We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANS
FOR WORLD HEGEMONY, by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 5/5. NATO Secret Armies in Europe
Reaction of US and NATO Officials
When the first disclosures about the fact that CIA and NATO developed the Stay-Behind network in Europe were remarked in the Italian Parliament in August 1990, representatives of US administration had no reaction for more than three months. Only in November 1990, when it was clear that the scandal would not be put out too soon, the first official reactions came.
An article issued in November 14, 1990 by Washington Post, quoted an unnamed representative of US government, familiar with Gladio network topic, to have said that Gladio was “solely an Italian operation. We have no control over it whatsoever” and “If there are allegations that the CIA was involved in terrorist activities in Italy, they are absolute nonsense.” The article mentions that “The official would not comment on allegations that Gladio was part of a broad resistance network throughout Western Europe.”73
Similarly, NATO also categorically rejected the idea of its involvement in Gladio operation and that it would have own in its configuration any kind of secret armies. More specifically, NATO spokesman Jean Marcotta said on Monday, November 5, 1990, at SHAPE headquarters in Mons, Belgium, that “NATO has never contemplated guerrilla war or clandestine operations; it has always concerned itself with military affairs and the defense of Allied frontiers.”74
But, surprise! The very next day, Tuesday, 6 November, another NATO spokesman (apparently Robert Stratford) explained that NATO’s statement from the previous day was not correct! He lectured before the journalists a brief press release whereby all he mentioned was that NATO never commented on matters of military secrecy and added that Marcotta should not have said anything at all.75 What could that mean? That NATO is not so sure that it has no involvement in the “Stay-Behind” scandal, but it prefers to hide illegal business behind “military secret”?
The international press protested against NATO’s lapidary public relations policy. For example, the British newspaper The Observer announced: “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 that the denial was ‘incorrect’ and nothing more.”76
Following the press reports in all Western European countries, NATO ambassadors of member countries asked for explanation. US President George Bush Senior Administration refused to comment on this subject in public. As a result, NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner invited the ambassadors of NATO countries to the headquarters of the organization in Belgium on November 7, 1990 for a secret meeting. The Spanish daily newspaper El Pais announced on November 21, 1990 that Wörner (who was the civilian with the highest rank in NATO) “admitted at a meeting earlier this month in Brussels, held with the ambassadors of the 16 member countries of the organization, that SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) coordinated Gladio’s actions.”77 The truth had been acknowledged, but only at a closed doors meeting! Until official recognition, there was a long way to go.
A later article by El Paisannounced that Manfred Wörner also said at the same meeting that he got the information on Gladio’s subordination to SHAPE following consultations with NATO military commanders, especially General John Galvin, supreme commander of allied forces in Europe. Nevertheless, the development of the subject was not wanted at all: “The official position is that NATO does not comment in public on military secrets.”78
A request to clarify how US was involved in the existence of secret armed forces in Europe was also issued by academics from US National Security Archives. Specialized in the research concerning Cold War’ secrets, George Washington University professors filed a request to the CIA on April 15, 1991, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Malcolm Byrne, deputy director of research at the National Security Archive requested, among others, information on “any records relating to the activities known as ‘Operation Gladio’, particularly in France, Germany, or Italy.”79 In line with the data provided by the Center for Parallel History Studies in Zürich and by US National Security Archive of the George Washington University, CIA refused to make available any data and on June 18, 1991, they replied: “CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request.”80
Another request for clarification was addressed to US officials by the Italian Parliament. In early 1995, a committee of the Italian Senate, led by Senator Giovanni Pellegrino, just performed a Parliamentary Investigation on Terrorism in Italy.81The report concluded that the Cold War terrorist attacks were linked to the activities of the secret Gladio army. The committee also noted that because it operated illegally and was not subject to parliamentary control, Gladio undermined the functioning of the democratic system. In order to clarify the circumstances in which this occurred, in March 1995, the Italian Senate committee addressed an FOIA request to CIA. Italian Senators asked from CIA all records about the Red Brigades and Aldo Moro case to find out whether CIA, according to Gladio’s internal control task, infiltrated the Red Brigades before they assassinated the former Italian Prime Minister. CIA refused to cooperate or provide any kind of data and replied in May 1995 that “CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request.”82 The Italian press noted how “embarrassing” the situation was and titled: “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.”83
Another investigation by European officials about Gladio was initiated by the Austrian government in January 1996. MihaiSika, from the Ministry of the Interior, presented his final report on 28 November 1997. Then Oliver Rathkolb, from the University of Vienna, submitted an FOIA request to gain access to CIA relevant documents. Again, in line with the data provided by ETH Zürich University and the National Archives in Washington, Austrian officials faced the same refusal typically formulated: “CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request.”84
Let us remember that in the 1990s several public disclosures were made—both by declassified documents and by testimony of former Gladio commanders—that NATO was in charge of secret Stay-Behind armies through two secret command centers: allied clandestine committee (ACC) and Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC). To get documents related to the two headquarters, Swiss Professor Daniele Ganser, former Principal Investigator at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich University, submitted a formal request to NATO Archives Department. The NATO response was: “We have checked our Archives and cannot find any trace of the Committees you have mentioned.” Ganser insisted and the answer was: “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.”85 At Ganser’s new insistence to NATO, even assisted by his country’s embassy, Switzerland, he got the same kind of answer on May 2, 2001 from the head of the North Atlantic press department, Lee McClenny.
