Stefano Delle Chiaie: International Fascism and Terrorism
From Operation Gladio to Operation Condor
With special thanks to @NovaShpakova
The career of Stefano Delle Chiaie illustrates many of the most shocking suppressed truths of the twentieth and twenty first centuries,. He represents the second generation of fascism and was involved in many of the most infamous terror attacks of Italy’s “Years of lead.” Protected by Italian and American intelligence he was never punished for his many crimes. He was part of Operation Gladio NATO’s secret armies which waged covert war on their own countries to prevent any turn to the left. Operation Gladio conducted terrorist attacks that could be blamed on the left. Delle Chiaie was active in secret armies not just in Italy but in Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany. He was a member of the infamous P2 a CIA backed secret society run by Licio Gelli that stretched from Italy to Latin America and that had recruited much of Italy’s intelligence, business, clergy, political, military, media and police leadership. Delle Chiaie’s close friends and colleagues included a who’s who of international fascism Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, Pino Rauti, Otto Skorzeny, Leon Degrelle, Yves Guerin Serac, Klaus Barbie Abdullah Catli and Joachim Fiebelkorn.
His activities in Portugal and Spain lead him to expand his activities into Africa and Latin America. He was a key member of Aginter Press which aided fascist Portugal in it’s CIA backers in their covert war on Africa assassinating African revolutionaries like Amilcar Cabral in Guinea-Bissau. Often when a fascist coup occurred Delle Chiaie would arrive offering his services. Fascist Greece, Chile, and Argentina would all hire him to do their dirty work. He signed on with Chilean and Argentine intelligence arranging assassinations for Operation Condor exiles in Europe. When the fascist regimes fell in Spain and Portugal he headed for Latin America joining Chile, Argentina, and El Salvador’s murderous dirty wars. Finally he would play a key role with Klaus Barbie in organizing Bolivia’s infamous “Cocaine Coup” on behalf of drug barons Roberto Suarez and Luis Arce Gomez (who was named minister of the interior) installing General Luis Garcia Meza as the new president. He became a key figure linking the Latin American drug cartels with Italian Mafia of which he had long had close ties. His life should have made him one of the most infamous figures of the 20th century but instead he is largely unknown outside of researchers into the histories of Operation Gladio or Operation Condor. His career exposes too many scandalous details of the history of the CIA and it’s ties to international fascism, the drug trade and it’s role in waging a brutal world wide covert war on the people of the world involving terrorism, torture and mass murder. Writer Stuart Christie did a brilliant job of attempting to chronicle Delle Chiaie’s career back in 1984 in his book “Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of the Black Terrorist” a book I relied on heavily for this article. However it was written 6 years before Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly exposed the existence of Operation Gladio and the slow exposure of many details that were revealed over the next decade.
Post war Italy would be the scene of an incredibly complex web of interlocking conspiracies. There was the CIA mafia drug connection which was laundering money through the Vatican bank. Italy was where the fascist war criminals of Europe were being smuggled out to Latin America, the middle east, Australia, Canada, and the US and a number of other places. There were the Vatican banking scandals as the church and Italy’s rich attempted to smuggle as their wealth out of the country through a series of shell companies. The masterminds behind this massive financial fraud Licio Gelli, Michele Sindona and Paul Marcinkus were also to found Propaganda Due (P2) a free-masonic secret society that recruited Italy’s elite from the business, press, military, Intelligence and police. In creating P2 Gelli was following CIA orders. Archbishop Paul “The Gorilla” Marcinkus was from Al Capones home town Cicero Illinois also the hometown of Continental Illinois Bank. The Bank was also tied into the Mafia and the Rockefeller family which became the Vatican’s business partner. The Rockefeller family was deeply involved in lobbying for coups in Latin America like the one that toppled Allende. P2 was deeply tied into fascist Argentina. Postwar Italy was the scene of blackmail, kidnapping, assassination, money laundering, fraud, arms dealing, drug dealing, psychological warfare, political manipulation, bribery, secret societies, organized crime, secret armies, all part of an interlocking series of series of conspiracies involving the CIA, the mafia, the Vatican and NATO which are far too complex to fully go into here. I suggest you read Paul L. Williams “Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between the Vatican, The CIA, and the Mafia.” Of course in fairness to Italy similar things go on in most countries, however in Italy there were people willing to risk their lives to expose the truth, there were political movements that demanded answers.
James Jesus Angleton had arrived in Italy in 1945 as the head of X2 in Italy the OSS counter-intelligence branch. One of his first acts was to rescue Prince Valerio Borghese who had headed Decima Mas or X-Mas a sort of cross between the SS and the Navy Seals. The OVRA which Mussolini had used to attempt to infiltrate and destroy the Partisans together with Decimas which had acted as an anti-partisan death squad were to form the early nucleus of GLADIO. In Italy it began as a secret army to wage war on Italy’s left engaging in beatings and killings and was used successfully to insure a defeat for the Communist and Socialist popular front in the 1948 elections. The scheme was the brainchild of Allen Dulles. OPC head Frank Wisner was in charge of setting up gladio style stay behind networks across Europe. James Jesus Angleton would be a key Gladio planner in Italy. Future CIA director William Colby’s one of Angleton’s main enemies would also supervise Gladio before heading off to supervise the Phoenix program in Vietnam. CIA man William Harvey would be sent to Rome as station chief after his failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. Each stay behind network in each NATO country had it’s own code name, some stay behinds had more then one name (Italy’s was also called the Rose of the Winds) and some countries had more then one stay behind network. I refer to them all as Gladio for the sake of convenience. Each countries Gladio branch was supervised by NATO’s Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC) and the Allied Clandestine Committees both part of NATO’s SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.) Each gladio army had secret training bases and hidden arms stockpiles which included the sophisticated bombs used in Gladio attacks. The secret armies received training from the british SAS and the US special forces. They were equipped with high tech radios that enabled encrypted communication. The CIA and MI6 were pulling the strings behind the scenes in alliance with intelligence agencies which they had set up or restructured in each NATO country and even some non-NATO countries like Austria. In Italy the Intelligence agency supervising GLADIO was SIFAR later renamed SID and then renamed SISMI.
