!!! Mail Bomb !!! (More Scare Stories)
- News for Anarchists & Activists:
Mystery of mail bomb anarchists hangs over Italy
Tue 13 January, 2004 01:12
By Shasta Darlington
BOLOGNA, Italy (Reuters) -- They haven't injured, let alone
But seven crudely-made letter bombs sent to European Union
figures by a previously-unknown anarchist group have Italian
authorities in hot pursuit.
The shadowy movement has rattled European anti-terrorism
investigators and resurrected the ghost of Italy's bloody
"They got what they wanted: the world's attention," said
Enrico di Nicola, the chief investigator in Bologna where
the group is thought to be based.
The identity of those behind the letter bombs has sparked
speculation in this central Italian city, for decades a
bastion of the Italian left.
Are they extremists ready to plunge the country back into
violence, marginalised teenagers or a front invented by the
Italian secret services?
"I go to a lot of anarchist meetings, and I have no idea who
is behind this. I just hope they don't spark
recriminations," said Miriam, an orange-haired political
The letter bomb campaign began just before Christmas when
one exploded in the hands of European Commission President
Romano Prodi, a former Italian prime minister, who was at
home for the holiday in Bologna.
Since then, at least six more have been posted from Bologna
to the head of the European Central Bank, members of the
European Parliament, Europol, and Eurojust, which helps
fight cross-border crime.
A group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation
(FAI) claimed responsibility for the first explosion, saying
it was the beginning of their "Santa Claus" campaign.
[Most stories have given the name as the Informal Anarchic
In a manifesto sent to an Italian newspaper, the movement,
which has the same initials as the well-established Italian
Anarchist Federation, said it was opposed to the "new
European order" and advocated "armed struggle".
Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu has warned of potential
links with members of the ultra-left Red Brigades urban
The Red Brigades terrorised Italy in the 1970s and 1980s
with assassinations and kidnappings. As recently as 2002, a
modern offshoot murdered a government advisor outside his
home in Bologna.
NO BLOOD SEEN
Investigators in the medieval, porticoed city, however, have
played down fears of a return to the "years of lead", named
after the quantity of bullets that littered Italian streets.
"Could they eventually kill people? I sincerely don't think
so," di Nicola told Reuters, though he wouldn't rule out
fresh letter bomb campaigns aimed at new targets.
Crime and political experts tend to agree.
They say those behind the letter bombs are likely members of
loosely-linked anarchist movements intent on destroying what
they see as society's oppressive institutions, which are
represented increasingly by the EU instead of individual states.
"You can't exclude that one day they will make a bigger
bomb, but the strategy for now seems to be low intensity
explosives with a big media impact," said Gianni Cipriani, a
left-leaning author who has written about Italian terrorism.
The letter bomb campaign is not an isolated incident --
police suspect anarchist groups are behind several parcel
bombs that were sent last year to police stations across
Italy and especially in Sardinia.
NO RULES, NO BOSSES
Investigators say the movement could have up to 350 members
and sympathisers with a wide range of profiles -- from
radical "punks" who might be found on the margins of
anti-globalisation marches to intellectuals steeped in theory.
"This movement is characterised by a complete lack of
structure and cohesion. In that world there are no rules and
no hierarchies," Cipriani said.
Investigators worry that they are building ties with more
experienced Greek and Spanish anarchists. Italy's official
anarchist groups have denounced the letter bombs which they
believe are a government "smokescreen".
"They want to divert attention from the fact that their
coalition is divided, the economy is weak and labour groups
across the country are striking," said Federico Ferretti of
the Italian Anarchist Federation.
Italy's anarchist movement saw its heyday during World War
Two as opposition to Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini grew.
Since 1945, it has followed a more Marxist model promoting
grassroots movements and opposing class dominance in
conventional ways such as newspapers and protest marches.
In Bologna, locals are taking it all with a pinch of salt.
"We're not worried. We've seen terrorism, but there's a
difference between putting explosives in an envelope and
killing someone," said the owner of the bar on Prodi's
street, who has even named a cocktail "La Bomba".
Dummy letter bomb delivered to Prodi home in Italy
ROME, Jan. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- An envelope containing spent
cartridges, firecrackers and a handwritten threat, was
delivered on Monday to the Bologna home of European
Commission President Romano Prodi, police said.
The contents of the envelope, addressed to the Prodi family,
were not designed to explode but merely to be a "symbolic
threat" aimed at the European Commission chief, Italian
police investigators said.
The parcel succeeded in penetrating the tight security
facilities placed at Prodi's home because it contained no
detonating device, police noted.
All mails addressed to Prodi's home have been scanned by
security staff since a letter bomb burst into flames in his
hands on Dec. 27, causing no injury or damage but a certain
The document in the envelope, accompanied by a photo of
Prodi cut out of a newspaper, is believed to be the work of
a Sardinian anarchist group.
Italian investigators declined to say where the letter was
posted from but specified that it had not come from Bologna,
unlike a batch of letter bombs sent to top European Union
12 Jan 2004 20:02:34 GMT
Threatening parcel sent to Prodi's Italy home
BOLOGNA, Italy, Jan 12 (Reuters) -- A parcel containing
spent shotgun shells arrived at Romano Prodi's Bologna home
on Monday, and police said they did not know if there was
any link with a letter bomb sent to the European Commission
chief in December.
Police sources told Reuters that security staff opened the
parcel, which they described as harmless.
The package also contained fireworks, an anarchist political
declaration, a threatening message and a newspaper cutting
with a photograph of Prodi, a former Italian prime minister,
the police sources said.
The parcel was sent on January 9 from Cagliari, capital of
the island of Sardinia, which has for decades been home to a
low-level insurrectionist movement opposed to rule from Rome.
The sources said it was not yet known whether there was a
link between the package and a series of parcel bombs that
have been sent in the past month to EU institutions and
One parcel bomb burst into flames in Prodi's hands on
December 27 when he opened it at his Bologna apartment.
Prodi was not injured.
Most of the parcel bombs directed at EU figures are believed
to have been posted from Bologna, a battleground in the past
for extremist groups of the right and left. None of the
parcel bombs caused injuries.
Prodi was not in his flat when Monday's threatening parcel
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News for Anarchists & Activists:
"It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
*anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
-- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
_Detective Comics_ #608