How the U.S. Keeps Fascism Alive and Well in Italy Today—As It Has Kept It Alive Every Year Since 1943

Aidan O’Brien

The U.S. Continues to Manipulate Italian Politics to Ensure that Italy Remains a NATO Vassal State
“The impression was that the Americans would do anything to stop Italy from sliding to the left.”
—General Giandelio Maletti, Head of Italian Counter-Intelligence in the early 1970s.[1]

“The Pentagon has turned the Italian peninsula into a launching pad for future wars in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.”
—David Vine, author of Base Nation.[2]

“We wanted to export democracy. We exported fascism instead.”
—Victor Marchetti, former CIA Case Officer.[3]

There was a coup in Italy last year—January 2021—a soft coup but a coup nonetheless. Rome was “regime changed.” And nobody blinked. It is a familiar trick though—block the Italian Left whenever it threatens the United States of America.

Some 77 years after Mussolini and the Nazis—the Right continues to have a firm grip on Italy.

It is as if the 1945 liberation never happened—as if the 79-year presence of the U.S. military in Italy has been the guarantor of fascism rather than the destroyer of it.

This is the problem: the connection between the U.S. war machine and Italy’s version of “god, the nation and the family.”

The liberation of Italy did not mean the end of fascism in Italy. As events unfolded, it meant the birth of a new fascism—a fascism with American characteristics.

In other words, the U.S. was not, and is still not, a force of liberation in Italy.

The latest Italian version of “Mussolini” is Fratelli d’Italia  (Brothers of Italy). This new right-wing party is the “opposition” in today’s Italian parliament. And after the next general election it is expected to be in government.[4]

The current Italian government, however, is already full of “Mussolini” types. The two right-wing parties, La Lega (The League) and Forza Italia (Come on Italy!), are key parts of the present administration, which is led by an unelected banker—Mario Draghi.

This arch-capitalist—Mario Draghi—was parachuted into government after the January 2021 coup. The Italian President—Sergio Mattarella—“invited” him to take power.

Draghi is the man who destroyed Greek democracy in 2015, when Athens was attempting to re-negotiate its international debt. At the time, Draghi was President of the European Central Bank.[5]

As Italy is the home of much of Europe’s bad debt—Rome is in a similar “Greek fix”: It is in the crosshairs of financial capital. In June, “Italy’s public debt set a record high of 2.69 trillion euros (3.17 trillion U.S. dollars).” The creditors’ point man—Draghi—is now in charge.[6]

As well as being a former European Union executive, Draghi is a former Wall Street executive. He is a Goldman Sachs man. He therefore personifies Atlanticism—that “Brussels and New York” ideology which chains Europe to America.

As an “Atlantic” insider, Draghi knows what the Western power elite want in Italy: more neo-liberalism. His job is to roll back the Italian state and to open up the country to predatory capitalism. This means giving “Atlantic capitalism” the laws it wants, the taxes it wants and the labor it wants.

And it means giving “Atlantic capitalism” the foreign policy it wants. In the words of the Financial Times:

“Draghi said his new government would be strongly pro-European and Atlanticist, in line with Italy’s historical anchors, marking a break with the foreign policy of Giuseppe Conte, the previous prime minister, who had aligned the country more closely with China.[7]

When Italy was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic—March 2020—“Brussels and New York” stood by in silence. This prompted the then-prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, to accept aid from China and Cuba. By doing so he shamed the Atlantic establishment.

Conte’s embrace of communist assistance—together with his state-led policies within Italy’s financial, transport and technology industries—did not win him friends in “Brussels and New York.”[8]

Despite his genuine popularity—Conte, was representing the “anti-establishment” Movimento 5 Stelle (5 Star Movement)—his days as Italy’s leader were numbered.

In January 2021, the liberal part of Conte’s coalition government—Italia Viva (Italy Alive)—withdrew its support for the regime and therefore paved the way for the über-Atlanticist: Mario Draghi.

