NATO Has Harbored Active Domestic Terrorist Groups Since at Least 1969—3/4


Can a Case Be Made That NATO Was Sponsoring an Active Terrorist Organization from the Outset?

We have seen how a subject of sufficient specific gravity to unseat governments in other times was quietly shelved until an American documentary filmmaker unveiled the mystery in 1992. Then, seven years later a curious Swiss student decided to dedicate his doctoral thesis to it. Who put Daniele Ganser onto NATO’s Secret Armies (the title of his later book)? It was William Blum, our much-admired ex-State Department employee, author of Rogue State and The Secret History of the CIA, who resigned his position at State in 1967 as a protest against the Vietnam War and went on to write a series of important books divulging American foreign-policy boutades around the world.

As for sponsoring terrorism from the outset, not quite. NATO wasn’t founded until 1949, just two years after the announcement of the Truman Doctrine—the U.S. president’s pledge to aid nations “threatened by Soviet expansionism” in 1947. That was the same year that the United States also created the National Security Council (NSC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Something was clearly brewing. All of these institutions—and many more—formed part of the simmering Soviet-American confrontation for which Orwell coined the term “Cold War.”

Though the United States had been active with the British military secret service (MI6) in creating stay-behind armies all over Europe, they were able to maintain for an unduly long time the guise that the secret armies were “preventive medicine” against anticipated Soviet invasions of these countries. To this day it’s not clear if NATO’s truculent anti-communist political mission, which overlapped with the stay-behind military activities, was included in the organization’s game plan from the beginning or if it arose later when the Brits and the Americans became alarmed seeing the rise of democratically-elected Communist and Socialist members of European parliaments. This was particularly the case in Italy, where Communist Party members and other left-wing groups, having gained credibility for their resistance to Nazi forces during World War II, won seats both in local and national elections.

Italy Was the Crucible for MI6 and CIA Experiments in Domestic Terrorism

It was consequently in Italy where the American and British clandestine services trained their secret Italian stay-behind army—code named “Operation Gladio”—in the dark arts of political terrorism, black propaganda and the false-flag operations that the CIA has employed extensively around the world in subsequent years.

The first action of this sort that can be reliably attributed to Operation Gladio—though there may have been others earlier—was the 1969 bomb attack in Milan’s Piazza Fontana which killed at random 16 people and maimed 80. It was blamed by the government on left-wing terrorists. The truth did not come out till 30 years later during a trial of right-wing extremists. General Giandello Maletti, former head of Italian counter intelligence, testified that the massacre was carried out by Gladio and right-wing terrorists on the orders of the Central Intelligence agency in order to discredit Italian Communists.

In 1972 another attributable terrorist incident takes place near the village of Peteano, killing three Carabinieri. The attack, again blamed on the Italian Communists, is later discovered to be the work of Vincenzo Vinciguerra of the Gladio group. Vinciguerra remains in an Italian prison to this day serving a life sentence.

Two years later General Vito Miceli, chief of the Italian military secret service, was arrested on charges of subversive conspiracy against the state and, during his trial, reveals the existence of the NATO stay-behind secret army: Operation Gladio.

Investigators subsequently started following the threads of senseless violence into other European countries and came up with well-founded suspicions that NATO stay-behind armies had a hand in other terrorist attacks such as the Turkish assassination of their Prime Minister, Adnan Menderes in 1960 and the French officers’ failed coup d’etat against de Gaulle in Algeria in 1961 which was co-sponsored by the CIA.

1985 In Belgium a secret army attacks and guns down innocent citizens going about their daily lives over a three-year period (1982-85) in the Brabant province killing twenty-eight and leaving many wounded. The killers carried out armed robberies of restaurants, stores, supermarkets and one weapons depot. These attacks included one particularly gruesome case in which a family of five was assassinated in a supermarket. Investigations linked the terror to a conspiracy among the stay-behind Belgian Gendarmerie SDRA6, the Belgian right-wing group Westland New Post, and the Pentagon secret service Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

What set the gang apart was their readiness to commit murder for no reason and their apparent lack of a normal criminal orientation towards stealing the maximum amount of money for the minimum risk. This led to suspicions that it represented an effort to destabilize the country. Some of the weapons used to carry out the murders had been stolen from a Belgian Gendarmerie arsenal in 1979.

What’s Going on Here?

Inevitably, the question arises: What possible reason can there be for such horrendous, and apparently random, violence, perpetrated under the auspices of NATO and the American and British clandestine services? It is the Italian terrorist, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, author of some of the most sanguinary actions, from his prison cell, who gives us the most convincing answer:

When you were on the Right you were not supposed to attack the State or its representatives. You were supposed to attack civilians, women, children, innocent people from outside the political arena. For one simple reason: To force the Italian public to turn to the State, turn to the regime and ask for greater security. This was precisely the role of the right in Italy. It placed itself at the service of the State which created a strategy aptly called the ‘Strategy of Tension’ insofar as they had to get ordinary people to accept that at any moment over a period of 30 years, from 1960 to the mid-eighties a State of emergency could be declared. So, people would willingly trade part of their freedom for the security of being able to walk the streets, go on trains or enter a bank. This is the political logic behind all the bombings. They remain unpunished because the state cannot condemn itself. Source: Gladio Timelines

Why didn’t the traditional American values–fair play, honesty, decency and respect for sacrosanct human rights–prevail to prevent these monstrous events? Could it be because those values are largely advertising slogans promoted for internal consumption? Ironically, as we have seen much more clearly lately, they don’t even apply within the United States, let alone in other people’s countries. In those far-away places, American business interests and geopolitical priorities prevail, regardless of the human, economic and social costs to the “host” countries.

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Read more rantings in my ebook, The Turncoat Chronicles.
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Author: Michael Booth

Michael Booth, the creator of, is a US-born publicist, author and online publisher who has lived in a Spanish village in the foothills of Sierra Nevada for the past five decades. Though better known abroad for his fine-art printmaking sites and online magazine, Booth's day job for the past decade and a half, until recently, was his communications agency, dedicated principally to designing and implementing Internet strategies for Spanish companies and institutions. It took him a long time to get out of publicity and into writing but it was worth the wait.

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