Operation Gladio

Operation Gladio
OpGladio.png
Police detaining Lucca "il Volpe" Abate
Date10-15 December 2018
Location
Result

Government success

  • Significant damage inflicted on organised crime
  • Near total collapse of 80% of organised crime syndicates
  • $8.8 billion assests confiscated
Belligerents

Etruria Etrurian federal government

Organised crime syndicates and groups
Commanders and leaders
Etruria Francesco Carcaterra (President of Etruria)
Etruria Tullio Quagliariello (Minister of Internal Affairs)
Etruria Ercolano Tauriello (Minister of Civil Security)
Etruria Giovanni Sant'Angelo (Commander of the National Police Service)
Numerous crime lords
Strength
~35,000 police officers
~2,500 CSS agents
1,200 soldiers
~10,000-15,000
Casualties and losses
14 killed
46 injured
86 killed
108 injured
11,583 arrested
3 civilians killed
19 injured

Operation Gladio (Etrurian: Operazione Gladio) was a law-enforcement-military anti-Mafia operation that took place between 10-11 December 2018 in Etruria. The operation involved near simultaneous raids against over 100 criminal sydnicates and groups, the mass arrests of criminal suspects and confiscation of assets owned by targeted groups. During the operation, a total of 103 people were killed, 173 injured and 11,500 arrested.

The operation was the largest civil-military anti-Mafia action in history and is widely lauded as the most successful to date, with the total collapse of 80% of known organised crime groups in Etruria and the collapse of both the sex and arms trade. However, the operation was also widely criticised prior and after, due to concerns over civil liberties, cases of abuse and torture and the mass detention of persons without trial. In the months following the operation, further controversy arose over the Etrurian government using anti-Mafia legislation to target media outlets.

Background

Organised crime in Etruria

Organised crime in Etruria can trace its roots as far back as the 18th century, where groups of brigands coalesced into formal confederations during the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Pereramonic Empire, and prior to the unification of Etruria. These groups were mostly prevelant in the Vespasian-Novalian border regions, and northern Vespasia before evolving overtime to consolidate positions within many of Etruria's cities.

The Etrurian Mafia traces its roots to the brigands of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Between thw 18th century and early 20th century, these groups rarely evolved beyond lower-level activities as extortion, cattle theft and, upon Etruria becoming a democratic republic, election slugging in addition to other kinds of relatively low-level theft and fraud. Their power and influence over communities and society ebbed and flowed, dependent upon the responses of both state-level and central government. During the 1880s, the Etrurian government launched a major effort to combat the influence of these criminal groups, almost destroying their overseas smuggling activities.

During the early 20th century and during the Great War, the numerous groups moved into the sex trade and gambling, establishing a network of brothels and casinos across northern Etruria, to serve the large numbers of mobilised soldiers. The Great War proved a profitble period for many groups, who soon used their considerable wealth to infiltrate political circles. The political chaos of the post-Great War period saw the rise of the far-right Etrurian Revolutionary Republic regime, which immediately launched anti-mafia operations, nearly destroying numerous groups between 1938 and 1939, before halting in all operations unexpectedly.

Despite going into hiding during the Solarian War, the mafia emerged in the 1950s, to seize upon the mass construction boom taking place due to war-time reconstruction. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the mafia groups gained control of the building contracts and made millions of florin. It participated in the growing business of large-scale heroin trafficking, both in Etruria and Euclea. Many of these groups relied on historic smuggling routes from Etrurian colonies in Coius to funnel large quantities of opium and heroin into Euclea.

The Mafia had influence in 'legitimate' power, particularly under the corrupt liberal governments from the 1950s to the 1960s and during the military dictatorship from the 1960s until the 1980s. It has had influence with lawyers, financiers, and professionals; also it has had power and resources by bribing or pressuring politicians, judges and administrators. This influence waned following the return of democracy in 1983, as a renewed culture of civic duty emerged within the political class. However, much of the mafia's commericial activities expanded dramatically during the 1990s and 2000s economic boom.

In the 2010s, the influence of the mafia became more public, with overt and violent incidents against rival groups and innocents alike. Numerous corruption scandals involving government officials and the mafia erupted in the early 2000s, ultimately eroding public trust in the two major political parties. The exposure of mafia connections to politics and their immense network within the business world played a key political role in the 2016 EC referendum and rise of the Tribune Movement.

Anti-Mafia sentiment

Throughout much of the mafia's existence, public sentiment toward them ebbed and flowed. In several cases, during the Great War and the immediate aftermath of the Solarian War, many Etrurians viewed the mafia groups positively, noting their protection from petty criminals and roving groups of demobbed and unemployed soldiers. As prominent social commentator, Roberto Salvani noted in 1979, "the only times that any Etrurian mind sets against the mafiosi, are the times that the depths of their criminality and corruption become clear and public. When they lay low, many a Etrurian merely accept the mafiosi as a natural part of life."

