A SUSPENDED DEMOCRACY UNDER THE ATLANTICIST EYE “STAY BEHIND”: THE ITALIAN CASE

Andrea Fais

Journalist and Freelancer based in Perugia, Italy. He is the editor for the Italian magazine of geopolitics “Eurasia”and a contributor to the Italian magazine “Affarinternazionali” (linked to the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry) and the Chinese daily-tabloid “Global Times”.

Since the end of Second World War, Italy has become the land of plots. A huge mass of investigations, books, reports, and articles has produced never ending public debates about military structures, the relationships between national economic elites and stranger lobbies, and the origins of crime organizations and political terrorist cells. During the Cold War, Italy was for sure the most unstable and stormy country in the West: a formal democracy characterized by frequent political crisis, violence, social fear, and manipulation of the media. According to many historians, this particular situation was due to the so-called three Italian exceptions:

  • The relative gap between the North and South of Italy

The Italian Kingdom was born relatively late in 1861 as an expansion of the House of Savoy, based in Turin, in the rest of the country. Before the rising of the Fascist dictatorship in 1924, an effective unification of the country was very hard to realize. For a long time, industrialization and modernization were unknown factors in the South, where poverty, underdevelopment, and crime dramatically remained, determining very negative economic and political consequences up until today.

  • The presence of the greatest communist party in the West

The Italian Communist Party (PCI) was born due to a schism with the Italian Socialist Party in 1921. It was banned by the Fascist regime, but after the war it rapidly became the second largest political party in the country thanks to the support of the Northern working classes and the millions of peasants all over the country. After the defeat of inner ring anti-Soviet members (Amadeo Bordiga and his followers), under the guiding line of Palmiro Togliatti, the Party became absolutely loyal to the USSR until the early 1970s. The elevation of Enrico Berlinguer as general secretary in 1973 produced a significant change in the Party’s international trend, reorienting it toward Euro-communism.

  • The geographic position of Italy inside the Mediterranean Sea

The Italian landscape extends along the Mediterranean from North to South with a total coastal territory of 7,456 km. The Sardinia and Sicily islands are directly overlooking North Africa and part of the Middle East. This relative strategic potential was immediately exploited by the US Army, which built more than 100 military bases or installations in Italy from 1949 to 1990.

One year after the fascist military loss and the execution of Benito Mussolini, the Italian Monarchy was defeated through a popular vote1. However, the new republic was weak and unstable, without a democratic constitution (published just in 1948), and built on the compromise among parties who had been fighting as partisans against Fascism during the second part of the war (the Resistance). There were communists, Catholics, socialists, liberals, and conservatives, especially from the Army. The first and most popular party was Christian Democracy (DC), linked to the Vatican and representing both the upper classes from the industrial sector and the middle classes of the South. It feared the Communist Party’s economic policy and atheism. Nevertheless, the Italian Communist Party was never violently atheist, and its leaders preferred to keep its targets on economic and international issues: agricultural reform to give land to the peasants, the nationalization of great farms and strategic sectors, and the boycotting of NATO.

During the war, another factor contributed to make the gap between North and South even bigger: antifascism. After Mussolini had been betrayed by his officials in July 1943 and arrested by the King’s police, he escaped from prison with German help and founded a new fascist republican state in Northern Italy, the so-called Italian Social Republic, supported by Nazi Germany and its allies. So after the rising of the antifascist resistance, mainly led by the communist brigades, the war became extremely difficult in the North, which saw massacres and retaliations. On the contrary, Southern Italy was completely controlled by Monarchy and US-British troops.

Italy was divided in two parts through the Gustav Line built by the German Army after the US landing in Salerno in September 1943. Unlike in the North, Southern Italy had never known a popular antifascist resistance and rapidly became a Trojan horse for anticommunist and anti-Soviet propaganda, creating a strong connection between political Catholicism, local landowners, criminal organizations (mafia), and US intelligence. In particular, Sicily became a place of conflict between the communists and Christian-Democrats. This Italian island had been deeply strategic for the US Army during military operations against Germany in Europe, and the connection between American mafia families and their relatives in Sicily was a determinant that helped the Allied troops land in Italy2.

