by David G. Guyatt
Nexus Magazine, Volume 7, Number 5
zeal to stamp out communism, the Vatican set up
alliances during World War II with various secret
societies, fascist groups and spying agencies and has
maintained these networks ever since.
MAFIA, THE CIA, AND THE VATICANíS INTELLIGENCE APPARATUS
Albert Vincent Carone is one of those people who spent his life
dancing between raindrops and turning invisible wherever a shadow
lingered. He existed and also didnít exist. Al Carone--unlike his
near namesake, Al Capone--truly was a paradox wrapped in a mystery
concealed behind an enigma.
Carone was a detective in the New York Police Department, but this
didnít stop him from becoming a "made" man in the Genovese crime
family. He knew all the leading Mafiosi of his day, including Vito
Genovese, Sam Giancana, Santos Trafficante, Joe Colombo and Pauley
Castellano amongst others. To Caroneís daughter, Dee, they were all
known as "Uncle". When she got married, her father arranged two
different reception rooms to separate the Mob guests from the NYPD
guests. But this was more window-dressing than anything else. One of Caroneís principal functions in the NYPD was to act as the "bagman"
in protecting shipments of CIA drugs to the various Mafia families.
Carone died in 1990 under mysterious circumstances. This followed a
period of great personal disenchantment with his life, following a
secretive mission to Mexico in 1985 when a large number of innocent
women and children died unnecessarily. His death was horrific,
reports Mike Ruppert, editor of
From The Wilderness newsletter, who
has investigated Caroneís life story and written a special report on
Meanwhile, another "Uncle" was Bill Casey, Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency during the Reagan Administration. Casey had been
with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II.
During the 1970s, he became Chairman of the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) which regulates the US investment industry. During
his tenure in that role, Casey used Carone as a "cut out" to pass
sensitive insider information to Mob capo Pauley Castellano, says
his daughter, Dee.
Carone was also a Full Colonel in the US Army, where he had operated
in the Armyís Counter Intelligence Corp (CIC). Unsurprisingly, in
view of his close friendship with Bill Casey, he was also a covert
operative for the CIA. But that wasnít half of it. Carone was also a
Grand Knight of the Sovereign Military
Order of Malta (SMOM), which
historically has been the military arm of the Vatican and is
regarded as a separate State with full powers of statehood,
including issuing its own diplomatic passports.
In more recent decades SMOM has acted as a funding conduit, a black
market gold channel and money laundry for the CIA, amongst others,
and is known to act as the Vaticanís intelligence arm. It was
alleged to be involved in, for example, the disappearance of
Russiaís gold reserves--over 2,000 metric tonnes--which vanished
during 1991, around the time that Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev
was ousted from office.
Malta knighthoods are awarded to many leading individuals who are
part of the military and intelligence community. The CIAís Bill
Casey, for example, was a Knight of Malta. Former NATO General and
later US Secretary of State Alexander Haig is also a Malta Knight.
Another is General Vernon Walters, the former Deputy Director of the
CIA under DCI George Bush, and later appointed a roving ambassador
during the Reagan Administration. The legendary head of the OSS (the
WWII precursor of the CIA), "Wild" Bill Donovan,
was made a Knight
along with his wartime compatriot and later CIA Chief of
Counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton.
And John McCone, another prominent
member of the US "spook" agency, was also distinguished with a Malta
knighthood. The list goes on. Most interesting is Reinhard Gehlen,
the former Nazi intelligence expert recruited by the US in 1945-46
to head the Gehlen Org--a secret, German-based intelligence arm of
the United States that was composed of former SS and Gestapo agents,
many of whom, including Klaus Barbie, were wanted Nazi war
criminals. The foregoing names amount to a listing of some of the
most powerful and influential members of the Western intelligence
community over the last five decades.
One Vatican group that has extremely close ties to the
Malta is the ultra-right-wing Opus Dei. This is an immensely
powerful faction in the Vatican today, and its public "do good"
activities eclipse a plethora of the darkest political and financial
machinations known to man. It will not come as a surprise, perhaps,
that Carone was closely associated with Opus Dei and, in particular,
with a covert operation that had its origin back in 1944. This was
RATLINES TO DRUG SMUGGLING ROUTES
This highly secretive operation was part of the Operation Sunrise
negotiations conducted between Allen Dulles--the then senior wartime
OSS officer in Switzerland, but later to become the Director of the
CIA--and SS General Karl Wolff. This debonair and well-connected SS
officer commanded the SS and Gestapo contingents in Italy at the
The result of these negotiations (at least those parts that are now
known about) was an agreement affording amnesty to an extensive
roster of SS-Gestapo forces, in exchange for their agreement to
shift their allegiance to the West in the pre-planned, covert battle
aimed at defeating the Soviet communist "menace"--in other words,
the "Cold War".
