­liners, the decision to dissociate has led to a tendency to abjure, but not necessarily to understand, the past. Yet they did facilitate the re-­integration of a large number of terrorist subjects back into Italian society, and a return to ‘normality’. Where, perhaps, the dissociation laws ran into trouble was in terms of their medium- to long-­term impact on Italian society. The dissociation laws required careful management, above all when sensitive cases emerged. Yet it was only a few years after their introduction that those political parties which did their most to bring them in were wiped out by seismic changes to the Italian political system in the early 1990s. Finally, for many of the victims of terrorism, the laws on dissociation were extremely hard to swallow, and have led to the (arguably justified) perception that they have been victims twice over.

3 Prisons and prison reform

Introduction The Italian prison system had a central role to play in the process of ending terrorism. On the most prosaic level, prisons were an integral part of the judicial system, and their efficient functioning was crucial in the battle to defeat terrorists of all political persuasions. The terrorists themselves clearly saw that, following their arrest, they could with relative ease extend their battles to the prison context (as they also did when on trial). This extension of activities manifested itself in several ways – most spectacularly in the numerous escapes which took place in the 1970s, and which were an important factor in persuading the state, in response to the ‘social panic surrounding terrorism’ (Ruggiero 1995, p. 65), to establish high-­security carceri speciali in 1977. Equally, the incarcerated terrorists saw the political battle against the prison system as part of their wider battle against the Italian state and the oppression of the working classes. It was also from within the prisons that policy and strategies were formulated, and where ordinary prisoners could be recruited to the cause. Later, when the initiatives for dissociation were introduced, the prisons became a focal point for discussion of this process, with the establishment of the aree omogenee a crucial development for preparing the ground for the early release of prisoners. Lastly, it was in the prisons that the Catholic Church played what became an increasingly important role at both the collective and the individual level. Despite their obvious importance, however, the role of Italian prisons and of the terrorists held within their walls during these years is only partially and imperfectly understood. In recent years there have been a number of publications which have helped to provide documentation, such as the 600 page volume dedicated to Il carcere speciale (Prette 2006, henceforth Il carcere speciale) in the ‘Progetto Memoria’ series. The volume contains 186 documents which were written between 1969 and 1989, and a number of texts written subsequently. The same publisher, Sensibili alle foglie (which is run by Renato Curcio) has also published a volume on the matter of the torture of prisoners. Moving to Turin, the Vite sospese volume, which was part of a research project conducted in Nuove Prison and was led by historian Nicola Tranfaglia and the mayor of the city Diego Novelli (Novelli and Tranfaglia 1988), contains a final chapter on the

52   Ending the violence prison experience. Salvatore Verde’s book (2002) studies the carceri speciali from a deeply felt left-­wing perspective. In terms of general works on Italian prisons, it was only with the publication of Christian De Vito’s impressive study (De Vito 2009) that an up-­to-date synthesis on the subject of the modern prison system in Italy became available to scholars and the general public. In English, there are a limited number of publications on the subject of Italian prisons, but in terms of those of interest to this study there is very little to go on. In addition to Ruggiero (1995) there are some revealing comparative statistics in Muncie and Sparks (1991, pp. 94–5) specific to 1987, the year that the laws on dissociation were passed. In 1987 in Italy the rate of imprisonment was 123 per 100,000 head of population, lower than most other European countries, such as France (163), Turkey (255.9) and Scotland (767.7), but higher than Greece, Malta and Portugal. In contrast, the average duration of imprisonment was one of the highest in Europe, possibly as a result of the longer sentences handed out to terrorists under the emergency laws. This chapter begins with a discussion of the situation within Italian prisons in the early 1970s, before moving to an analysis of the carceri speciali and the aree omogenee.

Prison protest and Italian penal reform in the 1970s The first significant prison protests in post-­war Italy took place in April 1969, heralding the start of a cycle which would continue throughout the 1970s and beyond. The 1969 protests began in the Nuove prison in Turin (Chiari 2012), with the focus of dissent aimed at prison regulations which had not changed since fascism, and overcrowding. The protest spread to the San Vittore prison in Milan, and then to Marassi in Genova. In September 1971 there would be a revolt in Brescia Prison. Prisons in Italy thus became linked to wider movements demanding rights for workers, students and other marginalized elements. There were other important events in the early 1970s, such as the death of the anarchist Franco Serantini in a prison in Pisa, and a revolt at Murate Prison in Florence in February 1974. According to the militant lawyer Giambattista Lazagna (who would himself spend time in prison accused of collusion with terrorism) these cases ‘revealed the reality of extreme violence within the prison system and the mechanisms in place designed . . . for the marginalization and destruction of the personality of the prisoner’ (Lazagna 1974, p.  5). It was, however, the revolt in Alessandria in May 1974 which remains the iconic event of this period. This event witnessed the hard line actions of carabinieri general, Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, who would go on to become one of the major protagonists in the fight against terrorism in Italy and the conduit for what might be termed, following Alonso (2009, p. 98), a ‘securocratic’ approach starting in the mid- to late 1970s. The Alessandria revolt involved the taking of a number of hostages, a written demand for prison reform and a request for a minibus to take the prisoners involved to freedom. The Procuratore Generale of Turin, Reviglio Della Veneria, together with General Dalla Chiesa, took charge of the situation and decided to

Prisons and prison reform   53 adopt a strategy of non-­negotiation. On the second day Dalla Chiesa’s carabinieri stormed the prison, an action that provoked the deaths of five hostages and two prisoners, but which brought the protest to a swift conclusion. This result indicated, in no uncertain terms, Dalla Chiesa’s ‘no nonsense’ approach to problem prisoners, as we will see later. A few months later there were two major developments in the battle against terrorism. Emilio Santillo was appointed head of a newly formed ispettorato per la lotta contro il terrorismo (inspectorate for the fight against terrorism), while Dalla Chiesa oversaw the creation of a special anti-­terrorist unit of the carabinieri. These developments were clearly linked to the kidnapping in April 1974 of Judge Mario Sossi, which lasted more than a month. Dalla Chiesa worked fast to obtain his first victory. Using an infiltrator, the so-­called Frate Mitra, he was able to plan the successful arrest of Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini in September 1974. Mario Moretti, on the other hand, narrowly escaped, leading to suspicions that he was, in some way, protected by obscure and powerful forces. As we saw in the Introduction, this hypothesis is supported by a number of scholars. In the case of the role of Dalla Chiesa in this period, it contributes to the idea that the carabiniere general and his unit were nothing more than innocent participants in a more complex, high-­level, game. His successes and failures are thus subsumed into a grander design beyond his control. This interpretation is reinforced by the untimely death of Dalla Chiesa in Sicily in September 1982. Although he was killed by the Mafia, some, including Dalla Chiesa’s own son Nando (Dalla Chiesa 1984), have left open the question of whether his death should be attributed to political motives, rather than to organized crime, and even whether it was linked to his knowledge of the more obscure aspects of the Moro case (Sapegno and Ventura 1997), as testified by former Mafia boss Tommaso Buscetta in the early 1990s (Drake 1995, p. 234). The discussions about prison reform were framed by this increasingly charged context, which included the debate over the ‘Reale law’. When it was passed in May 1975 this law permitted a significant widening of police powers, including the increased use of firearms and an extension of the period an individual could be held without being formally charged. The original prison reform bill, on the other hand, contained proposals for a number of wide-­ranging liberal measures, including provisions to allow prisoners home visits and more frequent access to their families. Such progressive ideas were not universally popular, and the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies altered the spirit and reach of a number of clauses, restricting home visits to cases ‘of imminent danger to life of a family member’ (Cappelli 1979). An additional clause was added – Article 90 – which, if the situation merited it, provided for the suspension of the prison reforms. Polemics over the use of Article 90 would become a regular feature of debate in the years to come. The bill was discussed in the Senate in December 1974 and would become law 354 on 26 July 1975. By the time it entered the statute book, the BR had scored one of its most spectacular successes. Mara Cagol, sporting a wig, and supported by a small BR unit, attacked the prison at Casale Monferrato and freed Renato Curcio. There

54   Ending the violence were no casualties in the raid, and the idea of a woman freedom-­fighter springing her husband from jail captured the imagination of many. Quite apart from its propaganda benefits, the audacious attack once again highlighted the evident fallibity of the Italian prison system, seemingly incapable of guaranteeing the incarceration of one of Italy’s leading terrorist figures. Occasionally developments outside Italy would also render the situation more complicated. The death in 1976 of Ulrike Meinhof in Stammheim Prison, and of Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ennslin and Carl Raspe the year after, had profound reverberations in Italy. There was a genuine fear in some liberal quarters that the German model was being imported to Italy, with consequences for the imprisoned terrorists that could be easily imagined. On the other hand, while the suicides or otherwise of the leading members of the Rote Armee Fraktion did not provoke the same level of public celebration in Italy as they did in Germany, there were many Italians who hoped for a similar outcome. In a very palpable sense, then, the rigorous German paradigm was always in the background. The situation of terrorists imprisoned in Northern Ireland was also very much in the news in Italy, with the Bobby Sands hunger strike capturing the attention of the media. In contrast, the availability of France as a safe haven for Italian terrorists meant that there was a relatively easy escape route (which many took). In the early 1980s this was semi-­officialized under the so-­called Mitterrand doctrine, which offered the right of political exile and provoked considerable discussion and polemic in Italy. The Mitterrand doctrine came to an end in 2004 following the decision to allow the extradition of Cesare Battisti.

Escapes and prison unrest Following an attack on several prisoners, including the Soccorso Rosso lawyer Sergio Spezzali, which took place in San Vittore Prison in Milan, the Red Brigades issued a communiqué in January 1976. The document denounced the attacks on their members, which Spazzali would later attribute to administrators working inside and outside the prison rather than to an internal settling of accounts between prisoners. According to the BR document these attacks would no doubt continue, but they would not be without consequences: The bourgeoisie is deluded if it thinks that with prisons, exemplary sentences and murders it can put a stop to an irreversible tendency within the Italian proletariat: the armed struggle for communism! The bosses are in crisis! It is their class dictatorship which is buckling under the weight of the proletarian struggles. This was all familiar stuff, but the closing sentence of the document contained a significant warning that the struggles, and the violence, would soon escalate: ‘the carabinieri, the judges, the prison authorities, are the diamond tip of the counter­revolution led by the multinationals and the confindustria. They are our principal enemy and target’ (Il carcere speciale, p.  64). A few months later the Red

Prisons and prison reform   55 ­ rigades would carry out the first assassination of a judge – Francesco Coco – B whose investigations had led to the arrest of the capi storici of the BR. The killing of Coco coincided with the trial in Turin of 46 members of the Red Brigades, including Prospero Gallinari, who read out a declaration arguing that this was an attack on the state apparatus and the men who personified its ‘counter-­ revolutionary initiatives’. On the face of it, BR strategy was developing organ­ ically, as a coherent (as far as the terrorists were concerned) response to a class struggle which was becoming ever-­more acute as time passed. Furthermore, as this and later declarations would make explicit, the BR was becoming increasingly aware of the importance of the prisoner as a privileged feature of the class struggle, a separate category meriting special attention: The attack on the prisons also means we are allying ourselves to the maturity and the experience of a decisive class element which, in the prisons, experiences revolutionary conscience and praxis at its highest levels. The attack on the prisons is the highest manifestation of the revolutionary conscience of the proletariat. (Il carcere speciale, p. 68) There is, of course, a strong element of posturing and rhetoric behind this and other similar statements, but the synergies created in the prisons between terrorists and ordinary prisoners were an important feature of the times. By early 1977 escape attempts occurred on a regular basis – in January alone there were three separate episodes. In many cases these attempts involved the active collaboration of political and ‘ordinary’ prisoners, further evidence of the potential of the prisons to function as a crucible for subversion. On 2 January 11 prisoners escaped from Treviso, including Prospero Gallinari (who had been arrested in October 1974, along with Alfredo Bonavita, and had been put on trial in 1976 – see above), who has written a vivid description of the escape, which involved the overpowering of several prison guards and then (the most difficult part) persuading a captured brigadier to have the main door to the exit opened: The guard looks at him through the spy hole. Everything seems calm. When I hear the key in the lock and it starts to turn, it seems to me like a sound from Hell. Freedom is there in front of us. Once we are inside we take machine guns and pistols from the weapon rack, and we shut the guards in a kind of cell (you can always find one in a prison!) which is at the entrance. Then everyone fled. I’m the last to leave and I have to shut the door behind me. (Il carcere speciale, p. 67) In his memoir Paolo Emilio Taviani, the DC politician and long-­time Minister of the Interior, has claimed that Gallinari’s escape was ‘organized’ in order to bring about the capture of Mario Moretti (Taviani 2002, p. 404), who had become de facto leader of the BR following the arrests of the capi storici. In Sergio Flamigni’s version of events, Gallinari was simply ‘released’ from Treviso for specific

56   Ending the violence purposes related to the state orchestration of terrorism (Flamigni 2004, p. 188). Neither Taviani, nor Flamigni are overly convincing in what they say – the idea that the state, whatever its role in the strategy of tension may have been, should have been organizing ‘selective’ escapes from prison is, to say the least, adventurous. Furthermore, this thesis does not explain why the state should have decided, at the same time as it was releasing Gallinari, to establish the carceri speciali with Dalla Chiesa himself in charge. However, it is also the case that the state should not be conceived as a monolithic entity: the various conspiracy theories rest precisely on the assumption that different sectors of the state pursued aims that were often at odds with each other, as they disagreed fundamentally as regards the strategies of containment of the Communist threat.

1977 and the introduction of the carceri speciali We do not, as yet, have precise information as to the origins of the idea to establish a series of carceri speciali throughout Italy, or when the decision was taken to entrust Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa with overall control of these prisons. Cappelli (1979, p.  23) describes the enlistment of Dalla Chiesa as an ‘attitudinal choice and one that was undoubtedly related to a certain type of strategy’. Quite apart from the situation inside the prisons, the number and nature of the fatalities associated with terrorist attacks no doubt contributed to the move. In December 1976 Alfonso Noce, the head of the anti-­terrorist squad for central Italy, was attacked by members of the NAP – leading to the death of one police officer and one of the nappisti. A few days later two more police officials were killed at Sesto San Giovanni near Milan while raiding the flat of the brigatista Walter Alasia, who was himself killed in the shootout. The following day a neo-­fascist bomb exploded in Brescia, killing a schoolteacher. There were also two major trials of terrorists taking place at the time: in Catanzaro the third trial for the Piazza Fontana bombing began in January, while in Turin another trial of the BR was suspended in early May after Fulvio Croce, whose responsibility it was to appoint defence lawyers, was shot dead and the giudici popolari, justifiably fearing for their personal safety, refused to participate in the proceedings. With kidnappings, deaths and mass protests very much a feature of the time, 1977 was a tumultuous year. The decision to create the carceri speciali was officially announced in the Interministerial decree n.450 of 12 May 1977 – by which time Dalla Chiesa had already swung into action. The ministers concerned were the Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Court, Francesco Paolo Bonifacio, Vito Lattanzio (the Minister of Defence) and Francesco Cossiga, the Minister of the Interior. The decree referred specifically to the ‘grave phenomenon of escapes from prison’ and its effects on ‘public order’. In other words the decree recognized that what was happening in the prisons was contributing to the charged climate outside. The carceri speciali were not, then, simply a response to a penal problem, but were also instituted in order to tackle wider issues. The decree referred to a carabinieri general who would take charge of the prisons, but Dalla Chiesa’s name only

Prisons and prison reform   57 appeared in a circular sent to the directors of Italy’s prisons asking for ‘full collaboration’ with him and that he should be provided ‘above all . . . with all necessary information about security, order and discipline with the institutes’ (Il carcere speciale, pp. 69–70). Dalla Chiesa soon asked for detailed information on a variety of issues: the nature of the checks carried out on those people entering and leaving the prisons, inspections of parcels, jobs assigned to inmates, the identity of food suppliers, the effectiveness of measures to prevent prisoners from having access to funds and so on. By early June four prisons had been identified as qualifying for special status: Cuneo (in Piedmont), Fossombrone (Marche), Trani (Puglia) and Asinara (Sardinia). A fifth prison would be added by July, and later in the year institutes in Novara, Termini Imerese, Nuoro and Pianosa would acquire special status. Information as to these locations was not initially released to the press. As one source within the Ministry of the Interior told journalists ‘We are in a period of war’ (Corriere della Sera, 23 July 1977). In an interview (10 February 2011) with one of the authors, Francesco Maisto, who was the judge who oversaw San Vittore prison in the 1980s, described the initial establishment of the carceri speciali in no uncertain terms: Let’s say that they were first set up outside any legal framework (‘senza alcuna forma di legalità’), given over to a carabinieri general, in what was almost a vote of no confidence in the work and the professionalism of the people who worked on the prisons in the Ministry of Justice. It was like he had been made a prison Tsar (‘una specie di commissariamento’). Of all the carceri speciali the one which would acquire most notoriety was Asinara, a small island off the north coast of Sardinia. There were three prison complexes on the island (now, incidentally, a nature reserve) at Cala d’Oliva, Fornelli and Cala Reale. Cala Reale was reserved for mafiosi, while the other two locations were used for political prisoners and others deemed to be particularly dangerous. At Cala d’Oliva, according to a document written by the prisoners themselves, the cells measured 4 m × 2.6 m, and contained four bed spaces and what is known in Italian as a ‘Turkish toilet’. Two hours of exercise were permitted each day, in an area around three times the size of the cell, which was itself covered over by a metal grill. Originally prisoners from different cells were not allowed to mingle, but following a visit from a member of parliament, prisoners from two cells were permitted to exercise at the same time. Any other communication between prisoners was not permitted. According to the prisoners the guards would seek every opportunity to provoke a reaction in order to justify ‘scientific beatings’. At Fornelli the cells were larger. Food consisted of soup or pasta, around 60 g of cheese, or low quality mortadella. Meat was served once a week, while on Saturdays three tomatoes were added to the menu. Medical assistance was described as virtually non-­existent, with one type of suppository used to cover a multitude of illnesses. While Asinara was the prison par excellence for the top ranking members of the BR, in a letter to Lotta Continua the prison in Novara was described as being for ‘2nd division rebels’. Despite this, the inmates complained of

58   Ending the violence horrifying violence, of an entirely new type, and above all, it is clear, of a style planned in offices with the help of psychologists. The result was meant, and is indeed showing itself to be, our psychological destruction, something like a lobotomy, electric shock treatment, pentotal, and perhaps madness and suicide all rolled into one. (Il carcere speciale, p. 76) Similarly disturbing claims were made by prisoners in Badu ’e Carros (Nuoro), who described the prison regimes as concentration camps . . . strategic instruments of the counter-­revolution, designed to destroy each prisoner physically and psychologically with the weapons of segregation and a whole series of restrictions which, in the intentions of the ‘prison technicians’ should take us rapidly to the ‘final solution’. (Il carcere speciale, p. 81) Pianosa, another special prison set up after the first wave, was, according to some of its prisoners, comparable to other better known ‘concentration camps’ and ‘a veritable monument to the repressive sadism of the bourgeois state’ (Il carcere speciale, p. 81). A number of left-­wing intellectuals joined in a campaign against the carceri speciali. Of these, the most famous and conspicuous was the actress Franca Rame. In an article about Asinara she wrote that rather than risk an encounter with Luigi Cardullo, the director of the prison, inmates would resort to self-­ harm. In an attempt to counter these and other stories, journalists, including Vincenzo Tessandori from La Stampa and Adolfo Fiorani from the Socialist L’Avanti!, were invited to come and see conditions for themselves. Tessandori went on to write a whole series of articles about the carceri speciali which, while not confirming some of the more ghoulish stories, suggested that ‘not all the information was false’. During his visit to Asinara, Tessandori met with a range of prisoners including Curcio, Sante Notarnicola and the neo-­fascist Pierluigi Concutelli. While Curcio declared that he was in good health, and certainly not contemplating suicide, as had been claimed, Concutelli was more sanguine. In response to the question ‘Come si vive qui?’ (How’s life?), he responded ‘Non si vive’ (You don’t live here). Tessandori also revealed the obstacles placed before potential visitors – there was only one small boat available and that could not sail in bad weather. When the elements colluded against the relatives, as happened frequently, the visit was not moved to another day, but simply cancelled. The report ended with a description of the director’s office, graced by a sculpture of a vulture – apparently the work of Cardullo himself (La Stampa, 3 August 1979). Tessandori’s articles on the carceri speciali were complemented by an important opinion piece written by the judge, Giovanni Conso, who offered a balanced analysis in an article in La Stampa. Conso reflected on the evident calm

Prisons and prison reform   59 in Italian prisons during the month of August 1977, a month usually characterized by protest. On the one hand he attributed this to the expectations among some prisoners of an improvement to their conditions and the possibility of future benefits. On the other, however, he identified the regime in the carceri speciali as a factor contributing to the absence of tension. Yet this calm had come at a price – the carceri speciali, originally designed to prevent escapes, had become instruments of repression, segregation and isolation, in many ways a retrograde step which flew in the face of the Constitution and the idea that everyone is equal before the law. The debate continued in the pages of La Stampa in the shape of an open letter written by the journalist Carlo Casalegno to Dalla Chiesa. Casalegno underlined the support the paper had given to Dalla Chiesa, as well as to prison reform. While many of the denunciations of the carceri speciali could be attributed to extremists (he singled out Franca Rame as an example) waging a campaign against the state, Casalegno argued that there was some substance behind the torrent of complaints of ‘abuse’ and ‘violence’. A ‘curtain of silence’ had been drawn over the carceri speciali, and Casalegno invited Dalla Chiesa to ensure human rights were respected. The carceri speciali, Casalegno concluded, needed to be escape-­proof, but they also needed to be ‘houses of glass’ (La Stampa, 31 August 1977, p.  2). That Casalegno should have asked for transparency in the carceri speciali was a significant development. He was a senior figure in the newspaper’s hierarchy and was well-­known for his intransigence towards the terrorists. Casalegno would, perhaps, have gone on to play a role in ending terrorism, as many distinguished torinesi did, but he had already been identified as a BR target. By the end of November he was dead. On the basis of information reaching the newspapers, there is some evidence to suggest that the regime in the carceri speciali did change over time. The evidence, however, is far from clear and can only be described as highly mediated. For example, an article published in La Stampa in October 1979 describes how a prison guard at Asinara had made an anonymous phone call to the ANSA press agency in Cagliari. The guard described how the brigatista Roberto Ognibene had been passed a rudimentary weapon by a fellow nappista and used it to attack the warder who had been accompanying him. The attack was dealt with and Ognibene was successfully immobilized, but not before other prisoners had thrown improvized and rudimentary bombs made from pharmaceuticals brought in by visiting relatives. The article indicated that visits no longer took place between glass screens, as had been the case, and that security was falling apart. In view of this situation the prison guards threatened to withdraw their labour and also asked for the resignation of the director of the prison, Cardullo (La Stampa, 9 October 1979, p. 7). Irrespective of the authenticity of the caller, what the article shows is the importance of the carceri speciali in the context of the increasing number of arrests of terrorists that took place in this period, including that of Prospero Gallinari. By the end of 1979 Dalla Chiesa’s anti-­ terrorist squads had scored a number of significant successes, but more was to come.

60   Ending the violence In early 1980 Patrizio Peci and another member of the Turin column of the BR were arrested in Turin by Dalla Chiesa’s carabinieri. Peci soon began to talk and so began the period of pentitismo. As was argued in Chapter 2, the encouragements given to turn state’s evidence undoubtedly had an effect on the terrorist organizations, but the successes should not be overestimated. One unwanted product of the phenomenon was a dramatic increase in the number of prison murders – acts of revenge against former comrades who had ‘sung’, or were about to do so. These killings took place in a number of different locations and they have tended to remain in the background of analysis, but it is worthwhile recalling some of the more significant episodes such as: the strangulation of Pasquale Viale by BR in the Nuove in Turin; the killing of Ugo Benazzi by members of the NAP in Cuneo; the strangulation of Ermanno Buzzi with the shoelaces of neo-­fascists Pierluigi Concutelli and Mario Tuti in the carcere speciale at Novara. Buzzi also had his eyes gouged out. This list is by no means exhaustive. Arguably the most dramatic period in the history of the ‘prison question’ came at the end of 1980. On 12 December Giovanni d’Urso, a judge who was also responsible for prisons at the Ministry of Justice, was kidnapped by the BR. This indicated that for the BR, or at least for the Rome column of the BR, it was those individuals who headed up the prison service who were now the most significant targets. In the fourth communiqué issued during the d’Urso kidnapping the BR explicitly demanded the closure of the carcere speciale system and Asinara in particular: ‘This weapon of torture and extortion should no longer exist. It should be abolished, and not just for political prisoners’ (La Stampa, 24 December 1980, p.  7). The government reacted promptly and Asinara was indeed shut. The decision was interpreted as a concession to the BR and provoked a storm of criticism, with President Pertini particularly unhappy at this development. Behind the decision, no doubt, lurked the shadow of Aldo Moro and the hope that, by meeting the BR request, D’Urso would be soon freed, as did indeed happen in mid-­January the following year. However, the excitement at the closure of Asinara spread to Trani where the terrorists took 18 hostages, demanded the freeing of all political prisoners and also the closure of all the carceri speciali. On this occasion a decision was taken not to bargain with the terrorists. On 29 December the revolt was crushed by a special outfit of the carabinieri (known as Gruppi di interventi speciali – GIS), led by Enrico Galvaligi (Galvaligi was Dalla Chiesa’s right-­hand man and, as emerged some years later, had played an important role in liaising, in secret, with the press in 1979 over the memoriale di Moro). In an instant response to the crushing of the Trani uprising, Galvaligi was killed in Rome by BR terrorists Remo Pancelli and Pietro Vanzi. In October 1980 at Badu ’e Carros Prison in Nuoro four leading members of the Red Brigades, Morucci, Franceschini, Ognibene and Mario Rossi who had all been transferred there from Asinara, organized a prison revolt. They demanded that 50 prisoners be transferred to other prisons closer to their homes. During the course of the revolt two ‘ordinary’ prisoners were killed by fellow inmates. Further killings would take place throughout 1981. It was no

Prisons and prison reform   61 coincidence that in the same year the chaplain of Badu ’e Carros resigned after almost 30 years of service. The Bishop of Nuoro subsequently found it extraordinarily difficult to find a replacement for him. He approached a number of possible candidates but they all refused – evidently concerned that the prison had become, in the words of Salvatore Bussu, the man who did eventually take the post, a ‘powderkeg’ (Bussu 1988, p.  11). Bussu volunteered his services and he took up his post in February 1981. His initial impressions were that he had entered a ‘kingdom of . . . tragic suffering’ (p. 11), but it was precisely this impression which reminded him of the affinity between Jesus and the figure of the prisoner as articulated in Matthew 25:36: ‘I was in prison and you visited me’. At the first Mass which he conducted in the presence of ordinary prisoners, he referred to Hebrews 13:3: ‘Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them’. Bussu openly discussed his own difficult childhood with the prisoners. His own past, and numerous references to prisoners throughout the Old and New Testaments, helped him to begin the process of forming a relationship with the ordinary prisoners in Badu ’e Carros. However, he had a more difficult task with those prisoners held in the maximum security wing. After a few months he went down to their cells and greeted them through their spy holes, but no dialogue was initiated. The only response he received, indeed, was the ‘occasional sarcastic comment’ (p. 38). Following a particularly difficult encounter with the imprisoned terrorists on Christmas Eve he decided to change his tactics and wrote them all a letter in which he apologized for his failures up to that point. He admitted frankly that between him and his addressees ‘there might well be points of disagreement, above all of an ideological character’. He recognized that many of them were of ‘Catholic extraction’ but had ‘broken every link with the church and with religion’. Others, who came from ‘even further away’, had never had ‘any connection whatsoever with Christianity’. Despite this he felt that this was not an insurmountable obstacle and promised that he had no intention of preaching to them or of ‘wanting to convert them’ (p. 39). Apparently the letter was discussed by the terrorist prisoners, but none of them reacted to his invitation to speak. He therefore took the decision to approach them on an individual basis, speaking, amongst others, to Giuliano Isa, a core member of the BR, and ­Pierluigi Concutelli, a right-­wing terrorist who a few months later would go on to strangle a suspected pentito in the prison at Novara. Evidently they had a cordial exchange and Concutelli thanked him for his initiative. Other prisoners with whom Bussu began a dialogue included Maurice Bignami (Prima Linea) and Gabriele Grimaldi (PAC), who were both organizing their respective marriages but were encountering significant bureaucratic and organizational difficulties. As we will see in Chapter 4, religion was a decisive factor in Bignami’s process of re-­integration into society. However, by far the most important encounter of the period was with Mario Moretti, who implored Bussu to intervene with the authorities over their application of Article 90 of the 1975 prison reform (see above). Bussu responded, though not immediately, in the form of an interview published in the weekly news magazine Panorama in May 1983, bluntly entitled ‘Ma il cappellano non ci sta’

62   Ending the violence (But the chaplain doesn’t agree). Franceschini, on the other hand, refused to have any contact with the priest at this stage. After the initial exploratory encounters in early 1982 the prison authorities refused to allow Bussu further contact with prisoners in the maximum security wing, a situation which lasted for 18 months. Perhaps they felt that this would deter Don Bussu from any further action, but in fact it had quite the opposite effect. As a member of the National Council of Chaplains he voiced his concerns at a series of meetings, one of which was attended by Amato. By this stage there appears to have been growing a significant movement among prison chaplains around Italy, a movement which found focus at a national conference held in Rome in November 1983 and whose central theme was ‘the dignity of the individual’ (la dignità della persona umana). The two main speakers at the conference were Alfredo Carlo Moro, the brother of Aldo Moro, and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who would become a key figure in church–terrorist relations in the years to follow. The topic under discussion was not, it goes without saying, a new one. The issue of the ‘dignità della persona umana’ had emerged as a primary concern for the Catholic Church during the Second Vatican Council. It is discussed in detail in the Gaudium et Spes, promulgated the day the council closed in December 1965 and whose incipit was an inspiration to those who believed the Catholic Church could carve out a new role for itself in a rapidly changing world: ‘The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well’. It was also one of the primary concerns of the Pope at the time, John Paul II, who elaborated on it in his encyclicals, particularly the Redemptor hominis of 1979. In 1983 the International Theological Commission published an important document of the ‘dignity and rights of the human individual’. The attempts made by Bussu and others to reach out to the imprisoned terrorists can thus be located in a very precise theological context which was also characterized by a rare coincidence of thought and action – exemplified by the visit of John Paul II in December 1983 to Mehmet Ali Agca, in prison at Rebibbia. On that occasion, the Pope sent a lengthy message to the Rebibbia prisoners, which included the phrase ‘rights and dignity of the individual’ (Parente 2007). The November 1983 conference attracted widespread press coverage and, according to Bussu’s narrative, had a galvanizing effect on Franceschini and Bonisoli who asked to speak to him upon his return to Sardinia. Franceschini demonstrated his ‘appreciation for the entire Church, the only organization, according to him, which was elaborating a real discussion for peace’ (p. 43). At the end of their meeting they asked for a copy of the proceedings of the conference, which were due to be published in L’Ortobene, the diocesan journal edited by Bussu himself. At a subsequent meeting Franceschini and Bonisoli asked the priest if they could address each other in the informal ‘tu’ form, an invitation which he accepted. At this stage, according to Bussu, he had no idea of the strategy which the two, along with a group of other imprisoned terrorists, were preparing to embark upon. On 10 December 1983 the prison director, Felice

Prisons and prison reform   63 Bocchino, passed on a request to Bussu for a meeting with Franceschini, Bonisoli, as well as Ognibene, Massimo Gidoni and two others, who had declared a hunger strike. The six had in fact written a letter to Bussu in which they explained their reasons for this drastic course of action: With this choice we want above all to re-­appropriate something which belongs to us in a truly inviolable way: our identity as men, our real life, in all its profundity! For us this is a life choice. Because, by consuming and eating our bodies, making it up to us who decides times and methods of existence, this is in fact a life choice, perhaps the only possible life choice we have in the conditions in which we find ourselves. By Christmas another prisoner, Giuseppe Federigi, had joined the hunger strike which, by this stage, had received very little coverage in the press. In an act of solidarity, the Bishop of Nuoro then decided that he was not prepared to hold Mass in the prison on Christmas Day, delegating the task instead to Bussu. The latter complied, describing it as one of the most ‘difficult masses of his entire life’ (p.  53), but felt that he too had to make a gesture. This gesture involved sending a letter of resignation to the bishop, a copy of which he also sent to ANSA, the Italian press agency. The letter appeared in almost every Italian daily, either in full or in abbreviated form. On the front page of the papers which carried the story there appeared, coincidentally perhaps, the clamorous images of the Pope visiting Ali Agca in Rebibbia. In a subsequent interview published in L’Ortobene on 1 January 1984, Bussu referred to this episode while justifying his decision to call the hunger strikers his brothers: ‘Despite their crimes they are still sons of God and therefore my brothers. . . . [W]hat does the meeting of the Pope with his attacker tell you?’. Bussu’s letter is an extraordinary document by any standards. He wrote that: While my brothers – for that is how I view them, whoever they may be and whatever crimes they have committed – die slowly, I cannot continue to carry out my ministry only a short distance away, as if nothing were happening. From today therefore I will interrupt my pastoral service at Badu ’e Carros, and am ready to begin again only when in that prison, and in the special wing, a decision is taken to introduce a method of treating prisoners which conforms to their status as human beings, in full respect for their individual dignity (il rispetto della dignità della persona) – as is prescribed in article 1 of the prison laws of 1975. (pp. 53–4) He went on to explain that his decision was taken in his capacity as a priest, and out of his hatred for ‘all forms of violence’. In a subsequently much discussed passage he referred to the ‘terrorism of the Red Brigades’ on the one hand and on the other ‘a terrorism of the state’ (p. 54). Later, Bussu would argue that his choice of words was a product of the heat of the moment. Whatever was the

64   Ending the violence case, such language was not characteristic of a Catholic priest, neither before nor after the terrorist period. Bussu’s letter certainly provoked a reaction and the issue continued to get full treatment in the press. According to Franceschini the prison director expressed a wish that the hunger strikers should emulate Bobby Sands (who would die for his cause) rather than Marco Pannella, the leader of the Radical Party who regularly staged hunger strikes but tended to call them off before any risk to his health emerged. Indeed Pannella himself soon arrived in Nuoro to offer his support. The numbers of protestors swelled to 18 until Martinazzoli, the DC Minister of Justice, announced a three month relaxation of clause 90 and some changes to the prison regime – increasing, for example, the time of the ora d’aria (prisoner exercise), improving visiting regulations, and improving the quality and quantity of the food. By early January the protest was over, although La Stampa reported on 5 January that at the prison in Cuneo, Paolo Maurizio Ferrari, a member of the historic nucleus of the BR, was still on hunger strike and that a decision to force feed him was imminent. A second hunger strike began in Badu ’e Carros at the end of February 1984, and by the end of March Martinazzoli had decided to shut the special wing down and transfer the terrorists to prisons on the mainland – San Vittore in Milan, and Rebibbia. Salvatore Bussu resigned as prison chaplain in September 1984. The importance of the Badu ’e Carros hunger strike has been recognized by Luigi Pagano, one of the directors of the carceri speciali in the 1980s. In an interview with one of the authors (2 February 2011), Pagano recalled the incident as follows: I remember a very important episode. At Nuoro the political prisoners had declared a hunger strike and, subsequently, they ended up in hospital. This already represented a sign of dialogue, a hunger strike to ask for something, by people who accepted no dialogue with the institutions. The person who realized that this was a request and didn’t miss the opportunity was the bishop . . . who went to the hospital to speak with them. It was a sign that times were changing and in that period the principal interlocutor was the Church, a neutral institution, the only one that could, at least at that time, proffer its hand unreservedly. The Badu ’e Carros hunger strike marked the beginning of a process which would go on to gain further momentum during 1984. In part this was because the Catholic press would continue to discuss the issue of the relationship between the Church and the terrorists with coverage in magazines like the popular Famiglia cristiana and Avvenire, but also in the more heavyweight journals such as L’Osservatore romano and, most importantly, La civiltà cattolica. Additionally, however, it is important to note that 1984 was a turning point in Church– state relations with the signing of a new, historic, concordat in February after years of negotiations. The concordat meant an end to Catholicism as the state religion (a development of great significance) but recognized the freedom of the Catholic Church to carry out its mission. For those Catholic priests who were at

Prisons and prison reform   65 the forefront of the dialogue with the imprisoned terrorists their activities were, no doubt, seen as now being officially sanctioned by these historic developments. They were now, in a very palpable way, free to do what their conscience and beliefs dictated, without having to be concerned about any possible damage to church–state relations. 1984 was also characterized by the emergence of two other figures in the Catholic Church – Cardinal Martini in Milan and Father Ernesto Balducci in Florence – both of who would carry on the work begun by Don Bussu. In one of his first acts as the Archbishop of Milan, Martini visited the cells of the terrorists at San Vittore and even requested to enter their exercise area. As for this particular episode, according to the prison director, Luigi Pagano, the terrorists had been initially ‘taken completely by surprise’ when he visited them, but then asked him ‘to pray for them and with them’. According to Pagano it was the prison chaplain, Don Melesi, who had done most of the groundwork for this encounter, but it was Martini’s intelligence and authority which allowed him to become the terrorists’ principal interlocutor. In one of the most famous episodes of the period a young man of around 25 years of age knocked on the door of the archbishop’s palace in Milan. He was carrying three large bags and asked to speak to Cardinal Martini’s secretary. He was shown in and, after he had been left alone for a few moments, left the bags on the secretary’s desk and fled. According to a report compiled by the police the bags contained two Kalashnikov AK47 rifles, 1,240 rounds of ammunition, various other rifles and pistols, and a bazooka shell. Doubts were expressed at the time as to why an unknown individual carrying three heavy bags should have been left alone in the secretary’s office, and it was probably the case that the weapons arrived in different circumstances. But what was more important was why the terrorists should have chosen to surrender weapons to the Church. What was the precise significance of the gesture? According to La Repubblica journalist, Fabrizio Ravelli, in an article published on 22 June 1984, this was a signal which was ‘unequivocal, clamorous, and without precedent’. There had been other occasions when terrorists had handed in their weapons, but they had always been given in to representatives of the state, ‘the only interlocutor’. But now things had changed and, since the state did not believe that the period of emergency was over, the Church was preferred: ‘the Church which pardons without asking for anything in exchange, which listens, and is open to dialogue’. The paternity of the gesture was, in fact, soon traced to Ernesto Balducchi, one of the leaders of the Co-­co-ri (Revolutionary Communist Committees) who were on trial in Milan at the time. On 27 May Balducchi had written a letter to Martini that would later be read out in court. ‘In you’, Balducchi wrote to the cardinal: ‘we see the only chance of a solution which does not damage the social aspects of the transition. . . .This is why you can legitimately receive our spontaneous renunciation of our weapons’. Balducchi signed the letter off: ‘suo in Cristo, attraverso l’uomo’ (yours in Christ, through man). Further clarification of the motives behind the move would come in the form of a letter signed by members of Prima Linea, which recognized the ‘exemplary role of the Church’ and above

66   Ending the violence all, the ‘more human and social rather than political’ work of Martini in the process of reconciliation. The ‘weapons hand over’ was clearly a dramatic gesture. But there was more to follow, not least when Martini agreed in August 1984 to baptize the twins born to Giulia Borelli and Enrico Galmozzi, two members of Prima Linea who had contrived to conceive their children during a trial hearing. Martini would later explain how the request had been made by Galmozzi during his Christmas visit (Avvenire, 13 March 2008). The baptism of the Galmozzi–Borelli twins caused outrage in some circles, with one of their victims, Sergio Lenci (for further discussion of this important figure see Chapter 7), sending a letter of protest to La Repubblica, published on 24 June 1984. Lenci recalled in some detail how Borelli and others had burst into his studio in May 1980 and how he had narrowly avoided death at their hands. In his view the baptism was a propaganda stunt and an abuse of the innocence of the children involved. Martini, who no doubt received a lot of criticism from various quarters, decided to clarify his position in an article published in La civiltà cattolica in September 1984. He insisted that the ‘renewal of society’ had to come by way of a ‘renewal of man’ and that it was the Church’s job to facilitate this, and to welcome all manifestations of ‘good will’, even if they came from the prison environment. Ernesto Balducci’s approach in Florence was, arguably, less designed to provoke a media storm. Balducci was attached to a church at Fiesole, outside the control of the conservative Bishop of Florence. He regularly met with the families of imprisoned terrorists, most of whom were related to members of Prima Linea. As a result of his experiences he met and exchanged letters with many prisoners in the Florentine jails, most of which are now held in the archive established to preserve his memory (Galfré 2005). Balducci’s interest in the imprisoned terrorists can be, in the main, explained by the debate about the role of the Catholic Church at the time. Additionally, however, Balducci was an original and, to his followers, an almost visionary thinker. Working with the terrorists fitted in with the ideas he was elaborating at the time, ideas that would be published in his 1985 book, L’uomo planetario. Along with Mario Gozzini, Balducci was a frequent visitor to the aree omogenee, which will be discussed in the next section.

The aree omogenee The origins of the aree omogenee can be traced to a document entitled ‘Una generazione politica è detenuta’ (A political generation is imprisoned) which was drawn up by prisoners in Rebibbia in August 1982 and published in early September in Il Manifesto together with a list of 50 signatories from among prisoners who belonged to a wide range of left-­wing formations. With the exception of Toni Negri, the names are not among the highest ranking individuals in the lotta armata, but this misses the point of the initiative, which was all about trying to open a dialogue between the state and the many imprisoned individuals who were neither pentiti nor hard liners. The opening paragraphs of the document made a clear and unequivocal statement of the current situation:

Prisons and prison reform   67 Today, in Italian prisons, there is a wide range of comrades who sit in between the two noisy poles made up of ‘combatants’ and pentiti. Among these comrades there are different positions or tendencies and they frequently prefer to communicate in hushed, sottovoce tones. All of those who express these positions, however, know for certain what the central problem is: it is the search for a political solution to the issue of the thousands of comrades who are today in prison, on the run, exiled or in provisional liberty. This search takes as its starting point the political position of a clear refusal of ‘combatant’ or terrorist stances or forms of behaviour. This is the first step in requesting and stimulating a dialectic, active and productive relationship with those social and political forces who intend to go beyond the politics of the special laws and of terror, in order to initiate a new phase of transformation. The document went on to state that the different positions all had their own legitimacy, but that together they intended to ‘exit from isolation’ and ‘take on a collective force’. The state, it was argued, had used a military solution to the problem of terrorism – a solution which included the promotion of pentitismo and the use of prison sentences which were redolent of ‘pure vendetta’. The murder of pentiti had, so it was argued, paradoxically increased the sense of solidarity amongst some terrorists, and reinforced the polarity between pentiti at one end of the spectrum, and combatants at the other. State policy was directed at these poles, and avoided any dialogue with those who did not use the language of ‘war or death’. For those people who spoke a different language, the opening up of a dialogue did not mean selling off their rich ‘patrimony of ideas’, but did entail a measure of ‘political self-­criticism’ (autocritica) of the errors which had led to the ‘crisis of the projects for social transformation’. There was a clean and unequivocal split between the ‘logic of war’ and the desire to be once again ‘present in a process of transformation’. The document went on to argue for the necessity for a change in the emergency laws, including a verification of the statements made by pentiti. But at its core lay a recognition, and a demand, that it was from within prison itself that change could most effectively be brought about. The distribution, or redistribution, of prisoners, was one of the first requests to be made, followed by other demands for change in the prison system: We ask: •



that we are granted the right to decide for ourselves our location within prisons, on the basis of cultural, political, sentimental and judicial affinities. The problem of the ‘security’ of the aree omogenee . . . is a central problem which needs to be determined by ourselves and with the utmost clarity. that experimental initiatives are introduced which foster socialization and links between the individual prison communities and the outside

68   Ending the violence

• • • •

world; these to include cultural activities, opportunities for work, and the presence within the prisons of external socio-­cultural activities. that guaranteed constitutional rights are re-­enacted, such as those of association, rights which are currently denied to us as soon as we enter prison. that alternative proposals to imprisonment are developed, that the provisions for semiliberty involving work outside the prisons are enhanced . . . and that forms of service in civil enterprises are introduced. that alternative measures to the barbarity of preventive detention are introduced. that the individual and widespread application of article 90, which leads to the physical, emotional and intellectual destruction of the prisoner, is abolished, and that any new, related, initiatives are put on ice.

The sentiments and aspirations of the document would not have gone far had there not been a general climate of openness at Rebibbia itself, fostered by a progressive prison director in the shape of Luigi Turco. The area omogenea at Rebibbia was also given a boost by calls for reform which came from other prisoners who did not have a terrorist past. These ‘ordinary’ prisoners organized a conference on prison reform in 1984 which took place in Rebibbia itself (Gizzi 1987) in the presence of leading politicians including the Mayor of Rome, as well Nicolò Amato (who had taken over the job of Director General of the Prison Service and would play a central role in the reform process in successive years). The 1984 conference also saw the participation of one member of the area omogenea, Roberto Vitelli, who had been among the 50 signatories to ‘A political generation is imprisoned’. There is, then, some compelling evidence that at least a measure of the responsibility for prison reform should be attributed to the terrorist prisoners themselves. In this respect it is once again instructive to study the observations of Luigi Pagano and Francesco Maisto. According to Pagano: Perhaps their role in bringing about the ‘new deal’ in the prisons has been exaggerated, but they undoubtedly played a part. They were people, compared to those who traditionally frequent the nation’s prisons, with a higher level of analysis and political awareness, with whom it was even pleasurable to have a discussion. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 2 February 2011) Similarly, Maisto referred to the intellectual level of the terrorists and suggested that politicians, above all Gozzini, went into the prisons in order to gather the kind of information needed to frame the legislation. Maisto, however, was keen to emphasize how the positive outcome was the result of the interactions of various stake-­holders: I believe that the aree omogenee, which were the keystone of the whole system, were a strategic decision originating from within the department of

Prisons and prison reform   69 penitentiary administration in agreement with some intelligent sectors of Italian political life and with the participation of groups of prisoners. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 February 2011) By the summer of 1984 two of the protagonists of the Moro kidnapping, Morucci and Faranda, had become involved in the process, collaborating with other dissociati on a document which highlighted the role of the Catholic Church and the importance of a dialogue with the victims. There are those who would claim that Morucci and Faranda were preparing the ground for their participation in the second Moro trial. The trial took place at a time when it was estimated that there were around 1,400 left-­wing terrorists and 240 right-­wing terrorists who claimed they were dissociati. Of these, the most famous were Morucci and Faranda, who gave detailed evidence about the Moro kidnapping in a gesture of repentance which was not appreciated by those members of the BR who maintained a hard-­line position. Stefano Petrella, who was a member of the PCC, rose to his feet in protest when Morucci prepared to give his testimony: ‘This is nauseating. . . . [I]t’s a document which is an outrage to the entire experience of the revolutionary struggle. We refuse to stay here and listen to the obscenities Morucci wants to say to us’ (La Repubblica, 19 January 1985). Whatever the views of the irriducibili of the BR-­PCC, the court decided in the end to reduce the sentences for Morucci and Faranda (from life to 30 years), while the life tariffs for Moretti, Gallinari and others were maintained. Don Germano Greganti, who was president of the Carcere e comunità association, suggested that the lessening of the sentences was a ‘notable sign of a changed climate which brings to an end the period of emergency’. This was taking things a bit far, but there was a widespread feeling that the leniency shown towards Morucci and Faranda was a key moment. Among the many visitors to Rebibbia at this crucial time was the veteran journalist, Miriam Mafai. Mafai, who wrote for La Repubblica, was a distinguished and highly respected name who was also the long-­term partner of the Communist firebrand Giancarlo Pajetta. Mafai met with representatives from different terrorist organizations – Franceschini and Franco Tommei from the 7 Aprile group and Roberto Vitelli from Prima Linea – and they discussed a research project on the relationship between terrorism and the media. Mafai, however, was keen to warn against the temptations that such a prison visit offered: As soon as you cross the prison gate there is a risk that you are taken up by emotions and, before those men of flesh and blood sitting on the other side of the table and condemned to very long sentences (Vitelli and Franceschini are lifers), you forget the faces, by now almost faded from memory, of the victims of the ferocity of the anni di piombo. (La Repubblica, 3 August 1985) In January 1988 Nicolò Amato visited the ‘G8’ section of Rebibbia, which was the area of the prison designated for dissociati. In a surprise development

70   Ending the violence Moretti and Curcio, who maintained their ‘fourth position’, asked to speak to him, leading to what La Repubblica described as an ‘historic meeting’. What they said was of little importance, but its symbolic significance was clear. Having shortly before declared that the historical period in which terrorism had developed was over, the meeting served to put clear blue water between them and those remnants of the BR who had not dissociated and who were still carrying out attacks in Italy. The previous year had, for example, seen a BR attack on a postal van in Rome leading to two deaths and the killing of Licio Giorgieri by the Unione dei Comunisti Combattenti (UCC) – whose existence had been discovered in early 1987 at the same time as the dissociation laws were passed. The following April the BR killed Roberto Ruffilli, a close associate of the powerful Christian Democrat Ciriaco De Mita. In a separate incident the neo-­fascist terrorist Mario Tuti had led a revolt in the Porto Azzurro prison in Elba. By speaking to Amato, Curcio and Moretti were, then, trying to distance themselves from the continuing intransigence of senior figures in ‘black terrorism’, but above all they were helping to delegitimize what remained of ‘red’ terrorism outside the prisons. When, in subsequent years, the BR resurfaced, the condemnation of their acts by terrorists active in the anni di piombo may not have quite put an end to the violence, but they were not empty gestures. A former inmate of Rebibbia was also responsible for the screenplay of one of the few films which deals with the problems of adapting to life out of prison. Annunziata Francola, a member of the Roman column of the BR, collaborated with director Marco Leto on L’Uscita, which was released in 1988. At a press conference Francola explained how she wanted to ‘photograph the story of a woman who had been a terrorist, no longer believes in it, but has to live with this failure’ (La Repubblica, 22 July 1988). After over three years in jail Francola went on to explain how she had enrolled on a cultural anthropology course at Rome university, and had two further screenplays on the go. Her film, she went on to explain, had a ‘moral significance’ and was a condemnation of terrorism and its ideology. The area omogenea at Rebibbia is also interesting for the role played by Sister Teresa Brambilla who, according to a book published after her death (Valle 2006), befriended the likes of Morucci, Faranda, Giusva Fioravanti and Franceschini, as well as the widow of one of Moro’s escort party. The claim that she was behind Morucci’s decision to contact Francesco Cossiga in 1990 is perhaps taking things a little too far, but there is no doubt that Brambilla and others, in a country where Catholic ideas of forgiveness were and are still strong, had a role to play. Franceschini – one of the former BR terrorists who engaged with Sister Brambilla – played an increasingly significant role in the late 1980s. From having been one of the irriducibili, smashing up the intercoms in the carcere speciale at Cuneo, Franceschini underwent a very significant transformation. As a dissociato at Rebibbia he became involved in a project to create a journal on Italian prisons entitled Ora d’aria, a collective venture bringing together individuals from the area omogenea, the Communist cultural organization ARCI, and the campaigning journalist Carmen Bertolazzi.

Prisons and prison reform   71 In addition to Rebibbia and the Nuove, some of the most interesting and forward-­thinking developments took place inside Sollicciano Prison in Florence – a city associated with prison reform by virtue of the origins of Gozzini. As important, however, as Gozzini, was the presence of the architect Giovanni Michelucci, who worked on a number of prison-­related projects, as well as the foundation established in his name. The Michelucci Foundation and Lando Conti (the Mayor of Florence at the time) brokered an agreement, which dated back to the Prima Linea trial of January 1985, facilitating links between the aree omogenee at Sollicciano and the provincial and regional authorities, as well as the university, magistrates and other Florentine cultural figures. Corrado Marcetti, one of the leaders of Prima Linea, would go on to become the head of the foundation. Amongst other initiatives aimed at enhancing the social inclusion of prisoners, the Michelucci Foundation was instrumental in designing and bringing to completion the garden at Sollicciano where prisoners can meet with their families and, in particular, their children. The garden was opened in 2007, by which time the Prima Linea terrorists were long gone, but the project had its origins in that period and is seen as a positive benefit (one of very few) of the legacy of terrorism.

Conclusion: managing release and return to the community In 1986 a far-­reaching programme of prison reform was introduced as a result of what is known as the Gozzini law. The law introduced a raft of reforms, the most significant of which were the provisions outlined in clause 21 for the day release, or ‘semi-­liberty’, of prisoners, to allow them to engage in work outside the prison (Ruggiero 1995, pp. 54–5). Franceschini was one of many who benefited from this facility. The Gozzini law also paved the way for visits by prisoners to their families. This provision already existed, but only in cases where a relative was gravely ill (a case in point is the Prima Linea terrorist Liviana Tosi, who was allowed to visit her mother in January 1987). Two dissociati who were granted what was known as a licenza-­premio were Faranda and Morucci, who spent New Year 1987 at Faranda’s family home in Rome. This ‘prize’ provoked some hostility from politicians as well as some sections of the police force, who organized a demonstration in the Teatro Olimpico at Rome. The provisions for day release required the prisoner to have an offer of work. These were not long in coming. In many cases the Catholic Chuch was involved. In Turin, for example, the Gruppo Abele, led by Don Ciotti, ran a drug rehabilitation programme and invited the high profile figures of Sergio Segio and Susanna Ronconi to participate in the initiative. The presiding magistrate, Fornace, accepted Ronconi’s application, but turned down Segio’s, on the basis that too little time had elapsed since his most recent sentence had been passed. The couple went on hunger strike in protest, and Franceschini and Bignami joined them. The incident is but one example of the vagaries of the decision-­ making process. As the criminologist Vincenzo Ruggiero (1995) has rightly pointed out, the flexibility of the Italian system has some advantages, but some

72   Ending the violence decisions are taken in response to potential public reaction, rather than on the basis of an objective application of the regulations. Unsurprisingly, the idea of former terrorists enjoying something approaching a normal life represented a major challenge to some sectors of Italian society, not least the victims. While the facility for day release was in itself a positive measure, it could certainly be argued that there was a problem over the management of individual cases. While the law did not require the victims to be consulted, some kind of dialogue might have been encouraged. The problems are perhaps best illustrated by the film La seconda volta, which dramatizes the encounter between Alberto Sajevo (a character based on Sergio Lenci – see Chapter 7) and Lisa, the female terrorist who shot him in his office. Sajevo, who has never recovered psychologically and physically from his attack (the bullet is still lodged in his head) unexpectedly encounters her in Turin while she is out of prison on her work placement. While the film seems to suggest a level of pessimism about the possibilities of dialogue between the two, there are moments of communication. In the final scene Sajevo tears up a letter he writes to her, but the film ends on an ambiguous note – the tunnel he travels through on a train heading to Germany is also taking him to a place where he will have an operation to remove the terrorist bullet. The open ending of La seconda volta very effectively encapsulates the issues raised by prison reform which have been discussed in this chapter. On the one hand the changes in the prison system can be seen as pioneering, a reflection of some of the many positive changes which characterized the Italian approach to such institutions in the period. Nevertheless, as was the case with the legislation analysed in the previous chapter, the absence of the victims from discussions must temper our final judgement on the success of the changes to the prison regime (see Chapter 7 for further analysis).

