After being banished from his White House job as President Trump’s Chief Strategist for the in 2017, and having lost his Chief Executive job at the right wing media outlet, Breitbart News, Steve Bannon took off for greener pastures in Italy.
He fell in love with an 800-year-old monastery in the village of Colleperdo, Italy which is about 43 miles east of Rome and decided to lease it for the purpose of training right leaning political students. However, it appears that he kept changing his mind about the true reasons for establishing a school. Whatever were his motivations, Italian officials gave him notice that he’s not welcome to stay.
Here’s the rest of the story…
As per the June 1, 2019 Politico.eu report, “Italy to evict Steve Bannon’s academy from monastery” by Rym Momtaz, “Trump’s former chief strategist planned to use alt-right academy to build European nationalist movement.”
Steve Bannon’s training academy for nationalists is set to lose its spiritual home.
Italy’s Culture Ministry announced it will revoke the lease on a state-owned monastery given to Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), a right-wing Roman Catholic institute affiliated with Bannon, the former Breitbart executive and ex-chief strategist to Donald Trump.”
DHI has failed to comply with the obligation to pay the concession fee, the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance obligations,” Gianluca Vacca, undersecretary for cultural heritage said in a statement Friday.
Bannon saw the alt-right academy at the Trisulti Charterhouse in Collepardo, around 70 kilometers southeast of Rome, as part of his vision to build a movement bringing together populists from across Europe. His project drew criticism from the left and was also denounced by a top Catholic cardinal in May.
According to a letter obtained by POLITICO, Cardinal Renato Maria Martino, the honorary president of DHI, raised objections to using the monastery for political purposes. He wrote to Benjamin Harnwell, Bannon’s close associate in Italy who is spearheading the project, on January 29, 2019 demanding that there be no “distortions or modifications” to an original plan to create an apolitical Catholic study and training center.”
“Harnwell vowed to fight the culture ministry’s order.”
“The DHI will contest this illegitimate maneuver with every resource at its disposal no matter how many years it takes. And we will win,” he said on Friday.”
“Vacca, a member of the 5Star Movement that governs together with the far-right League party, said the decision was not politically motivated.”
“As per the 3/2/2019 Daily Mail report by Chauncey Alcorn, “The school is being developed inside the Trisulti Charterhouse, an 800-year-old medieval monastery in the rural hilltop region of the village of Colleperdo, about 43 miles east of Rome.”
“Other than Bannon, the identities of those funding the school have been kept a secret.”
“The project sparked protests from local activists in December.”
“Bannon told CBS News that the new school, called the Academy of the Judeo-Christian West, will be a ‘modern gladiator school’ that teaches the foundational tenants of Western people.”
‘It’s to give people kind of in mid-career that are looking to do something different, maybe get involved in media, maybe get involved in politics, maybe get involved in NGOs, to give them kind of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West,’ he said.”
“Bannon’s counterpart, Benjamin Harnwell, a British former political operative, is in charge of creating the academy.”
“Trisulti is where the monks of Trisulti once created a center for scientific research and innovation during the Middle Ages, cultivating 2,500 types of plants for medicinal purposes.”
On June 1, 2019, Gabriela Resto-Montero of VOX penned the following report, “Italy revokes Steve Bannon’s right to use a monastery for his political “gladiator” school.” (“Bannon planned to teach the art of his brand of politics at the school.”)
“Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s plans for a far-right nationalist school have been halted by Italian authorities. Bannon hoped to run the school out of an ancient monastery near Rome, but officials say they are revoking rights to the grounds for failure to maintain the site and pay fees.”
“In a statement released 5/31/2019, Gianluca Vacca, an official with Italy’s cultural ministry, said that it was the government’s “duty” to revoke the rights to the Certosa de Trisulti monastery that the Human Dignity Institute, a far-right Catholic think tank that Bannon partnered with, had obtained. Vacca cited the fact the group failed to pay proper concessions and said it was determined that the institute didn’t have any experience in cultural heritage custodianship. The ministry also voiced concerns that repairs had not begun that would make the historic property available for public use.”
“In response to the Italian government’s statement, Bannon signaled that he is not ready to give up on his dream of opening the school and said, “The fight for Trisulti is a microcosm of the fight for the Judeo-Christian West.”
Further complicating Bannon’s plans is the assertion by Italian authorities that a bank document the Human Dignity Institute submitted in acquiring rights to use the monastery had been forged.
Bannon has rejected this accusation, claiming that “everything actually is totally legitimate” and that questions over the authenticity of the bank document “is just dust being kicked up by the left.”
Bannon hoped to create a global school for nationalist thought
“Bannon hoped to use the planned school to create a legacy of populist teachings rooted in his own personal alt-right philosophies of governance.”
“Will we teach the underpinnings of populism and nationalism? Yeah, absolutely,” Bannon told the Washington Post after the Human Dignity Institute won its bid to occupy the monastery for $111,000 a year. “But also a broader range of stuff. The trends of where the world is going.”
“From the beginning, however, locals were opposed to the monastery, which features frescoes dating to the 18th century and priceless art, being used for political purposes by foreign operatives.”
“Almost everybody is against this,” Mauro Bussiglieri, the mayor of a town near the monastery, said. “Citizens are having a hard time understanding that the [monastery] is going to be a place where future politicians are going to be trained. They look at it as a religious place.”
“Members of the Human Dignity Institute, a Catholic think tank led by Bannon ally and British political operative Benjamin Harnwell, have also taken issue with using the monastery for anything other than religious study.”
“Cardinal Renato Maria Martino, a one-time honorary president of Human Dignity Institute, wrote a letter to Harnwell advising him not to use the grounds for political purposes.”
“I recommend you to make sure the abbey is really turned into a place for worship and meeting open to everybody,” Martino wrote, according to Politico. “I really hope you and [the Human Dignity Institute] succeed in carrying out the project without any distortions or modifications, including in its implementation phase, that’ll degenerate the purposes you have worked for so hard.”
“Harnwell vowed to fight to hold onto the lease Friday.”
“Bannon headed to Europe after falling out of favor with the president following reports that he’d said Donald Trump Jr.’s contact with Russian agents was “treasonous” and that Trump firing FBI Director James Comey was the biggest mistake in “modern political history.”
“European far-right leaders including France’s Marine Le Pen and Italy’s Matteo Salvini welcomed Bannon’s expertise, although he was still met with some skepticism from conservative groups suspicious of American influence in European politics.”