Blue Telephone vs. Luther Blissett?!

Telefono Azzurro [azure telephone, light blue telephone] is an Italian (supposedly) no-profit association with easy access to state funds and corporate sponsorship. Their field of activity is the prevention and repression of child abuse. The reason of such a bizarre name is that battered/violated children are supposed to call the association's ultra-advertised number. Being the colour of the national soccer team, azure is usually associated with hope.

This is a piece published on La Repubblica daily newspaper, followed by the translation of Luther Blissett's press release.


La Repubblica (Bologna edition), August 27th, 1998


After an escalation of threatening calls to Prof. Caffo


by Carlo Gulotta

A series of threatening phone calls, then a communique from Luther Blissett that called in question the group for its support to the new bill on paedophilia, eventually a strange act of burglary, more likely to be a warning. Three different episodes that have probably nothing to do with each other, but whose target is the same, Telefono Azzurro. A few weeks ago the group's Bolognese office started to receive a different kind of calls: insults and threats. A few days ago professor Ernesto Caffo gave the police a leaflet which Luther Blissett had sent to a press agency. By this leaflet, Blissett "warns" the association. Blissett's 'media pirates' are also involved in troubles with the judiciary because of their book 'Lasciate che i bimbi' (published on the Internet) - it seems that they intended to warn Telefono Azzurro about the escalation of child abuse which will probably follow the passage of the new bill on paedophilia. TA's pressure and efforts facilitated the passage of the bill, which aggravates punishment for child abuse.
Professor Caffo immediately contacted the police and gave the leaflet to the detectives. The leaflet was faxed from a copy shop in Bologna, and also targets two other similar associations. 'We are used to threatening calls', says professor Caffo, 'One must be able to make distinctions between the different episodes, though it is obvious that some people do not appreciate our efforts. We have an established relationship with the police, and immediately brought the leaflet to the station'.
Yesterday, Telefono Azzurro made yet another official accusation, after a strange incursion in their office, via Oberdan 24. It happened last Monday night. Someone forced the locks of two doors on the ground floor, broke into the office, opened cabinets, rummaged into drawers but did not steal anything. Before leaving the place, they even evacuated their bowels in the lobby. TA activists believe that it was 'a warning, some sort of affront. They didn't steal anything'.


Press Release from the Luther Blissett Project in Bologna (authors of "Lasciate che i bimbi") about vandalism at Telefono Azzurro's Bologna office


Bologna, Thursday 27 August 1998

An article by Mr. Carlo Gulotta on today's La Repubblica (Bologna edition) calls us in question with reference to threats and vandalic incursions suffered by the Telefono Azzurro office in Bologna.

We understand that Mr. Ernesto Caffo, president of Telefono Azzurro, mentioned us in relation with the latest effraction. Caffo talked about a communique supposedly sent by one Luther Blissett.

Gulotta's reference to this communique is ambiguous:

'It seems that Blissett's "media pirates" intended to warn Telefono Azzurro about the escalation of child abuse which will probably follow the passage of the new bill on paedophilia'.

This may have two different meanings: either this Blissett says that the new act on child pornography is so badly written that child abuse will increase rather than decreasing (by the way, this is our opinion), or the communique is a Mafia-styled warning, 'You let that bill pass? OK, we'll make you pay by raping even more children!'.

We have nothing to do with any threatening phone call or vandalic raid suffered by Telefono Azzurro. We disdainfully reject every hint and insinuation.

We also advise Telefono Azzurro to think twice before calling in question people whose social praxis and political activities have always been stylish. We would never stoop to such rascally triviality.

We've been handling the issue of "paedophilia" for years. We think that "paedophilia" is little more than a pretext to spread law-and-order authoritarian culture and destroy all civil rights and guarantees in this country. We have never attacked Telefono Azzurro, nor have we stated that child abuse is not a serious problem. We have researched a plenty of journalistic/judiciary errors and horrors, clinging to our libertarian point of view. We have defended the Internet users' community from absurd attacks, by exploding many lies that were published on newspapers and/or broadcasted on TV. We have fought traditional media hacks, and exposed the mixture of ignorance, fear and envy that inspired their slanders.

We even broke with a custom of the Luther Blissett Project, and decided to run our campaign publicly, turning up at conferences and public meetings, showing our faces, even before Lucia Musti started her libel suit. Our book "Lasciate che i bimbi" is available in the bookshops, and it is the only reliable source on our position. [...]

Anyway, the new act on paedophilia and child pornography (bill S2625, approved by the Senate on June the 9th) is a juridical monstrosity, a classic emergency act which contains various elements of inconstitutionality. We are not the only ones to say this. For instance, some representatives of the gay movement (e.g. attorney Ezio Menzione) deconstructed the bill's text and demonstrated that it is useless, sexophobic and liberticide. Moreover, MCmicrocomputer magazine strongly criticised the bill because it modifies the Penal Code (3rd comma of the article 600/3) in order to make Internet service providers responsible for the "paedophile" pictures and texts passing through their servers. This is like holding Telecom Italia as responsible for obscene calls.

That's all.