Betreff: Secret Warfare and NATO's Stay-Behind Armies
Von: "ECOTERRA Intl."
Datum: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 11:32:22 +0300
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Secret Warfare: Gladio

by Daniele Ganser


Secret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO's Stay-Behind Armies


After the Cold War had ended, then 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 in 1990 that Gladio was beyond democratic control and therefore had to be closed down.

During the 1990s, research into stay-behind armies 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 Gladio in Italy, Absalon in Denmark, P26 in Switzerland, ROC in Norway, I&O in the Netherlands, 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 international level. The last confirmed ACC meeting took place on 24 October 1990 in Brussels, chaired by the Belgian military secret service, the SGR.

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.

Evidence suggests that recruitment and operations methods differed greatly from country to country. The research project into NATO’s secret armies that is being undertaken by the Center for Security Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, and is headed by Daniele Ganser, has collected and published the available country-specific evidence in the first English-language book on the topic, entitled NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (London: Frank Cass, 2005). In a second step, the project is working on gaining access to declassified primary documents, while encouraging discussion among NATO officials, secret services and military officials, and the international research community in order to clarify the strategy, training, and operations of the stay-behind armies.


The NATO Response

The NATO response to the discovery of the secret stay-behind armies has been defensive and at times inconsistent. When evidence of the NATO stay-behind army Gladio in Italy emerged in August 1990, NATO headquarters in Brussels initially refused to comment. About three months later, however, NATO bowed to media pressure and made a statement. However, in that statement the military alliance categorically rejected former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti's allegation about NATO's involvement in operation Gladio and the secret armies. Specifically, Senior NATO Spokesman Jean Marcotta on Monday, 5 November 1990 at SHAPE headquarters in Mons, Belgium, said: "NATO has never contemplated guerrilla war or clandestine operations; it has always concerned itself with military affairs and the defence of Allied frontiers." [1]

Eventually, on Tuesday, 6 November, a NATO spokesman explained that NATO's statement of the previous day had been false. On 6 November, the spokesman left journalists with a short communiqué that said that NATO never commented on matters of military secrecy and that Marcotta should not have said anything at all. [2] The international press protested against NATO’s defensive public relations policy. For example, British daily newspaper The Observer said: "As shock followed shock across the Continent, a NATO spokesman issued a denial: nothing was known of Gladio or stay-behind. Then a seven word communiqué announced the denial was 'incorrect' and nothing more." [3]

In November 1990, NATO consisted of the following 16 nations: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Greece, the United Kingdom, Island, Italy, Canada, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the United States; the last had a dominant position within the alliance. Following the press reports, NATO ambassadors demanded an explanation. While the administration of US president George Bush Senior refused to comment on the topic in public, immediately after the public relations debacle, on 7 November 1990, then-NATO secretary-general Manfred Wörner invited NATO ambassadors at the headquarters in Belgium to a closed meeting of the North Atlantic Council.

On 7 November 1990, Wörner, who was NATO’s highest-ranking civilian officer in Europe confirmed to NATO ambassadors the existence of the secret stay-behind armies. His information was based on the testimony of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) US General John Galvin (NATO’s highest-ranking military officer in Europe). This was leaked to the Spanish press who reported: “During this meeting behind closed doors, the NATO Secretary General related that the questioned military gentlemen – precisely General John Galvin, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe – had indicated that SHAPE co-ordinated the Gladio operations. From then on the official position of NATO was that they would not comment on official secrets." [4]

Subsequent investigations revealed that NATO had coordinated the secret stay-behind armies through two clandestine centers: The Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC). Italian General Paolo Inzerilli, who commanded the Italian stay-behind Gladio from 1974 to 1986, testified that the “omnipresent United States” had dominated the CPC, which, he said, was founded “by order of the Supreme Commander of NATO Europe. It was the interface between NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and the Secret Services of the member states as far as the problems of non-orthodox warfare were concerned." [5] The United States, together with their allied junior partner Britain and France, dominated the CPC and within the committee formed a so-called executive group. "The meetings were on the average once or twice a year in Brussels at CPC headquarters and the various problems on the agenda were discussed with the 'Executive Group' and the Military", Inzerilli explained. [6]

Italian General Gerardo Serravalle, who commanded the Italian Gladio stay-behind from 1971 to 1974, said that the document "’Directive of SHAPE’ was the official reference, if not even the proper Allied Stay-Behind doctrine". This document is not yet available to researchers. According to the testimony of General Serravalle, the members of the CPC were the officers responsible for the secret stay-behind structures of the various European countries. "At the stay-behind meetings representatives of the CIA were always present”, Serravalle explained, as well as “members of the US Forces Europe Command”. [7]

Serravalle said the recordings of the CPC, which he had seen but which are not yet publicly available, above all "relate to the training of Gladiators in Europe, how to activate them from the secret headquarters in case of complete occupation of the national territory and other technical questions such as, to quote the most important one, the unification of the different communication systems between the stay-behind bases.” [8]

Parallel to the CPC, the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) linked to SHAPE coordinated the stay-behind armies. According to the Belgian Senate investigation into the stay-behind armies, ACC tasks in peacetime “included elaborating the directives for the network, developing its clandestine capability and organizing bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE; organisers were to activate clandestine bases and organise operations from there." [9]

According to General Inzerilli, the relations in the ACC were completely different from those in the CPC, because the two centers were not on the same hierarchical level: “The atmosphere was clearly more relaxed and friendly compared to the one in the CPC". The ACC, founded by “a specific order from SACEUR to CPC” was a sub-branch of the CPC. "The ACC was an essentially technical Committee, a forum where information on the experiences made were exchanged, where one spoke of the means available or the means studied, where one exchanged information on the networks etc. … It was of reciprocal interest. Everybody knew that if for an operation he lacked an expert in explosives or in telecommunications or in repression, he could without problems address another country because the agents had been trained in the same techniques and used the same materials." [10]

In summer 2000 I contacted NATO archives with the request for more information on stay-behind and specifically on ACC and CPC transcripts. NATO replied: "We have checked our Archives and cannot find any trace of the Committees you have mentioned." When the author insisted, NATO’s archive section replied: "I wish to confirm once more that the Committees you refer to have never existed within NATO. Furthermore the organisation you refer to as 'Gladio' has never been part of the NATO military structure." [11]

I subsequently contacted NATO’s Office of Security, which refused to comment, whereupon I requested that NATO comment on the stay-behind questions that I handed in via the embassy of my home country, Switzerland, which, as a Partnership for Peace member has an office at NATO in Brussels. “What is the connection of NATO to the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC) and to the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC)? What is the role of the CPC and ACC? What is the connection of CPC and ACC with NATO's Office of Security?" I had inquired in writing.

On 2 May 2001, I received a written reply from Lee McClenny, head of NATO press and media service. McClenny claimed in his letter that "Neither the Allied Clandestine Committee nor the Clandestine Planning Committee appear in any literature, classified or unclassified, about NATO that I have seen.” He added: “I have been unable to find anyone working here who has any knowledge of these two committees. I do not know whether such a committee or committees may have once existed at NATO, but neither exists at present." [12]

Once again I insisted and asked: “Why has NATO senior spokesman Jean Marcotta on Monday November 5 1990 categorically denied any connections between NATO and Gladio, whereupon on November 7 another NATO spokesman had to declare Marcotta's statement of two days before had been false?" McClenny replied: "I am not aware of any link between NATO and 'Operation Gladio'. Further, I can find no record that anyone named Jean Marcotta was ever a spokesman for NATO." [13]

A senior NATO diplomat, who insisted that he remained anonymous, said potential links of the stay-behind armies to terrorism were of a very sensitive nature and would thus possibly never be commented: "Since this is a secret organisation, I wouldn't expect too many questions to be answered, even though the Cold War is over. If there were any links to terrorist organisations, that sort of information would be buried very deep indeed. If not, then what is wrong with taking precautions to organise resistance if you think the Soviets might attack?" [14]

Future research into stay-behind armies must be based on ACC and CPC transcripts, as well as on the stay-behind directives of SHAPE.


The EU Response

The refusal of NATO to inform the public on the respective purpose and history of the secret stay-behind armies in the countries of Western Europe lead to a heated debate on the topic in the parliament of the European Union (EU) on 22 November 1990. Italian MP Falqui, who opened the debate on that day, was strongly critical of the secret armies: "Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, there is one fundamental moral and political necessity, in regard to the new Europe that we are progressively building. This Europe will have no future if it is not founded on truth, on the full transparency of its institutions in regard to the dark plots against democracy that have turned upside down the history, even in recent times, of many European states. There will be no future, ladies and gentlemen, if we do not remove the idea of having lived in a kind of double state - one open and democratic, the other clandestine and reactionary. That is why we want to know what and how many "Gladio" networks there have been in recent years in the Member States of the European Community."

French MP Dury in his address to the EU parliament criticised the lack of transparency: "What worried us in this Gladio affair was that these networks were able to exist out of sight and beyond control of the democratic political authorities. That, I think, is the fundamental issue which remains. For our part, we believe that light has to be shed on this whole affair so that we can recognise all its implications and stop the problem lingering on or occurring with other organisations, or prevent other temptations from arising. It is true that secrecy is necessary to enable certain information-gathering activities to take place and everyone can understand that. But it is nevertheless legitimate for all this to be done under the control of the democratic political authority, i.e. of a government which is responsible to a parliament. The Gladio system called this into question [...] As for the responsibility of NATO and SHAPE, I don't think one should talk about a conspiracy [...] But I think we must keep up this spirit of inquiry and this concern for everything to be brought out into the open. We know very well that some people in Gladio also sit on NATO committees [...] I feel that it is part of our democratic duty to be able to shed proper light on all these kinds of problems."

