THE MATTEI AFFAIR: Fifty years ago, Enrico Mattei was killed

Italian MIP Francesco Salerno and Enrico Mattei ENI President and Administrator (1962) / Wikimedia *

Mattei was (…) a fighter for independence and liberation of peoples from colonialism. (…) He was murdered on the eve of a trip to the United States, where he was to meet with President John F. Kennedy, who supported Mattei’s strategy.”

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Fifty years ago, Enrico Mattei was killed

By LaRouchePAC
October 28, 2012

Today, the good men of Italy celebrate the life of Enrico Mattei, a figure “whose greatness grows the more time goes by,” as a former ENI direct Marcello Colitti put it.

Mattei was the founder of the Italian oil and chemical industry, the driving force of industrial reconstruction and modernization in Italy, and a fighter for independence and liberation of peoples from colonialism. He discovered natural gas in Italy and built a network of pipelines that provided cheap energy to Italian industry and households. He also built pipelines to Russia, Algeria and Germany.

Mattei was killed when a bomb placed on his private jet on Oct. 27, 1962, exploded while he was flying from Sicily to his base in Milan. He was murdered on the eve of a trip to the United States, where he was to meet with President John F. Kennedy, who supported Mattei’s strategy.

British Foreign Office papers recently published by authors Benito Livigni and Giovanni Fasanella show that the British had singled out Mattei as the Empire’s public enemy and had considered his activities in Southwest Asia a casus belli.

ENI, the state-owned oil company that Mattei founded, still exists, but it has been partially privatized and reduced to its core activity. From a driver for development, it has become a global machine for “shareholder values.”

Amidst the gravest crisis of postwar Italy, the figure of Enrico Mattei evokes the “golden period” of the economic boom. Thus, despite the dominant paradigm which is inimical to everything Mattei represented in terms of national sovereignty and independence as well as moral values, institutions are forced to pay him homage.

One of the most important commemorations, however, has been organized by LaRouche friend and Movisol member Andrea Pomozzi. Through his front organization called “Piceno Tecnologie,” Pomozzi has organized a two-day event including a film showing for high school students and two public debates: today with Marcello Colitti (90) former ENI director of Program and Development, and next week with author Benito Livigni.  (1) – emphasis added

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Who was Enrico Mattei?

Enrico Mattei (April 29, 1906 – October 27, 1962) was an Italian public administrator. After World War II he was given the task of dismantling the Italian Petroleum Agency Agip, a state enterprise established by the Fascist regime. Instead Mattei enlarged and reorganized it into the National Fuel Trust Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI). Under his direction ENI negotiated important oil concessions in the Middle East as well as a significant trade agreement with the Soviet Union which helped break the oligopoly of the ‘Seven Sisters’ that dominated the mid 20th century oil industry. He also introduced the principle whereby the country that owned exploited oil reserves received 75% of the profits.

Mattei, who became a powerful figure in Italy, was a Christian Democrat, and a member of parliament from 1948 to 1953. Mattei made ENI a powerful company, so much so that Italians called it “the state within the state.” He died in a mysterious plane crash in 1962, likely caused by a bomb in the plane. The unsolved death of Mattei has obsessed Italy for years and was the subject of an award-winning film The Mattei Affair by Francesco Rosi in 1972. (…)

Death

On October 27, 1962 on a flight from Catania (Sicily) to the Milan Linate Airport, Mattei’s jetplane, a Morane-Saulnier MS.760 Paris, crashed in the surroundings of the small village of Bascapè in Lombardy, in the course of a storm. All three men on board were killed: Mattei, his pilot Irnerio Bertuzzi, and the American Time–Life Journalist William McHale. The inquiries officially declared that it was an accident. The Italian Minister of Defense, Giulio Andreotti, was responsible for the accident investigation.

During his controversial tenure of ENI, Mattei had made many enemies. The US National Security Council described him as an irritation and an obstacle in a classified report from 1958. The French could not forgive him for doing business with the pro-independence movement in Algeria. Responsibility for his death has been attributed to the CIA, to the French extreme-nationalist group, the OAS, and to the Sicilian Mafia.

