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The Cold War, Operation Gladio and Ireland… September 10, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics, US Politics.

…Let’s briefly move towards the politically esoteric. One of my interests is the Stay Behind networks, the structures established to thwart Soviet invasion of Western Europe by NATO and European intelligence and security services.

They became in certain instances a malign focus of extreme right and neo-fascist activity and moved far beyond defensive measures to outright intervention in the domestic affairs of the states they were in. The most notorious example of these is the Gladio network in Italy which appears to have contributed to the ‘Stategy of Tension’ that sought to deny state power to the PCI, but other Stay Behind networks in other states operated in a not dissimilar fashion.

Thing is I was reading the wiki page recently and the following caught my eye:

NATO’s “stay-behind” organizations were never called upon to resist a Soviet invasion, but their structures continued to exist after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Internal subversion and “false flag” operations were explicitly considered by the CIA and stay-behind paramilitaries. According to a November 13, 1990 Reuters cable,[11] “André Moyen – a former member of the Belgian military security service and of the [stay-behind] network – said Gladio was not just anti-Communist but was for fighting subversion in general. He added that his predecessor had given Gladio 142 million francs ($4.6 millions) to buy new radio equipment.”[12] Ganser alleges that on various occasions, stay-behind movements became linked to right-wing terrorism, crime and attempted coups d’état:[4]

“Prudent Precaution or Source of Terror?” the international press pointedly asked when the secret stay-behind armies of NATO were discovered across Western Europe in late 1990. After more than ten years of research, the answer is now clear: both. The overview aboves shows that based on the experiences of World War II, all countries of Western Europe, with the support of NATO, the CIA, and MI6, had set up stay-behind armies as precaution against a potential Soviet invasion. While the safety networks and the integrity of the majority of the secret soldiers should not be criticized in hindsight after the collapse of the Soviet Union, very disturbing questions do arise with respect to reported links to terrorism.
There exist large differences among the European countries, and each case must be analyzed individually in further detail. As of now, the evidence suggests the secret armies in the seven countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands, focused exclusively on their stay-behind function and were not linked to terrorism. However, links to terrorism have been either confirmed or claimed in the nine countries, Italy, Ireland, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Sweden, demanding further investigation.

Really? Ireland as well? My God. How come none of us have heard of this?

Well, first thing is that the document the quote is taken from is an essay by Daniele Ganser (a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich, Switzerland) entitled ,Terrorism in Western Europe: An Approach
to NATO’s Secret Stay-Behind Armies.
And it’s a fine essay which clearly points up the nature of the Gladio networks – albeit Ganser takes the line that they were in theory a sensible precaution, as regards their primary aim of countering any potential invasion, that spun out of control. I don’t entirely dissent, in that all countries have the right to defend themselves, however there seem to me to be significant problems with attempting to establish wartime structures in (relatively) open societies in time of peace, particularly when such structures are beyond the remit of democratic oversight.

But look again at that last paragraph in the quote from Ganser on wiki and the following taken from the PDF linked to on the wiki site:

There exist large differences among the European countries, and each case must be analyzed individually in further detail. As of now, the evidence available suggests the secret armies in the seven countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands, focused exclusively on their stay-behind safety function and were thus not linked to any acts of terrorism. However, links to terrorism have been either confirmed or claimed in the eight countries, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Sweden, demanding further investigation.

How odd. Ireland seems to have inexplicably fallen off the list. Or more accurately, it was never on it. As Ganser notes:

2 While the UK was directly involved with setting up the stay-behind network, the islands Cyprus, Malta, Ireland, Iceland, as well as the European mini states Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican were of limited strategic importance and are hence not included in this analysis.

Just so we know our place in the universe. But re that none too subtle embellishment of the wiki page, why do people bother to do that?

Meanwhile, from another document from the indefatigable Mr. Ganser, The Secret Side of International Relations: An approach to NATO’s stay-behind armies in Western Europe, what can one make of this?

