On 2 August 1980 a bomb hidden in a suitcase was exploded at Bologna railway station in Italy. It was a Saturday and the first full day of the national holiday and the station was crowded. The explosion claimed the lives of 85 innocent victims and seriously injured over 200 more.
Over two years later the Bologna investigating magistrate, Aldo Gentile, issued an international warrant for the arrest of five men wanted in connection with the bombing. Gentile, who had led the investigation of the bombing from the start, told reporters: “The man who was carrying the suitcase is among them.” One of the wanted men was a French neo-fascist, another a German. The other three were Italians, and the senior among them was Stefano Delle Chiaie.
The name of this master organiser of neo-fascist terror is inextricably linked with most of the extreme right-wing scandals and terrorist outrages which have rocked Italy since the early sixties. These include the attempted seizure of power by secret service chief General Guiseppe de Lorenzo in 1964, the Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan in December 1969 which killed 16 people and seriously injured 88 more, and led directly to the death of the anarchist Guiseppe Pinelli, the attempted seizure of power by Prince Valerio Borghese in December 1970, the bombing of the Rome-Munich express in August 1974 which killed 12 people and injured 48 others and the murder of the magistrate investigating the train bombing.
THE BLACK ORCHESTRA
Outside Italy, Delle Chiaie and his accomplices have been responsible for the murders of exiled political dissidents, the setting up of death squads both in Europe and in Latin America and the provision of mercenaries for right-wing plotters in Africa and Asia, while they have been partners in crime to international drug dealers and kidnappers. Delle Chiaie is also alleged to have acted as “regulator” for the sinister “P2” Masonic lodge in Italy with links with the Vatican and various Latin American dictatorships.
The warrant was issued for Delle Chiaie's arrest on information from the testimony of a number of secret service agents and fascist pentiti or supergrasses. This, together with other evidence accumulated over the years by researchers into the far right, and a careful analysis of all the interrelationships between Delle Chiaie and his associates, friends and colleagues, leaves little doubt that Stefano Delle Chiaie, or “Il Caccola" as he is also known, is either the main coordinator of what has come to be known in informed international political and journalistic circles as the ”Black Orchestra,”1 or has been deliberately set up as such by other more shadowy figures.
WHO IS STEFANO DELLE CHIAIE AND WHAT IS HIS BACKGROUND?
Delle Chiaie was born at Apio in 1936 into a staunchly pro-fascist household. A failed political science student turned insurance underwriter, he began his active political career as secretary of the local neo-fascist party, the MSI, in 1956.
Bored with the lack of action and contemptuous of the lack of radical ideas among the more cautious elements of the old-guard fascists, Delle Chiaie abandoned the MSI in 1958 and gave his allegiance to the newly formed and more overtly Nazi and anti-semitic Ordine Nuovo under the leadership of the journalist Pino Rauti. The motto of Ordine Nuovo was also that of the Nazi SS: “Our honour is our loyalty.”
Known as “Il Caccola” (Roman slang; which translates as “Shorty”), Stefano Delle Chiaie first appears to have been recruited into secret service work as an auxiliary agent during the crisis period of the early summer of 1960. Anti fascist riots in which 12 people were killed and many hundreds injured took place in most industrial towns and cities throughout Italy, which in turn led to the downfall of the government of prime minister Tambroni, which had depended on the votes of the far-right deputies to stay in office.
“Il Caccola” claims that in the early part of that summer of 1960 while the tension was still mounting, he was approached, through an MSI intermediary, by an official of the Interior Ministry to undertake covert operations against anti-fascists and left-wing militants. It was also around this time that Delle Chiaie decided to leave Ordine Nuovo and set up his own neo-fascist organisation which eventually became known as Avanguardia Nazionale, an organisation which was to be the breeding ground and epicentre of neo-fascist terror for two decades.
What exact role Delle Chiaie and his circle of friends played in the events of 1960 is not yet known, but whatever it was it was sufficiently successful to convince factions within the Interior Ministry of the usefulness of employing “plausibly deniable” fascist gangs as auxiliary police and agents of the state during periods of crisis.
Avanguardia Nazionale (AN) soon came to be regarded as the “cudgel of black extremism.” Although even at the height of its “popularity" it counted on fewer than 500 members, it was certainly the most tightly organised and rigidly structured of Italian neo-fascist groups. Those who crossed Delle Chiaie were soon to discover exactly how his "stringent internal discipline" operated in practice.
DEATH OF ALIOTTI
One of the early members of AN was Antonino Aliotti. Aliotti had been involved in many punitive expeditions organised by Delle Chiaie against the left, including the vicious attack on the daughter of the Communist Deputy, Pietro Ingrao, who had her finger hacked off with a knife. On his return from military service, Aliotti underwent a crisis of conscience and openly accused his old leader, Delle Chiaie, of being a lackey of the Italian Interior Ministry and not a “genuine” fascist revolutionary.
