Members of the Red Brigades make model neighbors if a recently discovered manual on life in the underground is any indication.
It calls for constant, time consuming efforts to appear to be as respectable, house proud and hard working as possible.
Via Gradoli 96, the apartment that apparently served as a hideout for at least some of the kidnapers of Aldo Moro until it was stumbled upon by police last week, was the perfect illustration of how members of the terrorist underground are expected to live, according to the looseleaf manual entitled "Security Rules and Work Methods" found in the flat.
Any dwelling that is bought or rented, the manual says, "must be proletarian, modest, clean, neat and completely furnished. It must appear from the outside as a decent house (curtains, an entrance light, a doormat and a nameplate." There should be plants on the balcony, the manual says.
Brigades members are also instructed to take their automobiles to car washes regularly because dirty vehicles attract police attention.
"As a matter of principle," says the manual, "every militant must be reasuring and kind to the neigbors, but strict discretion is absolutely necessary." Occupants should not make noise after hours, it says.
"The locks," says the manual, "should be replaced with antitheft security locks."
As much attention should be paid to the street and the neighbouhood as to the dwelling itself, the manual indicates. "The street must be easy for a militant to keep watch over and to observe any police surveillance, that is, if possible, it should not be near bars, public buildings, shops, institutes, warehouses, etc.
Above all, militants are expected to nurture their social imatges. Occupants must establish "a well defined social identity, even in the smallest details," it says. "For example, (a militant) decides to present himself as a fiat worker, or a teacher, or a salesman or a land surveyor, married or not, who lives with his brother, his fellow worker, etc.
"The role that each comrade choose must then be consistently demonstrated in his everday life. If, for example, he has assumed the role of an artisan, he must leave home everyday before eight in the morning and not return before 12:30 p.m., go out again at 2 p.m. and come back home at 7 p.m. or after. This means that every comrade must organize his own work according to regular hous. . .The role assumed must be carefully studied so that any irregularites in one's behavior can be explained."
The manual provides that documents, weapons and other organizational materials be kept in suitcases ready for quick getaway. Every month, it says, the contents of the dwelling shoud be reviewed to "clean out all useless, dangerous orcompromising materials."
Among the things found in the third floor apartment, uncovered only because the downstairs neighbor complained about a leak, was a register showing that $20,000 had been paid to buy weapons from regular gun shops.
There were also false Italian and foreign license plates, uniforms thought to have been used by the Moro kidnapers, wigs, women's dresses, a large stock of canned food and blank stationery from Rome police headquarters.
Also found in the apartment was currency that police said they could identify as being part of the ransoms from several kidnapings.
One of the rar successful police infiltrators into the red brigades, Silvano Girotto, recently testified how Renato Curcio, the founder of the group on trial in Turin with 14 others, had complained about the high costs of keeping people underground. Curcio allegedly spoke of financing the orgaization by "proletarian expropriations" - bank and payroll robberies, kidnapings and so forth.
The brigades' most lucrative known coup was their $1.6 million take to ransom Genoa business magnate Petro Costa last year.
The organization apparently works very efficiently. The Italian police say that documents found in the Via Gradoli apartment showed the Moro kidnaping involved the clockwork cooperation of about 60 persons - 12 for the attack on the five Moro bodyguards who were killed, two groups of give to serve as lookouts and to cover the get away and eight drivers. The documents indicate that another 30 persons are involved in holding Moro, the police said.
"We may not be good at orgainzed, regular warfare." said an Italian sociologist with grudging admiration for the Brigades, "but Italians do makegood guerrilla fighters."