The AIM? The continuance of total political control.
Background to secret stay behind nexus: Le Cercle
[excerted from this source]
Le Cercle is a secret transnational intelligence and direct action group, that, according to all accounts, is funded by the CIA. We only know the dates and places of a handful of Circle meetings (1), which were attended by about a hundred persons at a time. Before the 1990's, it was called Cercle Violet, or initially, Cercle Pinay, in both cases after its (French) chairman. In later times, chairmanship of Le Cercle went on to the British. The Pinay Circle used to fight the spread of communism worldwide, at all costs, even in our own backyard. This threat largely ceased to exist when the USSR collapsed and the role of the Circle had to change. Today, its members are probably talking about "Al-Qaeda infiltration" instead of "communist infiltration"...
In 1980, German intelligence chief Hans Langemann described the Circle as:
"... the Circle consists of a loose gathering of various conservative and anti-Communist politicians, publicists, bankers and VIPs that meets some twice a year in various parts of the world. Its origins stem from the former French Prime Minister Antoine Pinay. The Circle, which still exists today, also invites guest speakers... One recent development is the establishment within the Circle of a command staff or of an inner circle which then works out particularly suitable means for action on current political questions."
looking at the Stay-Behind networks, it's likely that there have been earlier Circle-like meetings. In any case, there's no doubt that all the earlier named people were working together in the 1950's and 1960's in building up a United Europe, allied with the United States. Pinay and at least representatives of Adenauer were visiting Bilderberg and Jean Violet was already working for Habsburg on projects like the Académie Européenne de Sciences Politiques (ultraconservative Pan-European society).
They also shared another very interesting commonality, they were all faithful Catholics. And not just that; Pinay, Habsburg, and Adenauer were members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). Pinay, Habsburg and the less prominent Jean Violet have also been accused of involvement with Opus Dei. On the membership list of Le Cercle you'll find plenty of names accused of having been connected with the Knights of Malta, Opus Dei, or the Priory the Sion (monarchist templar organization).
This is all the more interesting, because Joseph Retinger, who recruited Bernhard and others to set up Bilderberg, was another Vatican agent; a Jesuit and likely a Knight of Malta. At the end of WWII, the Knights of Malta have been involved with smuggling nazis out of Germany with the help of the OSS (later CIA), an organisation they themselves created.
In turn, the CIA funded the covert anti-communist war in Europe, including Radio Free Europe, the Economist, the European Council of Princes, the Gehlen Organization, the Stay-Behind networks, the Pinay Circle, and the overall European moverment. A lot of this money was funneled through American Committee on United Europe (ACUE), which was established at the direction of Duncan Sandys, Joseph Retinger, Allen Dulles, and William Donovan. Dulles and Donovan were top CIA chiefs and Knights of Malta, Retinger a Vatican agent, and Duncan Sandys a son-in-law of Churchill. Besides the CIA's clandestine efforts, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Institute were the prime sponsors of the ACUE
global undemocratic control
Stay behind :
The name for the secret partisan organizations for sabotage and espionage purposes, which were coordinated by NATO. Each NATO state is to have been obligated to the NATO contract according to a secret additional agreement to establish such an organization. However these groups existed also in neutral countries such as Sweden and Switzerland. For the case of a Soviet invasion or a rebellion in the own country these organizations should stay on the one hand and become active in the underground, accomplish on the other hand a preventive coup d'etat. The name emerged first on one 1990 to the public minutes arrived, which the SIFAR and the CIA had signed.
late 1940s-1990s, Europe: Building Right Wing Terror Groups - "Operation Gladio"
Allen Dulles, the first CIA chief, is said to have planned "Operation Stay Behind" at the end of WWII to build secret anti-communist guerrilla forces in Europe. Dulles, Stewart Menzies (U.K. Security Intelligence Service) and Belgian Premier Paul Spaak codified the plan (1949-1952) under the Clandestine Coordinating Committee, at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (which became NATO).
[Source: Searchlight, Jan.1991. users.westnet.gr/~cgian/gladio.htm]
So called "Stay Behind" organizations were secretly created in most countries of Western Europe, including: Austria (Schwert), Belgium (Sdra-8), Britain (Stay Behind), Denmark, France (Glaive), Germany, Greece (Operation Sheepskin), Holland, Italy (Gladio), Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden (Sveaborg), Switzerland (P26) and Turkey (Special War Department).
[Source: "Operation Gladio." users.westnet.gr/~cgian/gladio.htm]
EU Resolution (1990) on "Operation Gladio" (i.e., sword)
For over 40 years, a clandestine parallel intelligence and armed operations organization [has existed] in several Member States of the EU. This organization has escaped all democratic controls and has been run by secret services and NATO. This clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of EU countries or may still do so. In some EU countries, military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime, as evidenced by various judicial inquiries. These organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law and are not subject to parliamentary control. Frequently, those holding the highest government and constitutional posts are kept in the dark. 'Gladio' organizations have independent arsenals and military resources giving them an unknown strike potential. This jeopardizes the democratic structures of countries in which they are, or have been, operating.
- Building Right Wing Terror Groups
After the Cold War had ended, Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed to
the Italian Senate in August 1990 that Italy had had a secret stay-behind army
codenamed Gladio the sword.
A document dated 1 June 1959 from the Italian
military secret service, SIFAR, revealed that SIFAR had been running the secret
army with the support of NATO and in close collaboration with the US secret
service, the CIA.
Suggesting that the secret army might have linked up with
right-wing organizations such as Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale to
engage in domestic terror, the Italian Senate, amid public protests, decided that
Gladio was beyond democratic control and therefore had to be closed down.
During the 1990s, research into stay-behind armies has progressed only very
slowly, due to very limited access to primary documents. It was revealed, however,
that stay-behind armies covered all of Western Europe and operated under different
code names, such as Absalon in Denmark, P26 in Switzerland, ROC in Norway and
SDRA8 in Belgium.
The so-called Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and the
Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), linked to NATO's Supreme Headquarters
Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), coordinated the stay-behind networks on an
The last confirmed ACC meeting took place on 24 October 1990
in Brussels, chaired by the Belgian military secret service, the SGR.
If there had been a Soviet invasion, the secret anti-communist soldiers would have
operated behind enemy lines, strengthening and setting up local resistance
movements in enemy held territory, evacuating shot down pilots, and sabotaging
the supply lines and production centers of occupation forces. It remains open to
investigation whether or not, in the absence of an invasion, the secret armies in
some countries became active against the national communist parties, who were
believed to weaken NATO from within.
Evidence suggests that recruitment and operations differed greatly from country to
Must see site: Documents and articles on Natos Right wing terror network -
Secret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO's Stay-Behind Armies
According to the SIFAR document of 1959 the secret stay-behind armies served a dual purpose during the Cold War: They were to prepare for a communist Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, and - also in the absence of an invasion - for an "emergency situation". The first purpose was clear: If there had been a Soviet invasion, the secret anti-communist armies would have operated behind enemy lines, strengthening and setting up local resistance movements in enemy held territory, evacuating pilots who had been shot down, and sabotaging supply lines and production centers of the occupation forces.
The second purpose, the preparation for an emergency situation, is more difficult to understand and remains the subject of ongoing research. As this second purpose clearly did not relate to a foreign invasion, the emergency situation referred to is likely to have meant all domestic threats, most of which were of a civilian nature. During the Cold War, the national military secret services in the countries of Western Europe differed greatly in what they perceived to be an emergency situation. But there was agreement between the military secret services of the United States and of Western Europe that communist parties, and to some degree also socialist parties, had a real potential to weaken NATO from within and therefore represented a threat to the alliance. If they gained political strength and entered the executive, or, worse still, gained control of defence ministries, an emergency situation would result. The evidence now available suggests that in some countries the secret stay-behind armies linked up with right-wing terrorists and carried out terror attacks that were later wrongly blamed on the political left in order to discredit the communists and prevent them from assuming top executive positions.
More: Secret Warfare: Gladio By Daniele Ganser
"The War Department's Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) conducted background investigations of the scientists. In February 1947, JIOA Director Bosquet Wev submitted the first set of scientists' dossiers to the State and Justice Departments for review.
The Dossiers were damning. Samauel Klaus, the State Departments representative on the JIOA board, claimed that all the scientists in this first batch were "ardent Nazis." Their visa requests were denied.
Wev was furious. He wrote a memo warning that "the best intrests of the United States have been subjugated to the efforts expended in 'beating a dead Nazi horse.'"
He also declared that the return of these scientists to Germany, where they could be exploited by America's enemies, presented a "far greater security threat to this country than any former Nazi affiliations which they may have had or even any Nazi sympathies that they may still have."
When the JIOA formed to investigate the backgrounds and form dossiers on the Nazis, the Nazi Intelligence leader Reinhard Gehlen met with the CIA director Allen Dulles. Dulles and Gehlen hit it off immediatly. Gehlen was a master spy for the Nazis and had infilitrated Russia with his vast Nazi Intelligence network. Dulles promised Gehlen that his Intelligence unit was safe in the CIA. "
The Gehlen Organization
"The notion that they [CIA, Army Counterintelligence Corp, Gehlen organization] employed only a few bad apples will not stand up to the new documentation. Some American intelligence officials could not or did not want to see how many German intelligence officials, SS officers, police, or non-German collaborators with the Nazis were compromised or incriminated by their past service… Hindsight allows us to see that American use of actual or alleged war criminals was a blunder in several respects…there was no compelling reason to begin the postwar era with the assistance of some of those associated with the worst crimes of the war. Lack of sufficient attention to history-and, on a personal level, to character and morality-established a bad precedent, especially for new intelligence agencies. It also brought into intelligence organizations men and women previously incapable of distinguishing between their political/ideological beliefs and reality. As a result, such individuals could not and did not deliver good intelligence. Finally, because their new, professed 'democratic convictions' were at best insecure and their pasts could be used against them (some could be blackmailed), these recruits represented a potential security problem."National Security Archive
July 1946: Discharged as prisoner-of-war. Creates the Gehlen Organization (under OSS-CIA control) staffed by 350 former German army intelligence agents who later help the CIA track down Communist officials and organizations throughout western Europe. The Gehlen Organization soon becomes the CIA's eyes and ears in Eastern Europe and the USSR.