Even after the war, the local political climate was heavily influenced by this situation. It is common opinion in Italy that the massacre in Portella della Ginestra, a little town near Palermo, had signaled the beginning of the Strategy of Tension. Some bandits in cahoots with the mafia, landowners, and conservative politicians opened fire against workers and peasants during the Workers’ Day celebration. More than 15 people were killed and about 65 were injured. It was May 1st,1947. Some weeks before, the temporary Italian Prime Minister, the Christian-Democrat Alcide De Gasperi, was invited by the US government in Washington to debate about the Marshall Plan and the Italian “extraordinary situation”, namely the presence of left-wing parties (socialists and communists) inside his temporary government. The Sicilian massacre in Portella della Ginestra signaled a breakthrough. Republican antifascist cooperation among different parties was over, and the “Italian Cold War” was ready to begin.

FROM THE MARSHALL PLAN TO THE FOUNDATION OF NATO

When Franklin Roosevelt announced his famous Four Freedoms speech in 1941, Italy was allied with Germany and Japan, and it was engaged in war against Great Britain and France. The Pact of Steel seemed to be invincible, and the blitzkrieg conducted by Nazi armored divisions was extending Hitler’s hegemony in Europe as he prepared a plan to invade the USSR. Two years later, after the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, the situation completely changed and Germany paid the cost of its aggressions with a catastrophic failure. However, Hitler’s failure was not just the failure of one man or one country, but the failure of all of Europe, which was unable to find peaceful unity after one century of efforts (the Concert of Europe) and a war as terrible and devastating as the First World War. Starting from this objective reality, the Marshall Plan thought up by Harry Truman’s administration returned the spirit of Roosevelt’s idea with the will to extend it to Europe. In Italy, freedom of worship and freedom from want were slowly ensured, although amidst large early difficulties, but unfortunately, it is impossible to say the same about freedom from fear and freedom of speech.

The first Italian elections with universal suffrage occurred on April 18th, 1948. The political hegemony of the Christian Democracy Party was challenged by the Democratic Popular Front, composed of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party. The Catholic party won with 48% of the total vote while the Popular Front consensus was contained within 30.9%, mainly because of Saragat and Lombardo’s earlier Social-Democratic schism from the Socialist Party in late 1947.

Some documents, declassified by the CIA in 1992 and 1993, have proven US interference in that first national election. According to these documents, Washington was worried by the so-called “red danger”, from which to defend itself «it took into account the possibility to manipulate the 1948 electoral process and even to suspend the counting of votes with military means»3. The preexisting connection between the Vatican hierarchy and US diplomacy helped the Christian-Democracy Party to establish good relationships with the White House. Harry Truman’s doctrine conferred the highest importance to the defense of the Mediterranean region from any possible Soviet interference: Italy, France, Greece, and Turkey were the most carefully “observed” countries in those times.

In the summer of 1948, the political climate became very hot, especially because of the beginning of the De Gasperi government’s agreements with Washington. Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti was absolutely set on using both parliamentary and popular means to boycott the processes of the Atlanticist integration of the country. Communist opposition to the Marshall Plan and NATO had already made US State Department so furious that Italy rapidly started to be divided in two big fronts, just like the rest of the world. The Italian Cold War immediately appeared as a conflict inside of a bigger one. Just three years after the end of World War II, newfound tension and hatred returned like dark clouds over the Italian skies. On July 14th, 1948 Togliatti was the victim of an attempted murder: a young liberal Sicilian student, Antonio Pallante, shot the Italian communist leader near Montecitorio (the Chamber of Deputies) in Rome. Some hours later, violent riots exploded in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Turin, Florence, and many other Italian towns. Police headquarters, Christian-Democracy political offices, and editorial offices of rightist and Catholic newspapers were assaulted by thousands of communist militants. In those days, Italy was going to fall into another civil war. Pallante was arrested by police and condemned to 13 years of prison in the first stage of the process, which was later reduced to 7 years in the second stage, further reduced to less than 6 years by the Supreme Court of Cassation, then completely annulled by a general amnesty in the end of 1953. He had never repented for his assassination attempt, and he always defended himself in having done the «right thing», because in his opinion, «the death of Togliatti would have saved Italy from Communism»4.

