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A Private Matter

Who was the partisan Canepa?

At just 30 years of age, Antonio Canepa was already a brilliant scholar of Geopolitics and professor of International Right. He was very methodical and exhaustive on the subject he thought; communicative but at the same time reserved in managing his relations; secure of himself; always courteous; he became sociable and often jokey for brief moments when interacting with single persons: informative but never revealing, he let people speak out… A game of mirrors of which he controlled every single reflection.

On the street he used to often walk alone, confident and distinct: a 30 years old man of vertical intelligence, polyglot and author of specialised studies, as well as geopolitical reflections on the Great British Game “seen by Moscow”, a profound connoisseur of the dynamics that tormented soviet-era Russia… A man who was capable of anything! His RESISTANCE was also lived like a Private Matter, an existential challenge against himself. “He had everything” and he risked it everyday: for an idea of Liberty, agitated but still calculated.

In Berlin they used to call him “Herr Professor”. In London he was a “Swiss” phantom with a fake passport “made in Catania”, fabricated by his “comrade Eugenio”. Eugenio D’Arrigo was an artist and chiseller, who was also a skilled counterfeiter and who later stood on trial for having printed “money for the poor”, during the so-called Ciulla-trial.

The professor travelled a lot, thanks to his academic title and an enormous net of relations which saw him being put under scientific scrutiny even by the elitist periodicals of the SS in Berlin, for the envy of the pluralist academic fascism which he derided with sophisticated philological rigour.

During his travels through a Europe that was on its way to imploding, our Professor did not only disseminate cryptic ideas, but also children. In Florence he had one with Clelia Rosati, in which he was very much in love with. “Comrade Clelia”, the future partisan commander and Icon of the Tuscan Resistance: They called their baby Antonio Canepa Junior (in the 1980s Junior was elected Deputy for the Italian Socialist Party in Liguria. He was a troubled and desperate socialist, he died of an overdose at Montecitorio. Somebody told me, Bettino Craxi cried for him the entire night).

“Comandante Turri”, as Canepa was also called, “played cards” (it: giocare carte) – very likely – as Jean Soredan did… It is certain however, that in the partisan Resistance movement in Abruzzo, on the Majella mountain, he became “Comandante Tolù”, and that in Sicily he was already known as commander Mario Turri since Winter 1940.

A hieroglyphic wrapped up in mystery? No! A REAL PARTISAN, veteran, since the failed “demonstrative” anti-fascist coup of San Marino in 1933, where he was arrested and locked up in a mental asylum. He managed to get out with the help of friends and influential relatives (also in the Vatican). His intelligence did the rest, starting him a professional university career, which will see him – before his arrival at Catania University – first in Palermo (where he started a cryptic Research Facility on Eastern Studies, which among other things will enable him to develop his knowledge of the Soviet realities).

This intelligence of his wandered at least a decade, accompanied and chased by a lucid and tranquil apprehension. One moment roaming through the loud University corridors and dwellings full of useless books about the bourgeois intolerance against the “regime”; the next moment wandering through the industrious neighbourhoods that were breeding working-class anger, ending up on the agricultural paths around the Etna that lose themselves in between dried lava and broom trees, given back the Peace of Time, the time that idle flows through the impotence of every-day life. Animated by a radical idea of Liberty, he built his own Time living out his love for “difficult” women and passion for the most difficult sciences: the political sciences. (…)

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Catania, Winter of 1940. In total secrecy, the young Professor created the “Gruppo Etna” (Etna-Group) of the Sicilian RESISTANCE against the Italian nazi-fascism and colonialism. The many members of the Etna-Group operated autonomously, but were connected by Canepa-Turri in the network “Giustizia e Libertà” (Justice and Freedom), which was supported by London. Canepa was indeed well known across the Channel, but he was not a “English agent” (we even consulted the “British Archives”: he was a known referee, but not on a staffing level).