One spin-off of these Dulles-Wolff arrangements were the Vatican-run
"ratlines" that aided wanted Nazi war criminals to slink to safety.
Tens of thousands of SS and other Nazis escaped capture as a result
of the ratlines. These included such figures as Franz Stangl,
commandant at Treblinka extermination camp, and his friend Gustav
Wagner, who ran the Sobibor death camp. Others to escape in this
manner included Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust.
Eichmann was later captured by Israeli intelligence agents, smuggled
to Tel Aviv where he stood trial and was eventually executed. In
comparison, Dr Joseph Mengele--known as "the White Angel", a war
criminal wanted for his cruel and inhuman experiments on death camp
inmates at Auschwitz--escaped to Argentina and lived a long life.
Operation Amadeus was exclusively concerned with the flight of SS
and Nazi war criminals to the South American continent and their
later ferocious covert actions against the indigenous populations
justified under the banner of "anti-communism". One individual
engaged in Amadeus activities was former Gestapo officer Klaus
Barbie, known to the world as "the Butcher of Lyon".
The principal means of funding Operation Amadeus activities was the
hugely profitable narcotics business. Large stocks of SS morphia had
been smuggled out of Europe and into "Catholic" South America at the
end of the War in accordance with the Sunrise agreement. The morphia
was accompanied by looted SS gold and large quantities of
counterfeit British banknotes, forged in concentration camps by
captive but skilled counterfeiters as part of an SS scheme known as
The escape "lines" used to move wanted men around South America,
away from the prying eyes of Israeli agents, also proved ideal as
smuggling routes for drugs. Decades later, the stocks of heroin
smuggled into the United States for distribution by the
CIA-protected Mafia would be complemented with locally grown
One of the figures to emerge into the spotlight during the 1980s who
was deeply involved in this narcotics traffic was Colonel Oliver
North, who authorized the exchange of guns for drugs to finance
Contra operations. Oliver North was known to Al Carone under his
"work" name, "John Caffrey". This was the time when Carone was
engaged in CIA-controlled cocaine transactions with Joe "Pickles"
Percilia, a member of the Colombo crime family.
These curious and usually concealed connections between governments
(in the form of the military and intelligence community), organized
crime, the Vatican and Nazi war criminals have some significant
history. Not least was the secret agreement reached between US Naval
Intelligence officers and Mafia don Charles "Lucky" Luciano during
World War II. This resulted in the Mafiaís decision to aid and
assist the Allies by contacting Mob figure Vito Genovese in 1943 to
prepare the way for the Allied landing in Sicily. As earlier
outlined, it was primarily those SS-Gestapo units located in Italy
under command of SS General Wolff that were initially concerned in
the Operation Sunrise negotiations.
And while large numbers of former Nazis were fleeing south to fight
the communist menace in Latin America--and, more importantly, to
profit personally from their involvement in the lucrative drug and
gun business--in Europe, the spadework was being laid to overthrow
or thwart democratically elected governments via a network of
fascist-manned "Stay Behind units", organized under the aegis of
Operation Gladio. Not surprisingly, this would also lead to certain
involved figures making personal fortunes out of other peopleís
misery--a circumstance that is so commonplace it is barely worth
These neo-fascist activities would come to prominence in the early
1980s following the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano and the death of
Italian banker Roberto Calvi, who was "suicided" and left hanging
under Londonís Blackfriars Bridge. This would lead to sensational
disclosures about the role of the Vatican Bank, the IOR, in Calviís
financial empire and would quickly grow to include the activities of
Mafia financier Michele Sindona--whose activities, in turn, would
implicate leading blue-blood banks in Europe and America in Mafia
activities. Both Sindona and Calvi were close to Opus Dei, which
lost around $55 million when Sindonaís empire crashed. According to
his family, Roberto Calvi was deeply engrossed in helping Opus Dei
take control of the IOR when he was killed.
Meanwhile, both Calvi and Sindona were members of the secretive
Propaganda Due (P2) masonic lodge, which is said to have been a
"parallel government" in waiting and which planned to effect a coup
díťtat in Italy following a Communist Party victory at the polls.
