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NATO's Secret Armies - NATO's Secret Armies

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NATO's Secret Armies
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Germany's Secret Armies

In 1990, when learning about Germany's secret army, socialist parliamentarian Hermann Scheer called for an investigation at the highest levels saying:

"....the existence of an armed military secret organization outside all governmental or parliamentary control is incompatible with the constitutional legality, and therefore must be prosecuted (under) criminal law."

Later he stepped back after learning that socialists knew and suppressed it. At the same time, press reports claimed right-wing extremists, including former Nazis, were part of a secret army called Organisation Gehlen (ORG, later changed to BND), named for WW II General Reinhard Gehlen, head of Eastern Front intelligence. He was later recruited by America to establish an anti-Soviet spy ring, and by West Germany to head its intelligence.

According to a former NATO intelligence official, "Gehlen was the spiritual father of Stay Behind in Germany....his role known to the West German leader Konrad Adenauer from the outset."

On September 9, 1952, former SS officer Hans Otto told Frankfort police that he "belong(ed) to a political resistance group, the task of which was to carry out sabotage activities and blow up bridges in case of a Soviet invasion," adding that while "neo-fascist tendencies were not required, most members" had them. In addition, financing was "provided by an American citizen (named) Sterling Garwood."

Otto said the initiative was code-named Technischer Dienst des Bundes Deutscher Jugend (TD BDJ), commanded by Erhard Peters, and financed by the CIA. It had a blacklist of leftists to be assassinated in case of an emergency, perhaps manufactured ones to do it anyway.

Though officials like August Zinn, Hessen state Prime Minister, were outraged and wanted members investigated, the highest Karlsruhe court, Bundesgerichshof (BGH), ordered all TD BDJ members released, Zinn believing "The only legal (reason was that) they acted (in response to) America('s) direction."

Austria's Secret Armies

In 1947, Austria's first secret army became known when a right-wing stay-behind network was discovered. The so-called Soucek-Rossner conspiracy resulted in a number of arrests, Soucek and Rossner testifying that they had recruited and trained right-wing partisans to prepare for a Soviet invasion, insisting Washington and Britain had full knowledge and approved. Nonetheless, both men were convicted and sentenced to death in 1949, yet were mysteriously pardoned by Chancellor Theodor Korner, perhaps following CIA orders.

Thereafter, senior Austrian officials approved of a stay-behind army and began cooperating with the CIA and MI6. Franz Olah set one up, code-named Osterreichischer Wander-Sport-und Geselligkeitsverein (OWSGV), later saying "special units were trained in the use of weapons and plastic explosives." His prime motive was to prevent a leftist takeover, explaining:

"It wasn't our intention to fight communism in the Soviet Union but to fight against" internal leftist elements. "We took weapons. We also had modern plastic explosives that were easy to handle. I had a small arsenal of weapons in my office. There must have been a couple of thousand people working for us....Only very, very highly positioned politicians and some members of the union knew about it."

In 1996, the Boston Globe revealed the existence of secret CIA arms caches in Austria, President Thomas Klestil and Chancellor Franz Vranistzky insisting they knew nothing about it or the existence of a secret army.

Clinton's State Department spokesman, Nicholas Burns, called their aim "noble," admitting that similar networks operated in other European countries. In August 2001, GW Bush appointed Burns US Permanent Representative to NATO, where he headed the combined State-Defense Department US Mission and coordinated NATO's response to the 9/11 attacks.

Switzerland's Secret Armies

Despite its neutrality, a 1990 parliamentary investigation revealed a secret stay-behind army, code-named Special Service, then P26, operating within the Swiss military secret service Untergruppe Nachrichtendienst und Abwehr (UNA), during most of the Cold War.

Yet Switzerland experienced no terrorist attacks or coup threats throughout the period, so why the need for extremism. Parliamentary commission Senator Carlo Schmid said he "was shocked that something like this" went on, calling it "conspiratorial....like a black shadow."

A judicial investigation, headed by Judge Pierre Cornu, was charged to learn if Swiss neutrality was violated. Evidence confirmed that P26 cooperated closely with Britain's MI6 and other UK intelligence, concluding, however, that no Swiss laws were broken, whether or not true.

Belgium's Secret Armies

On November 7, 1990, socialist defense minister Guy Coeme told a national TV audience that a NATO-linked secret army operated covertly throughout the Cold War, adding:

"I want to know whether there exists a link between the activities of this secret network, and the wave of crime and terror which our country suffered from during the past years."

