Operation Gladio is the codename for clandestine " stay-behind " operations of armed resistance that was planned by the Western Union WU , and subsequently by NATO , for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest of Europe. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them. Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, and some neutral countries. The role of the CIA in Gladio—the extent of its activities during the Cold War era and any responsibility for terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the " Years of Lead " late s to early s —are the subject of debate. The European Parliament resolution on Gladio concluded that military secret services in certain member states were involved in serious terrorism and crime, whether or not their superiors were aware. To date, only Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter.
|Published (Last):||4 March 2012|
|PDF File Size:||12.29 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||13.17 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Operation Gladio is the codename for clandestine " stay-behind " operations of armed resistance that was planned by the Western Union WU , and subsequently by NATO , for a potential Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest of Europe.
Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all of them. Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, and some neutral countries. The role of the CIA in Gladio—the extent of its activities during the Cold War era and any responsibility for terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the " Years of Lead " late s to early s —are the subject of debate.
The European Parliament resolution on Gladio concluded that military secret services in certain member states were involved in serious terrorism and crime, whether or not their superiors were aware. To date, only Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter. The word gladio is the Italian form of gladius , a type of Roman shortsword. Following the fall of France in , Winston Churchill created the Special Operations Executive SOE to both assist resistance movements and itself carry out sabotage and subversive operations in occupied Europe.
It was revealed half a century later that SOE was complemented by a stay-behind organisation in Britain, created in extreme secrecy, to prepare for a possible invasion by Nazi Germany. A network of resistance fighters was formed across Britain and arms caches were established. The network was recruited, in part, from the 5th Ski Battalion of the Scots Guards which had originally been formed, but was not deployed, to fight alongside Finnish forces fighting the Soviet invasion of Finland.
The units were trained, in part, by "Mad Mike" Calvert , a Royal Engineers officer who specialised in demolition by explosives and covert raiding operations. The network was allegedly disbanded in ; some of its members subsequently joined the Special Air Service and saw action in North-West Europe. While David Lampe published a book on the Auxiliary Units in ,  their existence did not become widely known by the public until reporters such as David Pallister of The Guardian revived interest in them during the s.
After World War II, the UK and the US decided to create "stay-behind" paramilitary organizations, with the official aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines. Arms caches were hidden, escape routes prepared, and loyal members recruited, whether in Italy or in other European countries.
Its clandestine "cells" were to stay behind in enemy-controlled territory and to act as resistance movements , conducting sabotage, guerrilla warfare and assassinations. The stay-behind armies were created with the experience and involvement of former SOE officers.
Farrar-Hockley had aroused controversy in when he became involved in trying to organise a campaign for a new Home Guard against a potential Soviet invasion. Historian Daniele Ganser claims  that:. The ACC's duties included elaborating on the directives of the network, developing its clandestine capability, and organizing bases in Britain and the United States. The Central Intelligence Agency CIA responded to the series of accusations made by Ganser in his book regarding the CIA's involvement in Operation Gladio, by claiming that neither Ganser nor anyone else could have solid evidence supporting their accusations.
At one point in his book Ganser talks about the CIA's covert action policies as being "terrorist in nature" and then accuses the CIA of using their "networks for political terrorism". The CIA responded by noting that Daniele Ganser's sourcing is "largely secondary" and that Ganser himself has complained about "not being able to find any official sources to support his charges of the CIA's or any Western European government's involvement with Gladio".
The existence of these clandestine NATO units remained a closely guarded secret throughout the Cold War until , when the first branch of the international network was discovered in Italy. It was code-named Gladio , the Italian word for a short double-edged sword gladius. While the press said that the NATO stay-behind units were 'the best-kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II', the Italian government, amidst sharp public criticism, promised to close down the secret army.
Italy insisted identical clandestine units had also existed in all other countries of Western Europe. Upon learning of the discovery, the parliament of the European Union EU drafted a resolution sharply criticizing the fact. Bush refused to comment. If Gladio was "the best-kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II",  it must be underlined, however, that on several occasions, arms caches were discovered and stay-behind paramilitary organizations officially dissolved.
NATO's "stay-behind" organizations were never called upon to resist a Soviet invasion. According to media analyst Edward S. Andreotti spoke of a "structure of information, response and safeguard", with arms caches and reserve officers. He gave to the Commissione Stragi , the parliamentary commission led by senator Giovanni Pellegrino in charge of investigations on bombings committed during the Years of Lead in Italy, a list of civilians who according to him were part of Gladio. Andreotti also stated that weapons caches had been dismantled, and said that Gladio had not been involved in any of the bombings committed from the s to the s.
