Operation Gladio – part 1: A whirlwind in the shadows of Operation Desert Storm

This article is part of a series called ‘Operation Gladio, the world’s largest terrorist network’, which exposes the role of NATO and Western intelligence agencies in terrorism, assassinations, coup d’états, the international drug trade, psychological warfare and the creation of enemies to legitimise their war on humanity, both at home and abroad. This series documents the emergence and development of Operation Gladio in post-WOII Europe but also uncovers its rebirth and globalisation after the Cold War in which the network aligned itself with Salafi-jihadism – rather than the extreme right – to further NATO’s geopolitical agenda for global hegemony.

“Deception is a state of mind – and the mind of the state.”[1]

James Jesus Angleton, principal Gladio architect and OSS and CIA agent

As is well embedded in collective memory, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. International outrage followed, leading to several UN resolutions and the swift liberation of the tiny Gulf country in early 1991 by the largest temporary military alliance since World War II, led by the United States. A day after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, however, a set of revelations in Europe threatened to shame the world’s biggest and most powerful permanent military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Although these latter findings received some media attention at the time, most people today have no clue what Operation Gladio was, let alone its importance in understanding the phenomenon of false flag terrorism.

A scandal in Italy

In the Years of Lead from the late 1960s to early 1980s, Italy occurred in a state of tension between the pro-American right and the exceptionally popular left. In this climate of political turmoil, a series of terrorist attacks shocked the country and left hundreds dead and injured. Many left-wing militants were convicted of terrorism, but terrorists of the right mostly seemed to escape justice. In 1984, a young ambitious judge, Felice Casson, reopened one of the unresolved cases and quickly bumped into numerous blunders and forgeries regarding the investigation into the Peteano bombing, which had killed three paramilitary police officers in 1972. To his surprise Casson discovered that not the Red Brigades but right-wing groups in collaboration with the military secret service were the perpetrators. From the documents he discovered and the confession of Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who explained that he was supported by a mechanism involving the most important governmental and intelligence institutions, he, as well as many compatriots, deducted that Italy had become victim of state-sponsored terrorism. As a result, Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was pressured into allowing Casson access to the archives of the Italian military secret service, where the latter stumbled upon documents implicating the US and NATO in a secret “stay-behind” army called Gladio.[2]

Forced to take a stance, Prime Minister Andreotti revealed to a parliamentary commission on 3 August 1990 the existence of the Gladio secret security apparatus across Europe linked to NATO. Andreotti promised to deliver a report within 60 days that would provide further details about the NATO-linked secret army. The first version ended up being redacted so that the most sensitive parts, especially regarding the connections to allied international secret services, had been cut.[3] Still, his confession was baffling:

“After the Second World War, the fear of Soviet-expansionism and inferiority of the NATO forces by Cominform lead the nations of Western Europe to envisage a new form of unconventional defence to be created on their territory with the establishment of an occult resistance network to be activated in case of enemy occupation by way of collecting intelligence, sabotage, propaganda and guerrilla. The networks of resistance were organised by Great Britain in France, Holland, Belgium and probably in Denmark and Norway. […] An accord was signed between the American services and SIFAR [Italy’s military intelligence service] related to the organisation and activities of the ‘post-occupation clandestine network,’ commonly called Stay Behind [and code-named] ‘Gladio’. Once the clandestine resistance organisation was established, Italy was called upon to participate, at the invitation of France, in the workings of the CPC (Clandestine Planning Committee) as part of SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) [the central command centre of NATO troops]. [The CPC] was charged with studying the conduit of information gathering activities in case of war, with special emphasis on territories susceptible to enemy occupation. Representatives of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and other NATO countries were already represented in this committee. In 1964, our information service was invited to rejoin the ACC (Allied Clandestine Committee), charged with studying and solving cooperation problems between the different countries. […] Great Britain, France, the United States, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg and West Germany were already members of this committee.”[4]

The report then went on to detail the structure of Gladio, which consisted of agents recruited from the anti-communist and patriotic citizenry that were to “stay behind” in the event of a communist takeover and quickly form a resistance army in liaison to allied NATO countries. The agents were spread over several subdivisions, including informational, sabotage, propaganda, radio-communication and evacuation and escape branches. The secret army did not only exist in the minds of their planners, however, exercises were regularly held and it was well armed. Andreotti revealed that military equipment, including brand-new weapons, was provided by American intelligence and was buried in 139 hiding spots across the country. The report left no doubt in who oversaw Europe’s secret armies, as it concluded that Gladio “was planned by the directives of NATO.”[5]

A shockwave throughout Europe

Andreotti not only exposed a very well-hidden secret of his own government, he had accused many other West European countries to have a secret stay-behind army similar to Gladio, too. Consequently, the scandal rapidly spread throughout Europe, which lead to the discovery of branches of NATO’s secret network all over Europe. It should be noted, however, that the name “Gladio” was officially only referred to in the Italian context, but that it became known as an informal name for the whole operation in 1990.

