Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between The Vatican, The CIA, & The Mafia

Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between The Vatican, The CIA, & The Mafia from The Burning Platform

On the hot summer morning of Aug. 2, 1980 a massive explosion ripped apart the main waiting room of the Bologna railway station. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds more injured. Though at first blamed on Italy’s legendary urban guerrillas, The Red Brigades, it soon emerged that the attack had, in fact, originated from within the ‘deep state’ of the Italian government itself.

The full nature of this secret parallel state would only come to light a decade later when the Italian premier, Giulio Andreotti, under questioning from a special commission of inquiry, revealed the existence of arms caches stashed all around the country and which were at the disposal of an organization which later came to be identified as ‘Gladio’.

The members of this group turned out to include not only hundreds of far-right figures in the intelligence, military, government, media, Church and corporate sectors, but a motley assortment of unreconstructed WW2 fascists, psychopaths and criminal underworld types to boot. And despite Andreotti’s attempts to airbrush the group as ‘patriots’ it appeared evident to much of the rest of the Italian polity that these seemed rather more like pretty bad folk indeed. Little did they know. Follow-up research by the likes of Daniele Ganser, Claudio Celani, Jurgen Roth and Henrik Kruger traced connections to similar groups spread throughout Europe of which all were found to be deep state terrorist organizations, and all of which were found, ultimately, to be subservient unto the highest levels of the CIA and NATO command structures.

The moniker ‘Gladio’ (after the two-edged sword used in classical Rome) was eventually broadened to include a bewildering host of related deep state terrorist structures including: ‘P2’ In Italy, ‘P26’ in Switzerland, ‘Sveaborg’ in Sweden, ‘Counter-Guerrilla’ in Turkey and ‘Sheepskin’ in Greece.This (hardly definitive) European list was then found to have connections not only to virtually every US sponsored secret state terrorist organization the world over (including the likes of Operation Condor in Latin America), but also to many of the global drug cartels that provided the secretive wealth needed to fund and otherwise lubricate the whole rotting, corrupt shebang.

If all this sounds sinister enough, it pales in light of the detailed structure of the dazzlingly diabolical Gladio edifice. And it is to those details we now repair vis a vis an overview of the remarkable, if otherwise unheralded, 2015 work by journalist Paul L. Williams entitled, ‘Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, the CIA and the Mafia’. Though there are other books on the subject worthy of honourable mention (including Daniele Ganser’s seminal tome, ‘NATO’s Secret Armies’, and Richard Cottrell’s recent and stylishly written, ‘Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe’), it is to Williams that I believe we owe a particular debt of gratitude in having provided a more or less fully integrated portrait of the global machinations of Operation Gladio.

Before embarking on our grim, if yet fascinating, journey it is worth first noting that whilst ‘Gladio’ was officially acknowledged and condemned by the European Parliament (in Nov., 1990; Washington and NATO having ever after refused ‘comment’ on the matter), and its multifarious organs and factions ordered dismantled, it is hardly likely that the latter was ever fully enacted. The historical context of ‘Gladio’, then, is really the quintessential backdrop to understanding the trademark false flag events of the modern era.

OF SPOOKS AND MADE MEN

The general origins of this labyrinthine network of deep state actors lay in the so-called ‘stay-behind-armies’ set up at the end of WW2 by the Allied powers (principally the US) ostensibly to act as resistance forces should the Soviets ever decide to invade Europe. Quickly, however, the raison d’etre of the ‘armies’ transmogrified into a mission to counteract, not external invasion, but ‘internal subversion’. Such would eventually result in the undermining not just of post-war European socialism, but of Italian, Greek – and later global – democracy itself.

But we get ahead of ourselves.

The primal author of the ‘stay-behind-armies’, Williams informs us, was General Reinhard Gehlen, the head of German military intelligence during the Second World War. Having foreseen early on that the Reich was doomed to defeat, Gehlen had “concocted the idea of forming clandestine guerilla squads composed of Hitler youth and die-hard fascist fanatics” ostensibly to fend off the inevitable Soviet invasion. These guerilla units he referred to as ‘werewolves’.