Greek MP Ephremidis, with an inexplicit reference to the 1967 military coup d’état in Greece, criticized the stay-behind armies sharply and urged that the EU parliament should set up a sub-committee of inquiry to investigate the secret armies: "Mr. President, the Gladio system has operated for four decades under various names. It has existed and possibly still does [...] It has operated clandestinely, and we are entitled to attribute to it all the destabilization, all the provocation and all the terrorism that have occurred in our countries over these four decades, and to say that, actively or passively, it must have had an involvement. The fact that it was set up by the CIA and NATO which, while purporting to defend democracy were actually undermining it and using it for their own nefarious purposes, is evidence enough of its involvement [...] we are going to discuss the democratic deficit [...] Because the democracy we are supposed to have been enjoying has been, and still is, nothing but a front [...] The fine details must be uncovered, and we ourselves must establish a special sub committee of inquiry to hold hearings and to blow the whole thing wide open so that all the necessary steps can be taken to rid our countries of such clandestine organisations."

Dutch MP Vandemeulebroucke criticized the White House for having set up secret armies in Western Europe that operated beyond the democratic control of European parliaments: "This affair leaves a bad taste in the mouth, since it has been going on for as long as the European Community has been in existence, and we claim to be creating a new form of democracy. The budgets for these secret organisations were also kept secret. They were not discussed in any parliament, and we wish to express our concern at the fact that [...] it now emerges that there are centres for taking decisions and carrying them out which are not subject to any form of democratic control. So we obviously want to have total clarification [...] I should like to protest most strongly against the fact that the American military, whether through SHAPE, NATO or the CIA, think they can interfere in what is our democratic right."

Italian MP Cerretti praised NATO for having guaranteed the safety of the democracies of Western Europe during the cold war. He predicted, wrongly as we know today, that each EU member state would investigate and clarify all questions relating to the secret armies: "With regard to the presumed illegal operations of these services [...] they are already being investigated by the judiciary, and we are certain that the democratic governments of the Member States of the European Community will not hesitate to take all necessary measures to throw light on the situation [...] We cannot ignore the part played in those years by the North Atlantic Alliance in guaranteeing the freedom and safety of our democratic systems."

French MP De Donnea supported the analysis of MP Cerretti and in his speech in front of the EU parliament stressed that it was legitimate to prepare for an invasion: "Mr. President, it was perfectly legitimate at the end of the Second World War, for the majority of our states to set up services whose purpose was to prepare underground resistance networks that could be activated in the event of our countries being occupied by the forces of the Warsaw Pact [...] We must therefore pay tribute to all those who, while the cold war lasted, worked in these networks ... For these networks to remain effective, it was obviously necessary for them to be kept secret [...] Having said that, if there are serious indications or suspicions to the effect that some or all of these networks have operated in an illegal or abnormal way in certain countries, it is in everyone's interest for matters to be brought into the open and for the guilty to be punished."

To Dutch MP Staes the secret NATO armies represented an unacceptable deviation of the function of intelligence services. The evidence available today supports his conclusion that the stay-behind armies in some countries were a two-edged sword which fought both a domestic civilian, as well as a foreign military enemy: "Mr. President, it is unacceptable that various subversive elements, with the active support of democratically elected governments, have used the obsolete structures of Gladio to campaign against and threaten a number of democratic movements in society today. It is unacceptable that intelligence services from outside Europe have been able to ensconce themselves without difficulty in anti-democratic structures which, with a range of weapons at their disposal and unhindered by any form of legality or democratic control, have been able to give free rein to their dictatorship of ideas. In many ways, Gladio was a two-edged sword."

Greek MP Dessylas profited from the occasion to express his general suspicion of the role of secret services in democratic societies. "Mr. President, paraphrasing Marx we can say that the spectre of Gladio hangs over the whole of Europe [...] The extent to which the governments, armed services, enforcement agencies and intelligence services of the whole of Europe have been wretchedly in thrall to the United States, NATO and the CIA is now being revealed to us. The national parliaments and the European Parliament must set up committees of inquiry immediately to investigate the role being played by Gladio [...] The revelations about Gladio [...] highlight the need, in my view, for a radical updating of the role of enforcement agencies and secret services in Europe, given the extent to which popular, social and political movements are still suffering harassment even in the new situation created by the collapse of the so-called threat from communism."
Following this debate the EU parliament passed the following resolution in which it criticized NATO sharply for having used the stay-behind networks to manipulate the democracies of Western Europe:

"A. Having regard to the revelation by several European governments of the existence for 40 years of a clandestine parallel intelligence and armed operations organisation in several Member States of the Community,

B. whereas for over 40 years this organisation has escaped all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO,

C. fearing the danger that such clandestine network may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so,

D. whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by various judicial inquiries,

E. whereas these organisations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control and frequently those holding the highest government and constitutional posts are kept in the dark as to these matters,

F. whereas the various 'GLADIO' organisations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military resources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardising the democratic structures of the countries in which they are operating or have been operating,

G. greatly concerned at the existence of decision-making and operational bodies which are not subject to any form of democratic control and are of a completely clandestine nature at time when greater Community co-operation in the field of security is a constant subject of discussion"

"1. Condemns the clandestine creation of manipulative and operational networks and calls for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organisations or any splinter groups, their use for illegal interference in the internal political affairs of the countries concerned, the problem of terrorism in Europe and the possible collusion of the secret services of Member States or third countries;

2. Protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establishment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence and operation network;

3. Calls on the governments of the Member States to dismantle all clandestine military and paramilitary networks;

4. Calls on the judiciaries of the countries in which the presence of such military organisations has been ascertained to elucidate fully their composition and modus operandi and to clarify any action they may have taken to destabilize the democratic structures of the Member States;

5. Requests all the Member States to take the necessary measures, if necessary by establishing parliamentary committees of inquiry, to draw up a complete list of organisations active in this field, and at the same time to monitor their links with the respective state intelligence services and their links, if any, with terrorist action groups and/or other illegal practices;

6. Calls on the Council of Ministers to provide full information on the activities of these secret intelligence and operational services;

7. Calls on its competent committee to consider holding a hearing in order to clarify the role and impact of the 'GLADIO' organisation and any similar bodies;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Secretary-General of NATO, the governments of the Member States, and the United States Government."

Most of the requests made by the EU parliament in its resolution on the stay-behind armies remained mere words on paper and were never followed. Already during the debate Dutch MP Vandemeulebroucke had correctly observed that the EU parliament had no competence in the field of defense and security issues which remained in the sovereign control of each EU member state. "I realize”, Vandemeulebroucke had stressed, “that we in the European Parliament have no competence regarding peace and security matters and hence the compromise resolution asks for parliamentary committees of inquiry to be set up in each of the twelve Member States so that we do get total clarification." This project failed, as only the EU members Italy and Belgium, as well as the non-EU member Switzerland, in subsequent months and years set up a parliamentary commission of inquiry and presented a public report on their respective secret armies. All other countries, including the United States, dealt with the issue behind closed doors. The Council of the twelve EU Defense Ministers declined to reply to the resolution of the EU parliament. [15]

The Pentagon Response

The US Ministery of Defense, the Pentagon, did not take a stand on the subject of the secret NATO stay-behind armies in 1990 because it was not questioned at all by the US press. This lead US journalist Arthur Rowse to draw "The lessons of Gladio": "As long as the US public remains ignorant of this dark chapter in US foreign relations, the agencies responsible for it will face little pressure to correct their ways". Rowse criticized that the end of the cold war had not enhanced the transparency of US executive branches and that therefore the United States "still awaits a real national debate on the means and ends and costs of our national security policies."[16]

Through NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), at all times a US General, the Pentagon was during the entire cold war well informed on the stay-behind networks and their clandestine operations. According to the US Senate the secret stay-behind armies in Western Europe had been set up at the request of the Pentagon. In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal a commission of the US Congress under Senator Frank Church critically investigated the CIA and the Pentagon. In its final report, published in 1976, the commission found that the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon had asked the CIA to use its covert action branch Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) to carry out anti-communist operations in Western Europe. These operations started with the successful manipulation of the Italian elections by the CIA in 1948 in order to prevent the Italian Communist Party PCI from entering the Italian government, and continued in various forms in several European countries thereafter. On the explicit request of the Pentagon the CIA covert action branch OPC also set up stay-behind armies, as the Church report noted: “Until 1950 OPC's paramilitary activities (also referred to as preventive action) were limited to plans and preparations for stay-behind nets in the event of future war. Requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, these projected OPC operations focused, once again, on Western Europe and were designed to support NATO forces against Soviet attack."[17]

Next to preparing against a Soviet attack US operations in Western Europe during the cold war also explicitly focused on what the Pentagon considered to be a civilian domestic threat, namely the communist and to some degree the socialist parties. In a Pentagon directive of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff dated 14 May 1952 the CIA together with the military secret services were instructed to carry out “Operation Demagnetize” in order to reduce the magnetic attraction of the communist parties in Italy and in France. The task was to be fulfilled by using all means necessary through "political, paramilitary and psychological operations". The Pentagon directive stressed: "The limitation of the strength of the communists in Italy and France is a top priority objective. This objective has to be reached by the employment of all means. The Italian and French government may know nothing of the plan 'Demagnetize,' for it is clear that the plan can interfere with their respective national sovereignty."[18]

During the Suez Crisis of 1956 the Pentagon and NATO SACEUR General Lauris Norstad complained to have received only very little and poor intelligence on what was going on in Western Europe. Therefore, the Pentagon and SACEUR contemplated after the crisis whether the stay-behind network could be used to gather intelligence in Western Europe. Among the very few Pentagon documents presently available which speak of the stay-behind armies and their NATO coordination centre Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC) ranges an internal Pentagon document dated 3 January 1957, formerly top-secret but declassified in 1978. In that memorandum for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff written by US General Leon Johnson, US representative to the NATO military committee, Johnson comments on the complaints of then acting SACEUR General Lauris Norstad: “SACEUR has stated a belief that the intelligence received by SHAPE from national authorities during the recent period of tension was inadequate. He states that any re-examination of intelligence support to SHAPE should include the question of increasing and expediting the flow of clandestine intelligence.”