4 Ending terrorism, as told by the former terrorists

Introduction The previous two chapters have looked in detail at the machinery of the Italian state. This chapter draws on recent memoirs by, and interviews with, former terrorists from both the left and the right in order to reappraise the end of terrorism in Italy as told by the protagonists themselves. Specifically, the chapter analyses the circumstances in which terrorists withdraw from violence and the manner in which they narrate such processes. It explores the hypothesis that deradicalization requires, above all, the reframing of narrative models; or, to use Horgan’s terminology, of ‘explanatory styles’ by members of terrorist organizations. The chapter also addresses the issue of where these new narratives originate from. To what extent were they triggered by state repression and incarceration as opposed to developing within the terrorist groups? To what extent have left and right-­ wing terrorists adopted different narratives to account for their disengagement with political violence? Or are there notable similarities in their self/collective narratives beyond the ideological divide? What are the main differences between the explanatory styles adopted by those former terrorists who decided to dissociate and those who did not? Of particular interest in these narratives is the manner in which the conflict between external pressures to recant and the internal desire to provide coherence for the decisions taken is negotiated. The chapter places the emphasis on the period of imprisonment because this emerges as the period when individual reflection, collective debates among the prisoners, and relations established between the latter with prison staff as well as chaplains and nuns, all combined to create the dissociation movement leading to individual and collective disengagement. While there seems to be substantial agreement on the factors that account for the process of disengagement (above all military defeat and physical imprisonment), there are also interesting divergences in the ways different individuals and groups portray this process. As far as group narratives are concerned, at one end we find Prima Linea, whose members in 1983 took a collective decision to disband and dissociate. This has facilitated the emergence of a fairly unanimous reconstruction of the process of disengagement in relation to this group that has stood the passage of time, as can be seen by comparing ‘official’ documents released at the time with

74   Ending the violence recent individual and collective narratives. The main issue at stake, as will be seen below, is a preoccupation with presenting this group as having been able to negotiate its own exit from terrorism directly with the state, as well as to influence the 1986 Gozzini law and the 1987 legislation on the dissociati. While accepting that the end of terrorism in Italy was due primarily to military defeat, this reconstruction also attributes an important role to a negotiated political settlement between the state and the terrorists. At the other end we find the Red Brigades, which, unlike Prima Linea, were unable to take a collective decision to disband or to declare an end to the ‘armed struggle’, hence it is not possible to attribute specific dates or sets of motivations to the process of disengagement from political violence experienced by its members. The numerous testimonies available thus put the emphasis, to a much larger extent, upon individual processes of disengagement, and in so doing help us understand the mental and emotional ‘journeys’ undertaken by imprisoned terrorists. As far as individuals are concerned, the main issue of contention concerns the impact of the prison treatment meted out to the terrorists upon their individual moral transformations and subsequent decisions to dissociate from political violence. The vast majority of the reconstructions clearly distinguish between an early period in which violence and confrontation characterized in-­prison relations, and a later period in which the ill-­treatment of inmates was replaced by more humane conditions. However, while many former terrorists attribute the harsh prison conditions of the early period to a deliberate attempt by the state and prison authorities to break down their resistance, and even to exact revenge, others suggest that they were due at least in part to their own violent and confrontational behaviour. In addition, while many former terrorists argue that the introduction of more humane conditions by ‘enlightened’ prison directors facilitated the movement towards dissociation, others argue instead that it was the dissociation movement which campaigned for and obtained a reform of the prison system. Obviously, all reconstructions of the past on the part of former terrorists take place at the crossroads between remembering the past as it was and remembering it as they wish it was, and it is also an exercise in identity (re) construction. Thus, amid a widespread acknowledgement of military defeat, the end of terrorism is revisited in ways which attempt to salvage individual self-­esteem and dignity and, where possible, also the collective identity of the group. This perspective needs to be taken into account when assessing the credibility of the stories told by the former terrorists. As Portelli has convin­ cingly shown, oral sources are hardly ever reliable; yet this is precisely what constitutes their validity and appeal, since ‘the discrepancy between fact and memory ultimately enhances the value of the oral sources as historical documents. It is . . . actively and creatively generated by memory and imagination in an effort to make sense of crucial events and of history in general’ (Portelli 1991, p.  26; 1998). Lies and fiction are extremely revealing of the myth-­ making and psychology of terrorists, even more so than factually accurate recollections of the past.

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   75

Collective disengagement: Prima Linea A specific case is represented by the terrorist group Prima Linea, which took a collective decision to disband in 1983 during the trial in Turin of most of its members, many of whom were detained in the city’s Le Vallette Prison. Maurice Bignami, one of the leaders of Prima Linea, stated in interview with the authors (12 January 2011) that he and others, including Sergio D’Elia, Enrico Galmozzi and Sergio Segio, were all convinced by then that the armed struggle was at an end and that Prima Linea had to negotiate with the state. To this end they agreed that a congress of the organization should formally seal the decision to disband. Bignami recalled that many members deliberately gave themselves up in order to be imprisoned and tried with their comrades, and thus be able to take part in Prima Linea’s final ‘congress’. According to Bignami, the congress was the outcome of a period of both individual and collective reflection on the part of Prima Linea members, which led to a series of decisions as follows: • • • •

on a political-­ideological level, a conscious break with Marxism and communism; on an existential level, the decision to rebuild their personal lives, focusing on starting a family and having children; on a historical-­judicial level, a full reconstruction of the history of the organization, its origins, development, aims and activities, to avoid leaving it to others to tell the story of Prima Linea; on a communicative level, a full and sophisticated use of the mass media.

These decisions were predated by an individual process of moral transformation of many imprisoned terrorists, including Bignami himself, in which the Catholic Church played a major role. According to Bignami, chaplains and nuns in the prisons established close contacts with the terrorists and helped promote a process of personal reflection. In his own case an encounter with the chaplain of Nuoro Prison, Father Cipolla, had proved especially influential, as the latter gave him a copy of Manzoni’s ‘The Betrothed’, which became a key text in his ‘return journey’. Personal change, due to both full awareness of their defeat and to mental and moral reorientation, then supported the decision to engage in negotiations with the state. Bignami attributes a crucial role to the Catholic Church both in fostering change at an individual level and in acting as trait d’union between the imprisoned terrorists and the state, not least by adopting the language of reconciliation rather than simply pacification. This role, performed by the Church, was openly acknowledged by Prima Linea in June 1984, when it had its weapons delivered to the residence of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini in Milan (see Chapter 3). Bignami claimed in interview that negotiations between the imprisoned terrorists and the Italian state took place at two levels. First, around prison conditions, whereby Prima Linea was instrumental in asking for and obtaining a

76   Ending the violence widespread implementation of the aree omogenee where all those terrorists who had given up the armed struggle could be safe from revenge acts on the part of those who viewed them as traitors. In addition, according to Bignami, Prima Linea members were also prominent in carrying out the hunger strike of 1983–1984, whose principal aim was the implementation of more humane prison conditions. Second, around new legislative measures; Bignami was adamant that negotiations between Prima Linea and the state were primarily responsible for bringing about the 1986 Gozzini law and the dissociati law of 1987: ‘all the politicians came to the prisons to discuss the law, including individual articles, such as Article 1’. Bignami’s reconstruction is supported by the story told by another leader of Prima Linea, Sergio Segio. In his 2006 book, Una vita in Prima Linea (p. 229), Segio stated that he and other PL leaders started negotiations concerning prison conditions with Nicolò Amato in 1984. They met Amato in person and later, on 14 May 1984, sent him a letter in which they asked to form an area omogenea. One of the issues raised in the letter concerned the possibility for prisoners to further their affective relations: We urge that we are concentrated in one or more spaces which take into account the issue of their proximity to our places of origin as well as – since they would comprise both a male and a female section – the need for and fundamental right to more frequent and non-­alienated relations between husbands and wives as well as between partners. (p. 235) According to Segio the letter achieved the desired effect and aree omogenee were soon established in Turin, Bergamo, Florence, and Rome (p.  236). Like Bignami, Segio also claims for his group much of the credit for the 1986 Gozzini law, ‘constructed by the Justice Commission of the Senate together with the prisoners in the homogeneous areas’ (p. 239). Bignami’s and Segio’s reconstructions are very interesting because on the one hand they confirm the important role played by imprisonment and by the Catholic Church (alongside military setbacks and an increasing perception of defeat and disillusionment) in bringing an end to terrorism in Italy, while on the other they present a positive picture of both the narrators and Prima Linea as protagonists and active interlocutors of the state even in the phase of defeat. To the extent that these narratives are also concerned with (re)constructing a positive identity for the narrators and their group, their credibility must be doubted. It is probably the case that both Bignami and Segio opted deliberately to emphasize their own group’s input into prison reform and the 1986 and 1987 legislative measures. However, as discussed in the previous chapter, this interpretation has been at least in part supported by a previous prison director, Dr Luigi Pagano, as concerns prison reform, and by Judge Francesco Maisto as regards the Gozzini and dissociati laws. According to Pagano although the former terrorists tend to exaggerate their own role, there had indeed been a dialogue between the imprisoned terrorists on

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   77 the one hand and Nicolò Amato and the more enlightened prison directors on the other around the issue of prison reform. Pagano considered this a fairly ironic historical twist, given that the imprisoned terrorists were mobilizing to promote a reform of the prison system along the lines of the one Italy had already initiated in 1975, which had been suspended due to the terrorist onslaught. As he put it: The 1975 reform had introduced real and concrete rights for prisoners. For this reason it was opposed since the beginning by the terrorists who among their various targets always privileged the prison front, attacking the fathers of the reform, Paolella, Tartaglione, Minervini, as well as prison functionaries and guards. And to the terrorists must be attributed the responsibility of putting a stop to the law for over a decade which was characterized by the creation of the top security prisons. It was only with the defeat of the armed struggle, from the mid-­1980s, that the Gozzini law was approved, a law that applied to all prisoners but obviously benefited especially the so-­called pentiti and dissociati. Hence if someone says that this law marked the resolution of the terrorist phenomenon via juridical means I believe they are not far from the truth. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 2 February 2011) However, Pagano welcomed the fact that the former terrorists ended up promoting and embracing that same reformist drive which they had long considered the main obstacle to the pursuit of their revolutionary stance and goals. It is interesting that this view is confirmed by Segio in his book, since he writes that the Gozzini reform ‘followed the spirit of the 1975 reform, interrupted due to the anti-­terrorist emergency’ (p. 238). As for Maisto, he claimed in interview that: Gozzini and other members of parliament used to go to the prisons to talk to the political prisoners and to ascertain the type of sentence they were serving. And so the Law was articulated with specific reference to them. . . . [T]he MPs even fitted the individual articles of the Law [around their cases]. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 February 2011) Obviously there is still a wide gap between Prima Linea’s own reconstruction, which sees the group as the initiator and instigator of a negotiating process with the state, and the views of a prison director like Pagano, who considers the terrorists’ demands for prison reform as the ultimate triumph of the liberal-­ democratic state, or indeed those of a judge like Maisto, who sees the state as taking advantage of, and responding to, the imprisoned terrorists’ personal and collective transformation by devising new legislative measures aimed at accelerating the end of terrorism. Quite apart from the different perspectives through which the past is reconstructed, however, the fact remains that Italy did experience a two-­way process of reconciliation involving the state on the one hand and the terrorists on the other, which left out the victims. As Maisto put it:

78   Ending the violence On the one side were [the imprisoned terrorists], on the other side the state. . . . And so negotiations had a bilateral and dual nature, the victims’ relatives were not part of this [process], not because they did not want to but because for a long time they were suffering, demoralized, lost, they did not have any capacity to react. . . . The movement around the victims’ associations started long after these events. And this in my view is the reason why there is still an open wound because there has never been a true process of national reconciliation, unlike other places. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 February 2011) A somewhat different interpretation was offered by a former Prima Linea female terrorist in a prison interview with an Italian scholar on 27 September 1985, carried out as part of a project instigated by the Bologna-­based Cattaneo Institute. This person, S.R. (who shall remain anonymous), put much greater emphasis upon an individual moral process of reflection and disengagement than on a collective and political process of negotiation with political institutions. She stated that during the first few years of imprisonment, like many others, she maintained an attitude of total confrontation: I was someone who in 1980, 1981, 1982 had an uncompromising attitude towards those who made individual choices of not just pentitismo but even simply dissociation. . . . [H]owever I can understand those who made these choices because I know where they originate from, they do not simply originate in the pentiti law, let us be clear about this, those who try to reduce everything to an issue of collaboration with the state either do not know things or do not understand the profound rupture and the deep crisis we experienced. . . . [I]t was a profound political crisis but also a need to rediscover a human dimension and this was a factor in the process of reflection. (Interview by Patrizia Guerra with S.R., Dote Archive, Istituto Cattaneo, Bologna) S.R. also refers to the prison system as an important element in the process of disengagement, but only when a more ‘humane’ treatment replaced a repressive and harsh dimension: Those moments when in the prison we were offered a different type of relationship had a crucial impact [upon us]. Given that on the other side we were no longer faced with beasts but with human beings then we too started to reason. (Ibid.) In this context, she and other prisoners found that it was indeed possible to establish a different relationship with the prison guards and gradually rediscover their own humanity. In her own case, an important figure turned out to be Father Adolfo Bachelet, whose brother Vittorio was killed by the Red Brigades on

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   79 12 February 1980. Father Bachelet started visiting the prisons after his brother’s murder, seeking to meet the terrorists, including those responsible for his brother’s death. As S.R. recalled: the only relative of a victim we met was Father Bachelet who came to see us the other day and has relations with almost all of us, at first he used to visit only the pentiti but now he has relations also with us, by our request. And I have to say that personally my encounter with such a man, with his simplicity, his constant searching for a person’s most inner feelings, threw me completely. (Ibid.) S.R. also confirmed the crucial role played by the Church in establishing relations with the imprisoned terrorists, with particular reference to Milan-­based Cardinal Martini and various nuns and chaplains working in the Milan prisons. She added: There is an entire religious world with which we have close relationships. . . . These people offer you their understanding and their will to relate to you, and you offer them what you are, what you would like to do. We found in them enormous help and support. (Ibid.) The main difference with the previous interpretations concerns the meaning attributed to Prima Linea’s collective ‘negotiations’ with state and political institutions. According to S.R. such a reading represents an ambiguous positioning towards one’s own political past as it reproposes the validity of ‘old schemes’. As she stated: It is clear that where there is only a discourse of political dissociation – evidently I do not want to go into people’s consciences, yet in my view this means there is still much searching to do. It means that old schemes are being reproposed because . . . everything is reduced to collective formations, even to an exaltation of one’s own collective positioning as an ethical choice. . . . We used to be the vanguards of the armed struggle, now we have become the vanguards of dissociation, for God’s sake! (Ibid.) According to this testimony there can be no such thing as a ‘movement for dissociation’ that proposes itself as a collective political agent, since a dissociation has to be first of all human and personal, preserving individual freedom and leaving space to those who want to pursue a path of reconciliation, including the much despised pentiti. Finally, a recent autobiography written in 2010 by a female former member of Prima Linea, who wishes to remain anonymous, covers in some detail her

80   Ending the violence years of imprisonment and describes the very slow process of personal disengagement which in her case, too, coincided with her removal from the humiliating and degrading conditions prevalent in the special prisons. However, in line with what other female former terrorists have often argued, she stated that even in these prisons, for instance at Voghera (defined by the author as ‘Vogher-­ Horror’), the female terrorists were able to find a way to communicate across the ideological and political divides that marked the different organizations and groups to which they belonged. In so doing they started to open up to external influences: ‘Overcoming certain specifically ideological languages meant rediscovering a relationship with the outside world’ (Anon 2010, p.  135). Yet the process was both long and difficult: It was not at all easy to destructure the principles which had informed me and upon which rested the utopias I grew up with, in which I had placed all my hopes for freedom and social justice. It was a case of months and months of searching [within myself], a search that in some ways has not yet come to an end. (p. 142) Similar to Bignami, this terrorist’s ‘return journey’ was both individual and solitary, at times facilitated by the reading of key texts (in her case the works of Christa Wolf ), while at the same time being interpersonal and intercultural. Old affective relationships, especially with close relatives, were especially important, as well as encounters with members of the Catholic Church, magistrates, politicians and intellectuals. The need for new affective relations also played a part, in particular a very strong desire to procreate. The author recalls how in 1985 she had written a letter in which she affirmed: ‘The radical and passionate way in which the desire for motherhood and fatherhood is experienced by us in the prisons . . . is one of the things that has struck me most’ (p. 148). This former terrorist also recalls the threats she and others were subjected to by their ‘comrades’ when they started to distance themselves from the armed struggle: From the other prisons there came to us threatening talk of betrayal and surrender. We were asking for aree omogenee while the others were still hostages of the [logic of the] special prisons. We were trying to overcome the logic of hostility and they defined this as ‘collaborationism’. Our search for dialogue was considered betrayal. Starting to acknowledge one’s own responsibilities was seen as asking for privileges. (p. 141) As she concludes, there never was any dialogue between the ‘new categories’ of prisoners that were being formed (that is to say, those who were undergoing a process of dissociation) and the ‘old categories’ comprising those former terrorists who did not feel the need to revisit their old choices. The two groups never

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   81 communicated with each other at any level. As will be seen in the next section and in Chapter 6, the gulf between these two groups is indeed extremely wide in terms of their differing interpretations concerning the end of terrorism and their different evaluation of the ‘armed struggle’ and its legacy.

The end of terrorism as told by the Red Brigades: the irriducibili The reconstruction of the end of terrorism put forward by the so-­called irriducibili, that is to say those terrorists who refuse to disown their past choices and continue to defend the armed struggle as a ‘just war’, has some points in common with the position adopted by Prima Linea. This is due to the fact that both sets of reconstructions privilege the collective and political dimension. Indeed, a number of irriducibili have recently given interviews to the journalist Pino Casamassima (2012) which, in published form, reinforce the notion that they belong to a distinct group. However, while Prima Linea members are also prepared to talk about their own individual processes of moral transformation and disengagement, albeit framed by a group narrative, Red Brigades members in this category refuse to consider or talk about the personal and moral trajectory that led so many of their comrades to dissociate from terrorism. When they do so, as will be discussed in some depth in Chapter 6, they are deeply disparaging of their former comrades, using warlike language that labels them as informers, traitors and renegades. The deliberate removal of the personal and moral process of transformation of many former imprisoned terrorists from these reconstructions, and their depiction as ‘traitors’, means that the narrators cannot in any way attribute the end of terrorism to the actions of either the pentiti or the dissociati. Rather, the reasons put forward revolve primarily around the failure of the Red Brigades’ revolutionary strategy once Italy’s socio-­political conditions started to change. Indeed, the role of the pentiti is reduced to a simple ex-­post manifestation of the cultural and psychological weakness of a few individuals that came about as a result of political defeat and was exacerbated by the systematic use of torture by the state. In his 1993 book interview with Rossana Rossanda and Carla Mosca, Mario Moretti was adamant that his group failed when it became unable to adapt its strategy to the changing social conditions: When we came to an end it was not because we were defeated militarily – although this had a role too, of course – but because the social fabric upon which we fed had become unsettled, we were unable to keep up with it. The social drive towards radical change within which we had originated had come to an end. It is this that marks the end of the Red Brigades. (Moretti 2007, p. 179) He also maintained that, contrary to the opinion of many, it was not the ­assassination of Aldo Moro that marked the beginning of the end of the armed

82   Ending the violence struggle; so much so that the Red Brigades were able to continue the fight for four more years after Moro’s death. As concerns the role of the pentiti, Moretti argued that their number within the Red Brigades had been minimal and in any case he dismissed the act of informing as ‘a classic [feature] that has been described millions of times, nothing else than a moment in a war, an episode in the conflict that aims to change the balance between the opponents while they shoot at each other’ (p. 252). In addition, he insisted that the use of torture in the prisons went a long way towards explaining why some combatants had given up the fight. Another leader of the Red Brigades, who wished to remain anonymous, also totally rejected the label ‘terrorist’ and reaffirmed the revolutionary nature of their conflict with the state: ‘We had nothing to do with terrorism because terrorism is a terror operation disjointed from the masses [and] which terrorizes the masses’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 3 February 2011). The Red Brigades, it was argued, pursued a political strategy of social revolution that could boast a large following in the country, especially among factory workers. The anonymous leader argued that this social revolution failed in the long-­run mainly because there was a restructuring of the large factories which allowed the bosses to resume control, while the Red Brigades were unable to adapt their strategy to the new circumstances. For this reason, in 1981, he left the organization, but refused to dissociate let alone repent. This leader also insisted that neither the decision to murder Aldo Moro nor the emergence of the pentiti and dissociati contributed to any significant extent to the defeat of the Red Brigades: The Moro affair did not influence the decline of the social and political presence of the Red Brigades. What influenced this decline was an issue of strategy, which might not have changed the course of things but would probably have allowed the Red Brigades to last for a few more years. We died a natural death, not because of Moro or Peci. As with any social phenomenon the state has an interest in saying that they defeated terrorism thanks to the pentiti, but history is not made in this way, history goes ahead in spite of those who collaborate [with the enemy], there have been thousands in any social revolution . . . hence so much for the state and its strength we died a natural death because we no longer had the strategic capacity to operate in a historical condition which required a different type of political presence. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 3 February 2011) Compared to Moretti and other leaders, this former terrorist is much more lenient towards both the pentiti and dissociati – so much so that he depicts the Red Brigades as having behaved fairly magnanimously towards both groups. He went on to say that in the two prisons where he had exercised his leadership ‘there had been no deaths of pentiti yet there had been people who had collaborated and we had a discussion on what we should do. . . . [O]f course we had to isolate them

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   83 because they were still traitors’. As for the dissociated, ‘I did not share that choice but I considered it on the whole an honourable choice; back then, in the heat of things, there was a touch of acrimony, but not much, there has never been a real conflict with the dissociated’ (ibid.). It seems clear that this person wanted above all to minimize both the role of the state in defeating the Red Brigades and the internal divisions and revenge acts within his own organization. His main preoccupation was to safeguard the positive image of the Red Brigades as both heroic in their just war and magnanimous towards (because morally vastly superior to) all traitors and renegades. In Part II we will assess the significance of these reconstructions from the perspective of the narrators’ stance in relation both to their audiences and to present and future political action. Another irriducibile, Barbara Balzerani, attributed the end of terrorism to a variety of causes, both internal and external, which came to a head in 1982: ‘the year of defeat’ (1998, p. 94). Among the reasons for that defeat were a series of mistakes made by the Red Brigades that contributed to their political weakness, as well as ‘internal divisions, lost battles, mass arrests and tortured comrades’ (1998, p.  94). Like the anonymous interviewee cited above, Balzerani also argued that the main reason for their defeat was the crisis of their political project masked behind ‘an (at times spectacular) military capacity’ (1998, p. 81). She also maintained that the imprisoned terrorists had been subjected to systematic use of psychological and physical torture in the prisons and, like Moretti, she attributed to this the phenomenon of pentitismo and dissociation. However, while Moretti emphasized the numerical irrelevance of this phenomenon, Balzerani was much less sanguine about its negligible impact. While Moretti, Balzerani and Curcio all declared in 1987 that the armed struggle was finished, Prospero Gallinari did not make public his own recognition of the end of terrorism until October 1988 (by means of a letter signed by himself and other prisoners in Rebibbia). He has discussed this significant moment in his own 2006 memoir, as well as in interview with Philip Cooke in January 2011. The factors which persuaded Gallinari, as well as a number of other comrades imprisoned at Rebibbia, to send their communication to the press were many. These included the arrest of Balzerani, the last of the ‘historic leaders’ of the BR (which had occurred in 1985), the fact that by the late 1980s there were only a few scattered comrades left, and the indiscriminate use of the Red Brigades name by organizations carrying out terrorist attacks at the time. Most importantly, though, was the fact that ‘in reality the historical phase [of terrorism] had come to an end’ and ‘the left had been entirely defeated’. For Gallinari, however, there was an additional factor. While being arrested he had received a number of gunshot wounds and this experience had a continuing effect on his health, to the extent that in 1984 he suffered two heart attacks. He has had several major operations, including a triple heart bypass. While, during interview, he claimed that he had always been able to maintain his political identity and that ‘none of this has taken anything from my being a Communist’, he has also been involved in a constant battle for his health. Gallinari recalled that it

84   Ending the violence was an intervention by Cossiga which helped in his campaign to be allowed to move, for health reasons, to a condition of house arrest while still serving a life sentence. Indeed, Gallinari and Cossiga would appear on Sky Television together in 2006, and when the former Christian Democrat Minister of the Interior and president died, the Red Brigade terrorist’s tributes to his former enemy appeared in the national press. Interestingly, Gallinari explained at length in interview how he conducted his life while under house arrest; he is allowed out for work and for short periods in the early evening. The police make occasional visits, sometimes early in the morning, in order to ensure that he is fully complying with the regulations. He stressed the enormous benefits he had derived from this arrangement, thereby underlining the central importance of a sensitive management of the post-­ incarceration phase. Initially, Gallinari stayed in Rome, before returning to his place of origin in Reggio Emilia where he lives in a flat in the outskirts of the city with a new partner. In a significant phrase, Gallinari stated that by finding a job in a printworks he had returned to his original identity: ‘I’ve become a worker again’. Like other former terrorists the experience of working in a congenial environment was, and still is, an important part of the process of re-­ adapting to society. Gallinari also pointed to the specificity of the city of Reggio Emilia and its people, with whom he feels he has a particular affinity. When asked about the relatives of the victims, Gallinari stated that to ‘explain’ and ‘historicize’ his actions was not a problem; but to try to explain to a mother why ‘I shot her son, or the secretary of the Christian Democrat party, or a carabiniere’ was rather more difficult, if not impossible. He had, he said ‘the utmost respect for their rancour towards him’ but explained that he had fought against a ‘political order’. He compared himself to a soldier, and asked whether a soldier would go back to the relatives of his victims and explain their actions. Gallinari still, therefore, believes that what he was fighting for was just, as were the methods employed. But the war, he stressed, is over. Gallinari was particularly keen to emphasize the false nature of the conspiracy theories related to left-­wing terrorism. In Italy ‘there was no plot’ going on, he said, when asked for his reaction to theories that he and others like him had been manipulated in order to keep the left from power. He described such theories as a ‘load of rubbish’ (un sacco di puttanate). The orthodox left, he said, was deeply flawed and characterized by a victim mentality, seeking to blame the terrorists for their political failures. The left, he stressed, had been defeated ‘not because there was a plot, but because the enemy ‘was stronger’. As was clear from his interview, as well as from his memoir, Gallinari was keen to stress the importance of political coherence and of sticking to a chosen line of thought. For that reason, he was particularly contemptuous of the phenomenon of dissociation: ‘I believe it is a shameful thing . . . morally shameful. I have very little respect for those choices. . . . At the very least if that’s been the story of your life you should take the responsibility for it’. He continued by arguing that ‘it wasn’t dissociation which defeated the armed struggle’ but historical changes which ‘created our defeat’. Perhaps, he conceded, dissociation

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   85 had accelerated a process that was already under way, but it did not initiate that process. Gallinari then went on to discuss the therapeutic value of writing his memoir: ‘With the work on the book, I finished that thing. We lost, but I lay claim to everything I’ve done. . . . That book meant closing a page of my history. I was this – finished – now I’m going elsewhere’. He finished his interview by recalling the solidarity of other prisoners and by referring to young people today, whose position he did not envy. ‘I lived’, he stated nostalgically. Another former member of the BR who, like Gallinari, has returned to Reggio Emilia, is Loris Tonino Paroli. Paroli was arrested in 1974 and was part of the Turin cell that included Mara Cagol. In interview with Philip Cooke, Paroli, who has never dissociated, discussed at length the barbarity of his prison experiences. He described the unsettling experience of being moved frequently from one prison to another and claimed, as many others have done, that he was the victim of torture. Paroli has also written a memoir (Paroli 2009), which includes a post-­ face by Gallinari, and given frequent interviews over the years. He also participated in the highly controversial documentary Il sol dell’avvenir, which at one point shows him breaking down while recalling the fate of a pentito, strangled in prison by his former comrades. In interview Paroli explained that he had agreed to participate in the documentary in order to contest the ideas of Franceschini, who is one of the primary vehicles of the idea of the ideological impurity of the BR from the mid 1970s onwards (after his arrest and that of Curcio in 1974). Il sol dell’avvenir does not, in fact, deal with conspiracy theories, but concentrates on the origins of the BR. The film is a rather hackneyed attempt to provide Franceschini with a vehicle for explaining his thesis that the Reggio ‘wing’ of the BR developed because of the widespread feeling that the Resistance movement of 1943–45 had been betrayed. Like Gallinari, then, Paroli is keen to maintain his own political identity and to argue that the collective identity of the BR was stable and coherent over the long term. Franceschini, on the other hand, points to an image of a splintered BR and, as a consequence, has attracted the execration of his former comrades.

The end of terrorism as told by the Red Brigades: the dissociati Many former members of the Red Brigades who became dissociati have both emphasized and thrown considerable insight upon the individual process of disengagement they underwent while in prison. This is mainly because the Red Brigades did not reach a collective decision to dissociate but ostensibly remained determined to continue the fight in the prisons. Indeed, as we saw in the previous section, some of its members remain scathing of those who repented and dissociated while simultaneously pretending that their numbers were negligible. Thus, the Red Brigades members tended to follow individual paths in the prisons, even though there were clearly cases when groups of members decided to adopt a common line of action, as will be shown below.

86   Ending the violence The dissociated generally tend to distinguish between an early period marked by a strong will to continue the struggle in a context of direct and often violent confrontation with the prison guards, and a later period when they started to open up to the outside world and reconsider their life choices in a climate characterized by a more humane and ‘softer’ prison environment. An emblematic story providing a detailed account of the prison years is that of Franco Bonisoli, who was part of the squad responsible for kidnapping Aldo Moro and killing his five bodyguards. Referring to the early period, Bonisoli stated that: I was arrested on 1 October 1978 in the famous Montenevoso base and initially my attitude was to continue the struggle in prison, hence to continue to operate in the Red Brigades cells that existed inside the prisons, following the Communist tradition, with a focus upon the following activities: (i) studying; (ii) trying to escape; (iii) participating in the debate with the outside organization. Hence I was part of the organization, albeit in a physically different position. The harsh prison treatment did not bother me, in fact it was part of the game and the logic of fighting, my arrest represented a phase that I had foreseen, what was important was to keep the organization going. This lasted until 1983. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 12 February 2011) During those years, he and other prisoners were subjected to long periods of isolation, repeated beatings and endless petty forms of humiliation, including the practice of being stripped naked and compelled repeatedly to bend over (ostensibly for the purpose of body-­searches but also as a means of intimidation and humiliation) in the presence of up to ten guards both before and after an interview with relatives. In turn, he and his comrades engaged in various forms of protest ranging from refusing to go back to their prison cells after open-­air exercise, to making incessant loud noises and going on hunger strike. Bonisoli was adamant that this environment of open confrontation, far from promoting a process of individual/ collective disengagement, hardened the prisoners’ resolve to continue the fight. What changed the situation in his case was his transfer to Turin’s Le Vallette Prison during the Moro trial. The prison was run by Giuseppe Suraci in accordance with reformist ideas, to the extent that male and female prisoners were housed on different floors of the same building and often partners were able to speak to or send messages to each other. This coincided with a time when many female terrorists had started to revalue personal and affective issues. It also coincided with the first seeds of doubt in the prisoners’ long-­standing beliefs, amid a growing realization that the world outside had changed. According to Bonisoli: With Franceschini and Ognibene we discussed how we could put an end to a story in which we no longer believed. . . . [W]e were looking for interlocutors at that stage, as we no longer had as interlocutors the external committees of support to the prisoners, they were so weak by then that they seemed

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   87 in need of our own support to survive, we no longer believed in these things. Then in 1983 [at their National Meeting] the chaplains published a letter, under the aegis of a certain Cardinal Martini, then unknown to us, in which they stated that there was a need for defending the human dignity of prisoners. Franceschini remarked that the Church at times was able to adopt very interesting positions. In order to speak to the chaplain we had to present a written request which we did. The request was accepted and the chaplain came to see us, the meeting took place in a room with him on one side and us on the other. We asked him to find out what was going on and he promised he would. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 12 February 2011) In the same year of 1983, Franceschini, Bonisoli and a few others started, as we saw in the previous chapter, a hunger strike in the Sardinian prison of Badu ’e Carros: Franceschini said ‘we need to think of something long-­term, let’s go on hunger strike’, which is a kind of subtraction, a form of violence against ourselves, not against others, but still a form of struggle, of refusal of the institution. . . . We wrote a letter which we sent to the chaplain, he was worried and tried to convince us to eat. . . . After many hard days on strike, we were on a lost island, we could hear the guards shouting ‘you will end up like Baader Meinhof ’, or they would open the door and present us with a plate of spaghetti. . . . Then suddenly on 27 December Pannella came into my cell with various people. What had happened was that the chaplain [Salvatore Bussu] had refused to celebrate mass on 24 December and written an uncompromising letter, saying that ‘if my brothers are dying in prison I cannot celebrate the Christmas Mass’, then he handed his resignation to the bishop. We did not know anything about this at the time, later we saw that the news was on the front pages of all the newspapers. They force-­fed us and took us to hospital. . . . When we reached hospital we started being visited by politicians from all the parties, they were coming backward and forward to Sardinia, until on 31 December we accepted to call an end to the strike. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 12 February 2011) Bonisoli concluded that the role of the Church in acting as interlocutor to the imprisoned terrorists had been fundamental. Given his political and ideological beliefs, he would not have thought it possible that a chaplain would behave in this way, yet they were the ones who put human rights and brotherhood at the centre of their work. Bonisoli’s reference to the fact that he, Franceschini, and others, ‘no longer believed’ in what they were doing as an important factor behind their decision to disengage, finds an echo in many other stories by former terrorists. A male ­terrorist prisoner interviewed in the 1980s as part of the Istituto Cattaneo research project confirmed the crucial role played by personal disillusionment in

88   Ending the violence both pentitismo and dissociation. He clarified that for many of them feelings of disillusionment predated the period of imprisonment and coincided with the loss of social support experienced after the murder of Aldo Moro. Yet these feelings could not be communicated to anyone within the organization: It was impossible to communicate a searing sensation of failure at an existential level in political terms. In order to express it I had to make use of a political language and in this way I lived a daily lie. . . . [W]hen faced with fear or horror or strong yet simple human feelings, you had to invent abstract and ideological answers. I am convinced that here lies the explanation for the phenomenon of pentitismo, I mean the real sense of freedom one feels in reconstructing, even for judicial purposes, one’s own life according to the ordinary logic whereby a murder is a murder and not a political operation, a robbery is a robbery and not an expropriation, a cruel comrade is a cruel comrade and not an avantguard with a higher conscience. . . . [T]he more the possibility to express things in the simplest possible way had been compressed, the more the liberatory dimension came to the fore. (Interview with M., Dote Archive, Istituto Cattaneo, Bologna) The process of ‘reconstructing one’s own life according to the ordinary logic’ seems to have been accompanied by a strong desire to live a different life and rediscover the affective dimension, just when the prospect of long prison sentences appeared to curtail any possibility of rebuilding one’s own life. This combination of factors then led to the decision to dissociate. For others the process of disillusionment started when faced with the increasingly savage and vindictive behaviour of terrorists both outside and within the prisons. As another male terrorist prisoner revealed when interviewed in the 1980s as part of the Istituto Cattaneo project, in many prisons the climate was both ferocious and desperate. The Red Brigades struck an alliance with mafiosi, adopting their code of behaviour, and resorted to killing those comrades who were suspected of having repented and grassed. According to this terrorist, to have found myself in contact with a prison world marked by this kind of violence, with these deadly episodes, these murders. . . . [W]ell this was a big spur on me; another was the realization that there was this race to make things worse since ‘the worse it is the better it is’. . . . [T]he attitude of the Red Brigades was to boycott any prison reform, any relationship with the state, any talk of reform, permits, semi-­freedom, issues which are close to the heart of the 45,000 or so Italian prisoners. . . .To these people the brigatisti had nothing to offer but membership of their organization and a chance to take part in the murdering and stabbing of those who had dissociated, or were about to do so. In this way they fostered the type of behaviour [that led to the creation] of the top security wings. (Interview by Giuseppe De Lutiis with E.F., Dote Archive, Istituto Cattaneo, Bologna)

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   89 This terrorist specified that until 1981 it was possible to carry out a common struggle in the prisons against the harsh treatment and repressive conditions that prisoners were subjected to, but after that time the Red Brigades resorted to affirming their own power within the prison system and ended up constituting ‘a further element of repression instead of liberation’. As a result he ‘witnessed a concrete, precise example of failure on the terrain of prison politics’. In short, a variety of factors contributed to a personal and collective process of disengagement and dissociation, all of them linked in some way to, or coming to a head as a result of, the prison experience. Among these, the impossibility, during the period of active engagement in a terrorist group, to talk freely about one’s own doubts or even simply about one’s own personal and affective feelings, as well as the need to reduce all human existence to an abstract ideology, led some terrorists to perceive their imprisonment not as repression but as liberation. More common was a gradual transition from a position of total confrontation, which the terrorists fully justified both in the light of their ideas and of the repressive conditions of the security prisons, to a position of engaging in some form of dialogue with a variety of figures including relatives and friends, prison guards, magistrates, judges, politicians, and above all representatives of the Church. This transition was facilitated by the abandonment of the totalizing ideology the terrorists had previously embraced, which in prison became referred to as ‘a drug’, a ‘daily lie’, ‘a religion’, or ‘a monastical view of life’. In turn, this process was accelerated by the behaviour of the Red Brigades in prison, as evidenced by what were perceived as increasing episodes of brutality and cruelty against fellow comrades, as well as attempts to impose their logic of power upon all prisoners. Finally, the replacement of a harsh prison treatment with reformist measures aimed at encouraging the former terrorists to establish contacts with the outside world and to foster affective relationships, acted as a catalyst for spurring a process of self-­reflection and moral change. The laws on dissociation completed this process.

The end of terrorism as told by other extreme-­left participants Arrigo Cavallina was one of the leaders of the terrorist group Proletari Armati per il Comunismo (PAC), and was the person responsible for indoctrinating and recruiting Cesare Battisti in prison. As mentioned in the Introduction, Battisti has been at the centre of diplomatic controversy for many years as a result of various attempts by Italian governments to have him extradited first from France and later from Brazil. Cavallina published an autobiography in 2005 (La piccola tenda d’azzurro che i prigionieri chiamano cielo, ‘That small blue curtain the prisoners call sky’) and granted an interview to Anna Cento Bull on 21 January 2011, dwelling at length on his prison experience. As the leader of a very small group that was formed in 1978 with the aim of fighting the prison system and freeing imprisoned comrades, Cavallina is keen to dispel the idea that disengagement stemmed primarily from military defeat and from the capture of many

90   Ending the violence combatants. On the contrary, in his view the prison system in the early stage acted as a ‘manufacturer of terrorism’ and a site for reproducing violence (2005, p.  59). Conditions were appalling, and various forms of intimidation and even torture were constantly applied in a climate of harsh repression that seemed suggestive of a will to annihilate the prisoners. In turn, this reinforced feelings of hatred and ruthlessness, as well as hopelessness, among the latter, fuelling a spiral of direct confrontation (Interview). According to Cavallina, thus confirming the views of many other dissociated, it was only when more humane prison conditions were introduced that the imprisoned terrorists started to reconsider their positions and ideas. It was a long process, in which personal reflections, key readings and new social contacts all played an important role: ‘I was never much different from one day to the next, we are talking of infinitesimal time’. As far as personal reflection was concerned, he stated that: First of all I was instrumental in helping myself with the support of some readings, as well as due to a realization that our perspective had brought us to destruction and nothing else, hence something was wrong with it, and perhaps even following a period in which I decided that it was time for me to fall silent and to listen to what was coming towards me. This changed personal attitude then made him receptive to external influences, especially those of Church representatives, starting with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini but also, in his own case, with an old teacher of his, a member of the Opus Dei, who wrote to him and offered him support and understanding (2005, pp. 107–11). Prison chaplains were also people to whom he owed much in his path towards reconsidering his former beliefs. While acknowledging that there had been cases of proselytizing in the prisons, Cavallina stated that he and many other prisoners had ‘had the good luck of meeting with people who despite their belonging [to the Church] never asked us to join’, and who, in fact, had left them free to make their own choices and decisions (Interview). With increasing opportunities to meet and talk to social and political representatives, to participate in study and discussion groups, to mix with other inmates in the safety of the aree omogenee, came a gradual process of detachment from previous comrades: I used to believe that ‘comrade’ was more than friend and brother, that our values would be able to impose their superiority; instead, when everything collapsed I found that the only stable anchor, the only solid foundation of coexistence, that is to say, solidarity, resided in age-­old values: the family, religion, friendship in the traditional sense. (2005, p. 114) At the collective level, as opposed to the personal one, Cavallina confirmed that the early 1980s saw a sustained tripartite exchange of views between the imprisoned terrorists, who had started to reconsider their positions, Church representatives,

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   91 and politicians. In this exchange the prisoners argued that they were ready to acknowledge a process of disengagement and to play a role in bringing terrorism to an end if the state were able to recognize and reward their status as dissociates without asking them to turn pentiti in order to become entitled to a reduction in their sentences (Interview). Cavallina, like others, maintains that the ‘movement for dissociation’ was indeed able to engage with the politicians ‘on a par’. But he did not believe that this dialogue had been instrumental in bringing about the 1986 Gozzini law and 1987 law on dissociation, even though it constituted in his view an important element in the process of bringing terrorism to an end and starting the process of reconciliation. Thanks to these developments the prison finally ceased being a place of despair: ‘the expression we used was “prison of hope” ’ (Interview). According to Cavallina another important element was the attitude of some magistrates and judges during the judicial trials, including his own, insofar as they seemed genuinely bent upon understanding the motivations and goals of the defendants as opposed to treating them as fanatical murderers and monsters.

The end of terrorism as told by extreme-­right participants There are very few former right-­wing terrorists who are prepared to talk about their past experiences other than to deny any involvement in political violence, especially in relation to the bombing massacres and to the ‘strategy of tension’. The main available testimonies are from those who took part in the ‘armed struggle’, as this is considered and presented as a politically and morally justifiable form of action. The dominant representation of the bombing massacres among members of the right is that of a criminal and abject form of violence (Cento Bull, 2007). As for the strategy of tension, this is either flatly denied or presented as having been masterminded by the left in connivance with the state in order to criminalize and marginalize the political right (Cento Bull, 2007). Only a handful of terrorists are prepared to accept that the bombing massacres and the strategy of tension saw the participation of extreme-­right groups in connivance with the state. Participation in the armed struggle, on the other hand, elevates the right-­ wing terrorists to the status of legitimate combatants against a corrupt capitalist state, on a par with their left-­wing counterparts in terms of their goals and targets, thereby removing the stigma of any ‘collusion’ with domestic and/or international state bodies, including the armed forces, the secret services, or indeed the CIA. The story of right-­wing terrorism thus becomes a linear reconstruction of autonomous groups inspired by a revolutionary political strategy, or more simply by a strong will to ‘bear witness’ to their radical ideas. The main extreme-­right groups which took part in armed terrorism in the 1970s were Terza Posizione and the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (NAR). Others included the Fronte Nazionale Rivoluzionario, Ordine Nero and a breakaway group of the Movimento Politico Ordine Nuovo, led by Pierluigi Concutelli in the second half of the 1970s. The reconstructions of the past by their representatives differ from those of

92   Ending the violence former left-­wing terrorists primarily in the sense of their recognition of the weakness and marginality of their groups compared to the left-­wing organizations. Thus, many affirm that their defeat preceded their decision to take up arms; that is to say, their turn to violence represented an attempt to demonstrate that they would not succumb without a fight. Mario Tuti, founder and leader of the Fronte Nazionale Rivoluzionario, stated this clearly in his interview with Anna Cento Bull (11 January 2011): When we took up arms we did it more to bear witness to our presence as we knew perfectly well that we did not have any chance of victory, hence we expected defeat. In my own case when I was captured in France . . . I reacted with a moment of rage because I had fallen into a trap without realizing it, but . . . I did not experience it as a defeat. In his view, this difference explained to a large extent the extensive phenomenon of pentitismo and dissociation among the left-­wing terrorists when compared to their right-­wing counterparts. While agreeing that there were sporadic episodes of ill-­treatment and even torture in the prisons, especially in the special wings where the prisoners were kept in total isolation and subjected to physical and psychological pressures, he nevertheless insisted that this was not the reason why many left-­wing terrorists turned their backs on the armed struggle. Rather, it was a case of individual and collective disillusionment: Compared to us, the reds had a project of revolutionary conquest of the state, they believed they could win and might even have done so. When faced with political and military defeat, their premises collapsed and as a result they were much more prone to become pentiti or dissociati. (Interview) By contrast, the right-­wing terrorists, according to Tuti, were more prepared to continue the fight in the prisons even after it became clear that they had no chance of escaping and that they were condemned to spend almost a lifetime in captivity. They renounced violence and gave up the fight only after several years, but did not officially repent or dissociate. Indeed, most of them have continued, even after regaining their freedom, to adopt a position of ‘non integration’, remaining at the margins of society. A similar view is put forward by Pierluigi Concutelli in his 2008 book Io, l’uomo nero. Una vita tra politica, violenza e galera (‘I, the black man. A life between politics, violence and prison’). Concutelli differs from Tuti insofar as he justifies his decision to take up arms on the basis of a revolutionary project, rather than as a form of bearing witness to the continuing validity of fascist ideals: We wanted to be a part, also ‘physical’ and not simply intellectual, of a revolutionary movement: we wanted to compete with the Red Brigades and contribute to that antagonistic movement which, in our view, might be able

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   93 to prevail and destroy the existing regime. We believed the conditions for this were ripe. (2008, p. 117) From this perspective, Concutelli accepts that he and his comrades were defeated by the state, both militarily and politically. Nevertheless, his reconstruction of the prison years has many points of convergence with Tuti, especially in presenting the extreme-­right prisoners as better able to withstand the harsh treatment meted out by the guards and refusing to come to terms with the enemy. He depicts himself as a true combatant who, after he was arrested in February 1977, refused to collaborate and thought only of escaping and continuing his ‘war’ in prison. He was treated harshly, deprived of ordinary things, left for days without any food and, on one occasion, beaten up severely by the guards. This made him even more determined to continue to fight and he became ‘determined, ruthless, savage’ (p. 195), turning against the pentiti. On 13 April 1981, together with Mario Tuti, he strangled Ermanno Buzzi, who had been charged with involvement in the Brescia massacre of 28 May 1974 for being ‘a spy, a stragista’ (p. 197). On 12 August 1982 he strangled Carmine Palladino, who he believed responsible for having turned informant and caused the death of a comrade. As a result he was treated even more harshly until 1987 when he started to adopt a more compromising attitude towards the prison authorities and to make use of the concessions envisaged by the new Italian legislation, gaining his first permit for a brief walk outside in 1997. Both Tuti and Concutelli see themselves as two of the very few of their generation who have preserved their integrity and refused to compromise with power, unlike the vast majority of the left-­wing terrorists. Tuti specifically refers to the former leftist terrorists as having become ‘perfectly integrated both socially and professionally’. Similarly, in a theatrical piece written in Voghera prison and dramatized in 1996, and which concerns the story of a newly released long-­term prisoner, Concutelli refers to the solitude of the protagonist in the midst of a mass of repented and dissociated ex-­combatants, who: immediately found the door open, the right path that has taken them to the universities, the TV studios, the churches and the fashionable circles, next to the loci of power. And from there have warned others, with a wink, that the only possible wisdom was to renege, betray, make money, achieve success! In their obscene satisfaction with the world as it is, the prisoner’s gaze is intolerable for those who want to forget that they too were victims and prisoners, and wish to be forgiven for having dreamt a different world, a generous and beautiful world. (pp. 10–11) As in the case of the reconstructions put forward by the irriducibili from the Red Brigades, the main preoccupation of Tuti and Concutelli is to safeguard the image of the neo-­fascist combatants as heroic and unswerving ‘warriors’ who

94   Ending the violence never came to terms with their enemy. Whereas the irriducibili compare themselves favourably to the pentiti and dissociati, the neo-­fascists are compared positively to the left-­wing terrorists, who collapsed psychologically when faced with the prospect of defeat and long-­term imprisonment. It goes without saying that both Tuti and Concutelli flatly deny any neo-­fascist involvement in the bombing massacres or the strategy of tension. As we shall see in greater detail in Part II, the military and heroic template adopted for their stories by these groups of protagonists must also be considered as a more or less deliberate attempt to preserve the individual dignity and reputation of the narrators and/or the collective esteem and identity of their own group. By contrast, Vincenzo Vinciguerra (2000) and Fabrizio Zani (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 18 January 2011), respectively members of Ordine Nuovo and the leader of Ordine Nero, fully accept that neo-­fascist groups participated in the strategy of tension and worked in close collaboration with the secret services and other national and international bodies. From this perspective the bombing massacres came to an end only when their masterminds decided that this type of terrorism was no longer a useful instrument, and/or when they stopped to consider the neo-­ fascists as possible allies in the fight against communism. However, whereas Vinciguerra considers all neo-­fascist groups to have been manipulated by the secret services, Zani makes a distinction between those groups that took part in the mas­ sacres and those that participated in the ‘armed struggle’, including his own, Ordine Nero. According to Zani, the latter groups failed both because there were too few of them and because their strategy, which was to attack the state from the right while the Red Brigades attacked it from the left, was too naïve and had no chance of succeeding. At the personal level, Zani argued that he continued the fight in prison for many years before he started to rethink his position and his ideas. This was an individual process which led him to study political science at university and to become aware of new political and ideological movements such as the Northern League and the environmentalist movement. In his own words: ‘if you don’t shut yourself in a bunker, a personal evolution is almost inevitable’ (Interview). Another right-­wing terrorist, interviewed on 17 March 1985 as part of the Istituto Cattaneo project, confirmed both the nature of right-­wing terrorism as an existentialist more than political movement, and the crucial role played by humane (as opposed to harsh) imprisonment in promoting an individual process of disengagement. With regards to the former issue, this terrorist stated: For the right the armed struggle was not aimed at conquering the state, at a political goal. Normally the armed action is simply a demonstration of existence . . . an existentialist manifestation . . . an exemplary, demonstrative gesture. . . . Neofascism cannot be framed in terms of searching for integration, but as accepting the impossibility of integrating. Hence it confirms our otherness. (Interview by Maurizio Fiacco with S.C., Dote Archive, Istituto Cattaneo, Bologna)

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   95 With regards to imprisonment, the terrorist was adamant that In the top security prisons, in 99 per cent of prisoners, there is a return of that same mentality that prevails during clandestinity, revolving around a small group perceived as being under siege which sees in death the possibility of its sublimation. . . . [H]ence people create a separate universe; they remain frozen in the situation in which they find themselves when entering prison and do not evolve at all in psychological terms, in fact they become strengthened in their prejudices. (Ibid.) Similarly to Zani, this former terrorist started a slow process of reflection while in prison, gradually acknowledging the responsibility of the extreme-­right in the bombing massacres and the strategy of tension. This process led to a rejection of fascist ideas and to a wider rethinking of the role of violence and of human relations: The crisis of the political model led to a rediscovery of the value of life, of daily human relations, social relations, hence also sentimental relations [. . .] it was a gradual process [. . .] including a different evaluation of the concept of friendship itself [. . .] paradoxically even in terms of political ideas I was able to communicate better with the magistrates than with my fellow prisoners. (Ibid.) It was only at the end of this process that this terrorist started to realize and accept what he had done to his victims: What is worse . . . is that I have to say that these deeds did not really have a traumatic effect upon those who carried them out. . . . [I]t is only after one has changed one’s own interpretation of these deeds that they can promote a process of self-­reflection, whereas they were organic to that type of thinking. (Ibid.) One of the leaders of the Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari, and one of the very few female right-­wing terrorists, Francesca Mambro, presented a less political and more affective interpretation of the end of terrorism in Italy. With reference to her own group she argued that ‘we were a group of friends; we were not ideologically inspired to conquer power through the working class or a revolution. We gave an emotive response to a situation of diffused illegality and social injustice’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 January 2011). From this point of view, ‘for us the armed struggle ended the moment we were arrested’. Nevertheless, the individual process of discarding the oppositional attitude towards the ‘enemy’ was a long and tortuous one, which required a series of mental steps and human encounters in the prisons:

96   Ending the violence When the fighting ceases there comes reflection, you try to understand what happened, you start looking around and meet people. In my case I met certain magistrates whom I did not believe would be able to understand what had happened in our lives [yet they did understand] and this helped. Or fellow prisoners whom I could talk to, with a story similar to mine but who did not know who I was, hence the possibility to talk, narrate, explain. Then also the solitude, the fact that you find your family once again, for me this was very important because I love my family very much, my mother and brothers, they tried to understand, they had always told me I was wrong but did not judge me. (Ibid.) Mambro argued that the role of the Church and the state in ending terrorism had been vitally important. The former had been able to listen to those who had erred and to ‘leave the door open’ for their re-­entry into society. Some individual personalities had been particularly influential. Mambro, like the anonymous Prima Linea female terrorist cited above, talked about the figure of Father Adolfo Bachelet, who, after his brother Vittorio was killed by the Red Brigades on 12 February 1980, used to visit the prisons in the hope of meeting and talking with the terrorists. In her own case, she said, ‘meeting Bachelet has been the most important meeting I had while in prison’. According to her, Father Bachelet was aware that the imprisoned terrorists would be particularly receptive to the Christian message, because they were ‘in a situation of profound crisis and solitude. By solitude I mean when you are left alone with yourself, coming to terms with yourself and your responsibilities’. As for the state, it behaved in a manner that was not vindictive and even allowed the former terrorists to get out of prison without having to foreswear and abjure: ‘This is important to preserve one’s own personal dignity, I can acknowledge my mistakes but they are mine, I made them, so how can I dissociate from myself?’ In her interview Mambro refused to categorize her treatment in prison as ‘torture’ (‘this is a kind of victimism, we lived in a democratic country’), even going as far as to accept that the occasionally brutal reaction of some guards was understandable, and that the prison directors ‘had to manage a very difficult situation’. In short, ‘in Italy the terrorist season closed peacefully with the laws of the state which allowed people to be freed having served part of their sentence, without having to disavow their past actions’. Indeed the state and the political class delegated to the judiciary first the task of fighting terrorism, and later the task of ending it by letting the terrorists out of prison as soon as possible, a process that also had the merit of avoiding turning them into martyrs. A very similar reconstruction was put forward by Francesca Mambro’s husband and former leader of the NAR, Giuseppe Valerio Fioravanti, in an interview carried out by Anna Cento Bull in 2005. In short, Mambro and Fioravanti go further than most in viewing the end of terrorism through the lenses of democratic and non-­violent values, hence by adopting the perspective of their former enemies. They consider imprisonment

Former terrorists on ending terrorism   97 to have played a fundamental role in convincing the terrorists to disengage from political violence, as a result of the combined effects of (1) an individual process of reflection in a condition of solitude; (2) human encounters with representatives of the Catholic Church, but also fellow prisoners, doctors, magistrates and above all family members; and (3) a complementary role played by institutions like the Catholic Church and the state in promoting (the latter through the judiciary, rather than through a general political amnesty) an early release from prison and the social re-­integration of former terrorists.

