Bringing in-depth reporting of crime and corruption in high places
on the morning of 17 June 1982, the body of Roberto Calvi was found
hanging beneath London’s Blackfriars bridge, it was to speed a process
that prised open a series of events spanning four decades.
The circumstances of Calvi’s death led knowledgeable observers
to darkly whisper of a Masonic ritual slaying.
With his hands tied behind his back and a brick thrust into his
coat pocket, Calvi had been strangled, apparently by the rope that had
been noosed around his neck. Moreover,
the location itself was believed to be symbolic.
Blackfriars bridge sits astride the border that connects the
Masonically named “Square Mile” of the City of London to the rest of
the Capital city.
initial inquest into his death returned a verdict of suicide.
Appealing against what they believed to be prejudice on the part
of the Coroner - and suspicious of the Masonic affiliations of the City
police - Calvi’s family called for a second, more thorough inquest,
which belatedly returned an open verdict.
Meanwhile, Banco Ambrosiano, Calvi’s massive, privately-owned
bank, collapsed on the news of his death, revealing a huge “black hole”
in the balance sheet amounting to $1.3 billion.
A large proportion of the missing money was later located in
accounts owned by the Vatican bank.
The connections that unfolded in the wake of the Calvi “affair”
were to link Masons with Mafiosi, Monks with Murder and Spies with wanted
Nazi war criminals.
War Two had barely ground to a final halt when, in 1947, Allied strategists
set about planning for World War Three.
Even as British and US intelligence officials scoured Europe
seeking to apprehend Nazi’s wanted on war crimes charges, other more
secretive US and British intelligence units were actively engaged in
helping those same Nazi’s to escape.
means of escape were the Vatican run “Ratlines.”
Operated with the knowledge and blessing of highly placed US
and British government officials, the Ratlines guided 30,000 wanted
Nazi’s to sanctuary. Safe
haven locations included the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
and the favourite bolt hole of them all: South America.
who reached safety in this manner read like a “Who’s Who” of the most
wanted Nazi war criminals. Klaus
Barbie, the cruel Gestapo officer known as the “Butcher of Lyons;” Franz
Stangl, Commandant of the notorious Treblinka extermination camp; Gustav
Wagner Commandant of Sorbibor extermination camp; Alois Brunner, a brutal
official in the Jewish deportation programme.
Of the most famous to escape along the ratlines were Adolf Eichmann,
the chief architect of the “Holoucast” and Dr Joseph Mengele, the “White
Angel” of Auschwitz concentration camp.
Not least was Deputy Fuhrer Martin Bormann.
Incredibly, an entire Waffen SS division - the notorious “Galician
Division” - consisting of 8000 men were smuggled to England and given
“free settler” status.
granted immunity these and thousands of other battle hardened Nazi soldiers
were to form the fighting nucleus of a top secret Allied contingency
group conceived by the first Director of the CIA, Allen Dulles.
Loosely known as operation “Stay Behind,” the idea was to build
a Europe wide secret network of anti communist guerrillas who would
fight behind the lines in the event of a Soviet invasion.
The plan was later codified under the umbrella of the Clandestine
Co-ordinating Committee of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
(SHAPE), the military arm of NATO.
planners worried over the growing influence of Italy’s large and popular
communist party, established Operation “Gladio” in 1956.
The name derived from the short sword used by Roman legionnaires
2000 years earlier, and was almost certainly drawn from the crest of
SHAPE which features two swords arranged in an “A” shape.
The Gladio network was operated by the secret services and initially
funded by the US Central Intelligence Agency.
622 people were recruited and trained by US and British specialists
in Sardinia. It is believed
that up to 15,000 members were ultimately recruited to the Gladio network.
1972, with the prospect of a Soviet invasion receding, a decision was
taken to “make a pre-emptive attack” on the Italian communist party
- who had polled 27% in that year’s election - and who would go on to
increase their vote to 35% just four years later.
There immediately followed a series of bomb outrages signalling
the beginning of a “strategy of tension,” designed to shift Italian
politics sharply to the right.
In April 1972 a Fascist bomb attack killed three carabinieri.
In November 1973, an Argo 16 aircraft was destroyed in a mid-air
if the Gladio network was the armed force, the secret Masonic lodge
“Propaganda Due” (P2) was the Elitist “shadow government” tasked with
directing them. Adhering
to a right wing ideology bordering on fascism, P2 was headed by Licio
Gelli - known as the “Puppet-master.”