A few days later Aliotti received his first warning. His car was stopped and searched by police who “discovered” explosives in the boot which Aliotti swore had been planted. Acquitted on this charge for lack of evidence, Aliotti again denounced Stefano Delle Chiaie, openly accusing him of having arranged the clumsy police frame-up, and again threatened to expose his links with the Interior Ministry. A few days later Aliotti was found dead in his car — again loaded with explosives. The police concluded he had committed suicide, but the evening before his death Aliotti had tried desperately to contact friends, all of whom were at odds with Delle Chiaie. Although there was some evidence of a struggle the matter was not followed up and the exact circumstances of the death of Antonino Aliotti remain a mystery.
Avanguardia Nazionale had a steady income of 300,000 lire a month guaranteed by Carlo Pesenti, a famous Lombard cement manufacturer and insurance tycoon, while other industrialists and businessmen provided additional funds.2 Within a few months AN had opened a number of branches in Rome and other Italian cities and soon was second only in importance to Ordine Nuovo among the flourishing extra-parliamentary neo-fascist groups of the early sixties. As with most fascist organisations, its members were recruited primarily from the ranks of the middle classes.
Delle Chiaie’s organisation was a success. Though it was officially at odds with the “respectable” MSI, the relationship was, in fact, one of mutual interdependence. For the 1962 local elections, Avanguardia Nazionale was hired by MSI candidate Ernesto Brivio, a veteran of Mussolini’s dreaded anti-partisan Brigate Nere and one-time confidant of the Cuban ex-dictator Fulgencio Batista, to ensure ”security” during his election campaign. Avanguardia Nazionale's support for MSI hardliners under Giorgio Almirante gave the organisation access to considerable funds. In return for this financial support, Delle Chiaie’s organisation provided “security” for MSI candidates Pino Romualdi, Luigi
Turchi and Giulio Caradonna during the 1963 election campaign. Later in 1962 a scandal brought to light further links between the Delle Chiaie organisation and the security services. During the visit to Rome for an audience with the Pope of Moise Tshombe, the Congolese leader generally regarded as the tool of reactionary western interests, demonstrations were organised by leftist groups to protest against the visit and the official recognition of the murderer of Patrice Lumumba, the man who had led the Congo (Zaire)3 to independence. The head of the Rome Special Squad, a police group similar to, but more volatile than, the British Special Patrol Group, Inspector Santillo, used the Delle Chiaie organisation to infiltrate and disrupt the leftist demonstration in the Piazza Colonna–and even went so far as to provide Delle Chiaie's men with police issue truncheons. The fascists were recognised and the ensuing scandal of such overt connivance between the police and rightists forced the Interior Ministry to disband the Special Squad and transfer Santillo from Rome Police HQ to the provincial city of Reggio Emilio.
From early 1964 onwards Stefano Delle Chiaie's career became more closely enmeshed with all the major conspiratorial events which occurred subsequently. Early that year he began to concentrate on developing his theoretical ideas on psychological warfare and on building up a national and international clandestine neo-fascist infrastructure. "II Caccola" also began to boast to friends of his increasingly close relationship with officers of SIFAR, the then Italian military intelligence organisation. He claimed to be privy to topsecret information concerning “something big in the pipeline,” and that those close to him had to be ready to act when the time came.
There is little doubt that the “something big in the pipeline” referred to “Plan Solo.”
Frightened by the “opening to the left” under the Christian Democrat premiership of Aldo Moro and the success at the polls of the communists who gained 25% of the vote in the 1963 elections, the Italian right began to make plans to pave the way for the installation of a government of “public safety” consisting of right-wing Christian Democrats, top managers and military men.
General Giovanni De Lorenzo, commander of the paramilitary carabinieri and head of the Italian secret services, together with twenty other senior army officers and allegedly with the knowledge and agreement of President Antonio Segni, drew up a plan for a presidential-type coup d'etat. “Plan Solo” was to have concluded with the assassination of the premier, Aldo Moro. Executive authority was to have passed to the right-wing Christian Democrat Cesare Merzagora.
The coup was called off at the final moment by a compromise between the socialists and right-wing Christian Democrats. General De Lorenzo and his colleagues were not ones to give in so easily, however, and although their plans were thwarted on this occasion the plotters did not abandon them.
- 1 'This is not a centrally coordinated body, nor does it have a press organ or headquarters. It is a loosely structured international friendship circle of neo-fascist and old guard Nazis with shared goals whose coordinated activities over the past twenty years or so have led directly to the deaths of perhaps hundreds of people in Europe and certainly thousands in the third world countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia. The shared goals are essentially those of Hitler's Third Reich: white supremacy, the defeat of all movements towards democracy and equality, the destruction of Russian and Chinese-style state communism.
- 2 The far right in Italy is never short of paymasters. Analysis of the industrial sources of funds is beyond the scope of this brief work, but there seems to be a predominance of oil, rubber, motor and cement interests: the road lobby. This fits with the recurrent choice of trains and stations as targets (why not supermarkets, cinemas, airports, etc.?), and with the general animosity of the European right against railways as symbols of socialism and bastions of working class solidarity and strength.
- 3 Now again the Congo.