Conclusion As is evident from the above discussion, former terrorists express a range of perspectives on the end of terrorism. Members of the Prima Linea organization emphasize the collective nature of their decision and paint a picture of unity, almost unanimity, in the face of the awareness of the end of an historical phase. Former members of the BR, on the other hand, are less able to present a collective vision for reasons that are directly related to the fragmented nature of the organization itself. Indeed, rather than speak of a single organization it is more accurate to speak of organizations, given the galaxy of groupings within the BR, characterized by advocates of the military approach, the ‘movement’ approach and so on. Furthermore, the end of the BR is characterized by the profound lacerations of the phenomenon of pentitismo. Additionally, in that Prima Linea could be viewed as having hegemonized dissociation, the BR have reacted to this situation by dismissing the dissociati as cowards who sold their past down the river. The same problem also applies to former right-­wing terrorists who themselves came from a wide variety of strategic and ideological positions. What the Prima Linea former terrorists propose is what might be called a ‘dissolution myth’, a powerful and easily understood narrative that allows them to condense a variety of inchoate experiences into something which is coherent, comprehensible and comforting. Naturally, some of the elements of this narrative are shaped and configured in order to fit the story which is being told. The role of Prima Linea in influencing the elaboration of the legislation in the 1980s is a case in point. It is interesting in this respect that this myth has become more fixed in recent reconstructions compared to the interviews carried out with Prima Linea members in the 1980s – a time when a few dissenting voices objected to the idea of a ‘dissociation movement’ as privileged interlocutor of the state. But there is, as we have also tried to demonstrate, plenty of evidence to suggest that the dissociated did play a part, even if they were not the protagonists, in the process. All myths need, at the very least, a starting point in reality. Prima Linea also has, it might be argued, an additional advantage over other terrorist organizations, both left and right. In terms of the history of the organization there are some scattered suggestions that it was manipulated by powerful and obscure forces, but these are few and far between. For the BR and right-­ wing terrorism, on the other hand, there are still many unclear issues about their history. This perhaps explains why individuals such as Gallinari should be so

98   Ending the violence keen to pour scorn on the conspiracy theorists and their supporters. Furthermore, as was evident in the interviews given by Bignami and Gallinari, Prima Linea and the BR are still engaged in a battle about their respective strategies during the period of the armed struggle and beyond. Bignami, for example, emphasized the role of Prima Linea within the movement, criticizing the BR for its militarist approach, which, he argued, was aimed at turning Italy into ‘something like the Crimea’. He also argued that Prima Linea was just one manifestation of a long insurrectionary tendency within Italian history, and invoked the figure of Garibaldi as a harbinger of his own organization. By tracing the history of his organization back to the Risorgimento, Bignami was attempting to bestow a sense of historical continuity and dignity on his actions and those of his comrades at the time. Interestingly, a similar attempt to legitimize the actions of the BR has been made by Franceschini, who traces a direct line from the BR back to the partisans of the Second World War. Neither argument, it is hardly necessary to add, stands up to serious historical analysis, but this misses the point. The campaign that former terrorists are now engaged in is about the search for what they see as their precise location within modern Italian history – put another way, within their ‘chosen traumas’ (see Chapter 6). As we shall see in Part II of this book, the issue of history, and of historical truth, is absolutely central to the process of reconciliation.

Part II

After terrorism

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5 From conciliation to reconciliation?

Introduction According to Renner and Spencer (2011, pp. 8–9), ‘ending violence and reaching at least a preliminary settlement is an important first step towards any kind of reconciliation between antagonistic societal groups’. They define this step as ‘conciliation’ rather than reconciliation and argue that it includes establishing formal or informal talks with the terrorists, granting political concessions, as well as introducing amnesty laws and provisions. By contrast they argue that ‘reconciliation proper’ constitutes a very different kind of process as it aims at ‘overcoming the “terrorist” conflict through a profound societal transformation. . . . Reconciliation measures operate on different levels of society and use individuals, groups or collective memory as the medium for societal reconciliation’ (p. 12). The same authors include among these measures ‘the reintegration of former “terrorists” into society’ which would offer them ‘a possibility of overcoming individual isolation and personal trauma’ (pp.  12–13). In this context they state that research on how terrorism ends has tended to prioritize individual disengagement from political violence rather than re-­integration: ‘much of the research so far examines the ways out of terrorism rather than the possibilities of re-­entering into society’ (p. 13). As we have seen in the preceding chapters, conciliation was successfully achieved in Italy following two decades of political violence. Apart from a few isolated episodes in the 1990s, armed terrorism came to an end in the 1980s, and new legislation was introduced which both recognized and further promoted the trend towards dissociation among those terrorists who had been captured and put in prison. While the moral legitimacy of this legislation was questioned at the time and continues to be questioned from various sources, especially by the victims and their associations, there is little doubt that it proved effective in accelerating an end to terrorism in ways that have often been considered pioneering in the scholarly literature. Thus, Renner and Spencer are but the latest in a long series of scholars who list the Italian collaboratori di giustizia or pentiti law, discussed in depth in Chapter 2, as one of the ‘best examples’ of state measures which successfully brought about ‘the end of the terrorist conflict in Italy’.

102   After terrorism As concerns reconciliation in the shape of the social re-­integration of former terrorists, scholars like della Porta (1992) and Weinberg and Eubank (1987), who studied the Italian case in the 1980s and early 1990s, already defined reconciliation in terms of the state reconciling with former terrorists as well as promoting their re-­insertion into society. They stressed the importance of this process: ‘the reinsertion into society of those who were involved in the terrorist organizations requires special attention’ (della Porta 1992, p. 168). As discussed in Chapters 2 and 3, both the reform of the prison system, under the impulse and direction of Nicolò Amato, and the Gozzini law, played an important part, not least in the recollections of the former terrorists themselves, in promoting their re-­entry into society and in putting an end to their initial determination to continue the struggle in the prisons. As a result, all the former terrorists have been re-­integrated into society and have not reoffended, with just a few irriducibili remaining in prison. Many of them subsequently became involved in social work, mainly dealing with associations and projects concerning ex-­prisoners, often run or sponsored by the Catholic Church. While this is in part due to the role of Church representatives and organizations in promoting the social re-­ integration of former terrorists, as discussed in Chapter 3, it also represents a deliberate choice on their part to prioritize engagement in civil society. Furthermore, Chapters 3 and 4 have shown that, even though a formal process of negotiating with the terrorists did not apply to the Italian case, nevertheless those who had been imprisoned became interlocutors of policy-­makers and state representatives and had an input into the drafting of the legislation on ‘dissociation’ and the Gozzini law as well as into the more relaxed prison system introduced by Amato in the early 1980s. While the former terrorists may have deliberately exaggerated their degree of influence on state measures as proof of their status as legitimate combatants rather than ‘terrorists’, it is also the case that their input was confirmed by other testimonies, including those of former prison directors such as Luigi Pagano. Hence, in Italy, legislation and in-­prison developments went hand-­in-hand to bring about an end to terrorism, even though the existing literature underestimates the role of the latter. Reconciliation as a wider social process, however, has not been addressed in the Italian case, probably because on one level it would appear that the country has been able to follow its own path to pacification and even ‘reconciliation’ and that the issue no longer requires scholarly attention. We would argue, by contrast, that political terrorism has left an enduring legacy, with persistent feelings of mistrust towards the state among the victims and many citizens, as well as partisan and contrasting representations of the past. The victims, in particular, were left out entirely from state measures aimed at overcoming political violence, and their needs and requests have only recently started to be met. Furthermore, there are persisting unexplained or puzzling circumstances surrounding various episodes of armed terrorism, while the role of the state in the bombing massacres remains a blot on Italian democracy. All this would seem to point to the need for a process of truth-­telling and wider social reconciliation, yet this was not embarked upon. This chapter explores

From conciliation to reconciliation?   103 the main reasons accounting for Italy’s partial and incomplete process of ‘ending terrorism’.

Divergent interpretations on the nature of terrorism One of the main reasons for the lack of a wider process of social reconciliation in the Italian case is that there has been, and continues to be, no consensus in the country regarding the nature of the political violence of the 1970s and 1980s, and hence no consensus regarding the need for a reconciliation process. On the one hand, as we saw in the Introduction, it is argued that political violence, including terrorism, can be better understood as part of a latent or ‘low-­intensity’ civil war involving ideologically opposed groups in the context of the Cold War. At one end stood the Communist Party, which had to be excluded from government at all costs in view of its revolutionary ideology and of the international context. At the opposite end stood the neo-­fascist Party, harbouring feelings of grievance since the defeat of the RSI in the 1943–45 civil war. In between stood Christian Democracy, divided between a strategy of ‘opening up to the left’ and a strategy of seeking a centre–right alliance with the inclusion of the neo-­fascist party. In the late 1960s, with the growing rise of the trade union movement and various other social movements that enjoyed fairly widespread social and cultural support (especially on the left), political violence reared its ugly head. On the right, the ‘strategy of tension’ was developed, with state apparatuses being able to rely on ideologically imbued, hot-­headed and revenge-­seeking, young neo-­fascists. On the left, political violence was increasingly theorized and finally put into practice by terrorist groups which enjoyed a fair amount of support in society and within the factories, and which originated at least in part from the Communist Party itself. Those who support this interpretation tend also to acknowledge the relevance of a process of social and political reconciliation. At the level of civil society, reconciliation would be necessary in order to prevent the revival of ideologically inspired opposing groups, who would rekindle mutual feelings of hatred and enmity and long-­standing myths, with the risk that these in turn would foster violence at some stage in the future. At the level of politics, reconciliation would be necessary in order to promote the emergence of a political class that would refrain from demonizing the adversary and using the past selectively for mutual delegitimization. While it has the merit of addressing both types of terrorism, however, this interpretation has the demerit, in the eyes of many (not least the victims) of justifying the former terrorists’ claims that their violence was part of a wider civil war whose political nature ought to have been publicly recognized and ‘condoned’ through a general amnesty. On the other hand, it is argued, especially by many of the victims, that armed terrorism in Italy should be considered a case of unilateral violence exercised against the state by self-­proclaimed revolutionary fighters who should more accurately be labelled criminals. As it bore no resemblance to an ethnic conflict or a civil war, why talk of reconciliation in the Italian case? Who should reconcile with whom? The terrorists ought to recognize they are to blame and make

104   After terrorism amends as far as possible, but this does not necessitate practices of reconciliation involving other actors. Nevertheless, the victims themselves, as will be seen in Chapter 7 which analyses their memoirs and perspectives, are divided over the nature of armed terrorism, since many recognize that the left-­wing terrorists, while constituting a small minority, nevertheless enjoyed fairly wide support at the societal level. Indeed, many victims denounce the connivance of those fellow Italians who passively stood by and let things happen or even mobilized in defence of the terrorists. They are also divided over the issue of reconciliation. Many do talk about the need for a generalized process of truth-­telling, generally considered one of the goals and requisites of a reconciliation process. Indeed, many of the victims also recognize the need to address terrorism in all its manifestations, rather than dealing with each form separately, which means accepting that at the very least there has to be a process of truth-­telling in relation to the bombing massacres. The main problem with the reading of political violence in Italy as having to do with a group of ideologized criminals is precisely that it leaves out the issue of terrorism in the shape of the bombing massacres and the related role of the state. The judicial process has ascertained that this type of terrorism was carried out by extreme-­right groups with the connivance and support of sectors of the state, ranging from the secret services to the armed forces. In addition, the judicial process itself was thwarted as a result of numerous obstructions to justice put into place by these same state sectors. Investigations and trials, therefore, have not succeeded in bringing to justice the actual perpetrators of these attacks, let alone in formally incriminating high-­ranking officers in the intelligence services and the armed forces, or indeed top-­ranking politicians. These failures amount to a violation of human rights on the part of the state towards its own citizens. As the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations states: ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person’ (Article 3) and ‘Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law’ (Article 8). Furthermore, ‘Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein’ (Article 30). A violation of human rights on the part of a state would seem to indicate that the latter ought to repair its relations with the victims and its citizenry in order to address what one victim defined as a ‘huge fracture in Italian democracy’ (see Chapter 7). Furthermore, there are many unanswered questions and persisting doubts concerning the role of the state in armed terrorism. The state, in fact, is suspected of having adopted an attitude of laissez-faire towards leftwing terrorism, allowing it to develop in order to keep the Communist Party in check, through promoting the emergence of rev­olutionary groups to its left (della Porta 1990). This is an interpretation many of the victims subscribe to, as will be seen in Chapter 7. If proven, it would make the need for a process of reconciliation

From conciliation to reconciliation?   105 between the Italian state, the victims, and all citizens, even more compelling. Even if not proven, there are sufficient grounds for arguing that the behaviour of the Italian state in fighting armed terrorism has been relatively opaque and twisted, enough to require it to embark on some form of reparation and reconciliation. The problem is that in Italy there is not simply a lack of consensus concerning the nature of terrorism and the desirability of embarking on a process of reconciliation. An object of contention appears to be the meaning of ‘reconciliation’ itself, as well as its relationship to both truth and justice. In order properly to understand the legacy of terrorism in Italy, therefore, we need first to understand the issues revolving around reconciliation, truth and justice.

Reconciliation Many victims, as will be seen in Chapter 7, understand reconciliation as a form of generalized amnesty, or the means to promoting healing through a process of repentance on the part of the former terrorists and forgiveness on their own part. They thus reject this approach, as it would imply putting to one side their rightful demands for truth and justice. Indeed, as a handbook on reconciliation fully acknowledges (Bloomfield 2003, p. 14), the victims often, and rightly, suspect that a fast move to a state where everyone is apparently reconciled to the past and to each other is a way of short-­cutting proper processes of justice, truth-­telling and punishment – that it means they must ‘forgive and forget’. However, the author makes it clear that ‘Truth and justice are not separate to reconciliation: they are key parts of it’ (p.  14). As Tendaiwo Peter Maregere argued, ‘Reconciliation is not necessarily about victims loving or forgiving their torturers or forgetting the past in any way, but about coexisting with them and developing the cooperation necessary to share their (victims’) society with the perpetrators’ (2009, p. 42). Hence, forgiveness on the part of the victims is not an essential aspect of reconciliation: ‘It is cruel and wrong to expect a victim of crime to forgive. . . . [I]t cannot, must not be expected. Similarly, remorse that is forced out of offenders has no restorative power’ (Braithwaite 2002, p. 571). In reality, the literature on reconciliation shows that there are different ways of understanding and approaching this process. At one end there are experts who advocate healing through a dialogue between perpetrators and victims, or through the victims being able openly to recount their experiences of suffering and grief via processes that include remembrance and commemoration. Indeed, nowadays reconciliation is considered primarily as a process of restorative justice that requires an obligation to set things right for the victims (Zehr 1990). Sometimes referred to as a ‘victim-­oriented process’, it aims at achieving healing through a generalized process of truth-­telling, reparation and apology to the victims on the part of the perpetrators, re-­integration of offenders into society,

106   After terrorism societal empathy for the victims, and practices of commemoration and remembrance (Minow 1998; Llewellyn and Howse 1999; Rothberg and Thompson 2000; Shea 2000; Villa-­Vicencio and Verwoerd 2000; Hayner 2001). At the other end, there are those who believe that reconciliation is primarily concerned with truth and justice and with reforming political institutions. They thus consider a victim-­oriented process, especially through the establishment of truth and reconciliation commissions, as presenting notable risks, particularly in terms of a trade-­off between peace and healing on the one hand and retribution and justice on the other (Abrams 2001; Christodoulidis 2000; Popkin and Roht-­Arriaza 1995; Crocker 2000a, 2000b). In between there are those who argue that a public acknowledgement of the victims’ pain and suffering and commemorative practices should go hand-­in-hand with a context in which the truth is told and publicly acknowledged, and justice is achieved. Diana Enns (2007, p.  17) expresses the dilemma succinctly, as follows: ‘how do we maintain a focus on justice and peaceful reconciliation at the same time?’. To focus on justice means, among other things, achieving political transformation and democratic renewal, whereas focusing on reconciliation means prioritizing personal and psychological healing. Enns argues that scholars are divided as to which method should be prioritized when dealing with conflict. In her view, political transformation should take priority over adopting an ethical attitude, since ‘we must not lose sight of the risks of depoliticizing the experience of suffering and trauma, of reaffirming the status quo’ (2007, p. 32). As she clarifies: I have argued that an ethical attitude has been developing in certain fields of scholarship and Western culture more generally, and perhaps globally, in which the concern for the trauma and suffering of the victim has assumed such overwhelming significance that both the power and responsibility of the victim are denied. In the process it seems we have, at times, abdicated politics for ethics. (Enns 2007, p. 33) It is particularly the relationship between memory, truth and victimhood that appears to be contentious from the perspective of achieving social and political reconciliation. According to some scholars a process of truth recovery and truth-­ telling should not be encouraged by states or governments in the context of reconciliation, because they can be used as weapons in the hands of sectarian groups. As Brewer (2006, p. 221) argued: The partial nature of the truths disclosed is both cause and effect of the problems around how truth claims are received, resulting in ‘truth’ being partisan. Some people can simply refuse to participate in the recovery process, as happened in South Africa, ensuring a one-­sided or selective recovery of truth. There can be vested interests trying to limit what is disclosed. Truth recovery processes have sometimes been designed by states,

From conciliation to reconciliation?   107 governments or political groups to disguise their own culpability or partisanly expose that of their opponents. This is most likely to happen in post-­ violence settings where the former regime retains some capacity to dictate the disclosure of its activities and thus in those peace accords where there has not been an outright winner. Similar arguments have been put forward in relation to truth recovery through a judicial process in those contexts where the state itself has been involved in political violence. Thus Rolston argued that it is almost impossible to bring the state to account through the courts, because of its determination to deny the truth and its power in covering up the evidence (Rolston 2000). Hence, the truth that is likely to emerge in judicial trials will relate to individual episodes but will not expose a wider system of injustice. Others are less clear-­cut but insist that the issue of truth recovery must be treated with the utmost care: Truth, in the form of narratives, is never simply uncovered, but is partially constructed and affected by numerous processes and actors. At best it is subjective. . . . This makes it vital that the problematic nature of truth is acknowledged and addressed when constructing a truth commission. (Mobekk 2005, p. 265) Some go as far as to argue that the most desirable way of dealing with a violent and divisive past is to promote collective amnesia (Mendeloff 2004). Especially in those cases where violence is likely to recur, a collective public amnesia, sometimes accompanied by a general amnesty, can best promote a rebuilding of political institutions and a peaceful transition to democracy. The emphasis is on the future rather than the past, on securing an end to violence rather than searching for the truth and for justice. Others, like Brewer, reject this notion as impractical, and suggest that it is more a question of ‘recasting social memory as a peace strategy’ (2006, p. 217), thereby promoting various social practices of remembrance and commemoration for the experiences of the victims which should not rely on truth recovery but be an alternative to it. In short, Brewer argued that it is possible for victimhood to ‘be made sociologically functional for peace processes’, in an alternative to truth recovery. Among the policy initiatives he recommended to this end, are ‘a pluralist attitude towards victimhood’, which nevertheless should also stress the ‘unity of victimhood as an experience across the divide’, and ‘sites of remembrance . . . that bring together victims across the divide’ (2006, p. 224). Other scholars (Avruch and Vejarano 2001; Hamber 1998, 2001, Hayner 1994, Ignatieff 1996, 1998; Naqvi 2006) argue instead that truth recovery is an essential part of the process of reconciliation, so much so that in most post-­ conflict countries truth and reconciliation commissions have been set up along the South African model, where truth-­telling was clearly linked to reconciliation. In addition, truth is linked to justice. Thus, these scholars argue that most victims demand to know the truth concerning the violence that was inflicted upon them

108   After terrorism and/or their relatives becaue this kind of truth is a precondition for both justice and reconciliation, as well as forgiveness. Indeed, many relatives of victims of terrorism, in Italy and elsewhere, view forgiveness as an option that is denied to them, since they do not even know who killed their loved ones. While acknow­ ledging that truth-­telling is often partisan and self-­serving, in that it can be used as a weapon by sectarian groups, and while accepting that ‘truth’ is a complex and contested concept, these scholars nevertheless insist that for reconciliation to take place there must be some widely acknowledged reconstructions of the past over and above the many competing and contested versions promoted by different groups and individuals. It is precisely because truth ‘is also the arena in which the parties’ competing versions of history and the politics of memory play themselves out’ and also that ‘it is one thing to establish the facts . . . and quite another to establish a society-­wide consensus on what they mean’ (Avruch and Vejarano 2001, pp.  39–40), that great efforts must be made to achieve and legitimize authoritative reconstructions of the past. As Hamber put it (1998, p. 81), with reference to Northern Ireland, ‘it is unlikely that the society will be able to move on, regardless of successes at the political level, without some versions of the past being officially legitimized and validated, and some even discarded’. Ignatieff (1996) is less sanguine about truth’s capacity to reconcile because he argues that truth is linked to identity and therefore is contentious. Nevertheless, he concedes that a process of truth-­telling, such as the one promoted by a truth commission, can ‘reduce the number of lies that can be circulated unchallenged in public discourse. In Argentina, the work of such a body has made it impossible to claim, for example, that the military did not throw half-­dead victims into the sea from helicopters’ (1996, p. 113). Naqvi (2006, p. 263) argues that ‘the official public nature of a truth commission transforms the historic truth into official acknow­ ledgement of the harm done to victims – a key value for national reconciliation’. An important issue concerns the nature of truth. Truth has both a personal and a social and political value, and it also has what we can define as a ‘transformative value’. Parlevliet (1998, 2010) has examined the meaning of truth at a social and political level, arguing that On the public level, truth probably also refers to a type of society and state – one which is open, tolerant, fair, participatory, empowering, respectful of its people – and to a type of human being (or character) – trustworthy, sincere, decent, just. (1998, p. 10) As such, Parlevliet argued, truth signifies a first step towards a state and a society in which values related to human dignity and integrity are upheld. Truth functions, as it were, as an instrument to move in the direction of what the state and society should become. (1998, p. 31)

From conciliation to reconciliation?   109 Especially when political violence involved a violation of human rights by the state, then it should be the state that ‘conveys to society its commitment to assert the rule of law and to be fair to its citizens, while simultaneously taking responsibility for the past by officially sanctioning the knowledge and acknowledgement of the truth’ (1998, p.  12). This understanding of the truth, as will be seen in Chapter 7, is one that many victims subscribe to, as it would clearly indicate that the democratic state is able to renew and re-­establish itself on a new basis. Finally, the issue of memory is also highly contentious. According to the 2003 Handbook on Reconciliation, ‘memory is a two-­edged sword. It can play a crucial role in making reconciliation sustainable. But it also has the capacity to hinder reconciliation processes’ (Huyse 2003a, p.  30). As Tint (2010, p.  239) explains, the reason for this is that ‘those who do remember their past, live their past, and honor their past are continuously replaying the cycles of struggle and conflict that are their legacy’. Group memories, in particular, are both socially constructed and constitutive of group identity, and personal memories also often reflect a sense of belonging to a specific group. Thus collective memory can refer to a complex of beliefs and values constructed and shared either by a national or a sub-­national group. When collective memories shared by sub-­ national groups are in conflict with one another we speak of a divided memory. Divided memories are generally transmitted across generations, explaining the long-­term nature of many conflicts (Tint 2010, p. 239). One of the ways in which this is done is explained by Volkan with reference to the concept of ‘chosen trauma’, which consists of ‘a shared mental representation of a traumatic past event during which the large group suffered loss and/or experienced helplessness, shame and humiliation in a conflict with another large group’ (2001, p. 87). These mental representations are passed on to the next generation and can in turn (re)activate or (re)construct shared feelings of enmity and revenge: Over generations, such historical events, which I call chosen traumas, become more than a memory or shared piece of the past [. . .] When a chosen trauma is fully reactivated within a large group, a time collapse typically occurs. . . . [A]n ancient enemy will be perceived in a new enemy, and the sense of entitlement to regain what was lost, or to seek revenge against the contemporary enemy, become exaggerated. (pp. 88–9) In view of the above, some reconciliation experts believe that one of its aims should consist of promoting the development of an overarching national memory over and above – if not actually replacing – conflictive group-­based counter-­ memories. As Boraine stated: ‘The emphasis (in the South African process) was on a common memory that would allow all South Africans to agree that this did happen, and that it must never happen again; that despite our divisions and

110   After terrorism d­ ifferences, we can and must work together’ (2008, p.  206). Others, however, consider this goal as undesirable for a democratic nation state, since the latter should be characterized by pluralism and dissent. As Gibson (2004, p.  151) argues: To the extent that reconciliation generates pressures toward consensus, pressures that delegitimize difference and differing points-­of-view, then reconciliation does not serve democracy. In a democracy, people do not have to agree with one another; they do not even have to respect the views of others. Instead, they must agree to disagree, they must accept a set of institutional and cultural norms that allow all competitors to enter the marketplace of ideas. Most experts agree that each nation state must be able to work out its own path to reconciliation, taking into account its own history, local conditions, political pressures and group dynamics. Experts and practitioners of reconciliation also agree that as far as possible there ought to be a consensus among the political elites and civil society as to which path to reconciliation is followed. Such a consensus ought to include the victims through their associations. The following sections will consider the Italian case in the light of the controversial issues discussed above, concerning different approaches to reconciliation and public memory, different claims to victimhood and the role of truth recovery or indeed amnesia after a period of prolonged conflict.

The Italian case: no consensus on reconciliation As argued elsewhere (Cento Bull 2010, p. 104): the Italian case . . . shows a lack of consensus on dealing with the past both among the elites and among civil society, with the result that all three of the main approaches to national reconciliation . . . have been attempted and largely failed. The dominant and most consensual approach has relied upon a judicial process which achieved considerable success in identifying and sentencing many of the culprits for armed terrorism but failed to bring to justice most of the culprits for the bombing massacres. Furthermore the dilemma, typical of many post-­conflict societies, of how to achieve a balance between promoting pacification on the one hand and securing justice on the other, led to the 1980s legislation on pentitismo and dissociazione, which in turn resulted in widely uneven sentences for comparable acts of terrorism and in the early release of many convicted murderers. In addition, the Gozzini law, which introduced rewards for good conduct, was applicable to those guilty of terrorist crimes and contributed to their early release. The victims were apparently not consulted prior to the approval of this legislation, while the former terrorists, as we saw, have spoken quite openly of

From conciliation to reconciliation?   111 having been consulted by members of parliament and even of having been able to influence the actual text of these laws. As a result the Italian legislation is often upheld as a positive model for counter-­terrorism, but it is strongly criticized by the victims for its dubious moral grounds and for privileging the relationship between the state and the terrorists to the exclusion of their own needs. As Francesco Maisto stated: ‘In Italy there was no direct relationship with the victims, hence from the beginning the relatives of the victims were not involved. This was a serious mistake’ (Interview). This was the reason why, in his opinion, Italy failed to experience a real process of national reconciliation. A victim-­oriented process was thus not pursued in the Italian case, not least because when terrorism came to an end there had been no precedents of this kind. The Cold War was still raging and many dictatorships were still in place, including the South African apartheid regime whose demise in the 1990s gave rise to the first ever Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which marked the start of a new approach to justice. In recent years, however, Italy has taken a few steps towards the adoption of measures recommended in the restorative justice literature, especially as concerns greater empathy to the victims and practices of remembrance and commemoration. Thus, parliament approved Law No. 56, of 4 May 2007, which established an Official Day of Memory for honouring all the victims of terrorism. It also referred explicitly to the need to ‘construct a shared historical memory in defence of the democratic institutions’ (Cento Bull 2008, p. 415). The choice fell on 9 May, the day when Aldo Moro was found dead in Rome. Since 2008 the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, has presided over an official ceremony in Rome, which each year is dedicated to a specific terrorist event or category of victim. This is not to say that there were no commemorations prior to this law. However, commemorations like the annual ceremony at Bologna Station in memory of the victims of the 1980 bombing massacre had typically been organized by a local committee promoted by the local victims’ association (with the participation of the local authorities). The state was not among the promoters; indeed its representatives were often held in contempt because they were seen as an explicit reminder of the state’s supposed connivance with right-­wing terrorism (Tota 2003, 2005). In 2010 the Berlusconi Government reacted by not sending any representative to the ceremony. In short, these commemorations tended to widen rather than narrow the gulf between the state and its citizens. As Tota (2005, p.  65) argued, the negative views among the citizens of Bologna concerning the role of the state in extreme-­right terrorism caused the public memory of this massacre to assume the nature of a counter-­memory; that is, a memory constructed by civil society, opposed to and contrasting with the ‘official’ version of what happened. Since 1980 this counter-­memory held by the association of the victims’ relatives, the local leftist government, and the Bolognese citizens has been expressed against the national government. . . . This counter-­memory, elaborated at the local

112   After terrorism level, has succeeded in gaining national notice and in competing within the Italian public discourse with the several contrasting versions of this past. Nevertheless, Tota (2004, p. 143) also stated that the annual commemoration at Bologna emphasizes ‘an ideal of democratic citizenship which exercises its critical function by claiming the right to justice’. This explains, in her view, why government representatives regularly attended the ceremony even in the face of ‘jeers and insults’: They cannot help but be present both due to the fact that it is their institutional duty, and because the march in that square, every year, represents a civil re-­founding of that ideal of the democratic state, which no political authority can do without. (2004, p. 144) In other words, while articulating a counter-­memory by a local civil society against the national government, the Bologna commemoration simultaneously expresses an ideal of a national citizenship and a national state that reminds us of the transformative value truth takes on at a social and public level, as argued by Parlevliet. It is in this light that the annual commemoration established by parliament in 2007, and the ways in which it has been staged by the President of the Republic, should be considered. In 2008 and 2009, in fact, Napolitano made a point of showing that a national state institution like the presidency fully supported the victims’ stance for truth and justice, simultaneously acknowledging the inadequacy of the state as embodied by successive governments and upholding the legitimacy of the abstract democratic state. On 9 May 2008, in his first speech at the Day of Memory for the victims of terrorism, Napolitano acknowledged the ‘connivances’ extreme-­right-wing terrorism had enjoyed among ‘State apparatuses’ (Presidenza della Repubblica 2008, p. 7). A year later, in his speech at the 2009 commemor­ ation, dedicated to the victims of the Milan 1969 bombing, Napolitano once more reminded the audience of the role of the state in the strategy of tension: Remembering that massacre and with it the beginning of a dark strategy of tension, as it was often called, means remembering a long and extremely troubled case of investigations and trials, from which an exhaustive judicial truth has failed to emerge. This also applies, as we know, to other links in that chain of massacres of a terrorist nature that bloodied cities like Milan, Brescia, Bologna and others. If the aim consisted in establishing a climate of uncontrollable alarm and disorientation and hence in a destabilization of the democratic system, going as far as creating the conditions for an authoritarian turn in the ruling of the country, important components of that strategy – in particular the ‘diverting activity of state apparatuses’ . . . – have often not been clarified in terms of individual and corporate responsibility. (Presidenza della Repubblica 2009, pp. 4–5)

From conciliation to reconciliation?   113 Napolitano then underlined that the democratic state still carried the stain of its past connivances with terrorism: What has been left unfinished in the path towards truth and justice constitutes – we have to say this – a painful part of Italian history in the second half of the Twentieth Century. . . . Our democratic State, precisely because it has always been a democratic State and it is in this State that we lived . . . carries this burden upon itself: I want to say this in the most responsible and participant manner to those who have suffered not only for terrible personal and family losses, but also for all the ambiguity and inadequate responses their expectations and appeals have met with. (Presidenza della Repubblica 2009, pp. 5–6) The positive and supportive role played by the President of the Republic is generally acknowledged by the victims, with just a few exceptions (see Chapter 7). It constitutes, however, an isolated voice among the political class and state representatives, especially since the folding, in 2001, of the Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism in Italy and on the Failed Identification of the Authors of the Massacres, set up by Law No. 172, on 17 May 1988. As its title implies, the Commission was primarily responsible for investigating the reasons which had prevented the identification of those guilty of bombing massacres and other acts of terrorism since 1969. Under the chairmanship of Senator Giovanni Pellegrino of the Left Democrats, who was appointed in 1994, the Commission seemed to aim at making the political class transcend its internal divisions and reach a shared political and cultural judgement about both left- and right-­wing terrorism, with each party able to acknowledge the shadows in its own past (D’Agnelli 2003). The end of the Cold War and the collapse of all the main parties which had dominated Italian politics in the First Republic could have marked the beginning of a new climate of democratic renewal and it is probably by relying on these factors that Pellegrino attempted to turn the commission into some kind of ‘truth and reconciliation’ body (Cento Bull 2008, p. 413). However, by 1997 Senator Pellegrino had come to the conclusion that the political class was averse to a process of truth recovery and truth-­telling. In his own words: I have the impression that this type of truth work is not yet of interest to the political class. . . . I have met with a widespread attitude of coldness on their part. This is why I spoke of ‘enemies of the truth’ and of people being ‘nostalgic of secrecy’. . . . [T]hey may do so in self-­defence, or for partisanship or indeed in the name of the reason of state. (Radio Radicale, 1997) Pellegrino believed that this was a serious mistake since in his view a democratic state had a need to limit secrecy as much as possible both in spatial and in ­temporal terms (Radio Radicale, 1997). The problem was that the end of the

114   After terrorism First Republic had failed to promote a climate of greater mutual understanding at the political level. In particular, the rise to power of Silvio Berlusconi in 1994 coincided with growing feelings of bitterness and revenge on the part of the heirs of the Christian Democratic and Socialist Parties, convinced that the Clean Hands investigation into systematic corruption during the First Republic had been orchestrated by the left with the support of part of the judiciary in order to facilitate their own rise to power. In this context, when the commission came to an end in 2001, the various political representatives sitting on it rejected the final report put forward by Pellegrino and produced instead no fewer than 18 separate reports, an obvious sign of internal divisions and disagreements. The new Parliamentary Commission that followed the ‘Commission on the Massacres, the so-­called ‘Mitrokhin Commission’, deepened political divisions even further, as it was set up by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in 2002 to investigate alleged ties between the KGB and representatives of the opposition left parties during the Cold War, on the basis of archival material brought to the UK in 1992 by defected former KGB archivist Vasilif Mitrokhin and subsequently released to the Italian government. The left-­wing parties accused the government of setting up a parliamentary commission for political ends and considered its sources totally unreliable. Predictably, the new commission folded in March 2006 with contrasting interpretations of the past. Rather than embarking on some form of ‘truth and reconciliation’ the Italian political class appears to have reached a kind of consensus around the need for remembering the victims of terrorism but also forgetting the murky and divisive aspects of political violence. This approach would explain the decision, taken by parliament in 2006, to prevent public access for the next 20 years to the documents gathered by the Mitrokhin Commission and to some material examined by the Commission on the Massacres. The decision provoked a justified protest by a number of Italian historians, who sent an official complaint to the presidents of the two chambers on 26 December 2006 (Cento Bull 2008, p. 416). Opting for amnesia has also extended to the field of education. A recent study of Italian school history textbooks has highlighted how the vast majority tend to omit or fudge the issue of state involvement in extreme-­right-wing terrorism, largely reducing terrorism to the left-­wing variety. As a result, ‘whereas information about left-­wing terrorism is easily “accessible” . . . details about right-­wing terrorism are left untold’ (Hajek 2010, p. 15). Hajek argues that the privileging of certain acts of terrorism at the expense of others implies a rather selective process of interpretation which ‘prefers’ talking about forms of political violence directed against the Italian State and the nation as a whole, rather than acts of violence, injustice or throwing off tactics performed by the State. (p. 5) She concludes by referring to the concept of ‘prescriptive forgetting’, coined by Paul Connerton (2008) to define

From conciliation to reconciliation?   115 a type of forgetting that helps restore ‘a minimum level of cohesion to civil society and . . . re-­establish the legitimacy of the state’ [by] ‘keeping quiet’ about incidents that reveal an undemocratic, criminal side of the Italian State and which might therefore jeopardize its present legitimacy and authority. In other words, information about obscure connections between neo-­fascist terrorists and the State – or any attempts by its representatives to protect these terrorists – is omitted in order to facilitate the task of historians of creating a clear and consistent narrative where the capacities and willingness of the Italian State to defend the nation from and condemn all acts of political violence cannot be put into question. (pp. 6 and 62) According to Carol Beebe Tarantelli, widow of Ezio Tarantelli, an economist killed in 1985 by one of the Red Brigades splinter groups (Brigate Rosse per la costruzione del Partito Comunista Combattente, BR-­PCC), amnesia has also been the outcome of the predominance of the Catholic themes of forgiveness and reconciliation in the public debate and in turn has contributed to positive, even heroic, representations of the former terrorists: As a country, Italy has had enormous trouble working through the effects of terrorist violence. Analysis of the phenomenon has principally remained confined to historians, and more general public debate has revolved around the virtues and drawbacks of the Catholic ideal of forgiveness and reconciliation, which, in my opinion, has been employed as a defensive effort to dissociate unbearable affect, in the manner described by Smith as ‘a form of denial or disavowal of a traumatic reality . . . as if to say . . . “It doesn’t matter” ’ (2008, p.  928). In fact, terrorists continue to be seen as ‘erring comrades’: when Curcio, for example, speaks in public, youths often ask for his autograph; flattering films are made about terrorists’ ‘heroic’, if wrong-­ headed endeavours; and an ex-­terrorist, the assassin of two policemen, has even been elected to parliament. (2010, p. 546) Going back to the various approaches to reconciliation, it could be argued that justice through the judicial process has only partially been successful and that its partial failure has further exposed the state’s ambiguous role in protecting the extreme-­right-wing terrorists and covering up for the truth concerning the bombing massacres. Restorative justice, on the other hand, has concerned primarily the political class but the latter has proved unable to overcome the entrenched political and ideological divisions of the past in order to put forward a truthful and relatively impartial reconstruction of the political context in which political violence developed as well as the connivances it relied upon. Lastly, opting for amnesia represents recognition of the impasse that has been reached with regards to this period of Italian history on the part of the political class, and an attempt to push this controversial issue into the long grass. In the meantime,

116   After terrorism the restoration of the legitimacy and credibility of the democratic state among the new generations is left to narratives which tell the past as it was not, by painting the state as a heroic defender of its citizens against terrorism, while conveniently forgetting its past role in plotting against its own people. Conversely, alternative narratives and images also tell the past as it was not, by constructing the former terrorists themselves as heroic figures who were compelled to fight against a ‘fascistic’ state, as will be seen in Chapter 6. Thus the proliferation of counter-­memories and divided memories (Foot, 2010) at the societal level, as well as among radical political groups, represents a logical consequence of the lack of a consensual approach to reconciliation among the political elites and civil society.

Story-­telling by victims and perpetrators Against the background of Italy’s patchy process of reconciliation, characterized by the absence of an officially acknowledged truth, numerous conspiracy theories have been fuelled from various quarters. Inconclusive parliamentary commissions’ reports have not helped, and all of this has typically resulted in ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ versions of the truth in opposition to each other. An important trend has been the publication of numerous political memoirs and autobiographies by the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of the 1960s and 1970s and, increasingly, by the victims and the relatives of the victims. Until recently, the latter claimed that they had had no voice (Fasanella and Grippo 2006), but many have since started to publish accounts of their experiences and ordeals. Taken together, these memoirs constitute an important body of testimony and can be classified as ‘narratives of victimhood’, as we shall see in the next two chapters. Admittedly, they portray victimhood from opposite perspectives and in widely different and even contrasting ways, and yet they also appear to be the outcome of a spontaneous bottom-­up process capable of contributing to ‘a social memory of terrorism’, as Brewer (2006) advocates. However, precisely because they have not been promoted and/or channelled from above as part of a state-­led strategy of reconciliation, it is important to assess whether they constitute a bottom-­up process leading to dialogue – perhaps even to ‘unity of victimhood as an experience across the divide’, as advocated by Brewer – or, conversely, whether they represent separate and alternative reconstructions and representations. Obviously, where the former terrorists present themselves systematically as victims rather than perpetrators and constantly shift the blame away from themselves and their actions, their stories do not lend themselves to a dialogue. Rather, they would fall into the category of ideological narratives, since ‘narratives of various forms are used to reshape the past to fit certain ideological ends’ (May 2004, p. 3). They may also deliberately construct representations of the past as ‘chosen traumas’ for transmission to a next generation, as argued by Volkan (2001). Indeed, Horgan (2005, p. 36), has questioned the usefulness of terrorists’ memoirs as genuine sources, given that ‘in terrorists’ memoirs we have a deliberate blurring of fact and fiction’. Horgan

From conciliation to reconciliation?   117 also argues that these memoirs are relatively scarce, since ‘few choose to engage in this kind of activity on the whole’ (p. 36). Yet the Italian case contradicts this view and is exceptional precisely because a large number of former terrorists have engaged in narrating their stories, thus offering a wide spectrum of perspectives. Conversely, the former terrorists’ recollections of the past can give voice to their victims and their sufferings and in so doing acknowledge emotions, including shame, guilt and regret. In this way, they can go some way towards offering the victims some measure of restorative justice, albeit in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, retributive justice through the courts. As Chapter 6 will show, the memoirs of the former terrorists fall into both categories. While many construct victimhood in self-­referential terms, so as to preserve the personal identity and ‘integrity’ of the narrators as well as of the group they belonged to, many others demonstrate shame and remorse, constructing victimhood as a platform through which they can build a new identity for themselves, regain some measure of self-­esteem and establish a dialogue with society and with the victims. It is also important to assess how the absence of any legitimized versions of the truth impacts upon such narratives. Is it the case that a society can negotiate a path to reconciliation without truth-­telling, as Brewer (2006) argues, or is Hamber (2001) correct in stating that a society cannot move on without some official acknowledgement of the truth? How have the numerous recent memoirs by former terrorists and by victims of terrorism engaged with issues of victimhood in relation to truth recovery and truth-­telling? How have they addressed the dilemma highlighted by Enns? Have they promoted personal and psychological healing in the absence of truth recovery, thereby depoliticizing the experience of suffering and trauma, or have they insisted on truth and justice as a precondition for personal and collective healing? If the latter, how is truth viewed and presented? Is truth on a personal level prioritized over truth on a social and political level or vice versa? Does truth take on a transformative value in relation to the state and political institutions? And how do these memoirs view state-­promoted practices of commemoration and remembrance? A closer analysis of the story-­ telling by both perpetrators and victims will help throw light on these issues.

6 From violent action to story-­telling Constructions of victimhood in the memoirs of Italian former perpetrators

Constructions of victimhood as ‘chosen traumas’: Red Brigades and Prima Linea Many former terrorists, from both the left and the right, continue to view themselves primarily from a group perspective, and in so doing they continue to construct their group, both in the past and in the present, as persecuted and victimized by powerful and oppressive forces. In some cases, their political memoirs tend to adopt the format of a published interview on the ‘story’ of the terrorist group they belonged to and often led. In other cases, these memoirs adopt an autobiographical format. However, while apparently conforming to its rules, the narrative space the narrator dedicates to his/her past life is complemented by a non-­narrative space which allows the writer to engage in political debate as well as to switch to a group epiphany. The non-­narrative space may alternate with the first person narration, or it may frame the autobiographical narrative – in either case it is used to present the group as unjustly victimized in the present, as well as in the past, thereby seeking to construct and pass on to the next generation the image and representation of a persistently vilified community of belonging. To illustrate these points, this section will analyse the memoirs by Renato Curcio (A viso aperto, 1993), Mario Moretti (Brigate rosse. Una storia italiana, 2007, 1st edition 1993), Sergio Segio (Miccia corta. Una storia di Prima Linea, 2009 edition, 1st edition 2005; Una vita in Prima Linea, 2006), Barbara Balzerani (Compagna luna, 1998; La sirena delle cinque, 2003; Perché io, perché non tu, 2009), and Prospero Gallinari (Un contadino nella metropoli, 2006) from the left. Apart from Segio, they were all leaders of the Red Brigades. Most of these memoirs were published quite recently, although two of them appeared in the 1990s. However, the authors of the latter, Renato Curcio and Mario Moretti, have not changed their views in the intervening time. Among these people, only Segio has dissociated himself from terrorism, whereas the others claim they remain faithful to their past choices and deeds, even though they turned out to have been the ‘wrong’ ones, at least in the sense that they ended up on the defeated side. The books by Renato Curcio and Mario Moretti are similar in some respects: both are in the form of interviews and both are only in a very limited sense autobiographical, whereas most space is dedicated to an abstract analysis of the

From violent action to story-telling   119 nature, organization and goals of the Red Brigades. Their viewpoints are also similar. Both want to reaffirm the political and revolutionary nature of their organization, against any representation of it as a ‘criminal’ group. Both also want to emphasize the wide degree of support that their organization could rely upon among various social strata, especially among factory workers, in contrast to any reconstructions which depict the Red Brigades as an isolated group. Indeed, they locate the Red Brigades fully within the struggles of an entire ‘generation’. Finally, both are prepared to admit they were defeated but not to admit they were ‘wrong’. Let us consider this last position in more depth. Curcio accepts there were ‘errors of analysis’ made by his generation. Asked by his interviewer to consider that those errors caused many deaths, he replies: How many deaths were caused by the much more serious mistakes made by our fathers’ and grandfathers’ generations? It is not with this kind of calculation that we can make assessments. The merit of failed revolutions is that they lack the demerit of successful revolutions: to some extent all successful revolutions have betrayed their promises, whereas those that failed can only betray the analyses that inspired them. This is a less serious fault. On the other hand, the generosity with which part of my generation threw itself into a risky politico-­ideological adventure represents a positive value which at some stage will have to be recognized. I want to say it without reserve: today I feel a great pietas towards myself and my defeated generation. [This pietas] stems from the realization that my generation and I . . . have not been able to live in the way we would have liked to because the previous generation brutally blocked our path asking us to either renounce our difference or die. So some of us died with weapons in their hands, many others with heroin in their veins, the majority lived by killing inside themselves their desire for change. (p. 212) Similarly, Moretti states that ‘In many comrades there was a great generosity’ (p. 33) and that the armed struggle was largely a defensive response to the Milan bombing of 12 December 1969: ‘The entire movement perceived the bomb at the Bank of Agriculture as an attack, it was almost a physical perception: something, the state . . . was putting you in a corner’ (p. 22). When asked by his interviewers about the Red Brigades’ decision to kill other people, he replies: We cannot assume these [moral] values as criteria for a historical evaluation. When we chose the armed struggle it was because every other avenue was precluded to us, we felt forced into it. Forced to do terrible things. We knew what it meant to kill and also to be killed, the first shot was fired against us. . . . As in a war, where terrible things are done because they are considered both terrible and necessary. When a partisan had pumped half a

120   After terrorism kilo of lead into the stomach of a German, could you have said to him: ‘Did you not think that Fritz probably had a wife and five children in Bavaria, reared cows and wanted nothing else?’ He would have replied: ‘Yes, but I am defending my country’. (pp. 49–50) We had to do it. We believed [the armed struggle] would cut short the conflict, the pain. . . . I am convinced that we had to try and provide an outlet for the expectations, perhaps naïve, that so many of us had nurtured. We failed, it is true, but back then we chose life not death. (p. 50) In light of this, Moretti is especially hard on those who dissociated themselves from the armed struggle, whom he condemns more than those who repented and recanted. This is because, in his view, ‘dissociation disowns a history, destroys a collective identity, escapes from political responsibilities’. (p. 255). ‘They said that the other side, capital, were right . . . a loss of memory that produces more disasters than the armed struggle did’. Moretti clarified that he referred both to ex-­leaders of the Red Brigades, such as Morucci and Franceschini, and to the members of the rival organization Prima Linea, which uniquely took the decision to dissociate en masse: ‘all determined to give away their identity. They have been mainly reclaimed by the Catholic sphere, which is sufficiently authentic to make their opportunistic choice seem less squalid. . . . [S]ooner or later they end up in the arms of a priest’ (p. 256). In a similar vein, Curcio states that: Those who dissociate disown their lived experience . . . and reduce the complexity of the subversive movements to a juridical event. . . . [I]n reality a dissociate is an associate: in the sense that they associate themselves to a specific political line, that of the ex-­Communist Party [which] has always denied the existence of a political space to its left and criminalized any form of struggle it produced. (p. 207) Prospero Gallinari published his book a decade after Curcio’s and Moretti’s, and this allows him to assess more fully, and in some respects also more truthfully, the defeat suffered by his group. Despite this, the book shares many of their judgements in relation to the validity of their revolutionary project: the diffused popular support it attracted (‘The practice of our organization is well rooted in the country’s social contradictions and tensions. The clandestinity of the Red Brigades is organizational, not political’, p.  151), and the justification for killing other human beings (‘On an ethical-­political level, I solved the dilemma the moment I decided to fight also with arms for the cause in which I believed. On a historical level, I soon saw this issue in the context of humanity’s secular path and of the cruel and inescapable contradictions that have marked its development’, p. 176). As in the previous memoirs, the systematic use of torture

From violent action to story-telling   121 in the prisons is affirmed, and the role of the dissociati is viewed in equally negative terms: It is precisely a part of those men and women who wanted to radically change [Italian society and history] who provide the bourgeoisie with legitimization in order to declassify as terrorism the social, political and human challenge thrown against the arrogance of power by an entire generation. (p. 278) The defeat is now acknowledged [by the dissociated], but as a defeat of an entire ideological patrimony. (p. 302) Gallinari’s last acts in prison went precisely in the direction of trying to safeguard this ideological patrimony, admitting defeat but preserving a Marxist political identity for posterity. In 1988 he and other Red Brigades members released an official declaration from prison in which they accepted defeat and called for the need to engage in a ‘political struggle, a mass struggle, as the fundamental terrain upon which it is possible to rebuild antagonistic movements in the present’ (p. 340). Significantly, his book ends with the sentence: ‘End of a history. History continues’. (p. 340) It is interesting to note that, in the Preface to this book, Erri De Luca, a radical left-­wing writer and an intellectual sympathetic to the ideals of those who took part in the armed struggle, addresses Gallinari as follows: ‘This is not a political book, dear Prospero, it is the book of a father who has had no children’ (p. 9). His meaning is obviously metaphorical rather than literal, and appears to refer to the absence of a new generation ready to take on the ideals of its predecessors. Yet it seems also to contradict the ending of Gallinari’s book, which leaves open the possibility that a new antagonistic generation may yet emerge. In the Preface to her first book, Compagna luna, in which she alternates a narrative of herself-­as-hero in the past with present-­day reflections upon the armed struggle and the way it ended, Balzerani clarifies that This is not the story of the Red Brigades. I could not do it. It is only a part of what and how I lived. It is the outcome of my most urgent questions. It is a request for help in trying to address them. It is the hope that one day it will be possible to tell that story. (p. 9) Rather, it is the story, also told in her other two books, of her own path to radicalization, starting with her rebellious attitude towards her family and further developing with her growing awareness of social injustice in the factory town near Rome where she grew up and where the poor, including her own parents, were resigned to their condition of social exclusion and exploitation, and finally culminating in her years at school. She sums up those years as ‘Years of rage, of

122   After terrorism impotent refusal, of non acceptance’ (1998, p.  25). In this context, the armed struggle represented ‘an alternative other than renunciation or ruin. Suddenly she felt neither alone nor wrong’ (1998, p. 25). In all three books the armed struggle is defined as a ‘war’, a war that ended with defeat, which ‘obscured the vast majority of the merits of our attempted assault against the sky’ (2009, p. 46). It was a war that she and many others felt compelled to fight, a war against an enemy that had used both bombs and violence, and had fired the first shot (1998, p. 37). As she puts it: I perceived, albeit still in a confused manner, that we would not avoid those choices that we felt we had to take. Choices we could no longer postpone, to which we would have to conform. Even to the point of having to commit violence against ourselves and learn how to be harsh. (1998, p. 41) Going to ‘war’ meant she had to give up her family and friends, even though she found a new family in her comrades (1998, p. 62). It also meant giving up her baby, ‘the child I did not allow to grow inside me’ (1998, p. 139). Once defeated and imprisoned, she and her comrades had had to endure the systematic use of torture, which in her view had been instrumental in making many of them recant. Despite this judgement, her condemnation of those who repented is severe; they are described as ‘louses’ and are clearly identified with the enemy: ‘Only those who went through this can understand the tragedy of having to face an enemy that only the day before had been a friend, a sister’. (1998, p.  103) By contrast, those who abandoned the armed struggle and fled abroad to escape arrest are considered more leniently, and the state’s attempt to bring them back to justice is defined as ‘a vendetta upon some who have been in exile for years, with known domicile and a few children to raise’ (2009, p. 58). For her ex-­comrades who have become dissociated from their past political violence, Balzerani reserves some particularly harsh words: Many ex-­activists of the armed struggle seem to suffer from a curious syndrome of forgetfulness and incapacity to narrate themselves for what they were, due to their personal interest, or to a supine acceptance of the official truth, or in acquiescence to a form of fashionable, soul-­saving do-­goodism. As if they had been moved to action by an extraneous force, capable of compelling their head and heart, so much so that they no longer recognize that part of their life, now bracketed off. (1998, p. 127) Like the previous group of narrators, Balzerani adamantly rejects any possible interpretation of Moro’s kidnapping and assassination that envisages the interference of actors other than the Red Brigades. Balzerani’s vehemence is directed at one person in particular, Alberto Franceschini, although she never mentions him by name. Franceschini is the only leader of the Red Brigades who has

