Subscribe to EIR Online
This press review appears in the March 26, 2004 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Some Press Point to
Strategy of Tension

In the wake of the Madrid bombings, a number of European press outlets broke ranks from the line that ETA or Islamic terrorists were responsible, and pointed to the model of the Italy-based Strategy of Tension. We include brief excerpts below:

Reseau Voltaire, March 12: This French online newsletter was the first, after LaRouche, to bring out the relevance of the Bologna train station bombing in 1980 for the Madrid terrorist attacks. The newsletter first criticized the way, when there is a terror attack, politicians and news media immediately go for this or that hypothesis, falling often into the trap of those who ordered the attacks. On the contrary, it recommends that journalists base themselves on the "comparative studies of historical precedents" in order to better understand what is the present phenomenon. "Thus, to attribute an operation of this importance to a Basque group only because it happened in Spain, is a bit light."

Among the most murderous attacks in the last 60 years, one finds the bombing of the Bologna station in 1980, part of a "strategy of tension." The online newsletter compared the modus operandi of the Bologna and Madrid attacks, showing that in both cases, the aim was to kill the maximum number of people—the bombs were placed in train stations and exploded at the highest peaks of population density—and in both cases they targeted a popular strata. "In their investigations of the Bologna attacks, the Italian judges with their experience of terrorism orchestrated with the complicity of a State, rapidly oriented their investigations towards the extreme right-wing track. But they were distracted by information put out by the Italian secret services of General Santovito. That information misled the judges into a multitude of false tracks. According to the magistrates, whose version is confirmed by the acts of the Supreme Court of Nov. 23, 1995, the 'SISMI addressed to them a mass of difficult-to-verify information, in order to put them onto unproductive and even extenuating investigations.' "

The newsletter also focused on highly synchronized attacks on Dec. 12, 1969, which the police immediately blamed on "Italian anarchists." The real track leading to Mario Merlino and Stefano delle Chiaie, a well-known fascist as the Italian counterespionage SIO confirmed, was buried. "Looking at things in perspective, the end of the Second World War seems to have marked a real beginning for the repeated deployment of terrorist methods by the States, in order to destabilize their own democratic systems and limit their individual liberties. Italy became a real laboratory of right-wing subversion."

The newsletter defined "strategy of tension" as a "campaign aimed at provoking the collapse of law and order and, as a side effect, provoking a crisis of confidence in the citizens vis-a-vis their democratically-elected governments, creating thus the conditions for a takeover by the army," or towards the more authoritarian parties. In this context, Reseau Voltaire mentions the Loi Reale of Italy (1975), the Patriot Act of Ashcroft, and the Perben II laws in France. "At best one can affirm that this strategy had been determined by the secret services of the Atlantic Alliance, without excluding that those whom they recruited in the extreme right-wing milieu to carry it out went beyond their original wishes, and that this was carried out with the complicity of agents placed at the highest levels of the Italian State."

The Scotsman on Sunday, March 14: Under the headline "Expect dirty tactics in new war on terror," this paper published an assessment of the war on terror, quoting the well-known French investigative magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière describing it as "the Hundred Years' War of modern times." The Scotsman traced the lineage of the European war on terror to the immediate postwar regroupment of Nazi (i.e., Synarchist) networks, who were initially put on the Allied payroll, but who later wound up leading a neo-Nazi terrorism. The article cited the cases of Klaus Barbie, the Bolivian death squads, and the European-wide network known as the Black Orchestra, which included the Ordine Nuovo which did the Bologna train station bombing.

"Ordine Nuovo, it was found, had developed a political theory which was a chilling foretaste of the terrorism of the 21st century. It came to be known as the 'strategy of tension' and its aim was to carry out acts of terrorism which could be blamed, not on right-wing extremists, but on radical left-wing groups. The idea was that by sending intelligence agencies off on a false trail, panic and confusion would be created, to the point where the army might step in to take control." The article then quoted from a document written by the Black Orchestra, which said, " 'In our view, the first move [is] to destroy the structure of the democratic state under the cover of communist activities.'

"There is an awful familiarity about that passage today. The immediate presumption in Spain was that ETA must have been responsible for the bombing of the Madrid trains. The explosives were of a type used by ETA; plans were unearthed linking ETA to attacks on trains; and a lorry containing bombs was traced back to ETA. The evidence all pointed one way. Now, however, it seems that the trail may have been the wrong one, and police find themselves fighting on two fronts, just as they had to do in their war against the Black Orchestra."

The Scotsman ended with an ominous warning: "That war was won in the end ... because the organisations responsible were finally penetrated, exposed and brought to justice. It took a generation to do it, and most of what happened is concealed so deep in intelligence files that some of it has never emerged to this day. The same tactics may well be used again. The war that led to the bloody mayhem of last week may take even longer than the last one—and be even dirtier."

As for Spain's police, confronted with right-wing political disinformation, they find themselves fighting on two fronts, just as they had to do in their war against the Black Orchestra."

Junge Welt, March 15: This left-wing Berlin daily categorically discarded the ETA, al-Qaeda or other Islamic whipping boys officially cited, and recommended the "Strategy of Tension" that haunted Italy in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, as the point of reference. The Madrid bombings's forebears were the 1969 Piazza Fontana bomb that killed 17 and wounded 85 in Milan, the 1974 bomb attack on the Italicus train that killed 12 and wounded 50, and the Bologna central station bomb that killed 85 and wounded 200, in 1980. And, had the Italicus bomb detonated a few seconds earlier, when the train passed through a tunnel, the catastrophe would have been much greater. Italian authorities promptly "identified" the communists or anarchists in those cases, but it soon turned out that fascist networks, supported by circles in the military, police and secret services of Italy, as well as in NATO and at the CIA, were responsible for these and other bomb attacks. The attacks were part of what was then called the "Strategy of Tension" to prevent the participation of the Italian Communist Party in a coalition government, by a right-wing state coup.

Junge Welt concluded, "One must fear that attacks on trains in Madrid are the beginning of an analogous strategy, and that more attacks of the same type, against normal masses of people in trains, department stores, shopping malls will also follow in other countries of Europe." They benefit "only those who promote a Fourth World War against the Islamic countries, a Clash of Civilizations (Samuel P. Huntington)."

Back to top