Johnson relates in this document that Norstad was considering whether the CPC could be used to enhance the flow of intelligence: “In addition, SACEUR notes in reference a that there is no provision in reference b, the charter of the SHAPE Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), which forbids the examination of peacetime clandestine activities. He specifically recommends that the SHAPE CPC be authorised to: a) Examine SHAPE's urgent peacetime intelligence requirements. b) Investigate ways in which the national clandestine services can contribute to an improvement of the flow of clandestine intelligence to SHAPE.” The charter of the SHAPE CPC is unfortunately not part of the declassified document. Johnson advised Norstad not to use the secret armies to gather intelligence as they were not designed for this task: “While there is nothing in reference b [the CPC charter] which clearly forbids the CPC examining the various clandestine intelligence activities, I believe that this would be an unwarranted extension of the CPC activities. It is my interpretation of reference b [the CPC charter] that the CPC was set up solely for the purpose of planning in peacetime the means by which SACEUR's wartime clandestine operational requirements could be met. It would appear to me that any increase in the flow of intelligence to SHAPE, from whatever source, should be dealt with by normal intelligence agencies […] I recommend that you do not approve an extension of the scope of activity of the SHAPE CPC [...] Leon Johnson." [19]

Field Manuals (FM) of the US Pentagon, designed to advise US military officers, do not usually mention the stay-behind secret armies. Yet there is one exception: the top secret FM 30-31B which describes “internal stabilisation operations” and is dated 18 March 1970, Headquarters of the US Army, Washington DC, and signed by General of the US Army William C Westmoreland. FM 30-31B is maybe the most important Pentagon document with regard to the stay-behind armies. It explicitly stresses that the Pentagon and the CIA, in order to be able to carry out clandestine operations in Western Europe, must depend heavily on the cooperation of Western European secret services: "The success of internal stabilisation operations, which are promoted in the context of strategies for internal defence by the US military secret service, depends to a large extend on the understanding between the US personal and the personal of the host country.“

The evidence now available to researchers confirms that the secret stay-behind armies in Western Europe were in all countries run by the respective national military secret service, many of which cooperated closely with the US: „However high the mutual understanding between US personal and the personal of the host country might be, the option to win over agents of the secret service of the host country for actions is a much more reliable basis for the solution of the problems of the US military secret service,” FM 30-31B notes. “The recruitment of senior members of the secret service of the host country as long time agents is thus especially important." In order to establish a solid working relationship the US officers in FM 30-31B were instructed to cooperate with European military secret service officers with close links to the US: "As for the recruitment of long time agents the members of the following categories deserve particular attention: [...] b) Officers, that had the opportunity to familiarize with US military training programs, especially those which had been trained directly in the United States.”

The most sensitive part of the Pentagon Field Manual concerns the passage which describes how the “internal stabilisation operations” were to be carried out in practice, hence how the Pentagon advised the European military secret services to fight what the Pentagon perceived as the “communist” or “socialist” thread. In what seems to be a description of the operations which some stay-behind armies actually carried out during the cold war, namely terrorist attacks in public places which were thereafter wrongly blamed on the communists and socialists by planting false evidence, is described by FM 30-31B like that: "There may be times when Host Country Governments show passivity or indecision in the face of communist subversion and according to the interpretation of the US secret services do not react with sufficient effectiveness. Most often such situations come about when the revolutionaries temporarily renounce the use of force and thus hope to gain an advantage, as the leaders of the host country wrongly consider the situation to be secure. US 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."

Ongoing research now investigates whether the United States have according to this directive promoted terrorism in Western Europe carried out through the network of the secret NATO armies in order to convince European governments of the communist threat. "These special operations must remain strictly secret", the US Field Manual FM 30-31B concludes. "Only those persons who are acting against the revolutionary uprising shall know of the involvement of the US Army in the internal affairs of an allied country. The fact, that the involvement of forces of the US military goes deeper shall not become known under any circumstances." [20]

Still today it remains very difficult to fully understand the crucial document FM 30-31B. Journalist Allan Francovich in his BBC documentation on Gladio and NATO’s secret armies asked former CIA director William Colby on the sinister FM 30-31B directives, whereupon Colby denied that the United States had engaged in such operations in Europe: "I never heard of such a thing. Frankly, I don't know the origins of the statement - and you can find any statement in any country, I mean you can find jack-ass statements anywhere." Journalist Francovich also interviewed Ray Cline, CIA Deputy Director from 1962 to 1966, who replied: "Well, I suspect it is an authentic document. I don't doubt it. I never saw it but it’s the kind of special forces military operations that are described. On the other hand you gotta recall, that the defense department and the president don't initiate any of those orders, until there is an appropriate occasion."[21]

The history of FM 30-31B itself is remarkable. The Pentagon document first surfaced in Turkey in 1973 where the newspaper Baris in the midst of a whole range of mysterious acts of violence and brutality which shocked the Turkish society announced the publication of a secretive US document. Thereafter the Baris journalist who had come into the possession of FM 30-31B disappeared and was never heard of again. Despite the apparent danger Turkish Colonel Talat Turhan two years later published a Turkish translation of the top-secret FM 30-31 and revealed that in Turkey NATO’s secret stay-behind army was codenamed “Counter-Guerrilla” directed by the Special Warfare Department. From Turkey the document found its way to Spain where in 1976 the newspaper Triunfo, despite heavy pressures to prevent the publication, published excerpts of FM 30-31B upon the fall of the Franco dictatorship. In Italy on 27 October 1978 excerpts of FM 30-31B were published by the political magazine L'Europeo, whereupon the printed issues of the magazine were confiscated. The breakthrough for the document came arguably not in the 1970s, but in the 1980s, when in Italy the secret anticommunist P2 Freemason lodge of Licio Gelli was discovered. Among the documents seized by the Italian police ranged also FM 30-31B. The Italian parliamentary investigation into P2 decided to publish FM 30-31B in the appendix of the final public parliamentary report on P2 in 1987.

New York journalist Lucy Komisar was probably the only one to ever question the Pentagon on the topic when in 1997 she investigated the Turkish secret stay-behind army Counterguerrilla directed by the Special Warfare Department, yet with no success. "As for Washington's role, Pentagon would not tell me whether it was still providing funds or other aid to the Special Warfare Department; in fact, it wouldn't answer any questions about it. I was told by officials variously that they knew nothing about it, that it happened too long ago for there to be any records available, or that what I described was a CIA operation for which they could provide no information. One Pentagon historian said, ‘Oh, you mean the 'stay-behind' organisation. That's classified’."[22]


The Response of the British Ministry of Defense

Together with the US Pentagon the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) played a central role in planning, setting up and running the stay-behind armies in Western Europe as the entire network was modelled after a secret British army which had operated behind enemy lines during World War II: The Special Operations Executive (SOE).

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II ordered that under the label SOE a secret army was to be created "to set Europe ablaze”. The Prime Minister's War Cabinet Memorandum of 19 July 1940 recorded that "The Prime Minister has further decided, after consultation with the Ministers concerned, that a new organisation shall be established forthwith to co-ordinate all action, by way of subversion and sabotage, against the enemy overseas."[23]

SOE was placed under the command of the Labour Ministry of Economic Warfare under Hugh Dalton who stressed: "We have to organise movements in enemy-occupied territory comparable to the Sinn Fein movement in Ireland, to the Chinese Guerrillas now operating against Japan, to the Spanish Irregulars who played a notable part in Wellington's campaign or - one might as well admit it - to the organisations which the Nazis themselves have developed so remarkably in almost every country in the world. This 'democratic international' must use many different methods, including industrial and military sabotage, labour agitation and strikes, continuous propaganda, terrorist acts against traitors and German leaders, boycotts and riots”. In total secrecy a resistance network had thus to be installed by dare-devils of the British military and intelligence establishment: “What is needed is a new organisation to co-ordinate, inspire, control and assist the nationals of the oppressed countries who must themselves be the direct participants. We need absolute secrecy, a certain fanatical enthusiasm, willingness to work with people of different nationalities, complete political reliability."[24]

Operational command of SOE was given to Major General Sir Colin Gubbins, a small, slight, wiry Highlander. "The problem and the plan was to encourage and enable the peoples of the occupied countries to harass the German war effort at every possible point by sabotage, subversion, go-slow practices, coup de main raids etc.,” Gubbins described the task of SOE, “and at the same time to build up secret forces therein, organised, armed and trained to take their part only when the final assault began. In its simplest terms, this plan involved the ultimate delivery to occupied territory of large numbers of personnel and quantities of arms and explosives." [25]

After the end of World War II SOE was closed down, and the British Special Forces Special Air Service (SAS) took over responsibility to assist the British foreign secret service MI6 to set up the stay-behind network in Western Europe and train military officers of the network. Among those trained by the British SAS ranged also Decimo Garau, an instructor at the Italian Gladio base Centro Addestramento Guastatori (CAG) on Capo Marargiu in Sardinia. "I was in England for a week at Poole, invited by the Special Forces. I was there for a week and I did some training with them,” Instructor Garau recalled after the exposure of Gladio in 1990. “I did a parachute jump over the Channel. I did some training with them and I got on well with them. Then I was at Hereford to plan and carry out an exercise with the SAS." [26]

Next to the Italians the British also trained Swedish members of the stay-behind armies. Reinhold Geijer, a former Swedish military professional, who in 1957 had been recruited into the Swedish stay-behind network and for decades had worked as a regional commander, related in 1996 on Swedish television TV 4 how the British had trained him in covert action operations in England: "In 1959 I went, via London, to a farm outside Eaton. This was done under the strictest secrecy procedures, with for instance a forged passport. I was not even allowed to call my wife” Geijer remembered. “The aim of the training was to learn how to use dead letter box techniques to receive and send secret messages, and other James Bond style exercises. The British were very tough. I sometimes had the feeling that we were overdoing it." [27]

