The Guardian from London, Greater London, England on December 5, 1990 · 12
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The Guardian from London, Greater London, England · 12

London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 5, 1990
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THE GUARDIAN Wednesday December 5 1990 A message to our 1" new PM: the lady's YfoB OaidlD ffEfeg diodi fffflir If rnDTTDWlirilDSinni not tor yearning ftihmnwo Mftaeft flmtftin, ftlfea UUUU K WW WW Mri W UU U VJXW V1U UMT MJU U U Uf W U UMtf'U M WU Ur tJW B 12 FOREIGN FOCUS Hella Pick NE of John Major's first I decisions as Pnme Mm- ister has been to order a policy study and proposals on Europe in preparation for the EC summit and the inter-gov-ernmental conferences on eco nomic and monetary union and political union. This is an area which needs urgent attention and he has clearly decided that he must move quickly to demonstrate he is prepared to exorcise Mrs Thatcher s ghost. Mr Major may be tempted to leave the other aspects of foreign policy to Douglas Hurd while he focuses on the large agenda of internal issues pressing in on him. He would, however, be wrong indeed if he took this easy option. Not because there is anything wrong with Mr Hurd, but because Mrs Thatcher's going is a golden opportunity to review Britain's priorities abroad. Mrs Thatcher undoubtedly gave Britain an imposing profile she was the profile but her style and rigidity often obscured and harmed Britain's real interests. Foreign Secretaries and British diplomats spent much time on damage-limitation exercises. Now is the time to erase the damage altogether. At the centre of British foreign policy are the relationships with the EC, with the wider Europe, with the Soviet Union and with the US. Nato must be fundamentally rethought if it is to have any relevance and attract essential public support. In this context, Mr Major will have to decide whether Britain should continue to host US aircraft armed with nuclear missiles. Decisions are also outstanding on Anglo-French co-operation to develop air-to-ground tactical nuclear missiles. And dare one suggest that Mr Major should bring himself to go back to fundamentals about Britain's nuclear deterrent? It, for example, Britain and France are to be the nuclear component of a future European security system, as many now advocate, does it make sense for Britain to depend in perpetuity on US weaponry? And if the Strategic Arms Negotiations ever move beyond their present goal of halving US and Soviet arsenals, will Britain be obliged to cut back on Trident? Mrs Thatcher always put the US first and developed an exaggerated view of the Special Relationship. John Major should grasp such devotion is no longer wanted in Washington; and even if it were, it is not in Britain's interests to perpetuate the illusion that Britain's voice, on its own without its European partners, carries decisive weight with the US. The US aim is to establish close links with the EC on foreign policy as well as on trade and economic policies. It believes Britain's active involvement in developing an EC consensus on major issues would be more valuable than a lone British voice picking up the hotline to the Oval Office. The Prime Minister should not be carried away by Mr Bush's enthusiasm for Britain's staunch support in the Gulf crisis. In fact, many senior officials in Washington were appalled by Mrs Thatcher's bellicosity and her attempt to convince the President that war was the only way of tackling Saddam Hussein. John Major will visit Wash SEND SOME GOOD NEWS TO YOUR FRIENDS OVERSEAS with a gift subscription to The Guardian Weekly The Guardian Weekly compiles the most important news, comment and features from The Guardian plus regular features from ySSS! asm- y u: ivionae m cngusn translation;. The Guardian Weekly is distributed rapidly by air to subscribers in all comers of the world. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES United Kingdom ..40.00 Air Edition Europe (including Eire) 45.00 Middle East, Africa, Asia, Americas, Malaysia, Indonesia. 49.00 Australasia, Japan, China, Pacific 55.00 To: The Guardian Weekly, 164 Deansgatc, Manchester M60 2RR Please mail The Guardian Weekly for 52 weeks to: Namemn,M Address...., Subscription ordered by.. Address if not as above... I enclose payment off. by CD Sterling cheque drawn on U.K. bankSterling Eurocheque rI Please debit my VisalAccaslMasltrCardlAmtx l l- I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I Cardholder's signature... Card expiry date,..