Terrorism / Personalities

Christie, Stuart. Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist. London: Anarchy Magazine/Refract Publications, 1984. 182 pages.

In 1943 the Allies landed in Sicily flying Mafia colors, and the following year James Angleton headed the OSS special ops section in Rome. In 1945 Angleton rescued Valerio Borghese ("The Black Prince") from the death sentence he was given by the Italian Resistance for war crimes, and in 1948 he helped orchestrate the CIA's successful intervention in the Italian elections to keep the Communists from winning. With this sort of legacy, it's no wonder that "black" politics has been dominant in Italy ever since.

Organized crime, corrupt Italian secret services, and unrepentant fascists have been working together through powerful Masonic societies such as Propaganda Due (P2 Lodge). In the 1960s some of them began a campaign of terror and murder that was known as the "Strategy of Tension." A favorite tactic was to blame their acts on the Left so as to legitimize more power for their friends on the Right. The most outrageous crime was the Bologna railway station bombing in 1980 that killed 85 innocent people; one of the five named as suspects by the investigating judge was Stefano Delle Chiaie. This book examines what's known and speculated about the career of Delle Chiaie, who also moved among ex-Nazi and junta circles in Latin America, Spain, and Greece.

Seale, Patrick. Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire. New York: Random House, 1992. 340 pages.

Patrick Seale is one of Britain's respected Middle East specialists, with 30 years of experience and several books to his credit. This one is based largely on interviews with defectors from Abu Nidal's organization to Arafat's Fatah group during the 1980s. When Random House released it in February 1992, the Washington Post headline read, "Book Alleges French, Saudi Deals With Abu Nidal." A new State Department report had blamed Abu Nidal for more than 100 terrorist attacks since 1974 that resulted in the deaths of over 280 people, and since Washington boasts a thriving counter- terrorism industry (half of it government-sponsored and the other half self-appointed), any new angle on Mr. Big naturally draws a headline. This one referred to Seale's contention that between 1976 and 1988, Abu Nidal extorted about $50 million from France, the Saudis, and other Western enemies, who found it less expensive to pay him off than to fight him.

The major allegation in Seale's book, the evidence for which is mainly circumstantial, is that Israel's Mossad has penetrated Abu Nidal's organization, and encourages their activities in order to make Palestinians look bad. The Post article is skeptical. Experts can buy the penetration part, but doubt that Mossad would see it as in their interests to assist Abu Nidal in selecting targets and carrying out actions.

Yallop, David. Tracking the Jackal: The Search for Carlos, the World's Most Wanted Man. New York: Random House, 1993. 629 pages.

British author David Yallop's 1984 book "In God's Name," a study of the suspicious death of Pope John Paul I, sold nearly six million copies in forty countries. So when Yallop began looking for Carlos in 1985, his reputation preceded him and opened many doors in difficult places: Israel, Venezuela, Lebanon, Syria, Libya (where he interviewed Muammar Qaddafi), and Tunisia (where Yasser Arafat was interviewed). Too many doors, in fact: in Lebanon, his lengthy interviews with "Carlos" (Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) in 1985 turned out to be too easy. Many months later he had hints from various sources that this person couldn't have been the real Carlos. In 1989, Yallop finally met the real one in Damascus, asked some tough questions to establish his identity, and satisfied himself that the Lebanon Carlos was a well-briefed imposter -- probably sent by Syrian intelligence to plant disinformation that would discredit the Palestinian leadership.

Yallop concludes that the myth of Carlos served those with a Cold War agenda, and that if Carlos hadn't existed they would have invented him. His book has many unkind words for Israeli policy, and for people such as Claire Sterling and Brian Crozier, who helped to hype and distort the terrorist threat. Carlos, it turns out, was not a KGB-sponsored mastermind, but more like a spoiled child who planted bombs instead of throwing temper tantrums.

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