Throughout the late 20th century it became widely accepted that sentiments toward the mafia were often driven by the political climate, rather than entrenched shared social views. When a particular government or political party took a hardline position toward the mafia, public sentiments often turned against organised crime and the mafia. However, many times that sentiments were driven by politics was during election periods, where the centre-right would flesh out their anti-mafia credentials as an electoral tool rather than an established party policy.

During the early 2010s however, public sentiment turned harshly against the mafia. Repeated and expansive corruption scandals at all levels of government involving the mafia proved highly damaging. The high levels of corruption and criminality was seized upon by the Etrurian populist right, especially the Coalition of the Right and subsequently the Tribune Movement. The populist right proved so successful in weaponising corruption against the mainstream parties that it permiated within general society.

By 2016 and the breakin of the Meraviglia Scandal, that up to 88% of Etrurians backed "all necessary means to confront organised crime", while 89% saw the mafia negatively. This increased 92% during the height of the Meraviglia Trials and stabilised at 90% upon the start of Operation Gladio in December 2018.

Tribune Movement government

Francesco Carcaterra prior to and since becoming President regularly described the mafia as the "cancerous tumour leaching our nation's lifeforce."

The rise of the Tribune Movement between 2012 and 2016 saw the emergence of a political party dedicated to eradicating organised crime. Many noted at the time that the Tribune Movement had established long-held policies in confronting the mafia, rather than merely offering platitudes as an electoral tool. The Tribunes pursued an established policy position in response to its success in weaponising corruption against the mainstream political parties.

The Tribune Movement anchored its anti-mafia position on the pursuit of "securing lasting and sustainable national development and rejuvenation" and as such, saw the destruction of organised crime as a necessary step. The Tribunes, sitting on the far-right of Etrurian politics shared many views as those held by the far-right regime during the 1930s and 1940s in that the mafia were "enemies of the state." Many senior Tribunes between 2012 and 2016 saw the mafia as "a poison" and a "disease infecting national governance." The Tribune line of attack also centered on the mafia being seen no different to terrorist organisations, since the groups "cause irreprable damage to both civic and patriotic life."

The highly political and tense EC referendum saw the Tribune-led No camp often accuse the pro-EC mainstream parties of being "riddled and run by the mafia" and as such, the EC would not only ignore organised crime but actively support it. Though widely denounced as lies or conspiracy theories, the attacks proved popular among voters, who had reached record highs in their mistrust and opposition to the mainstream centre-left and right over corruption.

In wake of the Tribune Movement victory in the 2016 election, it promised to take immediate action against the mafia. However, its coalition government with the Farmers and Workers Union prohibited more forceful action as the FWU rejected initial legislative plans. In 2017, the coalition government passed a bill establishing a "real time database of suspects" held by the then Federal Criminal Investigation Service (FSIP). Although the Organised Crime Suspect Database (Database dei Sospetti Criminali Organizzati; DSCO) initially proved ineffective, it would be an integral tool during Operation Gladio, as it centralised all data and evidence from every law enforcement agency in the country, prior to their federalisation in 2018.

The Tribune landslide victory in the 2018 general election and its establishment of a single-party government enabled it the political freedom to pursue hardline legislation against the mafia. Throughout that election, the Tribunes vowed to eradicate organised crime as part of its Etruria2028 program. This ultimately led to the controversial 2018 Judicial Reform Act and the subsequent 2018 Civil Security Act.

Civil Security Act

In wake of the passing of the Judicial Reform Act in the Spring of 2018; which stacked the constitutional court with pro-Tribune Movement justices and granted the federal government extensive powers over judicial appointments and the criminal court system, the Tribune government immediately set about establishing new powers in aim of confronting organised crime and corruption.

President Francesco Carcaterra (L) and Interior Minister Tullio Quagliariello (R) were the two main architects of the Civil Security Act.

The Carcaterra government as early as September 2017, sought to resurrect legislation from the Military Dictatorship (1960-1983) period to use against organised crime. The primary source of legislation came from the National Security and Defence Act of 1963, which included clauses for the stripping of habeus corpus, provisions for state surveillance, restrictions on the freedom of movement, freedom of association and state-mandated confiscation of assets. The NSD Act when active was viable against all citizens of the country, the Tribune legislation limited it in scope to groups designated as "civil and national security threats" or "terrorist entities."

