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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Armando Spataro lead the investigation into the kidnapping of Hassan Osama Nasr in Milan on February 17 2003 and requested that 19 CIA agents be arrested for the crime. On the 23rd of June the Italian GIP Chiara Nobile issued 13 arrest warrents for CIA agents who participated in the kidnapping. Dr Spataro is not a friend of the many enemies of the CIA. In fact, people on the Italian far left hate him passionately.

Here Spataro is accused of attempting to prosecute members of the armed left for crimes which have been cancelled by the statute of limitations.

Adriano Sofri specifically complained that Spataro has asserted that Sofri is guilty even though Spataro was not involved in the case and shouldn't discuss it. "magistrati milanesi che, senza essere entrati personalmente nei nostri processi, hanno manifestato opinioni colpevoliste e parlato di riscontri - penso per esempio ad Armando Spataro, che l'ha fatto ripetutamente"

Any attempt to claim that Spataro is grandstanding for radical chic applause is absurd. He clearly has no problem with the hatred and contempt of the left -- he even seems to seek it. In the case of Hassan Osama Nasr he is clearly just implementing the law.

Adriano Sofri is much more interesting than Armando Spataro.

Sofri was leader of a left wing disorganisation called lotta continua. Elisabetta Addis says that this demonstrates the impossibility of anarchism. In theory Lotta Continua was a group of people who agreed on important things and spontaneously acted together. There was no official structure or hierarchy. In practice, she says, this means that Lotta Continua was Adriano Sofri and people who treated his every word as gospel. The absolute absence of any official structure meant that Sofri felt as free to say whatever he thought as anyone.

This disorganised splinter left group was based in large part in rejection of the Italian Communist party for being too moderate and, above all, to bureaucratic.
Lotta Continua is important because many of its alumni are in important positions. In fact, you can find them pretty much everywhere except in the parties into which the Italian Communist Party split. As far as I know all but one Lotta Continua alumni remain supporters of Adriano Sofri.

I'm not able to judge, but I'm not sure that any living person is able to use the Italian language better than Sofri. He is now a journalist. The range of topics which he covers is limited by the fact that he is in prison.

Sofri was convicted of ordering the murder of a police official. The conviction is based entirely on the testimony of the one Lotta Continua alumnus mentioned above. As I mention below, it takes a very long time to reach a final verdict in Italy. Sofri has had one first level trial, three second level trials, four of five appeals to the highest criminal court and a "revisione" del processo. The second verdict was an acquital overturned on appeal for technical reasons. The others are convictions.

I find the verdicts mysterious, because, although it is impossible to prove a negative, I think it has been proven beyond all doubt that the testimony against Sofri is a mass of lies. I mean he might be guilty, but his accuser definitely wouldn't know about that, because he is clearly lying and also totally clueless.

I don't see how any person of normal intelligence could possibly doubt this.

Oddly, my view is shared by almost all of the Italian elite. The left might semi sympathise with the far left (many of them went overboard in the 70s too) and the right discovered a passionate devotion to defendents and their rights somewhere between the very first indictment and the long ago first trial of their leader (he was convicted).

Anger over this case is a major factor in blocking an alliance of the enemies of Berlusconi in the name of an independent judiciary.

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