Operation Gladio

From Wikispooks
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Group.png Operation Gladio   Sourcewatch WikiquoteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
GladioEmblem.png
AbbreviationGladio
MottoSilendo Libertatem Servo
(In silence, we serve freedom.)
Formation1948
FounderAntonio Segni
HeadquartersRome, Italy
Type• military
• “terrorist”
Interest ofSven Aspling, Daniele Ganser, Thierry Meyssan, Paul Williams
Exposed byFelice Casson, Francesco Cossiga, Vincenzo Vinciguerra
SubpageOperation Gladio/B
Operation Gladio/Exposure
Secret for over 40 years, Gladio is a NATO-backed network of armed soldiers inside the nations of Europe outside effective control of national governments. Ostensibly intended for use only in case of a Soviet invasion, Gladio carried out a string of false flag terror attacks. In 1990, the European parliament asked all member states to launch investigations, but only 5 national governments did so.

Operation Gladio is a NATO-backed paramilitary network established after WW2, reportedly inspired by fear of the USSR. It was also called the "Stay behind network", since if the Red Army invaded Europe, its members would "stay behind" enemy lines to disrupt Soviet control. Officially non-existent, secrecy was so extreme that these networks were hard for NATO/MI6/Deep state officials to control. Gladio was responsible for bombings, kidnappings and assassinations to such an extent that the network was publicly exposed in Italy in the 1980s and was the subject of a BBC documentary by Alan Francovich some years later.[1] The project was adapted in the mid 1990s as "Gladio B", using "Moslem terrorists" as a substitute enemy image for communists.  

Sub-Pages

          Page Name          SizeDescription
Operation Gladio/B23,546, A development of Operation Gladio to help roll out the "war on terror" by promoting US/NATO-sponsored false flag attacks to be blamed on "Muslim terrorists".
Operation Gladio/Exposure9,640Operation Gladio was exposed in Italy by the research of Italian judge Felice Casson.

Official narrative

What has come to be called Operation Gladio was never intended to be publicly acknowledged. It was a multi-national military plan to arm and train clandestine groups in many (perhaps all) of its member countries and elsewhere in Europe. The official narrative on these networks is confused, contradictory and definitely incomplete, with many basic questions unanswered. The stated reasons for establishing undercover armed groups has tended to focus on use of the secret armies as a fifth column to provide armed resistance in the case of a Soviet invasion.

Problems

The power hierarchy of Gladio remains unclear to this day, and is unknown to elected national leaders. When the European Union learned of the existence of Gladio, it passed a resolution mandating national investigations to reveal what was going on, but as of 2016, only 5 countries have done so (including Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland). A large question mark therefore remains over the role that Operation Gladio has played, and continues to play in influencing events. It seems very likely that the deep state controls these forces whether through the national intelligence services or in more informal fashion. The connection, in particular, with false flag terrorist attacks is particularly concerning.

Operation Gladio B

Full article: Operation Gladio B
Sibel Edmonds discusses Gladio/B with James Corbett

Sibel Edmonds has exposed an international development of the original Gladio program referred to as "Operation Gladio B", which can be understood as a response in the min 1990s to the subsidence of the Soviet threat after the end of the cold war. As a way of kickstarting the "war on terror", instead of nationalist extremists in European countries, radical Muslims are armed, trained and assisted to carry out terrorist attacks while law enforcement is prevented from intervening.

Introduction

Interview with Daniele Ganser, author of Nato's Secret Armies

Operation Gladio first came to light in Italy in 1990, after over 40 years of clandestine operations. Members of the project revealed that similar projects existed in most if not all countries of Western Europe.[2] These stay-behind networks were, in essence, super secret armies in at least 14 European countries, which were kept secret from the official governmental structures of the host countries – being controlled by other forces such as the CIA and MI6. They remained mostly dormant but were also involved in anti-communist activities including anti-democratic agitation to swing elections and false flag "terrorism" to inflict psychological stress.

The name Gladio, (or ‘Sword’ in Italian) was technically the name given to their operations in Italy, but has since come by extension to stand for the phenomenon as a whole. Evidence of such arrangements, which had been kept secret from both public and politicians democratically elected governments in the host countries for a quarter of a century was revealed through a series of scandalous revelations in Italy and other NATO countries during the 90s, and meticulously documented by Swiss historian Daniele Ganser in his 2004 book NATO’s Secret Armies,[3] arguably the most shocking book ever to be ignored by the corporate media. The evidence contained in Ganser’s book, of terrorism directed against the people by secret armies funded and organised by NATO and answerable to deep state elements within NATO, MI6 and the CIA rather than the respective governments is so shocking that the initial reaction of most people would be to reject it. And yet the claims have been substantiated by juridical inquiries in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium and have been debated (and condemned) in the European Parliament.

