Italy: Brindisi and the return of synthetic terror
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the LieA personal post-mortem on the death of an innocent
One of the most depressing aspects of writing about the world scourge of synthetic terrorism is discovering how easy it is for the old dogs simply to revert to well-rehearsed and trusted tactics of the past seemingly without the public noticing.
Nowhere is this currently more obvious than in Italy, the country which endured the famous ‘years of lead’ (gli anni di piombo) in the 1970s and 80s.
Less than two weeks ago, a hideous event occurred at a mid-level college school in Brindisi, a bustling port city situated in the heel of Italy. A 16-year-old fashion student with every promise of a bright and exiting future was literally ripped to shreds as she made her way to class, the victim of explosive canisters of gas set off apparently by a remote control device tucked away nearby.
Others suffered hideous injuries. In the aftermath the schoolyard looked like a war zone.
This crime is so disgusting that I find it difficult to compose myself in writing about it, let alone understand the motives of the perpetrator, or more likely, perpetrators.
As it is, the anticipated patsy or stooge has now made his bow before the footlights of the media, to very mixed reviews since so many people in Italy apparently find the explanation of yet another lone maniac working off a grudge against society utterly unconvincing.
So do I, and it seems I may be in good company along with the official magistrate investigating the case, who is echoing similar doubts.
The Italian state has only itself to blame for quite obvious efforts to milk the sick propaganda rewards from this horrible event. The local mayor, then the president of the republic, Giorgio Napolitano, pointed to the Mafia – active in Brindisi, as everywhere else in Italy – as the likely culprits.
This was naïve and stupid nonsense and it could only have happened in a country which is under non-democratic rule verging on dictatorship.
There is nothing in history to suggest that the Mafia would blow up youngsters going to school for no apparent advantageous motive. Organized crime has more pressing business than incurring massively bad PR in its own backyard.
More or less everything hung on some fuzzy flicks of a middle-aged-plus man dressed in a neat and tidy suit playing around with gas canisters next door to a row of refuse bins, close to the school entrance.
However, he certainly looked anything but a Mafioso, and dressed rather more as though he was setting out for his office.
A very convoluted story then begins to unravel. It turns out that the figure in question is a certain Giovanni Vantaggiato, 68 years old, who has an interesting history.
He has been embroiled for some years in legal disputes involving his activities at a gas (petrolio) station which led him to believe that he was being persecution by the authorities.
So we already have the identikit picture of the persecuted against-the-world nutcase who decides to work off his grudge in a decidedly violent manner.
The connection with the Morvillo Falcone school (named after a lady magistrate murdered, along with her husband, both fervent anti-Mafia persecutors, 20 years ago) is tangential but important.
This is because the official quarters of the Brindisi prosecutors’ office are next door to the school, close enough, in fact, to feel the full force of the blast.
It took the local carabinieri until June 9th to come up with Vantaggiato as the lead suspect. Earlier candidates were released after a few hours.
The Mafia heat died away when the local organization, who had members in jail for other reasons, wrote a personal letter of consolation to the murdered student’s family.
Vantaggiato’s disputes with the local prosecutor’s office were well known on the circuit. When he was hauled in for questioning he denied any connection with the bombings and declared that on the morning in question, he was quietly at home with his wife.
And yet the story that filtered from ‘unofficial sources’ was this: “It seems that the man really wanted to hit the court. He needed a good excuse to get into it.”
In February 2008, a local businessman named Cosimo Parati was blown up by a remote-controlled bomb. Within hours, Vantaggiato was now implicated in this unsolved crime as well as the school bombing, which of course served to make the telling connection between that murder and the atrocity at the school.
In other words, a strange old man with a penchant for vengeance goes around making complicated bombs to blow people up, so he would think nothing of killing schoolgirls. He would also leave all the convenient clues of methane gas canisters from his own work premises.
In fact the case of Cosimo Parati indeed bears all the hallmarks of a standard Mafia vengeance killing, totally unrelated to the horrific events at the school.
It seems certain that the police originally leaned on this vestigial connection to point to some Mafia involvement, but finding that weak, then resolved to concentrate their attention on a man whose name was firmly in the frame at the local prosecutors’ office, a mere stone’s throw from the school entrance.