In 1949, the Italian political situation was still dangerous. The Communists and Socialists were determined to create a huge popular consensus around their foreign policy platform, hoping to involve not just their militants and electors, but also some supporters from the popular Catholic associations, the Army, and former leftist Fascists led by Giuseppe Landi and Stanis Ruinas5 in opposition to Atlanticist integration. On February 20th, 1949, Pope Pius XII decided to intervene with a public speech in Saint Peter’s Square and used all his moral authority and charm on the Italian people to persuade the citizens about the importance of NATO in preventing any possible Soviet invasion. Political debate in Parliament was very intense from the very first moments. Pietro Nenni, leader of the Socialist Party, clearly said in his public speech: «Atlanticist Pact destroys collective security system, it contains a strong aggressive meaning against the country which defended Stalingrad six years ago and, doing this, it defended the whole Europe and the whole world at the same time […] This Pact irreparably compromises our security and independence»6.

On 18 March, 1949, the two Chambers of the Italian Parliament announced their final vote about the entrance of Italy inside the Atlantic Pact: 342 votes in favor, 170 votes against, and 19 abstained at the Chamber of Deputies; 183 votes in favor, 112 against, and 8 abstained at the Senate.

THE HOLY CRUSADE AGAINST RUSSIA

If the US and UK have often criticized Russian Tsarism as an illiberal autocracy or Russian bolshevism as a form of dictatorship, anti-Russian prejudice in Central and Southern Europe was mainly founded on old religious and territorial disputes. Catholic influence in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and a relevant part of Germany have historically favored the spreading of anti-Orthodox feelings. The East-West Schism (1054) had definitively divided European Christianity into two opposite parts. Since that time, any idea of reconciliation became impossible and unacceptable. One century later, Catholic pressure against the Orthodox territories became even stronger: the Siege of Constantinople (1204) and the Teutonic invasion of Novgorod (1242) showed the real face of the Vatican’s imperialism that aimed to convert the Eastern peoples to the Latin Rite.

In Nazi Germany, this old religious hatred inherited from the Holy Roman Empire met the nineteenth-century racial chauvinist conception which accords that Slavic peoples are ethnically inferior to Western Europeans. Of course, this is historically false because

  • Slavs fully belong to the Indo-European ethno-linguistic family, just as Germans do
  • The first Russian form of civilization (Kievan Rus’) was born due out of the fusion of some Scandinavian Normans (Varyags) and indigenous Slavic tribes, which henceforth began the Rurik Dynasty
  • The German-led Central Powers – Prussia and Austria –reached their highest prestige after they had absorbed Slavic peoples such as the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Kashubians, Slovenians, and Croatians.

Nevertheless, European fascist imperialism needed a geopolitical conception to justify its mission in the East, and the Vatican played a central role in this operation.

On July 12th, 1941, German Foreign Affairs Minister von Ribbentrop wrote a secret document entitled Report on Pope Activities. This report contains a dispute between a US representative in the Vatican, Mr. Harold Tittman, and Eugenio Pacelli, namely Pope Pius XII. Pacelli said: «The US should understand the Vatican’s opinion. A Russian-German war is going to begin. The Vatican do everything possible to accelerate this military escalation and to persuade Hitler to go on, with the promise of moral support. Germany should defeat Russia, but in the end, it will be so weakened that the US and UK could approach Germany in a totally different way»7.

