Document:Democratic State v Deep State

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An excellent introduction to deep politics. By clarifying the real role of the Secret Intelligence Services and the policy agenda they under firm control in most Western 'Democracies' (especially the UKUSA nations), it demonstrates the irrelevance of the party-political masquerade.

Disclaimer (#3)Document.png essay  by Ola Tunander dated 2008/01/01
Subjects: Deep Politics, democracies, Deep state
Source: PRIO (Link)

Author's Note

This essay originated as an unpublished 2008 conference paper. It was later incorporated as chapter 2 of the book Government of the Shadows: Parapolitics and Criminal Sovereignty. [1]


4star.png 5 June 2010 Peter  Highly recommended for anyone seeking to understand the 'smoke and mirrors' world of foreign affairs and domestic security policy.
As this essay observes, in the UK, Privy council level political appointment involves gradual progressive initiation into it's sordid realities. Remain complicit and your career may blossom; threaten it and (pace the likes of Robin Cook) it were better you just agree to spend more time with your family lest some form of unpleasantness - or worse - befall you. For the rest of us there is a child-like patriotic narrative of derring-do in hostile and backward parts of the world, trying to help the poor benighted natives and generally seeking to do good in the world whilst being stoically misunderstood - a complete load of old garbage in other words.
5star.png 17 January 2020 Terje 

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Approaching The Dual State Of The West

In a 1955 study of the United States State Department, Hans Morgenthau discussed the existence of a US ‘dual state’. According to Morgenthau, the US state includes both a ‘regular state hierarchy’ that acts according to the rule of law and a more or less hidden ‘security hierarchy’ — which I will refer to here as the ‘security state’ (also known in some countries as the ‘deep state’) — that not only acts in parallel to the former but also monitors and exerts control over it. In Morgenthau’s view, this security aspect of the state — the ‘security state’ — is able to ‘exert an effective veto over the decisions’ of the regular state governed by the rule of law. While the ‘democratic state’ offers legitimacy to security politics, the ‘security state’ intervenes where necessary, by limiting the range of democratic politics. While the ‘democratic state’ deals with political alternatives, the ‘security state’ enters the scene when ‘no alternative exists’, when particular activities are ‘securitised’ — in the event of an ‘emergency’. In fact, the security state is the very apparatus that defines when and whether a ‘state of emergency’ will emerge. This aspect of the state is what Carl Schmitt, in his 1922 work Political Theology, referred to as the ‘sovereign’.

Logically speaking, one might argue that Morgenthau’s ‘dual state’ is derived from the same duality as that described in Ernst Fraenkel’s conception of the ‘dual state’, which Fraenkel described as typifying the Nazi regime of Hitler’s Germany. In the Nazi case, though, this duality was overt, combining the ‘regular’ legal state with a parallel ‘prerogative state’, an autocratic paramilitary emergency state or Machtstaat that operated outside or ‘above’ the legal system, with its philosophical foundation in the Schmittian ‘sovereign’. Fraenkel refers to Emil Lederer, who argues that this Machtstaat (‘power state’, as distinct from the Rechtstaat) has its historical origins in the European aristocratic elite, which still played an important role within European society after the triumph of democracy. This elite acted behind the scene in the 1920s, but considered it necessary to intervene in support of the Nazi Party in the 1930s to prevent a possible socialist takeover. However, this autocratic Machtstaat — the Nazi SS-state — was arbitrary, because of its individualised command. In his analysis, Morgenthau draws a parallel between Nazi Germany and the US dual state. Indeed, in his view, the autocratic ‘security state’ may be less visible and less arbitrary in democratic societies such as the US, but it is no less important. Morgenthau argues that the power of making decisions remains with the authorities charged by law with making them, while, as a matter of fact, by virtue of their power over life and death, the agents of the secret police… [and what I would call the security state: author] at the very least exert an effective veto over [these] decisions.

Below, I will demonstrate that the activity of the ‘security state’ — or the "deep state" — concerns not just the vetoing of democratic decisions, but also the ‘fine tuning of democracy,’ for example through the ‘fostering’ of war or terrorism to create fear and increase public demands for protection. The ‘security state’ is able to calibrate or manipulate the policies of the ‘democratic state’ through the use of a totally different logic of politics — a kind of politics that in this book is referred to as "parapolitics" and which operates outside the law to define the limits of the legal discourse. The argument presented here is not meant as a normative statement, but rather as an attempt to describe and analyse the Western state as it actually operates, both inside and outside the law.

