Thursday, July 17, 2008

Butchers, the police and Genoa 2001

15 police and medical staff have been convicted by an Italian court for the horrors of the 2001 G8 summit, but before you utter the words "good" and "news", please stop in your tracks.

Today's must-read is a piece by Nick Davies' in The Guardian about the horrors inflicted by Italian police during the Genoa G8 Summit on 21 July 2008.

Seven years on and those disturbing episodes of contemporary fascist butchery have returned to haunt us as 15 police and medical staff were finally convicted by an Italian court. But before you utter the words "good" and "news", please stop in your tracks. First off, most of the several hundred law officers involved in the Diaz school raid and the tortures at Bolzaneto detention centre have escaped without any discipline or criminal charge. Also, those sentenced will not spend a single minute in jail due to the legal loopholes. And, lest we forget, the politicians who presided over one of the most disgraceful pages of recent Italian history are back at the country's helm.

Nick Davies' article is a plea not to forget the events of July 2001. He goes through the story of Mark Covell, a British journalist who -purely for being there- was kneecapped, kicked as a football and suffered from massive internal bleeding, ending up on a life-support machine.
The point was made by the prosecution that the ordeal at Bolzaneto involved at least four out of the five technicalities that, according to the European Court of Human Rights, constitute torture.

Hundreds of people from all over Europe were arrested during the raid and taken to a temporary prison camp outside Genoa, at Bolzaneto. Random and heavy beatings, freezing cold conditions, and various organised brutality were all perpetrated by the police. Prosecutors said those arrested were beaten, made to sing fascist songs, and that some women were stripped naked, had their heads shaved and were threatened with rape.

It quickly emerged that the horrors had been meticulously planned and extended way beyond a few excitable policemen grappling with wet dreams about Mussolini. Straight after the school raids, the police put on show the weapons they claimed to have found in the building - petrol bombs, sledgehammers and metal bars. They didn't say, however, that all those had been (amateurishly) planted, which they were forced to admit as the truth emerged during the investigation two years later.

Credit to The Guardian for keeping the issue on the front page.

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