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The French, who know much about intrigue, have a very useful expression, “an Italian scandal.” This means a scandal or plot that is so complex or tangled it defies understanding, and never gets solved.

The death of 96-year old Masonic Grand Master Licio Gelli this week reopened the mystery of Italy’s greatest and most murky political scandals. I’ve been following this wonderful case since the 1980’s. Gelli, a lifelong Fascist, was what was known in the US as “one of our SOB’s.”

As US Republicans hysterically warn of “terrorism,” it’s useful to look back to the Cold War years and see who really had – and has – clean hands.

Gelli first appeared as an 18-year old volunteer Black Shirt fascist sent by Mussolini to Spain to fight the Communists.

Soon after World War II, Gelli was recruited by CIA to help build “Gladio,” a top secret underground organized in 14 Western European nations of former fascists and other right-wingers designed to combat an expected Soviet invasion.

The Soviet threat eventually subsided, but Gladio, its far right members and its arms caches remained. In the 1980’s and early 90’s, Gladio and Gelli would be involved in numerous plots and intrigues known as “the years of lead” aimed at blocking Communists from power and paving the way for fascist coups. CIA and Britain’s MI6 were implicated.

Gelli teamed up with a notorious Sicilian banker, Michele ‘the Shark’ Sindona, to boost the influence of his P2 Masonic Lodge. Its members were known as ‘frati neri,’ or black friars. Sindona was later poisoned while in jail. Gelli recruited a cabal of 1,000 influential bankers, Christian Democratic politicians, intelligence and military officials, churchmen, and businessmen who sat at the top of Italian society. Included was future prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

Among them was also Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, chief of the Vatican’s Bank. He and shady banker Roberto Calvi of Banco Ambrosiano worked with the Vatican, P2, and CIA to fund Poland’s rising Solidarity movement via cut-out banks in Central and South America.

Marcinkus and Calvi also embezzled large amounts from the Vatican bank. Soon after, Calvi was found hanged, dressed in monks clothing, under London’s Blackfriars Bridge. The message was clear. The film “the Godfather” touches on some of these events.

P2 was linked to the 1978 kidnapping and death of Italy’s former Prime Minister, Aldo Moro. Italy’s extremist Red Brigades were blamed amid calls for a crackdown on civil liberties that sounded quite similar to the hysterical tone of today’s rightwing American Republicans. Rumors of coups were rampant. Israel was accused of involvement with the Red Brigades in an effort to overthrow Italy’s pro-Arab government.


In a notorious false flag operation, in 1980 Gelli’s agents detonated a bomb in Bologna’s train station that killed 85 people. As P2 hoped, the Communist Red Brigades were again blamed for this crime. Italy’s intelligence services, SISDE and SISMI, came under strong P2 influence. SISMI, which was close to CIA and Israel’s Mossad, later played a key role with American neocons in getting phony data about supposed sales of uranium to Iraq to the credulous US president, George W. Bush.

SISMI and the paramilitary Carabinieri were involved with P2 and the Mafia in various plots to overthrow Italy’s wobbly democratic government. Aircraft were shot down or bombed, politicians and newspapermen murdered, and businesses extorted. Meanwhile, CIA was bankrolling Italy’s Christian Democrats and many newspapers – including, it was claimed, the P2 lodge. Today, P2’s murderers and criminals might be called “government contractors.”

A late 19th century French president, Jean Casimir-Perrier, put it pithily: “all political power is permanent conspiracy.” So it was in spades during the era of Licio Gelli, a condottiere, intriguer, and adventurer who should have been born during the Renaissance.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Italy, Terrorism 
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  1. Licio Gelli was certainly one of the most interesting public figures of the 20th century. Its funny how most Americans have never heard of him. You’d think our media would’ve kept us well apprised of the antics & background such a fascinating and colorful figure. Yet somehow…no. I’d love to read a biography of him…but does anyone have the courage to write it?

  2. Sean says:
    Bologna was claimed by the NAR, in the style of the previous communications supposedly composed by Fiovantini’s girlfriend Francesca Mambro. It had nothing to do with Gelli, except he started talking about it and was convicted of slandering the investigation
    Faranda and Anna Laura Braghetti objected to the killing of Moro
    Geli had had nothing to do with Moro.
    By contacting the dead, future Italian prime minister Prodi actually identified the street in Rome where Moro was being held captive by Braghetti and her Red Brigade cohorts (by the way Braghetti was the only person in prison who would talk to Mambro).