Many within the stay-behind community regarded the British to be the best in the field of secret warfare, more experienced than the military officers of the US. Italian General Gerardo Serravalle, who had commanded the Italian Gladio secret army from 1971 to 1974, was questioned by BBC journalist Peter Marshall on how exactly the secret cooperation was carried out: "I invited them [the British] because we had visited their bases in England - the stay-behind bases [of the UK] - and in exchange for this visit I invited them." Journalist Marshall asked: "Where is the British stay-behind base?" Upon which General Serravalle laughed and replied: "I'm sorry, I'm not going to tell you where it is, because that enters the area of your country's secrecy." Whereupon Marshall, in order to get a guaranteed reply, asked: "But you were impressed with the British?" To which Serravalle replied: "Yes, I was. Because it's [sic] very efficient, very well organised, and the staff was excellent." [28]

To this very day the British Ministry of Defence has declined to comment on the stay-behind armies and terrorism in Western Europe. At the time of the discoveries of the secret armies in 1990 spokespersons at the Defence Department declared day after day to the inquisitive British press: "I'm afraid we wouldn't discuss security matters", and "It is a security matter. We are not speaking about it", and "We cannot be drawn into discussing security matters.[29]" As the press continued to raise the Gladio topic British Defence Secretary Tom King, in the midst of preparations for the war against Saddam Hussein, went on the record saying: "I am not sure what particular hot potato you're chasing after. It sounds wonderfully exciting, but I'm afraid I'm quite ignorant about it. I'm better informed about the Gulf." [30]

Unable to gain more information on the secret armies the British press left the Gladio story and moved on to other stories such as the war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein. This lead journalist Hugh O'Shaughnessy to observe in 1992 that "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." [31]


The CIA Response

The foreign secret service of the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with headquarters in Langley, Virginia, has repeatedly refused to comment on its stay-behind armies in Western Europe. At the same time retired CIA agents have spoken on the subject in a number of different circumstances.

The first to speak about CIA’s stay-behind armies was William Colby, Director of the CIA from 1973 to 1976. In his book Honorable Men, published in 1978, Colby related that the covert action branch of the CIA, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), had after World War Two “undertaken a major program of building, throughout those Western European countries that seemed likely targets for Soviet attack, what in the parlance of the intelligence trade were known as 'stay-behind nets', clandestine infrastructures of leaders and equipment trained and ready to be called into action as sabotage and espionage forces when the time came.” Gerry Miller, chief of the CIA Western Europe desk, was overseeing this CIA operation and in 1951 sent Colby, then a young CIA officer, to plan and build such stay-behind nets in Scandinavia. The clandestine operations of the United States in Western Europe were carried out "with the utmost secrecy", as Colby stressed. "Therefore I was instructed to limit access to information about what I was doing to the smallest possible coterie of the most reliable people, in Washington, in NATO, and in Scandinavia." [32] (see document section of this webpage below for the stay-behind chapter from Colby’s book “Honorable Men”.)

Admiral Stansfield Turner, director of the CIA from 1977 to 1981, strictly refused to answer any questions about Gladio in a television interview in Italy in December 1990. When with respect for the victims of the numerous massacres in Italy the journalists insisted and repeated the question the former CIA director angrily ripped off his microphone and shouted: "I said, no questions about Gladio!" whereupon the interview was over. [33]

Thomas Polgar, who had retired in 1981 after a 30 year long career in the CIA, confirmed in 1991 that the CIA stay-behind armies were coordinated by "a sort of unconventional warfare planning group linked to NATO". In the secret headquarters the chiefs of the national secret armies “would meet every couple of months in different capitals." Polgar insisted that “each national service did it with varying degrees of intensity" while admitting that "in Italy in the 1970s some of the people went a little bit beyond the charter that NATO had put down." [34]

Italian experts are investigating whether the CIA had sponsored terrorism in their country. In March 2001 General Giandelio Maletti, former head of Italian counter-intelligence, at a trial of right-wing extremists accused of killing sixteen in the 1969 Piazza Fontana massacre testified in front of a Milan court that "The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left, and, for this purpose, it may have made use of right-wing terrorism." Maletti added: "Don't forget that Nixon was in charge, and Nixon was a strange man, a very intelligent politician, but a man of rather unorthodox initiatives." [35]

Specializing in academic research on the secret Cold War the academics at the distinguished National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the CIA on 15 April 1991. Malcolm Byrne, Deputy Director of Research at the National Security Archive, asked the CIA for "all agency records related to […] The United State Government's original decision(s), probably taken during the 1951-55 period, to sponsor, support, or collaborate with, any covert armies, networks, or other units, established to resist a possible invasion of Western Europe by communist-dominated countries, or to conduct guerrilla activities in Western European countries should they become dominated by communist, leftist, or Soviet-sponsored parties or regimes.” Furthermore Byrne highlighted: “With reference to the above, please include in your search any records relating to the activities known as 'Operation Gladio', particularly in France, Germany, or Italy." [36]

The CIA refused to make any data available and on 18 June 1991 replied "The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request." When Byrne appealed this refusal of the CIA to provide any Gladio information the appeal was turned down. The CIA based its refusal to cooperate on two catch-all exemptions to the FOIA law which protect documents either "properly classified pursuant to an Executive order in the interest of national defence or foreign policy" (exemption B1), or "the Director's statutory obligations to protect from disclosure intelligence sources and methods, as well as the organisation, functions, names, official titles, salaries or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency, in accord with the National Security Act of 1947 and the CIA Act of 1949, respectively." (Exemption B3).

European officials who asked the CIA for data on the stay-behind armies were also turned down. In March 1995 the Italian Senate commission headed by Senator Giovanni Pellegrino - after having investigated Gladio and the massacres in Italy for five years - placed a FOIA request with the CIA. The Italian Senators asked the CIA for all records relating to the Red Brigades and the Moro affair in order to find out whether the CIA according to the Gladio domestic control task had infiltrated and radicalised the Red Brigades before the latter killed former Italian Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Democrat Party Aldo Moro in 1978. Refusing to cooperate the CIA raised FOIA exemptions B1 and B3 and in May 1995 declined all data and responded that it "can neither confirm nor deny the existence of CIA documentation concerning your inquiry." The Italian press stressed how "embarrassing" this was and headlined: "The CIA has rejected the request to collaborate with the Parliamentary Commission on the mysteries of the kidnapping. Moro, a state secret for the USA". [37]

Another stay-behind inquiry to the CIA by European government officials came from Austria. In January 1996 top-secret CIA stay-behind arms caches had been discovered in the mountain meadows and forests of the neutral Alpine state. US government officials declared that the United States would cover the costs arising from the digging up and recovery of the CIA networks. Oliver Rathkolb of Vienna University thereafter placed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) in order to gain access to the relevant CIA documents. Yet in 1997 the CIA Chairman Agency Release Panel declined also Rathkolb's information request under FOIA exemptions B1 and B3, leaving the Austrians to lament that the CIA was unaccountable for its actions.

As FOIA requests are the only method available to get hold of any CIA stay-behind documents I placed a FOIA request with the CIA on 14 December 2000. Two weeks later the CIA declined my request stating that "The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request." By raising FOIA exemptions B1 and B3 Kathryn I. Dyer, CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator, with her letter declined all information on operation Gladio. [38]

I appealed this decision of the CIA and argued that "The documents that were withheld must be disclosed under the FOIA, because the secrecy exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3) can only reasonably refer to CIA operations which are still secret today." With data from my research I proved that this was no longer the case, and concluded: "If you, Mrs. Dyer, raise FOIA secrecy exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3) in this context, you unwisely deprive the CIA from its voice and the possibility to take a stand in a Gladio disclosure discourse, which will take place regardless whether the CIA decides to participate or not." [39]

In February 2001 the CIA replied that "Your appeal has been accepted and arrangements will be made for its consideration by the appropriate members of the Agency Release Panel. You will be advised of the determinations made." At the same time the CIA stressed that the Agency Release Panel deals with appeals "on a first-received, first-out basis", and that at “the present time, our workload consists of approximately 315 appeals." [40]. Four years later, my appeal has still not been dealt with.


The MI6 Response

Together with the CIA also the British secret service MI6 was centrally involved with setting up and training the stay-behind armies in Western Europe. MI6 did not take a stand on the Gladio affair in 1990 because with a legendary obsession for secrecy the very existence of MI6 itself was only officially confirmed in 1994 with the passing of the Intelligence Services Act that specified that the task of MI6 was to collect foreign intelligence and engage in covert action operations abroad.

