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Updates and considerations on Nicola and Alfredo’s arrest by Anna Beniamino (Italy)

From RadioAzione – Translated by act for freedom now/B.pd

Nicola Gai and Alfredo Cospito were arrested on September 14 2012 and accused of being the perpetrators of Ansaldo [Nucleare] manager Roberto Adinolfi’s wounding, an action which occurred on May 7 2012 in Genoa and claimed by the Olga FAI/FRI nucleus in the following days. Genoa prosecutors Silvio Franz and Nicola Piacente ordered the arrest with the charge of ‘attack with purposes of murder ‘(art. 280 of the penal code), and justified the demand for remand in custody of the two comrades following investigation results which ‘indicate’ risk of escape and reiteration of the crime (the mere awareness of being investigated becomes here instrumental evidence of guilt, coherence with one’s anarchist principles becomes a sign of dangerousness).

The Prosecution of Genoa had already demanded a first ordinance of remand in custody, which had been reject on July 11 by the same investigation judge because of lack of sufficient evidence. To quote their own words: ‘in particular the judge believed the results of the analysis carried out by the forensic unit concerning the comparison of the footage acquired on Via Galata with the physiognomic characteristics of the two defendants, be insufficient evidence’ (from the order issued by the investigating judge from Turin, who is quoting is colleague from Genoa).

Two months later and with great efforts from ROS and DIGOS backed by the Prosecution of Genoa, the arrests take place in September: danger of escape is attributed by the judge to Alfredo only, danger of reiteration of the crime to both of them, reports from the RIS and a private company specialized in footage processing prove finally compatible with the Prosecution’s needs. Immediately after the arrests, a handful of elements were added for mass-media purposes: items of clothing, printers and helmets seized during the raids became crime evidence even if they didn’t correspond with witness’ statements or with the reports of the investigators themselves (as comrades are held in solitary confinement this kind of procedure has usually the purpose of extending the length of the judicial process and to create confusion). There are also surprisingly funny elements: the investigating judge, his goodness, refuses authorization for DNA testing on a helmet seized in the house of a defendant, thus disappointing the public prosecutors… after all we live in a country where the RIS are the stars of a TV serial… let these technicians do their job!

As a matter of fact Nicola and Alfredo are two anarchists, two revolutionaries. They had been previously investigated and charged with art. 270bis by a number of prosecutors all over Italy and they also have the typical basic ‘curriculum’ of any anarchist: charges following demos, road blocks, resistance, insult, occupations, reluctance to conscription, etc. The edition and distribution of a paper, KNO3, and of other publications in the course of the years adds to all this. Alfredo and I are on trial in Perugia because of KNO3 along with other comrades: it is operation ‘Shadow’ (whose prosecutor is Comodi, the mentally ill puppet of the ROS who ordered so called operation ‘Ardire’, which led to arrest of 8 anarchists on June 13, anarchists who are still being held in the female unit of the Rebibbia prison and in the AS2 unit of the prison of Alessandria, and also put other indomitable comrades already imprisoned in Swiss, German and Greek prisons under investigation).

The trial in Perugia follows the same line of more notorious operations led by both the ROS and the judiciary, the Marini trial for example, with the presence of an anarchist publication that becomes the ‘clandestine organ’ of a subversive association and the attempt at putting together comrades who normally don’t see each other and in some cases never met each other (well, now they’ve met each other because they are being held in the same high security unit!).

As anarchists we’ve always talked about repressive operations underway and rejoiced at the news of actions or when reading particularly interesting pieces. We’ve met and still meet other comrades. We’ve made cops’ unwanted attention towards us, such as shadowing, bugs and other spying systems employed against us, public on the sites of the movement. And we’ve laughed at this as we are aware that repression, be it mere control or imprisonment, is the opposite of an idea and practice of freedom; and we are aware that to stick to one’s ideas is a dangerous sign of irreducible hostility towards an existent that doesn’t belong to us. The rest is just the typical frame of this kind of operations: a pseudo-scientific use of technology, which is as weak as is instrumental like any weapon in the hands of power; indiscriminate use of phone-tapping, where sentences are cut and edited so as to satisfy the investigators in defiance of common sense and intelligence; the useless attempt at unnerving the comrades with months in solitary confinement, censorship on the mail and impossibility to communicate with the outside; the useless attempt at discouraging solidarity practices and relations by putting them under investigation, perhaps in the same operation.

In November the Prosecution decided to write off my position as suspect on the loose in order to speed up proceedings against Nicola and Alfredo and avoid the risk of release because of statutory terms. But they carried on investigating those who are still free.

After two months of solitary confinement in the prison of Sanremo, both Nicola and Alfredo were moved to Alessandria. The solitary confinement regime and the prohibition to meet each other were dropped but their mail is still subjected to censorship. As they are under a special regime they are also inflicted other restrictions. They are currently being held in the AS2 unit along with other anarchists including Alessandro, Sergio, Stefano and Giuseppe who are in prison following operation ‘Ardire, and other comrades who have already been sentenced.

As they arrived at the prison of Alessandria they were greeted by a solidarity demo: among slogans, fireworks and impromptu leaps over the fence, firm opposition to the Moloch prison is still very strong.

There is no date for the trail against Nicola and Alfredo yet. The Prosecution is still waiting for the results of ‘expert reports’ and technical assessments, which as usual are speeded up or delayed depending on the prosecutors’ needs (for example they asked for 90 days to duplicate the hard discs of the seized computers, a tasks that normally takes just a few hours).

However it is interesting to examine some repressive-investigative practices used in this case, besides those which have been used for years such as environmental and phone tapping, GPS systems for tracing cars movements, mobile phones, cameras placed in order to capture the entrance of homes and workplaces, use of dogs and metal detectors during raids. In these case two new things made their appearance: a request of using cameras placed inside the house of the investigated, which was refused in the name of the defence of privacy (but sooner or later a judge will approve this kind of practice) and the use of microphones installed in laptops as microchips recording communications taking place in the vicinity of the computer (in our case the technological scoop revealed our wondering where they had placed their bugs this time – after we had discovered all those placed in traditional places, our complaining on how internet surfing had become slow, our comments on internet news and the usual insults to the investigators).

All this makes you think how new technological gadgets, i-phones, smart phones, tablets etc, are easily employed for repressive aims.

With these few lines I don’t intend to summarize this repressive operation, especially as it is still underway. But I think it useful to spread what I’m writing.

As far as I’m concerned, in these times when criminal proceedings against anarchists based on ‘crimes of association’ continue to strike comrades, where the home secretary begs students not to take to the streets with helmets on their heads, where the welfare system is falling to pieces, where the state takes its revenge for the riots of the Genoa G8 by inflicting ‘exemplary’ sentences of years in prison to demonstrators, where the repressive certitudes of dominion clash against a reality made of tumultuous and multiform experiences of struggle, it is even more sensible to reconfirm solidarity and complicity to Nicola and Alfredo and to all revolutionary comrades in Italy and all over the world.

Anna Beniamino

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 2:27 am and is filed under Prison Struggle.