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Torture in Genoa

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo August 8, 2001 Torture in Genoa by Maria Tomchick, Eat The State! Weeks later, I keep
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 14, 2001
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      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      August 8, 2001

      Torture in Genoa

      by Maria Tomchick, Eat The State!

      Weeks later, I keep reading descriptions of the protests and
      the savage police response in Genoa. The most horrific is
      the raid by Italian national police on the people curled up
      in their sleeping bags inside the Diaz School, one of the
      buildings set aside by the Genovese government to house
      activists during the G8 Summit.

      One graphic description by Starhawk, a witness who was
      inside the Italian Independent Media Center across the
      street from the school, is worth reading and re-reading:
      "The police entered: the media and the politicians were kept
      out. And they beat people. They beat people who had been
      sleeping, who held up their hands in a gesture of innocence
      and cried out: 'Pacifisti! Pacifisti!' They beat the men and
      the women. They broke bones, smashed teeth, shattered
      skulls. They left blood on the walls, on the windows, a pool
      of it in every spot where people had been sleeping. When
      they had finished their work, they brought in the
      ambulances. All night long we watched from across the street
      as the stretchers were carried out, as people were taken to
      the jail ward of the hospital, or simply to jail.

      "And in the jail, many of them were tortured again, in rooms
      with pictures of Mussolini on the wall" (http://www.zmag.org
      ). After emptying the school, the police went back inside
      and attempted to wash away the blood and to hide the
      evidence of their crimes, but there was too much blood on
      the walls, the floor, the clothing, and sleeping bags.

      It's hard to find good estimates of the injured, since the
      Italian press is ignoring what happened at the Diaz School.
      One source put the total at 100 people carried out on
      stretchers or injured, another claimed 30 people were in
      intensive care in the days after the raid. A number of
      people who were beaten were treated in the hospital, then
      released again into the hands of the police who had just
      beaten them, only to be arrested and taken to jail to suffer
      hours of torture.

      Nobel Prize-winning playwright Dario Fo describes testimony
      he took from the detained: "they were beaten, made to stand
      spread-eagled for up to 12 hours, and those who were unable
      to do it were beaten again. Every so often they threw tear
      gas into the rooms or sprayed the kids with stinging gases.

      "There was one non-EU man (a euphemism that usually means
      North African) with an artificial leg, and one sick man who
      could barely stand on their feet. Some were already injured
      when they arrived, just released from the hospital, and they
      endured the same torture. Almost all of those arrested were
      later released, because there was no evidence of any kind
      against them. One was a TV operator, Timothy Ormezzano, son
      of a reporter from the newspaper La Stampa, with an injury
      to the mouth, who was beaten all over his body. Alfonso De
      Mauro, a photographer, tells the same story. He has a broken
      foot, a cracked rib, a swollen face and a body full of
      bruises...Mark Covell from England has a crushed chest, and
      Lena Zulke, a German citizen, has a collapsed lung: both are
      in intensive care.

      "...There's also a police officer from the Bolzaneto
      barracks who has spoken to the newspaper La Repubblica and
      confirmed the horrific beatings, with agents urinating on
      prisoners and extolling Nazism. Those arrested were not even
      permitted to go to the bathroom and, after hours, ended up
      soiling themselves. The officer says that many agents tried
      to stop the brutality. But there was nothing they could do.
      Those responsible for the injustices were for the most part
      prison guards from the Mobile Operating Group in Rome. This
      is a special team under the command of a former general from
      Sisde (secret services), created in 1997 under the Olivo
      (center left) government, and there had already been talks
      of its violence during a raid on the Opera prison. This same
      agent from the Bolzaneto barracks says the Rome Mobile
      Division of the State Police was responsible for the savage
      raid on the Diaz school..."

      Starhawk, in her dispatches, adds: "That the police could
      carry out such a brutal act openly, in the face of lawyers,
      politicians and the media means that they do not expect to
      be held accountable for their actions. Which means that they
      had support from higher up, from more powerful politicians.

      "According to a report published in La Repubblica from a
      policeman who took part in the raid, when the more
      democratic factions within the police complained that the
      Constitution was being violated, they were told, 'We don't
      have anything to be worried about, we're covered.'

      "That those politicians also do not expect to be condemned
      or driven from office means that they too have support from
      higher up, ultimately, from Berlusconi, Italy's Prime
      Minister, himself."

      I would add, too, that they have the support of Berlusconi's
      biggest backers, Italy's multinational business interests.
      Ultimately, that's what it comes down to: the rights of
      protesters versus the bottom line on a corporate balance
      sheet.

      But hopefully more and more of the stories of people
      brutalized in Genoa will appear, the press will pay
      attention, and the tide of public opinion will turn.
      Atrocities may happen under the cover of darkness or inside
      the walls of a police precinct station. But once out in the
      open, we won't tolerate them.

      --
      Dan Clore
      mailto:clore@...

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