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The "Black Bloc" in Italy was in cahoots with Police

It is clear that most of the so-called Black Bloc in Genoa (of whom none were genuine anarchists) were cooperating with the Italian Police and serving as agents provocateurs, to give the police the necessary "justification" to smash heads and confiscate information. This is an important issue- this will happen more and more frequently, as police forces around the world learn this trick.

I am certainly not suggesting that the real Black Bloc is to blame for these things, just that their image is being used to hide infiltrators (and will be used again, no doubt).
From: George (Giorgio) Torrieri < torrieri@SBARS.PHYSICS.ARIZONA.EDU>

Subject: An account from Genoa (Police & "Black Bloc" vs. demonstrators)

This is my quick and dirty translation of an open letter type account of the Genoa demonstrations, written by the brother of the leader of the Genoa Social Forum (the coalition of peaceful protesters there). I cannot vouch for everything written, but it fits remarkably with my own
impressions (I was in Genoa for 1 day. At least, the part of the police acting with random brutality but, remarkably leaving alone the people doing the vandalizing I can confirm).


Please forward to anyone you know
>From Stefano Agnoletto

23/07/01

 http://www.arengario.net/piaz/piaz602.html

Dear friends

Now, I was in Genoa, I've seen it. Don't believe the news you've seen in the press and on TV. It was something insane, a massacre.It is still difficult to tell you what happened between Friday and Saturday. To do so, I'll use what I've seen together with my dear friends who were present in
Genoa with me. I ask you to have the patience to read this message, it really is the chronicle of a nightmare which probably will not reach the mainstream media.

I arrive to Genoa on thursday, after an immigrant's rights demonstration of about 50,000 people. There are arrival camps, many, thousands of peaceful people, a marvellous atmosphere (remember the boy scouts?), we discussed, sang and just stayed together. Clergy, activists, volunteers
and just normal people, on Friday we begin the issue areas in a blockaded city.

The various groups partcipating will converge in different points of the city to have a carnivalesque "siege" against the "red area" [The place, in Genoa, where the G8 was held and demonstrations were not permitted] with street theatre, dancing and slogans.

At this point, from the beach-front members of the now infamous "Black Block" [supposedly Extremist groups blamed for most of the destruction in the city] arrive. Some are seen chatting with police, others just come out of police crowds. Most of them speak German. They start to break
everything. Police and Carabinieri [the Italian military police] just stand there. The black block tries to join in with a group of COBAS workers [COBAS is the new Italian Trade union unaffiliated with party politics]. They beat up one of their leaders, the group manages to stay clear of them with some difficulty.

Then the Black Block makes head for the first issue area, belonging to the Italian Social Centers (Centri Sociali. Difficult to translate exactly, call them Community organizations). They arrive armed to the teeth. The
police goes after them, and demonstratos find themselves attacked first by the black block and then by the police, which starts to charge violently against all demonstrators.

The black block leaves suddently and appears on the square were the Lilliput network is based (Fair trade, catholic campaign groups ecc). It's members try to peacefully make them leave. The police follows and charges against everyone on the square. Truncheons and teargas are used
indiscriminately. People raise their hands, shout "Peace". The black block leaves the square and starts to vandalize the city systematically. 300-400 of the Black block roam Genoa, and whoever guides them seems to know the
city very well. Their path crosses every issue area, where the campaigns of our movement are located. It's incredible. They move with military discipline, infiltrate everywhere, some leaders shout orders which are promptly followed by the whole group. And, shortly afterwards, police and
Carabinieri make their appearance.

Meanwhile, in the issue area where ARCI, ATTAC ecc. ("mainstream" Italian 3rd-world campaigning organizations) are located everything is fine. During the early afternoon we decide to leave the boundary with the red one were we were demonstrating. People start moving towards Dante square. Suddendly, police launches tear-gas from behind our march, causing panic everywhere. Hospitals fill with wounded demonstrators, but many do not go to hospital since police seems to arrest everyone who turns up there.