Exposure

Full article: Operation Gladio/Exposure
Allan Francovich produced three ground-breaking documentaries about Operation Gladio. These were broadcast on BBC2 in 1992.

Although some arms caches were discovered,[4] lies from local individuals (such as Norway's Minister of Defence, Rolf Hansen) succeeded in preventing exposure of the Gladio network as a whole until the 1980s. It was exposed in Italy (hence the use of the local Italian name, Gladio, to refer to the entire project). An Italian judge, Felice Casson was researching the 1972 Peteano Bombing and discovered that Italian officials had been complicit in covering up the attack. This lead him to the discovery that there was a secret network which had also used the resources of the state to carry out multiple bombings. In 1990 Italian Prime minister Giulio Andreotti allowed Casson was given permission by to search the archives of the Italian military secret service Servizio informazioni sicurezza Militare) where he found evidence which tied the attack to NATO and the CIA.

Public attention was diverted by Saddam Hussein's attack on Kuwait, although evidence of the depth and breadth of the Gladio operation continued to emerge. Allan Francovich created a three part film about Gladio which interviewed some of the key figures who had been publicly exposed.

The Scandal Spreads

Andreotti’s revelations coincided with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and so as a result did not garner the publicity they almost certainly otherwise would have. Even so, the scandal began to spread. In October Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou confirmed there had been a Gladio network in Greece. In Germany a TV programme shocked the nation by revealing how former members of Hitler’s Special Forces SS had been part of a German stay-behind network. The Belgian Parliament appointed a special committee to investigate the existence – confirmed by the defence minister – of a Belgian Gladio network.

Most sensitively the Belgian parliamentarians discovered that the secret NATO army was still active. They found that a secret meeting of Generals directing the secret stay-behind armies in the numerous countries in Western Europe had been held in the secret NATO-linked Gladio headquarters ACC as recently as October 23 and 24, 1990. The meeting of the ACC had taken place in Brussels under the chairmanship of General Raymond Van Calster, chief of the Belgian military secret service SGR (Service General de Renseignement).[5]

In France President Mitterand claimed that the French Gladio network had been dissolved long ago but to his enormous embarrassment Andreotti then claimed the French had taken part in the recent meeting in Brussels. And so it went on. British defence officials refused to comment. In Portugal, contrary to official denials, a retired general confirmed there had been such a network in Portugal, while in Spain former defence minister Alberto Oliart claimed it was childish to "ask whether also under dictator Franco a secret right-wing army had existed in the country because 'here Gladio was the government'."[6]

In Turkey former prime minister Bulent Ecevit went even further and admitted that a secret army had been involved in torture, massacres, assassinations and coups d'etat, prompting the serving defence minister Giray to retort "Ecevit had better keep his fucking mouth shut!"[7]

The EU Debate

In all, 12 EU countries were affected and on November 22 1990 the European Parliament debated the issue.

The tone was set by Greek parliamentarian Ephremidis:

'Mr. President, the Gladio system has operated for four decades under various names. It has operated clandestinely, and we are entitled to attribute to it all the destabilization, all the provocation and all the terrorism that have occurred in our countries over these four decades, and to say that, actively or passively, it must have had an involvement.' Ephremidis sharply criticised the entire stay-behind network: 'The fact that it was set up by the CIA and NATO which, while purporting to defend democracy were actually undermining it and using it for their own nefarious purposes.'

(DG p.21)

Ganser writes of the EU debate:

Thereafter, as a first point of criticism following the preamble, the resolution of the EU parliament 'Condemns the clandestine creation of manipulative and operational networks and calls for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organisations or any splinter groups, their use for illegal interference in the internal political affairs of the countries concerned, the problem of terrorism in Europe and the possible collusion of the secret services of Member States or third countries.' As a second point the EU 'Protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establishment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence and operation network.' As a third point the resolution 'Calls on the governments of the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks.' As a fourth point the EU 'Calls on the judiciaries of the countries in which the presence of such military organisations has been ascertained to elucidate fully their composition and modus operandi and to clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structures of the Member States.' Furthermore as a fifth point the EU 'Requests all the Member States to take the necessary measures, if necessary by establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry, to draw up a complete list of organisations active in this field, and at the same time to monitor their links with the respective state intelligence services and their links, if any, with terrorist action groups and/or other illegal practices.' As a sixth point the EU parliament addresses the EU Council of Ministers, above all in its reunion as Defence Ministers, and 'Calls on the Council of Ministers to provide full information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services.' As a seventh point, the resolution 'Calls on its competent committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the "GLADIO" organisation and any similar bodies.' Last but not least in its final point the resolution explicitly addresses both NATO and the United States, as the EU parliament 'Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States, and the United States Government.'

