Italy evicts Bannon-backed rightwing “boot camp” from monastery

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Italy evicts Bannon-backed rightwing “boot camp” from monastery
The Certosa di Trisulti monastery on the slopes of Mount Rotonari. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy's culture ministry said it had evicted a would-be "gladiator school" for right-wing populists from a 13th-century Italian monastery, in a blow to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon.


Students from across the globe had been readying to learn how to "defend the West" at the far-right political boot camp run by the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) and funded by Bannon, ex-chief strategist for US President Donald Trump.

FOCUS: Trouble at Italy's 'Gladiator school' for far-right

The ministry said on Thursday that the DHI had falsely claimed to have the necessary requisites to take part in a tender to lease the monastery.

The institute had been given use of the site for 19 years in February 2018, but the ministry began proceedings to oust it earlier this year after allegations of misconduct.

Benjamin Harnwell, a close associate of Bannon, had been preparing to renovate parts of the former monastery, with its frescoed ceilings, Baroque chapel, library, and 18th-century pharmacy.

Benjamin Harnwell, Director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute  poses at the Trisulti Monastery in May 2019. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

He had hoped to offer a small number of students the first three-week course later this year, and had been in the process of getting planning permission to put bathrooms in the monk cells, redo the sewer system and install Internet access.

Bannon, who since being ousted from the White House spends his days espousing right-wing populism in Europe, had pledged $1 million to the project.


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Anonymous 2019/10/12 16:38
F Hugh Eveleigh, you are sadly misinformed if you think that anything Steve Bannon is involved in has something to do with a Judeo-Christian ethic. Really, are you kidding?
Anonymous 2019/10/12 13:48
CORRECTION TO COMMENT ABOVE: <br /><br />Whether Trisulti is the way to do forward is debteable - should read as: Whether Trisulti is the way forward is debateable.
Anonymous 2019/10/12 13:45
I have considerable sympathy with the idea of upholding and even promoting the ideas of a Judaeo-Christian ethic. After all, the two religions have been the basis of the western world's ethic for centuries and has led, in general, to much good. <br /><br />I do not know what is really going on with the group in question in this article and whether the word 'populist' is yet again being misapplied but I do think that our so called western society and Christendom in general in the west needs support in respect to the forces which are opposed to it. From this basic ethic grew, in due course, justice and democracy which have underpinned all 'western' nations. To lose these and other benefits because of apathy or misplaced understanding would be disastrous. Whether Trisulti is the way to do forward is debteable. I probably would question aspects of its thinking but it should be considered and debated not assumed to be a 'boot camp for the far right' without a full understanding of its workings.<br /><br />And in the end if citizens of nations in the western world wish to preserve the qualities of life their Judaeo-Christian based societies have engendered, then someone has to stand up and say so.

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