Also, on December 14, 2000, on the basis of FOIA Law, Daniele Ganser sent a request86 to the CIA as well, to ask for details about any agency records related to US decisions to support Stay-Behind armies in Italy, France, Turkey, Belgium and Switzerland. Ganser also referred to the Church Committee of the US Department, which confirmed in 1976 the existence of S/B networks in Western Europe.
On December 28, 2000, Ganser received a refuse by CIA, motivated under particular legislative exemptions: “The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request. Such information—unless it has been officially acknowledged—would be classified for reasons of national security (…) Therefore, your request is denied under FOIA exemptions B1 and B3.”87
On January 23, 2001, Ganser submitted an appeal to the CIA reply and got a new response on February 7, 2001. The CIA’s response explains that Ganser’s appeal was accepted, but he should expect delays in handling the response because CIA has much work with previous requests:
At present time, our workload consists of approximately 315 appeals awaiting completion. In view of this, some delay in your reply must be expected, but I can assure you that every reasonable effort will be made to complete a response as soon as possible. Sincerely, … [the name of the signatory is not public].88
In 2015, Daniele Ganser said with certain irony in an interview89 for the British radio station The Mind Renewed that after 14 years, he still did not get the reply promised by the CIA…
On the other hand, hardly after 16 years from the trigger of Gladio/Stay-Behind scandal, on Jan. 20, 2006, US State Department finally admitted in a post on one of its information sites that “clandestine Stay-Behind” networks existed throughout the entire period of the Cold War. Yet, the US administration denies having any involvement in backing the network, much less in terrorist attacks. Regarding the allegation that they would have supported terrorist networks in Europe, the position submitted was that… the Soviet Union is to blame for this perception: “Stay-Behind researchers appear to have been influenced by a bogus text that first surfaced in 1976, a Soviet forgery purporting to be Supplement B to the US Army’s Field Manual 30–31.”90 This motivation is considered so decisive that it gives the title of the communiqué and the final conclusion, too. Thus, the title announces that it determined the cause of “misinformation” that messed up the whole of Europe: Misinformation About ‘Gladio/Stay Behind’ Networks Resurfaces. Thirty Year-Old Soviet Forgery Cited by Researchers. And the conclusion is equally categorical:
A thirty-year-old Soviet forgery has been cited as one of the central pieces of ‘evidence’ for the false notion that Western European Stay-Behind networks engaged in terrorism, allegedly at US instigation. This is not true, and those researching the Stay-Behind networks need to be more discriminating in evaluating the trustworthiness of their source material.91
So, related to all allegations against US, NATO and CIA on Stay-Behind networks and their attacks, in response to all papers and investigations presented by parliaments, the main culprit was, in compliance with the United States Department—the Soviet Union! Behold this clear, simple and very trenchant solving of the whole issue. Whether or not someone agrees with this clarification is of little importance. The answer has been given, and American departments can no longer be accused of not being willing to find the truth. And if others too, will continue to research and if they reach to conclusions other than the ones established in that communiqué… they should be more “discriminating in evaluating their sources.”
Even if it is almost hilarious to reduce the entire complexity of accusations related to Stay-Behind network activity only to the US Army’s 30–31B Manual, let us take a look at some of the data on this document. First of all, I briefly recall some of the information contained therein. It asserts that “U.S. Army intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince the H.C. governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger and of the necessity of counteraction” and in addition to infiltration, sabotage or other operations, actions that could sometimes be “violent”92 had to be deployed. As we can see, the plan of terrorist attacks “under false flag” is almost overtly admitted herein. And the fact is especially sensitive since it is apparently issued by the Pentagon. That is why, beyond US officials’ statement, it is useful to have other points of view mentioned as well.
