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Synopsis of the Book
Chapter One: A terrorist attack in Italy
This chapter describes the discovery of the secret stay-behind army “Gladio” in Italy. The
chapter takes the reader back to the Peteano terrorist attack of 31 May 1972. In that year an
anonymous phone call after the attack suggested that the left-wing terrorist organization “Red
Brigades” had carried out the atrocity, and for many years Italy believed that the crime had
been carried out by the political left. Yet in 1984 Italian judge Felice Casson reopened the
Peteano case after having discovered large-scale manipulations. The chapter describes how
Casson during his investigations discovered the Italian secret stay-behind army “Gladio”
hidden within the military secret service and how it had linked up with right-wing terrorist
Vincenzo Vinciguerra who confessed to having carried out the Peteano terrorist attack. The
chapter focuses on the agitated Italian public debate that followed when Vinciguerra exposed
the so called “strategy of tension” through which members of the secret stay-behind armies
and the military secret services had manipulated the public through terrorism. The secret
armies supplied right wing terrorists with explosives to carry out terrorist attacks on the Italian
population who were thereafter blamed on the communist party and the political left in general
in order to discredit the political opponent. "The terrorist line was followed by camouflaged
people, people belonging to the security apparatus, or those linked to the state apparatus
through rapport or collaboration”, Vincenzo Vinciguerra testified. Right-wing organisations
across Western Europe “were being mobilised into the battle as part of an anti-communist
strategy originating not with organisations deviant from the institutions of power, but from the
state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state's relations within the Atlantic
Chapter Two: A scandal shocks Western Europe
This chapter describes how the democracies in Western Europe in 1990 dealt with the
discovery of the secret stay-behind armies in their respective countries. The chapter shows
that only three countries, namely Italy, Belgium and Switzerland, carried out a parliamentary
investigation into their secret armies and thereafter presented a public report, and details how
all other countries dealt with the issue behind closed doors. The chapter describes how the
press reacted, with for instance the British daily the Observer speaking of "the best-kept, and
most damaging, political-military secret since World War II". Furthermore this chapter relates
how the parliament of the European Union (EU) on 22 November 1990 dealt with the issue
and how for instance Italian MP Falqui had insisted: "Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
there is one fundamental moral and political necessity, in regard to the new Europe that we
are progressively building. This Europe will have no future if it is not founded on truth, on the
full transparency of its institutions in regard to the dark plots against democracy that have
turned upside down the history, even in recent times, of many European states. There will be
no future, ladies and gentlemen, if we do not remove the idea of having lived in a kind of
double state - one open and democratic, the other clandestine and reactionary. That is why
we want to know what and how many "Gladio" networks there have been in recent years in
the Member States of the European Community."
Chapter Three: The silence of NATO, CIA and MI6
This chapter describes the reactions of NATO, the CIA and MI6 to the discovery of the secret
stay-behind armies. The chapter details how NATO reacted defensive and at times
inconsistent and tells the story of how NATO Spokesman Jean Marcotta on Monday 5
November 1990 at SHAPE headquarters in Mons, Belgium, first denied that NATO had ever
been involved in secret warfare, whereupon the next day another NATO spokesman
explained that NATO's statement of the previous day had been false, adding that NATO
never commented on matters of military secrecy. Thereafter NATO ambassadors on 7
November 1990 were informed behind closed doors by NATO secretary-general Manfred
Wörner and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) US General John Galvin. The
chapter describes how written requests by the author for further information on the staybehind networks and NATO’s stay-behind command centres “Clandestine Planning
Committee” (CPC) and “Allied Clandestine Committee” (ACC) were declined in subsequent
years. The chapter reports how during the same years specific data on CPC and ACC
surfaced in Italy. General Gerardo Serravalle, who commanded the Italian Gladio secret army
from 1971 to 1974, and General Paolo Inzerilli, who commanded the Italian stay-behind
Gladio from 1974 to 1986, both confirmed in their books on the topic that the ACC and the
CPC had been founded at the explicit order of NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers
Europe (SHAPE).
