We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANSFOR WORLD HEGEMONY, by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 5/2. NATO Secret Armies in Europe
Uncovering NATO Secret Networks
Studies by several historians or journalists showed that CIA, in collaboration with many Western espionage agencies, reorganized and developed through NATO after the Second World War a structure created as early as the 1940s, which was called “behind the lines” (Stay-Behind). One of the historians who very carefully documented this subject is PhD Daniele Ganser5, a professor of contemporary history in Switzerland and former Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zürich University. Daniele Ganser’s study of Stay-Behind networks was published under the title NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe.
In line with this study, the Stay-Behind structure was established by Winston Churchill in England in 1940 to form a last line of resistance if the territory were occupied by Germany. From resistance to the Nazis, then to the Soviets, the goal of the Stay-Behind network was gradually moved into resistance to the rise of communist movements in Western Europe. A first hot area, which had to be—in the CIA’s view—defended was Italy.
Soon after the Second World War, the Anglo-American establishment feared that Italy could be the beginning of a disastrous domino—in the Cold War paradigm—if it fell into the sphere of influence of communism and, implicitly, of the Soviet Union. As a result, the CIA launched in Italy a secret campaign of undermining the socialists and communists in the 1948 elections. According to former CIA chief in Rome, Jack Devine, this clandestine aid was essential because “without the CIA, the Communist Party (…) would surely have won the elections of 1948.”6
The CIA’s intervention in Italy at that time is well documented, even from government sources. Such a source is the US Senate Committee’s 1976 Report on information activities (Church Committee), in particular Book IV, entitled Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Foreign and Military Intelligence. This report states that on 14 December 1947, the National Security Council adopted the NSC4/A Directive, which gave CIA (established in September 1947) the responsibility to deploy undercover psychological operations in Europe. The report quotes a 1948 statement by Senator George F. Kennan, Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff: “We were alarmed particularly over the situation in France and Italy. (…) the Communists were using the very extensive funds that they then had in hand to gain control of key elements of life in France and Italy.”7
The same report describes that in the next six months undercover operations were initiated in Central and Eastern Europe and in June 1948, the National Security Council adopted NSC10/2, a directive authorizing “considerable increase in the range of undercover operations (…) including political war, economic war and paramilitary activities.”8
The adoption of NSC 10/2 led to setting up the Special Projects Office, renamed afterwards the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC9) that was acting within the US Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA.
Several studies and even exposures in the press came with disclosures on the same line in the years that followed. Thus, a study published at Stanford University in 1999 showed that the CIA’s first undercover operation used “over $10 million in captured Axis funds to influence the [Italian] election [of 1948].”10 Also, a New York Times article, in 2018, quotes Mark Wyatt, former CIA officer, who said in an interview in 1996 that the Agency provided Italy massive financial assistance to non-communist candidates. The funding had significant length, from the late 1940s to the 1960s. The former CIA agent reported to NYT that “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their expenses.”11
In 1949, with the formation of NATO, the US administration made sure that through North Atlantic Alliance’ structures they will be able to keep a secret control over all NATO member countries. Italy was included as founding member of the alliance. At the same time, the new Italian government (backed by the US), in close cooperation with CIA, created the Italian Secret Military Service (SIFAR), and under its command the Gladio network, consistently funded by the CIA, was defined. Similarly, other branches of the Stay-Behind network developed across Western Europe.
Details of documents proving the organization of these networks and their subordination to the CIA were presented to the plenary of some parliaments in Europe in the early 1990s, as I will highlight later. These documents reveal that the Stay-Behind network consisted of NATO mercenary groups coordinated by the so-called Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU12), renamed the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC13) in 1951. In addition to the CPC, a second secret command center, called the Allied Clandestine Committees (ACC14), was created in 1957 by order of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR15). In emergency, Stay-Behind networks were coordinated by the NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE16).
It should be noted that although NATO was based in Europe (in Belgium), that was only coverage (ever since), as the true leadership of NATO was (and still is) exercised from the United States through Pentagon generals.
