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Operation Gladio

Operation Gladio (Italian: Operazione Gladio) is the co- 1.2 Post War creation
dename for a clandestine North Atlantic Treaty Organisa-
tion (NATO) stay-behind operation in Italy during the After World War II, the UK and the US decided to cre-
Cold War. Its purpose was to prepare for, and implement, ate stay-behind paramilitary organizations, with the of-
armed resistance in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion cial aim of countering a possible Soviet invasion through
and conquest. Although Gladio specically refers to the sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines. Arms
Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, caches were hidden, escape routes prepared, and loyal
Operation Gladio is used as an informal name for all of members recruited, whether in Italy or in other European
them. The name Gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a countries. Its clandestine cells were to stay behind in
type of Roman shortsword. Stay-behind operations were enemy-controlled territory and to act as resistance move-
prepared in many NATO member countries, and some ments, conducting sabotage, guerrilla warfare and assas-
neutral countries.[1] sinations.
The role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in The stay-behind armies were created with the experience
Gladio and the extent of its activities during the Cold Warand involvement of former SOE ocers.[5] Following
era, and any relationship to terrorist attacks perpetrated Giulio Andreottis October 1990 revelations, General Sir
in Italy during the "Years of Lead" (late 1960s to early John Hackett, former commander-in-chief of the British
1980s) is the subject of debate. Switzerland and Belgium Army on the Rhine, declared on November 16, 1990, that
have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter.[2] a contingency plan involving stay behind and resistance
in depth was drawn up after the war. The same week, Sir
Anthony Farrar-Hockley, former commander-in-chief of
NATOs Forces in Northern Europe from 1979 to 1982,
declared to The Guardian that a secret arms network was
1 History and general stay-behind established in Britain after the war.[6] Hackett had writ-
structure ten in 1978 a novel, The Third World War: August 1985,
which was a ctionalized scenario of a Soviet Army inva-
sion of West Germany in 1985. The novel was followed in
1.1 World War Two experience 1982 by The Third World War: The Untold Story, which
elaborated on the original. Farrar-Hockley had aroused
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Winston controversy in 1983 when he became involved in trying
Churchill created the Special Operations Executive to organise a campaign for a new Home Guard against a
(SOE) in 1940 to assist resistance movements and carry potential Soviet invasion.
out subversive operations in enemy-held territory across Operating in all of NATO and even in some neutral coun-
occupied Europe. Guardian reporter David Pallister tries such as Spain before its 1982 admission to NATO,
wrote in December 1990 that a guerrilla network with Gladio was rst coordinated by the Clandestine Commit-
arms caches had been put in place following the fall tee of the Western Union (CCWU), founded in 1948.
of France. It included Brigadier Mad Mike Calvert, After the creation of NATO in 1949, the CCWU was
and was drawn from the 5th (ski) battalion of the Scots integrated into the Clandestine Planning Committee
Guards, which was originally intended to ght against the (CPC), founded in 1951 and overseen by the SHAPE
Soviet forces attacking Finland.[3] Known as Auxiliary (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), trans-
Units, they were headed by Major Colin Gubbins, an ex- ferred to Belgium after Frances ocial withdrawal from
pert in guerrilla warfare who later led the SOE. The Aux- the NATO military organization - but not from NATO
iliary Units were attached to GHQ Home Forces, and con- which was not followed by the dissolution of the French
cealed within the Home Guard. The units were created in stay-behind paramilitary movements.
preparation of a possible invasion of the British Isles by [8]
the Third Reich. These units were allegedly stood down Historian Daniele Ganser alleges that:
only in 1944. Several of their members subsequently
joined the Special Air Service and saw action in France in Next to the CPC, a second secret army
late 1944. Their existence did not become widely known command center, labeled Allied Clandestine
by the public until the 1990s, despite a book on the sub- Committee (ACC), was set up in 1957 on the
ject being published in 1968, written by David Lampe.[4] orders of NATOs Supreme Allied Comman-


der in Europe (SACEUR). This military struc- political-military secret since World War II', the Ital-
ture provided for signicant US leverage over ian government, amidst sharp public criticism, promised
the secret stay-behind networks in Western Eu- to close down the secret army. Italy insisted identical
rope as the SACEUR, throughout NATOs his- clandestine units had also existed in all other countries
tory, has traditionally been a US General who of Western Europe. This allegation proved correct and
reports to the Pentagon in Washington and is subsequent research found that in Belgium, the secret
based in NATOs Supreme Headquarters Al- NATO unit was code-named SDRA8, in Denmark Absa-
lied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Bel- lon, in Germany TD BJD, in Greece LOK, in Luxemburg
gium. The ACCs duties included elaborating Stay-Behind, in the Netherlands I&O, in Norway ROC,
on the directives of the network, developing its in Portugal Aginter Press, in Spain Red Quantum, in
clandestine capability, and organizing bases in Switzerland P26, in Turkey zel Harp Dairesi, In Sweden
Britain and the United States. In wartime, it AGAG (Aktions Gruppen Arla Gryning), in France 'Plan
was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunc- Bleu', and in Austria OWSGV; however, the code name
tion with SHAPE. According to former CIA of the stay-behind unit in Finland remains unknown.[8]
director William Colby, it was 'a major pro-
Upon learning of the discovery, the parliament of the
gram'. European Union (EU) drafted a resolution sharply crit-
icizing the fact. Yet only Italy, Belgium and Switzer-
Coordinated by the North Atlantic Treaty land carried out parliamentary investigations, while the
Organization (NATO), {the secret armies} administration of President George H. W. Bush refused
were run by the European military secret ser- to comment.[10]
vices in close cooperation with the US Cen-
tral Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British If Gladio was eectively the best-kept, and most dam-
foreign secret service Secret Intelligence Ser- aging, political-military secret since World War II,[11] it
vice (SIS, also MI6). Trained together with must be underlined, however, that on several occasions,
US Green Berets and British Special Air Ser- arms caches were discovered and stay-behind paramili-
vice (SAS), these clandestine NATO soldiers, tary organizations ocially dissolved.
armed with underground arms-caches, pre- NATOs stay-behind organizations were never called
pared against a potential Soviet invasion and upon to resist a Soviet invasion. According to a Novem-
occupation of Western Europe, as well as the ber 13, 1990, Reuters cable,[12] Andr Moyen a former
coming to power of communist parties. The member of the Belgian military security service and of
clandestine international network covered the the [stay-behind] network said Gladio was not just anti-
European NATO membership, including Bel- Communist but was for ghting subversion in general. He
gium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, added that his predecessor had given Gladio 142 million
Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Por- francs ($4.6 millions) to buy new radio equipment.[13]
tugal, Spain, and Turkey, as well as the neutral
European countries of Austria, Finland, Swe-
den and Switzerland.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) responded to the