He concludes:

The dog barked loudly, but it did not bite. Of the eight actions requested by the EU parliament not one was carried out satisfactorily. Only Belgium, Italy and

Switzerland investigated their secret armies with a parliamentary commission, producing a lengthy and detailed public report.
(DG pp. 23–24)

Silence from NATO, CIA & MI6

NATO reacted to these revelations in November 1990 with confusion. Against a background of newspaper headlines typified by the Guardian’s ‘Bombs Used at Bologna came from NATO unit’, spokesmen first denied the stories and then denied the denials by saying it was a subject which couldn’t be discussed on grounds of military secrecy.

The Portuguese press reported on November 7 a confirmation, NATO secretary General Manfred Woerner was quoted as telling in secret 16 ambassadors of NATO countries, Worner confirmed that the military command of the allied forces - Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) - coordinated the activities of the

"Gladio Network", which had been erected by the secret services in various countries of NATO, through a committee created in 1952.

(DG p.27)

German press confirmed that the so-called Secret Armies were co-ordinated in a special secure wing of NATO HQ in Casteau. Access was via a bank vault type door and papers were circulated with the stamp ‘American Eyes Only.’

The revelations began to mount and a picture emerged of a NATO Clandestine Planning Committee, responsible for the Gladio armies; of protocols which actively protected right-wing extremists from pursuit since they would be useful in anti-Communist activities. The CPC was run by the US with the UK and France as junior partners, with CIA members present at their meetings. Despite numerous revelations from those who took part, the official NATO position was (and is) one of denial. Official CIA response to information requests has been to neither confirm nor deny. In the UK, MI6 was even more cagey, prompting John Simpson on BBC 2’s Newsnight programme in April 1991 to say

'Britain's role in setting up stay-behinds throughout Europe was absolutely fundamental... it has emerged that other European countries had their own stay-behind armies - Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Greece, Turkey. Even in neutral Sweden and Switzerland there has been public debate. And in some cases enquiries have been set up. Yet in Britain, there is nothing. Save the customary comment of the ministry of defence that they don't discuss matters of national security.'

(DG p.36)

Paradoxically, despite the secrecy, an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum tacitly admitted the existence of the stay behind networks, and subsequent to this, two former Royal Marine officers admitted to having spent time at Fort Monckton near Portsmouth where MI6 and members of the SAS trained foreign gladiators.

Precursors

SS Werewolf units were activated after the D-Day invasion in Normandy with a view to harrying advancing Allied armies behind the lines and these units continued to exist after the war into at least 1946 where British counterintelligence operations such as 'Lamplight' were necessary to flush them out. As deals were formalised between senior Nazis such as Martin Bormann, Reinhardt Gehlen and Werner von Braun so SS Werewolf formations were incorporated into NATO intelligence structures and other nationalities trained in similar techniques. See ‘The Last Nazis, SS Werewolf Guerrilla Resistance in Europe, 1944 to 1947’ (2000) by Perry Biddiscombe.

Models for the secret armies had also been set up in the UK during WW2 by Section D of MI6. Arms caches were buried in anticipation of a German invasion. Initially, this was a purely domestic affair, but in 1940 with the inception of Special Operations Executive (SOE) the same tactics were taken behind enemy lines throughout occupied Europe. Officially SOE was closed down in 1946 and gave way to a successor - Special Operation (SO) - created under the auspices of MI6 to translate the same networks into resistance in countries overrun by the Soviets. Surviving secret units of the Axis powers were targeted and members of the defeated were sometimes recruited for the new anti-Soviet stay-behind networks.