The man who collapsed the government of Conte—Matteo Renzi, the leader of Italia Viva—was once the golden boy of Italian politics. When he was Italy’s youngest ever Prime Minister (2014-16), he was sold as the “third way” and the “post-ideological” future of Italy—a version of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. In fact, like them, he was and is ideological to the core.[9]

In an interview with the Financial Times, Renzi could not hide his delight in bringing down the popular Conte:

Renzi maintains that the plan all along was to create an opening to bring in Draghi. “The possibility to be led by Mr. Draghi was an unbelievable hope,” he said. “I did a good job, and now I have to remove myself, step aside, and now it is time for the captain of the team, Mario Draghi.”[10]

Renzi was acting on behalf of a “team” rooted, not in Italy, but in “Brussels and New York.”

And Renzi, himself, obliquely captured the politics of this “team” in a comment he made to the Guardian in 2015, when he was Italy’s Prime Minister: “I don’t think people who want to get out of NATO want to win elections.”[11]

In other words, NATO ultimately decides who gets power in Italy.

So What Then Is NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—set up in 1949—is the guardian of U.S. interests in Europe. NATO is code for the United States. It may conjure up the “shared values” of the North Atlantic—Atlanticism—but what it boils down to is U.S. militarism/imperialism inside Europe.[12]

At the beginning—1949—NATO’s official purpose was to defend Western Europe against the supposed threat of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Its unofficial purpose, however, was to lock Western Europe into the burgeoning U.S. Empire.

For the U.S. Empire to take root after World War Two, NATO was essential. America’s capture of Europe’s imperialist and fascist networks ensured that the U.S. inherited “the white man’s burden” and all the loot that this implied.

The U.S. absorbed the British, French, Belgian, Dutch and Portuguese empires and, at the same time, sheltered the remains of fascism in West Germany and Italy. The institutionalization of all this geopolitics resulted in NATO.

This U.S. process was based on grand economic plans. NATO (1949) was the military wing of the Breton Woods Agreement (1944) and the Marshall Plan (1948)—which together rebuilt capitalism and imperialism after the Second World War.

The end result in Europe was the Treaty of Rome (1957)—the treaty which created the European Economic Community/the European Union. NATO therefore accompanied and guaranteed U.S. investments in Western Europe and in the colonies of Western Europe.

This organic link to U.S. business and finance explains why NATO is still around today and expanding—30 years after the demise of the USSR. Indeed, in 2018, NATO moved into new headquarters in Brussels.

NATO is not going away because U.S. capitalism and U.S. imperialism remain omnipresent. As a consequence, NATO lurks ominously in the background of Europe.

In other words, the U.S. is a menacing part of Europe’s contemporary political structure. And it has been so since 1945. Italy is the evidence.

Italy Is Key

Today there are approximately 12,000 active U.S. military personnel and seven major U.S. military bases in Italy. NATO is their cover story. But America’s military planners are not focused on the Atlantic but on Africa and Asia.[13]
Map of U.S. military bases in Italy. [Source: operationmilitarykids.org]

The city of Vicenza, for example, close to Venice, is the base for U.S. Army Africa. And Naples is the base for U.S. Naval Forces Africa. And from the city of Catania—Sigonella Naval Air Station—in Sicily, the U.S. operates drones which terrorize both Africa and the Middle East.

And the U.S. Sixth Fleet, based in Naples since 1950, relentlessly targets the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Red Sea. And the waters off West and East Africa. It even includes in its area of operations the landlocked Caspian Sea—in Central Asia.[14]

For Washington, D.C., all this hardware, intercontinental activity and long-term strategy necessitate the political management of the host country. It demands not just a friendly regime but an obedient regime—in Rome.

In other words, the U.S. dream of full spectrum dominance requires nothing less than the domination of Italy’s stupendous geographical location—it literally is a bridge between Europe and Africa as well as being the classic gateway to the East.

The Italian Template  

U.S. planners were already cognizant of Italy’s strategic importance during World War Two. Italy was America’s first European battleground. In 1943 the U.S. invaded Sicily and in effect began its battle for postwar dominance.

In the game of global empire, which America was then beginning to dominate, Italy was ground zero.

Whereas Washington had to share post-war Germany with its allies, Italy was entirely in the hands of the U.S. Britain was present on the peninsula but its power was fading rapidly. In effect then, Italy was “cordoned off” and became a testing ground for U.S. power brokers, a template for U.S. imperialism worldwide.

