Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Puzzling Story of NATO's Secret Armies During the Cold War: Just What Were They Up to?

The Puzzling Story of NATO's Secret Armies During the Cold War: Just What Were They Up to? This essay is by Daniele Ganser and it appears at the History News Network.

From the site:

After the Cold War had ended, then Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed to the Italian Senate in August 1990 that Italy had had a secret stay-behind army, codenamed Gladio – the sword. A document dated 1 June 1959 from the Italian military secret service, SIFAR, revealed that SIFAR had been running the secret army with the support of NATO and in close collaboration with the US secret service, the CIA. Suggesting that the secret army might have linked up with right-wing organizations such as Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale to engage in domestic terror, the Italian Senate, amid public protests, decided in 1990 that Gladio was beyond democratic control and therefore had to be closed down.

During the 1990s, research into stay-behind armies progressed only very slowly, due to very limited access to primary documents. It was revealed, however, that stay-behind armies covered all of Western Europe and operated under different code names, such as Gladio in Italy, Absalon in Denmark, P26 in Switzerland, ROC in Norway, I&O in the Netherlands, and SDRA8 in Belgium. The so-called Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), linked to NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), coordinated the stay-behind networks on an international level. The last confirmed ACC meeting took place on 24 October 1990 in Brussels, chaired by the Belgian military secret service, the SGR.

According to the SIFAR documen of 1959 the secret stay-behind armies served a dual purpose during the Cold War: They were to prepare for a communist Soviet invasion and occupation of Western Europe, and – also in the absence of an invasion – for an “emergency situation.” The first purpose was clear: If there had been a Soviet invasion, the secret anti-communist armies would have operated behind enemy lines, strengthening and setting up local resistance movements in enemy held territory, evacuating pilots who had been shot down, and sabotaging supply lines and production centers of the occupation forces.

1 comment:

Albert said...

It is reputed that the American 'militias' also owe their existance to Pentagon plans in case of a Soviet take over of the U.S. Persons, in the militias, would be the nucleus of a resistance against communist rule. Persons that already had the network ready to go. Such is said.

Bert.