Parallel stay-behind operations in non-NATO countries

Austria

In Austria, the first secret stay-behind army was exposed in 1947. It had been set up by far-right Soucek and Rössner, who both insisted during their trial that “they were carrying out the secret operation with the full knowledge and support of the US and British occupying powers.” Sentenced to death, they were then pardoned under mysterious circumstances by President Körner (1951–1957).

Franz Olah set up a new secret army codenamed Österreichischer Wander-Sport-und Geselligkeitsverein (OWSGV, literally “Austrian hiking, sports and society club”), with the cooperation of MI6 and the CIA. He later explained that “we bought cars under this name. We installed communication centres in several regions of Austria”, confirming that “special units were trained in the use of weapons and plastic explosives”. He precised that “there must have been a couple of thousand people working for us… Only very, very highly positioned politicians and some members of the union knew about it”.

In 1965, the police forces discovered a stay-behind arms cache in an old mine close to Windisch-Bleiberg and forced the British authorities to hand over a list with the location of 33 other caches in Austria.[28]

In 1990, when secret “stay-behind” armies were discovered all around Europe, the Austrian government said that no secret army had existed in the country. However, six years later, the Boston Globe revealed the existence of a secret CIA arms caches in Austria. Austrian President Thomas Klestil and Chancellor Franz Vranitzky insisted that they had known nothing of the existence of the secret army and demanded that the US launch a full-scale investigation into the violation of Austria’s neutrality, which was denied by President Bill Clinton. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns – appointed in August 2001 by President George Bush as the US Permanent Representative to the Atlantic treaty organization, where, as ambassador to NATO, he headed the combined State-Defense Department United States Mission to NATO and coordinated the NATO response to the September 11, 2001 attacks – insisted: “The aim was noble, the aim was correct, to try to help Austria if it was under occupation. What went wrong is that successive Washington administrations simply decided not to talk to the Austrian government about it.”[4]

Finland

In 1944, the Swedes worked with Finnish Intelligence to set up a stay-behind network of agents within Finland to keep track of post-war activities in that country. While this network was allegedly never put in place, Finnish codes, SIGINT equipment and documents were brought to Sweden and apparently exploited until the 1980s[77]

In 1945, Interior Minister Yrjö Leino exposed a secret stay-behind army which was closed down (so called Weapons Cache Case). This operation was organized by Finnish general staff officers (without foreign help) in 1944 to hide weapons in order to sustain a large-scale guerilla warfare in the event the Soviet Union tried to occupy Finland in the aftermath of the Continuation War. See also Operation Stella Polaris.

In 1991, the Swedish media claimed that a secret stay-behind army had existed in neutral Finland with an exile base in Stockholm. Finnish Defence Minister Elisabeth Rehn called the revelations “a fairy tale”, adding cautiously “or at least an incredible story, of which I know nothing.”.[28] However, in his memoirs, former CIA director William Colby described the setting-up of stay-behind armies in Scandinavian countries, including Finland, with or without the assistance of local governments, to prepare for a Soviet invasion.[46]

Spain

Main article: Montejurra Incidents

Several events prior to Spain’s 1982 membership in NATO have also been tied to Gladio: In May 1976, a year after Franco‘s death, two left-wing Carlist members were shot down by far-right terrorists, among whom Gladio operative Stefano Delle Chiaie and members of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (Triple A), demonstrating connections between Gladio and the South American “Dirty War“. This incident became known as the Montejurra massacre.[78] According to a report by the Italian CESIS (Executive Committee for Intelligence and Security Services), Carlo Cicuttini (who took part in the 1972 Peteano bombing in Italy alongside Vincenzo Vinciguerra), participated in the 1977 Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, killing five people (including several lawyers), members of the Workers’ Commissions trade-unions closely linked with the Spanish Communist Party. Cicuttini was naturalized Spanish and exiled in Spain since 1972 (date of the Peteano bombing)[79]

Following Andreotti’s 1990 revelations, Adolfo Suárez, Spain’s first democratically elected Prime minister after Franco’s death, denied ever having heard of Gladio.[80] President of the Spanish government in 1981-82, during the transition to democracyCalvo Sotelo stated that Spain had not been informed of Gladio when it entered NATO. Asked about Gladio’s relations to Franquist Spain, he said that such a network was not necessary under Franco, since “the regime itself was Gladio.”[81]

According to General Fausto Fortunato, head of Italian SISMI from 1971 to 1974, France and the US had backed Spain’s entrance to Gladio, but Italy would have opposed its veto to it. Following Andreotti’s revelations, however, Narcís Serra, Spanish Minister of Defense, opened up an investigation concerning Spain’s links to Gladio.[82][83] Furthermore, Canarias 7 newspaper revealed, quoting former Gladio agent Alberto Volo, who had a role in the revelations of the existence of the network in 1990, that a Gladio meeting had been organized in August 1991 in the Gran Canaria island.[84] Alberto Vollo also declared that as a Gladio operative, he had received trainings in Maspalomas, in the Gran Canaria island between the 1960s and the 1970s.[85] El País daily also revealed that the Gladio organization was suspected of having used former NASA installations in Maspalomas, in the Gran Canaria island, in the 1970s.[86]

André Moyen, former Belgian secret agent, also declared that Gladio had operated in Spain.[87] He said that Gladio had bases in Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastián and the Canarias islands.