As the Gladio scandal erupted in 1990 the British press observed that 'it is now clear that the elite Special Air Service regiment (SAS) was up to its neck in the NATO scheme, and functioned, with MI6, as a training arm for guerrilla warfare and sabotage'. Specifically the British press confirmed that 'an Italian stay-behind unit trained in Britain. The evidence now suggests that it lasted well into the 1980s', adding 'it has been proved that the SAS constructed the secret hides where arms were stockpiled in the British sector of West Germany'. Some of the best data on the secret British hand came from the Swiss parliamentary investigation into the secret Swiss stay-behind army P26. 'British secret services collaborated

closely with an armed, undercover Swiss organisation [P26] through a series of covert agreements which formed part of a west European network of "resistance" groups', the press informed a stunned public in neutral Switzerland. Swiss judge Cornu was given the task to investigate the matter and in his report 'describes the group's [P26] collaboration with British secret services as "intense", with Britain providing valuable know-how. P26 cadres participated regularly in training exercises in Britain, the report says. British advisers - possibly from the SAS - visited secret training establishments in Switzerland.' Ironically the British knew more about the secret Swiss army than the Swiss government, for 'The activities of P26, its codes, and the name of the leader of the group, Efrem Cattelan, were known to British intelligence, but the Swiss government was kept in the dark, according to the report. It says that documents giving details about the secret agreements between the British and P26 have never been found.' Swiss Gladiators during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s trained in Great Britain under British Special Forces instructors. Training, according to Swiss military instructor and alleged Gladio member Alois Hurlimann, also included non-simulated real action operations against IRA activists, probably in Northern Ireland. This Hurlimann carelessly revealed in Switzerland during an English language course conversation hour when in poor English he reported that in May 1984 he had taken part in secret trainings in England which had also included a real, non-simulated assault on an IRA arms depot, in which Hurlimann, fully dressed in battle fatigues, had participated, and in which at least one IRA activist had been killed.
(DG p.45)

CIA connection

Many people would no doubt be surprised to learn which country became the first target of covert action by the CIA after its inception in 1947. It was Italy. Under the auspices of top secret document NSC 4-A CIA Director Hillenkoetter was empowered to take a range of covert actions to prevent a communist victory in Italy’s forthcoming elections.

The 'reason for so great secrecy was altogether clear', the official CIA history records, for 'there were citizens of this country at that time who would have been aghast if they had learned of NSC 4-A'.

(DG p.53)

A year later and another directive, the notorious, NSC 10/2 was passed which authorised the CIA to carry out covert actions anywhere in the world. Covert action was defined as activities

'which are conducted or sponsored by this government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and conducted that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorised persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them'.

Specifically this included

'propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition, and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world'.

(DG p.54)

Even though the definition seemed to include everything imaginable - including activities in countries of the ‘free world’ - Hillenkoetter’s successor claimed that by 1951 the CIA covert ops had already ‘far exceeded’ even this.

Gladio-orchestrated coups in Italy.

One reason the US focussed such attention on Italy was the country had become an ideological battleground between left and right after the Second World War. The communist party was popular and strong and ranged against it on the right stood an ad hoc coalition of the Italian military secret service, right wing extremists as well as the Mafia and the CIA. Much of the wartime fascist bureaucracy survived, with the support of the US. Most notoriously, Prince Valerio Borghese (whose partisan army had killed hundreds of communists during the war), was saved from execution by the protection of the US. Such was the American determination that Italy should not go communist that President Truman signed a top secret order in 1950 which explicitly included invasion of Italy as an option if the country should turn red.

In April 1963 the socialists and communists did well in the polls, with members of the socialist party given cabinet posts but the success was short-lived. The following November Kennedy was assassinated and five months later the Italian socialists were forced out of office by a right-wing coup orchestrated by the CIA and Gladio units.

Code-named 'Piano Solo' the coup was directed by General Giovanni De Lorenzo whom Defence Minister Giulio Andreotti of the DCI had transferred