P2 was run by former Italian fascist and member of the Nazi SS,
Licio Gelli--dubbed "the Puppet Master" by the Italian press.
Gelliís connections to the ultra-hard-right and fascists in Europe
and Latin America were extensive. In fact, he had been deeply
involved in establishing the Vatican-run ratlines that aided the
worst Nazi war criminals to escape Allied justice at the end of
WWII. All told, an estimated 50,000 Nazis were helped to freedom.
Gelli had numerous powerful friends, including former Italian
dictator Benito Mussolini. He was also a personal friend of
Argentinaís General Juan Perůn, and his close associations with
Argentina would later lead him to be a key figure in shipping a
supply of French Exocet missiles to sink British Task Force ships
during the Falklands War. In this endeavour he worked closely with
Ronald R. Rewald, founder of the Hawaiian-based financial
institution Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong--a
proprietary company and forerunner of the CIA-owned Nugan Hand Bank.
The involvement of a CIA front company engaged in financing and
providing weapons to be used against a key American ally (Britain)
with the wholehearted public support of the US Government may seem
somewhat duplicitous. However, in the world of "black ops",
"friends" and "enemies" are interchangeable words and working both
sides of the fence is accepted practice.
In terms of hierarchy, Gelli reported to Umberto Ortolani, described
by one writer as "the great Vatican door-opener" and "secret
chamberlain of the papal household". In addition to his P2
connections, Ortolani is also a member of the inner council of the
Knights of Malta and has military intelligence connections that date
back to WWII.
OCTOPUS AND THE SPIDER
There are numerous other masonic groups and secret societies in
Europe which move in and out of focus at various times. Almost all
of them are Catholic in nature.
One of these is the
Priory of Sion (Prieurť de Sion)--a secretive
order that first came to public attention via the best-selling book,
The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail, published in 1982. The Priory is
closely connected with the alleged treasure of Solomon which is said
to have found its way to the small village of
southwestern France, where it is said to have been buried by the
Knights Templars, forerunners of the Knights of Malta.
The Priory, whose headquarters were located at Annemasse, near
Geneva on the Swiss border, are styled as the "guardians" of
Solomonís treasure, but, most interestingly, they have numerous
subterranean connections to fascists and those on the far right that
date back to WWII. Meanwhile, it has to be noted in passing that
Annemasse is said to have been the centre for the anti-communist
Stay Behind units of Operation Gladio.
If this is not intriguing enough, another fact stretches coincidence
to the point of bursting. In recent years, the Priory of Sion has
moved its headquarters to Barcelona and now boasts a Spanish Grand
Master. This, one could conclude, is to enable it to be physically
closer to the historical heartland of Opus Dei, which was founded in
Spain in 1928.
If Otto Skorzeny was a leading force in running the SS Brotherhood
escape routes--Der Spinne, the Spider--after the war, and SS General
Karl Wolff was the lead negotiator with OSS Swiss Chief, Allen
Dulles, then another Nazi, Walter Rauff, head of the Milan SD, was
one of two liaisons with the Vatican involved in the establishment
of the Nazi-smuggling system. Earlier in his career, Rauff had
overseen the development of the Nazisí mobile gas vans, known as
"Black Ravens", which gassed to death around 100,000 Jews, mostly
women and children, by pumping exhaust fumes into the back of an
hermetically sealed van.
Another important link between the Vatican and SS escape routes was
Friedrich Schwendt, who was also the man in charge of laundering
forged SS banknotes. Before WWII, Schwendt was an international arms
dealer who shipped weapons to China and Russia. He was also the
investment manager of the family fortune of his first wifeís aunt,
Baroness Gemmingen-Guttenberg, of the vastly wealthy Argentina-based
Bunge family, of the massive transnational firm Bunge Corporation
that is also known as "the Octopus".
This title is interesting, for it may connect to the so-called
"Octopus" that ties in to murdered freelance journalist
Danny Casolaro, who at the time of his death in 1991 was investigating a
number of high-level illegalities including the theft by the
Department of Justice of a "tracking" computer program known as "PROMIS".
Casolaro was writing a book about what he had discovered. He
originally titled it "Behold, A Pale Horse", but later modified it
to "The Octopus". In a draft page of the book, he described this
group as an "international cabal whose freelance services covered
parochial political intrigue, espionage, sophisticated weapon
technologies that included biotoxins, drug trafficking, money
laundering and murder-for-hire". Casolaro further stated that this
cabal was "spawned thirty years ago in the shadow of the Cold War".
