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"Britain considered Italian coup"

Druv | 14.01.2008 10:24 | History | Repression | South Coast

SERIOUS question marks about the Biritsh state and its commitment to democracy are raised by a fascinating report which appeared in The Guardian on today, Monday January 14.

It stated:

"The British government considered backing a rightwing coup in Italy in 1976 to prevent the rising Italian Communist party from taking power, recently released documents have revealed.

"Foreign Office planners wrote in May 1976 that 'a clean surgical coup' to remove the Communists from power 'would be attractive in many ways', according to documents obtained from the British national archives and published yesterday by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

"But planners concluded the idea was 'unrealistic' since it could lead to 'prolonged and bloody' resistance by Italian communists, a potential civil war and even intervention by the Soviet Union.

"At the height of the cold war, alarm bells were ringing in London as the governing Christian Democrats grew weak through infighting while Enrico Berlinguer's Communists edged closer to taking power in elections due to be held in June.

"'(Berlinguer's) entry into government would create a serious problem for Nato and the European Community and could turn out to be an event with catastrophic consequences,' Sir Guy Millard, the British ambassador to Rome, wrote in a memo quoted by La Repubblica. Officials argued that if Communist ministers joined the government, sensitive Nato documents would be sent to Moscow.

"A Foreign Office memo in April had listed options for tackling the Communist ascendancy, ranging from financing rival parties to 'subversive or military intervention against the Italian Communist party'.

"Fears receded as the Christian Democrats finished 4% ahead of the Communists in the lower house of parliament."

Or did they? It's hard to believe that a powerful right-wing network that seriously considered backing a bloody military coup d'etat would have any moral qualms about fixing an election...

In any case, what business did the British government have in trying to alter the course of democracy in Italy in the first place?

Articles like these provide an all-too-rare glimpse into the nefarious real world behind the comforting facade of pseudo-normality with which the mainstream media traditionally helps to hide the crimes and hypocrisy of our rulers.

But it is interesting to note that The Guardian fails to mention that the 1976 British government considering backing a 'rightwing coup' in Italy was a Labour one!

Story at:,,2240363,00.html

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