While the MI6 refused all comment Nigel West, editor of the Intelligence Quarterly Magazine and author of several books on Britain's security services, at the height of the Gladio scandal in November 1990 confirmed to Associated Press in a telephone interview: "We were heavily involved and still are [...] in these networks”. West explained that the British “certainly helped finance and run, with the Americans” several networks. “The people who inspired it were the British and American intelligence agencies.” West said after 1949 the stay-behind armies were coordinated by the Command and Control Structure For Special Forces of NATO within which also Britain's SAS special forces played a strategic role. [41]

"Britain's role in setting up stay-behinds throughout Europe was absolutely fundamental," BBC reported in its Newsnight edition with some delay on 4 April 1991. Newsnight reader John Simpson criticised that MI6 and the British Defence Ministry were withholding all information on the subject while "on the back of revelations that Gladio existed it has emerged that other European countries had their own stay-behind armies - Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Greece, Turkey. Even in neutral Sweden and Switzerland there has been public debate. And in some cases enquiries have been set up. Yet in Britain, there is nothing. Save the customary comment of the ministry of defence that they don't discuss matters of national security." [42]

Simpson related that ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall the British with fascination and horror had learned of the conspiracies and terror operations of the Stasi, the Securitate and other secret services in Eastern Europe. “Could our side have ever done anything comparable? Surely not,” he noted with a wonderfully British ironical intonation and then turned the spotlight on the Western security services: “Yet now information has started to emerge of the alleged misdeeds of NATO's most secret services. In Italy a parliamentary commission is investigating the activities of a secret army set up by the state to resist a possible Soviet invasion. The inquiry has led to the disclosure of similar secret forces across Europe. But the Italian group, known as Gladio, is under suspicion of being involved in a series of terrorist bombings." [43]

The official confirmation that MI6 had been involved in setting up the stay-behind armies came several years later, and through a rather unusual channel: a museum. The London based Imperial War Museum in July 1995 opened a new permanent exhibition called "Secret Wars". "What you are about to see in the exhibition has for years been part of the countries most closely guarded secrets", the visitors were greeted at the entrance. "It has been made available to the public for the first time here. And most important of all, it's the truth [...] Fact is more incredible and exciting than fiction." An inconspicuous comment in one of the windows dedicated to MI6 confirmed that "Among MI6's preparation for a Third World War were the creation of 'stay-behind' parties ready to operate behind enemy lines in the event of a Soviet advance into Western Europe." In the same window a big box full of explosives carried the commentary: "Explosives pack developed by MI6 to be hidden in potentially hostile territory. It could remain buried for years without any deterioration of its contents." And next to a booklet on sabotage techniques for "stay-behind" parties a text read: “In the British Zone of occupation in Austria, junior Royal Marine officers were detached from normal duties to prepare supply caches in the mountains and liaise with locally recruited agents." [44]

Former MI6 officers rightly took the exhibition as a sign that they could now speak out about the top-secret stay-behind operation. A few months after the exhibition had opened, former Royal Marine officers Giles and Preston, the only MI6 agents to be named in the Gladio exhibition next to a photo "in Austrian Alps 1953-1954", confirmed to author Michael Smith, that throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s the British and Americans had set up stay-behind units in Western Europe in preparation for an expected Soviet invasion. Giles and Preston at the time were sent to Fort Monckton near Portsmouth in England where the MI6 trained stay-behind officers together with the British Special Forces, the Special Air Service (SAS). They were given instruction in codes, the use of a pistol, and covert operations. "We were made to do exercises, going out in the dead of night and pretending to blow up trains in the railway stations without the stationmaster or the porters seeing you," Preston recalled his own training. "We crept about and pretended to lay charges on the right part of the railway engine with a view to blowing it up." Then they were flown to Austria in order to recruit and train Austrian agents and to oversee the "underground bunkers, filled with weapons, clothing and supplies" of the Austrian secret army which they operated together with the CIA. [45]


Links to Terrorism and Crime

"Prudent Precaution or source of Terror?" the international press wondered when the secret NATO armies were discovered in 1990. [46] The implication at the time was that the stay-behind armies were either a prudent precaution or a source of terror. Now, 15 years later, we know that they were both.

The “prudent precaution” refers to the stay-behind function of the secret armies. In case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe the secret armies would have strengthened the resistance and harassed the enemy. We know now that there was no Soviet invasion, and that the secret armies were never confronted with the test of reality, yet during the Cold War that danger was real. Some within the CIA and in the European stay-behind nets had their doubts as to whether they could have survived for very long within a context of total occupation. But even those who share these doubts agree that from a general strategic perspective the stay-behind armies represented one more defense strategy for Western Europe and were therefore a prudent precaution.

That some of the secret armies became a “source of terror” is only gradually being understood and continues to cause great concerns across countries and continents. Especially within the context of the ongoing so called “war on terrorism” in which democracies must increasingly rely on their secret services to protect them from terrorist attacks, it is most unsettling to discover that some secret services in coordination with secret armies have themselves promoted terrorism and crime and manipulated the evidence of terrorist attacks.

The links of the stay-behind armies to terrorism and crime represent beyond any doubt the most sensitive and the most difficult aspect of all research into NATO’s stay-behind armies. The data varies greatly from country to country. In some countries the stay-behind armies were repeatedly linked to terrorism and crime, in other countries the links are still unclear and mysterious, while in a third group of countries the stay-behind armies were never linked to either terror nor crime. It is therefore of utmost importance to look at each country specifically. The crimes and terrorist attacks themselves are often very complex. What follows hereafter can at the present stage of research therefore be no more than a short general country specific overview of the problem. The countries are listed in alphabetical order.



The Tyrol valley which connects Austria and Italy suffered from terrorism during the Cold War. The evidence now available suggests that also the secret armies were involved in the tensions. After the defeat of Austria in World War One the southern part of the Tyrol valley was given to Italy in 1919, and still today the area belongs to Italy. The southern Tyrol, called Alto Adige by the Italians, is German speaking and culturally closely connected to Austria. During the Cold War a series of bomb attacks attempted to destabilize the region around the city Bozen. [47]

According to the testimony of Italian General Manlio Capriata to the Italian Senate the Italian Gladio stay-behind intervened in the tensions in the Tyrol Valley. Capriata, head of office R of the Italian military secret service SIFAR which directed the Gladio stay-behind army, testified: "I confirm that the V section, thus the organisation S/B [stay-behind] and thus the CAG [Gladio centre Centro Addestramento Guastatori, Gladio headquaters in Sardinia] had an anti-subversive function for the case that the forces of the left should come to power. During my time in office the anti-Italian movement in Alto Adige was going on. In April 1962 I was contacted by [SIFAR director] General De Lorenzo who told me that he had activated the elements in Alto Adige, referring to paramilitary units trained at the CAG and resident in the Alto Adige. He told me that the means available in the area had been insufficient ... and that thus one had had to draw upon particular forces. As far as I am concerned, and by this I mean as for my time in office [February to June 1962], this was the only time when in Alto Adige the forces trained at the CAG were activated ... The use of the anti-invasion force, and thus the men trained at CAG, in Alto Adige was a deviation from the rule, for [SIFAR] office D and not [SIFAR] office R dealt with the terrorism in the area." [48]

According to the testimony provided by General Capriata the Italian stay-behind Gladio was involved in 1962 into still non-specified operations in the southern Tyrol valley. Whether also the Austrian stay-behind was activated in this context remains unclear as of now.



Between 1983 and 1985 the geographic area around Brussels called Brabant suffered from 14 terrorist attacks which left 28 dead and many more injured. Several Brabant terrorist attacks targeted shoppers in supermarkets. In the terrorist attack on the Delhaize supermarket in Aalst on November 9 1985 three armed men with hoods over their heads entered the supermarket and opened fire at point blank range and killed two shoppers instantly. Upon reaching the checkout counter the terrorists began to fire randomly at anything that moved. In the ensuing massacre eight people, including a whole family, died, and seven more were injured. A husband and wife and their 14-year-old daughter were killed at the supermarket checkout. Another father and his nine-year-old daughter were killed in their car trying to flee. The takings from the raid amounted to a meagre couple of thousand pounds, found later in a canal in an unopened sack. The killers escaped without a trace and have not been identified, nor arrested, nor tried ever since. [49]

When in 1990 the secret stay-behind army was discovered in Belgium suspicions rose that it might have been involved in the still mysterious Brabant massacres. Belgian Socialist Defence Minister Guy Coeme declared on television on the evening of 7 November 1990 that he wanted to know the entire history of the secret army in Belgium: “Furthermore I want to know whether there exists a link between the activities of this secret network, and the wave of crime and terror which our country suffered from during the past years." [50]

The Belgian Senate who investigated the secret Belgian stay-behind found that the secret army was code-named SDRA8 and that it was directly linked to NATO through the ACC and CPC. The Senators were unable, however, to clarify whether the secret army had anything to do with the Brabant terror as the Belgian military secret service refused to cooperate. In a dramatic showdown the Senators demanded that Bernard Legrand, chief of the Belgian military secret service, made available all names of the members of the secret army so that these could be compared to suspects of the Brabant terror. Yet despite the explicit order of Legrand’s superior, Defence Minister Coeme, and the insistence of the legislative upon its authority to control the executive, Legrand refused to cooperate: "Whatever the Minister says, there remain very good reasons not to reveal the names of the clandestines. For different reasons, of social and family contexts, the clandestines rely upon the promise given to them.” [51]

Journalist Allan Francovich in his television documentary on the secret NATO armies suggested that the Belgian secret army SDRA8 had linked up with the Belgian right wing organization Westland New Post (WNP). WNP member Michel Libert recalled: “There were projects.” According to his own testimony he had been told: “'You, Mr. Libert, know nothing about why we're doing this. Nothing at all. All we ask is that your group, with cover from the Gendarmerie, with cover from Security, carry out a job. Target: The supermarkets. Where are they? What kind of locks are there? What sort of protection do they have that could interfere with our operations? Does the store manager lock up? Or do they use an outside security company? We carried out the orders and sent in our reports: Hours of opening and closing. Everything you want to know about a supermarket. What was this for? This was one amongst hundreds of missions. Something that had to be done. But the use it was all put to, that is the big question." [52]



No links to terrorism or crime reported



No links to terrorism or crime reported



France was struck by a series of terrorist attacks in the process that lead to the independence of the French colony Algeria in 1962. Following defeats in World War Two and Vietnam sectors of the French military and intelligence opposed the plan of French President Charles de Gaulle to grant Algeria independence, as in their eyes this plan meant yet another defeat for the proud French army. When President de Gaulle proceeded with his plan sections of the French military and intelligence took up arms against the government in Paris.

Admiral Pierre Lacoste, director of the French military secret DGSE from 1982 to 1985 under President Francois Mitterand, confirmed after the discovery of the secret NATO armies in 1990 that some "terrorist actions" against de Gaulle and his Algerian peace plan were carried out by groups that included "a limited number of people" from the French stay-behind network. Lacoste insisted that he believed that Soviet contingency plans for invasion nevertheless justified the stay-behind program.[53]

To some Lacoste remains a discredited source as he had to resign following the discovery of the terrorist "Operation Satanique" in which the DGSE on July 10 1985 carried out a bomb attack and sank the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior anchoring in the harbor of New Zealand's capital Auckland killing one person on board. Greenpeace had protested against French atomic testing in the Pacific.