Stefano Delle Chiaie was born in a small apartment on the Apio Latino on the outskirts of Rome to a family of ardent fascists. He was a failed political science student and a failed insurance underwriter. He was nicknamed “Il Caccola” meaning “Shorty.” He was a lifelong fascist and by 1956 was a secretary in the local MSI branch. MSI was the Italian fascist party who’s honorary head was the illegitimate son of Mussolini full of fascists from the Mussolini era MSI hoped to win power through elections. MSI split in 1956 as even more fanatical fascists left to form Ordine Nouvo (ON) headed by Pino Rauti. The split was also to create plausible denial for MSI. In 1958 Stefano Delle Chiaie left MSI to join Ordine Nouvo. ON was inspired by the philosophy of Julius Evola who disliked the populist element in fascism admiring instead groups like the Nazi SS or the Romanian Iron Guard which he saw as an aristocratic warrior elite. Evola would inspire Delle Chiaie and his followers writing “It is not a question of contesting and polemicizing, but of blowing up everything” Evola was the godfather of Traditionalism he was allied to the most reactionary elements of the Catholic church while at the same time being a pagan an occultist and a satanist. During the war the SS Ahnenerbe had granted Evola access to it’s massive library of plundered occult texts. He was assigned to create The Order a fascist secret society. By the 1950’s Evola was a sort of guru to Ordine Nouvo (New Order) which modeled itself on the Nazi SS and had the same motto “Our honor is our loyalty.” ON sought to return to the “Pure fascism” of the Salo republic Mussolini had set up in Northern Italy after being overthrown and then rescued from prison by Nazi Commando Otto Skorzeny on September 12 1943.
In 1960 Stefano Delle Chiaie was recruited via his old comrades at MSI to work for the Italian Interior Ministry in waging a secret war on the left and the anti-fascist movement. He left ON to found his own group Avanguardia Nazionale (AN) although he would remain close to ON founder and CIA agent Pino Rauti in the years to come. AN was funded by wealthy cement and insurance magnate Carlo Pesenti and other wealthy P2 members. Interestingly as Stuart Christie observes many of the AN funders were from the “road lobby” connected to the cement, rubber or auto industries which would lead AN to frequently target railways in their attacks. Other attacks would be planned to distract from business scandals involving P2 members Licio Gelli, Michele Sindona, and Roberto Calvi.
Although it would never have more then 500 members AN would become infamous as the “Cudgel of the extreme right” involved in the bloodiest attacks of the era. In one AN leaflet they bragged “Before setting out our men are morally prepared so that they learn to break the bones even of somebody who kneels down and cries” In 1961 Delle Chiaie would first receive notoriety when he was arrested for removing the Italian resistance flag from the tomb of the unknown soldier. He would later order the bombing of the tomb as part of his gladio terror campaign in 1969. Early on AN was involved in beating protestors, attacking left wing politicians, bombing trade unions and communist party headquarters and spraying anti-semitic graffiti in jewish cemeteries. One of Delle Chiaie’s henchmen Antonio Alioti was involved in hacking the finger off the daughter of communist deputy Pietro Ingrao with a knife. However after leaving to join the military and returning he realized AN was merely a tool of the Italian government and began to denounce Delle Chiaie for his ties to the interior ministry. Alioti was stopped by police who planted explosives in his car and arrested him trying to frame him. When he continued to plot against Delle Chiaie he was found dead his death was ruled a suicide despite signs of a struggle. He would not be the last of Delle Chiaie’s enemies or even friends who would die for investigating Delle Chiaie or to keep them from talking.
In 1962 Delle Chiaie and Avanguardia Nazionale were hired to provide security for MSI in the 1962 and 1963 elections gaining access to huge funds in the process. Also in 1962 the Rome Special Squad hired AN to infiltrate and disrupt protests against Moise Tshombe’s visit. Backed by Belgian mining interests and the CIA Tshombe had attempted to break off the rich Congo province of Katanga aided by fascist mercenaries from South Africa and Europe. He was hated for his role in the murder of Patrice Lumumba. The CIA and Belgian intelligence delivered Lumumba to Tshombe by plane although secretly it was the Belgians who beat Lumumba to death and dissolved his body in acid. Expecting huge protests against this murderous traitor Rome Special Squad hired AN to infiltrate and disrupt the protests supplying them with police truncheons. A minor scandal erupted and the head of the Rome Special Squad Inspector Santillo was forced to resign. Delle Chiaie however continued his rise and by 1964 he had been recruited by SIFAR (Italian intelligence which ran Gladio) was becoming known as a psychological warfare expert. He was now in on the plans for a coup plot known as Plan Solo by General Giovanni De Lorenzo it would have involved the assassination of Aldo Moro and the rounding up of all left wing politicians. In the end the mere threat of a coup was enough and the Christian Democrats convinced the socialists in government to resign. JFK who had encouraged the opening to the left in Italy had been assassinated the year before. Interestingly Delle Chiaie’s main case officer Guido Giannettini had been invited to lecture at the Naval War College in the US by one of JFK’s bitter enemies Pedro Del Valle on prospects for a European military coup back in 1961. Clay Shaw who Jim Garrison attempted to prosecute for his role in the JFK assassination had deep ties to Italy through his role in the CIA fronts Centro Mondiale Commerciale and Permindex. One of many GLADIO connections to the JFK assassination.