From violent action to story-telling   123 openly raised doubts over the entire operation. At the time he and other imprisoned leaders supported both the kidnapping and the assassination and did not query their motivations or goals. However, he has since become dissociated and has been increasingly espousing the view that those political actors who, in Italy and elsewhere opposed Moro’s policy of collaborating with the Communist Party, may have been involved in his death in various ways, corroborating the hypothesis that Mario Moretti, the brains behind the kidnapping, may have been working for foreign secret services (Fasanella and Franceschini 2004). In her 2009 book, Balzerani is scathing towards Franceschini: All of a sudden, faced with defeat, [he has] an illumination. He repents. He will say that his ideals were betrayed, that a demon had obfuscated his mind to the extent that he had not realized he had been acting in the service of a band of puppets managed by the headquarters of international reactionaries. This is his unwitting guilt, to be forgiven by the benevolence of his father [the Communist Party], whose path to government through the back door had been blocked by a coup de main masterminded by external forces and carried out by the so-­called Red Brigades. A harlequin offering a thousand services, he does not disappoint, he works really hard to strengthen the non-­ existent framework of his story. . . . He even turns it into a considerably profitable career. (2009, p. 91) The position of Sergio Segio is somewhat different from those outlined above, not least because he was the leader of Prima Linea, and in fact in his memoirs he strongly defends his group’s collective decision to dissociate in the face of the criticisms put forward by Curcio and Moretti. Yet he is also close to their views in other respects. Let us start our analysis with the 2009 edition of Segio’s book Miccia corta. Una storia di Prima Linea. The volume has a very interesting structure, as the autobiographical story is contained within non-­narrative texts. The story itself tells the episode of a successful assault on a prison by members of Prima Linea, led by Segio himself, on 3 January 1982, to free Segio’s partner, Susanna Ronconi, together with other members of the organization. The attack, by means of explosives, killed a 64-year-­old passer-­by, Angelo Furlan. The narrative, contained within the space of one day, follows a fast pace and resembles an action story. It formed the basis of a film (La prima linea), directed by Renato De Maria, released in November 2009. The story is preceded by both a new Preface and the original Introduction by the author, and is followed by both the original Appendix and a new post-­ scriptum by Cristina Piccino and Roberto Silvestri, two journalists of the left-­ wing newspaper Il Manifesto. We thus have an autobiographical story framed by three non-­narrative argumentations (Segio himself in the Introduction refers to ‘my argumentation’, p.  44), in turn supported by a chronology of events as an Appendix. Indeed, Segio clarifies that even his story should not be seen as entirely autobiographical:

124   After terrorism This book is not even conceived as an autobiographical contribution. . . . The choice was different: to recount an episode . . . both as part of my personal life and, more in general, as a particularly representative moment in the culmination and the end of a story and also, in a sense, of an era, that of the armed struggle. I have always been and still am convinced that telling the story of Prima Linea and of the long season of arms and rebellion can only be a choral endeavour, in the same way as that dramatic experience was a collective experience. (2009, pp. 18–19) In line with this conviction, in the non-­narrative ‘Introduction’ Segio puts forward the ‘collective’ viewpoint of his organization, proudly defending its radical yet heretical, ‘non-­Marxist’ revolutionary stance and its decision, taken in 1983, to disband and to admit defeat. In so doing Segio engages in a defence of his organization against all those former terrorists, mainly from the Red Brigades, who accuse its leaders and members of being as bad as, if not worse than, the ‘repented’ terrorists (pp. 39–40). Segio argues, on the one hand, that former Red Brigades terrorists like Curcio and Moretti, supported by part of the left, admit their defeat but refuse to accept that political violence was wrong (p. 20). In parallel with this defence he also argues that, while the armed struggle was wrong, it has been demonized by the ‘victors’ as the source of all the ills of the Italian Republic (p.  22). Yet there was a period of ‘innocence’ preceding the armed struggle, when violence had been systematically inflicted upon the left – although Segio admits that the left had theorized the necessity of the armed struggle well before it practiced it (p. 22). The violence of the state included the bombing massacres linked to the strategy of tension and the harsh repression exercised against the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, in many cases with the support of the Communist Party. Instead of acknowledging the ‘civil war’ nature of the political violence of those years, the state and the ex-­ Communists have chosen to furiously attack and persecute the defeated, suppressing the truth about the wider social and historical roots of their rebellion. The new ‘Preface’ and the post-­scriptum by the two journalists stem from the political obstacles encountered by the film based upon this story, which led to a change of title and revisions to the script. In the Preface Segio rejects what he defines as unjustified censorship, whose aim is to represent the terrorists as the only culprits of past violence. He insists that his side was wrong, yet ‘they were not right’ (p. 14). ‘They’ refers to the state, the capitalist system, the secret services, all of which were involved in dirty deeds (including the strategy of tension, corruption and ties with the Mafia). People from his own side have become scapegoats, upon whom the revenge of the victors can be unleashed (p. 15). In his 2006 book, Una vita in Prima Linea, which alternates narrative with non-­narrative, Segio puts forward similar argumentations. The book opens with an account of his capture by the carabinieri, and depicts the self as hero and the carabinieri as violent and brutal, bent on making full use of torture against

From violent action to story-telling   125 s­ uspected terrorists in their charge. This opening chapter is followed by a long chapter entitled ‘How it started’, in which Segio argues that the armed struggle was a self-­defence response to an authoritarian state fully reliant on exercising force and violence upon its citizens, with the connivance of both the left-­wing parties and the media. State repression made use of the strategy of tension and attempted coups d’état¸ creating a political climate in which within the left-­wing movements there developed the impulse to arm in self-­defence ‘both in relation to the danger of a state coup, and in relation to the constant violence of neo-­ fascist groups’ (p. 37). It was an ‘ethical choice’ (p. 53). While Segio once again underlines the difference between his group’s admission of having been in the wrong and the position of various ex-­leaders of the Red Brigades, who believe they were defeated but were right in opting for the armed struggle, going as far as to state that this ‘self-­absolvence’ leaves their previous identities untouched, his own reconstruction ultimately has many similarities with theirs, in presenting his own side in a heroic (and largely innocent) light while portraying the other side – the state and its connivants – as cunning and debased culprits. The representations of terrorism outlined above can perhaps be best explained with reference to the concept of ‘chosen traumas’, a concept developed by Volkan (2001) and discussed in the previous chapter. It is well known that ‘chosen traumas’ played a large part in the rise of terrorism in Italy, as Segio himself acknowledges in his ‘Introduction’: In my political development memory has always been an important, foundational value for identity, if not an absolute value: the memory of the Holocaust, the crimes of Nazi-­fascism, the values of the Resistance. And, later, the memory of the repression of the struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. (pp. 43–4) In line with his position as one of the dissociated, Segio recognizes the dangers inherent in this use of memory as it is likely to fuel victimization myths: The appeal to memory is often done in relation to wrong deeds inflicted upon us, to wars, violence, lacerations. The result is that memory often delivers to the young feelings of grievance, a spirit of revenge [and] continuing lacerations, more than a desire for truth. (p. 44) However, he also argues that, however desirable it may be to forget the past, the truth must first be known, and the truth includes an acknowledgement of the wrongs committed by the opposite side, including the state, as well as of the rights and complex motivations of his own side. Segio, therefore, opts to tread a difficult line between a representation of victimhood which lends itself to be ‘activated’ as a chosen trauma by future generations and a request for a more ‘balanced’ assessment of the ‘years of lead’. By contrast, as we saw, Curcio,

126   After terrorism Moretti, Gallinari and Balzerani seem intent precisely on constructing the protagonists of the armed struggle as heroic and selfless representatives of an entire generation who were compelled to fight against a violent and morally inferior enemy and were brutally victimized when imprisoned. Their representation stops short of claiming revenge, but it keeps alive the values of social revolution and political violence, together with a strong sense of ‘suffered loss and/or experienced helplessness, shame and humiliation’, as argued by Volkan. It is important to analyse how these memoirs relate to the issue of truth in relation to the history of left-­wing terrorism, as they all adamantly reject any suggestion that this kind of terrorism may in some cases have been manipulated by external forces (e.g. sectors of the state), or indeed that there may have been shady figures infiltrated in their midst. In particular, they reject the possibility that the kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro may have seen the involvement of actors other than the Red Brigades. This stance, quite apart from their personal stories (Moretti, for instance, has often been indicated as having ties with a Paris-­based ‘language school’, known as Hyperion, considered by some to be a cover for the secret services of foreign countries), can be explained precisely on the basis of their overall representation of their collective group in terms of moral superiority and political rectitude, which took up arms because unjustly victimized by its adversaries with recourse to abject deeds (e.g. the strategy of tension). The idea that, however unwittingly, their group (or at least some of its members) may have been manipulated by external actors and hence (perhaps unknowingly) played a part in those dirty deeds cannot even be taken into consideration as it would severely puncture this heroic narrative and considerably reduce its likelihood of turning into an emblematic chosen trauma. In short, by claiming they need to redress partisan representations of truth and victimhood, these memoirs offer a relatively uniform, and above all alternative, representation of both truth and victimhood compared to the dominant one. In the case of truth, they depict the state as having perpetrated the most debased and abject deeds, thereby mirroring in reverse what they denounce as the stereotypical mainstream representation of themselves as bloodthirsty criminals (by the media and the general public). There is an element of contradiction in this, because, if they argue on the one hand that the state would not hesitate to stoop to anything, it is difficult to understand why they categorically deny that the same state might have found ways of manipulating or exploiting some of their own deeds. As for victimhood, in place of the terrorists as perpetrators, they tend to present the terrorists as victims who had to act in self-­defence. Going back to the views put forward by Brewer (2006) and Hamber (2001), discussed in the previous chapter, one has to conclude that these narratives are not an example of ‘pluralist attitudes’ and nor can they be made to be socially functional for peace or reconciliation processes. In addition, they offer a partisan representation of victimhood that cannot be separated from a partisan representation of the truth; that is to say, their claim to victimhood is predicated upon a strong claim to truth and vice versa. More importantly, and more ominously, these narratives can lay claim to a collective sense of victimization and victimhood precisely in the absence of an

From violent action to story-telling   127 established and/or publicly acknowledged truth concerning the strategy of tension and the bombing attacks that this strategy involved – and the role the Italian state played in them. The less that is officially known (and acknowledged) about this strategy, the more it can be used to depict the state in the blackest terms as a cowardly perpetrator of violence against its own people and as plotting a coup d’état which in turn justified a responsive recourse to the armed struggle. In this sense, the lack of official truth about the strategy of tension and the bombing massacres appears to be fully functional to the representations of victimhood we have so far analysed.

Constructions of victimhood as ‘chosen traumas’: the extreme right This section deals with the stories told by extreme-­right protagonists Pierluigi Concutelli (Io, l’uomo nero. Una vita tra politica, violenza e galera, 2008), Mario Tuti (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 11 January 2011; Après-Lude, 1996), Paolo Signorelli (Di professione imputato, 1996; Interview to Ordine Nuovo, 16 February 2008) and Vincenzo Vinciguerra (Ergastolo per la libertà. Verso la verità sulla strategia della tensione, 1989; La strategia del depistaggio (Peteano, 1972–1992), 1993; Camerati addio. Storia di un inganno, in cinquant’anni di egemonia statunitense in Italia, 2000). In the Preface to his book, co-­written with the journalist Giuseppe Ardica, Concutelli states that he belongs to a ‘small minority’, rather than an entire generation, since most of his contemporaries, ‘even those who at the time were considered dangerous extremists, those who took to the streets carrying batons and wearing face masks’ have settled into society, often enjoying posts of responsibility (p.  19). By contrast, he refused to repent or dissociate and accepted that the price to pay for defeat was life imprisonment. However, this is not the only or, indeed, the main reason Concutelli claims to belong to a small minority. Like other young neo-­fascists, he had been instilled by the previous generation of fascists with ‘an obscure feeling of revenge. Of seeking justice against those who had blacklisted them, banned them from a land that to them had become foreign’, (p. 52). The reference is to the intense feelings of grievance, revenge and hatred felt by those fascists who had fought and lost for the fascist regime and who, after 1945, found themselves marginalized and excluded from politics in the new democratic republic informed by anti-­fascist ideals. The ‘chosen trauma’ represented by the sense of defeat, shame and exclusion experienced by the previous generation of fascists and transmitted to himself and others after the war, was later ‘reactivated’ within the radical neo-­fascist groups, with the effect of generating a time collapse as defined by Volkan (2001). Thus, the old enemy of the fascists, the Communist partisans, became reincarnated in the radical left groups of the 1960s and 1970s, and the feelings experienced by the fascists after 1945 were re-­experienced by the young neo-­fascists in those same decades. Concutelli explicitly states that

128   After terrorism we were men and women . . . who did not have the right to citizenship in the Italian democratic republic. Every act against those who proclaimed themselves post-­fascist or neo-­fascist was permissible . . . and while the State just shrugged its shoulders . . . we felt the hatred, we breathed it every day. (p. 68) For Concutelli this was an important factor behind the decision of many neo-­ fascists to take up arms: It was this (though obviously not just this) that . . . turned us into clandestines first and ‘terrorists’ and assassins later. . . . [W]e were seen as coup conspirators, as bloodthirsty fanatics who planted bombs in order to kill innocents. . . . [T]hey were pushing us towards the blindest kind of fanaticism. For some of us, our destiny was decided by others. [As for me] I was ready: the armed struggle was becoming the only possible alternative I had in front of me. (pp. 70–1) The trigger was the decision taken by Interior Minister Taviani in 1973 to outlaw the neo-­fascist group Movimento Politico Ordine Nuovo (MPON), to which he belonged. A year later he became a clandestine and started his own armed group, which remained loosely under the umbrella of the MPON but operated effectively as an autonomous group under his own leadership. Concutelli concludes his memoir by expressing his regret for having been ‘a bad example’ to those younger than himself: Perhaps, without Concutelli, there would not have been the armed fanatics of the 1980s, there would not have been further deaths and blood. . . . The only meagre consolation is my old-­age sterility: I will not have children and all this will end with Pierluigi Concutelli. (pp. 215–16) Concutelli’s story thus seems to end with a full acknowledgement that the past cannot and ought not to be rekindled as a ‘chosen trauma’ by a new generation of neo-­fascists, hence in this it seems very different from the stories of the extreme-­left protagonists previously analysed. Yet in his book he is also very cagey concerning the role of Italian neo-­fascism in the bombing massacres and the strategy of tension. While he takes much responsibility upon himself for the armed struggle, he exonerates all neo-­fascists from involvement in the bombing attacks and indeed, as we saw, he attributes one of the causes of extreme-­right terrorism precisely to such false accusations. Specifically, he writes that: The early 1970s were terrible years. The dominant thesis, fuelled by ‘authoritative’ commentators and ‘democratic’ newspapers, was that the bombs that were bloodying Italy and were killing indiscriminately, in a blind manner,

From violent action to story-telling   129 were bombs marked with the fascist tag. Piazza Fontana? A fascist massacre. Brescia? Idem. Italicus? The blacks are guilty. Always the fault of the blacks, the comrades, the fascists. Responsibilities that, as years and years of very long trials have demonstrated we have never had. (pp. 67–8) In addition, he adamantly rejects any suggestion that he, in connivance with external forces including the Masonic lodge P2, killed Judge Vittorio Occorsio on 10 July 1976. Similarly, he rejects any suggestion that he killed Ermanno Buzzi in prison on 13 April 1981 because the latter was going to reveal important information concerning the Brescia bombing massacre, even though he leaves the door open for a possible interpretation of this murder that sees the state involved: ‘Whoever sent him among us, sent him to die’ (p.  197). Despite his protestations it seems rather odd that he would have killed Buzzi as a stragista and a spy and Carmine Palladino (a year later, on 12 August 1982) for having caused the death of a friend when he chose not to harm in prison either Franco Freda, the man notoriously suspected among most neo-­fascists of involvement in the 1969 Milan bombing massacre, or Valerio Fioravanti, who had killed his close friend and comrade Francesco Mangiameli. Concutelli’s book thus reduces his story almost to that of an individual, thereby lending a hand to those representations of the past prevalent among the right today that paint Italian neo-­fascism as an innocent scapegoat for the dirty deeds of others (Cento Bull 2007). His representation is similar to that put forward by one-­time prison inmate Mario Tuti, who, in an interview granted to one of the authors, insisted that the neo-­fascists’ decision to take up arms was an obligatory one as We found ourselves living in a moment in which certain choices were fatal choices like in a Greek tragedy. We are responsible, but if we wanted to preserve our integrity we had no choice. We were under attack, fascists were being hunted, they used to say that to kill a fascist was not a crime and this was the reality, if you go and check the people who were sentenced for killing some of us you can see they are sentences on a par with those handed out to people guilty of stealing a car. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 11 January 2011) He still believed that people like him ‘had a right to sacrifice ourselves for, and to bear witness to, our ideas’, even though he no longer believed they had a right to ‘sacrifice others, this was terrible’. He remained a convinced fascist and was adamant that the neo-­fascists had nothing to do with the bombing attacks: We are not guilty. I can say this with considerable certainty because, after the Bologna massacre, at Novara prison [where many neo-­fascists were kept] we had an internal inquiry. We said as we are all here let us clarify how things stand. Obviously there you did not have the guarantees you

130   After terrorism enjoy in a Court, there you had to tell the truth without reticence, omissions or lies as these would have attracted the ultimate sanction. It emerged that none of us was implicated either directly or indirectly or had even simply been manipulated. He added that while there was no doubt concerning the involvement of the state, he was not interested in contributing to a search for the truth, as he maintained a stance of non-­integration: I am no longer moved by a thirst for truth as this should not concern me, it should concern others. I have my truth which is that I did not carry out the massacres and from evidence I have in my possession neither did my political entourage. This is enough for me . . . as we did not have plans to conquer the state and knew we would not compromise, I do not even have the goal of giving the truth to the country, what does ‘the country’ mean?. . . . I leave to others the general problems of this country. . . . I do not waste my energies in acts that would turn out to be fanciful and useless. Paolo Signorelli differs from the previous two cases because he spent ten years in prison charged with involvement in the Bologna Station massacre of 2 August 1980, but was later declared ‘not guilty’, except for the charge of ‘political conspiracy’. He cannot therefore be classified as a terrorist but rather as a neo-­fascist ideologue and leader. However, his story is important precisely because he constructs himself fully and uncompromisingly as an innocent victim deliberately persecuted by the state for his ideas, and his case is presented as emblematic of Italian neo-­fascism as a whole. During his years in prison, despite the harsh treatment and systematic use of torture to which he and all his comrades were subjected to, he never stooped to compromise with the authorities, and in court he accused the state of orchestrating a ‘judicial vendetta’ against himself (Signorelli 1996, p. 87) and of wanting to ‘execute’ neo-­fascists by charging them with a bombing massacre in order to cover up for the real masterminds behind the stragi. Signorelli continued to profess the innocence of all neo-­fascists and the validity of their ideas until his death in 2010. In particular, going against the findings of various trials, he proudly reasserted the ideological and political purity of the group Ordine Nuovo and its complete autonomy from any external forces, be they sectors of the state or American intelligence services. In an interview published by Ordine Nuovo in 2008 he stated that ‘We are working towards the historical reconstruction of Ordine Nuovo because it cannot be tolerated that our History continues to be manipulated by partisan scribes, in a word by impostors’. He also reasserted the continuing validity of neo-­fascism: ‘You ask if our project was realizable. I reply that it is still realizable, albeit obviously in different forms which must take into account the geopolitical and epochal changes of the Third Millennium’ (Ordine Nuovo, 16 February 2008). Vincenzo Vinciguerra constitutes a rather special case among neo-­fascist terrorists, for two reasons. First, by his own admission, he is guilty of a bomb

From violent action to story-telling   131 attack that killed three carabinieri in 1972, and second, he also believes that most neo-­fascists were in fact stragisti and connived with both the state and American intelligence in order to terrorize the population. He defined a massacre (strage) as ‘a means that those in power use in order to create a state of alarm among the population and eventually intervene so as to reassure this same population’ (Marcucci and Minoliti 2000). As regards his own attack, he strongly denies it can be classified as a strage, as it was an attack against ‘the military apparatus of the state’ (Marcucci and Minoliti 2000). Thus, whereas the other neo-­fascists had killed innocent civilians in the service of the state, he had turned against the state itself, killing some of its servants. By doing so, he had wanted to lay bare the state’s duplicity and connivance with stragismo as well as put an end to its unholy alliance with neo-­fascism. To this end he sacrificed his own life, as he was sentenced to life imprisonment and has since refused to repent or dissociate. In terms of the murders he committed, Vinciguerra has no regrets and no apologies to proffer. What he offers his victims in compensation is ‘the truth’: ‘I will continue to act in such a way that the death of so many people, from both sides, including the Peteano carabinieri, will not continue to be in vain’ (1989, p. 137). In his narrative he completely reverses the nature of his trial, claiming that the real defendant was the state, not himself: I brought the State on trial. I was not on trial. I did not consider myself the accused. Because for the first time and also the last, I believe, one could see an accused man who had to fight against everybody in order to assert his responsibility, when it would have been sufficient to keep quiet in order to be found not guilty. (1989, p. 137) Vinciguerra’s reference is to the fact that, after his 1972 attack, the police and carabinieri deliberately bungled the investigations, allowing him to escape abroad. He tells his version of this story in his 1993 book, claiming that the reason it happened was to avert the risk that the links between neo-­fascist terrorists and sectors of the state would become public. Thus, his later ‘confession’ of his crime was in reality a way of taking responsibility for it in an attempt to force the state to do the same: ‘I did not confess. I assumed responsibility. Which is something very different. I did not give myself up to the State. In the sense that I attribute to the State a responsibility in terrorism, a responsibility in stragismo’ (Marcucci and Minoliti 2000). Vinciguerra’s story, therefore, unlike the previous ones, does not paint neo-­ fascism as an innocent victim of a devious state but, on the contrary, as its willing (and fully subordinate) partner: ‘You, comrades, handed over neo-­ fascism to the winners of the Second World War, to those who had defeated us. And yours, comrades, is called betrayal, conscious and deliberate’ (2000, p. 141). Indeed, he accuses most neo-­fascists of having performed abject deeds and lying through their teeth to prevent the truth from being known. With

132   After terrorism r­ eference to Concutelli, for instance, he punctured the story (repeated by Concutelli in his 2008 book, as we saw) according to which Carmine Palladino was strangled in prison as an act of revenge for causing the death of one of Concutelli’s friends. The real reason, Vinciguerra states, is that Carmine Palladino knew too much about the Milan massacre of 12 December 1969: Pierluigi Concutelli . . . eliminated a fundamental witness for the Piazza Fontana massacre. Because Carmine Palladino is a man who has always known the story of Piazza Fontana and not just that story. And he was the only one who, having shown signs of giving in, was assigned by the Ministry of Grace and Justice to the Novara prison where, after a week, he was eliminated by Concutelli and his friends: the [trial] sentence only refers to Concutelli, but I knew Carmine Palladino personally, Concutelli could never have killed him on his own. (Marcucci and Minoliti, 2000) Despite Vinciguerra’s negative portrayal of post-­war neo-­fascism, he too aims to provide a chosen trauma susceptible of being reactivated by future generations, thanks to his narrative of self-­sacrifice, since he immolated himself for the sake of true fascist ideals, against both the state and all those ‘spurious’ neo-­fascists who had betrayed their own ideology. While Concutelli and Tuti try to safeguard fascist ideology for posterity by denying any neo-­fascist involvement in stragismo and by reducing their own violent acts to almost individual gestures, Vinciguerra chooses to fully expose neo-­fascism’s collective involvement and instead presents himself as an individual hero and martyr, a beacon whose own exemplary sacrifice bears witness to the validity of his faith (Cento Bull 2009). In the Preface (written in Opera Prison on 4 June 1994) to his 2000 book, Vinciguerra states explicitly that the war between the true heirs of Nazi-­fascism and the USA goes on and that memory plays an important role in this conflict: Only the peoples who remember and who are able to acknowledge their past have a future. The arrogant USA believes she does not have to bow to the defeated, recognize their worth, honour their dead on a par with hers. And she is right. Because the war has not yet ended. . . . It has not ended for us either. And to fight this war we do not need to hope it will end in victory. All we need are memory and the certainty that the war that is restarting is our war, without further adjectives. (2000, p. 19) Despite the relative scarcity of extreme-­right memoirs a comparison between the narratives analysed in this and in the previous section shows that they both make constant references to the bombing massacres as an important factor in determining their narrators’ turn to terrorist acts and as one of the main reasons validating their claim to victimhood. But while the extreme-­left protagonists represent the bombing massacres as having been perpetrated by neo-­fascist

From violent action to story-telling   133 groups in connivance with the state, the extreme-­right protagonists construct neo-­fascism as the scapegoat of other forces (which may or may not include the state). Beyond this common framework, however, the extreme-­left narrators continue to tell rival stories just as they did when they were leaders of rival groups. By contrast, the extreme-­right tellers (with the exception of Vinciguerra) appear to have put old rivalries aside. There are other similarities across the two sets of stories. First, neither group of narrators is interested in establishing the truth about the massacres or about terrorism as a whole (other than their representation of it). In fact, for their status of victimhood to enjoy any credibility, the extreme-­right ex-­terrorists rely on the absence of truth to an even larger extent than the extreme-­left ones. Second, neither group of storytellers has any interest in facilitating a process of reconciliation. The extreme-­right ex-­terrorists, in particular, continue to view themselves as antagonists of the democratic state, or at any rate as indifferent to it, and as refusing to stoop to any compromise. There is very little doubt, therefore, that these stories are highly partisan and cannot be made functional to reconciliation or indeed engage in a dialogue with the victims of terrorism.

Constructions of victimhood by perpetrators with an individual perspective By definition, perpetrators who put forward an individual perspective no longer see themselves as belonging to a collective group. Indeed, part of the process of distancing themselves from their past has consisted of severing links with their previous comrades and pursuing individual paths towards social re-­integration. In contrast to the ones analysed so far, their memoirs are truly autobiographical, with little space for political argumentations or abstract theorizing. As we saw in Part I, they offer a valuable account of the end of terrorism by depicting the metamorphosis of the terrorist mindset into a ‘normal’ way of thinking and explaining the factors that have brought about this transformation. Their memoirs, however, are in many cases also an attempt to build bridges with society and with the victims, and it is to this end that they construct victimhood. In this section the analysis will focus on the representations of the past put forward by Laura Braghetti (Il prigioniero, 2003, as well as the book written with Francesca Mambro in 1995, Nel cerchio della prigione), Arrigo Cavallina (La piccola tenda d’azzurro che i prigionieri chiamano cielo, 2005, as well as an interview with Anna Cento Bull, 21 January 2011), Adriana Faranda (Nell’occhio della tigre [Mazzocchi and Faranda 1994], as well as an interview in Isabel Pisano, Io terrorista. Parlano i protagonisti, 2004), Francesca Mambro (Nel cerchio della prigione, 1995, as well as an interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 January 2011) and Valerio Morucci (La peggio gioventù. Una vita nella lotta armata, 2004). The analysis will also be based on an interview with Nadia Mantovani, carried out on 20 January 2011, and one with Franco Bonisoli (12 and 14 February 2011). Our analysis starts with Morucci’s book and Mantovani’s interview, because they constitute in some respects a midway position between the representations

134   After terrorism previously examined and those explored in this section. Morucci’s memoir, like Segio’s, includes both autobiographical narratives of himself-­as-terrorist and non-­narrative argumentations, except that the latter are presented as his own individual, as opposed to a collective, viewpoint. The narrative parts occupy much less space than the non-­narrative ones and offer both a glimpse of his life as a terrorist and some insight into his path to radicalization, ending with the story of a terrorist friend who had been shot dead by the police, an event that filled him with remorse for being still alive. In the non-­narrative sections, Morucci, a dissociated, claims to aim for the truth and for telling the past as it was, and to this end he develops in equal parts a critique of revolutionary violence, especially of the type practiced by the Red Brigades, and a critique of the Italian political class and of the state. In his view, ‘violence as a programmatic principle should be permanently expunged. It costs much, both for those who practice it and for those who suffer it, and its efficacy is inversely related to its costs’ (2004, pp. 51–2). Those who practiced this violence were ideologically inspired (‘the ideology we adopted . . . presupposed violence’) and therefore did not act primarily in response to the violence exercised by their enemy, as so many ex-­terrorists maintain: ‘we were shooting from both sides. . . . [I]t does not hold to argue that we acted in response. We might have done it earlier. We would have got there anyway’ (p. 241). Any arguments to the contrary are part of a justificatory ‘culture of victimhood’ (p. 241), including the argument that the extreme-­left’s turn to violence had been determined by the strategy of tension, starting with the December 1969 bombing massacre in Piazza Fontana, Milan. According to Morucci, the state, with this massacre, had exacerbated the conflict, yet ‘the symptoms of the subsequent development of the use of violence by the revolutionary side had already manifested themselves in full during the course of 1969’ (p. 252). Morucci is highly critical of Moretti, whom he depicts as the Red Brigades’ Supreme General. As such, much of the defeat of the organization is attributable to his leadership, yet Moretti in his memoirs tries constantly to shift the blame onto others and above all chooses to tell the past as it was not. According to Morucci, Moretti does so for two reasons. First, as when Moretti untruthfully recalls in his book that the Red Brigades were forced to kill two bodyguards during the kidnapping of Judge Francesco Coco in 1976, the reason has to do with the difficulty of accepting the truth about causing the death of others: Obviously it has not been easy for Moretti to look back after twenty years. We know this. One may have changed but the facts, death, have not. It [death] is always there as hard and cutting as a pointed stone. And it is frightening to deal with something whose justifications with time have become obfuscated. The unease for the cruelty [of that action] may assault you voraciously and in order not to feel it, so as not to allow it to touch your conscience too deeply, you can go as far as to confuse and twist your memory. To lie to those before you. Even more, to lie to yourself. (p. 105)

From violent action to story-telling   135 Moretti, in his 1993 book-­interview, says he is at peace with Moro. [This statement] is the result of the separation, typical of all politics and above all of Communist politics, between the man and the politician. The politician acts in accordance with certain conditions, independently of man’s ethical values. Then, when things have happened and mistakes have been made, he continues to privilege the political dimension so that he never has to come to terms with the moral one. (p. 263) Second, the reason has to do with Moretti wanting to preserve the political legacy of the Red Brigades. As Morucci puts it, ‘Moretti admits defeat, but does so by sneakily claiming a place in revolutionary history. A place more absolute than dominant, since he has denigrated everything else’ (p.  206). In short, through his memoirs Moretti is still prioritizing politics, by ‘applying a political filter to memory, to those which should be facts, history’ (p. 310). In line with this position, Morucci rejects Moretti’s criticism of the dissociation phenomenon, since dissociation ‘was not against the BR, but against what we had been. Of course, when one abandons a part of oneself one also abandons those who stuck to the choice one used to share. This appears to their side as a betrayal’ (p. 232). Morucci admits that the political class emerged strengthened by the self-­critical stance of the dissociati, as the former was able to claim to have always been in the right. However, this for him is not a sufficient reason to construct the past as it was not; rather, the political class should itself face and openly tell the truth concerning its past mistakes. In fact, he claims that from this point of view Moretti and Italy’s politicians are fully comparable, since the former, in telling the story of his organization, behaved ‘more like an astute politician than a good general. Just like those he had hated and fought to death. To end up in such abhorred company it would have been better if he had remained silent’ (p. 237). Morucci criticizes the Italian state equally as much as he does the Red Brigades. He accuses the state of authorizing torture in the prisons and approving a ‘shoot to kill’ policy against the terrorists, a policy that ended up costing the lives of many innocent people. The systematic use of torture went hand-­inhand with the ‘slaughter’ of many pentiti by their former comrades, killings which the prison authorities did little to stop and indeed facilitated. As for the ex-­Communist Party, it continues to argue the falsehood that the Red Brigades were manipulated by external forces, with the help of ex-­BR leader Franceschini. Thus Morucci’s view of Franceschini is almost identical to Balzerani’s: Franceschini thought well to exorcize his defeat by going back to act as altar boy in the Red Church in which he had been baptized, from there throwing muck on his ex-­comrades of the Red Brigades. He had the dual aim of pleasing his benefactors and exalting himself by ditching the others. (p. 304)

136   After terrorism By so doing, Franceschini too is guilty of telling the past as it wasn’t, in an attempt to confuse the story of the Red Brigades which in their origin and their action, is certainly the clearest, best known and most told [story]. (p. 305) Nadia Mantovani was arrested in 1976, therefore she did not take part directly in the more violent phase of the Red Brigades’ activities. She became a dissociate in 1985. At the start of her interview she explicitly stated that she often consented to talk about, and was ready to reflect upon, her past, due to her constant dialogue with her 20-year-­old daughter, which ‘is a considerable stimulus, not political perhaps, but very important from an existential point of view because her relationship and her “judgement” are fundamental for myself and her father [former Red Brigade member Roberto Ognibene]’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 4 February 2011). In fact, having her daughter had represented a further occasion to look carefully inside myself, to understand what I had not yet understood: how I had forced myself [to be what I was], the roles within which I had hidden my own self, the strength I was convinced I possessed. I believe I have always been a pacifist, by instinct. She defined her life history as being made up of twenty years of reckless, almost breathless life, twenty years in prison marked by harshness but also by a natural process of maturation and twenty now, with my decision to have a baby and everything this has involved: a house, a job . . . dimensions I had always rejected. While Mantovani accepted that everything she had believed in and for which she had fought, had proved flimsy, and she had not succeeded in ‘transforming myself, people, society, the world’, nevertheless she insisted she did not consider herself or her comrades as having been ‘bad people’, for two reasons. First, they had been compelled to take recourse to violence: The determination that grew inside me reflected what was happening outside . . . through a series of events: being beaten up during a demonstration, the wars that were being fought in the world, the stragi at home. I believed I had to respond, but it was a defensive response, not an offensive one. Yet even by responding you end being caught up in a vortex. Second, she had acted in good faith and been motivated by unselfish ideals. She remembered when she took part in a meeting organized by the Catholic association Comunione e Liberazione in 2004, together with Francesca Mambro, whom she had met in prison and with whom she had established a close friendship:

From violent action to story-telling   137 She started – before 1500 young people – talking of herself as of a bad girl who wanted to destroy the world. . . . [T]hen it was my turn and I said ‘Well, everyone, I wanted to do something very different, I did not want to destroy but to build, I wanted to change the world, I have always believed I am a good girl, I was convinced I was doing good. When talking about reconciliation she recalled an encounter with Giovanni Moro, son of Aldo Moro, who embraced her and made her feel ‘understood, not forgiven. The problem is not forgiveness but understanding’. When asked whether this included the need to know the truth, she insisted that This is not what I meant, I said ‘understand’, not ‘know’. I am fairly sceptical regarding the so-­called hidden truths. At least as far as my experience in the Red Brigades is concerned, I did not have the perception that there were occult masterminds pushing in mysterious directions. With specific reference to the murder of factory worker Guido Rossa in 1979, whose daughter recently wrote a book arguing that one member of the Red Brigades’ squad deliberately shot him dead, thus contradicting the official BR version that it happened on the spur of the moment (see Chapter 7), Mantovani affirmed her firm belief that the original version by the Red Brigades was the true one: They only wanted to wound and intimidate him, he reacted vigorously putting in difficulty the comrades who had to shoot him and so another one came back and shot him dead. This is what I was told and I believe it is true. It seems obvious to me that Rossa’s daughter will never agree or accept that her father was a spy and even less that this is the reason he was killed. She certainly has a different memory of her father, not as a spy but as someone who believed in what he was doing. And rightly so. . . . But sooner or later we will need to understand the reasons for what happened in those years, during that violent season when thousands of young people came to do things that are difficult to accept. They had so much energy inside them, so much desire for change, and all this exasperated by their youth. Indeed, the convictions of Rossa’s daughter, in her view, were ‘pretexts (I don’t want to hurt anybody by saying this as I very much appreciate and respect the effort these people make) so as not to accept the banality of reality’. However, in reply to the question whether the state should play a role in facilitating a process of reconciliation, she replied that It should, but with this state it is impossible. The state’s responsibility vis-­àvis the Red Brigades is perhaps relative, even though they say that there have been people infiltrated, secret negotiations and more, but regarding stragismo certainly the state . . . ought to say something, even more than

138   After terrorism Francesca and Valerio, because the strategy of tension was not carried out by young people. Nothing stirs in this direction despite all the years gone by, in fact there are still attempts to bury it all under the sand and to hinder the search for the truth. Finally, concerning the attitudes of the relatives of the victims regarding reconciliation, she stated: Does reconciliation mean finding those guilty or trying to understand what happened? If it is just a question of finding those guilty then they have nearly all been found, at least as far as the Red Brigades are concerned. If the problem is instead that of understanding a very complex historical phase, understanding why in a ‘democratic’ country so many young people, almost a generation (1,500 in prison, many more supporting them) made such extreme choices, then we are still at ‘year zero’. These are not small numbers, I would like to make a comparison with the partisans (how many partisans were there?). . . . Even in terms of the ‘damage’, the dead, if we make a calculation, a comparison, we should be frightened by the number of deaths caused by the state. And what about the bombs? Adriana Faranda, Morucci’s ex-­comrade and partner, published a book in 1994 with the journalist Silvana Mazzocchi entitled Nell’anno della Tigre. As already noted by Glynn (2009a), the book alternates personal memor­ies by Faranda with memories of herself told by other people, including her relatives and friends, which function almost as testimonials to her ‘worthiness’ for being re-­embraced by society. In her own memories, Faranda dwells especially on her growing doubts after the Red Brigades’ kidnapping of Aldo Moro, in which she was involved, concerning the fate of their prisoner: ‘I continue not to accept the idea of killing an unarmed prisoner’ (p. 132). She distinguishes between his killing and that of his five bodyguards: ‘It is true, the murder of his bodyguards was perhaps not less cruel, but they were armed men, probably they would have killed us. Moro . . . is in our hands, defenceless’ (p. 132). Her narration depicts a person increasingly at odds with the rest of the organization because of the importance she has always attributed to the value of sentiment and emotion. For instance, she tells of her deep hurt when faced by the harsh reaction of her previous comrades when she and Morucci left the Red Brigades: ‘In contrast to them, beyond any disagreement, I value the depth of our affection, our ties born out of many shared choices, risks, suffering and hopes’ (p. 143). After somewhat awkwardly explaining why she continued to kill once she left the Red Brigades, her narrative switches to her arrest and her years in prison and in so doing the self-­as-character becomes transformed from a perpetrator to a victim. The transformation is emblematically told through a story within the story, which also highlights that the meaning of the title of her book is directly connected to her construction of victimhood. Faranda recalls that a Chinese

From violent action to story-telling   139 prison inmate, Nancy, had told her a Chinese legend, concerning the practice of killing all the girls born in the year of the Tiger, as they were believed to be destined to destroy the paternal house. When Nancy concluded her story by reminding Faranda how lucky she was not to have been born in China, the latter replied: ‘Here at least they only kill us a little every day’ (p. 172). Her account of the time when she and Morucci were arrested is also very interesting because it demonstrates how the same episodes are remembered and constructed differently in different narratives, precisely on the basis of the kind of self one wishes to project and the kind of audience one is aiming to address. Morucci in his book recalls the episode of their arrest in terms of the policemen acting fairly ‘correctly’: ‘The policemen were enraged . . . but did not touch a hair on our heads. In fact, one of them who tried to hit me in the police cells was stopped by the others. There were still rules then’ (2004, pp. 208–9). The same episode is told by Faranda twice, both in her book with Mazzocchi and in her subsequent interview to Pisano, and it is worth comparing her two descriptions: They asked me: ‘Documents? Who are you?’ I gave them my false identity card. ‘Who do you think you are kidding?’ said one immediately handing me two slaps on the face. I fell to the ground, Valerio tried to defend me. Five or six of them were immediately over him. I shouted: ‘Don’t move’. Valerio stopped. (Mazzocchi 1994, p. 154) Suddenly they came in; they threw me to the ground and kicked me all over my body; I covered my face and realized my hands were full of blood. . . . They took me to the other room, again they threw me to the floor, continuing to kick me. . . . The policeman took me away. He hit me on the head with the gun handle. . . . Valerio, who when they arrived was already in bed, got dressed. (Pisano 2004, pp. 180–1) There are serious discrepancies both between Faranda’s and Morucci’s versions and between Faranda’s own two versions. The first discrepancy highlights Morucci’s preoccupation with reflecting upon the past in rational terms and rejecting what he calls a ‘culture of victimhood’ prevalent among the ex-­ terrorists, whereas Faranda is mainly preoccupied with regaining both moral self-­esteem and society’s acceptance of her social re-­integration, hence her need to construct herself as a victim as well as a perpetrator. The second discrepancy appears to reflect Faranda’s narrative (and identity) shift towards situating herself more firmly as a victim, thus putting the self-­as-perpetrator into a distant background. In fact, in her later interview, Faranda dwells in more detail on the tortures imposed upon all comrades in prison (2004, p.  181) and appears to suggest that her sufferings, both moral and physical, are never-­ending because society is unforgiving rather than accepting: ‘Every time they stop me at a border, they also stop him [her partner] and they manhandle him as they do with

140   After terrorism me, as if he were a terrorist’ (p. 195). Also, ‘In the United States they certainly don’t accept me. In Switzerland, for example, they stopped me at the border, they handcuffed me and they made me undress’ (p. 195). Finally, Faranda in her book addresses the issues of truth and reconciliation. With regards to the former, she acknowledges that many of her ex-­comrades have been reticent and have not told everything they knew, with the result that ‘this silence has done nothing but fuel the weaving of a fabric of falsehoods and suppositions’, whereas the truth, even when told in judicial courts, ‘could have preserved for the future our identity, our transparency of goals, from any manipulations and inferences’. In short, Faranda, like the previous narrators, rejects the suggestion that the Red Brigades were anything other than what they said they were or had been manipulated by other forces, yet she also blames her ex-­ comrades for contributing to such reconstructions of the past with their reticence over the truth. However, in her later interview, she goes further and claims that: ‘Moro’s death suited many people. . . . [I]t suited some people that he would die, that the power of the Red Brigades and the ghost of terrorism would grow. . . . Who knows what was behind it, in the Quirinale [the residence of the President of the Republic]: all the games were played around that table’ (2004, p. 175). As concerns the issue of reconciliation, particularly with regards to her victims, this part of the story is told by others, including a priest, Don Luigi Di Liegro, who is well known for the role he played in establishing contacts and opening a dialogue with ex-­terrorists in prison. The story alludes to Faranda’s attempts to contact her victims and ask for their forgiveness, and recalls her offer of devolving the income from the sale of her maternal house (‘the only house she still owned’) to them ‘as a tangible sign of her transformation’ (p.  205). When the victims declined the offer, the money was handed over to the Catholic association, Caritas. Some of the themes in Faranda’s narrative are reproduced in the book written by Laura Braghetti and Francesca Mambro, published in 1995. This book is clearly autobiographical, and it also takes the form of an exchange of letters written during their years in prison, where they met for the first time in 1988. The book itself is preceded by a Note written by the authors, as well as by a Preface written by a feminist writer and member of the Virginia Woolf group. In the Note, Braghetti and Mambro clarify that ‘here you will only find some of our emotional reactions, not “THE TRUE STORY OF TERRORISM” ’ (p.  XVIII). The reference to the previous type of memoirs seems fairly explicit. This is immediately followed by an acknowledgement that the authors took a conscious decision not to talk about their victims in the book, because they feared that, by saying too much, they would be seen as opportunistic, or, by saying too little, they would be considered cynical: ‘we are neither the one nor the other’ (ibid.). Yet they also claim that in prison they had been thinking a great deal about victimhood, and especially about the link ‘which we suspect is indissoluble, between victim and perpetrator. In some episodes we have been victims, in other perpetrators’ (ibid.). The Note is also used by the two former terrorists to mention and thank both lay and Catholic voluntary associations and women’s cultural and feminist

From violent action to story-telling   141 groups as well as lawyers, journalists, professors, writers, intellectuals and some politicians – but also people working in the prisons, including carabinieri, police agents, prison directors. The list appears to include both social categories that figured large among the victims of terrorism and social categories associated with the prison years, which in the memoirs previously examined are represented mainly as persecutors and oppressors. Thus, the Note tells the reader four important things: (1) that the book is about emotions as opposed to argumentations; (2) that it constructs victimhood in ways that do not deny, but in fact acknowledge the role of perpetrators played by the authors; (3) that the audience and interlocutors of the authors are both their former victims and their former ‘enemies’; (4) that some of the people working for the criminal justice and prison service have proved supportive and helpful, even while many others have been ‘obstructive’. The first four chapters see alternating personal memoirs by Mambro and Braghetti, and these are followed by the letters they exchanged in the first half of the 1990s, when they ended up in different prisons. In her own memoirs, Braghetti starts with the metaphor of the shipwreck, specifically linked to the long-­winded and troubled return home by the mythical Ulysses. As she states, ‘we [too] are trying to return, we want to sight the land and put a stop to the nomadic existence of our thoughts while our body is locked in the watertight bulkheads of the prisons’ (p. 4). The metaphor of the shipwreck, therefore, does not concern her physical body, but her mind and soul, due to the defeat she has experienced, a defeat that has been ‘not so much military, but human’ (p. 8). For many years, her ‘unlimited surrender of ideals’ made her speechless, unable to express it in a suitable language. Her ‘return’ voyage involved a complex and tortuous process, during which she had to shed the mental layers that had led her down the path of hatred, intolerance and the acceptance of violence, as already analysed in Chapter 4. In her shedding of her previous mental layers, Braghetti chooses to retain a measure of personal dignity by claiming that she decided not to ‘repent’ or ‘dissociate’ from terrorism so as not ‘to devalue, together with her responsibilities, also her pride’ (p. 12). In the same way, she rejects any idea that the Red Brigades may have been anything other than what they claimed to be, or that there exist any hidden ‘mysteries’ behind their story: The entire experience of the armed struggle was a failure but I would like the honesty of those who burnt their youth on the altar of ideology to be recognized. . . . [S]omething of those years needs to be saved: the good faith of those who followed a politics of utopia and not of personal interest. (pp. 60–1) A lingering sense of pride and good faith is accompanied by a claim for victimhood, albeit in the context of acknowledged personal and collective guilt: ‘When I think of the massacres [the bomb attacks from 1969 onwards] and of their weight upon the choices of the young people of my generation, I feel that to an

142   After terrorism extent those of us who placed their future in the revolutionary option have also been victims’ (p. 14). Mambro’s perspective is comparable to, yet also differs considerably from, Braghetti’s, insofar as she portrays herself simultaneously as a perpetrator and as a ‘true’ victim, because she claims in this book what she has always claimed: that she and her former terrorist partner Valerio Fioravanti were not responsible for the 1980 Bologna bombing massacre. They have been unjustly accused and found guilty for this crime: ‘an act so obscure, so tragic and so cowardly’ (p. 2). This leads her to speak of the book written with Braghetti as having been born out of a sense of ‘rage and disappointment’, even though she also clarifies that, after her ‘disgust’ for the latest ‘guilty’ verdict at the Bologna trial, hers will be ‘a tranquil, perhaps almost serene, story’ (p. 30). The issue of Mambro’s strong sense of victimhood pervades the book and is also taken up by Braghetti, who became not only an ardent believer of Mambro’s innocence, but also an active campaigner on behalf of her cause, not least by promoting an association entitled ‘And if they were innocent?’. Let us consider the similarities between the two stories. Mambro, too, associates her turn to political violence with her ‘political passion’ (p.  36), even though, in line with the ‘spontaneism’ that characterized her group, the NAR, she does not mention ideology. A passion for politics was accompanied by a strong sense of revenge for the killings of her comrades by either the extreme-­ left or the police. For Mambro, as for Braghetti, leaving terrorism behind therefore involves leaving politics behind, but also means claiming a measure of dignity and self-esteem for those who fought in good faith: ‘Valerio and I with our friends fought believing in a better world, giving what we had – our youth and our own life – without reservation’ (1995, p.  49) and ‘we fought for our ideas not to enrich ourselves’ (Interview, 10 January 2011). Finally, a sense of personal dignity is also reclaimed on the basis that Mambro, too, did not ‘repent’ or ‘dissociate’ so as to benefit from the ‘discounts’ offered by the legislation on terrorism: I have publicly taken my distance from my ‘terrorist’ past, but I have explicitly refused the reductions of the terms of imprisonment that the law envisages in these cases: to acknowledge one’s own mistakes is the minimum one can do, I do not think it right to accept a reward for doing so little. (p. 31) The letters that make up the rest of the book further develop some of the themes outlined above, but also add a different dimension to the stories of the two women, which in turn provides new clues to their construction of victimhood. The new dimension focuses, on the one hand, on the human body, emphasizing bodily pain due to inflicted violence, as well as bodily change, needs, pleasures, and sensations. On the other hand, the new dimension focuses on personal relationships and individual people, with an emphasis on family and friends, sentimental relations, children, and (a yearning for) giving birth. The

From violent action to story-telling   143 personal and bodily dimension, clearly opposed to an abstract/political dimension, is underlined by Mambro and Braghetti referring to each other with affectionate nicknames borrowed from the animal world: Mambro is a mouse, Braghetti a dog (Fioravanti, Mambro’s husband, is referred to as a ‘bear’). Mambro constantly refers to Braghetti’s tendency to put on weight, and the latter’s bodily change appears symbolically to match her moral and mental one. As for Braghetti, she presses Mambro to tell the story of her physical wounding by gunshot at the time of her arrest, which nearly led to her death. When Mambro finally gives way, her account occupies literally the central pages of the book and symbolically stands for its inner core. The story she tells highlights her bodily suffering, her undignified bodily exposure not just to doctors and nurses but also to policemen who chose not to look away (‘I don’t want to talk about it because today, as then, I feel shame. I don’t know whether this [shame] is for them or because I had made myself hated to that extent’, p. 133), and her bodily change (‘My body was changing and I no longer recognized it. Wounded without any possibility of going back to what it was’, p. 132). Braghetti’s and Mambro’s memoirs also focus upon the rediscovery of the personal and affective dimension as the true normal dimension of human happiness. Referring to herself and Valerio, Mambro writes: ‘I would like to discover that we too have changed and are once again normal. . . .I like normality with Valerio, I don’t want to reach any extraterrestrial planet. We need so little to be happy. Why did we not think of this before? Why did we not accept such a simple reality?’ (p.  133). Braghetti in turn writes that ‘I would like to have a house, the boredoms all women of my age complain about, children. . . . Instead I have a girl’s dreams in a woman’s body’ (p. 243). The rediscovery of the affective, everyday, dimension is linked on the one hand to the bitter realization, on the part of both women, of what their lives could have been and of all the pain they inflicted upon themselves in their turn to violence and, on the other, to a deeper acknowledgement of the plight of their victims and their relatives. As Braghetti writes: ‘Sons and daughters, wives, parents who try more or less in vain to find a reason for the tragedy that has befallen them by my hand or the hand of others like me’ (p. 116). Mambro expresses these sentiments as follows: I wanted the death of people I did not even know. . . . They will never know that we too, what we used to be, died with them and that we were our own worst enemies. They will never know the extent to which our damnation consists in having acknowledged the unbearable pain for a loss, any loss. No void, prison or freedom can save us from this pain. Even before our destiny [catches up with us], we are the ones who want to find us and demand a reckoning. (p. 256) In short, this book, like Faranda’s, offers the perspectives of former terrorists who construct victimhood as a platform from which to negotiate a new identity and leave behind their violent past. In order to do so they attempt to build

144   After terrorism bridges with the victims of terrorism, by both acknowledging their role as perpetrators (and recognizing the moral and physical pain they caused other people) and claiming a secondary role as victims. The latter ranges from the ex-­post ‘realization’ that they grew up in a climate in which they were led to give their youth to the pursuit of violence in the name of ideology, to the claim that they never cease to suffer for the crimes they have committed, to the detailed representation of the bodily suffering Mambro experienced after she was quite severely wounded. As an overarching theme, Mambro’s self-­professed innocence for the Bologna bombing and Braghetti’s public stance in support of her innocence enhance their moral stature (and Mambro’s own sense of victimhood) and throw some of the guilty status onto the state and its institutions. The book Il prigioniero, co-­written by Braghetti with the journalist Paola Tavella, was published several years later, in 2003. It is a reconstruction of Aldo Moro’s kidnapping and assassination, in which Braghetti took part. It is also an attempt to reconstruct the path through which she became a member of the Red Brigades and a terrorist ready to kill. In this sense it differs from the previous book, which, as we saw, focuses on a reverse journey, back from terrorism. However, what the two books have in common is the perspective from which the past is recounted: in both cases the story is told by a narrator who no longer recognizes herself in the self-­as-character but wishes to underline the unbridgeable gulf between the two. As already noted (Glynn, 2009b), one of the devices used by this book in order to achieve this is to alternate chapters about Braghetti as terrorist and jailer of Aldo Moro with chapters about her life pre- and post-­ terrorism. Early in the book, Braghetti recalls, with reference to a friend of hers, that: ‘In that year [1977] Simonetta was on the verge of taking the path that later I took instead. But she did not take it. She stopped. She is one of the few who stopped by her own will’ (p. 18). The underlying question, therefore, is why did she herself not stop in time? Her answer is that her militancy in a terrorist group happened very gradually, one step after another, through a long process of ‘courting’. In this book, as in the previous one, Braghetti’s main reference is to the role played by ideology: ‘I imagined a tomorrow in which every wrong would be redressed, every inequality balanced, every injustice righted. I answered myself that this justified the means we would use’ (p. 21). However, the personal and affective dimension also comes to the fore: losing her mother when she just five years old; having to leave university to find herself a secretarial job after her father died in 1974; her dedication to student politics and her subsequent temporary withdrawal from it following her father’s discovery of her activities; her mounting rage as a consequence of her forced withdrawal (‘Rage tormented me. Rage, rage, rage. What could I do with it, now that I could no longer burn it in the fire of politics, together with all the others?’, p. 54); her love for Bruno Seghetti, who was already involved in the armed struggle; her desire to earn the respect of her new group of comrades. She appears to have followed the diktacts of the organization without a murmur, even suppressing her personal affections, as when she and Bruno were told that they had to leave each other,

