Operation Gladio: The Secret CIA Program to Control Europe

Operation Gladio

BBC (1992)

Film Review

This 1992 documentary is based on rare archival interviews of former Gladio operatives. Gladio was a secret US/UK intelligence-run program run across Europe between 1945 and its public exposure in 1990. It’s main purpose was to crush strikes and public protests and to prevent groups unfriendly to US/UK interests from coming to power. The main strategies employed were false flag terrorist attacks (mainly bombings and assassinations) that were officially blamed on left wing groups

The Office of Strategic Services or OSS (which became the CIA in 1947) and MI6 (the British secret service) divided up spheres of influence. The Brits ran Gladio in Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium and the US France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Turkey and Greece. In each of these countries, UK/US intelligence recruited police and secret services, fascist groups and Nazi spies “left behind” when Hitler’s army withdrew from occupied Europe.

Although elected parliaments (and many prime ministers) were never informed of Gladio’s existence, all NATO countries were forced to join as a condition of NATO membership. Moreover the French continued to participate in Gladio after President Charles DeGaulle withdrew France from NATO in 1966.**

In this film, former Gladio operatives from Italy and Belgium discuss their motivation for participating, their role in infiltrating targeted left wing groups,*** the role of local CIA operatives in providing funding, training and other support, and their eventual disillusionment with illegal terrorist actions that deliberately targeted civilians. There are also interviews with CIA officials involved in funding, arming and training Gladio operatives and with Italian Investigating judges, whistleblowers and journalists who helped bring Gladio to public attention.


*In a false flag operation, deliberate deception creates the appearance of responsibility of a particular group or nation for a given atrocity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.

**DeGaulle made the 1966 decision to withdraw French troops from NATO after learning a secret assassination team operating out of NATO headquarters in Belgium was responsible for four assassination attempts against him. French intelligence would provide details about this group to New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison in his prosecution of Kennedy assassination co-conspirator Clay Shaw (see New Evidence in JFK Assassination). French troops would rejoin NATO under President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2009.

***Germany’s Red Army Faction (aka Beider-Meinhoff gang), Italy’s Red Brigades and France’s Action Directe are the best known so-called leftist groups infiltrated (and likely run) by Gladio.

 

The Whistleblowers Who Exposed the Surveillance State

Digital Dissidents Part 1

Al Jazeera (2016)

Film Review

Digital Dissidents is about six whistleblowers who risked their careers, financial ruin and imprisonment to expose secret government crimes. In Part 1 of this two-part series, the whistleblowers introduce themselves and speak briefly about the circumstances that led them to leak illicit secret government information – at great risk to themselves.

  • Daniel Ellsberg, who worked in the US Embassy in Saigon, leaked 7,000 pages of documents to the New York Times in 1971 revealing the US government had systematically lied to Congress for decades about US military involvement in Vietnam. He was charged with theft and illegal possession of secret documents. The case against him collapsed when it came out that Nixon was illegally wiretapping him and had ordered “plumbers” to break into his psychiatrist’s office.
  • Thomas Drake, who worked for the CIA prior to being transferred to the NSA on 9/11/01. When he learned the NSA was illegally spying on journalists, he spent months “going through channels” to raise the alarm with his superiors. After he went to a Baltimore Sun reporter in 2007 with evidence of his concerns, the US government charged him with 10 felonies under the 1917 Espionage Act. After a lengthy trial that virtually bankrupted him, Drake pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of misusing a government computer. He was sentenced to one year probation and 240 hours of community service.
  • William Binney, who also worked for the NSA (for 30 years) developing a wiretap program capable of filtering large numbers of domestic and foreign communication. He left the NSA in October 2001 and became a whistleblower in 2002. Although the FBI raided his home at gunpoint, he was eventually cleared of criminal charges.
  • Edward Snowden, who worked for both the CIA and the NSA, leaked thousands of files substantiating Drake’s and Binney’s allegations to a number of journalists worldwide. The US canceled his passport while he was at the Moscow airport (en route from Hong Kong to South America), and he was forced to seek asylum in Russia.
  • Julian Assange, an Australian national and former hacker, who founded Wikileaks in 2006. The purpose of this website is to allow whistle blowers from all over the world to safely and anonymously leak documents implicating their governments in criminal activities.
  • David Shayler and his former partner Anne Machon, former MI5 operatives who passed secret documents to The Mail on Sunday about British intelligence involvement in illegal activities. In 2002, Shayler received a six month prison sentence for violating the Official Secrets Act.

 

Although the video can’t be embedded for copyright reasons, it can be seen for free at the Al Jazeera website: Digital Dissidents