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“Eco Terrorists” Accused Of Plotting Against IBM Face Trial In Switzerland

Three go on trial for allegedly planning to bomb an IBM facility in Switzerland. Prosecutors say the accused have ties with an Italian anarchist group known as the FAI, which claims responsibility for several recent bomb attacks in southern Europe.

Anarchist graffiti in Lisbon, Portugal
Anarchist graffiti in Lisbon, Portugal
Denis Masmejan

BELLINZONA - A group of so-called "eco-terrorists' are set to appear this week before the Federal Criminal Court in this town in Switzerland, where they are accused of plotting to bomb an IBM research center in Ruschlikon.

According to the 2010 national security report by the Swiss Defense Department, the allegations are "of great importance" given that the region has experienced a recent wave of violent actions linked to left-wing extremism and "eco-terrorism."

The defendants, Italians Costantino Alfonso Ragusa, 36 and his wife Silvia Ragusa Guerini, 29, and Luca "Billy" Cristos Bernasconi, 26, of Switzerland, describe themselves as environmental, revolutionary and anarchist activists. The three face charges ranging from attempted arson, to trafficking of illegal explosive substances.

The defendants have been in custody since their arrest on April 15, 2010 outside of Zurich. In the trunk of their rental car, police found five propane bottles, 12 liters of benzene, two liters of engine oil and equipment for igniting the explosives. According to the police, the woman was in possession of two bags of explosive materials weighing 476 grams.

Police also found 31 letters claiming responsibility for a bombing that was allegedly planned for the new IBM building in Ruschlikon. The letters were signed by the Switzerland Earth Liberation Front. Prosecutors say they have no doubt the group was planning to bomb the IBM research center, which is still under construction.

Links to 1970s era terrorists

Several messages written by the defendants have been translated and published online by an anonymous source. In their letters, the alleged eco-terrorists complain about jail conditions and about the fact their mail is monitored. In protest, the detainees launched a hunger strike. Their messages reveal deep ideological convictions. One letter quotes Ulrike Meinhof, a member of the Red Army Faction, Germany's most violent and prominent left-wing terror groups founded in 1970.

"Against any state, priest or boss, against every prison and repression, against any exploitation of men by man, of women by men, of any other species by man and of nature by man," they explain in a written statement cosigned by Marco Camenisch, a well-known anarchist. Camenisch is currently serving time for killing a customs officer in Brusio, Switzerland.

The name Marco Camenisch along with the names of the three defendants appear in a letter apparently written by the Federazione Anarchica Informale (FAI), an Italian anarchist organization claiming responsibility for last March's parcel bomb attack on the Swiss nuclear headquarters in Olten. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured by the explosion. The FAI said it carried out the attack to protest the jailing of the four anarchists.

The FAI claims responsibility for several other bomb attacks as well. In Livorno, Italy a soldier lost eight fingers when a parcel bomb exploded. Another parcel bomb, in Athens, Greece, was defused in time. A third bomb attack took place last December in Rome. The targets in that case were the Chilean and Swiss embassies.

The Swiss Embassay had been hit two months earlier by a Molotov cocktail. The attackers reportedly left a message on the wall demanding freedom for the three defendants being held in Switzerland.

Read the original article in French

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How Italy's "Conscientious Objector" Doctors — De Facto — Limit Abortion Rights

Italy decriminalized abortion in 1978, but the law allows for doctors to conscientiously object. And so many do that it makes it difficult for many women to access health care when they need it most, with some turning to unsafe abortions.

Photo of a woman surrounded by nuns during an anti-abortion demonstration in Rome, Italy
Annalisa Camilli

COSENZA — At the Annunziata Civil Hospital in this southern Italian city, every single gynecologist is a conscientious objector. So pregnancy termination is possible only twice a week here when the visiting doctor who performs the procedure is present.

“More than six months after the resignation of the only non-objector gynecologist at Annunziata, the service is still lacking and is proceeding in fits and starts," explain the activists of the FEM.IN collective, who met with the hospital's administrative director in December and made them promise to hire two more doctors and guarantee the service in the area.

The hospital is not an isolated case in Italy. According to a Ministry of Health report from 2022, 64.6% of Italian gynecologists were conscientious objectors in 2020, a rate slightly lower than 2019, while 44.6% of anesthesiologists and 36.2% of non-medical staff object to performing pregnancy terminations.

This means that 45 years after the passage of the law that decriminalized abortion in Italy through the third month of pregnancy, the "objection" rate among physicians and health care professionals is so high that it makes the termination of pregnancy effectively impractical in many areas of the country.

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