The chapter also records how the foreign secret service of the United States, the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), has somewhat inconsistently both commented and refused to
comment on its stay-behind armies in Western Europe. William Colby, Director of the CIA
from 1973 to 1976, in his book Honorable Men related that the covert action branch of the
CIA, the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), had after World War Two “undertaken a major
program of building, throughout those Western European countries that seemed likely targets
for Soviet attack, what in the parlance of the intelligence trade were known as 'stay-behind
nets', clandestine infrastructures of leaders and equipment trained and ready to be called into
action as sabotage and espionage forces when the time came.” Several years later Admiral
Stansfield Turner, director of the CIA from 1977 to 1981, strictly refused to answer any
questions about Gladio in a television interview in Italy in December 1990. When with respect
for the victims of the terrorist attacks the journalist insisted and repeated the question the
former CIA director angrily ripped off his microphone and shouted: "I said, no questions about
Gladio!" whereupon the interview was over. The chapter also relates how academics at the
distinguished National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington filed
a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the CIA on 15 April 1991 which was declined. It
also notes how a FOIA request which the author handed in on 14 December 2000 was first
declined, whereupon the author appealed to which the CIA replied that it will provide an
answer in the future which is still lacking. The chapter also details that the British foreign
secret service MI6 with its legendary obsession for secrecy did not take a position on staybehind questions at all but confirmed its involvement through a somewhat unusual channel in
the “secret wars” exhibition in the London based Imperial War Museum in 1995.
Chapter Four: The secret war in the United Kingdom
The chapter takes the reader back to World War Two when British Prime Minister Winston
Churchill ordered that under the label “Special Operations Executive” (SOE) a secret army
had to be created "to set Europe ablaze”. SOE operated behind enemy lines, and following
World War Two the British were widely recognised as the leading experts in secret warfare.
The chapter describes how the British foreign secret service MI6 together with the British
Special Forces “Special Air Service” (SAS) and the CIA during the Cold War set up and
trained the secret stay-behind armies in Western Europe. Among those trained by the SAS
ranged Decimo Garau, an instructor at the Italian Gladio base Centro Addestramento
Guastatori (CAG) on Capo Marargiu in Sardinia who recalled: "I was in England for a week at
Poole, invited by the Special Forces. I was there for a week and I did some training with them.
I did a parachute jump over the Channel." Reinhold Geijer, a former Swedish military
professional and member of the Swedish stay-behind army recalled that his training in Britain
was very tough: "In 1959 I went, via London, to a farm outside Eaton. This was done under
the strictest secrecy procedures, with for instance a forged passport. I was not even allowed
to call my wife. The aim of the training was to learn how to use dead letter box techniques to
receive and send secret messages, and other James Bond style exercises. The British were
very tough. I sometimes had the feeling that we were overdoing it." The chapter concludes by
observing the United Kingdom to this day has been very reluctant to comment on the secret
war. In 1990 British Defence Secretary Tom King, in the midst of preparations for the war
against Saddam Hussein, refused to answer stay-behind questions and went on the record
with the statement: "I am not sure what particular hot potato you're chasing after. It sounds
wonderfully exciting, but I'm afraid I'm quite ignorant about it. I'm better informed about the
Gulf." And also years later journalist Hugh O'Shaughnessy lamented: "The silence in
Whitehall and the almost total lack of curiosity among MPs about an affair in which Britain
was so centrally involved are remarkable."
Chapter Five: The secret war in the United States
This chapter describes US secret warfare operations in Western Europe from the end of the
Second World War in 1945 to the end of the Cold War in 1991. It relates how the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Council (NSC) were created and how
directive NSC 10/2 gave them the task to engage in secret warfare. The chapter details how
the CIA together with the support of the Pentagon set up the secret stay-behind armies in
Western Europe and how the secret war was fought. It describes the tactics and strategies
used, including the “strategy of tension” as presented in the Field Manual FM 30-31B: "There
may be times when Host Country Governments show passivity or indecision in the face of
communist subversion and according to the interpretation of the US secret services do not
react with sufficient effectiveness. Most often such situations come about when the
revolutionaries temporarily renounce the use of force and thus hope to gain an advantage, as
the leaders of the host country wrongly consider the situation to be secure. US army
intelligence must have the means of launching special operations which will convince Host
Country Governments and public opinion of the reality of the insurgent danger … These
special operations must remain strictly secret …Only those persons who are acting against
the revolutionary uprising shall know of the involvement of the US Army in the internal affairs
of an allied country. The fact, that the involvement of forces of the US military goes deeper
shall not become known under any circumstances." The chapter concludes by observing that
the United States have until today refused to talk about this difficult aspect of the transatlantic
partnership, which in turn has lead to a certain criticism in Europe.
