Operation Gladio – part 2: Cold War Italy, blueprint for a true shadow government

This article is part of a series called ‘Operation Gladio, an inquest into the world’s largest terrorist network’, which exposes the role of NATO and Western intelligence agencies in terrorism, assassinations, coup d’états, the international drug trade, psychological warfare and the creation of enemies to legitimise their war on humanity, both at home and abroad. This series documents the emergence and development of Operation Gladio in post-WOII Europe but also uncovers its rebirth and globalisation after the Cold War in which the network aligned itself with Salafi-jihadism – rather than the extreme right – to further NATO’s geopolitical agenda for global hegemony.

To access part 1, click here.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of the country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”[1]

Edward Bernays, founding father of modern propaganda, in 1928

The debts of Gladio’s power is best documented in the case of Cold War Italy. In this second part of the series, we will lay bare Italy’s shadow government, which was composed of a very powerful freemasonic lodge next to the omnipresent secret services linked to Operation Gladio and puppeteered by the CIA and NATO. Additionally, we will see how the Italian deep state aligned itself with neo-fascist groups and resorted to psychological warfare, coup d’état attempts and the elimination of Prime Minister Aldo Moro in its covert war against communism, which was exceptionally popular in the south European country. In part 3, finally, we will document how a “strategy of tension” involving numerous acts of false flag terrorism kept the artificial right-wing status quo regime in power.

Propaganda Due, Italy’s shadow government

In April 1981, Italian police raided the home of businessman Licio Gelli and stumbled upon a membership list of a secret freemasonic lodge called Propaganda Due (P2) which Gelli headed. The list read like a virtual who’s who of the pro-Atlantic Italian power structure. According to a parliamentary investigation, which estimated total membership at 2.500 but had in its possession less than 1.000 names, the secret society included 52 high-ranking officers of the Carabinieri paramilitary police, 50 high-ranking officers of the Italian army, 29 high-ranking officers of the Italian navy, 11 presidents of the police, 70 influential wealthy industrialists, 10 presidents of banks, 3 acting ministers, 2 former ministers, one president of a political party, 38 members of parliament and 14 high-ranking judges. Others were mayors, hospital directors, lawyers, notaries and media people, most notably among the latter future Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.[2] The same parliamentary investigation considered the P2 a subversive conspiracy, concluding that it was an association of “mutual help,” in which every member swore to “help, comfort and defend” his “brothers even at the cost of his life” by trying to promote each other to positions of power in Italian society. Astonishingly, P2 membership included all the leaders of the Armed Forces and all three secret services, as well as chiefs of several police branches – i.e. exactly where the heart of Gladio is to be found.[3] And indeed, this fact led the Guardian to conclude in a 1990 article that “links between Gladio, Italian secret service bosses and the notorious P2 masonic lodge are manifold.”[4]

The raid took place in the context of a criminal investigation into a series of bombings (see part 3), in which the investigators were drawn to Gelli’s residence as the common house of all cover-ups surrounding these terrorist attacks, from the 1969 Piazza Fontana and 1974 Brescia and Italicus train bombings to the Bologna train station massacre that had only happened the year before the break-in.[5] Being expelled from school at the age of 13, Gelli had joined the fascist paramilitary Black Shirts and went to fight as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War on Franco’s side in the 1930s. During the Second World War, he collaborated with the Nazis, was appointed a sergeant major in the SS and only narrowly escaped the Italian left-wing partisans at the end of the war by fleeing to the US army. Thereafter, Frank Gigliotti of the American masonic lodge, who was also a CIA agent, personally recruited Gelli according to an internal anti-terrorism report of the Italian government, instructing him to set up an anti-communist parallel government in his native country in close cooperation with the CIA station in Rome. Moreover, the report found that Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig, respectively Nixon’s national security advisor and military advisor, “authorised Gelli in the fall of 1969 to recruit 400 high-ranking Italian and NATO officers into his lodge,” thereby strengthening P2’s transnational ties.[6]

