Operation GLADIO and the Illusion of "Western Democracy"
There is a sickening spectacle unfolding in Ukraine so called "Western Democracies" are supporting a brutal regime made up of Billionaire Oligarchs and avowed Fascists while they wage war on their own people. In fact the IMF even made it's loans conditional on the successful prosecution of it's war. The CIA is advising the new regime on how to crush dissent by terrorizing the population. Of course it's an old story in the third world but what is seldom recognized is it is not such a rare occurrence in Europe itself. Whether they know it or not the citizens of NATO countries and even non-NATO countries have only the illusion of national sovereignty or democracy. As Daniele Ganser explains in his book "NATO's Secret Armies Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe" after world war 2 western european counties signed secret bilateral agreements with the United States vowing that they would prevent any democratic movement that would threaten to either change the social order or adopt an independent foreign policy. As part of these secret agreements they agreed to found secret "stay behind armies" that would wage a secret war on the public to manipulate public opinion through so called psychological operations. Psychological operations can range from propaganda, to false flag terror attacks, up to official State terror against the populace. In many countries they recruited fascists and later they would found, train and fund new fascist groups. This is what they don't mention about the recent extreme right wing victories. For 70 years the CIA in cooperation with the intelligence agencies of every european country have kept fascism alive in Europe by funding and training them. Throughout the Cold War stay behind armies would be involved in all sorts of crimes and strange operations terrorism, assassinations, coups and operation Condor style state repression. The cover for these stay behind armies was that they existed to prepare for a Soviet Invasion. However they also had the dual role of keeping communists from coming to power peacefully. In Italy, France, and Greece stay behinds would be used from the beginning to subvert democracy. In countries not in danger of voting against the wishes of the US and UK the Stay Behind Networks might remain largely dormant. However in places where the communists and socialists enjoyed broad popular support the stay behind networks were quite active. Not only communists were targeted however. Even general De Gaulle a strong anti-communist became a target when he wisely decided to grant Algeria independence. In other countries such as Spain and Portugal which were openly fascist dictatorships the secret armies literally became the government and were used to kidnap torture and kill any who dared to dissent or often merely anyone who aroused their paranoid suspicions. This article is yet another continuation of my earlier article "America, the CIA, and Fascism", and like "Nazis and the CIA" it is an expansion on a paragraph of that article. I have relied mostly on Daniele Ganser's "NATO's Secret Armies" in it he describes what is known about GLADIO operations in all the NATO members countries.
Operation GLADIO is technically only the Italian branch of GADIO. Every country's secret army had their own name. However I'll call them GLADIO simply because it is shorter and catchier then "Stay Behind Network" also the term stay behind network reinforces the cover story that they were meant to defend against an invasion that never occurred.. GlADIO became famous in 1990 when the Italian Prime minister Giulio Andreotti was forced to publicly admit their existence. However their existence was periodically revealed and forgotten from the start. Actually the first scandal involving GLADIO occurred before the cold war even began at least if you were Greek. In Greece the British cynically changed sides during the war and began supporting the fascists against the communist dominated resistance way back in 1943. Churchill personally ordered the policy change against the pleas of the British spies and special forces that had been fighting alongside the resistance on the ground. Instead the british began to support Fascist Death squads called X bands and Later the Hellenic Mountain Force. Because of Continuing resistance and the decline of british Power the Americans would take over continuing to support fascists and invading the country and using Napalm to terrorize the population into submission in the aptly Named project Torch. Yet this was only the beginning of Greece's tragedy. Gladio had it's origin in the british SOE founded in 1940 to set up resistance forces all across Europe. The british would train secret armies to engage in espionage, sabotage, and Terrorism against the germans. Later the Germans as they were loosing would set up their own stay behind networks popularly called werewolves. However the most popular and effective resistance to fascism during the war was from the communist resistance movements. This is one reason why popular fronts composed of Socialists and Communists were on the verge of winning Elections in France and Italy postwar. The US decided to use it's old allies the british and it's new Fascist allies to establish secret armies all across Europe as mentioned in my article Nazis and the CIA they also established stay behind networks to attack eastern block countries where they engaged in a campaign of espionage, assassination, Terrorism and guerrilla war in which tens of thousands perished. Similar networks were established all over the world giving birth to death squads in latin america, operation phoenix in Vietnam, and support for drug financed guerrilla armies throughout Asia, in Africa as well there were brutal proxy armies created leading to millions dead. Thus these european networks should be seen in a global context which is why events in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Turkey so closely resembled events in Latin America. Every European countries thus had within it the secret embryo of a Fascist Counter revolution. Actually as Daniele Ganser reveals the situation was much worse in Norway and Italy documents were leaked which showed that should any democratic movement attempted to force America to close it's military bases in a given country the US was prepared to use it's own Military to suppress any potential rebellions should the native government prove unable to keep it's people in check. In fact the US nearly decided to launch a military crackdown in Italy to prevent the communists from winning the elections. So beware people of Europe of ever endangering America's strategic interests lest you be crushed like the people of Ukraine are being crushed.