To make Italy politically safe for U.S. power, the U.S. made fateful decisions—decisions which were determined by capitalist class war.

Rather than support organized labor—the U.S. opted to support organized crime. Rather than support secularism—the U.S. opted to support religion.  Rather than wiping out the decrepit social and economic elite which gave birth to fascism, the U.S. opted to revive it.

This political strategy did not betray American or “Atlantic” values. On the contrary, it continued the brutish and God-fearing value system that created the old slave based Atlantic economy, the economy which spawned West Europe’s empires and the United States.

America’s top foreign policy strategist immediately after World War Two, George F. Kennan, best expressed this reactionary logic in a 1948 top secret memo:

“We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”[15]

This straight-talking will-to-power shaped post-war U.S. policy not just in the Third World but also in the First World.

Crime Pays

The U.S. takeover of Italian politics before 1950 involved multiple covert actions. It began inside the U.S. with Operation Underworld (1942-45), when U.S. Naval Intelligence linked up with “Italian” drug and sex traffickers in order to control New York’s docks.

Next was Operation Husky in Sicily—the 1943 invasion—when America’s OSS (Office of Strategic Services) continued the logic of Operation Underworld: It linked up with Italian criminals to make life easier for the U.S. military.

The end result of these World War Two operations was the empowerment of America’s most powerful Mafia bosses inside Italy: Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese.[16]

The U.S. government gave these international criminals a free pass in Italy and placed their local partners in positions of power. The infamous example is the post-war mayor of Villalba, in Sicily—Calogero Vizzini. Indeed, this powerful mafiosi became “an honorary colonel in the U.S. Army.”[17]

Thanks to these covert actions, the Mafia reinvented its Italian roots during and after World War Two. It was democracy U.S. style—one based on criminals.

The Rise of the CIA

Another secret operation that indicated America’s postwar strategy in Italy was Operation Sunrise. This involved Allen Dulles—the future Director (1953-61) of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)—the spymaster who was, at the time, directing OSS operations in Switzerland.

In early 1945 Dulles was—in defiance of his own government—secretly negotiating for a “local German surrender” in the north of Italy. Just when the local partisans and the Red Army were closing in for the kill, Dulles wanted to save the collective neck of the Germans, in particular the neck of Karl Wolff, the Nazi boss in Italy.

Dulles claimed to be looking for an orderly end to Nazi rule in northern Italy. But in reality he was attempting to block the local victory of the Left. Although he failed to get a local surrender, these secret talks revealed the direction of U.S. policy, one that favored the fascists rather than the partisans.[18]

In this pro-crime and pro-fascist environment—inside U.S. planning circles—the CIA came into being. Created in 1947, the CIA’s first mission was to destroy Italian democracy.

1948

The demise of Mussolini and his fascist/Nazi infrastructure in 1945 meant the liberation of working-class politics throughout Italy. Italian communists and socialists started winning free elections and, for the 1948 general election, this rising red tide formed a Popular Democratic Front (PDF). This unity signaled a coming victory.

Enter the CIA. Making use of money, lies and hysteria, the CIA sabotaged the 1948 elections. It was a defining moment: The CIA did not just interfere in an Italian election; it determined the shape of Italian and West European politics for the forthcoming century.[19]

By blocking the organic rise of Italy’s Left, the CIA not only cleared the way for the return of Italy’s discredited Right but also cleared the way for the Marshall Plan and America’s other postwar European goals—NATO and the nascent EU.

The U.S. forced upon Italy a “democratic structure” that predetermined the victory of the Right. It was a democratic paradox—one which traps Italy to this day.

The Roman Catholic Jihad

Apart from the B-52 bomber, America’s most strategic weapon in its global class war is God. “In God We Trust”—since 1956—is the official motto of the United States.

Religion—in other words—is a godsend for Wall Street. And it is the ultimate smokescreen for the CIA. God soothes the pain of exploited workers. And from behind the back of God, right-wing politics attacks its enemies without mercy.

In Italy, in 1948, the U.S. trusted the Catholic Church. To defeat the Popular Democratic Front the Americans worked in tandem with the Vatican in Rome. On the one hand, the CIA bankrolled the Christian Democratic Party; on the other, “the 300 bishops and the 125,000 other clergy” literally bombed the Italian populace with anti-communist propaganda.[20]

Like everything else about the 1948 Italian election, a pattern was emerging that would impact the world. The Vatican, after all, was a global operation which oversaw the lives of a billion or so Catholics.