His work was very methodical, very matured and concealed, prudent and selective, as sophisticated as concrete. At the beginning of 1942 – within the Etna-Group – there were about a hundred persons, jointed within a network of units made up of 3-4 individuals, which hardly ever knew the other ones. We know that about a dozen young activists (machine)-typed and retyped on carbon paper a political document titled: “20 years of fascist misgovernment”. It was a Chapter of “LA SICILIA AI SICILIANI!” (en: Sicily for the Sicilians), the political manifesto of FASE 2 which had already been conceived by the elusive “Mario Turri”, who was a wanted person by the OVRA, the fascist secret police of the Kingdom of Italy.

Within the Resistance against the “Regime”, the EVIS was about to be born. EVIS: The Volunteer Army for the Independence of Sicily. Beside professor Matteo Gaudioso and professor Petroncelli – who would later become Rector of Catania University following the nomination by the AMGOT (and Canepa’s support) – nearly nobody knew the real identity of “Mario Turri”. Nearly nobody, but he is an UNTOUCHABLE -> from the Vatican to Berlin, from London to Rome. He moves around “Middle-earth”, so to speak, without leaving any trace: He speaks to everybody, listens, and is listened to. What he says or does not says, and why he says it, remains a mystery.

He is about to organize the Etna-Group – which is not a cultural association of oneiric conspirators. Beside his “comrade Eugenio” (D’Arrigo) – the master chiseller, already on trial because “we printed money for the poor” – who counterfeited documents for real persons, there were also miners who were experts in explosives, as well as farmers and hunters who had a deep knowledge of the territory. There is also the young “comrade corporal” Carmelo Rosano, the future vice-commander of the EVIS (…) The light of his eyes.

We arrive to the eve of Operation Husky (an Inferno that lasted 38 days: 10 July-17 August 1943) – which would change the outcome of WWII. The Etna-Group destroys the German aviation that is positioned at Gerbini, in the Plain of Catania. On the 7th July they also sabotage the armed train called “Gruppo Mondiale N° 4” in Catania’s rail station. Another military train is derailed at Ramondetta (near Messina). But those were not the only “railway actions” – (War is war: About its most devastating action, even if completely legitimate, we prefer not to speak to this day; nor do we make any allowance to the terroristic bombardments of the “Allies”). We need the TRUTH. The complete truth.

In the night of the 9th to the 10th of July 1943 the crucial military defense post in Augusta was “neutralised” by the patriotic commandoes of Professor Canepa, maybe with the help of the partisans from Lentini (a regional summit for the Resistance was held secretly, profiting from the confusion of the Festivities during Sant’Alfio’s Day).

On 4th August 1943 – arriving in Catania following the crucial battle at the Simeto river (fought at the Primosole Bridge in Sferro-Gerbini) – the British are looking for one person only: professor Canepa. They find him near the villa of professor Petroncelli, at Piazza Borgo.

The convince him to take over the commando of the Resistance on the Maiella mountain, in Abruzzo. Later he moved to Florence, partaking at the insurrection and founding a newspaper as well as a little “Labour party”. He was then arrested and sentenced – although soft and quite formal, but politically clear – by an Allied Military Tribunal, at the insistence of the CLN (National Liberation Committee). He doesn’t care about it.

We reach October 1944. He returns to Sicily and transforms the Etna-Group into the EVIS, launching the publication of the newspaper “SICILIA INDIPENDENTE”.

The EVIS was NOT the “armed branch” of the MIS (Sicilian Independence Movement) – beside in a couple of encrypted little communiqués mentioned as part of a reciprocate “exploitation”. The EVIS was an “armed party”, whose real strategy was maybe only known to Canepa and to the brilliant “comrade corporal Carmelo” Rosano. (…)

Within the euro-mediterranean scenario of the devastating global crisis of the 1940s, the Guerilla-Professor’s attempt was – although premature, but certainly prophetic – to install a social and anti-colonialist liberation force. Canepa did not place any hopes that the League of Nations would solve the Sicilian question. Let’s not forget, that Canepa was a specialist of International Right in Europe.

The EVIS was NOT an “army” aiming to win a “war”. The EVIS was an “armed party” aiming to win a more just peace on the path towards the Socialist re-evolution of Sicilian realties. The “military camp” of the EVIS, in Cesarò, even had its own traffic signs!

