NATO’s secret army existed on the territory of Western Europe until the beginning of the 90s. And maybe it is still functioning today. It was called Gladio, which means sword in Latin. One of its emblems is a salamander, which marks its belonging to the secret services syndicate.
In order to understand what this movement really represented or, possibly, is still representing, we consulted the well-known Swiss historian Daniel Ganser, who has published a book about the secret army.
Mr. Ganser, you are a historian, specializing in modern history and international relations since 1945. You lecture at Basel University and you are the author of numerous works which caused a sensation all over the world. I would like to speak to you about your most well-known book “NATO’s Secret Army”.
NATO’s Secret Army is a poorly studied phenomenon. Even my colleagues used to say to me: “But NATO has never had any secret army!” The whole world thought that such a thing did not exist. And then, in 1990, Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti confirmed that all the European NATO countries had secret armies. Their aim was to resist a Soviet invasion. But during the Cold War period nothing of the kind happened, as you know. Therefore, people thought that these armies were useless, but it was not so. They were used in order to manipulate the political climate in many European countries – France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, Portugal,and Finland. It was a large-scale phenomenon all right.
Your book “NATO’s Secret Army” inspired film director Emmanuel Amaro on the creation of an excellent documentary lasting 52 minutes. Your book has to do with both Russia and Western Europe. Has your book been published in Russian yet?
No, not yet! But in two weeks I am presenting the Russian version of my book in Moscow.
We received evidence that the secret army had actually existed, at least until the beginning of the 90s. And still there is no reason to believe it was dismissed. Can you add some important details to the above-mentioned?
Historians say that in fact this army conducted acts of terror, aimed at changing the political course of one or another country, consistently dissociating it from the USSR and Eastern Europe. So, on August 2, 1980, a bomb exploded in the waiting room of a railway station in Bologna, which took the lives of 85 people. 200 people received injuries of varying severity.
At first, the Italian police attributed this terrorist act to the Red Brigades, but ultimately Gladio was pronounced guilty. A month and a half later, during Oktoberfest in Munich, there was another act of terror. Colonel Klaus Fishner, a former employee of the counter-intelligence service of Stasi, said: “The task was to create tension in NATO countries and to suppress any political left-wing deviation.” As we can see, that was the mission, aimed at justifying the existence of the secret army.
German historian Erich Schmidt-Eenboom affirms that in Germany a considerable part of the secret army, about 25%, was recruited from former members of the SS.
The general public is well-acquainted with the film “The Bourne Identity.” Only people do not know that the mysterious organization Dread Stone that stood behind the anonymous American political killers and was housed in Langley, has a real terrible prototype. And this is Gladio.