Declassified British docs give insight into operation Gladio: Grayzone
In a report for the Grayzone, Kit Klarenberg describes the recently declassified documents as "one of the most valuable primary sources" unpacking the inner workings of Operation Gladio.
Recently declassified documents by the British Foreign Office reveal new information in regards to the British role in Operation Gladio: which was a clandestine Cold War era operation in Italy directed by the CIA, MI6, and NATO in an attempt to curb the appeal of communism through mobilizing paramilitary fascist indigenous elements to organize false flag terror attacks in an effort to smear campaign the left.
Operation Gladio was supposedly part of a preemptive security precaution against potential Soviet aggression, whereby the West trained and directed fascist paramilitary groups to 'resist' the Red Army in the event of an invasion of Europe. In reality, the anticipated Soviet invasion never happened, and the anti-communist militias never clashed with the Red Army, but they served a pivotal role in containing communism: organizing various terrorist attacks designed to blame the left to discredit them and undermine their popularity and justify increased state-authoritarianism.
One of the documents describing Operation Gladio was an aide-mémoire submitted by an Italian delegation to a meeting of the North Atlantic Council and then forwarded to senior British officials.
The document starts off by explaining that after the end of the second world war intelligence agencies of the West devised “unconventional means of defense, by creating in their territories a hidden network of resistance aimed at operating, in case of enemy occupation, through information gathering, sabotage, propaganda, and guerrilla warfare.”
Around 1955, SIFAR (the Italian military intelligence agency) in liaison with the CIA agreed to the clandestine activities of the operation.
“[Gladio] was; formed by agents active in the territory who, by virtue of their age, sex, and activities, could reasonably avoid eventual deportation and imprisonment by the foreign occupiers; easy to manage even from a command structure outside the occupied territory; at a top-secret level and hence subdivided into ‘cells’ so as to minimize any possible damage caused by defections, accidents or network penetration,” the document reads.
SIFAR had developed a covert base for recruiting and training Gladio operatives while deploying 5 guerilla units across Italy "in areas of special interest" where they awaited activation.
Operatives were granted access to a wide variety of weapons (which included: mortars, hand grenades, guns, and knives) that were stashed in 139 underground bases across the country.
Furthermore, a 1959 document shows that guerilla actions against "domestic threats" was central to the inner workings of the clandestine operation. In Italy, this manifested as terrorism targeting the West and terrorism blamed on the left.
In light of the increasing popularity of the Italian Communist Party in elections, the CIA funneled money to the Christian Democrats who were the leading opponents.
In 1963, SIFAR and the CIA jointly planned a false-flag assassination attempt targeting Aldo Moro the moderate leader of the Christian Democrats at the time. The assassination attempt was designed to deliberately fail.
The assassination operation dubbed "Piano Solo" was eventually aborted. Piano Solo fell under official investigation four years later, yet the results were not published until the public first learned of Gladio’s existence. As part of the plan, the kidnapper was supposed to claim that communists had ordered them to kill Moro, which would justify the violent seizure of several political parties and newspaper headquarters as well as the detention of unruly leftists.
A query by the Foreign Office of Italy’s then-President Francesco Cossiga, strongly suggests that, British intelligence played a role in Piano Solo, and that the Italian President was well aware of the plot.
US in collaboration with fascists
A notable actor operating under the auspices of Gladio was P2: a secret Cold War-era cabal founded by Licio Gelli an Italian financier and self-identifying fascist.
A declassified document by John Ashton, British ambassador to Italy at the time, reveals that P2 was one of many “mysterious right-wing forces” striving “by terrorism and street violence to provoke a repressive backlash against Italy’s democratic institutions” under the “strategy of tension.”
Ashton notes that P2 had infiltrated Italy's security apparatus. Subsequent investigations showed how Henry Kissinger helped oversee the recruitment of 400 high-ranking Italian and NATO officers as P2 operatives in 1969.
Ashton concluded his note by noting the truth about Washington's involvement in cooperating with fascists in Italy some of whom conducted terrorist operations would “probably never be known.” He adds correspondingly that the full extent of the UK's involvement in terrorist attacks, coups, and political destabilization as part of Operation Gladio throughout Europe, will almost certainly remain a secret as well.