Strategy of tension

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A strategy of tension (Italian: strategia della tensione) is an alleged way used by world powers to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, as well as false flag terrorist actions.[1]


[edit] Italy

The term "strategy of tension" was first used in an article appeared in the newspaper "The Observer" on December 7th 1969. According to the Observer the United States together with the then fascist Greek government decided to support far-right terrorist groups in order to spread panic among population and create the demand for a "strong" government (i.e. a dictatorship) in Italy and Turkey, whose democratic institutions appeared to be weak and threatened by Communism to some observers. Such theory is far from being universally accepted, because there is no evidence of the involvement of the US government in support to terrorist activities, which was contrary to the American policy of collaboration with legitimate Italian governments after World War II. The term "strategy of tension" recurred during the trials that followed in the 1970s and 1980s years of lead ( "anni di piombo"), during which terror attacks and assassinations were committed by apparently neofascist terrorists (with such names as Ordine Nuovo, Avanguardia Nazionale or Fronte Nazionale). In particular, some implicate Operation Gladio, Italy's branch of the secret pre-positioned NATO "stay-behind" armies of Western Europe. These armies were set up to perform resistance, partisan, and guerrilla activities in the event of Warsaw Pact invasion; equivalent units were set up by other NATO members in their states.

It is claimed that elements of the "Gladio" units in Italy, especially, and elsewhere in Europe, at times, were engaged in conspiracies to de-stabilize governments that leaned too far left.[citation needed] Some go so far as to claim that these Gladio units were engaged in destabilization at the behest of conspirators including the United States, the CIA, other Western intelligence agencies, other Western governments, the P2 masonic lodge, the Order of the Solar Temple, various Church-related organizations, or other domestic influences, such as organized crime. These claims appear to be based on either the secrecy surrounding the stay-behind units and their prepositioned arms caches (officially forgotten about so as to ensure non-discovery by Warsaw Pact invaders through examination of official records), potential involvement by persons connected with Gladio in skulduggery, or due to Soviet Union KGB disinformation attempts, using the Westmoreland Field Manual--a Soviet forgery that claims the United States uses a "strategy of tension" to interfere with European political processes; however, this document forgery was confirmed as KGB disinformation by the KGB itself following the Cold War. A recent publication of the US Department of State identifies these disinformation attempts and provides background into "stay behind" armies, Gladio, and Soviet disinformation directed at them.[2]

These groups began to pursue an ostensibly extreme right-wing anti-communist agenda using violent means, including false flag bombings that were then blamed on extra-parliamentary left-wing militant organizations, to discredit the political Left in general at a time in Italy when the Italian Communist Party was very close to entering government. It should be noted that the actions carried out by these extreme groups were meant primarily to agitate and control public opinion, creating fears about the Communist Party. At the time, they created massive public concern and widespread paranoia. According to the "strategia della tensione" theory, this was deliberate. Examples of such actions include the 1972 Peteano bombing, long thought to have been carried out by the Red Brigades, but for which the neofascist terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra has been imprisoned, the attempted assassination of former Interior Minister Mariano Rumor on 17 May 1973 or the Bologna railway station bombing known as the Bologna massacre of 1980.[citation needed]

It is believed that the aim of these actions was to make the public think that the bombings were committed by a communist insurgency, to promote the formation of an authoritarian government, and to prevent the strong Italian Communist Party (PCI) from joining the ruling Democrazia Cristiana (DC) in a national unity government (the "Historic Compromise" between Aldo Moro and Enrico Berlinguer, respective leaders of the DC and of the PCI)[3]. An astonishing observation of the terrorism in Italy that was blamed on communists is that it coincided with election victories for the communists at the polls. So as the PCI was gaining popular support, the number of civilian-targeted bombings, random knee-cappings, and high-profile kidnappings blamed on communist terrorists increased markedly.[citation needed]

Furthermore, starting with the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing and the 1972 Peteano attack, several bombings carried out by the far-right were at first blamed on anarchists (for the first one) and, for the second one, on the Red Brigades (BR) — although it was later found that neofascists, such as Vincenzo Vinciguerra, had organized them. Piazza Fontana's bombing, in December 1969, marked the beginning of the "strategia della tensione", which ended around the time of the Bologna railway station bombing in 1980.[citation needed]