- ington before many days are out; and it is, of course, impor tant that he should establish a sound rapport with Mr Bush just as he should with other world leaders. But it is imperative that Mr Major also cuts Britain s rela tions witn the us down to a realistic size. Britain's partners in the EC would welcome this as a demonstration of his com mitment to Europe. He also has to repair fences in several European capitals, Germany is the most glaring example, where Mrs Thatcher's barely-veiled contempt for Chancellor Kohl and her patent prejudice against German unification created unnecessary fric tion and marginalised British influence. It is high time a Brit ish government accepts that German commitment to European integration goes far be yond a crude attempt to domi nate the European Community. Britain's relations with the Soviet Union are also badly in need of refurbishing. As with Ronald Reagan, Mrs Thatcher's personal friendship with Mik hail Gorbachev obscured the more prosaic aspects of Brit ain's standing vis-a-vis the two superpowers. As Jonathan Steele reported from Moscow earlier this week, Mr Gorba chev s advisers are now assert ing that other Western countries always tried to meet Mr Gorbachev halfway, while Mrs Thatcher mostly held back, Mr Gorbachev is appealing for massive Western aid. Brit ain, in common with other Western countries, confronts delicate and unhappy choices: can enough be done to strengthen Gorbachev's hand, or is it too late for him to be saved? Is it time to establish closer links with Boris Yeltsin, with the Baltic leaders, with other emerging figures in a dis integrating Soviet Empire? And how will the West be able to cope with the detritus of a van ishing superpower? These issues are now impos ing themselves on the interna tional agenda. John Major can not shirk them by salving his conscience with Britain s paltry 20 million Know-How Fund, announced a few days before Mrs Thatcher s resignation. He must reflect, too, about the real state of democracy and economic reform in the countries of Eastern Europe, where Mrs Thatcher was so widely hero-worshipped as an apostle of the market economy. But the transformation is far from smooth. Instability and bankruptcy are not far from the horizon. Can the West turn its back on this? Can Britain, because it is an island, afford to relax about the prospect of mas sive emigration from the trou bled eastern half of the Continent? Britain likes to think of itself as a power with world responsibility. One remnant of Empire is Hong Kong, where the clock towards the 1997 handover to China is ticking away. Britain could surely do more to raise confidence, strengthen political expression, and take a tougher line against China's creeping encroachment on Hong Kong s civil liberties. When the Prime Minister gets around to focusing on Hong Kong, he might even con template appointing Mrs Thatcher as the last Governor. After all, it is one of the last outposts of pure capitalism and the regal appurtenances of the governorship would provide Mrs Thatcher with an agree ably stylish retirement. Besides, there is a golf course for Denis at Fan Ling, the gov ernor's equivalent of Chequers in the New Territories. The Washington Post and from ,.sc2 As scandal unfolds, Whitehall's response is silence, writes Rfehsnl Norton-Taylor f CHANCE discovery by fl m assiduous Italian U magistrate investigat-""Wling a neo-fascist terrorist attack has unearthed a secret paramilitary network run by units of the armed forces and intelligence services throughout western Europe. Over the past few weeks, gov ernment after government, with the notable exception of the British, has been forced to admit that the organisation whose original purpose was to set up resistance groups against occupying Warsaw Pact forces still exists. It has come be to known as Operation Gladio, after its Italian branch. Two threads have emerged. Ministers, let alone parliaments, knew nothing about the secret units; second, while nom inally established as "stay-behind" sabotage groups to com bat communist forces, in some countries they soon had internal political targets in their sights. Representatives from these units have been meeting regularly in Brussels in the Allied Coordination Committee. This consists of civilian and military personnel, according to Italian and Belgian sources. Guy Coeme, the Belgian defence minister, has said it last met in Brussels in late October. The network was not con fined to Nato countries. An in quiry in Switzerland recently revealed the existence of a secret organisation, P26. It had 400 agents with access to guns and explosives with a German radio system, Harpoon, set up in 1985 to contact parallel groups in neighbouring countries. One early task was to take over plans for a Swiss government-in-exile in south-west Ireland in the event of invasion. Another was to prepare for action against "subversion". P26 was backed by P27, a pri vate