From violent action to story-telling   145 and later she was ‘assigned’ Prospero Gallinari as her new man (‘Prospero was my man, but I don’t remember any embrace with him’). Braghetti also recalls her years in prison, making clear references to the systematic use of torture against her comrades, including electric shock treatment, burns and sexual violence. Indeed she attributes the phenomenon of pentitismo and recanting at least in part to physical pressure. However, she also accepts that many simply stopped believing in the ideals that had led them to the armed struggle. With specific reference to Patrizio Peci she writes: ‘I do not believe that Peci was subjected to that type of physical pressure. He collapsed because he no longer believed in what he was doing’ (pp. 146–7). Braghetti gives an account of her assassination of Professor Vittorio Bachelet on 12 February 1980 as well as of her sentiments at the time of the killing and at the time of writing: After the action I felt a sense of complete void. In order to kill someone who has not done anything to you, whom you do not know, you do not hate, you need to put human pity aside, in a dark and shut away corner, and never go back there with your thoughts. You must avoid feelings of any type, because otherwise, together with the other emotions, horror comes to the surface. Nowadays I let it happen, a wave of terrible sorrow goes through me, the consciousness that I have killed a man with my own hands. I see him again where I left him, on the ground. That image, not prison, is my punishment. I am condemned to have it forever before my eyes, and to not want to send it away. (p. 131) Braghetti recalls that she had been forgiven in prison by Bachelet’s brother Adolfo. When he died, she wanted to go to the funeral but felt that her presence would have been perceived as an insult by some people, hence she sent an anonymous letter ‘to thank Adolfo for showing me the way towards reconciliation’ (p. 134), which was read out during the ceremony. Years later she met the son of Vittorio Bachelet, who told her that those who err should be welcomed back, a sentiment which she commented on as follows: ‘He and his relatives have been able to do this even with me. I damaged them in an irreparable way and have received only goodwill in exchange’ (p.  134). In between these two recollections, of Adolfo Bachelet’s funeral and of her meeting with Vittorio Bachelet’s son, Braghetti inserts a paragraph in which she remembers the death of her mother, killed by a car while she was crossing the street. The paragraph ends with the sentence: ‘She was called Gina’. In these few pages, we find once again an attempt to reach out to the victims of terrorism and in this way also to negotiate a return to society and a new identity. While the self-­as-terrorist is depicted as almost devoid of human emotions (except rage and hatred), the post-­terrorist self is represented as opening up to all kinds of emotions, but above all to sorrow, regret and remorse. The terrorist self is represented as robotic, rather than human, whereas the post-­terrorist self has

146   After terrorism regained full human status. The new identity makes her ‘fit’ to be reaccepted into society, yet it is not, in itself, sufficient. The paragraph inserted on her mother, while seemingly factual and devoid of any sentiments or indeed sentimentalism, evokes the family tragedy in Braghetti’s own life and casts her as a victim, as well as someone who has experienced a trauma comparable to that of the Bachelets. It somewhat implies that she would not have been so susceptible to political violence if she had not experienced such a trauma so early in her life. She was a victim before turning into a perpetrator, and the narrator suggests that this, coupled with her new identity, makes her not only ‘fit’ for society but also ‘acceptable’ to society. In turn, the latter is symbolized by the Bachelet family, hence it is portrayed as willing to accept reconciliation and to welcome back those who erred. If the Bachelets, who have suffered directly at the hands of the terrorists, accept them back into society, then why should the rest of society reject them? In the interview with Francesca Mambro, she, too, referred to (personal and political) traumas in her life, while framing them in a context of acknowledgement of her own responsibilities: Probably if I had not experienced a series of traumas as an adolescent or if the adults had taken on their own responsibilities for what was happening, who knows, things might have gone differently, but you cannot make history with hindsight. Hence I accept all my responsibilities, my sentences were fair, it was right that I would pay by serving a term of imprisonment. As for the wrong I did, I try to repair this every day through my social work and above all by ensuring that past mistakes are not repeated. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 10 January 2011) In the same interview she openly stressed the gulf between her position and the viewpoint of the irriducibili: Even now the irriducibili say simply that the war (that they themselves declared against the state) has ended. Because of a series of negative events they lost, but they were in the right. I believe instead that we need to understand what really happened. . . . If they had won would we all have been executed by a firing squad against a wall, would we have filled the prisons with more people? We can’t even imagine [what would have happened], perhaps because nowadays I believe that the message of non-­violence is a positive and important one, which needs to be popularized and on which many should reflect. (Ibid.) Referring to some of the memoirs previously analysed, Mambro added that: I believe that they have had a problem in coming to terms personally with their past, it is as if they were split, one thing is the person, another is

From violent action to story-telling   147 i­deology, the armed struggle. For them the person always comes after, like a mass it does not count, there is a superior goal which is the revolution, you count for nothing. Otherwise one cannot explain why they cannot come to a reckoning with themselves and with what has happened, as well as with the people whom one day you may encounter and [discover] they are the children of those you have killed. For me, who was already experiencing this contradiction, was already feeling the responsibility for all that had happened, imagine when I became a parent, I could see before my eyes the entire film of what happened in the lives of others. I ask myself: do they not see this film? I am sorry for them, because their chidren sooner or later will ask for a reckoning. (Ibid.) In this newly found state of mind, Mambro’s feelings of rage and frustration for the guilty verdict in relation to the Bologna bomb attack appear to have become sedated, giving way to a state of resignation and acceptance of what for many years has been the position adopted by her husband Valerio; that is to say, that this is a price they do not deserve but accept to pay in the name of the ills they have inflicted upon others: ‘We accept it as a kind of punishment for other crimes we have committed’. Yet it is also a way of coming to terms with it, but in reality every 2 August I cannot accept it, I switch everything off as I cannot bear how this country and the relatives of the victims themselves have been cheated, as they have not been given the truth but any truth so that nobody speaks about what really happened. (Ibid.) An individual male perspective, with many points of contact with the previous female memoirs, is provided by Arrigo Cavallina, one of the leaders of the PAC (Proletari Armati per il Comunismo, ‘Armed Proletarians for Communism’). Cavallina fully accepts that his actions were morally (as well as politically) wrong, and deliberately rejects a ‘collective’ representation of the past: ‘I was one of those who were most in the wrong, which is why there is no risk that I would re-­affirm [my ideas]’. He added: ‘The only element we [dissociated] have in common is that we do not agree with our previous history but that’s where it ends, after doing so much wrong we cannot go and tell others what they have to do’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 21 January 2011). As we saw in Chapter 4, Cavallina does dwell on the physical hardship and privations – even torture – he and others had to suffer in prison in the years before the state adopted a more lenient attitude, indeed he believes that the harsh treatment of the early years was deliberate. However, Cavallina does this primarily in order to put forward his own ideas for a possible reconciliation with society and even with the victims, as he is a strong believer in the superiority of  restorative justice over retributive justice. In particular, he believes that all

148   After terrorism criminals should be given the opportunity to carry out voluntary work in lieu of imprisonment, and that this form of expiation, had it been adopted at the time, might have facilitated an encounter and a dialogue between ex-­terrorists and victims, helping both to come to terms with their respective pain. This is especially the case when the ex-­terrorist has undergone a personal change (in some cases, such as his own, even a religious conversion), and can no longer be identified with his/her previous self: What characterizes a converted person . . . is joy. Obviously not for what s/he has done, for which s/he still carries responsibility and, consequently, a duty of reparation, but because one can still be considered for what one is at that moment, because what one has done cannot be imputed to him/her if that person has completely changed, if there has been this transformation, that a person counts for what s/he is, not for the ‘other person’ s/he used to be. (2005, p. 144) According to Cavallina it should also be acknowledged that the terrorists were not common criminals, but had been guided in their crimes by ‘good faith and personal disinterest’ as well as by a misconceived sense of ‘solidarity’ (2005, p.  177). ‘These were people who put their lives at risk without any chance of personal gain. Some even lost their lives’ (Interview, 21 January 2011). This echoes the views of Faranda, Braghetti and Mambro. Cavallina, however, also believes that acknowledging the good faith of those who took up arms against the state does not mean having to assert at all costs that extreme-­left terrorism was never manipulated by outside forces. On the contrary, in his view the state had deliberately allowed terrorism to grow because it was in its interest, whereas it could have been defeated at an earlier stage if the political will had been there (Interview, 21 January 2011), thus implying that the truth about terrorism is not yet fully known. Finally, Franco Bonisoli, former leader of the Red Brigades and a member of the squad which kidnapped Aldo Moro, has gone further than most in attempting to reach out to the victims. As he explained in an interview with one of the authors, in the second half of the 1980s he contacted and corresponded with the relatives of some of his victims, and also met a few of them in person, in a process that in part was related to his own path towards dissociation and in part developed as a response to external stimuli, such as the role played by the Church and especially by Cardinal Martini. Later, from the second half of the 1990s, he became engrossed in his own work and family life, and his contact with his victims largely came to an end. He recalls his shocked reaction when the first book on and by the victims was published in Italy (Fasanella and Grippo, 2006), as he had not realized the extent to which they still harboured feelings of grievance: That book was dramatic for me, especially for how they have been treated by the state. I say it quietly because I am not the right person to fly the flag

From violent action to story-telling   149 of the victims, but it is terrible how some of them were treated, really meanly. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 14 February 2011) Many years later a book called The Silences of the Innocents appeared . . . then the book by Calabresi, then other public statements and newspaper articles. The bad thing was that there seemed to be a return to the past. I remember [a victim] who made a speech focused on revenge. . . . This meant all the efforts you made to re-­integrate into society were for nothing. As we have had children to whom we want to give a future, it also means making them pay for deeds that have nothing to do with them. The entire process of cultural reconstruction, of building relationships, was being thrown away, with summary judgements which resembled those we used to give. The victims’ public expression of enduring suffering convinced him that the loss of contact and dialogue between them and the ex-­perpetrators had been a serious mistake: ‘I explain [their stance] on the basis that in recent years the discourse of building relationships came to an end’. More recently he re-­established contact and held a series of meetings with the relatives of victims, which made him realize that together they had a social mission to accomplish: In my own path [to re-­integration] I have had various meetings with young people, some in public, others in private, and I have always introduced the theme of reconciliation because my aim is to achieve reconciliation. Personally I have always wished for it, even when not explicitly asked to comment on it I always mentioned it because I believed it was important that everybody thought about it. . . . Then I was contacted by a relative of a victim, A.S., . . . and some years ago I was invited to talk about forgiveness at Arese’s Salesian Centre. . . . [H]e came as well and we spoke together. This was a very positive event. The evening before we spoke to a group of young people who knew me but did not know my story. . . . They were street boys, who belonged to rival gangs. . . . There I thought to myself that this ought to be our mission, to work together to spread the message that reconciliation does not mean achieving closure regarding old wounds linked to a specific story, but understanding that violent conflict is a phenomenon experienced by many societies. If we understand how we can heal wounds then this is extremely important. I told A.S. . . . that it was to no avail that he continued to consume himself with pain and I with remorse, it did not serve any purpose; I was convinced that those who have suffered are better placed to understand the problems, myself on the basis of my past choices and of what I endured in prison, and himself for what he had suffered through no fault of his own. We both had a special kind of sensitivity. It would be good if we could get together and join forces in order to help other people. He seemed convinced that pursuing this mission would help both victims and ex-­perpetrators heal their wounds while helping others:

150   After terrorism Afterwards he [A.S.] told me that he had thought long about it and that for him [meeting me] had been what had helped him to escape from a vicious circle, to find a way out, otherwise he could try to remove [the pain] for a while but soon it would re-­emerge. For instance the message we gave that evening to those boys had been a bit like being together to help those who were more in need. Finally, on the issue of whether there were still elements of the truth concerning extreme-­left terrorism that had not been disclosed, Bonisoli replied with a degree of scepticism but also showing some openness to alternative interpretations: I am one of those who most strongly used to argue that we had not been in any way manipulated. I still think so in the sense that there was no mastermind behind us, but if the state did not follow up certain trails in order to find Moro, if at times it let terrorism develop, this type of manipulation may have taken place. But I am not the one who would know this. I am not the one who can say anything more, rather the state should do so. We were very naïve at the time, wearing our hearts on our sleeves, but also carrying a rifle in our hands, and yet very naïve. Hence dirty games may have been played around us. I can say that whereas once upon a time I used to say ‘we’ . . . nowadays I speak only for myself, not for the others, and I believe that everyone should speak for themselves. Moretti should speak for himself. I have no reason to believe that Moretti was different from what he said he was, that he was not exactly what he thought and said, but one should ask him directly. If Fran­ ceschini knows something concrete he should reveal it; he was one of the historic leaders, he should know, we were the new generation. The memoirs analysed in this section cover a wide range of perspectives, but they all show that their narrators have undergone, albeit to varying degrees, a process of reflection and self-­introspection in relation to their violent past. In addition, they all indicate that their views are not fixed, but have continued to change over time. While their narratives are also about constructing victimhood, they do so as a platform from which they attempt to reach out to the victims of terrorism and to engage in a process of reconciliation as well as in a context of acceptance of their status as perpetrators. An important dimension of their stories relates to the bodily pain, as well as the moral suffering, they had to endure in prison, which recall the stories told by the surviving victims of terrorism. The victims, in fact, as we shall see in the next chapter, feel the need to record and narrate, often in great detail, the bodily pain they suffered, the unwanted bodily changes they experienced, the ignominy of having their mutilated bodies exposed to the public. This dimension of victimhood in the narratives of former terrorists is epitomized in the book by Braghetti and Mambro, where the story of Mambro’s physical wounding, which is given centre stage, represents an attempt to reach out to the victims of terrorism by re-­embodying a former terrorist as

From violent action to story-telling   151 having experienced comparable physical pain and/or carrying similar bodily and mental scars as a result of inflicted violence. Conversely, Mambro’s account contrasts quite sharply with the group of memoirs by extreme-­left protagonists analysed previously, since their narrators privilege the abstract-­political level of argumentation, thus reinforcing the primacy of non-­corporeal rational thinking. By so doing, they conveniently ‘hide’ the body from sight, including the bodies of their victims, and perpetuate the construction of themselves as revolutionary intellectuals and leaders. In short, in the previous memoirs the narrators move from an abstract plane (concerning the revolutionary ideas they held at the time of terrorism) to another abstract plane (regarding their current ideas about their previous revolutionary ideas). The intervening material and physical violence they perpetrated upon their victims, involving bloody bodily harm, is thus erased. Interestingly, so are the narrators’ own bodily experiences as prisoners, despite the physical hardships and privations they claim they have had to endure. The stories analysed in the section also demonstrate a shared preoccupation among their narrators that, as part of a possible process of reconciliation, their good faith, their unselfish ideals, their readiness to sacrifice their own lives for the ‘common good’ be recognized and acknowledged, and the labels of ‘criminals’ (and ‘terrorists’) be replaced by more neutral terms.

Conclusions While the first set of narratives appear to confirm Hamber’s (2001) view that societies cannot move on after a violent conflict and engage in a meaningful process of reconciliation in the absence of truth recovery, and above all without some kind of public acknowledgement and legitimization of at least some versions of the past, the second group of narratives do seem to lend themselves to engaging in a dialogue with both the victims of terrorism and the wider society. In particular, they seem to be contributing, as Brewer advocates, to a ‘unity of victimhood as an experience across the divide’, while still fully acknowledging the narrators’ role as perpetrators (2006, p.  224). They thus seem to validate Brewer’s approach to reconciliation as a process that is best pursued independently from, and even in the absence of, truth recovery. Nevertheless, even these narratives can be seen as problematic in terms of providing reparation to, or an incentive for a dialogue with, the victims. One of the main reasons for this is that they tend to compartmentalize terrorism, separ­ ating the bombing massacres from the ‘armed struggle’ and suggesting that there can be reconciliation for the latter, even if not for the former (not least because the culprits are not known, hence one group of participants to a reconciliation process would be missing). Yet the victims of terrorism through their associations, as we shall see in the next chapter, seem to have moved towards a common platform whereby they see each variety of terrorism as only one element of a complex yet comprehensive phenomenon which must be known and understood in its entirety.

152   After terrorism The other main reason is that the former terrorists’ demands for recognition of their good faith and selfless ideals in taking up arms do not acknowledge their role in targeting the most progressive and democratic representatives of the state and its institutions (including Aldo Moro) and constraining the social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s into a military fight destined for defeat. When Nadia Mantovani, as we saw, claims that what is needed today is to ‘understand’ the motivations and goals of those who turned to the ‘armed struggle’, not to ‘know’ the facts as these are already well known, she appears to assume that, once the facts are known and the possibility of ‘hidden mysteries’ is discarded, the truth concerning the motivations and goals of herself and her former comrades becomes self-­evident. In reality, as will be seen in the next chapter, the victims put forward an alternative truth concerning the nature of terrorism, its goals and its impact, even leaving aside the various question marks concerning which forces may have been behind which terrorism. Hence, the nature of the truth remains contested and indeed forms the biggest obstacle to reconciliation today. This in turn puts into question the view that narratives of victimhood, however pluralistic and sensitive to the perspectives of the other side, can replace the need for truth recovery and truth acknowledgement.

7 The perspectives of the victims

Introduction Who should be considered a victim of terrorism? For the purpose of providing compensation, the Italian legislation – through various norms, starting with Law 466 of 13 August 1980 and ending with Law 206 of 3 August 2004 – included in this definition all those who were killed or were permanently disabled as a result of an act of terrorism or a bombing massacre. Also included are the spouses and children of the victims as defined above, and in some cases also their siblings. This definition tends to view victims as ‘passive’ recipients of state compensation, as ‘acted upon rather than acting’, yet the reality is far from this representation, for a number of reasons. First, the Italian legislation itself should not be considered as the outcome of a spontaneous and top-­down concession by a benevolent state, but as the result of a constant pressure exercised by the victims and their relatives through their associations. Second, many of the victims have acted as civil parties in the trials regarding terrorism, thus signalling their active engagement with the judicial process. In the case of the victims and relatives of the victims of bombing massacres, this required their participation in the judicial process over a period of decades, rather than years. To give an example, the first trial for the Piazza Fontana 1969 bombing started in 1979 and the last concluded only in 2005 (with an ambiguous verdict). In 1978, moreover, the trial was moved from Milan to Catanzaro, in the deep south, a move that was widely judged at the time to be an attempt to conceal proceedings from public attention and prevent Milanese citizens from actively participating in the process. Yet, despite the fact that it took a day for the victims to travel to the new location, and that they had to do so at their own expense, quite a few relatives continued to attend the court case. At the subsequent retrial two decades later some of the children of the victims, by then middle-­aged, replaced their parents in court, signalling that they had not given up in the search for justice. Third, many of the victims are actively engaged in public acts of remembrance and commemoration, which often require them to relive their past experiences and suffering in front of an audience. Fourth, these same associations have over the years seen the transformation of many of the ‘victims’ into self-­conscious ‘agents for truth and

154   After terrorism justice’ or even ‘civic heroes’, as the grandaughter of a victim killed in the 1969 Milan bombing defined her aunt, who had spent her whole life campaigning to obtain justice. Even those who opted to remain silent or relatively inactive, as we shall see, feel represented by and fully support the work of the associations. Indeed, among the latter category there are many who had wanted to take on a more active role, but were prevented from doing so by what they judged was their more urgent duty to assist and care for their children and/or elderly parents. Obtaining recognition for their role as active citizens is an issue that is obviously of great importance to the victims themselves and it is often highlighted by their associations. It was recently raised as an issue that required official recognition in the EU as a whole by a representative of the Spanish Asociación 11-M Afectados del Terrorismo, Juan Gutierrez. Speaking at an international conference on ‘Standards for Victims of Terrorism’, held in Tilburg on 11 March 2008, Gutierrez, on behalf of the Spanish association, proposed to include in the ‘EU Recommendations for the Assistance to Victims of Acts of Terrorism’ a clause for the ‘Recognition and support for the public engagement of victims as citizens’ which would acknowledge their role as social actors. While this wording was not included in the final proposal to the EU, the document, which can be accessed on the website of the European Forum for Restorative Justice, did in fact contain a clause on ‘Continuing Assistance and Support of Victim Involvement’ which asked member states to ‘promote and support community-­ based initiatives, including the formation of groups of victims or relatives with a view to stimulate mutual support, to empower them, and to strengthen solidarity in society’. It is in the light of their wider role as citizens and ‘agents for truth and justice’ that this chapter analyses the perspectives of the victims and relatives of the victims of terrorism. The analysis first focuses on the stances adopted by the various associations of the victims, because they act as an important interface between the individual victims and their relatives on the one hand, and political institutions as well as the judiciary and the media on the other. The chapter then examines the memoirs of the victims and relatives of the victims of terrorism. It draws on the writings of, and interviews with, victims and survivors of both types of terrorism – armed violence and bombing massacres – as well as on the books and other forms of testimony by relatives (mainly the children) of the victims of extreme-­left terrorism. Beyond the many differences, some common themes emerge in all these memoirs (in relation to issues of truth, justice and victimhood) which clearly separate them from the views of the former terrorists analysed in the previous chapter. The questions raised in Chapter 5 in relation to the need for truth in achieving reconciliation or, conversely, to the desirability of promoting pluralist narratives of victimhood as an alternative to truth recovery, will be re-­examined and addressed in the light of the victims’ perspectives in Chapter 8.

The perspectives of the victims   155

The associations of the victims and their relatives Why do victims of terrorism or of disasters form support groups? Generally speaking, as stated on the website of the organization ‘Survivors of Terrorism’, Following any disaster, whatever its origin, there are likely to be practical problems to overcome. Any inquest and/or criminal inquiry process can be easier to cope with if you have the support and understanding of others affected. The process of seeking help from government services, voluntary agencies, the legal profession or insurance companies can also seem fraught with difficulty. Support groups, in which you can offer each other concrete advice and suggestions about how to deal with specific issues, can be very helpful. A group can also be a forum for sharing information about matters of importance to everyone. The Italian victims’ associations were initially formed for similar reasons, indeed the first Italian association of the victims and relatives of the victims of terrorism was an informal group set up soon after the Milan 1969 bombing massacre. However, the ones that were formed during the wave of later terrorist attacks had a more formal structure from their inception. The reasons for this will be explored at the end of this section, which draws on the official statutes and goals of the victims’ associations as well as on interviews carried out by one of the authors with some of their presidents in order to examine the role they have played in the past (and continue to play today) and their stance in relation to the end of terrorism and its legacy. The numerous Italian associations reflect the two types of terrorism which have bloodied the country since 1969: armed violence and bomb attacks. As regards the former, the main organizations are the Associazione Italiana Vittime del Terrorismo (Aiviter), formed in 1985 and comprising roughly 400 members, and the Associazione Memoria, founded in 1997 to represent those victims of terrorism who belonged to the security services and the judiciary, comprising more than 1,400 members. As concerns the latter, the main ones are the Associazione fra i familiari delle vittime della strage alla stazione di Bologna del 2 Agosto 1980, formed in 1981; the Associazione familiari vittime della strage di Piazza della Loggia – Brescia 28 maggio 1974, set up informally in 1981 and formally a year later; the Associazione vittime della strage di Piazza Fontana del 12 Dicembre 1969, formed soon after the bombing attack as an informal group and reconstituted in 2007 as a formal association; the Associazione Feriti e Familiari delle Vittime della Strage sul Treno 904 del 23 Dicembre 1984, formed in 1985. All these, and others representing the victims of bombing massacres, are grouped together in the Unione delle Associazioni delle Vittime per Stragi, first formed in 1982–1983. The Turin-­based Aiviter, as stated on its website, has two main aims: to ‘guarantee the rights, needs and expectations of the victims and their surviving relatives’ and to preserve ‘the memory of events whose values belong to the

156   After terrorism entire community’. Reporting a statement made by its previous president, Maurizio Puddu, in 2003, the association claims that it has always had to fight ‘in order to bear witness to the validity and worth of the sacrifice made by citizens and servants of the state in defence of freedom and democracy’. This has been due to the fact that there has tended to be ‘less attention to the victims compared to their perpetrators’. As regards terrorism, the association rejects any reconstructions that see the armed violence as a ‘civil war’, and on this basis makes it clear that it opposes the generally lenient sentences applied to the terrorists. Finally, it claims that the victims, after an initial, all-­too-brief recognition by the state authorities, have often been ignored because they strive to keep alive the memory of ‘tragedies and horrors which were due, in the light of recent official declarations, to mistakes, negligence, omertà, lack of professionalism and perhaps even betrayals’. This last sentence suggests that the search for truth constitutes another of the aims of the association, as it claims that there are still many ambiguities surrounding episodes of terrorism. Indeed, while the association is at pains to present itself as fully apolitical and impartial, and therefore is very careful not to make or support controversial statements, nevertheless it has put its full weight behind the request, put to the state by all the different associations, for the release of secret government papers after a maximum period of 30 years. This request was incorporated by parliament in a reform of the secret services approved in 2007, yet in 2011 it appeared that a special clause made the release of sensitive state documents subject to approval by foreign states and/or international organizations in cases where their interests were at stake. Aiviter’s president, Dante Notaristefano, commented on this clause on the association’s website on 21 April 2011 as follows: ‘In this way, it will not be this law that will bring clarity to and throw light on black and red terrorism, or Italy’s massacres . . . neither today nor tomorrow’. The other associations are much more outspoken in making clear that one of their main aims is to obtain truth and justice and that the state has in this respect been lacking in support and has even created obstacles. The Associazione Memoria, for instance, explains its name on the basis that it seeks to remember and remind the public of the values of ‘freedom, legality and democracy’, which the victims of terrorism were upholding when they were killed. In memory, the association claims on its website, there is a request for truth and justice, because too often we have had neither. . . . Perpetrators and masterminds have not been discovered, full light has not been thrown on events and ideologies. . . . A truth that is yet to be written cannot be history. Similarly to Aiviter, but in a much more forceful manner, this association argues that the victims have been largely ignored by the political class, the media and non-­governmental organizations, in contrast to the treatment granted to the terrorists:

The perspectives of the victims   157 Humanitarian associations, cooperatives, Members of Parliament, journalists, Church representatives, intellectuals and artists: all concerned to help those who on the basis of their ideals and convictions decided that it was possible to kill with impunity. Not one of them ever dreamt of coming to see how we lived, to assess the moral and material needs of those who had been brutally wounded in the flesh by the terrorists or brutally deprived of affective support. Yet they raced with each other to visit the prisons and to publicize such visits [. . .] This above all made us feel even more victimized. Our individual perception of being victims was reflected in the perception coming to us from the outside: we were to be hidden from view, not to be listened to, and even, very often, to be humiliated. The search for justice also forms the overriding goal of the associations of the victims and relatives of the victims of the bombing massacres. Article 3 of the Bologna association statute (online) reads: ‘The Association pursues the aim of “obtaining justice through every possible initiative” ’. The Union comprising the main associations of the victims of bombing massacres defines its goal with almost identical words in its own statute. Justice, as they make clear, is indissoluble from truth, and neither has been achieved. As the website of the Bologna association states: ‘The Association adopts a harsh stance towards anyone (magistrates, lawyers, entities, newspapers) who appears to underestimate the gravity of the failed judicial response to our anxious search for the truth’. On the website of the Brescia association, which in 2000 changed its name to Casa della Memoria (‘House of Memory’) and emphasized that its main aims were to keep alive the public memory of the past and to promote cultural and educational initiatives, its president, Manlio Milani, made explicit reference to ‘Truth and Justice, which have been denied first of all to the relatives of the victims but also to the rest of civil society’. On various occasions the presidents of the different associations have been even more explicit concerning the need for truth and justice as paramount goals and as preconditions for any meaningful process of reconciliation. In an interview with Anna Cento Bull (26 January 2011), Dante Notaristefani, president of Aiviter, expressed the opinion that ‘on certain episodes obviously the truth has not fully emerged. It is still not known who participated in these attacks but above all the masterminds have yet to be identified’. While stressing the association’s apolitical role and its primary function as provider of support and services to the victims, both he and Aiviter’s head of international relations, Luca Guglielminetti, argued that the state ought to contribute to a process of truth recovery yet its behaviour actually seemed to indicate that it shared a transversal ‘code of silence’ with the former terrorists. What was missing was the political will to come to terms with the past. As Guglielminetti stated:

158   After terrorism If the end of terrorism means clarity and pacification, then it cannot be achieved without a strong political will on the part of the state and the political parties. It is a question of transparency and recognition. . . . Each side wants to continue to use that period of history as a political weapon. The political right due to its involvement in the massacres, the left due to the fact that red terrorism originated from within the Communist Party, and the centre for a twofold motivation, both because part of red terrorism originated from within the Catholic world and because the state itself did not always fight terrorism with the necessary determination. Hence this is something that applies to the entire political spectrum, from the extreme-­right to the extreme-­left. (Interview) The president of the Associazione Memoria, Mariella Magi Dionisi, in a contribution to a book presenting the perspectives of the victims (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, pp.  87–8), put forward similar considerations, claiming that she did not believe the official truth since in her view the state had in some cases had an interest in allowing the terrorists room for manoeuvre. For this reason a heavy shadow hung over the manner in which the end of terrorism had been achieved in Italy, marked by a mutual tacit agreement, with the terrorists granted early release from prison in exchange for their silence. She had founded the association in 1997 precisely in order to obtain proper answers, and to fight a battle for ‘rights that have been denied to us and for the truth’. Among the many actors who, according to Magi Dionisi, should contribute to a process of truth recovery were the terrorists themselves (‘they must tell everything they know’), the state (‘we feel that the state has not done all that it could and ought to do for the truth’), the media (‘they have given up investigating’) and the political parties (‘they should embark on a path of honesty, telling publicly what they know: the connivances, the ambiguities, both on the left and on the right’). In relation to the bombing massacres, Carlo Arnoldi, president of the Milan association, stated that ‘for 40 years on 12 December we have been going to Piazza Fontana, demanding that it be a day to remember our dead, but we have always also demanded truth and justice’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 2 February 2011). Recalling that the Milan bombing had killed mainly small-­scale farmers going about their daily business at the Bank of Agriculture, as opposed to politicized demonstrators, he stressed that We [the relatives of the victims] believed in justice, all of us believed that truth and justice would be secured . . . but as the years went by we realized that unfortunately this was not the case and the state was acting against us. He added that ‘the state, instead of helping us victims but also all Italians, created obstacles and helped [key witnesses] escape abroad’. Like all the other association chairs, he praised the role played by the Italian President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, in promoting and presiding over

The perspectives of the victims   159 public commemorations of the victims of terrorism every 9 May, the official Day of Memory approved by parliament in 2007. Napolitano, he said, fully supported the victims associations’ quest for truth. Indeed, on the 40th anniversary of the Milan bombing, on two separate occasions, on 9 May 2009 in Rome and later on 7 December in Milan, Napolitano had addressed his own association with the exhortation to persevere and never give up the search for truth. Arnoldi regretted, however, that the Milan association over the years had not had the support of the state or indeed of the local political institutions, unlike the Bologna and Brescia associations, which, as a result, ‘are much stronger than us, and have always represented us in Rome’. In his view this was partly due to the fact that the Milan victims’ association had started as an informal support group, even though recently it had become a formal association and had been given a small office by the council at an affordable rent. A somewhat similar, indeed more sombre, picture of political isolation was painted by Antonio Celardo, president of the Association of the Victims of the 904 train bombing massacre, carried out in 1984 while the train was travelling from Naples to Bologna. In this case the victims’ isolation was social as well as political: ‘In addition to being abandoned by the state, we have also been abandoned by the experts – historians, journalists – so much so that the only publication on this massacre to date was promoted by the association itself ’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 28 December 2010). According to Celardo, their isolation was due to a variety of reasons, not least the fact that the bombing had not taken place in a city and thus had not stirred a strong reaction among local citizens as was the case in Milan, Brescia and Bologna. Other important facts included organized crime being apparently involved (hence it was more of a hybrid case than a straightforward case of political terrorism) and finally the fact that it was the only act of this type of terrorism carried out in the south (or at least involving southern citizens), which meant that their association was something of an oddity in the region. While the then mayor, Rosa Russo Iervolino, had always attended the yearly commemoration of the victims at Naples railway station, the local council was not involved in organizing the ceremony and for many years had not provided practical support. In 2005, however, his association had been assigned by the council a property that had been sequestered from the Neapolitan Camorra. In any case, Celardo argued, ‘We don’t have the organizational strength that other associations may have, but we have the same moral strength’ (Interview). That moral strength was being spent in the pursuit of the truth, as well as in commemorating the victims and keeping alive the memory of that event. As he stated, some of the truth concerning this massacre had been uncovered during the trials, so much so that some of the masterminds were known, yet neither the perpetrators nor the main principal agents had been identified. In addition, in the trials it had emerged that part of the state had played an ambiguous role in the attack and had covered up for some of the culprits, following a script that the victims of the bombing attacks were all too familiar with. Celardo’s bitter realization, over the years, that the state did not appear to be on the side of truth and justice also replicated a familiar pattern among the victims:

160   After terrorism I expected we would at least obtain truth and justice, which is what we had written in the statute of our association, as we formed it in order to know the truth about this massacre. Now it is almost a duty we have as survivors to ensure that the victims did not die in vain, both in order that those responsible are put in a condition not to cause further harm, and in order to make the state more transparent and democratic. (Interview) Paolo Bolognesi, president of the Bologna association, stated very forcefully that truth recovery was still one of the organization’s main aims: ‘the Association has absolutely not given up on the search for truth’ (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 19 January 2011). Specifically, he argued that the ex-­ terrorists had not told the whole truth, since he was convinced that both leftand right-­wing terrorist groups had started as autonomous organizations inspired by their own ideals but had ended up being co-­opted by other groups which had used them as a means for achieving their own ends. While the identity of the principal agents was still being protected by a political class where both government and opposition parties had skeletons in their cupboards, Bolognesi has for years argued publicly that the P2 Masonic Lodge and other (at the time) occult forces had made use of neo-­fascist terrorists to their own ends, and he remained adamant that the three neo-­fascists sentenced to life imprisonment for the Bologna massacre were the real culprits. In his view, as the state remained silent, so did the ex-­terrorists, who were still afraid to speak up. Manlio Milani, president of the Brescia association, also believed that evidence had been, and was still being, concealed by the state. He too was convinced that the trials concerning some of the massacres had proved fairly conclusively that these attacks had been carried out by extreme-­right groups in collusion with sectors of the state and also with foreign secret services in the context of the Cold War. Finally, he too believed that the political parties were not interested in contributing to truth recovery, because they feared that by facing the past they would compromise their present standing. However, Milani was more open to various possibilities and less assertive than Bolognesi in the conviction that for all the bombing massacres both the culprits and the principals were already fairly well known. More importantly, his position clearly differed from the other associations in two important respects. First, for his readiness to talk to the former terrorists, which was based on his firm belief that the account of the victims needed to be complemented by that of the perpetrators, since: Memory ought to be comprehensive and offer everyone a space to intervene so that a dialogue is able to develop . . . and memory itself becomes not so much shared, as public and acknowledged. On this the victims’ associations are divided. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 11 February 2011)

The perspectives of the victims   161 Second, Milani was a strong supporter of the idea of a general amnesty for all perpetrators of terrorism in exchange for the truth. Again, he accepted that there was no convergence on this among the associations, but nevertheless argued that ‘this is an element of weakness because if we were to demand forcefully and jointly judicial impunity for the perpetrators in exchange for truth we would make a huge step forward’. This brief analysis of the goals of the main victims’ associations helps to explain why nearly all of them were set up as formal organizations rather than informal support groups and why they are still in existence more than 40 years after the first act of terrorism, instead of folding once the judicial process was completed. The main reason for this is that the victims and their relatives found that, following a terrorist attack, they had to contend not just with their own emotional needs and with procedural and bureaucratic issues, but also with little or no support from the state and, especially in the case of the bombing mas­ sacres, with a succession of trials spanning several decades in which the representatives of state institutions seemingly acted to thwart the course of justice. As the brother and the niece of Francesca Dendena, a former president of the Milan association, told one of the authors, their relative had always believed that a formal association should not be necessary, because if there are truth and justice the victims would not need to form an association [and] for the victims it is a defeat to have to form an association, it is not something to be proud of. There would be a sense of pride if they did not need an association, because this would mean that the state had shown an attitude of benevolence and special attention towards those of its citizens who had been victims of a cowardly attack. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 31 January 2011) As a 2003 document (Bloomfield 2003) on reconciliation by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance made clear, the victims of political, ethnic or religious violence can suffer from a process of revictimization following the end of the conflict. They defined revictimization as presenting one or more of the following features: • • • •

denial of the status of victim; unfulfilled expectations in dealing with official agencies; unwanted effects of victim-­centred initiatives; social stigmatization and exclusion.

In particular, the document argued: Victims become engaged in a broad range of relations with a variety of government and non-­governmental agents – police, judges, civil servants, medical doctors, journalists and professionals from victim support associations. In these engagements, victims expect an expression of understanding,

162   After terrorism sympathy and comfort. But in fact the actions and reactions of these people can sometimes merely cause extra grief. The treatment received may be unprofessional, inadequate or humiliating. The information given may be incorrect or insufficient. The formal process may be too impersonal and cold. Such negative experiences leave the victims even more mentally scarred. They increase emotional stress and feelings of incomprehension, hopelessness and isolation (Huyse 2003b, p. 61). The treatment meted out to the Italian victims of terrorism over the years seems to fit the above criteria, as they experienced both humiliation and isolation and above all met with ‘unfulfilled expectations in dealing with official agencies’. We can therefore speak of revictimization in relation to their case, and understand in this light both the formal role taken on by the victims’ associations and their continuing existence. And yet the criteria listed in the document do not encompass the range and depth of the feelings and emotions experienced by the Italian victims (many of whom had loyally served as members of the police, the judiciary or the army) when faced with a state which they initially believed was on their side, but which they gradually came to see as an unknown and hostile entity uninterested in justice and even deliberately obstructing its course. The long and bitter path from naïve trust in state institutions to disbelief and disappointment, then to rage and helplessness and finally to dogged perseverance in pursuit of the truth even when justice is all but lost, better explains the process of revictimization they were subjected to. In turn, this process caused the transformation of many of the victims and their relatives into active citizens and ‘agents for truth’ who have already proved able to pass on the baton to the next generation. In order to illuminate and understand this transformation, and the range of emotions that have underpinned it, it is to the individual victims and relatives themselves that the analysis now turns.

The victims’ narratives This section analyses some of the memoirs of the victims of terrorism, drawing on the writings of, and interviews with, victims and survivors of both types of terrorism. The earliest memoir by a victim is Mario Sossi’s Nella prigione delle BR, published in 1979, reprinted in 2003 as a supplement to the Libero newspaper. Sossi, a judge, was kidnapped by the Red Brigades on 18 April 1974 and freed after several days in captivity. It was followed a decade later by Sergio Lenci’s Colpo alla nuca. Memorie di una vittima del terrorismo, first published (with great difficulty) in 1988 and reprinted in 2009, at a time when many other memoirs offering the perspectives of the victims and/or their relatives had already started to appear. Lenci was an architect, who miraculously survived an attack by a Prima Linea terrorist squad on 2 May 1980 and lived for the following 21 years with a bullet in his head until his death in 2001. His book inspired the film La seconda volta, directed in 1996 by Mimmo Calopresti (see Chapter 3). For many years Lenci’s remained an isolated voice,

The perspectives of the victims   163 apart from a book by Gemma Capra, the widow of Commissar Luigi Calabresi, published in 1990 (Mio marito. Il commissario Calabresi), and another by Guido Petter, victim of a terrorist attack in 1979, published in 1993 (I giorni dell’ombra). Conversely, the 1990s saw the publication of various memoirs by former terrorists. It was only two decades later that other victims started to narrate their stories. In 2006 there appeared a book by Alberto Torregiani, who was severely wounded during a terrorist attack against his father that was carried out by a small group known as PAC (Proletari Armati per il Comunismo, ‘Armed Proletarians for Communism’) on 16 February 1979. He ended up in a wheelchair at the age of 15 (Ero in guerra ma non lo sapevo, 2006). Torregiani has since taken on a public role and spoken openly about his ordeal. On 26 January 2011 he granted an interview to one of the authors, which this section also draws upon. Other testimonies by victims and survivors were published in a book edited in 2006 by Giovanni Fasanella and Antonella Grippo (I silenzi degli innocenti), and one written by Raffaello Canteri and Francesco Specchia in 2007 (Terrorismo. L’altra storia). The former volume includes first-­hand reconstructions by Mario Sossi; Maurizio Puddu, a Christian Democratic councillor shot in the legs by the Red Brigades (in a practice known as gambizzazione, or knee-­capping) on 13 July 1977 (he later became president of the already-­ mentioned Aiviter association); Antonio Iosa, also of the DC party, also knee-­ capped by the Red Brigades on 1 April 1980; Fausto Cuocolo, a university professor shot in the legs on 31 May 1979; and Roberto Della Rocca, director of the personnel office at a Genoese plant, who was shot in the legs on 29 February 1980. The book by Fasanella and Grippo also includes the testimon­ ies of survivors of bomb attacks, who often lost close relatives in these terrorist acts: Manlio Milani, a survivor of the Brescia bombing of 28 May 1974 that killed his 32-year-­old wife (he later became president of the Brescia association); Ilaria Caldarelli, a survivor of the bomb attack on the train Italicus, carried out on 3 August 1974; Lia Serravalli, a survivor of the bomb attack at Bologna Station on 2 August 1980 which killed her two young daughters and her pregnant sister. The analysis starts with Lenci’s Colpo alla nuca, not only because it was one of the first memoirs written by a victim, but because it gives us a unique understanding of what it meant to be a victim in the 1980s, when the state was fostering an end to terrorism through granting special status to pentiti and dissociati, and because it anticipates themes that will resonate in future victim testimonies. As regards the prevailing social and political climate in the 1980s as seen through the eyes of a victim, Lenci outlines how there appeared to be a widespread desire on the part of both ordinary people and political institutions to achieve some form of closure concerning terrorism, which contributed to a deepening sense of isolation and marginalization on his part. At the social level, most people wanted to forget the recent past and, in some cases, even forget their own ambiguous behaviour towards political extremism in various settings, not least in the workplace. As a result:

164   After terrorism I discovered that I had to try and talk as little as possible of matters relating to terrorism, both because I realized that they were no longer of interest and made me appear as an obsessed individual, and because I was aware that I would lose my temper when faced with the ignorance and superficiality of my interlocutors. (p. 40) His personal ordeal, the weeks spent in hospital, his convalescence and his psychological scars marked a divide between himself and the rest of society, which in the meantime had moved on, so much so that he found in a psychoanalyst his only interlocutor: ‘my interview with the psychoanalyst was for me a surrogate of the missing dialogue with society’ (p. 39). At the political level various institutions behaved in ways that indicated a lack of will to search for the masterminds behind the terrorists, coupled with a tendency to reabsorb the ex-­terrorists into society ‘through amnesties, pardons, dissociation, depenalization’ (p.  62). Lenci was in no doubt that the terrorists, including those on the extreme left, had been manipulated by other forces: ‘I found it a plausible hypothesis that terrorism, once it had started, was used and funded, even in the oblivion of many of its protagonists, by non-­leftist forces’ (p.  62). Specifically, he believed that left-­wing terrorism had been used to weaken and discredit the Communist Party by its adversaries, including by the Socialist Party, some of whose representatives might have considered support for the armed groups ‘a useful secret weapon’ to this end (p.  63). Hence both Christian Democracy and the Socialist Party had an interest in ‘overcoming the events connected with terrorism without analysing its history’ (p. 83). As for the Communist Party, Lenci suspected that it was caught in a dilemma, since on the one hand it was aware that terrorism had been used against itself, yet on the other it also knew that many of the terrorists had originated from within the party and been inspired by its ideology: ‘An excess of denunciation [by the Communist Party] of the former would have exposed the latter’. This dilemma, in his view, explained this party’s own desire to ‘move on, ignore [the truth], show clemency [to the terrorists]’ (p. 62). Lenci explained in this light his own isolated position at the trial against his attackers, when he acted as civil claimant without the backing of the Rome local council. At the trial itself, in 1984, he found himself surrounded by the defendants, their relatives and their lawyers, unable to testify in person, with both the general public and the media signalling their disinterest by deserting court proceedings (pp. 77–85). A few years later he discovered by chance that he had not even been notified of a subsequent trial involving some of his attackers and came to the conclusion that his quest for the truth behind his attempted murder, including the possible involvement of domestic and international political forces, generated embarrassment and annoyance among state representatives: ‘thus the latest act of prevarication and humiliation towards me was accomplished’ (p.  91). His conviction that truth recovery and truth-­telling were not welcome either in court or in the media finally spurred him to write his memoirs; yet even

The perspectives of the victims   165 this met with great difficulty, as many publishers turned the book down. It was as if they told him: ‘Why do you write these things? Why do you bother?’ (p. 91), being fully aware that ‘These are highly sensitive issues’ (p. 91). Lenci states that he is not animated by feelings of revenge, so much so that he agreed to meet with some of his attackers when asked by the Jesuit priest Adolfo Bachelet, (whose brother, Vittorio Bachelet, had been killed by the Red Brigades in 1980), who had been visiting many former terrorists in prison spreading a message of redemption and reconciliation. Lenci hoped that such contacts, beyond their human value, would also provide him with more information about his attack and would show greater openness on the part of the ex-­terrorists with regard to the truth about their masterminds, or at least the sources that had identified and exposed him as an enemy to be targeted. In his view, in fact, his work as an architect and planner of prisons was not well known outside his own university, hence some insiders, possibly even some of his colleagues, had in all probability suggested his name to the terrorists. Lenci’s hopes, however, were to be dashed. Through meeting his attackers he came to the bitter conclusion that the ex-­ terrorists of Prima Linea, when they had taken the decision to dissociate en masse, had also agreed on a specific line of conduct: ‘It is a line of conduct that was discussed and agreed beforehand and that also coincides with the attitudes of various politicians and journalists who have not been incriminated’ (p. 140). Furthermore, the decision to dissociate from terrorism was entirely instrumental to their liberation and has nothing that is genuine or sincere. . . . [T]hey have been contaminated by the civil and political sub-­ culture prevalent in today’s Italy, based on Machiavellian arguments, dual and even triple truths, cunningness and lies. (p. 140) Hence he could not expect the truth to emerge from the former terrorists, and in his memoirs he acknowledged this in full, by addressing the latter as follows: Therefore I am your prisoner because you will never tell me the truth and will never resolve that terrible conundrum whose unravelling, in the view of someone sceptical and reformist like me, would help society to get to know itself, analyse itself and improve; whereas for people like you, radicals and maximalists, it simply constitutes . . . a wrong tactic in a just war. (p. 157) The above paragraph indicates that for Lenci the interests of the perpetrators and the victims are irremediably apart, as the latter demand to know the whole truth and are deeply sceptical about the ‘official’ truth given to the public, whereas for the former terrorists ‘salvation inevitably passes through a complex and difficult balance between saying and not saying, remembering and forgetting, drawing on the personal or the collective, according to the circumstances’ (p. 158). Thus on one side stand the victims of armed terrorism and the bombing massacres,

166   After terrorism brought together by the ‘impossibility of obtaining justice’ (p. 23) and by their total isolation. On the other side stand the former terrorists, the political parties and state institutions, brought together by the ambiguous attitudes of the perpetrators and the ‘reticence, silence and disinterest . . . of the official world’ (p. 23). In this situation, Lenci asks a poignant question: ‘Are we supposed to deal with the future of our society and peaceful coexistence or do we need to worry about omertà at different levels?’ (p. 23). In light of his own view that truth is needed in order to help society to ‘get to know itself, analyse itself and improve’, this suggests that for Lenci truth takes on a transformative meaning; hence it is a means to an end, rather than just an end in itself, as discussed in Chapter 5. Lenci, therefore, is not simply concerned with knowing the truth on a personal level, in relation to the specific attack on himself, but above all with knowing the truth on a wider public and societal level. In adopting this standpoint, Lenci undergoes a transformation from victim to active citizen and agent for social and political change. His unrelenting quest for truth and justice since his attack – through the courts, personal investigations, contacts with former terrorists – should be seen in this light. In stark contrast to the terrorists, Lenci can therefore be defined as an ‘accidental activist’. The expression accidental activism was first coined by Susan Hyatt (1991) to describe the activism ‘born of the immediate experience of social injustice, rather than as a consequence of a pre-­existing ideological belief ’ (quoted in McWilliams 1995, p. 21). Similarly, Ollis (2010, p. 8) refers to circumstantial or accidental activists as ‘those activists who have come to activism due to a series of life circumstances’, rather than as a result of deliberate engagement in politics. According to Ollis, ‘for circumstantial activists the change is abrupt and sometimes monumental, and characterized by a heightened pitch of emotional intensity’ (p. 10). Among the typical emotions that contribute to spur people into action we find anger, rage and frustration. What seems important, however, is that Lenci gradually masters these emotions. Even when he has to acknowledge that the terrorists, just like the state, will not help him, and that his attempted dialogue with them has failed due to the fact that they prioritize their own freedom over the truth (an attitude he judges to be ‘human’ albeit ‘not just’) he continues to search for the truth. Only the means change, as Lenci no longer relies on the courts, or on talks with the former terrorists, but addresses the public directly with his memoirs. Another victim who turned into an ‘accidental activist’ is Alberto Torregiani, co-­author of the book Ero in guerra ma non lo sapevo (2006) (‘I was in a war but did not know it’). As he explained in an interview with Anna Cento Bull (27 January 2011), the ‘but’ in the title was deliberate, to emphasize his ‘unawareness’ that the terrorists had been waging a war: ‘it is like someone who goes to another country without knowing that there is a war going on and finds himself in its midst’. His adopted father had a jewellery shop and, being a likely target for armed robbery, was himself armed. On one occasion, while dining in a restaurant, he and other customers were attacked by robbers, whereupon he apparently responded with a firearm (although his son denies this in his

The perspectives of the victims   167 autobiography). The shooting that followed caused the death of one of the robbers as well as a customer. On 16 February 1980, possibly to punish him for his ‘justicialist’ behaviour, a terrorist squad attacked Torregiani while he was opening his shop with his adopted son and daughter. When the jeweller responded to his attackers’ fire his shot accidentally hit his own 15-year-­old son Alberto, who ended up paralyzed from the waist down. Alberto Torregiani’s book is made up of two parts; in the first part he describes his personal ordeal and his physical and psychological suffering from the moment he woke up in a hospital bed and gradually discovered he could no longer walk. It was several months before he was discharged from the general hospital and three more years before he left the specialist hospital where he had to undergo rehabilitation and learn to live in a wheelchair. During this period, apart from testifying against his terrorist attackers, he focused only on his health and on learning to accept that his future life would be irremediably different from how he had imagined it. Learning to relive his new life went hand-­in-hand with forgetting about the terrorist act that had left him paralyzed: ‘I was young, inexperienced, I did not even know what terrorism was and did not care about it, I cared about rebuilding my life’ (Interview). In the same spirit, soon after his eighteenth birthday, Torregiani decided to leave Milan and his adopted mother and go back to his native Novara, where some of his relatives still lived and where he reassumed his old surname. In this way, he kept out of the limelight, telling all but his closest friends a story that he had been the victim of a car accident: ‘Nobody knew who I was, nobody asked questions, and this gave me a sense of freedom. . . . [F]or 25 years I was on the run’ (Interview). Then in 2004 a journalist found him and asked him to comment on the Battisti case, which had just hit the headlines. Cesare Battisti had been condemned to life imprisonment in the 1980s as the mastermind behind the attack on Torregiani, as well as for taking part in other assassinations. He escaped to France where, thanks to the Mitterrand doctrine, briefly discussed in Chapter 3, he was given asylum as a political refugee. However, France eventually put an end to this practice and agreed to extradite Battisti in 2004. In February 2004 a number of Italian intellectuals signed an appeal for his liberation and later that year Battisti escaped to Brazil. Torregiani sees that year as the time when he decided to emerge from his semi-­anonymous status, reassume the name of his adopted father, and begin a quest for justice: ‘I developed a civic sense of justice and a desire to go into politics. . . . I decided to come out in the open, put myself in the front line, face this matter and I started fighting over these issues’ (Interview). He clarified what he meant by justice, both in his book and during the interview, by distinguishing between a search for revenge and the just desire to see a murderer pay the price for his/her act, insisting that he was satisfied with the sentences applied to the other terrorists who had attacked his father and fully accepted that they were now free to rebuild their own lives. However, in the case of Battisti, the ­perpetrator had unjustly avoided punishment and enjoyed freedom while he, an innocent victim, was imprisoned for life in a wheelchair.

