Wednesday, 6 October 2010

CASE 102 - Gladio network - "The stay behind network"

Gladio network - "The stay behind network" or you could say, the UN's and NATO's private army

When on the morning of 17 June 1982, the body of Roberto Calvi was found hanging beneath London's Blackfriars bridge, it was to speed a process that prised open a series of events spanning four decades. The circumstances of Calvi's death led knowledgeable observers to darkly whisper of a Masonic ritual slaying. With his hands tied behind his back and a brick thrust into his coat pocket, Calvi had been strangled, apparently by the rope that had been noosed around his neck. Moreover, the location itself was believed to be symbolic. Blackfriars bridge sits astride the border that connects the Masonically named "Square Mile" of the City of London to the rest of the Capital city. The initial inquest into his death returned a verdict of suicide. Appealing against what they believed to be prejudice on the part of the Coroner - and suspicious of the Masonic affiliations of the City police - Calvi's family called for a second, more thorough inquest, which belatedly returned an open verdict. Meanwhile, Banco Ambrosiano, Calvi's massive, privately-owned bank, collapsed on the news of his death, revealing a huge "black hole" in the balance sheet amounting to $1.3 billion. A large proportion of the missing money was later located in accounts owned by the Vatican bank. The connections that unfolded in the wake of the Calvi "affair" were to link Masons with Mafiosi, Monks with Murder and Spies with wanted Nazi war criminals.

World War Two had barely ground to a final halt when, in 1947, Allied strategists set about planning for World War Three. Even as British and US intelligence officials scoured Europe seeking to apprehend Nazi's wanted on war crimes charges, other more secretive US and British intelligence units were actively engaged in helping those same Nazi's to escape. Secretly granted immunity these and thousands of other battle hardened Nazi soldiers were to form the fighting nucleus of a top secret Allied contingency group conceived by the first Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles. Loosely known as operation "Stay Behind," the idea was to build a Europe wide secret network of anti communist guerrillas who would fight behind the lines in the event of a Soviet invasion. The plan was later codified under the umbrella of the Clandestine Co-ordinating Committee of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the military arm of NATO.

US planners worried over the growing influence of Italy's large and popular communist party, established Operation "Gladio" in 1956. The name derived from the short sword used by Roman legionnaires 2000 years earlier, and was almost certainly drawn from the crest of SHAPE which features two swords arranged in an "A" shape. The Gladio network was operated by the secret services and initially funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency. 622 people were recruited and trained by US and British specialists in Sardinia. It is believed that up to 15,000 members were ultimately recruited to the Gladio network. By 1972, with the prospect of a Soviet invasion receding, a decision was taken to "make a pre-emptive attack" on the Italian communist party - who had polled 27% in that year's election - and who would go on to increase their vote to 35% just four years later. There immediately followed a series of bomb outrages signalling the beginning of a "strategy of tension," designed to shift Italian politics sharply to the right. In April 1972 a Fascist bomb attack killed three carabinieri. In November 1973, an Argo 16 aircraft was destroyed in a mid-air explosion.

Covert Political Destablisation in Britain

Britain's "Stay Behind" unit was modified after the war, for a "secondary use." This was to combat "the takeover of civil government by militant leftwing groups." The network was operated by Britain's intelligence services and selected members of the armed forces. Rumours persist that Harold Wilson's Labour government was the target of a Gladio type campaign not dissimilar to that of Italy. Wilson's surprise resignation has been credited to a dirty tricks campaign operated by British intelligence at the behest of the US. Known as operation "Clockwork Orange" Army psyops personnel began "fabricating" evidence that showed that senior members of the Wilson Cabinet, including the Prime Minister himself, were Soviet dupes. Waiting in the wings were senior military and other rightwing figures alleged to be planning a military style "Coup D'Etat" in the event that the Labour government won the forthcoming election But if the Gladio network was the armed force, the secret Masonic lodge "Propaganda Due" (P2) was the Elitist "shadow government" tasked with directing them. Adhering to a right wing ideology bordering on fascism, P2 was headed by Licio Gelli - known as the "Puppet-master." During the war Gelli had been a member of Mussolini's notorious "Black shirts," and later acted as liaison officer to the Hermann Goering SS division. By 1974 P2 had in excess of 1000 members comprising a "who's who" of Italian political, military and economic power. Members included four Cabinet ministers, three intelligence chiefs, 160 senior military officers, 48 MPs, the Army Chief of Staff, as well as top diplomats, bankers, industrialists and media publishers. It was also during 1974 that Gelli met secretly with Alexander Haig. Formerly, the NATO Supreme Commander, Haig had meanwhile become President Nixon's White House Chief of Staff. The secret meeting was held in the US Embassy in Rome. Receiving the blessing of Henry Kissinger, the US National Security Adviser, Gelli left the meeting with a promise of continued financial support for the Gladio network and it's plan for the "internal subversion." of Italian political life. As welcome as this was, Gelli required additional funds to support P2 and operation Gladio.

He turned to P2 member Roberto Calvi, Chairman of Banco Ambrosiano - the largest non-state owned bank in Italy. Calvi began to illegally siphon money from his bank, using the Vatican bank - the Istituto per de Religione (IOR) to launder it. Almost certainly, Gelli had a hold over Calvi. Earlier, in 1967, the former head of the Italian Secret Service had joined P2 and brought with him 150,000 sensitive dossiers that had been compiled on highly placed individuals of Italian society.

Whether as a result of blackmail or political ideology, Calvi continued to funnel a vast amount of funds to Gelli and P2, bankrupting his bank in the process. Meanwhile, other events were to occur that shocked not only Italy but the entire world. In early 1978, Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped and later assassinated by the so called "Red brigades" - a revolutionary pro Soviet group. Evidence now exists that shows Moro's murder was orchestrated by P2, and that both the "Red" and "Black" brigades were heavily penetrated by US intelligence - who are credited with "running" them.

Europe's "Stay Behind" Units

Italy was not alone in having covert "stay behind" units in operation. The operation encompassed all of western Europe. In France the unit was called "Glaive" - again named after a Gladiatorial sword. Austria's unit was named "Schwert," also meaning sword. In Turkey the unit was named "Red Sheepskin" and in Greece "Sheepskin." Sweden's unit was called "Sveaborg." In Switzerland it went by the title P26. Other units in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and Holland remain unnamed. Not least, the United Kingdom's unit was simply known as "Stay Behind."The means of escape were the Vatican run "Ratlines." Operated with the knowledge and blessing of highly placed US and British government officials, the Ratlines guided 30,000 wanted Nazi's to sanctuary. Safe haven locations included the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the favourite bolt hole of them all: South America. Those who reached safety in this manner read like a "Who's Who" of the most wanted Nazi war criminals. Klaus Barbie, the cruel Gestapo officer known as the "Butcher of Lyons;" Franz Stangl, Commandant of the notorious Treblinka extermination camp; Gustav Wagner Commandant of Sorbibor extermination camp; Alois Brunner, a brutal official in the Jewish deportation programme. Of the most famous to escape along the ratlines were Adolf Eichmann, the chief architect of the "Holoucast" and Dr Joseph Mengele, the "White Angel" of Auschwitz concentration camp. Not least was Deputy Fuhrer Martin Bormann. Incredibly, an entire Waffen SS division - the notorious "Galician Division" - consisting of 8000 men were smuggled to England and given "free settler" status.

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