It didn't include, for example, Antonio Arconte, who described an organization very different from the one brushed by Giulio Andreotti: an organization closely tied to the SID secret service and the Atlanticist strategy. These representatives of the secret structures met every year in one of the capitals At the stay-behind meetings representatives of the CIA were always present.
They had no voting rights and were from the CIA headquarters of the capital in which the meeting took place During peacetime, the activities of the ACC "included elaborating the directives for the network, developing its clandestine capability and organising bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE; organisers were to activate clandestine bases and organise operations from there". The same year, the European Parliament sharply condemned NATO and the United States in a resolution for having manipulated European politics with the stay-behind armies.
New legislation governing intelligence agencies' missions and methods was passed in , following two government inquiries and the creation of a permanent parliamentary committee in , which was to bring them under the authority of Belgium's federal agencies.
The Commission was created following events in the s, which included the Brabant massacres and the activities of the far-right group Westland New Post. The Danish stay-behind army was code-named Absalon , after a Danish archbishop , and led by E. It was hidden in the military secret service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste FE. In , William Colby , former director of the CIA , released his memoirs in which he described the setting-up of stay-behind armies in Scandinavia : .
The situation in each Scandinavian country was different. Norway and Denmark were NATO allies, Sweden held to the neutrality that had taken her through two world wars, and Finland were required to defer in its foreign policy to the Soviet power directly on its borders. Thus, in one set of these countries the governments themselves would build their own stay-behind nets, counting on activating them from exile to carry on the struggle.
These nets had to be co-ordinated with NATO's plans, their radios had to be hooked to a future exile location, and the specialised equipment had to be secured from CIA and secretly cached in snowy hideouts for later use.
In the other set of countries, CIA would have to do the job alone or with, at best, "unofficial" local help, since the politics of those governments barred them from collaborating with NATO, and any exposure would arouse immediate protest from the local Communist press, Soviet diplomats and loyal Scandinavians who hoped that neutrality or nonalignment would allow them to slip through a World War III unharmed.
The former director of DGSE , admiral Pierre Lacoste, alleged in a interview with The Nation , that certain elements from the network were involved in terrorist activities against de Gaulle and his Algerian policy. Grossouvre would have asked Constantin Melnik, leader of the French secret services during the Algerian War of Independence —62 , to return to activity. He was living in comfortable exile in the US, where he maintained links with the Rand Corporation.
Constantin Melnik is alleged to have been involved in the creation in of the Ordre Souverain du Temple Solaire , an ancestor of the Order of the Solar Temple , created by former A.
US intelligence also assisted in the set up of a German stay-behind network. Heinrich Hoffman and Lt. Hans Rues—and one was run by Lt. Documents shown to the Italian parliamentary terrorism committee revealed that in the s British and French officials involved in the network visited a training base in Germany built with US money. In , the secret service BND secretary Heidrun Hofer was arrested after having revealed the secrets of the German stay-behind army to her husband, who was a spy of the KGB.
He went into details about recruiting partisans for the German stay-behind network. A man with the name he put on file was arrested by the KGB following treason in the BND, but was obviously innocent, his name having been chosen at random from the public phone book by Juretzko.
When the network was dismantled, further odd details emerged. One fellow "spymaster" had kept the radio equipment in his cellar at home with his wife doing the engineering test call every four months, on the grounds that the equipment was too "valuable" to remain in civilian hands. Juretzko found out because this spymaster had dismantled his section of the network so quickly, there had been no time for measures such as recovering all caches of supplies. Civilians recruited as stay-behind partisans were equipped with a clandestine shortwave radio with a fixed frequency.
It had a keyboard with digital encryption, making use of traditional Morse code obsolete. They had a cache of further equipment for signalling helicopters or submarines to drop special agents who were to stay in the partisan's homes while mounting sabotage operations against the communists. Former CIA agent Philip Agee , who was sharply criticized in the US for having revealed sensitive information, insisted that "paramilitary groups, directed by CIA officers, operated in the sixties throughout Europe [and he stressed that] perhaps no activity of the CIA could be as clearly linked to the possibility of internal subversion.
