The history of mankind is riddled with the weird and the wonderful; bizarre people, strange places and odd events. For centuries, we’ve told each other fantastic stories around campfires and in darkened rooms. Tales of ghosts, UFOs, and conspiracies, but are these stories exactly that: Stories? There’s only one way to find out! Join me as I dive down the rabbit hole and into… the Unexplained Files.
This week: Operation Gladio
2nd August 1980. Bologna, Italy. The waiting room at Bologna station is packed. It’s a hot day and the waiting room is one of the few areas with air conditioning, but the hundreds of passengers amassed there are about to have their thoughts of travel plans, dinner arrangements and daily worries scattered to the four winds, because in a moment, a huge explosion will rip through the station. It seems no one has noticed the unattended suitcase. Housed within it is death. Death in the form of a time bomb made with 23kg of explosives. It will leave 200 injured and eighty-five dead.
The explosion will destroy the majority of the main station building, hit the awaiting Ancona–Chiasso train at the first platform and collapse the roof of the waiting room on top of the awaiting passengers, greatly increasing the total number of fatalities. The blast will be heard for miles. In the years previous, Italy has been no stranger to such atrocities.
8 years earlier, 163 miles to the north east in Peteano, a car bomb attack had killed three Carabinieri (Italian military police), and this was on the back of a series of blasts in 1969 that killed 17 and left dozens injured in Milan.
It is another attack that will work in favour of the right-wing leadership, drawing the left-leaning public into the arms and protection of their government.
A smart-but-cynical government who are using a disaster for political gain? Not quite.
Because they planned it.
You’re Kidding, Right?
You heard me. Welcome to the terrifying world of False Flag terror. But more about that in a moment.
During the Cold War, the intelligence arms of NATO countries wanted to prepare for resistance in reaction to the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact with Eastern Bloc nations, so they left agents in territories as “Stay-Behind armies”. It was these so-called armies in charge of scaring the shit out of the citizenry, because a scared citizenry is a compliant citizenry.
The name “Gladio” refers to the Italian branch of the operation, but is now used as an informal name for all of them, because it wasn’t just Italy involved. There were branches of Gladio in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Turkey. Parallel stay-behind operations also took place in non-NATO countries like Austria, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
So what’s all this ‘False Flag’ business? The term stems from naval roots where ships would fly the flag of a friendly nation before attacking their enemies, thus maintaining the element of surprise, as well as earning the reputation of being devious shits.
Hold Your Horses!
Surely this can’t be real… Can it?
First of all, there’s absolutely no way that a government would kill their own citizens for political gain, let alone outright admit to it. Apparently one of Winston Churchill’s favourite sayings was “Never let a good disaster go to waste”. It’s much more likely that the terrorists were busy doing their thing and the powers that be simply took advantage of the circumstances, after all, this isn’t House of Cards.
Even today, we see terror attacks and other atrocities such as mass shootings used to gain some sort of leverage, whether it’s stealthily nabbing the rights of the people, or swaying election results. It’s much more likely that those in charge are just taking old Winston’s advice. The other option is unthinkable. Isn’t it?
Make Your Mind Up Time.
Factions of government blowing their own people up is all well and good as the plotline for a Frederick Forsyth novel, but this is real life. Only problem with that is there’s a documentary on YouTube saying that it’s all true. Oh well, if it’s on YouTube! But wait! I’m not on about some foil-hat wearing conspiracy nut fan fiction. It’s a documentary with all of the main players, actually admitting their part in the dastardly scheme, made by a little organisation from the UK going by the name of the BBC for their Timewatch series. Catch it while you can, it’s powerful stuff. Naturally, the CIA are trying to distance themselves as much as possible from what went down, but the Italians are laying it all out, and it’s as shocking as it is captivating.
A quick read through Wikipedia and they seem to doing their best to be playing the incident down too. The only problem they‘ve got is in 1990, after Judge Felice Casson discovered Gladio while investigating right-wing terror, the Italian government admitted it to be true. Which makes Wikipedia’s stance a little unnerving.
Sorry Wikipedia, this happened.
RATING: 1=Bollocks 2=Not convinced 3=Possibly… 4=Compelling stuff 5=Holyshittheskyisfalling
Further Reading/Viewing: Those sources mentioned above would be a good start. The BBC doc is in three parts, and the false flag part is in the second 45-minute slot. But maybe check Wikipedia last.
What do you think? Do false flags still happen today? Comment below!
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In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.