In 2000, a Parliamentary report from the Olive Tree coalition concluded that the strategy of tension followed by Gladio had been supported by the United States to "stop the PCI, and to a certain degree also the PSI, from reaching executive power in the country".[citation needed] Members of the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS), part of the Commission on Terrorism headed by senator Giovanni Pellegrino and created in 1988, also described the Italian peninsula since the end of World War II as a "country with 'limited sovereignty'" and as an "American colony"[4] The centrist Italian Republican party described the claims as worthy of a 1970s Maoist group. Aldo Giannuli, a historian who works as a consultant to the parliamentary terrorism commission, sees the release of the Left Democrats' report as a manoeuvre dictated primarily by domestic political considerations. "Since they have been in power the Left Democrats have given us very little help in gaining access to security service archives," he said. "This is a falsely courageous report."[5]

The US state department has denied involvement in terrorism and stated that some of the researchers, like Ganser above, have been influenced by a Soviet forgery, US Army Field Manual 30-31B.[6]

[edit] Piazza Fontana bombing

In December 1969, four bombings struck in Rome the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria), the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, and in Milan the Banca Commerciale and the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura. The later bombing, known as the Piazza Fontana bombing of 12 December 1969, killed 16 and injured 90, marking the beginning of this violent period.

Giuseppe Pinelli, a young anarchist, was first accused of the crime. After his suspicious death, which was claimed to be suicide by the authorities, investigator Luigi Calabresi came under violent criticism from the left and many intellectuals, considering him as the responsible of Pinelli's death; Calabresi would eventually be murdered two and a half years later. Only in 1997 the courts condemned Leonardo Marino and Ovidio Bompressi for carrying out the crime, and Adriano Sofri and Giorgio Pietrostefani for ordering it. At the time of the murder, all four belonged to the extreme left-wing group Lotta Continua. After Pinelli, the police investigated another anarchist, Pietro Valpreda. He quickly became a hero to the left, who perceived him to be a victim of a plot to attribute a fascist bombing to the left. The leftist environment produced an investigative book, La strage di Stato ("The state massacre")[7], in which they claimed the state was attacking anarchists because they (by definition) could not have a political party to defend them, as communists would have had. As it would turn out through years of painstaking investigation, the bombing was indeed a work of the extreme right, even though the connection of the state to these acts is not yet clear[citation needed].

Neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie was then arrested in Caracas, Venezuela in 1989 and rendered to Italy to stand trial for his role. Delle Chiaie was however acquitted by the Assise Court in Catanzaro in 1989, along with fellow accused Massimiliano Fachini.

In 1998, David Carrett, officer of the U.S. Navy, was indicted by a Milanese magistrate, Guido Salvini, on charge of political and military espionage and his participation in the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, among other events. Judge Guido Salvini also opened a case against Sergio Minetto, Italian official for the US-NATO intelligence network, and pentito Carlo Digilio. La Repubblica underlined that Carlo Rocchi, the CIA's man in Milan, was surprised in 1995 searching for information concerning Operation Gladio, thus demonstrating that all was not over.[8]

A June 20, 2001 conviction of Italian Neo-fascists Doctor Carlo Maria Maggi, Delfo Zorzi and Giancarlo Rognoni was overturned in March 2004. Carlo Digilio, a suspected CIA informant, received immunity from prosecution by becoming a witness for the state (in agreement with the pentiti laws).

According to extreme right-wing Ordine Nuovo member Vincenzo Vinciguerra: "The December 1969 explosion was supposed to be the detonator which would have convinced the political and military authorities to declare a state of emergency."[8]

[edit] Bombing of Italicus train, August 4, 1974

August 4, 1974, 12 died and 105 were injured in the bombing of the train Italicus Roma-Brennero express at San Benedetto Val di Sambro.

[edit] 1974 Piazza della Loggia bombing in Brescia

The first judicial investigation concerning the 1974 Piazza della Loggia bombing led to the condemnation in 1979 of a member of the Brescian far-right movement. However, this first sentence was cancelled in 1983 and the suspect absolved in 1985 by the Court of Cassation. A second investigation led to the accusation of another far-right activist, who was thereafter absolved in 1989 because of insufficient proofs. A third investigation is still in activity. On May 19, 2005, the Court of Cassation confirmed the arrest warrant against Delfo Zorzi, a former member of the Ordine Nuovo neo-fascist group, who was also suspected of being the material executor of the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing. Alongside Delfo Zorzi, his neo-fascist comrades Carlo Maria Maggi and Maurizio Tramonte, all members of the Ordine Nuovo group founded in 1956 by Pino Rauti, are also suspected of having organized the Piazza della Loggia bombing.