Germany during the Cold War did not only suffer from the left wing terrorism of the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion), but also from right-wing terrorism. In the evening of 26 September 1980 a bomb exploded in the midst of the popular Munich October festival, killing 13 and wounding 213, many gravely. The traces lead the police to the neo Nazi group "Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann". Gundolf Köhler, a 21-year-old right wing member of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann according to the police investigation had planted the Munich bomb and died in the terrorist attack.

The members of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann, according to their own testimony, had been supplied with arms and explosives by right wing extremist Heinz Lembke. "Mister Lembke showed us different sorts of explosives, detonators, slow matches, plastic explosive and military explosive” Raymund Hörnle of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann revealed to the police during the interrogation. “He said that he had many caches full of such material buried in the wood, and that he could provide a lot of them ... Mister Lembke told us, that he was instructing people in the use of explosive devices and explosive." [54]

Subsequent events suggested that Lembke was a member of the German stay-behind army. On 26 October 1981 forest workers by chance stumbled across a large arms cache in the soil, filled with guns and other combat equipment, near the German village of Uelzen in the Lüneburger Heide area. Following the sensational discovery forest ranger Heinz Lembke was arrested and guided the police to a massive connected arsenal of 33 underground arms caches. The police concluded that Lembke was an arms collector who had acted alone, the connection to the German stay-behind network was not investigated.

" These discovered arms caches were immediately attributed to right wing extremist Lembke” an anonymous but well-informed article on Gladio from the Austrian Defence Ministry commented in 1991. “Yet this brilliant solution featured one flaw. The arms caches contained next to automatic weapons, chemical combat equipment [Arsen and Zyankali] and about 14'000 shots of munitions, also 50 anti tank guns, 156 kg of explosives, as well as 230 explosive devices and 258 hand grenades. It is remarkable, that a state with extensive security measures against terrorists should not have noted a robbery or deviation of such a large amount of combat equipment." [55]

In order to be able to fight behind enemy lines all stay-behind armies were equipped with secret underground arms caches. The material found in the Lembke arms cache suggests that it was part of the supplies of the German stay-behind army. Lembke himself never confirmed that this was the case. In prison he told his interrogator that he might reveal the next day who was supposed to use the guns and explosives. Yet on that next day, 1 November 1981, Lembke was found hanging on a rope from the ceiling of his prison cell. [56]


According to former CIA agent Philipp Agee the Greek stay-behind army LOK (Lochos Oreinon Katadromon) was a paramilitary unit used to influence domestic politics in Greece: „In the eyes of senior CIA officials, the groups under the direction of the paramilitary branch are seen as long term ‘insurance’ for the interests of the United States in Greece, to be used to assist or to direct the possible overthrow of an 'unsympathetic' Greek government. 'Unsympathetic' of course to American manipulation." [57]

The 1960s were a very agitated decade of Greece’s Cold War history in which crime and terror preceded a coup d’état. Tensions in the country between the political left and the political right intensified after the elections in November 1963 in which the leftist Centre Union under George Papandreou secured 42 per cent of the popular vote and 138 of the 300 seats in parliament. When Papandreou was elected Prime Minister in February 1964 and guaranteed four years in government the right-wing establishment believed that the country was well on the road to a communist take over.

In July 1965 in cooperation with CIA chief of station Jack Maury royalists and right-wing officers of the Greek military and secret service manoeuvred George Papandreou out of office by royal prerogative. [58] As several short lived governments followed each other tensions rose and several bombs exploded in the country. In arguably the best know terrorist attack during this period the Gorgopotamos railway bridge was blown apart by a bomb in 1965 precisely at the moment when the Greek political left and right united on the bridge to commemorate their resistance to the Nazi occupation, and specifically their successful resistance to the German blowing up of the bridge during the occupation period. The massacre left five dead and almost 100 wounded, many gravely. "Well, we were officially trained terrorists", an officer involved in the secret operations declared years later in a Gladio interview, highlighting that they had enjoyed powerful support. [59]

Unshaken by the waves of terror George Papandreou planned to return to power in the national elections of May 1967 for which opinion polls, including those of the CIA, predicted an overwhelming victory of the left leaning Centre Union. The elections were prevented by the military coup d’état that took place in the night of 20/21 April 1967 and involved also the Greek secret stay-behind army LOK. The coup was based on the Prometheus plan, a NATO designed scheme to be put into action in the event of a communist insurgency. Around midnight LOK units took over control over the Greek Defense Ministry, the Pentagon, and met little to no resistance. Thereafter in the dark of night tanks with flashlights rolled into the capital Athens and under the command of Brigadier General Sylianos Pattakos rounded up parliament, the royal palace, and the radio and television centers. 78-year-old George Papandreou was arrested in his house just outside the capital Athens. Together with thousands he was imprisoned.



Italy suffered from numerous terrorist attacks during the Cold War. The attacks started in 1969 when on 12 December four bombs exploded in public places in Rome and Milan. The terror, remembered as the “Piazza Fontana massacre”, killed 16 and maimed and wounded 80 most of which were farmers who after a day on the market had deposited their modest earnings in the Farmer's Bank on the Piazza Fontana in Milan. The terror was wrongly blamed on the Communists and the extreme left, traces were covered up and arrests followed immediately.

In the Peteano terrorist attack of 31 May 1972 a car bomb gravely wounded one and killed three members of the Carabinieri, Italy's paramilitary police force. On 28 May 1974 a bomb exploded in the Italian town Brescia in the midst of an anti-fascist demonstration, killing eight and injuring and maiming 102. On 4 August 1974 another bomb exploded on the Rome to Munich train “Italicus Express”, killing 12 and injuring and maiming 48. The terror in Italy culminated on a sunny afternoon during the Italian national holiday when on 2 August 1980 a massive explosion ripped through the waiting room of the second class at the Bologna railway station, killing 85 people in the blast and seriously injuring and maiming a further 200.

" The official figures say that alone in the period between January 1, 1969 and December 31, 1987, there have been in Italy 14 591 acts of violence with a political motivation”, Italian Senator Giovanni Pellegrino, president of Italy's parliamentary commission investigating Gladio and the massacres, recalled the very violent period of Italy’s Cold War history. “It is maybe worth remembering that these 'acts' have left behind 491 dead and 1181 injured and maimed. Figures of a war, with no parallel in any other European country." [60]

According to right-wing extremist Vincenzo Vinciguerra the Italian state together with NATO had backed the terror secretly. In order to discredit the Italian communists and socialists the secret Gladio stay-behind army had with the support of the CIA linked up with right-wing organizations who carried out the terrorism. "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”, Vincenzo Vinciguerra recalled. Right-wing organisations across Western Europe “were being mobilised into the battle as part of an anti-communist strategy originating not with organisations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state's relations within the Atlantic Alliance." [61]

Vinciguerra was found guilty of the Peteano terror attack, confessed, and was imprisoned. From behind prison bars he explained the strategy which he had followed like that: "You had to attack civilians, the people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. 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." [62]



No links to terrorism or crime reported



No links to terrorism or crime reported



No links to terrorism or crime reported



Until the death of António de Oliveira Salazar in 1970 Portugal was a right wing dictatorship. According to the Portuguese press the Portuguese stay-behind army „Aginter Press“ cooperated closely with the Portuguese military secret service PIDE. Allegedly it helped to support the dictatorship and was involved in assassination operations in Portugal as well as in the Portuguese colonies in Africa. [63]

Aginter Press was lead by Captain Yves Guerin Serac, a French born catholic and militant anti-communist. A specialist in secret warfare Serac had fought for the French in the Vietnam war, for the United States in the Korean war, and as a member of the Organisation Armee Secrete (OAS) against the French government during the French war in Algeria. Following the defeat in Algeria Serac in June 1962 was hired by Spanish dictator Franco and thereafter by dictator Salazar in Portugal. Throughout his life his mission remained to fight communism by all means: "The others have laid down their weapons, but not I”, Serac explained in 1974. “After the OAS I fled to Portugal to carry on the fight and expand it to its proper dimensions - which is to say, a planetary dimension." [64]

" Our number consists of two types of men: 1) Officers who have come to us from the fighting in Indo-China and Algeria, and some who even enlisted with us after the battle for Korea“, Serac described the Aginter Press stay-behind army. „2) Intellectuals who, during this same period turned their attention to the study of the techniques of Marxist subversion“. These intellectuals, as Guerain Serac observed, had formed study groups and shared experiences „in an attempt to dissect the techniques of Marxist subversion and to lay the foundations of a counter-technique.“ The battle, it was clear to Guerain Serac, had to be carried out in numerous countries: „During this period we have systematically established close contacts with like-minded groups emerging in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain or Portugal, for the purpose of forming the kernel of a truly Western League of Struggle against Marxism." [65]

According to Portuguese journalists Aginter Press carried out political assassinations in Portugal and the Portuguese colonies which allegedly included Humberto Delgado, Portuguese opposition leader, killed 14 February 1965, Amilcar Cabral, leader of the national liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau and one of Africa's foremost revolutionary figures, killed 20 January 20 1973, and Eduardo Mondlane, leader and President of the Mocambique liberation party and movement FRELIMO (Frente de Liberacao de Mocambique), killed in colonial Mocambique on 3 February 1969. [66]

Serac was convinced that the West had to use terror, assassinations and manipulation to fight communism: "In the first phase of our political activity we must create chaos in all structures of the regime. Two forms of terrorism can provoke such a situation: The blind terrorism (committing massacres indiscriminately which cause a large number of victims), and the selective terrorism (eliminate chosen persons). This destruction of the state must be carried out as much as possible under the cover of 'communist activities' ... After that, we must intervene at the heart of the military, the juridical power and the church, in order to influence popular opinion, suggest a solution, and clearly demonstrate the weakness of the present legal apparatus ... Popular opinion must be polarised in such a way, that we are being presented as the only instrument capable of saving the nation. It is obvious that we will need considerable financial resources to carry out such operations." [67]



Like Portugal also Spain was a right wing dictatorship until the death of Francisco Franco on November 20 1975. According to Italian investigations Italian right-wing terrorists who had cooperated with the Gladio stay-behind army were flown from Italy to Spain after having carried out terrorist attacks in Italy. In Spain they were protected from the Italian investigations and in return offered their services to Franco.