The Gehlen Organization goes on to recruit more than 4,000 former German army and SS intelligence officers and moves its headquarters into a 25-acre compound near Munich assuming the innocuous title of South German Industrial Development Organization.
Among the more spectacular feats of the Gehlen Organization is its ability as early as 1946 to recruit and train more than 5,000 anti-communist East European and Russian agents who perform a variety of covert operations behind the Iron Curtain including espionage, sabotage, and providing aid to Ukrainian insurgents who continued to hamper Soviet control until 1956. The Gehlen Organization also supplies the CIA with accurate ground reports that exposes the U.S.-Soviet "missile gap".
In the 1950s however, the Gehlen Organzation, like MI-6, is also penetrated by Soviet KGB double agents who betray "dozens of operations, hundreds of agents, and thousands of innocent civilians" who are later executed.
April 1956: The Gehlen organization is transferred to the West German government. Birth of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) [Federal Intelligence Service]. Gehlen is promoted to lieutenant-general (Res.) in the Bundeswehr and becomes President of the BND. Attains final rank of major general.
April 1968: Resigns from the BND after sting operation uncovers that a top BND official, Heinz Felfe, is a KGB double-agent.
Despite the Felfe scandal, Gehlen remains a legend in the intelligence community until his death in 1979. - source
was Gehlen responsible for this: cryptome:Field Manual FM 30-31B - KGB disinfos???
With the Italian secret service under control, the Americans then expanded it under the name Operation Demagnetize and tied it to an existing network of cadre in northern Italy. In 1951, the Italian secret service formally agreed to set up a clandestine organization within the military to coordinate with the northern cadres. In 1952, SIFAR received secret orders from Washington to adopt 'a series of political, paramilitary and psychological operations destined to diminish the power of the Italian Communist Party, its material resources, and its influence on government. This priority objective must be attained by all means.'
Operation Demagnetize marked the institutional hardening of Gladio. A State Department historian characterized it as the 'strategy of stabilization,' although it could be more accurately described as one of destabilization. From the start, the offensive was secretly directed and funded by the U.S. government. In 1956, the arrangement was formalized in a written agreement, using the name ''Gladio'' for the first time. According to 1956 documents uncovered in Italy in 1990, Gladio was divided into independent cells coordinated from a CIA camp in Sardinia. These ''special forces' included 40 main groups. Ten specialized in sabotage, six each in espionage, propaganda, evasion and escape tactics, and 12 in guerrilla activities. Another division handled the training of agents and commandos. These ''special forces'' had access to underground arms caches, which included hand guns, grenades, high-tech explosives, daggers, 60-millimeter mortars, 57-millimeter machine guns and precision rifles. - from GLADIO: THE SECRET U.S. WAR TO SUBVERT ITALIAN DEMOCRACY by Arthur E. Rowse
Gladio ITALY: The massacres: 245 dead ones and over 600 hurt
12. December 1969, Milan, Piazza Fontana. The mass movement of the students and female workers reached their high point in the autumn 1969, when by a bomb before the landwirtschaftsbank in the center of Milan 16 humans are killed and 84 is hurt. The police determined, how it will become with nearly all notices the rule, immediately against left ones. It comes to the "coincidental death of a Anarchisten" (so the title of a play of Dario Fo over the incident): Giuseppe Pinelli "falls" during its examination by the police from the window. The secret service puts wrong traces and smears correct, the determining polizeikommissar by fascists is murdered. Further twelve persons entangled into the determinations commit either "suicide" or die in "accidents". Those accused fascist are finally acquitted all together 1989 in last instance.
As implementing authors of the massacre today the former "Ordine Nuovo" member Delfo Zorzi is called - meanwhile a heavy-rich businessman in Tokyo. The assassination attempt was prepared after newer determinations of the leader of the armed Gladio cells in Venetien Enrico Minetto. It becomes ever clearer that the Italian fascists on behalf of the CIA and/or NATO acted. Nevertheless it seems doubtfuly that the secret will ever completely be ventilated over almost undurchdingliche right-wing extremists the network. One of the determining state lawyers held end of last yearly resigning: "until today a still most active structure exists in Italy and abroad, with the goal of control of humans, who were involved in worst assassination attempts in the past. This is able to make tremendous financial means and legal support available for the fighters against by the prosecution authorities is determined."
31. May 1972, Peteano . In a small place in the proximity of Triest an autobomb kills three Carabinieri. The retake of the procedure by the venezianischen examining magistrate Felice Casson leads 1990 to uncovering the Gladio scandal. Under others the boss of the military secret service SISMI is accused. Implementing ones the notice were the "Ordine of Nuovo" members Vincenzo Vinciguerra and Carlo Maggi . First was condemned to life imprisonment - one of the few exceptions in the not ending series of acquietals for right-wing extremist terrorist by Italian courts.
The explosive "T 4" used with the notice originated from one of the 139 secret Italian Gladio Waffenlager. The weapon expert Marco morin, "Ordine Nuovo" member, had likewise steered the trace of the explosive with a falsified appraisal obviously in the Gladio order toward" red brigades ". It succeeded to the secret service to transfer morins also as consultants into the investigations because of the murders of the Christian-democratic Prime Minister Aldo Moro and the anti- Mafia public prosecutor Dalla Chiesa.
28. May 1974, Brescia, Piazza della Loggia. During an anti-fascist demonstration of the trade union explodes a bomb, which hurt 9 dead ones and 90 demands. Two processes 1985 and 1989 end with acquietals for all accused.
4 August 1974, "Italicus" express. The explosion of a bomb in an express train on the distance Florenz Bologna kills 12 passengers and hurts 48. Two Neofaschisten are condemned to life imprisonment, which cancels judgements however to 1986 again.
The Murder of Aldo Moro
9 May 1978, murder Aldo Moros. Also with the murder of the Christian-democratic Prime Minister after 55 days shank by the "red brigades" secret services had their fingers in the play. The brigades were infiltrated both of the Italian secret service and of the CIA. For example weapon supplies of the PLO are to have been to the brigades part of a contract between the PLO and the CIA.
In letters from the detention, found in an accomodation of the "red brigades", Moro suggested later that he should be sacrificed. He was afraid the influence of Andreottis close relations with the CIA on his fate. Moro was an advocate of the "historical compromise" between Christian democrat inside and communist inside, its murder fit only too well into the "strategy of the tension" from CIA and Italian secret service. In the copy of the letters crucial places were painted. The two men, who knew at most about Moros letters, were murdered: Dalla Chiesa and the journalist Mino Pecorelli. The Mafia godfather Thomas Buscetta accused Andreotti of the murder of the two made of fear of possible exposures to have arranged. Andreotti stands at present in Palermo because of its presumed complicity with the murder Pecorellis before court. One the blutruenstigsten Mafiakiller, Calogero Ganci, confessed this yearly in June Dalla Chiesa to have shot.
- Strategia della tensione
Italy: Licio Gelli and Propaganda Due
September 16, 1998 - GELLI ARREST IS ANOTHER CHAPTER IN SORDID VATICAN BANK SCANDAL
A body hanging from a bridge... Missing funds ... Political intrigue and "black ops" dating back to the Second World War. It reads like a spy novel, but it's a true story, one linking the Vatican bank to charges of fraud and other questionable activity.
Italian and French police swept into Cannes to arrest a man named Licio Gelli, a fugitive since May, and dubbed "the Puppet Master" for his role in some of the most bizarre events of recent decades. Gelli's arrest touches on scandals and secret deals going back to the Second World War; many of these events involve the Vatican, especially the role played by the Holy See in operating a "rat line" expatriation movement for Nazis and other war criminals, and a financial deal linking the papacy with illegal, dirty money flowing through its bank, the IOR or Institute for Religious Works.
Start with a body found on the morning of June 17, 1982 beneath London's Blackfriars bridge. The corpse was dangling from a rope, weighed down with 14 pounds of brick and stone; the victim's hands had been tied behind his back, a fact which seemed to be ignored by the coroner who pronounced the affair a simple suicide. But there was much more. The body was that of Roberto Calvi, head of the elite Banco Ambrosiano, at the time the largest privately owned financial institution in Italy. A second inquest, demanded by Calvi's family, began to blow open a financial and political scandal that has reverberated throughout the continent, and beyond.
When investigators began digging into the Calvi affair, they discovered a shortfall of nearly $1.3 billion at Banco Ambrosiano. Later, the money was traced to accounts owned by the Vatican. Calvi and his bank were also involved with a shadowy figure named Licio Gelli, head of a renegade secret Masonic lodge named P-2 or "Propaganda Due." The P-2 membership roles included over a thousand leading political, financial and government figures; subsequent investigation revealed that Gelli's organization had links to the Italian intelligence ministries, senior military staff, even top figures in the nation's media. Forty-eight members of the parliament were secret members, along with four Cabinet ministers. Gelli had created a "state within a state." It was no wonder that in ruling circles, the enigmatic and secretive Gelli was referred to as "the Puppet Master."
Who was Licio Gelli? And how was he linked to the Vatican bank?
Gelli had declared that "the doors of all bank vaults open to the right," a metaphorical claim about the penchant of big monied interests to fund the sorts of causes that the Puppet Master operated. Gelli had been active in the fascist Black Shirts Battalion in the Spanish civil war when aristocrats and the church threw their lot behind General Franco, and during World War II he served as a key liaison officer to the elite German SS Division Hermann Goring. In the cold-war era, he brokered his services to the Italians, the British and by some accounts even to the Soviet KGB.
