Operation Gladio

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Emblem of "Gladio", Italian branch of the NATO "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations. The motto means "Silently, I serve freedom".

Gladio (Italian, from Latin gladius, the sword of the gladiators) is a code name denoting the clandestine "stay-behind" operation in Italy after World War II, intended to counter a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. <ref name="StateDept">Template:Cite web</ref>

The role of the CIA and NATO in sponsoring Gladio, the extent of its activities during the Cold War era, and its relationship to stay-behind operations in other European countries is the subject of ongoing debate and investigation. Italy, Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter. <ref>http://www.senate.be/lexdocs/S0523/S05231297.pdf Belgian parliamentary inquiry. P17-22</ref>


[edit] General stay-behind structure

Emblem of NATO's "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations.

After World War II, the UK and the US decided to create "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines. Arms caches were hidden, escape routes prepared, and loyal members recruited: i.e. mainly hardline anticommunists, including many ex-Nazis or former fascists, whether in Italy or in other European countries. In Germany, for example, Gladio had as central focus the Gehlen Org — also involved in ODESSA "ratlines" — named after Reinhard Gehlen who would become German's first head of intelligence, while the predominantly Italian P2 masonic lodge was composed of many members of the neofascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), including Licio Gelli. Its clandestine "cells" were to stay behind (hence the name) in enemy controlled territory and to act as resistance movements, conducting sabotage, guerrilla warfare and assassinations. However, internal subversion was also considered, as the use of "false flag operations" (terror attacks attributed to the opposite side). "A briefing minute of June 1, 1959, reveals Gladio was built around 'internal subversion'. It was to play 'a determining role… not only on the general policy level of warfare, but also in the politics of emergency'. In the 1970s, with communist electoral support growing and other leftists looking menacing, the establishment turned to the 'Strategy of Tension' … with Gladio eager to be involved."<ref name="Vulliamy"> "Secret agents, freemasons, fascists… and a top-level campaign of political 'destabilisation'", The Guardian, December 5, 1990. </ref> The rising importance of communist parties in some countries, especially in Italy in the 1970s, led to the effective realization of those plans (See below).

CIA founder Allen Dulles was one of the key people in instituting Operation Gladio, and most of Gladio’s operations were financed by the CIA. In an International Herald Tribune article dated November 13, 1990, Joseph Fitchett talked about the "Nato resistance", declaring that those anti-communist networks, which were present in all of Europe, including neutral countries like Sweden and Switzerland, were partly funded by the CIA. Some went as far as claiming that Democrazia Cristiana leader Aldo Moro had been the "founder of (Italian) Gladio".<ref> "La critique - Récit d'un brigadiste", L'Humanité, October 7, 2005. (French) </ref> However, whether these allegations are correct or not, his murder in 1978 put an end to the “historic compromise” (sharing of power) attempt between the PCI and the Christian Democracy (DC), thus accomplishing one of the declared objectives of the Gladio’s strategy of tension.

Operating in all of NATO and even in some neutral countries or in Spain before its 1982 adhesion to NATO, Gladio was first coordinated by the Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU), founded in 1948. After the creation of NATO in 1949, the CCWU was integrated into the "Clandestine Planning Committee" (CPC), founded in 1951 and overseen by the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), transferred to Belgium after France’s official retreat from NATO — which was not followed by the dissolvement of the French stay-behind paramilitary movements.

"Next to the CPC, a second secret army command center, labeled Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC), was set up in 1957 on the orders of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR). This military structure provided for significant US leverage over the secret stay-behind networks in Western Europe as the SACEUR, throughout NATO's history, has traditionally been a US General who reports to the Pentagon in Washington and is based in NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium. The ACC's duties included elaborating on the directives of the network, developing its clandestine capability, and organizing bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE. According to former CIA director William Colby, it was 'a major program'."<ref name="Ganser"> "Terrorism in Western Europe: An Approach to NATO’s Secret Stay-Behind Armies" Acrobat file ETH Zurich research project on Gladio directed by Dr. Daniele Ganser </ref>
"Coordinated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), {the secret armies} were run by the European military secret services in close cooperation with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British foreign secret service Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also MI6). Trained together with US Green Berets and British Special Air Service (SAS), these clandestine NATO soldiers, armed with underground arms-caches, prepared against a potential Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, as well as the coming to power of communist parties. The clandestine international network covered the European NATO membership, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey, as well as the neutral European countries of Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
'The existence of these clandestine NATO armies remained a closely guarded secret throughout the Cold War until 1990, when the first branch of the international network was discovered in Italy. It was code-named Gladio, the Latin word for a short double-edged sword [gladius]. While the press claimed the NATO secret armies were 'the best-kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II', the Italian government, amidst sharp public criticism, promised to close down the secret army. Italy insisted identical clandestine armies had also existed in all other countries of Western Europe. This allegation proved correct and subsequent research found that in Belgium, the secret NATO army was code-named SDRA8, in Denmark Absalon, in Germany TD BJD, in Ireland Taca na hÉireann, in Greece LOK, in Luxemburg Stay-Behind, in the Netherlands I&O, in Norway ROC, in Portugal Aginter, in Switzerland P26, in Turkey Counter-Guerrilla, In Sweden AGAG (Aktions Gruppen Arla Gryning, and in Austria OWSGV. However, the code names of the secret armies in France, Finland and Spain remain unknown.
Upon learning of the discovery, the parliament of the European Union (EU) drafted a resolution sharply criticizing the fact (...) Yet only Italy, Belgium and Switzerland carried out parliamentary investigations, while the administration of President George H. W. Bush refused to comment, being in the midst of preparations for war against Saddam Hussein in the Persian Gulf, and fearing potential damages to the military alliance."<ref name="Ganser"/>

If Gladio was effectively "the best-kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II", it must be underlined, however, that on several occasions, arms caches were discovered and stay-behind paramilitary organizations officially dissolved – only to be created again. But it was not until the 1990s that the full international scope of the program was disclosed to public knowledge. Giulio Andreotti, the main character of Italy’s post-WWII political life, was described by Aldo Moro to his captors as "too close to NATO", Moro thus advising them to be wary. Indeed, before Andreotti’s 1990 acknowledgement of Gladio’s existence, he had "unequivocally" denied it in 1974, and then in 1978 to judges investigating the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing. And even in 1990, "Testimonies collected by the two men [judges Felice Casson and Carlo Mastelloni investigating the 1972 Peteano fascist car bomb] and by the Commission on Terrorism on Rome, and inquiries by the Guardian, indicate Gladio was involved in activities which do not square with Andreotti's account. Links between Gladio, Italian secret services bosses and the notorious P2 masonic lodge are manifold (…) In the year that Andreotti denied Gladio’s existence, the P2 treasurer, General Siro Rosetti, gave a generous account of 'a secret security structure made up of civilians, parallel to the armed forces' There are also overlaps between senior Gladio personnel and the committee of military men, Rosa dei Venti (Wind Rose), which tried to stage a coup in 1970.”<ref name="Vulliamy"/>

[edit] The European Parliament resolution concerning Gladio

Main article: European Parliament November 22, 1990 Resolution on Gladio (Wikisource)

On November 22, 1990, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Gladio, requesting full investigations – which have yet to be done – and total dismantlement of these paramilitary structures – which, as of 2005, has not been proven. The resolution condemned "the existence for 40 years of a clandestine parallel intelligence" as well as "armed operations organization in several Member States of the Community", which "escaped all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO." Denouncing the "danger that such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so," especially before the fact that "in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime," the Parliament demanded a "a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organizations 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." Furthermore, the resolution protested "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," asking "the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks" and to "draw up a complete list of organizations 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." Finally, the Parliament called "on its competent committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the 'Gladio' organization and any similar bodies," and instructed "its President fo forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States and the United States Government."

