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New anti-TAV letter arrives at La Repubblica in Turin

Ominous letter tells local paper of people drawn to arms

21 February, 12:52
New anti-TAV letter arrives at La Repubblica in Turin (ANSA) - Turin, February 21 - A new letter warning of possible violence against work on the Treni Alta Velocita' (TAV) high-speed rail link between Italy and France arrived at the Turin office of La Repubblica, the Rome daily said Friday. Separately, a number of ATMs in Turin banks were vandalised Friday and 'No-TAV' slogans daubed on the banks. Special investigators opened a probe Thursday into a death threat issued against officials responsible for building and guarding the link north of Turin.

The letter, sent to the ANSA news agency on Wednesday, came from the Nuclei Operativi Armati (Armed Operational Nuclei, NOA) which said its "revolutionary court" had condemned to death officials and police who were allegedly "repressing" protests against work on the line.

The letter delivered to La Repubblica said "in the (Susa) valley, an increasing number of people, especially the young, are being lured by the siren call of violence" and towards the preachers of armed struggle, like the NOA. The anonymous writer, who signed the letter a "worried" 'cattivo maestro - jargon for the past ideologues of political violence who turned countless young people into terrorists without themselves risking punishment - enclosed a pair of pages written by the NOA declaring the case for violent methods.

A previous letter also signed 'cattivo maestro' arrived at La Repubblica last summer that complained the TAV was the work of outsiders in which locals had no say, and threatened that "arms are available" to people who might use them.

The No-Tav citizens' movement trying to stop the link disassociated itself from the NOA and condemned its actions, saying it objected to "violence against persons".

The movement, which has clashed with police and been blamed for acts of sabotage, condemned the NOA and reiterated it was engaged in a program of civil disobedience only.

The letters come as a chilling reminder of leftist and rightist terrorist campaigns in Italy that left an estimated 2,000 dead between 1969 and 1981.

Opponents argue the project linking Turin to Lyon is wasteful of public funds and destroys pristine countryside.

Supporters say it will cut down on automobile and truck pollution and make shipping and transit more efficient.

The Italian and French governments have insisted that the link will not only speed passenger and freight traffic but also boost both countries' economies.