Sweden

In 1951, CIA agent William Colby, based at the CIA station in Stockholm, supported the training of stay-behind armies in neutral Sweden and Finland and in the NATO members Norway and Denmark. In 1953, the police arrested right winger Otto Hallberg and discovered the preparations for the Swedish stay-behind army. Hallberg was set free and charges against him were dropped.[28]

Switzerland

Main article: Projekt-26

In Switzerland, a secret army named P26 was discovered, by coincidence months before Giulio Andreotti’s October 1990 revelations. After the “secret files scandal” (Fichenaffäre), Swiss parliamentaries started investigating the Defense Department in the summer of 1990. According to Felix Würsten of the ETH Zurich, “P26 was not directly involved in the network of NATO’s secret armies but it had close contact to MI6.”[88] Daniele Ganser (ETH Zurich) wrote in the Intelligence and National Security review that “following the discovery of the stay-behind armies across Western Europe in late 1990, Swiss and international security researchers found themselves confronted with two clear-cut questions: Did Switzerland also operate a secret stay-behind army? And if yes, was it part of NATO’s stay-behind network? The answer to the first question is clearly yes… The answer to the second question remains disputed…”[89]

Swiss Major Hans von Dach published in 1958 Der totale Widerstand, Kleinkriegsanleitung für jedermann (“Total Resistance,” Bienne, 1958) concerning guerrilla warfare, a book of 180 pages about passive and active resistance to a foreign invasion, including detailed instructions on sabotage, clandestinity, methods to dissimulate weapons, struggle against police moles, etc.[90]

In 1990, Colonel Herbert Alboth, a former commander of the Swiss secret stay-behind army P26 declared in a confidential letter to the Defence Department that he was willing to reveal “the whole truth”. He was later found in his house, stabbed with his own military bayonet. The detailed parliamentary report on the Swiss secret army was presented to the public on November 17, 1990.[28] According to The Guardian, “P26 was backed by P27, a private foreign intelligence agency funded partly by the government, and by a special unit of Swiss army intelligence which had built up files on nearly 8,000 “suspect persons” including “leftists”, “bill stickers”, “Jehovah’s witnesses“, people with “abnormal tendencies” and anti-nuclear demonstrators. On November 14, the Swiss government hurriedly dissolved P26 — the head of which, it emerged, had been paid £100,000 a year.”[59]

In 1991, a report by Swiss magistrate Pierre Cornu was released by the Swiss defence ministry. It said that P26 was without “political or legal legitimacy”, and described the group’s collaboration with British secret services as “intense”. “Unknown to the Swiss government, British officials signed agreements with the organisation, called P26, to provide training in combat, communications, and sabotage. The latest agreement was signed in 1987… P26 cadres participated regularly in training exercises in Britain… British advisers — possibly from the SAS — visited secret training establishments in Switzerland.” P26 was led by Efrem Cattelan, known to British intelligence.[76]

In a 2005 conference presenting Daniele Ganser’s research on Gladio, Hans Senn, General Chief of Staff of the Swiss Army between 1977 and 1980, explained how he was informed of the existence of a secret organisation in the middle of his term of office. According to him, it already became clear in 1980 in the wake of the Schilling/Bachmann affair that there was also a secret group in Switzerland. But former MP, Helmut Hubacher, President of the Social Democratic Party from 1975 to 1990, declared that although it had been known that “special services” existed within the army, as a politician he never at any time could have known that the secret army P26 was behind this. Hubacher pointed out that the President of the parliamentary investigation into P26 (PUK-EMD), the right-wing politician from Appenzell and member of the Council of States for that Canton, Carlo Schmid, had suffered “like a dog” during the commission’s investigations. Carlo Schmid declared to the press: “I was shocked that something like that is at all possible,” and said to the press he was glad to leave the “conspirational atmosphere” which had weighted upon him like a “black shadow” during the investigations.[91] Hubacher found it especially disturbing that, apart from its official mandate of organizing resistance in case of a Soviet invasion, P26 had also a mandate to become active should the left succeed in achieving a parliamentary majority.[88]