But Gelli's main efforts centered on resurrecting a Fascist order in modern Italy; to do this, he used his connections in the Italian secret service to obtain some of the most sensitive intelligence files on leading citizens, thus giving him carte blanche to blackmail his way into the circles of the country's ruling elite. "Propaganda Due" was the culmination of that effort.
After World War II, the race was on between the Soviet and western blocks to apprehend Nazi wars, or recruit intelligence and other assets. The Vatican used its resources to provide passports, money and other support for church- run "Ratlines" that transported former Nazis and supporters out of Europe to safer havens in the Middle East, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and South America. Organizations like ODESSA (Organization of Former Officers of the S.S.) and "The Spider" took advantage of this service, and by some accounts the Vatican Ratline provided support to as many as 30,000 Nazis. Among the beneficiaries of the Holy See's largesse were former Gestapo operative Klaus Barbie, Adolph Eichman, Dr. Joseph Mengele (the "White Angel" or "Angel of Death of the Auschwitz death camp), Gustav Wagner, Commandant of the Soirbibor camp, and Franz Stangl of the Treblinka extermination facility. Members of the Waffen SS "Galician Division" were resettled as well.
[NOTE: KEEP AN EYE ON THE NEW PAPAL LEADERSHIP CHOICE: Ratzinger...]
Propaganda Due, or P2, is a secret masonic lodge that Licio Gelli joined in 1966, later to become its Venerable Master. P2 is neo-fascist, but in Italy during the 1970s, this did not preclude conspiracies with anarchists, leftists, terrorists, and the CIA. Gelli holds dual Italian-Argentine citizenship, and was connected with Italian police and intelligence agencies, as well as with the Mafia, financiers, and the Vatican. By March 1981, his string was running out. Police raided Gelli's villa in Tuscany and photographed a list of nearly a thousand "members" of P2. Many important Italians were on it -- 30 generals, 38 members of parliament, 4 cabinet ministers, former prime ministers, intelligence chiefs, newspaper editors, TV executives, businessmen, bankers, 19 judges, and 58 university professors. The Italian government of Arnaldo Forlani collapsed during the ensuing scandal - namebase
Hidden government built on corruption
"The 'Mani Pulite' (Clean Hands) investigations in the early 1990s confirmed the existence of a 'sotogoverno' (hidden government) comprising reactionary elements within the state machine, armed forces, political parties and big business.
Historically within the Italian state apparatus there have always been fascist and extreme right elements. In 1992, a parliamentary report into Gladio, a NATO-backed secret paramilitary group inside the military, said that this was a 'armed band' which had helped carry out the fascists' 'strategy of tension'.
For years the neo-fascist MSI, the party founded by Mussolini supporters after the World War, has had significant support within the police and military. Early in 1995 the MSI transformed itself into the officially "post-fascist" National Alliance (AN), a party that still strongly displays its old name in its propaganda, and is now part of Berlusconi's ruling "House of Liberty" alliance.
In Genoa, some of these fascist elements clearly took the opportunity of the new right-wing government to attack the demonstrations and in particular, break-up the 300,000 strong 21 July march.
During the G8 summit Fini, the "post-fascist" AN (National Alliance) leader and now the Deputy Prime Minister, suddenly went to Genoa to take command of security operations.
That was not accidental.
Neither was the fact that some of those illegally arrested in the Media Centre raid were forced to salute pictures of Mussolini and sing the fascist song Facetta Nera."
Italy after Genoa
THE CONTRA-GUERRILLA IN THE NATO-COUNTRIES AND THE EUROPEAN
In 1990 the contra-guerrilla organisation, known as GLADIO,
was discovered. After this, all over Europe the existence of
contra-guerrilla organisations was revealed.
"To discover one is the only person, except for the members
of this organisation, who knows about the existence of Gladio,
and thinking about it that they could kill you any moment, is a
terrible feeling", said state prosecutor Felice Casson who
After a long investigation the Italian Gladio was
discovered. A bomb attack near Triest in 1972 in which 3 people
were killed was brought to court in 1989 by state prosecutor
Felice Casson. The more his investigations progressed, the closer
he came to Gladio, but the solving of the case was prevented by
the secret service and prime minister Andreotti. Despite the
attempts to cover up the events, the state had top acknowledge
the existence of Gladio. The investigations revealed 622 members,
138 secret arms depots and a training camp in Sardinia. An arms
depot was discovered in Northern Italy in 1988, containing 127
weapons and explosives. This depot was controlled by the Italian
intelligence service SISMI.
State prosecutor Felice Casson concluded that Gladio was
founded in October 1956 by the USA and the Italian intelligence
service SISMI. Furthermore he discovered links between the
organisation and president Cossiga, the lodge P-2 and freemasons,
as well as prime minister Andreotti who was prosecuted in 1993
for his contacts with the Mafia.
DOCUMENTED ACTIONS BY GLADIO:
A car bomb attack on May 3, 1988, in Northern Italy which
killed 3 gendarmes. A bomb explosion in the station of Bologna in
1980, killing 33 people.* Four people were murdered in May 1973
by a bomb in front of the police station in Milano. This attack
was carried out by a certain Bertoli, a fascist who was trained
After the discovery of Gladio, it became obvious the contra-
guerrilla had international dimensions. Contra-guerrilla
organisations were discovered in all NATO-countries and in some
non-NATO member countries as well. A Belgium government officials
stated the contra-guerrilla was founded in the `50s in 16 NATO-
countries, thus releasing an avalanche of revelations.
The French contra-guerrilla organisation was called
"Windrose". Defence minister Jean Pierre Chevenement stated the
contra-guerrilla was founded in the `50s and that the
organisation had been dissolved by president Mitterand. However,
an Italian source revealed the French contra-guerrilla
organisation had been present at a meeting of representatives
from all contra-guerrilla organisations, the so-called "Super-
NATO" in Brussels as late as October 1990.
The socialist government of Felipe Gonzales, coming to power
in 1984, at first denied the existence of a contra-guerrilla
organisation in Spain. But defence minister Narcis Serra ordered
a investigation committee, without participation of the military.
It was known that contra-guerrilla organisations existed during
the junta of Franco and that Franco participated in talks with
fascist politicians and European military leaders. A Italian
member of Gladio stated on television that Gladio, together with
Spanish contra-guerrilla's, had been trained on the Canary
Islands by the American army. Later there had been training
centres and contra-guerrilla sections in Spain itself as well,
supported by the Spanish military. The official denials were
exposed as lies.
The activities of the Spanish contra-guerrilla were even
more disclosed after a statement by a policeman in 1994. The
policeman stated the bookkeeper Galey, accused of being a member
of ETA, had never had any relations with ETA in the first place,
and that he had been kidnapped by the Spanish contra-guerrilla
organisation GAL. After these revelations, a new investigation
was ordered and a trial was opened. The investigation revealed
that between 1983 and 1987 at least 23 people, accused of being
ETA-members, had been kidnapped and murdered by the GAL.
The Belgium contra-guerrilla organisation "Glaive" was
established in 1949 in co-operation between England and a
subdivision of the Belgium military intelligence service SGR, the
SDRAB. The core of this contra-guerrilla organisation was
constituted by 8 officers in active duty and 10 pensioned
1990 the Dutch prime-minister Ruud Lubbers denied in a
written statement to parliament that a contra-guerrilla
organisation existed. This was a lie. Subsequent investigations
revealed the existence of the secret contra-guerrilla
organisation "Operaties en Inlichtingen" (Operations and
Intelligence). This organisation receives 1.5-3 million dollars
each year from a secret fund of the defence department. Several
secret arms depots were discovered like the one in Velp in 1983.
The Greek contra-guerrilla organisation is called
"Sheepskin". At first the Greek government denied the existence
of a contra-guerrilla organisation as well. Prime-minister
Papandreou did acknowledge the existence of the Greek contra-
guerrilla in a statement in October 1990, but he claimed to have
ordered its dissolvement after he had come to power in 1984.
Greece became NATO-member in 1952. That same year, the Greek
"Central Information Service KYB" was established. On March 25,
1955, the Greek chief of staff Davos and the CIA officer Trascott
signed the papers for the establishment of the Greek contra-
guerrilla organisation which was later known as "Sheepskin". The
document was counter-signed by the then prime-minister Papagos.
The organisation had 1.500 members, a number which could be
increased to 3.500 in case of emergency. There were 800 depots to
its disposal, filled with weapons, munition and explosives. On
April 21, 1967, KYB officers used a plan dating from 1950, drawn
up in case of a communist occupation, to carry out a military
coup. Within 20 minutes, the putchists controlled all major
objects. When the CIA, who backed the coup, convinced the junta
of the possibility of a similar coup to seize power on Cyprus,
the way was opened for a military intervention by Turkey on
The chief of the German contra-guerrilla organisation
"Antikommunistische Angriffstruppe" (Anti-communist Attack
Force), the retired general Reinhard Gehlen,+ was also chief of
the federal intelligence service BND from 1945-1968. The German
contra-guerrilla organisation is also known as "Gehlen-Bewegung"
(Gehlen Movement), "Stay Behind" and "Sword". The "Bund Deutscher
Jugend" (German Youth Federation), founded in 1950, is in the
same tradition. A former agent of this organisation, Dieter von
Glahn, stated for the press that the BDJ was one of the many
organisations which were financed by the CIA.
One of the organisations in Germany, set up by the CIA, was
"Peters Organisation", later known as "Technischer Dienst TD"
(Technical Service). The best agents of these organisations had
the disposal of high-tech radio equipment "Harbuna", manufactured
by AEG/TST, especially for BND-agents. Germany supplies the
contra-guerrilla organisations in other countries with "training
and requisites". Near Munich, the US 20. Special Forces had its
headquarters, and the "School for Counter-Insurgency" was
situated in Ober-Ammergau. Contra-guerrilla members from many
countries, not just from NATO-countries, were trained in camps in
Bayern/Bad Toelz and Schoengau.
