By Gary Hill
“A large amount of false and exaggerated information has been fed to the average citizen promoting the threat of Communist aggression. And it has gone on for so long that the people now believe that lie. Communism is not the enemy. Johnson, Humphrey, and Nixon are the real enemies. The American establishment is the enemy. I absolutely have no hope for America. I could care less if this country were blown up by a hydrogen bomb.”
George de Mohrenschildt to Willem Oltmans
In order to understand a major historical incident like the assassination of of JFK, one must be cognizant of historical events that set the stage for that incident. It is a law of philosophy that every effect must have a cause. The evidence strongly suggests the cause was right-wing and fanatically anti-Communist in nature. Hence looking back to the origins of this powerful ideology, it is necessary to re-examine it's conception in the birth of Cold War.
In late 1944 and early 1945 when WWII was in it's final days, Allied Intelligence, specifically the OSS and British G2, were making preparations for the next conflict. The new enemy was to be Soviet Communism. Churchill's specter of an Iron Curtain in Europe sent chills up the spine of the military industrial power-elite. The personification of this group was Allen Dulles.
The wheels were turning long before the Third Reich succumbed to its death throes. Setting up a world anti-Communist organization became foremost in importance. To accomplish this task, Dulles made a pact with the Devil. The demon, namely General Rhinehart Gehlen1, was head of Nazi intelligence. His spy network in the Soviet Union was already well established. This collaboration produced a two pronged strategy utilizing Operation Paper Clip and a project called Operation Gladio.
By 1947, the OSS had evolved into the CIA. The fear of a possible Communist invasion of Western Europe resulted in a secret alliance, forged at the close of World War II by the CIA, the Sicilian and US mafias, and the Vatican. Known as Dulles' “stay-behind” army, these Guerilla army units consisted of five thousand to fifteen thousand operatives. These “stay-behind” units were initially used to deal with possible invaders from the East. But as the Cold War intensified their mission evolved into thwarting the rise of left-wing movements in South America and NATO-based countries. At the same time their tactics evolved from defense and sabotage, to rigging elections, outright terror attacks and even assassination.
According to author and researcher Paul Williams, Operation Gladio soon gave rise to the toppling of governments, wholesale genocide, the formation of death squads, financial scandals on a grand scale, the creation of the mujahideen, an international narcotics network, and more recently, the ascendancy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit cleric with strong ties to Operation Condor (an outgrowth of Gladio in Argentina) as Pope Francis I.2
An initial problem arose as how to finance the Gladio armies and other CIA covert operations against Communist expansion. The Truman Administration had provided no funds for covert post war operations. The solution came from Col. Paul E. Helliwell, Chief of Special Intelligence for the OSS serving in China. Helliwell had observed that General Chiank Kai-shek sold opium to Chinese addicts to raise money for his war against Mao Zedong. Why not sell drugs to addicts in America, specifically Harlem, to finance the stay-behind army and global anti-Communist covert operations? Helliwell approached his boss, General “Wild-Bill” Donovan. Donovan shared the idea with James Angleton, Allen Dulles and OSS Swiss Director, William Stephenson. They loved it! Donovan saw Helliwell's scheme as an opportunity to make good use of Lucky Luciano and the Sicilian Mafia.3 The money for the opiates would eventually come from Nazi gold laundered by Dulles and Stephenson through the World Commerce Corporation.4
The CIA/Mafia relationship was handled by James Angleton and Frank Wisner. The financial details were manipulated by Helliwell and Lansky through a Miami shell company called General Development Corporation. Angleton dealt with disputes between the CIA and the mob through New York lawyer and close associate, Mario Brod. In addition, Helliwell created the Castle Bank in the Bahamas. Santo Traficante entered the picture providing Cuban drug labs to cut the heroin. It was from Cuba that the drugs were shipped to Harlem.5 Operation X was underway.
As the demand for heroin escalated with black jazz musicians6 in Harlem, Helliwell's scheme was proving a huge success. Through his drug lords in Burma he was able to provide all that was needed. Cheaper “bars” of opium were soon provided to inter-city drug lords at rock bottom prices to increase the number of dependent clients. Soon concern arose that the exponential demand would cause an epidemic. However, Helliwell, in denial, refused to accept that possibility and reasoned that the problem would be confined to poor blacks and would have little effect on white middle-class Americans.
