Editor’s note: The following is a dossier on Emma Bonino compiled in 1999 by the Italian pro-life group Famiglia Domani.
Emma Bonino was born in Bra, Piedmont, on March 9th, 1948. She graduated in languages with a thesis on Malcolm X, the founding father of an Islamic black terrorist movement.
In 1975 she co-founded with Adele Faccio the Information Centre for sterilisation and abortion (CISA), in which she personally contributed to performing 10,000 illegal abortions (Il Borghese, 28 April ‘99). In that year she succeeded in entering the political arena thanks to the incredibly supportive media publicity, following her arrest for “criminal gang and induced abortion in aggravating circumstances” (in the parliamentary yearbook Navicella Parlamentare, Rome, 1979, pp. 85-86).
After a four-month hide-out abroad, she returned illegally in June 1975 and gave herself up to the police, serving a “ten day prison term which the following year ushered her into parliament” (Corriere della Sera, 30 September ‘97). Since then, a constant feature of her activity has been the media coverage of her initiatives together with her arrests for questionings by the police (it's impossible to list them all).
In fact, prior to her tenure as an EU commissioner, “Bonino's image from Warsaw to New York was more that of a street militant, of an abortionist wearing jeans and clogs who used to combine with triumphant and manifest indecency her forefingers and thumbs into the symbol of feminist protest, before being escorted-dragged to jail” (Il Giornale, 21 June ‘99).
In 1976 she was elected MP for the first time with the Radical Party, of which she became secretary from 1993 to 1994. As a member of this party she was re-elected in all legislatures till 1994.
She took part in all the Radical Party's campaigns and was on the forefront of the “sexual revolution” against the traditional institution of the family. As a hardline feminist, she identified herself with the well-known slogan of a feminist demonstration in Rome on December 6th, 1975: “No longer wives, mothers and daughters! Let's destroy the family!” She put this slogan into action with various political projects.
This ideological itinerary led her to militate with the pro-gay FUORI (Fronte Unitario Omosessuale Rivoluzionario Italiano, United Revolutionary Front of Italian Homosexuals). In those years “FUORI shattered another taboo and opened the debate on homosexual matrimony” and “all the Radical Party seats became by right seats of FUORI” (in the book 'Il movimento gay in Italia' by G.R. Barilli, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1999, pg. 128). The shared views and collaboration of FUORI with Pannella and Bonino “brought about a greater spread of their ideas ensuring also access to the media” (cit., pg.73); homosexuals participated in the “demonstrations, sit-ins and pamphleteerings of Radicals on antimilitarism, abortion or against the concordate between Church and State” (cit., pp. 70-71).
Bonino contributed to the discreditation of Parliament as an institution by electing in 1983 on a Radical Party slate Tony Negri “regarded as the ideologue of 'Red Terrorism'” in Italy (La Stampa, 6 August ‘99). Tony Negri, who had been in jail since 1979 serving multiple sentences, took advantage of his newly-won immunity, once elected, to flee abroad.
Among Bonino's collaborators are Sergio d'Elia, a member of the terrorist group “Prima Linea” (forefront) in its heyday and today head of the radical association “Nessuno Tocchi Caino” (Nobody dare to touch Cainus), and two far right terrorists, who are avowed murderers, namely Mambro and Fioravanti.
Outlaws have been showing goodwill towards the radical ideology for a long time. Camorra members have shown their appreciation for the party's political initiatives – “Their thanks came in every day to Radio Radicale,” Rutelli bragged in Rome's major daily Il Messaggero (3 September '86), as have bosses of the Calabria-based criminal organization 'Ndrangheta such as Giuseppe Piromalli (sentenced to 5 life terms) and the so-called “prison killer” Vincenzo Andraous (Il Messaggero, cit.). The latter became also an icon in the party's paid advertisements (Corriere della Sera, 29 November ‘86).
In 1987 Bonino prompted the election as MP of the Hungherian-born Ilona Staller, then hard porn actress nicknamed “Cicciolina”. They jointly presented several bills eliminating any offence regarding the “common sense of decency”, enforcing mandatory sex education in all non-tertiary schools and proposing a referendum for the elimination of censorship.
Today Bonino still aims at a destabilisation of society, and she admits so herself in the newspaper Corriere della Sera (17 August ‘99), where she says “as if destabilisation of present balances had not been one of the essential functions of politics.”
The Bishop of Como, Monsignor Alessandro Maggiolini, who is a moral authority, has aptly summarised Bonino's fundamental attitude. She is evidently spurred, he argues, “by a logic which reflects the cult of transgression” (Corriere della Sera, 17 June ‘99).