GLADIO armies were all centrally controlled from NATO's SHAPE Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. SHAPE is Nato's controlling body within SHAPE the ACC and CPC had direct control of GLADIO forces throughout Europe. In addition all heads of European Intelligence agencies met frequently to coordinate the Secret War. If ACC and CPC have not changed their name then researchers would do well to look into their coordination of networks of terrorists and drug and weapons dealers today. Sibel Edmonds has said that GLADIO B the islamist Gladio networks involved in the US NATO covert war for Eurasia were still coordinated from an office in NATO when she worked in the FBI around 2001. ACC stood for Allied Clandestine Committee. CPC was the Clandestine Planning Committee. In addition the Pentagon and the CIA were involved in all details of GLADIO operations. I mention it to debunk the version of events where the GLADIO networks merely got out of control. In reality they were all centrally coordinated with direct US supervision although the UK was almost as influential in controlling the networks. Actually the two would sometimes compete for sponsorship of the GLADIO networks. The British Training was more prestigious although expensive while the American's offered free supplies the british charged. Italian Gladio decided it wanted british training but still accepted the free American weapons angering MI-6. Often the country would have to beg the two countries to co-operate leading in many countries to trilateral committees made up of the host country plus US and British intelligence. The GlADIO forces would secretly expand by having each member recruit 10 more. The US had refusal over all candidates. In many countries Fascist groups were recruited, trained, and in some cases even begun by GLADIO groups. In addition every secret army had stockpiles of weapons explosives, gold, and communications gear hidden around the country.
Now onto the many crimes of Gladio secret armies in those countries where these networks did not remain dormant. The first major scandal occurred appropriately in Germany. Germany's secret army was initially the TD the armed wing of the BDJ both filled with notorious nazi's recruited by the US. In fact the Infamous Klaus Barbie himself was employed as Top recruiter, even though he was wanted by the french for a brutal massacre among many other crimes like torture and murder making him the perfect CIA agent. The TD with CIA knowledge was caught planning to assassinate around a hundred of Germany's top socialist and communist politicians and journalists. They assigned members to stalk their potential targets but fortunately one member came forward and a major scandal emerged followed by the inevitable coverup. Although Ganser does not discuss the topic given GlADIO tactics in Italy where they managed to infiltrate red Brigades and engineer attacks, it is likely that some of the German left wing terrorism may have been part of Germany's GLADIO. However we do know that the German stay behind network was involved in the Munich Bombing on Sept 26, 1980 which killed 13 and wounded 213. The explosive was supplied from a GLADIO stockpile. The GLADIO member who confessed to supplying explosives was found dead the next day.
In Belgium the GLADIO network was involved in mysterious mass shootings. In the 40's it is strongly suspected that they assassinated Julian Lahaut who had dared to shout long live the Republic while returning king Baudoin took his Oath. In the 70's The network smuggled in American special forces who engaged in a so called exercise in which they attacked a belgian army base and stole weapons, even shooting a guard. Eventually the stolen weapons were planted in a Left wing politicians home in an attempt to frame him. Next they launched an attack on a gendarmerie (a paramilitary police force) station even though many belgian GLADIO members were also gendarmerie members. When a member came forward he was told "we already know shut up". Then in the 80's the stay behind army would carry out a series of mass shootings in supermarkets going out of their way to kill people and even killing police who arrived on the scene.