At the end of WWII, Helliwell, E. Howard Hunt, Lucein Conein, Tommy Corcoran and Claire Chennault of “Flying Tiger” fame, created the Civil Air Transport. This motley air-force transported weapons to the KMT in Burma and then loaded with drugs for their return flight to China. This proved to be the prototype for the CIA's Air America7 that transported opium and cocaine during and after the Viet Nam War.
Meanwhile back at the ranch
During WWII the FBI built a special intelligence spy network in Latin America to compete with the OSS. This was especially true in Mexico. In 1947, Hoover was ordered, against his wishes, to merge this organization with the newly created CIA. Thus, a number of G-Men, including Raymond Leddy, Win Scott, and William Harvey, moved over to the CIA. Their true allegiance, however, was likely still with Hoover. The Old-Boy Network was born.
A split in American policy developed immediately. The old-money bankers of the New York Corporate Financial Network, epitomized by Chase Manhattan, pursued a global strategy moving toward understanding with the Soviets and a division of the Eastern and Western European markets. Their collaboration with the liberal wing of the CIA and Corporations such as Lockheed, Motorola and General Dynamics, as well as ITT formed the Yankee power-elite into which the Kennedy’s were born.
The other side of the coin were the Western expansionist Cowboys, made up of the Fruit Companies, Texas investors, right wing oil millionaires like H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, Howard Hughes, Charles Willoughby, and the Somoza brothers. The philosophy here was regional, exploitative, expansionist; happy to rule by military coup. These were fanatically anti-Communist patriots whose political embodiment were the likes of Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Edwin Walker, J. Edgar Hoover and Douglas MacArthur.
Thus, the U.S. Government, on advice from Psy-War advisor, C.D. Jackson of Time Life, collaborated with Somoza and United Fruit (a CIA front on whose board of directors Allen Dulles sat) to overthrow the government of Guatemala. CIA renegade Rip Robertson went to work for Samoza. Also gaining a foothold in the region at this time was the ubiquitous Carlos Marcello. Gambling interests were looked over by Meyer Lansky, while the interests of United Fruit as well as Standard Fruit and Steamship were protected by John Roselli with help from his constant companion, John Martino, who were in turn run out of the Mexico City CIA station. Thus another Banana Republic was born; the illegitimate child of the CIA Fruit Companies and New Orleans organized crime interests. The system was tried and proven. It had worked before. It would work again under the direction of the Fruit companies, local client rulers the likes of Somoza and Duvalier, the U.S. Military and Organized crime. It had worked in Honduras since 1911 when both the government and the opposition financed themselves by narcotic trafficking to New Orleans…a banana economy supplemented by narcotics.
In 1958, the World Anti-Communist Congress was formed in Mexico City. This new Anti-komintern included representatives of the APACL and the ABN and was known to be linked to the international Anti-komintern of the 1930’s under Hitler and Goebbels. America’s representatives were Charles Edison of the John Birch Society and American Security Council and Lev Dobriansky, a professor at Georgetown University with close links to intelligence.
Did the end justify the means?
With the success of this drug based economic fluidity, the CIA became concerned that it's dealings with the Mafia might be exposed. With the aid of Rear Admiral Hillenkoetter and the ONI, all records relating to Luciano were collected and destroyed. As for the crusade against Communism, the biggest concern of the agency manifested itself with the rise of the PCI (Partito Comunista Italiano) in Italy. The Italian Communist Party was becoming the most powerful in that country. According to Victor Marchetti, it was at this point that the CIA became tight with the drug dealing Coriscan brotherhood as well. To deal with the Communist takeover of Italy, Angleton, Wisner, Dulles and Donovan needed Mafia muscle provided by Luciano and company. Paying them was no problem with the influx of large amounts of drug money. However, they could not be compensated directly. Enter the Vatican bank, the only institution with immunity from US Treasury agents, Italian bank examiners, or international fiscal monitors. Through Luciano's syndicate, and sometimes delivered in large suitcases, the CIA deposited $65 million of it's drug money just prior to the 1948 election. The money was then paid out by the Vatican bank to the mob through ecclesiastical organizations including Catholic Action.8 Additionally, the Vatican played an essential role in Operation Paper Clip providing a Nazi ratline to South America. Dulles war on the Italian left was christened “Operation Demagnetize,9” its purpose was to do just that, demagnetize the Italian Communist Party (PCI), or break its magnetism. As head of the Italian Section of the OSS, it was Dulles that spearheaded this effort.