The P2 parliamentary commission acknowledged that Gelli stood on top of the P2 pyramid but maintained that he received his orders through an equally esoteric, inverted pyramid structure. The commission failed to identify the primary actors of this inverted pyramid other than “the relationship linking Licio Gelli to the secret services,” to which Gelli “belonged.” According to Antonio Bellocchio, a communist politician who was one of the report’s commissioners, however, the commission had “identified, above all, the American secret services as the occupants of the upper pyramid.” It did not dare to say this publicly, however, because “if the majority of the commission had been prepared to follow us in this analysis they would have had to admit that they are puppets of the United States of America.”[7] The financial role of the Americans, on the other hand, has not been made clear by official sources. Former CIA contractor Richard Brenneke, who described the P2 lodge as “a parallel NATO structure,” however, provided documents to Italian journalists in mid-1990 purporting to show CIA payments to P2 amounting to $1 to $10 million per month or more.[8] Additionally, Italian President Francesco Cossiga declared in an interview that the “role of the CIA was to fund anti-communist neo-fascist groups.”[9] The agency itself has remained silent on the issue and bluntly turned down freedom of information requests inquiring for documents about Gelli and his masonic lodge, which of course only further reinforces claims that there were indeed secret relations between the CIA and P2.[10]

Perhaps the secret society’s power in Cold War Italy is best explained by Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a right-wing terrorist convicted of carrying out the 1972 Peteano bombing that killed three Carabinieri officers, but who initially escaped justice because the Italian deep state covered it up and allowed him to escape (see part 3). In a 1992 BBC documentary directed by Allan Francovich, he summarised that:

“The P2 lodge was not a centre of hidden power. It was a centre of real power; hidden from the public, but not the state. It has played a very precise role in this battle against communism, and I consider the P2 to be one of those parallel structures which were part of Gladio. It did not have a military role but rather a role in internal subversion.”[11]

If the occult pro-American P2 lodge was the political wing of Italy’s parallel government, Gladio, and to a wider extant CIA activity in Italy, constituted its more active military wing.

The CIA, Gladio and psychological warfare

During the Second World War, Office of Secret Services (OSS, predecessor of the CIA) officer James Jesus Angleton recruited a “Mafia circle” that was to help with the Allied landing in Sicily. In return for his release from prison, Charles “Lucky” Luciano, an Italian mobster who is considered the father of modern organised crime in the US, made sure the Mafia provided clandestine help when the Allies landed in Sicily in July 1943. After the island had been conquered, the previously weakened Mafia took over most of Sicily’s administrative, police and military power, setting the stage for its resurgence for decades to come.[12] In addition to the Mafiosi, Angleton also recruited yet another infamous Nazi collaborator to be employed in NATO’s secret war against the left after the Allies had liberated Italy following a bloody three-year-long battle. As the last fighting came to an end in April 1945, Angleton was instructed by his superiors to rescue Prince Valerio Borghese, the commander of the Italian navy under Mussolini who headed the murderous Decima MAS special forces officially recognised by the Nazi High Command and responsible for killing hundreds of Italian communists. After the September 1943 armistice, Borghese had joined the Nazi puppet regime in the north and kept fighting until the end. Then, on 29 April 1945, the very day that the German army officially surrendered in Italy, Angleton dressed Borghese up in American uniform and escorted him from his hiding place in Milan to Rome. There, he was at last resort only convicted for collaboration with the Nazis, not for war crimes, thanks to his American protection.[13] In 1970, Borghese played a central role in a CIA-backed coup attempt that was aborted only at the last minute (see below).

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In the same spirit, left-wing partisan elements of the resistance were quickly purged from the police and government and were often criminalised, all the while a High Commission for Sanctions against Fascism failed to root out fascists from power. Thus, beneath the surface of change from the 1943 armistice onwards there was an underlying institutional continuity which would remain in check during the entire post-war democratisation process.[14] Because the Anglo-American establishment feared that Italy could constitute a crucial domino in the Cold War paradigm if it would fall to the Soviet Union, the CIA launched secret campaigns to undermine socialists and communists in every new election cycle of the early Cold War. In 1948, Italy fell victim to the CIA’s very first undeclared war since the agency’s inception the previous year. By delivering “bags of money” to the country’s Christian Democratic Party (DCI) and smearing the PCI candidates of the largest communist party in Western Europe as well as its socialist allies in the Popular Front through a range of dirty tricks, the CIA secured the DCI’s victory. According to former CIA chief-of-station in Rome Jack Devine, this clandestine help was essential because “without the CIA, the Communist Party […] would surely have won the elections of 1948.”[15] It was during this successful undertaking that the alliance between the CIA, the Vatican and the Mafia definitely took shape, as their shared distaste of communism and embracement of violent means had automatically drawn the three closer to one another.[16]

