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NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security Studies) [Paperback]

by Ganser Daniele
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 5, 2005 0714685003 978-0714685007 0

This fascinating new study shows how the CIA and the British secret service, in collaboration with the military alliance NATO and European military secret services, set up a network of clandestine anti-communist armies in Western Europe after World War II.

These secret soldiers were trained on remote islands in the Mediterranean and in unorthodox warfare centres in England and in the United States by the Green Berets and SAS Special Forces. The network was armed with explosives, machine guns and high-tech communication equipment hidden in underground bunkers and secret arms caches in forests and mountain meadows. In some countries the secret army linked up with right-wing terrorist who in a secret war engaged in political manipulation, harrassement of left wing parties, massacres, coup d'états and torture.

Codenamed 'Gladio' ('the sword'), the Italian secret army was exposed in 1990 by Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to the Italian Senate, whereupon the press spoke of "The best kept, and most damaging, political-military secret since World War II" (Observer, 18. November 1990) and observed that "The story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller." (The Times, November 19, 1990). Ever since, so-called 'stay-behind' armies of NATO have also been discovered in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Turkey. They were internationally coordinated by the Pentagon and NATO and had their last known meeting in the NATO-linked Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) in Brussels in October 1990.

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NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security Studies) + Gladio, NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis + Classified Woman-The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir
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Editorial Reviews


'Much of this is appearing in English for the first time and it would be hard to overstate its importance.' - Lobster

About the Author

Daniel Ganser is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland. He studied at Basel University in Switzerland, at Amsterdam University (UVA) in the Netherlands, and at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in England. He has published on the role of the United Nations in the Cuban conflict, Switzerland's path towards the United Nations and Switzerland's position outside the European Union.

Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary Security Studies
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (February 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714685003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714685007
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
The author is a Swiss researcher who has nicely managed to document in one volume the modus operandi of a secret stay-behind army in Europe which operated since the end of WWII until the end of the Cold War. The book provides a complete documentation of the general patterns of this army across Europe that if taken in isolation would seem improbable. This super secret Army was operating in all Western European countries under different codenames and coordinated by the Allied Clandestine Committee and the Clandestine Planning Committee under the umbrella supervision of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) within the NATO and with the active supporting role of the Pentagon, CIA and the British MI6. The goal of this army was to operate behind enemy lines setting up resistance movements in case of a Soviet invasion of Europe. The secret army was clandestine and illegal in many countries and staffed by loyal anti-communist soldiers and rightwing activists recruited from various sectors, many with a past with the nazis or fascist armies during WWII. These armies have been employed also against the national communist (and in some case socialist) parties (Demagnetize Operation) under the complacence of domestic intelligence services with several suspect cases of assassinations and some documented cases of terrorist attacks against civilian targets, or in overturning democratically elected governments (Greece and Turkey) too dangerously left-leaning. Italy plays an important part in this story since Italy was theatre of several operations and last but not least, a former prime minister eventually admitted before Parliament in 1990, after the investigations of a judge, that a stay-behind army had operated since WWII, opening a Pandora's box of revelations. Read more ›
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What every European should know December 2, 2005
A book both enlightening in its academic post-mortem of recent Western European history and terrifying in its subtext of what might still be in store for the region. Ganser reveals the role of Nato (and specifically the United States) in right-wing terror attacks on European soil, and to some degree breaks through the wall of secrecy surrounding the Gladio units set up in the aftermath of World War II. Nato's Secret Armies is an essential guide to understanding post-war European politics and the powerful realpolitik of EU-US relations.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
It does not require a great deal of reading between the lines of NATO's Secret Army to awaken to the grim reality that Americans must now reckon with. The author's description of the "strategy of tension" is chilling. Anyone claiming "disinformation" immediately identifies themselves as an "insider" that others must be wary of. Ultimately, perhaps the most important book of the 21st century.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant study of state-sponsored terrorism October 25, 2006
This path-breaking work by Daniele Ganser, a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology, exposes the secret anti-communist terrorist organisation set up across Europe by the US and British states after World War Two. They created the Gladio network in all 16 NATO member countries and in the neutral nations of Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland. They recruited former SS members as part of Germany's network.