Chapter Six: The secret war in Italy
This chapter describes the complicated and violent history of the secret Cold War in Italy. It
describes how the United States in a strategic gamble weakened the Italian Communists and
Socialists by supporting the conservative Democrazia Italiana (DCI) whom they manoeuvred
into power in the 1948 rigged elections and backed in the decades to come till the Cold War
ended. The chapter describes how the Gladio stay-behind army became an asset in this
strategy and how the military secret service linked up with right-wing terrorists to manipulate
the population with the so-called “strategy of tension”. The chapter relates that Italy suffered
from both left and right-wing terrorism during the Cold War. Large-scale right-wing terror
started in 1969 when in Milan the “Piazza Fontana massacre” killed 16 and maimed and
wounded 80 most of which were farmers who after a day on the market had deposited their
modest earnings in the Farmer's Bank on the Piazza Fontana in Milan. The terror was
wrongly blamed on the Communists and the extreme left, traces were covered up and arrests
followed immediately. In 1974 another bomb exploded in Brescia in the midst of an antifascist demonstration, killing eight and injuring and maiming 102, followed by a terror attack in
the same year on the Rome to Munich train “Italicus Express”, killing 12 and injuring and
maiming 48. The chapter describes how the terror wave culminated on a sunny afternoon
during the Italian national holiday when on 2 August 1980 a massive explosion ripped through
the waiting room of the second class at the Bologna railway station, killing 85 people in the
blast and seriously injuring and maiming a further 200. "You had to attack civilians, the
people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political
game” right-wing terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra later explained. “The reason was quite simple.
They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the State to ask for
greater security. This is the political logic that lies behind all the massacres and the bombings
which remain unpunished, because the State cannot convict itself or declare itself responsible
for what happened.”
Chapter Seven: The secret war in France
This chapter relates how secret stay-behind armies linked to NATO were set up in France
following World War Two. It shows how the clandestine forces, designed to fight the strong
French Communist party as well as to prepare against a Soviet invasion, tragically target the
French government during the process that lead to the independence of the French colony
Algeria in 1962. Following defeats in World War Two and Vietnam sectors of the French
military and intelligence opposed the plan of French President Charles de Gaulle to grant
Algeria independence, as in their eyes this plan meant yet another defeat for the proud
French army. When President de Gaulle proceeded with his plan sections of the French
military and intelligence took up arms against the government in Paris. Admiral Pierre
Lacoste, director of the French military secret DGSE from 1982 to 1985 under President
Francois Mitterand, confirmed after the discovery of the secret NATO armies in 1990 that
some "terrorist actions" against de Gaulle and his Algerian peace plan were carried out by
groups that included "a limited number of people" from the French stay-behind network. Yet
Lacoste insisted that he believed that Soviet contingency plans for invasion nevertheless
justified the stay-behind program. The chapter concludes by observing that France to this
very day has been very reluctant to investigate the history of its secret armies as well as their
links to both the CIA and NATO.
Chapter Eight: The secret war in Spain
This chapter investigates how the Spanish secret stay-behind army developed during the
period when Spain was a right wing dictatorship under Francisco Franco. It relates how the
country served as a save haven and how according to Italian investigations right-wing
terrorists who had cooperated with the Gladio stay-behind armies were regularly flown to
Spain after having carried out a terrorist attack. In Spain they were protected from further
investigations and in return offered their services to Franco. Among the most notorious rightwing terrorists in Spain ranged Stefano delle Chiaie who had allegedly carried out well over a
thousand bloodthirsty attacks, including an estimated 50 murders. Members of Delle Chiaie's
secret army, including Italian right-winger Aldo Tisei, later confessed to Italian magistrates
that during their Spanish exile they had tracked down and killed anti-fascists on behalf of the
Spanish secret service. The chapter relates how following the death of Franco in 1975 the
country entered a fragile transition period during which further terrorist attacks were carried
out in an attempt to prevent the Spanish left from regaining strength. Among these ranged in
1977 the Atocha massacre in Madrid which had targeted a lawyer's office closely linked to the
Spanish communist party and killed five lawyers. The Italian Senate investigation into Gladio
notes that when Delle Chiaie was arrested in 1987 in Venezuela he made it clear that he had
not acted alone but had at all times closely cooperated with the secret services in Spain, Italy,
Chile and other countries: "The massacres have taken place. That is a fact. The secret
services have covered up the traces. That is another fact."
