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’Operation Gladio’

Darko Lazar

“Total panic reigned. One woman whose face was covered in blood was screaming something about her child. I don’t know exactly what,” an unnamed witness recalled the horrific moments during a terrorist attack in Belgium.

But the witness in question was not describing Tuesday’s carnage in Brussels, which left dozens of people dead after several explosions struck the city’s main international airport and a metro station in the center of the Belgian capital.

Instead the testimony given to a BBC documentary titled, Operation Gladio, refers to a terrorist attack targeting a supermarket in the Belgian city of Aalst on November 9, 1985.

During the attack, three hooded armed men indiscriminately opened fire on shoppers. In the ensuing massacre eight people, including a whole family, died. A husband, wife and their 14-year-old daughter were killed at the checkout counter, while another man was killed alongside his nine-year-old daughter, attempting to flee in his car.

The coldblooded attack was part of a string of deadly terrorist operations carried out between 1983 and 1985, in Belgium’s Brabant county, not too far from Brussels.
And even though these sorts of attacks may bare all the hallmarks of the modern-day al-Qaeda or Daesh, the ‘Brabant Massacres’ were the work of state organs.

Europe’s Stay Behind Armies

In the early 1950s, the Americans started training networks of so-called ‘Stay Behind’ armies across Western Europe. These clandestine military units, were financed and advised by the US Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], while working in tandem with western European military intelligence services, supervised by a NATO ‘committee’.

The units were designed to operate in the event of a Soviet invasion, “gathering intelligence, opening escape routes and forming resistance movements.”

But as the Cold War picked-up steam and the ideological war for hearts and minds intensified, so too did efforts to subvert and eliminate Europe’s leftist political movements.

In what came to be known as the ‘strategy of tension’, the Stay Behind Armies quickly settled into their new role of the ‘deep state’. They funded and directly carried out acts of terrorism across the European continent, in the hope of preventing Europe’s ‘slide to the left’.

By 1990, Italian and Belgian investigators began examining links between the Stay Behind Armies and terrorist attacks over a twenty-year period.

Around the same time Britain’s Guardian reported links between the Italian branch of the Stay Behind Armies – named ‘Gladio’ [Sword] – and all of Italy’s secret services, top security operatives as well as the country’s leading Masonic Lodge [P2].

Ten years later, the Italian government released its findings, concluding that the US was responsible for inspiring the ‘strategy of tension.’

“Those massacres, those bombs, those military actions had been organized or promoted or supported by men inside Italian state institutions and, as has been discovered, by men linked to the structures of United States intelligence,” the 300-page report read.

Meanwhile, in a television documentary, journalist Allan Francovich, suggested that the Belgian secret army [SDRA8] had linked up with the country’s right wing organization, Westland New Post. During an interview, WNP member, Michel Libert, recalled what one of the SDRA8 operatives told him.

“You, Mr. Libert, know nothing about why we’re doing this. Nothing at all. All we ask is that your group, with cover from the Gendarmerie, with cover from Security, carry out a job. Target: The supermarkets… Something that had to be done. But the use it was all put to, that is the big question.”

‘Live in Fear’

Tuesday’s terrorist attack, targeting the Belgian capital and claimed by the Daesh terror group, is the third of its kind to rock the European continent in just over a year.

Emerging from one of the underground train stations where over twenty people were killed, a witness said, “the point of these attacks is to make you live in fear.”

Subsequently links were immediately made between, the Brussels attacks, and the arrest of Salah Abdelsalam three days prior. Abdelsalam, who was the most wanted suspect of the Paris attacks, was detained following a shootout with police in the Belgian capital.

But the Director at the Belgrade-based Center for Syncretic Studies, Joaquin Flores, does not believe that Daesh, ‘in the meaningful sense of the word’, was behind these attacks.

Director at the Belgrade-based Center for Syncretic Studies, Joaquin Flores“These ‘random’ attacks serve no tactical purpose for an actual terrorist group and only increase the chances that European voters or citizens will support some action, direct or kinetic, against “ISIS”. So this does not serve “ISIS’s” interests,” Flores said using the western acronym to describe the terrorist group.

Flores adds that, “this type of ‘terrorism’ fits other well established models that are characterized as a ‘strategy of tension’, and these were historically planned and executed by assets of US-NATO military intelligence themselves, as part of the ‘Gladio’ program.”

‘We are at War’

Western Europe is once again on high alert, following Tuesday’s blasts that struck the heart of European officialdom, housing NATO’s headquarters, the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Door-to-door searches and an increased military presence on the streets mirrored the aftermath of the Paris attacks in January and November of last year.

So too did the shock and denunciations by western leaders. “We are at war,” said France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

“This is an attack against our values, our freedom, and our democracy,” Brussels Mayor Ivan Mayeur said at a press conference.

Others used the occasion to call for unity in the fight against ‘terrorism’.

“We must unite. We must be together in fighting against terrorism,” said US President Barak Obama. For Flores however, this response is hypocritical.

“It seems in poor judgment to specifically lament over one criminal tragedy, when such criminal tragic events are so rampant around the world, and are often the product of US-NATO operations globally.”

Numerous reports in recent years have confirmed the role of NATO, operating out of its Brussels headquarters and Turkey’s high command, in the training and recruiting of terrorist elements to fight in Syria.

In their 2011 report, “Israeli” intelligence sources [DEBKA] revealed that, “NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the [Syrian] government armored forces.”

Moreover, the NATO initiative also involved the organized recruitment of thousands of ‘freedom fighters’.

These mercenaries, who had received US/NATO military training, were subsequently integrated into terrorist organizations including the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Daesh.

The US-led counterterrorism campaign launched in 2014 was conducive to Daesh doubling the territory under its control, leading to the worst global refugee crisis since World War 2, which quickly reached Europe’s shores.

“There is a link between the ‘refugee’ crisis and these terrorist attacks, – and that is that these are both components of the general destabilization of the Middle East and now, Europe. From a sociological and strategic point of view, it is difficult to imagine that such ‘reverberations’ were not foreseen, and therefore expected, and as such perhaps even viewed as desirable by the powers that be,” Flores said.

As many had predicted, this summer’s refugee crisis in Europe was purposefully manipulated to create maximum hysteria across the continent.

And the recent terror attacks across Europe have only deepened Islamophobia in the west, best demonstrated by an increased support for far-right groups among the European electorate.

Along with silencing domestic political opposition, attacks like the one in Brussels, are giving intelligence agencies sweeping powers in the EU’s already towering surveillance states.

In reference to subversive and terrorist actions carried out by the Stay Behind Armies during the high of the Cold War, Flores opinioned that, “then, as perhaps now, the goal was to push European citizens/voters into a hostile position against a generally described ‘enemy’ – then communism, today ‘Islamism’.

Source: al-Ahed News

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