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Italians Block Construction of U.S. Base

By David Swanson

The people of the northern Italian city of Vicenza, with help from activists around Italy, the rest of Europe, and even in the United States, are continuing to block the proposed construction of a new U.S. military base on their soil. When a company laid underground fiber-optic cables at the site of the proposed base, activists filled a junction box with cement. When another company tried to begin the work of removing World War II era U.S. bombs from the site, activists camped out in the cold for three days and nights while allies in Florence and a small town near Naples conducted simultaneous protests in front of the company's offices. The company backed off and has suspended the work. And a small town outside Vicenza has now refused to allow the United States to construct a residential village for troops.

Recently, Italy's foreign minister assured Condoleezza Rice, and Italy's president assured George W. Bush - not for the first time - that the base will be built. And the U.S. Congress, unbeknownst to the American people, has approved the funding. But there is a reason for these repeated public assertions that everything is on track. It isn't.

Saturday, December 15th, 2007, was predicted to be the coldest day Vicenza had seen. It snowed lightly in the morning. And even without the weather factor, organizers had hopes of only about 20,000 people turning out for a long march through the city and yet another rally against the construction of a base at a location called Dal Molin. But as the march proceeded for hours through the streets of Vicenza, the sun melted the snow, and word came that the back end of the march had not yet left the starting place, it became clear that, without any advertising, and with negative or nonexistent media coverage, over 80,000 people had turned out in this conservative city with no university and no protest tradition. And there was no counter-protest whatsoever.


At the end of the march, the crowd poured into a piazza to hear speeches from playwright Dario Fo, Catholic priest Don Gallo, event organizer Cinzia Bottene, American Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz (famous around the globe for holding blood-colored hands up to Condoleezza Rice) and others. Desiree was wonderful despite being moved to tears by the thought of whose fault it was that Italians and others around the world must hold these protests.

When it was my turn to speak, I described the situation in the United States, expressed solidarity with the Vicentini, and encouraged the American soldiers already stationed in and near Vicenza to refuse illegal orders to go to Iraq. I also noted that some clown named Edward Luttwak does not speak for the American people, despite appearing as an American military expert (and cheerleader) in every Italian television news story about the U.S. military.

Naturally, I also mentioned the movement for impeachment, and it was nice to hear a crowd of Italians join in with a chant of "Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!" Someone later told me "You know, there are a lot more than 80,000 people who want Bush impeached." At a conference the next day in the "Presidio Permanente" (a major activist camp on property adjoining the base site) I asked the audience if they knew that the continuation of funding for the occupation of Iraq and the failure to begin impeachment were the work of a woman of Italian descent. Several people shouted "Nancy Pelosi!" I asked everyone to send her Emails.

Twenty years ago in Vicenza, if you said you were American it was a bit like saying you were a rock star. Now it's like saying you're Dick Cheney. "Yankee Go Home" and "Americani A Casa" are popular chants and graffiti, although usually said only in reference to Americans in the military. The Vicentini call us their brothers, but don't want us occupying their city. They sometimes shout "Fratelli Americani... A Casa." In fact Italian peace activists, just like American peace activists, are accused of being anti-American, and they reply that they want to be friends with Americans, but not slaves to Americans.

They have a point. Before anyone in Italy was asked, the U.S. military, and congressional committee staff, had laid out the plans for a major new base in the middle of a residential area on the edge of an historic city full of renaissance architecture. Agreeing to build the new base in a "palladian style" has appeased no one.

Instead, citizens maintain a 24-7 presence on the edge of the site in their "permanent" fort, consisting of large white tents and trailers. The tents have heat, electricity, light, a sound system, a kitchen, and a store selling every possible article with the anti-base label "No Dal Molin." A trailer has a radio station. There are not, however, places for large numbers of activists from out of town to sleep. So, in addition to hosting guests in homes, the No Dal Molin movement, in preparation for Saturday's march seized an abandoned Italian military barracks. Activists then contacted the police offering to pay the utility bills for three days and give the place a major cleaning. The police left them alone. Even during the march, the police stayed out of sight, having apparently decided that a visible police presence boosts the movement. When European activists - used to the freedoms of speech and assembly - hear about Americans being arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience, they sometimes assume we must have committed actual, you know, crimes.