foreign intelligence agency funded partly by the government, and by a special unit of Swiss army intelligence which had built up flies on nearly 8,000 "suspect persons" including "leftists", "bill stickers", Jehovah s witnesses , people with "abnormal tendencies" and anti-nuclear demonstrators. On November 14, the Swiss government hurriedly dissolved P26 the head of which, it emerged, had been paid 100,000 a year. Although the Ministry of De fence has repeatedly refused to Secret agents, freemasons, top-level EdVuHtemyinRome on the 'strategy of tension' that brought carnage and cover-up 'I CAN say that the head of the secret services has repeatedly and unequivo cally excluded the existence of a hidden organisation of any type or size," the Italian Minister of Defence, Giulio An-dreotti, told a judicial inquiry in 1974 into the alleged existence of a secret state army. Four years later, the scene repeated itself in front of judges investigating a fascist bombing in Milan. Last month, however, An- dreotti now Prime Minister confirmed the now infamous Gladio organisation had indeed existed since 1958, with the sanction of the political authorities, as a paramilitary "clandestine network" pre pared to fight a Warsaw Pact invading army. The Gladio saga resulted from two sources unhappy with Andreotti's 1974 explanation. The first was a group of judges examining letters uncovered in Milan during October in which the murdered Christian Demo crat leader, Aldo Moro, said he feared a shadow organisation, alongside "other secret services of the West . . . might be implicated in the destabilisation of our country". His words were taken to point to the "Strategy of Tension" in the 1970s, violent and usually fascist-inspired outrages de signed to justify increased state power and isolate the Left Meanwruie. two judges m Venice were investigating one such outrage the murder of three policemen by a fascist car bomb in Peteano in 1972. Felice Casson and Carlo MasteUoni had stumbled across Gladio. Testimonies collected by the two men and by the Commis sion on Terrorism in Rome, and inquiries by the Guardian, indicate Gladio was involved in activities which do not square with Andreotti's account Links between Gladio, Italian The Bologna massacre: two secret service agents were convicted but did responsibility for comment on Britain's involvement, Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a former commander of Nato forces in northern Europe, has confirmed that a secret network of arms to be handed out to a civilian guer rilla force in the event of an invasion was set up in Britain after the war. The Guardian has learned of a secret attempt to revive elements of a parallel post-war plan relating to overseas operations. In the early days of Mrs Thatcher's Conservative lead ership, a group of former intelligence officers, inspired by the wartime Special Operations Executive, attempted to set up a secret unit as a kind of armed MI6cell. Those behind the scheme in cluded Airey Neave, Mrs Thatcher's close adviser who was killed in a terrorist attack in 1979, and George Kennedy Young, a former deputy chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Mrs Thatcher is said to have been initially enthusiastic but dropped the idea after the scandal surrounding the attack by the French secret service on the Greenpeace campaign Denials, doubts and then the truth: Prime Minister Andreotti secret service bosses and the notorious P2 masonic lodge are manifold. The chiefs of all three secret services Generals San-tovito (SISMI), Grassini (SISDE) and Cellosi (CESSIS) were members of the lodge. In the year that Andreotti denied Gladio's existence, the P2 treasurer, General Siro Rosetti, gave a generous account of "a secret security structure made up of civilians, parallel to the armed forces". There are also overlaps between senior Gladio personnel and the committee of military men, Rosa dei Vent, which tried to stage a coup in 1970. A briefing minute of June 1, 1959, reveals Gladio was built around "internal subversion". It was to play "a determining role . . . not only on the general policy level of warfare, but also in the pontics of emergency ". In the 1970s, with communist electoral support growing and other leftists looking menacing, the establishment turned to the "Strategy of Tension" with Gladio eager to be involved. General Gerardo Serravalle, a former head of "Office R", told the terrorism commission that at a crucial Gladio meeting in 1972, at least half of the upper echelons "had the idea of attacking the communists be ship, Rainbow Warrior, in New Zealand in 1985. British co-operation with the Gladio network since the 1950s appears to have concentrated on offering training expertise for continental cells. Werner