Friday, August 16, 2013

Gladio: NATO's shadow state (I)

When Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said that the attackers of September 9th 2001 were "America's chicken coming home to roost" he was nailing it. However the chicken are not, as he implied, bearded Islamists but rather Christian right-wing extremists who make up the real shadow government in Europe, that overseas province of the USA, and now also in the homeland as well. 

Daniele Ganser has written for Voltaire Network a series of articles in Spanish (most also available in French) on the "stay-behind" network of NATO known popularly as Gladio, it's Italian name. 

The work is almost monumental but I will try to synthesize here and in future articles the most essential of it, because it is something that we must all know about, surely more important than electoral politics and the like.

The first article deals with the best known Gladio network and the only properly deserving that name: the Italian one. 

Bologna station after the NATO attack
Between 1969 and 1987, the so-called years of lead, several terrorist massacres against civilians took place in Italy, inspiring fear and serving as pretext to persecute the communists, who were blamed for the attacks (just as they were blamed for the Reichstag fire by the Nazis). Not just the Brigate Rosse were persecuted until their annihilation but many many intellectuals and activists who had no part in armed struggle were as well.

Italy had the belated luck that a judge, Felice Cassone, eventually began investigating the many issues surrounding all these massacres and political attacks. As it became known in the trial, almost 15,000 acts of political violence shattered Italy between those dates, many of them being brutal indiscriminate attacks in which 491 people were killed and 1181 injured.

Cassone indicted one man, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, a fascist member of the secret organization Ordine Nuovo (New Order), who confessed that he enjoyed total protection by a whole well-positioned network in Italy as in other countries.

In the trials, General Giandelio Maletti, former chief of the Italian counter-espionage, declared that not just nearly all the Italian state was involved in Gladio but that every single attack was approved by the White House and the CIA. In his own words:
The CIA, following the orders of their government, wanted to forge an Italian Nationalism able to counter what they considered a slide to the Left and, with that goal, they could use far-right terrorism. (...) One was under the impression that the Americans were willing to do anything to impede that Italy leaned to the Left. (...) Don't forget that it was Nixon who was the head of the government and Nixon was not any common guy, he was a very smart politician but a man of very unorthodox methods. 

In 1988 the Italian Senate created a commission to investigate the matter. It was a difficult process, as witnesses did not want to speak, documents were destroyed and the Right sabotaged the investigation all they could. However in 1990 Gladio was confirmed as a very real thing. 

However the conscience of this terrorist network existed since long before. In 1974, another judge, Giovanni Tamburino, brought General Vito Miceli, commander of the SID (military secret service, later SISMI) to trial, accused of creating a secret organization that gathered civilians and officers alike, whose goal was to stir an armed insurrection in order to illegally modify the Constitution and the composition of the government.

Miceli, who had also been chief of NATO's Security Bureau, declared in anger:
Did I have a super-SID under my command? Of course! But I did not organize it myself in order to stage a coup, I merely obeyed the orders of the USA and NATO!
Giulio Andreotti
Sadly Miceli got away on bail and the network remained poorly known until the revelations of quasi-permanent Prime Minister Andreotti in 1990, who acted only on demand of the Senate and in a climate of many investigations, which even put the very godfather of Italian politics in jail for some time. It was the only occasion in which Gladio was revealed in full.

Andreotti edited his first written declaration. However Senator Gualtieri, President of the Commission, had made copies of the original version. When compared, it became obvious that Andreotti had edited all the references to international connections and the existence of Gladio in other states. 

It was such a poor trick that in his final version Andreotti admitted that Gladio was a network extending through all NATO, which in Italy was originally agreed between the CIA and the local secret services as a "stay behind" network against possible Soviet invasion. 

This cooperation was structured within NATO's Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), founded in 1959, which was part of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). In 1964 the Italian secret services got incorporated also to the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC). 

However Andreotti's report was in some contradiction with the declarations of Vinciguerra in the sense that the veteran politician claimed that Gladio was not involved in the terrorist attacks. He also declared that every single Prime Minister was informed of the existence of the stay-behind network, causing major embarrassment to the other Prime Ministers of the First Republic. Only the then President Francesco Cossiga acknowledged the fact, declaring his "pride" for contributing to its creation in the 1950s and to be able to keep such a secret for so long. 

Subsequent political turbulence forced his resignation in 1992.

Meanwhile Andreotti had confirmed in public audience that Gladio was a NATO structure and that it existed also in other member states, mentioning by name Germany, Greece, Denmark, Belgium and even France.

The Senate Commission concluded that:
Those massacres, those bombings, those military operations were organized, instigated or supported by people who worked for the Italian institutions and, as was discovered more recently, by individuals linked to the US intelligence structures.
Those are the "chickens" who came back "home to roost". Let's not forget that G.W. Bush' administration was almost exactly that of Nixon.

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