Italians had to confirm it, including Judge Guido Salvini saying it conducted secret military operations during the Cold War to defend "the Western world against a probable and imminent invasion of Europe by the troops of the Soviet Union and the other communist countries."
In fact, like other Gladio operations, it waged global war against the political left, killing thousands to defend privilege against beneficial social change, what remains ongoing today, America its leading exponent.
Greece's Secret Armies
In late 1944, Winston Churchill ordered a secret Greek army created to prevent leftists from gaining power, called by various names, including the Greek Mountain Brigade, the Hellenic Raiding Force, or Lochos Oreinon Katadromon (LOK). Field Marshall Alexander Papagos excluded "almost all men with views ranging from moderately conservative to left wing," assuring its members would be exclusively hard right anti-communists.
In 1952, Greece joined NATO and was fully integrated into its stay-behind network, the CIA and LOK reconfirming their mutual cooperation in a secret March 25, 1955 document, British journalist, Peter Murtagh, later learning that:
"The Raiding Force doubled as the Greek arm of the clandestine pan-European guerrilla network set up in the 1950s by NATO and the CIA which was controlled (in) Brussels by the Allied Coordination Committee." It was a stay-behind force against a possible "Soviet invasion of Europe. It would co-ordinate guerrilla activities between Soviet occupied countries and liaise with governments in exile."
According to former CIA agent Philip Agee, it also served as "a nucleus for rallying a citizen army against the threat of a leftist coup," each of several groups "capable of mobilizing and carrying on guerrilla warfare with minimal or no outside direction."
Agree also explained that "Paramilitary groups, directed by CIA officers, operated in the sixties throughout Europe," stressing that "perhaps no activity of the CIA could be as clearly linked to the possibility of internal subversion."
Evidence points to LOK's involvement in the Greek April 20, 1967 coup, one month before national elections likely to have overwhelmingly elected the left-leaning George and Andreas Papandreou's Center Union. Under NATO's Prometheus plan, LOK took over the Defense Ministry. Tanks rolled through Athens, and rightist forces took control of communications centers, parliament, and the royal palace, arresting over 10,000. Many were later tortured and killed.
In 1990, the socialist opposition wanted a parliamentary investigation, denied by public order minister Yannis Vassiliadis, saying there was no need to examine such "fantasies," meaning what happened was justified.
France's Secret Armies
Fearing a communist takeover, it was established post-WW II, socialist interior minister Edouard Depreux explained in June 1947 that:
"Toward the end of 1946, we got to know of the existence of a black resistance network (a secret army), made up of resistance fighters of the extreme right, Vichy collaborators and monarchists. They had a secret attack plan called 'Plan Bleu,' which should have come into action either towards the end of July or on August 6, (1947)."
Though public outrage closed it down, the military secret service (Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contre-Espionnage - SDECE) under Henri Alexis Ribiere set up another, again fearing a Soviet invasion, more likely to prevent leftists from gaining power.
In the early 1960s, it saw the de Gaulle government as a threat like the communists, inciting some in the stay-behind network to initiate "terrorist actions" against his Algerian peace plan, later confirmed in 1990 by then French military secret service Admiral Pierre Lacoste. Even so, he felt the stay-behind network was justified, no matter its hard right militancy.
During his presidency (from 1981 - 1995), President Francois Mitterrand distanced himself from the initiative, saying in 1990: