Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 14:08:35 -0800
From: archivo situacionista <>

La traduccion a espaņol del texto al que hace referencia
esta noticia de Luther Blissett (Pedofilia: un pretexto
para la caza de brujas) esta accesible en:
Spanish translation of the Luther Blissett's book reported
in this note is available in:



0. Premise
1. What Is The Musti Affair?
2. The assault on Internet service providers
3. We Need International Solidarity

0. Premise

Something serious is happening in Italy. A crackdown
recently started in Bologna is going to threaten freedom
of speech for Italian netizens. The so-called Musti affair,
which we'll sum up in the next paragraph, is a pretext to
create a legal precedent, foster (self-)censorship and
possibly enforce the (remarkably restrictive) law on the
press in the Italian cyberspace.

1. What Is The Musti Affair?

Lucia Musti, vice-District Attorney in Bologna and former
Public Prosecutor in a famous trial against an innocuous
cult called 'Bambini di Satana' [Children of Satan], sued
a 'traditional' publisher (Castelvecchi Edizioni, based in
Rome) and two Internet service providers (Cybercore, based
in Bologna, and 2mila8, based in L'Aquila) for having
published or put into electronic circulation Luther
Blissett's book 'Lasciate che i bimbi. "Pedofilia": un
pretesto per la caccia alle streghe' (Let The Children...
"Pedophilia" as A Pretext for A Witch Hunt]. The book is
anti-copyright, thereby it is also freely available on the
Web. Lucia Musti wants the book to be banned, all the copies
to be destroyed and its electronic versions to be removed
from the indicted servers. Moreover, she claims moral
damages for 450 million lire (approximately $300,000).
She asked the competent magistrate to sequestrate
Castelvecchi's accounts and contracts (officially in order
to know how many copies were put into circulation - more
likely she wants to find out the real names of the authors).
The first session of the trial will take place on the 5th of
May at the Tribunal of Bologna. According to Musti, the
book's content is 'insulting', 'slanderous' and 'prejudicial'
to her reputation and identity. The charge is 'Misuse of the
right of criticism'. Why? The first chapter of Blissett's
book consists of a scrupulous account of the BDS trial. In
1996 the three defendants (the cult leader Marco Dimitri
and his fellows Piergiorgio Bonora and Gennaro Luongo) were
arrested and charged with child rape, satanic ritual abuse
and even human sacrifice. There were no corpses, no reliable
witness, no evidence at all whatsoever. The defendants went
through a long, groundless detention before being taken to
court. The media upheld their guilt, fostered moral panic
and described them as little more than bloodsucking monsters.
Eventually they were acquitted, but their life was destroyed.
Soon after the arrest the Luther Blissett Project launched
a campaign of counter-information and challenged the
investigating authorities, whose Jeanne d'Arc-like commander
was Lucia Musti. The LBP exposed her lies, her staunch
clericalism and the ambiguous role played by the Curia of
Bologna [local ecclesiastic authority] through a group of
bigots named GRIS [Group for Research and Information on
Cults]. Combining media hoaxes, private investigations and
a meticulous deconstruction of Musti's propaganda, the
LBP helped to free Dimitri and the other guys. Some
newspapers (e.g. La Repubblica) were greatly influenced by
Blissett's campaign, and explicitly censured Musti's
behaviour and fanaticism. According to the LBP the
'Children of Satan' were scapegoats, and that trial was
a manifestation of the sexuophobic/homophobic/obscurantist
euro-paranoia about pedophilia, ritual abuse and kiddy porn
on the Internet. The first chapter of 'Lasciate che i bimbi',
which is far from having a slanderous content, tells the
whole story from the arrest to the acquittal, exposing the
ways Musti took advantage of her position in order to
manipulate the public opinion and persecute innocent people.
After having ruinously lost the trial, she even wanted to
avoid the consequences on her reputation!

2. The Assault On Internet Service Providers

Musti's 'Atto di Citazione' [certificate of action at law]
is a violent assault on the Internet providers whose servers
hosted the electronic text of the book. The target is the
Internet, its "difference", the features that make it
uncomparable to the traditional media, i.e. the horizontality
which has granted freedom of speech for those who have no
access to the old media and the trans-nationality which has
made a lot of wanna-be censors sleepless. The Italian
legislation on the Internet is full of blanks, this is the
state's chance to fill them, set a dangerous precedent and
force providers and netizens to self-censorship. If Musti
wins the trial, the Italian Net landscape will be
impoverished if not ravaged, with serious repercussions
all over Europe and the world. Here's some translated
excerpts from the abovementioned Atto di Citazione,
dated February 11th, 1998:

'[In Italy] the responsibility of providers for torts
committed via the telematic nets is currently the subject
of a lively debate. Two fronts oppose each other: one
considers providers equal to publishers, thus responsible
[for the contents], the other considers them equal to
booksellers and newsvendors, thus non-responsible. We
think that the 11th article of the law on the press -
which is about the common responsibility of the publisher,
the owner of the publication and the author - is extensible
(at least by analogy) to [Internet] service providers.
Although the mentioned law is enforced for "all typographical
reproduction, obtained by any mechanical or physio-chemical
means, anyhow aimed at publication", we must remember that,
despite the wonderful terms currently used to describe the
information highways, the material which is put on the
Internet is not destined to stay in a virtual world of
immaterial communication, indeed, it can be easily fixed
on such material supports as computer hard disks or
diskettes, as well as reproducible by such mechanical
means as printers.'

'However, the responsibility of providers can also be
demonstrated according to the article 2050 of the Civil Code
[which is about responsibility for dangerous activities].
In fact, this rule is enforced not only for the activities
regarded as dangerous according to the law on Public Security
and other special laws, but also to all the activities which,
to the opinion of the competent judge, can intrinsicly be
harmful, even if they are as much licit as useful for

'In the case the competent justice decides there are no
premises for the enforcement of the article 2050, we can
take into consideration the article 2051 [which is about
damages caused by things kept in custody], because it is
undeniable that A) [providers] have a direct, concrete power
on the sites running on their servers, B) [the sued
providers] were aware that the contents of Blissett's text
were prejudicial to other people's reputation, and could
have easily removed them from the sites [...]'

3. We Need International Solidarity

This struggle has an immediate political value, every
Italian provider has to take part in the general
mobilization. Besides setting limits to freedom of speech,
this precedent will extend their legal liability. The Net
is an organism that can defend herself. Her immunity
systems are electronic civil disobedience, the netizens'
quick reflexes and the almost instinctive solidarity that
doesn't leave abuses unpunished. Musti has made a big
mistake taking offence at the Italian Web. We have suggested
anyone who runs a site or a server to create pages dedicated
to this crackdown, by mirroring (or re-designing) 'Lasciate
che i bimbi', and loading the text you are reading.
International solidarity is indispensable. We've just
started to get media coverage and organise events, while
other people are putting the incriminated book on their
sites. We'll constantly update the list and sent it to all
the concerned netizens, along with all the material we'll
be able to translate into English. We also call on every
enemy of obscurantism, repression and censorship to take the
field and make a protest against this crackdown, by sending
email to Italian newspapers.

Luther Blissett Project, Bologna, last week of March 1998

'Lasciate che i bimbi' is already available at:
Add your site to this list!

An English translation of the book's introduction is at:

The complete files on the Italian crackdown (Italian
language) are at:

Luther Blissett Project - Detailed info, no frills:

The Italian media:


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