Among the most notorious Italian born right-wing terrorists in Spain ranged Stefano delle Chiaie who allegedly carried out well over a thousand bloodthirsty attacks, including an estimated 50 murders in Spain. Members of Delle Chiaie's secret army, including Italian right-winger Aldo Tisei, later confessed to Italian magistrates that during their Spanish exile they had tracked down and killed anti-fascists on behalf of the Spanish secret service. [68]

The investigations into the secret Gladio stay-behind army of NATO also revealed that Italian right-wing terrorist Carlo Cicuttini took actively part in the Atocha massacre on 24 January 1977 in Madrid. The terror attack had targeted a lawyer's office closely linked to the Spanish communist party and killed five communist lawyers. The attack caused panic, for it fell right into Spain's transition to democracy. [69]

After Franco's death in 1975 Delle Chiaie decided that Spain was no longer a safe place and left for Chile where he offered his services to dictator Pinochet and participated in "Operation Condor" killing Chilean oppositional across the Americas. Thereafter “Caccola” as he was nicknamed moved to Bolivia and set up death squads to protect the right-wing government. In 1980 he came back to Italy and on 2 August was allegedly involved in the terrorist attack on the Bologna railway station which killed 85 and maimed 200. After the attack he returned to South America and was arrested on 27 March 1987 in the capital of Venezuela by the local secret service. The Italian secret service and the CIA arrived on the same day and questioned delle Chiaie. According to the Italian Senate investigation into Gladio delle Chiaie was unwilling to shoulder any blame but passed it on to the secret services: "The massacres have taken place. That is a fact. The secret services have covered up the traces. That is another fact." [70]



Olof Palme, Swedish Prime Minister and leader of the Social Democratic Party, was assassinated in Stockholm on 28 February 1986. The investigation into the crime has proven to be extremely complex, producing dozens of suspects and traces during the years that have gone by. While substantial data to confirm this claim is lacking it shall be noted that Swedish journalists have also suspected the secret stay-behind armies of NATO of having been involved in the crime.

In 1992 the leading Swedish daily headlined: "A top-secret intelligence network within NATO is behind the death of Olof Palme." In the article journalist Göran Beckerus reported that "This has been leaked by several sources in Sweden and Germany." One of his sources was alleged CIA agent Oswald Le Winter, discredited in earlier years where he had deliberately mislead journalists. The other two sources, "both with secret services background", wished to remain unnamed but confirmed that a top-secret NATO office was behind the Palme murder. One of the sources was going as far as to claim "that he had been able to see and photograph the document according to which NATO was behind the assassination."

" The NATO organ allegedly linked to the assassination is SOPS, a part of ACC” journalist Beckerus reported in his article.” ACC is an organization within which the secret services of the NATO countries meet. ACC/SOPS, among other things, is the coordination organ for the stay-behind organizations in Europe. Such a secret Swedish resistance network under the command of Alvar Lindencrona has been discovered by Dagens Nyheter in 1990. SOPS is the operative branch of ACC. Its tasks are to plan and to hide secret operations. A third organ, called ITAC, is supporting SOPS with information and intelligence means. The delegates of ACC and SOPS met regularly every month in different European capitals. Headquarters allegedly are in Brussels, but the meetings took also place in Mons (Belgium), as well as cities in Denmark and Norway. Dagens Nyheter is in the possession of information, that also Sweden at times regularly participated in ACC/SOPS meetings. The representative of the former Social Democrat government has confirmed this information. Also a source within the Swedish military secret service has confirmed the existence and the activities of the ACC/SOPS.” International research into NATO’s stay-behind armies has confirmed both the existence of the ACC as well as the existence of the Swedish stay-behind army under Lindencrona. Yet journalist Beckerus is still the only named source who goes as far as to claim that the network was involved in the Palme assassination: “During several meetings of the ACC/SOPS allegedly an assassination plot was made ... code-named 'Operation Tree'. Dagens Nyheter is in possession of an alleged SOPS document which laconically states 'project management is local, technician imported.'" [71]



No links to terrorism or crime reported



In Turkey the secret NATO stay-behind army was called “Counter-Guerrilla” and operated under the direction of the Special Warfare Department. According to Turkish General Talat Turhan the secret army was involved in terror, torture and coup d’états.

After the coup of 1971 the Turkish military arrested Turhan and the Counter Guerrilla tortured him whereupon he publicly declared: "This is the secret unit of the NATO countries". [72] The torture took place in the notorious cellars of the Ziverbey villa in Istanbul's Erenköy district. As of the 1950s the villa was used to "interrogate" people from the former socialist countries, especially Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and in subsequent years the Counter-Guerrillas together with the Turkish military secret service MIT allegedly murdered or caused permanent damage to hundreds of people there. "In the torture villa in Erenköy in Istanbul the torture team of retired officer Eyüp Ozalkus, chief of the MIT's interrogation team for the combat of communism, blindfolded me and tied up my arms and feet“ [73] Turhan related. „Then they told me that I was now 'in the hands of a Counter Guerrilla unit operating under the high command of the Army outside the constitution and the laws.' They told me that they 'considered me as their prisoner of war and that I was sentenced to death.'" Turhan related: "In this villa I was with tied up arms and feet chained to a bed for a month and tortured in a way which a human being has difficulty to imagine. It was under these circumstances that I first was made familiar with the name Counter-Guerrillas." [74]

General Turhan survived the torture and dedicated his life to the researching the Counter-Guerrilla secret army and covert action in Turkey, publishing three books on the topic. [75] "When it was discovered in 1990 that Italy had an underground organization called Gladio, organized by NATO and controlled and financed by the CIA, which was linked to acts of terrorism within the country, Turkish and foreign journalists approached me and published my explanations as they knew that I have been researching the field for 17 years … In Turkey the special forces in the style of Gladio are called Counter-Guerrilla by the public“ Turhan explained to the press and once again lamented that „despite all my efforts and initiatives of political parties, democratic mass organizations and the media the Counter-Guerrilla has still not been investigated." [76]

* * * * *

The data available so far on the links of the NATO stay-behind armies to terrorism and crime remains fragmentary.

The overview shows that large differences exist from country to country. In some countries the links are proven, while in others more research is needed in the future. What did NATO know? What did the Pentagon, the CIA and MI6 know? Which terrorist attacks were deviations, and what was planned? Within the context of the so called "war on terrorism" the data on NATO's stay-behind armies opens up an entire field of so far unexplored questions and raises fundamental questions for which the answers are still lacking.

DANIELE GANSER is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.