So the Catholic Church sustained Nazi Germany with a dual aim: on one side, the Pope hoped Bolshevism was annihilated, while on the other, he believed that the war could weaken the Third Reich so much as to force Germany into a compromise with the Western powers. Another German secret document, sent by diplomat von Bargen on February 23rd, 1943 (three weeks after the end of the Battle of Stalingrad), reported that «the Pope was disappointed by the Russian military achievements and the possible German collapse which would pave the way to Bolshevism in Europe»8. During World War II, the Vatican saw Bolshevism as the worst danger and Russia as its first target. The Vatican strategy in the Balkans has shown the most terrible and aggressive face of the Catholics, going beyond every possible comprehension. After having seen the Croatian leader Pavelic’s military crimes against Serbs, even some Nazi and Fascist generals were shocked by the horrors and violence committed by Ustasha extremists9, while Catholic priests «were proud to have been part of this fight for the purity of Croatian land»10. Pius XII had no hesitations to support Ante Pavelic’s regime and Cardinal Stepinac’s archbishopric. At the same time, he showed the same moral brutality and intransigence against a country as far away as Russia. Why? Because:

  • Catholics believed that Marxism-Leninism would promote atheism and anti-religious propaganda all over Europe, destroying Vatican power and its moral and political influence in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
  • Stalin was determined to make the USSR a superpower as the only way to impose its role as the motherland of world Socialism, according to the trends that emerged in the Third International and the publication of his “Socialism in One Country” doctrine
  • The October Revolution and the subsequent radical regime change had given Vatican the unique chance to exploit a situation of spiritual and traditional “emptiness” to attempt a cultural penetration in Russia through the promotion of Uniatism, an aim since 1929 when Pope Pius XI founded Collegium Russicum11.

Russia was historically the “forbidden land” which Western Christian armies, both Catholic and Protestant, have never been able to conquer and defeat. Since the reformation of Moscow as a new Constantinople, established by Ivan the Third in 1453, the Latin Church was often worried by the expansion of the Russian Empire. After the agreements between Stalin and Orthodox metropolitans in September 1943, the Kremlin decision was not something simply tactic, but a clear political choice to consider Soviet power as an expression of the Russian-Slavic form of civilization. In a note published on September 8th, 1943, Stalin wrote: «Since the most ancient times, the Russian people were pervaded by religious sentiment. After the beginning of military operations against Germany, the Church has shown itself in its best light […] Our Party cannot deprive people of its churches and freedom of worship anymore»12.

The personal story of Pius XII still divides Italian public opinion. A large part of leftist politicians have always considered this Pope as a partner of Nazi Germany, a guilty party to the Jewish genocide. Nevertheless, Western concept of the Holocaust forgets to mention that more than 30 million Slavs of different nationalities lost their lives during World War II, approximately about 42.36% of world victims. All of this shows that Alfred Rosenberg’s Nazi racial theory and Catholic anti-orthodox religious prejudice were probably even much more significant than anti-communism and anti-semitism. Christian-Democracy and other small rightist parties such as the Liberal Party, Republican Party and the populist Common Man’s Front used their propaganda to describe communists as “servants of a stranger power” through impressive posters representing Soviet soldiers as evil monsters and Italian communists as dangerous enemies of freedom and independence.

Catholics were able to exploit their dominant position in society to shape a new form of nationalism very different from the old Fascist fanatic version, but equally imbued with the strong anticommunist ideological component that US overall strategy needed. This soft nationalism was built on a liberal, conservative, and essentially, Western idea of society inspired by the US Fordist capitalist model partially mitigated by the rehabilitation of Catholic social doctrine13. Christian-Democratic leaders present their Party as a defender of private property, a warrantor of freedom of economic initiative, and the only possible builder of social prosperity. In truth, this party was also significantly linked to the State-owned strategic industrial sector inherited from the Fascist era, and it was often compromised of Mafia crime families from the South. The contradictions were obvious since they tried to recreate the North American model in a country like Italy, which had a social and economic history totally different from that of the US.