Giulio Andreotti was pressured into revealing Operation Gladio in 1990 © Reuters

On 30 October, Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou confirmed to the Ta Nea newspaper that he had learnt of a secret NATO structure in Greece in 1984 as well, which he said to have ordered dissolved upon discovery.[6] In November, Der Spiegel reported that the secret troops, code-named “Sheepskin,” were recruited from special forces and reservists of the LOK, a special warfare unit close to NATO and the CIA. Just like in Italy, the left was exceptionally strong in post-war Greece. After its liberation in 1944, the country had descended into a civil war between the Western-backed authoritarian government and a Tito-backed communist insurgency, the latter which was only defeated in 1949 following years of British and American aid and intervention. In its exposé, Der Spiegel hinted that Greece’s stay-behind possibly played a role in the 1967 right-wing military coup, in which the LOK indeed participated, and which resulted in a series of military junta dictatorships that ruled Greece until 1974.[7] Yet, passionate calls for an investigation into the secretive “Sheepskin” and its alleged involvement in the 1967 coup were eventually defeated by the acting conservative government.[8]

In early November, the scandal had spilled into Western Europe. In Germany, the press as well as some parliamentarians had started to ask questions. While the German government contemplated a strategy to answer the negative media attention, television channel RTL revealed in a special report that the German stay behind was in part built by former members of Hitler’s Special Forces SS and other right-wing extremists who had drawn up plans to assassinate leading figures of the oppositional Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the event of a Soviet invasion.[9] The role of former Nazis in setting up a German secret army was most recently confirmed by research into the archives of Germany’s secret service BND conducted by Der Spiegel in 2014.[10] Just like was the case with Operation Paperclip, in which Nazi scientists and engineers escaped justice as they were recruited by American intelligence after the Second World War, the old enemies had become friends in the covert arena by way of perception of a mutual new enemy in the early stages of the Cold War.[11] With the Christian Democrats in power in Germany, scrutiny was mainly exercised by Green and Socialist parliamentarians. Defence expert and parliamentarian of the Socialist SPD Hermann Scheer even likened the secret enterprise to some sort of “Ku Klux Klan Organisation” against democracy.[12] Calls from the SPD for a full-fledged investigation suddenly evaporated, however, when the acting government disclosed that socialist ministers had covered up the secret army during their tenure as well.[13]

In Belgium, public pressure was especially high since the connection between the Italian Gladio and the Years of Lead reminded many of the Brabant massacres during which dozens of people were gunned down near several supermarkets for no apparent reason in the course of the mid-1980s. On 7 November, Defence Minister Guy Coeme confirmed that Belgium also had a secret stay-behind network, the existence of which he only learnt recently in the wake of Andreotti’s revelations. “Furthermore,” he added while referring to the Brabant massacres, “I want to know if there is a possible link between the activities of this secret network and the banditry and terrorism which our country experienced over the last years.” Two days later, a flabbergasted Prime Minister Wilfried Martens nervously confronted the press, saying “I have been Prime Minster for 11 years, but I knew totally nothing about the existence of such a secret network in our country.”[14] In addition to the Defence and Prime Minister, Justice Minster Melchior Wathelet, who was responsible for state security, too, admitted that “I heard about Gladio’s existence for the first time on 9 November.”[15] Clearly, the secret army, which in Belgium as opposed to other countries was divided into a military branch called SDRA VIII and a civilian one named STC/Mob, had escaped any kind of democratic control. To avoid further shame, the Belgian government therefore quickly terminated the operations of the stay-behind, after which parliament launched an investigation into the affair. Further embarrassment came, however, when the special parliamentary committee discovered that a Gladio meeting between officials from several of the European stay-behinds had been held as recently as 23 and 24 October 1990.[16] The meeting was chaired by General Raymond van Calster, chief of Belgium’s military secret service SGR, who two weeks after the meeting had flatly denied that he headed Belgium’s secret army, claiming that “Gladio [is] a pure Italian affair.”[17]

