" ... One of Cossiga's most controversial statements concerned the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks ... 'all of the democratic circles of America and of Europe, especially those of the Italian center-left, now know well that the disastrous attack was planned and realized by the American CIA and Mossad with the help of the Zionist world in order to place the blame on Arabic countries and to persuade the Western powers to intervene in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... "
1) Francesco Cossiga Is Dead at 82; Led Italy and Its Antiterrorism Battle
ROME — Francesco Cossiga, who led Italy’s fight against domestic terrorism in the mid-1970s and resigned from the government after the kidnapping and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro, died here Tuesday. He was 82.
Mr. Cossiga had been admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Aug. 9 with heart and respiratory problems. His condition had turned “drastically worse overnight,” the hospital said in a statement released Tuesday shortly before his death. The official cause of death was not given.
An astute politician, Mr. Cossiga held a number of crucial positions during his long political career, from interior minister to prime minister to president of the republic, Italy’s highest office. In later years, he developed a reputation for his outspoken criticism of the Italian political system and its players, gaining the nickname Il Picconatore, or the pickax. Mr. Cossiga was a leading figure in the Christian Democrats, the party that dominated postwar Italy until it crumbled in a kickback scandal in the early 1990s.
As the cold war played out in postwar Europe and the Italian Communists established themselves as the largest Communist Party in the West, gaining the support of nearly a third of all voters, Mr. Cossiga became known as a committed supporter of NATO.
“He was very much an Atlanticist,” said Sergio Romano, a former ambassador and political commentator, who recalled that Mr. Cossiga was prime minister in 1979 when NATO deployed nuclear missiles in Italy. “He consistently took the Atlantic line, building strong relationships with the United States and Great Britain.”
While he was president of the republic — a largely ceremonial role as head of state — Mr. Cossiga admitted to having played a part in the 1960s in organizing a clandestine NATO-sponsored operation, code named Gladio, that involved training guerrilla fighters who would enter into action in the event of an invasion by Warsaw Pact nations.
When Mr. Moro, a friend and mentor to Mr. Cossiga, was kidnapped in 1978 by the Red Brigades, Mr. Cossiga was the interior minister. He led the government’s hard-line approach to the kidnappers, refusing their demand to release imprisoned terrorists in exchange for Mr. Moro. Several of Mr. Moro’s letters pleading for a compromise were addressed to Mr. Cossiga.
The day after Mr. Moro’s bullet-riddled body was found in a parked car on a Rome street, Mr. Cossiga resigned, assuming “moral and political responsibility” for the government’s actions.
As The New York Times reported at the time, he was the first Italian cabinet minister to leave office voluntarily since World War II, and the gesture won him respect and good will. He became prime minister the following year.
Mr. Cossiga was born on July 26, 1928, in Sassari, Sardinia, into a landed family with a tradition of civil service. He studied law and taught constitutional law at the University of Sassari. He joined the Christian Democratic Party in 1945 and was first elected to Parliament in 1958.
He served in a series of governments and was elected president of the Senate in 1983.
In 1985, he was elected by Parliament as president of the republic. At 56, he was the youngest person to hold the office since the creation of the republic. He resigned in April 1992, two months before his seven-year term was to expire, amid criticism about the Gladio operation.
As a former president he automatically became a senator for life, and he continued to play an active role in the country’s politics.
Mr. Cossiga is survived by a daughter, Anna Maria, and a son, Giuseppe, who is the under secretary of defense in the current government.
Friends, foes comment on Cossiga's death
ROME, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- In death, as in life, former Italian President Francesco Cossiga drew praise from supporters and derision from detractors, observers say.
Outside Gemelli Hospital in Rome flags flew at half-staff for the former head of the Christian Democrat party who died at the age of 82 Tuesday, ANSA reported Wednesday.
Messages left in the chapel memory book and around the hospital ranged from laudatory to vituperative.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said he had come to make "a small homage to a great statesman." Another wrote, "Ciao Presidente Picconatore" (Goodbye Pickaxe-Wielding President), a reference to the blows Cossiga's attempted demolition of political institutions and the party system during the last years of his 1985-1992 presidency.
Another citizen wrote, "A Killer Has Died," on a poster that called Cossiga "a state criminal," ANSA said.
Cossiga said he didn't want a state funeral. He will have a private burial in his northern Sardinian home town.
One of Cossiga's most controversial statements concerned the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States as reported in the Nov. 30, 2007, edition of Corriere della Sera in which he was quote as saying,