This argumentation has already appeared in Italy both in the parliamentary report on terrorism and among scholars. Franco de Felice re-introduced the concept of dual state in Italy in his ‘Doppia lealta e doppio stato’ (1989). He argues that that the dual state is born from an incapacity of the regular state to reconcile domestic policies with foreign policies. But if the Italian dual state, logically speaking, originates from the attempt to bridge between domestic and foreign policy, it originates, historically speaking, from Italy’s post-war ‘historical compromise’ between the emerging democratic forces of the allies and the remaining forces of fascist Italy. At the very end of the Second World War, US intelligence (with later CIA Chief for Counter-Intelligence James Jesus Angleton and his Italian contact, Federico Umberto D'Amato, head of Italian secret service up to the 1980s) recruited large numbers of officials and soldiers from the fascist Republic of Salò and from its Special Forces, Decima MAS, for the new Italian state. This recruitment program included figures like Prince Junio Valerio Borhese, Pino Rauti and Licio Gelli, who are believed to have played a major role in the terrorism and ‘coup attempts’ in Cold War Italy (see below). In the 1960s to the 1980s, these more or less aristocratic fascists came to operate within an extra-legal shadow government or invisible government in liaison with US intelligence and in parallel to the regular democratic state.

Paolo Cucchiarelli and Aldo Giannulli have written in their Lo Stato Parallelo (1997) about the dual state or ‘parallel state’ as a state that operates both inside and outside the law; and Rosella Dossi has written about the dual state in Italy’s Invisible Government (2001). Similar to de Felice these Italian scholars refer back to Ernst Fraenkel, not to Hans Morgenthau. Morgenthau’s analysis is very useful, however, because it is able to combine the concept of democracy with an autocratic Machtstaat or ‘shadow government’, thus putting a finger on an aspect of the state that is often neglected in political science. Morgenthau was a traditional ‘realist’ who inherited important ideas from Carl Schmitt, and was able to flesh out Schmitt’s rather abstract analysis of the sovereign. My ambition in this chapter is to continue along that path, to give yet more substance to this line of thinking and, at the same time, make it accessible to a wider audience.

The Sovereign As The 'Deep State'

Let us approach the idea of the 'sovereign' as the security side of the state — what some would call the "deep state" — by looking at a few examples.

Recent trials and parliamentary inquires in Italy have established that bombing campaigns in the late 1960s and 1970s in that country — and probably elsewhere in Europe — were run not by various anarchist or other left-wing groups, as had been generally believed at the time, but were instead carried out by action squads known as Nuclei di Difesa della Stato (Nuclei for Defence of the State, or NDS) in accordance with a political strategy known as the ‘Strategy of Tension’. Already in 1964, Angleton’s close colleague, William Harvey, then CIA station chief in Rome, had recommended Colonel Renzo Rocca, Chief of Italian Military Intelligence Division R (Gladio: the Italian Stay-Behinds), to use his ‘action squads’ to ‘carry out bombings against Christian Democratic Party offices’ in order to implicate the Italian Communist Party (PCI). These ‘gladiators’ had been ‘recruited from Republic of Salò and from the Italian former naval Special Forces Decima MAS and other militant Fascist organizations.’ From 1966, US and Italian intelligence started to recruit action squads for a ‘parallel Gladio’, or NDS, from Pino Rauti’s fascist organisation Ordine Nuovo. Subsequently, while masquerading as left-wingers, anarchists and Maoists, Italian NDS squads from Ordine Nuovo, in collaboration with the fascist Avanguardia Nazionale and their successor organisations, carried out a bombing campaign that resulted in the deaths of more than hundred people, in direct collaboration with the CIA and ‘US factions’ of the Italian intelligence and security services.

Later, Carlo Digilio, who had worked with the CIA in Italy, would recount in court hearings how he had collaborated with activists from Ordine Nuovo and how the bombing campaign had been linked to a US plan to introduce a state of emergency in Italy in order to exclude the political left from government. The same view was presented by Italian Chief of Counter-Intelligence, General Gianadelio Maletti, who confirmed in court that US intelligence had provided Ordine Nuovo with explosives for the first major Italian bomb attack (Milan in 1969). Digilio also described how he passed on details of planned bomb attacks to his CIA contact, Captain David Carrett, who had also told him that the bombing campaign was part of a US plan to establish a state of emergency in order to control Italian domestic politics.

In 1974, however, after several years of bombings in Italy, a number of activists from Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale were forced to flee the country. This led to a pause in their bombing campaign, with no major operations being carried out until 1980, when a bomb at Bologna’s railway station left 85 dead and more than 200 wounded. However, also in early 1970s, as General Maletti and others have confirmed, Italian and US intelligence and secret service agents were able to assume vital positions at the highest levels of Italy’s Red Brigades. In 1974, the left-wing leadership of the Red Brigades had been arrested, facilitating the ‘takeover’ of the organisation by the US and Italian services. This resulted in the launch of a range of professional military operations, a period of ‘blind terror’ and a radical increase in the number of attacks being carried out within Italy.

It thus seems that the Italian "deep state" switched to using the Red Brigades as its major extra-legal instrument following the flight of right-wing activists in 1974.

After the murder of Aldo Moro in 1978, his wife recounted how a senior US official had threatened to use ‘groups on the fringes’ of the official services to kill her husband ‘if he did not abandon his policy’ of a ‘historical compromise’ with the left. Notably, the ‘Red Brigade’ kidnapping of Moro in March 1978 took place on the very day on which his ‘compromise’ was to go to the vote in the Italian parliament. Later, it was discovered that an apartment and printing press used by the "Red Brigades" at this time belonged to SISMI, Italy’s military intelligence.

