“You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, unknown people far from any political game. The reason was quite simple - force the people to turn to the state for greater security.”
- Vincenzio Vinciguerra, former member of the neo-Fascist group Ordine Nuovo.
Today, December 12th is the 50th anniversary of the bomb attack at the headquarters of Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura (National Agrarian Bank) in Piazza Fontana, Italy.
This act of terror, which killed 17 people and wounded 88, is seen as the inauguration of what is referred to as the Anni di Piombo (“Years of Lead”): a time of bullets and bombs during which violence between the extreme Left and extreme Right was rife. It was also the beginning of what came to be known as La Strategia della Tensione (Strategy of Tension”). This was a Cold War-era policy engineered by NATO and components of Italian military intelligence and the secret service who aided neo-Fascist terrorists in murdering innocents with the intention of blaming and discrediting the political Left. The idea was that the people would turn to Right-wing authoritarian governments.
This was the intention behind the bombings in Milan (1969), Peteano (1972) and Bologna (1980). The kidnapping and murder in 1978 of Aldo Moro, a former Italian Prime Minister by the Left-wing Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades) is perceived by many to have been actually orchestrated by the Italian “Deep State”, as it was consistent with the objective of preventing a grand coalition among Italy’s political parties which would have brought the Italian Communist Party into a national government of unity -something the United States and Right-wing forces in Italy including Propaganda Due (P2), the pseudo-masocnic lodge led by Lucio Gelli which effectively functioned as a state within a state.
A key element driving the Strategy of Tension was a then unknown military organisation tied to NATO. NATO’s stay-behind militias, which were developed to fight as guerrillas in the event of Western Europe being overrun by the armies of the Warsaw Pact, morphed into something sinister. These stay-behinds went by different names in many Western European countries, including a number who were not NATO-members. For instance, in Greece it was known as Lochoi Oreinon Katadromon (LOK) and in Turkey as Counter-Guerrilla. But the generic name by which they are often referred to is derived from the Italian version of the stay-behind network: Gladio.
Over the years, Operation Gladio facilitated a range of terror attacks, assassinations and military coups.
When Italian Prime Minister Guillio Andreotti revealed the existence of the network of stay-behind secret armies, he only did so under pressure from the Italian Senate enquiring into the possible hand of state agencies on fomenting terrorism during the Anni di Piombo. Italy, Belgium and Switzerland are the only countries who mounted parliamentary investigations into the existence of these secret armies.
The Years of Lead endured until the mid-1980s. But the scars remain as does the modus operandi of the “False Flag” operation which is designed to manipulate public emotions so as to justify military interventions and the implementation of laws that give more power to the state.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2019)
Adeyinka Makinde has an interest in intelligence and secret warfare.