But there are also civil disobedience actions in Europe that can lead to arrest. Some of them involve blocking the construction of bases or rail lines, or blocking the passage along rail lines of trains carrying military materials.

For three days, including the Saturday of the march, anti-bases activists from around the continent gathered in Vicenza to share their experiences and plan future joint efforts. There are anti-bases gatherings planned for Germany, Belgium, and the United States in the spring.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq might have been possible without the U.S. bases that dot the face of Europe, but it would have been and would continue to be a very different operation, since so many soldiers are sent to Iraq from these bases and then return to them. These bases were also used to move prisoners to Guantanamo four years ago. And, as in 80 percent of the nations on earth, the presence of U.S. military bases forms a large part of Europeans' perceptions of the United States. Meanwhile, many citizens of the United States have only the vaguest notion of the approximately 1,000 bases and 300,000 soldiers they pay taxes to maintain in other people's countries.

How many Americans have heard this story? Citizens of the Czech Republic learned that a base was being planned in their area. The absurd U.S. line is that this base is needed to protect against attacks from North Korea and Iran. But, in a public vote, 99 percent of residents of the area opposed the construction of a base. A group of town mayors in the area formed an alliance to speak out against the base. It has not been built.

Since the U.S. military is constantly building new bases, when and if it decides to use a location other than one that is being protested, that victory may not be immediately apparent, the way it was in Vieques. And the organizers of the Vicenza protest will not consider that a complete victory. When I asked Cinzia what she would do if they chose to build the base in Romania, she replied "We'll go train the Romanians." But as long as the struggle against the base continues in Vicenza, victories will continue to pile up in the form of a growing Italian and European peace movement, and possibly in changes in Italy's government.

In America we sometimes like to imagine that a third political party would solve our problems, but Italy has some 15 significant political parties, and essentially the same problems we do. They're told that if they don't settle for the current government they'll end up with a worse one. They're told that if they aren't happy with Prodi they can have Berlusconi back. They're told that if they can't be happy with a government that says it is for peace and progress while doing the exact same things the previous government did, well then they can have the previous government back again, or something even worse. And so, as change becomes possible, the activism that could force it is drained away by partisanship and the sensation of being in power for power's sake. Italy even has a new party that goes by the name Partito Democratico.

While our Democratic Party pretends it has to pass a bill in order to end the funding of an occupation that can be ended by refusing to pass any bills, Italy's leftists propose a doomed vote for a moratorium on bases rather than adding the measure to a larger bill and risking the collapse of the current coalitions. And the media, much of it owned by Berlusconi or controlled by Prodi's government, and most of the rest owned by other business interests, is on the side of U.S. empire. Italy's constitution prevents it from going to war, so the occupation of Iraq, and that of Afghanistan which Italy still supports, are called humanitarian missions. The most prominent coverage of Saturday's march was of graffiti that one or more people had written on a wall near a new theater, even though No Dal Molin activists had cleaned it off by the next afternoon.

But the Italian people are not fooled or silenced. They have some newspapers on their side. They have internet organizing. They have an active and aggressive labor movement. And their peace movement, unlike ours, does not directly confront their country's nationalism. In fact, there are right-wing nationalists who oppose the construction of U.S. bases. But, above all, there are many who oppose nationalism and militarism, proudly call themselves leftists, and have dedicated themselves to doing what is needed to achieve peace in the world.

A lot more information on the anti-base struggle in Vicenza can be found at

A video that Howard Zinn recorded as a message to the people of Vicenza for the events of this past weekend is at

A video of Cinzia confronting the prime minister of Italy last June is on the indispensable site of Stephanie Westbrook's group in Rome, US Citizens for Peace and Justice:

Websites central to the anti-base movement in Vicenza are:

Anti-base events are planned for

March 2008 in Belgium:

April 11-13 in Omaha, Nebraska:

April and August in Germany:

The anti-base movement will also be prominent at the European Social Forum in Sweden in the fall.