Although the name Gladio refers specifically to the Italian branch of the NATO network, it is often used as an informal name for the entire network. In the Italian language, Gladio was the name of a short type of double-edged sword, specific to gladiators of the Roman Empire. Given the huge international scandal that followed the revelations about Stay-Behind networks in Western Europe, many historians, journalists and academics provided information on various branches of the network. Interestingly, Gladio-style secret armies were not identified only in NATO countries, but also in countries that were officially considered neutral, such as Austria, Finland, Sweden or Switzerland. Here are the names of Stay-Behind branches active in Europe: in Belgium, NATO’s secret army had the SDRA8 code name, in Denmark it was called Absalon, in Germany TD BDJ, in Greece LOK, in France Plan Bleu, in Luxembourg Stay-Behind, in Holland I&O, in Norway ROC, in Portugal Aginter, in Switzerland P26, in Turkey Counter-Guerrilla and in Austria OWSGV.
The data recorded in the documents presented in some nations’ Parliaments are confirmed through the information revealed by important heads of the network, who made certain confessions over time. One of these is General Paolo Inzerilli, who was in charge of the Gladio network in Italy between 1974 and 1986. He wrote a book in 1995 in which he testified that the “omnipresent United States” dominated the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC) that was founded “under the order of NATO’s Supreme Commander for Europe. This (CPC) was the interface between the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) and the secret services of the Member States with regard to issues related to the unorthodox war.”17
The former commander of Gladio, General Gerardo Serravalle, who led the local network in Italy between 1971 and 1974, also published a book, in 1991, in which he explained that “At the Stay-Behind meetings representatives of the CIA were always present,” as well as ”members of the US Forces Europe Command.”18Serravalle said that these meetings mainly discussed “the training of Gladiators in Europe, how to activate them from the secret headquarters” or ”the unification of the different communication systems between the stay-behind bases.”19
Also, a former CIA director, William Colby, described the Stay-Behind network in his autobiographical memoirs published in 1978. Colby wrote that the OPC “had undertaken a major program of building, throughout those Western European countries (…) 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.”20 William Colby admitted in his book that he himself organized the Stay-Behind network in the Scandinavian countries after the Second World War. In some countries, Stay-Behind armies “had to be co-ordinated with NATO’s plans” while the role of the CIA was limited to the provision of equipment. In the same time, “In the other set of countries, CIA would have to do the job alone or with, at best, ‘unofficial’ local help.”21
According to the Washington Post22 or Time Magazine23, the existence of the secret army network in Western European countries was admitted by many officials and their accounts were made public in the press of the respective countries at that time. Such accounts were given by French Defense minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement; former Belgian Defense minister, François-Xavier de Donnea, as well as an important Belgian intelligence officer, Andre Moven; former Dutch Defense Minister HenkVredeling; Greek officials quoted by the Associated Press.
The Spanish daily El Paisreported on November 21, 1990 that NATO General Secretary Manfred Wörner “admitted at a meeting earlier this month in Brussels with the ambassadors of 16 member countries of the organization that SHAPE coordinated Gladio’s actions.”24
On November 26, 1990, El Paispublished another remarkable article, made up of nine journalists’ reports, stating that the existence of Gladio network was admitted by many European officials. In this regard El Pais mentions the Bonn government spokesman, Hans Klein in this context; in Belgium, Prime Minister Wilfried Martens and Defense minister Guy Coeme publicly acknowledged that “the network had leaders responsible for military intelligence and they acted in coordinated manner in various European countries”; French Defense minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement “officially announced the dissolution, 10 days ago, of the French equivalent of Gladio”; Greek Defense minister Yanis Barbitsiotis, “acknowledged before Parliament the existence of a secret agreement between the General Staff of the Greek Armed Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), of 1955, which included the organization of paramilitary groups.” El Paisalso resumed the few day-earlier information that the existence of the Stay-Behind structures had just been admitted by NATO Secretary-General Manfred Worner, who discussed with the Allied Forces supreme commander in Europe, John Galvin. The main editor of the article ironically noted that “In recent days, this NATO network has been suggestively declared dissolved by several governments, when until yesterday it was only non-existent.”25
Rightly, an article published in November 1990 by British newspaper The Observer noted that the existence of these NATO clandestine armies used to be “Europe’s best kept secret.”26 Nevertheless, despite the general uproar of public opinion, only Italian, Belgian and Swiss governments have launched parliamentary investigations.