More forces join the crusade
The meetings of the Catholic Gladio stay-behind forces were held in Masonic lodges. These soon evolved into covert Masonic organizations. The most notorious was known as Propaganda Due or simply P2. Thus Italian Freemasonry, previously outlawed by Mussolini, enjoyed a rebirth with the wholehearted approval of a 33rd degree Mason named Allen Dulles. This created a split in the Italian Socialist Party that resulted in the birth of the Italian Social Democratic Party. Further, this was made possible via infiltration of American Freemasons. The Mafia and P2 were natural allies being secret organizations that had been previously banned by the fascists.
Founded in 1877, P2 had few members until Licio Gelli came to power and drastically expanded its membership within one year to over a thousand.
Gelli was a former fascist, having been a “black shirt” in Mussolini’s army, having served as a liaison between Mussolini’s government and the Third Reich. Gelli developed high level contacts outside of Italy as well, most notably meeting with Alexander Haig, and contacts ith Henry Kissinger and the CIA. It was Gelli who managed the ratline to Argentina. He became close to Juan Peron, who was amiable to protecting Nazi fugitives. Gelli enabled over sixteen hundred Nazi scientists and their families to immigrate to US to work in the space program. In addition to ratlining Nazi's out of Europe after the war, Gelli smuggled $80 million in gold to the Vatican bank. In 1956 Gelli became a director of PERMINDEX. PERMINDEX was a branch of Gladio managed by Frank Wisner that provided weapons to anti-Communist forces in Hungary. Clay Shaw was on its American board of directors. It was Angleton, Wisner and Dulles that had recruited Gelli.
PERMINDEX, acronym for Permanent Industrial Exposition, was a trade organization headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, said to be a CIA front company. On November 7, 1958, a State Department memo said that PERMINDEX had formed an alliance with the Rome World Trade Center or Central Mondaile Commercial (CMC). In 1959, Ferenc Nagy, who for a short time in 1945 was Prime Minister of Hungary, became president of PERMINDEX. It was Nagy's CIA history that catapulted him to the leadership of this organization. A long time asset of CIA Deputy Director for Plans, Frank Wisner, Nagy outlined the group's plans to build "Europe's first international shopping center for businessmen." The project was modeled after the International Trade Mart in New Orleans. Clay Shaw was head of the New Orleans Trade Mart and represented the United States on the board of directors for PERMINDEX, which was expelled from Italy for funneling money to political parties opposing Communists. Soon after Shaw was charged in the JFK case by Jim Garrison, Italian Newspapers, such as Pease Sera and de la Sera alleged that Shaw was linked to the CIA. The link being his involvement in the CMC, the PERMINDEX subsidiary of which he was a board member.
The actual purpose of CMC was to fund and direct assassinations of leaders considered threats to the western world and petroleum interests. Their agenda was to furnish couriers and agents for re-channeling funds through Swiss banks for Las Vegas, Miami, and Havana gambling syndicates, to coordinate espionage activities of Solidarists and Division V of the FBI with groups in sympathy with their objectives and channel funds to these groups, one of which was the OAS. According to Pease Sera, the CMC had been a front organization developed by the CIA for transferring funds to Italy for “illegal political-espionage activities,” and had attempted to overthrow French President de Gaulle. A later article named other individuals including Canadian businessman, Louis Bloomfield, as American agents and who established secret ties in Rome with neo-fascist parties.
A link between Ferenc Nagy, PERMINDEX and the OAS is a man named Jacques Soustelle, one time propaganda chief under de Gaulle. He had served as Governor General of Algeria in the 1950's. At odds with de Gaulle over Algerian independence, he soon became an active member of the OAS. He traveled to Washington DC to meet with members of the CIA, notably the head of clandestine services, Richard Bissell,10 to try and gain support for OAS rebellion by intimating that under de Gaulle's reign, Algeria would become a Soviet base. A year later, Soustelle went into exile and two years after that he would be accused of collaborating with the OAS to assassinate de Gaulle. It was de Gaulle's belief that the OAS was funded by PERMINDEX. Nagy was a contributor to Jacques Soustelle.