Upon the publication of the short-version Cornu report, the British press headlined: “UK trained secret Swiss force” and correctly reported that “British secret services collaborated closely with an armed, undercover Swiss organization through a series of covert agreements which formed part of a west European network of ‘resistance’ groups”.127 Highlighting the very close collaboration, Judge Cornu confirmed: “The cadres of the Swiss organization regarded the British to be the best specialists in the field”.128 “These connections included particularly the regular participation of Special Service and P-26 cadres in courses and exercises in Great Britain, as well as the participation of British specialists as instructors of observers in exercises of the Swiss services.”129 During an English language conversation course taking place in Switzerland in 1984, military instructor Alois Hürlimann had already revealed in poor English and to the surprise of his fellow classmates that he had taken part in secret military training in England. This training, Hürlimann continued, had included a real non- simulated assault on an IRA arms depot in which Hürlimann, fully dressed in battle fatigues, had participated, and in which at least one IRA activist had been killed.130


1. Phil - September 10, 2010

Training in England, eh? I guess that’s ‘England’ meaning ‘Britain’, and ‘Britain’ meaning ‘Ireland’! Either that or he was just bullshitting (“an IRA arms depot” forsooth).


2. Ramzi Nohra - September 10, 2010

yeah i think more info would be needed to verify this, to put it mildly.

Not of the other intelligence whistle-blowers in these islands have mentioned this.


3. Worldbystorm - September 10, 2010

Pretty mch my feelings on it but interesting to know if there was more or less to it than meets the eye.


4. Dr. X - September 10, 2010

Sounds like the stories about PIRA and Loyalists going to what-was-then Rhodesia in the 1970s, the former to fight with the Zim liberation fronts, and the latter for the Smith regime.

Just a little bit too good to be true, in other words.


Ramzi Nohra - September 10, 2010

i think there was some reasonable evidence about loyalists fighting for the Smith regime, no?
I may be getting my locations mixed up but I thought an ex-UDR member died out there.


Dr. X - September 10, 2010

A UDR guy would have had some actual military training, I suppose, as opposed to paramilitary training. What I mean is, he might have been some actual use to the Rhodie army.


Tom Griffin - September 10, 2010

Could that be the ex-RIR guy, LT Alan Gingles, who died fighting for South Africa in Mozambique?

There’s also a character called Charlie Simpson who featured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission testimony:

And there was a guy called Donald Acheson, who was accused of murdering Anton Lubowski, a Namibian activist, for the Civil Co-operation Bureau, a sort of South African Gladio-type operation.


Ramzi Nohra - September 10, 2010

Hi Tom
That could be him

Apparently Patrick Crinnion ex-mi6 agent in the Gardai ended up in south Africa. I wondered what happened to him?

Doctor X
Yes I suppose so. I think the Rhodesians had a fair amount of britih and other special forces help, so may not have needed any spray and pray merchants. Although joint udr/ uvf etc members would presumably have something to offer.


5. ejh - September 10, 2010

Certain fields of work attract bullshitters.


Dr. X - September 10, 2010

Quelle surprise.


6. WorldbyStorm - September 10, 2010

Is absolutely true, and yet the core of Gladio et al was one of the most significant threats to democracy, even liberal democracy, since WWII.


Pope Epopt - September 10, 2010

And it could be argued that the ‘stategy of tension’, in which the Gladio-assisted / executed neo-fascist bombings played a major part, contributed to the hollowing out of Italian class politics, with Berlusconi as the end result.


WorldbyStorm - September 10, 2010

So in a sense… it worked.


7. EamonnDublin - September 11, 2010

Some of those implicated in Italian bombings linked to these issues ended up active in right wing circles in England and even visited Ireland through ‘third way’ links. It may not have been part of any conspiracy but it shows that links throughout europe existed but without explaining who were pulling the strings.


shane - September 11, 2010

That would presumably be the International Third Position. They have been trying to infiltrate Catholic groups in Ireland since 1992, most succesfully in the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Not nice people at all – ironically they have a strong neo-pagan constituent.


WorldbyStorm - September 11, 2010

Yeah, it’s interesting Shane how many of them strike out to paganism. And yet they think to make common cause with Catholicism, amongst other groups. They don’t get it.