In 1964 the year of the Plan Solo coup plot Delle Chiaie and his men in Avanguardia Nazionale would receive extensive training in psychological warfare, explosives and terrorism from the Italian Government. On May 3-5 1965 the CIA and Italian Intelligence were behind the Parco Dei Principei Conference where The President of the Milan court of appeals and the General of Italy’s Parachute troops (Paratroopers are deeply connected to special warfare) invited a dozen neo-fascist journalists including Guido Giannettini Delle Chiaie’s patron to discuss “Revolutionary Warfare-Instrument of World Expansion”. The conference would be an important event in the history of gladio calling for the creation of what already existed an unconventional warfare force able to ruthlessly resist any attempt at revolution ie a secret army like Gladio. The fascists instantly became known as counter-insurgency experts and were recruited into Italian Intelligence by Admiral Hencke. In 1965 AN and Delle Chiaie would launch a huge offensive against the PCI the Italian Communist Party printing up thousands of fake PCI posters several AN members would be caught posting the fake posters. They were funded by the right wing catholic group Comitati Civici who gave them 3 million Lira Delle Chiaie pocketed much of the money and bought himself some fancy new clothes and a sports car. It was around this time that the Carabinieri would hire AN to attempt to bomb PCI headquarters RAI studios and the Christian Democrats headquarters. PCI managed to discover the bombers and chase them away but the other attacks were successful. The bombers were caught and imprisoned but Delle Chiaie remained free his intelligence ties made him untouchable despite being denounced by the bombers. In 1966 Stefano Delle Chiaie seemingly disbanded AN and went underground continuing to secretly run the terror network. He traveled across europe networking with fascists in Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Some AN members would rejoin MSI and other fascist groups while others would later attempt to infiltrate left wing groups.
It was during this period 1966-68 when Delle Chiaie probably first met up with the french Yves Guerin-Serac the founder of Aginter Press who coined the phrase “strategy of tension.” Guerin-Serac embodied the blurred lines between fascism, settler-colonialism, and counter-insurgency expert. A veteran of the Korean war, the French War in Indochina and the Algerian war he was a member of the OAS a secret army that terrorized Algeria and attempted to overthrow and Assassinate De Gaulle the French President. In 1962 after the failed Algerian Putsch Guerin-Serac deserted the infamous 11th du Choc Paratrooper regiment which had specialized in special warfare, torture and terrorism under the tutelage of the French 5th Bureau of the General Staff which masterminded the psychological warfare campaign in Algeria involving terror and atrocities. The 5th Bureau was headed by Colonel Lacheroy. After the failed plot to topple DeGaul Guerin-Serac headed for exile in fascist Portugal which was committed to holding on to it’s African colonies like Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique by any means necessary(Portugal had begun the conquest of Africa ten years before Spain began the conquest of the “new world”). Towards this end Portuguese intelligence PIDE in conjunction with the CIA and the BND set up Aginter Press “a press service” that was to provide cover for their covert war in Europe and Africa. It’s armed branch OACI was set up by Yves Guerin-Serac, Guido Giannettini (Delle Chiaie’s patron and former Italian Liaison to the OAS) and Otto Skorzeny and recruited fascist mercenaries from around europe to fight in the CIA’s World War 3 on the third world. Mostly it recruited SS veterans, Neo-nazis and ex OAS members. Initially Aginter Press was formed to counter Cuba’s plans to hold the 1st Tri-Continental Congress in Havana which invited the peoples of Asia, Latin America and Africa to unite in solidarity against imperialism. Fidel Castro had his friend Ben Barka organize it Barka would end up kidnapped and murdered in Paris. Aginter press would assassinate African revolutionaries like Amilcar Cabral who was fighting to free Guinea-Bissau and Eduardo Mondlane the head of Frelimo and Portuguese opposition figures like Humberto Delgado. Skorzeny ran a similar group of mercenaries, arms dealers and spies the Paladin group. Delle Chiaie would become a key member of Aginter Press traveling under fake names as a fake journalists to carry out various secret missions. These included bombings to be blamed on Algeria and the bombing of the South Vietnamese embassy that was blamed on the left. Yves Guerin Serac’s “Strategy of Tension” would be the blueprint for Delle Chiaie’s terror campaign.