The Vatican, in fact, was a model intelligence agency. The Catholic Church had a 2000-year history which buttressed Western imperialism. And in the 1929 Lateran Treaty, it made a deal with fascism.

The Vatican was right-wing. It was ultra-conservative. And it had spies (clergy) everywhere. It was a gigantic psyop—a successful one which targeted both the rich and the poor.

If America’s new Intelligence agency—the CIA—was looking for an experienced covert ally to fight “godless” communism, the Vatican was it.[21]

CIA: “Catholics in Action”

It is logical then that the Vatican became a sort of “school” or filter for the CIA. Some of its most senior officers began their covert careers in and around the Vatican—for example, James Jesus Angleton (CIA counterintelligence chief 1954-74) and William Colby (CIA Director 1973-76 and head of the murderous Phoenix Program in Vietnam in the 1960s).

And later, William Casey, when he was CIA Director (1981-87), regularly briefed the Polish Pope—John Paul II—in the Vatican.[22]

The Vatican also filtered money for the CIA and its Mafia allies. The 1929 Lateran Treaty between Mussolini and Pope Pius XI gave the Vatican independence from the Italian state. So when the Vatican Bank (Institute for the Works of Religion) opened in 1942, it became the perfect bank for dirty right-wing money because it operated beyond state regulation. It was the model offshore bank.

Starting with Nazi money, the Vatican Bank ended up laundering money for the Mafia and transporting money for the CIA, to Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s, for example.

Indeed, by the 1980s the Vatican had become the center of a sinister web that made the Italian state redundant. Financial scandals involving the Vatican exposed the existence of an alternative “Italian government” known as Propaganda Due (P2). Its cover story was freemasonry.

This dark web included Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the American head of the Vatican Bank; Michele Sindona, the Sicilian Mafia banker; Giulio Andreotti, the Christian Democratic leader and seven-time Italian prime minister; Silvio Berlusconi, businessman and future Italian prime minister; and in South America, José López Rega, the powerful politician and founder of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (a death squad),.[23]

Under U.S. direction post-war Italy evolved into one big covert operation. Nothing was as it seemed—least of all the Catholic Church.

Money, Money, Money 

After winning the U.S.-rigged 1948 election, the Christian Democratic Party stayed in power until 1994. This was not an example of democracy in action; it was simply money in action.

According to Victor Marchetti, a senior CIA officer during the 1950s and 1960s, “CIA policy [in Italy was] always…to finance all parties opposed to communism and first of all the Christian Democratic Party.”[24]

However, the CIA was not just financing the politics of anti-communism; it was also financing the culture of anti-communism. Marchetti adds:

“[In] the 1950s, the CIA spent from $20 to $30 million a year, or maybe more, to finance its programs in Italy. It supported cultural and youth organizations; newspapers; labor unions, of proven anti-Communist leanings….in the 1950s and 60s the CIA gave economic support to many activities promoted by the Catholic Church, from orphanages to the missions. Millions of dollars each year….In the 1960s, CIA expenditures in Italy went down to about $10 million a year.”[25]

According to The New York Times, it was not just the CIA financing this anti-Communist crusade in Italy. America’s huge oil companies were also paying to keep the “Christians” in power:

“The largest oil company in the United States, Exxon Corporation, said… that it had made from $46 million to $49 million in political contributions to Italian parties from 1963 to 1972….. The Mobil Oil Corporation [also admitted to making] contributions averaging more than $500,000 a year from 1970 through 1973 to Italian political parties.”[26]

Terror, Terror, Terror 

Although this U.S. money bought many Italian governments, it could not buy the Italian people. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Communist Party of Italy (PCI—the biggest in Western Europe) and the desire for true independence were as strong as ever in Italy.

To tame these indigenous movements required not money but bullets and bombs. It required Anni di Piombo—“years of lead.” It required countless acts of terrorism against the Italian people.

