NATO's Secret Armies - by Stephen Lendman
In his book, "NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe," Daniele Ganser described their clandestine Cold War operations, run by European secret services, collaborating with NATO, the CIA and Britain's MI6 and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) against a possible Soviet invasion, internal communist takeovers, or others on the political left gaining power.
The network included France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Luxemburg, as well as politically neutral European countries - Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Named "Gladio" (Latin for double-edged sword), NATO's armies remained secret until August 1990, when then Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed Italy's participation in testimony before a Senate subcommittee investigating terrorism, General Vito Miceli, former Italian military secret service director, saying in protest:
"I have gone to prison because I did not want to reveal the existence of this super secret organization. And now Andreotti....tells....parliament!"
According to a 1959 Italian military secret service document, "these armies had a two-fold strategic purpose: firstly, to operate as a so-called 'stay-behind' group in the case of a Soviet invasion and to carry out a guerrilla war in occupied territories; secondly, to carry out domestic operations in case of 'emergency situations.' "
In Italy, against both communist and socialist parties, it was claimed they wanted to weaken NATO "from within," Italian judge, Felice Casson, learning that right-wing terrorists carried out bombings against civilians, blamed them on the left, neo-fascist Vincenzo Vinciguerra explaining the scheme as follows:
"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."
In 2000, the Italian Senate was more explicit, saying:
"Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as had been discovered more recently, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence," meaning CIA mainly.
Former director William Colby admitted in his memoirs that covert western armies were a major CIA initiative, begun post-WW II, and restricted "to the smallest possible coterie of the most reliable people, in Washington (and) NATO" to keep the initiative secret.
Yet once its existence was confirmed, the EU parliament drafted a sharply critical resolution saying:
"These organisations (sic) operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control....call(ing) for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organisations."
Only Italy, Belgium and Switzerland did them, the GHW Bush administration not commenting when it was preparing for war against Iraq, fearing it might harm its alliance.
Gladio, however, was real, designed like Winston Churchill's British Special Operations Executive (SOE) - to help anti-Nazi resistance forces carry out insurgencies in occupied territories. After NATO's 1949 creation, the so-called Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU) was secretly integrated into its operations, by 1951 called the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC).
Then in 1957, a second secret army called Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) was established by NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR), giving America overall command and control. It relyied heavily on dedicated anti-communists, largely from the political right, including former Nazis and like-minded terrorists, operatives to weaken the political left and neutralize and defeat Soviet Russia, ostensibly in case of invasion, the chance for which was practically nil.