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Post NATO's Stay-Behind Armies: The Gladio
Created by John Eipper on 09/20/21 2:33 AM

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NATO's Stay-Behind Armies: The Gladio (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 09/20/21 2:33 am)

Our esteemed moderator asked for more information on the Gladio, the "stay-behind" force organized in Italy to combat a potential Soviet occupation.

Immediately after the surrender of the forces of the RSI and of the Third Reich, Northern Italy for a short time was left in the hands of the partisans, mostly communists, with the massacre of thousands of real or supposed Fascists. Then the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (note Occupied and not Liberated) was in charge until 31 December 1945.

Theoretically, all the partisans were supposed to turn in their weapons. But not all weapons were delivered by the Communists.  Many were hidden for the "second ondata" (second wave), when Communism would take over and Italy would become one more Soviet republic under Father Stalin. I still remember very well my Red neighbors talking (menacingly) about such a radiant future.  Of course this would involve the gallows for priests, the bourgeoisie, as well as fascists and their supporters.

Catholic groups and survivors of the RSI organized to fight back, especially for the election of 1948 when the Reds were convinced of victory one way or another. But by that time the Americans had entered the camp, supplying money to the Christian Democrats as well as to the anti-communist groups. With the founding of NATO in 1949, the stay-behind structure was put in place.

Unfortunately, the CIA maintained its old connections with the Mafia, going back to the preparation for the landing in Sicily and practically dictated to the Italian Gladio what to do, including dirty business even when not in the interests of Italy.

For a long period in Italy, we had a small-scale civil war between the Italian state and extremist red groups.  Also some right-wing groups emerged, but for a long time the lay-democratic-antifascist media and judiciary system tried to pin all terrorist acts on the latter.

The Red Brigades were founded by old WWII partisans, but their members were mostly young people. During that period Italy was almost a no-man's land where many foreign secret services were committing crimes, from Mossad (one small airplane exploded in retaliation for a favor to the Palestinians), Palestinian extremists, various services from the Soviet empire, and of course the dominant CIA, which for sure succeeded in infiltrating the Red Brigades. The following is taken as proof of it by many:The new leader of the DC, the catto-communist Aldo Moro wanted to form a government in coalition with the Communist party. He had already been warned in 1974 by Henry Kissinger. "If you do not change your line, you will dearly pay for it."  In March 1978 on the day that he was supposed to announce his new alliance with the Reds, he was kidnapped by the Red Brigades and then killed. His project was by then dead. See the books Lei la pagherà cara (You will dearly pay) and Friendly Fire: The Moro Kidnapping as False Flag Arranged by the US.

The Italian state succeeded in eliminating most of the extremist Left as well as any fascist revival, but the interference of the CIA left a nation destroyed, more spiritually than materially, as the interests of the CIA quite often were against the sound interests of the Italian nation.

On 22 November 1990, the European Parliament approved a resolution condemning the existence of the stay-behind Gladio organization and requested an investigation. This action followed the speech of Italian PM Giulio Andreotti on 2 August 1990, in which he acknowledged the existence of such a secret paramilitary force in Europe. Practically only Italy and Belgium investigated Gladio.

The most detailed book on Gladio is by the Swiss scholar Daniele Ganser: NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe.

Personally, I found the book rather biased, as he does not place the birth of Gladio and all its actions in the appropriate historical context. Personally, I do not appreciate his appraisal of Italian Prince Valerio Borghese. Borghese was a great hero both in the kingdom of Italy and then in the RSI. Even if he was only a military man and not a fascist, he refused the surrender and betrayal of 9 September 1943 and organized his autonomous powerful force as an ally of the Third Reich.  He never was at the service of the latter but stayed within the RSI. Ganser even seems to regret that Borghese was saved from the partisans' gallows by his former enemy and admirer (what is wrong with admiring an enemy if he deserves it?) Admiral Ellery Stone with the help of the great OSS man James Angleton.

JE comments:  The Wikipedia entry on Gladio states that similar organizations existed in almost all the NATO states, but Italy's Gladio came into use as the generic for them all.  The biggest problem with paramilitary forces is having armed and trained operatives with nothing to do.  The vacuum tends to get filled with all kinds of mischief.

What is the current state of scholarship on the Moro kidnapping-murder?  I have heard versions that the Italian government (with NATO and CIA complicity) resolved to "sacrifice" Moro (i.e., allow the Red Brigades to kill him), but it's a stretch to call the whole thing a false-flag conspiracy.  Nonetheless, few in Italy believe the official accounts.  Will we ever know the full story?  Probably not.


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