[Editor’s note: In light of today’s controversial decision by the Public Prosecutor for Northern Ireland to prosecute ‘Soldier F’ for two murders and four attempted murders as a result of the events of Bloody Sunday, I felt it was highly apropos to re-post an article I wrote on those tragic events a couple of months ago. Ian]
Gladio Redux – Europe Divided, Conquest to Follow?
…by Ian Greenhalgh
On Saturday night a large bomb exploded in Londonderry, it had been placed inside a van parked on a street in the city centre, a splinter group called the New IRA have claimed credit for the blast. No-one was injured by the explosion, but the significance of this event is clear – it marks the renewal of the Cold War era Gladio strategy and the intent is to re-ignite civil unrest and violence in Ulster.
It is important that we understand Operation Gladio as it was the precursor for the false flag terrorism and “armies of the night” that have replaced the warfare of the 20th century with “war on the cheap,” the “low intensity” conflicts that are at the heart of global instability today. We begin.
The Cold War was a difficult period for non-aligned nations, in fact, being “non-aligned” was like dancing on a razor’s edge. Thus, we begin with the real story of Colonel Gaddafi and the role he played, dancing on that razors edge, in the founding of Operation Gladio.
In 1969 the CIA deposed the Libyan government and installed army colonel Muammar Gaddafi at the head of a despotic regime, one of nearly 200 regime change operations the US intelligence agency has carried out since it was formed just after WW2.
Libya is a large country but has a small population that lives in a narrow strip of fertile land along the Mediterranean coast, the remainder of the country is an empty sandy stretch of the Sahara Desert. There are considerable oil deposits, but it is not the oil wealth that attracted CIA interest, rather it is Libya’s geography, that vast expanse of empty desert was what appealed so much to the planners in Langley.
Why would the CIA be so interested in a patch of empty desert? The answer is both simple and disturbing – it offers a perfect location to build secret bases and black sites where they can carry out all kinds of nefarious operations far from the gaze of Congressional oversight, in fact, far from any gaze at all as the region is unpopulated.
There is a second geographic factor – Libya’s location on the southern coast of the Mediterranean, a short hop from Europe; if one wanted to build a base from which to control and supply clandestine operations in Europe, Libya is perfectly placed.
These clandestine operations were a series of terrorist campaigns across many European nations that were collectively known as the Gladio programme. The strategy was simple, terrorists groups were created and used to wage campaigns of horrific violence in order to terrorise the populations of the targetted nations and cause them to turn to right wing political parties that were painted as being the best hope for combatting these terror groups.
Gladio terrorist groups included ETA in Spain, Baader-Meinhoff in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy and most well known of all – the IRA in Northern Ireland. Their campaigns of terror began in 1970, less than a year after Gadaffi was installed in Libya. The first major incident to make te headlines across Europe came in Italy where Bologna train station was bombed, killing and maiming scores of innocent Italians.
By far the largest and most murderous campaign was the one waged in Northern Ireland and the story of how it was created will sound very familiar to Russian readers as it closely parallels the events in Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014. The province of Ulster has a Protestant majority that is fiercely loyal to the British state and a Catholic minority that has long suffered discrimination at the hands of the Protestants, meaning Catholics had a lower standard of living and were relatively impoverished.
By 1969, the Catholics had enough and a series of peaceful marches in protest at their plight were seen in Belfast and most of the other towns and cities of Ulster. The reaction by the Protestant majority was to turn to violence and the peaceful marches turned into running brawls as the almost exclusively Protestant police stood back and did nothing to protect the Catholics.
The British government was appalled at the situation, the Catholics were British citizens after all, so they sent in the British Army to protect the Catholic population and hopefully, quell the wave of violence.
The two points where the confrontations between Protestant and Catholic were at their worst were East Belfast where the infamous Falls Road and Shankill Road are to be found and in the city of Londonderry where the Bogside area was the scene of near continual street battles. Into this cauldron of violence and unrest was sent a military unit that was perhaps the very worst possible choice that could have been made – the famous Parachute Regiment.
The Paras had won fame and the resect of their opponents in a series of bitter battles against Nazi German forces in WW2, in particular the famous battle for control of the bridge over the Rhine at the Dutch city of Arnhem – the bridge that became known as ‘The Bridge Too Far’ and the subject of a famous book and major Hollywood motion picture.
The fighting in the West was rarely as intense and brutal as that in the East between the Red Army and the Nazi invaders, but Arnhem rivalled Stalingrad for the sheer intensity of the urban combat as two SS panzer Divisions, veterans of both the battles in Russia and Normandy, counter-attacked the single battalion of British paratroopers holding the northern end of the fateful bridge. Lightly armed airborne troops stand little chance against panzers and after a week of brave but futile resistance, the paras were overrun.
When the commanding SS general took the surrender of the British commander, he complimented him on how hard his men had fought and remarked that the Paras must be highly experienced in house to house fighting as they had given his men, veterans of the worst of the battles in the cities of Russia, such a fierce and difficult fight. The British commander displayed the typical British dry sense of humour and replied that on the contrary, his men had never fought in a city before and quipped ‘we will do rather better next time’.