A. having regard to the revelation by several European governments of the existence for 40 years of a clandestine parallel intelligence and armed operations organization in several Member States of the Community,
B. whereas for over 40 years this organization has escaped all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO,
C. fearing the danger that such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so,
D. whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by, various judicial inquiries,
E. whereas these organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control and frequently those holding the highest government and constitutional posts are kept in the dark as to these matters,
F. whereas the various 'Gladio' organizations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military ressources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardizing the democratic structures of the countries in which they are operating or have been operating,
G. greatly concerned at the existence of decision-making and operational bodies which are not subject to any form of democratic control and are of a completely clandestine nature at a time when greater Community cooperation in the field of security is a constant subject of discussion,
1. 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 organizations 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;
2. 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;
3. Calls on the governments of the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks;
4. Calls on the judiciaries of the countries in which the presence of such military organizations has been ascertained to elucidate fully their composition and modus operandi and to clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structure of the Member States;
5. 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 organizations 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;
6. Calls on the Council of Ministers to provide full information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services;
7. Calls on its competent committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the 'Gladio' organization and any similar bodies;
8. Instructs its President fo forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States and the United States Government."<ref name="Statewatch"/>

[edit] Allegations

Gladio has been accused of trying to influence policies through the means of "false flag" operations: a 2000 Italian Parliamentary Commission report from the Olive Tree left-wing coalition concluded that the strategy of tension used by Gladio had been supported by the United States to "stop the PCI, and to a certain degree also the PSI (Italian Socialist Party), from reaching executive power in the country".

Propaganda Due (aka P2), a freemason organization, whose existence was discovered in 1981, was closely linked to Gladio. According to a November 18, 1990 article by The Observer, quoted by Statewatch, "Declassified secret service papers reveal that Ted Shackleton, deputy chief of the CIA station in Rome in the 1970s introduced the Licio Gelli – head of the neofascist P2 Masonic lodge and for years a fugitive in Argentina – to General Alexander Haig, then Nixon's chief of staff, and later, from 1974 to 1979, NATO Supreme Commander. P2 was a right-wing shadow government, ready to take over Italy, that included four Cabinet Ministers, all three intelligence chiefs, 48 members of parliament, 160 military officers, bankers, industrialists, top diplomats and the Army Chief of Staff. After meetings between Gelli, Italian military officers and CIA men in the embassy, Gladio was given renewed blessing – and more money – by Haig and the head of the National Security Council, Henry Kissinger. Just how those and later funds were spent is a key point in the Casson investigations."<ref name="Statewatch"> document by Statewatch (paying access) </ref>

P2 was outlawed and disbanded in 1981, in the wake of the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, which was linked to the Mafia and to the Vatican Bank. Its Grand Master, Licio Gelli, was involved in most of Italy’s scandals in the last three decades of the 20th century: Banco Ambrosiano’s crash; Tangentopoli, which gave rise to the Mani pulite ("Clean hands") anticorruption operation in the 1990s; the kidnapping and the murder of Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978 – the head of the secret services at the time, accused of negligence, was a piduista (P2 member). Licio Gelli has often claimed he was a friend of Argentine President Juan Perón. In any case, some members of Jorge Videla’s junta were discovered to be piduista, such as José López Rega, founder of the infamous anticommunist terrorist organization Triple A, Raúl Alberto Lastiri or Emilio Massera. The Vatican Bank was also accused of funneling covert US funds for the Solidarnosc trade union movement in Poland and the Contras in Nicaragua.<ref> "Gelli arrest is another chapter in Vatican bank scandal", American Atheists, September 16, 1998. Retrieved on February 2006. </ref>

Furthermore, Gladio has been linked to other events, such as Operation Condor <ref> See for ex. links between Italian neofascist terrorist Stefano delle Chiaie, whom was protected by the Italian SISMI, and the DINA; including assassination attempts on Bernardo Leighton, Carlos Altamirano, Andrés Pascal Allende (Salvador Allende's nephew), etc. Delle Chiaie also worked with Argentine death-squad Triple A and Bolivian dictator Hugo Banzer. Las relaciones secretas entre Pinochet, Franco y la P2 , Conspiración para matar, Sergio Sorin, February 4, 1999 </ref>and the 1969 killing of anticolonialist leader Eduardo Mondlane by Aginter Press, the Portuguese "stay-behind" secret army, headed by Yves Guérin-Sérac. In 1995, Attorney General Giovanni Salvi accused the Italian secret services of having manipulated proofs of the Chilean secret police’s (DINA) involvement in the 1975 terrorist attack on former Chilean Vice-President Bernardo Leighton in Rome. A similar mode of operation can also be recognized in various Cold War events, for example between the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre in Buenos Aires (Argentina), the 1976 Montejurra massacre in Spain and the 1977 Taksim Square massacre in Istanbul (Turkey).

After Giulio Andreotti's revelations and the disestablishment of Gladio, the last meeting of the "Allied Clandestine Committee" (ACC), was held according to the Italian Prime minister on October 23 and 24, 1990. Despite this, various events have raised concerns about "stay-behind" armies still being in place. In 1996, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir revealed the existence of a racist plan operated by the military intelligence agencies. In 1999, Switzerland was suspected of again creating a clandestine paramilitary structure, allegedly to replace the former P26 and P27 (the Swiss branches of Gladio). Furthermore, in 2005, the Italian press revealed the existence of the Department of Anti-terrorism Strategic Studies (DSSA), accused of being "another Gladio".

[edit] Gladio's strategy of tension and internal subversion operations

Further information: Strategy of tension

NATO's "stay-behind" organizations were never called upon to resist a Soviet invasion, but their structures continued to exist after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Internal subversion and "false flags" operations were explicitly considered by the CIA and stay-behind paramilitaries. According to a November 13, 1990 Reuters cable quoted by Statewatch, "André Moyen – a former member of the Belgian military security service and of the [stay-behind] network – said Gladio was not just anti-Communist but was for fighting subversion in general. He added that his predecessor had given Gladio 142 million francs ($4.6 millions) to buy new radio equipment."<ref>"CIA Organized Secret Army in Western Europe", Washington Post, Clare Pedrick, Nov 14, 1990,[http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/72630466.html?dids=72630466:72630466&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=NOV+14%2C+1990&author=Clare+Pedrick&pub=The+Washington+Post&desc=CIA+Organized+Secret+Army+in+Western+Europe%3BParamilitary+Force+Created+To+Resist+Soviet+Occupation&pqatl=google (archive)</ref> On various occasions, stay-behind movements became linked to right-wing terrorism, crime and attempted coups d'état:

"Prudent Precaution or Source of Terror?" the international press pointedly asked when the secret stay-behind armies of NATO were discovered across Western Europe in late 1990. After more than ten years of research, the answer is now clear: both. The overview aboves shows that based on the experiences of World War II, all countries of Western Europe, with the support of NATO, the CIA, and MI6, had set up stay-behind armies as precaution against a potential Soviet invasion. While the safety networks and the integrity of the majority of the secret soldiers should not be criticized in hindsight after the collapse of the Soviet Union, very disturbing questions do arise with respect to reported links to terrorism.
"There exist large differences among the European countries, and each case must be analyzed individually in further detail. As of now, the evidence suggests the secret armies in the seven countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands, focused exclusively on their stay-behind function and were not linked to terrorism. However, links to terrorism have been either confirmed or claimed in the nine countries, Italy, Ireland, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Sweden, demanding further investigation."<ref name="Ganser"/>

However, as Daniele Ganser points out, only Italy, Belgium and Switzerland carried on parliamentary investigations, while the prosecution of various "black terrorists" (terrorismo nero, neofascist terrorism) in Italy was difficult. "On the eve of the 1980 Bologna bombing anniversary, Liberato Mancuso, the Bologna judge who had led the investigation and secured the initial convictions [of the Bologna bombers] broke six months of silence: "It is now understood among those engaged in the matter of democratic rights that we are isolated, and the objects of a campaign of aggression. This is what has happened to the commission into the P2, and to the magistrates. The personal risks to us are small in comparison to this offensive of denigration, which attempts to discredit the quest for truth. In Italy there has functioned for some years now a sort of conditioning, a control of our national sovereignty by the P2 – which was literally the master of the secret services, the army and our most delicate organs of state" wrote The Guardian on August 3, 1990 <ref>The Guardian on August 3, 1990</ref>

Examples of such terrorist acts include the strategy of tension in Italy, or the Oktoberfest bomb blast of 1980 in Munich. In an November 7, 1990 article from Le Monde, a Gladio official said that "depending on the cases, we would block or encourage far-left or far-right terrorism",<ref name="Le Monde"> "Le Monde" quote from "L'Humanite" November 29, 1990 </ref>.