The contra-guerrilla organisation in Switzerland was set up
in 1950 as "Geheime Abwehr Organisation" (Secret Resistence
Organisation). Investigations showed the organisation kept files
on about 1/6 of all Swiss, that is more than 900.000 Swiss. The
GAO belonged to the Intelligence and Counter-intelligence Service
(UNA), directed by the chiefs of staff. Although not a NATO-
country, the chiefs of the Swiss contra-guerrilla participated in
the meetings of "Super-NATO" in Belgium. An investigation by a
parliamentary committee revealed the existence of the
organisation "Project-26" (P-26), as well as several arms and
explosives depots in Switzerland. The members of P-26 were
trained in a country which name wasnot disclosed, and they
possessed radio equipment which was used by secret NATO
organisations and which the Swiss army did not dispose of. This
equipment was supplied by the German BND. Furthermore, a special
service ("Spez. D") was set up to facilitate the exchange of
information between Switzerland and NATO. This organisation had
links with the German organisation "Schwarze Hand" (Black Hand).
In October 1950, the Austrian minister of the Interior,
Franz Olah, ordered an attack against a workers' strike in which
communist workers participated as well. After the strike was
crushed, the scabs were brought together in a organisation, the
"OeWSGV" (Austrian Defence Sports and Friendship Association).
Franz Olah described the organisation as a "special project"
which was to be activated in case a communist government was to
be formed. The OeWSGV was equipped with a central headquarters,
special radio equipment, as well as arms and explosives depots in
The contra-guerrilla organisations in the Scandinavian
countries like Denmark, Norway and the non-NATO countries Sweden
and Finland were set up between 1951 and 1953 by William Colby
who later became director of the CIA.
William Colby wrote in his memoirs that he received support
of governments in Norway and Denmark to set up the contra-
guerrilla. In Sweden and Finland the contra-guerrilla was
organised in an illegal way with the help of right-wing parties.
In 1978, a large arms depot was discovered in Norway. The
government stated this depot was to be used in case of war. The
roots of the contra-guerrilla in Sweden can be traced back to the
"Sveaborg Brothers in Arms". The people who were contacted, all
belonged to independent contra-guerrilla groups.
- TURKEY'S "COINTELPRO" SCANDAL: THE "CONTRA-GUERRILLA"
US 'supported anti-left terror in Italy'
Report claims Washington used a strategy of tension in the cold war to stabilise the centre-right
Philip Willan, Guardian, 24 June 2000, page 19 - archived here
The United States was accused of playing a large part in the campaign of anti-communist terrorism in Italy during the cold war in a report released yesterday by the Left Democrat party.
The explicit accusation is contained in a draft report to a parliamentary commission on terrorism.
The formerly communist LDP is the biggest party in Giuliano Amato's centre-left government, and the report could sour relations between Italy and the United States and unleash a storm of domestic political controversy.
The 300-page report says that the United States was responsible for inspiring a "strategy of tension" in which indiscriminate bombing of the public and the threat of a rightwing coup were used to stabilise centre-right political control of the country.
Those who carried out the attacks were rarely caught, it said, because "those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organised or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence".
Valter Bielli, a Left Democrat member of parliament and one of the authors of the report, said his party's conclusions were based on recent judicial discoveries and a re-elaboration of information that had been available for many years but had not been adequately understood.
"I am convinced that the intervention of the Americans in Italy is now a historically proven fact," he said.
"They interfered to prevent the Communist party from achieving power by democratic means. The communist threat no loner exists and it would be appropriate if the Americans themselves helped us to clarify what happened in the past."
Mr Bielli said he was worried about the possible implications of the report for relations between Italy and the US, but he hoped it would contribute to the creation of a new Nato in which all countries enjoyed equal weight and dignity.
"During the cold war the east was under communist domination, but the west too had become, in a certain sense, an American colony," he said.
The report claims 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 alleges that Pino Rauti, 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.
Mr Rauti now heads the small rightwing MSI Fiamma-Tricolore party, and suggestions that he and other rightwing politicians still actively involved in parliamentary politics had failed to cut their links to terrorist extremists have drawn furious rebuttals from the centre-right opposition.
The National Alliance leader, Gianfranco Fini, described the document as a "miserable report" and the centrist Republican party said it was worthy of a 1970s Maoist group.
"These are allegations that have come up over the last 20 years and there is absolutely nothing to them," a source at the US embassy in Rome said.
To Aldo Giannuli, a historian who works as a consultant to the parliamentary terrorism commission, the release of the Left Democrats' report is a manoeuvre dictated primarily by domestic political considerations.
"Since they have been in power the Left Democrats have given us very little help in gaining access to security service archives," he said. "This is a falsely courageous report. The real issue today is gaining access to Nato's archives. There has been no impulse on this front from the government."
The Gladio File: did fear of communism throw West into the arms of terrorists?
Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, 5 December 1990, page 12 - cambridge clarion.org
As scandal unfolds, Whitehall's response is silence, writes Richard Norton-Taylor
A CHANCE discovery by an assiduous Italian magistrate investigating a neo-fascist terrorist attack has unearthed a secret paramilitary network run by units of the armed forces and intelligence services throughout western Europe.
Over the past few weeks, government after government, with the notable exception of the British, has been forced to admit that the organisation - whose original purpose was to set up resistance groups against occupying Warsaw Pact forces - still exists. It has come be to known as Operation Gladio, after its Italian branch.
Two threads have emerged. Ministers, let alone parliaments, knew nothing about the secret units; second, while nominally established as "stay-behind" sabotage groups to combat communist forces, in some countries they soon had internal political targets in their sights.
Representatives from these units have been meeting regularly in Brussels in the Allied Coordination Committee. This consists of civilian and military personnel, according to Italian and Belgian sources. Guy Coeme, the Belgian defence minister, has said it last met in Brussels in late October.
The network was not confined to Nato countries. An inquiry in Switzerland recently revealed the existence of a secret organisation, P26. It had 400 agents with access to guns and explosives with a German radio system, Harpoon, set up in 1985 to contact parallel groups in neighbouring countries.
One early task was to take over plans for a Swiss government-in-exile in south-west Ireland in the event of invasion. Another was to prepare for action against "subversion".
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.
Although the Ministry of Defence has repeatedly refused to comment on Britain's involvement, Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a former commander of Nato forces in northern Europe, has confirmed that a secret network of arms - to be handed out to a civilian guerrilla force in the event of an invasion - was set up in Britain after the war.
The Guardian has learned of 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, 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.
Mrs Thatcher is said to have 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.
British co-operation with the Gladio network since the 1950s appears to have concentrated on offering training expertise for continental cells. Werner Carobbio, a member of the Swiss parliamentary inquiry, referred the Guardian to Swiss press reports that P26 personnel had received training in Britain.
General Gerardo Serravalle, a retired officer, told the Italian parliamentary inquiry that a Gladio unit trained in Britain in the early 1970s. General Fausto Fortunato, head of the Italian Gladio cell until 1964, referred to a "crucial" meeting of the network held in Britain, followed by others in France, Belgium and Luxembourg in the early 1960s.
Revelations about the Gladio network have provoked embarrassed reactions. Wilfried Martens, Belgium's prime minister almost continuously since 1979, has said he was never told about its network, now under investigation after allegations that it was linked to a series of terrorist attacks in the 1980s.
The Dutch prime minister, Ruud Lubbers, told parliament last month that a secret organisation had been set up inside the defence ministry in the 1950s originally to provide intelligence to a government in exile. Members of the cell are believed to have taken part recently in a training exercise in Sicily.
The French defence minister, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, has announced that the French section, code-named Gallio, had been dissolved by presidential decree.
The German section, set up with the help of second world war army veterans and the extreme rightwing Federation of German Youth, allegedly drew up plans to assassinate leading members of the opposition Social Democrat party in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion. The German government has promised to consider winding it up.
In Greece, where it was given the code-name, Sheepskin, a cell was set up by the CIA in the 1950s but was dismantled in 1988, according to the government. Officers in the underground unit were involved in the Colonels' coup in 1967.
In Turkey, Bulent Ecevit, prime minister at the time of the invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, has said he was informed at the time of a "special warfare" department within the headquarters of the general staff. He said he was told it had been financed until then by the US but needed funds from Ankara.
A former Italian Gladio officer has said Gladio agents were trained by US instructors at a military base in Spanish Canary Islands from 1966 to the mid-1970s. He said France proposed Spain for membership of the network in 1973 but Britain, Germany and the Netherlands blocked the move on the grounds that Spain was not a democracy.
Secret agents, freemasons, fascists... and a top-level campaign of political 'destabilisation'
From The Guardian, 5 December 1990: [archive here]
Ed Vulliamy in Rome on the 'strategy of tension' that brought carnage and cover-up.
'I CAN say that the head of the secret services has repeatedly and unequivocally excluded the existence of a hidden organisation of any type or size," the Italian Minister of Defence, Giulio Andreotti, told a judicial inquiry in 1974 into the alleged existence of a secret state army.
Four years later, the scene repeated itself in front of judges investigating a fascist bombing in Milan.
Last month, however, Andreotti - now Prime Minister - confirmed the now infamous Gladio organisation had indeed existed since 1958, with the sanction of the political authorities, as a paramilitary "clandestine network"....
The Gladio saga resulted from two sources unhappy with Andreotti's 1974 explanation. The first 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".
His words were taken to point to the "Strategy of Tension" in the 1970s, violent and usually fascist-inspired outrages designed to justify increased state power and isolate the Left.