series of accusations made by Ganser in his book regard-
ing the CIAs involvement in Operation Gladio, by claim- 2 Gladio operations in NATO
ing that neither Ganser nor anyone else could have solid
evidence supporting their accusations. At one point in
his book Ganser talks about the CIAs covert action poli-
cies as being terrorist in nature and then accuses the
CIA of using their networks for political terrorism. The 2.1 First publicly revealed in Italy
CIA responded by noting that Daniele Gansers sourcing
is largely secondary and that Ganser himself has com- The Italian NATO stay-behind organization, dubbed
plained about not being able to nd any ocial sources Gladio, was set up under Minister of Defense (from
to support his charges of the CIAs or any Western Euro- 1953 to 1958) Paolo Taviani's (DC) supervision.[14]
pean governments involvement with Gladio.[9] Gladios existence came to public knowledge when Prime
The existence of these clandestine NATO units remained Minister Giulio Andreotti revealed it to the Chamber of
a closely guarded secret throughout the Cold War un- Deputies on October 24, 1990, although far-right terrorist
til 1990, when the rst branch of the international Vincenzo Vinciguerra had already revealed its existence
network was discovered in Italy. It was code-named during his 1984 trial. According to media analyst Edward
Gladio, the Italian word for a short double-edged sword S. Herman, both the President of Italy, Francesco Cos-
[gladius]. While the press said that the NATO stay- siga, and Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, had been in-
behind units were 'the best-kept, and most damaging, volved in the Gladio organization and coverup...[15]
2.2 Belgium 3

2.1.1 Giulio Andreottis October 24, 1990 revela- bases and organise operations from there.[21] General
tions Serravale declared to the Commissione Stragi headed by
senator Giovanni Pellegrino that the Italian Gladio mem-
Christian Democrat Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti bers trained at a military base in Britain.[6]
publicly recognized the existence of Gladio on October
24, 1990. Andreotti spoke of a structure of informa-
tion, response and safeguard, with arms caches and re- 2.2 Belgium
serve ocers. He gave to the Commissione Stragi, the
parliamentary commission led by senator Giovanni Pelle- Main article: Belgian stay-behind network
grino in charge of investigations on bombings committed
during the Years Of Lead in Italy, a list of 622 civilians
After the 1967 withdrawal of France from NATOs mil-
who according to him were part of Gladio. Andreotti
itary structure, the SHAPE headquarters were displaced
also stated that 127 weapons cache had been dismantled,
to Mons in Belgium. In 1990, following Frances denial
and said that Gladio had not been involved in any of the
of any stay-behind French army, Giulio Andreotti pub-
bombings committed from the 1960s to the 1980s.
licly said the last Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC)
Andreotti declared that the Italian military services (pre- meeting, at which the French branch of Gladio was
decessors of the SISMI) had joined in 1964 the Al- present, had been on October 23 and 24, 1990, under
lied Clandestine Committee created in 1957 by the US, the presidency of Belgian General Van Calster, director
France, Belgium and Greece, and which was in charge of the Belgian military secret service SGR. In November,
of directing Gladios operations.[16] However, Gladio Guy Come, the Minister of the Defense, acknowledged
was actually set up under Minister of Defense (from the existence of a Belgium stay-behind army, raising
1953 to 1958) Paolo Taviani's supervision.[14] Beside, concerns about a similar implication in terrorist acts as in
the list of Gladio members given by Andreotti was in- Italy. The same year, the European Parliament sharply
complete. It didn't include, for example, Antonio Ar- condemned NATO and the United States in a resolution
conte, who described an organization very dierent from for having manipulated European politics with the stay-
the one brushed by Giulio Andreotti: an organization behind armies.[5][22]
closely tied to the SID secret service and the Atlanticist
New legislation governing intelligence agencies missions
strategy.[17][18] According to Andreotti, the stay-behind
and methods was passed in 1998, following two govern-
organisations set up in all of Europe did not come under
[19] ment inquiries and the creation of a permanent parlia-
broad NATO supervision until 1959.
mentary committee in 1991, which was to bring them
under the authority of Belgiums federal agencies. The
Commission was created following events in the 1980s,
2.1.2 General Serravalles statement
which included the Brabant massacres and the activities
of far right group Westland New Post.[23]
General Gerardo Serravalle, who commanded the Italian
Gladio from 1971 to 1974, related that in the 1970s the
members of the CPC [Coordination and Planning Com-
2.3 Denmark
mittee] were the ocers responsible for the secret struc-
tures of Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Lux-
The Danish stay-behind army was code-named Absa-
emburg, the Netherlands and Italy. These representatives
lon, after a Danish archbishop, and led by E.J. Harder.
of the secret structures met every year in one of the cap-
It was hidden in the military secret service Forsvarets
itals... At the stay-behind meetings representatives of the
Efterretningstjeneste (FE). In 1978, William Colby, for-
CIA were always present. They had no voting rights and
mer director of the CIA, released his memoirs in which
were from the CIA headquarters of the capital in which
he described the setting-up of stay-behind armies in
the meeting took place... members of the US Forces Eu-
rope Command were present, also without voting rights.
"[20] Next to the CPC a second secret command post
was created in 1957, the Allied Clandestine Committee The situation in each Scandinavian coun-
(ACC). According to the Belgian Parliamentary Commit- try was dierent. Norway and Denmark were
tee on Gladio, the ACC was responsible for coordinating NATO allies, Sweden held to the neutrality
the 'Stay-behind' networks in Belgium, Denmark, France, that had taken her through two world wars,
Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, United and Finland were required to defer in its for-
Kingdom and the United States. During peacetime, the eign policy to the Soviet power directly on its
activities of the ACC included elaborating the direc- borders. Thus, in one set of these countries
tives for the network, developing its clandestine capability the governments themselves would build their
and organising bases in Britain and the United States. In own stay-behind nets, counting on activating
wartime, it was to plan stay-behind operations in conjunc- them from exile to carry on the struggle. These
tion with SHAPE; organisers were to activate clandestine nets had to be co-ordinated with NATOs plans,

