Italian state prepared 'Gulag' for Moro

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The Independent Online
ITALIANS were shocked yesterday by claims of a secret plan to hold Aldo Moro, the kidnapped former prime minister, in isolation if he had been released, in order to stop him saying damaging things about politicians and parties.

The supposed plan was disclosed by the former president, Francesco Cossiga - interior minister during the Moro kidnapping in 1978 - on a German television channel, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), and on an Italian news show.

He said two plans had been prepared, one, code-named Victor, in case Moro was released alive, the other, code- named Mike - a huge round- up of all possible Red Brigades suspects - if he was murdered. Victor, or V, stood for vivo, or alive in Italian, M for morto, dead. After holding him for 55 days his Red Brigades captors, having failed to get jailed comrades freed, left him dead in a car near his Christian Democrat party headquarters.

Victor was based on the expectation that immediately Moro was released he would have had a violent reaction 'in which he would have seen the guilty ones to be not his captors but those who did not free him', Mr Cossiga told WDR. 'Thus he would have said extremely hard things he would have regretted afterwards.'

Later on Italian television he said this fear had been heightened by the 'violent invective' against politicians and the Christian Democrat and Communist parties in Moro's letters from captivity.

Mr Cossiga was asked by La Stampa whether they feared the 'Stockholm syndrome', in which kidnap victims identify emotionally with their captors. He replied: 'I am not saying that.' The idea was that Moro should 'regain his serenity'.

Mr Cossiga said the plan was known to the courts in the four trials that have followed the kidnapping, but it never seems to have grabbed the public's attention. In the present atmosphere, as Italians are learning of alarming things that went on behind the scenes for years, such as alleged collusion with the Mafia, and Masonic and secret service plots, the disclosure comes over as extremely sinister.

'We wanted to intern Moro' ran the Corriere della Sera headline, paraphrasing Mr Cossiga's remarks. 'Gulag for Moro' said La Repubblica.

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