It's evening, people are downbeat,many are angry. Suddently, no trace of the Black block. At the old city, where the camp of the Genoa social forum is, there's about 10,000 of us. The news of the dead demonstrator reaches us. We are scared, tales of extreme police brutality are told by many
people. Young men, nuns start crying. Many people are hurt. One old man is crying with a bandage on his head. He is a retired metal worker.

There is Don Gallo, of the San Benedetto (catholic) community group. There is the leader of the mothers of Plaza De Mayo, in Argentina, those women who for years have been looking for their disappeared children: She says
she is shaken at what she has seen, it's uncomfortably close to Argentina during the dictatorship.

She did not think something similar would happen here.

My brother Vittorio (Spokesman for the Genoa Social Forum), Luca Cesarini (leader of the Social Centers) and Bertinotti, the only politician with the courage to come here (the leader of the Italian refounded communist party, sort of the equivalent of Nader in Italian politics) try to calm
everyone: They tell us not to come out in small groups, not to accept violent provocations. We decide our answer will be the enormous demonstration the next day, there'll be many of us, peacefully responding to any provocation, whether from the black block or the police.

Senator Malabarba tells us he was at the police station. He saw strange people who dressed like the demonstrators, they spoke German and other foreign languages. Most of them come out of the station after exchanging a few words with the police.

Suddently, there is a fire at a bank close to the old city. For 40 minutes, helicopters circle us, but no firefighters or police arrive. At night, one of the camps were we are sleeping, the Carlini, is surrounded by police: They go in and search, doing what you want. People cry. They
ask that brutality stop. Police enters, but does not find anything in the camp.

Saturday, the demonstration starts, a thousand colors. People from allover the world, farmers, ONGs,workers, people from Kurdistan... all singing, dancing, waving all sorts of flags.

On Kennedy square there is no violence, in fact there is no one there. Suddently the Black Block appears. Police, with no warning or reason given, divides the demonstration in 2 parts. A real battle begins. Charges everywhere, people being beaten with truncheons. It seems cops have gone crazy. Metal workers ,the youth wing of Rifondazione (the
Italian left wing party) are charged. Groups of demonstrators flee and are followed by police. Whoever is isolated is pursued and beaten. Many people are telling of being beaten only for being recognized as demonstrators.
Even the Italian correspondent of the Sunday Times is beaten (in today's issue of the paper he tells of his adventure).

In a part of the march which so far was quiet, by the sea, suddenly teargas is fired from the roofs. Panic ensues as people cannot breathe.

The Black BLock? They appear and disappear, no one stops them. They attack a youth from Rifondazione, wreck his flag, beat him. They throw stones at the spokesman of the Genoa Social Forum They wreck stores, set fire to buildings. Many are armed to the teeth. How on earth they managed to come to Genoa, with soldiers controlling every car? At the head of the march, things are still quiet. The Genoa Social Forum
invites everyone to leave calmly, and stay together. We are being led to Marassi, where there are buses with everyone who arrived this morning. We stopped there, and could not go further: On Kennedy square, there is a war. There are many of us just sitting there. Suddendly, teargas is used,
panic everywhere. We try to get back to the camp of the Genoa social forum. Police trucks pass us by, and policemen in them shout: "we'll kill you all".

The second part of the demonstration never arrives to the square. They are charged by police. Many flee to the small streets, towards the hills, where a real man-hunt starts.

Saturday night, the demonstration has ended hours ago, the police enters into the press-center of the Genoa Social Forum. They beat up everyone they encounter, with shocking brutality. All they seem to be after are documents (paper, video, pictures ecc.) which tell of what happened in the
previous two days. Many of these documents ,computers, disks are simply destroyed.

