FORZA ITALIA--TITO FEARED ITALIAN INVASION OF YUGOSLAVIA IN 1967
PLAY ACTING OR PARANOIA?
DID ITALIAN PM MORO DIE BECAUSE OF TITO'?
by Sasha Uzunov
A 1967 Australian diplomatic cable has revealed Yugoslav Communist strongman Marshal Josip Broz Tito feared an Italian invasion of his country, adding to speculation that he may have had an indirect role in the death of kidnapped Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. According to the cable: "…some recent actions by Tito were causing concern to the US…His preoccupation with the concept of an imperialist plot…caused him to adopt illogical and irrational positions.'
"…led him to believe that because a few Italian generals were seen near the border that Italy was planning an attack on Yugoslavia. Furthermore, he apparently believes that the new regime [Military Junta] in Greece intends invading Albania."
But the United States State Department, the country's foreign affairs ministry, according to the cable, thought there was no cause for concern other than a "deviation" by Tito.
Three major events occurred in 1967 that created world tension and upheaval: the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution, the Right-wing Military Coup in Greece, Yugoslavia's southern neighbour, and the Six-Day War between Israel and hostile neighbouring Arab states.
Since the 1949 split between Communist Yugoslavia and the Soviet Bloc, Marshal Tito had publicly towed an independent line between East and West during the Cold War but was an indirect ally of the United States. During the Six-Day War he took the side of the Soviet-backed Arab states against Israel, an ally of the US. This had caused consternation in Washington. However, Tito excelled at diplomatic play acting: one minute he could be an enemy, and then the next an ally if it suited his purposes.
Aldo Moro, Italian Prime Minister (1963-68, 74-76), kidnapped by Italian leftist group Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades) in 1978, and later murdered. Could he have been saved by Marshal Tito, the ruler of Communist Yugoslavia?
by Sasha Uzunov Italy's equivalent to the John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy is the kidnapping and subsequent murder of ex-Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978 by a radical leftist group known as the Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse). But was the Yugoslav Communist intelligence service (UDBa) involved?
The official story is that Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades and held hostage for two months before being murdered. The Red Brigades demanded that the Italian authorities release prisoners in exchange for the politician's life. But the Italian government refused to negotiate with the "terrorists." Italian journalists have thrown up a number of conspiracy theories to explain the murder, ranging from United States involvement to Moscow's interference. I came across the Aldo Moro story by chance when researching for my up-coming documentary film: "UDBa down under: Yugoslav spying in Australia." I have gone through de-classified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) files on Yugoslav communist intelligence service known as UDBa and its activities in spying upon emigre Croats and Macedonians on Australian soil. I have also read a number of memoirs of ex-Soviet bloc spies. One book that caught my attention was Red Horizons by former Romanian intelligence chief Ion Pacepa, who defected to the west in 1978, a few months after the Moro murder. It has a chapter discussing how Yugoslav intelligence UDBa, also known as SDB, collaborated with Nicolae Ceausescu's Communist Romanian regime and its intelligence service, known as the DIE or Securitate, during the 1970s in kidnapping or murdering each others opponents living abroad. Moro is also mentioned in the chapter. Silvo Gorenc - Tito's "Slovenian Supervisor" of the Red Brigades
Pacepa writes that the Red Brigades was the creation of Communist Yugoslavia in order to destabilise Italy and NATO. When Moro was kidnapped, Tito unconvincingly pleads that he could not convince his "creation" the Red Brigades to release the ex-Italian Prime Minister.
Gorenc was also kept busy in looking after the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) which had set up shop in Yugoslavia in the 1970s.
Denis Strangman, Private Secretary to Australian Senator F.H. McManus of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), revealed in a 1974 book that Italian Guido Giol was caught by Italian military intelligence (SID) spying for Yugoslavia in March 1970 but had hanged himself in his cell after receiving a 15 year prison sentence. He had passed on NATO secrets to Belgrade.
Days later after Giol's suicide, according to both Strangman and British intelligence expert Nigel West, Eugene Rousseau, a section chief with French intelligence (SDECE), was imprisoned by French authorities for being a Yugoslav spy. He had been blackmailed by UDBa since the late 1950s when his teenage daughter had fallen pregnant to a "Yugoslav" during Rousseau's diplomatic posting to the French Embassy in Belgrade, the Yugoslav capital.
To understand the dynamics of the Yugoslav versus Croat showdown: Communist Yugoslavia was a federation of Serbs, Croats, Macedonians, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Muslim Bosnians, and other ethnic groups, led by Marshal Josip Broz Tito who broke away from the Iron Curtain in 1949. A rivalry developed between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union, which Tito managed to use to his advantage by squeezing aid out of the West in order to stay out of the Soviet Camp.
But Tito was also adept at cosying up to the USSR when it suited him, especially after the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953. In the early 1970s the Yugoslav government began a campaign to discredit emigre Croats, Macedonians and others opposed to the regime, whether their opposition translated into terrorism or just peaceful means. So a dirty tricks strategy was commenced with agent provocateurs and infiltrators, ironically learned from the Soviet Secret Police, known variously as the Cheka/ OGPU/ NKVD /KGB. Ceausescu tried to use Tito's trick, known as influ-communism, of acting independent from Moscow in order to fool the West to gain economic benefits.
Nicolae Ceauşescu (second from the right), Josip Broz Tito (left) and others at the Romanian-Yugoslav friendship meeting in Bucharest 1966. The banner in the back reads: "Long live the brotherly friendship between the Romanian nation and the nations of Yugoslavia."
Photo source: Fototecaphoto #A059 (accessed 11 June 2009), 11/1966
Preview / Trailer no 4 - UDBa down under - Yugoslav spying in Australia.
Legendary Australian newspaperman Jack Waterford reveals that the Soviets may have had an interest in the Yugoslav versus Croats showdown in Australia during the early 1970s. His interview in the preview clip - Preview / Trailer no 4 - UDBa down under - Yugoslav spying in Australia. Award winning Australian journalist Hamish McDonald talks about the Croatian Six case. His interview in the preview clip - Preview / Trailer no 4 - UDBa down under - Yugoslav spying in Australia.
ORDER YOUR COPY - TIMOR TOUR OF DUTY - A film by Sasha Uzunov
LUKE LEON MEDIA (ABN: 91310556447) in association with Sasha Uzunov...
TIMOR TOUR OF DUTY...now available on DVD....RATED M...
Timor Tour Of Duty, which looks at the Indonesian military's secret war against Australian and New Zealand troops and international peacekeepers in East Timor in 2001, received a special commendation Platinum Reel Award from the 2009 Nevada Film Festival.
The film made its US and international screen debut at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival in October 2009.
THE DVD includes 4 extra minutes of two scenes cut from the original film festival screening.