“I am a group, a history, his own,” namely that of Pannella
Some media tend to present Bonino as a “novelty” in the political scene, but she rebutts: “I am by no means new, since I have been in politics for 25 years. I am not a left independent (…) I am part of a political group which makes political choices” (Il Messaggero, 11 July '99).
She herself describes the nature of this group. To the weekly Panorama of 5 November '98, which noted, “You are important nowadays in Europe. But Pannella is still there…“, she categorically replies: “I am a group, a history, his own“. Namely that of Pannella. And today she still reiterates: “I do not see one single good reason why I should distance myself from him (…) Ours is a lifetime human and political association” (La Stampa, 10 August '99).
Marco Pannella is the founder of the Radical Party in Italy which “upholds the historical values of the progressive movement, the ancient socialist and libertarian ideas, the nonviolent, anti-militarist, secular and anti-clerical ideas” (political report by secretary Rutelli at the extraordinary congress of the Radical Party, Rome 1981).
Pannella, first elected MP in 1976, is among the founders of CORA (the Italian acronym for Radical Anti-Prohibitionist Co-ordination, a transnational branch specialising in the pursuit of a complete drug liberalisation and legalisation), of LIA (International Anti-Prohibitionist League) and of the League for the establishment of divorce, for the conscience objection and for the repeal of the Church-state concordate. Pannella has been mainly responsible for the introduction of abortion, of divorce, of live non-stop programmes on Radio Radicale with blaspemies and obscenities for entire weeks (in 1986 and 1993); he has actively promoted nudism, homosexual “marriage”, transgenderism, free love, drug legalisation, abolition of armed forces, the disbanding of Nato, and mandatory sex education.
After having elected porn actress Staller to Parliament, he consistently challenged the prohibitionist verdicts setting limits to the sale of porn videos (Il Messaggero, 11 December ‘88). Indicted for his involvement in the activity of the extreme left extraparliamentary organization “Lotta Continua” (as reported in the book “La rivoluzione nel labirinto” by Franco Ottaviano, Rubettino publisher, Messina 1993, on page 499), Pannella was arrested and sentenced several times for possession and distribution of drugs (Il Messaggero, 29 December ‘95). The most recent conviction to four month prison term on charges of street distribution of hashish was handed down by the Rome Court on 19 September 1997.
Neither Pannella nor Bonino intend to renounce to fight for these issues. In his policy statement at the end of the recent Radical Party congress, Pannella pointed out that the “referendum battle” presently underway is aimed at bringing about a revolution which is not only “liberale” (liberal), but “liberista” (free trader) and “libertaria” (libertarian). He said “with a grin that he does not intend to give up classic themes such as drugs, for which he was already indicted in court” (La Stampa, 2 August ‘99).
A pro or anti-drug commissioner?
In 1995 Bonino was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi as European commissioner in Brussels.
Her new high office did not hinder her from arranging drug liberalization drives. In her biography on the website of the European Parliament, she herself claims to be an “active supporter of the anti-prohibitionist and harm reduction policy by means of parliamentary campaigns, referendum drives and civil disobedience initiatives“.
Against this background she blasted the UN anti-drug commitment in the person of its deputy-secretary Pino Arlacchi, accusing him of being “a real Taliban” (Panorama, January 22 ‘98) for his dedication, and even flaunted the efforts made by the international community in its fight against drug-addiction haughtily proclaiming that “the days of prohibitionism are numbered” by now (Panorama, cit.).
In the previous Parliament many MEPs protested against Bonino using her senior position to spread propaganda.
For example, the written interrogation to the Commission by the Finnish deputy Ritva Laurila (8 October ‘96): “In a public interview during her recent visit to Finland, commissioner Emma Bonino has claimed to support the total liberalization. Is it possible to know whether this is actually the EU and Commission's political stand with regard to drug addiction? And if this is the case, where and when was such policy adopted?“
All the more stringent on another occasion was the question by two Swedish deputies, Jan Andersson and Annelie Hulthen (8 November ’96), in which, after Bonino “in a newspaper article has called for narcotics to be legalised“, they publicly asked whether “the President of the Commission deemed it fit for a commissioner to utter similar opinions“.
But the then EU commissioner, in answer to the criticism that she lacked the necessary ideological even-handedness which her role would demand, also on the drug issue, replied shamelessly: “Bonino (she employs the third person) even if too many forget it, is and remains in the first place a radical. And her proposal remains the same as of Pannella's: legalise” (Panorama, 22 January '98).
The European independent press has reacted against this ideological bias she has attached to her public office. The major Swedish evening paper, Aftonbladet (9 January '98), has explicitly spoken of a “drug lobby“, whose headquarters would be precisely “in the heart of the European parliament“. “The organization's trump card is the Italian EU commissioner Emma Bonino“, the paper argued. “She spoke at the CORA meeting last year in Brussels and calls for narcotics to be decriminalised“.
