Category Archives: Fascism

300,000 babies stolen by Catholic Church in collusion with Spanish Government

Identity crisis: Randy Ryder as a baby being cradled in a Malaga hospital in 1971 by the woman who bought him

300,000 babies stolen from their parents – and sold for adoption: Haunting BBC documentary exposes 50-year scandal of baby trafficking by the Catholic church in Spain

Daily Mail | Oct 16, 2011

By Polly Dunbar

Up to 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a period of five decades, a new investigation reveals.

The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco’s dictatorship and continued until the early Nineties.

Hundreds of families who had babies taken from Spanish hospitals are now battling for an official government investigation into the scandal.

Several mothers say they were told their first-born children had died during or soon after they gave birth.

But the women, often young and unmarried, were told they could not see the body of the infant or attend their burial.

In reality, the babies were sold to childless couples whose devout beliefs and financial security meant that they were seen as more appropriate parents.

Official documents were forged so the adoptive parents’ names were on the infants’ birth certificates.

In many cases it is believed they were unaware that the child they received had been stolen, as they were usually told the birth mother had given them up.

Journalist Katya Adler, who has investigated the scandal, says: ‘The situation is incredibly sad for thousands of people.

‘There are men and women across Spain whose lives have been turned upside-down by discovering the people they thought were their parents actually bought them for cash. There are also many mothers who have maintained for years that their babies did not die – and were labelled “hysterical” – but are now discovering that their child has probably been alive and brought up by somebody else all this time.’

Experts believe the cases may account for up to 15 per cent of the total adoptions that took place in Spain between 1960 and 1989.

It began as a system for taking children away from families deemed politically dangerous to the regime of General Franco, which began in 1939. The system continued after the dictator’s death in 1975 as the Catholic church continued to retain a powerful influence on public life, particularly in social services.

It was not until 1987 that the Spanish government, instead of hospitals, began to regulate adoptions.

The scandal came to light after two men, Antonio Barroso and Juan Luis Moreno, discovered they had been stolen as babies.

Mr Moreno’s ‘father’ confessed on his deathbed to having bought him as a baby from a priest in Zaragoza in northern Spain. He told his son he had been accompanied on the trip by Mr Barroso’s parents, who bought Antonio at the same time for 200,000 pesetas – a huge sum at the time.

‘That was the price of an apartment back then,’ Mr Barroso said. ‘My parents paid it in instalments over the course of ten years because they did not have enough money.’

DNA tests have proved that the couple who brought up Mr Barroso were not his biological parents and the nun who sold him has admitted to doing so.

When the pair made their case public, it prompted mothers all over the country to come forward with their own experiences of being told their babies had died, but never believing it. One such woman was Manoli Pagador, who has begun searching for her son.

A BBC documentary, This World: Spain’s Stolen Babies, follows her efforts to discover if he is Randy Ryder, a stolen baby who was brought up in Texas and is now aged 40.

In some cases, babies’ graves have been exhumed, revealing bones that belong to adults or animals. Some of the graves contained nothing at all.

The BBC documentary features an interview with an 89-year-old woman named Ines Perez, who admitted that a priest encouraged her to fake a pregnancy so she could be given a baby girl due to be born at Madrid’s San Ramon clinic in 1969. ‘The priest gave me padding to wear on my stomach,’ she says.

It is claimed that the San Ramon clinic was one of the major centres for the practice.

Many mothers who gave birth there claim that when they asked to see their child after being told it had died, they were shown a baby’s corpse that appeared to be freezing cold.

The BBC programme shows photographs taken in the Eighties of a dead baby kept in a freezer, allegedly to show grieving mothers.

Despite hundreds of families of babies who disappeared in Spanish hospitals calling on the government to open an investigation into the scandal, no nationally co-ordinated probe has taken place.

As a result of amnesty laws passed after Franco’s death, crimes that took place during his regime are usually not examined. Instead, regional prosecutors across the country are investigating each story on a case-by-case basis, with 900 currently under review.

But Ms Adler says: ‘There is very little political will to get to the bottom of the situation.’

There are believed to be thousands more cases that will never come to light because the stolen children fear their adoptive parents will be seen as criminals.