The whole business reeks of the standard ploy of intelligence services who play the game of ‘just let it happen’ – JLIH. This was a great practice of Italian intelligence during the years of lead. The legendary urban guerrilla movement known as the Red Brigades was routinely infiltrated and ‘steered’ towards murderous events.
Similar theories have, of course, been put forth regarding the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States of America.
In this light, intercepting some clues of a man with evil thoughts in his head concerning the local prosecutors, he is allowed to go ahead and fix his canister bombs and the timing device, which is set to go off as people will start to arrive for work at the law office.
But not too many. Twenty minutes before eight in the morning is anticipating somewhat the eagerness of lawyers and support personnel to turn up for work, when the starting hour is 8:30 or thereabouts – at best. So the device begins to look like a frightener. However, it is timely for the start of school close by.
Once under lock and key, the accused continues his vehement denials, and then suddenly changes tack and confesses to killing Melissa Bassi, the tragic victim who was given the honors of a full scale state funeral.
The unanswered question is of course, even to his supposedly deranged mind, what he hoped to gain from this.
In one of his published comments he said, “I did not do this for any particular reason.” Then, I think giving the game away he says to his interrogators, “I did not confess, you had to come and get me.”
He then confesses to killing the businessman Cosimo Parati four years earlier. Well, either the carabinieri had simply dropped the Parati case altogether, or they suddenly got lucky when Vantaggiato plopped unexpectedly into their hands.
In fact, the near probability of a Mafia settling of scores in the Parati business was the most likely reason that the case lay unsolved.
The important connection in terms of the signifiers is the plain fact that the school and the law office are placed in close proximity. From my understanding, the set of standard refuse containers are equidistant.
If Vantaggiato left his primed canisters closer to the law office than the school, did someone move them subsequently closer to the school gates, after Vantaggiato and his car were snapped in compromising circumstances?
This is the possible crucial variant on the ‘just let it happen’ ploy.
He may well be a raving lunatic but the fact is that his grudge lay against the legal profession and not anyone connected with the school.
Any other suggestion is preposterous and wholly inadequate, a view which the investigating magistrate Caitaldo Motta seems to share.
Put very simply, the accused man had a motive, for want of a better word, to attack the law building, but none at all to attack the school. Being ‘against the world’ simply doesn’t add up.
So, in the end, what is anyone’s motive to indulge in such a merciless act of wanton murder?
During the years of lead, the authorities of the day indulged in serial synthetic terrorism to unnerve and frighten Italians that their country was about to be taken over by Moscow.
Acts of terror like the destruction of Bologna railway station one hot summer morning in 1980 were at first blamed on the Red Brigades, but later investigations found the devastating attack to be the work of neo-fascists affiliated with Italian domestic secret services.
The outrage was expressly political.
Italy is currently gripped by its worst economic crisis since the end of World War II. The government has been usurped by supporters of the New World Order, prominently the techno-premier Mario Monti, an Austrian School let-it-rip Wall Street advocate.
As a truly grim sign of the times, in the tourist magnet of Venice elderly people are reliably reported to be scavenging refuse bins in the wee small hours to find something to eat.
Beppe Grillo, the mesmerizing satirist whose 5 Star Movement routed the establishment parties in Italy’s recent local elections, says its ‘back to bombs,’ just like the years of lead, to distract attention from the everyday woes and miseries of Italians repressed by the globalist- imposed austerity regime.
In my view Grillo is spot on. I believe that Brindisi and the horrible events there are part of that same paradigm.
I had hoped to bring in another astonishing aspect of the renewed ‘strategy of tension’ which is the sudden and convenient discovery of a sprawling terrorist network spanning the country, bent on reducing ordered and civilized society to chaos.
File that under ‘the return of the Red Brigades’.
However, I find that the ruthless murder of a lovely young teenager in the bloom of her life so repellant that this post directed itself, so to speak, to deal exclusively with that matter and allow the exposure of the phantom anarchist threat to be the subject of a separate post.
Richard Cottrell is a writer, journalist and former European MP (Conservative). His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger At The Heart Of Europe is now available from Progressive Press. You may order it using the link below (or by clicking here – Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis):
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Edited by End the Lie