Jasper lived in Italy for a few years and took a history class where they taught him about Brigate Rosse (The Red Brigades). He said this was the first time he had studied a terrorist group in an academic setting and was still very interested in the topic (Jasper seems more interested in European terrorist groups than Islamic terrorist groups). I asked him to tell me what he had learned about the group and what he thought of their activity since I had never heard of them before.

Jasper told me that they were a terrorist organization in that was most active in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Italy. They were a communist group that used violence to try to start a revolution. Jasper thinks that they were something of a product of the Cold War because after the Cold War ended, their activity decreased dramatically.

I asked Jasper what kind of terrorist activities they carried out. He said the most dramatic thing they did that probably got the most attention was the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. Moro was a leader of the Democrazia Cristiana (Christian Democracy), a powerful political party in Italy. He was a major contributor to negotiations being conducted between Democrazia Cristiana and the Communist party.

In 1978, the Red Brigades killed his bodyguards and took Aldo captive. The government refused to negotiate with the terrorists even though they said they would execute Moro if they didn’t. They eventually did kill Moro and it was considered one of the biggest assassinations in Italian history.

Jasper said he did not understand why Moro was their target. Moro was known for being open to conversations with the Communist party and was not particularly extreme in his political beliefs. He thinks it almost sends the wrong message since Moro was an advocate of negotiation and he was killed because the other officials in the Italian government refused to negotiate.

Aldo Moro

I asked him if he thought this was a different kind of terrorism than car bombings and suicide bombers since the attack was on a politician and not just a random group of civilians. He responded by saying that in a way, the attack was random since Moro was not one of the Red Brigade’s main political enemies. He also believed it had the same effect of spreading fear because it made people worried that anyone was vulnerable – Moro had bodyguards and was a powerful public figure and he was still murdered by the terrorists.