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  3. Margolis pulls his head out of his butt to write about what most people won’t touch and actually does a credible job of it. Must be those vitamins keep his creeping dementia at bay with the occasional lucid moments ; )

    Meanwhile, here’s where GLADIO has progressed to, it’s not as if it went away with the 1st generation’s demise:

    And a bit of history developing the broader view:


  4. @Sean

    Using wikipedia as a source for subjects like Gladio is like inviting the criminals to author the history:

    ^ Good luck with that –

    • Replies: @bankei
    , @Sean
  5. Rehmat says:

    Eric, whosoever controls the Vatican, control’s Italy – and the Vatican had been controlled by criminal Masonic Jews for the last 500 years.

    On August 4, 2013, the Brussels-based International Common Law Court of Justice (ITCCS) declared Pope Francis (Bishop Jorge Bergoglio) a war criminal.

    “I don’t agree with your presumption that Popes and Kings cannot be judged like other men, or are incapable of wrong (infallible). If there is any presumption, it’s the other way, against the holder of power. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Historic responsibility must therefore make-up for the want of the legal responsibility,” said the Presiding Magistrate while issuing a warrant of arrest for Pope Francis I. Watch a video below.

    This is not a good news for Israel and Jewish Lobby PR, which had declared him a kosher Pope. Pope Francis has accepted Israeli president Shimon Peres, another war criminal, invitation to visit Israel next year.

    “Truth must be said, I do admire fierce President Ahmadinejad almost as much as I despise war criminal Shimon Peres,” said Gilad Atzmon, an Israeli-born Jewish writer and author, September 25, 2008…….

    • Replies: @Carroll Price
  6. bankei says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    Quite true. I was just thinking the same exact thing, before opening your reply…

  7. Sean says:
    @Ronald Thomas West

    You might want to check the sources and citations, but that would be more time consuming than snark.

    Here is Libert talking about it
    The BBC documentary that propounded the conspiracy theory featured imprisoned Vincenzo Vinciguerra expounding on what was behind it ( although it happened while he was serving his life sentence for murdering policemen in a bomb attack) and Bologna’s train station bombing was not something he had knowledge of. Other key figures quoted in the Gladio documentary include

    It’s a lot of nonsense on the face of it that these people would be left alive to talk about such a conspiracy. Nothing to back it up except a BBC documentary that relied on the word of an imprisoned psychopath, and a proven con man. A poor substitute for evidence. The Moro affair Red Brigades personnel were not mysterious and they went to prison where unrepentant ones spent most of their lives,. The ones who insisted on killing Moro paid dearly for it, rather than being rewarded as agents of the secret services.

    Italy is a place where the top politician gets convicted of murder
    Carminati frequented a bar that was a haunt of Rome criminals and political extremists. He became a particular friend of Valerio Fioravanti, leader of the far right terrorist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (“Armed Revolutionary Nuclei” or NAR). Carminati introduced Fioravanti to some Banda della Magliana members, including Massimo Sparti who later became the main witness against Fioravanti for the 1980 Bologna train station bombing.[2][3] After Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari and Banda della Magliana ceased to exist through arrests and violent death, Carminati managed to emerge as a figure in his own right.[1][3]
    Link to Perugia trial of Andreotti[edit]
    A clandestine weapons store of the Banda della Magliana was kept in the basement of a government building, it was later found to contain grenades stolen by NAR leader Valerio Fioravanti. The NAR had access to the weapon and ammunition thought likely to have come from the joint arms cache that was used to kill Carmine Pecorelli in 1979.[4] In 1993, contemporaneously with his trial for Mafia association in Palermo,[5] former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti, Sicilian mafia boss Gaetano Badalamenti and Carminati, were charged with the murder of Pecorelli by prosecutors in Perugia. (yup same place as Amanda Knox) The case was circumstantial and based on the word of Mafia turncoat Tommaso Buscetta who had not originally mentioned the allegation about Andreotti when interviewed by Giovanni Falcone[6][7] Andreotti was acquitted along with his co-defendants in 1999.[8] The prosecution successfully appealed the acquittal and there was a 2002 retrial, in which inconsistent verdicts saw Carminati and defendants accused of setting up the killing being acquitted, while Andreotti was found guilty of ordering the killing, and sentenced to 24 years imprisonment. Italians of all political allegiances denounced the conviction.[9][10] The Italian supreme court finally cleared Andreotti of the murder in 2003.[11

    What is the top Rome gangster involved in now ? According to the Italian news agency ANSA, a mafia network run by Massimo Carminati — known in Italy as the “last king of Rome” — makes most of its revenue by extorting money destined for the country’s Roma population and immigrants. In an intercepted phone call, suspect Salvatore Buzzi was quoted saying that “drug trafficking earns less.” Other evidence suggests that Rome’s mafia has largely given up on trafficking in drugs and has instead embraced the more profitable “immigration business,” according to investigators.