[edit] Gladio operations in NATO Countries

[edit] First discovered in Italy

Main article: Gladio in Italy

In 2000, a Parliament Commission report from the "Gruppo Democratici di Sinistra l'Ulivo" concluded that the strategy of tension had been supported by the United States to "stop the PCI, and to a certain degree also the PSI, from reaching executive power in the country". A 2000 Senate report, stated 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." According to The Guardian, "The report [claimed] that US intelligence agents were informed in advance about several rightwing terrorist bombings, including the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan and the Piazza della Loggia bombing in Brescia five years later, but did nothing to alert the Italian authorities or to prevent the attacks from taking place. It also [alleged] that Pino Rauti [curent leader of the MSI Fiamma-Tricolore party], a journalist and founder of the far-right Ordine Nuovo (new order) subversive organisation, received regular funding from a press officer at the US embassy in Rome. 'So even before the 'stabilising' plans that Atlantic circles had prepared for Italy became operational through the bombings, one of the leading members of the subversive right was literally in the pay of the American embassy in Rome,' the report says."<ref> US 'supported anti-left terror in Italy', The Guardian, June 24, 2000 </ref>

According to Daniele Ganser, General Gianadelio Maletti, former head of Italian counterintelligence, confirmed in March 2001 that the CIA might have promoted terrorism in Italy.<ref name="Ganser"/>

Gladio's existence came to public knowledge when Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti revealed it to the Chamber of Deputies on October 24, 1990, although far-right terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra had already revealed its existence during his 1984 trial. Thirty years after the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, which started the strategia della tensione, General Giandelio Maletti indicated that the massacre had been carried out by the Italian stay-behind army and right wing terrorists on orders of the CIA in order to discredit the PCI, which was negotiating the historic compromise with the Christian Democracy. Christian Democracy's leader and prime minister Aldo Moro’s 1978 murder, by the Second Red Brigades (BR) led by Mario Moretti, effectively put an end to the PCI’s possible participation to the government. According to The Guardian, the first reason of Gladio's discovery was "a group of judges examining letters uncovered in Milan during October in which the murdered Christian Democrat leader, Aldo Moro, said he feared a shadow organisation, alongside "other secret services of the West ... might be implicated in the destabilisation of our country".<ref name="Vulliamy"/>

Suspected since the 1984 revelations of Avanguardia Nazionale member Vincenzo Vinciguerra during his trial, Gladio’s existence was acknowledged by head of Italian government Giulio Andreotti on October 24, 1990, who spoke of a "structure of information, response and safeguard", with arms caches and reserve officers.

[edit] A quick chronology of Italy's "strategy of tension"

*1964 Operation Solo.

In 1964, Gladio was involved in a silent coup d'état when General Giovanni de Lorenzo in Operation Solo forced the Italian Socialists Ministers to leave the government.<ref name="ETH chronology"> Chronology from the ETH Zurich </ref>

*1969 Piazza Fontana bombing.

According to Avanguardia Nazionale member Vincenzo Vinciguerra: "The December 1969 explosion was supposed to be the detonator which would have convinced the politic and military authorities to declare a state of emergency"<ref name="La Repubblica"> "Strage di Piazza Fontana spunta un agente USA", La Repubblica, February 11, 1998. Retrieved on February 2, 2006. (With original documents, including juridical sentences and the report of the Italian Commission on Terrorism (Italian) </ref>

*1970, Golpe Borghese.

In 1970, the failed coup attempt Golpe Borghese gathered, around fascist Junio Valerio Borghese, international terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie and P2 headmaster Licio Gelli.

*1972 Gladio meeting.

According to The Guardian, "General Geraldo Serravalle, a former head of "Office R", told the terrorism commission that at a crucial Gladio meeting in 1972, at least half of the upper echelons "had the idea of attacking the communists before an invasion. They were preparing for civil war." Later, he put it more bluntly: "They were saying this: "Why wait for the invaders when we can make a preemptive attack now on the communists who would support the invader? The idea is now emerging of a Gladio web made up of semi-autonomous cadres which – although answerable to their secret service masters and ultimately to the NATO-CIA command – could initiate what they regarded as anti-communist operations by themselves, needing only sanction and funds from the existing 'official' Gladio column (...) General Nino Lugarese, head of SISMI from 1981-84 testified on the existence of a 'Super Gladio' of 800 men responsible for 'internal intervention' against domestic political targets."<ref name="Vulliamy"/>

*May 31, 1972, Peteano massacre.

Vincenzo Vinciguerra confessed in 1984 to judge Felice Casson of having carried out the Peteano terrorist attack, in which three policemen died, and for which the Red Brigades (BR) had been blamed before. Vinciguerra explained during his trial how he had been helped by Italian secret services to escape the police and to fly away to Francoist Spain. However, he was abandoned by NATO as soon as he started talking about Gladio, declaring for example during his 1984 trial:
"with the massacre of Peteano and with all those that have followed, the knowledge should now be clear that there existed a real live structure, occult and hidden, with the capacity of giving a strategic direction to the outrages. [This structure] lies within the states itself. There exists in Italy a secret force parallel to the armed forces, composed of civilians and military men, in an anti-Soviet capacity, that is, to organise a resistance on Italian soil against a Russian army... A super-organization which, lacking a Soviet military invasion which might not happen, took up the task, on NATO's behalf, of preventing a slip to the left in the politcial balance of the country. This they did, with the assistance of the official secret services and the political and military forces..." He then said to The Guardian, in 1990: "I say that every single outrage that followed from 1969 fitted into a single, organised matrix... Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo (the main right-wing terrorist group active during the 1970s), were being mobilised into the battle as part of an anti-communist strategy originating not with organisations deviant from the institutions of power, but from within the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state's relations within the Atlantic Alliance."<ref name="Vulliamy"/><ref name="Ganser"/>

*November 23, 1973. Bombing of the plane Argo 16.

According to a December 1, 1990 article by The Independent, quoted by Statewatch, "General Geraldo Serravalle, head of Gladio from 1971 to 1974, told a television programme that he now thought the explosion aboard the plane Argo 16 on 23 November 1973 was probably the work of gladiatori who were refusing to hand over their clandestine arms. Until then it was widely believed the sabotage was carried out by Mossad, the Israeli foreign service, in retaliation for the pro-Libyan Italian government’s decision to expel, rather than try, five Arabs who had tried to blow up an Israeli airliner. The Arabs had been spirited out of the country on board the Argo 16.”<ref name="Statewatch"/>

*1974 Piazza della Loggia bombing, Italicus Expressen massacre, and arrest of Vito Miceli, chief of the Army intelligence service and member of P2, on charges of "conspiration against the state".

In 1974, a massacre committed by Ordine Nuovo, during an anti-fascist demonstration in Brescia, kills eight and injures 102. The same year, a bomb in the Rome to Munich train "Italicus Express" kills 12 and injures 48. Also in 1974, Vito Miceli, P2 member, chief of the SIOS (Servizio Informazioni), Army Intelligence's Service from 1969 and SID's head from 1970 to 1974, got arrested on charges of "conspiration against the state" concerning investigations about Rosa dei venti, a state-infiltrated group involved in terrorist acts. During his trial, he revealed the existence of the NATO stay-behind secret army.

*1977. Reorganization of Italian secret services following Vito Micelli's arrest.

In 1977, the secret services were thus reorganized in a democratic attempt. With law#801 of 24/10/1977, SID was divided into SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare), SISDE (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica) and CESIS (Comitato Esecutivo per i Servizi di Informazione e Sicurezza). The CESIS was given a coordination role, led by the President of Council.

*1978's murder of Aldo Moro.

Prime minister Aldo Moro was murdered in May 1978 by the Second Red Brigades (BR) in obscure circumstances. The head of the Italian secret services, accused of negligence, was a P2 member. The so-called "historic compromise" between the Christian-Democracy and the PCI was abandoned:
"As the conspiracy theorists would have it, Mr. Moro was allowed to be killed either with the acquiescence of people high in Italy’s political establishment, or at their instigation, because of the historic compromise he had made with the Communist Party" (The Independent, November 16, 1990, quoted by Statewatch<ref name="Statewatch"/>)
"During his captivity, Aldo Moro wrote several letters to various political figures, including Giulio Andreotti. In October 1990, "a cache of previously unknown letters written by the former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, just prior to his execution by Red Brigade terrorists in 1978... was discovered in a Milan apartment which had once been used as a Red Brigade hideout. One of those letters made reference to the involvement of both NATO and the CIA in an Italian-based secret service, 'parallel' army", wrote The Irish Times on November 15, 1990 (quoted by Statewatch,<ref name="Statewatch"/>). "This safe house had been thoroughly searched at the time by Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, the head of counter-terrorism. How is it that the papers had not been revealed before?" asked The Independent on November 16, 1990.<ref name="Statewatch"/> Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa was murdered in 1982 (see below).

