Today is a sad but important anniversary to talk about. We had already dedicated, last year, a post to Peppino Impastato: http://cantuscanti.org/fr/peppino-impastato/. Here is an article that describes well what this case has hidden from us and continues to hide us.
Five investigations, the conviction of the boss of "Cosa Nostra" (Editor's note: Sicilian Mafia) Tano Badalamenti and two motions of no place for the "carabinieri" (gendarmes) under the command of Antonio Subranni (Editor's note: in 1978 appointed head of the operational section of the "Carabinieri" of Palermo which will investigate the assassination of G.Impastato) were not enough to tell the whole truth about the assassination of the activist of "Proletarian Democracy" , murdered in Cinisi (Palermo) on the night of May 8-9, 1978. There are still suspicions, evoked by the relationship of the Antimafia , which speaks of "pacts" between mafia and parts of the state, as well as a lead that leads to another Italian mystery.
It was to be only the story of a madman like any other. A terrorist who blew himself up in the air while trying to sabotage a railway line. On the contrary, it was the story of a rebellion: the rebellion at "Cosa Nostra" made by a son of "Cosa Nostra". But Peppino Impastato's is mostly the story of a screening. A story stifled, because linked to the lasting and unacceptable pact that sees mafias under the protective wing of certain parts of the state. The result is that forty years, five judicial investigations, an investigation by the Antimafia commission, two convictions for Cosa Nostra bosses and two motions of no place for the "carabinieri" were not enough to tell the whole truth about the murder of the "Proletarian Democracy" activist, murdered in Cinisi (Palerme) on the night of 8-9 May 1978.
The Night of the Republic – It was to be remembered as the night of the republic, with the JT recounting the discovery of the corpse, in Rome, in a Renault 4, of the Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro kidnapped, 55 days before, not the Red Brigades. On the last page a local news story: the accidental death in Sicily of an unbalanced bomber. The truth was elsewhere but close, even very close to the house of this dead man. There was only one thing to do "The Hundred Steps" to quote the film of director Marco Tullio Giordana who made this story known to the general public.
Impastato was the son and grandson of a mobster, he had grown up on the same street where Gaetano Badalamenti, the mafia boss who was later convicted of his murder, lived, even if only in the first instance: indeed Tano Seduto (Editor's note: Word game on "Toro Seduto" aka Tatanka or Sitting Bull), as Peppino called him on the broadcasts he hosted on his Radio , was going to die before his final conviction.
Investigations, repentance and archiving – At the same time to obtain the sentence of the court of assizes on Badalamenti it was necessary to wait until 2002: crumbs of truth with 24 years of delay. The reason for this delay raises a tedious question to which no one has yet answered: why would General Antonio Subranni's men have detected the investigations of the Impastato case? No sentence establishes this, but on the contrary, this general (former head of the R.O.S. – Group for the Fight against Mafia and Terrorism), recently sentenced to 12 years – following the end of the trial on the State-Mafia Negotiations – may be dropped some charges. Who makes his name is Francesco Di Carlo when he says: "Gaetano Badalamenti, pushed Nino and Ignazio Salvo to speak with the Colonel." A short time later he said to me: no, the case is closed. Nothing appeared on the newspapers for a while, it had been archived." However, on two occasions, the Palermo Prosecutor's Office asked the investigating judge to close the investigation into Subranni, accused of complicity, and Carmelo Canale, Francesco De Bono and Francesco Abramo, accused of false testimony. The motive? These charges have now arrived in prescription. The last motion to be depending on the case was in June 2016 and since then an investigating judge has been waiting for an investigating judge to choose what to do with the investigation reopened in 2010 by Deputy Prosecutor Francesco Del Bene, and then taken over by prosecutors Nino Di Matteo and Roberto Tartaglia. This is the latest investigation into the Impastato case and it traces in detail the maneuvers carried out by the Carabinieri to avoid at all costs taking the path leading to the mafia trail.
How they stifled murder – This screening was reconstructed by the Impastato Centre – author in 1994 of the first request to reopen the investigation – and then arrived in the parliamentary committee Antimafia, which highlighted the omissions and faults of a polluted investigation already at the scene of the crime. On the morning of May of 40 years ago, the investigators who arrived at the site between Cinisi and Terrasini, do not see that a few meters on the railway is a stone: a large pebble with a stain of abundant blood. It will be Peppino's companions who will find her, a few hours later. Most likely it is the weapon used to kill the young journalist. Then the assassins "dress the puppet", tie him to the railway to stage the suicide of a terrorist. But at the first carabinieri report, there was no mention of this blood-stained pebble. "Regarding this fact, as an article in the Journal de Sicily at the time, investigators claimed to have found female sanitary towels next to blood stains and are convinced that the hematological analyses will not change the dynamics outlined before." There is talk of the explosive used in the so-called attack: it was the same type used in quarries. However, no search will be ordered in the quarries around Cinisi, almost all of them owned by mafia figures. "If, however, it were envisaged to continue the investigation into an assassination hypothesis, it should still be ruled out that Giuseppe Impastato was killed by the mafia," the carabinieri write, confident of their assertions, in the first report presented to the Prosecutor's Office.