Not ones to miss a fascist opportunity when they saw it, the US Office of Strategic Services (the OSS, and the forerunner of the CIA), under the leadership of William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, quickly enlisted both Gehlen and SS General Karl Wolff (in 1945) in forming the Gehlen Organization (later to transform into the present-day German BND) and which received its initial funding from US Army G-2 intelligence resources.

The American point-man on this was Allen Dulles, the first president (in 1927) of the Council on Foreign Relations, and later the first head of the CIA. Duly incorporated into the American fold, the ‘werewolves’ were, given that their initial meddling took place in Italy, rebranded as ‘gladiators’. Operation Gladio was born.

In 1947 the CIA (having, that year, superseded the OSS) was faced with its first daunting task, i.e. how to prevent the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from forming the next government. Elections were scheduled for 1948 and the PCI was a virtual shoe-in not just in Italy proper, but in Sicily as well. Fortunately, ‘Gladio’ was ready and waiting. The gladiators had been training in a special camp set up in Sardinia under the local command of the former WW2 Italian fascist leader, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese.

In addition, hundreds of American mafioso began to arrive on the shores of Italy to lend a hand with the communist ‘problem’. The arrival of the ‘made men’ was the result of Donovan’s efforts from 1943 onward in working with American mobsters Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano and Vito Genovese to conger new (drug) funding for the OSS’s off-books’ operations, and to reinstall the Sicilian mafia on the island in the leadup to Operation Husky (the Allied invasion of Sicily). These forces were now unleashed on the Italian electorate, and through 1948 an average of five people a week were murdered by the CIA-backed terrorist units. The results were grimly predictable. Hallelujah, the PCI were defeated and the Christian Democrats returned to power.

Still, the threat remained. Fully half the Italian electorate were communist sympathizers and, moreover, leftist politics pervaded much of the rest of the diseased European body. More would have to be done. The problem, however, was money. There simply wasn’t enough of it. Thus, the initial $200 million in funding for Gladio (which had come from the Rockefeller and Mellon foundations) was quickly exhausted. And though the National Security Act of 1947 had provided the loophole that allowed for the CIA’s covert operations, it had not allowed for their overt Congressional funding. There lay the rub. Thankfully, Paul Helliwell knew how to salve the itch.

Paul Helliwell was an inner member of the original OSS (along with key scions of the Morgan, Mellon, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, DuPont and Ryan families) and, according to Williams, likely the greatest unsung hero of the nicknamed ‘Oh-So-Social’ club. It was he, who having cut his teeth in the drugs-for-arms trade by shepherding opium deals with the Kuomintang (KMT, the Chinese National Army fighting against Mao Zedung), conjured the brilliant inspiration to do the very same thing – in the United States itself.

Thus, it was at his suggestion that Donovan elected to forge the deep bond (and that exists to this day) between the nation’s intelligence services and organized crime. Enter stage left such notables as ‘Lucky’ Luciano, Vito Genovese, Meyer Lansky and the Trafficante and Gambino crime clans. Quickly the streets of, first, New York, and later many an American metropolis, were flooded with heroin. These early, halcyon days would soon lead to the infamous ‘French Connection’, thence to the ‘Golden Triangle’ (where the CIA’s very own ‘Air America’ transported drugs out of South East Asia during the Vietnam War) and, later, to the Balkan, Mexican, and Colombian drug cartels.

All very well and good. But, to begin with, there was yet a fly in the whole drugs-for-arms-for-terror ointment. To wit: how to pay off the mafioso without anyone noticing; indeed, how to stash, launder and hide all of this financial derring-do from the prying eyes of the authorities; you know, the real-enough authorities, the Treasury cops and so forth. How do you do that?

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Hardcore and hard hitting economic analysis. The Burning Platform presents information and analysis you will not find anywhere else. Various authors from a variety of backgrounds. Jim's work is featured regularly on Zerohedge.