*1980 Bologna massacre.

"The makings of the bomb... came from an arsenal used by Gladio... according to a parliamentary commission on terrorism... The suggested link with the Bologna massacre is potentially the most serious of all the accusations levelled against Gladio, and comes just two days after the Italian Prime Minister, Giulio Andreotti, cleared Gladio’s name in a speech to parliament, saying that the secret army did not drift from its formal Nato military brief", wrote The Guardian on January 16, 1991 (quoted by Statewatch<ref name="Statewatch"/>). In November 1995, Neo-Fascists terrorists Valerio Fioravanti and Francesca Mambro, members of the Nuclei Armati Revoluzionari (NAR), were convicted to life imprisonment as executors of the 1980 Bologna massacre. The NAR neofascist group worked in cooperation with the Banda della Magliana, a Mafia-gang which took over Rome's underground in the 1970s and was involved in various political events of the strategy of tension, including the Aldo Moro case, the 1979 assassination of Mino Pecorelli, a journalist who published articles alleging links between Prime minister Giulio Andreotti and the mafia, as well as the assassination of "God's Banker" Roberto Calvi in 1982. The investigations concerning the Bologna bombing proved Gladio's direct influence: Licio Gelli, P2's headmaster, received a sentence for investigation diversion, as well as Francesco Pazienza and SISMI officers Pietro Musumeci and Giuseppe Belmonte. Avanguardia Nazionale founder Stefano Delle Chiaie, who was involved in the Golpe Borghese in 1970, was also accused of involvement in the Bologna massacre<ref>Translated from Bologna massacre Association of Victims Italian website Original page (Italian) </ref><ref name="Le Monde"/>

*1982 murder of General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, head of counter-terrorism.

General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa's 1982 murder, in Palermo, by Pino Greco, one of the Mafia Godfather Salvatore Riina's (aka Toto Riina) favorite hitmen, is allegedly part of the strategy of tension. Alberto Dalla Chiesa had arrested Red Brigades founders Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini in September, 1974, and was later charged of investigation concerning Aldo Moro. He had also found Aldo Moro's letters concerning Gladio.

*October 24, 1990. Giulio Andreotti’s acknowledgement of Operazione Gladio.

After the discovery by judge Felice Casson of documents on Gladio in the archives of the Italian military secret service in Rome, Giulio Andreotti, head of Italian government, revealed to the Chamber of deputies the existence of "Operazione Gladio" on October 24, 1990, insisting that Italy has not been the only country with secret "stay-behind" armies. He made clear that "each chief of government had been informed of the existence of Gladio". Former Socialist Primer Minister Bettino Craxi claimed that he had not been informed until he was confronted with a document on Gladio signed by himself while he was Prime Minister. Former Primer Minister Giovanni Spadolini (Republican Party), at the time President of the Senate, and former Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani, at the time secretary of the ruling Christian Democratic Party clamied they remembered nothing. Spadolini stressed that there was a difference between what he knew as former Defence Secretary and what he knew as former Prime Minister. Only former Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga (DC) confirmed Andreotti's revelations, explaining that he was even "proud and happy" for his part in setting up Gladio as junior Defence Minister of the Christian Democratic Party. This lit up a political storm, requests were made for Cossiga's (Italian President since 1985) resignation or impeachment for high treason. He refused testifying to the investigating Senate committee. Cossiga narrowly escaped his impeachment by stepping down on April 1992, three months before his term expired.<ref> Daniele Ganser April 2005 paper </ref>

*1998. David Carrett, officer of the U.S. Navy, is put under investigations on charge of political and military espionage and his participation to the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, among other events. Judge Guido Salvini also opened up a case against Sergio Minetto, Italian official for the US-NATO intelligence network, and pentito Carlo Digilio. La Repubblica underlined that Carlo Rocchi, CIA's man at Milan, was surprised in 1995 searching for information concerning Operation Gladio, thus demonstrating that all was not over.<ref name="La Repubblica"/>

1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, which started Italy's anni di piombo, and the 1974 "Italicus Expressen" train bombing were also attributed to Gladio operatives. In 1975, Stefano Delle Chiaie met with Pinochet during Franco's funeral in Madrid, and would participate afterward in operation Condor, preparing for example the attempted murder of Bernardo Leighton, a Chilean Christian Democrat, or participating in the 1980 'Cocaine Coup' of Luis García Meza Tejada in Bolivia. In 1989, he was arrested in Caracas, Venezuela and extradited to Italy to stand trial for his role in the Piazza Fontana bombing. Despite his reputation, Delle Chiaie was acquitted by the Assize Court in Catanzaro in 1989, along with fellow accused Massimiliano Fachini (as yet no convictions have been made for the attack). According to Avanguardia Nazionale member Vincenzo Vinciguerra: "The December 1969 explosion was supposed to be the detonator which would have convinced the politic and military authorities to declare a state of emergency"<ref name="La Repubblica"/>

[edit] The DSSA, another Gladio?

In July 2005, the Italian press revealed the existence of the Department of Anti-terrorism Strategic Studies (DSSA), a "parallel police" created by Gaetano Saya and Riccardo Sindoca, two leaders of the National Union of the Police Forces (Unpf), a trade-union present in all the state security forces. Both claimed they were former members of Gladio. According to the DSSA website — closed after these revelations — Fabrizio Quattrochi, murdered in Iraq after being taken hostage, was there "for the DSSA". According to the Italian investigators, the DSSA was trying to obtain international and national recognition by intelligence agencies, in order to obtain finances for its parallel activities. Furthermore, Il Messaggero, quoted by The Independent, declared that, according to judicial sources, wiretaps suggested Dssa members had been planning to kidnap Cesare Battisti, a former communist activist. "We were seeing the genesis of something similar to the death squads in Argentina" (the AAA groups) the magistrate is reported to have said.<ref>"Italy probes 'parallel police'", BBC News, July 1, 2005. Retrieved on February 2006.; "Up to 200 Italian police 'ran parallel anti-terror force'", The Independent, July 5, 2005. Retrieved on February 2006.; "Macché Gladio bis, le autorità sapevano Gaetano Saya si difende (Google translation available)", La Repubblica, July 2, 2005. (Italian); "Gladio, P2, falangisti l'Italia che sogna il golpe", La Repubblica, July 3, 2005. (Italian) ; "Così reclutavano: «Facciamo un'altra Gladio»", Corriere della Sera, July 3, 2005. (Italian) </ref>

[edit] Belgium

After the 1966 retreat of France from NATO, the SHAPE headquarter was displaced to Mons in Belgium. In 1990, following France's denial of any "stay-behind" French army, Giulio Andreotti publicly pointed out that the last Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) meeting, to which the French branch of Gladio was present, had been on October 23 and 24, 1990, under the presidency of Belgian General Van Calster, director of the Belgian military secret service SGR. In November, Guy Coëme, Minister of the Defense, acknowledged the existence of a Belgium "stay-behind" army, lifting concerns about a similar implication in terrorist acts as in Italy. The same year, the European Parliament sharply condemned NATO and the United States in a resolution for having manipulated European politics with the stay-behind armies.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

New legislation governing intelligence agencies' missions and methods was passed in 1998, following two government inquiries and the creation of a permanent parliamentary committee in 1991, which was to bring them under the authority of Belgium's federal agencies. The Commission was created following events in the 1980s, which included the Brabant massacres and the activities of far right group Westland New Post.<ref> Official site of the Belgian Permanent Committee for the Control of Intelligence Services See "history" section in the "Presentation" part. </ref>

[edit] France

In 1947, Interior Minister Edouard Depreux revealed the existence of a secret stay-behind army in France codenamed "Plan Bleu". The next year, the "Western Union Clandestine Committee" (WUCC) was created to coordinate secret unorthodox warfare. In 1949, the WUCC was integrated into NATO, whose headquarters were established in France, under the name "Clandestine Planning Committee" (CPC). In 1958, NATO founded the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) to coordinate secret warfare. When NATO established new European headquarters in Brussels, the ACC, under the code name SDRA 11, was hidden within the Belgian military secret service SGR, which has its headquarters next to NATO.

