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June 01, 2006



It puts the complaints of the Italian left about Berlusconi avoiding bribery trials into perspective doesn't it. When Berlusconi's economic adviser Marco Biagi was murdered in 2002 the mainstream left were quick to distance themselves from it, but by making it clear that politically motivated murders will be excused as soon as a left wing government takes office they are responsible for that murder and any future political killings that will occur whenever the radical left decide they are entitled to kill an opponent.

Scott Wickstein

I think Ross might be drawing too long a bow there- responsibility for any crime belongs to the criminal that pulls the trigger. However it is a responsibility of any government to avoid creating a climate where 'crime pays'. And this move by the Italian government doesn't help on that score.

I have never been to Italy, but I do not get the sense that it is a particularly happy place given the sorts of governments it gets. Crony capitalism and corruption on the Right, ideological lunacy on the Left; no wonder there's such a huge Italian diaspora around the world.


" responsibility for any crime belongs to the criminal that pulls the trigger."

Right. Just not all the responsibility in the entire affair. That's why conspiracy is a crime. Sometimes political murder is the work of one lone gunman, but that is not the most reasonable first guess.


Scott, I should have said that "they assume some responsibility" for it rather than "they are responsible", so point taken.

Sebastian Holsclaw

Over at CrookedTimber they seem to be taking the potential pardon as a sign of the return of civilization to Italy. Is there any deeply factual treatment of the case available somewhere so I can decide which view makes more sense. Everything I've seen on it takes a very strong political stance.


I don't see what's so "political" about saying political assassins shouldn't be pardoned. I doubt those who hang out at Rotting Driftwood would be seeing the "civilized" aspect of the situation if those pardoned had been killing communists: they can't even get over Joe McCarthy's condemnation of Alger Hiss, and he didn't even kill anyone.


As far as I can tell Henry Farrell believes that Sofri is actually not guilty of the assassination inasmuch as the evidence against him was weak... as I know nothing about this case I can't tell which of you is right (I think this is what Sebastian was asking about).

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