Carobbio, a member of the Swiss parliamentary inquiry, referred the Guardian to Swiss press reports that P26 person- Mrs Thatcher is said to have been initially enthusiastic but later dropped the idea nel had received training in Britain. General Gerardo Serravalle, a retired officer, told the Italian parliamentary inquiry that a Gladio unit trained in Britain in the early 1970s. General Fausto Fortunate, head of the Italian Gladio cell until 1964, referred to a "crucial" meeting of the network held in Britain, followed by others in France, Bel of political 'destabilisation' fore an invasion. They were preparing for civil war." Later, he put it more bluntly: "They were saying this: 'Why wait for the invaders when we can make a pre-emptive attack now on the communists who would support the invader?' " The idea is now emerging of a Gladio web made up of semi-autonomous cadres which al- At least half had the idea of attacking communists before an invasion. They were preparing for civil war though answerable to their secret service masters and ultimately to the Nato-CIA command could initiate what they regarded as anti-communist operations by themselves, needing only sanction and funds from the existing "official" Gladio column. General Pietro Corona, head of the "R" office from 1969-70, told the Venice inquiry about "an alternative clandestine net gium and Luxembourg in the early 1960s. Revelations about the Gladio network have provoked embarrassed reactions. Wilfried Martens, Belgium's prime minister almost continuously since 1979, has said he was never told about its network, now under investigation after allegations that it was linked to a series of terrorist attacks in the 1980s. The Dutch prime minister, Ruud Lubbers, told parliament last month that a secret organisation had been set up inside the defence ministry in the 1950s originally to provide intelligence to a government in exile. Members of the cell are believed to have taken part recently in a training exercise in Sicily. The French defence minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, has announced that the French section, code-named Gallio, had been dissolved by presidential decree. The German section, set up with the help of second world war army veterans and the extreme rightwing Federation of German Youth, allegedly drew up plans to assassinate leading members of the opposition fascists . and assassination victim Moro work, parallel to Gladio, which knew about the arms and explosives dumps and who had access to them". General Nino Lu-garese, head of SISMI from 1981-84, testified on the existence of a "Super Gladio" of 800 men responsible for "internal intervention" against domestic political targets. The Venetian judges identified two arms dumps referred to by Andreotti. One, hidden beneath a cemetery near Verona, contains 18 453-gram bundles of the potent C4 plastic explosive officially confirmed last week as used at Peteano. Gen Serravalle testified to irregularities at another dump, near Trieste. There, he says, Gladio had logged seven containers of C4. When the Carabi-nieri dug up the arsenal in February 1972 two months before the Peteano attack near by there were only four containers left; three had been inexplicably removed. An extraordinary testimony remains in the labyrinth of paperwork surrounding the "Strategy of Tension". Vin-cenzo Vinciguerra, a member of the fascist group Avanguardia Nazionale, is serving life for his part in the Peteano bombing. In 1984, questioned by judges examining the 1980 Bologna the outrage lie 'within the state Social Democratic party in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion. The German government has promised to consider winding it up. In Greece, where it was given the code-name. Sheepskin, a cell was set up by the CIA in the 1950s but was dismantled in 1988, according to the government Officers in the underground unit were involved in the Colonels' coup in 1967. In Turkey, Bulent Ecevit, prime minister at the time of the invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, has said he was informed at the time of a "special warfare" department within the headquarters of the general staff. He said he was told it had been financed until then by the US but needed funds from Ankara. A former Italian Gladio officer has said Gladio agents were trained by US instructors at a military base in the Spanish Canary Islands from 1966 to the mid-1970s. He said France proposed Spain for membership of the network in 1973 but Britain, Germany and the Netherlands blocked the move on the grounds that Spain was not a democracy. . . and a station bomb in which 82 people were killed and for which two secret service agents were convicted, he said: "With the massacre of