Meanwhile, two judges in Venice were investigating one such outrage - the murder of three policemen by a fascist car bomb in Peteano in 1972. Felice Casson and Carlo Mastelloni had stumbled across Gladio.
Testimonies collected by the two men and by the Commission on Terrorism in 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 service bosses and the notorious P2 masonic lodge are manifold. The chiefs of all three secret services - Generals Santovito (SISMI), Grassini (SISDE) and Cellosi (CESSIS) - were members of the lodge. 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 Vent, which tried to stage a coup in 1970.
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"...
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 Pietro Corona, head of the "R" office from 1969-70, told the Venice inquiry about "an alternative clandestine network, parallel to Gladio, which knew about the arms and explosives dumps and who had access to them". 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.
The Venetian judges identifed two arms dumps referred to by Andreotti. One, hidden beneath a cemetery near Verona, contains 18 453-gram bundles of the potent C4 plastic explosive officially confirmed last week as used at Peteano.
Gen Serravalle testified to irregularities at another dump, near Trieste. There, he says, Gladio had logged seven containers of C4. When the Carabinieri dug up the arsenal in February 1972 - two months before the Peteano attack near by - there were only four containers left; three had been inexplicably removed.
An extraordinary testimony remains in the labyrinth of paperwork surrounding the "Strategy of Tension", Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a member of the fascist group Avanguardia Nazionale, is serving life for his part in the Peteano bombing.
In 1984, questioned by Judges examining the 1980 Bologna station bomb in which 82 people were killed and for which two secret service agents were convicted, he said: "With the massacre of Peteano, and with all those that have followed, the knowledge should by now be clear that there existed a real live structure, occult and hidden, with the capacity of giving a strategic direction to the outrages." The structure, he said, "lies within the state itself".
"There exists in Italy a secret force parallel to the armed forces, composed of civilians and military men... A secret organisation, a super-organisation with a network of communications, arms and explosives, and men trained to use them"...
Vinciguerra has now made this statement to the Guardian: "The terrorist line was followed by camouflaged people, people belonging to the security apparatus, or those linked to the state apparatus through rapport or collaboration. 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 ... from within the state itself, and specificall
GLADIO Europe's best kept secret
They were the agents who were to 'stay behind' if the Red
Army overran Western Europe. But the network that was set up with the
best intentions degenerated in some countries into a front for
terrorism and far-right political agitation.
Observer, 7 June 1992, pages 53-54 cambridge clarion
The codename was Gladio and it was the most ambitious
and secret operation in Western Europe since the
Second World War. But now, with the Cold War over,
it is ending on notes of pure farce.
The Belgian authorities
have lost the code for getting
in touch with their most secret
agents, men who would have
gone into action when the
Soviet army swept into Flanders:
they have no means of working it out
again. One Belgian officer, Colonel Bernard
Legrand, knows some of the names but he won't
co-operate: it's confidential he says.
The British and United States governments know how
to break the code but won't tell the wretched Belgians.
At 10.15 on the morning of 31 January last year
Colonel Jean Bodart of Belgian military intelligence
landed in a Belgian air force plane at RAF
Northolt. He collected 13
packages filled with cyphers and an old Remington
type-writer from British intelligence and two hours later flew
back to Brussels. The packages contained the names of
the members of the Gladio network in Belgium. The
Remington typewriter was part of the decoding equipment.
But Belgian intelligence, whose skills at
cryptography have sadly been allowed to get rusty, have
wrestled in vain with the task of decyphering the names in
One day in 1984 a party of US Marines set out from an airport north
of London. Highly trained men, each fluent in one Eastern European
language, they parachuted to
their secret rendezvous and were met by an agent, a local bank manager,
who offered them guidance. They lived off the land for a fortnight,
hiding from the local civilian population as they stalked towards
their prey. Steathily they approached their objective and opened
fire, killing a warrant officer. One of the Marines lost an eye in the operation.
Their language skills were not much use: the objective was the police station
in the sleepy southern Belgian town of Vielsalm and none of the Marines
spoke French. If they had, they could have saved one man's life and another man's
The object of the exercise
had been twofold: to jolt the local
Belgian police into a higher state of alert and, no
less important, to give the impression to the population
at large that the comfortable
and well-fed Kingdom of Belgium
was on the brink of red revolution. Guns used in the
operation were later planted by a shadowy Belgian
intelligence outfit in the Brussels squat
used by a Communist splinter group.
On such notes of opera buffa
is Gladio being wound up. Mercifully
for the reputations of all concerned perhaps,
the farce is overlaying memories of large-scale
incursions into terrorism and crime which
transformed a clever plan to defend Western democracy
into a scheme which, according to startling new evidence
unearthed by Observer researchers in many countries,
struck at the very roots of Western values of freedom
and the rule of law.
Starting as an unexceptional piece of forward planning,
it moved on to unauthorised political surveillance
and then, finally, to the
mounting of a series of outrages with the far Right which cost
the lives of hundreds of innocent Europeans. The dead include at least
one Western European leader, Aldo Moro of Italy. Much still remains to be investigated,
particularly about Gladio's operations in Franco's Spain.
The strategy behind Gladio when it was set up in the late 1940s was impeccable.
As Stalin consolidated his political and military power in Eastern Europe and promoted
his version of totalitarianism where he could, the Western
allies came together to prevent any recurrence of the debacles
at the beginning of the Second World War when democracies
were knocked over like nine-pins by the Wehrmacht.
In 1939 and 1940 the German army had been able to overrun its European neighbours
with supreme ease. Polish cavalry was no match for German tanks, the Dutch
surrendered after Rotterdam had been destroyed from the air,
Paris was taken without difficulty, scarcely a shot was fired as the Nazis conquered Denmark.
The Channel Islands, the only British soil Hitler conquered, had already been deemed
As the swastika flew everywhere in Europe, from Brittany to the Russian steppes,
it was only with the greatest difficulty and sacrifice that resistance movements were
established from Britain which were eventually
to be capable of harrying and sabotaging the German army of occupation and finally
to collaborate with the Allied forces of liberation.
Such a lack of foresight, it was agreed in Western capitals, was never to be permitted again in the face of Stalin's threat, particularly after the Communist putsch in Prague in 1948. Under the
aegis of Britain and the US, a secret network of recruits was
to be set up all over the continent. They were to be provided with caches of radios, money
If the Red Army did overrun Western Europe and Western armies were defeated
and forced to flee, there would be someone left with intimate
local knowledge who could receive orders from abroad,
send out information and go into action against the Soviet
occupation forces. They were not to be so many Captain
Mainwarings, openly organised in Dad's Army outfits around the local drill
hall, who could be easily rounded up by the Russians. Their role was
to be serious and totally clandestine. They were to be known
This continent-wide operation, which became known as Gladio, also had the task of
keeping an eye on what were considered domestic threats to Western democracies
by agents of the Soviet Union. In the post-war years when
Moscow-line Communist parties were strong, particularly in France and Italy,
that task was challenging. It was to lead to particular abuses.
Although the networks were initially set up at the initiative of democratically
elected national leaders, they soon took on and independent life of their own
so that even commanders-in-chief,
defence ministers, prime ministers and presidents were unaware of what they were
The network and their caches were to remain ultra-secret until 1990. General
Bernard Rogers, the former US commander of Nato, for instance, says he
was unaware of the details. 'The organisation of any stay-behinds must have been
at the national level and not at the Nato level,' he comments.
The lid was lifted a little in November 1990 by the Italian
Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who had strongly
denied the existence of Gladio for well over a decade. In a
statement to parliament in Rome, Andreotti became the
first major politician to talk publicly of the project.
IT ALL started at the end of the last war. On 27 January 1949
Sir Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, set out the grand strategy in a top
secret and personal letter to
Paul-Henri Spaak, the Belgian Socialist
Prime Minister who was later to become secretary-general
of Nato. As the idea took shape, Sir Stewart wrote of Anglo-Belgian
collaboration in particular:
The present object of this collaboration should be
directed to two main aims:
a) The improvement of our information on the subject
of Cominform and potential enemy activities in so
far as they concern our two countries.
b) The preparation of
appropriate intelligence and
action organisations in the event of war.
At the same time the letter, a
copy of which is in The Observer's possession, throws
light on what became an increasingly important factor
in the Gladio operation - the rivalry between the
British and the Americans.
The correspondence should, Menzies suggested, be regarded as 'highly secret'.
I have always regarded American participation
in the defence of Western Europe as a matter of capital importance.
I am however, convinced that all effort, American not excluded,
must be integrated into an harmonious whole. Should, therefore,
the Americans wish to pursue with your Service certain preparations
to meet the needs of war, I regard it as essential - and I understand
I have your agreement - that these activities should be co-ordinated
with my own. Such co-ordination, moreover, will prevent undesirable
repercussions with the Western Union chiefs of Staff. I have already indicated
to the Head of the American Service that I am ready to work out plans for
detailed co-operation with him on this basis, and I therefore suggest that any
projects formulated by
them should be referred back to Washington for subsequent discussion
between the British and American Services in London.
Early the following month Spaak wrote back to Menzies agreeing with his ideas
but begging Britain and the US to get their act together.
I agree with you that it would be highly desirable
that the three services (British, American and Belgian) should collaborate closely.
If two of them, the American and the British, refuse that collaboration, the
situation of the Belgian service would be extremely delicate and difficult.
Thus I feel it is indispensable that at the highest level there
should be negotiations to settle this question...
In the event both powers
helped to pay for the Gladio
operations in Belgium. Senator
Roger Lallemand, had of the parliamentary inquiry into
Gladio set up in Belgium after Andreotti's revelations,
recalls: 'What was striking about the Belgian stay-behinds
was that the financing at the beginning was in part undertaken by
the British and the Americans. We were able to note that the
Belgian stay-behinds had received gold coins...The sums were quite large
and in fact were stored away since they couldn't have been used.'
