General Roberto Vannacci on Tuesday
criticised the decision to open formal disciplinary proceedings
against him over a anti-gay book that he recently self-published
and has become a best-seller.
The Army official has been hailed as a hero by the anti-politically correct lobby in Italy over his book, which also slated Jews, feminists, environmentalists and migrants.
He took a one-month leave of absence after being informed of the formal disciplinary inquiry, authorized by Defence Minister Guido Crosetto, upon arriving at the Army's Rome headquarters on Monday to prepare for a new role he has been assigned.
"I'll have a military counsel, but I will not avail myself of a lawyer from the bar," Vannacci said.
"I will defend myself, certain that I have not broken any rules.
"Freedom of speech and the freedom to express one's ideas in a free country is being called into question here.
"I have received so many messages of solidarity from people in public and ordinary roles, from many colleagues and retired commanders.
"Over the last two days, sales of my book have quadrupled and so far 230,000 copies have been sold".
In his book, 'The world back to front', Vannacci, formerly head of the Folgore paratroopers, says of homosexuals: "You are not normal, come to terms with it!", insisting that "normality is heterosexuality".
"If everything seems normal to you, however, it is the fault of the plots of the international gay lobby," he adds.
He also speaks strongly in favour of self defence: If a burglar enters a house, "why should I not be authorised to shoot him, to stab him with whatever object I can get my hands on?".
"If I plunge the pencil I have in my breast pocket into the jugular of the mug that attacks me, killing him, why should I risk being condemned?".
At the weekend he was named army ground operation forces chief of staff after being sacked as head of the military geographical institute in August after the release of the book.
Defence ministry sources said Sunday Vannacci's new post "is not a promotion".
They stressed that his new role "does not entail relations with other institutions".
They said he would "only be commander of his own office chiefs and will not have direct decision-making autonomy".
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