[edit] Bologna railway bombing, August 2, 1980

Bologna railway bombing killed 85 persons and injured 200. A long, troubled and controversial court case and political issue ensued. The relatives of the victims formed an association (Associazione tra i famigliari delle vittime della strage alla stazione di Bologna del 2 agosto 1980) to raise and maintain civil awareness on the Bologna massacre. On 23 November 1995 the Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued the final sentence:

[edit] Role of Italian Intelligence Services

In 1974, Vito Miceli, P2 member, chief of the SIOS (Servizio Informazioni), Army Intelligence's Service from 1969 and SID's head from 1970 to 1974, was arrested on charges of "conspiration against the state" concerning investigations about Rosa dei venti, a state-infiltrated group involved in terrorist acts.[citation needed] In 1977, the secret services were reorganized in a democratic attempt. With law #801 of 24/10/1977, SID was divided into SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare), SISDE (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica) and CESIS (Comitato Esecutivo per i Servizi di Informazione e Sicurezza). The CESIS has a coordination role, led by the President of Council.

[edit] Turkey

Turkey has a history of involvement in similar plots. The Turkish branch of Gladio, known as Counter-Guerrilla, allegedly followed a similar strategy in Turkey in order to justify the 1980 military coup.[9] Turkish secret police are also believed to have instigated the bombing of the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1955, leading to the Istanbul Pogrom against the Greek minority of Istanbul.[10]

As recently as July 2008, two Turkish ex-generals were arrested for allegedly planning to spark mass demonstrations and violent clashes against the government. This, in turn, would justify a military takeover of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Islamic government.[citation needed]

[edit] Others

Operation Condor in South America and events in Algeria during the 1990s (see Organisation of Young Free Algerians).[citation needed] Stefano Delle Chiaie apparently had a hand in both what was happening in Italy and with Operation Condor, as he met with Michael Townley (a US expatriate, DINA agent). It has been claimed that Delle Chiaie was involved in the murder of General Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 30, 1974. Delle Chiaie, along with fellow extremist Vincenzo Vinciguerra,testified in Rome in December 1995 before judge María Romilda Servini de Cubría that Enrique Arancibia Clavel (a former Chilean secret police agent prosecuted for crimes against humanity in 2004)[11] and Michael Townley were directly involved in this assassination.[12]

[edit] Books, cinema, theater

[edit] References

  1. ^ Interview with Daniele GanserPDF (154 KiB), December 29, 2006, on Voltaire network's website (French): "It is a tactic which consists in committing bombings and attributing them to others. By the term 'tension' one refers to emotional tension, to what creates a sentiment of fear. By the term 'strategy' one refers to what feeds the fear of the people towards one particular group".
  2. ^ "Misinformation about Gladio/Stay Behind Networks Resurfaces". 2006-1-20. Retrieved on 2008-11-25. 
  3. ^ Willan, Philip. "US 'supported anti-left terror in Italy'", The Guardian, June 24, 2000.
  4. ^ Dossier Stragi by the Democrats of the Left (Italian)
  5. ^ "US 'supported anti-left terror in Italy'". The Guardian. June 24 2000. 
  6. ^ "Misinformation about "Gladio/Stay Behind" Networks Resurfaces". United States Department of State. 
  7. ^ (Italian) La strage di Stato
  8. ^ a b (Italian) "Strage di Piazza Fontana spunta un agente USA". La Repubblica. 1998-02-11. Retrieved on 2006-02-02.  (With original documents, including juridical sentences and the report of the Italian Commission on Terrorism)
  9. ^ See Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies. Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, Frank Cass, London, 2005. Extracts and documents available here.
  10. ^ Güven, Dilek (6 September 2005) “6–7 Eylül Olayları (1)”, Radikal
  11. ^ Vital rights ruling in Argentina, BBC News, August 24, 2004
  12. ^ (Spanish) Arancibia, "clave" en la cooperación de las dictaduras, La Jornada, May 22, 2000

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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