It is now indisputable that the use of terrorism was an element of US policy with respect to Italy. US policy was not just to infiltrate and monitor extremist groups, but also ‘to instigate acts of violence’, to quote Italian Chief of Counter-Intelligence General Gianadelio Maletti. A similar strategy, Maletti believed, was also carried out in other European countries. Thus, although a bomb attack in 1972 was first blamed on the Red Brigades, it later transpired that the attack had been carried out by Ordine Nuovo’s Vincenzo Vinciguerra. While Vinciguerra described himself in court as genuinely fascist, he argued that Ordine Nuovo no longer was: it had been turned into a covert military arm of the ‘state’. Here, in using the term ‘state’, Vinciguerra is speaking of the ‘security state’ — the ‘deep state’ or parallel state that is prepared to use extra-legal violence to force the general population to trade democratic freedoms for security and protection, establishing a political order that limits the range of democratic discourse and the rule of law.

Similarly, in Turkey, terrorists detonating bombs were exposed as agents of gendarmerie intelligence. Former Turkish Prime Minister and President Suleyman Demirel argued in 2005, ‘In our country there are two [states]: There is one deep state and one other state [the legal state].’ This ‘deep state’ allegedly detonates bombs under cover of being terrorists (Kurdish, left-wing or Islamic) to justify emergency measures. ‘The state that should be the real is the spare one, the one that should be spare is the real one’, Demirel added. In January 2007, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that there is a ‘deep state’, and ‘it should be minimized’. He added that this structure exists in all countries. ‘We can describe it as gangs inside a state organization, and this kind of structure does exist,’ he said. David Philips wrote for the Council of Foreign Relations: ‘The deep state – a shadowy network involving the military and intelligence apparatus as well as the state bureaucracy — is the ultimate arbiter of power.’ As stated by Cucchiarelli and Giannulli, in Italy this ‘deep state’ or clandestine ‘parallel state’ makes an illegitimate use of power not to subvert, but rather to preserve, the current system of power. The terrorist acts were explicitly carried out in defence of the state by the so-called Nuclei di Difesa della Stato.

In the final analysis, it is the deep state that is the state structure that decides when and when not to use illegal measures to keep order. In Schmitt’s words, it is this ‘state’ that is the actual ‘sovereign’, the entity that is able to establish order and the rule of law through operations outside the law: ‘The sovereign is he who decides on the exception… For a legal order to make sense, a normal situation must exist, and he is sovereign who definitely decides whether this normal situation actually exists.’

The Historical Origin Of European Terrorism

In his Theory of the Partisan (1963), Schmitt describes the irregular fighter or anti-state insurgent as a ‘partisan’, and in the battle between the state and insurgents, he argues, the state will ‘fight like a partisan wherever there are partisans.’ Schmitt continues, ‘In the vicious circle of terror and counter-terror, the combat of the partisan is often simply a mirror-image of the partisan battle itself … you have to fight like a partisan wherever there are partisans.’ Schmitt refers to the example of French General Raoul Salan, head of the Organisation d’Armée Secrète (OAS) that from 1961 carried out a campaign of mass terror against the insurgency in Algeria. Salan introduced the ideas of ‘revolutionary war’ to fight the insurgency using its own methods. Already from late 1950s, French settlers and the French Secret Service set up an organisation, the Red Hand, for the assassination of nationalist Algerians trying to buy small arms abroad. The Red Hand poisoned their targets or let Algerians carry out the killings to indicate an internal Algerian feud, but from early 1960s the OAS also attacked French citizens, in order to lay the blame for such attacks on the Arab insurgency. In Italy from the mid-1960s, the ‘sovereign’ employed similar terror tactics against the Italian population, laying the blame on the left and the increasingly democratic PCI.

The general ideas for the bombing campaign in Italy, the Strategy of Tension and the concept of ‘revolutionary war’ were presented at a seminar in May 1965 — financed by Colonel Rocca’s Gladio division of Italian military intelligence — at the Alberto Polio Institute for Military Studies in Rome. Among the participants at that seminar were top-ranking Italian military officers and politicians linked to NATO and the USA. A central figure was General Adriano Guilio Cesare Magi Braschi, Chief of Division for Unconventional Warfare of the Italian Milititary Intelligence. He had been close to the OAS and had, according to the court case in Milano 2001, played an important role for the initiation of the Nuclei di Difesa della Stato. Among the speakers presenting the concepts of the Strategy of Tension and ‘revolutionary war’ were two ‘journalists’: Pino Rauti, leader of Ordine Nuovo, and Guidi Giannettini, a fascist intelligence operative and liaison to the OAS. Both Rauti and Giannettini were writing a strategy booklet for the Chief of Staff General Giuseppe Aloja and both were central figures in Ordine Nuovo that subsequently carried out the bombing campaign of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In 1965—66, the international fascist intelligence network Aginter Press was established to implement the Strategy of Tension, with support from the Portuguese security service PIDE and the CIA. This network included a unit specialising in the infiltration of anarchist and pro-Chinese groups, and its ‘correspondents’ would use such organisations as a cover for carrying out bombings and other violent attacks. Aginter Press also included a strategic centre for subversion and intoxication operations, along with an executive action organisation OACI that carried out assassinations (most likely the same ‘pool of assassins’ that William Harvey, CIA Station Chief in Italy, had recruited in Europe for the CIA’s ‘Executive Action Capability’). All of these divisions of Aginter Press were under the leadership of French OAS officer and former US liaison officer Captain Yves Guillou (alias Yves Guerin Serac), in collaboration with the American intelligence operative Jay Sablonsky (alias Jay Salby) and the French former SS officer Robert Leroy, who had served as an instructor during the war for the Nazi Special Forces commanded by Otto Skorzeny.

