European fascists and US plans to secure control
Three recent reports, from Germany, the Baltic Republics and Sweden, provide a chilling picture of far-right political and terrorist organisation and US-led civil defence provision.
While the three are seemingly separate developments, in reality, there are strong connections through commonality of US-led interests.
The developments are also not new, but symbolise direct linkage between previous and present Cold Wars, with some interesting links to recent terrorist outrages.
In April, a media release from the German government highlighted the risk of politically-related violence and terrorism from far-right neo-Nazi organisations. (1) The report also drew attention to the fragmented nature of the German far-right where disparate groups of often disaffected fascists plot on the internet. The domestic security agency conducting the study also found extensive use of firearms and 'improvised explosives attacks', with the specific intention of facilitating 'civil war scenarios'. (2)
Interestingly, the study also found most of those concerned operated outside of known political organisations and were relative novices, often only being active for a short time. There was, therefore, a perceived gap between the 'planning and reality of attacks'. (3)
The re-emergence of the far-right has taken place within the wider resurgence of grievance politics, directed at immigrants and asylum-seekers. It has emerged from an 'ethnic view of peoples and national identity, from which stems a hatred of enemies both external, against individual foreigners and states, and, internal, against ethnic and religious minorities and all political opponents'. (4) In Australia, the Pauline Hanson One Nation phenomena is backed by some insidious personnel who lurk within the cover of parliamentary respectability.
The far-right also has tended to make extensive use of the internet. A recent study of the Australian 2019 federal election campaign found anonymous far-right groups were part of a network of at least fifteen Facebook accounts coordinated with mis-information and misleading content. (5) They had been accessed more than 472,000 times while the wider US network had 1.2 million users. (6) Amid the anti-Islamic xenophobia the perpetrators 'frequently spruik One Nation or Fraser Anning'. (7)
No all those referred to in the recent report about Germany were, however, novices; it also noted the loose-knit far-right groups also included 'police and army officers who primarily plot on the internet via messenger services'. (8)
One example provided in the report included a man identified as Franco A, a German army officer who was actually planning a 'false flag' style attack. (9) In fact, the case in question can also be used as evidence of seemingly extra-curricula activities for State actors who would be initially protected by senior officers. Despite being a Bundeswehr first-Lieutenant, Franco A had registered as a Syrian asylum-seeker and intended carrying-out a terrorist attack which would subsequently be blamed upon refugees. The planning also included an intended outcome of a 'collapse of civil order'. (10)
While most sensible and progressively-minded people are horrified at such developments, they can be easily explained within the context of the previous Cold War.
The US began to conduct military planning for counter-insurgency provision seriously in the 1960s period. Pentagon planning from the period was primarily concerned with the provision of military manuals for use with Project X and the Joint Foreign Intelligence Assistance Program (JFIAP), intended to help friendly governments fight Cuban and Soviet-inspired rebels. (11) While the original manuals were intended for use in Central and Latin America, they were soon 'used much more widely, by US military personnel working in a variety of countries'. (12) Australia was no exception, with strong military links with the Pentagon and active involvement in the Vietnam War.
In fact, one Australian military manual for the period carried a sub-section about civil affairs, to be used following intervention. It was not specified whether the military intervention was of foreign territory or domestic political affairs. A task allocated to the commanding officer was that the most effective use is made of para-military forces in the context of control of the civil population.
Two important factors emerge from the JFIAP:
• they were, in fact a guide for the conduct of clandestine operations against domestic political adversaries including peaceful ones (13);
• they were also coordinated counter-intelligence activities worldwide.....against.....those who oppose the US Defence Department.....during peacetime and all levels of conflict (14).
Following disclosures and eventual declassification, one 1972 listing of Project X noted that “lesson plans covered aerial surveillance, electronic eavesdropping, interrogation, counter-sabotage measures, counter-intelligence, handling of informants, break-ins and censorship.” (15)
A distinct feature of the US-led military training was a 'train-the-trainer' type operation; once trained, those with the required expertise were eventually free to sell their skills to anyone of interest. During the same period, therefore, the US was also responsible for out-sourcing many covert operations including the establishment of Aginter Press in Lisbon. The organisation had little to do with mass media, although its main actors used press credentials to travel to places of interest. Its main area of interest included mercenary recruitment, terrorist training, assassinations and other intelligence linked operations including bombings. (16)
Documents accessed following the Portuguese coup in April, 1974, included those relating to Aginter Press personnel infiltrating left-wing groups to enable false-flags to be used for terrorist-related action. (17) The action was part of military planning to create strategies of tension and the conditions for erosion of legitimacy with institutions of states, paving the way for a far-right take-over and coup-type operation. (18) One country which was targeted by Aginter Press was Italy, which experienced a wave of terrorism, kidnappings and abductions and bombing throughout the period.