As the years went by, the stay-behind network, which ended up as
a semi-detached operation of Nato, extended across Europe, the British taking the
lead in Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the Iberian peninsula, the Americans
elsewhere. The fact that various powers involved were not members of Nato - did
not hinder Gladio being extended to their territory. The names of all the stay-behinds
were lodged for safe keeping in London and Boston, Massachusetts.
The extreme secrecy, and lack of supervision of the Gladio
networks by elected governments meant that time and again
they were to fall victim to right-wing extremists inside and outside
the Western security services, who set their own
political agendas and acted on them.
The way down that slippery slope was typified by the attitude
of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's chief of counter-intelligence.
According to his biographer Tom Mangold, Angleton was convinced
that Harold Wilson and Willy Brandt were Moscow agents.
His black list of pro-Communists also included Henry Kissinger,
the Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson and Averell Harriman,
a former US Ambassador in Moscow and governor of New York.
A US military field manual published for the guidance
of its officers stated: 'There may be times when host-country
governments fall into passivity or indecision in face
of Communist or Communist-inspired subversion and react
with inadequate vigor to intelligence estimates transmitted
by US agencies...In such cases US army intelligence must have the means
of launching special operations which will convince host-country
governments and public opinion of the reality of insurgent action
and assess the counter-action.'
Although doubt has been cast on the authenticity of the text,
Ray Cline, a former deputy director of the CIA who
joined US intelligence as a young man during the Second
World War, has no doubt it is genuine.
In Belgium, for instance, all
evidence points to the fact that
a US-born Gladio agent,
Wood Gardiner, infiltrated
the Belgian pacifist movement and persuaded
some of its members in 1984 to steal shells from the missile
base at Florenne. When the theft was discovered it did the pacifist
cause no good at all.
More important were the apparently
random shootings in Belgian supermarkets which ended with
a particularly nasty incident in 1983 in the town of Aalst,
a few miles from Brussels, which became known as the Brabant-Walloon
massacres. Senator Lallemand has linked the killings to 'the work
of foreign governments or of intelligence services working for
foreigners, a terrorism aimed a destabilising democratic society'.
Martial Lekeu, a former
member of the Belgian gendarmerie who was close to the investigation
of the atrocities, that members of his own force were involved in
the murders and that official inquiries into it were aborted.
The British authorities,
leaders with Washington in the scheme, are refusing all
comment on Gladio. But
information about Britain's role
has come from parliamentary
and other investigations carried
out elsewhere in Europe.
Belgian documents, starting with Spaak's letter of 1949,
show what a major role Britain has constantly played.
Papers presented to the parliamentary inquiry set up in Belgium
on Gladio show that in Belgium in 1981 and in Britain in 1982 Belgian
personnel received training from British instructors. In April 1982
Belgians prepared for a Gladio exercise involving Britain and the US, codenamed
Blackbird, which was called off at the last minute when
Argentina invaded the Falklands.
In 1990 Colonel S. Schwebach of Belgian intelligence
reported to his Defence Minister that an exercise called Waterland
had taken place the previous year. In it, members of the Royal
Marines Special Boat Squadron parachuted into the seas off the coast of Flanders,
were guided ashore by Belgian civilians and went on to simulate the dynamiting
of the massive canal locks at Zeebrugge.
There were even reports, so far unconfirmed, in Belgium that Belgian
personnel had been part of a recent Gladio exercise in Britain aimed at
demonstrating that Dover docks could be put out of action were the
Russians to occupy Kent.
Britain was active too in the Gladio operation in Switzerland. Effrem Cattalan,
who headed the Swiss P26 intelligence organisation and helped to organise Gladio
in his country, told us how his organisation 'has English colleagues who
instructed them in general training, like covert operations and parachute jumps at night
in which England has had exceptionally good experience since the war'.
The British also collaborated, he said, with his predecessor at P26,
Colonel Albert Bachmann, for the possible evacuation of the headquarters of a
Swiss resistance movement to Britain, known as Operation Edelweiss. The report
of the Swiss official investigation into the Gladio
affair, led by Judge Pierre
Cornu and published last September, shows that, with
admirable meticulousness, a supply of Swiss army buttons and other
insignia was lodged, against the day
they might come in useful, in the safe of the
Swiss embassy in Bryanston Square.
Discussions, the Swiss inquiry revealed, had
also taken place between 1976 and 1979
about the evacuation of a Swiss
government-in-exile to Ireland
if the Russians had come over the Alps.
Unlike the Nato countries, Cattalan claimed,
the Swiss banned British or other foreign
military personnel from taking
part in exercises on Swiss soil.
According to the Swiss report,
however, such exercises did take place,
some codenamed Targum, probably annually
between 1973 and 1979, certainly from 1982 to 1988.
Others, called Cravat and Susanne,
were held in 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986 and 1988.
The report frankly confesses
that such were the links between the Swiss
and the British officials and agents who
dealt with the Gladio scheme that British
intelligence knew more about Swiss plans
than the Swiss government and high command.
No detail was too small for
the Swiss judges. Their report expressed concern,
for instance, that the issuing by Swiss officials
of false documents to Swiss agents of Gladio
who went abroad infringed federal law. It
went on to point out that one Swiss Gladio
agent who had used his false identity card
to obtain a fishing licence in Britain
had contravened Article Six of the
Swiss penal code, which covers the punishment
in Switzerland of crimes committed by Swiss
Meanwhile, at least one British family still
mourns a victim of the darkest chapter of Gladio,
a series of bombings a decade ago which were
at first attributed to the Red Brigades.
The largest, at Bologna railway station on 2 August 1980, claimed 86 lives. Harry Mitchell, a civil servant, and his wife Shirley,
of Bloomfield Road, Bath, lost their daughter Catherine, who was 21. She died in the blast
with her 22-year-old fiance John Kolpinski,
from Bristol. Her body was so disfigured that
it was identified only by the Miss Selfridge
label on her blouse.
The explosion was part of a series of atrocities
which left at least 300 dead as bombs went off
in the Piazza Fontana in Milan, on trains at
Brescia and on the Naples-Milan express in
a tunnel south of Bologna. The Mitchells
are outraged that Britain is refusing to
extradite back to Italy one of those sought
for questioning about the crime, Roberto Fiore.
Fiore, now 33, has lived freely here in Pimlico
since 1980, running a prosperous accommodation
agency and mixing in extreme right, anti-semitic
circles. There is strong suspicion that MI6
is grateful for information Fiore was able
to give them about Lebanon, where he learnt
some of his terrorist techniques, and is blocking
efforts to question him.
The Mitchells got no satisfaction when they wrote
about the Fiore affair to Mrs Thatcher in Downing
Street in June 1985. But the other day they
were been brought up to date on British government
thnking. On 29 March, Sir Patrick
Mayhew, then Attorney-General, explained
in a letter to the Mitchells' MP,
Chris Patten, how British justice could do
nothing about sending Fiore back.
The Italian railway bombings were blamed on the
extreme Left as part of a strategy to convince
voters that the country was in a state of tension
and that they had no alternative to voting
the safe Christian Democrat ticket. All clues
point to the fact that they were masterminded
from within Gladio.
Francesco Cossiga, who stepped down from the
presidency of Italy in April, helped to organise
Gladio when he was Interior Minister. He recalls
how Britain and the US collaborated in setting
up the network in Italy in 1951,
'concerned with what might happen to Europe if it
He traces the official formalities at the
inauguration of Gladio by the principal
figures of the Atlantic Alliance. At the
instigation of the Supreme Commander Allied
Forces Europe, the first statute of the
clandestine planning committee to oversee
Gladio was approved.
'It was agreed that three countries, the US,
France and Britain, would be permanent members
and the rest would be associate members - that
meant Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium,
Luxembourg, Greece and Turkey. Italy was
invited to become an associate member. Italy
turned down this invitation and instead asked to become
an permanent member, but did not get
an answer at the time. In 1956 Germany joined.'
Cossiga adds: 'It was standard
policy of Nato to deny the existence of anything
that it had been agreed to keep secret.'
He described how he was Interior Minister when
Moro was kidnapped. He contacted Merlyn Rees, then Britain's Home Secretary,
for help and together they visited the SAS
headquarters in Hereford. Thus Gladio
in Italy was seeking help from British forces
involved in training Gladio personnel so
that the Italians could
put an end to an Italian terrorist action
launched with the knowledge of Gladio itself.
Decimo Garau, an army doctor and friend
of Cossiga, told us how he had a week's
training at Poole with British special
services, practising parachute
landings in the English Channel before
visiting the SAS at Hereford.
No less important were the continuing concerns
about the political strength of the Communists.
Senator Libero Gualtieri, head of the Italian
parliamentary inquiry into Gladio,
told us: 'When Gladio was
started, the Americans would often insist
in their briefings, their meetings,
that the organisation also had to be used
to counter any insurgencies.'
Galtieri explained how the secret service tail
soon began to wag the government dog. He cites
the case of Amintore Fanfani, Prime Minister six
times, and Giovanni Spadolini, also
Prime Minister and Defence Minister,
neither of whom was informed of Gladio. 'To a
large extent Gladio was hidden from the politicians because we allowed a situation in which the
secret services had the task of those in power
and not vice versa.'
LICIO GELLI, head of the P2
freemasons' lodge, who fought for Franco
in the Spanish Civil War, was one of the
greyest eminences in post-war Italy. He
later became enmeshed with the Vatican
in the Banco Ambrosiano swindle. After the war,
he was recruited by Canadian occupying forces
to work in the 'stay-behind' operation being
set up throughout Italy. There were, he told
us, 250 Gladio squads, each consisting of nine
'Many came from the ranks of the mercenaries
who had fought in the Spanish Civil War
and many came from the fascist republic of Salo.