Under the command of paratrooper Lieutenant Colonel Costas Aslanides , LOK took control of the Greek Defence Ministry while Brigadier General Stylianos Pattakos gained control of communication centers, parliament, the royal palace, and according to detailed lists, arrested over 10, people.
According to Ganser, Phillips Talbot , the US ambassador in Athens, disapproved of the military coup which established the " Regime of the Colonels " — , complaining that it represented "a rape of democracy"—to which Jack Maury, the CIA chief of station in Athens, answered, "How can you rape a whore?
Arrested and then exiled in Canada and Sweden, Andreas Papandreou later returned to Greece, where he won the election , forming the first socialist government of Greece's post-war history.
According to his own testimony, Ganser alleges, he discovered the existence of the secret NATO army, then codenamed "Red Sheepskin", as acting prime minister in and had given orders to dissolve it.
Following Giulio Andreotti's revelations in , the Greek defence minister confirmed that a branch of the network, known as Operation Sheepskin, operated in his country until This was denied by the US State Department , who responded that "the Greek terrorist organization ' 17 November ' was responsible for both assassinations", and that Grivas's central piece of evidence had been the Westmoreland Field Manual which the state department, as well as an independent congressional inquiry, have alleged to be a Soviet forgery.
Speculation that the Netherlands was involved in Gladio arose from the accidental discovery of large arms caches in and In , then-Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers told the Dutch Parliament that his office was running a secret organisation that had been set up inside the Dutch defence ministry in the s, but denied it was supervised directly by NATO or other foreign bodies. He went to inform that successive prime ministers and defence chiefs had always preferred not to inform other Cabinet members or Parliament about the secret organization.
It was modeled on the nation's World War II experiences of having to evacuate the royal family and transfer government to a government-in-exile,  originally aiming to provide an underground intelligence network to a government-in-exile in the event of a foreign invasion, although it included elements of guerilla warfare.
Former Dutch Defence Minister Henk Vredeling confirmed the group had set up arms caches around the Netherlands for sabotage purposes. Already in , it was known that the weapons cache near Velp, while accidentally 'discovered' in , had been plundered partially before. It still contained dozens of hand grenades, semiautomatic rifles, automatic pistols, munitions and explosives at the time of discovery, but five hand grenades had gone missing.
It was located in a park near Scheveningen. Some of the stolen weapons, including hand grenades and machine guns, later turned up when police officials arrested criminals John Mieremet and Sam Klepper in The Dutch military intelligence agency MIVD feared at the time that disclosure of the Gladio history of these weapons would have been politically sensitive. SHAPE denied these allegations. Eventually, the matter was resolved in , after Norway was assured about how stay-behind networks were to be operated.
In , the police discovered an arms cache and radio equipment at a mountain cabin and arrested Hans Otto Meyer, a businessman accused of being involved in selling illegal alcohol. Meyer claimed that the weapons were supplied by Norwegian intelligence. As one of the nations that prompted the Truman Doctrine , Turkey is one of the first countries to participate in Operation Gladio and, some [ who?
In Austria, the first secret stay-behind army was exposed in He later explained that "we bought cars under this name. We installed communication centres in several regions of Austria", confirming that "special units were trained in the use of weapons and plastic explosives".
He stated that "there must have been a couple of thousand people working for us Only very, very highly positioned politicians and some members of the union knew about it".
In , police discovered a stay-behind arms cache in an old mine close to Windisch-Bleiberg and forced the British authorities to hand over a list with the location of 33 other caches in Austria. In , when secret "stay-behind" armies were uncovered all around Europe, the Austrian government said that no secret army had existed in the country.
NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions.
The ghost of Machiavelli: An approach to operation Gladio and terrorism in cold war Italy
Daniele Ganser born August 29, in Lugano  is a Swiss historian. Beatrice Heuser praised the book while also noting it would be better if Ganser had used a less polemical tone and had occasionally conceded that the Soviets were no less nicer. Critics have charged that the book failed to provide proof or an in-depth explanation of a conspiracy between NATO, the United States, and the European countries. Davies concluded that the book is marred by imagined conspiracies, exaggerated notions and misunderstandings of covert activities and operations within and between the countries, and a failure to place their decisions and actions in the appropriate historical context. Davies argued that Ganser did not perform the most basic necessary research to be able to discuss them effectively. Kaplan believes that some of Ganser's theories may be correct, but they damage the book's credibility.