During the war Gelli had been a member of Mussolini’s notorious
“Black shirts,” and later acted as liaison officer to the Hermann Goering
SS division. By 1974 P2
had in excess of 1000 members comprising a “who’s who” of Italian political,
military and economic power. Members
included four Cabinet ministers, three intelligence chiefs, 160 senior
military officers, 48 MPs, the Army Chief of Staff, as well as top diplomats,
bankers, industrialists and media publishers.
was also during 1974 that Gelli met secretly with Alexander Haig. Formerly, the NATO Supreme Commander, Haig had meanwhile become
President Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff.
The secret meeting was held in the US Embassy in Rome.
Receiving the blessing of Henry Kissinger, the US National Security
Adviser, Gelli left the meeting with a promise of continued financial
support for the Gladio network and it’s plan for the “internal subversion.”
of Italian political life. As welcome as this was, Gelli required additional funds to
support P2 and operation Gladio.
turned to P2 member Roberto Calvi, Chairman of Banco Ambrosiano - the
largest non-state owned bank in Italy.
Calvi began to illegally siphon money from his bank, using the
Vatican bank - the Istituto per de Religione (IOR) to launder it.
Almost certainly, Gelli had a hold over Calvi.
Earlier, in 1967, the former head of the Italian Secret Service
had joined P2 and brought with him 150,000 sensitive dossiers that had
been compiled on highly placed individuals of Italian society.
as a result of blackmail or political ideology, Calvi continued to funnel
a vast amount of funds to Gelli and P2, bankrupting his bank in the
process. Meanwhile, other
events were to occur that shocked not only Italy but the entire world.
In early 1978, Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped and later
assassinated by the so called “Red brigades” - a revolutionary pro Soviet
group. Evidence now exists
that shows Moro’s murder was orchestrated by P2, and that both the “Red”
and “Black” brigades were heavily penetrated by US intelligence - who
are credited with “running” them.
years earlier, in 1974, Moro - then Foreign Minister - visited the US. Aware of the popular, democratic support the Italian Communist
Party (PCI) was receiving from Italian voters, Moro wished to reach
an accommodation with the PCI, and offer their leaders Cabinet rank
in a new centrist ruling party.
His Washington visit did not go well.
During a meeting with then Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger,
Moro was told that such a move was viewed in the US as “profoundly dangerous
and mistaken.” A later meeting with an unnamed intelligence official left
Moro fearful for his life. The
official told Moro he must abandon any idea to incorporate the communists
“…or you will pay dearly for it.”
The official continued by warning Moro that “groups on the fringes
of the official secret services might be brought into operation” if
he didn’t modify his position.
It was a clear reference to P2 and the Gladio network.
Moro cut short his visit and returned home in fear of his life,
his wife later revealed.
months of Moro’s assassination, the world awoke to hear the glad news
that Albino Luciani had been elected Pope, taking the title Pope John
Paul 1. Revered as an honest,
gentle and insightful man, Luciani’s election caused anguish in many
areas of the Vatican curia. Not
least, Bishop Paul Marcinkus, the American head of the Vatican bank,
felt his days were numbered. Marcinkus’
removal from office would open a hornet’s nest of financial sleaze.
Via the Vatican bank, Marcinkus had engaged in a vast amount
of financial skulduggery. In
addition to his financial shenanigans with Banco Ambrosiano, the IOR
was also using known Mafia figures to invest some of its vast wealth.
Not least, Luciani was viewed by some on the far right of Italian
politics to be soft on communism; his father being a committed Socialist
and having once stood for political office.
as a whole it was more than enough.
Thirty three days after his election, the “Smiling Pope,” as
he was popularly known, was found dead.
Replaced by Karol Wojtyla, who took the title of John Paul 11,
Bishop Marcinkus was not only reprieved but became a close confidant
of the new Polish pope. Under the new, safer regime, Marcinkus went on to provide large
sums to the Polish ship-workers union, Solidarity - which is largely
credited with bringing an end to communism in Poland.
Clearly, staunch, anti communism was to be a continuing feature
of Vatican life, as it had been under Luciani’s predecessor, Pope Paul
V1 - who as the young Monsignor Giovanni Montini, the Under Secretary
of State since 1937 - was heavily involved in the post war Ratlines.
an additional “twist” it was revealed in 1992, by Mafia defector Francesco
Mannino Mannoia, that Roberto Calvi had been strangled by Francesco
Di Carlo, the Mafia’s London based Heroin traffic manager.