their radios had to be hooked to a future ex- show that the CIA organized stay-behind networks of
ile location, and the specialised equipment had German agents between 1949 and 1953. According to
to be secured from CIA and secretly cached in the Washington Post, One network included at least two
snowy hideouts for later use. In other set of former Nazi SS membersSta Sgt. Heinrich Homan
countries, CIA would have to do the job alone and Lt. Col. Hans Ruesand one was run by Lt. Col.
or with, at best, unocial local help, since Walter Kopp, a former German army ocer referred to
the politics of those governments barred them by the CIA as an unreconstructed Nazi. The network
from collaborating with NATO, and any expo- was disbanded in 1953 amid political concerns that some
sure would arouse immediate protest from the members neo-Nazi sympathies would be exposed in the
local Communist press, Soviet diplomats and West German press.[28]
loyal Scandinavians who hoped that neutral-
Documents shown to the Italian parliamentary terrorism
ity or nonalignment would allow them to slip committee revealed that in the 1970s British and French
through a World War III unharmed.
ocials involved in the network visited a training base in
Germany built with US money.[6]
2.4 France In 1976, the secret service BND secretary Heidrun Hofer
was arrested after having revealed the secrets of the Ger-
In 1947, Interior Minister Edouard Depreux revealed the man stay-behind army to her husband, who was a spy of
existence of a secret stay-behind army in France code- the KGB.[5]
named Plan Bleu. The next year, the Western Union In 2004 the German author Norbert Juretzko published a
Clandestine Committee (WUCC) was created to coordi- book about his work at the BND. He went into details
nate secret unorthodox warfare. In 1949, the WUCC was about recruiting partisans for the German stay-behind
integrated into NATO, whose headquarters were estab- network. He was sacked from BND following a secret
lished in France, under the name Clandestine Planning trial against him, because the BND could not nd out the
Committee (CPC). In 1958, NATO founded the Allied real name of his Russian source "Rbezahl" whom he had
Clandestine Committee (ACC) to coordinate secret war- recruited. A man with the name he put on le was ar-
fare. rested by the KGB following treason in the BND, but was
The network was supported with elements from SDECE, obviously innocent, his name having been chosen at ran-
and had military support from the 11th Choc regiment. dom from the public phone book by Juretzko.[29] Accord-
The former director of DGSE, admiral Pierre Lacoste, ing to Juretzko, the BND built up its branch of Gladio,
alleged in a 1992 interview with The Nation, that certain but discovered after the fall of the German Democratic
elements from the network were involved in terrorist ac- Republic that it was 100 percent known to the Stasi early
tivities against de Gaulle and his Algerian policy. A sec- on. When the network was dismantled, further odd de-
tion of the 11th Choc regiment split over the 1962 Evian tails emerged. One fellow spymaster had kept the radio
peace accords, and became part of the Organisation ar- equipment in his cellar at home with his wife doing the en-
me secrte (OAS), but it is unclear if this also involved gineering test call every four months, on the grounds that
members of the French stay-behind network.[25][26] the equipment was too valuable to remain in civilian
hands. Juretzko found out because this spymaster had dis-
La Rose des Vents and Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow) net-
mantled his section of the network so quickly, there had
work were part of Gladio. Franois de Grossouvre was
been no time for measures such as recovering all caches
Gladios leader for the region around Lyon in France until
of supplies.[30]
his alleged suicide on April 7, 1994. Grossouvre would
have asked Constantin Melnik, leader of the French se- Civilians recruited as stay-behind partisans were
cret services during the Algerian War of Independence equipped with a clandestine shortwave radio with a xed
(195462), to return to activity. He was living in com- frequency. It had a keyboard with digital encryption,
fortable exile in the US, where he maintained links with making use of traditional Morse code obsolete. They had
the Rand Corporation. Constantin Melnik is alleged to a cache of further equipment for signalling helicopters
have been involved in the creation in 1952 of the Ordre or submarines to drop special agents who were to stay in
Souverain du Temple Solaire, an ancestor of the Order of the partisans homes while mounting sabotage operations
the Solar Temple, created by former A.M.O.R.C. mem- against the communists.[29]
bers, in which the SDECE (French former military intel-
ligence agency) was interested.[27]
2.6 Greece

2.5 Germany When Greece joined NATO in 1952, the countrys spe-
cial forces, LOK (Lochoi Oreinn Katadromn, i.e.,
US intelligence also assisted in the set up of a German mountain raiding companies) were integrated into the
stay-behind network. CIA documents released in June European stay-behind network. The CIA and LOK re-
2006 under the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, conrmed on March 25, 1955 their mutual co-operation
2.7 Netherlands 5