The EVIS was – beyond any reasonable doubt – the CONTINUATION – also physical – of the ANTI-FASCIST RESISTANCE of the Island. The real one.

Canepa’s partisan network was deeply rooted in Catania University… and also counted the trotskyist group “SICILIA ROSSA”, which came out of its clandestine existence on the 1st May 1945. It’s the Sicilian Social-Communist Party – Sicilia Rossa: animated by Natale Turco, who as soon as he was expelled from the NATO-friendly FNS (Sicilian National Front) became the Great Wise Man of the foundation TerraeLiberAzione -> which itself was born earlier through a publication by Democrazia Proletaria, on anti-colonialist positions. (red.)

Its useful to remember that from the beginning of 1944 the activities of political parties became legalised and free – exept for the Independentists, who were subjected to ferocious repressions on every level. These repressions included kidnapping of its leaders, the closure of headquarters and newspapers, and intimidations, even to the mothers of the young independence activists. So therefore the EVIS – which was an armed party – was also a refuge for the LEGITIMATE DEFENSE of the young Independentists.

“CANEPA MUST DIE!” Those words came from Rome. From the “anti-fascist” CLN (National Liberation Committee). The killing was touted as one of the many “showdowns” within the “partisan world”, but the bullets came from the newly-born GLADIO: the clandestine stay-behind operation by the NATO. During the chaos of the early post-war years – in Sicily – the Massacre of Murazzu Ruttu in Randazzo on 17th June 1945 was the most cynical and politically criminal act … and the most covered-up.

The EVIS never had ANY “relationship” with bands and bandits. It was primarely formed by young students, artisans and farmers. If anything they had clashes with banditry. In one of those clashes the young Francesco Ilardi was killed. He is now buried at memorial monument in Catania, together with the Comandante and his comrades.

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In any case, the EVIS – which was born and died with Canepa and Rosano – did not and could not have had any relationship with the band of Ferreri-Giiuliano. So much so that the EVIS didn’t even ever have an operational base anywhere in Western Sicily. NEVER. NONE. PERIOD.

In the chaos of those years, the political contact persons of the Ferreri-Giuliano gang were others. -> (during the Viterbo-trials, Gaspare Pisciotta, a companion and cousin of Salvatore Giuliano, mentioned the name of Bernardo Mattarella and of the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA. He was eventually poisoned – another political killing stamped GLADIO.

***

During the course of WW2, this huge slaughterhouse in which the “Crisis of 1929” is resolved – the 24th October 1943, beyond the temporary AMGOT (Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories), Washington’s “SICILY REGION 1” sees the light of the day in the Mediterranean. It endures like a “non-said”… under a a sky populated by foreign planes, murderous drones and non-functional saints. For the Sicilian People it’s another PAST that does not pass. A past that cannot be understood by disregarding the TRUTH about CANEPA: the Sicilian PARTISAN, the GREAT PROFESSOR of History of International Relations and Treaties, the geopolitical analyst who – despite the ongoing fascist Regime – studied Trotsky’s works with method, and tried to apply them in Sicily in the most resounding fashion: the THEORY-PROGRAMME of the PERMANENT REVOLUTION within the historic-social conditions of an Island Nation that is being exploited and oppressed by a neo-colonialist State.

The EVIS was the armed political party that legitimised – in the continuity of anti-fascist Resistance – the future of an INDEPENDENSTIST SICILIAN LEFT: independent on every ideological, policy, organisational and operational level. In any case, the EVIS was born and died with Canepa and Rosano. After it there was more: Concetto Gallo’s generous GRIS (Revolutionary Youth for Sicily’s Independence), which stood out in December 1945 in the battle at Monte San Mauro (Caltagirone) against the ITALIAN ARMY, speeding up the “granting” of the Autonomist Statute. Up until the successive chaos resulting in wrong accusations of brigrantism, leading to an EXECUTION PLATOON by Operation GLADIO (and that Canepa would have confronted with a rifle in his hands!). Concetto Gallo was elected by the constitutional assembly of the MIS: He is a father of the Republic! Anything but “separatist-bandit-mafiosi”, how they are branded by a tri-coloured historiography, drugged by little academics, politically wicked and culturally coward.