They chose individuals who were proved anti-Communists. I know it was a well-constructed
organisation. Had Communist strength
grown in Italy, America would have assisted us,
we would have unleashed another war and we
would have been generously supplied with arms
from the air.'
He is convinced that the Italian authorities let Aldo Moro go to his death. 'I think Moro could
have been saved. Everything can be salvaged
in Italy if someone wants to salvage it.'
Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a convinced
Fascist who was a member of the extremist
Ordine Nuovo organisation and had
close links with Gladio, has testified
to us of his personal involvement in such
schemes. Now serving a long sentence
in Parma prison for his part in the
killing of three carabinieri in the
village of Peteano, he talked
despite the Italian authorities'
efforts to prevent access to him.
'You had to attack civilians,
the people, women children, innocent people,
unknown people far removed from any political
game,' he said. 'The reason was quite simple.
They were supposed to force these people,
the Italian public, to turn to the State
to ask for greater security.
This is the political logic that
lies behind all the massacres and the bombings
which remain unpunished, because the State
cannot convict itself or declare itself
responsible for what happened.'
Vinciguerra recounted how
the authorities covered the traces after the
killing of the three carabinieri. 'A whole
mechanism came into action -
that is, the carabinieri, the Minister
of the Interior, the customs
services and the military and civilian
intelligence services accepted the ideological
reasoning behind the attack.'
The commanders of the carabinieri foiled a
thorough investigation of the Peteano
affair for years, he claims. 'It was more
convenient to cover it up than
to turn on those who killed
their comrades. All the members of the
Red Brigades were known
by the police, the carabinieri
and the intelligence bureaux and on one made
nay attempt to stop them. So you see,
"revolutionary warfare" should not be seen
as being directed against Western democracy
but rather as the means of defence
adopted by Western democracies and
implemented cynically and indiscriminately.'
The gravest charge against
the Gladio project is that it co-operated in
- or at least did nothing to prevent -
the kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro,
a former Prime Minister of Italy. Moro,
a Catholic and Christian Democrat, was
known for his view that the Italian
Communist Party should be brought closer
It is well known that Moro died
in March 1978 at the hand of the Red Brigades.
What is less understood, but borne out by
a number of well-informed witnesses, is that
the Red Brigades were deeply infiltrated
by Western intelligence. At the time
of Moro's killing the principal
leaders of the Brigades were in prison.
Colonel Oswald Le Winter of the CIA,
who served as a US liaison officer with
Gladio, goes as far as to say that
the planning staff of the Brigades was made
up of intelligence agents. From his prison
cell, Vinciguerra agrees.
How was it that Colonel Guglielmi, a senior
figure in Italian intelligence, was on
hand in the Via Fani in Rome when Moro
was kidnapped and his body-guards murdered?
Why did Guglielmi say he was there by
accident on the way to lunch with a friend
when the kidnapping happened at nine o'clock
in the morning? Why was it that
the bullets which killed the bodyguards were
of a type only used by the Italian special
As Gladio winds down and governments on the
continent declare they have shut down
their parts of the operation, the
silence in Whitehall and the almost
total lack of curiosity among MPs about
an affair in which Britain was so centrally
involved are remarkable. Perhaps John
Major's new commitment to more openness in
government will eventually produce some answers
to the many Gladio riddles.
'The Ringmasters', the first of three
weekly Observer Film Company programmes
on Gladio in the 'Timewatch' series, will
be shown on BBC2 on Wednesday at 8.15pm.
They are directed by Allan Francovich
and produced by Kimi Zabihyan.
The text above was taken by Clarion directly from a copy of the Observer.
Like other newspaper articles on Gladio, it is (self-evidently) filled with
contrived apologetics for Gladio and
terrorism. To take just a few examples, on page 54 there is a photograph
with the caption:
"Aldo Moro's body is found in Rome in 1978. Could the secret services have
prevented his kidnap?"
In fact the real question - as the text
of even this article makes clear - is not whether
the "secret services" could have prevented
his kidnap and murder but whether they were
involved in murdering him.
Gladio, the Observer asserts
in the first paragraph, without a shred of supporting argument or evidence,
"was set up with
the best intentions". We are not told how
the Observer was able
to divine the intentions of the the network's
creators. The description of US Marines invading Belgium
in 1984 is so badly written that it is impossible to be sure what it means.
Is O'Shaughnessy suggesting that they murdered a Belgian police officer? And afterwards
were in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice with planted evidence? And this
he describes as a "farce" and "opera buffa".
On page 53 there are three photographs from right to left, a portrait photograph of
an elderly man wearing glasses, rubble in a damaged building with men climbing
over it, and another portrait photograph of a younger man. The caption reads:
"A key figure in the 'stay-behind' operation, P2 Lodge head Licio Gelli,
and (right) fascist terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra. Was Gladio involved
in the bombing of Bologna railway station?(centre)/Photographs by Vladimir Sichov
and Graham Macindoe"
Italy - An endless cycle of terror
by Alfio Bernabei - May 2002 Issue Searchlight Magazine
Italy's fascist-infested democracy is now coming under real strain. Terrorists calling themselves "The Red Brigades" struck again at the end of March in Bologna, killing Marco Biagi, a university professor and govern-ment consultant on labour and employment policy.
These terrorists are once more enveloped in the mystery of their true political function and affiliation. In the past their activities have been used by American-backed right-wing and fascist forces as levers in the strategy of tension that came about within the framework of the Anglo-American Stay Behind Gladio networks dating back to 1949.
Now the old questions are being asked again. Whose interests are these terrorists serving? Who is likely to benefit from their actions at a time of increased tension in the face of renewed confrontation between a government lacking credibility and the trade unions?
The attempts to find some answers have reopened speculation about the so-called "second generation Red Brigades", which came into existence in 1974-75. According to General Gianadelio Maletti, the director of Italian military counter intelligence in the early 1970s, later found guilty of collusion in the protection of fascist terrorists, "second generation Red Brigades" were probably recruited by the Italian Secret Service and other "parallel agencies" acting under the supervision of the CIA in order to infiltrate the original movement of the Red Brigades, known as the "nucleo storico".
In his testimony given last year before the Commissione Stragi (Commission on terrorist massacres), General Maletti, who in order to escape justice took refuge in South Africa under apartheid, said that the creation of "second generation Red Brigades" was discussed at the highest level of the Italian government. He did not deny that some of their members were trained at Campo Maraggiu, in Sardinia. This was the secret training ground for the Gladio forces, which were linked to a network of fascist organisations. The favourite of the CIA, and undoubtedly of Henry Kissinger himself, was Ordine Nuovo, led by Pino Rauti, the avowed admirer of Hitler and Himmler. Only last year Rauti made an electoral deal with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia. At the very top of the secret plans however was the fascist Licio Gelli, head of the notorious P2 Masonic Lodge.
Gelli, known to the CIA and friendly with the former US President Ronald Reagan, recruited about 1,200 members, including Maletti and other heads of the secret services and the military. P2 was later described by an investigative commission as a "government within the government". It was a subversive organisation, a military coup in waiting, with men ready to take control of key structures throughout the country. An attempted coup did in fact take place during the night of 7-8 December 1970, when the Home Office in Rome was briefly taken over. Known as the "Borghese coup", it was called off at the last minute apparently because Gelli did not get the green light from the United States.
On the list of P2 members found in Gelli's villa in Tuscany was the name of Berlusconi. Among the many mysteries in the tycoon's early career concerning the source of the funds that enabled him to buy estates in Milan and later launch his television channels with licences given to him by the corrupt Christian Democratic-Socialist government, the Gelli link highlights the Gladio-P2-Berlusconi-CIA jigsaw.
Berlusconi is now flanked by deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini, the former secretary of the fascist MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano), and by Umberto Bossi of the racist Northern League. The rise of what has been described as the most dangerous political triad in Europe appears to be the successful fruition of a long sought objective. "The CIA wanted to assist nationalism with the extreme-right contribution", declared Maletti to the Commission.
Given the efforts of both the United States and Britain in setting up the Gladio network in Italy in 1949, which relied on fascists as the most trusted soldiers to keep the Communists at bay, it would seem that Prime Minister Tony Blair's steadfast support for and efforts to give legitimacy to Berlusconi's government, even when it appears anomalous and disreputable in the eyes of the world, is just a rerun of old alliances outside parliamentary democracy going back more than 50 years.
As for the Red Brigades, the key members of the "nucleo storico" were captured and most of them have since publicly recognised the futility and anachronism of any attempt to win over by force an entire population to the idea of establishing a communist state against the intentions of established left-wing parties. One wonders, therefore, what lies behind these new recruits who commit a terrorist act, such as the killing of Biagi, that so clearly strengthens the Berlusconi coalition and more specifically prompts the entire military to spring to its defence.
The killing has come at a time when the government is facing the reemerging opposition led by a trade union movement still capable of mobilising up to three million people on a national demonstration and bringing the country to a standstill in defence of workers' rights. The unions have flatly rejected Berlusconi's attempts to depict them as the breeding ground for terrorism. Their aim is to protect Article 18 of the Workers' Statute, which requires the reinstatement of anyone who is sacked without good reason. Biagi was one of the architects of a change in the Statute that would have made hiring and firing easier. He knew he was in danger. He had complained to the authorities about their decision to take away his escort and leave him unprotected.
In order to divert attention from this crucial detail, soon after the killing government officials claimed to know that the terrorists had used the same "Red Brigade weapon" that two years earlier had killed Massimo D'Antona, another government consultant on employment legislation, who had worked under the previous government. Later, however, it transpired that this detail could not be verified. In D'Antona's case the killers had picked up all the bullets in order to cut all links to the weapon that had fired them.