As Ganser writes, these networks "became activists in political causes as a rule and not as an exception." The US and British states used them "to manipulate and control the democracies of Western Europe from within, unknown to both European populations and parliaments. This strategy led to terror and fear, as well as to `humiliation and maltreatment of democratic institutions'." They created and manipulated a terrorist threat, developing a `strategy of tension' to strengthen Europe's ruling classes.

Ganser points out, "Sometimes these efforts involved violence, even terrorism, and sometimes the terrorists made use of the very equipment furnished to them for their Cold War function." He observes, "The secret armies ... were involved in a whole series of terrorist operations and human rights violations that they wrongly blamed on the Communists in order to discredit the left at the polls. The operations always aimed spreading maximum fear among the population and ranged from bomb massacres in trains and market squares (Italy), the use of systematic torture of opponents of the regime (Turkey), the support for right-wing coups d'etats (Greece and Turkey), to the smashing of opposition groups (Portugal and Spain).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extremely important story known to too few November 18, 2008
Many people have become interested in Operation Gladio, the Bologna train station bombing, and other creepy aspects of the "Stay Behind" operations in Europe because of their ominous resonances with 9-11 and the politics of the "Neo-cons." For such people, this book is an excellent resource. It is far and away the most detailed discussion of the "Stay Behinds" I have seen, with plenty of bibliographic references for further study.

Basically, Gladio in Italy was only the most infamous example of an incredibly sinister, U.S./NATO-sponsored, extreme-right underground terrorist network active throughout Western Europe, largely consisting of unrepentant ex-Nazis & Nazi collaborators. As the years passed and the Soviets failed to provide the invasion that was the terrorists' raison d'etre, they got wrestless and started cooking up some "excitement" of their own. This real explanation behind Bologna and other incidents was thoroughly suppressed, especially in the U.S.

When you're done with this book, you will be well-informed concerning a chilling 20th century reality that most Americans have never heard of (that many don't care to hear of). Others of us would rather know, especially now. It seems REAL history doesn't match up too good with what they show us on thuh tee-vee. How odd!

This book also has some problems, thus the four stars. I believe Ganser wrote it in another language, and it was translated. Or Ganser wrote the English himself, just not very fluently. Either way, the prose is not engaging and is sometimes clumsy / unclear / grammatically bizarre.

Also, I bought this book at the[...] price because I wanted it very much, but I was appalled by this price for a paperback. Now I see it's "only"[...]. To me, this ridiculous price suggests suppression of an important-but-unwelcome topic, reminescent of the "privishing" Gerard Colby describes in Kristina Borjesson's 'Into the Buzzsaw.'
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars 911 Conspiracy Theorists would Love this Book...
The left and the rest of the unhinged conspiracy minded ravel (including the far right wing nuts) must really love this book! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Greenknight01
5.0 out of 5 stars Greed Pricing, Get Free Summaries Online
This book is now priced so unreasonably I cannot recommend it. Instead, search online for "NATO's Secret Armies" by Stephen Lendman, his very long article is both free and of very... Read more
Published on October 8, 2010 by Robert David STEELE Vivas
5.0 out of 5 stars A damning inditement of our supposedly democratic system
A seminal work in which Danielle Ganser provides us with the coordinates to help us put things like the so-called War On Terror into their proper contexts. Read more
Published on March 4, 2009 by SmokeNMirrors
1.0 out of 5 stars Should have come with a free tin foil hat
On the factual basis of the book, there really was a covert program to establish stay behind armies of partisans in Europe following the Second World War. Read more
Published on July 9, 2008 by Mike
1.0 out of 5 stars trashing NATO and GLADIO
I got this book convinced to read about the Stay Behind story, but there is not much about history, but a lot of trashing of NATO, the StayBehind network, Western Europe.. Read more
Published on April 16, 2007 by Giuseppe Clemente
5.0 out of 5 stars There are few archbishops in espionage
D. Ganser's book is frightening. He shows how a secret stay-behind network (Gladio) that should only become effective after a Warschaw Pact invasion of Western Europe, became an... Read more
Published on February 7, 2007 by Luc REYNAERT
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