Rosa Calipari, widow of Major General Nicola Calipari of the Italian military Security and Intelligence Service who killed by American troops at Baghdad Airport last March 4, after rescuing kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, called on all political forces to support the Italian judiciary’s quest for truth and transparency in the death of her husband.
“Let the [political forces] guarantee support for the investigation which the judiciary is carrying out to identify those responsible for my husband’s death,” Rosa Calipari said.
She is convinced that the truth can be obtained only through the efforts of the Roman judicial investigating commission, which at this time is awaiting the results of experts’ ballistic and other analyses of the car involved in the shooting. This investigation, she claims, is being frustrated by the Americans, along with the complete silence of the Italian government.
“My husband’s homicide,” she adds, “cannot be allowed to become yet another of Italy’s ‘mysteries.”
Mrs. Calipari is referring to countless unsolved political crimes—from the murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978 to the massacre of 80 people and wounding of 200 in the Bologna train station bombing in 1980—that point to collusion between the Italian secret services, trained and funded by the CIA, and Anglo-American-dominated NATO intelligence, which sought to reverse the electoral progress of Italy toward a coalition government of national unity that would welcome the powerful and then respected Italian Communist Party as a partner.
In spite of the Italian Communist Party’s official separation from Moscow and recognition of Italy’s participation in NATO, the idea of a multi-party sovereignty for Italy was anathema to the George H.W. Bush’s CIA (the senior Bush was head of the CIA in 1976 for one year), to then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and to then Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, General Alexander Haig.
The terrorist crimes of the Italian “years of lead,” carried out by neo-fascist or Mafia elements, were subsequently blamed on the left to discredit it in the eyes of the electorate and were part of the infamous “strategy of tension,” born and bred within the intelligence institutions of the Anglo-American allied command of post-war occupied Europe to stem, subvert, and thwart the advance of socialist and democratic forces in Europe (to look up this intelligence saga, research Stay-Behind and Gladio, the names of secret subversive operations for Europe under the eventual umbrella of NATO).
The decade of false-flag terrorism in Italy in the1970s, clearly documented through various trials and parliamentary investigations, is attributed by most Italians to planned interference by foreign powers (mainly American) in tandem with opportunistic pro-American, home-grown national elements and various parties’ that sold out to create a state of civil war and terror whereby the population would consent to a loss of civil rights and welcome the “shadow government” of powerful corporate, right-wing forces, friendly to American interests. Call it a rebirth of fascism.
Many Italians today, following the news emanating from Iraq, are skeptical of reports that attribute suicide bombings and other terror attacks to shadowy “terrorists” of the Zarqawi ilk, fundamentalist fanatics, Sunni recalcitrants, and lumping break-away Shiites like Moqtada Sadr in the same bloody cauldron of crazed lunatics—all of whom seem, at one time or another, to have as their objective the extermination of civilians. How, skeptics ask, does this benefit the resistance, which traditionally depends on the collaboration of the tacit but helpful masses? The polarization of Iraqis into simplistic religious identities ignores their roots in a national (largely Arab) identity—one that already fought and ejected British rule. Such a polarization can only be the product of “orientalist” propaganda—the soft-sell of invented reality by western “scholars,” convenient [mis]interpreters of Arab and Muslim life eager to feed the imperialist hunger for facile stereotypes in order to dupe or confound naive Westerners with what is in reality false knowledge.
When Italians fought in the resistance against occupying Germans in WW II, the resistance fighter was first and foremost an Italian, and only secondly a liberal, a Christian-Democrat, a monarchist, a socialist. One doesn’t fight occupation by turning one’s crosshairs on one’s brother or sister if he wants to succeed in liberating the country. Or do we want to believe that Iraqis are somehow inferior to other occupied people and prefer to slaughter one another? That is certainly the picture someone wants us to buy. During the Vietnam War, they used to tell us that “Life in Asia was cheap.” They obviously want us to fall for the same canard in Iraq, seasoned Italian observers suspect, having witnessed a decade of maneuvers of the terrorist genre to turn Italians against one another for the prize of the Italian state under the domination of foreign if invisible boots.
Recent events in Basra confirm the average Italian citizen’s suspicions. The two Britons, held by Iraqi police, were SAS, British special forces. Dressed as civilians but wearing tribal Arab headgear, they were seen planting bombs in a Basra street and perhaps instantly pursued. Had they succeeded, who do you think would have been blamed? They were speeding at a checkpoint and refused to stop.
British tanks and helicopters were deployed to secure their release because Iraqi police refused to give them up. The police station was leveled—you’ve seen the pictures. Angry mobs stormed British positions. What this whole process, which even the liberal British press characterized as a a break in “trust” between occupying Brits and subject Iraqis (an imperialist, paternalistic term only an empire, however former, could dream up!)—reveals is that 70 percent of Iraqi police, trained and armed by the Brits, is loyal to anti-occupation forces and specifically to Sadr. Now, how are the invasion apologists going to spin this one? And isn’t it odd that Zarqawi was nowhere around?
For this—however they spin it—is resistance. This is the real thing. People and police fighting on the same side—for the same cause. No suicide-movie-script-evil-doer here. Because this snafu was not planned—worse, the plan to create mayhem and perhaps turn popular support for resistance against it went awry.
Rosa Calipari spoke judiciously—out of lived national and personal experience with the tricksters of empires. Though her husband was a secret service agent, he did not work for the Americanist Party, the Berlusconi clique. In fact, the contingent within SISMI dedicated to national sovereignty and the security and safety of Italian citizens is being dubbed the “Caliparist” faction, and it is heavily under attack by forces loyal to Washington (the campaign to savage SISMI’s Director Nicolò Pollari by the Italian chief of police, for example) to the point of revealing the identities of secret agents—”burning” them, Rove-style.
To get an idea why Nicola Calipari’s death has become a national symbol for the repeatedly frustrated aspirations for sovereignty and liberation from the bloody ties that bind Italy to Washington since 1945, through state corruption, terror, and blood, we need only hear Rosa Calipari’s words on the kind of decent human being he had always been: “He was a criminal lawyer, but he couldn’t find it in him to defend the Mafiosi. So he entered the police force. He was a man who strove to make institutions accessible to the people, advancing a process of democratization of the forces of order.”
He was one of the incorruptible ones. An idealist. Worse, a man for the people. In the war of Bush’s terror, therefore, he was of no use—a meddlesome inconvenience.
Luciana Bohne teaches film and literature at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached at [email protected].