After Casolaroís death, journalist Carol Marshall (a pen name)
followed up his investigation and wrote an (as yet) unpublished
manuscript, titled "The Last Circle". In this, Marshall describes
her investigation of Robert Booth Nichols--one of the central
figures of the Octopus, whom she describes as being part of a
secretive group known as "the Chosen Ones" and who wore "skull and
crossbones rings and shared a common interest, if you could call it
that, in the old German SS occultism, its tribal and inner circle
During her continuing investigation into the Octopus, Marshall found
that the SS occultism outlined above was connected to Lt. Col.
Michael A. Aquino, a former US
Green Beret who is a self-professed Satanist and who held a Top
Secret security clearance for his work in military intelligence and
on classified psychological warfare matters. Aquino officiated at SS
black-magic ceremonies held at Wewelsburg, the castle once used by
SS chief Heinrich Himmler to create an SS order of Teutonic knights
based on the Knights Templars.
The foregoing connections lend themselves to a larger picture of
global, interlocking, right-wing fascist groupings that operate in
the shadow-land of deniable military and intelligence operations
associated with profit during WWII and, later, throughout the Cold
In this respect, it is intriguing to note that
the Priory of Sion,
one of the foremost Catholic groups under discussion, uses as a
symbol something that is variously described as
an octopus or a
spider (araignťe) on its documents. The Prioryís association with
the octopus could easily relate to the so-called
above, where organized crime works hand in glove with operatives
from US intelligence and the military. If one decides, on the other
hand, that the Priory symbol is a spider, there is the intriguing
notion of the Vatican-run Nazi escape lines of Austrian Catholic
Otto Skorzeny and his SS Brotherhoodís Der Spinne (the Spider).
BUSINESS OF GOD
Al Carone was, as mentioned earlier, a "made" man of the
Mob in addition to his other associations. It is curious, therefore,
to note that one of the leading lights of the Octopus, according to
writer Carol Marshall, was ultra-right-wing oil tycoon Clint
Murchison, owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Murchisonís
oil company, Murchison Oil Lease Company, was 20 per cent owned by
Gerardo Catena, the chief lieutenant of the Genovese crime family.
Throughout the Second World War and thereafter there was, according
to author Charles Higham in his book,
Trading With The Enemy, a,
"general agreement of certain major
figures of American, British and German commerce to continue
their relations and associations after Pearl Harbor".
Higham adds that he also learned
that "certain figures of the warring governments had arranged to
assist in this [activity]".
Highamís subsequent research proved that
this high cabal--which he dubbed "the Fraternity"--not only existed
but benefited handsomely throughout WWII. This led the author to
What would have happened if millions
of Americans and British people, struggling with coupons and
lines at the gas stations, had learned that in 1942 Standard Oil
of New Jersey managers shipped the enemyís fuel through neutral
Switzerland and that the enemy was shipping Allied fuel?
Suppose the public had discovered
that the Chase Bank in Nazi-occupied Paris after Pearl Harbor
was doing millions of dollarsí worth of business with the enemy
with the full knowledge of the head office in Manhattan?
Or that Ford trucks were being built
for the German occupation troops in France with authorization
from Dearborn, Michigan?
Or that Colonel Sosthenes Behn, the
head of the international American telephone conglomerate ITT,
flew from New York to Madrid to Berne during the war to help
improve Hitlerís communications systems and improve the robot
bombs that devastated London?
Or that ITT built the Focke-Wulfs
that dropped bombs on British and American troops?
Or that crucial ball-bearings were
shipped to Nazi-associated customers in Latin America with the
collusion of the Vice-Chairman of the US War Production Board,
in partnership with GŲringís cousin in Philadelphia, when
American forces were desperately short of them?
Or that such arrangements were known
about in Washington and either sanctioned or deliberately
Highamís "Fraternity" has similar
characteristics to the so-called "Octopus", and also shows certain
similarities to Colonel Oliver Northís "Enterprise". All have
engaged in the most dubious and illegal activities for profit, and
all operate hand in glove with organized crime. All lean so far to
the right, ideologically speaking, that the word "fascist" can be
used without reservation. Meanwhile, none of them cares very much
for the woes of humanity and, indeed, they appear committed to
stomping on ethics and moral values wherever they meet them.
The octopus--or "Oct Opus", as one European documentary film
producer renders the spelling when referring to Opus Dei (which
began life on 2 October 1928)--has eight arms that surround its
mouth (ensuring a constant supply of food) and three hearts, and is
therefore not prone to starving or dying. But it can also be
identified by these oddities. Opus Dei, the group that is now
control of the Vatican, is undoubtedly one arm of this global
criminal network, in this writerís view.