Peteano, and with all those that have followed, the knowledge should by now be clear that there existed a real live structure, occult and hidden, with the capacity of giving a strategic direction to the outrages." The structure, he said, "lies within the state itself'. "There exists in Italy a secret force parallel to the armed forces, composed of civilians and military men, in an anti-Soviet capacity that is, to organise a resistance on Italian soil against a Russian army . . . A secret organisation, a super-organisation with a network of communications, arms and explosives, and men trained to use them ... "A super-organisation which, lacking a Soviet military invasion which might not happen, took up the task, on Nato's behalf, of preventing a slip to the left in the political balance of the country. This they did, with the assistance of the official secret services and the political and military forces . . ." Vinciguerra has now made this statement to the Guardian: "The terrorist line was followed by camouflaged people, people belonging to the security apparatus, or those linked to the state apparatus through rapport or collaboration. I say that every single outrage that fol lowed from 1969 fitted into a single, organised matrix . . . Avanguardia Nazionale, like Ordine Nuovo (the main right-wing terrorist group active dur ing the 1970s), were being mobilised into the battle as part of an anti-communist strategy originating not with organisations deviant from the institutions of power, but from within the state itself, and specifically from within the ambit of the state's relations within the Atlantic Alliance." Late last Thursday, the cur rent head .of the Secret Services, General Paolo Inzerilli, announced that Gladio had been disbanded two days ear ner. The official closing ot the Gladio book, however, is un likely to abort the plot itself? photograph: giansantisiqma How MI6 and SAS joined in David PalHster on 'stay behind' strategy THE stay-behind groups in Europe had their origins in the fear of communism that concentrated the minds of British and US politicians and military planners after the second world war. The plan, spearheaded by the infant CIA as part of a huge covert action programme to assist anti-communist organisations, had been conceived by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the 1976 Senate report on the CIA by Frank Church which first revealed its existence. It was put into operation in 1948 by the National Security Council, which set up the Office of Policy Co-ordination, a covert operations unit created on the recommendation of a senior state department Soviet expert, George Keenan, the man who formulated the Marshall Plan of economic aid to Western Europe. Staffed and funded by the CIA, OPC's central mission, according to Church, was to set up "stay behind nets in the event of a future war" and support Nato forces against Soviet attack. It was also to recruit emigre groups to carry out sabotage behind the Iron Curtain. The British Secret Intelli gence service, MI6, and tne SAS played their part. In the British sector of Germany, the SAS dug secret hides with stores of weapons. MI6 helped the CIA to recruit agents who invaded Albania in 1949 in an operation betrayed by the double agent, Kim Philby. In Britain, a guerrilla net work with arms caches was already in place following the fall of France in 1940, according to senior military sources who say it was disbanded after the war. Its members, including the legendary Brigadier "Mad Mike" Calvert were drawn from a special forces ski battalion of the Scots Guards which was originally intended to fight in Nazi-occupied Finland. Germany was the OPC s prin cipal centre of operations and, as in Italy, it co-operated with some unsavoury characters. Under the direction of Allen Dulles as deputy director for plans and then CIA director in 1953, secret armies were set up across Europe, although, according to the Italian Prime Minister last month, they did not come under broad Nato supervision until 1959. As in Germany, one of their tasks was to counter internal left-wing subversion. In Greece, the existence of a CIA-armed and trained paramilitary group, which had helped in the 1967 Colonels' coup, was reported in the Athens press in 1978. In Scandinavia, the stay-behind groups were organised from 1951 by William Colby, who be came CIA director in 1973. A former deputy director of intelligence at the CIA, Ray Cline, who was station chief in Bonn in the mid-sixties, said last month that he had recom mended the phasing out of the groups when he discovered they were a bunch of old men without organisation. Like many people, he was surprised to find they still existed.

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