in a secret document signed by US General Trascott for 2.7 Netherlands

the CIA, and Konstantinos Dovas, chief of sta of the
Greek military. In addition to preparing for a Soviet in- Speculation that the Netherlands was involved in Gladio
vasion, the CIA instructed LOK to prevent a leftist coup. arose from the accidental discovery of large arms caches
Former CIA agent Philip Agee, who was sharply criti- in 1980 and 1983.[37] In the latter incident, people walk-
cized in the US for having revealed sensitive information, ing in a forest near the village of Velp, North Brabant
insisted that paramilitary groups, directed by CIA o- chanced upon a large hidden cache of arms, contain-
cers, operated in the sixties throughout Europe [and he ing dozens of hand grenades, semiautomatic ries, au-
stressed that] perhaps no activity of the CIA could be as tomatic pistols, munitions and explosives.[38] That dis-
clearly linked to the possibility of internal subversion.[31]
covery forced the Dutch government to conrm that the
arms were related to NATO planning for unorthodox
LOK was involved in the military coup d'tat on April
[32] warfare.[39]
21, 1967, which took place one month before the
scheduled national elections for which opinion polls pre- In 1990, then-Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers told the
dicted an overwhelming victory of the centrist Center Dutch Parliament that his oce was running a secret or-
Union of George and Andreas Papandreou. Under ganisation that had been set up inside the Dutch defence
the command of paratrooper Lieutenant Colonel Costas ministry in the 1950s, but denied it was supervised di-
Aslanides, LOK took control of the Greek Defence Min- rectly by NATO or other foreign bodies. He went to in-
istry while Brigadier General Stylianos Pattakos gained form that successive prime ministers and defence chiefs
control of communication centers, parliament, the royal had always preferred not to inform other Cabinet mem-
palace, and according to detailed lists, arrested over bers or Parliament about the secret organization. It was
10,000 people. Phillips Talbot, the US ambassador in modeled on the nations WWII experiences of having to
Athens, disapproved of the military coup which estab- evacuate the royal family and transfer government to a
lished the "Regime of the Colonels" (19671974), com- government-in-exile,[38] originally aiming to provide an
plaining that it represented a rape of democracyto underground intelligence network to a government-in-
which Jack Maury, the CIA chief of station in Athens, exile in the event of a foreign invasion, although it in-
answered, How can you rape a whore?"[33] cluded elements of guerilla warfare. Former Dutch De-
fense Minister Henk Vredeling conrmed the group had
Arrested and then exiled in Canada and Sweden, Andreas
set up arms caches around the Netherlands for sabotage
Papandreou later returned to Greece, where he won the
purposes.[38] Members of the cell are believed to have
1981 election, forming the rst socialist government of
taken part in a training exercise in Sicily.[40] The operat-
Greeces post-war history. According to his own testi-
ing bureaus of the organisation would also move to safety
mony, he discovered the existence of the secret NATO
in England or the USA at the rst sign of trouble.
army, then codenamed Red Sheepskin, as acting prime
[34] Already in 1990, it was known that the weapons cache
minister in 1984 and had given orders to dissolve it.
near Velp, while accidentally 'discovered' in 1983, had
Following Giulio Andreottis revelations in 1990, the
been plundered partially before. It still contained dozens
Greek defence minister conrmed that a branch of the
of hand grenades, semiautomatic ries, automatic pis-
network, known as Operation Sheepskin, operated in his
[35] tols, munitions and explosives at the time of discovery,
country until 1988.
but ve hand grenades had gone missing.[38] A Dutch
In December 2005, journalist Kleanthis Grivas published investigative television program revealed on September
an article in To Proto Thema, a Greek Sunday newspa- 9, 2007, that another arms cache that had belonged to
per, in which he accused Sheepskin for the assassina- Gladio had been ransacked in the 1980s. It was located
tion of CIA station chief Richard Welch in Athens in in a park near Scheveningen. Some of the stolen weapons,
1975, as well as the assassination of British military at- including hand grenades and machine guns, later turned
tach Stephen Saunders in 2000. This was denied by the up when police ocials arrested criminals Sam Klepper
US State Department, who responded that the Greek and John Mieremet in 1991. The Dutch military intel-
terrorist organization '17 November" was responsible for ligence agency MIVD feared at the time that disclosure
both assassinations, and that Grivass central piece of ev- of the Gladio history of these weapons would have been
idence had been the Westmoreland Field Manual which politically sensitive.[41][42]
the state department, as well as an independent congres-
sional inquiry have alleged to be a Soviet forgery.[36] The
State Department also highlighted the fact that, in the case 2.8 Norway
of Richard Welch, Grivas bizarrely accuses the CIA of
playing a role in the assassination of one of its own senior In 1957, the director of the secret service NIS, Vilhelm
ocials while Sheepskin couldn't have assassinated Evang, protested strongly against the pro-active intelli-
Stephen Saunders for the simple reason that, according gence activities at AFNORTH, as described by the chair-
to the US government, the Greek government stated it man of CPC: "[NIS] was extremely worried about activi-
dismantled the 'stay behind' network in 1988.[36] ties carried out by ocers at Kolss. This concerned SB,
Psywar and Counter Intelligence. These activities sup-

