In Defense of an Italian “Stronzo” [Dung!] with Respect To His “Non-Involvement” in the Aldo Moro Kidnapping!
A Personal Testimony by Me on Behalf of Giulio Andreotti.
Headline: Giulio Andreotti, Who Served as Prime Minister of Italy Seven Times , Dies at 94.
For the most part, Andreotti is not a familiar name to the American public. And those who do know about him and his political fortunes as the founder and leader of the Italian Christian Democratic Party, would have best described him as a ‘stronzo’ or a “shit in silk stockings”, as Talleyrand often described the Corsican-born, French Emperor Napoleon Bonoparte.
John Tagliabue’s obituary is a very detailed, insightful description of an Italian machiavellian politician who thrived on deception, corruption and illegal relationships with the Italian Mafia.
These issues, although interesting in of themselves, are not relevant to my present blog.
Now I would like to clarify one very important historical point that has troubled the Italian citizenry and politicians for almost four decades.
The big issue which John Taliabue clearly expounded on in his obituary: When Andreotti’s oldest and closest friend, Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped in a street ambush in Rome, and five of his bodyguards were killed by the Red Brigade, all the Italians blamed Andreotti for his friend’s eventual death.
That contention is not correct!
I can state categorically that President Giulio Andreotti had absolutely nothing to do with denying the negotiations with the Red Brigade WHO DEMANDED THE RELEASE OF THEIR COMPATRIOTS HELD IN ITALIAN JAILS for the safe release of Aldo Moro.
There were many speculations as to what had happened.
Many thought the CIA, Kissinger, the Italian Mafia, the US military and other so-called nefarious forces had been at work in the kidnapping and eventual denial of the release of Aldo Moro from the ruthless Red Brigade. This was especially true after Aldo Moro threatened in his last letters to reveal ‘State Secrets’ that would indict Andreotti and the rest of the Christian Democrats.
The truth is that there were only two people directly involved in the decision of no-negotiation WITH THE RED BRIGADE which eventually led to the inevitable death of Aldo Moro:
One was the Interior Minister of Security, Francesco Cossiga, a brilliant Sardinian who had been close to Aldo Moro and eventually became the next Prime Minister upon the death of Aldo Moro.
The other person, was yours truly, Dr Steve Pieczenik MD, Phd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management.
If anyone is to blame for the explicit direction of not allowing anyone in the Italian government to negotiate with the Red Brigade, it was I.
Let me go into a more detailed discussion.
First, when I was asked to help the Italian Government in “Handling the Red Brigade Terror” by the extremely bright Under Secretary of State For Management, my boss, Ben Reed, I agreed if I could do on ‘my terms’ as I had just done in saving the five hundred hostages in the Hanafi Muslim Siege only a few weeks before.
Ben Reed and his boss, SecState Cyrus Vance were the elegant, respectful generation of the old school Senior Policy Officials who respected my skills in the hostage negotiations as well as my expertise in stabilizing countries which were beginning to destabilize because of “terrorism”, economic panic, or other reasons.
As I reflect back to the 1970’s, I must say it was a different time where a medical doctor was still able to make life and death decisions without worrying about ‘malpractice’ and ‘lawsuits’.
It was a time when the old WASP statesmen had respect for those who performed and accomplished that which they thought was required. They had respect for my patriotic act of defiance when I kicked out then president Jimmy Carter during the Hanafi muslim negotiations.
They also were aware that my training at Harvard/MIT by CIA/DARPA and my European background would be useful in the Aldo Moro kidnapping.
Needless to say, I had little time to evaluate the dangerous situation in Italy at the time of Aldo Moro’s kidnapping.
Countless prosecutors, jurists and innocent civilians had been shot, murdered or brutalized by the ruthless Red Brigade.
I came to the Italy dressed in my usual official outfit—blue jeans and denim jacket and took a taxi to the US Embassy. There I received a very poor CIA briefing from the Station Chief and US Embassy officials.
Next I was assigned to a safe house where the carabinieri guards were totally incompetent. I quickly moved out and into a hotel.
Soon after checking in, I met Francesco Cossiga, a man of with intense eyes and insightful questions who clearly was desperate for a strategy to save his boss, Aldo Moro.
Within the first week in Rome, I was already targeted by the Red Brigade for ‘Assassination’. Clearly someone had inside information about my presence in Rome.
I received from the Cossiga a 7.4 millimeter Baretta but I refused to wear a bullet proof vest. I ate my meals with my back to the wall.
Most nights I couldn’t sleep, I was awake all night long with my Beretta pointed at my hotel door, certain whoever came in would be shot.