Enrico Mattei

This nefarious period began in 1962 when an airplane exploded midair near Milan, killing Enrico Mattei—not a communist but an oil man. Mattei was the head of Italy’s successful state-run energy company: Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) or National Hydrocarbons Authority.

Mattei led Italy’s post-war economic recovery. But his methods defied the power of the Seven Sisters—the oil cartel which dominated the world’s post-war oil industry. The aforementioned Exxon and Mobil—Italy’s “paymasters”—were key parts of this cartel.

Instead of playing by the rules of these oil giants, Mattei made independent deals with the USSR and the newly independent countries of Africa. He also was negotiating with China and giving the countries of the Middle East fairer arrangements. When that plane crashed in 1962, this imaginative Italian independence came to an end.[27]

In 1994 the significant Mafia informer, Tommaso Buscetta, admitted that the Sicilian Mafia had planted a bomb on Mattei’s airplane in Catania, Sicily. He said that the American Mafia had asked the Sicilians to do it. Why? Mattei’s oil policies.[28]

Aldo Moro 

In March 1978 Aldo Moro—the former Prime Minister of Italy and leader of the Christian Democratic Party—was kidnapped on the streets of Rome. Some 55 days later, he was found with bullets in his head. Why? Like Mattei he was breaking the rules of the American monopoly—not the oil monopoly but the political monopoly.

Starting in 1948 the U.S. had successfully isolated Italy’s popular Communist Party (PCI). So when Aldo Moro, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, decided to reach out to the Communists in the 1970s, he was crossing an American red line.[29]

The “years of lead”—years of terror—disoriented Italy. The solution for Aldo Moro was a “government of national unity.”

The Communists won more than 34% of the vote in the 1976 elections. For Moro, the Communists had to become a part of the Italian decision-making process. It was time for a “historic compromise.” But this “decision-making process” was American property. And America was uncompromising.

In 1974, when Aldo Moro was visiting Washington as Italy’s minister of foreign affairs, Henry Kissinger, the U.S. Secretary of State, bluntly told Moro: “Either you cease your political line [the plan to include the communists in the government of Italy], or you will pay dearly for it.”[30]

Three years later, on the very day this “political line” was being realized—March 16, 1978—Moro was kidnapped and later executed. The patsy framed for the killing but had no axctual involvement was an amateurish left-wing group—the Red Brigades.

However, in 2008, the American who was sent to Italy in 1978 to help negotiate with Moro’s kidnappers published a book with the title We Killed Aldo Moro. In it the author—Steve Pieczenik—claims that Moro was “sacrificed” for the “stability” of Italy. The powerful in the U.S. and Italy—not the Red Brigades—wanted Moro dead.[31]

After the killing of Aldo Moro, the “historic compromise” never happened. Italy’s communists continued to be locked out of power.

Bologna Train Station 

Italian democracy had been murdered. By whom? The terrorism which disfigured Italy during the 1960s and 1970s benefited only one group: the fascists.

One act of terror, above all, sums up the meaning of the “years of lead”—the bombing of the Bologna train station on August 2, 1980. This explosion killed 85 and wounded hundreds. Today, the memorial plaque outside the train station simply says: “VITTIME DEL TERRORISME FASCISTA.”

Commemoration of the Bologna railway bombing in which the clock is eternally set to the exact time the bomb went off. [Source: Photo courtesy of Aidan O’Brien]

Memorial to victims of Bologna railway bombing. [Photo courtesy of Aidan O’Brien]

There’s no ambiguity. Bologna, the city, was attacked because it was young, educated and Left Wing. It voted for the communists. It’s nickname was Bologna la rossa—Bologna the red. The powerful had sent Bologna a message.[32]

In January 2021, the latest investigation of the Bologna massacre described it as a “State massacre.” The judges were openly suggesting that the “state” had sanctioned it—the secret state and its secret services—the state, that is, that merged with the Mafia, the Vatican, the CIA and NATO.[33]

Protesters in Bologna with signs saying “we know who did it.” [Photo courtesy of Aidan O’Brien]

Operation Gladio

And this secret state had a secret army (3,000 strong)—whose only purpose was to fight “communists.” This was revealed in August 1990 when Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti told the Italian parliament, during a debate on terrorism, about the existence inside Italy of a clandestine NATO/CIA paramilitary unit called Gladio.[34]