posedly included the blacklisting of Norwegians. SHAPE the CIA. He later explained that we bought cars under
denied these allegations. Eventually, the matter was re- this name. We installed communication centres in several
solved in 1958, after Norway was assured about how stay- regions of Austria, conrming that special units were
behind networks were to be operated.[43] trained in the use of weapons and plastic explosives. He
In 1978, the police discovered an arms cache and ra- stated that there must have been a couple of thousand
dio equipment at a mountain cabin and arrested Hans people working for us... Only very, very highly positioned
Otto Meyer, a businessman accused of being involved in politicians and some members of the union knew about
selling illegal alcohol. Meyer claimed that the weapons it.
were supplied by Norwegian intelligence. Rolf Hansen, In 1965, police discovered a stay-behind arms cache in
defense minister at that time, stated the network was an old mine close to Windisch-Bleiberg and forced the
not in any way answerable to NATO and had no CIA British authorities to hand over a list with the location of
connection.[44] 33 other caches in Austria.[5]
In 1990, when secret stay-behind armies were uncov-
ered all around Europe, the Austrian government said that
2.9 Portugal no secret army had existed in the country. However, six
years later, the Boston Globe revealed the existence of
Further information: Aginter Press secret CIA arms caches in Austria. Austrian President
Thomas Klestil and Chancellor Franz Vranitzky insisted
In 1966, the CIA set up Aginter Press which, under the that they had known nothing of the existence of the secret
direction of Captain Yves Gurin-Srac (who had taken army and demanded that the US launch a full-scale inves-
part in the founding of the OAS), ran a secret stay-behind tigation into the violation of Austrias neutrality, which
army and trained its members in covert action techniques was denied by President Bill Clinton. State Department
amounting to terrorism, including bombings, silent assas- spokesman Nicholas Burnsappointed in August 2001
sinations, subversion techniques, clandestine communi- by President George Bush as the US Permanent Repre-
cation and inltration and colonial warfare.[5] sentative to the Atlantic treaty organization, where, as
ambassador to NATO, he headed the combined State-
Defense Department United States Mission to NATO and
2.10 Turkey coordinated the NATO response to the September 11,
2001 attacksinsisted: The aim was noble, the aim was
Main article: Counter-Guerrilla correct, to try to help Austria if it was under occupation.
What went wrong is that successive Washington admin-
istrations simply decided not to talk to the Austrian gov-
As one of the nations that prompted the Truman Doc-
ernment about it.[8]
trine, Turkey is one of the rst countries to participate in
Operation Gladio and, some say, the only country where
it has not been purged.[45]
3.2 Finland
The counter-guerrillas existence in Turkey was revealed
in 1973 by then-prime minister Blent Ecevit.[46] In 1944, the Swedes worked with Finnish Intelligence to
set up a stay-behind network of agents within Finland to
keep track of post-war activities in that country. While
3 Parallel stay-behind operations this network was allegedly never put in place, Finnish
codes, SIGINT equipment and documents were brought
in non-NATO countries to Sweden and apparently exploited until the 1980s.[47]
In 1945, Interior Minister Yrj Leino exposed a se-
3.1 Austria cret stay-behind army which was closed down (so called
Weapons Cache Case). This operation was organized by
In Austria, the rst secret stay-behind army was exposed Finnish general sta ocers (without foreign help) in
in 1947. It had been set up by the far-right Soucek and 1944 to hide weapons in order to sustain a large-scale
Rssner, who both insisted during their trial that they guerrilla warfare in the event the Soviet Union tried to oc-
were carrying out the secret operation with the full knowl- cupy Finland in the aftermath of the Continuation War.
edge and support of the US and British occupying pow- See also Operation Stella Polaris.
ers. Sentenced to death, they were pardoned under mys- In 1991, the Swedish media claimed that a secret stay-
terious circumstances by President Krner (19511957). behind army had existed in neutral Finland with an exile
Franz Olah set up a new secret army codenamed base in Stockholm. Finnish Defence Minister Elisabeth
sterreichischer Wander-, Sport- und Geselligkeitsverein Rehn called the revelations a fairy tale, adding cau-
(OeWSGV, literally "Austrian Association of Hiking, tiously or at least an incredible story, of which I know
Sports and Society"), with the cooperation of MI6 and nothing.[5] However, in his memoirs, former CIA direc-
3.4 Sweden 7

tor William Colby described the setting-up of stay-behind 3.4 Sweden

armies in Scandinavian countries, including Finland, with
or without the assistance of local governments, to prepare In 1951, CIA agent William Colby, based at the CIA sta-
for a Soviet invasion.[24] tion in Stockholm, supported the training of stay-behind
armies in neutral Sweden and Finland and in the NATO
members Norway and Denmark. In 1953, the police
arrested right winger Otto Hallberg and discovered the
3.3 Spain preparations for the Swedish stay-behind army. Hallberg
was set free and charges against him were dropped.[5]
Several events prior to Spains 1982 membership in
NATO have also been tied to Gladio. In May 1976, half
a year after Franco's death, two right-wing Carlist mem- 3.5 Switzerland
bers were shot down by far-right terrorists, among whom
were Gladio operative Stefano Delle Chiaie and mem- Main article: Projekt-26
bers of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (Triple
A), demonstrating connections between Gladio and the
In Switzerland, a secret force called P-26 was discovered,
South American "Dirty War" of the Operation Con- by coincidence, a few months before Giulio Andreottis
dor. This incident became known as the Montejurra in-
October 1990 revelations. After the "secret les scan-
cident.[48] According to a report by the Italian CESIS dal" (Fichenare), Swiss members of parliament started
(Executive Committee for Intelligence and Security Ser-
investigating the Defense Department in the summer of
vices), Carlo Cicuttini (who took part in the 1972 Pe- 1990. According to Felix Wrsten of the ETH Zurich,
teano bombing in Italy alongside Vincenzo Vinciguerra),
P-26 was not directly involved in the network of NATOs
participated in the 1977 Massacre of Atocha in Madrid, secret armies but it had close contact to MI6.[58] Daniele
killing ve people (including several lawyers), members Ganser (ETH Zurich) wrote in the Intelligence and Na-
of the Workers Commissions trade-unions closely linked tional Security review that following the discovery of
with the Spanish Communist Party. Cicuttini was a natu- the stay-behind armies across Western Europe in late
ralized Spaniard and exiled in Spain since 1972 (date of 1990, Swiss and international security researchers found
the Peteano bombing)[49] themselves confronted with two clear-cut questions: Did
Following Andreottis 1990 revelations, Adolfo Surez, Switzerland also operate a secret stay-behind army? And
Spains rst democratically elected prime minister after if yes, was it part of NATOs stay-behind network? The
Francos death, denied ever having heard of Gladio.[50] answer to the rst question is clearly yes... The answer to
President of the Spanish government in 198182, dur- the second question remains disputed...[59]
ing the transition to democracy, Calvo Sotelo stated that In 1990, Colonel Herbert Alboth, a former comman-
Spain had not been informed of Gladio when it en- der of P-26, declared in a condential letter to the De-
tered NATO. Asked about Gladios relations to Francoist fence Department that he was willing to reveal the whole
Spain, he said that such a network was not necessary un- truth. He was later found in his house, stabbed with
der Franco, since the regime itself was Gladio.[51]
his own military bayonet. The detailed parliamentary re-
According to General Fausto Fortunato, head of Italian port on the Swiss secret army was presented to the public
SISMI from 1971 to 1974, France and the US had backed on November 17, 1990.[5] According to The Guardian,
Spains entrance to Gladio, but Italy would have opposed P-26 was backed by P-27, a private foreign intelligence
it. Following Andreottis revelations, however, Narcs agency funded partly by the government, and by a special
Serra, Spanish Minister of Defense, opened up an in- unit of Swiss army intelligence which had built up les on
vestigation concerning Spains links to Gladio.[52][53] The nearly 8,000 suspect persons including leftists, bill
Canarias 7 newspaper revealed, quoting former Gladio stickers, "Jehovahs witnesses", people with abnormal
agent Alberto Volo, who had a role in the revelations of tendencies and anti-nuclear demonstrators. On Novem-
the existence of the network in 1990, that a Gladio meet- ber 14, the Swiss government hurriedly dissolved P26
ing had been organized in August 1991 on Gran Canaria the head of which, it emerged, had been paid 100,000 a
island.[54] Alberto Vollo also declared that as a Gladio year.[60]
operative, he had received trainings in Maspalomas, on In 1991, a report by Swiss magistrate Pierre Cornu was
Gran Canaria in the 1960s and the 1970s.[55] El Pas also released by the Swiss defence ministry. It found that P-26
revealed that the Gladio organization was suspected of was without political or legal legitimacy, and described
having used former NASA installations in Maspalomas, the groups collaboration with British secret services as
on Gran Canaria, in the 1970s.[56] intense. Unknown to the Swiss government, British
Andr Moyen, former Belgian secret agent, also declared ocials signed agreements with P-26 to provide train-
that Gladio had operated in Spain.[57] He said that Gladio ing in combat, communications, and sabotage. The lat-
had bases in Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastin, and the est agreement was signed in 1987... P-26 cadres partic-
Canary islands. ipated regularly in training exercises in Britain... British