A parliamentary investigation followed, Belgium's Senate confirming that its secret army consisted of two branches, called SDRA8 and STC/Mob, the former a military unit within Belgium's military secret Service General du Renseignement (SGR) under the Defense Ministry. Its members were trained in unorthodox warfare, combat, sabotage, parachute jumping, and maritime operations.

STC/Mob was part of the civilian secret service - Surete de L'Etat (Surete), under the ministry of justice. Its members were technicians, trained in radio operations and intelligence gathering under enemy occupation conditions.

While senators obtained good information on the stay-behind armies' structure, they learned little about their involvement in terrorist operations, including so-called Brabant massacres from 1983 - 85, killing 28 and injuring many more. Despite exerting enormous pressure, they never got names of key operatives or who carried out the Brabant terror.

Netherlands' Secret Armies

Like Belgium, it had two branches, one called Operations (O for short), directed by Louis Einthoven, a staunch anti-communist, to carry out sabotage, guerrilla operations, and building a local resistance. The other was called Intelligence (or I), established post-WW II by JM Somer, but led by JJL Baron van Lynden, responsible for intelligence gathering and dissemination to those with a need to know.

Dutch parliamentarians weren't happy about keeping them out of the loop, but never ordered investigations into what clearly was an abuse of power.

Luxemburg's Secret Armies

On November 14, 1990, Luxemburg's Prime Minister Jacaques Santer told his parliament:

"all NATO countries in central Europe have taken part in these preparations, and Luxemburg could not have escaped this international solidarity," explaining that the Service de Renseignements (its secret service) ran the network in peacetime, but wasn't linked to terrorism or other abuses of power.

Denmark's Secret Armies

Code-named Absalon, EJ Harder led it, an unnamed network member explaining:

"There were twelve districts, structured according to the cell principle, but not as tightly organized as during the War."

Also, there were no alleged terrorist links, yet another member said its mission was to act in case of a Soviet invasion as well as prevent leftists from gaining power, both called "a clear and present danger."

As in other countries, operations were secret. Its members were "ninety-five per cent....military, conservative, and staunchly anti-communist.

Norway's Secret Armies

After European secret armies became known in 1990, journalists asked Norway's Defense Ministry for an explanation, its spokesman, Erik Senstad, saying only that they were essential to the country's security.

Code-named Rocambole (ROC), it was run by Norway's secret service (NIS), its "philosophy....based on the lessons learned during the German occupation," to prepare for a potential future one, and like elsewhere to prevent leftists from gaining power. "Cooperation with the CIA, MI6, and NATO was intense," but not without controversy, one example being NATO ordering intelligence conducted on anti-NATO Norwegians with strong pacifist convictions.

Clearly, Norway's sovereignty was breached, enough to get Brigadier Simon, chief of NATO's Special Projects Branch, to apologize and promise to end to these type operations.

Sweden's Secret Armies

Sweden's Sakerhetspolis (SAPO), its security police, helped recruit it, working with Britain's MI6 "to learn how to use dead letter box techniques to receive and send secret messages," as well as intelligence gathering and ways to deal with emergency situations.

Swedish officials never provided details, denied any link to NATO or CIA, but the Agency's operative, Paul Garbler, explained that Sweden was a "direct participant" in the network, adding: "I'm not able to talk about it without causing the Swedes a good deal of heartburn," clearly suggesting disturbing abuses of power, possibly including the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, a staunch anti-nuclear proponent, wanting Scandinavia freed from nuclear weapons.

Finland's Secret Armies

As the only Western European country invaded by the Soviet Union during the so-called Winter War (November 30, 1939 - March 13, 1940), Finland lost 20% of its forces and 16,000 square miles of territory. It's why Finns sided with the Nazis, to regain its land and prevent this happening again.

During the Cold War, Finland's border with Soviet Russia was guarded by fences, land mines, and regular patrols. Also, a secret Western-linked resistance organization existed, made up largely of retired Finnish army officers - armed, trained, CIA-funded and equipped, and ready to respond in case history repeated. "Secrecy was extremely tight," no one talking about what they did or why. Even Finland's government was kept out of the loop.

A Final Comment

Until made public in 1990, Western Europe's secret armies remained a closely held secret - to defend capitalism against communism and the political left, individual countries having discretion on their operations, some mainly or entirely stay-behind, others involved with terrorism.

The former group included Denmark, Finland, Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands. In contrast, Italy, Turkey, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Sweden actively engaged in terrorism, including against their own citizens to hype fear.

America, to this day, is the world's leading state-sponsored terrorism exponent, at home and abroad. CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security operatives are in the lead, putting a myth to their abiding by the rule of law or a nation espousing democratic freedoms, human rights, civil liberties, and equal justice, what only an aroused public can stop if awakened to the danger and acts.


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