Posted by: Lister | March 31, 2007

Operation Gladio

I’m carryiing on with with my reading of Zepezauer’s “The CIA’s Greatest Hits”. It seems like I’ll be doing about one a month. But maybe this one was harder to research. On the one hand, it’s backed up by the EU parliament. On the other, exact (and confirmed) details are harder to find than with Operation Paperclip and the CIA’s recruitment of nazis. (See previous.) Regard this page as a draft, really.

2. Operation Gladio

Gladio was a “stay behind army”, it’s purpose: to be the insurgency if Western Europe were invaded by the Soviets.

The European Parliament resolution on Gladio (Nov 22 1990) complains that the operation has received no democratic oversight for 40 years and calls for an investigation. (The results of which I can’t find).

The EU also “Protests vigorously at the assumption by certain US military personnel at SHAPE and in NATO of the right to encourage the establishment in Europe of a clandestine intelligence and operation network.”

But there is no mention in this wiki summary of the resolution of any particular act performed by Gladio. It does say:

whereas in certain Member States military secret services (or uncontrolled branches thereof) were involved in serious cases of terrorism and crime as evidenced by, various judicial inquiries

And there is mention of Gladio in this EU resolution on Rendition and Detention (pdf).

whereas, in adopting its resolution of 22 November 1990 on the Gladio affair1, Parliament drew attention, more than 16 years ago, to the existence of clandestine operations involving intelligence services and military organisations without adequate democratic control,”

Wiki gives details of the allegations against Gladio. But most of the primary sources are in Italian/other language I don’t speak.

Vincenzo Vinciguerra was a member of Avanguardia Nazionale (“National Vanguard”), a far-right terrorist organization founded by Stefano Delle Chiaie and involved in Italy’s strategy of tension, and also of Ordine Nuovo (“New Order”), founded by Pino Rauti in 1956. He is serving a life-sentence for the murder of three policemen by a car bomb in Peteano in 1972, for which the Red Brigades were long thought of having carried out.

[…] Following juridical investigations, it has been discovered that the C4 explosive (the most powerful explosive available at the time) used in the 1972 bombing came from a Gladio arms dump located beneath a cemetery near Verona, which existence was revealed to judges Felice Casson and Carlo Mastelloni by Giulio Andreotti, former Prime minister of Italy.

Judge Casson’s investigations revealed that Marco Morin, an expert for explosives who worked for the Italian police and a member of Ordine Nuovo far-right group, had deliberately provided a fake expertise, claiming that the explosives used were the same that the Red Brigades used. However, Casson demonstrated that the explosives were in fact C4, which was used by NATO. A group of Carabinieri had accidentally discovered on February 24, 1972, an arms dump near Trieste, containing arms, munitions and C4 identical to the one used in Peteano the same year.

Gladio in Italy
1969 Piazza Fontana bombing and others massacres — Stefano Delle Chiaie was aquitted. Delle Chiaie has quite a rap sheet on wiki, though! They link him to Michael Townley, a former CIA agent who went to work for Pinochet’s DINA.

This is getting to be more conclusive than I considered in my previous draft. But this post is still a work in progress.



  1. Comparing Gladio to the Salvadore option

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