advisers possibly from the SAS visited secret training conspiracy o US Army Field Manual 30-31B, a Cold
establishments in Switzerland. P-26 was led by Efrem War era forged document.[64][65] Hayden Peakes book
Cattelan, known to British intelligence.[61] review Intelligence in Recent Public Literature maintains
In a 2005 conference presenting Daniele Gansers re- that, Ganser fails to document his thesis that the CIA,
search on Gladio, Hans Senn, General Chief of Sta of MI6, and NATO and its [66]
friends turned GLADIO into a
the Swiss Armed Forces between 1977 and 1980, ex- terrorist organization. Philip HJ Davies of the Brunel
plained how he was informed of the existence of a se- University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies
cret organisation in the middle of his term of oce. Ac- likewise concludes that the book is marred by imagined
conspiracies, exaggerated notions of the scale and impact
cording to him, it already became clear in 1980 in the
wake of the Schilling/Bachmann aair that there was also of covert activities, misunderstandings of the manage-
ment and coordination of operations within and between
a secret group in Switzerland. But former MP, Helmut
Hubacher, President of the Social Democratic Party from national governments, almost complete failure
to place the actions and decisions in question in the ap-
1975 to 1990, declared that although it had been known
that special services existed within the army, as a politi- propriate historical context. According to Davies, the
underlying problem is that Ganser has not really under-
cian he never at any time could have known that P-26
was behind this. Hubacher pointed out that the President taken the most basic necessary research to be able to dis- [67]
of the parliamentary investigation into P26 (PUK-EMD), cuss covert action and special operations eectively.
the right-wing politician from Appenzell and member of Olav Riste of the Norwegian Institute for Defence Stud-
the Council of States for that Canton, Carlo Schmid, had ies, writing for the journal Intelligence and National Secu-
suered like a dog during the commissions investiga- rity, mentions several instances where his own research on
tions. Carlo Schmid declared to the press: I was shocked the stay-behind network in Norway was twisted by Ganser
that something like that is at all possible, and said to the and concludes that a detailed refutation of the many un-
press he was glad to leave the conspirational atmosphere founded allegations that Ganser[68] accepts as historical nd-
which had weighted upon him like a black shadow dur- ings would ll an entire book. In a later joint article
ing the investigations. [62]
Hubacher found it especially with Leopoldo Nuti of the University of Rome, the two
disturbing that, apart from its ocial mandate of orga- concluded that the books ambitious conclusions do not
nizing resistance in case of a Soviet invasion, P-26 had seem to be entirely corroborated by a sound evaluation of
also a mandate to become active should the left succeed the sources available.
in achieving a parliamentary majority.[58] Lawrence Kaplan wrote a mixed review commending
Ganser for making heroic eorts to tease out the many
strands that connect this interlocking right-wing conspir-
acy, but also arguing that connecting the dots between
4 Daniele Ganser and Strategy of terrorist organizations in NATO countries and a mas-
Tension ter plan centred in NATOs military headquarters re-
quires a stretch of facts that Ganser cannot manage. Ka-
Further information: Strategy of tension plan believes that some of Gansers conspiracy theories
may be correct, but that they do damage to the books
credibility.[70] In a mostly positive review for the journal
Swiss historian Daniele Ganser in his 2005 book, NATOs Cold War History, Beatrice Heuser praises Gansers fas-
Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in West- cinating study while also noting that it would denitely
ern Europe, accused Gladio of trying to inuence policies have improved the work if Ganser had used a less polem-
through the means of "false ag" operations and a strat- ical tone, and had occasionally conceded that the Soviet
egy of tension. Ganser alleges that on various occasions, Empire was by no means nicer.[71] Security analyst John
stay-behind movements became linked to right-wing ter- Prados writes Ganser, the principal analyst of Gladio,
rorism, crime and attempted coups d'tat.[8] In NATOs presents evidence across many nations that Gladio net-
Secret Armies Ganser states that Gladio units closely co- works amounted to anti-democratic elements in their own
operated with NATO and the CIA and that Gladio in Italy societies.[72]
was responsible for terrorist attacks against its own civil-
ian population.[63] The US State Department stated in 2006 that Ganser had
been taken in by long-discredited Cold-War era disinfor-
Peer Henrik Hansen, a scholar at Roskilde University, mation and fooled by the forgery. In an article about the
wrote two scathing criticisms of the book for the Interna- Gladio/stay-behind networks and US Army Field Manual
tional Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and 30-31B they stated, Ganser treats the forgery as if it was
the Journal of Intelligence History, describing Gansers a genuine document in his 2005 book on stay behind
work as a journalistic book with a big spoonful of con- networks, Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terror-
spiracy theories that fails to present proof of and an ism in Western Europe and includes it as a key document
in-depth explanation of the claimed conspiracy between on his website on the book.[73]
USA, CIA, NATO and the European countries. Hansen
also criticized Ganser for basing his claim of the big

