Ministry of the Interior
Il Palazzo del Viminale
architect: Manfredo Manfredi
Palazzo del Viminale
(Minstry of the Interior)
Emblem of the State Police
DIA weapons seizure
Submachine gun PM12
Right: Corpo Forestale dello Stato
Italy has a Corpo forestale dello Stato, police officers who
investi-gate crimes against the environment and Italy's natural patrimony.
The Administration of State
and the Forces of Order in Italy
of state security in Italy is a complicated affair. The
Ministers of Defense, Finance, and the Interior all
have forces under their command—the Arma
dei Carabinieri, the Guardia di Finanza, and the Polizia
di Stato. And some forces have a collaborative chain of command,
where Ministry of Defense forces, for example, might
report to the Minister of the Interior. Below is an organizational
chart for the Ministry of the Interior. The Department
of Public Security directs the State Police.
Each of Italy's provinces has a Prefattura
(Prefecture), representing the central government and the
Ministry of the Interior. Every major Italian city
has a main police station (the Questura) run by a provincial
commander of the State Police (the Questore).
In smaller towns, offices of the State Police are directed
by a Vice
Questore Aggiunto or by a Commissario
Capo (Chief Commissioner).
One of the main duties of the Ministry
of the Interior is that of protecting the safety of the state's
citizens against various forms of crime—both common and
organized. As such, the State Police deal with rackets,
fraud, drugs, the exploitation of minors, and other crimes,
coordinating their activities with the
Arma dei Carabinieri and the Guardia di Finanza (Finance
Police), as well as with units such as the DIA (the Direzione
Invetigativa Antimafia), an organization that targets the mob.
The DIA is a specialized investigative
agency, set up within the Department of Public Security, with the task
of carrying out preventive measures against organized crime. Agents also investigate crimes that originate from association with the Mafia.
The DIA staff currently
amount to approximately 1500 units and includes investigators coming,
in equal proportion, from the National Police, the Carabinieri and the
Guardia di Finanza.
At the international level, the DIA
works with the G8 Expert Working Group for the fight against
Eastern European organized crime (EEOC). This group includes
the FBI (U.S.), the German BKA, the Russian GUBOP, the
Canadian RCMP, the British NCIS, the French CRACO, and the
Japanese National Police.
The Central Directorate of the Criminal
Police includes the Central Operational Service
(Servizio Centrale Operativo) which co-ordinates the main
operations performed by the Intervention Squads and by the
Special Units themselves, engaged in the fight against organised
The State Police, of course, are made
of up many units, one of which is the Forensic Science Police,
belonging to the Directorate of the Criminal Police. They
have numerous peripheral
branches, 14 Regional and 89 Provincial Laboratories and
168 Fingerprinting and Documentation Posts, for example. Another unit,
the Branch for the Analysis of Violent Crime, employs innovative
technologies in criminal investigations.
State Police specialities include
immigration police, and communications police. They are supported by numerous
Special Units, including
a canine unit, the
mounted police, an air service, and
Another important branch of the Department
of Public Security is the Central Directorate
for Police Training Institutes, responsible for both basic
training and specialized services. A Police Academy, established
in 1982, carries out more advanced training.
Two other items in the history
of the Italian State Police deserve mention: In 1959, a
Female Police Corps was established with the limited task
of investigating and suppressing crimes against public morality,
decency and minors. This corp was absorbed into the State
Police in 1981. In 1968 an Emergency Public Service "113"
was set up and soon after Patrol Units (“Volanti“)
were established within each Questura.
Logo of the Ministry of Defense
operations are carried out by SISMI (the Service for Military
Intelligence and Security), SISDE (the civilian Service
for Intelligence and Democratic Security), and UCIGOS (the
Central Bureau for General Investigations and Special Operations).
The latter bureau reports to Italy's Chief of Police.
A law passed in 1977 (modified
1991) established clear competencies for each service.
SISMi (Servizio per le informazioni
e la sicurezza militare) reports to officials of the
Ministry of Defense and deals with crimes beyond Italy's
borders, and SISDe (Servizio per le
informazioni e la sicurezza democratica) reports to
the Ministry of the Interior and deals with crimes within
both these intelligence services fall under the authority
of the President of the Council of Ministers. Coordination
is handled by CESIS, a general secretariat responsible for
An elite assault force
Insignia of the Nucleo Operativo
The Central Bureau for General
Investigations and Special Operations (UCIGOS ) is in charge of
the Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza, the tactical
arm of the State Police, known for its highly secretive
but much heralded NOCS commandos. These special
forces are deployed for high-risk interventions.