For many, this revelation explained the terrorism that shaped “the years of lead.” The dots were being connected. Testimony which was unbelievable before was suddenly credible. For example:

“In 1984 a convicted neo-fascist, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, was questioned by Bologna investigators. He testified that he had been recruited for an earlier car bomb attack near Venice by Gladio, a shadow army set up by the Italian secret services in the 1950s as part of a Nato plan to create guerrilla resistance in the event of a Soviet invasion or communist takeover in Nato countries. By the time Vinciguerra carried out his attack, in 1972, Gladio was considering pre-emptive action against the increasingly popular Communist Party, according to General Gerardo Serravalle, the secret service chief in charge of the Gladio network.”[35]

In other words, NATO and the CIA waged a dirty war against the Italian people—“the years of lead.” Their objective was to kill democracy by creating fear—“the strategy of tension.” And they succeeded.

In March 2001, in an Italian court, a former head of Italy’s military counter-intelligence, General Gianadelio Maletti, said:

“The CIA….following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left and, for this purpose, it may have made use of rightwing terrorism.”[36]

After researching the subject in depth, Swiss academic Daniele Ganser further confirmed and was able to elaborate upon Maletti’s testimony:

“[Gladio] had a domestic control function. This domestic control function [the obstruction of democracy—the aggression toward the PCI] was carried out in a grey area in which illegal operations were planned and carried out, presumably by US military personnel from the NATO base in Verona, representatives of the CIA and SIFAR [Italy’s military intelligence] in cooper- ation with Italian right-wing terrorists.”[37]

Silvio Berlusconi 

America’s decades-long hybrid war against the Italian Left bore poisonous fruit, resulting in a festival of fascism.

In 1994, the Christian Democratic Party fell apart due to corruption. This should have ushered in a period of left-wing rule in Italy—the Left, after all, had been waiting in the wings since 1948. But the opposite happened. A billionaire with open links to Italy’s fascistic structures took control of Rome—Silvio Berlusconi.[38]

Between the years 1994 and 2011, Berlusconi was the prime minister of three Italian governments. And the political party he created overnight in 1994—Forza Italia—has been a key player, if not the dominant player, in Italian politics ever since.

The transition from Christian Democracy to Billionaire Democracy was seamless. Indeed it was choreographed. Berlusconi did not come out of nowhere. He was directly linked to the aforementioned secret “Italian government” known as Propaganda Due (P2), whose main purpose was to keep Italy’s Communist Party out of power.

In 1981 Berlusconi’s name was discovered in the files of P2 coordinator Licio Gelli, a man who infamously declared, “I am fascist and will die a fascist.”[39]

Gelli’s political career can be summed up in three “words”: Franco, Mussolini and CIA. He was a soldier for the first two and an agent for the third. And Berlusconi was his legacy.[40]

Speaking in 1996, Gelli explained that then Prime Minister Berlusconi was carrying out P2’s plans: “He’s implementing my plan for democratic rebirth [sic] to perfection,’ he said. ‘He should at least give me copyright.’”[41]

Indeed, the evidence suggests that Gelli groomed Berlusconi:

“[Gelli] occasionally spoke to reporters…and did not shy from professing his admiration for Mr. Berlusconi. ‘Berlusconi is out of the ordinary, I remember that from our first meetings he had this trait: they knew how to get projects done,’ he enthused. ‘A man of deeds. That is what we need in Italy: not words, but deeds.’”[42]

Pier Paolo Pasolini 

Pier Paolo Pasolini was Italy’s greatest post-war intellectual. He was a poet, novelist, film director and journalist. He was also a communist. And he was viciously murdered outside Rome on November 2, 1975.

Why? He knew too much. According to The Guardian: “In his [journalistic pieces], Pasolini declared that the Christian Democratic leadership should stand trial, not only for corruption but association with neo-fascist terrorism, such as the bombing of trains and a demonstration in Milan.”[43]

In Pasolini’s own words:

“I know the names of those responsible for what….is actually a series of “coups” carried out to ensure the security of power….

…. I know the names of that group of powerful men who, with the help of the CIA,…created…an anti-communist crusade….