Protest against Gladio in Italy - L'Espresso
Protest in Italy against Operation Gladio © L’Espresso

Eventually, branches of NATO’s secret army were discovered in various forms in 12 member states – France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Norway, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Turkey – as well as in four neutral countries, namely Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. Yet, only the Italian, Belgian and Swiss government launched parliamentary inquiries into the affair, which signals the reluctance and secrecy with which many officials dealt with Gladio in the aftermath of Andreotti’s revelations. In France, for instance, an official had first claimed that its secret army “had long been dissolved,” after which Andreotti declared with some amusement that French officials had taken part in the most recent Gladio meeting of the ACC in October 1990 in Brussels. Similarly, the Portuguese government denied allegations that a Lisbon radio station was linked to Gladio, which was consequently exposed as a lie by a retired general. [18] In Britain, the Minister of Defence even refused to discuss whether a branch of the European secret network existed in his country. It was left to a spokeswoman of his office to simply declare that “I’m afraid we wouldn’t discuss security matters.”[19]

Colonel Herbert Alboth, the former head of the Swiss secret stay-behind army P-26, was more brave. In a confidential letter to the Defence Department on the first day of March, months before Andreotti revealed Gladio’s existence in August, he had declared that, “as an insider,” he could expose “the whole truth.” A month and a half later, he was found dead in his own apartment, stabbed to death with his own military bayonet.[20] In the Netherlands, a more reluctant Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers confirmed in a letter to parliament the existence of the Dutch Gladio but falsely maintained that there “was never any NATO supervision over this organisation.”[21] In fact, Lubbers was even proud that some 30 Ministers had been able to keep the secret. Subsequently, criticism coming from several parliamentarians who warned about the dangers of a secret army devoid of any democratic control were dismissed, and eventually the affair was dealt with behind closed doors. The Turkish government, finally, admitted to a secret NATO army directed by the Special War Department in their geo-strategic country on 3 December but argued that all Gladio agents were good “patriots.” [22] When former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit came out and stated that the Turkish Gladio branch had been involved repeatedly in torture, massacres, assassination attempts and coup d’états, Turkish Defence Minister Safa Giray reportedly said that “Ecevit had better keep his fucking mouth shut!”[23]

The European parliament condemns NATO

By mid-November, the Gladio scandal had reached all corners of Europe, and in almost every country suspicions of involvement of NATO’s secret armies in internal subversion over the previous 40 years were widespread. In that regard, European parliamentarians took to the stage in their session of 22 November to discuss the recent discoveries. While the speakers were split over the legality of the stay-behinds that operated outside the realm of democracy but during the red scare of the Cold War, most agreed that the suspicions regarding the role of stay-behind elements in terrorism and other illegal activities needed to be further investigated.[24] Therefore, the European parliament issued a seven-point resolution in which it appeared to strongly censure NATO’s secret activities:

  1. “Having regard to the revelation by several European governments of the existence for 40 years of a clandestine intelligence and armed operations organization in several Member States of the Community.
  2. Whereas for over 40 years this organization eluded all democratic controls and has been run by the secret services of the states concerned in collaboration with NATO.
  3. Fearing the danger that such clandestine networks may have interfered illegally in the internal political affairs of Member States or may still do so.
  4. Whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by various judicial inquiries.
  5. Whereas these organizations operated and continue to operate completely outside the law since they are not subject to any parliamentary control and frequently those holding the highest government and constitutional posts have claimed to be in the dark as to these matters.
  6. Whereas the various ‘GLADIO’ organizations have at their disposal independent arsenals and military resources which give them an unknown strike potential, thereby jeopardizing the democratic structures of the countries in which they operated or have been operating.
  7. Greatly concerned at the existence of decision-making and operational bodies which are not subject to any form of democratic control and are of a completely clandestine nature at a time when greater Community cooperation in the field of security is a constant subject of discussion.”[25] (emphasis added)

Hence, the European parliament “condemns the clandestine creation of manipulative and operational networks and calls for a full investigation into the nature, structure, aims and all other aspects of these clandestine organizations, any misuse thereof, their use for illegal interference in the internal political affairs of the countries concerned, the problem of terrorism in Europe and the possible collusion of the secret services of Member States or third countries.” It therefore called on the governments of its member states to dismantle their respective secret armies and to launch official inquiries. Finally, the European parliament “protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establishment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence operation network.”[26] But, what was the role of NATO and the Anglo-American intelligence community in these secret armies, and what was the reaction of their representatives in the aftermath of Andreotti’s revelations?