In 1967 there was a coup in Greece carried out by the greek Gladio branch the Hellenic Raiding Force, the CIA and it’s greek version the KYP. It was approved by President Lyndon Johnson. The greek Junta began a reign of terror and torture. It invited Delle Chiaie’s friend and mentor Pino Rauti and he visited under cover as a journalist secretly meeting with the head of the greek military police Dimitrios Ionnidis and Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Order Colonel Ioannis Ladas and Ladas private secretary KYP agent Kostas Plevris who also ran his own fascist group the August 4 movement and advised the military on psychological warfare. Exactly what they discussed is unknown but soon Rauti and Delle Chiaie were bringing over ON and “ex”-AN members for secret training in Greece under cover of a “cultural exchange program”. Greece had it’s own CIA/KYP front fascist press agency used as a cover for terrorism called World Service. Delle Chiaie’s men were being trained to infiltrate left wing groups and on their return to Italy began to masquerade as communists or Anarchists infiltrating and even founding left wing groups. They would then carry out terrorist attacks and then turn informer giving the police names of people to round up and blame for the attacks. Perhaps the most infamous example was Mario Merlino who founded the March 22 Anarchist group conning real anarchists like Pietro Valpreda into joining. Franco Freda, and Giovanni Ventura the future Piazza Fontana bombers switched from printing the works of Hitler to printing Che Guevara and Kropotkin upon their return from Greece. Serafino di Luia would found Lotta di Popolo a fake anti-imperialist group. Delle Chiaie and his men were now tools of the Greek Junta as well as their Italian and CIA masters. Delle Chiaie’s career would demonstrate the horizontal loyalties that bound the intelligence agencies on one level and international fascism on another level. This international alliance of intelligence agencies and militaries often seeking to overthrow the civilian governments of the countries they were supposedly loyally serving and using fascist paramilitary groups to provide plausible denial.
In 1968 Delle Chiaie and 50 of his followers were flown to the secret Gladio training base on the island of Sardinia for further training in the techniques of psychological warfare and terrorism. Also in 1968 Aginter Press came to Italy to further instruct Delle Chiaie’s men in the use of terrorism psychological warfare and explosives. In 1969 Stefano Delle Chiaie recreated AN and he was now being funded by Michele Sindona and Continental Illinois Bank headed by David Kennedy two key figures in the Vatican banking scandals. Through Sindona, David Kennedy, and CREEP member Luigi Turchi Delle Chiaie was now tied by one degree of separation to the new President Richard Nixon. Nixon had ties to fascists around the globe as he had once run the Republican Heritage groups that were the cover for CIA backed fascist emigre groups and Nixon was also close to Taiwanese and Japanese fascists. Nixon would green light the fascist coup in Chile in 1973. Nixon also had close ties to organized crime and the complex Vatican banking scandal which funneled illegal donations into his campaign. Nixon was backing plans for an Italian coup scheduled for late 1970 which was to be carried out by Prince Valerio Borghese who James Angleton had rescued from a partisan firing squad back in 1945. Prince Borghese would become another key mentor of Delle Chiaie. In order to set the stage for the Borghese coup plot of 1970, 1969 would see a massive terror campaign organized by Delle Chiaie and carried out by Avanguardia Nazionale. In the 4 years prior to 1969 there had been 50 bombings. In 1969 alone there would be nearly three times as many 149 bombings. AN would be behind the bloodiest attacks. It would also be a major year for the student radical movements and the labor movements a year of strikes and political unrest. AN would infiltrate the protests and stage provocations to justify a murderous police crackdown.
In April of 1969 AN infiltrated the crowds of demonstrators at the Battipaglia general strike which erupted after rumors spread that the towns main employer a tobacco company was about to close. AN engaged in outrageous provocations which were then written up in the neo-fascist press which accused the workers of adopting Viet Cong tactics and in the mainstream press which hinted that these provocations had been planned by outside forces leaving the reader to assume they meant revolutionaries and not fascist provocateurs. The police responded by gunning down a number of protestors on April 17-18. The police were so out of control that parliament was debating a bill on disarming police when on April 28 1969 AN struck again in an attack bombing the Fiat stand at the Milan trade fair and the Milan central station dozens were injured. It was planned by Delle Chiaie and carried out by Franco Freda and Giovanni Ventura. Ventura later revealed he was working for the CIA. The police used the Milan Trade fair attack as an excuse to arrest 15 anarchists. On July 24 1969 again acting on Della Chiaie’s orders Freda and Ventura bombed the Turin Palace of Justice. On August 8-9 1969 AN including Freda and Ventura yet again bombed 10 different trains injuring dozens of people. The anarchist leader Giuseppe Pinelli a key union organizer was framed and would later be killed in police custody and thrown out of the 4th story window of police headquarters to cover up the cause of death. The man who framed him Inspector Calabresi who had been trained at US police academies through USAID’s office of public safety would later end up dead himself for knowing too much about gladio. On October 4th 1969 AN member Antonio Severi left a time bomb at an elementary school set to go off as the children were leaving but thankfully it was discovered in time to foil the plot. On December 7-8 the Reggio Emilio police HQ is bombed seriously injuring one police officer two AN members were arrested two weeks later in Rome but Anarchists were blamed anyways. On December 11th 1969 the Milan stock market crashed as a result of the schemes of the Vatican banking clique of P2 members Sindona and Calvi. Milan was the site of Banco Ambrosiano which played a major role in the Vatican banking scandals. The next day Dec 12 1969 to distract from this fact AN staged it’s bloodiest attack of the year a bomb exploded in the Banca de Agricultura in the Piazza Fontana in Milan 16 were killed and 48 injured. AN then set off 3 more bombs in Rome targeting banks and the tomb of the unknown soldier. A fifth bomb was discovered unexploded but it was destroyed to disguise the fact it came from a Gladio arms cache and had a sophisticated german timer. On Dec 15 1969 Pinelli met his fate. On December 17 1969 the Serpieri report by italian intelligence correctly named Delle Chiaie and Mario Merlino as being behind the Piazza Fontana bombing and other attacks of 1969. SID head Admiral Hencke supressed the report which was unsurprising as he was the case officer of Pino Rauti (Delle Chiaie’s mentor) Giovanni Ventura (Delle Chiaie’s bomber) and possibly Delle Chiaie himself. Delle Chiaie was allowed to go underground to prepare for the coup plot of 1970. It was revealed much later that CIA man Hung Fendwich was the planner behind the attacks working under cover as an engineer for Selenia a company owned by Finmeccanica which had long had close ties to the CIA. CIA operative and Navy Captain David Carrett was commander of the Piazza Fontana bombing with gladio commander Sergio Minetto.
