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.
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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 , 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. 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. Members of the project revealed that similar projects existed in most if not all countries of Western Europe.
They remained mostly dormant but were also involved in anti-communist activities including anti-democratic agitation and false flag " terrorism ". 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 Allan Francovich produced three ground-breaking documentaries about Operation Gladio. These were broadcast on BBC2 in 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 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. Allan Francovich created a three part film about Gladio which interviewed some of the key figures who had been publicly exposed. Even so, the scandal began to spread.
The Belgian Parliament appointed a special committee to investigate the existence — confirmed by the defence minister — of a Belgian Gladio network. 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, And so it went on. British defence officials refused to comment. 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. 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. 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. 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. Arms caches were buried in anticipation of a German invasion. Initially, this was a purely domestic affair, but in 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 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.
Some of the best data on the secret British hand came from the Swiss parliamentary investigation into the secret Swiss stay-behind army P P26 cadres participated regularly in training exercises in Britain, the report says. British advisers - possibly from the SAS - visited secret training establishments in Switzerland. It says that documents giving details about the secret agreements between the British and P26 have never been found. 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 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.
It was Italy. 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 which explicitly included invasion of Italy as an option if the country should turn red.
In April 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. 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.
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. 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.
Then, on June 14, , 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 th 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 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.
Either you give this up or you will pay dearly for it. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. As far as Western Europe is concerned the conviction of being sovereign and independent was shattered more recently.
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. 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.
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.
Background[ edit ] Ganser was born in Lugano , Switzerland as the son of the protestant priest Gottfried Ganser and the nurse Jeanette Ganser. Davies of the Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies likewise concludes that the book is "marred by imagined conspiracies, exaggerated notions of the scale and impact of covert activities, misunderstandings of the management and coordination of operations within and between national governments, and State Department stated in that Ganser had been taken in by long-discredited Cold-War era disinformation and "fooled by the forgery". Ganser argues that all three versions — the "surprise" theory the commonly accepted version that he calls "the official version" as well as the versions that the administration let the attack go ahead or even planned it — are all actually conspiracy theories. The U.