According to a 2001 TV documentary by Bernhard Pletschinger and Claus Bredenbrock, evidence was immediately destroyed at the crash site. Flight instruments were put into acid. On October 25, 1995, the Italian public service broadcaster RAI reported the exhumation of the human remains of Mattei and Bertuzzi. Metal debris deformed by an explosion was found in the bones. There is speculation that the fuse of an explosive device was triggered by the mechanism of the landing gear. In 1994 the investigations were reopened and in 1997 a metal indicator and a ring were further analyzed by Professor Firrao of Politecnico di Torino and explosion tracks were found. Based on this evidence the episode was reclassified by the judge as homicide, but with perpetrator(s) unknown.

Not trusting the Sifar (Italian secret service), even though it was full of his loyal supporters, Mattei constituted a sort of personal security guard made of former partisans, ENI staff by whom he felt protected.

Other facts on the crash:

  • According to Phillipe Thyraud de Vosjoli, a former agent of the French secret service SDECE, SDECE agents were responsible for the 1962 plane crash which took the life of Mattei. Mattei was on the verge of engineering an Italian takeover of French oil interests in Algeria. A French agent code-named Laurent tinkered with Mattei’s aircraft.
  • When preparing the film The Mattei Affair in 1970, Francesco Rosi asked the journalist Mauro De Mauro to investigate on the last days of Mattei in Sicily. De Mauro soon obtained an audio-tape of his last speech and spent days studying it. De Mauro disappeared eight days after his retrieval of the tape, on September 16, 1970, without leaving a trace. His body was never found.All the Carabinieri and Police investigators who searched for De Mauro, and consequently investigated his presumed kidnapping, were later killed. Among them the general Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa.
  • Tommaso Buscetta, an important Mafia turncoat (pentito), declared that the Sicilian Mafia had been involved in the murder of Mattei. According to Buscetta, Mattei was killed at the request of the American Cosa Nostra because his policies had damaged important American interests in the Middle East. The journalist De Mauro was subsequently killed in 1970, because his investigation on Mattei’s death was getting close to the truth. Gaetano Iannì, another pentito, declared that a special agreement had been achieved between the Cosa Nostra and “some foreigners” for the elimination of Mattei, which was organized by Giuseppe Di Cristina. These statements triggered new inquiries, including the exhumation of Mattei’s corpse.
  • Admiral Fulvio Martini, later chief of SISMI (military secret service), declared that Mattei’s plane had been shot down. In 1986, former Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani described the accident as a shooting as well, perhaps the first act of terrorism in Italy. (2) (emphasis added)

Related Videos:

1) IL CASO MATTEI -1 (THE MATTEI AFFAIR) – 1972 (English subtitles)
Sources:

(1) http://larouchepac.com/node/24325
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Mattei

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One thought on “THE MATTEI AFFAIR: Fifty years ago, Enrico Mattei was killed

  1. This movie is hardly representative of the accomplishments of Ing. Enrico Mattei. I should know… In the fall of 1960, after my first Science Degree, I was hired by ENI, after a multiple candidate selection, to attend a Petroleum Technology Course and be part of a large Technical Team engaged in the design construction commissioning start up and operation of several oil refineries on the African Continent with the scope of training local personnel allowing the host country to run these industrial complexes. Based in San Donato Milanese near Milan, Italy the courses included all the technology subjects followed by work assignments at ANIC Ravenna Italy, huge and modern facility engaged in the production of fertilizers, synthetic rubber and power generation, and at IROM Oil Refinery near Venice, Italy. I met Mr Mattei in 1961 and later in 1962 when he visited SAMIR Oil Refinery in Morocco on the Atlantic coast just North of Casablanca. What impressed me the most is the incredible presence and vision of this very accomplished man. It can be said that Mr Mattei was responsible more than anyone in bringing Italy out of the devastation of WWII into a modern vibrant accomplished industrialized country. After returning from my posting in Morocco to Italy at the end of 1967, I emigrated to Canada where more than 40 years of career in the oil industry working for world class energy companies ensued. All throughout my career what I garnered at ENI I kept with me and even during the subsequent decades the spirit of Mr Mattei was very present guiding me, my career, always seeking excellence, evaluating all opportunities and becoming in the process a very sought after technical mind. And I owe a lot of this having crossed paths with a Great Man. I always mused about what Italy could have become if Mr Mattei have had another 25 years of such a stellar career.
    God Bless Enrico for the all the positive influences he had in improving the lives of millions of people not only in Italy but throughout the world, Amen

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