Coordination by NATO and Anglo-American intelligence

After a long silence, NATO categorically denied the allegations of the Italian prime minister concerning the military alliance’s role in Operation Gladio on 5 November 1990. The next day, however, a NATO spokesperson explained that the denial of the previous day had been false, and, setting the stage for how it would deal with the Gladio affair from that moment onwards, refused to answer further questions because NATO never comments on matters of military secrecy.[27] Just like in Britain, the American government, too, did not offer an official explanation. Only an unnamed official quoted by the Washington Post confronted the press, declaring that Gladio was “solely an Italian operation. We have no control over it whatsoever.” Furthermore, he argued, “if there are allegations that the CIA was involved in terrorist activities in Italy, they are absolutely nonsense.”[28] The first public statement from the State Department came a full sixteen years later, in which it finally acknowledged “one of the Cold War’s best-kept secrets until it was revealed in 1990” but dismissed any links between Gladio and terrorism in Europe.[29]

William Colby - Alchetron
In 1978, high-level CIA spy William Colby revealed how he had set up stay-behind armies in Europe © Alchetron

Due to the lack of public comment and rejections of freedom of information (FOIA) requests by NATO, the CIA and MI6, [30] who were being accused by European officials, media and parliamentary inquiries as the headmasters of Gladio, we can only establish their roles through unofficial channels. When questioned about Europe’s secret armies, retired CIA officer Thomas Polgar told the Nation in 1992 that the stay-behind armies were coordinated by “a sort of unconventional warfare planning group linked to NATO.” “Each national service did it with varying degrees of intensity,” he went on to say, “in Italy in the 1970s, [however,] some of the people went a little bit beyond the charter that NATO had put down.”[31] Although there are no declassified NATO files made available so far, it should be noted that Polgar here referred to NATO protocols concerning clandestine resistance networks, which gives credence to the allegations of retired Washington Post journalist Arthur Rowse that “a secret clause in the initial NATO agreement in 1949” pushed by the US required joining member states to “establish a national security authority to fight communism through clandestine citizen cadres.”[32] Moreover, according to the Belgian parliamentary inquiry into NATO’s clandestine army, there operated a number of “’parallel’ networks, usually foreign organisations, that were not always known to the official [domestic] intelligence agencies” throughout Europe.[33]

In 1978 already, high-level CIA spy William Colby, too, had revealed “stay-behind nets” coordinated by NATO and the CIA in his memoirs. Colby himself was charged with setting up clandestine armies in Scandinavia in his early career, but he also elaborated on the structure of the entire secret apparatus. In some countries, the stay-behinds “had to be coordinated with NATO’s plans” while the CIA’s role was limited to supply of equipment, Colby disclosed, “while in other set of countries, CIA would have to do the job alone or with, at best, ‘unofficial’ local help.” This was because, according to Colby, “the politics of those governments barred them from collaborating with NATO.”[34] Former head of the CIA Admiral Stansfield Turner, on the other hand, was less forthcoming. At the end of an Italian TV interview conducted at the height of the 1990 media storm he was pressed to comment on the affair as a sign of respect to the hundreds of victims of Italy’s Years of Lead. Instead of complying, Turner ripped off his microphone and shouted: “I said no questions about Gladio!”[35]

Sources cited in non-English European media outlets, too, confirmed NATO’s coordinative role. The Spanish daily El País reported that NATO Secretary General Manfred Wörner had held a meeting in Brussels on 7 November 1990 with the ambassadors of the sixteen member countries in which he admitted that SHAPE (the alliance’s military headquarters) coordinated the actions of Gladio.[36] The German press further elaborated on SHAPE as the location of central coordination, stressing that Gladio had been under the dominance of the US during the entirety of the Cold War. “The missions of the secret armies are coordinated by the ‘Special Forces Section’ in a strictly secured wing of NATO headquarters in Casteau [SHAPE],” Der Spiegel reported. “A grey steel door, which opens as a bank vault only through a specific number combination, prohibits trespassing to the unauthorised. […] The Special Forces Section is directed by British or American officers exclusively and most papers in circulation carry the stamp ‘American eyes only’.”[37]