One of the biggest local backers and profiteers of the proposed base at Dal Molin also profits when anyone buys a bottle of wine with the name Zonin on it. Don't buy any! You can find a list of brands not to buy at


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Great work. Most Americans clearly have no idea what's going on over there. Most are also clearly unaware that we have nearly one thousand military bases scattered around the world. Thank you for your non-stop efforts to inform and educate. People need to understand now more than ever that knowledge is power.

Any American who wants to truly understand the ever-increasing negative world attitude toward the United States need only consider how they would feel if some other country had a bunch ships in the Gulf of Mexico and military bases (along with tens of thousands of troops) dotting our landscape from coast to coast.

It ain't our "freedom and prosperity" we're hated for.

Latest Video at
DISSENT: Voices of Conscience
Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq

Sounds like an amazing set of ongoing actions! If we could just get our fellow Americans to borrow a page from the Italian book....

Mussolini once said that Italians are ungovernable. Thank heaven. Somebody has to be.

The multi-party system in Italy is great because when a gov't loses the consensus, they must step down. To rebuild the consensus, they must negotiate with all the minority positions. That's an important improvement over our TweedleDee/TweedleDumb ossified system.

Their's is more representative and responsive to all the people, not just the majority and allows the people to adjust their positions during a term of office, to take into account current events, including political scandals.

We, on the other hand,` have an unreasonasbly unresponsive system that prevents the people from exerting their will during a term of office, especially when it comes to political scandals in the highest offices.

There is a big difference between their system and ours. Their's is better. But then, they invented representative gov't in early Rome, so they've had eons more practice than we have.

In my opinion, the Italians have raised the Art of s
State to State of the Art.

More than us, I'm sure. I'm just curious what Italian papers are saying these days about it.

Meanwhile, BushCo saboteurs block your 1st Amendment Rights!! . . ;-)

Heads-Ups, kidz!!! Rumsfeld's "Internet Roadmap" boyz have apparently launched a "Hijacked DNS" offensive against US . . .

. . .or more likely, our "Special Friend", Isreal's MOSSAD .. ;-)

. . . Now, this ol' fool views this as not only "bad manners" in the cyber community. . . but as the equivilent "act of agression" as having a pack of thugs "jam" your licensed radio/tv broadcast signal . . . or throwing a monkey wrench into your newspaper printing presses . ;-)

"Rogue Servers Point Users To Imposter Sites"

"DNS Cache Poisoning"

"Rogue DNS Servers"

For the newbies, a very "simplistic" overview . . . each web site you visit is given an IP address. Early on, we figured out how to make a "table" on our equipment (routers, switches) so that the user could remember a site NAME rather than the IP address NUMBER . . this "table" was called a "Domain Name Server", or DNS . . .

Now, the GAME RULES say that each "name" is supposed to be "unique" and assigned to ONE, . .. and ONLY ONE IP address "number" . .

Well, what these "clever" BushCo/Rothschild,Inc. TOOLS do is put pirate or "illegal" DNS servers out on the INTERNET . .. that have tables "designed" to send the "ENEMY" (you and me, apparently) to a fake site .. . which is "booby-trapped" . . .

. . . So you may THINK you are going to your favorite Alternative News source . . . but you are actually going to a "cut and paste" copy of that web-site . . . because the "TCP/IP magician" that is now working for the Sith .. . has "misdirected" you to a fake site with counterfeit DNS table entries . .so that you are now sitting on a rogue website server . . . and all the "articles" you click on have been tampered with. . .

. . . the next thing you know, you are getting 8 ZILLION "pop up ads" and your web browsers become unstable and crash . . .again and again and again . .. ;-)

. . . THUS, this is nothing more than a NEW MEDIA PSY-OP aimed at the bloggers to frustrate US . . . and slow down our "real time" news reporting, propaganda reporting, analysis and stratagic response planning. . .;-)

Now, this ol' fool can tear-down my trusty ol' Merridoc (my primary writing/multi-media middle DMZ computer) faster than Wilkes County, North Cackilacki Folk Hero "Junior Johnson" could tear down a "Chevy Engine" before a moonshine run . .. ;-)

. . . but some of you younger kidz are probably going to need some help from the cyber punks keeping your "boat in the water" . . . 'cause we are definitely heading for some rough seas . . .All of you kidz need to work together to learn how to rebuild your OWN computers from scatch if need be . . . as well as learning the "network" side of things . .. ;-)

A great "newbie" networking book on this that I always recommended to my students is:

"Todd Lammle's CCNA Study Guide:"

Todd Lammle is a great (& funny) "cross-over" technical writer. This is a prep guide for Cisco's Systems "Cisco Certified Network Associate" exams . . . Now a "current" version will cost a chunk of change . . . but last season's model (which has all you need to know to understand the INTERNET game rules) can be found for next to nothing in used book stores . . .and that "geeky kid" that you know probably has a few copies around . . .;-)

For you older kidz with enough kung fu to know whether or not you can swim in these types of waters .. ..