The illegal Organisation armée secrète (OAS) was created with members of the French stay-behind army and officers from the French War in Vietnam. In 1961, the OAS staged a failed coup in Algiers against De Gaulle's government.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

La Rose des Vents and Arc-en-ciel ("Rainbow") network were part of Gladio. François de Grossouvre was Gladio's leader for the region around Lyon in France until his alleged suicide on April 7th, 1994. Captain Paul Barril, among others, claimed that Grossouvre was murdered.<ref name="Voltaire"/> In any case, Grossouvre would have asked Constantin Melnik, leader of the French secret services during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), to return to activity. He was living in comfortable exile in the US, where he maintained links with the Rand Corporation. Constantin Melnik is alleged to have been involved in the creation in 1952 of the Ordre Souverain du Temple Solaire, an ancestor of the Order of the Solar Temple, in which the SDECE (French former military intelligence agency) was interested.<ref name="Amnistia"> "Du Temple Solaire au réseau Gladio, en passant par Politica Hermetica...", by Didier Daeninckx, February 27, 2002 </ref>

[edit] Denmark

The Danish stay-behind army was code-named Absalon, after a Danish archbishop, and led by E.J. Harder. It was hidden in the military secret service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE). In 1978, William Colby, former director of the CIA, released his memoirs in which he described the setting-up of stay-behind armies in Scandinavia:

"The situation in each Scandinavian country was different. Norway and Denmark were NATO allies, Sweden held to the neutrality that had taken her through two world wars, and Finland were required to defer in its foreign policy to the Soviet power directly on its borders. Thus, in one set of these countries the governments themselves would build their own stay-behind nets, counting on activating them from exile to carry on the struggle. These nets had to be co-ordinated with NATO's plans, their radios had to be hooked to a future exile location, and the specialised equipment had to be secured from CIA and secretly cached in snowy hideouts for later use. In other set of countries, CIA would have to do the job alone or with, at best, "unofficial" local help, since the politics of those governments barred them from collaborating with NATO, and any exposure would arouse immediate protest from the local Communist press, Soviet diplomats and loyal Scandinavians who hoped that neutrality or nonalignment would allow them to slip through a World War III unharmed."<ref> Chapter 3 'A Scandinavian Spy' from former CIA director William Colby's memoirs </ref>

On November 25, 1990, Danish daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende, quoted by Daniele Ganser (2005), confirmed William Colby's revelations, by a source named "Q":

"Colby's story is absolutely correct. Absalon was created in the early 1950s. Colby was a member of the world spanning laymen Catholic organisation Opus Dei, which, using a modern term, could be called right-wing. Opus Dei played a central role in the setting up of Gladio in the whole of Europe and also in Denmark... The leader of Gladio was Harder who was probably not a Catholic. But there are not many Catholics in Denmark and the basic elements making up the Danish Gladio were former [WW II] resistance people - former prisoners of Tysk Vestre Faengsel, Froslevlejren, Neuengamme and also of the Danish Brigade."

[edit] Germany

In 1952, former SS officer Hans Otto reveals to the criminal police in Frankfurt the existence of the fascist German stay-behind army BDJ-TD. The arrested right-wing extremists are found non guilty under mysterious circumstances. In 1976, the secret service BND secretary Heidrun Hofer is arrested after having revealed the secrets of the German stay-behind army to her husband, who was a spy of the KGB.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

In 2004 the German spymaster Norbert Juretzko published a book about his work at the BND. He went into details about recruiting partisans for the German stay-behind network. He was sacked from BND following a secret trial against him, because the BND could not find out the real name of his Russian source "Rubezahl" whom he had recruited. A man with the name he put on file was arrested by the KGB following treason in the BND, but was obviously innocent, his name having been chosen at random from the public phone book by Juretzko.

According to Juretzko, the BND built up its branch of Gladio, but discovered after the fall of the German Democratic Republic that it was 100% known to the Stasi early on. When the network was dismantled, further odd details emerged. One fellow "spymaster" had kept the radio equipment in his cellar at home with his wife doing the engineering test call every 4 months, on the grounds that the equipment was too "valuable" to remain in civilian hands. Juretzko found out because this spymaster had dismantled his section of the network so quickly, there had been no time for measures such as recovering all caches of supplies.

Civilians recruited as stay-behind partisans were equipped with a clandestine shortwave radio with a fixed frequency. It had a keyboard with encryption, making use of Morse code unnecessary. They had a cache of further equipment for signalling helicopters or submarines to drop special agents who were to stay in the partisan's homes while mounting sabotage operations against the communists.

According to the perpetrator of the Oktoberfest bomb blast of 1980 in Munich, the explosives came from a Gladio cache near the village of Uelzen in the Lüneburger Heide.

The Government was very reluctant if not untruthful on occasion, to concede the existence of Gladio and the inherent breach of constitution in that all armed forces must be controlled by the people. Following Giulio Andreotti's 1990 public exposal of the secret armies, it declared that it disbanded its part of Gladio. "According to a German television report, the section consisted of former SS and Waffen-SS officers as well as members of an extreme rightwing group, the Federation of German Youth, and drew up plans to assassinate leading figures of the opposition Social Democratic Party in the event of a Soviet-led invasion."<ref> "Secret Italian Unit" in The Guardian, November 17, 1990 </ref>

[edit] Greece

The aim of British Prime minister Winston Churchill was to prevent the communist-led EAM resistance movement from taking power after the end of World War II. After the suppression of a pro-EAM uprising in April 1944 among the Greek forces in Egypt, a new and firmly reliable unit was formed, the III Greek Mountain Brigade, which excluded "almost all men with views ranging from moderately conservative to left wing"<ref> Peter Murtagh, The Rape of Greece. The King, the Colonels, and the Resistance (London, Simon & Schuster, 1994), p.29, quoted by Daniele Ganser (2005), p.213 </ref> After liberation in October 1944, EAM controlled most of the country. When it organized a demonstration in Athens on December 3, 1944 against British interference, members of rightist and pro-royalist paramilitary organizations, as well as "British troops and police with machine guns... posited on the rooftops", suddenly shot on the crowd, killing 25 protesters (including a six-years-old boy) and wounding 148.<ref> Ganser (2005), pp.213-214 (his quote) </ref> This marked the outbreak of the Dekemvriana, and subsequently led to the Greek Civil War.

When Greece joined NATO in 1952, the country's special forces, the LOK (Lochoi Oreinōn Katadromōn, i.e. "Mountain Raiding Companies") were integrated into the European stay-behind network. The CIA and LOK reconfirmed on March 25, 1955 their mutual cooperation in a secret document signed by US General Trascott for the CIA, and Konstantinos Dovas, chief of staff of the Greek military. In addition to preparing for a Soviet invasion, the CIA instructed LOK to prevent a leftist coup. Former CIA agent Philip Agee, who was sharply criticized in the US for having revealed sensitive information, insisted that "paramilitary groups, directed by CIA officers, operated in the sixties throughout Europe [and he stressed that] perhaps no activity of the CIA could be as clearly linked to the possibility of internal subversion."<ref> Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe (Secaucus: Lyle Stuart Inc., 1978), p.154 (quoted by Daniele Ganser (2005) p.216 </ref>

The LOK was involved in the Greek military coup d'Etat on April 20, 1967, which took place one month before the scheduled national elections for which opinion polls predicted an overwhelming victory of the left-leaning Center Union of George and Andreas Papandreou. Under the command of paratrooper Lieutenant Colonel Costas Aslanides, the LOK took control of the Greek Defence Ministry while Brigadier General Sylianos Pattakos gained control over communication centers, the parliament, the royal palace, and according to detailed lists, arrested over 10,000 people. Phillips Talbot, the US ambassador in Athens, disapproved of the military coup which established the "Regime of the Colonels" (1969-1974), complaining that it represented "a rape of democracy" - to which Jack Maury, the CIA chief of station in Athens, answered: "How can you rape a whore?".<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

Arrested and then exiled in Canada and Sweden, Andreas Papandreou later returned to Greece, where he won the 1981 election for Prime minister, forming the first socialist government of Greek's post-war history. According to his own testimony, he discovered the existence of the secret NATO army, then codenamed "Red Sheepskin", as acting prime minister in 1984 and had given orders to dissolve it.