In the Cold War logic, the use of secret warfare is of course no surprise. In an attempt to legalise covert action around the world, National Security Council directive 10/2 of 1948 described the CIA’s covert action as all activities

“which are conducted or sponsored by this Government against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and executed that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons and that if uncovered the US Government can plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them [hence the term ‘plausible deniability’]. Specifically, such operations shall include any covert activities related to: 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 liberations groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”[38]

Looking beyond the justifying rhetoric, these illegal subversive activities in reality materialised throughout the Cold War in the CIA’s involvement in assassinations, coup d’états, proxy wars and other activities we would otherwise deem “terrorist” in nature from Chile, Guatemala and Cuba to Congo, South Africa, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Cambodia, to name just a few. The exposure of Operation Gladio reveals that such activities were not limited to the so-called “Third World,” but that they occurred in the European countries most loyal to the Anglo-American establishment as well.


Swiss historian Daniele Ganser, who wrote his PhD about Operation Gladio, detailed in his 2005 book NATO’s secret armies how secret stay-behind armies were set up throughout Europe in the early Cold War by the MI6 and CIA (and its predecessor OSS) in collaboration with allied secret services as well as non-governmental organisations of all sorts (from media outlets to churches to right-wing social movements to masonic lodges) in host countries, while the special force units of the British and American armies, respectively the SAS and the Green Berets, contributed in training gladiators throughout the continent.[39] In addition, this article has drawn a link to NATO, which oversaw Gladio activity in its SHAPE headquarters located in Belgium.

As there were so many actors involved, whose participation differed from country to country, I would argue that Operation Gladio was not a unilateral conspiracy with a shadowy figure or group exercising absolute control on top. It is clear that a myriad of powerful persons and organisations were able to influence its activities in one form or another. Moreover, many stay-behind structures, such as the one in Turkey or additional parallel secret networks discovered across Europe, were not included in the official international bodies of the CPC and ACC. More important, in my opinion, is that it was possible to create and organise this immense illegal structure outside any kind of democratic control. Furthermore, because of the widely-shared believe in a sincere danger of a communist takeover, from the recruited local agents and secret service members to the CIA, MI6 and NATO agents puppeteering them, it succeeded in being held secret for over 40 years. The fact that it was covered up after limited media attention in the early 1990s also shows how much the mainstream press is controlled, today as well as at the time of Andreotti’s revelations.

This point is essential to understand when we move into the darker segment of the Gladio operation. As was hinted throughout this article, elements within this pan-European secret organisation stand accused of plotting coup d’états, assassinations and terrorism, not just in Italy but throughout Europe and Turkey. In my opinion, the genuine believe in a communist triumph of participants at all levels of this occult organisation made possible the initial function of Gladio as a clandestine resistance network to be activated in case of Soviet occupation. At the same time, however, the loyalty of Gladio operatives provided a smoke screen for employing the most extremist elements in orchestrating false flag terrorism to tackle the power of the left and reinforce the police state. Thus, the first function enabled Gladio’s second, more sinister function, in which it became a vehicle through which heinous acts could be carried out and covered up in order to keep the European population under control. As such, Gladio arguably became the world’s largest terrorist network in the course of the Cold War. This, rather than a deep analysis of the official Gladio structures, will be the subject of the articles of this series. Below are its titles (and links once they are published):

Part 1: A whirlwind in the shadows of Operation Desert Storm

Part 2: Cold War Italy – blueprint for a true shadow government

Part 3: False flag terrorism and the strategy of tension in Italy

Part 4: The Belgian Brabant Butchers

Part 5: From corporate admirers to the Oktoberfest massacre – (Neo-)Nazis and their frenemies

Part 6: Drugs as black budget

Part 7: The extraordinary life of Abdullah Catli – a leap into Operation Gladio B

Part 8: Gladio B, Fehtullah Gülen and the battle for Eurasia

Part 9: Al-CIA-da and I-CIA-SIS

Part 10: Conclusion – towards an understanding of the powers-that-shouldn’t-be


[1] Angleton told this in retirement to Edward Jay Epstein, an investigative reporter who met him on several occasions for his research into the CIA and KGB: Edward Jay Epstein, Deception: the invisible war between the KGB and the CIA (New York: EJE Publication, 2014), 5.

[2] Daniele Ganser, NATO’s secret armies: Operation Gladio and terrorism in Western Europe (London/New York: Frank Cass, 2005), 3-9, available online at http://libcom.org/files/NATOs_secret_armies.pdf; Philip Willan, Puppetmasters: the political use of terrorism in Italy (London: Constable, 1991), 137-47.