Their network brought together Nazi and fascist activists from intelligence services and security services all over Europe (West Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) and Latin America, South Africa and the US. Italian ‘correspondents’ for Aginter Press included the co-founder Stefano delle Chiaie (leader of Avanguardia Nazionale), Pino Rauti and Guidi Giannettini, who collaborated with French OAS leader Pierre Lagaillarde (also involved in the assassination attempt on the French President, Charles de Gaulle). Some of these, such as delle Chiaie and Rauti, were also linked to the US-dominated World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Magi Braschi was later Italian representative of WACL. An Aginter Press document from 1969 (found in Lisbon in 1974) paints a picture identical to that presented by Giannettini earlier in 1965, with proposals for ‘selective terrorism… eliminating certain carefully selected persons’ (including assassination of political leaders) and ‘indiscriminate terrorism’, including ‘randomly shooting down people with firearms’ and the use of bombs in public squares or buildings, in accordance with the Strategy of Tension bombing campaign. Judge Guido Salvini told the senators investigating the bombing campaign that instructors from Aginter Press ‘came to Rome between 1967 and 1968 and instructed the militant members of Avanguardia Nazionale in the use of explosives’. The intention with the bombings was to create a climate of chaos to dramatise political life in order to ‘securitize’ issues previously open to public debate, thus limiting the range of the democratic discourse. Another Aginter Press document (from 1968) states:

In our opinion the first action that we should undertake is the destruction of institutions of the state under the cover of Communist and Maoist actions … This will create a feeling of hostility towards those that threaten the peace … Maoist circles characterized by their own impatience and zeal, are [especially] suitable for infiltration.

The document also states that ‘we already have elements infiltrated into all these [Communist and Maoist] groups’. From late 1960s, fascist activists in Italy started to dress as left-wingers. They masqueraded as Maoists and anarchists while conducting ‘false flag’ terrorist operations, particularly a bombing campaign, in collaboration with US intelligence in order to manipulate public opinion and limit the range of the democratic discourse. In the early and mid-1980s, attacks similar to those that had taken place in Italy were also conducted in Belgium, including the random shooting of 28 people in supermarkets outside Brussels in 1983–85. A ‘left-wing’ terrorist group known as the Cellules Communistes Combattantes (CCC) was accused of having carried out these operations. Later, however, it transpired that the attacks had been conducted by fascist and Nazi groups, with US support. Like Aginter Press before it, the neo-Nazi organisation Westland New Post operating in Belgium contained both an intelligence division and a special operations division. It was run by Belgian agent Paul Latinus in collaboration with US intelligence and the WACL. Around the same time, US Army special forces began a programme of targeting Western/NATO installations in Belgium, while disguising themselves as terrorists. Indeed, the CCC may have simply been a cover for this form of ‘deep state’ extra-legal activity. Notably, the CCC was supported by prominent Belgian neo-fascist Jean-Francois Thiriart, who had founded a ‘Belgium OAS’, had close ties to the French OAS and had initiated the European-wide fascist organisation Jeune Europe, a forerunner of Aginter Press.

The Sovereign Defining The Limits Of The Democratic Discourse

Drawing on these two examples of Italy and Belgium, we see that Western European states have seemingly been characterised by the existence of a regular ‘democratic state’, on the one hand, and a ‘security state’ — what Vinciguerra simply calls the ‘state’, a US-linked security structure — on the other. This is what the Italian Parliamentary Commission on terrorism and massacres from 1995 meant by ‘il Doppio Stato’ or ‘the dual state’.

As mentioned, de Felice argues that this dual state is born from the incapacity of the regular democratic state to reconcile domestic politics with foreign policies, primarily its responsibility to the USA and NATO. As Vinciguerra argues, the extra-legal violence did not originate from the ‘terrorist groups’, ‘but from within the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state's relations within the Atlantic Alliance... The December 1969 explosion was supposed to be the detonator which would have convinced the political and military authorities to declare a state of emergency.’ Within such a context, NATO is not just something in between an alliance of sovereign nation-states and a super-state in its own right, but also something of both — with the US ‘supranational political-military authority’ unifying the policies of the individual states. For example, in Italy in the 1960s and the 1970s, two chiefs of military intelligence (SIFAR and later SID) — General Giovanni de Lorenzo and General Vito Miceli — led military ‘coup attempts’ while they were liaison officers to the USA. Both of these men had been appointed on the recommendation of the US ambassador and both later became members of parliament for the Italian fascist party, MSI. When Licio Gelli — a former fascist intelligence officer, US liaison officer and head of the Italian quasi-masonic lodge Propaganda Due (P2) — was interviewed about the Strategy of Tension, he suggested that ‘dictatorship and democracy always march side by side, because democracy is being undermined by dictatorship and dictatorship is being undermined by democracy,’ adding that we have not yet ‘reached an equilibrium.’ For Gelli, the activity of the Italian ‘security state’ during the Cold War was close to what the Turkish military elite would describe as the ‘deep state’ correcting the course of democracy — or the political ‘fine tuning’ of democracy.