Following Giulio Andreotti's revelations in 1990, the Greek defence minister confirmed that a branch of the network, known as Operation Sheepskin, operated in his country until 1988.<ref> "Nato's secret network 'also operated in France'", in The Guardian, November 14, 1990 </ref> The socialist opposition called for a parliamentary investigation into the secret army and its alleged link to terrorism and the 1967 coup d'état. Public order minister Yannis Vassiliadis declared that there was no need to investigate such "fantasies" as "Sheepskin was one of 50 NATO plans which foresaw that when a country was occupied by an enemy there should be an organised resistance. It foresaw arms caches and officers who would form the nucleus of a guerilla war. In other words, it was a nationally justifiable act."

In December 2005, journalist Kleanthis Grivas published an article in To Proto Thema, a Greek Sunday newspaper, in which he accused "Sheepskin" for the assassination of CIA station chief Richard Welch in Athens in 1975, as well as the assassination of British military attaché Stephen Saunders in 2000. This was denied by the US State Department, who responded that "the Greek terrorist organization '17 November' was responsible for both assassinations" [1], and that Grivas's central piece of evidence had been a document ("Westmoreland Field Manual") which the State department, as well as an independent Congressional inquiry had revealed to be a Soviet forgery. It should be noted the document in question makes no specific mention of Greece, November 17th, nor Welch. The State Department also highlighted the fact that, in the case of Richard Welch, "Grivas bizarrely accuses the CIA of playing a role in the assassination of one of its own senior officials" while "Sheepskin" couldn't have assassinate Stephen Saunders for the simple reason, according to the US government, that "the Greek government stated it dismantled the “stay behind” network in 1988."<ref> Press statement from the US State Department, January 2006 </ref>

[edit] The Netherlands

A large arms cache was discovered in 1983 near the village Velp. The government was forced to confirm that the arms were related to NATO planning for unorthodox warfare.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Norway

In 1957, the director of the secret service NIS, Vilhelm Evang, protested strongly against the domestic subversion of his country by the United States and NATO and temporarily withdrew the Norwegian stay-behind army from the CPC meetings. In 1978, the police discovered a stay-behind arms cache and arrested Hans Otto Meyer, who revealed the Norwegian secret army.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Portugal

In 1966, the CIA set up Aginter Press which, under the direction of Captain Yves Guerin Serac (who had taken part in the founding of the OAS), ran a secret stay-behind army and trained its members in covert action techniques amounting to terrorism, including bombings, silent assassinations, subversion techniques, clandestine communication and infiltration and colonial warfare. In Mocambique, Aginter Press assassinated Eduardo Mondlane, leader of the liberation movement FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique), in 1969.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Turkey

Further information: Multi-Party Period of Republic of Turkey

In Turkey, the stay-behind army was known as "Counter-Guerrilla". Related to the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı (MIT), the Turkish intelligence agency, it engaged in domestic terror, supporting, as in Italy, a strategy of tension, which led to two military coup d'état in which it was directly involved. In 1971, after a military coup d'état carried on March 12, the stay-behind army Counter-Guerrilla engaged in domestic terror and killed hundreds. The overall death-toll of the terror of the 1970s in estimated at 5 000, with right-wing and terrorism responsible for the most part. According to statistics published by the British Searchlight magazine (n°47, May 1979, p.6), in 1978 they were 3 319 fascist attacks, in which 831 were killed and 3 121 wounded. In 1977, Counter-Guerrilla took part on the May 1, Taksim Square massacre, while left-wing newspaper editor Abdi İpekçi was murdered in 1979 by Mehmet Ali Ağca, a Grey Wolves member whom latter tried to assassinate the Pope John Paul II in 1980. Counter-Guerrilla's commander, General Kenan Evren staged a military coup and seized power in 1980. The US-support of this coup was acknowledged by the CIA Ankara station chief Paul Henze. After the government was overthrown, Henze cabled Washington, saying, "our boys have done it." At the time they were some 1 700 Grey Wolves organizations in Turkey, with about 200 000 registered members and a million sympathisers. After being useful for the strategy of tension followed by Kenan Evren, the leader of the Counter-Guerrilla turned president outlawed the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grey Wolves, its youth organization. The MHP had been founded in 1965 by Alparslan Türkeş, a member of the Counter-Guerrilla. Colonel Türkeş and other Grey Wolves were arrested. In its indictment of the MHP in May 1981, the Turkish military government charged 220 members of the MHP and its affiliates for 694 murders, according to Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead in The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection (New York, 1986, quoted by Ganser). However, Grey Wolves emprisonned members were offered release if they accepted to fight the Kurdish minority and the PKK,<ref> See interview of Grey Wolves member Ibrahim Ciftci with Milliyet on October 13, 1996, quoted by Ganser)</ref> as well as the ASALA ("Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia"). They then went on to fight, with Counter-Guerrilla, Kurds, killing and torturing thousands in the 1980s, and also carrying false flag attacks in which the Counter-Guerrilla attacked villages, dressed up as PKK fighters, and raped and executed people randomly (Ganser, 2005).<ref> "Turkish Dirty War Revealed, but Papal Shooting Still Obscured", Martin A. Lee, in Los Angeles Times, April 12, 1998 </ref> The fact that Counter-Guerrilla had engaged in torture was confirmed by Talat Turhan, a retired Turkish lituenant colonel. According to a December 5, 1990 article by the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the Counter-Guerrilla had their headquarters in the building of the US DIA military secret service.<ref name="ETH chronology"/> In addition, they carried out operations to assassinate the leader squad of ASALA, in which they have succeeded.

Former Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit recalled he had learned of the existence of Turkish "stay-behind" armies for the first time in 1974. At the time, the commander of the Turkish army, General Semih Sancar, had allegedly informed him the US had financed the unit since the immediate post-war years, as well as the MIT, the Turkish intelligence agency. Ecevit declared he suspected Counter-Guerrilla's involvement in the 1977 Taksim Square massacre in Istanbul, during which snipers opened fire on a protest rally of 500 000 citizens, organized by trade unions on May 1, killing 38 and injuring hundred. In 1976, a demonstration gathering 100 000 against the domestic terror, for which Counter-Guerrilla was largely responsible, had already took place. The next year, the demonstrators were met with bullets. According to Ecevit, the shooting lasted for twenty minutes, yet several thousand policemen on the scene did not intervene. This mode of operation recalls the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre in Buenos Aires, when the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (aka Triple A), founded by José Lopez Rega (a P2 member), opened up fire on the left-wing peronists... According to Kurtulus Turkish magazine (n°99, September 19, 1998 - quoted by Ganser, 2005), Turkish CIA agent Hiram Abas who "was closer than his own brother" to the CIA chief of station in Istanbul Duane 'Dewey' Clarridge (quotes from Clarridge's 1997 memoirs An Agent for All Seasons), was personally present on the May Day massacre. The Hotel International, from which the shots were fired, belonged to the ITT company, which had already been involved in financing the September 11, 1973 coup against Salvador Allende in Chile and was on good terms with the CIA. Hiram Abas had been trained in the US fin covert action operations and as an MIT agent first gained notoriety in Beirut, where he cooperated with the Mossad from 1968 to 1971 and carried out attacks, "targeting left-wing youths in the Palestinian camps and receiving bounty for the results he achieved in actions" (Kurtulus n°99). With MIT agent Mehmet Eymür, later promoted to direct the MIT's department for counter-espionage, Abas also participated in the Kizildere massacre of March 30, 1972, when they killed seven left-wing militants.

Other massacres include the Bahçelievler Massacre (October 9, 1978 - 7 university students who were members of the Turkish Worker's Party were assassinated by neo-fascists including Abdullah Çatlı and Haluk Kırcı), March 16 Massacre (March 16, 1978 - At the exit of the school, the police and fascists bombed and shot the leftist students in Beyazıt Square, killing 7 people), Kahramanmaraş Massacre (December 23-24, 1978 - 111 Alauoites were killed according to the official figures, the actual number was predicted to be much higher) and many more.