[3] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 9-12.

[4] Italian Department of Defence, SID paralello – Operzatione Gladio, via French translation “Rapport transmis par Andreotti à la commission Stragi,” quoted in Tom Secker, ed., Operation Gladio: document collection (Online free PDF), Investigating the Terror, 161-2, http://investigatingtheterror.com/documents/files/gladiodocs.pdf. Translation from French to English by the author.

[5] Quoted in Secker, ed., Operation Gladio, 162-7.

[6] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 15.

[7] “Spinne unterm Schafsfell: in Südeuropa war die guerillatruppe besonders aktiv, auch bei den Militärsputschen in Griechenland und der Türkei?”, Der Spiegel, 26.11.1990, http://spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13502661.html.

[8] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 15-6.

[9] Richard Norton-Taylor and David Gow, “Secret italian unit ‘trained in Britain’,” Guardian, 17.11.1990, reprinted on Cambridge Clarion, http://cambridgeclarion.org/press_cuttings/gladio.terrorism.inquiry_graun_17nov1990.html.

[10] Klaus Wiegrefe, “Nazi veterans created illegal army,” Der Spiegel, 14.05.2014, http://spiegel.de/international/germany/wehrmacht-veterans-created-a-secret-army-in-west-germany-a-969015.html.

[11] “CIA admits employing Nazis,” BBC, 28.04.2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1301306.stm; US National Archives, Records of Secrety of Defense (RG 330): Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, http://archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-330-defense-secretary.

[12] “Das blutige schwert der CIA,” Der Spiegel, 19.11.1990, http://spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13501822.html.

[13] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 209-11.

[14] Jan Willems, “De chef van de militaire veiligheid ontkent,” in Dossier Gladio, ed. Jan Willems (Berchem: EPO, 1991), 13. Translation from Dutch to English by the author.

[15] Jan Willems, “Een minister ontdekt Gladio,” in Dossier Gladio, ed. Jan Willems (Berchem: EPO, 1991), 23. Translation from Dutch to English by the author.

[16] De heren Erdman en Hasquin, Parlmentair onderzoek met betrekking tot het bestaan in België van een clandestien internationaal inlichtingennetwerk (Belgische Senate, session 1990-1991, 1 October 1991), 21, available online at http://senate.be/lexdocs/S0523/S05231297.pdf.

[17] Jan Willems, “De chef van de militaire veiligheid ontkent,” in Dossier Gladio, 14.

[18] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 17-9.

[19] “Nato’s secret network ‘also operated in France’,” Guardian, 14.11.1990, 6, reprinted on Cambridge Clarion, http://cambridgeclarion.org/press_cuttings/nato.net.france_graun_14nov1990.html.

[20] Daniele Ganser, “The British secret service in neutral Switzerland: An unfinished debate on NATO’s Cold War stay-behind armies,” Intelligence and National Security 20, no. 4 (2005), 562, available at http://danieleganser.ch/assets/files/Inhalte/Publikationen/Fachzeitschriften/PublishedVersionGanserBritishinSwitzerlandStay-BehindArmies.pdf.

[21] Raf Casert, “Secret Gladio network planted weapons caches in NATO countries,” Associated Press, 13.11.1990, http://apnewsarchive.com/1990/Secret-Gladio-Network-Planted-Weapons-Caches-in-NATO-Countries/id-4a4d84723deb2ba38917a68a41c28628.

[22] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 18-20.

[23] Richard Cottrell, Gladio: NATO’s dagger at the heart of Europe: the Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia terror axis (San Diego: Progressive Press, 2015), 55.

[24] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 20-2.

[25] European parliament, “Resolution on the Gladio affair,” in Minutes of proceedings of the sitting of Thursday, 22 November 1990 (European parliament: Official Journal of the European Communities, no. C 324/186, 24.12.1990), 16-7, available online at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:JOC_1990_324_R_0186_01&from=EN.

[26] European parliament, “Resolution on the Gladio affair.”

[27] “Secret warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO’s stay-behind armies,” Global Research, 03.12.2012, http://globalresearch.ca/secret-warfare-operation-gladio-and-natos-stay-behind-armies/5303061; Willan, Puppetmasters, 146-7.