from chief of SIFAR to chief of the Italian paramilitary police, the Carabinieri. In close cooperation with CIA secret warfare expert Vernon Walters, William Harvey, chief of the CIA station in Rome, and Renzo Rocca, Director of the Gladio units within the military secret service SID, De Lorenzo escalated the secret war. Rocca first used his secret Gladio army to bomb the offices of the DCI and the offices of a few daily newspapers and thereafter blamed the terror on the left in order to discredit both Communists and Socialists. As the government was not shaken, De Lorenzo in Rome on March 25, 1964 instructed his secret soldiers that upon his signal they were to 'occupy government offices, the most important communication centres, the headquarters of the leftist parties and the seats of the newspapers closest to the left, as well as the radio and television centres. Newspaper agencies were to be occupied strictly for the time only that it takes to destroy the printing machines and to generally make the publication of newspapers impossible.' De Lorenzo insisted that the operation had to be carried out with 'maximum energy and decisiveness, free of any doubts or indecisiveness' and, as the Gladio investigation put it, made his men 'feverish and biting'. The Gladiators equipped with proscription lists naming several hundred persons had the explicit order to track down designated Socialists and Communists, arrest and deport them to the island of Sardinia where the secret Gladio centre was to serve as a prison. The document on 'The Special Forces of SIFAR and Operation Gladio' had specified that 'As for the operating headquarters, the Saboteur's Training CAG is being protected by a particularly sensitive security system and equipped with installations and equipment designed to be useful in case of an emergency.' In an atmosphere of greatest tension the secret army was ready to start the coup. Then, on June 14, 1964, De Lorenzo gave the go-ahead and with his troops entered Rome with tanks, armoured personnel carriers, jeeps and grenade launchers while NATO forces staged a large military manoeuvre in the area to intimidate the Italian government. Cunningly the General claimed that the show of muscle was taking place on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Carabinieri and, together with feverishly anti-Communist Italian President Antonio Segni of the right-wing of the DCI, saluted the troops with a smile. The Italian Socialists noted that somewhat unusually for a parade the tanks and grenade launchers were not withdrawn after the show but stayed in Rome during May and most of June 1964 .
(DG p.72)

A second CIA-backed right-wing coup, code-named Tora-Tora,, was planned for December 1970 but was called off at the last minute. Reportedly, the phone call that aborted it came from President Nixon himself.

As a consequence, the Left continued to gain ground in Italy. Foreign secretary Aldo Moro together with president Giovanni Leone flew to the US but were told by Henry Kissinger|Kissinger]] that on no account should the Left be included in government. Aldo Moro’s wife Eleonora later testified that the words used to her husband were, "You must abandon your policy of bringing all the political forces in your country into direct collaboration. Either you give this up or you will pay dearly for it.'" (DG p.79)

Subsequently Moro was kidnapped and murdered.

The Senate commission investigating Gladio and the terrorist bombings suspected the CIA and the Italian military secret service to have organised the abduction and murder of Moro. It therefore reopened the case but found that almost all files on the Moro kidnapping and murder had mysteriously disappeared from the archives of the Ministry of the Interior. The final 370-page report of the commission concluded in 1995 that, ‘It emerges without the shadow of a doubt that elements of the CIA started in the second half of the 1960s a massive operation in order to counter by the use of all means the spreading of groups and movements of the left on a European level.’ However these words were not strong enough for some Senators who continued the investigation under the chairmanship of Senator Pellegrini and concluded in June 2000 that

'those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence.

(DG p.82)

Ganser continues his inquiry with an exhaustive but depressingly familiar account of the same anti-democratic crimes being played out in the other countries of Western Europe, both within and without NATO, namely: France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Greece and Turkey.

Prudent precaution or Source of Terror?

At the end of his book, Ganser asks this question in an attempt to draw out the historical lessons. The answer is of course both. The strategic need for the stay-behind armies was reasonable in the light of what was known at the time, but the excesses directed against the people and democratic institutions of the host countries amounted to a wholly unacceptable assault on the sovereignty of these countries, of a sort that was familiar in Warsaw Pact countries but which was assumed to be absent from NATO countries. The terrorist bombings proved to be a means by which Pentagon planners were able to take their own (imaginary or delusional) fears about the rise of the Left and turn them into very real and concrete fears for the populace. The swiftness with which the fear of Communism has since been transmuted following the end of the Cold War into a fear of Islamic terrorism, along with the arrival of the whole security-military-industrial-complex paraphernalia of the "War on Terror" illustrates that this is almost a modus operandi of military planners. It’s as if they can’t help themselves. In light of this information, there is now a vast army of people around the world who reject the official government narrative of what happened on 9/11 and suspect there may have been US government complicity in the attacks. Opponents cry out that such a thing is unthinkable and that ‘they’ would never do such a thing. But as Ganser’s meticulously footnoted history of the Gladio armies makes clear: it may be unthinkable but it certainly isn’t unprecedented.

