At a time when France is losing interest in the idea of the TAV project between Lyons and Turin, Italy has now started to go all out. (France completed seven kilometres of three exploratory tunnels a number of years ago – not to be used for the railway line and rumoured to be used to bury nuclear waste. Italy, up to now, has only managed 250 metres of its wider exploratory tunnel, also to be seven kilometres long, and the last three or four intended for the new railway.)
Tunnelling equipment has been brought in under cover of darkness. The beautiful Val de Susa and environs have been turned into a military zone. The area resembles an army camp. Nonetheless, opposition to the wasteful and destructive mega-project remains steadfast.
And, out of the blue, a weeks-old dispute has been rekindled.
Media bias has been at play in reporting the No-TAV struggle for some time now, perhaps since the very beginning. Reports encourage people to take a particular view in favour of the TAV project, with no alternatives countenanced. La Stampa (the Turin-based newspaper which covers Piedmont including the Susa Valley, owned by FIAT SpA) is overtly hostile to any opposition.
On 10 September 2013, three No-TAV activists found their homes searched and themselves under house arrest for something which most people thought was over and done with back in August. It concerns allegations made by a journalist from La Repubblica of attempted robbery and personal violence during the Over-50s March (slogan: Struggle has no age!) on 10 August.
This march ended in hammering against the fences and breaking down a few feet of barbed wire around the fortified building site yet newspapers reported, a few days later, that there had been dozens of complaints against the marchers.
As we so often ask ourselves, why on earth has this happened, and why has it happened now? A cynic might say, to divert attention from what is really happening.
More recent facts support this theory. A letter from jail by two members of the so-called “new Brigate Rosse”, mentioning the No-TAV struggle was enough for most newspapers and politicians to start talking up a new terrorist danger coming from the valley. The letter is, in fact, signed by two members of a small group whose most violent act was robbing an ATM. While the media made a lot of noise about the letter inviting the No-TAV protesters to make “a step ahead” (meaning towards the armed struggle) there was no such invitation.
The letter and the danger it appeared to represent were enough to justify the arrival of 200 more soldiers to guard the site of the exploratory tunnel. All newspapers linked the letter from the so-called “new BR” to these reinforcements. There are now more than 400 soldiers guarding the zone, in what is, quite literally, a military occupation.
Another development serves to draw attention to those who have turned the media war against the No-TAV struggle into their profession: Massimo Numa, an infamous La Stampa journalist who writes violent attacks on No-TAV protesters, has recently published a book which describes the war between the partisans and the nazi-fascists in Liguria and Southern Piedmont from a nazi-fascist point of view. Those same valleys and mountains depicted, among others, by Cesare Pavese, Beppe Fenoglio, Italo Calvino, and which suffered massacre, torture, rape and murder at the hands of the nazi-fascists, are described by Numa as crawling with every kind of (partisan) criminal who killed some good (nazi-fascist) youngsters for no other reason than personal revenge.
Recently, Numa’s newspaper published photos of ANPI members linking them to terrorism, in an unbelievable and disturbing parallelism with World War II.