That episode illustrates the character of the Parachute Regiment – they are elite shock troops, trained to meet the enemy head on with the utmost aggression and ferocity, they are the men you send in when you have a particularly difficult situation and you can count on them to smash the enemy or die trying. What they are not are the right troops to use in a policing action on the streets of a British city.
However, onto the streets of Londonderry the Paras were sent, tasked with keeping order and preventing further violence, the stage was set for an explosive escalation of the already ultra tense situation. The fateful day came on the 30th of January, 1972 a day of infamy that has gone down in history as ‘Bloody Sunday’.
A peaceful march had been organised and as the column of protesters, most of them Catholics, passed through the notorious Bogside area that had been the scene of so much violence, they reached a choke point as the road passed between tall apartment buildings.
Gunfire was directed at the soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment who were policing the march and they responded as they had been trained – to meet aggression with overwhelming hyper aggression. When the smoke cleared 28 civilians had been shot, 14 of them fatally and the fuse had been lit that ignited the decades of violence known as ‘The Troubles’.
The protesters were adamant that no-one on the march had been armed, that no-one among them fired at the Paras, conversely, the Paras were adamant that bullets had rained down on them, striking their vehicles and the ground around them, although no Paras were hit. Both sides are telling the truth, gunfire was indeed directed at the Paras, but it did not come from the peaceful protest marchers.
This scenario should sound familiar as it is precisely the same tactic that we saw played out on Kiev’s Maidan Square in 2014. Hidden gunmen had opened fire on the Paras, causing them to respond and fire back at the only ‘enemy’ they could see – the mass of civilian protesters. This was Gladio in action, the gunmen had been trained by the CIA at secret training camps deep in the Libyan desert, their weapons had come from CIA stockpiles hidden in the same sandy wastes of Libya.
Before Bloody Sunday, the IRA terrorist group consisted of a couple of dozen angry young men in the Falls Road area of East Belfast; within weeks, thousands of young Catholics volunteered to join the IRA and the terror group established cells in every town and city across the province of Ulster. Weapons were duly delivered by ship from the Libyan stockpiles and funding flooded in, ostensibly from sympathetic Irish Americans, but in reality, it was CIA money; this was Gladio in operation and it all relied on the Libyan bases.
Why would the CIA create and sponsor terrorist campaigns in European countries that were it’s NATO allies? The answer is that they feared that Europe was turning to the left, that socialist governments were being elected and that these left wing governments were opposed to the continuation of the Cold War, that they favoured rapprochement with the Communist Bloc.
By terrorising the populations of it’s NATO allies in Europe, they were causing them to turn to the right wing parties that were talking tough about how they would deal with the terrorists who were perceived as being left wing and espousing a Communist ideology.
The US economy has, since the 1940s, been built around a massive military-industrial-corporate complex and in order to keep that complex going and the economy strong, they need to sell arms to both the US military and their NATO allies. This is why the Cold War lasted for so long, the Communist Bloc was an ideal bogeyman to scare the US people with so they continued to support the politicians who had been bought and paid for by the money men behind the military-industrial-corporate complex.
If Europe was allowed to turn to the left and become socialist, to pursue peace and rapprochement with the Communist Bloc, the massive profits from arms sales that kept the US military-industrial-corporate complex in their position of power were threatened, if peace were to break out, it would be a disaster for their profit margins. That is why the CIA created Gladio, why Europe in the 1970s was beset by terrorism, it was to keep the Cold War going by preventing liberal left-wing governments taking control and pursing peace.
Which brings us to the current situation where a new Cold War has been created by demonising Russia and tall tales of how Putin intends to recreate the Soviet Union by re-annexing the Ukraine and the Baltic Republics fill the Western media. However, the peoples of Europe will take some convincing that Russia is indeed our enemy and intends to seize territory in the East of the continent.
The method by which the people will be convinced that they need to elect and support right wing anti-Russian governments is the same tried and tested one that was used before – Operation Gladio part II, this time the base for this operation is not to be found in the Libyan desert, rather, it is in Poland and Ukraine, where far-right nationalist governments have been placed into power by CIA interference and where the arms stockpiles and training camps are located.
Why is Britain being targetted in this way? It is because the right wing Conservative government is on the verge of collapse and we are faced with the prospect of the left-wing Labour Party being elected. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a staunch opponent of militarism and Labour’s stated policy, should thy be elected, is to withdraw Britain from NATO and to cut military spending which would see British troops currently based in Eastern Europe withdrawn back to Britain and an end to the demonisation of Russia that has been so prevalent under the right wing Conservative government.
No-one in Northern Ireland or in mainland Britain or the Irish Republic for that matter, wants to see a return to the violence of ‘The Troubles’, neither do they want any further escalation of the tensions with Russia, however, that is precisely what the nefarious plans entail – a return to the bad old days of the Cold War and the IRA terror campaign.
The end game is the destruction of Putin’s Russia in the same way the first Cold War ended in the collapse of the Soviet Union. The prize is the vast wealth of natural resources Russia contains and control of their exploitation; once again, it all boils down to profits for the military-industrial-corporate complex and the handful of powerful banking families who secretly run the whole show.