In Italy, a number of ‘coup attempts’ took place (in 1964, 1970, 1973 and 1974), though all were called off at critical moments once the government had been reminded of the existence of the ‘state’ — or rather the ‘security state’: the real ‘sovereign’. In these cases, various liaison officers, generals and fascist leaders exerted an effective veto on government policy by informing the prime minister that a coup had been set in progress, warning that he would have to suffer the consequences if he did not back down on his policy. In 1964, for example, a governmental shift to the left was interrupted by General de Lorenzo’s ‘coup’ in collaboration with Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, the ‘Black Prince’ who had headed the Italian naval special forces Decima MAS during the Second World War. To achieve his aims, De Lorenzo set in motion the plan ‘Piano Solo’, which had originally been devised for counter-insurgency purposes (just as Colonel George Papadopulous, the Greek liaison officer to the USA, would similarly activate Greece’s ‘Prometheus’ plan three years later, launching a military coup in Greece to prevent NATO critic Georgios Papandreou from returning as Prime Minister.) In December 1970, another ‘coup’ was launched in Italy. Prince Borghese set in motion the counter-insurgency plan ‘Triangolo’. This time, Borghese’s people — led by Stefano delle Chiaie — had already taken over the Ministry of Interior when the coup was aborted. Borghese’s collaborator, Gaetano Lunetta, later insisted that ‘the truth is that it was a coup and that it succeeded.’ He said that the political result that those who organized the attack sought to attain was achieved: the deep-freezing of the [centre-left] policies of Aldo Moro, the removal of the PCI from the government arena, [and] the assurance of [Italy’s] total pro-Atlantic and pro-American loyalty.

After this followed the Rosa dei Venti ‘coup’ led by General Magi Braschi in 1973 and the so-called ‘White coup’ led by Count Edgardo Sogno in 1974. General Maletti described in court his conversation with Sogno. After Sogno had presented his case to the CIA Station Chief in Rome in July 1974, Maletti had asked Sogno if the Americans would support the coup. Sogno responded, ‘the United States would have supported any initiative tending to keep the communists out of government’. In the court case following the Rosa dei Venti ‘coup’, the coup plotters were accused of ‘having promoted, set up and organized a secret association made up of civilians and military personnel, with the purpose of provoking an armed insurrection and, as a consequence, an illegal alteration of the Constitution and of the form of government through the intervention of the armed forces.’ In October 1974, Chief of Italian Military Intelligence, General Vito Miceli was arrested accused of political conspiracy. However, in court, he argued that the secret organisation accused of overthrowing the government had been formed under a secret agreement with the US and within the framework of NATO. In the later court case in 2001, General Maletti said that Count Sogno had close ties with the CIA.

All the ‘coups’ were carried out in close collaboration with the Americans, and notably, two of the major actors in this game — Federico Umberto D’Amato, chief of the secret service UAR (the Interior Ministry Office of Special Affairs), and Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, leader of the National Front and former president of the fascist party MSI — had been close collaborators with the US postwar liaison to Italy, CIA counter-intelligence chief James Jesus Angleton, since the end of the Second World War. Indeed, Angleton maintained his contacts with Borghese and D’Amato up to the 1970s; and, as CIA Station Chief in Rome in the mid-1960s, William Harvey was Angleton’s close collaborator.

The Sovereign And The Grossraum

The organisation that General Miceli had spoken about in 1974 was Gladio — the Italian ‘Stay-Behind’ army — that would not only ‘stay behind’ in case of a Soviet occupation, but that would also conduct clandestine domestic operations to counter domestic communist forces. The Stay-Behinds were coordinated in Brussels by the very secret Allied Clandestine Committee (also known as the Allied Coordination Committee, ACC) and by the equally secret Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC). In addition, there was a parallel structure. Former chief of the Italian Stay-Behinds, General Gerardo Serravalle (1971–1974), said that when he heard how Vinciguerra, in court, had presented the Stay-Behinds ‘with such a precision and in such detailed terms’ he concluded that Vinciguerra was an insider and that it must have been a parallel structure (later confirmed as the NDS) that he himself was not informed about. Serravalle stated that there was a part of the Stay-Behinds that he did not control and that he was forced by the Americans to carry out this domestic campaign to blame the Left in order to receive material support from the CIA.

