Aginter Press

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Aginter Press, also known under the name Central Order and Tradition (Portuguese: Ordem Central e Tradição), was a pseudo press agency set up in Lisbon, Portugal in September 1966, under Oliveira Salazar's dictatorship (Estado Novo). Directed by Captain Yves Guérin-Sérac, who had taken part in the foundation of the OAS in Madrid, a terrorist group which fought against Algerian independence towards the end of the Algerian War (1954–1962), Aginter Press was in reality an anti-communist mercenary organisation with subsidiaries in other countries. It trained its members in covert action techniques, including bombings, silent assassinations, subversion techniques, clandestine communication and infiltration and counter-insurgency.

Strategy of tension[edit]

The agency was probably raised by the Salazar regime as a response to the Portuguese defeat in the anti-colonial war with India and the subsequent Annexation of Goa. The regime was determined to hold on to its remaining colonial possessions in Angola, Mozambique and East Timor, and feared Communist subversion in the form of Soviet support to anti-Colonial movements. This pushed the regime closer towards NATO security doctrine regarding the Soviet Union and anti-colonial movements. This agency is alleged to have carried out work for various right-wing authoritarian governments (including Salazar, Francoist Spain, the Suharto regime in Indonesia, the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, etc.) and the South African Apartheid regime. Its agents worked under the cover of reporters or photographers, which allowed them to travel freely.[1]

Aginter strategic document[edit]

An Aginter Press document, titled "Our Political Activity," was discovered at the end of 1974 and described the use of pseudo-operations

Our belief is that the first phase of political activity ought to be to create the conditions favouring the installation of chaos in all of the regime's structures. .. In our view the first move we should make is to destroy the structure of the democratic state under the cover of Communist and pro-Soviet activities. .. Moreover, we have people who have infiltrated these groups and obviously we will have to tailor our actions to the ethos of the milieu — propaganda and action of a sort which will seem to have emanated from our Communist adversaries. .. [These operations] will create a feeling of hostility towards those who threaten the peace of each and every nation. [i.e. Communists] [2]


The group was headed by Yves Guérin-Sérac, a Catholic anti-communist activist, former officer of the French Armed Forces and veteran of the Indochina War (1945–54), the Korean War (1950–1953) and the Algerian War (1954–1962). The Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie was another founding member of Aginter Press.[3] Hired in June 1962 by Franco, Yves Guérin-Sérac then chose to go to Salazar's Portugal, which was according to him the last stronghold against Communism and atheism.[4]


Beside Portugal itself, Aginter Press is alleged to have engaged itself against the independentist movements struggling against the Portuguese empire as well as in Italy. It is suspected of having assassinated General Humberto Delgado (1906–1965), founder of the Portuguese National Liberation Front, although this has been disputed since PIDE's officer Rosa Casaco has admitted he was involved in Delgado's assassination.

According to disputed sources, Aginter Press is alleged to have been responsible for the assassinations of anti-colonialist leader Amílcar Cabral (1924–1973), founder of the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) and Eduardo Mondlane, leader of the liberation movement FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique), in 1969.[5][6] According to other versions, both Cabral's and Mondlane's assassinations were the result of struggles for power within the independentist guerrilla movements.

1969 Piazza Fontana bombing[edit]

Italian magistrate Guido Salvini, in charge of the investigations concerning the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, explained to the Italian senators that:[7]

In these investigations data has emerged which confirmed the links between Aginter Press, Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale... It has emerged that Guido Giannettini [one of the neo-fascist responsible for the bombing] had contacts with Guérin-Sérac in Portugal ever since 1964. It has emerged that instructors of Aginter Press. .. came to Rome between 1967 and 1968 and instructed the militant members of Avanguardia Nazionale in the use of explosives.

Carnation Revolution: the end[edit]

During the April 1974 Carnation Revolution which put an end to Salazar's Estado Novo, Yves Guérin-Sérac, João Da Silva and others associates quit Lisbon for Albufereta, Spanish site of the Paladin Group (founded by ex-Nazi Otto Skorzeny), near Alicante (Southern Spain). They then escaped with forged French passports to Caracas, with the alleged "benediction of the Foccart networks."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chairoff, Patrice, 1975. B... comme barbouzes - Une France parallèle celle des basses-œuvres du pouvoir, , Editions Alain Moreau. (investigative journalist who also worked on the Civic Action Service - SAC), pp. 253-255
  2. ^ (Ganser 2005, p. 118) quotes Stuart Christie, Stefano Delle Chiaie, p.32, as well as Lobster, October 1989, p.18
  3. ^ (Ganser 2005, p. 117)
  4. ^ (Ganser 2005, p. 117) quotes Paris Match of November 1974 (front page[permanent dead link] as well as Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie, London, 1984, p.27
  5. ^ (Ganser 2005, p. 119) quotes Joao Paulo Guerra, "Gladio actuou em Portugal", in O Jornal, 16 November 1990 and Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie, London, 1984, p.30
  6. ^ Chronology Archived 2008-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security, ETH Zurich
  7. ^ Judge Guido Salvini hearing before the Italian Parliamentary Commission of investigation on terrorism in Italy, 9th session of 12 February 1997 (9ª SEDUTA - MERCOLEDI 12 FEBBRAIO 1997, Presidenza del Presidente PELLEGRINO (in Italian), quoted by (Ganser 2005, p. 120))


  • Ganser, Daniele (2005), NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, London: Frank Cass, ISBN 0-7146-8500-3, archived from the original on 2007-07-03