James Jesus Angleton arrived in Italy to supervise the Borghese Coup plot. Richard Nixon followed events closely. Borghese had personally recruited Delle Chiaie into Gladio and served as his mentor. The coup plot was code named Tora Tora and was scheduled for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor the night of December 7-8 1970. The plan was to seize power install Prince Borghese as a fascist dictator and round up and execute left wing politicians and other enemies of the state. The US navy was stationed at Malta and was supposed to arrive to signal US support for the coup as they would later do in Chile. However at the last moment President Nixon himself called to cancel the coup at 1 am. The Soviet Union had stationed their navy to resist the coup. The Italian government had learned in advance of the plot and was planning to arrest the plotters. However before the coup was called off Delle Chiaie and 50 neo-nazis had snuck into the Interior Ministry disguised as workmen then at 11:15 PM seized control of the building. He was disappointed to learn the coup had been canceled but his men stole 180 machine guns before leaving.
The Italian public wouldn’t learn about the coup plot for 3 more months it was covered up. Prince Valerio Borghese and Stefano Delle Chiaie with 100 fascists went into exile in Spain where thanks to the Americans and British the fascist dictator Franco was still in charge despite the defeat of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Borghese and Delle Chiaie were welcomed to Spain by Otto Skorzeny one of the key ringleaders in a network of former SS men and other nazi war criminals operating worldwide in the employ of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Skorzeny sold weapons, provided advisers, mercenaries, and collected intelligence working for the CIA, the German BND, and German big business. Skorzeny was married to the daughter of Nazi banker Hjalmar Schacht the Dulles Brothers longtime ally. Skorzeny was to become another of Delle Chiaie’s mentors and his Paladin group interlocked tightly with Aginter Press, and the secret army Delle Chiaie would set up in Spain. They were also met by Jose Antonio Giron a former Franco minister who housed Borghese and Delle Chiaie in his Villa. Finally they were met by Mario Sanchez Covisa a wealthy businessman who ran the Guerrillas of Christ the King death squad that Delle Chiaie would soon be working closely with. Delle Chiaie was soon working for spanish intelligence SECED his army of Italian fascists were formed into a death squad to wage a secret war on the Basque Separatists ETA and on the spanish left. They were responsible for over 1000 violent attacks and at least 50 murders. The most infamous was the Atocha Massacre of 1977 when a dozen left wing lawyers were machine gunned and 5 of them died.
In addition to his activities as a death squad leader in Spain, Delle Chiaie also opened a restaurant with his wife Leda Minetti that was the hangout for any fascist terrorists that happened to be passing through. More importantly it was in Spain that Delle Chiaie began to form close ties to Latin America through those living in exile in Spain like fellow P2 members Juan Peron and Jose Lopez Rega “el Brujo” the founder of the AAA death squad in Argentina. Some say Delle Chiaie helped Lopez Rega organize the massacre of 300 left wing peronists on the day of Peron’s return from exile June 20 1973 and that he loaned him some gladio terrorists. Late in 1973 Borghese and Stefano Delle Chiaie were invited to Chile by DINA Chilean Intelligence. They traveled under cover as journalists and met with DINA head Manuel Contreras who took a liking to Delle Chiaie. Delle Chiaie also befriend CIA terrorist Michael Townley who was working for DINA after helping to supervise the fascist death squad Patria y Libertad. In the summer of 1975 Delle Chiaie snuck into Italy to meet with Michael Townley in Rome and agreed to help Operation Condor carry out assassinations in europe of exiles as well as to use his network to spy on them. Delle Chiaie’s favorite hitman the Sicilian Pierluigi Concutelli shot Chilean exile Bernardo Leighton and his wife Ana Fresno in Rome although they managed to survive. This assassination was planned at the Delle Chiaie meeting with Townley and CIA cuban Virgilio Paz who was on loan to DINA. Delle Chiaie’s men were more successful when they assassinated General Joaquin Zenteno Anaya who was serving as Bolivian ambassador in Paris in May of 1976. Ironically Zenteno Anaya was the US trained ranger commander who had captured Che Guevara in 1967. However Bolivia’s Fascist dictator Hugo Banzer ordered his own ambassador killed for his loyalty to ex-president Torres who would also soon be killed by Operation Condor in Argentina. Operation Condor was in a narrow sense an intelligence sharing and assassination program targeting political exiles. More broadly speaking it was an alliance of fascist latin american governments installed by the CIA that waged a dirty war of torture and assassination on anyone threatening the economic interests of the local eilte and the multinational corporations.
