Considerations concerning Operation “Ritrovo” and requests for special surveillance
A year after Operation Ritrovo [operation hangout] requests came for 5 years’ special surveillance with compulsory residence against 7 comrades involved in the investigation. A hearing has been set for 12th July. The move seems to us to be completely in line with what happened in both the recent past (Cagliari and Genoa) and that more remote. In the face of the failure or drastic reshaping of the contents of the investigation, they are trying to strike the same people with other means. The intent is clearly that of not giving up, weakening the contexts in which to think and to organize critique and opposition to the status quo is a practice that remains constant, even by simply having comrades feeling constantly watched, breathing down their necks, trying to put them under pressure.
Special surveillance, and in a different way “minor” custodial measures such as compulsory residence and prohibition of residence, are measures as devious as they are vile. Anyone affected by them is isolated in a way which is not as hard as heavier measures, such as arrest. However, even if with different means, the State’s aim remains the same: to narrow the space of those who act, take out of the way those who expose themselves and to give a warning to anyone who intends to do so. And it can succeed with both prison and other, even if lighter, measures. It is when comrades disappear from the contexts they had been struggling in until now, precisely because of these measures, that we can see that. And although we are not surprised that solidarity doesn’t express itself with the same impetus as for arrests, we still want to point out that what they are aiming for is often the same: to stop paths of struggle. And we cannot allow them to succeed.
It therefore seems essential first to collectivize the content of these requests then hope that debate and resistance against these measures will extend, also considering the bulk of surveillance requested over the national territory in recent months: 4 in Cagliari, 2 in Genoa (one of which currently in force), 1 in Turin, 7 in Bologna (preceded by another 2 in the province, one of which was rejected and the other one applied).
Concerning these investigations, we can say that in line with where they started off from, they are decisively botched. First of all the surveillance measures have been requested not because of “generic dangerousness” but because of a so-called “qualified” one, i.e. destined for people under investigation for particular kinds of crime; in this specific case, crimes of terrorism (comma “d” of the paragraph of the penal code on the persons concerned). In spite of this, the charge of terrorism which emerges from the court papers is linked to Operation Ritrovo – in which there are still comrades under investigation – which a year ago led to seven arrests and five compulsory residence orders. Therefore, tautology already seen: first the prosecutor launches accusations of terrorism – rejected by both the Court of Review and the Cassation after an appeal made by the prosecutor – then uses the same accusation to demonstrate dangerousness based precisely on terrorism.
Regarding the content, the 7 requests are quite individual-centred. However all share a common introduction, which recalls the preventive view extoled by prosecutor Dambruoso at the beginning of Operation Ritrovo and the repressive-pandemic concept according to which in the course of last year there was allegedly «infiltration of local anarchists into the social fabric with the intent of “exploiting the anger” generated by the strict limitations imposed by the Government to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, and direct it against free democratic institutions»*.
Someone was mentioned as being holder of the info space “Il Tribolo” (from where banners and flags were seized, so considered to be at the holder’s personal disposal), or as actively participating in the edition of the anti-prison bulletin OLGa. Others are mentioned as participants in demos and gatherings on national and international levels, in particular the struggle against repression and the solidarity with comrades in prison.
Naturally there are contradictory passages. For some, personal dangerousness is inferred by possession of IT instruments of privacy protection. For others by content (transcription of letters, leaflets, reports on meetings) extrapolated from pieces of communication found on non-encrypted IT devices.
In some of the requests more emphasis is given to militant “curriculums”, starting from the first denunciations (superficially reported with errors and misprints); in others the emphasis is on events which occurred last year, including demonstrations in solidarity with prisoners following the revolt of March 2020 and active participation in the Assembly in solidarity with prisoners, besides correspondence with the latter, whereby some is given a role of “connection” between comrades inside and outside jails on a national level.
And then this passage: «The sharing of revolutionary dynamics of struggle in the anti-prison context and in solidarity with imprisoned insurrectionalist anarchists belonging to FAI/FRI» ideologically embraces «a subversive projectuality aiming at violent insurrection, also exploiting and fomenting prison revolts»*. Ideological adhesion would be a condition for carrying on requests for preventive measures. Dambruoso has been saying it since last year and he continues along this road without thinking twice. The prosecutor, whose execrable career in the Milan prosecution service was built on repression against so-called Islamic terrorism, is trying today to follow the same tracks against anarchists. And this would be laughable given its scarce success, if it wasn’t for the fact that precisely with similar investigations on terrorism, based exactly on ideological adhesion, he and other prosecutors impose years of prison or preventive measures left, right and centre.
The counterpart is attacking and is doing so with constancy, keeping a sort of “punitive standard”, as a way of saying that the State doesn’t go below a certain level of repression, in terms of years inflicted and of the typology of the (preventive and not) measures handed out. If the level of the conflict goes down repression advances, or at the very least doesn’t retreat. Precisely because, they say it themselves, the aim is “to prevent”, a return to the “hot years”.
And we thought we should start off exactly from here. In the face of their prevention, we want to oppose our own, organizing and launching struggles and discourses that this umpteenth repressive move wants to break.
*quotations form requests for special surveillance