This is not the story of The Bourne Identity nor The Mechanic.
But what Cossiga and I did over the next six or so weeks was to:
 Develop a strategy of no–negotiations with the Red Brigade.
 We left everyone out of the ‘loop’ –Italian politicians, specifically Giulio Anddreotti because my past experience taught me that if the nation/state is to survive then the leaders must be COMPLETELY DIVORCED FROM ANY DECISION MAKING.
Otherwise, as I had learned in previous hostage negotiations, if the leader of a particular country becomes involved in the negotiations than the terrorist has won the psychological battle. The terrorists hold the nation/state in a lock down situation where fear becomes rampant and the state begins to destabilize. At the time, this was exactly what was happening in Italy.
In order to stop that escalation of FEAR AND TERROR, a strategy was developed which happened to be called, “THE PIECZENIK STRATEGY”. That White Paper never was rebutted or changed by anyone in the Italian government. Giulio Andreiotti correctly said throughout the subsequent years that ‘he was not responsible for the non-negotiation policy ‘. He had acted appropriately by not interfering in the negotiations and left the matter in the competent hands of Cossiga.
As a side note, an important part of the stabilization program was the fact that Berlinguer, the head of the PCI , the official Communist Party, which had been inappropriately accused of abetting the Red Brigade, was indeed very effective in helping to maintain the ‘no-negotiation policy’.
Sidebar: I found out during the crisis that both Berlinguer and Cossiga were related and both were from Sardinia, for whatever that was worth.
The denouement of the Aldo Moro kidnapping happened just as I had envisioned it—Aldo Moro was ‘assassinated by the Red Brigade’ and in turn they were captured an imprisoned.
There are still some revelations about this time and place despite countless articles, books and even a documentary film done by French/Italian Mossad operative. This Mossad agent always wanted to know what and how I did what I did and on behalf of who’s authority. The fact that Aldo Moro would have to die —was already a FAIT ACCOMPLI FOR ME WITHIN HOURS OF STUDYING THE DISASTROUS SITUATION IN ITALY.
Why? How? And by who’s authority? Are questions for me to address at a different time and place.
The principal goal for me was the stabilization of Italy and the continuation of a functioning nation/state.
The other goal:
Elimination of the Red Brigade and in the process the neutralization of the Neo-facist groups inspired by Berlusconi and others.
In this process of stabilizing Italy with Cossiga we had to trust a few good men who were not beholden to SISME AND SISDE, both Italian security agencies that Cossiga mistrusted.
This blog is intended to correct a moment of history for a despicable Italian politician who at the time he had to be silent and follow instructions from an America operative—he did.
Here is a tidbit you may not know…
For four decades, Cossiga and other Italian politicians did not want to admit the one criminal activity that Aldo Moro had participated in.
Aldo Moro was a MAJOR CO-CONSPIRATOR with ARAFAT, ABU NIDAL and GEORGE HABASH in letting COUNTLESS THOUSANDS of PALESTINIAN well known terrorists transit freely through the Rome airport to destinations where they killed countless victims on ships, in Latin American countries and elsewhere.
Forty years later, Cossiga finally admitted that Aldo Moro had been responsible for the deaths of many innocent Jews and Christians. When he was then told by an informant that he had been set up by me all along so Aldo Moro would die for his sins, Cossiga simply had a wry smile and muttered: Dr Steve Pieczenik was more MACHIAVELLIAN THAN MACHIAVELLI!
Cossiga never knew at any time who I really was.
But Cossiga did admit at the end of his life that in fact I was right in my intuitions.
Cossiga admitted in an interview that Aldo Moro had made a deal with the devil to let the Palestinian Terrorists through Italy in return for letting Italy stay safe from Palestinian Terrorism.
Ironic. The Italians traded one form of terrorism for another. Either way they would have lost—at least one, if not more, leaders of the Christian Democratic Party.
Cossiga never knew that I grew up in the shadows of the HOLOCAUST…..
Cossiga did not know, that TERRORISM was an innate part of my Childhood Socialization……… growing up the unofficial “battle zone” of Toulouse, France; during the Algerian War for Independence…..
….buildings exploded… innocent muslims, jews, and Christians died in abundance.
Those were the Haunting Memories of my past that compelled me to be a ‘counter –terrorist expert’ —-whatever that meant.
My suspicion is that the ‘Honorable Men’ from the State Department knew exactly who I was and what would happen in Italy and to Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
They were Vance, Christopher, Reed— the “Best and the Brightest”.