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Paladin Group



The Paladin Group was a far-right organization founded in 1970 in Spain by former SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny. Related to the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), it conceived itself as the military arm of the anti-Communist struggle during the Cold War. Ostensibly a legitimate security consultancy, the Group's real purpose was to recruit and operate mercenaries for right-wing regimes worldwide.
The Nouvel Observateur magazine, of 23 September 1974, qualifies the group as a "strange temporary work agency of mercenaries" (étrange agence d’interim-barbouzes); in The Great Heroin Coup (1976), Henrik Krüger calls it a "fascist group" or "neo-fascist group", while Stuart Christie speaks of a "security consultancy group" in Granny Made me an Anarchist. Lobster Magazine describes it as a "small international squad of commandos".

History

The Paladin Group was created in 1970 in Albufera, near Alicante, in the South of Spain by former SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny. A former special operations officer, Skorzeny had become a member of the ODESSA network after the war, helping to smuggle Nazi war criminals out of Allied Europe to Spain, South America and other friendly destinations to avoid prosecution for war crimes. Skorzeny himself resided after the war in Spain, protected by Franco.
Skorzeny envisioned the Paladin Group as "an international directorship of strategic assault personnel [that would] straddle the watershed between paramilitary operations carried out by troops in uniforms and the political warfare which is conducted by civilian agents".[1]
In addition to recruiting many former SS members, the Group also recruited from the ranks of various right-wing and nationalist organizations, including the French Nationalist OAS, the SAC, and the ‘Légion étrangère’. The hands-on manager of the Group was Dr. Gerhard Hartmut von Schubert, formerly of Joseph Goebbelss Propaganda Ministry, who had trained security personnel in Argentina and Egypt after the war. Under his guidance, Paladin provided support to the Palestinian splinter group led by Wadie Haddad. The Group's other clients included the South African Bureau of State Security and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. They also worked for the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 and the Spanish Dirección General de Seguridad, who recruited some Paladin operatives to wage clandestine war against Basque separatists. The Group is also reputed to have provided personnel for José López Rega's notorious Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance death squad.
The Paladin Group was also allegedly allied with a number of other right-wing governments, including Salazar’s Portugal, and some of the Italian neo-fascists involved in the strategy of tension attacks of the 1970s and 80s. The Paladin Group also held offices in Zurich, Switzerland.[2]
The Soviet news agency TASS alleged that Paladin was involved in training US Green Berets for Vietnam missions during the 1960s, but this is considered unlikely, since Skorzeny's methods were considered somewhat antiquated.
Von Schubert became the head of the Paladin Group after Otto Skorzeny’s death in 1975.

Following Franco’s death in 1975

Otto Skorzeny died the same year as Franco, whose death on November 20, 1975 opened up the way for a transition to democracy. Neo-fascist groups formerly hosted by Franco ceased to be welcome in the new regime and fled to South America, in particular Augusto Pinochet’s Chile and Argentina, where the return of Peron after a 20 year exile in Spain had seen the June 20, 1973 Ezeiza massacre.
The Paladin Group became a member of the Fascist International at its creation in 1976.[citation needed] This umbrella organization connected together many different neo-fascist groups.

Actions


References


  1. ^ Lee, Martin A. (1999). The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists. Taylor & Francis. pp. pp. 185–186. ISBN 0415925460.
  2. ^ Patrice Chairoff, Dossier B... comme barbouze, 1975, éd. Alain Moreau, p.59 and p.254


Bibliography