A hearing on the precautionary measures ordered for the repressive Sibilla operation was held at the Court of Cassation in Rome on June 22. The hearing stemmed from an appeal by prosecutor Manuela Comodi against the order of the Perugia review court, which on Dec. 16 had resulted in the annulment of the precautionary measures taken on Nov. 11 in the repressive operation. The Court of Cassation, in spite of the opinion of the Attorney General’s Office (which had called for the rejection of the Perugia prosecutor’s appeal), granted PM Comodi’s request, annulling the order of the review court and ordering a new hearing. The precautionary measures are not effective, and a new review hearing will be ordered for the coming months at the Perugia court.
We would like to take the opportunity of this update to dwell on the reasons that led to the crackdown, adding some of our own considerations derived especially from the recent order to transfer Comrade Alfredo Cospito to a 41 bis detention regime.
In September 2021, following years of investigations conducted by the commands of the Special Operational Grouping of the Carabinieri in Milan and Perugia, eight prison arrests for as many anarchist comrades were requested by the Perugia prosecutor’s office. This order was partly rejected and downgraded by the judge for preliminary investigations. At the same time as this request for arrest, a three-month censure order on correspondence was ordered for comrade Alfredo Cospito, which was subsequently renewed several times.
Thus, on Nov. 11, dozens of searches were carried out by the ROS of the Carabinieri, the Sibilla investigation concerning some 15 comrades was notified, and six precautionary measures were imposed in connection with the charge of incitement to commit a crime with the aggravating factor of the purpose of terrorism: an arrest warrant in prison for Alfredo Cospito (at the time already imprisoned in the Terni jail); the arrest of comrade Michele Fabiani, who was placed under house arrest with all restrictions; and finally, the obligation to stay in the municipality of residence jointly with the obligation to sign three days a week for four comrades. On the very day of the operation, two websites (roundrobin.info and malacoda.noblogs.org) were also blacked out, making their online addresses untraceable, and at present they are still unreachable on Italian territory through conventional browsers (due to technical limitations, the repressive forces were able to order the blackout only in Italy, since it was not possible to completely eliminate the websites in question). As mentioned earlier, after a little over a month, the precautionary measures were all cancelled by the review court.
The main charges against the comrades are that they formed or participated in a subversive association for the purpose of terrorism and subversion of the democratic order (270 bis c. p.) and incitement to commit a crime (414 c. p. ) with the aggravating factor of the purpose of terrorism, in connection with the editing, publication and distribution of the anarchist newspaper “Vetriolo” or, as far as some of the suspects are concerned, for reporting on its obscured websites some of its articles (especially “Which International?”, the interview with Alfredo Cospito that came out in three parts in the newspaper). In addition to these charges, there are additional ones for incitement and other minor offenses, again aggravated by the purpose of terrorism (inherent in the publication of articles and contributions in the websites, as well as for some flyers and countless wall writings in Spoleto). Finally, a comrade is charged with damage in connection with an action that took place in Foligno against some Italian Post Office machines during the hunger strike of imprisoned comrades in May-June 2019 over the closure of the AS2 section of the L’Aquila prison. The Sibilla investigation by the Perugia prosecutor’s office – initially focused more on the Circolaccio Anarchico in Spoleto – later “inherited,” at the urging of the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate, an earlier and more extensive investigation for 270 bis and 414 c. p. by the Milan prosecutor’s office that began in 2016, unimaginatively named “Vetriolo” and aimed at monitoring comrades in Milan, Genoa, Bergamo and Spoleto. In the context of this investigation, the ROS, looking for similarities, similarities or lexical and conceptual coincidences, had undertaken work comparing a large part of the articles published in the newspaper with the claim texts of a number of arson and explosive attacks that took place in Italy (and one in Greece).
Among the aims of Operation Sibilla was to target the newspaper, seizing all copies found by repressive forces during searches, and above all to toughen comrade Alfredo Cospito’s prison condition as much as possible. On May 5, after months of censorship of correspondence and after the repressive operation, the comrade was ordered to be transferred to the 41 bis regime. The intention, blatant and declared, is to silence his contribution, preventing him from publishing articles and interventions, attempting to bury him in the most afflictive of detention regimes in Italian prisons. Even more so in light of the repressive intentions-which are not the result of any kind of “exceptionalism,” but an expression of democracy in its peculiar transition to a new-form authoritarian turn-we reiterate that we will never fail in our solidarity with Alfredo and all imprisoned comrades. We would especially like to send a fraternal hug with affection not only to Alfredo but also to Gianluca, a comrade under investigation in Sibilla and currently under house arrest with all the restrictions following another repressive operation (the Diamante investigation, March 16) by the Genoa prosecutor’s office.
Solidarity-as an essential sentiment emerging in the awareness of the deep sharing of the anarchist idea-is not enough, however. In the face of Alfredo Cospito’s transfer to 41 bis, and in light of the repressive tightening that has been going on for years, it is necessary to lay the foundations for a different solidarity, a concrete international revolutionary solidarity that, outside of any anti-prison “specialism,” goes to emphasize, by putting them into action, the reasons for our struggle and its goal: the destruction of the state, of capital, of all authority. For these reasons we urge support for all anarchist and revolutionary initiatives that will be put in place against 41 bis and the transfer of the comrade to this detention regime.
For our part, it remains our firm intention to persevere in anarchist propaganda. These repressive events take place in a historical context where capitalism is dragging us toward the possibility of a new generalized war, where the carovita starves and impoverishes millions of proletarians, where the environmental crisis has been unleashed with desertification and droughts that are hitting harder and harder even in our latitudes, and after two years of a health crisis that has locked workers indoors, carded them and blackmailed them with green passes, while corporations continued to do business. In the face of all this, not only do we want to reiterate that we will not let our mouths be shut, but also that we will not allow repression to shift all our energies to mere defense against state attacks.
To persist in our practices means first and foremost to continue to position anarchism as the only historical force of concrete and destructive opposition against the catastrophe toward which masters and rulers are dragging us.
In this spirit we invite everyone to participate in the two-day event to be held in Spoleto on June 26 and 27. On Sunday, June 26, with some comrade editors of the anarchist fortnightly “Bezmotivny,” we will discuss the war in Ukraine from an intransigent internationalist point of view, that is, against every state, starting with our own, for defeatism, for the defeat of NATO. On Monday 27, in conjunction with the cassation ruling of the Scripta Manent trial, we will discuss anti-anarchist repression in recent years. This will be an additional time for discussion and organizing for the mobilization against the decision to transfer Alfredo to 41 bis. Discussions will be held at 5 p.m. at Circolaccio Anarchico in Spoleto, Viale della repubblica 1/A.
Some anarchists under investigation
June 23, 2022