«SILENDO LIBERTATEM SERVO», THE AMERICAN GLADIATORS

Such an Italian version of Abundance Society ideology contributed in sending the Italian people a message of confidence from the West and to underline the artificial international brand of the US Army as the “Army of Freedom”. During the afternoon of March 17th, 1949, the US government officially released the whole text of the North Atlantic Treaty: in particular, its Article 514 ensured European allied governments about the peaceful and cooperative intentions of Washington. According to this interpretation, North Atlantic internationalism was aimed at peace, freedom, and cooperation among the different forms of democratic nationalism. This propaganda was clearly created not just to persuade public opinion in general, but also to attract and involve some military sectors still ideologically linked to reactionary nationalism that emerged inside the old Fascist far-right environments.

This was the background scenario from which NATO created the so-called “Stay Behind” operation. Stay Behind was an undercover intelligence web composed of professional soldiers and civilians under the command of NATO’s SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe) in Western Europe. These secret forces were aimed to prevent a Soviet invasion and organize guerrilla warfare against the Red Army before US intervention in the case of invasion. Nevertheless, such official tasks were arbitrarily defined so that they also included sabotage and intimidation activities against communists and pro-Soviet socialists. The year when Stay Behind was officially activated in Italy with the code name “Gladio” is considered to be 1964. However, after several years of investigations conducted by Italian judge Felice Casson in the 80s and the publication of the report released by former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti in early 1991, it is possible to assert reliable conclusions.

  • A relevant Atlanticist network had already been created by US intelligence during the Second World War. In Northern Italy, several leaders of the anti-fascist partisan brigades, as were the “red” Giuseppe Gozzer (Garibaldi Brigades) and the “white” Giuliano Dell’Antonio (Osoppo Brigades), were linked to the American OSS (Office of Strategic Service) and British SOE (Special Operations Executive). This military cooperation was aimed at the creation of an efficient structure able to act behind enemy lines and represented the tactical-operative background on which Gladio was built. The presence of former “white” partisan Giuliano Dell’Antonio inside the Gladio members list published by Andreotti in 199115 is a clear demonstration.
  • According to the parliamentary official report about Gladio, released by Italian PM Giulio Andreotti on December 24th 1990 and sent to the Head of State on February 26th 1991, «on November 26th, 1956 Italian Special Forces (SIFAR) and the CIA made an agreement for cooperation concerning the organization and activities of the post-occupation undercover structure usually called “Stay-Behind”, which established the creation of resistance networks ready to operate, in case of enemy invasion of the territory, in the following fields: information gathering, sabotage, guerrilla warfare, propaganda, and exfiltration»16.
  • Italian Special Forces (SIFAR) and the SHAPE signed a cooperation agreement in June of 195917.

Until the end of 1990, the Italian people had never heard about Stay Behind or Gladio, and the military structure had remained absolutely undercover for almost 40 years. Nevertheless, the first suspicions started to emerge in 1972 after a terrorist attack against three Italian policemen. In the evening of May 31th, 1972, a local police station in Carabinieri received an anonymous phone call which reported the presence of a suspicious car in the little town of Peteano di Sagrado, near Gorizia, in Friuli Venezia-Giulia Region. Five police officers went to inspect that little car, but when one of them opened the trunk, a huge explosion killed three of them and seriously injured the other two.