Delle Chiaie’s prior work for Operation Condor would prove very useful because in 1975 both Franco and Skorzeny were to die, Portugal and Greece’s fascist governments had also collapsed the year before. Yves Guerin-Serac had moved to Spain working closely with Delle Chiaie. Delle Chiaie would soon be heading for Latin America as fascism was collapsing in western europe. Before heading for South America however I must first catalog the continuing series of attacks carried out in Italy by terrorists with links to Delle Chiaie. Despite supposedly being a wanted man Delle Chiaie was allowed to secretly enter Italy seemingly whenever he choose. He still controlled the gladio terrorist groups like ON and AN and mysteriously seemed to control new ones like NAR (Armed Revolutionary Nuclei) and the Third Position. Thus Delle Chiaie can be linked to the Peteano car bombing of May 31, 1972 which targeted the carabinieri was carried out by his followers including Vincenzo Vinciguerra who’s testimony would later expose gladio. 200 Communists were rounded up after the attack. In 1974 Stefano Delle Chiaie and his men would form close ties to the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) which had also been a key funder of Aginter Press. On May 28 1974 a bomb planted in a garbage can exploded at an anti-fascist rally in Brescia killing 8 and injuring 102 people. It was ordered by Delle Chiaie’s old mentor Pino Rauti. On August 4 1974 a bomb exploded on the Rome-Munich “Italicus” express train 12 were killed 48 injured Delle Chiaie’s follower Mario Tutti and his old fascist friend from Greece Kostas Plevris were both implicated in the attack. Delle Chiaie also ordered the death of examining magistrate Vittorio Occorsio on June 14 1976 carried out by Pierluigi Concutelli and Aldo Tisei who headed Delle Chiaie’s fascist network in Italy.
In February 1977 the spanish police raided a covert arms factory in Madrid owned by Mario Sanchez Covisa who ran the Guerrillas for Christ the King which was closely allied to Delle Chiaie’s spanish secret army. They arrested 9 AN members, discovered a bomb making factory and the M10 machine pistol used to assassinate Judge Occorsio. The Ingram M10 machine pistol (which seemed designed for terrorist attacks) had been manufactured by a company belonging to CIA silencer expert Mitch WehrBell III (worthy of his own article) and supplied to spanish intelligence who supplied it to Delle Chiaie who gave it to Concutelli to kill Occorsio. The Police also found clues leading to a safe deposit box with 3 bars of gold from a 25 million dollar bank robbery carried out by the Albert Spaggiari and the Paladin mercenary group in Nice in 1976. Delle Chiaie and Yves Guerin Serac had been warned in advance and escaped.
Delle Chiaie would soon resurface in Chile acting as an adviser in the setting up of death squads. He was so popular with his DINA employers that they started wearing ON pins with the SS Motto on them (ON and AN had merged.) He had helped DINA set up an Aginter Press style chilean press agency AIP. Delle Chiaie also set up the front company Ibercom to fund condor ops. Ibercom employed chemist Eugenio Berrios who conducted experiments on the nerve gas Sarin in Michael Townley’s basement. Sarin can be used as a chemical weapon but Berrios discovered a tiny dosage could also be used to kill someone and make it appear to be a heart attack. DINA files seized in 1978 also show DINA employed AN members Pierluigi Pagliai ( one of the Brsecia bombers and one of the most sadistic members of the Fiances of Death in Bolivia) and Vincenzo Vinciguerra the Peteano bomber. Unfortunately for Delle Chiaie back in 1976 (when George H. W. Bush was CIA director) his partner in crime Michael Townley had planned the Letelier bombing in Washington DC. Now with the Carter Administration in office it was pressuring Chile to turn over Townley while at the same time covering up Townley’s CIA ties. Delle Chiaie’s sponsor Manuel Contreras influence was waning in Chile as the pressure mounted and so Delle Chiaie headed for Argentina in 1978.
On March 24, 1976 when George H.W. Bush was CIA director a fascist military coup had occurred overthrowing Isabel Peron and installing General Jorge Videla as dictator and the brutal dirty war was intensified. Delle Chiaie loved the new fascist junta but since he had close ties to the peronists it took him a while to win over the new junta. Or at least that’s one version. He traveled to Colombia and Venezuela. Delle Chiaie traveled to Paraguay and Central America becoming an adviser to Roberto D’Aubuisson praising the ruthless effectiveness of their murderous counter-insurgency strategy. Delle Chiaie agreed to recruit european fascist mercenaries to serve in El Salvador’s death squads. In El Salvador he befriended the Argentine adviser Major Hugo Raul Miori Pereira and so on his return to Argentina was recruited into Argentine Intelligence. In Argentina he met with exiled Bolivian dictator Hugo Banzer and he would soon join 70 Argentine Intelligence agents that were being sent to Bolivia in preparation for the infamous Cocaine Coup. Argentina and the CIA were worried that moderate Hernan Siles Zuazo would win the upcoming elections. First Delle Chiaie traveled to Guatemala and El Salvador to offer more advice and encouragement on mass murder and psychological warfare.