After the old fascist bureaucracy was saved and integrated into the conservative government, Italy joined NATO as a founding member in 1949. Around the same time, the government with close cooperation of the CIA created the military secret service SIFAR, and under its command, Gladio was established. [17] It was clear from the beginning, however, that the Americans had the upper hand, and that SIFAR, or Gladio for that matter, was not a sovereign arm of the Italian government. In fact, former Defence Minister during the late 1950s and Gladio co-founder Paulo Taviani testified during the 1990 Gladio investigation that the Italian secret services were bossed and financed by “the boys in Via Veneto” – i.e. the CIA agents in the US embassy in Rome.[18]

In Italy, perhaps as opposed to countries in which the red scare was less vividly anticipated, Gladio’s role at internal subversion soon took the upper hand over its role as a clandestine post-occupation resistance movement. “I realised that the CIA interests, as represented by these officials [that I met at the Gladio training base in Sardinia], were not really concerned with the level we had reached in training,” commander of the Italian Gladio in the early 1970s General Gerardo Serravalle related in a BBC documentary, “but rather on the subject of internal control – that is, our level of readiness to counter street disturbances, handling nationwide strikes, and any eventual rise of the Communist Party.” When Serravalle tried to convince the Americans of Gladio’s preparedness at a Soviet invasion in its stay behind capacity, the US officials told him that “the financial support of the CIA was wholly dependent on our willingness to put into action, to program and plan [these above-mentioned] internal measures.”[19] As archival research has established that the Carabinieri were already in the second half of 1946 involved in propping up right-wing underground organisations with the aim of defending Italy against a possible communist insurrection,[20] Gladio, P2 and other elements of the Italian deep state, such as the Mafia, were clearly ready to contribute in the CIA’s secret war.

This secret war was spelled out in a 1952 top-secret directive of the Truman administration’s Psychological Strategy Board called “Operation Demagnetize,” which sought to weaken what the Americans perceived as the Soviet Union’s fifth columns in France and Italy. With the aim of reducing “the strength of the Communist Party,” its “influence in the Italian Government” and “its appeal to the Italian people,” joint Italian-American covert operations were to discredit communist resistance efforts in the Second World War, concoct scandals concerning communist leaders and destroy the respectability of the PCI.[21] Despite this clandestine psychological warfare, the US-sponsored DCI lost 43 seats in parliament in the elections of 1953, with the leftist coalition coming in only closely behind. This trend of growing support for the left continued throughout the 1950s and culminated in the CIA’s worst nightmare when the PCI and its socialist allies of the PSI jointly defeated the DCI in the parliamentary elections of April 1963, after which Prime Minister Aldo Moro of the DCI’s left-wing had no other choice than to compromise and give cabinet posts to socialists. Three months later, US President John F. Kennedy visited Rome and seemed to welcome Italy’s shift to the left, even inviting PSI head Pietro Nenni to the White House. In November of that year, however, Kennedy was assassinated, which was immediately followed by an intensification of the secret war.

The coup strategy

Italy’s shadowy parallel power structure deeply resented Prime Minister Aldo Moro for his new policy of integrating leftists into the governing coalition. Along with help from an alarmed CIA and its Gladio army, it therefore escalated the secret war, first by planning multiple coups designed to swing the government back to the pro-American right, and second by orchestrating Aldo Moro’s assassination.