According to Le Monde diplomatique, Abdullah Çatlı, one of the leader of the Grey Wolves, "is reckoned to have been one of the main perpetrators of underground operations carried out by the Turkish branch of the Gladio organisation and had played a key role in the bloody events of the period 1976-1980 which paved the way for the military coup d’état of September 1980. As the young head of the far-right Grey Wolves militia, he had been accused, among other things, of the murder of seven left-wing students." He was seen in the company of Avanguardia Nazionale founder Stefano Delle Chiaie, while touring Latin America and on a visit to Miami in September 1982.<ref> "Turkey's pivotal role in the international drug trade", Le Monde Diplomatique, July 1998. (English)/(French) </ref>

[edit] The United Kingdom

In Great Britain, Prime Minister Winston Churchill created the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1940 to assist resistance movements and carry out subversive operations in enemy held territory across occupied Europe. After the end of World War II, the stay-behind armies were created with the experience and involvement of former SOE officers.<ref name="ETH chronology"/> Following the fall of France, a guerrilla network with arms cache was put in place, including Brigadier "Mad Mike" Calvert, drawn from a special forces ski battalion of the Scots Guards which was originally intended to fight in Nazi-occupied Finland.<ref> "How M16 and SAS Join In" in The Guardian, December 5, 1990 </ref> Gladio membership included mostly ex-servicemen but also followers of Oswald Mosley's pre-war fascist movement.[citation needed] They were given a list of prominent suspected communist sympathizers, including politicians, journalists, trade union leaders, clergy and so on. The mission was, at the first sign of insurrection or invasion, to execute as many as these people as possible.[citation needed] At least one name on the execution list went on to become a Labour Prime Minister.[citation needed].

Among the 200,000+ Polish ex-servicemen in the UK after the end of WW2, unable to return home for fear of communist repression, were conspiratorial groups maintaining combat readiness ready to fight for a free Poland should the Warsaw Pact attack western Europe. The 'Pogon' organisation, linked to the Polish Government-in-Exile held regular paramilitary exercises until the 1970s; many of its members were associated with the Polish scouting movement in the UK which had a strong paramilitary flavour. Links with 'Stay-behind' networks are strongly suspected.[citation needed].

General Gerardo Serravalle, who commanded the Italian Gladio from 1971 to 1974, related that "in the 1970s the members of the CPC [Coordination and Planning Committee] were the officers responsible for the secret structures of Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Italy. These representatives of the secret structures met every year in one of the capitals... At the stay-behind meetings representatives of the CIA were always present. They had no voting right and were from the CIA headquarters of the capital in which the meeting took place... members of the US Forces Europe Command were present, also without voting right. ".<ref> Gerardo Serravalle, Gladio (Rome, Edizione Associate, 1991), p.78-79 (Italian) </ref> Next to the CPC a second secret command post was created in 1957, the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC). According to the Belgian Parliamentary Committee on Gladio, the ACC was "responsible for co-ordinating the 'Stay-behind' networks in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States". During peacetime, the activities of the ACC "included elaborating the directives for the network, developing its clandestine capability and organising bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE; organisers were to activate clandestine bases and organise operations from there".<ref> Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into Gladio, quoted by Daniele Ganser (2005) </ref> In January 1991, Searchlight magazine alleged that Column 88, a neo-nazi paramilitary organization formed in the early 1970s was part of Gladio.

The Guardian reported on November 5, 1990, that there had been a "secret attempt to revive elements of a parallel post-war plan relating to overseas operations" in the "early days of Mrs Thatcher's Conservative leadership". According to the British newspaper, "a group of former intelligence officers, inspired by the wartime Special Operations Executive, attempted to set up a secret unit as a kind of armed MI6 cell. Those behind the scheme included Airey Neave, Mrs Thatcher's close adviser who was killed in a terrorist attack in 1979, and George Kennedy Young, a former deputy chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6." The newspaper stated that Thatcher had been "initially enthusiastic but dropped the idea after the scandal surrounding the attack by the French secret service on the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, in New Zealand in 1985."<ref name="GuardianNov5"> "The Gladio File: did fear of communism throw West into the arms of terrorists?" in The Guardian, November 5, 1990 </ref> The Swiss branch, P26, as well as Italian Gladio, had trained in the UK in the early 1970s.<ref name="GuardianNov5"/><ref> "UK trained secret Swiss force" in The Guardian, September 20, 1991 </ref>

[edit] Parallel stay-behind operations in non-NATO countries

[edit] Austria

In Austria, the first secret stay-behind army was exposed in 1947. It had been set up by far-right Soucek and Rössner, who both insisted during their trial that "they were carrying out the secret operation with the full knowledge and support of the US and British occupying powers." Sentenced to death, they were then pardonned under mysterious circumstances by Chancellor Körner (1951-1957).

Franz Olah set up a new secret army codenamed Österreichischer Wander-Sport-und Geselligkeitsverein (OWSGV, literally "Austrian hiking, sports and society club"), with the cooperation of MI6 and CIA. He later explained that "we bought cars under this name. We installed communication centres in several regions of Austria", confirming that "special units were trained in the use of weapons and plastic explosives". He precised that "there must have been a couple of thousand people working for us... Only very, very highly positioned politicians and some members of the union knew about it".

In 1965, the police forces discovered a stay-behind arms cache in an old mine close to Windisch-Bleiberg and forced the British authorities to hand over a list with the location of 33 other caches in Austria.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

In 1990, when secret "stay-behind" armies were discovered all around Europe, the Austrian government claimed that no secret army had existed in the country. However, six years later, the Boston Globe revealed the existence of a secret CIA arms caches in Austria. Austrian President Thomas Klestil and Chancellor Franz Vranitzky insisted that they had known nothing of the existence of the secret army and demanded that the US launch a full-scale investigation into the violation of Austria's neutrality, which was denied by President Bill Clinton. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns - appointed in August 2001 by President George Bush as the US Permanent Representative to the Atlantic treaty organization, where, as ambassador to NATO, he headed the combined State-Defense Department United States Mission to NATO and coordinated the NATO response to the September 11, 2001 attacks - insisted:

"The aim was noble, the aim was correct, to try to help Austria if it was under occupation. What went wrong is that successive Washington administrations simply decided not to talk to the Austrian government about it."<ref name="Ganser"/>

[edit] Finland

In 1945, Interior Minister Yrjö Leino (a communist) exposed a secret stay-behind army which was closed down (so called Weapons Cache Case). This operation was organized by Finnish general staff officers in 1944 to hide weapons in order to sustain a large-scale guerilla warfare in the event the Soviet Union tried to occupy Finland in the aftermath of the Continuation War. It was allegedly organized without any foreign help. In 1991, the media revealed in Sweden that a secret stay-behind army had existed in neutral Finland with an exile base in Stockholm (see Operation Stella Polaris). Finnish Defence Minister Elisabeth Rehn called the revelations "a fairy tale", adding cautiously "or at least an incredible story, of which I know nothing.".<ref name="ETH chronology"/> However, in his memoirs, former CIA director William Colby described the setting-up of stay-behind armies in Scandinavian countries, including Finland, with or without the assistance of local governments, to prepare for a Soviet invasion.<ref> Chapter 3 'A Scandinavian Spy' of former CIA director William Colby's memoirs. </ref>

[edit] Spain

Main article: Montejurra
Note: Spain joined NATO in 1982.

In May 1976, a year after Franco's death, two left-wing Carlist members were shot down by far-right terrorists, among whom Gladio operative Stefano Delle Chiaie and members of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (Triple A), demonstrating connections between Gladio and the South American "Dirty War".<ref> Crimes of Montejurra (Good Google translation) </ref> The next year, with support of Italian right-wing terrorists, the stay-behind carries out the Atocha massacre in Madrid and in an attack on a lawyer's office closely linked with the Spanish Communist Party kill five people.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Sweden

In 1951, CIA agent William Colby, based at the CIA station in Stockholm supported the training of stay-behind armies in neutral Sweden and Finland and in the NATO members Norway and Denmark. In 1953, the police arrested right winger Otto Hallberg and discovered the Swedish stay-behind army. Hallberg was set free and charges against him were mysteriously dropped.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Switzerland

In 1990, Colonel Herbert Alboth, a former commander of the Swiss secret stay-behind army P26 declared in a confidential letter to the Defence Department that he was willing to reveal "the whole truth". He was later found in his house, stabbed with his own military bayonet. The detailed parliamentary report on the Swiss secret army was presented to the public on November 17, 1990.<ref name="ETH chronology"/> According to The Guardian, "P26 was backed by P27, a private foreign intelligence agency funded partly by the government, and by a special unit of Swiss army intelligence which had built up files on nearly 8,000 "suspect persons" including "leftists", "bill stickers", "Jehovah's witnesses", people with "abnormal tendencies" and anti-nuclear demonstrators. On November 14, the Swiss government hurriedly dissolved P26 — the head of which, it emerged, had been paid £100,000 a year."<ref>"The Gladio File: did fear of communism throw West into the arms of terrorists?", in The Guardian, December 5, 1990</ref>

In 1991, a report by Swiss magistrate Pierre Cornu was released by the Swiss defence ministry. It said that P26 was without "political or legal legitimacy", and described the group's collaboration with British secret services as "intense". "Unknown to the Swiss government, British officials signed agreements with the organisation, called P26, to provide training in combat, communications, and sabotage. The latest agreement was signed in 1987… P26 cadres participated regularly in training exercises in Britain… British advisers — possibly from the SAS — visited secret training establishments in Switzerland." P26 was led by Efrem Cattelan, known to British intelligence.<ref>UK trained secret Swiss force in The Guardian, September 20, 1991</ref>

[edit] The Order of the Solar Temple mystery

It has been alleged by various sources[citation needed], among whom François-Xavier Verschave, a critic of French colonialism, that the "collective suicides" allegedly committed by various Order of the Solar Temple (OST) members, in December 1995 in the Vercors region of France, were connected to Gladio. The theory of the suicide has been heavily contested by family of the victims Alain Vuarnet, René and Muguette Rostan, Willy and Giséla Schleimer and their lawyer, Alain Leclerc. According to a Reuters cable dated March 22, 2004 (19:03:46), the lawyer explained that he had two documents upholding the theory of a murder.

