Friday, July 08, 2005

Belfast Telegraph Up to 200 Italian police 'ran parallel anti-terror force'

Belfast Telegraph: "Up to 200 Italian police 'ran parallel anti-terror force'

By John Philips in Rome
05 July 2005

Up to 200 police officers and former intelligence operatives are being investigated by Italian magistrates on charges of organising an illegal 'parallel' police force to combat terrorism.

The shadowy group appears to have set itself up as a private security firm, offering protection to senior figures, and illicitly using official police resources. Its leaders have been accused of 'usurping' public functions and illegal usie of classified data.

Judge Francesco Lalla, Genoa's chief prosecutor, said the self-styled 'Department for Anti-terrorist Strategic Studies,' (Dssa) maintained an arsenal of weaponry, stored by its accused commanders Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindaco, both with links with the Italian far right. The revelations have heightened many Italians' unease about the strategies of the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, against Islamist terrorism.

Judicial sources said the Dssa recruited from police, paramilitary carabinieri, finance police and the armed services and presented itself to Italian institutions as well as potential recruits as an elite body specialising in fighting Islamic and Marxist terrorism."

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