[1] British daily The European, 9 November 1990.
[2] British daily The European, 9 November 1990. It seems that the NATO official who issued the correction was Robert Stratford. Compare: Regine Igel, Andreotti. Politik zwischen Geheimdienst und Mafia (Munich: Herbig Verlag, 1997), p. 343.
[3] British daily The Observer, 18 November 1990.
[4] No author specified: "Gladio: Un misterio de la guerra fria. La trama secreta coordinada por mandos de la Alianza Atlantica comienza a salir a la luz tras cuatro decadas de actividad," Spanish daily El Pais, 26 November 1990.
[5] Inzerilli, Paolo,Gladio. La verità negata (Bologna: Edizioni Analisi, 1995), p. 61.
[6] Inzerilli, Gladio, p. 62.
[7] Gerardo Serravalle, Gladio (Roma: Edizioni Associate, 1991), p. 79.
[8] Serravalle, Gladio, p. 78.
[9] Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into Gladio, as summarised in Belgium periodical Statewatch, January/February 1992.
[10] Inzerilli, Gladio, p. 63 .
[11] Email from NATO Archives to the author, 18 August 2000.
[12] Letter from Lee McClenny, NATO head of press and media, to the author, dated 2 May 2001.
[13] Letter from Lee McClenny, NATO head of press and media, to the author, dated 2 May 2001.
[14] International news service Reuters, 15 November 1990.
[15] All quotes from: Debates of the European Parliament, 22 November 1990. Official transcripts
[16] Arthur Rowse, "Gladio: The Secret US War to subvert Italian Democracy," Covert Action Quarterly 49, (Summer 1994).
[17] United States Senate, Final Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence activities, Book IV: Supplementary detailed staff reports on foreign and military intelligence, p. 36
[18] The document is quoted in Roberto Faenza, Il malaffare: Dall' America di Kennedy all'Italia, a Cuba, al Vietnam (Milano: Editore Arnoldo Mondadori, 1978), p. 313. Italian historian Roberto Faenza in the 1970s researched in the US archives and by using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) got hold of the Demagnetize document revealing for the first time "this heavy deviation of the Italian Secret Service".
[19] Memorandum by Lieutenant General Leon W. Johnson, US Representative to the NATO Military Committee Standing Group to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff on Clandestine Intelligence, 3 January 1957. Formerly Top Secret. Declassified in 1978. Found by the author through computer based Declassified Documents Reference System at LSE in London.
[20] Regine Igel, Andreotti. Politik zwischen Geheimdienst und Mafia (1997), p. 346. Igel offers in her German translation the full text of the top secret US FM 30-31B in her book on Giulio Andreotti and the US subversion of Italy (Appendix, pp. 345-358). The English quotes offered above are the author's translation of Igel's text. Igel's source is the original English version of the FM 30-31B as contained in the collected documents of the Italian Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the US-linked P2 secret lodge which was discovered in 1981 (Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla loggia massonica P2. Allegati alla Relazione Doc. XXIII, n. 2-quater/7/1 Serie II, Vol. VII, Tomo I, Roma 1987, pp. 287-298). The document FM 30-31B is dated 18 March 1970, Headquarters of the US Army, Washington DC, and signed by General of the US Army William C Westmoreland.
[21] Allan Frankovich, Gladio: The Foot Soldiers. Third of total three Francovich Gladio documentaries, broadcasted on BBC2 on 24 June 1992.
[22] Lucy Komisar, "Turkey's Terrorists: A CIA Legacy Lives On," The Progressive, April 1997.
[23] David Stafford, Britain and European Resistance 1940-1945: A survey of the Special Operations Executive (Oxford: St. Antony's College, 1980), p. 20.
[24] Letter by Minister Hugh Dalton to Foreign Minister Halifax on July 2, 1940. Quoted in M. R. D. Foot, An outline history of the Special Operations Executive 1940-1946 (London: British Broadcasting Cooperation, 1984), p. 19.
[25] E. H. Cookridge, Inside SOE. The story of Special Operations in Western Europe 1940-45 (London: Arthur Barker Limited, 1966) p. 13.
[26] Allan Francovich, Gladio: The Ringmasters. First of total three Francovich Gladio documentaries, broadcasted on BBC2 on 10 June 1992.
[27] Thomas Kanger and Oscar Hedin, "Erlanders hemliga gerilla: I ett ockuperat Sverige skulle det nationella motstandet ledas fran Äppelbo skola i Dalarna," Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, 4 October 1998.
[28] British television. BBC Newsnight, 4 April 1991, 10:30 pm. Gladio report by journalist Peter Marshall
[29] British daily The Guardian, 14 November 1990
[30] Richard Norton Taylor, "Secret Italian unit 'trained in Britain'," British daily The Guardian, 17 November 1990.
[31] Hugh O' Shaughnessy, "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,"
British daily The Observer, 7 June 1992.
[32] William Colby, Honorable Men: My life in the CIA (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp. 81-83.
[33] British daily The Independent, 1 December 1990.
[34] Kwitny, Jonathan, "The CIA's Secret Armies in Europe," The Nation (6 April 1992), p. 445.
[35] Philip Willan, "Terrorists 'helped by CIA' to stop rise of left in Italy," British daily The Guardian, 26 March 2001.
[36] FOIA request: CIA's "Operation Gladio", handed in by Malcolm Byrne on 15 April 1991. FOIA request number 910113.
[37] Italian daily Corriere della Sera, 29 May 1995.
[38] Letter dated 28 December 2000 of the CIA to the author concerning Gladio FOIA request number F-2000-02528.
[39] Letter dated 23 January 2001 of the author to Mrs. Dyer at the CIA.
[40] Letter dated 7 February 2001 from the CIA's Information and Privacy Coordinator Kathryn I. Dyer to the author.
[41] International news service Associated Press, 14 November 1990.
[42] British television. BBC Newsnight, 4 April 1991, 10:30 pm. Gladio report by journalist Peter Marshall.
[43] British television. BBC Newsnight, 4 April 1991, 10:30 pm. Gladio report by journalist Peter Marshall.
[44] Imperial War Museum, London. Secret Wars exhibition. Visited by the author on 20 May 1999.
[45] Michael Smith, New Cloak, Old Dagger: How Britain's Spies Came in from the Cold (London: Gollancz, 1996), p. 117. Based on interviews with Simon Preston on 11 October 1995, and with Michael Giles on 25 October 1995.
[46] International news service Reuters Western Europe, 15 November 1990.
[47] Compare: Hans Karl Peterlini, Bomben aus zweiter Hand: Zwischen Gladio und Stasi - Suedtirols missbrauchter Terrorismus (Bozen: Edition Raetia, 1992). And: Elisabeth Baumgartner, Hans Mayr, Gerhard Mumeleter, Feuernacht: Suedtiroler Bombenjahre (Bozen: Edition Raetia, 1992).
[48] Senato della Repubblica. Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sul terrorismo in Italia e sulle cause della mancata individuazione dei responsabiliy delle stragi: Stragi e terrorismo in Italia dal dopoguerra al 1974. Relazione del Gruppo Democratici di Sinistra l'Ulivo. Roma June 2000, p. 42.
[49] Allan Frankovich, Gladio: The Foot Soldiers. Third of total three Francovich Gladio documentaries, broadcasted on BBC2 on 24 June 1992.
[50] Quoted in Jan de Willems, Gladio (Brussels: Editions EPO, 1991), p. 13.
[51] Enquête parlementaire sur l'existence en Belgique d'un réseau de renseignements clandestin international, rapport fait au nom de la commission d'enquête par MM. Erdman et Hasquin. Document Senat, session de 1990-1991. Brussels, p. 53
[52] Allan Frankovich, The Foot Soldiers. Third of total three Francovich Gladio documentaries, broadcasted on BBC2 on 24 June 1992.
[53] Jonathan Kwitny, "The CIA's Secret Armies in Europe: An International Story," The Nation, 6 April 1992, pp. 446 and 447.
[54] Jens Mecklenburg (ed.), Gladio: Die geheime Terrororganisation der Nato(Berlin: Elefanten Press, 1997), p. 82.
[55] Anonymous. Austrian periodical Oesterreichische Militärische Zeitschrift, Heft 2 (1991), p. 123.
[56] Klaus Harbart, "Gladio - ein Schwert in rechter Hand," Der Rechte Rand 10 (January 1991), p. 5.
[57] Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe (Secaucus: Lyle Stuart Inc.,1978), pp. 155f.
[58] William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA interventions since World War II (Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995), p. 216
[59] "Spinne unterm Schafsfell: In Südeuropa war die Guerilla truppe besonders aktiv - auch bei den Militärputschen in Griechenland und der Türkei?" German news magazine Der Spiegel 48 (26 November 1990).
[60] Quoted in Giovanni Fasanella e Claudio Sestieri con Giovanni Pellegrino, Segreto di Stato: La verità da Gladio al caso Moro (Torino: Einaudi Editore, 2000), introduction.
[61] Ed Vulliamy, "Secret agents, freemasons, fascists ... and a top-level campaign of political 'destabilisation': 'Strategy of tension' that brought carnage and cover-up." British daily The Guardian 5 December 1990.
[62] British daily The Observer, 7 June 1992.
[63] Joao Paulo Guerra,"'Gladio' actuou em Portugal," Portugese daily O Jornal, 16 November 1990.
[64] French periodical Paris Match, November 1974. Quoted in: Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie (London: Anarchy Publications, 1984), p. 27.
[65] Quoted in Stuart Christie, delle Chiaie, p. 29
[66] Joao Paulo Guerra, "Gladio' actuou em Portugal." And Christie, delle Chiaie, p. 30
[67] This document was allegedly found in the former office of Guerain-Serac after the Portugese revolution of 1974. It was contained in 2000 in the digital online dictionary on terrorism in Belgium by Manuel Abramowicz: Entry "Guerin Serac" In: Le dictionnaire des années de plomb belges. On the Internet: It is now no longer available online.
[68] Stuart Christie, Martin Lee and Kevin Coogan, "Protected by the West's secret services, hired by South American's drug barons, the man they called "Shorty" terrorised two continents." In: British periodical News on Sunday Extra, 31May 1987. Christie is a leading expert on Delle Chiaie. Compare his book: Christie, delle Chiaie.
[69] Angel Luis de la Calle, "Gladio: ligacoes obscuras em Espanha," Portugese daily Expresso, 8 December 1990. And Miguel Gonzalez, "Un informe oficial italiano implica en el crimen de Atocha al 'ultra' Cicuttini, relacionado con Gladio: El fascista fue condenado en el proceso que ha sacado a la luz la estructura secreta de la OTAN," Spanish daily El Pais, 2 December 1990.
[70] Senato della Repubblica. Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sul terrorismo in Italia e sulle cause della mancata individuazione dei responsabiliy delle stragi: Il terrorismo, le stragi ed il contesto storico politico. Redatta dal presidente della Commissione, Senatore Giovanni Pellegrino. Roma 1995, p. 203
[71] Göran Beckerus, "Ett topphemligt underrättelseorgan inom den västliga försvarsalliansen Nato lag bakom mordet pa Olof Palme [A top secret intelligence network within NATO is behind the death of Olof Palme], Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, 28 April 1992.
[72] Leo Müller, Gladio: Das Erbe des Kalten Krieges: Der NATO Geheimbund und sein deutscher Vorläufer (1991), p. 57; also Olaf Goebel in Jens Mecklenburg, op, cit., p. 128.
[73] Quoted in Selahattin Celik, Türkische Konterguerilla: Die Todesmaschinerie(Köln: Mesopotamien Verlag, 1999), p. 151.
[74] Essay of Talat Turhan, "Die Konterguerilla Republik," in: Aslan and Bozay, Graue Wölfe, pp. 102f.
[75] All three books are in Turkish and no translations seem available as of now. 1) Talat Turhan, Doruk Operasyonu (Istanbul: Cagloglu, 1989). In this book Turhan deals on 170 pages with the Turkish secret service MIT. 2) Talat Turhan, Ozel Savas: Teror ve Kontrgerilla (Istanbul: Kadkoy, 1992). In this book Turhan deals specifically with the Counter-Guerrilla, the Special Warfare Departement (Ozel Harp Dairesi), the CIA, the MIT and terrorism. 3) Talat Turhan, Kontrgerilla cumhuriyeti: acklamalar, belgeler, gercekler (Istanbul: Tumzamanlaryaynclk, 1993). In this book Turhan deals again with the Counter-Guerrilla. Another valuable book in Turkish on the Counter-Gerilla is the one published by journalist Semih Hicyilmaz, Susurluk ve Kontrgerilla gercegi (Istanbul: Evrensel Basim Yayin, 1997).
[76] Fikret Aslan and Kemal Bozay, Graue Wölfe heulen wieder: Türkische Faschisten und ihre Vernetzung in der BRD (Münster: Unrast Verlag, 1997), p. 106.