5 US State Departments 2006 re- John Douglas-Gray in his thriller The Novak Legacy
ISBN 978-0-7552-1321-4
Umberto Eco in his 2015 novel Numero Zero ISBN
The US State Department published a communiqu in 978-1-910-70108-9
January 2006 which, while conrming the existence of
NATO stay-behind eorts, in general, and the presence
of the Gladio stay-behind unit in Italy, in particular, 8 See also
with the purpose of aiding resistance in the event of
Soviet aggression directed westward, from the Warsaw Fifth column
Pact, dismissed claims of any United States ordered, sup-
ported, or authorized terrorism by stay-behind units. False ag operation
The State Department stated that the accusations of US- Counter-guerrilla
sponsored false ag operations are rehashed former So-
viet disinformation based on documents that the Sovi- Paul L. Williams - authored a book on the topic
ets forged; specically the Westmoreland Field Manual,
Italian Communist Party (PCI) (19211991)
whose forged nature was conrmed by former KGB op-
eratives, following the end of the Cold War. The alleged Stay-behind
Soviet-authored forgery, disseminated in the 1970s, ex-
plicitly formulated the need for a strategy of tension in-
volving violent attacks blamed on radical left-wing groups 9 References
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[12] Secret Cold-War Network Group Hid Arms, Belgian [33] NATOs Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism
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[13] Pedrick, Clare; Lardner, George Jr (1990-11-14). CIA [34] NATOs Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism
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[35] "NATOs secret network 'also operated in France'", The
[14] Willan, Philip. "Paolo Emilio Taviani", The Guardian, Guardian, November 14, 1990, p. 6
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[36] Misinformation about Gladio/Stay Behind Networks
[15] Herman, Edward S (June 1991). Hiding Western Ter- Resurfaces. United States Department of State.
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[16] Barbera, Myriam. "Gladio: et la France?, L'Humanit, [37] Clarion: Nato network in France, Guardian 14 Nov
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trieved Feb 19, 2015.
[17] Caso Moro. Morire di Gladio. La Voce della Campania
(in Italian). January 2005. [38] Secret Gladio Network Planted Weapons Caches in
NATO Countries. AP News Archive. Nov 13, 1990. Re-
[18] Gladio e caso Moro: Arconte su morte Ferraro, La trieved Feb 20, 2015.
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[19] Pallister, David. "How M16 and SAS Join In, The chronology.cfm?navinfo=15301
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[40] Clarion: gladio, Norton-Taylor, Guardian 5 Dec 1990.
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[21] Belgian Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into [41] MIVD verzwijgt wapenvondst in onderwereld (in
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[22] [42] Gladio. Brandpunt Reporter. 2007-09-09. Retrieved
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[23] Ocial site of the Belgian Permanent Committee for the [43] Olav Riste (1999). The Norwegian Intelligence Service:
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[44] Secret Anti-Communist Network Exposed in Norway in
[24] Colby, William. "A Scandinavian Spy, Chapter 3. (For- 1978. Associated Press. 1990-11-14.
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[45] 28 Nisan 2008, Pazartesi - talyan Gladiosu'nu zen
[25] Kwitny, Jonathan (1992-04-06). The C.I.A.'s Secret savc: En etkili Gladio sizde. SABAH (in Turkish). Apr
Armies in Europe. The Nation. pp. 446447. Quoted in 28, 2008. Retrieved Feb 20, 2015.
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[46] stel, Aziz (2008-07-14). Savc, Ergenekon'u Kenan
[26] Cogan, Charles (2007). "'Stay-Behind' in France: Much Evren'e sormal asl!". Star Gazete (in Turkish). Retrieved
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937954. doi:10.1080/01402390701676493. ladr.
[27] Daeninckx, Didier. "Du Temple Solaire au rseau Gladio, [47] C. G. McKay, Bengt Beckman, Swedish Signal Intelli-
en passant par Politica Hermetica..., February 27, 2002. gence, Frank Cass Publishers, 2002, p. 202
[28] Lee, Christopher. CIA Ties With Ex-Nazis Shown, [48] CARLISMO MONTEJURRA LIBERTAD Actos de
Washington Post, June 7, 2006. Montejurra 2006 -- http://montejurra-jurramendi.3a2.
com". External link in |title= (help)
[29] Heinz Duthel (23 July 2008). Global Secret and Intelli-
gence Service - I. Lulu Enterprises Incorporated. pp. 235 [49] Un informe ocial italiano implica en el crimen de Atocha
. ISBN 978-1-4092-1088-7. al 'ultra' Cicuttini, relacionado con Gladio, El Pas, De-
cember 2, 1990 (Spanish)
[30] Heinz Duthel (14 November 2014). Global Secret and In-
telligence Services I: Hidden Systems that deliver Unforget- [50] Surez arma que en su etapa de presidente nunca se habl
table Customer Service. Books on Demand. pp. 204. de la red Gladio, El Pas, November 18, 1990 (Spanish)
ISBN 978-3-7386-6375-4.
[51] Calvo Sotelo asegura que Espaa no fue informada,
[31] Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, Dirty Work: The CIA in cuando entr en la OTAN, de la existencia de Gladio, El
Western Europe (Secaucus: Lyle Stuart Inc., 1978), p.154 Pas, November 21, 1990 (Spanish)
(quoted by Daniele Ganser) (2005) p.216
[52] Italia vet la entrada de Espaa en Gladio, segn un ex
[32] NATOs Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism jefe del espionaje italiano, El Pas, November 17, 1990
in Western Europe by Daniele Ganser, p. 221.) (Spanish)