As revealed by declassified documents published in Italian newspapers after Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti had released top secret documents to the parliamentary investigation into Gladio in 1991, General Giovanni de Lorenzo started in the beginning of 1964 to prepare for a coup that he called “Piano Solo” – or “Plan Alone,” referring to his conviction that he could carry out such an operation successfully without the need for outside forces.[22] Indeed, de Lorenzo, a fierce anti-communist, was at the heart of the Italian deep state. Thanks to pressure from the CIA, he was put at the head of SIFAR and its Gladio secret army in 1955 and in 1962 came to direct the Carabinieri paramilitary police.[23] In his position of authority, he had overseen the compilation of a list of 157.000 influential individuals in Italy’s power structure to be used in blackmail operations, which he later admitted to a parliamentary investigation when the scandal broke he was told to do so by the US and NATO.[24] Despite being ordered to destroy the files, he handed a copy to his successor of the SID (formerly SIFAR) General Giovanni Allavena, who in his turn in 1967 gave one to Gelli, the P2 masonic puppet master.[25] With the Americans informed of the coup in advance and in collaboration with Italian President Antonio Segni, CIA secret warfare expert Vernon Walters, CIA station chief in Rome William King Harvey and Gladio director Colonel Renzo Rocca, 20.000 Carabinieri policemen were to be deployed at strategic sites across the country and to occupy governmental buildings and the most important leftist offices and newspapers, while 731 politicians were to be rounded up and incarcerated in Gladio’s military base in Sardinia.[26] In the end, however, de Lorenzo and a couple of troops only had to briefly enter Rome in June 1964 to intimidate Moro into kicking prominent socialists from their ministerial posts and replacing them with more moderate politicians of the left.

Communist demonstration in Florence Getty
Communist demonstration in Florence © Getty Images

During the administration of Lyndon Johnson, the pro-Atlantic right wing of the DCI remained firmly in control of the Italian government, albeit artificially, because the combined votes of the socialists and communists again overtook the Washington-backed DCI in the elections of 1968. By the time Nixon ascended into the White House in 1969, the anti-Vietnam War movement was in full gear and Western-backed right-wing coup d’états had become standard practice in Washington’s attempts to keep anti-imperialists from power from Guatemala and Chili to Greece, Iran and Indonesia. In the logic of the Cold War, a coming to power of a pro-Soviet government in one of the major Western European countries simply was not an option. On the night of 7 December 1970, therefore, Valerio Borghese, the Nazi war criminal and neo-fascist who was saved from prosecution in 1945 by OSS agent James Jesus Angleton, occupied the Interior Ministry with a platoon of militias. Just like the Piano Solo coup six years earlier, the plan was to occupy strategic governmental and press offices and to arrest trade unionists, politicians and military leaders in order to install a dictatorship, such as existed in Italy’s neighbouring countries Spain and Greece, and until 1968 in Portugal.[27] Curiously, Angleton, now a decorated CIA agent, arrived secretly shortly before the putsch and left immediately after it, according to the Italian newspaper L’Espresso.[28] The envisaged coup, code-named “Tora Tora” after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour exactly 29 years earlier, was called off at the very last moment at 1.00 am, however, because Borghese had received a mysterious phone call in which he was ordered to abort the mission. Borghese then fled to Franco’s Spain, where he died four years later.[29] In a remarkable show of injustice, all arrested and charged conspirators were eventually acquitted.

Coordination by the CIA and NATO and involvement of Gladio was unmasked during subsequent trials and revelations. In 1974, SID chief Vito Miceli was arrested as a central figure in the putsch in a remarkable similarity to the Piano Solo coup attempt, which, too, was directed by the then head of the military secret service agency (initially named SIFAR but rebranded SID after the Piano Solo scandal). On trial, Miceli, who was also a member of P2, admitted the existence of a “Super SID on my orders” inside the Italian intelligence bureaucracy that had “nothing to do with intelligence gathering” sixteen years before Andreotti blew the whistle on Gladio. “I did not organise the coup d’état myself,” he went on to say, “it was the United States and NATO who asked me to do it.” Members of the Italian Mafia also testified in 1984 that they were recruited by the CIA to support the putschists. Moreover, they disclosed that the Soviets had discovered the coup attempt and had sent battle ships to the Mediterranean where NATO warships were also present, after which the mysterious call to Borghese was presumably made.[30] In addition, FOIA requests made by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in 2004 revealed that Nixon was updated during the preparations of the coup by two CIA officers, and that the military attaché at the US embassy in Rome was tightly connected to the coup organisers.[31]