In 1962 the French Newspaper, Les Echos, wrote an editorial that linked PERMINDEX to the attempts on de Gaulle's life. Was it a coincidence that Guy Bannister dispatched legal counsel Maurice Gatlin to Paris with $200,000 at a time when French intelligence discovered an identical amount in secret funds channeled to PERMINDEX accounts? Neither can it be discounted that some of the banking connections of the secret empire reached to Mafia leader Meyer Lansky and his Bahamas gambling operation..............PERMINDEX was the basis for the movie “The Parallax View.”
Starting in late 1950's CMC-Permindex acted as the covert funding and planning source for right-wing political terror in both Europe and the U.S., possibly including the assassination of JFK. Its board of directors included CIA, American and Italian Freemasons as well as Italian organized crime figures, Italian and German neo-fascists and neo Nazis, Israeli Mossad, and French OAS paramilitary operatives. These were Rabid anti-Communist and anti-Soviet terrorists were willing to do whatever it took to stop the spread of Communism.
De Gaulle's opposition was the French Secret Army Organization (OAS), a right-wing terrorist group made up, in large measure of French military deserters who were violently opposed to de Gaulle's giving Algeria it's freedom. They were financially supported by the CIA through front companies such as PERMINDEX11 and Schlumberger Corporation, a large French-owned enterprise which serviced oil producers worldwide by using explosives to predict the potential of geological sites. By supporting the OAS against de Gaulle, Schlumberger found itself in alliance with the CIA, who supplied the corporation with anti-personnel ammunition. Jean de Menil, a president of Schlumberger and member of the Dallas Petroleum Club, was a close friend of Oswald's Dallas mentor George de Mohrenschildt. After the demise of the OAS, the CIA got it's munitions back when David Ferrie, and others12 from Guy Bannister's office in New Orleans raided a Schlumberger bunker at Houma, Louisiana and removed them. They were then stored at the Newman building at 544 Camp Street, New Orleans. The Bannister operation acted as a supply line between Dallas, New Orleans and Miami, dispersing arms and explosives to Cuban exiles.
The OAS was nurtured by Allan Dulles out of fear that Algeria would go Communist, which would mean loss of rich economic resources. He also had no love loss for the French President.13 JFK's Algerian Speech not only advocated Algerian independence but independence for a Muslim country. It certainly did not endear him with the OAS or Dulles.
William Harvey of Staff D and head of ZRRIFLE, intimate of Johnny Roselli and key operative in the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro, was exiled to Rome by RFK for unauthorized raids on Cuba during the Soviet missile crisis in 1962. In Rome, Harvey schemed and formed strong alliances with three men, Giovanni de Lorenzo, Renzo Rocca and Michele Sindona, all linked to CMC. The HSCA considered David Atlee Phillips and William Harvey as central suspects in JFK killing.
All is fair in love and war
The crusade to stop Communism escalated into an orgy of ruthless terrorism, assassination, corruption and insurrection. It created an epidemic of drug addition on a previously unparalleled scale, the consequence of which resulted in a worldwide crime epidemic leading to millions of violent deaths and enormous allotments of resources for drug enforcement. A crusade that protected war criminals from prosecution and corrupted the Vatican into collaborating with the Mafia. That the church profited enormously by laundering the dirty money of illegal drug trafficking seemed to be no sin in the eyes of the Holy See. Democratically elected governments were overthrown and brutal dictators friendly to the US were installed. Leaders who opposed these policies were simply eliminated. Where is that Communist threat now? What happened to the “domino effect,” a concept that fifty-six thousand American's were sacrificed to prevent. Even with their sacrifice the Viet Nam war was lost. Why then was there was no expansion of Communism? What stopped the dominoes? Were they just a false flag to justify an unjust war? A war that produced enormous profits and provided still more drugs to feed the coffers for future covert enterprises. Was the end result of this 20 year Cold War struggle worth it? Was the threat real or just a paranoid illusion? Was the baby thrown out with the bath water? Philosophically, the effect does not seem worth the cause. Again, did the end justify the means?
When they ask you why they died, tell them because their fathers lied."
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, after his son was killed at the Battle of the
Operation Gladio, Paul Williams, Promethius Books, 2015
On The Trail of Clay Shaw, Michelle Matte,
The Other Oswald, Gary Hill, TrineDay Books, 2020
JFK: The French Connection, Peter Kross