Chapter Nine: The secret war in Portugal
The chapter describes how similar to neighbouring Spain also in Portugal the secret army
during the Cold War operated within the context of a right-wing dictatorship. The Portugues e
military secret service PIDE of dictator António de Oliveira Salazar cooperated closely with
the secret army who not only helped to support the dictatorship through assassination
operations in Portugal but operated also overseas in the Portuguese colonies in Africa.
Operating under the code name “Aginter Press” the secret army allegedly was involved in the
assassinations of Humberto Delgado, Portuguese opposition leader, killed 14 February 1965,
Amilcar Cabral, leader of the national liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau and one of
Africa's foremost revolutionary figures, killed 20 January 20 1973, and Eduardo Mondlane,
leader and President of the Mocambique liberation party and movement FRELIMO (Frente de
Liberacao de Mocambique), killed in colonial Mocambique on 3 February 1969. The chapter
relates how Captain Yves Guerain Serac, a French born militant catholic and anti-communist,
played a central role in the secret war in Portugal. Serac was convinced that the West had to
use terror, assassinations and manipulation to fight communism: "In the first phase of our
political activity we must create chaos in all structures of the regime. Two forms of terrorism
can provoke such a situation: The blind terrorism (committing massacres indiscriminately
which cause a large number of victims), and the selective terrorism (eliminate chosen
persons). This destruction of the state must be carried out as much as possible under the
cover of 'communist activities' ... After that, we must intervene at the heart of the military, the
juridical power and the church, in order to influence popular opinion, suggest a solution, and
clearly demonstrate the weakness of the present legal apparatus ... Popular opinion must be
polarised in such a way, that we are being presented as the only instrument capable of saving
the nation. It is obvious that we will need considerable financial resources to carry out such
Chapter Ten: The secret war in Belgium
This chapter relates that Belgium, together with Switzerland and Italy, was among the very
few countries in Western Europe which following the discoveries of the NATO stay-behind
armies in 1990 set up a parliamentary commission to investigate the national secret army and
presented a public report on the subject. Belgian Socialist Defence Minister Guy Coeme, who
had been unaware of the existence of the secret armies, had insisted on television that he
wanted to know the entire history of the Belgian secret army, even if that included links to
terrorism: “Furthermore I want to know whether there exists a link between the activities of
this secret network, and the wave of crime and terror which our country suffered from during
the past years." Coeme was referring to the years 1983 to 1985 when in the geographic area
around Brussels called Brabant 14 particularly brutal terrorist attacks on shoppers in
supermarkets left 28 dead and many more injured. The chapter relates how the Belgian
Senate found that the secret army was code-named SDRA8 and that it was directly linked to
NATO’s stay-behind centres Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and Clandestine Planning
Committee (CPC). It also details how the Belgian Senators were unable to clarify whether the
secret army had anything to do with the Brabant terror as the Belgian military secret service
refused to cooperate. Presenting the larger historical context of the secret war in Belgium the
chapter draws on the data from Journalist Allan Francovich who in his television documentary
on the secret NATO armies had suggested that the Belgian secret army SDRA8 had linked up
with the Belgian right-wing organization Westland New Post (WNP). “There were projects”
WNP member Michel Libert confirmed to Francovich. Allegedly he had been told: “'You, Mr.
Libert, know nothing about why we're doing this. Nothing at all. All we ask is that your group,
with cover from the Gendarmerie, with cover from Security, carry out a job. Target: The
supermarkets. Where are they? What kind of locks are there? What sort of protection do they
have that could interfere with our operations? Does the store manager lock up? Or do they
use an outside security company? We carried out the orders and sent in our reports: Hours of
opening and closing. Everything you want to know about a supermarket. What was this for?
This was one amongst hundreds of missions. Something that had to be done. But the use it
was all put to, that is the big question."
Chapter Eleven: The secret war in the Netherlands
This chapter relates how in the Netherlands a secret stay-behind army was set up following
the traumatic occupation experience in World War Two. The network, which was never linked
to acts of terrorism, consisted of the two branches “Intelligence” (I) and “Operations” (O), and
was referred to as “I&O”. The chapter relates how the Netherlands dealt with the exposure of
the military secret and why there was no public investigation nor a parliamentary report.
"Successive Prime Ministers and Defence Ministers have always preferred not to inform other
members of their cabinets or Parliament", Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers of the Christian
Democrats party told parliament in 1990, adding that he was proud that some 30 Ministers
had kept the secret. The chapter details how some parliamentarians were greatly surprised
when the secret was lifted and contemplated that democratic checks and balances had been
violated. "I don't particularly worry that there was, and perhaps still is, such a thing”, Hans
Dijkstal of the opposition Liberals observed in parliament. “What I do have problems with is
that until last night Parliament was never told".