Mr Stone [the CIA] stated, quite clearly, that the financial support of the CIA was wholly dependent on our willingness to put into action, to program and plan, these other — shall we call them internal measures [terrorist operations blaming the Communists: author]. I said this was not in the orders for the Stay-Behinds. Nor had it been foreseen by Gladio when the original discussion took place. But this was CIA policy Serravalle said.

In addition to these US-led formal structures, there existed an informal ‘US network’. The US created and maintained special intelligence ties and clandestine ties with individuals not only in Italy and Belgium but all over Europe. These local ‘US elites’ were more tuned to US interests and were often able to influence local state policies, and even to veto or manipulate policies and individuals in conflict with US interests. Such elites formed part of what we have called the ‘security state’ — the ‘sovereign’ — which included informal groups and their network of extra-legal executives.

One such ‘entirely informal group’ was the Cercle Pinay, which brought together Atlanticist ultra-right-wing political leaders, industrialists and intelligence chiefs. It was named after former French Prime Minister Antoine Pinay but was, in practical terms, run by its secretary, the French fascist intelligence operative Jean Violet. Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti has named other participants: US State Secretary Henry Kissinger, US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (host), David Rockefeller from Chase Manhattan Bank, German CSU leader Franz Josef Strauss, Andreotti himself and Pinay’s ‘good friend’, the Italian industrialist Carlo Pesenti. According to David Rockefeller, it was Carlo Pesenti who took him aside and invited him to join the ‘Cercle’. Rockefeller referred to the Cercle as the ‘Pesenti Group’. Pesenti was, according to Christi, the main financial backer of the Aginter Press ‘correspondent’ Stefano delle Chiaie and his Avanguardia Nazionale. Jean Violet had also direct links to Aginter Press. This suggests that the Cercle Pinay acted as some kind of parapolitical ‘board’ to the extra-legal executives of Aginter Press.

Thus, the Schmittian ‘sovereign’ cannot be identified with NATO as a formal organisation, but is rather the parallel hierarchy of informal Western structures with their military/intelligence centre in the US and in some European capitals. And it was this informal security structure, or ‘security state’, that intervened if necessary to guarantee US or ‘Western’ interests. Indeed, the central actors of this Western security network appear as the real ‘sovereign’, in the Schmittian sense, that decides on the exception in the Euro-Atlantic area, or what Schmitt would call Grossraum.

This idea of a Grossraum led by a central power, or Reich, was first introduced by Schmitt in the late 1930s, and further developed in his 1950 work Nomos of the Earth. Distinct from Karl Haushofer’s Lebensraum, Schmitt’s vision of a German Grossraum covered a bloc of independent states under German leadership and protection. Its realisation would have created an economic sphere of interest for Germany, just as the British colonies had come to represent a similar sphere for England. Schmitt based his idea on the US Monroe Doctrine, which denied European and other powers the right to interfere in North and South American affairs. Schmitt sought to apply this approach to Central Europe, a bloc of independent states under German leadership and protection, orchestrated around German political ideas. However, after Germany’s defeat in the Second World War and the Red Army’s advances in the East, it was the US that emerged as Europe’s protecting power.

Western leaders established a Euro-Atlantic ‘bloc of states’, a Grossraum that we call ‘NATO’, orchestrated around Western political ideas and protected by its Reich, the USA. Cold War NATO was a ‘bloc of states’ intended to exclude Soviet intervention. It was led by its central power and unified by its hegemonic political ideas: democracy, market liberalism, national pluralism, the rule of law and collective defence. However, the glue that held Cold War NATO together was not just ideas. Equally important were the informal super-national structures — or rather a hierarchy of such structures under the sovereign’s hegemony. Under this view, NATO — or the Western security community — may have been a more unified entity than even Schmitt’s concept of Grossraum.

The Dual State And The Dual Security Structure

To guarantee the stability and defence of the NATO area, or Grossraum, the US developed a ‘dual security structure’ that included both defensive forces and offensive units that would regularly challenge the defensive force structures. In 2000, US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger (1981–87) confirmed that during the Cold War the US had specifically tasked units to play the role of enemy forces. These would secretly attack Western defences worldwide in order to ‘regularly’ and ‘frequently’ test their capabilities and increase their state of readiness, so that counter-forces to potential Soviet capabilities could be developed prior to their emergence. Referring to covert US/UK submarine operations in Swedish waters in the 1980s, Weinberger stated that "it was necessary to test frequently the capabilities of all countries, not only in the Baltic [Sea] — which is very strategic of course — but in the Mediterranean and Asiatic waters and all the rest…. And it was not just done in the sea. It was done on air defences and land defences as well [see Belgium above: author]... and all this was done on a regular basis and on an agreed upon basis."