Stefano Delle Chiaie arrived in Bolivia in November 1979 along with Pierluigi Pagliai and was hired by Department 2 to work alongside Klaus Barbie. Delle Chiaie and Pagliai had already met Klaus Barbie on a previous trip to Bolivia in 1978. Klaus Barbie had served in the SS during the war mostly in France but possibly also on the eastern front where he made formed close ties to the Ukrainian fascists of the OUN. In France he had tortured the leader of the resistance Jean Moulin to death and overseen the deportation of 50 jewish orphans to the death camps among many other war crimes. After the war he had been recruited by American Intelligence in the form of the CIC running a network of SS men, Ukrainian OUN and Croatian Ustasi before being sent along the Ratline to Bolivia by way of Argentina in the 1950’s. In Bolivia Barbie was a personal friend to dictator Hugo Banzer and other presidents and an adviser to Bolivian intelligence on counter-insurgency. He was also a key member of a network of former SS that formed their own parallel version of Operation Condor sharing intelligence, raising funds from arms dealing and financial fraud. Barbie was close friend and business partner to SS conman Fritz Schwend in their currency smuggling scam and was also part of Skorzeny’s network of arms dealers. In 1978 Barbie recruited Joachim Fiebelkorn a second generation german fascist whose major regret was being born after the war in 1947 he joined Skorzeny’s Paladin mercenary group and the KDS neo-nazis also serving in the spanish foreign legion. Fiebelkorn had fled Paraguay after drunkenly challenging ex-SS Adolf Meinike to a game of russian roulette that ended in Meinike’s death. Barbie recruited him to provide muscle for Bolivian drug kingpin Roberto Suarez “the King of Coca” and Fiebelkorn created the Fiances of Death to serve as a death squad to keep his Colombian costumers in line. Barbie was impressed and soon the Fiances were made drug enforcement agents thanks to Barbie’s boss at Department 2 Luis Arce Gomez who was also Suarez’s cousin and a major drug dealer in his own right. The Fiances recruited SS veterans, neo-nazis, OAS members and South African mercenaries. According to Christie CIA officer William Adgar Moffet III helped train the Fiances of Death.
This was the scene in Bolivia Delle Chiaie was arriving in so of course he felt right at home working with yet another group of fascist mercenaries and death squads. Delle Chiaie impressed Barbie with his fanaticism and created his own death squad the Phoenix commando made up mostly of Italians and Argentinians. Delle Chiaie advised a wave of assassinations to make way for the planned coup. He advised the use of masked paramilitary death squads to carry out the killings. In February 1980 the newspaper Aquis was bombed for printing exposes on ruling class Bolivians involved in the drug traffic. In March 1980 the papers editor jesuit priest Luis Espinal was kidnapped and tortured to death. Barbie’s old friend former dictator Hugo Banzer had been infamous for declaring war on liberation philosophy and assassinating priests, nuns, and lay workers as part of his Banzer Plan. On June 2 1980 Siles Zuazo’s VP candidate nearly died in a sabotaged plane which crashed killing 4 others. It had been rented from a company owned by Delle Chiaie’s boss Arce Gomez. Also in June Delle Chiaie flew to europe to plan the Bologna bombing in France and flew to Belgium to a conference held by the fascist VMO which would later be linked to a series of mass killings in Belgium. On June 29 1980 Hernan Siles Zuazo won the general election he was scheduled to take office on August 6 1980.
On July 17 1980 Arce Gomez and army head Garcia Meza staged a coup that would become infamous as the Bolivian Cocaine Coup. The same day the powerful left wing union COB held a meeting of the Committe for the Defense of Democracy to plan a strategy of resisting the coup. Suddenly machine gun fire shattered the windows and as they ducked for cover Delle Chiaie and the Fiances of death invaded the building and ordered everyone out telling union leader Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz to stay behind he refused and they shot him and one of his comrades. Everyone else was arrested the women were raped and all of them were beaten and tortured for a week locked in cement cells with no food or toilets. They were interrogated by hooded men with Argentine or Italian accents meaning Delle Chiaie’s friends and allies. At least 20 union leaders were killed the day of the coup. The miners managed to resist the coup for 2 weeks until their leaders were killed or arrested. Within a month at least 500 had been killed and 2000 were wounded. Delle Chiaie’s men prowled the streets in ambulances kidnapping or disappearing people and anyone who saw an ambulance ran for their lives.
The Fiances of Death were renamed the Special Commando Group and also given jobs in the Bolivian drug enforcement agency. Roberto Suarez, Arce Gomez and the other 3 top drug kingpins had decided to enforce a monopoly on the drug trade. Arce Gomez had been promoted to head the Interior Ministry and he demanded a 10% tax be paid to himself personally on all profits from the drug trade. The Fiances of death were given a list of 140 small time drug manufacturers to kill and torture. They were ordered to turn the drugs in to the Interior Ministry but were allowed to steal any other valuables for themselves. It was in reality merely a slightly more corrupt and dramatic example of how the war on drugs always works with some of the big dealers getting immunity and put on CIA, DEA, FBI or police payroll as informants supplying names of their competitors who are then arrested. The prisons fill up with low level drug dealers while the drugs continue endlessly to flow in. In America the police are allowed to seize the property and sell it off just like the Fiances of Death. The drunken insane Fiances launched a reign of terror in Bolivia killing each other and terrorizing local businessmen. Meanwhile Delle Chiaie’s henchman Pierluigi Pagliai became infamous for sadistically torturing his victims while wearing ballet tights he loved to torture his victims with electricity.
Only 2 weeks after the coup Delle Chiaie’s earlier trip to europe resulted in the bloodiest attack Italy would suffer during it’s years of lead. On August 2 1980 a bomb exploded at the Bologna railway station 85 were killed 200 were wounded. In April of 82 4 of Delle Chiaie’s accomplices would be arrested and finger him as the planner. Like the Piazza Fontana bombing it was staged to distract from the collapsing P2 Vatican banking scandal by Lecio Gelli. On August 12 1982 Luigi Concutelli strangled Delle Chiaie’s main go between to Europe Carmine Palladino to keep him quiet.