The ITP crowd have been at that for donkey’s years in Europe more broadly. I seem to recall they had a presence in the UK from the early 1980s.


8. Jim Monaghan - September 11, 2010

“executed neo-fascist bombings played a major part, contributed to the hollowing out of Italian class politics, with Berlusconi as the end result.”
Then how come the first major party to collapse was the Christian Democrats.
I would say that the failure of ambition by the left played the major role. Why last time they were in power they refused to do anything about press monopoly, like across the water. Oh Can anyone see the Independent group being broken up if Gilmore comes to power. Now would that not be a justifiable reformist demand.


9. Joe Public - September 19, 2010

The Italian faction led by Mortello and Fiore who ‘landed’ in Britain in the 80’s made and in fact organised their (State sponsored?!) coup of the National Front in 1986 that was used as a vehicle to propogate the ‘Third Positionist thinking’.

The Thatcher government (as she did with Pinochet) refused point blank to consider their extradition in regards to the P2/Gladio bombing campaign in particular Bologna….strange? Not when one considers the architects of Operation Gladio would have operated in the same political arena as Thatcher and her neo-con cohorts.

The ITP ‘discovered’ Catholicism (pre-Vatican II) and found that their fascist ideals were complimentary to their desire to establish Catholic totalitarianism.

Interesting to note that Fiore has been able to establish himself in Italy and in fact has become (State sponsored?) a beacon for the more militant elements of Italian fascism.

If ever you encounter Fiore, mention Gladio to him and you will notice his demeanour becomes one of a ‘rabbit caught in the headlights.’


10. Digest – September 13 2010 – The Story - March 21, 2014

[…] The Cold War, Operation Gladio and Ireland. Some little known history from one of the Cedars. […]


11. card2 - October 19, 2014

Or 1987 arrests in Kent of 21 TA HSF soldiers who had been recruited into a Stay Behind group. Then provided with forged UDR ID cards and deployed on missions to Northern Ireland and into Southern Ireland. No charges and now CPS and Attorney General both deny taking the no prosecution decision. Were any of the arrested men associated with the nearby Deal Royal Marines Barracks paramilitary training kindergarten run by the much maligned James Shortt ? What was going on in 82 when Shortt led a “Mission” to joint exercise with Belgian police para commando units ?

General De Chasterlain checked terms of reference with a view in 2003 to deploy to Kent and investigate this history including Kent Police issued firearms certs, paramilitary training at Kent gun ranges and paramilitary collusion. He was blockered by being lied to that Kent based activity had Crown authority.

Perhaps he should have ridden into Kent re the 1992 arrests at Margate of UDA hit men and drugs importers. The arrests led to the 1993 murder trial for the killing of London supergrass David Norris. Six days into the trial and the senior Met witnesses became concurrently the case officers for another murder. That of Stephen Lawrence.


WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2014

That’s interesting re the link to the UDR and North – but do you have any links or refs to written material on that? It’s a subject of considerable interest to me and would appreciate if you could post some.


card2 - October 19, 2014

You can see a reference to the arrests in Pat Monteath’s Trilogy Who Pays the Ferryman (Quill Publishing). These are works of “Faction”. The arrests were real enough. I was in the TA unit concerned but not daft enough to get into the Stay Behind cobblers.

I did give police a statement but this was after the no prosecution decision was taken. So I had some concerns that Kent Police were taking a statement requested by Army Intelligence at Ashford after the no prosecution decision was taken,

Pat’s fictional characters he calls Richard James and Paul Jones. These in real life are the late Andre Tong of Boughton and a composite of Mick Leeds and an ex para not known to me but I gather he was a Kent Special constable. I gather that Mick has written his own book now so you could probably pick it up on Amazon or some such. As far as I recall it was Andre and Mick who were discharged over organising the paramilitary activity.

For the number 3 in the activity Pat calls him George Inamos so pretty obviously George Maison an ex Kent Special constable and a Thanet District Council tory Cllr.