In collaboration with local security elites, the US ‘security state’ used special forces that tested and reinforced the defensive capabilities of US allies and friends worldwide. In the case of the submarine intrusions into Swedish waters in the 1980s, a couple of admirals trusted by the US were informed about the operations in advance, but the mass media, local military forces and even the host country government were led to believe that the operations were carried out by the ‘enemy’, the Soviet Union. In the 1970s (up to 1980), only 5 to 10 per cent of the Swedish population believed in a direct Soviet threat. In 1983, however, after a series of submarines turned up within densely populated Swedish archipelagos, 42 per cent of the population viewed the Soviet Union as a direct threat; and the percentage of people viewing the Soviet Union as unfriendly went from 27 per cent to 83 per cent over the same period. Thus, in collaboration with trusted individuals within Sweden, US forces seem to have been able to change the mindset of the population and the government almost overnight. Members of the Swedish ‘security state’, or ‘deep state’, acted in collaboration with their US counterparts to deceive the Swedish government and public. These PSYOPs — psychological or ‘perception management’ operations — were run outside the law.

In that sense, there is a correspondence between the dual state and the ‘dual security structure’ (offensive/defensive forces) of the Western powers. In Italy, for example, the same US officers (David Carrett and others) who ran US operations to ‘test the readiness’ of Italian coastal defences (Delfino Attivo and Delfino Sveglio) simultaneously organised the terrorist campaign aimed at raising the awareness of and ‘changing the mindset’ of the Italian population as a whole.

In a similar development, US Rear-Admiral James Lyons, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations, in 1984 set up a ‘terrorist unit’ — known as the Red Cell — recruited from his own naval special forces (SEAL Team Six), to attack naval bases worldwide. This unit set off bombs, wounded US personnel and took hundreds of hostages as part of its operations. According to Lyons, it was necessary for US forces to get ‘physical’ experience of the terrorist threat in order to ‘change the mindset’ and ‘raise the awareness’ of the troops to prevent a possibly even more devastating attack.

Once again, the US was developing a security system that included both sides of the coin. With the end of the Cold War and the decline of the Soviet threat, however, many Europeans believe this ‘dual structure’ — with its specifically tasked terrorist units — may have evolved into an instrument for establishing not only internal Western stability but also US global hegemony. In such a world, war is no longer waged between the large armies of major powers, but by ‘special units’ to create ‘a special mental atmosphere… to keep the structure of the society intact,’ to quote George Orwell’s 1984.


The above examples show that the ‘sovereign’ — the ‘security state’ or what some would call the ‘deep state’ — is able not to just limit the range of the democratic discourse but also to manipulate or ‘fine tune’ such discourse.