A month after Nixon and Kissinger engineered the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chili and the installation of Augusto Pinochet, another coup attempt, dubbed Rosa dei Venti or “Compass Rose,” was discovered in October 1973.[32] Roberto Cavallaro, a right-wing trade unionists who came into contact with high-level officials of the secret services during the preparations for the coup, told L’Europeo magazine in retrospect that “Italians don’t know that one fine morning they could have woken up with a coup already enacted,” because “everything had been planned a long time in advance.” Moreover, Cavallaro also alluded to US and NATO involvement, as the conspirators “had the agreement of NATO headquarters” and as “operational meetings were held with American officers” in anticipation of the coup.[33] After the exposure of Operation Gladio in 1990, he postulated that the secret structure, which he dubbed “Organisation X,” involved elements of both foreign and domestic secret services, and that it was practically “the same thing” as Gladio.[34]

A fourth aborted putsch, called “White Coup,” which was planned to be executed in August 1974, was unmasked as well. Its leader was Count Edgardo Sogno, a wartime resistance hero and diplomat who had worked for NATO and had lived in the US. According to his own account, he informed the CIA station chief in Rome during the preparations of the plot. The coup was nevertheless thwarted by then Defence Minister Giulio Andreotti, who replaced a dozen military officers and strengthened security around the presidential palace in order to prevent the coup from taking place. [35] The fact that so many of the conspirators of all four coups were members of the P2 masonic lodge, the secret services and/or Gladio’s secret army – each closely associated with the American deep state, led Italian prosecutor Franco Quadrini to conclude that the four coup attempts were “in reality a single one” designed to undermine Italy’s supposed democratic First Republic.[36] As we will see in the next part of this series, this period of political turmoil was accompanied by a range of false flag terrorist attacks orchestrated by Italy’s invisible government meant to legitimise a declaration of emergency and a suspension of democratic rule, which was seen as the only way to stop the rise of an ideology opposed to American hegemony in Europe.

Murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro

The dialectical strategy of false flag terrorism paving the way for a right-wing coup failed to root out the PCI’s popularity and Aldo Moro’s conciliatory policy towards the left. Shortly after Nixon was forced to resign due to the Watergate scandal and his Vice President Gerald Ford entered the White House in 1974, Moro flew to Washington to discuss the inclusion of the political left into the government. When he returned, he was sick for days and contemplated complete withdrawal from politics. His wife Eleonora later testified that an unnamed official, later identified as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, threatened Moro into abandoning any kind of dialogue, declaring that “either you stop your political line, or you will pay dearly.”[37] “Don’t you think I know,” he reportedly said after his visit, “that I can end up like Kennedy?”[38]

In 1967, Mino Pecorelli, a journalist with ties to Italian intelligence circles and a member of P2, had already exposed the existence of a plan to eliminate Moro’s bodyguards, kidnap Moro to a secret place, kill him and blame the assassination on left-wing elements. This exact scenario became reality in the spring of 1978. In the national elections of June 1976, the PCI secured over 34%, its highest result ever. Moro finally found the courage to ignore NATO’s Cold War line on 16 March 1978. He packed the documents of il compromesso storico – the “historical compromise” to include the Italian communists into the executive – and ordered his drivers to bring him to the Italian parliament where he would present his plan. En route, at a crossroads in the heart of Rome, however, a white Fiat blocked the path or Moro’s vehicle and his escort car, whereupon two men exited the white Fiat and started to open fire, along with a further four who had been waiting in the street, at Moro’s bodyguards, killing all. Then, they kidnapped Moro, held him hostage for 55 days and finally killed him and dumbed his body in an abandoned car.