The lawyer who coordinates the forum's legal team is arrested. Among the destroyed material, there are the documents this legal team put together as part of the defense of those arrested. Now, even the motives for their
arrest are not known. During this "search", with no legal mandate, members of parliament, journalists, lawyers and even doctors are not let in the building. None of us have ever seen the famous weapons shown at the press conference yesterday. Police departs, leaving us with only those wounded and arrested.

No one knows what happened to the Black Block.

To sum it up, 2 nightmare days. Both the black block and the Police knew what they were doing when they committed this violence. All along ,from friday, they insulted and verbally abused us as they did what they did, someone seems to have brainwashed them.

And today, we look at the TV and read papers. My god, it seems like a dictatorship. Did everyone miss what we all saw? When I think that many will read this and say "you violent protesters just talk bullshit", I go mad. Please, don't let anyone fool you, find the courage to put your faith in our wonderful police and democratically accountable institutions to question.

What happened in Genoa beggars belief. Some inauguration for the new government. Just to give you a flavour of the spin control effort, do you know what the first version of the official investigation into the death, before the videos appeared, was? Killed by a stone launched by the
demonstrators. If you think that many of the documents put together by witnesses have been destroyed during the "search"... the only version left to the public is that, "uncontestable", of the police.

Please, forward, print, talk about this document.

To everyone, friends, relatives, collegues. The truth has to come out. I beg you, don't look the other way.

Thank you

Stefano Agnoletto
Stephano Paints With Too Broad a Brush 25.Jul.2001 15:39

Bakunin

Anon e. mouse claims most of the Black Blocers in genoa were police infiltrators. In reading all of the accounts since last week this is clearly ridiculous. It seems true that some level of infiltration occured, but to paint most Black Blocers as cops is both stupid and dangerous.

Black Blocers don't get caught becasue they fight and run, not cause they are cops. This type of article plays into the hands of the state by dividing us against ourselves and casting suspicion on the most militant and often most couragous section of our movement. Please sort it out for yourselfs. Read the accounts. The black Bloc put this movement on the map in the West and is not going away. Don't let the divisions created by the state infiltrate the movement here in North America. Since Seattle we have done well at working together. This type of article is meant to make us weaker, not stronger. Let's look at infiltration and tactical mistakes, but don't turn on each other. The Black Bloc tactic is essential to our movement and should not be demonized or cast cops. Remember after Seattle how the Black Bloc was called cops? Let's keep our heads.

Black Bloc's actions are indefensible 25.Jul.2001 16:15

vcat

I have read many accounts of the violence perpetrated by the "black bloc" in Genoa, and even if most of them aren't actually police-in-disguise, it's obvious that they serve the ends of the police quite nicely. It was stated in numerous articles that the police refused to take any action against the "black bloc" itself, but used the violence of bloc as an excuse to crack down on peaceful non-violent demonstrators. Come on, people- when will you get it??? Breaking windows and spraying painting symbols doesn't accomplish ANYTHING. Oh yeah it does, I hear many protesting- it gets us media attention! Well fucking hurrah, a man had to die to get some media attention. That sure was worth it, wasn't it? When you start to have that attitude, you're as bad as the fascistic police and their corporate cronies.

Now don't get me wrong- I think direct action and property destruction have their place. Focused and well-organized DA is vital to bringing attention to the cause. Tree-sitting, road-blocking, even burning down an unoccupied McDonalds are all okay with me. But smashing shit up (at a peaceful protest) is neither focused nor well-organized. It's silly, pointless, and IT PUTS INNOCENT PEOPLE'S LIVES IN DANGER!!!

How fucking careless and selfish, to vent your rage at the expense of a group of peaceful protestors, and then to run away when the police come, knowing full well that they will punish the pacifists for your actions. You have no decent ideological defense for this. It makes me physically ill. I don't care if the Black Bloc is infiltrated or not, I'm sick of their childish and dangerous and cowardly actions.