One of their more famous exploits in the 1980s was
the liberation of Brigadier General James Dozier, who
had been held hostage by the Red Brigades. Today, they
are responsible for counterterrorist activities.
motto reads Sicut Nox Silentes
(Silent As Night).
Some of the first agents chosen
for this elite group came from the"Fiamme Oro," a unit of police
officers competing in sports,
including the Olympics.
Weapon of the Polizia di Stato
Pistola mitragliatrice PM12 S2
Submachine gun of the Polizia di Stato
9 mm. Parabellum
clip capacity: 32
The nation’s Chief of Police
also oversaw the Director of SAOS, the Antiterrorism
and Special Operations Service, an individual with
DIGOS agents at his disposal—the Division
for General Investigations and Special Operations.
The Anti Terrorism Police are
a specialist body made up, at the central level, of the
Central Directorate for the Anti Terrorism Police and, at the peripheral
level, of the Branches for General Investigations and Special Operations
(Digos), located at the Questure.
The Directorate for the Anti Terrorism Police is made
up of two Services: the first is competent mainly for information
collection and analysis while the latter develops and co-ordinates
investigations aimed at preventing and fighting terrorism.
Il Generale di Corpo d'Armata Gianfrancesco
The Comandante Generale dell'Arma
dei Carabinieri (Military Police)
The Carabinieri (military police)
are commanded by a general who reports to the Military Chief of Staff
(Capo di Stato Maggiore della Difesa [Capo SMD in the following chart]),
himself a direct dipendent of the Minister of Difense.
During the period in which Nine
Days in October is set, the forces of order and disorder were
numerous. The nation faced not only terrorist
attacks from a variety of sources—communist,
neofascist, anarchist, separatist, nationalistic, and
also organized crime directed by groups such as the
Sicilian Mafia, Neapolitan Camorra, Calabrian ’Ndrangheta, and
Photo top left: Tommaso Buscetta,
one of the first to break the code of omertà
(the Mafia's conspiracy of silence)
At the time, the state was still reacting
to reverberations from earlier terrorist acts of the
armed organizations. These groups, newsworthy primarily
in the 1970s, included the Red Brigades (Brigate
Front Line (Prima Linea), Fight On (Lotta
(Potere Operaio) and Workers’ Autonomy
(Autonomia Operaia). In the 1980s, the Fighting Communist
Union (Partito Comunista Combattente, an offshoot of
the Red Brigades) continued their attacks against the
Photo: Red Brigades
hold Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister of Italy, later
killed when the government refused to negotiate with
Of note, however, as regards the so-called “strategy
of tension,”which kept Italy in turmoil during these years, is
the fact that many of the bombings that took place
in Italy, from Piazza Fontana (Milan, December 12,
1969) to that of the central train station in Bologna (August 2, 1980),
were carried out by forces of the far right, including agents of the
secret services and other state institutions.
Photo left: part of the Stazione
Centrale di Bologna after the bombing of 1980.
The left, of course, was often blamed.
But the Ministry of the Interior reports that, between 1969 and 1980,
over 67% of violent political acts in Italy were committed by forces
of the far right, while just over 26% were attributed to the far left.
Leader of the Italian Communist Party
giudici, allo stato, all’imperialismo non abbiamo nulla da dire:
siamo combattenti nemici.
Appoggiamo la guerriglia e con essa ci identifichiamo.
Attaccare il cuore dello stato nelle sue politiche dominanti!
Rafforzare il campo proletario per attrezzarlo allo scontro con lo stato!
Guerra alla NATO! Guerra all’imperialismo!
Promuovere e consolidare il Fronte Combattente Antimperialista!
What those forces of the far right
were reacting to was expressed by militants of the PCC in Venice on June
To the judges, to the state, to imperialism we have
nothing to say: we are enemy combatants.
We support guerrilla activity and we identify with this.
Attack the heart of the state in its dominant politics!
Reinforce the proletarian camp in order to furnish it with the means to attack
War to NATO! War to imperialism!
Promote and consolidate the Anti-imperialist Fighting Front!
Original Italian text to the
left (English translation by Ron Terpening)
Anti-NATO poster of the Italian Communist
This was an environment ripe
with conspiracies to overthrow the state, one of which occurs during Nine
Days in October.