The Red Brigades, a left-wing terrorist organisation, claimed the kidnapping and proposed to exchange Moro for imprisoned militants. On 9 May, as the regime was hopelessly divided between those who wanted to negotiate and those who demanded Moro’s release without conditions, the Red Brigades murdered Moro and the stalemate came to a tragic end. As case-closed as Moro’s killing may look at first hand, many, including Red Brigades founder Alberto Franceschini,[39] believed the organisation to be infiltrated by spies working for the Italian secret services, and that they, whether or not in conjunction with foreign intelligence agents, were the actual masterminds of carrying out the plot. Indeed, militants of the extreme left had only exchanged arson attacks and symbolic kidnappings for blind terror around 1974, when a successful Carabinieri infiltration campaign had led to the arrests or Franceschini and fellow Red Brigades founding father Renato Curcio. After their removal, Mario Moretti, the mastermind of the Moro kidnap, gained control of the movement. Witnesses described Moretti as quite anti-socialist up to a year before becoming full-time revolutionary, and he was connected to the shady Hyperion Language School in Paris, which was described in one Italian police report as “the most important office of the CIA in Europe.”[40] Moreover, two Hyperion founders, Corrado Simioni and Duccio Berio, had respectively worked for the CIA’s Radio Free Europe and had admitted to passing information about Italian leftists to the military secret service SID.[41]

Aldo Moro in captivity - PD
Aldo Moro in captivity © Public Domain

It is true that many Red Brigadists were as fervently opposed to il compromesso strorico as their ideological adversaries of Ordine Nuovo (see part 3) and the P2 lodge, but it was fairly obvious that the powerful actors we have identified as connected to the NATO establishment were the ones that gained the most out of Moro’s elimination.[42] This suspicion was only reinforced when the Senate commission investigating Gladio reopened the case and to its surprise found that all files related to Moro’s murder had mysteriously vanished from the archives of the Ministry of the Interior. The government investigators were clear in their conviction that the truth had been covered up, concluding that the Moro assassination was “a criminal project in which the Red Brigades most probably were instruments of a larger political framework.”[43]

And indeed, it has since surfaced that the two actors we have identified as the primary secret forces inside Italy’s invisible government – that is, Gladio and P2 – were part of this “larger political framework.” Colonel Camillo Guglielmi of the military secret service SISMI (again renamed in 1977, thus formerly SID and SIFAR before that), who was part of an inner circle connected to P2 and like most high officials in the intelligence bureaucracy was linked to Gladio, just happened to be at the crime scene at the exact moment of the shootout.[44] Second, immediately after Moro’s kidnapping, Police Minister and later President Francesco Cossiga formed two special committees to find and liberate Moro, both of which were almost exclusively headed by P2 members. Cossiga two times received indications concerning a flat in via Gradoli, where Mario Moretti lived. While the first time no action was taken, the second time Cossiga “mistakenly” sent hundreds of policemen, not to via Gradoli but to a village outside Rome likewise called Gradoli. This was obviously no mistake, because SISMI owned a few flats in via Gradoli, including in the same building as the suspicious flat, and thus Cossiga and his colleagues were clearly aware of the street’s existence. When police finally arrived at the right location, the terrorists had already left, and they indeed discovered that the flat was Moretti’s hideout.[45] Finally, Steve Pieczenik, an envoy of the US State Department to a third “expert” body dealing with the crisis, claimed in a 2008 book called We killed Aldo Moro that the committee was more preoccupied with avoiding any negotiations and making sure that Moro did not reveal any state secrets than actually liberating him, thus pushing the terrorists to their decision to kill Moro. According to Pieczenik, Moro was “sacrificed” by issuing a false statement attributed to the Red Brigades saying that Moro was dead a month before the actual murder as a sign to the hostage takers that the state would not negotiate and considered Moro already dead.[46] Moro understood this betrayal. In one of his letters addressed to Cossiga he had written in captivity, which were discovered in October 1990 in a former Red Brigades hideout flat, he bitterly observed that “I’ve been killed three times over […]: by inadequate protection, by your refusal to negotiate, and by weak statements that enraged my captors.”[47]


Aldo Moro was the only person who was able to keep the ruling DCI together in dialogue with the communist PCI. With Moro out of the way, a final period of political turmoil followed, intensified by violence from both right- and left-wing extremists. After a few very turbulent months and several failed coalition attempts, Cossiga became president by integrating socialists into his government, while the DCI formalised the end of Moro’s policy by voting a preamble to the party’s program declaring that Christian democracy excluded any possibility of future collaboration with the PCI. In other words, Henry Kissinger finally got what he had demanded from Moro in 1976.