Black Bloc's actions are indefensible 25.Jul.2001 16:25

vcat

I have read many accounts of the events in Genoa, and it is pretty obvious that, whether or not the Black Bloc was infiltrated by the police, their actions served the police very nicely. The police refused to go after the black bloc, even though they and everyone else knew where to find them. Instead, they chose to use the bloc's violence as an excuse to crack down on peaceful non-violent demostrators and indepentdent media activists. What a great outcome!

I am sick of these fatuous people who can't distinguish between focused and organized direct action on the one hand, and puerile and damaging direct action on the other. I'm all for DA and property damage, when it's done with a clear goal and message in mind. Treesitting, road-blocking, even burning down an unoccupied McDonalds are all fine by me. They have their time and place, and they send a clear and unmistakable message.

Those idiots in Genoa, however, were disrupting a peaceful protest (600 organizations had signed on officially and all agreed to non-violence) and willfully putting peoples' lives in danger. It's pretty fucking cowardly to rush in, break a few windows (to vent your rage, of course) and then run away- knowing full well that the cops are going to punish the pacifists for your actions. It makes me physically ill to think about the self-righteous justifications of these vicious morons.

State Repression Exists Regardless 25.Jul.2001 17:59

Jerry

I am growing weary of the countless people who say that the black bloc puts people's live in danger. do these people not understand the true nature of state repression? The police will be violent and crack heads and teargas people regardless of the black bloc. I saw it in Seattle and elsewhere. I even saw it happen at a Grateful Dead show when the police couldn't break up a drum cirlcle of 100 drummers and a couple hundred dancers (totally nonviolent). The nature of policing IS repression, and of course the protection of certain priveleged people.

Responsibility for one's Own Provocations 26.Jul.2001 06:07

Energee

Yes, Jerry, "the police WILL be violent ... regardless" (MY emphasis), but the lovely thing about the Block Bloc is that it provides the state with such convenient justification for the corporate media to feed to the public. I take issue with anon e. mouse's "not suggesting that the real Black Bloc is to blame for these things." I AM suggesting that very hypothesis. For now, I'll decline from insisting on it; but I do suggest it. The very presence of the Black Bloc offers some justification, in the minds of many, for state repression - not just at demonstrations, but also for passing draconian "anti-terrorist" legislation, etc., etc.

WHAT IS THE JUSTIFICATION (i.e., the purpose - the rationale) FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE BLACK BLOC AS IT PRESENTS ITSELF!! I'd like to know how it justifies self-gratification and acting out anger against the obviously overwhelmingly more power foe of the state (altho the state is NOT an obviously more dangerous or evil entity, in the eyes of most people; and the Black Bloc helps cloud that reality.) Apparently the Black Bloc prefers "proving" the evil of the state over gaining the trust and aid of the masses against the trans-national corporado that now CONTROL the state.

If they had real courage, they'd take their masks off, show that they are real human individuals, and risk identity and thereby prosecution and retaliation against themselves, not foisting it collectively upon the entire mass of protestors. THAT kind of guts I could at least begin to respect, even if their intellectualizations are born out of the emotions and violent outbursts they seek to justify, rather than the authors of coherent strategy to nurture their own long-term emotional satisfaction and greater justice and well-being for us all. (And in "us" I include the long-suffering underclass of the world, not just the Black Bloc and us middle-class activists.)

I think 95% of the Black Bloc believe that the attention must be on themselves, and they INSIST that the rest of us must choose between solidarity with them or pursuing our supposedly common goals. I believe we may need to make this choice, indeed. It is not our job to facilitate police brutality against the Black Bloc. But it is certainly not our job to protect them as they endanger us AND our "common" cause. OUR cause - exposing and opposing the rule of the world by the corporations and coming to the aid of the people who have been valiantly trying to defend themselves against those powers for years, even centuries - must come first, even if it means giving the Black Bloc and their tactics no more respect nor safe-harbor than they give to the rest of us and to our tactics.