"Hack DNS for lightning-fast Web browsing"

. . the rest of you cyber-punks may just be interested in "how it works" . . .;-)

FORTUNATELY for WE THE PEOPLE, more and more of our Telco/ISP brothers and sisters are coming forward and exposing this BushCo crap . . .;-)

"AT&T engineer says Bush Administration sought to implement domestic spying within two weeks of taking office"

Rock On, kidz!!! . . .;-)

"Cadillac, cadillac
Long and dark, shiny and black
Open up your engines let `em roar
Tearing up the highway like a big old dinosaur
James Dean in that Mercury `49
Junior Johnson runnin' through the woods of Caroline
Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am
All gonna meet down at the Cadillac Ranch"
- Cadillac Ranch by Bruce Springsteen


Another sad story about how our overbearing federal government is causing hatred towards America. Presidential candidate Ron Paul wants to end our overseas empire immediately, that means removing our US presence from the over 100 countries that we occupy. You guys should all get Ron Paul signs, for if he wins you will have won your fight to stop this new US Military presence.

I pray that you don't hate the American people for this, just our government. We are doing everything in our power to elect the most principled man since Thomas Jefferson so we can go about salvaging what is left of our reputation as a free society. It appears that your leaders are sucking up to Condi Rice, so it seems that your government is due for a major change as well.

If we truly respected freedom around the world, we wouldn't be having these problems. The people of the world need to unite on the internet, and share ideas so we can pick out the real culprits of our troubles: our overbearing governments. We need to start electing people who are whole-heartedly dedicated to the prospect of true liberty for all individuals.

If there is a movement here in the UK would like to hear about it, I have for years been against the US facilities here, especially Menwith Hall which spies on virtually everyone it can in the northern hemisphere as well as uses information it gathers to pass round to its corporate friends.

I can't see WHY the US are still here in Europe 70 years on, in fact it is their presence that makes us Europeans lazy and dependent, we could as a bloc call a standing armed force many sizes of that of the US if need be, we have the defence capabilites of a great many European nations so WHY O WHY are the unwelcome still with us?

Americans should be concerned as these bases cost them billions... to do what? Project power when Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed any military power projection capability in months. I think that the free world needs to stand up to America, push it back within its borders and allow us to live our lives without their awful TV, awful culture that is being imposed on us and I am sick of Britain following crazy US political ideas that have reduced one of, if not the best educated nations into a nosedive of epic crisis.

USA out of Europe... Go Home!

"Meanwhile, BushCo saboteurs block your 1st Amendment Rights!! . . ;-)

Heads-Ups, kidz!!! Rumsfeld's "Internet Roadmap" boyz have apparently launched a "Hijacked DNS" offensive against US . . .

. . .or more likely, our "Special Friend", Isreal's MOSSAD .. ;-)"...

Well as it happens, this is a serious thing being unreported out there, recently through Microsoft's joint Mossadi/NSA facility in the Negev, turned off a huge swathe of Iranian Window's based machines for no other reason than they were in Iran.

Vista was rushed through, half finished because Bush & Co were desperate, impatient to get it out there and into peoples machines, it is not a coincidence that the central security modules, which are classified were developed in the Negev jointly again by the NSA and Mossadi, indeed many of us saw it coming a few years back and good ol' Mike Rivero on his site WRH has spent some time on this as well.

People need to understand what goes on at Menwith Hall, it used to be tracking Soviet telecommunications but that excuse went flat, now its terrorism but its REAL purpose is to spy on friendly/unfriendly nations through their phones. It also gives a dividend where the US facility can hard track people like businessmen and using this insider information, they tip off their corporate buddies on whats going on, this is highly illegal in most nations but has been going on for years.