[1] Edward Bernays, Propaganda (New York: Horace Liveright, 1928), 9, available at http://ia801204.us.archive.org/10/items/EdwardL.BernaysPropaganda/Edward%20L.%20Bernays%20-%20Propaganda.pdf.

[2] Daniele Ganser, NATO’s secret armies: Operation Gladio and terrorism in Western Europe (London/New York: Frank Cass, 2005), 74, available online at http://libcom.org/files/NATOs_secret_armies.pdf; “Italy in crisis as cabinet resigns,” BBC, 26.05.1981, http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/26/newsid_4396000/4396893.stm.

[3] Claudio Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 2,” Executive Intelligence Review 31, no. 13 (2004), 72, http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2004/eirv31n13-20040402/eirv31n13-20040402_070-strategy_of_tension_the_case_of.pdf.

[4] Ed Vulliamy, “Secret agents, freemasons, fascists… and a top-level campaign of political ‘destabilisation’,” Guardian, 05.12.1990, http://cambridgeclarion.org/press_cuttings/vinciguerra.p2.etc_graun_5dec1990.html.

[5] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 2,” 72.

[6] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 73-4.

[7] Philip Willan, Puppetmasters: the political use of terrorism in Italy (London: Constable, 1991), 49-56; Fore more background on Frank Gigliotti, see Terry Melanson, “Frank Gigliotti: minister, freemason, OSS and CIA,” Conspiracy Archive, 30.10.2015, http://conspiracyarchive.com/2015/10/30/frank-gigliotti-minister-freemason-oss-and-cia/.

[8] “Gelli e l’agenta della CIA la parola e’ al magistrate,” L Repubblica, 04.07.1990, http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/1990/07/04/gelli-agente-della-cia-la-parola.html; Philip Willan, The Vatican at war: from Blackfriars Bridge to Buenos Aires (iUniverse, 2013), 92-4, available at http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AeufAQAAQBAJ&hl=nl&source=gbs_navlinks_s. While the CIA denies that Brenneke ever worked for the agency, a court in Portland, Oregon chose to believe Brenneke instead of the CIA and established that he had worked for the agency. That trial acquitted Brenneke on five accounts of lying under oath to a federal court, as a 12-member jury voted unanimously in favour of Brenneke’s version of the events in all five accounts.

[9] Quoted in Luciana Bohne, “The long ides of march of Aldo Moro,” Counterpunch, 27.03.2015, http://counterpunch.org/2015/03/27/the-long-ides-of-march-of-aldo-moro/.

[10] Willan, Puppetmasters, 82.

[11] Allan Francovich, Operation Gladio (BBC 2, Timewatch, 1992), 1h17m10-1h17m50, http://youtube.com/watch?v=GGHXjO8wHsA&t=5808s.

[12] Paul L. Williams, Operation Gladio: the unholy alliance between the Vatican, the CIA and the mafia (New York: Prometheus, 2015), 34-40; Bohne, “The long ides of march of Aldo Moro;” Richard Cottrell, Gladio: NATO’s dagger at the heart of Europe: the Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia terror axis (San Diego: Progressive Press, 2015), 112-4.

[13] Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie: portrait of a black terrorist (London: Anarchy Magazine/Refract Publications, 1984), 4, available online at http://libcom.org/files/Stefano-Delle-Chiaie.pdf.

[14] Jonathan Dunnage, “Inhibiting democracy in post-war Italy: the police forces, 1943-48,” Italian Studies 51, no. 1 (1996), 167-76.

[15] Tim Weiner, “F. Mark Wyatt, 86, C.I.A. officer, is dead,” New York Times, 06.07.2006, http://nytimes.com/2006/07/06/us/06wyatt.html; Luciana Bohne, “The long ides of march of Aldo Moro,” Counterpunch, 27.03.2015, http://counterpunch.org/2015/03/27/the-long-ides-of-march-of-aldo-moro/.

[16] Williams, Operation Gladio, 45-52.