In a dossier entirely devoted to anti-prohibitionist activities in Europe, which was briefly taken up in Italy only by Il Messaggero (16 January ‘98), Aftonbladet has actually accused 17 MEPs of being part of the international drug traffickers mafia.
Inexplicably, Bonino, unlike her colleagues quoted in Aftonbladet, has not demanded public denials, even less, neither has she asked for these serious charges to be accounted for in court (Il Messaggero, cit.).
The “CORA CASE”, an unprecedented illicit act in the European Parliament
But in another investigative report Aftonbladet (9 January '98) had shown, with photos, that CORA was illegitimately using premises and means belonging to the European Community for canvassing. The radical impudence went so far as to give in their publications the European Parliament address as CORA's address, thus exploiting also the authority of EU institutions.
Having become aware of this scandal, some Swedish MEPs, dispelling the atmosphere of complicity, had insistently called for “CORA to be chased out of the European parliament“, stressing that “it is not acceptable that an organization which goes in for illegal activities can work inside the parliament and have its address here“. The radicals “have distributed hashish in the streets and this is a crime” (Aftonbladet, 16 January ‘98).
Therefore the board of questors in the European Parliament, after having examined the report by the security chief in Brussels Mr Thomann, with the results of his inspection in CORA's rooms, instructed the competent officials “to see to it that the activities by the organization CORA inside the European parliament be immediately discontinued” (in the EU board of questor's minutes dated 13 May ‘98, No 7.4.).
Public protests were thus instrumental in having CORA radicals being jettisoned from Parliament … but with what complicities could Bonino's organization use, or indeed abuse, European taxpayers' money and resources in a public institution?
The allegiance to a cause bartered for a presidency of commission
In the first plenary session of the European Parliament, Bonino, circumventing EU regulations, formed a parliamentary group described by her as “technical” with MEPs of other parties such as the French far right Le Pen-led National Front. The competent constitutional commission “has come to the conclusion that the creation of the Bonino-Le Pen group infringes the internal regulations” (Il Messaggero, 8 August ‘99).
According to the Jewish milieu, these are “ambiguous and dangerous political ploys which one should be ashamed of“, in the very words of Tullia Zevi, former leader of the important Jewish community in Rome.
The Bonino-Pannella couple have always proclaimed themselves intransigent upholders of the Israeli state, so much so that they have always enjoyed a preferential treatment as against the other protagonists of Italy's political life, as claimed by Pannella in the daily Avvenire (1 August ‘99): “I was always accused of being a Mossad agent“. Or in the paper l'Unità (1 August ‘99): “I was the only one invited to the Israeli Embassy's parties“.
The daily La Stampa (1 August 1999) has asked Bruno Zevi, senior member of the Jewish community and honorary president on the Radical Party, for an explanation of this turnabout: “Did you ask why they did not choose the ELDR, which is more related to the radical background?” Zevi, a first-hour comrade of Bonino, replied: “The problem is that in the ELDR they would not have been in command, but in the Le Pen's group they are. And what Marco and Emma are interested in, in this lust for power following their success in the European elections, is precisely just power“.
The gist of the matter is that Bonino, establishing her own group, might obtain a presidency of commission and possibly exploit it for anti-prohibitionist purposes, as Hedy D'Ancona did in the previous legislature. And Bonino, as we have seen, is prepared to go beyond any limit in order to achieve her objectives.
“This is part of the reckless style adopted by the radicals, according to which the match is played on various fronts, trampling upon values and principles“, says David Maghnagi, a professor of psychology and expert on Hebraism (l'Unità, 1 August ‘99). “And this is the case when Bonino and Pannella hang in the balance between the centre-right and the centre-left. But it's about time to develop a stringent criticism of the radicals, without feeling ashamed“.
Commissioner Bonino: an institutional symbol or an ideological icon ?
“A somewhat low standing“: this was repeatedly the comment by senior political commentators such as Eugenio Scalfari (La Repubblica, 1 August ‘99) on the work by Bonino in that EU commission presided over by Santer and which collapsed beforehand in ignominy.
“I do not understand how some may have come to think that the role of EU commissioner should have 'de-radicalised' me“, Bonino provocatively replied to her critics. “So much more that during these 'European' years I felt instead what I would describe as the most visible manifestation of my party” (Corriere della Sera, 17 August ‘99).
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The fact that she by no means “de-radicalised” herself was proved beyond any reasonable doubt on 11 December 1997 in Brussels. Here for the first time a member of the EU commission, exactly Emma Bonino, took part in an initiative which had among its announced goals the promotion of the distribution of hashish in Italy, which is a crime in our country.