One document was a copy of an April 21, 1997 letter addressed by a lawyer office to a bank, concerning the distribution of 17 million French Francs (about 2.5 millions Euros) between various personalities and political parties, the OST and the Rosicrucian Order AMORC (Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis), an organization suspected of links with the OST. In his demand for more investigation, Dr. Leclerc wrote: "If the document is true, it shows that the Order of the Solar Temple was in activity after the last March 22, 1997 massacre (the "collective suicide" of five adepts in Canada) and that the responsibles of this organization are still alive". However, the court refused further expertise: thus, it hasn't been possible to verify the validity of this document.

The second document is a juridical statement of Dr. Jean-Marie Abgrall, a specialist of sects accused of violation of the secret of investigations. In this document, "he states, goes the Reuter cable, as he had already done in declarations to Le Point and to Nice Matin in February 2003, that the Renewed Order of the Solar Temple cult ("Ordre Rénové du Temple" - ORT<ref> The Renewed Order of the Solar Temple (ORT — "Ordre Rénové du Temple") is listed as a cult composed of 50 to 500 French members by the 1995 French Parliamentary Commission of investigation of Cults activities (See here for original report).</ref>), ancestor of the OTS, had relations with Gladio network… Jean-Marie Abgrall would also talk about relations between the AMORC, of which he once was a member, and the French networks in Africa, so-called "networks Foccart"."<ref> p.14 quote from Libération concerning OST, Gladio and Jacques Foccart </ref> Lawyer Leclerc, also quoted by the REUTERS cable, said that psychiatrist Jean-Marie Abgrall "reveals… that the Order of the Solar Temple, as the AMORC and the ORT, were created and controlled by French and foreign secret services". Those information weren't given at the time of investigations; the lawyer thus asked that Dr. Abgrall be heard by the judge.

A third document was sent by the French secret services (RG) to the judge, discrediting the family of the victims' claims and demands for further investigations. If Jean-Marie Abgrall's claims of relationship between the ORT (OST's ancestor) and Gladio may seem far-fetched, Propaganda Due's juridically proven involvement in Gladio's strategy of tension inclines one to keep open various possibilities during investigations. Furthermore, connections between ORT founder Luc Jouret and far-right Belgian activist Jean Thiriart have been alleged by others sources; together, they had found in the 1970s a far-right party which was controlled by Belgium's branch of Gladio (See above). In any cases, the mass suicides haven't been clearly explained, let alone financial links concerning those various cults.<ref> REUTERS cable published here, in French - good Google translation though </ref><ref> Declaration to the media of Alain Vuarnet, family of the OTS victims </ref>

[edit] FOIA requests

Three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have been filed to the CIA, which has rejected them with the standard reply: "The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request." One request was filed by the National Security Archive in 1991; another by the Italian Senate commission headed by Senator Giovanni Pellegrino in 1995 concerning Gladio and Aldo Moro's murder; the last one in 1996, by Olivier Rathkolb, of Vienna university, for the Austrian government, concerning the secret stay-behind armies after a discovery of an arms-cache.<ref name="ETH chronology"/>

[edit] Politicians about Gladio

While the existence of "stay-behind" organizations such as Gladio has been disputed, with some skeptics describing it as a conspiracy theory, their existence was confirmed by several high ranking politicians in NATO countries:

  • Former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti ("Gladio had been necessary during the days of the Cold War but, that in view of the collapse of the East Block, Italy would suggest to NATO that the organisation was no longer necessary.")
  • Former French minister of defense Jean-Pierre Chevènement ("a structure did exist, set up at the beginning of the 1950s, to enable communications with a government that might have fled abroad in the event of the country being occupied.").
  • Former Greek defence minister, Yannis Varvitsiotis ("local commandos and the CIA set up a branch of the network in 1955 to organise guerrilla resistance to any communist invader")

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] Bibliography

  • Various documents (Report by the SIFAR (Italian Military Secret Service) on Operation Gladio; US Field Manual; Report by Giulio Andreotti; Parliamentary Investigation into the Swiss Defense Ministry; various FOIA requests to the CIA; Parliamentary Investigation report in Belgium & in Italy... on the ETH Zurich website)
  • Giulio Andreotti's report on Gladio, in French (waiting for translation) (French)
  • William Colby (former CIA director), Honorable Men (1978) extract available here
  • Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe ISBN 0-7146-8500-3 (a quick resume available here)
  • Lucy Komisar, "Turkey's terrorists: a CIA legacy lives on," The Progressive, April, 1997.
  • David Hoffman, "The Oklahoma City bombing and the Politics of Terror", 1998 (chapter 14 online on strategy of tension
  • Giovanni Fasanella and Claudio Sestieri with Giovanni Pellegrino, "Segreto di Stato. La verità da Gladio al caso Moro", Einaudi, 2000 (see civic website of Bologna (Italian)
  • Jan Willems, Gladio, 1991, EPO-Dossier, Bruxelles (ISBN 2-87262-051-6). (French)
  • Jens Mecklenburg, Gladio. Die geheime terrororganisation der Nato, 1997, Elefanten Press Verlag GmbH, Berlin (ISBN : 3-88520-612-9). (German)
  • Leo A. Müller, Gladio. Das Erbe des kalten Krieges, 1991, RoRoRo-Taschenbuch Aktuell no 12993 (ISBN : 3499 129930). (German)
  • Jean-François Brozzu-Gentile, L’Affaire Gladio. Les réseaux secrets américains au cœur du terrorisme en Europe, 1994, Albin Michel, Paris (ISBN : 2-226-06919-4). (French)
  • Anna Laura Braghetti, Paola Tavella, Le Prisonnier. 55 jours avec Aldo Moro, 1999 (translated from Italian: Il Prigioniero), Éditions Denoël, Paris (ISBN : 2207248887) (Italian)/(French)
  • Regine Igel, Andreotti. Politik zwischen Geheimdienst und Mafia, 1997, Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Munich (ISBN : 3776619511). (German)
  • Arthur E. Rowse, "Gladio: The Secret U.S. War to Subvert Italian Democracy" in Covert Action #49, Summer of 1994.[2]
  • Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), "StayingBehind: NATO's Terror Network" in Fighting Talk #11, May 1995.
  • François Vitrani, "L’Italie, un Etat de 'souveraineté limitée' ?", in Le Monde diplomatique, December 1990. (French)
  • Patrick Boucheron, "L'affaire Sofri : un procès en sorcellerie ?", in L'Histoire magazine, n°217 (January 1998) (L'Histoire website and article on-line here - with other newspaper articles about Gladio) (French)
  • "Les procès Andreotti en Italie" "The Andreotti trials in Italy" by Philippe Foro, published by University of Toulouse II, Groupe de recherche sur l'histoire immédiate (Study group on immediate history). (French)
  • Bibliography from ETH Zurich
  • Gerardo Serravalle, Gladio, 1991 ISBN 88-267-0145-8 (Gerardo Serravale commanded the Italian Gladio army from 1971 to 1974) (Italian)
  • Angelo Paratico "Gli assassini del karma" Robin editore, Roma, 2003.

[edit] Films

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

es:Operación Gladio eo:Gladio fr:Gladio it:Organizzazione Gladio nl:Operatie Gladio no:Operasjon Gladio tr:Gladio

Operation Gladio

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