The Belgian parliamentary commission has ended its investigation into the "Stay Behind," or Gladio, network.
|Sir Stewart Menzies--"C"|
The first "Stay Behind" network, codenamed "Sussex II," was set up in December 1944 with the approval of Premier Spaak, when Sir Stewart Menzies (Chief of MI6) visited Brussels.
In 1948 the Brussels Pact [consisting of five nations] created the Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU) which by 1951 had become the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), based in Paris. A letter, written by Belgian Premier Van Houtte in March 1953, discusses coordination and technical arrangements between the CPC and SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), clearly linking the CPC with NATO.
During 1957 the CPC created two sub-committees, one of which went on to become the Allied Coordination Committee (ACC) and was responsible for coordinating the "Stay Behind" networks in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, United Kingdom and the United States. Its peacetime duties included elaborating the directives for the network, developing its clandestine capability and organising bases in Britain and the United States. In wartime it was to plan stay behind operations in conjunction with SHAPE; organisers were to activate clandestine bases and organise operations from there. Organisers would receive diplomatic immunity for their actions.
Between 1980 and 1986 the ACC arranged three-yearly international exercises to test its radio communications network and the collation of information. These exercises were codenamed 'Oregon.' In addition there were annual exercises to test the professionalism and performance of the network:
- 1985 WODAN (Belgium/Holland);
- 1985 THUNDERBOLT (Belgium/US);
- 1987 SEABIRD I (Belgium/US);
- 1988 SEABIRD II (Belgium/Holland);
- 1989 SEABIRD III (Belgium/Italy);
- 1990 MARGARITA (Belgium/Britain).
Contact between the ACC and SHAPE (NATO) was carried out by the Clandestine Planning Committee. When, in 1968, the Chair of the CPC moved to Brussels it became a part of the Belgian military security service (SGR) known as section SDRA II and served as the international secretariat of the CPC.
Although the security service witnesses confirmed the existence of a functioning NATO security system against subversion, a NATO Security Committee and its National Security Authorities, much of this information had been published by Stef Janssens and Jan Willems in their book Gladio. According to their investigations NATO members must install a National Security Authority.
Statewatch bulletin, vol 2 no 1
© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X.
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