  1. The secret armies of the ‘sovereign’ (the Stay-Behinds and the ‘parallel Stay-Behinds’ or NDS) were recruited from the defeated fascist forces of Southern Europe in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. In Northern Europe, hundreds of Nazi SS officers were recruited for a similar purpose. Fascist leader Prince Junio Valerio Borghese was rescued and recruited by the later CIA liaison to Italy, James Jesus Angleton, at the very end of the war, and Angleton’s man, Federico Umberto D’Amato, was given the task of recruiting forces from the fascist Republic of Saló to the Ministry of Interior, the army and the secret armies in order to combat the Italian communists. The brutal ‘black’ terrorist, Stefano delle Chiaie, collaborated with both Borghese and D’Amato. These secret fascist and Nazi armies were recruited and developed as part of a ‘historical compromise’ between the winning Anglo-Saxon democrats and the losing autocrats of the Axis powers. But, more importantly, the ‘sovereign’, as it developed after the Second World War, turned these secret armies into a sophisticated military arm for PSYOPs to limit the range of democratic discourse and to ‘fine tune’, calibrate and manipulate that discourse.
  2. By letting fascist forces carry out the preliminary stages of military coups, the ‘sovereign’ was able to force governments to resign or accept a change of policy on a number of occasions. Once a change of policy had been accepted, as during all the Italian ‘coup attempts’ in the 1960s and 1970s, the ‘sovereign’ then aborted the military coup and the use of extra-legal measures was no longer considered necessary. The Borghese – delle Chiaie ‘coup’ of December 1970, for example, was allegedly aborted after interventions by General Vito Miceli — or, according to Remo Orlandini, a close collaborator with Borghese, by US President Richard Nixon himself. In each case, the Italian government was presented with a fait accompli, giving the ‘sovereign’ a de facto veto over policy. The elected government, the ‘democratic state’, was forced either to yield to the ‘sovereign’, the ‘security state’, or to confront it by mobilising popular support and legitimacy — something the ‘security state’ is only able to do through the introduction of its ‘game’ of fear and protection. In the final analysis, with the exception of Aldo Moro, Italian prime ministers always chose to back down.
  3. The ‘sovereign’ may decide to carry through a military coup in order to take over government responsibility, as in Greece in 1967. To a certain extent, the same CIA network (including the CIA station chief and the leader of the Italian Ordine Nuovo) was involved both in Italy and in the 1967 coup in Greece. In the Greek case, the ‘sovereign’ was able to veto the anti-NATO policy of Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou. However, it later proved to be more difficult to return to democratic politics, and over time US officials grew less happy with the Greek generals. For the ‘sovereign’, fascist or military rule was never a goal in itself. The ‘coup’ was rather an instrument to re-establish order in accordance with the Machiavellian formula of fear and protection: first, let a ‘cruel and efficient governor’ eliminate all opposition; then, publicly eliminate the same governor to regain legitimacy. In comparison with Greece, the return to regular politics was always more smooth in the Turkey, where the army had widespread legitimacy and military coups have been more or less institutionalised. However, in most of Europe, the overt coup d’état appears to have been too clumsy an instrument for controlling domestic politics.
  4. The ‘sovereign’ may raise the ‘security temperature’ through the use of ‘indiscriminate terrorism’ — dramatising politics, as happened during the bombing campaign in Italy. Fear of bomb attacks has enormous psychological impact, compelling people to turn to the state for protection and to blame the perceived enemy. In the event of such attacks, mass media will often respond hysterically, blaming whomever the authorities say is responsible. Such an instrument is thus ideal for calibrating government policy, in other words as a means to ‘fine tune’ democratic politics and to ‘securitise’ what used to be open to public debate, bringing the democratic political sphere more into line with the political vision of the ‘security state’. Through the use of a brutal bombing campaign, it is possible to create events that the mass media will interpret as an ‘enemy attack’, that will enable the ‘sovereign’ to externalise conflicts to provide internal stability. The Strategy of Tension, as it was developed in Italy, was used to discredit critics and to ‘correct’ the political line of the democratic state. Most important was the exercise of control over domestic Italian politics in a way that could not be achieved through the use of legal means.
  5. If necessary, the ‘sovereign’ may turn to ‘selective terrorism’ to take out a political leader, either as a way of vetoing the policies of that leader or to blame anti-US forces for such ‘terrorist’ actions. In the case of Aldo Moro’s murder in 1978, both of these goals were achieved. Moro’s wife accused the Americans of responsibility for her husband’s death, claiming that they had previously threatened to kill him, and Moro himself was given a private funeral. Moro’s murder enabled the ‘sovereign’ to veto his ‘historical compromise’, and at the same time to blame left-wingers — the so-called Red Brigades — for the operation. Both General Maletti and secret service chief D’Amato have confirmed that the Red Brigades had been penetrated at the top. Indeed, Maletti has even confirmed that the top echelon of the Red Brigades was run by Western intelligence. Until 1974, the ‘sovereign’ could rely on the assassination squads of Aginter Press, but when it began using the Red Brigades it needed special forces support. The killing of Aldo Moro was a special forces operation, involving the use of ammunition from special forces supplies.
  6. The ‘sovereign’ may use specifically tasked units (army or navy special forces) to attack its own forces or allied or friendly forces throughout the Western world in order to increase readiness and raise public awareness of a common threat. Such dramatic operations are conducted as realistic exercises (‘train as you fight’), but in the mass media they are presented as enemy attacks or intrusions, which thus shape and influence the mindset of the general public and local military forces and even the policies of the host country government. Such attacks create fear and demands for protection; they externalise conflicts to provide internal stability; and they may force governments to back away from particular policies. The ‘enemy attacks’, as they are reported in the mass media, are turned into PSYOPs that alter world opinion and influence decisions in international forums such as the UN. Such a strategy gives the ‘sovereign’ an ideal instrument for calibrating the ruling mass media discourse as well as government policy in various countries.
  7. The ‘sovereign’ spans the entire Western world. By this is meant that the dual state divide between the ‘democratic state’ and the ‘security state’ seemingly corresponds to a divide between democratic nation-states and a protective central power — or, to use Carl Schmitt’s terminology, between the states of the Western Grossraum and the US Reich. In every state, US intelligence has recruited loyal officers and civil servants that have acted as direct liaisons to US authorities — such as General de Lorenzo and General Miceli in Italy. Licio Gelli set up P2 as a parallel ‘security state’ or shadow government, and in practice it was a high-level US–Italian network ‘authorised’ by Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig. A similar picture is emerging in other European states. These local ‘US elites’ played the game of fear and protection to set the agenda, to influence local governments and even to veto policies or individuals in conflict with US interests. This presence of the Reich in various host countries gives the hegemonic power, in this case the US, an even more dominating role than Schmitt had anticipated. The central actors of the Western informal security network appear as the real ‘sovereign’, in a Schmittian sense, that decides on the exception in the NATO area or Grossraum.
  8. In the world of democracies, the ‘sovereign’ — the ‘deep state’ — has always to implement its game of fear and protection covertly and its very existence is always denied in public. Thus, the problem with liberalism in political science and legal theory is not its ambition to defend the public sphere, political freedoms and human rights, but rather its claim that these freedoms and rights define the Western political system. Liberal political science has been turned into an ideology of the ‘sovereign’, because undisputable evidence for the ‘sovereign’ — what Vinciguerra simply calls the ‘state’ — is brushed away as pure fantasy or ‘conspiracy’. Schmitt has been described as an apologist for the autocratic emergency state in Germany, but when we look closer he rather emerges as a scholar unveiling the dual state — the hidden autocratic security force parallel to the democratic state. Some might argue that this dual state is defensible, others not, but we should be aware that the liberal denial of its very existence is based on an illusion.


  1. ISBN 0745326234 - Government of the Shadows: Parapolitics and Criminal Sovereignty