FOIA requests and US State Department’s 2006 communiqué

Three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests have been filed to the CIA, which has rejected them with the Glomar response: “The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request.” One request was filed by the National Security Archive in 1991; another by the Italian Senate commission headed by Senator Giovanni Pellegrino in 1995 concerning Gladio and Aldo Moro‘s murder; the last one in 1996, by Oliver Rathkolb, of Vienna university, for the Austrian government, concerning the secret stay-behind armies after a discovery of an arms-cache.[28]

Furthermore, the US State Department published a communiqué in January 2006 which, while confirming the existence of stay-behind armies, in general, and the presence of the “Gladio” stay-behind unit in Italy, in particular, with the purpose of aiding resistance in the event of Soviet aggression directed Westward, from the Warsaw Pact, dismissed claims of any United States ordered, supported, or authorized skullduggery by stay-behind units. In fact, it claims that, on the contrary, the accusations of US-sponsored “false flag” operations are rehashed former Soviet disinformation based on documents that the Soviets themselves forged; specifically the researchers are alleged to have been influenced by the Westmoreland Field Manual, whose forged nature was confirmed by former KGB operatives, following the end of the Cold War. However since then counter sources from within gladio and the CIA have admitted its authenticity. The alleged Soviet-authored forgery, disseminated in the 1970s, explicitly formulated the need for a “strategy of tension” involving violent attacks blamed on radical left-wing groups in order to convince allied governments of the need for counter-action. It also rejected a Communist Greek journalist’s allegations made in December 2005 (See above).[61]

Politicians on Gladio

Whilst the existence of a “stay-behind” organization such as Gladio was disputed, prior to its confirmation by Giulio Andreotti[citation needed], with some skeptics describing it as a conspiracy theory, several high ranking politicians in NATO countries have made statements appearing to confirm the existence of something like what is described:

  • Former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti (“Gladio had been necessary during the days of the Cold War but, that in view of the collapse of the East Bloc, Italy would suggest to NATO that the organisation was no longer necessary.”)[citation needed]
  • Former French minister of defense Jean-Pierre Chevènement (“a structure did exist, set up at the beginning of the 1950s, to enable communications with a government that might have fled abroad in the event of the country being occupied.”).[citation needed]
  • Former Greek defence minister, Yannis Varvitsiotis (“local commandos and the CIA set up a branch of the network in 1955 to organise guerrilla resistance to any communist invader”)[citation needed]

As noted above, the US has now acknowledged the existence of Operation Gladio.[citation needed]

External links

  • BBC 2 Gladio – 1992 three-part Documentary Video
  • BBC 2 Gladio – 1992 tree part Documentary Video

Books

Films

Gladio in Fiction

A precise analogue of Operation Gladio was described in the 1949 fiction novel “An Affair of State” by Pat Frank.[92] In Frank’s version, U.S. State Dept officers recruit a stay-behind network in Hungary to fight an insurgency against the Soviet Union after the Soviet Union launches an attack on and captures Western Europe.

See also

References

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  79. ^ Un informe oficial italiano implica en el crimen de Atocha al ‘ultr...El País, December 2, 1990 (Spanish)
  80. ^ Suárez afirma que en su etapa de presidente nunca se habló de la re...El País, November 18, 1990 (Spanish)
  81. ^ Calvo Sotelo asegura que España no fue informada, cuando entró en l...El País, November 21, 1990 (Spanish)
  82. ^ Italia vetó la entrada de España en Gladio, según un ex jefe del es...El País, November 17, 1990 (Spanish)
  83. ^ Serra ordena indagar sobre la red Gladio en EspañaEl País, November 16, 1990 (Spanish)
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  85. ^ El secretario de la OTAN elude precisar si España tuvo relación con...El País, November 24, 1990 (Spanish)
  86. ^ Indicios de que la red Gladio utilizó una vieja estación de la NASA...El País, November 26, 1990 (Spanish)
  87. ^ La red secreta de la OTAN operaba en España, según un ex agente belgaEl País, November 14, 1990
  88. a b The Dark Side of the West, Conference “Nato Secret Armies and P26,” ETH Zurich, 2005. Published 10 February 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  89. ^ Ganser, Daniele. “The British Secret Service in Neutral Switzerland: An Unfinished De...“, published by the Intelligence and National Security review, vol.20, n°4, December 2005, pp.553-580 ISSN 0268–4527 print 1743–9019 online.
  90. ^ Major Hans von Dach, 1958. Der totale Widerstand…Total Resistance reed. Paladin Press, 1992 ISBN 978-0-87364-021-3.
  91. ^ “Schwarzer Schatten” (in German). Der Spiegel 50: 194b-200a. 1990-12-10. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13502168.html. Retrieved 2008-10-28. [verification needed]
  92. ^ Pat FrankAn Affair of State. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1949

Bibliography

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