There will be arrests of course. But those really responsible for the Biagi killing will remain shrouded in mystery. This is not just because some of the most recent terrorist attacks, such as the bomb at Il Manifesto, have turned out to be the work of fascists attached to Third Position, but also because the Bologna killing bears the hallmarks of a very professional operation. "If you look at the spot where it took place you begin to realise that it was carried out with military precision", a source told Searchlight. "Via Valdonica, in the heart of the ex Jewish ghetto of Bologna, is under the constant gaze of dozens of people, with narrow points of entry and exit. This is definitely not the place where amateurs can strike with enough confidence to get away virtually unseen."
The return of terrorism is bound to reopen the questions about the strategy of tension and the "years of lead", one of the darkest chapters in Italian history, and increase the sense of menace to the country's fragile democracy. After 20 years of fascism followed by utter subservience to the United States, which for over 40 years propped up the Christian Democrats' corrupt string of governments infected by the Mafia, financial malpractices and nepotism, many Italians fear for the future of their shaky institutions, especially the judiciary, which has come under the attack of the present government.
The current political situation bears similarities with 1922, when Mussolini was invited to form a government backed by the country's industrial class and by popular consensus achieved through nationalistic fervour and a show of strength. Berlusconi is the industrial class and simultaneously the owner of the key instrument of consensus-making apparatuses, his television channels and huge media empire. Last year a large numbers of Italians voted not so much for parties in the moral ethical tradition but for the embodiment of the aggressive values they had heard advertised: plutocracy, fascism and racism.
There are also similarities with 1963 when for the first time since the Second World War the CIA-backed Christian Democratic Party appeared shaken by the first centre-left-government of Aldo Moro and by trade union militancy. The Stay Behind structure immediately stirred. The attempted coup d'état by General Giovanni de Lorenzo in 1964 was a flop, but it succeeded in mobilising the fascist and neo-fascists forces and thus ignited the fuse of the strategy of tension. Terrorists began to strike. How many members of the Red Brigades were in fact fascists acting as agents provocateurs to weaken the left and strengthen the military we shall probably never know.
Investigations in over 300 killings during the "anni di piombo" have all too often led to the capture and imprisonment of the foot soldiers carrying out the attacks. At the point their commanders would have been unmasked, documents have disappeared, tapes have been erased and witnesses have been killed in an endless and so far successful sidetracking operation. Even the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 remains a mystery. Only last month Michele Landi, a computer expert who had been working on the investigation into the D'Antona killing, was found dead. "I do not think it was suicide," said a magistrate who knew him well.
When D'Antona was killed members of Digos, the Italian anti-terrorist squad, and some military intelligence sources indicated to Searchlight that those responsible were probably to be found among the fascists. The last four years have seen many bombings, arsons and assaults all claimed by what appear to be non-existent "left groups" who when investigated turn out to consist of followers, if not members, of Roberto Fiore's Forza Nuova. The assassination of Biagi is likely to turn out to be part of a recreated Gladio-style strategy, now adapted to prop up the most dangerous political triad in Europe.
Has P2 launched a new terror killing spree in Italy?
State Media does it's job...covers the Nazis asses
Secret Government rehidden ?
Red Brigades 'leader' on trial for murder
By Peter Popham in Rome - 04 May 2004
The alleged leader of an ultra-left wing offshoot of the Red Brigades, captured last year after a gunfight on a train, went on trial in Florence yesterday charged with murder and attempted murder.
Nadia Desdemona Lioce, who describes herself as a political prisoner and a militant, was penned in a cage in a high-security courtroom, apparently at her own request. Francesco Fleury, for the prosecution, said: "It's the first trial of the new Red Brigades and so undoubtedly today is a very significant day ... The central core of the Red Brigades structure has been captured."
Ms Lioce and her companion, Mario Galesi, were travelling on a train from Rome to Florence in March last year when police came through the carriage, checking identity papers.
Ms Lioce and Galesi were said to have produced guns and, in the exchange of fire, Galesi and a policeman were fatally wounded. Ms Lioce was arrested unharmed. She is on trial for the shootings on the train.
The original Red Brigades was an ultra-left revolutionary group responsible for a string of bombings, kidnappings and murders in Italy during the 1970s and 1980s.
Their most notorious deed was the capture of the former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978. After holding him for 55 days they killed him and left his body in the boot of a car in central Rome.
Unlike Germany's Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Red Brigades never formally dissolved, but most of its leaders were either in jail, in exile or reformed.
The organisation had been dormant for more than a decade, but were then linked to the murders of two academics, Massimo D'Antona in 1999 and Marco Biagi in 2002. The men were experts in labour law and had been used by successive Italian governments to help draw up new laws to curtail the rights of Italy's workers.
The five-pointed star, a symbol of the Red Brigades, was sprayed on a wall near the body of one of the men, and a group styling itself the Red Brigades-Combatant Communist Party claimed responsibility for both killings.
The arrest of Ms Lioce was a breakthrough for police investigating the murders. She and Galesi were carrying mobile phones, electronic organisers, maps and documents which helped police to make a further sixarrests last October.
Several of those detained declared themselves to be political prisoners. Ms Lioce herself, in one of the numerous letters she has written to judges in different Italian cities, has allegedly claimed responsibility for the two murders.
Ms Lioce made no statement yesterday. But her lawyer said that she intends to deliver a "spontaneous declaration", which is the right of those on trial in Italian courts.
By Chris Floyd - Published: February 18, 2005
'You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple: to force ... the public to turn to the state to ask for greater security."
This was the essence of Operation Gladio, a decades-long covert campaign of terrorism and deceit directed by the intelligence services of the West -- against their own populations. Hundreds of innocent people were killed or maimed in terrorist attacks -- on train stations, supermarkets, cafes and offices -- which were then blamed on "leftist subversives" or other political opponents. The purpose, as stated above in sworn testimony by Gladio agent Vincenzo Vinciguerra, was to demonize designated enemies and frighten the public into supporting ever-increasing powers for government leaders -- and their elitist cronies.
First revealed by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti in 1991, Gladio (from the Latin for "sword") is still protected to this day by its founding patrons, the CIA and MI6. Yet parliamentary investigations in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium have shaken out a few fragments of the truth over the years. These have been gathered in a new book, "NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe," by Daniele Ganser, as Lila Rajiva reports on CommonDreams.org.
Originally set up as a network of clandestine cells to be activated behind the lines in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, Gladio quickly expanded into a tool for political repression and manipulation, directed by NATO and Washington. Using right-wing militias, underworld figures, government provocateurs and secret military units, Gladio not only carried out widespread terrorism, assassinations and electoral subversion in democratic states such as Italy, France and West Germany, but also bolstered fascist tyrannies in Spain and Portugal, abetted the military coup in Greece and aided Turkey's repression of the Kurds.
Among the "smoking guns" unearthed by Ganser is a Pentagon document, Field Manual FM 30-31B, which details the methodology for launching terrorist attacks in nations that "do not react with sufficient effectiveness" against "communist subversion." Ironically, the manual states that the most dangerous moment comes when leftist groups "renounce the use of force" and embrace the democratic process. It is then that "U.S. army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince Host Country Governments and public
opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger." Naturally, these peace-throttling "special operations must remain strictly secret," the document warns.
Indeed, it would not do for the families of the 85 people ripped apart by the Aug. 2, 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station to know that their loved ones had been murdered by "men inside Italian state institutions and ... men linked to the structures of United States intelligence," as the Italian Senate concluded after its investigation in 2000.
The Bologna atrocity is an example of what Gladio's masters called "the strategy of tension" -- fomenting fear to keep populations in thrall to "strong leaders" who will protect the nation from the ever-present terrorist threat. And as Rajiva notes, this strategy wasn't limited to Western Europe. It was applied, with gruesome effectiveness, in Central America by the Reagan and Bush administrations. During the 1980s, right-wing death squads, guerrilla armies and state security forces -- armed, trained and supplied by the United States -- murdered tens of thousands of people throughout the region, often acting with particular savagery at those times when peaceful solutions to the conflicts seemed about to take hold.
Last month, it was widely reported that the Pentagon is considering a similar program in Iraq. What was not reported, however -- except in the Iraqi press -- is that at least one pro-occupation death squad is already in operation. Just days after the Pentagon plans were revealed, a new militant group, "Saraya Iraqna," began offering big wads of American cash for insurgent scalps -- up to $50,000, the Iraqi paper Al Ittihad reports. "Our activity will not be selective," the group promised. In other words, anyone they consider an enemy of the state will be fair game.
Strangely enough, just as it appears that the Pentagon is establishing Gladio-style operations in Iraq, there has been a sudden rash of terrorist attacks on outrageously provocative civilian targets, such as hospitals and schools, the Guardian reports. Coming just after national elections in which the majority faction supported slates calling for a speedy end to the American occupation, the shift toward high-profile civilian slaughter has underscored the "urgent need" for U.S. forces to remain on the scene indefinitely, to provide security against the ever-present terrorist threat. Meanwhile, the Bushists continue constructing their long-sought permanent bases in Iraq: citadels to protect the oil that incoming Iraqi officials are promising to sell off to American corporations -- and launching pads for new forays in geopolitical domination.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence. But the U.S. elite's history of directing and fomenting terrorist attacks against friendly populations is so extensive -- indeed, so ingrained and accepted -- that it calls into question the origin of every terrorist act that roils the world. With each fresh atrocity, we're forced to ask: Was it the work of "genuine" terrorists or a "black op" by intelligence agencies -- or both?
While not infallible, the ancient Latin question is still the best guide to penetrating the bloody murk of modern terrorism: Cui bono? Who benefits? Whose powers and policies are enhanced by the attack? For it is indisputable that the "strategy of tension" means power and profit for those who claim to possess the key to "security." And from the halls of the Kremlin to the banks of the Potomac, this cynical strategy is the ruling ideology of our times.