The witness: missing, she was at home – we were so sure that the mafia wasn't involved, that we're not even going to hear from those who might have been eyewitnesses to the crime. For example, Provvidenza Vitale, who worked on the operation of the Cinisi crossing on the night Impastato was murdered. For 32 years no one has been able to find her. That is to say, it was declared that she had emigrated to the United States because she had become a widow; in their reports the carabinieri wrote only that this woman was "untraceable." The problem is that Ms. Vitale never disappeared nor was she "never found"." Apart from a few short visits to the family she had in America, she has always lived at home in Terrasini, a village adjoining Cinisi, populated by about ten thousand inhabitants west of Palermo. To discover this fact it was the prosecutor Del Bene who questioned him in 2011: the lady, however, is 88 years old and her memories of that night of 1978 have weakened. However, the prosecutor still managed to confirm that Ms. Vitale almost never left her house and that she always lived a stone's throw from where Impastato was killed, where she also had her six children. Moreover, one of his sons-in-law is a rifleman: one wonders why, during all these years, the investigators would have sought to hide from the judges the existence of this key witness in a case as delicate as this one?
The investigation of the Antimafia Commission and these Mafia-State Negotiations – In 2000, an attempt to respond came from the Antimafia Commission. "Giuseppe Impastato defied the mafia in a territory where pieces of the state apparatus and very powerful mafias had agreed with a system of relations; a system (also present in other territories) that pretended to operate on a hunt/leak between law enforcement and mafia leaders, but which was nothing but peaceful cohabitation for a 'serene' control of the area," writes politician Giovanni Russo Spena. "It is very likely," continues the commission document, "that Badalamenti had a confidential relationship with carabinieri of a certain high-level level, given the importance within the mafia organization of the Cinisi boss. Nothing has yet been written about the relationship between the mafia and the police and when it is necessary to note that there are many mafia leaders who want to appear as the first and proud fighters of the "copaille" on the one hand, but on the other do not hesitate to collaborate, to agree and to negotiate with this same "copaille". A double play. For a long historical period the normality of the confidential relations of the carabinieri and the police with the mafia was not only a reality, but the heart of those today called 'investigative talks'." Is that really the way it is? Were the investigations into Impastato concealed solely for a non-belligerence pact between boss and carabinieri? Only for a double game, an exchange of favors, a talk before the hour that was aimed at arresting the fugitives and controlling the area?
Informal seizure and missing documents – This is the hypothesis of the Palermo Prosecutor's Office which recently obtained Subranni's conviction, precisely for having consumed a pact with Cosa Nostra. But behind the Impastato case, a new, much darker line of inquiry has recently emerged. A hypothesis linked to another discovery made by the prosecutors, a sheet on which the carabinieri had written: "List of materials informally requisitioned from the home of Impastato Giuseppe." There was indeed an informal search of Peppino's home, a seizure that was not authorized by anyone. This sheet is an important detail because it is associated with another list, this time formal, in which the carabinieri attested to having taken only 6 sheets (letters and flyers), or were written texts of political inspiration and suicide remarks. "I want to give up politics and life" is the text of a note that investigators said was intended to be evidence of suicide. In the seized documents, there was something else. Giovanni Impastato, Peppino's brother, said: "I remember that my brother, shortly before his death, was actively interested in the massacre at the Alcamo Marina barracks, a massacre that had been consumed in 1976 when two young carabinieri had lost their lives. After that, the police came to search our house because my brother was considered an extremist. From that moment Peppino began to collect information that he accumulated in a kind of file: a binder that was seized and never returned."
The trail of the Alcamo Marina barracks – The killing of the Alcamo Marina barracks is still one of the many unsolved mysteries of this country. Carabinieri Carmine Apuzzo and Salvatore Falcetta were found murdered on the night of 27 November 1976 at the village site near Trapani, 30 kilometres from Cinisi. Five youths, Giuseppe Vesco, Gaetano Santangelo, Giuseppe Gulotta, Vincenzo Ferrantelli and Giovanni Mandalà, were arrested for the double murder. It was the first to blame the other four, who were still high school students. They were tortured and forced to sign confessions. Vesco, their accuser, died in prison in a strange way: he was found hanging in his cell, while he was penguin of his right hand. How could he have made a noose with one hand. No one asked the question. And no one wonders why these four teenagers would have committed such an atrocious massacre. This is the whole strangeness of the Alcamo Marina case. A double murder occurred in a disturbing context and still today without any culprits: like that of Impastato. Santangelo, Gulotta, Ferrantelli were all convicted and had to wait 36 years for a witness to tell the truth: it was thanks to retired brigadier Renato Olino that they were acquitted in a review trial in 2012.
Gladio, parallel convergences, the puzzle – The perpetrators of the Alcamo Marina massacre, on the contrary, will remain faceless. Why did we kill Apuzzo and Falcetta? Several years later, investigators speculated that the two carabinieri might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time: during a roadblock they stopped a van carrying weapons destined for a nearby Gladio base. That's why we wanted to solve the Alcamo Marina case by charging four innocent people? For there was the risk of revealing, 25 years in advance, the existence of the paramilitary organization that adheres to the Stay Behind network, that is, the operation promoted by the CIA for an anti-communist Europe? These are just hypotheses, never-confirmed lines of inquiry, unanswered questions, but which investigators have recently linked to the Impastato case. Had Peppino's counter-information activity been successful about the Alcamo Marina massacre? And it is also for this reason that the investigations into the murder of the young reporter of Cinisi, were detected? Impastato became a case to be buried to erase the real motives that had led him to death? In this case, the fact that he was making fun of Badalamenti from Radio Aut's microphones would have been only one more reason to silence him. Investigators have called it the "convergence of interests": it is true when there are several reasons and sponsors for a "delitto eccellente" (Editor's note: victim of the high profile mafia). Peppino's murder was only to be the death of a madman. Today it is the story of an incomplete puzzle: over the years there has always been someone to hide a piece of it.