Three years before, Italy has been already shocked by a terrorist attack in Piazza Fontana, in the heart of Milan. It was the first one in a long and dramatic series of political terrorist acts continued until the early 80s. The massacre of Peteano still remains one of the most horrible moments during that black decade but, in a certain sense, it was also extremely important to generating suspicions about the existence of a parallel secret army inside the actual army. At the beginning of the inquiry, investigators believed that the responsibility lay with Lotta Continua, a far-left organization, but shortly afterwards, this interpretation had lost its consistency. Many elements came together to place create the suspicion that far-rightist activists could be behind the Peteano attack, but investigators preferred to follow the hypothesis of local criminal organizations being he culprits. After twelve years of mistakes (and probably having been deliberately thrown off track), in 1984, far-right terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra, member of the neo-fascist illegal organization Ordine Nuovo and imprisoned since 1979 for another terrorist episode, decided to spontaneously confess his responsibility to the Peteano massacre. In front of the judges, Vinciguerra said: «I take full, complete, and total responsibility for have planned, organized and materially executed the attack in Peteano, which is included inside a plan for carrying out the strategy followed at that time by political forces that I considered as revolutionary, so called rightists, while instead they were just following a strategy led by national and international lobbies placed in the heads of the state […] The political aim of these attacks is very clear: to generate a popular angry reaction through serious provocations and to use this reaction to promote a new repression. The final highest aim was to establish special laws or even a state of emergency. In this way, it would have been possible to realize a fortification of political power that feared the loss of its dominion at every moment»18.

Vinciguerra was condemned with his former partner Carlo Cicuttini, while the third man, Ivan Boccaccio, was already dead after a gunfight against police in October 1972, some months after the Peteano attack. Vinciguerra had never asked for a sentence reduction or for privileges in exchange for his confessions, he just wanted to show his sincere will to let the historic truth emerge. In an interview for the British newspaper The Guardian in 1990, Vinciguerra said: «The terrorist line was followed by camouflaged people, people belonging to the security apparatus or those linked to the state apparatus through rapport or collaboration. I say that every single outrage that followed from 1969 fitted into a single, organized matrix… Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo (the main right-wing terrorist group active during the 1970s), were being mobilized into the battle as part of an anti-communist strategy originating not with organizations deviant from the institutions of power, but from within the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state’s relations within the Atlantic Alliance»19. More specifically, Vinciguerra explained: «With the massacre of Peteano, and with all those that have followed, the knowledge should by now be clear that there existed a real live structure, occult and hidden, with the capacity of giving a strategic direction to the outrages…[it] lies within the state itself…There exists in Italy a secret force parallel to the armed forces, composed of civilians and military men, in an anti-Soviet capacity that is, to organize a resistance on Italian soil against a Russian army… A secret organization, a super-organization with a network of communications, arms, and explosives, and men trained to use them… A super-organization which, lacking a Soviet military invasion which might not happen, took up the task, on NATO’s behalf, of preventing a slip to the left in the political balance of the country. This they did, with the assistance of the official secret services and the political and military forces»20.

These shocking confessions opened a new era in Italian history and significantly contributed to piercing the veil of secrecy placed over decades of terrorist attacks that often remained unpunished. The Gladio-terrorism connection was de-facto denied by the judges of the Rome Prosecutor’s Office in 2001 when they decided to absolve Admiral Fulvio Martini, former director of Italian military secret service (SISMI), General Paolo Inzerilli, former Chief of Staff, and Giovanni Invernizzi, former director of 7th SISMI division, previously accused to have lied about the possible links between Italian Stay-Behind and political crime organizations. However, this sentence just establishes that the three accused officials had said the truth about what they did know, not in general, and doesn’t clarify three main issues.