168   After terrorism Torregiani went into politics by joining a right-­wing party, the Movimento per l’Italia (MpI, ‘Movement for Italy’), founded in 2008 by Daniela Santanchè and allied to Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà. When he did so, he resigned from Aiviter, in accordance with the latter’s apolitical stance. In his view, victims’ associations like Aiviter do not have much voice or influence, hence, in order to ‘gain a voice’, he knew he needed a political lever. He acknowledged in interview that the right-­wing coalition then in government was more likely to act with determination in order to secure the extradition of Battisti from Brazil, since He is a red terrorist, what would have happened if he had been a black [neo-­ fascist] terrorist? People are right when they ask me whether a right-­wing government would have fought so assiduously, so willingly against a terrorist if he had been black. We do not really know, unless we see the same government acting with the same determination to secure a black terrorist to justice. However, Torregiani also argued that the left had missed an important opportunity because ‘if it had been fighting [for the extradition], despite the fact that Battisti was a red terrorist, it would have been flying the flag of justice and liberty, instead it is doing nothing. There is no bipartisanship’ (Interview). In view of the above, Torregiani is considerably less sanguine than Lenci, regarding the transformative value of truth. In his view, we ought to sit around a table to find solutions, each party should accept its own responsibility, swallow a bitter pill, say certain things that would allow us to look to the future, but as long as everyone remains obstinate . . . (Interview) Moreover, he doubted the victims were ready to hear the truth about the past: I say to the victims, you want the archives to be opened, absolute transparency, full knowledge of the truth, but are you prepared to listen to the whole truth? Because the terrorists might be prepared to tell the whole truth but are you prepared to listen to them? I don’t think you are. . . . [I]t is not easy, it is a question of years and years of social and political events that led two generations to fight each other. At least 300,000 people were ideologized and among these 500 were left dead and 5,000 injured, if we look at it from this point of view then ‘yes’ it was a civil war. Are you prepared to listen to all this? It will take 20 years just to understand all this. In any case it should have been done at the time, but it was not. (Interview) The language used by Torregiani is reminiscent of a war situation. In the interview he referred to his having been ‘on the run’ for 25 years, followed by his

The perspectives of the victims   169 decision to go to the ‘front line’ and ‘fight’ for justice. In his book one of the chapters is entitled ‘My war’, with reference to his fight to overcome his disability and be accepted as ‘normal’ by society. Unlike Lenci, who uses terms like ‘dialogue’, ‘interlocutors’, ‘talk’ and ‘diary’, and whose book contains an epistolary exchange between himself and a former terrorist, Torregiani constructs his identity as a warrior fighting a series of battles, first in order to overcome his own disability and society’s prejudices about it, and later to obtain justice through Battisti’s extradition. While both are ‘accidental activists’, their activism follows different paths: for Lenci, who prioritizes truth with a view to societal change, talk and dialogue are the means; for Torregiani, who prioritizes justice, fight and political determination are what it takes. Other first-­hand victim testimonies, contained in the book edited by Fasanella and Grippo in 2006, show similar emotions and a comparable concern, albeit expressed with different emphasis, with truth and justice. All the narrators feel the need to re-­embody their lived experiences of physical and psychological pain by describing in detail their wounds and scars, the operations they had to undergo and their permanent disabilities. Both types of preoccupations should be seen in contrast to the terrorists’ representations of themselves as symbols of the enemy. Similarly to Alberto Torregiani, many of the victims compare their sufferings to having had to endure a life sentence, in contrast to the ex-­terrorists who are now both free and in good health. The victims of gambizzazioni explain what it really means to have been shot in the legs, as this tends to be represented by both the former terrorists and the media as a relatively minor form of injury. Yet they had to undergo long and difficult operations and learn to live with constant pain: ‘Look at my legs: for the last 26 years they have been two shapeless appendices of pain’ (Iosa in Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 163). The victims of bombing massacres, in turn, talk of the impossibility of erasing from their memory the bloody scenes they witnessed after the explosions, the lacerated bodies, the burnt flesh, the innumerable objects scattered around. Nor could they ever forget having to visit the mortuary in order to identify a relative. These accounts impress upon the reader how a single act of terrorism destroys the existence not just of the immediate victim, but also has long-­term repercussions for his/her entire family, in some cases leading to further death due to depression, loss of will to live, even suicide. As Lia Serravalli, a victim of the Bologna bomb massacre, recalls: My father could not stand his sorrow. He suffered too much. And his condition deteriorated because he could see that it was not possible to obtain either justice or truth. For years he continued secretly to bemoan his lost daughter and two granddaughters. Then at 8am one morning he opened the window and threw himself from the sixth floor. (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 193) The theme of revictimization emerges strongly in all their stories. They all feel that, in the aftermath of the attack they survived, they were left in a condition of

170   After terrorism extreme isolation within society and abandoned by the state. As Maurizio Puddu, shot in the legs by the Red Brigades, and who later became one of the founders of Aiviter, stated, ‘the attitude of the state towards the victims is really disconcerting. . . . [I]t acted almost as if it was obliged to [do something]’ (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p.  101). Revictimization also means having witnessed the same state behave very differently towards the terrorists in prison, with lenient sentences, an emphasis on social re-­integration and rehabilitation, a willingness to forget the past. This, in turn, according to Antonio Iosa, led to the ‘victims being transformed into beasts with a thirst for revenge’ (2006, p. 168), which in his view constitutes another form of revictimization as it damages their dignity and image. However, being silenced and being treated as an irritant by society, and above all by the state, represents for all the narrators the worst form of revictimization they have had to endure, echoing in this Lenci’s own claim that he ended up talking to a psychoanalyst as ‘a surrogate of my missing dialogue with society’ (p. 39). As Iosa put it, ‘We have been isolated for fear of our point of view. And around us a cordon sanitaire of silence has been built’ (p. 169). Serravalli is similarly drastic: ‘In all these years, the state has been completely absent. I lived my tragedy in total solitude’ (Serravalli in Fasanella and Grippo 2006) As concerns truth and justice, the general consensus among all narrators is that neither has been achieved and that the truth that has emerged from the judicial trials is only a partial truth. The ‘truth’ told by the former terrorists is considered unreliable, and their motives questionable and self-­serving, although in the case of a few individuals it is accepted that they have shown sincere remorse. The state is seen as upholding a convenient version of the past and being fearful of the truth emerging in the open. The reasons for this behaviour recall those first put forward by Lenci. According to Puddu: Someone spoke of a ‘pact of silence’ between the state and the ex-­ terrorists. . . . [T]he terrorists who are in the know, or who nurture suspicions, do not talk because they live constantly in fear that someone . . . will eliminate them. And the state has not searched and does not search for the truth, and in many cases has concealed it, in order to cover up for the rotten apples in its midst. Or in the name of a superior interest, of an economic or geopolitical order, in short the reason of state: there are foreign powers which have played a role in these events, and someone believes this cannot be said. I can understand all this. I can understand the reasons of the state and the fears of the ex-­terrorists. But to continue to be silent, now that the Cold War has long ended, does not help us to free ourselves of our past, or indeed to grow up. (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 101) Once again, a victim’s perspective links a perceived lack of truth concerning terrorism both to the state’s past behaviour and to a present ‘pact of silence’ between the state and the ex-­terrorists. And once again a victim, while expressing

The perspectives of the victims   171 ‘­ understanding’ for the reasons behind this presumed pact, advocates openness and disclosure because of a belief in the transformative value of truth. Disclosure, in fact, would allow ‘us’, that is to say, the national community, inclusive of the state and the ex-­terrorists, to ‘grow up’. The term appears to equate Italians to a group of children who are being fed lies because they are not considered mature enough to be told the truth. The narrative that goes furthest in this direction is that of Manlio Milani, who in an interview for this volume gave a personal testimony rather than speaking as president of the Brescia association. Milani asks the heirs of the Communist, Neo-­fascist and Christian Democratic political parties to tell their respective truths, which in the case of the Communist Party concerns the support lent by some of its representatives to left-­wing terrorism, whereas for the Neo-­fascist party it relates to its connivance with state apparatuses, and for Christian Democracy it refers to the use of the secret services to fight the internal Communist threat. Milani explicitly asks: Shall we tell this story? I ask not just because I have a ‘right to know’ but because without revealing this story and its ‘unspeakability’, we will not be able to overcome that rancorous attitude, that sense of historical redress that weighs in the present on our democratic system. This is why I insist that every political force finds the courage to look inside itself and to tell this past without being conditioned by others. I am certain that, whoever will do this, will find in us an understanding audience. (Interview with Anna Cento Bull, 11 February 2011) Finally, the victim testimonies in the book written by Canteri and Specchia (2007) focus to a much larger extent on the issue of (the lack of ) justice, than on the issue of truth. On one level this might be taken to indicate that the victims themselves prioritize justice over truth, thus echoing Torregiani’s preoccupations rather than Lenci’s. However, such a conclusion seems unwarranted, for two reasons. First, Canteri and Specchia are concerned only with left-­wing terrorism, leaving out the victims of the bombing massacres, who all seem to agree that the search for truth is at least as important as the search for justice. Second, in this book the victims, rather than telling their stories in sequence without intervening comments by the editors (as in the volume by Fasanella and Grippo), are cited intermittently by the authors who frame these citations within a right-­wing perspective. As Vittorio Feltri, a very well-­known right-­wing journalist, writes in the Preface, the victims are ‘men and women’ who sacrificed themselves in a resistance to the mounting threat of communism. Within this overall framing the emphasis is on the injustice of the Italian state’s legislation on pentitismo and dissociation, and of the Gozzini law of 1986, which rewarded those ex-­terrorists who showed good behaviour in prison with early release and other concessions, whereas the victims were left to their fate. There is, however, no serious attempt to explain the attitude of the victims towards the state in ways that clarify the suspicions and doubts many of them nurture regarding the possible involvement

172   After terrorism of parts of the state in terrorism, not even in relation to the kidnapping and assassination of Aldo Moro. For instance, while parts of Lenci’s book are quoted at some length, the main hypothesis underpinning his memoir, that left-­wing terrorism had been ‘used and funded by non-­leftist forces’ and that this largely explains the state’s behaviour towards the ex-­terrorists, is omitted. For these reasons the victim testimonies in this book, while important and revealing, should be considered incomplete and partial.

The stories of the relatives of the victims of left-­wing terrorism The memoirs by the relatives of the victims are more numerous than those of the victims. This can be explained at least in part by the simple fact that many of the victims, unlike Lenci or Torregiani, did not survive their attacks; therefore their stories could only be told by someone else. However, there are clearly other reasons, of both a psychological and a practical nature. Many surviving victims, like Alberto Torregiani, needed to forget what had happened if they were to try and rebuild their lives. They had to focus on regaining their health and this could have been jeopardized if they had constantly relived the emotions experienced both at the time of their attack and in the difficult aftermath. They also had to think about their families, resume work and earn money. They often had to testify in a trial against their attackers, which was in itself a huge ordeal. Like Lenci, many found that people around them wanted to move on and forget and gradually learned to keep their terrible experiences to themselves. It was only many years later that some of the victims were stirred, both by external circumstances and inner emotions, to address the public with their story, as happened in the case of Torregiani. Most memoirs, therefore, were written by the relatives of the victims, and are mainly, albeit not exclusively, by the children of the victims of left-­wing terrorism. They were often very young when their parent was killed, and often only once they had grown up did they decide to relate their own and their families’ experiences. Among these are Mario Calabresi, son of police commissioner Luigi, killed by a squad of Lotta Continua on 17 May 1972 (Spingendo la notte più in là, 2007); Andrea Casalegno, son of Carlo, journalist at La Stampa, killed by the Red Brigades on 16 November 1977 (L’attentato, 2008); Agnese Moro, daughter of Christian Democratic statesman Aldo, kidnapped by the Red Brigades on 16 March 1978 and killed on 9 May (Un uomo così. Ricordando mio padre, 1st edition 2003); Sabina Rossa, son of factory worker Guido, killed by the Red Brigades on 24 January 1979 (Guido Rossa, mio padre, co-­authored with Giovanni Fasanella, 2006); Benedetta Tobagi, daughter of Walter, journalist for the Corriere della Sera, killed by members of terrorist group Brigata XXVIII marzo on 28 May 1980 (Come mi batte forte il tuo cuore, 2009). Another book was written by Giampaolo Mattei, the brother of Stefano and Virgilio, killed by extreme-­left terrorists in an arson attack in 1973 when they were aged eight and 22 respectively (La notte brucia ancora, co-­authored with Giommaria Monti, 2008). Further memoirs are included in the previously mentioned

The perspectives of the victims   173 books by Fasanella and Grippo (I silenzi degli innocenti, 2006) and Canteri and Specchia (Terrorismo. L’altra storia, 2007) as well as in a collected book of interviews, carried out by a group of students from Trento’s schools and university (Various Authors, Sedie vuote, 2008). The book by Mario Calabresi is remarkable for the even-­handedness with which he deals with the case of his father and the way he portrays one of the most controversial cases in contemporary Italian history – one of the few that links together the two main types of terrorism, the bombing massacres and the armed violence. Luigi Calabresi became the target of a Lotta Continua character assassination through its newspaper, following the death of anarchist Pino Pinelli after he fell from a fourth-­floor window while in police custody under suspicion of having planted the bomb in Piazza Fontana. Lotta Continua’s virulent campaign was, however, only the most radical manifestation of a widely held opinion that Pinelli had died as a result of maltreatment by the police and by Commissioner Calabresi himself, who it was claimed later threw his dead body from the window to make the death look like suicide. The police’s claim that Pinelli had committed suicide only served to inflame public opinion even further. On 15 April 1970 Luigi Calabresi sued the newspaper Lotta Continua for its false accusations. On 13 June 1971, 800 intellectuals signed a document which accused Calabresi of being responsible for Pinelli’s death. Mario Calabresi’s book addresses all these events in a measured and thoughtful manner. On the one hand it reasserts the validity of the 1975 verdict by Judge Gerardo D’Ambrosio, who established that Pinelli’s death was not due to mistreatment or suicide and that Calabresi had not been present when he died. Pinelli, according to the verdict, had most likely fallen from the window due to a sudden illness, probably as a result of sleep and food deprivation during his three days in police custody. On the other hand, Calabresi acknowledges that the police and its Milan department had the duty to explain what had happened, without opacity, without reticence. . . . [I]nstead there were ambigu­ ities, closures, that part of the State for which my father worked . . . showed itself in its worst light and with its reticence insulted the country and endorsed the most terrible suspicions. (p. 43) With regards to the behaviour of much of the left, including many intellectuals, towards his father, Calabresi lets it speak for itself, but also records the sincere apologies received over the years by some of the signatories to the 1971 document that had condemned his father for Pinelli’s death. He recalls the state of isolation in which his family was left after his father’s murder, eased only by the support of close family and friends and of other victims of terrorism. Calabresi, like many others, clearly reproaches the media visibility of many former terrorists but also clarifies that he sees it mainly as a question of lack of sensitivity on their part towards the plight of the victims. As for the public outcry of most  victims directed towards the attitude of the former terrorists, this is fully

174   After terrorism understandable, in his view, given the long ‘series of offences, insults, disattentions’ they have had to endure (p. 67). When referring to the victims, Calabresi makes it clear that he makes no distinction between the victims of armed terrorism and of the bombing massacres. Indeed, he states that for both types of terrorism too many truths are still missing: ‘Today we continue to ask ourselves where those responsible for the 150 deaths caused by the bombing massacres are, and how much complicit silence still obscures the history of red terrorism’ (p.  90). Calabresi appears to subscribe to the hypothesis of a ‘pact of silence’ between the state and the ex-­terrorists, as he writes: There is a diffused belief that [the ex-­terrorists] have enjoyed the benefits envisaged by the law without giving in exchange their full contribution to the truth. The state should have exchanged an early freedom for a clear-­cut commitment on their part to clarity and to establishing responsibilities. (p. 93) Instead the ex-­terrorists have managed to become exemplars, able to pass on their message to the new generations and to create a romantic myth around their gestures (pp. 94–5). Calabresi does not mention the word ‘reconciliation’, nevertheless he refers to the country needing to ‘turn the page in a serene and just manner’, for the sake of all Italians, not just for the victims (p.  92). Yet this desirable outcome can only be achieved, in his view, by focusing on the victims themselves, and specifically on their memory and their need for truth. Furthermore, his frequent references to a country that remains ideologically divided, with ‘barriers and barricades’ still in place (p.  79), suggests that for him, like Lenci, truth has a transformative value, particularly when it is officially legitimized and institutionalized. His position appears to echo Ignatieff ’s argument, put forward in relation to the role played by truth commissions that an officially legitimated version of the truth can ‘reduce the number of lies that can be circulated unchallenged in public discourse’ (1996, p.  14), and hence has the potential to counter at least some of the mystifying versions of the past circulating among the public – often deliberately fuelled by opposing political factions. The book by Andrea Casalegno offers the perspective of someone who was a member and activist of the radical left group Lotta Continua at the time when his father was assassinated by the Red Brigades. His judgement of left-­wing terrorism is clear-­cut. In his view it had the effect of preventing the Communist Party from joining the government while its wider aim was to destroy democracy: ‘if they had succeeded, the outcome would have been an authoritarian regime, not a revolution’ (p.  20). Furthermore, the terrorists over time had become purely and simply ‘serial killers’: ‘The more you kill, the more you get to like it. In the end you feel that only if you kill is your life worth living. I kill, therefore I am’ (pp. 20–1). Casalegno, however, puts some of the blame for the political violence of the 1970s upon the groups operating to the left of the Communist Party, like Lotta

The perspectives of the victims   175 Continua itself. He argues that while these groups theorized violence only in self-­defence, they also contributed to ‘create the political climate and theoretical basis which the most fanatical would rely on to justify their choice to kill’ (p. 10). He also rejects the justificatory argument that left-­wing terrorism originated in response to the Piazza Fontana massacre. On the other hand, he accepts that the terrorists did not act in isolation but enjoyed protection among ‘thousands of people who knew their identity’ (p.  102). These people are just as guilty: ‘All those who knew them and did not denounce them, despite being aware they would kill again, are murderers, no more and no less than the terrorists’ (p. 102). Casalegno, therefore, fully espouses the perspective of the victim. He rehabilitates his father, unjustly accused of being a ‘reactionary’ when in fact he was democratic and progressive (p. 110) and he describes the cruelty of the practice of gambizzazione and of the physical and psychological pain resulting from it in even greater detail than some of the victims themselves (pp.  102–5). His past activism in a radical left-­wing group does not lead him to feel any understanding for the choices of the terrorists, but rather a sense of revulsion and betrayal. In his view there ought to be no dialogue with the former terrorists. With specific reference to the anti-­death penalty association Nessuno Tocchi Caino (‘Nobody should touch Cain’), headed by Sergio D’Elia, an ex-­leader of the terrorist group Prima Linea, Casalegno writes: ‘Nobody should touch Cain, fine. Nobody should talk to him. Nobody should shake his hand’ (pp. 11 and 18). The book by Agnese Moro adopts a much more personal and intimate perspective, as it focuses on Aldo Moro as a man and a family person, without ever mentioning either terrorism or the terrorists. Only in the second part, added for the 2008 edition, does she address these issues, expressing her belief that the terrorists were carrying a double burden of guilt, since they had prevented the country from developing a new type of politics, strengthening the existing system, and had also ‘wounded and destroyed so many lives and put in motion a chain of sorrow and evil which is still active’ (p. 148). Because the repercussions of that evil are still felt today she advocates a process of healing the wounds, both personal and collective, which in her view has to start from and revolve around the truth. Such a process has three dimensions. The first is ‘a commitment on the part of political institutions to search for and verify the truth, which also means making all the relevant and necessary documents available’ (pp. 148–9). The second is the need to throw light on the possible connivances between the terrorists and ‘significant parts of the then political class’ (p. 149). The last aspect is an ending to the terrorists’ attitude of omertà and to their persisting loyalty to their previous comrades. Agnese Moro is adamant that ‘it is indispensable to know. To really know how, when, where things took place. Whoever knows something that has not yet been said about the truth must make it available to all. Starting from the ex-­terrorists’ (p. 149). She is fully aware that there are very few incentives for the ex-­terrorists to speak up, but proclaims her faith in their ‘humanity’: ‘humanity is our common ground. It is from there we need to start anew’ (p. 150)

176   After terrorism In her interview with Anna Cento Bull (4 February 2011), she further elabor­ ated on her thoughts, by advocating a dialogue with the former terrorists: Currently my idea is that we cannot produce the truth by ourselves, we do not have a truth either in our books or in theirs, what we have are bits of truth. I believe that a more significant truth may emerge from a dialogue between these truths and also with those which are missing. At present as regards terrorism we can include two types of subjects, ourselves and the ex-­terrorists, but there is another world made up of the political class, the secret services and many other subjects each of which ought to tell their own truth. She clarified that she referred only to those ex-­terrorists who had paid their penalty and acknowledged the terrible pain they had caused, and that in any case establishing a dialogue would be a long and difficult process which required societal support as ‘we cannot manage it ourselves, we need help’. However, she did not like the term ‘reconciliation’; for her it was rather a question of ‘reconstructing that period together’, which required achieving ‘reciprocal recognition, a mutual engaging with each other’s truth’. Agnese Moro, like most victims, was fully convinced that both types of terrorism had prevented Italian democracy from developing fully on the basis of its Republican Constitution and that they had played into the hands of those political actors who had similar aims. Left-­wing terrorism, in particular, had targeted the most progressive and liberal elements within the institutions. This is not to say that terrorism was directly aided and abetted by parts of the state, albeit this was plausible in the case of the bombing massacres, but rather that there had been a convergence of interests that had led to an attitude of laissez faire. In the case of Aldo Moro, many people had also acted naïvely, because they believed that the issue of negotiating or not with the terrorists for his release was a question of principle; they totally failed to take account of the fact that Moro’s elimination responded to a precise strategy. With Moro gone, a certain vision of democracy came to an end. She was aware that most of the ex-­terrorists refuted this interpretation and claimed that they had acted in good faith and without external support, motivated entirely by lofty ideals, but did not see this attitude as an obstacle to a dialogue: I believe that they are terribly afraid [of acknowledging their negative role] because their lives are already shattered since when you hurt someone else you also hurt yourself; they have destroyed their own lives and those of their relatives. If you then have also to acknowledge that you ended up being slaves to the masters, well I think you become even more dejected. There is also their loyalty to their comrades, as they don’t want to send someone to prison. In any case, like us, they too are in rapid evolution. In my view this evolution depends upon breaking their isolation, the more it becomes possible to have a dialogue and exchange views the less one keeps focusing stubbornly upon the usual things, and this is true for both of us. (Interview)

The perspectives of the victims   177 She added that her own pain had never abated and neither had the terrorists’. For these reasons a dialogue between victims and former terrorists, properly sustained by societal empathy, had much greater potential to promote a process of truth-­ telling than any attempt to involve the political institutions. Echoing other victims, she too believed the political parties had no intention of revisiting the past. Furthermore, even though Italy was still a democracy, it was a different democracy from the one that had been developing in the 1970s before it was blocked by the terrorist onslaught. This meant that the current state had no interest in searching for the truth and indeed had left the victims in a condition of complete isolation over the years, notwithstanding the commitment demonstrated by the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to celebrate the annual Day of Memory, first commemorated on 9 May 2008. It was telling, in her view, that on that occasion the president had publicly presented a book which for the first time included all the names of the victims of terrorism. Agnese Moro thus viewed the truth as capable of involving and transforming society, as opposed to the state. For her truth-­telling was a complex process that involved the opening of ‘many tables’, yet most of these discussion tables remained empty. The relative of a victim who felt she had no choice but to approach the terrorists who had been responsible for killing her father, if she wanted to try and ascertain the real truth surrounding his murder, is Sabina Rossa. She was a teenager when her father Guido, a factory worker and trade union representative at the important Italsider steel plant in Genoa, was killed by the Red Brigades on 24 January 1979 for having denounced a fellow worker he rightly suspected of belonging to the terrorist organization. Similarly to Torregiani, after the murder Sabina Rossa did her best to shut terrorism out of her life, although she found it much more difficult to overcome her ‘deep hatred and desire for revenge’ towards his killers (Rossa and Fasanella 2006, p.  53). Her pain, however, grew worse over the years, and the many outstanding questions surrounding her father’s murder finally turned her into an ‘accidental activist’ or, more precisely, into an investigator of the truth: ‘Finding the truth had become for me a moral duty towards my father’ (p. 56). She decided that her quest for the truth had to start with the terrorist who fired the first shot at her father, so in 2005 she wrote to Vincenzo Guagliardo and later went to talk to him in his own house. This meeting was followed by interviews with Red Brigades members and leaders Enrico Fenzi, Fulvia Miglietta, Luca Nicolotti, Adriano Duglio, Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini. She also tried, albeit in vain, to meet Rocco Micaletto, and above all Mario Moretti. In her book she chooses to treat these interviews as the means to an end and does not talk about the array of emotions they must have raised within her. Indeed, she even deliberately treats her status as daughter of the victim as means to an end, using it as a lever in order to obtain the consent of the former terrorists to her requests for interviews. As she wrote to Vincenzo Guagliardo, who had initially refused to see her: Twenty-­six years have gone by, I cannot wait any longer and I am absolutely convinced that you owe me this meeting. . . . [T]hat day I was not able

178   After terrorism to choose, I received no warning; from that day I have never seen my father again, I found myself in a new life, which was not of my choice or one that I had ever imagined, and at the age of 16 I lived through hell. You among others were responsible for this. This time it is not you who should dictate the conditions. [. . .] P.S. I expect a reply (Rossa and Fasanella 2006, p. 19) In her letter to Renato Curcio, who was not directly responsible for her father’s death, she appealed instead to his sensitivity: I do not consider it a duty of the ex-­members of the Red Brigades to meet their victims or their children, but I am convinced that it would be a demonstration of sensitivity towards them and of intelligence on the part of those who today partake once again in a social living made up of meetings, exchanges and civic relations. (Ibid., p. 16) Through her interviews, not just with the former terrorists but also with representatives of the carabinieri, the political parties, the trade unions and others, Sabina Rossa comes to the conclusion that the dominant version told by the Red Brigades, according to which her father should have been wounded but not killed and was assassinated only because he had tried to react against his attackers, was in fact false. Guagliardo had indeed only wounded her father, as planned, but another member of the squad, Riccardo Dura, had deliberately shot to kill him. In addressing the question of why this had happened she explored both Dura’s close relationship with Mario Moretti and the latter’s links with the Paris-­based Hyperion Language School, widely believed to have been the base for various foreign intelligence services. She concluded that there existed two different levels of command within the Red Brigades, a lower level, which agreed upon certain actions, communicated them to the members and had them carried out, and a higher level, represented among others by Mario Moretti, which made its own decisions unbeknown to the other leaders and relied upon trusted people like Dura himself. This higher level had links with foreign intelligence services and played a much more complex and obscure game in the history of the Italian Republic. In short, Sabina Rossa subscribes to the interpretation put forward by many scholars and experts, and supported by ex-­Red Brigade leader Alberto Franceschini, that the Red Brigades, while being a socio-­political phenomenon borne out of a genuine dynamic, was also manipulated by external forces, both domestic and international, in the context of the Cold War. As for her father, Rossa concludes that in reality he had been killed not because he had betrayed a fellow worker, but because he had carried out intelligence work on behalf of the Italian Communist Party and had been on the verge of making important discoveries in relation to putschist threats in Italy. This had necessitated the higher

The perspectives of the victims   179 level of the Red Brigades to secretly decide he had to be eliminated and to entrust Dura with this goal. In her investigations Rossa also reaches the conclusion that many former terrorists do not know the truth themselves: I am ever more convinced that the ex-­terrorists do not themselves know in full the story they have lived. It is as if they had been the protagonists of a tragedy whose script had also been authored by extraneous hands and minds. (p. 126) She also suspected that in some cases it was fear that prevented them from saying more of what they knew: actual fear for their lives. Rossa’s book demonstrates the potential, but also the limits of, a dialogue between terrorists and victims aimed at searching for the truth, both in relation to specific episodes of terrorism and in relation to the wider socio-­political context. She shows that the status of victim or relative of a victim is an important lever for gaining access to the former terrorists, most of whom, whether dissociated or irreducibile, nowadays acknowledge they have a moral debt to repay. She also shows that it is possible, even after all these years, to recover bits of truth from these exchanges. Yet she also has to accept that there are terrorists who do not know more than they have already said, others who do not speak out of fear, and others such as Moretti who remain totally impervious to the victims and their quest for truth and justice: ‘I have tried with every possible means to contact Mario Moretti as well. There was nothing I could do. It is as if . . . someone had built an impenetrable protective wall around the military leader of the Red Brigades’ (p. 162). While Sabina Rossa was a teenager when her father died, Benedetta Tobagi was only three years old, therefore she never really knew him. Her book expresses the plight of all those children who lost their father through terrorism and later discovered that they could not ease their pain by asking questions or trying to find out more because in so doing they aggravated their mothers’ own suffering. Many years later, Tobagi’s response was to search for her father through his own writings, especially his newspaper articles and his personal diary. As she poignantly writes of her quest: ‘I could not have imagined then that the person who would guide me by the hand would be the same person I wanted to reach’ (p. 12). Her book offers a vivid and moving account of her discovery of her father’s personality, character, affective relations and professional work, fully exposing the gulf between his strong sense of civic duty and the behaviour of the terrorists. The second part of the book deals with her father’s murder, since in this case, as in many other assassinations, there is a suspicion that the whole truth is not yet known. Walter Tobagi was ostensibly singled out by a terrorist hit squad for his painstaking analyses and denunciation of left-­wing terrorism in the Corriere della Sera. The leader of the squad, Marco Barbone, turned pentito soon after his

180   After terrorism arrest and in exchange for his revelations obtained a very lenient sentence: ‘I saw my father’s murderer come out of prison when I was in my first year at primary school’ (Tobagi 2009, p. 238). Quite apart from her conviction that Barbone’s decision was entirely opportunistic, Benedetta Tobagi believes there were other reasons behind the choice of her father as a target. Unlike Sabina Rossa, she does not reach a satisfactory explanation but leaves open the possibility that the shadow of the P2 Masonic Lodge hangs over her father’s death. However, she chooses not to hypothesize on the possible involvement of this occult body: ‘There is still much to know regarding terrorism and the interference of occult powers in Italy, but there is a need for great rigour, so as to avoid adding to the existing chaos, as opposed to reducing the shadow areas’ (p. 277). Nor did she believe that talking to the ex-­terrorists would help uncover any new elements: My grandfather, in his desperate conviction that the murderers had held something back, because he could not understand how they could have developed the idea of murdering my father by themselves, went to visit all the members of the ‘Brigade XXVIII Marzo’ in prison. He did not obtain any answers. (p. 286) In her interview with Anna Cento Bull (25 January 2011), Tobagi reiterated her conviction that the ex-­terrorists were not prepared to say more than what they had told in the trials, mainly because ‘there is this very strong feeling of solidarity with their former comrades’, due among other things to their ‘sense of identity and self-­esteem’. With regards to a possible process of reconciliation, she clarified that it was not just a question of finding the truth concerning single acts of terrorism, there was a much more crucial issue concerning the contentious nature and meaning of terrorism: We could sum up the two frames, former terrorists/victims, by the way they use ‘armed struggle’ and ‘terrorism’. . . . In a nutshell ‘armed struggle’ conveys the meaning ‘we were defeated but it was right, it was an extreme form of political struggle’, whereas ‘terrorism’ does not mean that you were defeated, you were criminal, you attacked a state which had a lot of limits but was a democracy. . . . I don’t agree with those who say they were just common criminals . . . but they were not like partisans, they were not like Vietnamese soldiers, etc. The point is that there is a rethinking of the impact terrorism had on Italian society and I agree with all those who say that terrorism blocked the democratic evolution under the state. . . . And so if you are so blind and you refuse even to consider that despite your motivation and what you believed in those times, you refuse to focus on what was the actual effect of your actions, that is what makes it very difficult to find a real dialogue. Reconciliation has many difficulties because in a way our society is practically reconciled but in reality it’s like there are different groups living in the country each with a different story and they cannot communicate with

The perspectives of the victims   181 each other. It’s really relevant, because it’s very immediately projected in the future in the sense that it has to do with your idea of democracy, of justice, of social justice, your idea of what happened in Italy and why, it’s not something that is simply to do with the pain of people killed and the fact we don’t know the identity of all the murderers and it is not clear exactly how the carabinieri and the secret services interacted with the left wing terrorists. That, of course, is relevant but I think the political, juridical, cultural framework is the biggest problem also because it’s so intertwined with the idea of the state in which you want to live. (Interview) In her interview for the book Sedie vuote (‘Empty Chairs’), Tobagi specified that Those who were really affected by violence did not take up arms in revenge. They took to the streets, acted as civil claimants in the trials, demonstrated peacefully, became engaged in spreading a culture of legality opposed to violence. This is the perspective underpinning the approach to those years by the victims. (p. 78) In light of the above, Tobagi was sceptical that granting a generalized amnesty for acts of terrorism in exchange for the truth would lead to any significant breakthrough. This referred not just to left-­wing terrorism but also to the bombing massacres, since: We have to be realistic and also consider that for instance maybe a general decides to say things but maybe he partly says the truth and partly gives false information to protect himself or his friends, and how can you deal with that?. . . . There are interests, political interests, friendships and covering up. . . . I am very pessimistic and I think that there is such a blurred network of half-­ spoken interests that people really have no reason to say more. (Interview, 25 January 2011) Tobagi had faith only in the work of scholars: ‘people of good will (researchers, historians) have to work . . . to reconstruct in a documented, persuasive way what happened’. Similarly, in her book, she stated that what was needed in Italy was a ‘culture of documentation and patient research’ (2009, p.  277). From her perspective, therefore, it was not the truth about individual episodes of political violence or indeed about the possible involvement of sectors of the state in terrorism that had the potential to transform society or the state. Rather, there had to be a gradual process of collective understanding of what terrorism had meant and the impact it had had, a process in which the victims and their associations could play a vital role: ‘now there are many more links between victims’ associations, victims of bombing massacres and left-­wing terrorism, we always try to build a common discourse . . . against any form of political exploitation’.

182   After terrorism Finally, the book by Giampaolo Mattei and Giommaria Monti (2008) is a harrowing account of one of the most terrible acts of left-­wing terrorism in Italy and of the subsequent revictimization an entire family was subjected to. Stefano and Virgilio Mattei, aged eight and 22, were burned alive on 16 April 1973 as a result of an arson attack carried out by members of the group Potere Operaio. In the middle of the night a terrorist unit reached the third floor of a block of council houses located in the Roman suburb of Primavalle and started a fire in a modest flat inhabited by the secretary of the local section of the Neo-­fascist Party, his wife and their six children. After the attack, Potere Operaio became aware that the perpetrators came from its ranks but, in order to safeguard its own image and identity, helped two members of the squad, Marino Clavo and Manlio Grillo, escape abroad, while a third, Achille Lollo, was imprisoned. In 1974 Collettivo Potere Operaio published a book entitled Primavalle. Incendio a porte chiuse (‘Primavalle. A Fire behind Closed Doors’), which put forward the thesis that the fire had been started by neo-­fascists, following an internal feud. In parallel, numerous leftist intellectuals mobilized in defence of Achille Lollo, proclaiming his innocence. In 1975 the first trial against Lollo concluded with a verdict of ‘not guilty’ for lack of evidence. Lollo became a free man and swiftly left the country. The subsequent trials took place in the absence of all three defendants and concluded in 1987 with a verdict of manslaughter and a sentence of 18 years in prison each. In 2005 a new verdict established that the sentence had lapsed, something that would not have happened if the sentence had been one of deliberate murder rather than manslaughter. In the same year, Achille Lollo granted an interview from Brazil to the Corriere della Sera, admitting responsibility for the attack but also claiming that he and his comrades had not intended to kill anyone. Lollo stated that there had been six members in the unit and revealed the names of the other three, in the knowledge that they could no longer be prosecuted. In 2011 Lollo went back to Italy for personal reasons and on that occasion paid a visit to the police, but still refused to say anything more about the attack. Giampaolo Mattei recalls the torment and suffering of his parents and sisters, their feelings of rage and impotence in the face of the trial verdicts and the public declarations in favour of the terrorists, the condition of total isolation his family found itself in after the attack, with sympathy shown only by the Neo-­ fascist Party (albeit short-­lasting), and the repeated attempts by radical right-­ wing groups to harness the memory of his two brothers for sectarian ends. Like Benedetta Tobagi, he also conveys his gradual transformation from a child who refrained from asking questions – he was only four at the time of the arson attack – to an adult determined to know and understand: ‘It was only later that I wanted to know and discover various things, in a personal and solitary journey. Putting together the information, the fragments of the puzzle gathered over the years’ (Mattei and Monti 2008, p. 80). He wanted to know everything, including the lies and defamations that had deliberately targeted his family. As he stated: ‘I read document after document, judicial acts, books, various testimonies. I wanted to understand in full’ (p. 106). He was even prepared to face the

The perspectives of the victims   183 possibility, however remote, that the arson attack had indeed been carried out by neo-­fascists. Then, in 2005, Lollo’s interview revealed (part of ) the truth: For us, who had suffered and waited for clarity for 30 years, this meant an acknowledgement of the truth. Nowadays I no longer care to see people in prison. . . . I care that the truth is now out and the lies have been swept away. I care to be able to return to Primavalle without hearing people say ‘you did it yourselves’. Pacification through memory has to go via the truth. It is difficult for this to happen if the by-­now ex-­fugitives, and the people who lived those years by setting imaginations on fire, continue to adopt a lofty attitude. Theirs was primarily a moral absconding. (Mattei and Monti 2008, pp. 124–5) Mattei is also convinced that much remains to be known, yet he does not believe people like Lollo will acknowledge their debt and contribute to a process of truth-­telling. However, for him it is only by overcoming sectarian attitudes that the truth can emerge: What I would like is that our story, the story of people who suffered immense pain and the infamy of slander, would stir people’s consciences so that they would talk about those years without false rhetoric. Without a spirit of vengeance but always guided by a need for justice. This is the principal way, I believe: to overcome reciprocal accusations and tell the truth without further reticence. From all sides: because a shared memory starts here. (2008, p. 146) Mattei believed that the political class had an important role to play in this process, overcoming sectarianism and promoting a ‘transversal will’ in support of achieving truth and justice (p. 162). In his interview with Anna Cento Bull (23 May 2011), Giampaolo Mattei further clarified his thoughts. He stated that, while he used to talk of the need for pacification, nowadays he rejected this term, as well as the term reconciliation, because for him they referred to a political strategy aimed primarily at promoting amnesia about the past. His preferred expression was ‘shared memory’, by which he meant that You, politician or citizen, really get to understand what happened, get to share my story, only then it may be possible to achieve reconciliation or, rather, reciprocal respect, so that each side understands what the other says. For me sharing means that you have to wear our clothes, though obviously I don’t wish it on anybody, and it also means understanding the adversary, not in the sense of forgiving but understanding the context. (Interview)

184   After terrorism Mattei reiterated that in his view the truth could only be reached through a transversal political will, but he also specified that he would not settle for a truth told outside the judicial process. He was not interested in securing the perpetrators behind bars, as after 40 years since the arson attack this would not give him any satisfaction, but he did want all the facts to be certified in a trial, because only then would there be a limit to the public lies that still circulated about both individual acts of terrorism and political violence in general. Like many other victims, Mattei was convinced that there was much more to know about the Primavalle case, in fact For me words like the ‘historical context’, the ‘folly’ of those years are not convincing because I believe that there was something more, there were those who armed those young people, and I say this without forgetting individual responsibilities. (Interview) The truth, in his view, could only come from a judicial process based on investigative material and documentation, because the ex-­terrorists, whether from the left or from the right, would not speak up as they were liable to being ‘blackmailed’. Mattei’s ‘accidental activism’ led him to set up the ‘Associazione Fratelli Mattei’ in 2005, with some support from the local council, led by the leftist mayor Walter Veltroni. He wanted to set up a separate association, rather than join an existing one, both because of the specific relevance of the Primavalle attack and because he was determined to avoid any political exploitation of his family’s tragedy. Indeed, My first act when I decided to get personally involved was to reappropriate my brothers. I have always thanked those who, every 16 April, would go to Primavalle to honour my brothers, but I have never accepted or shared their mode of commemoration. . . .It is not possible that to remember two young people it becomes necessary to arm a whole neighbourhood with jeeps, patrol wagons, helicopters and the rest. . . . This led me to take certain steps so that these people would no longer turn up. On the one hand I am sorry because it is always an honour when Stefano and Virgilio are remembered, on the other hand I am pleased because I no longer see an armed neighbourhood, stones being thrown, explosive devices, extremist political symbols of both left and right in an act of remembrance, as my family has never been extremist, hence the Celtic cross and the swastika do not belong to us. (Interview) For these reasons he had always refused to have a street named after his brothers. On one occasion, against his family’s wishes, a small park in Primavalle was dedicated to them and within a few hours the plaque had been smashed. Rather, he favoured erecting a monument commemorating all young victims of terrorism,

The perspectives of the victims   185 irrespective of whether at the hands of the left or the right. In the same way he wanted to rehumanize his brothers, since ‘My brothers and my family have never been seen as human beings, but as fascists linked to the period that caused Auschwitz’ (Interview). Echoing Tobagi, he claimed for the victims a higher sense of statehood than the state itself as none of the victims or their relatives had ever stepped outside the law in their campaigns and activism in search of truth and justice. Indeed, the nature of their activism helped them overcome feelings of revenge, as had happened in his case: ‘To create an association means talking, getting to know other situations. . . . [T]he rage and hatred that the situation has given rise to are alleviated by talking’ (Interview).

The testimonies of the relatives of right-­wing terrorism and the bombing massacres This section is based on the memoirs and testimonies of the victims of bomb attacks and of right-­wing armed terrorism, mainly in the form of interviews carried out by Anna Cento Bull with Josephine Coombes (sister of John Kolpinski, killed in the 1980 Bologna bombing), Harry, Shirley and Susan Mitchell (respectively father, mother and sister of Catherine, killed in the same bomb attack), Paolo, Federica and Matteo Dendena (respectively son and grandchildren of Pietro, killed in the 1969 Milan bombing), Paolo Silva (son of Carlo, killed in the 1969 Milan bombing), and Lina Evangelista, wife of policeman Franco, nicknamed Serpico, killed by the extreme-­right group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari, or NAR, on 28 May 1980). It also analyses the memoir of Licia Pinelli (Una storia quasi soltanto mia, co-­authored with Piero Scaramucci, 2009 [1982]). Although strictly speaking not a victim of a bombing massacre, Giuseppe Pinelli’s story cannot be separated from that of the 1969 Milan bombing, and indeed he is often considered the eighteenth victim of Piazza Fontana as he died while in police custody under suspicion of being involved in the massacre, but was posthumously exonerated. Further testimonies are included in the already mentioned edited volumes ‘The Silence of the Innocents’ and ‘Empty Chairs’. Lina Evangelista has provided one of the few testimonies of a relative of a victim of right-­wing armed terrorism. A member of the association Memoria, which gathers together the relatives of those who served in the armed forces and the police, she testifies both to the spirit of empathy that exists among victims of different types of terrorism in Italy today and to the Christian theme of forgiveness. In terms of the latter, she recalled her inner torments, because on the one hand she felt it her duty, as a committed Catholic, to be able to forgive and on the other, she could not overcome her feelings of rage and resentment. It was only after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1986 that she found the inner strength to forgive the perpetrators. On her return, when attending the trial of the three defendants Luigi Ciavardini, Giuseppe Fioravanti and Francesca Mambro – who were found guilty of the Bologna massacre – she discovered that her rage

186   After terrorism and anguish had been replaced by a ‘great sense of inner peace’. Later, she felt able to meet her husband’s murderers at their request. She expressed her belief in the sincerity of their remorse and extended her understanding to the families of the terrorists: I know of people who have died for what their children did, they did not just cause havoc and pain in other families but also in theirs, because I believe it is not easy for a family to know that your son has carried out so many attacks and this is especially the case for those families whose members served the state, hence for them it is even harder. (Interview, 11 January 2011) The reference is to Ciavardini’s and Mambro’s families, as both Ciavardini’s father and brother and Mambro’s father were in the police at the time of the attack. Lina Evangelista’s empathy with the plight of other relatives emerges very clearly from her stance in relation to truth and justice. While recognizing that in her case the culprits had been found and sentenced, she felt very strongly that the victims of the bombing massacres had achieved neither truth nor justice and that it was important to redress this situation through a process of truth-­telling. If, as many people say, we ought to achieve closure and move on, then we should do this in a way that all sides can achieve what they ask for, otherwise there will still be something pending. I don’t believe you can ask the relatives of the victims of the massacres to let it be, to achieve closure without knowing anything. (Interview) It was through empathy with other victims and their relatives, rather than on the basis of her own experience, that Evangelista advocated a process of truth recovery by means of the opening of the state archives and a different attitude on the part of the political institutions. Conversely, many of the relatives of the bombing massacres came to transcend their own specific experience through the adoption of a wider citizenship perspective, as we shall now see. An emblematic case of ‘accidental activism’ and committed citizenship among the relatives of victims of a bombing massacre is that of Francesca Dendena, daughter of Pietro Dendena, one of the victims of the 1969 Milan bombing. Aged 17 when her father died, Francesca spent the rest of her life campaigning for truth and justice until her premature death in 2010. Her story was told to Anna Cento Bull by her brother Paolo, her niece Federica and her nephew Matteo in 2011, demonstrating how, within a victim’s family, the values of civic engagement and active citizenship have been successfully transmitted to a new generation. Indeed, Federica Dendena stated explicitly that ‘one of her aunt’s objectives was to pass on the baton’, adding that she and her brother, as well as Francesca’s son, had ‘decided to take forward her commitment’. She herself had

The perspectives of the victims   187 written her undergraduate thesis on the Piazza Fontana trial verdict, was currently the vice-­president of the Association of the Victims of the Milan Bombing, and was engaged in keeping alive the memory of this act of terrorism among the young. Her brother Matteo had similarly made a point of studying terrorism and the strategy of tension both at school and at university, despite the fact that these topics were generally not taught as part of the curriculum. Recently, in 2012, Matteo Dendena published a book in memory of his aunt, entitled Ora che ricordo ancora (‘Now that I still remember’), in which he retraces her gradual transformation from an innocent young girl who believed that the trials would uphold the right to justice of wronged citizens, to a mature woman who would not give up her fight for truth and justice even in the face of a total lack of will on the part of the state. Referring to her aunt as a ‘civic hero’, Federica Dendena made it clear that she considered her a model figure, because, despite developing a deep sense of mistrust towards the Italian state in relation to its role in the bombing massacres, her aunt had nevertheless upheld and defended the democratic institutions of this same state against its detractors: My aunt was proud to live under the rule of law, even in the case of a state which does not help you to find the culprits and tells you to let things be. I don’t know how many people would have made this into their raison d’être, despite the state telling you ‘I do not want to talk about it, don’t get engaged in this’. Instead she turned the search for truth into her reason for living. She firmly believed in democratic principles and even though democracy had taken everything away from her . . . she firmly believed in the principles of the Italian Republic and the Resistance, as well as in the Constitution. It was thanks to the strength of these principles that she was able to fight her battles, if you do not have this kind of conviction you cannot do it. (Interview, 31 January 2011) Federica stated that her aunt had defined her entire life as a ‘glaring protest’ for truth and justice and considered each anniversary of the bombing massacre not as a commemoration but as a ‘constant request for justice’. Over the years she had had to acknowledge that neither the state nor the political parties were interested in a process of truth recovery, but had not allowed herself to become demoralized: My aunt used to say that in the face of the silence and the ambiguous attitude of the political class, she felt even more the responsibility of searching for the truth. In the last 40 years she had become used to living her existence surrounded by ambiguity, she took this for granted, in fact for her it was almost a victory when some politicians took a stance. She did not even consider this ambiguity as something she should fight, it was simply the basis from which she started, as she knew that she lived in a society where no-­one had the courage to step forward and take a stance. (Interview)

188   After terrorism According to Matteo Dendena (2012, pp. 81–2), his aunt Francesca had strongly believed in striving for a shared memory of the violent past as a ‘political act’ aimed at constructing common democratic values and ideals. In this context, she had found it necessary to subsume her role of victim into that of committed witness. In comparison to Francesca Dendena, Paolo Silva reacted to an act of terrorism by shutting it out and developed his activism only many years after the event. In this his reaction is similar to Torregiani’s, even though in his case it was mainly due to an overwhelming sense of rage that risked destroying his life. The son of a victim of the Milan bombing, he recalled how, soon after the explosion, he went in search of his father first to Piazza Fontana, where he witnessed dramatic scenes, and then to the mortuary where he and his brother ‘saw all or nearly all the bodies, one next to the other, it was a terrible sight and when we lifted the sheet covering a corpse we recognized our father, terribly disfigured’ (Interview, 1 February 2011). Albeit reluctantly, his family accepted a state funeral ceremony for the victims (‘I was naïve then, and believed it important to give public resonance to what had happened’). He claimed that already at the funeral he started to nurture suspicions concerning the behaviour of the state and its representatives, and later was so enraged when he started to discover the state’s involvement and responsibilities with regard to right-­wing terrorism that he and his brother became ‘totally detached from the institutions. . . . [W]e were detached but with an unimaginable rage’. Indeed, he summed up his experience as ‘shock, pain, rage’. For many years Paolo Silva believed he had succeeded in erasing what had happened from his mind, but this turned out not to be true since as soon as someone reminds you of it . . . you find yourself back in the day following the massacre. This is what happened to me when I gave a first interview a few years ago, I was practically convinced I had removed all these things and instead they all came back to me. (Interview) It was at the time of the second trial for Piazza Fontana, in the 1990s, that ‘something went off within me that spurred me, brought me back to reality, and so I got in touch again with the relatives of the victims’. Since then, Paolo Silva has played a role in the Milan association’s activities. As he stated, ‘there are few of us but we do not give up, we have nominated Francesca Dendena’s niece as vice-­president to ensure generational continuity, she is our future’ (Interview). Paolo Silva, like other victims, sees the behaviour of the state in relation to the bombing massacres as indicative of the deficient nature of Italian democracy; hence for him, too, the truth takes on a transformative value: the state is in deficit as it has never attempted to throw light upon what happened. Especially in the case of the Piazza Fontana bombing there opened up this huge fracture in Italian democracy, because a democratic state, once

The perspectives of the victims   189 it had ascertained the facts – and the state knew the facts – should have said what it knew. Is it possible that nobody knew anything? A black veil of omertà has been lowered by those who knew, including those who are still alive but have never spoken up. . . . A nation that does not acknowledge what happens is not a democratic nation, you cannot hide the truth forever. All the relatives of the victims of the Piazza Fontana bombing consider Pinelli’s death to be closely linked to that event, and agree that he should also be deemed a victim of the massacre, albeit an indirect one. Pinelli’s wife, Licia, gave a series of interviews to journalist Piero Scaramucci in the early 1980s (Pinelli 1982). The book was republished in 2009 (together with an up-­to-date interview) with the same title (Una storia quasi soltanto mia, ‘A Story that is Almost Only Mine’). Her story mirrors in some ways that of Mario Calabresi, to the extent that Pinelli, too, had been a victim both in the physical sense and as a target of character assassination, as he was unjustly portrayed by the police as having committed suicide due to his guilty conscience about the Milan bombing. His widow sued the police, and this led to a series of judicial investigations and trials which culminated, as we have already seen, with the verdict by Judge D’Ambrosio, who excluded both murder and suicide and concluded that Pinelli must have died as a result of a sudden illness. In the book, Licia Pinelli is able to convey, on the one hand, her bitter transformation from a trusting to a sceptical citizen, as the investigations proceeded without throwing full light on her husband’s death. As she states, ‘someone rather naïve like myself, who believes in the rule of law, considered a judge as being super partes, and went to him with the strength of truth’ (2009, p.  66), adding that ‘There was in me this firm belief that the magistrates would reveal the full truth. Then one after another the disappointments arrived, and yet I continued to believe. Today I am much more sceptical’ (2009, p. 69). On the other hand, she also conveys her transformation into an ‘accidental activist’, not in terms of political participation but for her civic engagement in the name of truth and justice. She clarified that, even though she had become more sceptical, she did not feel defeated because ‘I have done everything I could within the limits of legality. The defeated are those who have not had the courage to discover the truth’. When repeatedly asked by her interviewer about her seeming lack of political engagement, she replies: Why, what do you think I have done in these ten years? Have I not been living my life politically? To rebel against injustices, not to give in to disengagement, to go on at any cost. This for me is politics. (2009, p. 103) For Licia Pinelli, truth is justice: ‘to have justice means that everyone knows the truth’ (p. 89). It is in this light that she addresses the issue of the state, which in her view is among the defeated: ‘It is a defeat for the state not to have reached a judicial truth. . . . [A] state that does not have the courage to acknowledge the

190   After terrorism truth is a state that has lost, a state that does not exist’ (p. 23). Thirty years later, in her 2009 interview, her judgement is even more drastic. While expressing satisfaction for having been invited by the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, to the commemoration marking the Official Day of Memory for the Victims of Terrorism, on 9 May, and for the president’s public recognition that Pinelli had to be considered another victim inseparable from the victims of the Piazza Fontana massacre, she nevertheless made it clear that this did not change her situation: This recognition on the part of the state, of the President of the Republic, is very important . . . but it does not change anything. To obtain justice we need to know the truth. . . . The recognition that Pino was an innocent victim does not mean closure, in fact it makes it even more necessary that the drawers [of the State archives] are opened and the truth is brought to light. (2009, p. 125) Furthermore, she clarifies that she considers the President of the Republic as unrepresentative of the Italian state, stating that in his residence there was ‘an atmosphere that gave me the sense of the rule of law, of what the rule of law could look like’, but concluding that when she left the building, she found ‘another Italy. One breathes a different air outside, which is much, much worse. An Italy of no rights’ (2009, p. 126). Other relatives of bombing massacres stressed the importance of getting to know the truth to the extent that they were prepared to accept a general amnesty if it led to people talking. Lorenzo Pinto, whose brother Luigi died in the Brescia massacre, was one of those who believed that retributive justice in Italy had run its course and that it had to be complemented by a process of truth-­telling leading to reconciliation (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 31). This would involve the participation of a number of protagonists, from ex-­terrorists to politicians, representatives of the secret services, journalists and intellectuals. Similarly, Anna Di Vittorio, who lost her brother Mauro in the Bologna massacre, advocated an amnesty in exchange for truth, with a view to reconciliation: ‘Without truth one cannot breathe; and the heart can continue to beat if there is reconciliation’ (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p.  210). In her search for the truth she defined herself and her husband Gian Carlo, who himself lost a friend at Bologna, primarily as citizens, rather than through their association with a victim: ‘We are above all citizens who “believe in the state”, and not relatives of the victims. A relative asks for justice, for reparation. A citizen wants to understand’ (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 205). Alfredo Bazoli, who lost his mother in the Brescia massacre when he was four years old, clarified that he did not wish for the truth for himself, since he did not agree with those who said ‘The relatives will never have peace until justice is done’, or indeed ‘We must find the truth for the relatives’. In his view, ‘The relatives will not have peace. Full stop’. However, he did agree that for the general citizenry it was a matter of great importance: ‘the truth concerning those events is more

The perspectives of the victims   191 important for Italian democracy than it is for the relatives’ (Various Authors, 2008, p. 185). This section concludes with the testimonies of some relatives of non-­Italian victims of bombing massacres. The plight of these relatives merits special attention, since it highlights the extraordinary degree of isolation and abandonment they have had to endure, given that, in addition to the treatment meted out to all victims and their relatives by the institutions of the state, they have had to contend with a lack of knowledge of the Italian language, history, politics and culture, a lack of understanding of complex bureaucratic procedures, geographical distance as well as a general lack of knowledge of the events surrounding the death of their relative in the country where they are domiciled. Yet even among them we find extraordinary examples of ‘accidental activism’ and civic engagement for truth and justice. Harry, Shirley and Susan Mitchell are, respectively, the father, mother and sister of Catherine and Josephine Coombes is the sister of John Kolpinski. Both John and Catherine were killed in the 1980 Bologna station massacre while travelling together on a tour of Europe after their graduation. In interviews with one of the authors they recalled the difficulties in identifying the bodies and the mixed messages they had received from Bologna, so much so that Catherine was at first believed to have survived the attack and was identified as one of the victims only three days after the bombing. They also recalled the battle they had had to fight in order to have the bodies of the two young people returned to the UK rather than being buried in Italy. As Josephine put it: ‘the Consulate assisted as much as they could. . . . I still felt isolated regardless, I felt absolutely isolated’ (Interview, 3 December 2010). She added that she had been adamant her brother should be buried at home and not in Italy as part of a state funeral: ‘I must admit I got quite stroppy and I said I intended to take this to the highest levels, the press, politicians, anybody, my brother was coming home’ (Interview). Similarly to other victims, Josephine recalled the terrible ordeal of having to deal with the body of a loved person killed by an explosion: I wanted to see him but they said he was so badly damaged that it would not be advisable to. So when he came home and we went to the undertakers my stepfather said that he wanted to see him and I said ‘I’d rather you didn’t, remember him as he was’. But he insisted, he kept begging me: ‘Jo let me see my son’ and I gave in and I said ‘OK, if you feel that strong you can go and see him’. But the shock and horror when he came back from seeing him was beyond belief because he was so, well he was so badly injured, the undertaker told me that he would not recognize him as his son, it was just the fact that things were on him that showed it but he was badly damaged. It ended his life if you like because he lost his son, nobody could replace that. (Interview) The two families joined the Bologna victims’ association soon after it was formed and made it clear that it was only thanks to it and to the British Consulate that

192   After terrorism they were kept informed of all judicial developments as well as of the legislation in favour of the victims. As Susan Mitchell stated; ‘we became members fairly early but we did not really know what we were doing, we just thought “yes we’ll do it” ’ (Interview, 10 November 2010). Later, at the time of the trial, they felt they were often not informed of judicial proceedings, as Shirley recalled: We went to the first day of the trial when we were sworn in, as we had to swear in front of the court. We said we would go to the verdict when it came out but they told us that the verdict was out and it came as a total surprise. There was no way we could have got there in time. Because of the difficulty of the distance and of the language you felt deprived in a way because you could take no part in it really. (Interview) Harry added that many of the relatives ‘were totally committed, but we could not have done it’. Nevertheless, after they joined the Bologna association, ‘it built up and I got more and more involved in the association’s work in Britain’. The Mitchells’ activism ranged from speaking to their MP; to writing to Mrs Thatcher concerning the British Government’s refusal to extradite Roberto Fiore and Massimo Morsello, two neo-­fascists suspected of involvement in terrorism; to collecting information from, and collaborating with, the British media in the hope that it would help throw light on the massacre and foster justice. Despite linguistic and cultural barriers, the Mitchells were able to become extremely knowledgeable about the Italian political situation in the 1970s and of the complex dynamics underpinning right-­wing terrorism. Like their Italian counterparts they were convinced that the three neo-­fascists convicted of the massacre were indeed guilty, but also that the Masonic Lodge P2 was behind the attack. Josephine Coombes, on the other hand, felt that she could not get involved, because she had to care full time for her mother and stepfather as well as her two young sons: Certainly at one stage I locked a lot out in order to survive myself so as to take care of [my parents], because everything was like a set pattern, I did all the shopping for them, they could not go shopping anymore but they wanted to go to the cemetery every week and sit there for hours if it was a bright day just looking at the grave. It was very hard coping with that. I had two sons at that time to look after. (Interview) Another reason was that, similarly to Paolo Silva, she felt too much anger to be able to cope with commemorative ceremonies or judicial proceedings: At the time I did not want to be involved or talk to anyone, I just could not deal with that, I could not hold my anger back, I think I would have been over the top with anger, I had responsibilities to my sons and to my mother

The perspectives of the victims   193 and stepfather, I had to pull through it. I think at one point Mike [her step­ father] wanted to commit suicide and I said no you don’t do that. I asked him not to do that. . . . No, I did not go [for the verdict], I think I would have stood up and screamed at everybody. The people who were the perpetrators, who planned it, I don’t think they were at the court they are still out there somewhere. (Interview) For Josephine, it was as if John’s and Catherine’s souls ‘are still in Italy, in that station. . . . [H]is body came home but he and Cathy are still there’. Like the Mitchells, she did not believe that the victims had obtained justice through the courts and did not have much hope that the truth, which she considered at least as important, would be known in her lifetime: It is possible that people are trying to postpone the truth because people are still alive, ‘let the truth come out when I am dead’. But at the end of the day if they have family and children it is not going to escape the rest of the family when it becomes known that their father or grandfather had been involved in it at that time. It is always going to be there for the Italian nation as a whole, it is a burden the Italian people will always have to bear. And when you have a heavy weight round your shoulders because of what has happened in the past it is a heavy thing to bear and you begin to feel personally guilty as well because it is your country, your fellow countrymen who did this dreadful thing. (Interview)

Conclusion Beyond the many differences, some common themes emerge in all these memoirs in relation to issues of truth, justice and victimhood. The first is a preoccupation with rehumanizing the person who was victim of a terrorist attack, both in terms of his/her affective relations and in terms of his/her standing at work and in the wider society. The second is a concern with exploring and representing the pain, both physical and psychological, experienced by the victim and his/her family, as well as the complex and enduring ramifications of this suffering across different generations. The victims and relatives of the victims of the bombing massacres, in particular, have harrowing stories to tell, especially those who survived the attack and/or had to identify the mutilated bodies of their loved ones in a mortuary following such an attack. In the case of the victims of armed terrorism, both these concerns should be seen in the light of, and as an implicit response to, the narratives by the ex-­terrorists, which either erase the physical and moral pain inflicted upon their victims and their relatives, or substitute their own suffering for that of the victims. The victims of the bombing massacres, however, are denied the possibility of addressing the culprits, albeit implicitly, as their identity is not yet known.