However... people's PC's are a lot harder to crack, it would take thousands of hackers to do a small fraction of the dirty work, GCHQ and Menwith Hall trawl emails but cannot get into your machine, so what better way than to bend Microsofts arm up its back, force secret backdoors into the new Vista and voilá... instant and undetectable entry to any machine connected to the internet worldwide.

Now consider this also, why is it that the same shady NSA/Mossadi partnership are one of the companies bidding for Britain's ID card and NIR contracts...? That they were also sniffing around the sale of Experian credit services, this to me smacks of what Hitler wanted on the German people, a file on everyone and I did read an article years back that Bush wanted the same globally.

And no, apart from the arrogant, "America is better than anyone else", HumVee driving Americans, the vast majority of us don't hate the American people but we are angry at what your country is doing to ours especially when you have the very legal right to throw your government out by force if necessary and yet nothing happens.

Re-read your declaration of independence, the first long paragraph empowers every US citizen with the expected duty to remove Bush & Co.

Hey kidz!!! Remember a few years back when Microsoft . . .

. . . suddenly came under a Main Stream Media Zionist 5th column "spotlight" attack as being a "mean ol' Monopoly" that needed to busted up like AT&T?

(clipped headline and article)
"Microsoft Antitrust Case - . . .On June 28, 2001, after almost 4 1/2 yrs of rigorous litigation, the anti-trust case against Microsoft came to the end of the road as the software giant received an overwhelming victory as the appeals court threw out the breakup order."

(full story)

Anonymous writes:
"Microsoft's joint Mossadi/NSA facility in the Negev, turned off a huge swathe of Iranian Window's based machines for no other reason than they were in Iran."

- and -

"Vista was rushed through, half finished because Bush & Co were desperate"

So, kidz . . . Think brother Bill Gates was made an "offer he couldn't refuse" from Sith Lord Rothschild and BushCo back in early 2001? . . .;-)

Now, wouldn't it be "fun" to go back and look at who all these "stacked" lawyers and judges were that went after Microsoft? . .. I wonder if any of our "Special Friends" show up, or at least friends of Alberto "I Can't Recall" Gonzales . . .;-)

We older kidz all know how much Microsoft's VISTA SUCKS!!! And most of that "pegging the SUCK-meter" comes from all the so-called "security" features . . . which from this ol' fool's protocol analyzer "sniffer" traces amount to a lot of "E.T. Phone home" hidden process automated "spying" . . .

. . . perhaps to go to all those NSA Cray Computers that NSA Director Michael "Booz, Allen, and Hamilton" McConnell's boyz have set up for their "Total Information Awareness" programs . . .

. . . no conflict of interest here, kidz . . .;-)

Another interesting development in this saga is that Microsoft just announced it was giving away Windows XP Service Pack 3 . . . but no one can really tell us WHY we should upgrade from Service Pack 2 . . .all MY Windows stuff works jes' fine with Service Pack 2 . . .

"Microsoft Lets Everyone Try Windows XP SP3",140649/article.html

So, the question this ol' fool has boils down this . . . How "Cynical" is Bill Gates these daze . . .Is he one of the "Elite" enough now to feel that his fellow humans should be tagged, tracked, graded, sorted, and culled like animals in the BushCo Zionist "New World Order"? . . .

. . . Or MAYBE . .. just MAYBE . Bill Gates is still an Older Kid with some AWESOME KUNG FU that currently has a BushCo/MOSSAD gun to his head

.. . and he is just waiting for his Star Wars Lando Calrissian "This deal with the Empire is getting worse all the time" moment to make his move to "drop a dime" on BushCo and help save this Great Republic of Constitutional Law? The Great Experiment!!!

Of course, Linux is nice, kidz . . .roll your own!!! . . .;-)

"Got a letter through the post that says I don't exist
Apparently the new computer thinks I won't be missed
We need more facts, perhaps you would find out and forward them
There's no proof or trace or date or place or where or when
Central Information's got no news today
Is there a change in my position?
No decision, no decision
All I ever get is a definite maybe"
- Definite Maybe by The Kinks


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