Stefania Paladini – Viewed by the Allies: The Agency’s (mis)perception in Italy

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Dr Stefania Paladini (Coventry University) – Viewed by the Allies: The Agency’s (mis)perception in Italy

The myth of a powerful CIA involved in all dark affairs of post-war Italian history is well and alive, in the minds of the Italian people as well as in their press. Echoes of it can be found in the political statements of large sectors of the Italian establishment and it is only recently that some analysts have started presenting a different story. The influence of fiction and media in shaping the image of the world of the intelligence is well known, and more than one article has been written on this topic. Still, not a lot of contributions are available which deal with this perception in cases where cultural bias and language barriers create additional layers. In a country like Italy, culturally though not politically dominated by left-wingers, the CIA has been represented at best as a villain. While the Agency’s influence on some delicate matters cannot be denied, as for the relevance of Italy in the stability of the Mediterranean region, the results of this involvement have been somehow mistaken. The special irony of this Italian case is that, as some recently declassified documents showed, the CIA actually encouraged Italian conservative parties towards an agreement with the Communists in the seventies, as the best guarantee of internal stability. The aim of this article is to illustrate the CIA-Italy special relationship, and use it as a case-study to analyse how the Agency’s perception varied overseas.

Stefania Paladini is a Senior Lecturer in International Trade, Statistics, International Business at Coventry University and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK. He research interest include non-traditional security issues in China and South-East Asia economic security; Intelligence studies; the Geopolitics of natural resources and applied econometrics. Her publications include “A view from the Isthmus. China’s strategic presence in Latin America”, The Journal of Comparative Asian Development (2011).

Contact information: Faculty of Business, Environment and Society, University of Coventry, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB

Email: aa5862@coventry.ac.uk

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