The most famous GLADIO terror attacks occurred in Italy. There were over 14,591 political acts of violence between January, 1st 1969 and dec 31 1987 according to a Parliamentary study. 491 were killed and 1181 injured or maimed. GLADIO was responsible for the major incidents. Plus some of it's members talked explicitly spelling out the strategy of Tension taught by the CIA and special forces around the world. In fact because of the GLADIO scandal in Italy and Turkey a top secret army training manual FM 30-31 emerged which advised trainees to carry out false flag terror attacks and blame them on their opponents as well as infiltrating left wing groups to carry out attacks. In Italy GLADIO would carry out many such attacks. In 1969 shortly before christmas 4 bombs exploded in Rome and Milan 16 killed 80 wounded. The worst bomb was the one in Piazza Fontana in Milan. On May 31 1972 in Peteano 3 police were killed and one wounded in another false flag bomb attack. On May 28, 1974 in Brescia an antiFascist march was targeted in another bomb attack 8 dead 102 injured. Then on August 4 1974 the Rome to Munich Train known as Italicus was bombed 12 killed 48 wounded. The worst of all came August 2, 1980 in the Bologna railway Station where 85 were killed and 200 wounded. GLADIO was responsible for all of these attacks. In addition the state framed innocent people for all of them. Most shocking of all perhaps was the assassination of Italian prime minister Aldo Moro who was personally threatened with Death by none other the Henry Kissinger. Moro dared to include communists in his cabinet reflecting the endlessly ignored wishes of Italian voters. His body guard's were murdered and he was kidnapped before being found shot dead in the trunk of a car. Of course GLADIO was only one element in America's Secret war on Italy. The mafia, the vatican, and the infamous P2 Masonic lodge were all involved with the CIA's covert policies in Italy but the topic is to complex to go into here. This is why Italy tends to Overshadow all the other Gladio networks. Fascism was obviously a major element. At the end of the war the infamous future CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton decided to save the life of fascist death squad lead Prince Junio Valerio Borghese aka The Black Prince from a partisan firing squad. During the war he had personally supervised the execution of thousands of partisans and their sympathizers. But where an ordinary person sees a monster the CIA see a valuable asset. Borghese would go on to stage an attempted coup in 1970 aborted last minute by a phone call from Richard Nixon himself. He was forced to flee to Franco's Spain where Fascists were always welcome and were quickly put to work torturing and killing the populace. Until then he was vital in recruiting fascists to subvert italian democracy on behalf of the CIA. Clearly Italy deserves it's own article as I am only able to discuss a few of the famous incidents in the US secret war there.
The secret War in France became a downright low level civil war within what Peter Dale Scott calls the Deep State. When French President Charles De Gaulle decided to end France's dirty War to prevent Algerian independence elements of french special forces the 11th Du choc paratrooper division veterans of brutal counterinsurgency campaigns in Vietnam and Algeria, along with parts of French intelligence, and France's stay behind network formed OAS with CIA support and launched a campaign of terror. They even attempted to Assassinate De Gaulle more then once along with launching terror bombings in France and Algeria. In the worst incident the Crypto Fascist mayor of Paris had between 200-300 pro-independence Protestors killed For years De Gaulle had to struggle to regain control of french intelligence and reign in the OAS. On one occasion he even launched a series of terror bombings against Cafes frequented by OAS in retaliation for an attack. The CIA also backed an attempted coup against him. These incidents were partly behind his decision to expel NATO from France. They moved to Belgium and it wasn't long before the already mentioned attacks began to occur there. Meanwhile De Gaulle also used elements of the secret army still loyal to him to repress the communists in a secret campaign of violence. Like in Italy a lot happened in France. I'll just mention that Jacques Foccart architect of France's Neo-Colonial African Empire also helped Found the Gaullist secret army SAC.
Greece was to suffer some of the worst crimes of the gladio network. First the US and UK supported and even participated in the brutal counterinsurgency against the Greek resistance. Then once it became nominally democratic again it was to suffer first a CIA engineered "silent coup" against the prime minister then in 1967 The secret army would stage a loud coup and installed a military juntas that waged a terror campaign of murder and torture. The GLADIO network was let loose to do what Fascists love to do, and what the CIA loves to have done on it's behalf. The whole populace feared that knock on the door that meant one would be taken away for months of torture and probable death. As observers noted at the time democracy had been destroyed in it's Ancient birthplace by the country that had hosted it's modern birthplace. Johnson had Early in his presidency engaged in the this Priceless Monologue Johnson thundered "Listen to me Mr Ambassador Fuck Your Parliament and Constitution. America is an Elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If those two fleas continue itching the elephant they may just get whacked by the elephants trunk, whacked good"
he continued "We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. ambassador If Your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution, he his parliament and his constitution may not last long." (Ganser p. 219) he then told the Ambassador "tell papa what's his name what i told you."
Then when the ambassador reported the conversation to Prime Minister George Papapandreou Johnson informed by the NSA immediately called the ambassador and said "Are you trying to get yourself into my bad books mr ambassador? Do you want me to get really angry with you? That was a private conversation me and you had, you had no call putting in all them words I used on you. Watch Your Step."
This is what America truly thinks about it's so called European Allies. I included it because for once an American President is speaking the truth privately of course. Many fleas have been whacked by the american elephant with no end in sight. Greece yesterday Ukraine today.