In August 2018, Interior Minister Tullio Quagliariello tabled the Civil Security bill before the Chamber of Representatives, it passed the lower-house within three days, before ultimately passing the State Council two days later, much to the protest of opposition parties. The Civil Security Act contained key provisions and powers that would form the legal foundations of Operation Gladio:

  • All organised crime entities would be recognised as "National and Civil Security Threats."
  • These groups and their members would fall under the CSA's provisions.
  • All law enforcement will be federalised, with police forces at the state-level and the state police merging into the [[National Police Service (Etruria)|National Police Service)
  • Replacement of the Federal Criminal Investigation Service with the Civil Security Service.
  • Granting the federal government the power to confiscate physical and financial assets from "National and Civil Security Threats."
  • Denial of travel for "National and Civil Security Threats" suspects.
  • Denial of Habeus Corpus for "National and Civil Security Threats" suspects.
  • Granting the federal government to seize businesses directly or indirectly linked to "National and Civil Security Threats."

Critics of the Civil Security Act made much of its centralising of law enforcement under the federal government, while many accused it of being vague in wording with regards to the denial of civil liberties and rights of suspected mafia members. However, most political opposition and scrutiny focused on the federalisation of law enforcement and the extensive powers granted to the Civil Security Service, over its applications against organised crime.

Operation Gladio

According to government papers and files published since Operation Gladio, planning for the operation had begun in mid-August 2018. Much of the planning had been conducted by the Inter-Ministry Committee for Civil Security, a sub-cabinet group established during the writing of the Civil Security Act. The committee included senior ministers, including the president and senior officers from the National Police Service, the Civil Security Service and the Etrurian Defence Force. The Committee made much use of the Organised Crime Suspect Database to map out targets for the operation.

In the weeks prior to the operation, numerous unused military facilities were renovated and made habitable for use as a detention centres. The Civil Security Act's provision for "Special Security Tribunals" (Tribunali Speciali di Sicurezza) enabled for the hasty establishment of courts that many civil rights activitists have since described as "ruthless" and "providers of secret show trials." Between October and November, the Civil Security Service conducted a sweep of the NPS to clear out law enforcement of suspected moles or leakers who would jeopordise the needed element of surprise. The removal of over 800 police officers in the same months was billed by the government as a "key victory over the cancerous mafiosi."

The period between August and December 2018 saw increased surveillance of mafia outfits across Etruria, at all levels and ranks. The Civil Security Service placed government Travel Watch Orders (TWOs) on the known heads or capos of every targeted group. These orders would enable the CSS to intercept suspects in any attempt to leave Etruria. The CSS' Financial Observation Unit also began tracking and identifying bank accounts of groups and individuals, reportedly using a Military Dictatorship era law that revoked customer confidentiality with every financial institution in Etruria. In the days prior to the operation, social media noted an increased military presence in several regions of the country, while also noting increased police activity than normally noted.

Notable events by state

In the early evening of December 10 2018, the Etrurian government through law enforcement and units of the Etrurian Defence Force conducted simultaneous raids on 618 locations across the country, including bars, restaurants, taverns, houses, hotels, brothels, villas and apartments. The Etrurian government froze the accounts of over 12,000 people and seized the aircraft and maritime vessels of 228 individuals. Raids and mass arrests would continue for five days and ultimately lead to the mass detention of 11,583 people. During the raids, 14 members of law enforcement were killed and 49 wounded, 86 suspects were killed and 104 wounded - all as the result of gunfights or the resisting of arrest. 3 civilians were killed and 14 others injured when one raid saw suspects open fire indiscriminately into the street with assault rifles and grenades.

Vespasia

Vespasia, as the largest constituent state of Etruria and the historic birthplace of the mafia saw the greatest number of police actions. In total, 401 locations were raided and here, a majority of the casualties were suffered. 30,000 police officers were mobilised for the operation, almost 30% of the state's total number officers. A vast majority of locations raided were residences, while at least 79 bars, restaurants, clubs and tavernas were raided.

32 suspects tied to the Gentiluomo Coraggioso (lit. Brave Gentlemen) were arrested at the 15th birthday party of a suspects' daughter in the eastern city of Turania. The "Capo" of the Gentiluomo Coraggioso, Matteo Savati was arrested in his home in the village of Santa Stefania del Prato. A further 98 members of the G.C were detained over the course of the next five days, with 5 arrested in a forest 4km west of the Floren border.

The entire leadership of the Società dei Tre Principi (lit. Society of the Three Princes) were arrested at the home of the STP's Capo, Rodrigo Borgo. 18 members of the EDF's Special Security Operations Service (SOSS) unit raided the Villa Borgo on the Accadian Riviera. This coincided with the arrest of 300-400 suspected members of the STP.

Carinthia

Novalia

Tarpeia

Poveglia

Vicalvi

Solaria

Dubovica

Aftermath

Casualties

Targeted individuals

Trials

Asset confiscation

Controversies

Civil liberties

Accusations of abuse and torture

Cell deaths

Assassination of Stefano Urbano

Missing assets

Political