The 30–31B Handbook was first examined in Italy, in 1987, by an expert Committee, within investigations conducted by the Parliamentary Investigation Committee on the Masonic Lodge P2.93 The document had been identified by Italian police in March 1981, when they carried out a raid to the villa of LicioGelli, P2 head. The committee found that the document is authentic. Moreover, LicioGelli declared (even the video record is available, included in a BBC documentary) that “The document was given to me by a friend in the CIA.”94
In the same film broadcasted by British television in 1992, a significant statement comes from Ray Cline, former CIA deputy director from 1962 to 1966. Asked if Handbook 30–31B is a genuine document or a Soviet fake, he replied for the BBC: “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.”95
The Significance of Gladio Case
As I emphasized as early as the beginning of this chapter, even if we do not take into account the terrorist attacks attributed to Stay-Behind armies, the very existence of these armies is an illegal and anti-democratic fact. These paramilitary structures, whose existence can no longer be denied, were, for 40 years, outside any parliamentary control and acted unitarily, coordinated across Europe, without having an official justification. Keeping them operative, with secret activities even with the governments of host countries, clearly shows that they had a precise, effective role that was not limited barely to the potential Soviet threat. And this role was to influence governments of states in Western Europe through the execution of paramilitary operations.
The abundance of convergent disclosures strongly highlights the involvement of US administration in the control and use of the network through CIA and NATO. Obviously, American officials will never admit the truth in this matter, but—given the evidence—it puts them even more in a position of hypocrisy.
The role of these armies was to be a tool to keep developed countries in Europe under the influence of America. A hidden, insidious force instrument that completed the register of political and economic means. The existence of Gladio network and NATO’s secret armies brings a different light on the issue of Europe’s sovereignty. The events were real and they must be known and understood in the context of the mission that justifies NATO’s existence, which proved to be an alliance meant to impose, maintain and expand the American empire.
The worst aspect is that despite assurance given by various European political leaders in the early 1990s, we have no guarantee that these structures have truly been deactivated. Keep in mind that parliamentary investigations were carried out in just a few countries (Italy, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland), and even there investigations were far from reaching complete elucidation of the events. It is also significant that many legal, institutional requests to clarify particular issues—which were addressed to US administration, CIA or NATO—remained unanswered to this day.
Therefore we cannot exclude the possibility that these armies continue to exist and act, as they did throughout the entire period of the Cold War. That is why many of the attacks that took place in recent years may not be what they seem to be. The “strategy of tension” or creating problems in order to offer certain premeditated solutions (according to Hegelian dialectic: problem-reaction-solution) is a well-known method, that was widely used. Under this logic, it is plausible that the war on terror created many opportunities of action for political objectives. This newly appeared public enemy, the terrorism, represented the pretext for the new strategies of tension that needed justification after 1991 to replace the “threat of Soviet Union,” that had just disappeared.
Based on the arguments outlined in this chapter, it is worth considering the hypothesis that Gladio networks have been and are still being used. For example, if a regime change is desired, they could be activated to orchestrate so-called revolutions. Through paramilitary means anti-system groups can be created by so-called protesters, gaining a certain public adhesion and then designated in the eyes of international community as the expression of the popular will. Through paramilitary actions, one can also divert the people’s genuine protests. It can be created violence, chaos, compromising that popular movement. Or, if the intention of the leaders behind the scene is to control the population, the Gladio-type actions can generate (through false anti-system terrorist groups) a pretext for introducing authoritarian measures, apparently adopted from necessity, at the demand of the population. Well documented are also the paramilitary interventions ordered by the US government, coordinated by the CIA and executed by armies of mercenaries, of Blackwater-type. All these scenarios are far from being simple theoretical abstractions or conspiracy theories. It is sufficient to look more closely at the strange nature of some events that have changed the course of recent history or the impact that certain “spring revolutions” more or less colored, have had.
The subject of Stay-Behind networks is—despite its importance and significance—still ignored in the Western public space. Why is the proven existence of NATO secret armies that acted during the Cold War still kept secret? But silence is also an answer. Hiding the truth is further proof that the official version of history is concealed and politicized. And, moreover, it shows that the practices of the past are being insidiously prolonged in the present.
(To be continued)