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On Terrorism and The State by Sanguinetti

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All acts of terrorism, all the outrages which have struck and which strike the imagination of men, have been and are either offensive actions or defensive actions. If they form part of an offensive strategy, experience has shown for a long time that they are always doomed to fail. If, on the other hand, they form part of a defensive strategy, experience shows that these acts can expect some success, which, however, is only momentary and precarious. The attempts of the Palestinians and the Irish, for instance, are offensive acts of terrorism; on the other hand the Piazza Fontana bomb and the kidnapping of Moro, for instance, are defensive acts.

However, it is not only the strategy which changes, according to whether it is a matter of offensive or defensive terrorism, but also the strategists. The desperate and the deluded resort to offensive terrorism; on the other hand it is always and only States which resort to defensive terrorism, either because they are deep in some grave social crisis, like the Italian State, or else because they fear one, like the German State.

The defensive terrorism of States is practised by them either directly or indirectly, either with their own arms or with others. If States resort to direct terrorism, this must be directed at the population — as happened, for instance, with the massacre of the Piazza Fontana, that of the Italicus  and with that of Brescia.  If, however, States decide to resort to indirect terrorism, this must be apparently directed against themselves — as happened, for instance, in the Moro affair.

The outrages that are accomplished directly by the detached corps and parallel services of the State are not usually claimed by anybody, but are each time, imputed or attributed to some or other convenient “culprit” like Pineilli or Valpreda. Experience has proved that this is the weakest point of such terrorism, and that which determines the extreme fragility of it in the political usage that one wants to make of it. It is starting from the results of the same experience that the strategists of the parallel services of the State seek, from now on, to lend a greater credibility, or at least, a lesser verisimilitude, to their own either by claiming them directly through such-and-such initials of a ghostly group, or even by making them claimed by an existing clandestine group, whose militants apparently are, and sometimes believe themselves to be, extraneous to the designs of the State apparatus.



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