Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dial "B" for Assassination

The US Administration is chomping at the bit for a chance to bring more turmoil to Arab countries should the Mehlis report finger Syria in the assassination of former Lebanese PM and construction billionaire Rafiq Hariri. But far away from Damascus, on mainland Europe, in the heart of the NATO alliance, an honest politician was gunned down after going to vote.

Yesterday as he left the voting booth, Francesco Fortugno was shot dead by two assassins. The brazen symbolic murder was a death threat to all politicians associated with L'Unione, the Lefist coalition expected to take power from Berlusconi in April 2006.

The body Francesco Fortugno will lie in state all day tomorrow in the chambers of the Regional Council of Calabria where he served as Deputy Chairman. In addition to his service to the public, Francesco Fortugno was the father of two, a physician, a forensic scientist, a professor of medicine at the Medical Faculty of the Università di Catanzaro and Secretary of the Academy of Medicine of Reggio Calabria.

The fact that assassins dared to act so boldly in broad daylight with no fear whatsoever of the law in a Western country and NATO ally is a warning of a bloody season ahead in Italy. This is a deliberate provocation of the Left, which has the sense to play it cool.

The government of Reggio-Calabria changed political parties when the left was swept into office recently. The new Governor, Agazio Loiero, fired 70 appointees of the former right-wing government placed in positions of controlling the public purse strings. Sadly, the region has become a major center for cocaine trafficking to the point that honest businessmen and professionals are being driven out by the crime syndicate, the 'ndrangheta (Ironically, Greek for heroism and virtue). Last year, there were 323 assaults, murders or acts of intimidation, including carbombings. Favorite scare tactics include death threats delivered with a severed goat's head or an envelope dropped in the mailbox with the victim's photo and the number of slugs the gangs intend to plug him with.

Meanwhile in Rome, Prime Minister Berlusconi goes beyond political rivalry by accusing the Left (mostly middle class people who reflect our progressive sentiments) of everything except baby-roasting. In public and on the airwaves, Berlusconi denounced the Left as commie Islamist traitors and cheats in league with the ghost of Stalin, which, as can be recognized, is an implicit call to violence by wingnuts.

If it were just the 'ndrangheta, it could have struck at home, in the parking lot or at the restaurant. Instead, he was murdered when he went to vote in a Leftist primary. Any and all leftist politicans and supporters of civil society have been threatened by this act. This suggests an alliance of crime and ultra-right.

When the ultras bombed the Bologna Railway Station, the dumbasses hoped to provoke leftist riots which would be followed up by mass arrests of protestors in a government crackdown. This assassination smells of the same stink.

Poor Fortugno was among the last innocent, honest men standing committed to his community, a local who wanted to lift the community out of crime and corruption. The murder was sheer intimidation and suggests a fusion of rightists and 'ndrangheta.

So the USA wants to turn the world upside-down over because of an assassination of some oligarch in a faraway Arab land while democracy and civil society are fed to the sharks in southern Italy?


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