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COLLEPARDO, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - Italian courts have handed Steve Bannon, Benjamin Harnwell and their Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) another victory.
DHI announced on Tuesday it won the recent battle to restore Trisulti Abbey and use the historic site as a base of operations. It's the seventh legal victory DHI has racked up over its political opponents. Harnwell, DHI chairman, explained the victory's significance.
"Contrary to what has universally appeared in the world's newspapers, the 2018 rent was not owed, and the DHI has fulfilled its contractual obligations with respect to all payments due," Harnwell told Church Militant.
Since February 2019, when DHI announced its plans for Trisulti, there has been one legal challenge after another. These include criminal charges against Harnwell, which are still pending. Harnwell believes the legal harassment is specifically directed at former White House advisor Bannon and Matteo Salvini, head of Italy's largest populist party and Italy's former deputy prime minister. Harnwell reflected:
The Ministry of Culture simply wanted me out because I proudly work with Steve Bannon, architect of Donald Trump's historic 2016 victory, and because literally every day we were both energetically supporting Matteo Salvini and his heroic blockade of the illegal migration into Italy. The Left should know I am totally unrepentant of these two facts. I will never give in to their bullying or absolute intolerance of those who have different political views from theirs.
Harnwell says the Ministry of Culture is the hammer being used against him and the two political leaders.
"For these two motives, the political Left initiated an unprecedented public campaign of lies and character assassination against me, which the Ministry of Culture was only too happy to accommodate," Harnwell pointed out.
Bannon first became acquainted with DHI when he was invited to address the organization's 2014 annual conference. In that address, Bannon made this prediction:
We're at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the Church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant — to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that's starting — that will completely eradicate everything that we've been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.
Bannon and Harnwell then teamed up to turn Trisulti Abbey into both the headquarters for DHI and the campus for the Academy for the Judeo-Christian West. Bannon described his "school for gladiators" as a place where a new generation of political leaders will be trained in the values and traditions of Christendom.
Bannon faces his own criminal charges in the United States. He is accused of misusing charitable donations to group building a wall on the nation's southern border. Bannon called those allegations a "total political hit job" meant to derail President Trump's re-election in 2020.
Harnwell is optimistic: "I take great comfort from the fact that everything regarding the law that I was saying since the lease agreement annulment has been since upheld in the courts."
With regard to the future, DHI will be back in court in February. Harnwell himself will be in court in March for criminal charges.
For a man who has faced unrelenting opposition for two years, Harnwell is remarkably resilient.
"The DHI has now won seven legal decisions out of seven. As the remaining cases are now drawing to their successful close, I can start to return my attention to fulfilling our lease obligations at Trisulti and preserving this fantastic monument for future generations to enjoy," said Harnwell.