Ganser’s Conclusion in full:

Conclusion

'Prudent Precaution or source of Terror?' the international press pointedly asked when the secret stay-behind armies of NATO were discovered across Western

Europe following the Gladio revelations in Italy in late 1990. After more than ten years of research and investigation the answer is now clear: Both. The secret stay-behind armies of NATO were a prudent precaution, as the available documents and testimonies amply demonstrate. Based on the experiences of the Second World War and the rapid and traumatic occupation of most European countries by the German and Italian forces, military experts feared the Soviet Union and became convinced that a stay-behind army could be of strategic value when it came to the liberation of the occupied territory. Behind enemy lines the secret army could have strengthened the resistance spirit of the population, helped in the running of an organised and armed national resistance, sabotaged and harassed the occupying forces, exfiltrated shot down pilots, and gathered intelligence for the government in exile.

Based on the fear of a potential invasion after the Second World War highly placed officials in the national European governments, in the European military secret services, in NATO as well as in the CIA and the MI6 therefore decided that a secret resistance network had to be set up already during peacetime. On a lower level in the hierarchy citizens and military officers in numerous countries of Western Europe shared this assessment, joined the conspiracy and secretly trained for the emergency. These preparations were not limited to the 16 NATO member countries, but included also the four neutral countries in Western Europe, namely Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, on which the author is preparing a second publication. In retrospect it has become obvious that the fear was without reason and the training had been futile for the invasion of the Red Army never came. Yet such a certainty was not available at the time. And it is telling that the cover of the network, despite repeated exposures in many countries during the entire Cold War, was only blown completely at exactly the same moment when the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed.

The secret stay-behind armies of NATO, however, were also a source of terror, as the evidence available now shows. It has been this second feature of the secret war that has attracted a lot of attention and criticism in the last decade, and which in the future will need more investigation and research. As of now the evidence indicates that the governments of the United States and Great Britain after the end of the Second World War feared not only a Soviet invasion, but also the Communist Parties, and to a lesser degree the Socialist Parties. The White House and Downing Street feared that in several countries of Western Europe, and above all in Italy, France, Belgium, Finland and Greece, the Communists might reach positions of influence in the executive and destroy the military alliance NATO from within by betraying military secrets to the Soviet Union. It was in this sense that the Pentagon in Washington together with the CIA, MI6 and NATO in a secret war set up and operated the stay-behind armies as an instrument to manipulate and control the democracies of Western Europe from within, unknown to both European populations and parliaments. This strategy lead to terror and fear, as well as to "humiliation and maltreatment of democratic institutions', as the European press correctly criticised.

Experts of the Cold War will note that Operation Gladio and NATO's stay-behind armies cast a new light on the question of sovereignty in Western Europe. It is now clear that as the Cold War divided Europe, brutality and terror was employed to control populations on both sides of the Iron Curtain. As far as Eastern Europe is concerned, this fact has long been recognised, long before it had been openly declared. After the Red Army had in 1968 mercilessly crushed the social reforms in Prague, Soviet leader Leonid Breschnew in Moscow with his infamous 'Breschnew doctrine' had openly declared that the countries of Eastern Europe were only allowed to enjoy 'limited sovereignty'. As far as Western Europe is concerned the conviction of being sovereign and independent was shattered more recently. The data from Operation Gladio and NATO's stay-behind armies indicates a more subtle and hidden strategy to manipulate and limit the sovereignty, with great differences from country to country. Yet a limitation of sovereignty it was. And in each case where the stay-behind network in the absence of a Soviet invasion functioned as a straightjacket for the democracies of Western Europe, Operation Gladio was the Breschnew doctrine of Washington. The strategic rationale to protect NATO from within cannot be brushed aside lightly. But the manipulation of the democracies of Western Europe by Washington and London on a level which many in the European Union still today find difficult to believe clearly violated the rule of law and will require further debate and investigation. In some operations the secret stay-behind soldiers together with the secret military services monitored and filed left-wing politicians and spread anti-Communist propaganda. In more violent operations the secret war led to bloodshed. Tragically the secret warriors linked up with right-wing terrorists, a combination that led - in some countries including at least Belgium, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey - to massacres, torture, coup d'etats and other violent acts. Most of these state-sponsored terrorist operations, as the subsequent cover-ups and fake trials suggest, enjoyed the encouragement and protection of selected highly placed governmental and military officials in Europe and in the United States. Members of the security apparatus and the government on both sides of the Atlantic who themselves despise being linked up with right-wing terrorism must in the future bring more clarity nd understanding into these tragic dimensions of the secret Cold War in Western Europe.