I know the names of those who, between Holy Masses, gave their directives to young neo-fascists, or, better, neo-Nazis…

… I know the names of the serious and important people who are behind the tragic young men who chose the suicidal fascist atrocities, and the common criminals, Sicilians or whoever else, who made themselves available, like hired guns or hitmen…”[44]

Pasolini knew, however, that these names could only be revealed “if the USA will permit.” When the Italian Prime Minister in 2015, Matteo Renzi, said that “Italy is a prisoner of NATO or the USA”—or words to that effect—he was reiterating Pasolini’s “if the USA will permit.”[45]

Pasolini wrote that Italy consisted of two countries: “a clean Country within a corrupt Country…an intelligent Country within an idiot Country…a humanistic Country within a consumerist Country.”[46]

One of these Italy’s was “Made in Italy”—the PCI—and the other “Made in the USA” or “Made in NATO”—the Mafia, Vatican and the Christian Democratic Party. It was another way of saying that Italy was an occupied country.

Mario Draghi

Today, as the U.S. prepares for World War Three, Italy is automatically included. It has no choice. It is a prisoner—an occupied country.

The purpose of America’s dirty war against Italy was to defeat the Italian partisans which emerged triumphant from World War Two. Washington succeeded to a point. But this war for the soul of modern Italy continues—la lotta continua.

Despite the demise of the PCI, the United States still depends on coups in Italy. It still needs a Draghi—an unelected technocrat—to control the descendants of the partisans.

Notes:

