Operation Gladio | BBC

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Gladio – Part 1 – The Ringmasters

Glad – Part 2 – The Puppeteers

Gladio – Part 3 – The Foot Soldiers

State-Sponsored Terror

– 1992 |

Originally aired on BBC2 in 1992, ‘' reveals ‘Gladio', the secret state-sponsored terror network operating in Europe.

This series is about a far-right secret army, operated by the and MI6 through , which killed hundreds of innocent Europeans and attempted to blame the deaths on Baader Meinhof, Red Brigades and other left wing groups. Known as ‘stay-behinds' these armies were given access to equipment which was supposed to be used for sabotage after a Soviet invasion. Instead it was used in massacres across mainland Europe as part of a Strategy of Tension. Gladio killing sprees in Belgium and were carried out for the purpose of frightening the national political classes into adopting U.S. policies.

Part 1 – The Ringmasters

This is the first part of a trilogy produced by Timewatch, which analyses the origins of the Gladio secret network, through conversations with main protagonists.

Part 2 – The Puppeteers

In August 1980, a bomb exploded at the railway station in Bologna, . The Red Brigades, a left-wing urban guerrila organisation, was immediately blamed for the 86 deaths and scores of injured civilians. But the Red Brigades–which operated much like the Baader Meinhof organisation in Germany and Action Directe in France–had long been penetrated by right-wing agents working for the State. These agents had only one aim: to instigate such a series of atrocities that terrified civilians into pleading for greater state security, even if that meant a loss of personal freedom.

Part 3 – The Foot Soldiers

In 1978 in Rome, the Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped and his bodyguard was killed. The bullets found at the scene were of a type issued only to Italian Special Forces and, according to one secret agent's confession, the secret services had been warned in advance of the kidnapping.

Timewatch examines the truth behind this and the subsequent assassination of Moro – who was in favour of including the Italian Communist party in a national government.

This episode also reconstructs a series of unexplained and bloody killings a few years earlier in Belgium, when masked gunmen murdered people shopping in supermarkets. Some of the Gladio members responsible now talk about these seemingly pointless murders

Source: Gladio (1/3) The Ringmasters – BBC, 1992

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