A further related area of interest has included the establishment by the Pentagon of so-called 'red teams', which were intended for use during military operations. Military personnel were actually trained in terrorist activity and foreign intelligence penetration. The operations were 'carried out as realistically as possible', and run 'in conjunction with major tactical exercises and deployments'. (19)
Such military planning clearly supports the view of US-led procedures being used to establish NATO secret armies during the early 1950s. During the period old war-time civil defence provision was reactivated with the recruitment of known anti-communists in preparation for activation during time of Soviet invasion of western Europe. (20) Once established, the secret armies became centres of far-right clandestine operation inside seemingly democratic states. (21) The chain of command was also an important factor in enabling the clandestine operation to remain secret; those in senior positions protected lesser minions.
And recent developments in the Baltic Republics and Sweden have revealed present US-led Cold War military planning has drawn upon the expertise of the previous period.
During mid-April a media release from the Pentagon revealed information about a commissioned report where recommendations included Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania being equipped with 'resistance cells armed with unconventional weapons to deter Russian invasion'. (22) The specially convened resistance cells were designed using classic stay-behind tactics, where clandestine organisation can 'complement existing conventional defence efforts of the Baltic States and NATO', in the words of Stephen Flanagan, chief writer of the report. (23) In effect, the resistance cells were designed to operate along para-military lines.
The not quite so clandestine organisations, however, were publicised as possessing three distinct levels:
• violent units composed of special forces, reservists and combat units;
• less heavily equipped units of police and amateur sharpshooters;
• intelligence support provided by civilians, also responsible for caring for the wounded and providing catering facilities.
In Sweden, likewise, conscription was re-introduced in 2017, following an increased military budget. The development rested firmly upon NATO assessments of a perceived deteriorating security situation close to the Russian Federation. (24) Sweden's response was noted as 'a message to our neighbours', through increased cooperation with NATO and a series of recent military exercises. (25)
One development of particular interest with Sweden has been the refurbishment of military facilities on Gotland island, in the Baltic. The island is regarded as possessing a highly strategic location to dominate airways and sea-lanes. (26) The base would, therefore, indicate use of electronic warfare provision with intelligence facilities.
The Gotland facilities also include provision for 282 full-time soldiers with combat-ready equipment; and 'young recruits on the Baltic island of Gotland are at the forefront of Sweden's efforts to bolster its military as Stockholm worries about Russian intentions in Europe and the Baltic'. (27)
Hidden within official US-led military provision for the new Cold War there are hidden players, making use of opportunities opened with Pentagon planning. Serious questions and considerations arise.
When the forthcoming legal procedures and parliamentary inquiry into recent terrorist outrages in New Zealand, for example, some of the distant European travels of Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant might well prove extremely embarrassing for those placed within the higher echelons in Canberra.
Just what was an Australian fascist actually doing over a period of years, how was he spending such a long length of time, and who was he meeting in faraway locations? Who did he receive his para-military style training from, and where? And who was actually protecting him, providing a convenient cover to avoid effective official scrutiny?
Whether any serious answers to the questions will take place in open court, with public scrutiny remains as yet to be established. If examples from the previous Cold War are used as a yardstick, we will be waiting for decades for suitable and convincing answers. And those responsible will still hide behind plausible denial.
In conclusion, the developments give cause for serious concern.
1. Off-grid extremist fears for Germany, Australian, 30 April 2019.
4. Not your father's far right, Le Monde Diplomatique, March 2014.
5. Far right unites sway poll outcome, Australian, 7 May 2019.
8. Australian, op.cit., 30 April 2019.
11. Army's Project X Had Wider Audience, The Washington Post, 6 March 1997.
14. Army Regulation 381-20, Army Foreign Intelligence Assistance Program, Section 1.5, Mission and Policy, page 1.
15. Lost History: Project X, Robert Parry, The Consortium Magazine, 31 March 1997.
16. Wikipedia: Aginter Press.
19. Army Regulation 381-20, op.cit., Section 5.18.
20. NATO Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, (2005)
21. Ibid., reference Operation Gladio, Italy.
22. Baltic state 'resistance' to repel Russia, Australian, 17 April 2019.
24. Russian flexing forces Sweden to return troops to Baltic island, Australian, 18 April 2019.