Club de Berne
| Club de Berne |
(Deep state milieu, Third rail topic)
|Founder||Fedricio Umberto D'Amato?|
|Interests||“Islamic terrorism”, counter terrorism|
|Shadowy group of intelligence agencies of the 28 states of the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland and Israel etc|
The Club de Berne (CdB) is a deep state milieu described as "a preferred platform for exchange" between secret services, an operational structure that grew out of personal contacts, practically without democratic supervision. Members include the intelligence agencies of the 28 states of the European Union (EU), Norway, Switzerland and Israel, and the US intelligence agencies enjoy “observer status”. Other participating services include Australian ASIO and Canadian CSIS
The group, named after the city of Bern, started in 1971, or maybe a few years earlier. In a BBC documentary on NATO operations in Italy in 1992, the senior Italian intelligence member Fedricio Umberto D'Amato said that Club de Berne was founded in response to the “1968 revolution” in France.
As of July 2016, Wikipedia had a page for this group, though lacking material from commercially-controlled media it was very sparse. The intelligence agencies themselves have tended not to publicise it in recent years, and have not maintained old pages about it. Wikipedia claims that it is an institution based on voluntary exchange of secrets, experience and views as well as discussing problems. According to Wikipedia has no secretariat and takes no decisions.
HQ in Netherlands
The Club now maintains an “operational platform” at the headquarters of the Dutch secret service AIVD near The Hague. There, the services involved exchanged information on measures and dangers in real time; there are also "joint operations teams in various formats and on various subject areas," as Dutch intelligence director Rob Bertholee noted in a speech.
From the once half-yearly meetings of the service chiefs in the 1970s, a solidified secret service organization has grown over the decades, including an operational platform in The Hague, joint operation teams and an information exchange that to date also includes non-European services. The central thing to note here is that there are national laws which allow cooperation with foreign services as well as the disclosure of personal data to brother services. However, there is no legal basis for multilateral intelligence cooperation within the CdB, which is deliberately not linked to institutions such as the EU or NATO. Consequently, there is no supervision.
The group has been researched by the German journalist Regine Igel in her book Terror Years. The dark side of the CIA in Italy. According to the information available from the minutes of a meeting of the Club de Berne in Cologne in 1973, "a new type of trusted people in insurgent organizations is needed, who must become active, become the engine of violence, in order to then get into the leadership of the organizations of the extreme left".
The Club de Berne is probably still operating in the area of "extremism". The internal document of the Club de Berne from 2011 shows that there was also a subdivision called “Rile” for left and right-wing extremism. So the CdB might have been active f.ex. in the summer of 2017 in advance or during the G20 summit in Hamburg, against which there were massive left-wing protests and riots by masked groups.
The Swiss historian Aviva Guttmann's research shows that Club de Berne's contacts expanded shortly after it was founded in 1971: the nine Western European secret services exchanged views regarding Palestinian terrorists and their supporters with the Israeli domestic and foreign secret services Shin Beth and Mossad and the American FBI. The exchange took place via an encrypted telegram system called Kilowatt.
Counter Terrorist Group
The Counter Terrorist Group (CTG) is an offshoot of the Club and shares "terrorism" intelligence. It provides threat assessments to EU policy makers and provides a form for expert collaboration. The Group was created after 9/11 to further intelligence sharing cooperation between European intelligence structures. CTG, like the Club, is outside of the EU's institutions but communicates with them via the participation of the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (EU INTCEN) (a branch of the European External Action Service). It reportedly "focuses on militant Islamist terrorism"". The name of the program is "Capriccio" and the database "Phoenix", reminding of the Phoenix-program death squad program during the Vietnam War.
Fedricio Umberto D'Amato claimed to have initiated the group in Alan Francovich's film. Another report claims that the Swiss Bundespolizei (Bupo) and the inland service Inland-Dienst started the group in 1969.
- Operation Gladio (film)
- “Club de Berne” meeting in Switzerland Swiss Federal Office of Police (28/April/2004)
- Rettman, Andrew (31 March 2011) EU commission keen to set up new counter-terrorism office, EU Observer
- European counter "terrorism" meeting, MI5
- Operation Gladio (film)