  • The history of the far-right movement Ordine Nuovo starts in 1956 when it was founded as a cultural association by Pino Rauti. In 1969, Rauti decided to come back to the neo-fascist official party Italian Social Movement (MSI), but some of his comrades didn’t agree with his choice, having considered MSI to be a corrupted and bourgeois party which had betrayed the so called “Third Position”. After this division, Ordine Nuovo officially became a militant group dangerously contiguous to political terrorism. Vincenzo Vinciguerra was the leader of Ordine Nuovo in Friuli Venezia-Giulia since 1969. During the Cold War, NATO’s SHAPE generals considered this region very important from the strategic point of view because it bordered Austria and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Even if Tito had broken his ties with USSR in 1948 and Yugoslavia became part of the non-aligned countries, the Italian Northeastern border was anyway considered “the front line”: first of all, Austria was neutral and directly bordered the Warsaw Pact countries; second, ethnic clashes with Yugoslavian partisans during the Second World War had generated a deep anti-communist sentiment among the local community which was able to unite soldiers and civilians, former fascists and liberals, nationalists and Catholics; third, Yugoslavia, after all, was officially a communist country.
  • According to the official Gladio members list published by Andreotti in 1991, SHAPE had disseminated 251 agents in Friuli Venezia-Giulia Region, the highest number among all the Italian regions (98 in Lombardy, 25 in Lazio, 51 in Veneto, 45 in Piedmont, 50 in Sardinia and so on…). Vinciguerra and his comrades had the very concrete possibility to keep in touch with one or more of them.
  • According to Andreotti’s report, since 1956, US intelligence started to send CAG (Centro Addestramento Guastatori) operative materials «destined to be the first equipment stocks for nucleuses and first-use unities, and to be hidden, since peacetime, in special interred hideaways in various areas of possible operations»21. These weapons dumps were called Nasco, and Andreotti so wrote: «Nascos were placed in the following way: 100 in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, 7 in Veneto, 5 in Trentino-Alto Adige, 11 in Lombardy, 7 in Piedmont, 4 in Liguria, 2 in Emilia-Romagna, 1 in Campania and 2 in Apulia […] Material kept inside Nascos was composed of weapons, munitions, explosives, grenades, daggers, knifes, snipers, radio transmitters, binoculars, and various utilities»22. Judge Felice Casson demonstrated that the explosive materials used in the Peteano massacre was C4, a kind of explosive owned solely by NATO at that time. In Friuli Venezia-Giulia, there was a huge availability of weapons and explosives, but in places known only to Gladio.

CONCLUSIONS

After the end of the Cold War, Italy remained a “special observed” nation. The US promise about a possible Finlandization of Europe was denied and even humiliated by the huge increasing of their military expenditures and strategic investment in Europe. The last twenty years have shown the European people that the reunification of Germany was an annexation of the eastern part of the country by NATO. In the same way, all the other former allies of Moscow in the Warsaw Pact were incorporated by Washington and Brussels inside the Atlantic Alliance one by one: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland in 1999; Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia in 2004; and Albania and Croatia in 2009. Moreover, the three newly independent Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, with their NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCD-COE), represent a permanent menace to the Russian Federation. As the Syrian crisis has demonstrated, the European Union does not have common foreign and strategic policies. Every country follows its own trend, but the union as a whole is alone in its choice, and therefore, it is much too weak to express a dominant position in th European region.

After 1991, the Italian political and economic structure has significantly changed. Liberalizations of important public sectors and new free-market parameters were introduced, and the old welfare and social security system was progressively reduced until the recent crisis that started in 2009, which, in the name of a rigid austerity, is devastating the social and economic conditions of workers, merchants, and small-medium sized enterprises. Nevertheless, governments never reduced military expenditures for international missions abroad and never put in discussion the Italian role inside of NATO. The recent “Datagate” scandal is slowly changing the perception of US policy in Italian public opinion, but without a serious change in the political leading class, there will be no space for a serious debate about the future of Italy and its prospects for a strategic independence.

Notes

  1. Italian constitutional referendum took place on June 2nd 1946 and consisted of a direct electoral choice by universal suffrage: monarchy or republic. Republicanism won with 12,718,641 votes (54.3 per cent) while monarchism obtain just 10,718,502 votes (45.7 per cent). The geographical distribution of preferences remarked the rigid political difference from North, where republicanism was clearly dominant, to South, where monarchism obtained the majority of preferences almost everywhere.
  2. «[…] We should organize and prepare dissident elements to use them as fighters in the active resistance: a) we should establish links with indipendentist militants, with tired workers, with illegal radical groups (for example, mafia) with the aim to give them all necessary support and assistance […]», Special military plan for psychological warfare in Sicily, Tna/Pro – Wo 204/3701, Department of War, Washington DC, April 9th 1943.

