Monday, June 18, 2012

Sir Stewart Menzies and Gladio

Belgian Enquiry into Gladio 

The Belgian parliamentary commission has ended its investigation into the "Stay Behind," or Gladio, network. 

Sir Stewart Menzies--"C"
Its conclusions show that the Belgian network was jointly organised by the STC/MOB (a branch of the civilian security service) and the SDRA 8 (of the military security service). In addition to functioning as a resistance network in the event of a Soviet attack on western Europe, the organisation also had contingency plans for evacuation of VIPs, the removal of security service secret documents and maintaining contact with government ministers.

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).
 The last ACC meeting took place on the 23-24 October 1990, and members discussed the re-orientation of the ACC. The Belgian security service suggested a policy that would allow the network to operate more broadly in "crisis" situations. Apparently the "stay behind" network had been activated during the Zaire crisis in 1980, but failed to intervene because of operational problems.

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.

Daniele Ganser
During the Belgian parliamentary commission enquiry the head of the SGR, General [Raymond] Van Calster gave evidence that was misleading. When questioned about the structure of the SGR he omitted to mention SDRA 11. Colonel Detrembleur, head of SDRA 11, refused to answer the commissions enquiries on his department, asserting that he was bound by NATO confidentiality. He claimed that the commission would need to obtain SHAPE authority for him to answer any questions, and he doubted if this would be forthcoming as it had been refused to other countries in the past. The commission dropped their investigations into the NATO connection.

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. 
Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed.

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