Some Official Documents
On 24 October 1990, a report dated June 1, 1959 of the Italian Military Secret Service (SIFAR) on Operation Gladio was presented to a senate committee in Italy. Named The Special Forces of SIFAR and Operation Gladio,27the report reveals the existence of a secret army, under the code Gladio, led by SIFAR itself. The document explicitly mentions the integration of Gladio within Stay-Behind networks (abbreviated S/B). It also lists Gladio’s tasks within NATO structures in case of war, as well as the tasks at the national level in the event of internal threats. There are details that evince that Gladio operations were planned in collaboration with the US and other S/B-type armies. In addition, the report describes the structure and organization of Gladio and the operations for which the network was prepared. This document confirmed the dual function of the NATO secret army: it explained the apparent role of Gladio as a resistance movement following a Soviet “military invasion,” but admitted unequivocally that it could also be used against “domestic riots.”
The Belgian senate issued a report on 1 October 1991 on the Parliamentary investigation into the existence of a clandestine international information network in Belgium.28 It was about the S/B network, generally called Gladio. The network was identified in Belgium as a result of a government investigation which even issued on November 23, 1990 an order to dissolve the local structure. The 250-page report gave arguments about the connection between Gladio and some of the assassinations in Belgium in the 80s. It described the organization, as early as 1948, by the United States’ services of certain secret “internal subversion” operations in several countries in Europe, countries where national communist parties were likely to enter the government. These countries included Italy and France, where “communist parties recorded remarkable electoral results.”29 The report highlighted that besides the strategic application of the Marshall Plan, in order to stop the communist movements, “the US government also used a number of less official means.” The NSC 10/2 directive in June 1948 was quoted in this context, which assigned CIA with responsibility for creating undercover operations involving:
propaganda; economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition, and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist element.30
Another very explicit document presented by the Belgian report is the NSC 6014 Directive, dated August 16, 1960, entitledUS Policy towards Italy. The directive provides rich specification for actions planned by CIA in Italy, through recommendations such as:
If Communist or Communist-front groups appear to be to significantly increasing their influence on the Italian Government, and especially if anti-Communist determination appears to be waning, the United States should consider taking any feasible non-military actions [i.e. secret operations], either alone or in cooperation with other allied nations, to support any available Italian resistance to these trends.31
The Belgian committee also analyzed a document entitled US Field Manual 30–31B,32 which appears as issued by Washington DC on March 18, 1970. Under the signature of General William Westmoreland, head of the US Army Staff, the document states that:
There may be times when H.C. [i.e. host countries] governments show passivity or indecision in face of Communist or Communist-inspired subversion, and react with inadequate vigor to intelligence estimates transmitted by US agencies. Such situations are particularly likely to arise when the insurgency seeks to achieve tactical advantage by temporarily refraining from violence, thus lulling H.C. authorities into a state of false security. In such cases, 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.33
To this end, it was established that US secret service agents should seek to penetrate the communist insurgency with the task to form “special action groups among the more radical elements of the insurgency.” And when opportunistic situations were created, these groups under the control of US intelligence services had to launch “violent or non-violent actions according to the nature of the case.”34
The document actually asserts that the means of conviction had to secretly create a so-called danger.
What were supposed to be the means of conviction, sometimes “violent,” about possible danger coming from the communists? The most plausible answer seems to be this: terrorist attacks and ‘planting’ of false evidence. It should be noted that the document was previously presented and rated as authentic by an Italian parliamentary Committee in 1987 (which I will discuss in more detail below).
On November 17, 1990, also in Switzerland was presented before the plenary of Parliament a report
On the Parliamentary Investigation of the Swiss Ministry of Defense on the P26 Secret Army.35
P26 is the code name of the Stay-Behind branch in Switzerland.
The report illustrates how the idea of Stay-Behindtypeorganized resistance was realized an analysisthe role of intelligence services in this context. A special chapter deals with the investigation of the assassination of Colonel Herber Alboth, former commander of the P-26. The investigation also covers the so-called P-27, foreign intelligence agencyfunded by a special intelligence unit from the Swiss army, having multiple connections to P26. The parliamentary committees concluded that these clandestine units operating illegally and without parliamentary control represent a danger to the democratic system and must be dissolved.
(To be continued)