194   After terrorism In addition, all the victims and their relatives tell similar stories of revictimization in relation to the role of the state. First, they complain they were left to fend for themselves and their families without any help from the state, so much so that it was not until 2004 that a comprehensive law was passed providing compensation. Second, they lament the lack of public attention and commemoration for the victims, as they had to wait until 2007 for a day of memory for all the victims of terrorism to be established. As has been argued in the case of Northern Ireland (Hackett and Rolston 2009), some of the most bitter complaints come from those who were attacked because they were in the service of the state, like policemen and magistrates, who had even more reason to believe that the state would look after them and their families. Another common concern is a rebuttal of the former perpetrators’ claim that they had been fighting a civil war, and that, with the exception of the bombing massacres, what happened in Italy in those decades cannot be classified as terrorism. This reading of the political violence that raged in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s is considered by the victims as an attempt by the former terrorists, supported by part of the political class, to achieve closure through a general amnesty and promote reconciliation through amnesia. For the same reasons some of the victims and relatives of victims do not view favourably the term ‘reconciliation’, nor do they believe that they should be required to reconcile with the ex-­terrorists. Furthermore, most victims and relatives of the victims are convinced that the state and indeed the former terrorists have not told the truth concerning terrorism. While this is the case for all the victims of the bombing massacres, who are convinced that the state, or part of the state, was implicated in this type of political violence and was therefore in connivance with the perpetrators, it is a view shared by many others also in relation to extreme-­left terrorism. Hence, the victims demand a truth recovery process as the condition for engaging in a process of reconciliation or, in the case of those who reject this term, as a condition for ensuring that justice is upheld, even if only in its restorative form. The issue of truth, however, goes beyond the question of reparation to the victims. Indeed, when searching and campaigning for the truth, the victims often view themselves as active citizens rather than victims and frame their demands in terms of democracy and citizenship rather than reparation or reconciliation. Hence the victims claim, on the one hand, that it often fell upon those who were targeted by the terrorists, whether in their capacity as servants of the state or as participating citizens, to keep up the struggle to uphold the rule of law and defend the democratic institutions, in the face of a state that behaved in an opaque and even occult manner. Today, on the other hand, the victims themselves have deliberately taken on a similar role, demanding a process of truth-­telling because of its transformative potential in relation to the nature of Italian democracy, against the seemingly combined resistance and omertà put up by the former terrorists and the state. The next two chapters address the wider issues surrounding the legacy of terrorism in Italy that have emerged from the previous analysis of story-­telling by both former perpetrators and victims in the light of the scholarly debates analysed in Chapter 5 and in a comparative perspective.

8 The legacy of terrorism Story-­telling and truth-­telling

Introduction To what extent do the narratives examined in the previous two chapters talk to each other? Have the narrators engaged in some kind of dialogue and even contributed to a bottom-­up process of reconciliation or do we have to conclude, as Caviglia and Cecchini (2009, p. 109) have remarked, that they represent ‘a plurality of voices without dialogue’? And, if this is the case, who do these narratives talk to? Which audiences do they address and why? To answer these questions we need to examine the dual nature and role of story-­telling in relation to both the narrator and his/her audience. These issues have been addressed by the scholarly approach known as ‘narrative psychology’, which considers narratives as fundamental for an understanding of individuals’ lives and constructions of meaning: ‘Human beings think, perceive, imagine and make moral choices according to narrative structures’ (Sarbin 1986, p. 8). As discussed in Chapter 5, however, story-­telling is also considered an important component of any process of post-­conflict reconciliation. Thus, in assessing the narratives examined in the previous two chapters in terms of whether they contribute to such a process, we also need to go back to the different meanings of reconciliation and the different goals it is presumed to achieve. Leaving aside forgiveness, which, as we saw in Chapter 5, is not a necessary part of a reconciliation process, the latter can be seen as consisting of perpetrators and victims engaging in personal encounters and individualized acts of story-­telling or as involving perpetrators, victims and the state in a politicized process of truth recovery and truth-­telling or indeed as comprising both types of engagement. In turn, reconciliation needs to ‘fit’ the type of conflict that raged in a particular country and the human rights violations that were carried out. It is in the light of these complex issues that the memoirs of former perpetrators and victims of terrorism are now reassessed.

Narrating the self According to Freeman (2003), there are many different dimensions that need to be taken into consideration when analysing narratives, and especially self-­narratives.

196   After terrorism These range from the linguistic dimension (focusing on the ‘what’ of the narrative) to the experiential, focusing on the ‘how’ (‘how are narratives produced? Who is speaking to whom and why?’), the agency dimension, which concerns the freedom of individuals in choosing what to say, how to say it and to whom, the performative dimension (which ‘brings in the notion of “audience” and “staging” ’), and finally the transformative one (narrative as an ‘emancipatory or potentially emancipatory tool’). Another aspect that needs to be taken into consideration is whether narratives are able to be self-­reflective and hence open up moral space for acknowledging past wrongdoing or, conversely, are used to block out any moral reassessment of one’s own past actions. As Freeman stated, self-­narratives can become ‘an all-­ too-comfortable home for convenient, self-­serving, ideologically-­driven myths about the personal past. What I am here calling the “moral space” of narrative becomes severely constricted’ (2003, p. 7). To put it another way, ‘narratives of various forms are used to reshape the past to fit certain ideological ends’ (May 2004, p. 3). All self-­narratives, in fact, construct coherent identities; that is to say, they construct the self-­as-character in ways which are compatible with and acceptable to the desired identity of the self-­as-narrator. When it comes to perpetrators of violence, therefore, the issue of how to deal with the self-­as-monster while preserving a coherent and positive identity for the narrators is particularly problematic and the temptation to fall back upon self-­serving and ideologically driven myths especially strong. Furthermore, there is an important issue relating to the emotive dimension: Beebe Tarantelli (Tarantelli 2010, p. 558) has observed that members and leaders of the Red Brigades (as of any other terrorist organization) had to disavow their emotions when they turned to violence: It is obvious that the destructive emotions driving totalizing groups can be overwhelming and dangerous. These emotions are disavowed not only because the group’s members must depend on the illusion of being safe from their dangerous force, but also because the group’s ability to operate necessitates that its members split off these emotions. Subsequently, in the reverse process which followed their arrest, ‘the disavowed emotions and cast-­off reality began to appear. . . . The renunciation of the use of the ideology as a mandate for action seems to have opened up the possibility for the split-­off emotions to become dream thoughts’ (p. 558). According to Beebe Tarantelli, this reverse process would explain the relatively high number of Italian terrorists who lost their lives not while engaging in open conflict, but after they had been defeated. While 36 terrorists died in battle with the police, nine ended their own lives through self-­inflicted violence, six were killed by their comrades and eight died young after a terminal illness (p. 558). In her view, These facts could lead us to hypothesize that, for some of its members, the cost of the separation from the group’s shared psychic construction – a

The legacy of terrorism   197 s­ eparation produced by arrests and by the recognition of the definitive defeat of its project – led to a narcissistic collapse which was unbearable. This would seem to indicate that perpetrators cannot deal with or communicate their experience of violence even when they narrate their own stories, and indeed this is the argument put forward by Beebe Tarantelli, supported by other analysts of Italian terrorists’ memoirs (Glynn 2009a, 2009b; Paolin 2006; Rossi 2010, Sommier 2005). Thus Glynn, in her study of female terrorists’ memoirs, talks about the ‘unspeakable perpetrator’ and the ‘incommunicability of the terrorist self ’ (2009a, p. 10), while Rossi (2010, p. 207) also refers to ‘an incommunicability that emerges from the words and the silences of the protagonists’. Paolin, in turn, stated that in his view ‘the discourses, narratives and testimonies [on the ‘years of lead’] were produced in order to make the truth inaccessible’ (2006, p. 102). Indeed, Horgan (2005, p. 36), as we saw, has questioned the usefulness of terrorists’ memoirs as genuine sources, given that ‘in terrorists’ memoirs we have a deliberate blurring of fact and fiction’. However, narrative psychologists believe that on a personal level unbearable emotions can be acknowledged and negotiated through ‘illness narratives’. Such stories deal with personal traumas, focusing on significant moments of change in the life of an individual, as when a serious illness is first diagnosed, which mark the beginning of a new journey in one’s life. Hence illness narratives often have recourse to a plot of rebirth, making use of metaphors related to a journey or as part of a ‘conversion genre’ which presents numerous points of contact with a religious conversion. As Crossley argued, illness narratives help people make sense of life after the trauma, and revisit their ‘conceptions of selfhood and its ultimate connection with issues of morality, “rightness” and “goodness” ’ (Crossley 2003, p. 297). By adopting an illness or conversion genre, the former terrorists’ recollections of the past can acknowledge emotions, including shame, guilt and regret. In this way, they can go some way towards offering the victims some measure of restorative justice, albeit in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, retributive justice through the courts. As far as victims’ narratives are concerned, story-­telling is considered to help them overcome their trauma: While the story-­telling of their traumatic past does not always have a healing effect for the survivors, it opens up channels of thoughts, feelings, and communication that have often been closed for years. Having the opportunity to recount one’s traumatic past to an empathic listener, especially when one can integrate the traumas into present-­day life, can often lead to the telling of deeply personal stories that may have been previously ‘forgotten’ or ‘denied’. (Chaitin 2003) As the previous quotation indicates, victims need to be able to tell their stories to sympathetic listeners, rather than indifferent or hostile ones. They also often

198   After terrorism need, as the previous chapter indicated, to cast themselves in the role of agents, as opposed to passive victims. There is, therefore, a tension between victims’ story-­telling as bearing witness to a traumatic experience of grief and suffering and victims’ narratives where ‘the narrator sees her-/himself as an agent for change and attempts to consciously engage with an audience in order to effect change’ (Hackett and Rolston 2009, p.  360). In the second case, victimhood takes on a politicized character, leading to social action. Herman calls this the ‘survivor mission’ specifying that it tends to concern a minority of victims: Most survivors seek the resolution of their traumatic experience within the confines of their personal lives. . . . [A] significant minority, as a result of the trauma, feels called upon to engage in the wider world. These survivors recognize a political or religious dimension in their misfortune and discover that they can transform the meaning of their personal tragedy by making it the basis for social action. While there is no way to compensate for an atrocity, there is a way to transcend it, by making it a gift to others. The trauma is redeemed only when it becomes the source of a survivor mission. (Herman 1997, p. 207) In the case of terrorism there are many worldwide examples of victims engaging in survivor missions and addressing the political class and the state as their audience, at times with striking effects in terms of their influence upon policy-­ making. As a recent study of victims’ activism in the USA shows (Hoffman and Kasupski 2007, p. 37), victims of 9/11 formed a number of associations and successfully pressed for a parliamentary commission, whose recommendations led to an overhaul of the intelligence services which represented ‘the first restructuring of its kind in more than 50 years’. The same study argues that it would have been difficult for the American Government not to listen to the victims since they had acquired a special leverage thanks to their moral standing and status. Victims of state violence, however, often encounter numerous obstacles in telling their stories and in finding an audience. As Hackett and Rolston (2009) argue, in their study of victims’ story-­telling in Northern Ireland: For these victims, the whole system was against them and therefore the very act of telling their story became inevitably a challenge to the system in the pursuit of truth and justice. In this formulation the story is about the truth and the truth is about the exposure of injustice and requires societal transformation. What is also clear from all the accounts is that in order to tell the story of what happened to their loved ones, victims of state violence had also to tell a much broader story about a system of injustice. (2009, pp. 361–2) In their above-­mentioned study, Hackett and Rolston also argue that

The legacy of terrorism   199 The view that story-telling is an individualized process does disservice in particular to those storytellers who are acting consciously as agents of change, whose stories have an intentionally counter-­hegemonic purpose, challenging official wisdom, and in particular official representations of the storytellers and their community. (p. 358) In short, story-­telling operates at the interface between narrator, content, and audience: In working from these two levels of positioning (one with respect to the content of what the story was designed to be about, the other with respect to the coordination of the interaction between speaker and audience), we are better situated to make assumptions about the ideological positions (or master narratives) within which narrators are positioning a sense of self. (Bamberg 2006, p. 6)

Perpetrators’ story-­telling: blocking out the ‘disavowed emotions’ The stories told by the first group of former terrorists analysed in Chapter 6 construct victimhood in self-­referential terms, so as to preserve the personal identity and ‘integrity’ of the narrators, as well as of the group they belonged to. They continue to rely on ideology and self-­serving myths to block out deliberately any reassessment of their past deeds and close off moral space for individual emotions and sufferings because they still prioritize identification with a collective group and the construction of counter-­memories seeking to challenge the hegemonic accounts written by ‘the winners’, as other scholars have commented on (Caviglia and Cecchini 2009; Betta 2009). As Caviglia and Cecchini note with regards to Curcio’s memoir, Curcio in his book-­interview seems fundamentally unable to recognize the reasons of the Other: his style of argument has a rather stringent logic in examining different options, but he has obvious difficulties in considering points of view that are radically different from his own. (2009, p. 117) Betta in turn has remarked how these stories reaffirm the identity of the narrators as martyrs for the cause to the exclusion of other subjects or voices, with the exception of the state as arch enemy: the personal and solitary sacrifice in the name of a system of values shared by others is strengthened by a narrative that describes a war context, in which the bodies and faces of the enemies and the victims, as indeed those of the other combatants, do not appear. The need to relegitimize oneself in

200   After terrorism defeat, or after the failure of the armed struggle, leads to a substantial removal of the political sphere, to reifying all conflicts into a simple military fight between the state and the Red Brigades. (Betta 2009, p. 693) We are reminded here of former terrorist Enrico Fenzi’s assertion, in his own memoir (2006), that he was not able to answer the question ‘Why did you do it?’ as that question was best answered by those whose recollections of the past still adhered to the values and reasoning that motivated them to turn to violence. The narrators of the first type analysed in Chapter 6 fit this profile. Their narratives tell stories of wars, conspiracies, betrayals, deceit, surrender and ‘heroic’ behaviour. The narrators’ constructed identity is that of revolutionary activists and/or martyrs, just as it was at the time they embraced the armed struggle. The main difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ is that in their memoirs these former terrorists no longer construct their identity as warring martyrs; rather, their martyrdom consists of bearing witness, for future generations, both to the injustice and oppression of a corrupt and evil state and to the continuing relevance of the emancipatory and palingenetic ideology that inspired their actions. On a political level this allows them to claim ‘full citizenship in the history of the workers’ and revolutionary movements’ (Betta 2009, p. 684) or rather, as argued in Chapter 5, to construct a ‘chosen trauma’ (Volkan 2001) capable of being reactivated some time in the future, thereby elevating their story to an ahistorical myth. On a personal level it allows them to continue to substitute the identity of martyrs and stoic victims for that of ‘perpetrators’ and ‘terrorists’, thus avoiding the ‘narcissistic collapse’ Beebe Tarantelli refers to. As Crites (1986, p.  160) argued, ‘the phenomenon of blocking . . . might be described as the involuntary refusal to own the monster as one’s own self ’. So who do these narrators talk to? If we take into account the notion that all narratives establish a relationship between the teller and the audience, that ‘the story teller fosters identification by stimulating recognition and empathy’ (Davis 2002, p. 17) and that, ‘if what the story communicates about the world is to be accepted, it must affirm not negate the self-­conceptions that audience members hold of themselves’ (Davis 2002 p.  18), it seems clear that these stories are told primarily for the benefit of a political audience. The extreme-­left narrators address a left-­wing audience and the extreme-­right ones address a right-­wing audience. This is especially the case for those memoirs which are ‘mediated’ by an interlocutor. One of Moretti’s interlocutors for his 1993 book, for instance, was Rossana Rossanda, who in the 1970s was an authoritative intellectual, a leader of the so-­called extra-­parliamentary left and editor of the newspaper Il Manifesto. Hence her role as an interviewer engaging in a political argumentation with Moretti signals to the reader that the latter’s ideas and views deserve to be heard and be taken seriously by the radical left. Another example is that of Sergio Segio, whose 2009 edition of Miccia corta. Una storia di Prima Linea, as we saw in Chapter 6, contained a new post-­scriptum by ­Cristina Piccino and Roberto Silvestri (likewise journalists from Il Manifesto),

The legacy of terrorism   201 testifying to the continuing undemocratic nature of the Italian state and hence leading credence to Segio’s views among left-­wing activists. It is also the case, however, that the notoriety and visibility of the Red Brigades ensured that the memoirs written by their leaders appealed also to a wider audience. Available data concerning the number of copies issued and sold for these memoirs seem to confirm this. According to Betta (2009, pp. 678–80), in fact, the book Enrico Fenzi, Armi e bagagli. Un diario delle Brigate Rosse, sold 10,000 copies. Alberto Franceschini’s Mara, Renato e io. Storia dei fondatori delle BR, sold 43,000 copies, while Renato Curcio, A viso aperto, sold 45,000 copies. The book by Moretti, Brigate rosse. Una storia italiana, sold roughly 9,000 copies. Il prigioniero, by Anna Laura Braghetti, sold 25,000 copies when published by Mondadori, and 30,000 more when reprinted by Feltrinelli when the film by Marco Bellocchio, Buongiorno notte (based on Braghetti’s memoirs) was released in 2003. Valerio Morucci’s La peggio gioventù. Una vita nella lotta armata, sold just short of 20,000 copies; Gallinari’s Un contadino nella metropoli sold 12,000 copies; and Compagna luna, by Balzerani, had 9,000 copies printed. By contrast, the books by Sergio Segio, Miccia corta and Una vita in prima linea, sold respectively just over 2,000 copies and 6,652 copies. On the right, the book by Concutelli, Io, l’uomo nero, sold roughly 5,000 copies. Finally, it is notable that those former terrorists who fit the profile outlined above have generally proved very reluctant to grant interviews to historians and academics, presumably in order to ensure that their recollections of the past are transmitted to their desired audience only through ‘authorized’ versions and to prevent any further questioning. Gallinari, who granted an interview to one of the authors in January 2011, is one of the few exceptions.

Perpetrators story-­telling: dealing with the ‘disavowed emotions’ As discussed in Chapter 6, a second group of memoirs attempt to construct a new identity for the narrators which takes into account the previously disavowed emotions. In this respect our analysis differs from Betta (2009), who brackets all the narratives of the former terrorists under the previous category and instead recognizes, as Caviglia and Cecchini also do, the dialogic and self-­reflective character of some of these narratives. As we saw in Chapter 6, the book published by Braghetti and Mambro in 1995 best epitomizes the return of the emotions in some of the former terrorists, who often have recourse to the metaphor of a journey in order to negotiate and ‘manage’ their potentially unbearable impact upon their psyche. Indeed the two narrators, as we saw, openly claim that their story is about the emotions (‘here you will only find some of our emotional reactions’) as well as the search for a new identity (‘we are trying to return, we want to sight the land and put a stop to the nomadic existence of our thoughts’). On the one hand, therefore, these narratives are self-­reflective and able to open up moral space for acknowledging remorse and shame. On the other hand, like all self-­narratives, they construct coherent identities; that is, they construct the

202   After terrorism self-­as-character in ways which are compatible with and acceptable to the desired identity of the self-­as-narrator. In the case of these former terrorists, the desired identity is not one that erases the memory of their deeds, (as happens in the stories of the previous group of perpetrators) in order to deflect blame away from themselves. Rather, their desired identity is that of a perpetrator redeemed by the physical and psychological suffering experienced during the prison years and, where appropriate, also by the personal traumas experienced prior to – and partly accounting for – their turn to violence. At the same time the new identity as perpetrator-­cum-victim is presented as dialogic rather than monologic, since it constructs the former terrorists as people who have experienced for themselves what it means to inflict physical and psychological violence upon another human being and can now express pain and suffering almost on a par to the plight of their victims. As Glynn (2009a, p. 14) poignantly stated in her analysis of some of the memoirs by extreme-­leftwing Italian female terrorists: ‘trauma silences the perpetrator as perpetrator so that the perpetrator’s trauma may be expressed only through the voice of the victim’. However, as Glynn argues, while on the one hand these stories can potentially lead to ‘a positive encounter between victim and perpetrator’ (p. 15), on the other they have disturbing implications, since they might also be read as ‘a form of exploitation of the voice of the victim on the part of the perpetrator’ (p. 15). As well as constructing the self-­as-victim, the narrators of this second type of memoir also endeavour to salvage some degree of self-­dignity from their involvement in terrorism as perpetrators, as we saw in Chapter 6. They put forward a plea for recognition of the unselfish ideals of the ‘common good’ that spurred them into (misguided) action. In so doing they try to separate their moral self from the deeds they performed. As noted in a recent report on violent crime offenders, In general, many offenders appear to be concerned to argue that, despite their actions, they are not “violent people”, indicating a need to distance themselves from the violent acts in which they were involved and preserve a sense of self separate from the brutality of their actions. (Human Sciences Research Council 2008, p. 8) In short, in this second group of memoirs by former terrorists, story-­telling is primarily an individualized act, for a number of reasons. First, as we saw in Chapter 6, because the narrators have gone through a process of discarding the mental layers that provided justification for political violence, among which they identify exclusive allegiance and loyalty to a collective group as well as ideology as the main culprits. Their ‘return journey’, therefore, has been a journey from the collective to the individual and from impersonal ideals to personal sentiments. Second, as former terrorist Cavallina explained (see Chapter 6), because they feel that it is not their role to tell politicized stories. Most of them nowadays are involved in social work, mainly dealing with organizations and projects

The legacy of terrorism   203 c­ oncerning ex-­prisoners, often sponsored by the Catholic Church. While this is in part due to the role of Church organizations in the social re-­integration of former terrorists, as discussed in Chapter 3, it also represents a voluntary choice on their part to prioritize engagement in civil society. Indeed, many former terrorists in this group have at times taken on a public role not on the basis of what they used to be, but as spokepersons of the voluntary organizations they work for (even though this role has often been severely criticized by some of the victims). The main exceptions are Laura Braghetti and Francesca Mambro, who have spoken out on the latter’s innocence in relation to the Bologna bombing massacre, and in so doing have challenged the ‘politicized’ nature of the guilty verdict reached by the judiciary in relation to Mambro herself, as well as Valerio Fioravanti and Luigi Ciavardini. Finally, given that many of these former terrorists have rebuilt their personal lives, and in many cases also started a family since being released from prison, their memoirs represent an attempt to negotiate their re-­entry into society with a view to leading a ‘normal’ life. This is also linked to the realization on their part, as was seen in the case of Braghetti and Mambro, that they sacrificed many years of their lives to the altar of an obsessive and exclusive political ideology and project, renouncing the everyday pastimes and pleasures enjoyed by ‘ordinary’ people. Glynn (2009a, p. 9) perceptively pointed out that quite a few female terrorists have tended to write their memoirs in co-­authorship, with the co-­authors acting as ‘confessional mediators’ and thus reinterpreting the perpetrators’ texts in order ‘to attest [their] personal conversion and rehabilitation’. Her remarks also indicate that the audience of these texts is not political, as in the case of the former memoirs, but is constituted by the general public. As seen in Chapter 6, in fact, Braghetti and Mambro explicitly claimed in their 1995 joint book that the audience they wished to address was made up of those who used to be their ‘enemies’, as opposed to their ‘comrades’. It is also the case that many of the former terrorists in this category have generally shown themselves more ready to grant interviews to academics and scholars than the previous group. This is in line with their desire to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of, and to engage in a dialogue with, society. As Nadia Mantovani and Francesca Mambro stated in their interviews (see Chapter 6), their dialogic attitude was also deeply stimulated by their relationship with their daughters and the need to respond to the latter’s questioning about their own past. Whereas the first group of memoirs are heavily politicized, therefore, this second group prioritizes personal and psychological healing. Going back to the dilemma, as outlined by Enns, between reconciliation as political transformation and democratic renewal and reconciliation as an ‘ethical’ project focusing on individualized story-­telling of trauma and suffering, it seems clear that what the second group of perpetrator narratives has to offer to the victims and to society is a dialogue aimed at reconciliation through mutual personal healing. Thus, Bonisoli, as we saw, expressed his view of reconciliation in terms of an extended dialogue between victims, perpetrators-­cum-victims and society, in which the

204   After terrorism victims and perpetrators-­cum-victims can achieve personal healing through recounting their pain and suffering and simultaneously promote social healing through the emblematic and exemplary nature of their stories.

Victims’ story-­telling as ‘survivor mission’ The Italian victims of terrorism, as we saw in Chapter 7, overwhelmingly tell politicized stories about a wider system of injustice. They explicitly acknowledge that their act of telling is a challenge to the system, so much so that many of them claim to have been marginalized and ‘silenced’ over the years, as their voices were unwelcome to the state and at times even to society. The trauma they suffered led many of them to embrace a ‘survivor mission’, which explains why they were able to turn into ‘accidental activists’ for truth and justice, attributing a public and social meaning to these concepts rather than understanding them only in relation to their own specific cases. Truth, in particular, as seen in Chapter 7, for many victims takes on a transformative meaning, in the conviction that the recovery of the truth must lead to its wider public acknowledgement and consequently to new types of state and political institutions where the principles of transparency, legitimacy and accountability are openly upheld and cherished. From this point of view the victims’ stories can also be considered counter-­ memories, albeit from the opposite standpoint when compared to the first group of former terrorists’ memoirs. The latter, in fact, construct a counter-­memory for the benefit of sub-­national ideological groups, made up of radical and revolutionary elements on the extreme right and the extreme left, and in so doing actually connive with the state’s mainstream strategy of amnesia, since the lack of truth regarding the role of the state in terrorism lends itself to their uncompromising argumentations. By contrast, the victims construct a counter-­memory that aims at reforming the state and the political institutions to the benefit of all citizens in an attempt to reshape them in accordance to an ideal type of democracy. In so doing they expose and challenge the dominant strategy of amnesia. According to Glynn (2011), the victims’ stories are told in response to the terrorists’ own memoirs, but they tend to constitute ‘resistance narratives’, rather than dialogic contributions: Their emergence in the very recent past necessitates that they be seen to respond to the many published interviews, memoirs and autobiographies by former terrorists, and to constitute a kind of ‘talking back’ to such texts in the terms proposed by bell hooks. In her formulation, talking back is a form of ‘true speaking’ which constitutes ‘an act of resistance, a political gesture that challenges the politics of domination that would render [the oppressed] nameless and voiceless’. The victims, therefore, see themselves as the oppressed and the perpetrators as the oppressors not only in the context of the past, but of the present as well. The

The legacy of terrorism   205 state, in turn, is seen as having sided with the oppressors in the past, for its own political ends, and continuing to do so in the present, through a mutual ‘pact of silence’. In this context the victims cannot give in to the plea of those former terrorists who present themselves as perpetrators-­cum-victims and seek social re-­ integration through public recognition of their suffering and remorse. There have been, however, a few notable exceptions. One of these cases is emblematic for understanding the current situation. It concerns a recent encounter and dialogue between Agnese Moro and Franco Bonisoli, one of the members of the Red Brigades’ command responsible for kidnapping her father and killing his five bodyguards. After a series of private meetings lasting over a year, they agreed to appear together at a public venue in Genoa on 11 July 2011. On a personal level it seemed that their dialogue had been mutually beneficial. Agnese Moro was reported as stating that ‘being with him gives me something. There is a humanity that unites us. We are two sides of the same coin’. Franco Bonisoli, in turn, declared that he still felt remorse and pain for what he had done to his victims and their relatives, and that he felt it was his responsibility and duty ‘to alleviate their suffering at least in part’. It would seem from this encounter and from the statements of the two protagonists that ‘narratives of victimhood’ can indeed contribute to a sense of ‘unity across the divide’, as advocated by Brewer (2006). In contrast to a society and a state that appear to favour amnesia, the victims and relatives of the victims and some of the former terrorists continue to experience pain and suffering and are condemned constantly to remember and relive the past. The victims find some relief to their plight in embracing a survivor mission, but sharing their grief with other victims and, at times, also with perpetrators, can have some healing effects. Yet the same episode demonstrates that this was an encounter at the level of emotion, rather than a dialogue between different elaborations of the past. In fact, during their public meeting, while Agnese Moro recalled the passive role as bystander played by society in the face of terrorism, and the responsibilities of the political parties, the media and intellectuals in allowing her father to die, Bonisoli restated the view, commonly held by most former terrorists, that, while the methods they had adopted were profoundly wrong, the values that had inspired them remained valid. Bonisoli compared the terrorists to ‘missionaries’ who had mistakenly believed they could act for the public good through violence (La Repubblica, 7 November 2011). Hence both victim and perpetrator re­affirmed their respective positions with regards to the truth even while reaching out to each other on a personal level.

Conclusion The above example of an encounter between victim and perpetrator seems to point towards a clear-­cut division between an approach to reconciliation through individualized stories of grief and suffering, and an approach to reconciliation that prioritizes the exposure of a system of injustice and demands political transformation. The former seems to be achievable in Italy today, even though it is

206   After terrorism very unlikely that it will ever concern a large number of victims and perpetrators. Yet pursuing this path would seem to imply that each side, and especially the victim, would need to acknowledge the other’s truth without questioning or probing it. It is possible, however, to view this example as the beginning of a new development rather than as the final outcome of a series of private meetings between two individuals. It is possible, therefore, that an ‘ethical’ approach to reconciliation should be seen as forming the basis for creating trust and emotive empathy between victims and perpetrators upon which a wider process of truth-­telling can be promoted. What this wider process might consist of is as yet unclear. However, various prominent public figures have advocated some form of truth commission as a possible way forward, including the former chair of the Parliamentary Commission on the Massacres, Giovanni Pellegrino, and Guido Salvini, the judge whose investigations led to a new cycle of trials for the Milan and Brescia bombing massacres. Recently, a lawyer, Giulio Vasaturo, reproposed the formation of a truth commission, made up of historians, scholars and intellectuals, which would have access to all state archives and would promote a process of ‘social mediation that would involve all the protagonists in the history of Italian terrorism (through an ad hoc commission) and the highest institutional bodies (through the figure of the President of the Republic)’ (2007, p. 21). Vasaturo put forward his proposal in response to the victims’ own demands but also in order to satisfy ‘the civic conscience of our country’ (2007, p. 7). Even more recently, Giovanni Moro, son of Aldo Moro, called for a variety of actors, including the perpetrators, the state and the media, to take part in a wide process of truth-­telling. As he clarified, this process necessitated the following conditions: The development of historical research; a full assumption of responsibility on the part of the media; the decision to exercise real discontinuity with the past on the part of the political class; a generalized commitment by the institutions to actively support and not to boycott efforts at memory building; a readiness to overcome silences, omissions and lies on the part of all the protagonists of that period; the construction of an environment favourable to the realization of these aims among Italian society. (Moro 2010, p. 250) Giovanni Moro went on to state that the silence of the state and the political class in the debate on the 1970s constituted a ‘missed chance’ as it ‘legitimates and supports a lack of clarification on events that still poison public life’ whereas truth-­telling on their part ‘could have formed the basis for a new pact of trust between those who govern and those who are governed’. Hence, in his view, ‘the construction of the memory of the 1970s carries with it the possibility of defining the identity of Italian democracy for tomorrow and after’ (p. 250). To conclude, if the Italian case, as was argued in Chapter 5, saw a conflict in which human rights violations were perpetrated both by left- and right-­wing

The legacy of terrorism   207 t­errorists and by the state itself, reconciliation should not be restricted to largely individualized encounters and attempts at dialogue between victims and perpetrators. The state-­as-perpetrator necessitates reconciliation between political institutions and the citizenry, and hence a wider process of truth-­telling, truth acknowledgement and democracy-­building. This is what the victims’ ‘survivor mission’ stands for. While it also represents a way in which the victims attempt to achieve personal healing, it nevertheless transcends their identity as ‘victims’ and allows them to put themselves forward as ‘citizens’ who tell broader stories of societal transformation and democratic renewal. By doing this the victims themselves establish an indissoluble link between an ‘ethical’ and a political-­ transformative approach to reconciliation.

Conclusion Italy in comparative perspective

Ending terrorism: the role of imprisonment and social re-­integration As discussed in this book, ending terrorism requires that the state pursues both a conciliation and a reconciliation process (Renner and Spencer 2011, pp. 8–13). While conciliation comprises those measures aimed at bringing an end to the violence, including engaging in negotiations with the terrorists, granting political concessions and legislating for an early release of combatants from prison, and/ or amnesty, ‘reconciliation measures operate on different levels of society and use individuals, groups or collective memory as the medium for societal reconciliation’. Even though reconciliation is aimed primarily at the victims rather than perpetrators, nevertheless a first step towards reconciliation would involve ‘the reintegration of former “terrorists” into society’ which would offer them ‘a possibility of overcoming individual isolation and personal trauma’ (pp. 12–13). Both processes in turn require that terrorists are prepared to renounce violence and accept engagement in the democratic process. The Italian case would seem to indicate that steps towards conciliation in the shape of amnesty provisions and early release from prison were taken by the state in ways that have often been considered pioneering in the scholarly literature. Reconciliation in the shape of the social re-­integration of former terrorists also characterized the end of terrorism in Italy, through both state measures and Church initiatives. The former included a reform of the prison system and the Gozzini law in the 1980s, while the latter aimed at re-­integrating the former terrorists into society through their involvement in social work projects run by voluntary, mainly Catholic, associations. From the terrorists’ perspective, as shown in this book, the process of disengagement and their approach to conciliation owed much to their experience of imprisonment. While serving prison sentences, in fact, many of them went through an early phase of increased radicalization and confrontation which was followed by a later phase in which self-­reflection and disillusionment gradually led them to establish a dialogue and new relationships with family members as well as with representatives of the Church, the judiciary, the political and the intellectual class.

Conclusion   209 The way terrorism ended in Italy shows some similarity with the case of Northern Ireland, beyond the obvious difference that in Italy terrorism did not involve two directly antagonistic communities but rather various armed groups fighting against the state (with the exception of the bombing massacres as part of the so-­called ‘strategy of tension’) and thus the country did not engage in a formal ‘peace process’. In particular, imprisonment appears to have played a crucial role in ending terrorism in Northern Ireland, too, as has recently been demonstrated by an important new study based on 147 interviews with former republican and loyalist prisoners in Northern Ireland, carried out between 2006 and 2008 (Shirlow et al. 2010). Addressing the scant exploration of this issue in the scholarly literature on the Troubles, in contrast to the attention paid to state repressive and legislative measures or to government and party strategies, the study by Shirlow et al. shows that there was a comparable process of early re-­ engagement and late disengagement in the prisons. As in Italy, in fact, the initial reaction among prisoners was to consider their environment as an ‘alternative battleground’, hence ‘confronting the authorities and flouting their rules was a way of demonstrating that the prisoners could not be broken by British pressure’ (Shirlow et al. 2010, p. 76). Similarly to Italy, the fighting involved ‘constant challenges to prison rules and procedures [which] were a way of checking the power of the prison authorities and, by extension, undermining their legitimacy’ (p.  76), culminating in the 1982 hunger strikes. Prison staff were intimidated physically and psychologically and occasionally even murdered (Bates-­Gaston 2003, pp. 240–7). Escape from prison was also a main preoccupation and was often successfully carried out. In Northern Ireland, as in Italy, prisons also provided terrorist groups with an important symbolic resource, as they were able to portray their imprisoned comrades as victims of a vindictive and violent state which did not hesitate to use beatings and even torture in defiance of human rights conventions. As Shirlow et al. (2010, p. 87) state: The first years of imprisonment provided a rich array of images of both suffering and resistance that could be used as emblems of the cause being fought. Prisoners were presented by their groups as victims and martyrs, but also as resilient and committed to continuing activism. Similarly to Italy, during this early phase there were also episodes of brutal acts of violence among prisoners themselves, often linked to a perceived weakness or even betrayal on the part of some ‘comrades’, as well as disagreements over the leadership’s strategy. Yet these did not have the effect of breaking the terrorists’ collective resistance as the latter was ‘based upon more than intra-­prisoner domination and violence’ (McEvoy et al. 2004, p. 653). Group solidarity and support, discipline and obedience also played an important role: ‘Strong support from colleagues was a very positive mechanism for helping the paramilitary prisoners to cope. . . . Acting in unison meant strength of discipline and achieved results. There was no room for independent or divergent thinking’ (Bates-­Gaston 2003, pp. 250–1).

210   Conclusion Gradually, however, the prisons became sites for reflection and debate at both an individual and a collective level. Similarly to the Italian case, albeit to a lesser extent, the prospect of long prison sentences, accompanied by a desire for a ‘normal’ life, was cited by former prisoners as a psychological factor accounting for their support for disengagement and a ceasefire (Shirlow et al. 2010, p. 104). A growing realization of the impossibility of military victory was another important factor at a collective level, as was debate among prisoners. Furthermore, imprisoned combatants from both the republican and the loyalist sides came into contact with one another in the prisons and this contributed to a dialogue between them (Dwyer 2012, pp. 284–5). Surprisingly, however, in Northern Ireland the role of the Church appears to have been minimal, as most prisoners disregarded its influence: ‘few former prisoners cite the Catholic Church as a crucial element in their political formation at any stage during the conflict’ (Shirlow et al. 2010, p. 95). Finally, in Northern Ireland as in Italy, few former terrorists who were released from prison reoffended, in stark contrast to non-­political prisoners. Many have taken up social and community work and activism upon their release. While in Italy the role of the Church has been crucial in this respect, in Northern Ireland it has been the state which has provided funding for community projects and for training former prisoners to undertake community work, thereby promoting their social integration. Despite early misgivings about the security risk this would pose to local communities, it was found that former imprisoned terrorists played a significant role in promoting peaceful social transformation (McEvoy and Shirlow 2009). Conversely, failure to re-­integrate former republican combatants into society contributed to their joining dissident paramilitary organizations (Ferguson 2011). The Italian and Northern Irish cases fully support the findings of the policy report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR 2010), discussed in Chapter 1, confirming the crucial role played by prisons in ‘reversing the process of radicalization and undermining terrorist campaigns on the outside’ (p. 8). However, the way terrorism has come to an end in both countries also indicates that, with the exception of the social re-­integration of former prisoners, a process of ‘reconciliation proper’ has not been embarked upon and that the preferred strategy by the political class and the government has been one of collective amnesia. Once again, the reasons for this decision present some similarities, beyond the intrinsic differences between the two cases. In fact, despite the greater importance attributed to a victim-­centred reconciliation process in the current age, and the influence this new thinking has had on the approach to reconciliation in Northern Ireland in ways that did not happen in Italy, what the two cases seem to have in common is a similar desire to promote forgetfulness and the avoidance of truth-­telling. This issue will be explored in the next section, which also considers the Italian case in comparison to Spain.

Conclusion   211

Reconciliation through amnesia In recent decades countries emerging from a bloody civil war or political terrorism have increasingly opted to confront these traumatic events through a process of remembering rather than forgetting. Indeed, there appears to be a growing imperative, particularly for democratic societies, to deal with the violence of the past through a process of remembering and truth-­telling. According to Kirmayer, Trauma shared by a whole community creates a potential public space for retelling. If a community agrees traumatic events occurred and weaves this fact into its identity, then collective memory survives and individual memory can find a place (albeit transformed) within that landscape. (1996, p. 190) Yet across Europe a number of democratic countries, faced with the legacy of protracted terrorism and/or political violence, have opted not to weave certain past traumatic events into their identity and favoured instead an approach based on collective amnesia, often accompanied by amnesty. The Spanish case of the move to democracy after the death of Francisco Franco in 1975 offers a striking example of former political enemies choosing to work together to build a new system on the foundations of a tacit agreement not to rake over the past in relation to the 1936 civil war. In Northern Ireland, too, there was a general agreement that an official truth recovery process should not be pursued for fear that it could increase political tensions and lead to a revival of sectarianism. In addition a truth recovery process would have exposed the activities of the (British) state in Northern Ireland and undermined its impartial standing. The Italian example discussed in this book presents some similarities to the previous cases insofar as the country went through a period of violent conflict and political terrorism from the late 1960s to the early 1980s which was not followed by a full truth recovery process about past crimes and the achievement of full justice through the courts. The state, in turn, opted for a strategy of ‘amnesia’ which has proved enduring despite the transition from a First to a Second Republic since 1992. In Spain and Italy the political choice to prioritize pacification and to forget and even conceal the traumatic past has had the effect of marginalizing, or indeed actively suppressing, the stories and memories of the first generation victims. In Italy it was more a case of marginalization. In the 1980s, as discussed in this book, former terrorists became integrated into society and political institutions but this came at the expense of the needs of the victims and their relatives for truth and justice as well as for proper acts of commemoration. Society, meanwhile, seemed determined to forget and move on. In Spain we can talk of active suppression of the victims’ stories which persisted after the fall of Franco. From the mid-­1970s former Francoists played a role in the political system while perpetrators of crimes were not pursued. A few attempts by the relatives of the victims to undertake exhumations in the late 1970s met with the hostility of the

212   Conclusion political class and the indifference of society (De Mata 2008), the latter reflecting the long-­standing construction of republicans as culpable rebels and dangerous Communists rather than victims. A persisting climate of fear, especially at local level, also prevented the relatives of the victims from speaking out. As Aleida Assmann (2012, p.  65) remarked ‘The memories of the Republicans, which were granted no space in society, became encapsulated in unofficial and local counter-­memories of marginalized groups and families’. In Northern Ireland, however, while an official truth recovery process has not taken place, there has been a proliferation of grass-­roots, bottom-­up practices of remembrance and truth-­telling which have allowed the victims to speak up. To borrow concepts developed by Jan Assmann (1995 and 2008), grass-­roots activists help produce ‘communicative memory’; that is, memory shared directly by a particular group of people. In relation to post-­conflict reconciliation, as discussed in the Introduction to Part II, there are experts who advocate healing precisely through the victims being able openly to recount their experiences of suffering and grief as well as through practices of remembrance and commemoration. Communicative memory, however, cannot be seen as a substitute for institutionalized and widely acknowledged ‘cultural memory’, which transcends a specific group or generation. According to Jan Assmann, ‘the concept of cultural memory comprises that body of reusable texts, images, and rituals specific to each society in each epoch whose “cultivation” serves to stabilize and convey that society’s self-­image’ (Assmann 1995, p. 132). Communicative memory can contribute to the construction of cultural memory, yet the Northern Ireland case tells us that even when we witness a proliferation of grass-­roots memory groups, their stories cannot reach the public and political sphere without the support of the state and of the wider society. As Meyer (2008, p.  178) argued, political intervention is crucial in this respect, as ‘the transformation from communicative into cultural memory evokes an increased need for political decision-­making’. Yet this is precisely what is missing when the state opts for amnesia. In short, as Dawson (2005, p. 155) remarked in relation to Northern Ireland the memory of the past that arises from below in this way is often articulated ‘under extreme pressures and privations’, is ‘silence[d] and marginalize[d]’ and ‘held to the level of private remembrance’ – that is, actively kept private, or privatized – by hegemonic public narratives, in particular those instituted publicly from above by the state. The denial of responsibility by state agencies for abuses of power and injustices committed by its forces works to privatize in this way, as a strategy of legitimation that also functions as a weapon of psychological warfare. As we saw in Chapter 7 with the testimonies of Sergio Lenci and others, Italian first generation victims experienced extreme isolation both at the societal and at the political level. Similarly to the experience of Italian victims of terrorism, victims in Northern Ireland also discovered that there was a lack of will to listen to and acknowledge the victims’ stories on the part of society and of the political

Conclusion   213 class (McCord 2008; McKay 2008; Smyth and Fay 2000; Wilson 2005). Emblematic in this respect is the story of Michael Gallagher, who lost his son in the Omagh bomb attack carried out in Northern Ireland on 15 August 1998. Twenty-­nine people died as a result of the attack and approximately 220 people were injured. His story, which appears on the website Shared Troubles, dates from 2005. In his story he recalls the setting up of the Omagh Victims’ Support Group in the following terms: After the funerals, there was a number of us that met up and we started to have ad hoc meetings. . . . There wasn’t a lot of preparation, it happened quite quickly and at that stage, there was still a lot of people in hospital. But, we had good support and it was then that the Support Group was formed. We went on to meet regularly and it’s been a long stormy road. Then there was the Omagh Fund that was set up to distribute the charity where we felt we wanted to take control in our own lives again. We didn’t want people out there talking about us and our lives. We wanted to be part of that, and I think right up to the eve of the anniversary seven years on, we still want to be part of the community. But we feel like the community is treating us like lepers, as if the bomb happened and it’s gone away, and we’re going to carry on in our own little clique. It’s like we are still fighting from the outside to become part of this bigger family. It’s as if in some ways they’re frightened, as if they don’t know how to deal with it. Like Lenci, therefore, Gallagher discovered that society wanted to move on and forget and that, though he was part of a support group, the group itself was isolated and even excluded from the rest of the community. These two stories indicate that it is not always the case that silence is a key mechanism by which trauma in one generation of victims is communicated to the next because people who have suffered political violence cannot bring themselves – or may be unable – to tell a sequential narrative of the ordeal. Trauma theory has been very important in informing Holocaust studies, as it has been shown that survivors of the Holocaust have been unable to narrate what they went through, both because, as Felman and Laub argued (1992), they had lost the capacity to bear witness to themselves and because of what van Alphen (1999) has termed a ‘semiotic incapacity’ on their part to represent the events. However, a lack of interlocutors and the inability to reach the public sphere have also been shown to have been crucial factors in preventing many Holocaust survivors from speaking out (Waxman 2006; Wieviorka 2006). This is also the case in countries emerging from a bloody civil war or political terrorism, where the victims’ inability to retell appears to indicate above all that they experience a lack of willing interlocutors and a hostile social and political environment. As Labanyi (2009, p. 28) stated with reference to Spain, ‘An absence of narration does not necessarily mean the existence of a traumatic block, though it may well indicate the existence of some kind of coercion or the lack of adequate conditions for the mem­ ory’s reception by others’.

214   Conclusion In these contexts, that is to say in the absence of a political will to listen to and to acknowledge the victims’ narratives, the transformation of communicative into cultural memory requires another type of agency. As Dawson (2005, p. 154) argues These ‘shared/common memories’ circulate within relatively ‘private’ social arenas and recognition remains restricted and contained within the group itself. In order to secure more extensive public recognition, the members of a face-­to-face social group must create agencies capable of recasting its narratives into a new, integrated collective form and projecting this into a ‘public arena’ where it speaks to others beyond the immediate circle of memory. As argued in Chapter 7, the most important agencies able to reach out beyond the immediate circle of memory are the associations of the victims. Thus, in Italy, as we saw, various associations of victims, still in existence more than 40 years after the first act of terrorism, have promoted public acts of remembrance and commemoration, campaigned for truth and justice and actively engaged in the judicial process. Some first generation victims, despite their feelings of isolation and marginalization, have been able to take upon themselves the task of setting up an association and have embraced a ‘survivor mission’, as discussed in Chapters 7 and 8 and also shown by the example of Michael Gallagher. Furthermore, in Italy, second generation victims have in recent years recounted the stories of their own and their families’ suffering and pressed agents of the state and former perpetrators to reveal the truth. Similarly to Italy, victims’ associations in Spain have stood at the forefront of a campaign for reopening a public debate on violence in the Civil War, after a silence that had lasted for six decades. These associations are often run by the grandchildren of Franco’s victims and work to identify the graves of their grandparents, honour their memory and advocate for truth and justice. The parallels between these two cases are revealing in terms of the long-­term consequences of stopping short at conciliation and then not proceeding to reconciliation, especially as regards the deep scars upon the lives of those left without truth and justice. There are also parallels with the ways in which an active civil society can help overcome the reluctance of state officials to open up an exam­ ination of the past. Accordingly, like Spain and Italy, Northern Ireland could also encounter great obstacles on the road to reconciliation, especially in the case where sectarian counter-­memories continue to flourish and are accompanied by demands for truth and justice from the second and third generation. However, it is also the case that the British state has gone further than its Italian and Spanish counterparts in publicly acknowledging the truth concerning its past role in the violence. An example of this can be found in the outcome of the Saville report on the events of 30 January 1972, when 13 marchers at a civil rights demonstration in Londonderry were shot dead by British paratroopers. The Saville inquiry started in 1998 and ended in 2004. It established that the soldiers had not given

Conclusion   215 warning before opening fire, had shot dead some people who were trying to help those injured or dying, had not been threatened by the victims in any way, and had often lied about their actions. Following publication of the report, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, speaking in the House of Commons on 15 June 2010, delivered an official apology to the victims and declared unequivocally that the behaviour of the British Army had been wrong, and the killings had been ‘unjustified and unjustifiable’. This, therefore, would represent one of those truths that officially legitimize one version of past events, while discarding alternative versions as unfounded, and acknowledge the harm done to victims. Not surprisingly the families of the victims welcomed both the report and Cameron’s public statement. A more recent example concerns the case of Pat Finucane, a lawyer murdered by the paramilitary group the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) on 12 February 1989. A report by Desmond De Silva, released in December 2012, finally concluded that there had been ‘shocking levels’ of state collusion in his murder but ruled out any ‘overarching state conspiracy’. Prime Minister Cameron apologized to Finucane’s family on behalf of the state, even though both the report and his apology were felt by many, including Finucane’s close relatives, to have fallen short of the truth. Despite this public acknowledgement of unpalatable truths on the part of the prime minister, however, the British state has opposed the formation of a truth commission in Northern Ireland, thus signalling its overall intention of depoliticizing the experience of victimhood (Hackett and Rolston 2009, p. 358).