[53] Serra ordena indagar sobre la red Gladio en Espaa, El [72] John Prado Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the
Pas, November 16, 1990 (Spanish) CIA 2006, p. 95, ISBN 9781615780112

[54] La 'red Gladio' contina operando, segn el ex agente Al- [73] State Department.
berto Volo, El Pas, August 19, 1991 (Spanish)
[74] Misinformation about 'Gladio/Stay Behind' Networks
[55] El secretario de la OTAN elude precisar si Espaa tuvo Resurfaces. United States Department of State.
relacin con la red Gladio, El Pas, November 24, 1990
(Spanish) [75] Pat Frank. An Aair of State. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1949

[56] Indicios de que la red Gladio utiliz una vieja estacin de

la NASA en Gran Canaria, El Pas, November 26, 1990
(Spanish) 10 Further reading
[57] La red secreta de la OTAN operaba en Espaa, segn un
ex agente belga, El Pas, November 14, 1990 10.1 English
[58] The Dark Side of the West, Conference Nato Secret William Egan Colby; Peter Forbath: Honorable
Armies and P-26, ETH Zurich, 2005. Published 10 men: my life in the CIA. New York: Simon and
February 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2007. Schuster, 1978, ISBN 0671228757.
[59] Ganser, Daniele. "The British Secret Service in Neutral The Lone Gladio: Assassinations. Drug running.
Switzerland: An Unnished Debate on NATOs Cold War
False ag ops. A shadow paramilitary global net-
Stay-behind Armies", published by the Intelligence and
work. Synthetic wars., by Ms. Sibel D Edmonds,
National Security review, vol.20, n4, December 2005, pp.
553580 ISSN 0268-4527 print 17439019 online. 2014, ISBN 0-692-21329-5.

[60] Richard Norton-Taylor, "The Gladio File: did fear of NATOs Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Ter-
communism throw West into the arms of terrorists?", in rorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security
The Guardian, December 5, 1990 Studies), by Daniele Ganser, 2005, ISBN 0-7146-
[61] Norton-Taylor, Richard. UK trained secret Swiss force"
in The Guardian, September 20, 1991, p. 7. Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in
Italy, by Philip Willan, 2002, ISBN 0-595-24697-
[62] Schwarzer Schatten. Der Spiegel (in German). 50:
194b200a. 1990-12-10. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 4.

[63] Andreas Anton, Michael Schetsche, Michael K. Walter

Konspiration p. 175, Springer VS 2014, ISBN 978-3-531- 10.2 Non-English
Claudio Sestieri; Giovanni Pellegrino; Giovanni
[64] Peer Henrik Hansen, "Review of NATOs Secret Armies,
Fasanella: Segreto di Stato: la verit da Gladio
Journal of Intelligence History, Summer 2005. Web
Archive - archived website of August 26, 2007
al caso Moro. Torino: Einaudi, 2000. ISBN
9788806156251 (see civic website of Bologna)
[65] Peer Henrik Hansen, Falling Flat on the Stay-Behinds, (Italian)
International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelli-
gence, January 2006, 182-186. Jan Willems, Gladio, 1991, EPO-Dossier, Bruxelles
(ISBN 2-87262-051-6). (French)
[66] The Intelligence Ocers Bookshelf Hayden Peake, CIA,
April 15, 2007 Jens Mecklenburg, Gladio. Die geheime Terroror-
ganisation der Nato, 1997, Elefanten Press Verlag
[67] Philip HJ Davies, Review of NATOs Secret Armies,
The Journal of Strategic Studies, December 2005, 1064-
GmbH, Berlin (ISBN 3-88520-612-9). (German)
Leo A. Mller, Gladio. Das Erbe des kalten
[68] Olav Riste, Review of NATOs Secret Armies, Intelli- Krieges, 1991, RoRoRo-Taschenbuch Aktuell no
gence and National Security, September 2005, 550-551. 12993 (ISBN 3499 129930). (German)
[69] Olav Riste and Leopoldo Nuti, Introduction: Strategy of Jean-Franois Brozzu-Gentile, L'Aaire Gladio.
'Stay-Behind', The Journal of Strategic Studies, Decem- Les rseaux secrets amricains au cur du terror-
ber 2007, 930. isme en Europe, 1994, ditions Albin Michel, Paris
[70] Lawrence Kaplan, Review of NATOs Secret Armies, (ISBN 2-226-06919-4). (French)
The International History Review, September 2006, 685-
Anna Laura Braghetti, Paola Tavella, Le Prisonnier.
55 jours avec Aldo Moro, 1999 (translated from Ital-
[71] Beatrice Heuser, Review of NATOs Secret Armies, ian: Il Prigioniero), ditions Denol, Paris (ISBN 2-
Cold War History, November 2006, 567-568. 207-24888-7) (Italian)/(French)

Regine Igel, Andreotti. Politik zwischen Geheimdi-

enst und Maa, 1997, Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung
GmbH, Munich (ISBN 3-7766-1951-1). (German)

Franois Vitrani, L'Italie, un Etat de 'souverainet

limite' ?", in Le Monde diplomatique, December
1990. (French)
Patrick Boucheron, "L'aaire Sofri: un procs en
sorcellerie?", in L'Histoire magazine, n217 (Jan-
uary 1998) Concerning Carlo Ginzburg's book The
judge and the historian about Adriano Sofri (French)
"Les procs Andreotti en Italie" (The Andreotti
trials in Italy) by Philippe Foro, published by
University of Toulouse II, Groupe de recherche sur
l'histoire immdiate (Study group on immediate his-
tory). (French)
Angelo Paratico: Gli assassini del karma Roma:
Robin, 2004. ISBN 978-8873710646.

11 External links
Secret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATOs
Stay-Behind Armies. Edited by Daniele Ganser and
Christian Nuenlist. 29 Nov 2004. Parallel History
Project, ETH Zrich

12 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

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transon, Folec, 4wajzkd02, Nihil novi, Phe-bot, Buiy Lan Saing, Weierstrass, Laurentseries, Capitalismojo, Anchor Link Bot, ImageR-
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Fogelstrom, Novarupta and Anonymous: 302

12.2 Images
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12.3 Content license

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