[Marxism] What a Murder by Mussolini Teaches Us About Khashoggi and M.B.S.

Barbara Winslow bwpurplewins at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 05:19:16 MDT 2018

One journalist who not only told the truth about Matteotti was Sylvia
Pankhurst. She not only wrote about his murder, she create a Matteotti
Defense Committee, raised money for his family. Writing in 1919, she also
was one of the first non-Italian journalists to systematically warn about
the dangers of Mussolini. See Barbara Winslow,
*Sylvia Pankhurst: Sexual Politics and Political Activism.*

*Barbara Winslow*


cell and text: 212-8449447

Author: *Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change*, Westview Press, NY 2014
available on Amazon in Kindle and book

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On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 9:30 AM Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> NY Times Op-Ed, Oct. 24, 2018
> What a Murder by Mussolini Teaches Us About Khashoggi and M.B.S.
> The murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis has striking parallels with
> the murder of the Italian socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti by Fascist
> thugs.
> By Alexander Stille
> (Mr. Stille teaches journalism at Columbia University.)
> In the weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in
> Istanbul, a question has been repeatedly asked: How could the Saudi
> crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, be so reckless as to sanction this
> horrifying murder carried out in such a clumsy and shameless fashion?
> The answer, I think, is that dictatorships are inherently obtuse.
> Dictators live in their own self-created bubble of adulation and
> impunity, which leads them to huge misjudgments when they are forced to
> act outside of the bubble.
> The premeditated and coldblooded murder of Mr. Khashoggi by the Saudis
> has striking parallels with the premeditated and coldblooded murder of
> the Italian socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti by Fascist thugs
> operating on the orders of Benito Mussolini.
> On the afternoon of June 10, 1924, Mr. Matteotti was walking in Rome
> when a group of Fascists grabbed him and stuffed him into a waiting car.
> Two months later, his decomposed body was found about 12 miles away.
> Several days before his abduction, Mr. Matteotti had delivered an
> impassioned speech denouncing widespread fraud and violence committed by
> the Fascists during national elections two months earlier. He was
> scheduled to give another speech when Parliament reopened the day after
> his disappearance.
> The murder of a prominent critic of Fascism shocked Italy and the world.
> Before Mr. Matteotti’s disappearance and murder, Italy’s democratic
> allies had been prepared to believe that despite Mussolini’s violent
> rise to power, he intended to respect the rules and freedoms of
> parliamentary democracy.
> For some months, while an official investigation took place, Mussolini’s
> political survival as the prime minister seemed to hang in the balance,
> as evidence accumulated that Mr. Matteotti’s killers were part of a hit
> squad operating under the control and acting on the orders of the prime
> minister’s office.
> Mussolini survived the crisis because of the weakness and division of
> his political opposition, because Victor Emmanuel III, Italy’s king, who
> had invited Mussolini to form a government, was reluctant to risk a
> “leap in the dark” by demanding his resignation.
> Mussolini was also saved by the complicity of foreign allies and
> international public opinion to accept the implausible explanation that
> Mr. Matteotti’s killers were Fascist hotheads who had acted on the spur
> of the moment, to “teach him a lesson,” and killed him accidentally.
> Then, as now, there were even powerful oil interests in the affair —
> possible payments to Mussolini’s brother Arnaldo Mussolini, the Jared
> Kushner figure of the situation — that contributed to the consensus to
> “get over” the brutal killing.
> Then too, the reaction of near-universal horror to the Matteotti killing
> was surprising since violence had been a consistent feature of Fascism.
> The thugs who killed Mr. Matteotti had already used violence,
> intimidation and fraud during the 1924 elections that gave Mussolini a
> majority in Parliament. The world — and most middle-class Italians —
> credited Mussolini with preventing a Bolshevik-style revolution in Italy
> and was prepared to overlook what it took to be a little residual
> violence that it assumed would fade away after Mussolini started wearing
> the bowler hat and spats of a respectable politician.
> Italy was still a half-functioning democracy, and that helped expose the
> murder and the lies deployed during the attempts at a cover-up.
> Eyewitness had seen Mr. Matteotti being forced into a car. An elderly
> couple had seen the killers’ Lancia automobile as they staked out Mr.
> Matteotti’s house in the days before the kidnapping and wrote down the
> license plate.
> The police found the car’s upholstery covered in Mr. Matteotti’s blood.
> He had been stabbed repeatedly and his body mutilated. A comparatively
> independent initial investigation linked the killers to Mussolini’s
> office, where one of his top aides, Cesare Rossi, directed his press
> office and ran Ceka Fascista, the private hit squad named after Cheka,
> the Bolshevik predecessor of the K.G.B.
> Mr. Matteotti was killed before his parliamentary speech because he had
> been gathering evidence and planning to expose corruption in the
> assigning of a major oil concession by Mussolini’s highly personalized
> government to an American company, Sinclair Oil.
> Mussolini got the case transferred to more cooperative investigators who
> concluded that the Matteotti killing had been unplanned and involuntary.
> The passage of time, the dithering of the Italian political class, the
> self-interest of foreign governments and the complicity of the
> international press helped Mussolini survive.
> A remarkable new book, “La Scoperta dell’Italia,” by the Italian
> historian Mauro Canali, describes how the Fascists manipulated foreign
> journalists during the Matteotti crisis. At the time, two of the most
> important media outlets in Italy, The Associated Press and The New York
> Times, were locally headed by a father-son team, Salvatore and Arnaldo
> Cortesi, who were Italian citizens and ardent Fascist supporters.
> Mr. Rossi, the Mussolini aide who directed the hit squad, fled to Paris,
> and to avoid taking the fall for the murder, he offered The New York
> Times documentation implicating Mussolini. But the paper refused the
> offer both because Mr. Rossi wanted $15,000 in return and because the
> journalists were reluctant to accept the notion of Mussolini as a
> political assassin.
> Mr. Rossi made a deal with The New York World, and Arnaldo Cortesi
> published a long piece in The Times attempting to deflect blame from
> Mussolini and discredit the Rossi revelations. His piece ran with the
> headline “Rossi ‘Revelations’ Fall Flat in Italy; Why Former Associate’s
> Charges Against Mussolini in the Matteotti Murder Failed. Premeditation
> Disproved.”
> And soon, most of the world was happy to move on and do business with
> Mussolini, who proceeded to consolidate his dictatorship. Getting away
> with murder wasn’t good for Mussolini or Italy, feeding his sense of
> dangerous omnipotence. While he was extremely shrewd in judging and
> dealing with his internal opponents, he made one catastrophic mistake
> after the other in foreign policy. He vastly underestimated England and
> the United States, failed to listen to his advisers about the
> unpreparedness of Italy’s war machine and believed his own rhetoric
> about Italy’s being a nation of “eight million bayonets.” Dictators
> rarely end well.
> This might offer lessons as to why the Saudis had the chutzpah to murder
> Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul. The Congress and the global press must avoid
> the mistakes made during the Matteotti affair.
> A paunchy, middle-aged journalist does not take on 15 Saudi agents in a
> fistfight, and you don’t bring a forensic doctor and a bone saw to the
> interrogation of a political dissident. If Mr. Khashoggi had been killed
> accidentally, the Saudis could hand over his body and it would come out
> in an autopsy. The Saudi failure to produce his body is a virtual
> admission of premeditated murder.
> Alexander Stille, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, is
> the author of “Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families
> Under Fascism.”
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