[28] Clare Pedrick, “CIA organized secret army in Western Europe,” Washington Post, 14.11.1990, http://washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/11/14/cia-organized-secret-army-in-western-europe/e0305101-97b9-4494-bc18-d89f42497d85/?utm_term=.41f38d9974c5.

[29] US Department of State, Misinformation about ‘Gladio/Stay Behind’ networks resurfaces: thirty year-old forgery cited by researchers (Washington, DC: Bureau of International Information Programs, 20.01.2006), available at http://scribd.com/document/114855262/Misinformation-About-Gladio-Stay-Behind-Networks-Resurfaces. The author of the statement pointed to the citation by several researchers of a document accredited as a US Army field manual that was possibly forged by the Soviets as if that was the only source or reference these researchers used to support their hypothesis that Gladio was linked to right-wing terrorism.

[30] Swiss academic Daniele Ganser wrote his PhD on Gladio, which culminated in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and terrorism in Europe, certainly one of the most valuable sources in understanding the affair. As he spent years researching the topic, he filed numerous FOIA requests with NATO, the CIA and MI6. None complied to his requests, nor to the requests of the Washington-based research institute National Security Archive as well as Italian and Austrian government investigators: Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 33-7.

[31] Daniele Ganser, “The ‘strategy of tension’ in the Cold War period,” Journal of 9/11 studies 39 (May 2014), 8-9, available at http://titaniclifeboatacademy.org/images/documents/Strategy_of_Tension.pdf.

[32] Arthur Rowse, “Gladio: the secret US war to subvert Italian democracy,” Covert Action Quarterly 49 (Summer 1994), available at http://textfiles.com/conspiracy/italy.txt.

[33] Mr. Erdman and Mr. Hasquin, Parlementair onderzoek met betrekking tot het bestaan in België van een clandestien internationaal inlichtingennetwerk (Belgian Senate: session 1990-1991, 01.10.1991), 83, available at http://senate.be/lexdocs/S0523/S05231297.pdf.

[34] William Colby and Peter Forbath, Honorable men: my life in the CIA (New York: Simon & Schutser, 1978), chapter 3, quoted from excerpt cited in “Operation Gladio” entry of Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio#cite_note-colby-45.

[35] Charles Richards, “Gladio is still opening wounds,” Independent, 01.12.1990, reprinted on Cambridge Clarion, http://cambridgeclarion.org/press_cuttings/gladio.parliamentary.committee_indep_1dec1990.html.

[36] “Wörner explica que el mando military de la OTAN coordinó la red Gladio,” El País, 21.11.1990, http://elpais.com/diario/1990/11/21/portada/659142001_850215.html; “Gladio, un misterio de la Guerra fría,” Al País, 26.11.1990, http://elpais.com/diario/1990/11/26/internacional/659574020_850215.html.

[37] “Das blutige Schwert der CIA,” Der Spiegel, 19.11.1990, http://spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13501822.html.

[38] Quoted in Michael Warner, “The CIA’s office of policy coordination: from NSC 10/2 to NSC 68,” International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 2 (1998).

[39] Ganser, NATO’s secret armies, 38-62; but in more detail throughout the rest of the book.


  1. Hi Bas,

    Dank voor je artikelen. Hard gewerkt, zie ik. Heb inmiddels ook deel 2 gelezen en zie uit naar deel 3.

    Paar dingen waar je misschien iets aan hebt:

    In deel 1 heb je een foto verwerkt van Toni Servillo, de acteur die Andreotti speelt in de uitstekende film Il Divo . Ook zo’n prima film is The Baader Meinhof Complex . Al moet je met films vaak oppassen dat het geen white wash is, zoals bijvoorbeeld met American Made .

    Je spreekt in deel 2 van ‘secret services’ en daarmee bedoel je waarschijnlijk intelligence services. De Secret Service is de bodyguard van de Amerikaanse president.

    Het helpt je denk ik meer hits te krijgen als je bij ieder artikel linkt naar de andere delen, zodat die makkelijk zijn te vinden.

    Interessant wat je schrijft over Moretti en Gradioli.

    Hoor je ook bij deze club? https://www.facebook.com/geopolitiek.instituut/

    Succes en groet, Daan



    1. Hey Daan

      Merci voor je feedback!

      De foto in deel 1 heb ik aangepast. Slordig van me 🙂
      Voor zover ik lees, wordt secret service in de Europese context wel meestal vermengd met intelligence agency, niet?

      Nee, wat is de club voor iets?



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