  8. @ Sean

    That’s a lot of mainstream news (MSM) reliance on ‘facts’, not to mention continued reliance on wikipedia, a notoriously unreliable platform known to be regularly edited by intelligence and corporate entities.

    Maybe not so blatant technique as Alex Jones where important stories are sent to be associated with nut jobs who give print to David Icke and lizard dna. But still…

    Why would anyone be surprised at any western democracy’s supreme court cover-up (acquittal) of institutional criminals? An analogy would be John Robert’s good buddy Shannen Coffin was Dick Cheney’s VP lawyer. No problem he (Roberts) is the guy who appoints judges to the ‘secret’ FISA court, correct? Sure, that’ll do ‘justice’ (irony in case you missed it.)

    And what of Bill Colby stating Gladio was set up via Opus Dei? Oh, that’s right, the right wing of the church would never engage in laundering money having to do with subverting secular democracy, much less employing fascists with an eye to undermining government institutions, right?

    ^ The same s**t is going strong today.

    And not just in Europe:

    ^ and not just with Italian Catholic mafia

  9. @Rehmat

    Gilad Atzmon and Benjamin Freedman serve as living and deceased proof that just because a person is born a Jew, does not mean they have to remain one. Any more than a person born into a mafia family has to remain a member of a family that thrives and grows wealthy from criminal activities that lead directly to the ruin, want, and misery of other human beings.

  10. It has been my impression for quite some time that, like the CIA engineered coup and overthrow of duly elected Iranian president Mossedegh (? spelling) of Iran in 1954 , the existence and activities relating to Gladio operations (including the Bologna train station terrorist attack) were confirmed true by de-classified CIA documents relating to the period under discussion. Although most of us will never know it in our lifetimes, I suspect more recent events of a similar nature, such as the subway terrorist attacks in London, the terrorist train massacre in Spain (2004?) and the more recent Charlie Hebdo attack, and mass shootings in Paris will one day be proven false-flag Gladio-type operations.

  11. @Carroll Price

    If you’d not seen this one…

    …I’ll have a cynical laugh at whatever any investigation turns up

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Carroll Price

    Do not forget 9/11, that should be added to your list.

  13. Sean says:
    @Carroll Price

    Mossadeq was threatening oil concessions necessary for the stability of the British economy. It was originally the the British secret service who started to move on the overthrow of Mossadeq George Kennedy Young who had in 1951 been controller of MI6 operations in the ‘Middle East Area’ , was rewarded for the coup with promotion

    According to Cavendish the Shah later said of Young that, “In times of crisis he is a man who can take decisions and throw caution to the winds.

    The late GK Young (an specialist on Italy) is still in the news by the way

    I know a lot about conspiracy theories

  14. An excellent book with many details on the Iran Coup of 1953 is: All The Shah’s Men by Stephen Kinzer
    Kinzer also wrote the book, Bitter Fruit in which he gives details surrounding the CIA engineered coup leading to the overthrow of president Arbenez, who at the time was the democratically elected president of Guatemala. Plunging that 3rd world country into more than 20 years of slaughter of indigenous people of the country at the hands of terror squads trained at the infamous School Of America located at one or two military bases in the south-east of the US.

    And then there’s the book (which I have not read except for excerpts and reviews) by the same author entitled The Brothers, John Foster & Allen Dulles. With John Foster heading up the CIA when both coups took place.

    Due to the Zionist controlled MSM, the vast majority of Americans today remain totally unaware of either of these coups ever occurring, must less being aware of the direct connection the Iranian coup and Iran holding the 53 (?) American embassy workers hostage following a successful revolution resulting in the Iranian people restoring the Mullah-led theocracy that remains in control of Iran to this day. And which remains a major thorn in the side of the Zio-Anglo criminal cabal that has succeeded in plunged the world into a fake, and never-to-end- ” war on terror”. But, due to Russia stepping in to put a stop to the this group of criminals wrecking the Middle East (and Ukraine) we have every reason to hope for better days ahead.

  15. Sean says:

    Young was involved in plotting againnst Harold Wilson That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-76 . It was very high profile for a real preparation, and likely was a way of exerting pressure on Wilson rather than any genuine intention for a coup. It worked to demoralise Wilson

    As Young said, the idea Wilson was a Soviet agent (taken seriously by some in Special Branch and MI5) was “a load of crap”. Italy is the land of dietrologia (literally ‘behindery’) or conspiracy-theorising.

  16. Sean says:

    Wilson was forced out partially as a result of Young and (Special Air Service) David Stirling’s malarky

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