«[…] But before “Husky Operation” there was a secret prologue, which Michele Pantaleone da Villalba, a historian of mafia, wrote several times about in the past. He had gathered irrefutable witnesses and documents, confirmed by Italian Anti-Mafia Parliamentary Commission on February 4th 1976. In fact this Commission ascertained that a relevant number of US Army emissaries were preemptively sent to Sicily to “psychologically prepare” the island for the landing and to get in touch with members of “Cosa Nostra”. At the same time Kefauver Commission ascertained that lawyer Moses Polakoff, defense attorney of American boss Mayer Lansky, got in touch not just with the latter but even with Sicilian boss Lucky Luciano who was in prison at that time. Luciano has given detailed informations about his native region, Sicily, and put in touch US General Command with the mastermind of Sicilian mafia Don Calogero Vizzini da Villalba, as Michele Pantaleone had  already demonstrated […]», R. Lo Cicero, Quando la mafia aurotizzò lo Sbarco in Sicilia degli alleati, Monreale Press, July 10th 2013.

  1. L. Annunziata, La CIA voleva “truccare” le elezioni del 1948, Corriere della Sera, October 25th 1993.
  2. A. Bolzoni, Pallante, l’uomo che vuol farsi dimenticare, La Repubblica, July 14th 1998.
  3. G. Parlato, La Sinistra Fascista. Storia di un Progetto Mancato, Ed. Il Mulino, Bologna, 2000, pp. 332-341.
  4. Leonardo.it, Cronologia, Italia – Anno 1949.
  5. G. Casarrubea – M.J. Cereghino, Pio XII: Sotto il cielo (nero) di Roma, October 31st 2010, http://casarrubea.wordpress.com.
  6. Ibidem.
  7. 9.      Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, Europa, 1995, p. 91.
  8. 10.   The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1986,  Macropedia, Vol. 27, p. 467.
  9.  The Collegium Russicum (Pontificium Collegium Russicum Sanctae Theresiae A Iesu Infante) is a Catholic college founded in Rome in 1929 dealing with studies of Russian culture and spirituality, which promotes unification of Eastern Orthodox Churches under Roman Catholic Church guide.
  10.  A. Roccucci, Stalin e il patriarca. La Chiesa ortodossa e il potere sovietico, Einaudi, Turin, 2011, pp.
  11.  Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, Compendio della Dottrina Sociale della Chiesa, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, State of the Vatican, 2009.
  12.  «The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security», North Atlantic Treaty, Article 5, Washington DC, April 4th 1949.
  13.  On. G. Andreotti, Relazione sulla vicenda «Gladio», Official Parliamentary Acts, Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Italy, Doc. XXVII no. 6, Rome, February 26th 1991, p. 52.
  14.  Ibidem, p. 12.
  15.  Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Italy, Le “forze speciali” del SIFAR e l’Operazione Gladio (declassified document), Information Service of Armed Forces, General Staff of Defense, Rome, June 1st 1959.
  16.  A. Frigerio, La Strage di Peteano, un giallo con trama di matrice nera e…, http://www.storiain.net.
  17.  Ed Vuillamy, Secret agents, freemasons, fascists . . . and a top-level campaign of political ‘destabilisation’, The Guardian, December 5th 1990.
  18.  Ibidem.
  19.  On. G. Andreotti, Relazione sulla vicenda «Gladio», Official Parliamentary Acts, Chamber of Deputies of the Republic of Italy, Doc. XXVII no. 6, Rome, February 26th 1991, p. 22.

 Ibidem, p. 23.

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