Ossigeno defends journalist sued for a book on the Ustica airline disastrer

Paolo Cucchiarelli has reconstructed also the investigations and misdirection regarding the massacres in Piazza Fontana and the Bologna railway station bombing and indicated a fresh line of inquiry

OSSIGENO 12th October 2021- The Legal Aid office of Ossigeno per l’Informazione  (read here) has taken up – through the lawyer Andrea Di Pietro – the defence in court of the journalist Paolo Cucchiarelli, author of the investigative journalism book entitled “Ustica and Bologna, an attack on Italy”. Loredana, Alessandro and Marco Fachini (heirs of Massimiliano Fachini, who died on 3rd February 2000), initiated on the 28th July 2021, before the Civitavecchia Bar Association, a mediation procedure connected to the request for compensation from Cucchiarelli of the damage to the reputation of their deceased father caused by some statements contained in the book that the Fachini heirs consider defamatory.

The controversy also concerns the publishing house of the book, La Nave di Teseo. Ossigeno believes that the journalist legitimately exercised the right to information by reporting in detail the group of elements for which the exponent of Ordine Nuovo (an extreme right-wing movement) was investigated.

Massimiliano Fachini was definitively sentenced to five years in prison for the crime of subversive association and being member of an armed gang, in relation to the reconstruction of the Ordine Nuovo movement (of which he was one of the leading exponents in the Veneto region). Furthermore, he was tried and acquitted for the massacre on August 2nd 1980 at the Bologna station and for the Piazza Fontana massacre on December 12th 1969.

The book “Ustica and Bologna, an attack on Italy” was published in June 2020, on the fortieth anniversary of the “Ustica massacre” caused by the crash into the sea, at 20:59 on 27th June 1980 near the island of Ustica, of the DC-9 of the Itavia airline, which was carrying 81 passengers from Bologna to Palermo on a scheduled flight. The author traces the hitherto inconclusive process of the judicial inquiries and the misdirection over these decades and formulates a hypothesis on the causes of the disaster supported by an examination of the reports on the aircraft wreckage and the images attached to them. A hypothesis that the plane could have been downed by an unidentified military aircraft that could have concentrated the red-hot jet of its turbojet engines on the aircraft’s fuselage.

The dispute – Fachini’s heirs accuse Paolo Cucchiarelli of having written falsehoods when he claims that Massimiliano Fachini could have been an accomplice of the Italian secret services in illegal operations, They consider the allegation that he coordinated and even supplied the explosives to carry out the massacre of the 2nd August in Bologna as defamatory.

Massimiliano Fachini, his heirs claim, was definitively acquitted of the charges for that attack and all the crimes connected to it. They also argue that Massimiliano Fachini was never hired or acted on behalf of any secret service, Italian or foreign. Basically, what was written by Paolo Cucchiarelli was, according to his accusers, a pure journalistic invention, seriously defamatory, the result of rumours from so-called “repentant participants” never identified and in any case flatly contradicted by judicial verdicts.

Paolo Cucchiarelli is a journalist with a long experience of news reporting. He has worked for the Italian press agency ANSA, made sensational scoops, and published numerous lengthy essays in which he has highlighted the lesser-known aspects that emerged from the judicial investigations into the major massacres and the kidnapping of the Italian statesman Aldo Moro.

In spite of the claims made by the Fachini heirs, his latest book presents itself as an impressive historical and critical account, innovative and alternative to the so-called procedural truths that have built up over the years. In this work, the figure of Massimiliano Fachini, marginal as he is cited only in a few pages of the book, is re-analysed in the light of recent documentary findings, thanks also to the progressive declassification of documents  that at the time were unknown since inaccessible. In any case, the author cites numerous findings and testimonies to document the events attributed to Fachini. A convergence of testimonies and elements such as to induce the author of the book to support, on the basis of official sources, a solid narrative that reconstructs the bonds, the role and the responsibilities, not only of Fachini, but of many well-known exponents of the subversive right during the period of these massacres.

The first meeting for the mediation attempt should have been held on September 17th 2021, but has been postponed to December 3rd 2021 and Ossigeno will support the defence of the author Paolo Cucchiarelli through Avv. Andrea Di Pietro, as the Observatory considers the request for compensation for the damage allegedly caused by the journalist in question to be unfair. In cases like this the journalist is dragged before the judge on charges of libel , for having disseminated false information, despite such information being the result of careful historical reconstructions and archival research, on facts of significant public interest, based on the analysis of judicial documents and other reliable sources.


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