Chapter Twelve: The secret war in Luxemburg
This chapter tells the story of how Luxemburg prepared for the secret war in Europe. Dutch
and Belgian stay-behind research suggests that in March 1948 the so-called "Western Union
Clandestine Committee", short WUCC, was set up with the task to carry out peace-time
preparations in Luxemburg, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France
against an eventual Soviet invasion. Following the creation of NATO in 1949 the stay-behind
coordination centre WUCC in April 1951 handed over its functions to the newly created
Clandestine Planning Committee CPC operating under the control of NATO’s Supreme
Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium. The chapter concludes that
the limited data available so far suggests that Luxemburg was part of the network of the
NATO secret armies from the very beginning but was never involved in acts of terrorism. Or
as Prime Minister Jacques Santer phrased it in front of parliament: “The only activities of
these persons, and this is the case for the entire time period in which this network has
existed, have been limited to the training in preparation of their missions, including the training
of how to behave individually in a hostile environment, and how to coordinate efforts with
allied countries."
Chapter Thirteen: The secret war in Denmark
This chapter looks at the secret history of the stay-behind army in Denmark which remains
fragmentary because the Danish parliament decided to deal with the issue behind closed
doors. The chapter presents the testimonies of former members of the Danish secret army
who explained that the stay-behind was never linked to terrorism. The anti-communist secret
army was code-named "Absalon” after the Danish Bishop who with the sword in his hand had
defeated the Russians in the Middle Ages, an event commemorated in Copenhagen by a
large bronze statue of Absalon on horseback in battle gear. The chapter details how Defence
Minister Knud Enggaard was reluctant to inform the Danish parliament Folketing in 1990 and
first rejected the claim that "any kind" of NATO supported CIA organisation had been erected
in Denmark, adding that "further pieces of information on a secret service operation in case of
an occupation is classified material, even highly classified material and I am therefore
prohibited from giving any further information in the Danish parliament."
Chapter Fourteen: The secret war in Norway
This chapter details how strongly the Norwegian planning for a stay-behind army was
influenced by the occupation experience during World War Two. Never again, the heads of
the Norwegian military concluded, was the country to be occupied without a resistance
network in place. The chapter details how the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS) under
Vilhelm Evang set up and controlled the secret stay-behind army after World War Two. The
Norwegian stay-behind was at no time involved in domestic terror. The chapter details how
Evang stirred the secret army through a crisis which came in 1957 when NIS discovered that
NATO was spying on Norwegians setting up a blacklist of persons sharing strongly pacifist
and negative attitudes to NATO. Evangs was extremely angry and protested strongly during a
meeting of the stay-behind centre CPC in Paris in the same year: “When high ranking
persons in Norway are being included on such a blacklist, then something must be wrong”
Evangs stressed. “My government also views this in a very serious light, and I have standing
orders not to take part in international planning if such activities are going on … As far as
Norway is concerned, our interest in CPC planning as such has since 1954 declined steadily
because there is no future in it for us. We are of the opinion that we are developing a Stay
Behind which is to be used at home for the purpose of liberation from an occupation." Only
when NATO assured to never again violate Norwegian sovereignty did the NIS resume the
stay-behind cooperation.
Chapter Fifteen: The secret war in Germany
This chapter relates how following World War Two a number of Nazis were integrated into the
German secret armies. It tells the story of how a branch of the German stay-behind army was
already discovered in 1952 under the name "Bund Deutscher Jugend - Technischer Dienst"
(BDJ TD) and the mysterious circumstances under which all arrested right-wing members of
the BDJ TD walked free. The chapter details how Germany during the secret Cold War did
not only suffer from the left wing terrorism of the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion), but also from
right-wing terrorism which on 26 September 1980 in a bomb terror attack in the midst of the
popular Munich October festival killed 13 and wounded 213, many gravely. Gundolf Köhler, a
21-year-old right wing member of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann according to the police
investigation had planted the Munich bomb and died in the terrorist attack. The members of
the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann testified that forest ranger Heinz Lembke had supplied them
with explosives. The claim that right-winger Lembke controlled large underground arms
caches was confirmed on 26 October 1981 when forest workers by chance stumbled across
an underground arsenal of 33 caches containing automatic weapons, chemical combat
equipment Arsen and Zyankali, about 14'000 shots of munitions, 50 anti tank guns, 156 kg of
explosives, as well as 230 explosive devices and 258 hand grenades. Presumably the
Lembke arms caches were part of the German stay-behind set up for the emergency of a
Soviet invasion, and Lembke himself was probably a secret soldier. The chapter tells the story
how Lembke was arrested and in prison informed his interrogator that he might reveal the
entire truth soon, whereupon on 1 November 1981, Lembke was found hanging on a rope
from the ceiling of his prison cell. The chapter concludes by noting the difficulties of the
German secret service BND to inform the German parliament and public on the secret armies
when they were rediscovered in 1990.