Certainly, with his 100 or so youngsters, the Guerilla-Professor “Mario Turri” did not want to wage war against Italy. He was not a fool. The EVIS was also not the “military wing” of the MIS, which Canepa knew well. If anything, Canepa-“Mario Turri” offered – as an alternative to the wimpy MIS and in good relations with the Jouvenile Separatist League of Carcaci – a practical channel of LEGITIMATE DEFENSE of Sicily’s independentist youth, which was persecuted and tormented by the beastly police force of “Commissario” Aldisio from the corrupted Italian capital Rome (“RoMafia”).

On 11th February 1944, the Sicilian government was transferred from AMGOT to “Southern Kingdom”, guided by the (Pietro) Badoglio government. The Civil High Commissioner for Sicily was formally established with the Royal Decree Law N° 91 signed 18th March 1944.

The fascist policing in Sicily had only changed uniform and mandate. Now there was the weak CLN, the one by Ferruccio Parri and his “Giustizia e Libertà”, the same of partisan Canepa: how things turn in life… and death! The same CLN with which he maintained diplomatic relations, de-facto confirmed by the tactical non-support of the “NON-SI-PARTE!”-revolt of December 1944, which saw the insurgence of young Sicilians against the “call to the Front”: “neither adhering, nor sabotage!”. And so in April 1945 “Mario Turri” did not endorse (as he was a specialist in International Relations!) – the illusory hopes that Finocchiario Aprile put on the San Francisco Conference (UNCIO), to which the MIS sent a generic Memorandum for Sicily’s Independence. That conference, held by the winners of WW2, produced at the end of June the United Nations Charta. For the record: Canepa was killed a few days earlier.

It’s a page to write, and we are writing it: Unfortunately, with the blood of the MARTYRS of RANDAZZO.

Not even Finocchiaro Aprile, leader of the MIS, wanted to remember them less than one month after the killings, when during an interview by a big Italian newspaper, on a question about the EVIS he comments with as a “problem, anyway of a few extremists…”, without even a hint on the massacre of Randazzo and professor Canepa’s killing. There were many opportunities in which he could have remembered Canepa’s sacrifice without over-exposing himself beyond reasonable prudence. At an already launched secret stipulation with Rome (Sicily’s “special statute” as an autonomous region), following his arrest and confinement in Ponza. He was scared, nothing more: he was gentleman, an honest liberal freemason, later elected to the Costituent Assembly – did what he could do: he was a father of the Republic and contributed not only to the “concession” of the autonomy statute, but also on imposing the regionalist model on the newly formed Italian state. He even declined a seat as life-time senator! Period.

The elimination of Canepa was certainly due to his radical political and cultural choices, but also to the later fame and popularity that he and his ideas would have enjoyed in the first decades of the new republic. He was a “cumbersome” figure, in some sense he “had to be killed”. His killing – officially he died from bleeding in hospital after hours of agony – and later the concealment of his tomb under an Official State Secrets Act for an entire decade, was convenient for may people. Even so that the EVIS, as a political party, was born and died with Canepa and Rosano on the 17th June 1945. Anything but bandits!

As for Canepa, it’s indicative that he did not actually die at on the road “Contrada Murazzo Ruttu” in Randazzo, but that he was assassinated in hospital: There was no autopsy. The corpses of the other EVIS members were concealed in anonymous tombs under a Secret of State act for nearly a decade. Later they were transferred to the memorial monument at “Viale degli Uomini Illustri” at the monumental cemetery of Catania’s Parco Maestranza.

This is the place where we remember them every year on 17th June. Roll call! PRESENT! Antonio Canepa was 37 years old. Carmelo Rosano, 22 years. Giuseppe Lo Giudice, 18. And the comrade Francesco Ilardi, 19 years old, killed one month later in the woods of the Caronìe mountain range, during a gunfight with some bandits who were robbing farmers while passing themselves off as EVIS fighters. The tainting (sicilian: Mascariata) had begun. At Monte Soro. And it continues to this day.

@25 April 2017. Mario Di Mauro-Founder of TerraeLiberAzione.

Translation: May 2017, by Agostino Imondi.

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