According to the Radicals, the meeting was aimed at organizing Europe's anti-prohibitionist forces “to force the Italian front” also through acts of so-called “civil disobedience”. As a matter of fact the proponents of free drugs identify our country as their prime target in that they are “convinced that Italy represents today the weakest link in the chain of the prohibitionist system in Europe“.
How is it possible that public officers may even attend a meeting which is part of an initiative which has among its proclaimed goals the promotion in Italy, and throughout Europe, of ways and means of fighting in defiance of the criminal law, and in particular articles 414 and 327 of Italy's penal code, when these provisions forbid the incitement of any crime whatsoever.
Commissioner Bonino had no scruples in entering the fray of Italy's presidential elections with “Emma for president”, stirring perplexities around Europe: “For several correspondents it seemed strange that just in the run-up to the enforcement of a code of conduct for commissioners (…) a member of the commission should start a new political initiative with the risk of embarking on a collision course with her role and duties in Brussels, jeopardising in particular her image of commissioner in an aggressive political campaign” (L’Unità, 10 March ‘99).
The success in the recent European elections was likewise obtained by “spending” all the prestige achieved with her high office, after having carefully hidden her libertarian agenda, even concealing the presence of Pannella, whose public image is more related than Bonino's to countless anarchical battles.
Luigi Crespi, president of Datamedia, the opinion poll agency which works also for the Radical Party, noted: “In 1996 political elections Pannella won 1.9% (…) Nobody has ever asked why in the recent European elections a Bonino ticket was presented, and not a Pannella one or another with both names. Of the two, Bonino's was evidently more appealing and wisely Pannella remained behind the scene, to the point that many voters were not even aware that he was also part of the ticket” (Il Giornale, 11 August ‘99).
Bonino, the “right man” at the service of the anti-prohibitionist lobby
“Money is an essential feature of the present radical policy” (L’Unità, 2 August ‘99). As a matter of fact the Radical Party, after the volunteer commitment in the Seventies, has by now become “a well organised management structure” (L’Unità, cit.).
Given the continued crisis in radical recruitment, for the collection of referendum signatures alone Bonino has engaged 3000 employees under an interim contract (Espresso, 12 August ‘99).
The transparency of budgets, now to the tune of tens of billions of lira for any single initiative (Panorama, 24 June ‘99), is clearly apparent shown off, but only with regard to the campaigns concerned. “A doubt remains“, notes the daily Avvenire (25 June ‘99), as to who finances the expensive party machine: in its balance sheets in fact, the other expenses of the Radical Party are always left out, “funded, always in their own words, by 'voluntary contributions'. By whom?”
As to the funds, the Radicals nourish no illusions about popular consensus. As explained by Massimo Bordin, editor of Radio Radicale, in fundraising initiatives “we do not rely much on popular subscriptions, we would rather count on some entrepreneurs…” (L’Unità, 2 August ‘99).
The weekly Panorama (24 June ‘99) gives a clue as to the name of a possible entrepreneur with an investigative report entitled “The real story of the compelling rise of Emma“, in which it reveals that various “libertarian campaigns” and other political projects of the Radical Party were made possible by the money of the powerful US financier George Soros.
The US tycoon well represents the so-called “powerful powers” disrupt, so much so that he was capable to unsettle the economies of European nations, just as he did already to the detriment of the UK and Italy with aggressive financial speculations which produced serious consequences on the lira and the pound.
The ideological commitment of Soros boils down to his being, among other things, the major funder of the international movement for the legalisation of drugs: “Up to the early Nineties the movements for the legalisation of drugs were not in tune with each other. This situation changed when the international financier George Soros donated US $ 6 millions to the Drug Policy Foundation (…) and minor sums to a range of institutions in the US and abroad. His sponsorship unified the movement for the legalisation of drugs” (The Wall Street Journal, 7 February ‘96).
The US financier has made some 15 million USD “available to those who oppose the war on drugs” (La Stampa, 26 August ‘97) and has threatened: “In a sense I am therefore conducting a battle against the anti-drug fight” (in the weekly Il Venerdì di Repubblica, 22 September ‘97).
Is this the financial support which Emma Bonino is relying on?
And what are her political supporters inside the European Parliament?
Does the newly-elected parliament in Strasbourg and Brussels intend to accommodate the anarchical and ultra-libertarian stances of the duo Bonino/Pannella, especially with regard to the legalisation of drugs?
FAMIGLIA DOMANI, an association independent of political parties which was founded in 1987, specialises in public campaigns in defence of natural and Christian family values, threatened by contemporary cultural and moral degradation.