Chapter Sixteen: The secret war in Greece
This chapter tells the story of how the Greek stay-behind army LOK (Lochos Oreinon
Katadromon) was involved in the at times violent Cold War history of the country. „In the eyes
of senior CIA officials, the groups under the direction of the paramilitary branch are seen as
long term ‘insurance’ for the interests of the United States in Greece,” former CIA agent
Philipp Agee related, “to be used to assist or to direct the possible overthrow of an
'unsympathetic' Greek government. 'Unsympathetic' of course to American manipulation." The
chapter relates how tensions in the country between the political left and the political right
intensified when in the 1963 elections the leftist Centre Union under George Papandreou
secured 42 per cent of the vote and Papandreou was elected Prime Minister. It tells the story
how Papandreou in a secret war became the target of Jack Maury, chief of the CIA station in
Greece, and how Maury together with Greek royalists and right-wing officers of the Greek
military manoeuvred Papandreou out of office by royal prerogative. One month before the
latter was about to return to power through the national elections in May 1967 the military
coup d’état was carried out which shocked Greece and the world. The chapter relates how
the Greek secret stay-behind army LOK was involved in the coup and how 78-year-old
George Papandreou was arrested in his house just outside the capital Athens and how he
was imprisoned along with thousands of citizens, some of which were tortured. The chapter
relates how many years later Andreas, the son of George Papandreou, became Prime
Minister, discovered the secret NATO army, and in memory of his father gave the orders to
close it down.
Chapter Seventeen: The secret war in Turkey
The chapter tells the story of how the secret NATO stay-behind army - which in Turkey
operated under the code-name “Counter-Guerrilla” - prepared not only against a Soviet
invasion but also targeted domestic opponents and during the Cold War became repeatedly
linked to acts of violence. According to Turkish General Talat Turhan the Counter Guerrilla
was involved in torture following the military coup d’etat in 1971. Turhan was himself among
the torture victims and later testified: „Then they told me that I was now 'in the hands of a
Counter Guerrilla unit operating under the high command of the Army outside the constitution
and the laws.' … In this villa I was with tied up arms and feet chained to a bed for a month
and tortured in a way which a human being has difficulty to imagine. It was under these
circumstances that I first was made familiar with the name Counter-Guerrillas." The chapter
relates how the Turkish secret army in the 1980s was involved in clandestine terror
operations against the Curds, and how difficult it was for the Turkish democracy to face the
history of the Counter-Guerilla when the secret NATO stay-behind armies were discovered in
1990. "When it was discovered in 1990 that Italy had an underground organization called
Gladio, organized by NATO and controlled and financed by the CIA, which was linked to acts
of terrorism within the country,” General Turhan recalled, “Turkish and foreign journalists
approached me and published my explanations as they knew that I have been researching
the field for 17 years … In Turkey the special forces in the style of Gladio are called CounterGuerrilla by the public“ Turhan explained to the press and once again lamented that „despite
all my efforts and initiatives of political parties, democratic mass organizations and the media
the Counter-Guerrilla has still not been investigated."
The book concludes by noting that the data available so far shows that the NATO secret staybehind armies existed and that for the first time long hidden aspects of the secret war in
Western Europe can be studied in a larger international context. The conclusion highlights
that the data on the NATO stay-behind armies as well as on the links to terrorism and crime
remains fragmentary and notes that large differences exist from country to country. In some
countries there are links to terrorism and crime, while in other countries the secret soldier
strictly limited their operations to training for a Soviet invasion. What did NATO know? What
did the Pentagon, the CIA and MI6 know? Which terrorist attacks were deviations, and what
was planned? Within the context of the so called "war on terrorism" the data on NATO's staybehind armies opens up an entire field of so far unexplored questions and raises fundamental
questions also on the “strategy of tension” for which the answers are still lacking.
DANIELE GANSER is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.