Authenticity of Field Manual 30-31b

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Concept.png Authenticity of Field Manual 30-31b Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
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An document that describes top secret counterinsurgency tactics, but the U.S government has termed a Soviet forgery.

Field Manual 30-31b is a U.S. document describing top secret counterinsurgency tactics, including a "strategy of tension" involving violent attacks which are then blamed on radical left-wing groups in order to convince allied governments of the need for counter-action. It also points out the need for heavy recruiting among the officer corps and security forces in the host country. The manual is, "owing to its specially sensitive nature, is not a standard issue in the FM series."[1]

The authenticity of the document has been disputed by the US government, which the State Department officially termed a Soviet forgery.

False flags

Full article: Field Manual 30-31b

The Field Manual includes plans for false flag attacks:

There may be times when HC [Host Country] governments show passivity or indecision in the face of Communist or Communist-inspired subversion, and react with inadequate vigor to intelligence estimates transmitted by U.S. agencies. Such situations are particularly likely to arise when the insurgency seeks to achieve tactical advantage by temporarily refraining from violence, thus lulling HC authorities into a state of false security. In such cases, U.S. Army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince the HC governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger and of the necessity of counteraction.[1]

Then FM 30-31B goes on to suggest that US agents infiltrate the enemy and carry out ‘violent actions’, presumably including terrorism, in the name of the enemy.

To this end, U.S. Army intelligence should seek to penetrate the insurgency by means of agents on special assignment, with the task of forming special action groups among the more radical elements of the insurgency. When the kind of situation envisaged above arises, these groups, acting under U.S. Army intelligence control, should be used to launch violent or non-violent actions according to the nature of the case . . . In cases where the infiltration of such agents into the insurgent leadership has not been effectively implemented, it may help towards the achievement of the above ends to utilize ultra-leftist organizations.[1]

Official narrative

At a 1980 hearing of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee of Oversight, CIA officials testified that the document was a singularly effective forgery by the KGB and an example of Soviet covert action.[2]

Both authors Peer Henrik Hansen[3] and Thomas Rid, at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, both specializing in Cold War intelligence, [4] and the U.S. State Department claim the document is a forgery by Soviet intelligence services.[5][6][7]

On 20 January 2006 the State Department of Condoleezza Rice rejected the claim that the stay-behind networks were linked to terrorism in Europe. The State Department issued a statement on the internet in which it wrongly claimed that these claims were based only on the US Field Manual FM 30-31B, which instructs US agents to carry out false flag terrorism but which the State Department termed a Soviet forgery. It is a "false notion that West European ‘‘stay-behind’’ networks engaged in terrorism, allegedly at US instigation" the State Department insisted. "This is not true, and those researching the ‘‘stay behind’’ networks need to be more discriminating in evaluating the trustworthiness of their source material".[8]


The history of FM 30-31B itself is remarkable. The Pentagon document first surfaced in Turkey in 1973 where the newspaper Baris in the midst of a whole range of mysterious acts of violence and brutality which shocked the Turkish society announced the publication of a secretive US document. Thereafter the Baris journalist who had come into the possession of FM 30-31B disappeared and was never heard of again. Despite the apparent danger, Turkish Colonel Talat Turhan two years later published a Turkish translation of the top-secret FM 30-31 and revealed that in Turkey NATO’s secret stay-behind army was codenamed "Counter-Guerrilla" directed by the Special Warfare Department. From Turkey the document found its way to Spain where in 1976 the newspaper Triunfo, despite heavy pressures to prevent the publication, published excerpts of FM 30-31B upon the fall of the Franco dictatorship. In Italy on 27 October 1978 excerpts of FM 30-31B were published by the political magazine L'Europeo, whereupon the printed issues of the magazine were confiscated.[1]

The breakthrough for the document came in the 1980s, when in Italy the secret anticommunist P2 Freemason lodge, headed by Licio Gelli, was discovered. Gelli declared, ‘The CIA gave it to me’[9]. Among the documents seized by the Italian police ranged also FM 30-31B. The Italian parliamentary investigation into P2 decided to publish FM 30-31B as a genuine US document in the appendix of the final public parliamentary report on P2 in 1987.

Daniele Ganser

Daniele Ganser used the Field Manual for his book on Gladio. In response to the U.S. official denials, he pointed out that:

FM 30-31B is dated 18 March 1970, Headquarters of the US Army, Washington DC, and signed by General Westmoreland. William Westmoreland commanded American military operations in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968 and thereafter served as US Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. He died in the summer of 2005 and is no longer available to testify whether Annex B is a Soviet forgery asthe State Department claims, or whether it is a genuine US document which he signed. Documentary film-maker Allan Francovich asked Ray Cline, CIA Deputy Director from 1962 to 1966, whether FM 30-31B was an authentic document or a Soviet forgery, and the latter responded on the BBC: ‘Well, I suspect it is an authentic document. I don’t doubt it. I never saw it but it’s the kind of special forces military operations that are described. On the other hand you gotta recall, that the defence department and the President don’t initiate any of those orders, until there is an appropriate occasion’.[9]


  1. a b c d
  3. Hansen, Peer Henrik (2006). "Upstairs and Downstairs"—The Forgotten CIA Operations in Copenhagen". International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. 19 (4)
  6. U.S. House. Hearings Before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Soviet Active Measures. 97th Congress, 2nd session. July 13, 14, 1982.
  7. U.S. House. Hearings Before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Soviet Covert Action (The Forgery Offense). 96th Congress, 2nd session. February 6, 19, 1980.
  9. a b For further sources, see this document