Or are the three hearts of the
octopus more vital to identify?
Could they be analogous to the
"Church, State and Mafia, the forces that prevail beneath the
play of the shadows of the world"
(as described by Nick Tosches
in his book,
Power On Earth, which tells the life story of
murdered Mafia financier Michele Sindona)?
There is yet another interesting twist
to this accumulation of associations:
Prince Bernhard of The
Netherlands. The Prince was the founding chairman of the
publicity-shy Western power elite,
the Bilderbergers. This shadowy and
secretive group meets over a weekend in May/June each year, under an
almost total media blackout.
Powerful and very influential figures from the world of banking,
business, politics, the media, trades unions and academia are
invited. Included regularly, for example, are Dr Henry Kissinger,
David Rockefeller, and Italyís "king-maker",
Gianni Agnelli. The
first meeting took place in May 1954.
This, strangely, was the same year that Prince Bernhard became head
of the Johanitter Orde in Nederland, one of four orders that make up
the Chivalric Alliance of Orders of Saint John (Alliance de Chevalerie des Hospitaliers de Saint Jean de Jťrusalem). The stated
purpose of these four, known as "the Alliance"--which is composed of
northern European nations Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Great
Britain, the latter being an ancient order known as "the Most
Venerable Order"--is "to reduce to silence the enemies of
The headquarters of the Alliance are located in Switzerland.
These are Protestant orders rather than Catholic, but it is of
significance that, on 26 November 1963, the Alliance was,
"consolidated with the signing of a joint declaration between the
Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Most Venerable Order, at
St Johnís Gate, London, by the Grand Chancellor of the SMOM, the
Prince of Resuttano, and Lord Wakehurst, Lord Prior of the Most
In other words, the Catholic and
bound themselves to work together to "silence the enemies of
Christ"--a clear reference to communism.
Interestingly, it has been suggested that the Knights Templars were
"infected" with the Johannite or Mandaean heresy that denounced
Jesus as a "false prophet" and in his place
recognized John the
Baptist as the true Messiah. Meanwhile, two early Grand Masters of
the Priory of Sion are said to have had Johannite tendencies:
Leonardo Da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton. Notwithstanding that, the
famous founder of the Knights Templars, Hughes de Payens, has been
accused by the Vatican of being a Johannite.
Leaving aside this brief foray into esoteric history, it is as well
to note that Prince Bernhard, in addition to his Bilderberg role and
as head of the Dutch Johannite Order, was also an honorary member of Himmlerís SS and worked in NW7, the global intelligence arm of
Farben which acted in the interests of the Nazi cause. The
activities of NW7 in Latin America before, during and after World
War II are deeply interwoven in this story.
In facilitating and aligning itself with many of the foregoing
activities, the Vatican aimed to help eradicate a communist ideology
that despised Christianity. Opus Dei and a host of other
Catholic-cum-fascist secret groups engaged in a litany of murder,
money laundering, drug peddling, arms trafficking, concealment of
WWII loot, embezzlement, manipulation of financial markets and many
other consummate illegalities. The purpose of all these activities
was, arguably, to allow the Vatican to remain the spiritual bulwark
of the Christian West.
But if such business is the business of a Church preaching of a God
in Heaven, then Caesar on Earth had better watch out. A new landlord
has fallen into town.
In preparing this essay, I drew upon an indispensable group of
published/unpublished work and sources, as follows:
The full account of the unique story
of Al Carone, by Mike Ruppert (available to order online at
Trading With The Enemy, by Charles
Higham (St Edmundsbury Press, Suffolk, UK, 1983).
Their Kingdom Come, by Robert
Hutchison (St Martinís Press, New York, 1997).
Web of Gold, by Guy Patton and Robin
Mackness (Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 2000).
Ratlines, by Mark Aarons and John
Loftus (Mandarin, London, 1991).
The Bormann Brotherhood, by William
Stevenson (Arthur Baker, London, 1973).
Unpublished manuscript by Peter Dale
Scott on Barbie, Dulles and Operation Sunrise. It details how
the OSS-SS preserved each other while serving their true
masters: transnational corporations.
The Last Circle, an unpublished
manuscript by Carol Marshall, which investigates the so-called
My thanks also go to Catherine
Austin Fitts (www.solari.com)
for her invaluable help.