In August 1997 Kent Police Authority called on Chief constable for inquiry and report into this history as it gave rise to warnings on Deal Barracks ignored by Kent Police. Before the 22.9.89 terrorist bombing of barracks

Kent Police refused their Police Authority request of 1997 and this was of course while they were conducting the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry for Jack Straw.

In fact this week this is an aspect of matters put to Serious Crime Agency conducting investigation into police corruption in the Lawrence case. The questions belatedly raised by Mark Ellison QC Review actually having already been inherent in the inquiries called for by Kent Police Authority 1997.

When Kent Chief constable March 99 deployed on Rosemary Nelson murder inquiry Sir Ronnie Flanagan’s office contacted Home Secretary Straw to see if he would compel the inquiry called for in 97 by Kent Police Authority. Straw elected cover up so I imagine this was something to do with Kent Chief constable, covering up paramilitary collusion activity in Kent, suddenly left the Nelson case.

To explain how questions in Lawrence case would coincide with questions in inquiries called for by KPA 1997 would take a bit more space than a blog post. But it is with Keith Bristow QPM of National Crime Agency with Theresa May’s knowledge.

I can say that “Gladio” was a Special Branch suspect group for sabotaging torpedos in production for Royal Navy mid 70s to 89. Which may be a bit of an eyeraiser. (Gwent)

is your interest Gladio per se or right wing paramilitary collusion (Significantly not investigated in the arrests of UDA hit men and drugs criminals by Met at Margate 1992. )


WorldbyStorm - October 19, 2014

Just generally interested in the area of Cold War non-military/non official military preparation for Soviet invasion and/or links to destabilisation processes of western democratic states.

I should add probably best to be cautious about using real names where there has been no legal process involved.

Liked by 1 person

card2 - October 20, 2014

It is the elephant in the room of the so called Constitutional Debate. Are you aware of the whole SS Galcian Divn settling in UK postwar ? Championed by Hitler admiring rich industrialist Ipswich Labour MP Richard Rapier Stokes ?

Stokes became Lord Privy Seal and with Sir Eric Berthoud (SOE/MI6/ Amglo Iranian Oil or BP) was involved with CIA in overthrowing Mossadeq in Iran to install a puppet Shah.

At the time of the 1971 release scheme of so called German postwar internees (Sue Ryder was the official for the release backed by Airey Neave) Berthoud was Head of the Sue Ryder Support Group. The charity founding trustees were Neave and Sporborg (MI6 creator of Gladio). .

The twin charities of Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire were protected from lawful police inquiry by an unlawful monitoring and corruption operation run from MI5 through Force Special Branch liaisons.

This is another elephant in the room of Savile INquiry because what are the chances his abuse at Sue RYder child hospice Leeds 1970s was not known to the spooks allegedly using the charity as a front ?

What do you make of Jack Straw repealing the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819 in 2008 ? The Act which would make Gladio operations in UK unlawful ?


12. card2 - October 19, 2014

I should add that nothing would have pleased me more than to find saboteurs at the torpedo factory. Especially Gladio a group founded in 1944 by Henry Sporborg of SOE/MI6 and run with later by CIA etc. Sporborg was one of the powerful men who selected and steered Maggie Thatcher to power as their puppet PM. The idea that her puppet master had formed an organisation that was undermining her war capability (the reason she authorised obsolete torp use to sink Belgrano) was really amusing. But the problem was prosaic a wrongly wired factory, other techie problems and management orchestrated falsification of RN test records. No Gladio no saboteurs ! Just incompetence and company fraud. Plenty of that going on in the MOD and NHS supply chains.

Commander Robert Green of RN Intelligence was trained for reliability analysis of equipment supplied to RN but I don’t know if he was part of raising Special Branch inquiries into the Gwent factory.

It looks as if Special Branch were a bit gullible for conspitracy theory ?

The Italian people mentioned above I think are those safehoused by League of St George at Ramsgate and the League wasn’t a mile away from the Deal Barracks based paramilitary activity or the local infiltration of TA case mentioned above.


13. #Todays3 20.7.17 AIIB, Canada, Operation Gladio – The Navigator Media - July 20, 2017

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