In Portugal and Spain there was not even the illusion of democracy after the war. Somehow nobody ever seems to mention that while the Americans and British were loudly trumpeting their victory over fascism and proclaiming their bold defense of liberty, they were allying themselves with Fascist dictatorships in Spain and Portugal. For nearly 30 years both would live under dictatorships and many would declare after the discovery of gladio that in Spain and Portugal GLADIO was the government. The secret armies proliferated along with various CIA partnered secret police agencies. Portugal was ruled by General Salazar a secret client of the British who had seized power back in 1926. Franco seized power after the bloody spanish civil war. It was the usual story one finds in western backed military dictatorships. They waged a war on their populations using murder and torture. In Portugal the GLADIO branch Aginter Press was international in scope. It was responsible for Murdering famous African revolutionaries like Amilcar Cabral and Eduardo Mondlane the leader of Frelimo. They were also involved in the Piazza Fontana bombing in Italy. Franco's secret army ran an international assassination campaign and employed such infamous figures as Stefano Delle Chiaie who committed terror attacks in Italy, then was involved in assassinating Franco's critics before working for the Pinochet regime in Chile. Also employed by Franco were Hitler's favorite commando Otto Skorzeny and Yves Guerin Serac a notorious French Paratrooper and Fascist Ideologue.
Lastly there is GLADIO operations in Turkey. Turkey suffered two coups carried out by it's secret army and as in Greece, Spain, and Portugal the secret army was able to terrorize the populace with impunity. Even high ranking politicians were kidnapped and tortured. High ranking Gladio member Colonel Turks would found the Grey Wolves turkish Fascists intimately involved in false Flag terrorism, counterinsurgency, and the international drug trade. This confluence of forces was represented in an infamous "accident" on November 3 1996 at susurluk Husseyin Kocadaq A high ranking Police officer deeply involved in the counter insurgency war in Turkey, was killed along with Abdullah Catli who directed the grey wolves and was a fugitive wanted for murder and drug trafficking. Also killed was Catli's Girlfriend Gonca Us a former beauty queen turned mafia hit woman. The only survivor was right wing politician and warlord Sedat Bucak. This strange incident what is known as a deep event is obsessed over in Turkey the way the JFK assassination is in the US. To learn more watch the excellent interviews James Corbett did with Sibel Edmonds as the incident is part of a web involving the international drug trade, corruption of congress, nuclear spying, so called Al Qaeda referred to back in 90's by the FBI as Gladio B and 9/11 . Thus Turkey is the connecting link between the false flag attacks of the cold war period and the state sponsored terror of today whether directed against Syria, Russia, Iran or China. As Sibel Edmonds Observed Turkey was the most important gladio country. They engaged in false flag attacks, massacres, brutal counterinsurgencies against the left and the kurds, also two coups and continues to be important in destabilizing Eurasia.
Clearly Gladio remains an important part of european history the scope of which is rarely fully understood. Upon joining NATO countries signed secret agreements promising to keep their population in check. Secret armies were used to wage a false flag terror campaign in Italy and Belgium. In France and Italy they even launched failed coup attempts. In Greece and Turkey the coups proved successful and a Fascist regime of terror was instituted. In Portugal and Spain the secret armies were used to preserve fascist dictatorships and commit acts of assassination and terror on their behalf. Today in Ukraine we see a similar phenomena Fascists trained by NATO have overthrown the government now they are terrorizing the population using fascist paramilitaries. It is just the latest example of the Illusion of western Democracy. After conquering then loosing control of the world Europe has become little more then just another piece of the American Empire. It's proclamations about western democracy are revealed to be hollow lies by the secret agreements it has signed agreeing to wage secret wars on it's own people if necessary in order to maintain the status quo.
I relied Mainly on Daniele Ganser's excellent "NATO's Secret Armies Operation Gladio and terrorism in western Europe. It deals with all the NATO countries. It is packed with information and many chapters deserve their own book. Here is an article by him available online
I also found Christopher Simpson's "Blowback" a Great source on the topic. There is also an excellent documentary on Gladio available online. do a search for Gladio BBC Timewatch it was directed by Alan Francovich and features interviews with many of the key players in the attacks plus infamous CIA figures.
Check out this interview with Tom Secker going over the basics
Then delve into the world of Gladio B with James Corbett and Sibel Edmonds
If you want more go to the Corbett report and so a search for Sibel Edmonds there were a whole string of mindblowing interviews in 2013.
Also if you want some great reporting on false flag terror go to Pearse Redmonds site Porkins Policy review. He has some great podcasts on the topic in Contemporary times. He was kind enough to mention my Site on a recent episode (episode 24 Who is Samantha Lewthwaite) so I'll return the favor, he has some great shows on Africa, the war on terror, the Drug war in Mexico as well as lighter topics like films.