If Cold War experts will derive new data from NATO's stay-behind network for their discourse on limited sovereignty during the Cold War, then international legal experts and analysts of dysfunctions of democracies will find data on the breakdown of checks and balances within each nation. The Gladio data indicates that the legislative was unable to control the more hidden branches of the executive, and that parliamentary control of secret services is often non-existing or dysfunctional in democracies on both sides of the Atlantic. Totalitarian states have long been known to have operated a great variety of largely uncontrolled and unaccountable secret services and secret armies. Yet to discover such serious dysfunctions also in numerous democracies comes as a great surprise, to say the least. Within this debate of checks and balances military officials have been correct to point out after the discovery of Operation Gladio and NATO's stay-behind network that there can never be such a thing as a 'transparent stay-behind army', for such a network would be exposed immediately in case of invasion and its members would be killed by the invasion force. Parliamentarians and constitutional lawyers meanwhile have been equally correct to emphasise that both the armed forces and the secret services of a democracy must at all times be transparent, accountable, controlled and supervised closely by civilian representatives of the people as they represent the most powerful instruments of the state.

This clash between mandatory secrecy and mandatory transparency, which lies at the heart of the Gladio phenomenon, directly points to the more general question of how much secrecy should be granted to the executive branch of a democracy. Judged from the Gladio evidence, where a lack of transparency and accountability has lead to corruption, abuse and terror, the answer is clear: The executive should be granted no secrecy and should at all times be controlled by the legislative. For a secret government, as it manifested itself in the United States and parts of Western Europe, can lead to abuse and even state terrorism. The growth of Intelligence abuses reflects a more general failure of our basic institutions', US Senator Frank Church had wisely noted after a detailed investigation of CIA covert operations already in the 1970s. Gladio repeats this warning with a vengance.

It can hardly be overemphasised that running a secret army and funding an unaccountable intelligence service entails grave risks every democracy should seek to avoid. For the risks do not only include uncontrolled violence against groups of citizens, but mass manipulation of entire countries or continents. Among the most far-reaching findings on the secret war, as seen in the analysis, ranges the fact that the stay-behind network had served as a tool to spread fear amongst the population also in the absence of an invasion. The secret armies in some cases functioned as an almost perfect manipulation system that transported the fears of high-ranking military officers in the Pentagon and NATO to the populations in Western Europe. European citizens, as the strategists in the Pentagon saw it, due to their limited vision were unable to perceive the real and present danger of Communism, and therefore they had to be manipulated. By killing innocent citizens on market squares or in supermarkets and blaming the crime on the Communists the secret armies together with convinced right-wing terrorists effectively translated the fears of Pentagon strategists into very real fears of European citizens.

The destructive spiral of manipulation, fear and violence did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union and the discovery of the secret armies in 1990, but on the contrary gained momentum. Ever since the vicious terrorist attacks on the population of the United States on September 11, 2001 and the beginning of the 'War on Terrorism' fear and violence dominate not only the headlines across the globe but also the consciousness of millions. In the West the 'evil Communist' of the Cold War era has swiftly been replaced with the 'evil Islamist' of the war on terrorism era. With almost 3,000 civilians killed on September 11, and several thousands killed in the US-led war on terrorism so far with no end in sight, a new level of brutality has been reached.

Such an environment of fear, as the Gladio evidence shows, is ideally suited to manipulate the masses on both sides into more radical positions. Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaida terror network manipulated millions of Muslims, above all young male adults, to take up a radical position and believe in violence. On the other side also the White House and the administration of George Bush junior has fuelled the spiral of violence and fear and lead millions of Christians and seculars in the United States and in Europe to believe in the necessity and justice of killing other human beings in order to enhance their own security. Yet human security is not being advanced, but on the contrary decays, as the atmosphere is drenched with manipulation, violence and fear. Where the manipulation and the violence originate from and where they lead to, is at times very difficult to dissect. Hitler and the Nazis had profited greatly from manipulation and the fear in the wake of the mysterious Reichstagsbrand in Berlin in 1933, whereupon the Third Reich and Second World War followed. In 2001 the war on terrorism began, and once again radical critics have argued that the White House had manipulated 9/11, the largest terrorist attack in history, for geostrategic purposes.