  1. Philip Willan, “Terrorists ‘helped by CIA’ to stop rise of left in Italy,” The Guardian, March 26 2001, https://www.theguardian.com 
  2. David Vine, “Italy: home of pizza, pasta, wine and the US military,” The Guardian, October 3 2013, https://www.the guardian.com 
  3. Victor Marchetti, “The CIA in Italy: An Interview with Victor Marchetti,” Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, Dirty Work (New York: Dorset Press, 1978), p. 173. 
  4. Angela Giuffrida, “Success of far-right Brothers of Italy raises fears of fascist revival,” The Guardian, August 3, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com 
  5. Thomas Fazi, “Saving Europe’s Bankers, Not Its Workers,” Jacobin, November 17, 2019, https://www.jacobinmag.com 
  6. “Italian government debt reaches record high at half year point,” Xinhua, August 17, 2021, https://www.xinhuanet.com  
  7. Miles Johnson, “Mario Draghi lays out ambitious reforms for Italy,” Financial Times, February 17, 2021, https://www.ft.com 
  8. Jean Jacques Handali, “With Draghi, Italy has a chance to set aside Conte’s economic misadventures,” Euronews, February 20, 2021, https://www.euronews.com; Sylvia Poggioli, “For Help On Coronavirus, Italy Turns To China, Russia And Cuba,” National Public Radio, March 25, 2020, https://www.npr.org 
  9. Arianna Giovannini and James L. Newell, “The election of Matteo Renzi as the leader of the PD might herald a ‘New Labour’ style revolution in Italy’s centre left,” December 19, 2013, https://www.blogs.lse.ac.uk; Stephanie Kirchgaesner, “Obama rolls out red carpet for Italian ally Matteo Renzi,” The Guardian, October 17, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com 
  10. Miles Johnson, “‘Italy is back’: Renzi hails prospect of Draghi government,” Financial Times, February 11, 2021, https://www.ft.com 
  11. Stephanie Kirchgaessner, “Corbyn election shows Labour’s delight in losing, says Italian PM,” The Guardian, September 22, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com 
  12. Claire Berlinski, “Europe’s dependence on the US was all part of the plan,” Politico, July 16, 2018, https://www.politico.eu; “For 70 years, NATO has formed matrix of imperialism,” Sputnik, published in The Nation (Pakistan), December 5, 2019, https://www.nation.com.pk  
  13. David Vine, “Italy: home of pizza, pasta, wine and the US military,” The Guardian, October 3, 2013, https://www.the guardian.com; United States Africa Command, About the Command,” https://www.africom.mil; Jonathan Masters and William Merrow, “How Is the U.S. Military Pivoting in Europe?” Council on Foreign Relations, September 23, 2020, https://www.cfr.org 
  14. Area of Responsibility, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, https://www.c6f.navy.mil  
  15. George F. Kennan, Head of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff, Memo PPS 23 (1948), declassified 1974, https://www.en.m.wikisource.org 
  16. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003). 
  17. Peter Robb, Midnight in Sicily (New York: Vintage Classics, 2015). 
  18. David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government (New York: HarperCollins, 2016). 
  19. William Blum, “Italy, 1947-1948: Free elections, Hollywood-style,” https://www.williamblum.org 
  20. Elisa A. Carrillo, “The Italian Catholic Church and Communism, 1943-1963,” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 77, no. 4, Catholic University of America Press, 1991, pp. 644–57, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25023639
  21. Martin A. Lee, “Their Will Be Done,” Mother Jones, July/August 1983, https://www.motherjones.com
  22. Robert Wargas, “Why Catholics thrive in the CIA,” Catholic Herald, May 5, 2016, https://www.catholicherald.co.uk  
  23. Paul L. Williams, Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between the Vatican, the CIA and the Mafia (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2015). 
  24. Victor Marchetti, “The CIA in Italy.” 
  25. Ibid. 
  26. Peter Kihss, “CIA Funding in Europe Said to Go Back 3 Decades”, The New York Times, January 7, 1976, https://www.nytimes.com  
  27. “Italy: Powerful Man,” Time, November 2, 1962, https://web.archive.org  
  28. Peter Shadbolt, “Former Italian oil chief’s body exhumed,” June 22, 1995, https://www.upi.com 
  29. “Toward The Historic Compromise,” The Harvard Crimson, May 7, 1976, https://www.thecrimson.com 
  30. Michele Caimmi, “When Henry Kissinger Threatened the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1974,” July 3, 2021, https://www.historyofyesterday.com 
  31. Malcolm Moore and Rome, “US link to fate of former Italy PM,” March 12, 2008, https://www.amp.theage.com.au 
  32. Brett Wilkins, “The Bologna Massacre, the ‘Strategy of Tension’ and Operation Gladio,” CounterPunch, July 31, 2020, https://www.counterpunch.org 
  33. Redazione ANSA, “Bologna bombing was ‘State massacre’ says court,” January 8, 2021, https://www.ansa.it 
  34. Olav Riste. “‘Stay Behind’: A Clandestine Cold War Phenomenon,” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, Fall 2014, pp. 35–59, https://www.jstor.org/stable/26926142
  35. Fiona Leney, “The terror trail that won’t grow cold: Dark forces bombed Bologna station in 1980, killing 85. At a retrial tomorrow, the victims’ relatives may see justice done,” The Independent, October 10, 1993, https://www.independent.co.uk  
  36. Philip Willan, “Terrorists ‘helped by CIA’ to stop rise of left in Italy,” The Guardian, March 26, 2001, https://www.theguardian.com  
  37. Daniele Ganser, “The ghost of Machiavelli: An approach to operation Gladio and terrorism in cold war Italy,” Crime, Law and Social Change, 2006-03, https://www.researchcollection.ethz.ch  
  38. David Broder, “The Rise of Italy’s Populist Right Is a Bleak Warning From the Recent Past”, Jacobin, July 17, 2020, https://www.jacobinmag.com 
  39. James Politi, “Licio Gelli, fascist and masonic chief,” Financial Times, December 17, 2015, https://www.ft.com 
  40. Branko Marcetic, “The CIA’s Secret Global War Against the Left,” Jacobin, November 30, 2020, https://www.jacobinmag.com  
  41. The Local/AFP, “Italy’s shadowy masonic leader dies aged 96,” December 16, 2015, https://www.thelocal.com 
  42. James Politi, “Licio Gelli.” 
  43. Ed Vulliamy, “Who really killed Pier Paulo Pasolini?” The Guardian,August 24, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com 
  44. Pier Paolo Pasolini, “What Is This Coup? I Know,” contained in In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2010). 
  45. Stephanie Kirchgaessner, “Corbyn election shows Labour’s delight in losing, says Italian PM,” The Guardian, September 22, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com 
  46. Pasolini, What Is This Coup? 

Aidan O’Brien is a hospital worker in Dublin, Ireland. Aidan can be reached at: ado1968@hotmail.com.