[17] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 66.

[18] William Scobie, article name unknown, Observer, 18.11.1990, quote available at http://thejohnfleming.com/gladio.html.

[19] Francovich, Operation Gladio, 1h4m-1h7m.

[20] Dunnage, “Inhibiting democracy in post-war Italy,” 178.

[21] Mario del Pero, “The United States and ‘psychological warfare in Italy, 1948-1955,” Journal of American History 87, no. 4 (2001), 1310-20, available at http://academicroom.com/article/united-states-and-psychological-warfare-italy-1948-1955.

[22] “Twenty-six years later, details of planned rightist coup emerge,” Associated Press, 05.01.1991, http://apnewsarchive.com/1991/Twenty-Six-Years-Later-Details-of-Planned-Rightist-Coup-Emerge/id-00fbd1b9567fb5913e8d512f6a3c99c9.

[23] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 67-8 and 72-3

[24] Willan, Puppetmasters, 35-7.

[25] Willan, Puppetmasters, 48.

[26] “Twenty-six years later, details of planned rightist coup emerge;” Claudio Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 1,” Executive Intelligence Review 31, no. 12 (2004), 36, available at http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2004/eirv31n12-20040326/eirv31n12-20040326_034-strategy_of_tension_the_case_of.pdf.

[27] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 1,” 39.

[28] Willan, Puppetmasters, 118.

[29] Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie, 31-2.

[30] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 77-8.

[31] Steven, “1970: The Golpe Borghese coup plot in Italy,” Libcom, 25.01.2010, http://libcom.org/history/1970-golpe-borghese-coup-plot-italy.

[32] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 1,” 39.

[33] Willan, Puppetmasters, 99-100.

[34] Willan, Puppetmasters, 151-2.

[35] Willan, Puppetmasters, 107-10; Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 1,” 39; Celani, “Stratey of tension: the case of Italy – part 2,” 71; Philip Willan, “Terrorists ‘helped by CIA’ to stop rise of left in Italy,” Guardian, 26.03.2001, http://theguardian.com/world/2001/mar/26/terrorism.

[36] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 1,” 39.

[37] Bohne, “The long ides of march of Aldo Moro.”

[38] Quoted in Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 2,’ 73.

[39] Philip Willan, “Infiltrators blamed for murder of Italian PM,” Guardian, 10.04.1999, http://theguardian.com/world/1999/apr/10/philipwillan.

[40] Willan, Puppetmasters, 197-205. The police report is cited in an article written by Luca Villoresi in La Repubblica on 29 January 1983.

[41] Arthur Rowse, “Gladio: the secret US war to subvert Italian democracy,” Covert Action Quarterly 49 (Summer 1994), available at http://textfiles.com/conspiracy/italy.txt.

[42] Willan, Puppetmasters, 182.

[43] Quoted in Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 80-1.

[44] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 3,” 40.

[45] Celani, “Strategy of tension: the case of Italy – part 2,” 75.

[46] Malcolm Moore, “US envoy admits role in Aldo Moro killing,” Telegraph, 11.03.2008, http://telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1581425/US-envoy-admits-role-in-Aldo-Moro-killing.html; Andrea Purgatori, “Sequestro Moro, Steve Pieczenick uomo nero accusato di aver tramato per l’uccisione dello statista Dc. Dubbi sulla sua attendibilità,” Huffington Post, 12.11.2014, http://huffingtonpost.it/2014/11/12/omicidio-moro-pieczenick-uomo-nero_n_6146862.html; Cottrell, Gladio, 68-72.

[47] Quoted in Daniele Ganser, “The ghost of Machiavelli: an approach to operation Gladio and terrorism in Cold War Italy,” Crime, Law and Social Change 45, no. 2 (2006), 118-9.


  1. Do you think Frank Gigliotti a Jew of a US masonic lodge and cia member will recruited Gelli, previously appointed SS sergent major and fascist ??? All these lies, I wonder who produces all these lies. One and the same team playing all the roles. The good and the bad being on the same team. Controlled local and geopolitical oppositions.


  2. The same lies RT, Russia Today tells. They pretend to be alternative media but they are in the same team.


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