Gladio: NATO’s Arm of Terror

                 NATO’s  policy  of  killing  European  civilians

Tony Gosling tells how Ganser’s new book on ‘Gladio’ provides ample evidence of systematic state murder of European civilians for political ends.

      The BBC documentary maker, Allan Frankovich, made three, hour-long programmes about ‘Gladio’, a secret pan-European network of special forces (1). Gladio was controlled by NATO's Clandestine Planning Committee attached to Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Powers in Europe. It was appropriate that the documentaries should be made by the BBC, since Britain's MI6 and SAS were key movers and trainers, with the CIA, in the Gladio operation.

        Frankovich died unexpectedly on 17th April 1997 inside the customs hall at Houston airport, of a ‘heart attack.’. According to friends, he had documents in his briefcase showing that the CIA was behind the bombing of Pan AM flight 103. For 'On Company Business' Frankovich won the international critics’ award for best documentary at 1980 Berlin film festival. Subject: CIA corruption.

         But, revelations about the ‘Gladiators’ he was investigating continued. Ganser’s book links Ex-SS Nazis to NATO and the most ruthless right wing political extremists in Europe. It paints a picture of a western military establishment deeply infiltrated by neo-Nazis who blame their political massacres on the left and appear to act with impunity. It is a real bombshell and a milestone, and depicts a catalogue of institutionalised (NATO) domestic and European state terrorism running back to the 1950's. It tells in detail how many Baader-Meinhof, ETA, Red Brigade and IRA 'extreme left' bombs were planted by NATO Special forces, often in collaboration with right-wing extremists. False-flag mayhem to excuse clamp-downs on left political movements. The ruthlessness of the killings was used to dissuade investigation, the horror used as a defence by the perpetrators.


Building ‘Gladio’

The CIA and the British secret service MI6, in collaboration with the military alliance NATO and European military secret services, set up a network of clandestine anti-communist armies in Western Europe after World War II. The secret soldiers were trained on remote islands in the Mediterranean and in unorthodox warfare centres in England and in the United States by the Green Berets and SAS Special Forces.

The network was armed with explosives, machine guns and high-tech communication equipment hidden in underground bunkers and secret arms caches in forests and mountain meadows. In some countries the secret army linked up with right-wing terrorist who in a secret war engaged in political manipulation, harassment of left wing parties, massacres, coups d'etat and torture.

Codenamed "Gladio" ('the sword'), in 1990 the Italian secret army was exposed by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to the Italian Senate, whereupon the press spoke of "The best kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II" (Observer, 18. November 1990) and observed that "The story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller." (The Times, November 19, 1990). (2)

Ever since, so-called 'stay-behind' armies of NATO have also been discovered in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Turkey. They were internationally co-ordinated by the Pentagon and NATO and had their last known meeting in the NATO-linked Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in October 1990.


Extreme Right

     "On the morning of August 2, 1980, a massive bomb exploded in the waiting room of the central train station in Bologna, killing 81 people and injuring 200 others. General Santorito, the chief of Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI testified in the wake of the bombing that it had been planned by the British-Swiss-American 'Montecarlo Comite' based in Monaco."

     Ganser's book reveals, for the first time, the influence of the extreme right at the apex of western military might. It reveals a Western military system in the grip of lawlessness and institutional psycopathology. His book is entitled 'NATO's Secret Armies, Operation Gladio and terrorism in Western Europe.

     NATO's 'Stay Behind' Gladio forces, formed in the 1950's, were created ostensibly to act as 'sabotage centres' in the case of a Soviet invasion. In reality they have been responsible for many, if not most of the so-called left wing bomb attacks of the last 40 years. The current state of knowledge is documented in this incredible book just out in paperback for £21.00.  Now is the time to be exposing the simple cross-national use of special forces to plant bombs and carry out assassinations, that were blamed on the Red Brigade and other left-wing militant groups.

      This book pieces together the evidence that, in just about every country in Europe, including so-called neutral countries such as Finland and Switzerland, NATO 'special forces' and extreme right-wing paramilitaries have been planting bombs, killing hundreds of innocent civilians and injuring thousands. This is the real terrorist threat which counts ex-Waffen SS among their members, and it comes from NATO.

Bombs were subsequently blamed on Red Brigades, Baader Meinhof and almost all the activists in the latter half of the twentieth century from the extreme left. This is psychopathic 'self-harming' state terrorism for political ends aligned with the extreme right. Italy has been a particular target in NATO's brutal campaign which included a successful coup which was called off by President Nixon at the last minute.

     We live in a world where bombs mysteriously go off and no-one claims credit, then the news tells us that they were done by Muslim terror groups: Bali, Istanbul, Madrid, Beirut. These bombs are quite powerful and blow huge craters in the roads - which IRA bombs never did. In Madrid, ten were detonated simultaneously. Thereby the image of 'terror' is maintained. This book invites us to step through the looking-glass, and enquire whether it has after all been the military right-wing that constructs these events, phoney terror events, to maintain its ruinous stranglehold on our culture. It gives us the essential basis for evaluating this question. It was called, 'Gladio.'


Noam Chomsky’s comment:

        ‘Put briefly, the “stay-behind” armies of Western Europe – originally organized to fight in the event of World War III – morphed into substantial clandestine political forces with deep roots in European police and intelligence agencies. According to parliamentary investigations, the stay-behind veterans of Gladio appear to have made and broke governments. Elsewhere, they provided channels for intelligence operations and other relationships largely unknown to the elected leaders of a half dozen democratic states. This is important stuff.’


NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe by Daniele Ganser,  2004, Frank Cass Publishers, £20 from Amazon. ISBN: 0714685003


Web links

It turns out, oddly enough, that the fight against drugs and terrorism has involved the training of terrorists, letting off bombs & dealing narcotics! Are our politicians fully aware of this?  See: 

For more comments, see: Operation Gladio 


For the genesis of Gladio, see:




1.        The third of these programmes was shown on 24th June 1992 on BBC2: ‘Gladio, The Foot Soldiers,’ series editor Laurence Rees.

2.        See e.g. Puppetmasters: The Political  Use of Terrorism in Italy by Philip Willan, 1991; for an earlier study, see Gianfranco Sanguinetti On Terrorism and the State 1982.