As people across the globe share a vague sensation 'that it cannot go on like that' many search for an exit strategy from the spiral of violence, fear and manipulation. In Europe a consensus is building that terrorism cannot be defeated by war, as the latter feeds the spiral of violence, and hence the war on terrorism is not part of the solution but part of the problem. Furthermore also more high-tech - from retina scanning to smart containers - seems unable to really protect potential targets from terror attacks. More technology might even increase the challenges ahead when exploited for terrorist purposes and asymmetric warfare, a development observable ever since the invention of dynamite in the nineteenth century. Arguably more technology and more violence will therefore not solve the challenges ahead. A potential exit strategy from the spiral of fear, manipulation and violence might have to focus on the individual human being itself and a change of consciousness. Given its free will the individual can decide to focus on non-violent solutions of given problems and promote a dialogue of understanding and forgiveness in order to reduce extremist positions. The individual can break free from fear and manipulation by consciously concentrating on his or her very own feelings, thoughts, words and actions, and by focusing all of them on peaceful solutions. As more secrecy and more bloodshed are unlikely to solve the problems ahead the new millennium seems a particularly adequate time to begin with such a shift in consciousness which can have positive effects both for the world and for oneself.

 

Events carried out

EventLocationDescription
Bologna bombingItaly
Bologna Central Station
A murderous attack on the Italian public, carried out by the MI6/CIA led Operation Gladio, blamed on communists, as part of a wider program to prevent their electoral success in Italy.
Brabant MassacresBelgium
Brabant Massacres
A set of murders between 1982 and 1985, in which 28 people died and 40 were injured. It became Belgium's most notorious unpunished crime spree.
Peteano bombingItaly
Peteano bombing
A suicide bomb attack which lured 3 carabinieri to their deaths with a booby trapped car bomb. The cover up of this murder - and its later uncovering by Italian judge Felice Casson was a major event in the exposure of Operation Gladio.
Piazza Fontana bombingItaly
Milan
Piazza Fontana
An act of terrorism carried out by NATO backed groups to try prevent the electoral success of the Italian communist party.

 

Related Quotations

PageQuoteAuthorDate
Strategy of tension“When you were on the Right you were not supposed to attack the State or its representatives. You were supposed to attack civilians, women, children, innocent people from outside the political arena. For one simple reason: To force the Italian public to turn to the State turn to the regime and ask for greater security. This was precisely the role of the right in Italy. It placed itself at the service of the State which created a strategy aptly called the "Strategy of Tension" in so far as they had to get ordinary people to accept that at any moment over a period of 30 years, from 1960 to the mid eighties a state of emergency could be declared. So, people would willingly trade part of their freedom for the security of being able to walk the streets, go on trains or enter a bank. This is the political logic behind all the bombings. They remain unpunished because the state cannot condemn itself.”Vincenzo Vinciguerra
The Road To 9-11“(Headed by Frank Wisner, OPC's) first project was an arrangement for the creation and support of right wing stay behind groups in Europe (...) Gregor Geannatini (?), one of the Italian authors of this Strategy of Tension (...) came to America in 1961 to lecture at the Naval War College on techniques and possibilities of a coup d'état in Europe. In March 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared their own documents developing Geannatini's strategy. This was Operation Northwoods (...) The plan (...) called for innocent people to be shot on American streets. (...) (00:45:05)”Peter Dale Scott2007

 

Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Brussels Attack: Another Chapter in NATO's Gladio Strategy?article27 March 2016Wayne MadsenAnalysis of the 2016 Brussels Bombing from an experienced terror-sceptic.
Document:Gladio - The Secret U.S. War To Subvert Italian Democracyessay23 February 1996Arthur E. Rowse
Document:Operation Gladioarticle1999David GuyattHow European extreme left-wing organisations were manipulated and set up as patsies for indiscriminate acts of terrorism aimed at discrediting the Left and preventing the accession of Left-leaning and communist to government.
Document:Secret Warfare - Gladiowebpage17 December 2004Daniele Ganser
Document:Strategy of Tension: The Case of Italywebpage28 July 2011Claudio Celani
Document:The Rape of Ukraine: Phase Two Beginsarticle28 February 2014William EngdahlNATO-backed para-military mercenary organisation UNA-UNSO involved in Gladio-style murder of 'protestors' in Ukraine
Document:The use of terrorism to construct world orderpaper10 September 2004Ola Tunander
File:Gladiodocs.pdflegal document2012Tom SeckerA collection of documents relating to Operation Gladio compiled with an introduction (below) by Tom Secker
File:The CIA in Western Europe and the Abuse of Human Rights.pdfpaperOctober 2006Daniele GanserA paper addressing assertions from the US State Department that US Field Manual FM30-31B was a Soviet forgery.


References