The order for the murder came from Pippo Calo, the Mafia treasurer
and ambassador to Rome. Desperate
to plug an increasingly large hole in his banks books, Calvi had agreed
to launder large quantities of drugs money for the Corleone Mafia empire.
Instead of laundering Mafia money, Calvi began skimming the profits
to keep his bank afloat.
with certain discovery and even more certain consequences, Calvi rushed
to London to negotiate a loan from Opus Dei - a highly secretive and
fabulously wealthy Catholic faction described by one authority as “sinister,
secretive and Orwellian.” A
highly credible and knowledgeable source told this writer that Calvi
met with the Treasurer of Opus Dei who had agreed to purchase a minority
stake in Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano.
The deal, had it proceeded would have provided the essential
funds needed to repay the Mafia, and stave-off an imminent investigation
into his affairs by Italy’s Central bank.
Dei - which translates
as “God’s work,” had long sought to take effective control of the Vatican. Their cause had been advanced by the sudden death of Pope John
Paul 1 and the election of a keen supporter: Pope John Paul 11.
With Machiavellian insight, senior figures of Opus Dei reasoned
that with Calvi dead the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano would surely follow.
This, in turn, would shake loose powerful enemies inside the
Curia, opening the way for them to gain total dominance of the Vatican.
Consequently, Roberto Calvi was thrown to the Wolves.
to critics, Opus Dei is aggressively right wing in its teachings, and
operates a form of thought control.
Disciples undergo bouts of agonising self inflicted torture,
allegedly designed to clarify thought and cleanse the spirit.
They are also taught to avoid natural human feelings, being
believe it a religious faction that shares numerous values similar to
the neo-nazi’s that people the Masonic P2 lodge.
Until recently - and for hundreds of years previously - any member
of the Catholic church who was found to be a Freemason was automatically
this many members of the Curia were discovered to be covert members
of P2. Subsequently, in
1983, a new Canon Law announced that this would cease.
Thereafter, any member of the Roman Church was free to become
the Calvi affair, the Vatican sought to diminish increasingly poor publicity
by establishing a commission of enquiry.
One of the so called “Four Wise Men” who sat on this enquiry
was Dr Herman Abs, a senior German banker.
During the war years Abs headed Deutsche Bank and was one of
the principal financiers of Adolf Hitler.
He also sat on the board of I G Farben, the massive Nazi conglomerate
that used slave labour until they dropped.
Farben also manufactured Zyklon B - the poisonous gas used with
such devastating effect in the extermination camps.
Arrested for war crimes at the end of WW11, Abs was quietly released
following the intervention of the Bank of England.
“Stay Behind” units
was not alone in having covert “stay behind” units in operation. The operation encompassed all of western Europe.
In France the unit was called “Glaive” - again named after a
Gladiatorial sword. Austria’s
unit was named “Schwert,” also meaning sword.
In Turkey the unit was named “Red Sheepskin” and in Greece “Sheepskin.”
Sweden’s unit was called “Sveaborg.”
In Switzerland it went by the title P26.
Other units in Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Norway,
Luxembourg, Denmark and Holland remain unnamed. Not least, the United Kingdom’s unit was simply known as “Stay
of the Stay Behind network
that surfaced in recent years suggests that the “Stay Behind” concept
first arose in Britain. Senior
military sources told the Guardian newspaper in December 1990, that
a British guerrilla network was already in place following the fall
of France in 1940. Numerous
arm “caches” were buried for later use by a special forces ski battalion
of the Scots Guards under the leadership of Brigadier “Mad Mike” Calvert.
After the war, the decision was taken to create new units throughout
Europe. The plan was conceived
by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and spearheaded by the newly formed
political destablisation in Britain
Britain’s “Stay Behind” unit was modified after the war, for a “secondary use.” This was to combat “the takeover of civil government by militant leftwing groups.” The network was operated by Britain’s intelligence services and selected members of the armed forces. Rumours persist that Harold Wilson’s Labour government was the target of a Gladio type campaign not dissimilar to that of Italy. Wilson’s surprise resignation has been credited to a dirty tricks campaign operated by British intelligence at the behest of the US. Known as operation “Clockwork Orange” Army psyops personnel began “fabricating” evidence that showed that senior members of the Wilson Cabinet, including the Prime Minister himself, were Soviet dupes. Waiting in the wings were senior military and other rightwing figures alleged to be planning a military style “Coup D’Etat” in the event that the Labour government won the forthcoming election.
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