Challenging amnesia through victims’ postmemory First generation victims who embrace a survivor mission are especially in a minority, as they have to face isolation and hostility, if not fear and repression. They often encounter numerous obstacles in telling their stories and in finding an audience. Many of the victims and their closest relatives needed to forget what had happened in order to try and rebuild their lives; regaining their health could have been jeopardized by constantly reliving the emotions experienced both at the time of their attack and in the difficult aftermath. They also had to think about their families and resume work. They may also have had to testify in a trial against the perpetrators – a huge ordeal in itself. Many found that society wanted to move on and forget, and gradually they learned not to talk about their terrible experiences. Sometimes it is only after many years that some of the victims or relatives of the victims have been stirred to address the public with their stories and to take on a survivor mission. When they do speak out, through publishing their own memoirs, talking to the media or to researchers, or as part of grass-­roots projects, it is possible to identify common themes in their narratives which transcend national barriers, as the cases of Italy and Northern Ireland show. A theme that is common among survivors is the need to re-­embody their lived experiences of physical and psychological pain, in contrast to the perpetrators’ dominant representations of their victims as dehumanized targets and symbols of the enemy. The survivors also

216   Conclusion talk of the impossibility of erasing from their memory the images of the bloody attacks they suffered or witnessed. As Cappelletto discovered researching the stories of Italian survivors of Nazi massacres (2003, p. 251), ‘In the survivors’ accounts, seeing things as they saw them at the time is a crucial dimension of the narration. The emotional tone of memory appears to be crystallized in the visual dimension of the atrocities’. The majority are also politicized stories in which the theme of revictimization emerges strongly. Revictimization refers to the plight of victims when their needs and rights, particularly the right to justice, are not addressed. Like the examples of Lenci and Gallagher indicated, all survivors contend that, in the aftermath of the attack they survived, they were left in a condition of extreme isolation within society and abandoned by the state. Revictimization also means having witnessed the same state behave very differently towards the terrorists in prison, with lenient sentences, an emphasis on social re-­ integration and rehabilitation and a will to forget the past. As a victim from Northern Ireland stated: ‘The government had put in place drop-­in centres for ex-­prisoners, but for the ordinary decent law-­abiding citizen, who became a victim, there was nothing’ (Dillenburger et al. 2008, p. 1319). This is echoed by many Italian victims, as discussed in Chapter 7. Victimization and revictimization mean that for many survivors, as well as spouses and older siblings of victims, the dominant feeling over a prolonged period is one of rage. While for some this feeling is what spurs them to engage in the wider world, for many others it is an important factor in preventing them from telling their stories. As Ian Gallagher, the brother of Aiden, victim of the Omagh bombing, recalled ‘I felt overcome by anger. . . . I was angry with God, with everything and everyone’. Participating and campaigning for a victims’ association helped him control and eventually overcome his anger. Similar stories were told by Italian relatives, even though others cited anger to explain why they were unable to get involved in the work of victims’ associations, in commemorative ceremonies or even in judicial proceedings. As concerns truth and justice, the general consensus among first generation narrators is that neither has been achieved and that the truth that has emerged from the judicial trials is only a partial truth. The state is seen as upholding a convenient version of the past and being fearful of the truth emerging in the open. As a relative of a victim from Northern Ireland remarked, ‘I think, in many ways, you lose faith in democracy. The people who killed my brother were never brought to justice. The democratic system persecuted my sister-­in-law rather than help her’ (Dillenburger et al. 2008, p.  1318). Another one stated ‘no one was charged with those crimes thanks to corrupt practices by officers in the Special Branch’ (McCord 2008, p.  xi). This sentiment echoes the views of an Italian victim of terrorism, who stated: ‘the state has not searched and does not search for the truth, and in many cases has concealed it’ (Fasanella and Grippo 2006, p. 101). While all the stories are concerned with issues of truth and justice, some narrators are prepared to prioritize truth over (retributive) justice or, rather, they define truth as a form of justice in itself. Furthermore, for some narrators truth takes on a ‘transformative value’ and is linked to democracy. By bringing

Conclusion   217 out the truth the democratic state indicates that it is able to renew and re-­ establish itself on a new basis. Yet first generation victims have also often to contend with a growing sense of disillusionment and wariness as concerns the state’s role in this respect, as we saw in Chapter 7. In Northern Ireland, too, these feelings are widespread among first generation victims. Thus Michael Gallagher’s story is the tale of a dogged struggle to obtain truth and justice in the face of obstruction from both the British and the Irish states, until it was officially acknowledged that the Omagh bombing had been carried out by terrorists who had collaborated with the British police. As Gallagher (2012) remarked: ‘I thought I would never be involved in this. The Omagh Support Group had to pursue this by themselves. Justice and Truth are the cornerstones of democracy and should be the function of the state, not left to the victims’. Second generation and even third generation victims who are prepared to address the public with their stories are more numerous, as the children and grandchildren of those who witnessed and suffered violent traumatic events feel the need to counteract the loss of memory caused both by the trauma and by the wider social and political reaction to it. The concept of post-­memory, coined by Marianne Hirsch (2008), helps us understand the behaviour of the children and grandchildren of the victims. Post-­memory ‘describes the relationship that the generation after those who witnessed cultural or collective trauma bears to the experiences of those who came before, experiences that they “remember” only by means of the stories, images, and behaviors among which they grew up’ (p. 106). Post-­memory’s connection to the past is thus not actually mediated by recall but by imaginative investment, projection and creation. Post-­memorial work, as Hirsch states, ‘strives to reactivate and reembody more distant . . . memorial structures by reinvesting them with resonant individual and familial forms of mediation and aesthetic expression’ (p. 111). The relevance of this concept to second and third generation memory work in societies which show a fracturing of memory transfer due to traumatic events can be seen in relation to the cases of Italy, Northern Ireland and Spain. As Layla Renshaw has argued in Spain, the process of exhumation that has resulted from the campaigning and demands of the victims’ associations, led by the grandchildren of republican victims of the civil war has focused precisely on ‘re-­ conferring identities on the human remains exposed during exhumation’. The process, she states, serves as a premise, or a catalyst, for initiating new conversations and reflections upon the dead, emphasizing their individuality. The investigative process also triggers a gathering-­in of other material traces pertaining to the dead, such as photographs, letters, documents and clothing. (Renshaw 2010, p. 461) In Italy, the increasingly numerous memoirs written by the children of the victims of terrorism similarly adopt a personal and intimate perspective, focusing on the victims both as individuals and as people with strong affective ties and similarly

218   Conclusion involve an investigative process, aimed at rediscovering someone they do not personally remember. Two poignant cases are those of Benedetta Tobagi and Giampaolo Mattei, analysed in Chapter 7. In Northern Ireland numerous grass-­roots events have focused on remembering individual victims, telling their stories, showing their photographs, publishing interviews with survivors and relatives. Attention has been paid to the so-­called forgotten victims and massacres, and efforts made to redress a situation where many victims had escaped media attention or deemed to have been responsible for their own death. A theme shared by post-­memory work among second generation victims concerns the wider, long-­term repercussions of political violence upon the bereft members of the family, in some cases leading to further deaths due to depression, loss of will to live, even suicide. They often recall the torment and suffering of their grieving parent or parents, made so much worse by their inability to talk, the condition of total isolation their families endured after the attack, and the misinformation and even slander that circulated about the victims. They remember leading a restricted childhood because their parent or parents were always afraid of what would happen to them. Others recall the anguish of family members who died without being able to recover the bodies of their murdered relatives. This is one of the reasons spurring the grandchildren of Spanish republican victims to continue the search after six decades. As Augustin Fernandez, whose grandmother was killed by Francoist forces in Spain in 1936, stated: ‘My father died with the pain of never having recovered his mother’s corpse’. As Ceraso (2006–7, p. 221) argued, post-­memory narratives require the reader to be more active. . . . [T]he reader must identify with the victim or witness to be affected; they must actually be implicated in the trauma to understand and empathize. For a transmission of trauma/history to happen, then, the reader must be affected enough by the traumatic event being represented to consider it meaningful and relevant. From this perspective the affective and familial forms of post-­memory narratives are especially apt to promote the identification of the reader with the trauma. Yet we would also argue that, in the need to counteract and replace memory loss due to amnesia and the suppression of history, post-­memory is also concerned with the transformation of communicative into cultural memory, and with reaching the public and political sphere. To this end it demands a political will to acknowledge the victims’ narratives and promote a wider process of truth-­telling. In their stories, similarly to the stories of those first generation victims who are able to adopt a survivor’s mission, the concepts of truth, justice and democracy figure prominently. However, whereas justice figures as the more important preoccupation among first generation victims, it is truth (together with democracy) that is primarily upheld and pursued by second and third generation victims. This is partly due to objective difficulty in obtaining justice many years after the event but it is also linked to the ways in which post-­memory relates to the wider

Conclusion   219 society and to the transformative value of truth in relation to democracy. In this context, second and third generation victims are especially likely to project themselves as active citizens rather than victims, and to participate in voluntary associations which both help promote the transgenerational transmission of memory beyond the immediate family and are able to secure more extensive public coverage by relating to the media and the political sphere. The Spanish case shows this very clearly. Here the process of exhumation aimed at identifying the bodies of republican victims of the Civil War, led by the victims’ grandchildren, has also become a platform for advocating a public debate and for demanding political intervention in the name of democracy and human rights. As Emilio Silva, founder of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, stated in 2011: ‘Our work is not only to look for the people, it’s also to open a debate, a public debate, about the past’. Indeed, in her study of the exhumation process in Spain, Renshaw (2011, p. 233) argued that the association founded by Silva had structured its demands around the ‘core values of democracy, tolerance and compromise’, constructing the republican victims primarily as ‘defenders of democracy’ and ‘conflating the Republican ideals of the 1930s with the core values of contemporary Spanish society’. The movement started by Silva and other grandchildren succeeded in putting pressure on the Zapatero government to approve the Law of Historical Memory in 2007, which sought for the first time to recognize Franco’s victims and provided for the removal of statues, plaques and other symbols of the regime from public buildings. Despite its achievements the law had shortcomings, as highlighted by Silva (2012): In the preamble to this law it is said that memory is a personal family matter as it was in my family, where my father would talk of these things with a low voice and with the windows shut. We received a reparatory certificate without proper reparation. The onus of evidence rests on the victims. So the law was insufficient. A year later, High Court Judge Balthasar Garzón proceeded to investigate the killings of republicans in the Spanish Civil War, a move that led to Garzón himself being put on trial. However, as Emilio Silva declared, the trial allowed second generation victims to speak up in public: ‘For the first time, these people can tell a court what the dictatorship inflicted on them’. In 2002 the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory also brought the issue to the UN Committee on Human Rights, asking it to recommend that Spain ‘end the discrimination that continues to affect surviving relatives of victims, by denying the right to truth and justice’ (Davis 2005, p.  873). In 2008 the UN requested Spain revoke the 1977 amnesty law and stated that amnesty could not apply to crimes against humanity. In short, post-­memory work strives to repair the memory ruptures due to amnesia and the repression of history both by implicating readers and listeners in the narrators’ familial and affective stories and by promoting a wider debate

220   Conclusion through reaching the public and political sphere, thus transforming communicative into cultural memory. At the same time, post-­memory is also preoccupied with effecting change at a societal and political level, aiming at reforming the state and the political institutions in an attempt to reshape them in accordance with an ‘ideal-­type’ democracy. In so doing post-­memory not only exposes and challenges the dominant strategy of amnesia, but tells a broader story of democratic and civic renewal.

Challenging amnesia through perpetrators’ stories Victims, however, are not alone in challenging amnesia. In both Italy and Northern Ireland former perpetrators have told, and continue to tell, their own stories, primarily in order to explain and justify their past involvement in violence. In order to do so the majority of their stories are framed by a master narrative and their narrators view themselves primarily from a group perspective. Hence, the narrators often tell the story in the first person plural, adopting a collective ‘we’ and making the group the protagonist of the narrative. As an IRA ex-­militant, speaking at a public debate in 2007 after a victim’s relative, Alan McBride, had given his testimony, stated: ‘Alan spoke as an individual. Republicans see themselves as a collective. This is a challenge for them – to tell personal stories and to hear them. They will find it difficult’ (McKay 2008, p. 230). As we saw in the Italian case, many former terrorists also find it difficult, even after all these years, to be able to tell personal stories. The starting point of these choral narratives is that the group-­as-protagonist is constructed as having been persecuted and victimized by powerful and oppressive forces. Recourse to violence is therefore justified by the need to defend a besieged community. As a former IRA terrorist stated, speaking at a public debate in 2007, ‘The UN recognizes that people have a right to take up arms if the level of oppression under which they are living is too great. Self-­defence is recognized in law’ (McKay 2008, p. 230). Similarly, a former loyalist terrorist wrote in his memoir: ‘I certainly didn’t want to grow up in a war zone. . . . I grew up in Protestant Belfast and that is what we believed and fought for. We laid everything on the line to protect our community from Republican attacks’ (Adair 2007, p.  XIV). These representations of violence echo the memoirs written by former Italian terrorists from both the left and the right analysed in Chapter 6. It goes without saying that these narrators refute the term ‘terrorism’ and replace it with the term ‘war’. As such, their stories are about military strategies and tactics, battles, conspiracies, betrayals, endurance and heroism. At times these memoirs adopt a military genre devoid of the wider historical and political context, but often the narrators insert and justify their stories of revolutionary combatants within a wider framework of structural and political oppression. The more sophisticated narrators, who tend to be the former leaders of terrorist groups, privilege the abstract-­political level of argumentation over the military one. By adopting war as the main explanatory context, former terrorists construct their identity as that of legitimate combatants and in turn are able to

Conclusion   221 c­ onstruct their victims as casualties, deploring their deaths but insisting they were inevitable. Where the narrators adopt a military genre, they deal with the victims in their stories by adopting the passive voice and using euphemisms to refer to specific acts of violence. The passive voice conceals the identity of the individual perpetrators – a device used even when it is clear that it is the narrator him/herself who carried out a certain deed – and reinstates a collective group at the centre of the story. In this way responsibility for acts of violence is lifted from the individual culprits and subsumed under their collective community of belonging, while victims continue to be dehumanized. In addition, the plight of other people who potentially fall under the category of ‘victim’ is simply dismissed, since the rules of war require that both traitors and spies deserve to be punished. The negative representation of ‘traitors’ is so powerful that in some cases it is even passively accepted by the victims and their relatives. Thus the widow of an IRA informer murdered by his previous comrades stated as a matter of fact that: ‘To be an informer is such an awful, awful thing in Catholic society and Irish society. To be an informer is the lowest of the low’ (Smyth and Fay 2000, p. 27). This group of narrators is not interested in telling what Rosello (2010) has termed ‘reparative narratives’ but in constructing counter-­memories which continue to serve a particular group. Their stories both challenge amnesia and thrive upon it. The status of victimhood they attribute to their community of belonging, in fact, depends on the continuing construction of partisan memories and on depicting the enemy in the blackest terms. This in turn is sustained by a context in which the past is not debated and the truth not sought or acknowledged. As such, these narrators cannot engage in a dialogue with the victims of terrorism. Not only do the stories of victims and perpetrators adopt contrasting genres – an affective/familial genre versus a military/political one – but they are also inserted into contrasting meta-­narratives. While the victims’ stories are inserted into a meta-­narrative of democratic renewal to be achieved through civic engagement aimed at overcoming the values of secrecy, security, political expediency and military discipline, the meta-­narrative of the former terrorists revolves around the continuing validity of a ‘just war’ in whose name those same values deplored by the victims are instead proudly reasserted. However, we should be wary of presenting a simple binary: victims versus perpetrators. As Dawson has remarked (2005), the partisan ‘politics of victimhood’, fought over memory in Northern Ireland since the ceasefires of 1994, has involved victims’ groups as well as former paramilitaries. In this case victims see themselves as belonging to either the Protestant or the Catholic community, inserting their individual plight into the collective suffering of their own group and subscribing to the meta-­narrative of former paramilitaries. In Italy, the absence of a direct conflict between two social groups has meant that the victims are more clearly and much less controversially identifiable as such. Nevertheless, some of the victims, as we saw for instance in the case of Torregiani, have themselves adopted a narrative of war and fighting, albeit obviously in a metaphorical sense.

222   Conclusion Conversely, the Italian case shows that a group of former perpetrators’ stories, which have emerged in Italy in the last decade, are able to challenge amnesia in ways that open up a space for dialogue with the victims and create the potential for sharing communicative memory across the divide. This group represents the outcome of a long period of reappraisal on the part of the narrators concerning their past engagement with violence. While their stories are also about constructing victimhood, the narrators put forward an individual perspective and no longer see themselves as belonging to a collective group. Furthermore, the claimed status of ‘victim’ is inserted in a context of acceptance of their status as perpetrators and is intended as a platform from which they attempt to reach out to the victims of terrorism. This second group advocates a dialogue with the victims and with society, seen as conducive both to personal and to social healing as well as aimed at preventing any future recurrence of politically inspired violence. Such a dialogue would privilege an approach to remembering through individualized stories of grief and suffering. It remains to be seen whether this approach represents the way forward for both Italy and Northern Ireland.

Remembering and forgetting We have argued in the course of this book that ‘reconciliation proper’, that is to say a reconciliation process that involves a wider societal transformation and goes well beyond the social re-­integration of former terrorists, can be broadly interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, it can be conceived as a process in which individuals and groups, comprising both victims and perpetrators, are encouraged to tell their stories of trauma and suffering, both in private and in public. On the other hand, it can be conceived as a process in which a wide variety of actors, including politicians and state representatives, re-­examine and reopen the past. As Alan McBride, whose wife was killed by the IRA and who has become an advocate for truth recovery, stated: Story telling is probably a softer option than truth and it may be the option the British will go for because it’s an option that they think might be realizable. Story-­telling is already out there. People are already doing it. But whether or not you can reach the people that really need to engage in the process – I don’t know how to get those voices. (Rolston 2006, p. 671) His words echo those of Agnese Moro, who, as we saw in Chapter 7, while favouring individualized encounters with former perpetrators, also argued that truth-­telling was a complex process that involved the opening of ‘many tables’ yet had to acknowledge that most of these discussion tables lacked participants. There is a risk, therefore, that in conflicts in which human rights violations were perpetrated both by non-­state combatants and by the state itself, individualized encounters between victims and perpetrators, however sensitive to one

Conclusion   223 another’s perspectives, may end up promoting a depoliticized narrative about common suffering and ultimately reinforce the silence of the state. Amnesia would only partially be overcome and the state-­as-perpetrator would not be part of a wider process of truth-­telling, truth acknowledegment and democracy-­ building, which is what much of victims’ post-­memory is preoccupied with. As already argued, while it also represents a way in which second generation victims attempt to achieve personal healing, post-­memory nevertheless transcends their identity as ‘victims’ and allows them to establish an indissoluble link between an ‘ethical’ and a political-­transformative approach to memory work. It might be possible, however, to view individualized encounters between victims and perpetrators as forming the basis for creating trust and emotive empathy between victims and perpetrators upon which a wider process of remembering and truth-­telling, projected onto a public arena, can be promoted. What this wider process might consist of, and the extent to which it would be able to overcome the resistance of policy-­makers, is as yet unclear. What is certain is that, as Aleida Assmann (2012, p. 61) has argued, ‘forgetting’, which after the Second World War was considered ‘a strategy of renewal and integration’, has ‘now become negatively associated with denial and cover­up’. By contrast, remembering ‘previously associated with a fixation on the past, hate, revenge, resentment and divisions, was now revalued as a therapeutic and ethical obligation’. A key factor in determining this cultural change has been the recognition of the ‘transformative and integrative power’ of the process of remembering. In this context, as argued by Smyth (2007, p. 177), truth recovery should not be seen as a process that satisfies primarily victims’ demands and needs. Rather, it should be considered ‘a service performed by victims for the benefit of the broader society, often at some emotional costs to themselves’. In both Italy and Northern Ireland the alternative to a process of remembering and truth-­telling is the continuing release of partial disclosures about the past which keep fuelling conspiracy theories, and the construction of chosen traumas susceptible of keeping alive feelings of shame and revenge among future generations.

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Index

7 Aprile (terrorist group) 69 Abele see Gruppo Abele accidental activism 166, 184, 186, 191 Adair, J. 220 Adinolfi, R. 13 Africa see South Africa Agca, M.A. 52–3 Agnoletti, E.E. 45 agriculture see Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura Aiviter (Associazione Italiana Vittime del Terrorismo) 15, 155–7, 163, 168, 170 Akhonzada, R. 228 Alasia, W. 12, 56 Alessandrini E. 2, 12, 25 Alonso, R. 52 Alunni, C. 48 Amato N. 24, 62, 68–70, 76–7, 102 amnesia 107, 110, 114–15, 183, 194, 204–5, 210–12, 215, 218–23 amnesty 41–2, 45, 97, 101, 103, 105, 107, 161, 181, 190, 194, 208, 211, 219 ANSA 59, 63 ARCI 70 Ardica, G. 143 aree omogenee (homogeneous areas) 24, 42, 45–6, 51–2, 66–8, 71, 76, 80, 90 Arnoldi, C. 158–9 Asociacion 11-M Afectados del Terrorismo 154 Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory 219 Associazione Fratelli Mattei 184 Associations of victims i, xv, 78, 155, 159–62, 168, 181, 214, 216–17; see also individual associations Associazione familiari vittime della strage di Piazza della Loggia – Brescia 28

maggio 1974 155, 160; see also Casa della Memoria Associazione Feriti e Familiari delle Vittime della Strage sul Treno 904 del 23 Dicembre 1984 155, 157, 159 Associazione fra i familiari delle vittime della strage alla stazione di Bologna del 2 Agosto 1980 155, 160 Associazione Memoria 155–6, 158 Associazione vittime della strage di Piazza Fontana del 12 Dicembre 1969 155, 158–9, 187 Auschwitz 185 Autonomia operaia 7 Avanguardia Nazionale 3 Avanti! (newspaper), 58 Avvenire (newspaper) 64, 66 Azzolini, L. 36 Baader, A. 54 Baader Meinhof 87 Bachelet, A. 78–9, 96, 145–6, 165 Bachelet, V. 35, 78, 145–6, 165 Balducchi, E. 65 Balducci, E. 46, 65–6 Balzerani, B 83, 118, 121–3, 126, 135, 201 Banca Nazionale del Lavoro 2 Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura/Bank of Agriculture 2, 119, 158 Barbone, M. 36, 179–80 Battisti, C. xi, 12, 54, 89, 167–9 Battle of Valle Giulia 7 Beebe Tarantelli, C. 115, 192, 196–7, 200 Bellocchio, M. 201 Benazzi, U. 60 Berlinguer, E. 10 Berlusconi, S. 111, 114, 168 Bernardi, A. 224 Bertolazzi, C. 70

238   Index Bertoli, G. 4 Biagi, M. 13 Bignami, M. 12, 48, 61, 71, 75–6, 80, 98 Biscione, F. 224 Bjørgo, T. 17–18 BNL see Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Boato, M. 37 Bocchino, F. 62–3 bombing 2–4, 23, 27, 56, 91, 94–5, 102, 104, 110–13, 115, 119, 124, 127–30, 132, 134, 142, 144, 151, 153–5, 157–61, 163, 165, 169, 171, 173, 174, 176, 181, 185–91, 193–4, 203, 206, 209, 216; Bologna 3, 4, 111, 142, 157, 191, 203; Brescia 129, 130, 163, 185, 190, 206; Milan 2, 4, 56, 112, 119, 134, 153–5, 158, 159, 185–9; see also massacres Bompressi, O. 3 Bonavita, A. 6, 55 Bonifacio, F. 39, 56 Bonisoli, F. 62–3, 86–7, 133, 148, 150, 203, 205 Borelli G. 66 Borghese, J.V. 3 Bozzi, A. 37 BR (Brigate Rosse) 83, 115, 118, 201; see also Red Brigades BR-PCC (Brigate Rosse – Partito Comunista Combattente) 12, 69, 115 Braghetti, A.L 133, 140–6, 150, 201, 203 Brescia massacre xi, 93, 190 Brewer, J.D 106–7, 116–17, 126, 151, 205 Brigata XXVIII marzo 172 Buscetta, T. 53 Bussu, Don S. 61–5, 87 Buzzi, E. 60, 93, 129 Cagol, M. 8, 53, 85 Calabresi, L. x–xi, 3–4, 163, 173 Calabresi, M. xi, 149, 172–4, 189 Caldarelli, I. 163 Callon, M. 8 Calogero, P. 2 Calopresti, M. 162 Calore, S. 48 Cameron, D. 215 Camorra 42, 159 Capra, G. x, 163 Carcere e comunità (association) 69 carcere speciale (special prison) 51, 56–8, 60, 70; see also prison Cardullo, L. 58–9 Caritas 140 Casa della Memoria xv, 157

Casalegno, A. 172, 174–5 Casalegno, C. 172 Caselli, G. 35, 36, 44 Cassation Court of 2–3 Casson, F. 4 Catholic Church 62, 64–5, 102, 203, 210; in dialogue with terrorists 46, 65, 69, 75, 80, 97; role in ending terrorism xiii, 24, 51, 65–6, 75–6, 97, 102, 203 Cattaneo (Institute) xv, 8, 17–18, 78, 87–8, 94 Cavallina, A. 12, 89–91, 133, 147, 148, 202 Celardo, A. 159 Cento Bull, A. vii, xv–xvi, 2–3, 68–9, 78, 82, 86–7, 89, 91–2, 94–6, 110–11, 113–14, 127, 129, 132–3, 136, 146–7, 149, 157–61, 166, 176, 180, 183, 185 Chamber of Deputies 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, 47, 53 Chiari, E. 6, 52 Christian Democrat Party 2, 12, 37, 84, 171; see also DC Church see Catholic Church, Waldensian Church CIA 4, 5, 10, 91 Ciavardini, L. 4, 185, 186, 203 Cioce, D. 41 Ciolini, E. 34 Ciotti, Don L. xvi, 71 Cipolla, Don R. 75 citizens xi, 4, 30, 46, 102, 104, 105, 109, 111, 112, 116, 125, 128, 153, 154, 156, 159, 161, 162, 186, 187, 190, 194, 200, 204, 207, 219 citizenship 112, 128, 186, 194, 200 civil war 6, 42–3, 103, 124, 156, 168, 194, 211, 213; Spanish 211, 213–14, 217, 219 Clavo, M. 182 Clean Hands 114 Clementi, M. 7, 11 Coco, F. 9, 46, 55, 134 Co-co-ri (Revolutionary Communist Committees) 65 Cold War xii, 1, 4, 103, 111, 113–14, 160, 170, 178 Collettivo Potere Operaio 182 Communism 54, 75, 94, 147, 163, 171 Communist Party i, xi–xii, 4–5, 25, 31, 37, 39, 41–3, 103–4, 120, 123–4, 158, 164, 171, 174, 178, 212; see also PCI Comunione e Liberazione (association) 136

Index   239 conciliation 101, 208, 214 Concutelli, P.L. 58, 60, 61, 91–4, 127–9, 132, 201 Conso, G. 41, 58, 128 Constitution (Italian) 30, 32–3, 41, 59, 176, 187 Constitutional Court 39, 56 Conti, L. (Mayor of Florence) 71 Coombes, J. 185, 191, 192 Corriere della Sera (newspaper) 57, 172, 179, 182 Corso, P. 33, 35 Cossiga, F. 33, 56, 70, 84 Cossiga Law see laws Council of Ministers 38 Court of Appeal 2, 6, 47 Court of Assizes 39 Court of Cassation 2, 3 Covatta, L. 37, 46 Covi, G. 46 Craxi, B. 38 Croce, F. 56 Cronin, A. 19 Crucianelli, F. 37 Cub (Comitati unitari di base) 5 Cuerda Arnau, M. 30, 32 Cuocolo, F. 163 Curcio, R. 5–6, 8, 10, 23, 51, 53, 58, 70, 83, 85, 115, 118–20, 123–5, 177–8, 199, 201 D’Ambrosio, G. 2, 173, 189 D’Antona, M. 13 D’Elia, S. 75, 175 D’Urso, G. 60 Dalia, A. 32 Dalla Chiesa, C.A. 11, 35, 52–3, 56–7, 59–60 Dawson, G. 212, 214, 221 Day of Memory for the Victims of Terrorism (9 May) x, xi, 11, 25, 35, 38, 111–12, 159, 172, 177, 190 DC 2, 7, 9–10, 12, 38–9, 46, 55, 64, 84, 163; see also Christian Democrat Party De Lutiis, G. 10, 23, 27, 88 De Maria, R. 123 De Martino, F. 39, 44 De Mita, C. 70 De Vito, C. 24, 28, 52 Della Porta, D. xii, 5, 8, 13, 18, 22, 28, 102, 104 Della Rocca, R. 163 Della Veneria, R. 52 Delle Chiaie, S. 3

democracy 31, 107, 110, 156, 174, 176, 181, 187, 194, 204, 207, 216–20, 223; Italian 104, 176–7, 180, 188, 191, 194, 206; Spanish 207 Dendena family 161, 185–8 deradicalization 9, 17, 20, 73 Di Liegro, Don L. 140 Di Scala, S. 9 Di Vittorio, A. 190 Di Vittorio, M. 190 Dionisi, M. 158 disengagement (from terrorism) i, xiii, 17–20, 24, 27–9, 73–4, 78, 89, 91, 208–10; individual 17–22, 25–6, 73–4, 78, 80–1, 85–6, 89, 94, 101; collective 17–18, 20–2, 25, 73, 75, 86, 89; physical 19, 22; psychological 19, 22, 24, 27–8 dissociati 34, 37, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 69, 71, 74, 76–7, 81–2, 85, 92, 94, 97, 121, 135, 163 dissociation xiv, 18, 24, 27–8, 34, 39–40, 42, 48, 51, 78–80, 83–4, 88–9, 92, 97, 101, 120, 135, 148, 164; definition of 37–8, 40–1, 44–5; movement 73–4, 79, 91, 97; see also dissociation laws (under laws) DLI (disegno di legge) 39–41, 44–6 Dogliotti, C. 5, 228 Donat Cattin, M. 12 Dozier, J. 12, 36, 38, 50 Duglio, A. 177 Dura, R. 178, 179 engagement 195, 203, 208, 221; with terrorism 18–19, 89, 102, 153, 222; of victims 153–5, 161, 166, 186, 189, 19 Espresso (news magazine) 40, 46 Eubank, L. 22, 26–7, 102 Evangelista, L. 185–6 FAI (Federazione Anarchica Informale) 13 Famiglia cristiana (news magazine) 64 Fanfani, A. 38 Fani (Via) 11, 227 Faranda, A. 18, 48, 69–71, 133, 138–40, 143, 148 Fascism ii, iii, iv, 52, 94, 125, 128–33 Federigi, G. 63 Feltri, V. 171 Feltrinelli, G. 5, 6, 201 Fenzi, E. 177, 200–1, 228 Ferrari, P.M. 64 FIAT 2, 4

240   Index Fiasconaro, L. 2 Fiorani A. 58 Fioravanti, G.V. (Giusva) 4, 70, 96, 129, 142–3, 185, 203 Fiore, R. 192 Fioroni, C. 36 Flamigni, S. 10, 11, 55–6, 224, 228 Foot, J. 3, 116, 228 forgetting 114–16, 165, 167, 184, 211, 222–3 forgiveness 70, 105, 108, 115, 137, 140, 148, 185, 195 Fornace, L. 71 Franceschini, A. 6, 10, 23, 48, 53, 60, 62–4, 69–71, 85–7, 98, 120, 122–3, 135–6, 150, 177–8, 201 Franco, F. 214, 219, 221 Francoists 218, 221 Frate Mitra 53 Freda, F. 2–3, 12, 129 Fronte Nazionale Rivoluzionario 91–2 Gadolla, S. 5 Gallagher, A. 216 Gallagher, I. 216 Gallagher, M. 217 Galleni, M. 13, 229 Gallinari, P. xi, 6, 36, 55–6, 59, 69, 83–5, 97, 118, 120–1, 126, 145, 201 Galmozzi, E. 66, 75 Galvaligi, E. 60 Ganor, B. 30–2, 49 GAP (Groups of Partisan Action) Garibaldi, G. 98 Garocchio, A. 37 Garzón, B. 219 Gaudium et spes (Papal encyclical) 62 GIS (Gruppi di interventi speciali) 60 Giugni, G. 38 Gizzi, F. 68 Gladio organization 4 Glynn, R. xii, 11, 138, 144, 197, 202–4 Gotor, M. 1, 11 Gozzini, M. 24, 39, 41–3, 45–6, 50, 66, 68, 71, 77 Gozzini Law see laws Greganti, Don. G. 69 Grevi, V. 31 Grillo, M. 182 Grimaldi, G. 61 Grippo, A. 116, 148, 158, 163, 169–71, 173, 190, 216 Grossi, V. 43 Gruppo Abele (association) xvi, 71

Guagliardo, V. 177–8 Guglielminetti, L. 157 Gutierrez, J. 154 Hajek, A. 114, 229 Hamber, B. 107, 108, 117, 126, 151 Hirsch, M. 217, 230 Holocaust 125, 213 Holy Land 185 Horgan, J. 17–20, 22, 26, 73, 116, 197 Hot Autumn 7 Hyperion (Language School, Paris) 10, 126, 178 injustice 95, 107, 114, 121, 144, 166, 171, 189, 198, 200, 204–5, 212 International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation 20, 210 Iosa, A. 163, 169, 170 IRA 19, 220–2 Ireland, North of see Northern Ireland Isa, G. 61 Istituto Pollio 4 Italicus (train) 129, 163 Italsider 177 Jamieson, A. 18, 22–3, 25–6, 28, 230 John Paul II 62 Judiciary 12, 96–7, 114, 154–5, 162, 203, 208 justice xiv, 23, 104–7, 111–12, 115, 117, 122, 127, 141, 153–4, 159–61, 167–9, 171, 181, 187, 189–90, 193–4, 214, 216–19; agents for 153–4, 191–2, 204; collaboration with 34, 36, 38, 40, 42; lack of 110, 113, 162, 166, 169–71, 186, 193, 211, 214; obstructions to 104, 161–2; social 80, 181; (re)quest for 47, 108, 112, 153–4, 156–8, 166–7, 171, 179, 183, 185–7, 189–90, 198, 214, 217; restorative 105, 111, 115, 117, 147, 194, 197; retributive 115, 117, 147, 190, 197, 216; right to 112, 187, 216 Justice Commission 40–4, 47, 53, 76 Justice and Liberty Movement 31 KGB (Committee for State Security) 10, 114 Kolpinski, J. 185, 191 Labour statute 38 laws; anti-terrorist 30, 32–3; Cossiga law 32–3, 35; dissociation law 22–3, 29, 31, 36–42, 47–50, 70, 76, 89, 91, 171;

Index   241 emergency laws 32, 39, 42, 50, 67; establishing a Day of Memory 111; Gozzini Law 24, 42, 71–2, 74, 76–7, 91, 102, 110, 171, 208; of Historical Memory 219; law courts 2; pentiti law 22–3, 29, 35, 37–8, 49, 78, 101, 171; Reale law 32, 53; rule of law 109, 187, 189–90, 194; on victims’ compensation 153, 194 Lazagna, G.B. 52 Lazar, M. 5 legislation see laws Lenci, S. 66, 72, 162–6, 168–72, 174, 212–13, 216 Leto, M 70 Libera, E. 36 Libero (newspaper) 162 Lo Muscio, A. 9 Lollo A. 182–3 Lombardi, G. 11 Londonderry 214 Lorenzon, G. 2 Lotta continua x, 3, 7, 37, 57, 172–4 Macchiarini, H. 6 Mafai, M. 69 Mafia 11, 42, 49, 53, 124 Magi Dionisi, M. 158 Maisto, F. 57, 58, 76, 77, 111 Mambro, F. 4, 95–6, 133, 136, 140–4, 146–8, 150–1, 185–6, 201, 203 Manconi, L. 18, 226 Mangiameli, F. 129 Manifesto Il (Newspaper) 6, 66, 123, 200, 234 Manifesto Group 37 Mantovani, N. 47–8, 133, 136–7, 152, 203 Manzoni, A. 75 Marcetti, C. 71 Marino, L. 3 Martinazzoli, M. 40, 44, 46, 64 Martini, C.M. (Cardinal), 25, 62, 65–6, 75, 79, 87, 90, 148 Marx, K. 9 Marxism 8, 75, 121, 124 Masonic Lodge 4, 129, 160, 180, 192; see also P2 massacres x–xi, 2, 23, 91, 94–5, 102, 104, 110, 112, 113–15, 124, 127–8, 130, 132–3, 141, 151, 153–8, 160–1, 165, 169, 171, 173–4, 176, 181, 185–8, 190–1, 193–4, 206, 209, 216, 218; Bologna 34, 129, 160, 185, 190; Brescia xi, 93, 190; Milan 132; see also

bombing, Piazza Fontana, Piazza della Loggia Mattei, G. 172, 182–4, 218 Mattei, S. 172, 182 Mattei, V. 172, 182 Mazzola, G. 6 McBride A. 220, 222 McCord, R. 213, 216, 231 Meinhof, U. 54 Melesi, Don L. 65 Memeo, G. 12 memoirs: by former terrorists xiii–xiv, 1, 18, 73, 116–18, 120, 123, 126, 132–5, 140–1, 143, 146–7, 150–1, 195, 197, 200–4, 220; by victims 104, 116–17, 154, 162–6, 172, 185, 193, 195, 215, 217 memory 66, 69, 74, 106, 109–11, 120, 125, 132, 134–5, 137, 155–6, 159–60, 169, 174, 182–3, 187, 202, 206, 212–14, 216–17, 219, 221, 223; collective 101, 109, 208, 211; communicative 212, 218, 220, 222; counter-memory 111–12, 204; cultural 212, 214, 218, 220; divided 3, 109; politics of 108; post-memory 215, 217–20, 223; public 110–11, 157, 160; shared 111, 160, 183, 188, 212, 214; social 107, 116 Micaletto, R. 34, 37, 177 Michelucci, G. 71 Miglietta, F. 177 Milani, M. 157, 160–1, 163, 171 Minervini, G. 77 Ministry of the Interior 13, 57 Ministry of Justice 57, 60 Mitchell family 185, 191–3 Mitrokhin, V. 114 Mitrokhin Commission 114 Mitterand, F. 54 Monti, G. 172, 182–3, 231 Moretti, M. 9, 10, 36, 53, 55, 61, 69–70, 81–3, 118–20, 123–4, 126, 134–5, 150, 177–9, 200–1, 228, 232 Moro, Agnese 172, 175–7, 205, 222 Moro, Aldo 5, 6, 10–12, 23, 25, 32–3, 35, 38, 49, 53, 60, 62, 69, 71, 81–2, 86, 88, 111, 122–3, 126, 135, 137–8, 140, 144, 148, 150, 152, 172, 175–6, 205–6 Moro, Alfredo Carlo 62 Moro, G. 137, 206 Morsello, M. 192 Morucci, V. 36, 46, 48, 60, 69–71, 120, 133–5, 138–9, 201, 232 Moss, D. 8, 13, 232

242   Index Mossad 10 Movimento Politico Ordine Nuovo 91, 128 MpI (Movimento per l’Italia) 168 MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano) i, 6, 46 NAP (Nuclei Armati Proletari) 9 Napolitano, G. x, xi, xii, 12, 111–13, 158, 159, 177, 190 NAR (Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari) 3, 91, 95, 185 Nardi, G. 3 narratives 1, 3, 7, 21, 62, 107, 115–16, 195, 197, 212, 218, 223; analysis of 195–7; master narratives 199, 220–1; of victimhood 116, 152, 154, 205; perpetrators’ 19–20, 73–4, 76, 81, 97, 116–18, 121, 123–4, 126, 131–2, 134, 138–40, 150–2, 193, 199–201, 203, 220–1; self-narratives 19–20, 73, 195–6, 201; victims’ 162, 171, 193, 197–8, 204, 213–15, 218 NATO 10, 12 Nazi 2, 216 Nazi-fascism 125, 132 Negri, T. 8, 36, 66 Neo-fascism 94, 226, 228, 233 Nessuno Tocchi Caino (Nobody Should Touch Cain) 175 Nicolotti, L. 177 Noce, A. 56 Northern Ireland xiv, 21, 34, 49, 54, 108, 194, 198, 209–18, 220–4, 228–31, 233–4 Northern League 94 Notaristefano, D. 156–7 Notarnicola, S. 58 Novelli, D. 51 Occhetto, A. 37 Occorsio, V 129 Ognibene, R. 6, 59, 60, 63, 86, 136 Opus Dei (organization) 90 Ora d’aria (prison journal) 70 Ordine Nero 3, 91, 94, 232 Ordine Nuovo xi, 3, 91, 94, 127, 128, 130 Orsini A. 8, 9, 232 Ortobene (diocesan journal) 62, 63 Osservatore romano (newspaper) 64 PAC (Proletari Armati per il Comunismo) 12, 89, 147, 163 Pacciardi, R. 5 pacification i, xi, xiii, 24, 75, 102, 110, 158, 183, 211

Padovani, T. 34 Pagano, L. 64–5, 68, 76–7, 102 Pajetta, G. 69 Palladino, C. 93, 129, 132 Pannella, M. 64, 87, 223 Panorama (news magazine) 61 Paolella, A. 77 Parliamentary Commissions 116 Paroli, L. xvi, 85 PCC see BR-PCC PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano) 4, 6, 7, 9–10, 37, 46; see also Communist Party PDS (Partito Democratico Della Sinistra) 37 PdUP (Partito di Unità Proletaria) 37 Pecchioli, U. 39, 44 Peci, P. 27, 33–4, 37, 60, 82, 145, 233 Peci, R. 35 Pellegrino, G. 113–14, 206, 228, 233 pentiti 36–7, 39, 42–3, 50, 66–7, 77, 79, 81–2, 91, 93–4, 101, 135, 163, 225, 230–1, 234 pentitismo xiv, 34–8, 49–50, 60, 67, 78, 83, 88, 92, 97, 110, 145, 171 Perduca, A. 35, 225 Pertini, S. 38, 40, 60 Petrella, S. 69 Petter, G. 163, 223 Piazza Fontana (Milan) x, 2–4, 12, 56, 129, 132, 134, 153, 155, 158, 173, 175, 185, 187–90, 228 Piazza della Loggia (Brescia) 155, 228 Piccino, C. 123, 200 Pietrostefani, G. 3 Pinelli, G. (Pino) x–xi, 2–3, 32, 173, 185, 189, 190 Pinelli, L. 185, 189, 233 Pinto, L. 190 PL see Prima Linea Pope see John Paul II Popolo della Libertà 168 Potere Operaio 7, 8, 182, 226, 229 Prima Linea 2, 12, 25, 36, 48, 61, 65–6, 69, 71, 73–9, 81, 96–8, 118, 120, 123–4, 162, 165, 175, 200–1, 234 Primavalle, Rogo di 182–4, 226 prison 11–12, 18, 20–2, 23–8, 31, 33–4, 41–2, 45–6, 48, 50–7, 59–61, 64, 66–8, 70, 72–7, 79–80, 82–3, 85–6, 88–97, 101–2, 121, 129–30, 132, 135–6, 138–41, 143, 145–7, 149–50, 157–8, 165, 170–1, 176, 180, 182–3, 202–3, 208–10, 216; Alessandria 52–3; Asinara 57–60; Badu ‘e Carros 58, 60–4, 87;

Index   243 Brescia 52; Cala d’Oliva 57; Cala Reale 57; Cuneo 57, 60, 64, 70; escapes from 53, 56, 123, 209; Fornelli 57; Fossombrone 57; Le Vallette 75, 86; Marassi 52; Maze 21; Murate 52; Novara 57, 60–1, 129, 132; Nuove 51–2, 60, 71; Nuoro 57, 75; Opera 132; Pianosa 57–8; Porto Azzurro 70; Rebibbia 62, 64, 68, 69–71, 83; reform 28–9, 42, 45–6, 50–3, 59, 61, 68, 71–2, 76–7, 88; San Vittore 25, 52, 54, 57, 64–5; Sollicciano 71; Stammheim 54; system xiii–xiv, 18, 20–1, 24, 28–9, 42, 46, 51–2, 54, 64, 67, 72, 74, 76–8, 86, 89–90, 102, 208; Termini Imerese 57; Trani 57; Voghera 80, 93; see also carcere speciale Progetto Memoria 5, 51, 233 Proietti, A. 48 Proletari armati per il comunismo (PAC) 12, 89, 147, 163 PSI (Partito socialista italiano) 7, 37–9; see also Socialist Party Puddu, M. 156, 163, 170 Radical Party 32, 37, 46, 64 radicalization 20, 210, 230 Rame, F. 58, 59 Rauti, P. 3 Reale, O. 32 Reale Law see laws reconciliation 66, 75, 77–9, 91, 98, 101–11, 113–17, 126, 133, 137–8, 140, 145–7, 149–52, 154, 157, 161, 165, 174, 176, 180, 183, 190, 194–5, 203, 205–8, 210–12, 214, 222, 224–5 Red Brigades x, 5, 18, 23, 25–6, 32, 36, 38, 49, 54–5, 60, 63, 74, 78, 81–3, 85–6, 88–9, 92–4, 96, 115, 118–26, 134–8, 140–1, 144, 148, 162–3, 165, 170, 172, 174, 177–9, 196, 200–1, 205; see also BR Redemptor hominis (Papal encyclical) 62 remembering 74, 112, 114, 165, 211, 218, 222–3 repentance 22, 28–9, 36, 69, 105 Repubblica La (Newspaper) xi, 65, 66, 69, 205 Resistance movement 5, 85 Ricci, R. 39, 41, 43, 46 rights 50, 52, 125, 190, 214; constitutional 68; human 50, 59, 87, 104, 109, 195, 206, 209, 219, 222; of the individual 62; of prisoners 77; of victims 43, 155, 158, 216

Rinascita (journal) 6 Risorgimento 98 Riva, M. 46–7 Robbiano di Mediglia 6 Rocco, A. 31 Rodotà, S. 37 Rognini, L Ronconi, S. 48, 71, 123 Rosa dei venti 4 Rosensweig, C. 36 Rossa, G. 25, 137, 172, 177–80 Rossa, S. 137, 172, 177–80 Rossanda, R. 6, 81, 200, 234 Rossi, F. 197 Rossi, M. (member of banda 22 ottobre) 5, 8, 13, 18, 60 Rote Armee Fraktion 54 RSI (Repubblica Sociale Italiana) 103 Ruffilli, R. 12, 13, 70 Ruggiero, V. 51–2, 71, 224, 234 Russo, F. 43, 46 Sabbadin, L. 12 Salvini, G. 35, 49, 206 Sandalo, R. 36 Sands, B. 54, 64 Santanché, D. 168 Santillo, E. 53 Savasta, A. 36, 50 Saville report 214 Second World War 7, 30, 98, 131, 223 secret services 4, 10–11, 27, 91, 94, 104, 123–4, 126, 156, 160, 171, 176, 181, 190 Seghetti, B. 144 Segio, S. 12, 48, 71, 75–7, 118, 123–5, 134, 200–1 self-defence 113, 125–6, 175, 220 Semeria, G. 48 Serantini, F. 52 Serpico 185 Serravalli, L. 163, 169, 170 SID (Servizio Informazione Difesa) 3 SIFAR (Servizio Informazioni Forze Armate) 4 Siemens 6 Signorelli, P. 127, 130 Signorino, M. 46 Silva, E. 219 Silva, P. 185, 188, 192 Silvestri, R. 123, 200 Soccorso Rosso 54 Socialist Party 7, 31, 37–9, 43, 45–6, 114, 164; see also PSI

244   Index Soderini, S. 48 Sofri, A. x, 3 Sogno, E. 5 Sossi, M. 53, 162, 163 South Africa 106–7, 111 Spagnoli 39 Spazzali, S. 54 Special Branch 216 Stampa La (Newspaper) xi, 9, 34, 58–60, 64, 172 State: British state involvement in Northern Ireland 212, 214–17; connivance with terrorism xi–xii, 4, 10, 23, 47, 56, 91, 102–5, 107, 112–16, 126–31, 137, 148–50, 158, 160, 164, 171–2, 176, 181, 187–8, 194; democratic 77, 109, 112–13, 116, 133, 188, 217; fascist 31, 116; negotiating with terrorists 19, 28, 75–6, 78–9, 137, 208; response to terrorism 49; tacit pact with terrorists 157–8, 160, 170, 174, 194, 205 Statuto dei lavoratori see Labour Statute StB (Czech State Security) 10 Stefanò, L.B. 3 Stiz, G. 2 Stockholm syndrome 11 stories 11, 49–50, 63, 70, 167, 171, 179–80, 199–200; of former terrorists 75–6, 84, 86, 91, 93, 96–7, 118, 121, 123–4, 128–32, 134–6, 138–44, 149–50, 200–1, 221; of victims 171, 183, 185–6, 189, 198, 213, 217, 220 story-telling 116–18, 194–5, 197–9, 201–4, 222 strage xv, 44, 131, 155 stragismo 131–2, 137 Strategy of Tension xi, 23, 56, 91, 94, 103, 112, 124–8, 134, 138, 187, 209 Superclan 10 Suraci, G. 86 survivors i, 154–5, 160, 162–3, 197–8, 213, 215–16, 218; survivor mission 198, 204–5, 207, 214–15 Tarantelli, E. 12, 115, 196, 197, 200 Tartaglione, G. 77 Taviani, P.E. 55–6, 128 Terza Posizione 91 terrorism: armed xi–xii, 91, 101–5, 110, 165, 174, 185, 194; end of xi, xiv, 8, 13, 23, 28–9, 35, 39, 73–4, 77, 81, 83, 85, 89, 91, 95–7, 133, 155, 158, 208; extreme left 148, 150, 154, 194; extreme

right 3, 111, 128; legacy of xiii–xiv, 71, 105, 194–5, 197; loyalist 220; political xi, 23, 102, 159, 211, 213; Republican 220; see also individual organizations Tessandori, V. 58 Thatcher, M. 192 Tobagi, B. 36, 172, 179–82, 185, 218 Tobagi, W. 36, 172, 179–82 Togliatti, P. 7, 42 Tommei, F. 69 Torregiani, A. 12, 163, 166–9, 171, 172, 177, 188, 221 Tosi, L. 71 Tota, A. 111, 112 trauma 101, 106, 109, 117, 125–8, 132, 146, 197, 198, 200, 202–4, 208, 211, 213, 217–18, 222 Troubles, The 209 truth 98, 105–8, 112–13, 115–17, 122, 124–7, 130–1, 133–5, 137–8, 140, 147–8, 150, 152, 154, 156–61, 164–5, 168–70, 174–6, 179–81, 183–4, 186, 189–90, 193–4, 197, 204–6, 211, 214–16, 221; agents for 153–4, 162, 204; search for 156, 159–60, 162, 164, 166, 171, 177, 179, 185, 187, 191, 198, 214, 216; transformative 108–9, 112, 166, 168, 171, 174, 188, 204, 217; truth recovery 106–7, 110, 113, 117, 151–2, 154, 157–8, 160, 164, 186, 194–5, 211–12, 222–3; truth-telling 102, 104–8, 113, 117, 164, 177, 183, 186–7, 190, 194–5, 206–7, 210–12, 218–19, 222–3 truth commissions 107–8, 174, 206, 215 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (South Africa) 111 Turco, L. 68 Tuti, M. 60, 70, 92–4, 127, 129, 132 UCC (Unione dei Comunisti Combattenti) 70 UDA (Ulster Defence Association) 215 UK (United Kingdom) 114, 191, 215 United Nations 104 Universal Declaration of Human Rights 104 USA (United States of America) 132, 198 Uscita (newspaper) 70 Valiani, L. 40, 41, 43 Valle, A.C. 24–5, 29, 70 Valpreda, P. 2 Vassalli, G. 39, 41, 43 Vatican 62

Index   245 Veltroni, W. 184 Ventura, A. 7, 49, 53 Ventura, G. 2–3, 12 Via Caetani 11 Via Fani 11 Via Montalcini 11 Via Montenevoso 86 Viale, P. 60 victimhood 107, 110, 117, 140, 151, 193, 198, 215, 221; of former terrorists 117, 125–7, 132–4, 138–9, 141–4, 150, 199, 222; narratives of 116, 152, 154, 205; of victims 116, 154 victimization i, 125–6, 216; revictimization 161–2, 169–70, 182, 194, 216 Vigna, P. 33 Vinciguerra, V. 4, 94, 127, 130–3 Violante, L. 39 violence i, xi, 6–7, 9–10, 19, 21–2, 32–3, 35, 41–2, 47, 52, 54, 58–9, 63, 70, 73, 87–8, 90, 101, 107, 122, 125, 151, 181, 196–7, 202, 208–9, 214, 220–2; armed 154–6, 173; leftist 134, 136, 141, 175, 196, 200, 205; neofascist 91–2, 95, 125,

142; non-violence 146; political xiii, 8, 13, 17, 22–3, 27–8, 73–4, 91, 97, 101–4, 107, 109, 114–15, 122, 124, 126, 142–4, 146, 161, 174, 184, 194, 202, 211, 213, 218, 222; post-violence 107; revolutionary 134; sexual 145; state 124–5, 127, 198 Vitalone, C. 41–3 Vitelli, R. 68–9 Voli, S. 7 Volkan, V.D. 109, 116, 125–7, 200 Waldensian Church 42 Walter Alasia (Red Brigades column) 12 Weinberg, L. 22, 26, 27, 50, 102 Woolf, V. (group), 140 World War II see Second World War Yalta 10 Zangheri, R. 39 Zani, F. 94–5 Zapatero, F. 219 Zichitella, M. 9

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