Our guest this week is Swiss historian Dr. Daniele Ganser, author of the seminal book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, who joins us for a fascinating (though at times unsettling) conversation on the subject of Operation GLADIO.
Shortly after WWII a Europe-wide network of secret armies was organised under the aegis of NATO, tasked with providing military and intelligence resistance in the event of a feared Soviet invasion. Modelled on the resistance movements of the war years, many of these “stay behind” units remained faithful to their original mandate. But by the early 1960s – under the pressures of anti-communist politicking and flirtations with the Far Right – some of these groups began to morph into something more sinister, linking up with extreme right-wingers who carried out acts of false-flag terrorism, harassment of left-wing parties and coups d’état.
But was this morphing simply an unforseen consequence of the unaccountability and instability of the network itself? Or was it, at least in part, engineered by the very Anglo-American establishment which gave birth to the project in the first place? And to what extent, therefore, can such acts of terror be seen as manifestations of ‘the strategy of tension’, carried out by the State against its own citizens for the purposes of control at home and geopolitical gain abroad? (We also discuss: Operation Northwoods, the so-called War on Terror, 9/11 and the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks.)