Back in Bolivia in 1980 Delle Chiaie was put in charge of gaining international support for the new government which only South Africa and Argentina had recognized the Carter Administration having withdrawn it’s ambassador and the OAS having condemned it. Delle Chiaie was sent to the September 2 1980 WACL conference in Argentina where he introduced his Bolivian hosts to El Salvadoran fascist death squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson who agreed to supply weapons and advisers in exchange for drugs. In April of 81 Arce Gomez concerned the Fiances were out of control because of their drunken rampages, threats to the police and arrest of his mistress paid Joachim Fiebelkorn to leave the country. He was arrested in Brazil with 8 of his men 3 kilos of cocaine and a massive amount of Nazi paraphernalia. He was quickly released. On August 3 1981 President Garcia Meza’s rule ended after he failed to put down an earlier military rebellion attempting to rally the military he made the mistake of hitting a commander while yelling at him. The commander responded by kicking the president in the balls and pulling a gun on him. He was replaced by a military junta and then by General Celso Torrelio. Delle Chiaie continued his work for the new regimes but the country was bankrupt and tottering. The Reagan administration had re-established diplomatic relations with Bolivia but the new Ambassador Edwin Corr had launched a personal vendetta against Barbie, Delle Chiaie, and Pagliai. In July of 1982 Ambassador Corr took a secret trip to Italy to arrange for the arrest of Pagliai and Delle Chiaie. By September of 1982 the Bologna Bombing investigation had progressed enough for warrants to be issued for the arrest of Delle Chiaie and Pagliai. On October 10 1982 the day Hernan Siles Zuazo was finally inaugurated Italian spies and Bolivian police arrived to arrest Delle Chiaie and Pagliai. Both had been warned in advance and Delle Chiaie hid out in Cochabamba but Pagliai delayed going into hiding spending the day sunbathing. It was a fatal mistake after surrendering he was shot in the throat by the Italian secret service to keep him from talking and he died 23 days later. Delle Chiaie escaped to Argentina he hinted that he had been warned by the CIA to escape. Even as Edwin Corr was attempting to have him arrested Delle Chiaie still had mysterious friends in US Intelligence since at some point in 1982 he made a trip to the United States with an equally notorious gladio terrorist the turkish Grey Wolf and Heroin kingpin Abdullah Catli who was linked to the Taksim Square massacre and the shooting of the pope. Catli would later move to Chicago where he became a key element the CIA’s Gladio B terror campaign in Central Asia before dying in the infamous Susurluk incident in Turkey in 1996. Miami was then a center for the covert war on Nicaragua and Delle Chiaie is also believed to have arranged drug deals to finance the contras for his Argentine, Bolivian, and Salvadoran friends.
There is scant information on the rest of Delle Chiaie’s career after the collapse of the Argentine Junta he spent 3 years in Venezuela from 1984-87. In March of 1987 he was finally arrested knocked down by a karate chop from a policewoman when he tried to escape. The CIA and Italian intelligence appeared within hours. Delle Chiaie was deported to stand trial in Italy for his crimes. On February 20 1989 he was cleared of all charges in the Piazza Fontana bombing. He was never punished for any of his many crimes. Many details of his career remain a mystery to this day such as when exactly the CIA recruited him. However given that both people above him like Pino Rauti and people below him like Ventura were on the CIA payroll and especially given his complete immunity from prosecution he was almost certainly put on the CIA payroll at some point in the 1960’s. His ties to the mafia are also somewhat mysterious although Fiebelkorn would claim that Delle Chiaie was the main liaison between the Latin American drug cartels and the Sicilian Mafia. One of Delle Chiaie’s Lieutenants Pierluigi Concutelli was a key member of the Mafia’s “Kidnap Anonymous” Kidnapping ring. In addition his true role as a terror planner remains unclear in some cases he may have served as a convenient scapegoat which is what he himself always claimed. On May 11 1994 the party he founded Avanguardia Nazionale became part of the Italy’s government as it was incorporated into P2 member Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition government. On May 17 1996 the PDS the new name for the PCI the Italian Communist Party was finally allowed to become part of the coalition government the very thing 40 years of gladio terrorism had been designed to prevent. Delle Chiaie would remain an unrepentant fascist to the end publishing his memoirs “L’aquila e il Condor Memor di Un Militante Politico.” On September 9 2019 he died of natural causes. The man himself remains an enigma but his infamous career demonstrates the horrors that result when intelligence agencies are above the law, when fascism is fueled worldwide in order to forestall revolution. Terrorists, death squads, drug cartels, all puppets of the CIA. Torture, coups, bombings, and financial crashes all planned chaos in the name of preserving capitalism.
My main source is Stuart Christie’s “Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist”
“The Fourth Reich: Klaus Barbie and the Neo-Fascist Connection” by Magnus Linklater, Isabel Hilton and Neal Acherson also discusses Delle Chiaie and has an in depth account Bolivian Cocaine Coup.
Nato’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe by Daniele Ganser is a masterpiece which covers Gladio in all the NATO countries.
Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between The Vatican, The CIA, and the Mafia by Paul L. Williams covers the dizzying array of scandals in postwar Italy as well as some interesting material on Latin America.
Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America by J.P. McSherry is a masterpiece covering operation condor.
Stuart Christie’s Stefano Delle Chiaie book is available free online as a PDF
It’s also available in an online version
Stuart Christie on Stefano Delle Chiaie’s 1987 arrest in Venezuela
Stefano Delle Chiaie’s obituary
Archive on Stefano Delle Chiaie from a site dedicated to studying GLADIO
JFK and GLADIO
Dave Emory and Nip Tuck on the interlocking Post-War Italian scandals
Dave Emory and Nip Tuck on the CIA Drug Connection part 4 is on the “Bolivian Cocaine Coup”