Many of the families of stolen babies have taken DNA tests in the hope of eventually being matched with their children. Some matches have already been made but, without a nationally co-ordinated database, reuniting lost relatives will be a very difficult process.

BBC: 300,000 babies stolen by Nuns & Priests, sold for adoption

Vatican to transform tomb of fascist dictator Franco into “a place of reconciliation”

Prime Minister Zaptero greets the Pope at a Madrid airport with King Juan Carlos. Photo: EPA/ANDRES BALLESTEROS

Papal visit to Spain: Vatican to be asked to help transform Gen Franco tomb into place of reconciliation

The Spanish government is to request help from the Vatican to transform the site of the tomb of fascist dictator Gen Francisco Franco into “a place of reconciliation”.

Telegraph | Aug 19, 2011

By Fiona Govan, Madrid

The fate of the Valley of the Fallen, a vast mausoleum carved out of the hillside north west of Madrid, is to be brought up in talks between Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero and Pope Benedict XVI during the papal visit to Spain.

The socialist government made an electoral commitment to tackle the continued existence of the monument to the late dictator, which was built using forced labour by prisoners of the regime and contains the remains of tens of thousands of those who died on both sides of Spain’s 1936-39 Civil War.

Like the 150 metre granite cross that towers above the tomb, the site still casts a dark shadow over Spain some 36 years after the death of Franco. The basilica, which is maintained by Benedictine monks, still attracts supporters of the Franco regime who attend religious services there.

But relatives of those who died on the losing Republican side and whose remains lie in unmarked graves within the mausoleum have called for the graves to be exhumed and bodies returned for burial elsewhere.

Others have called for the place to be demolished entirely or turned into a Historical Memorial centre which recognises both sides of the conflict.

A commission established to propose ways in which the site may be made acceptable to all Spaniards was set up by the Socialist government in May but it is unlikely to reach a conclusion before general elections, which were brought forward to November.

Ramon Jauregui, the minister for the Presidency, said the matter would be brought up with Vatican representatives during the papal visit.

He said that because the site is run by a Benedictine order, “the Vatican may have an interest in its fate” and that he hoped there would be “support in its transformation to a place of reconciliation”.

But the Historical Memory Association which campaigns for the recognition of victims of the Spanish Civil War and ensuing 36 year dictatorship condemned such a move.

”The Catholic Church has no place within discussions over the future of the site,” said a statement released Friday. Instead its members called for the Vatican “to publicly apologise for the role the Catholic Church played in supporting and participating at the forefront of suppression during the Franco dictatorship.”

Technocracy Endgame: Global Smart Grid

The GENI project is gathering momentum and is endorsed by the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) and Noel Brown (North American Director, United Nations Environmental Program), the United Nations and by the governments of Canada New Zealand, Switzerland, and China, among others.

“There is a new world wide web emerging right before our eyes. It is a global energy network and, like the internet, it will change our culture, society and how we do business. More importantly, it will alter how we use, transform and exchange energy.”

– home page | Jun 23, 2011

By Patrick Wood

The dark horse of the New World Order is not Communism, Socialism or Fascism: It is Technocracy.

The development and implementation of Smart Grid technology in the U.S. – reinventing the electrical grid with Wifi-enabled digital power meters – is proceeding at breakneck speed. Although Smart Grid is the result of years of government planning, the recent kickoff was made possible through massive “green” grants that were quietly included in President Obama’s economic stimulus package starting in 2009.

These lucrative grants have drawn in a host of corporate players, from utility companies to digital meter manufacturers to control software vendors. Global companies like IBM, GE and Siemens are putting their full effort behind the “build-out” that will consolidate all of America into a single, integrated, communication-enabled electric delivery and monitoring system, collectively called Smart Grid.

Proponents of Smart Grid claim that it will empower the consumer to better manage his or her power consumption and hence, costs. The utility companies will therefore be more efficient in balancing power loads and requirements across diverse markets.

However, like carnival barkers, these Smart Grid hocksters never reveal where or how SmartGrid came into being, nor what the ultimate endgame aims to achieve; perhaps most of them have no idea either, but simply repeat the mantra as if they know what they are talking about.

In SmartGrid: The Implementation of Technocracy?, I revealed the background of both Technocracy and Smart Grid, and most importantly, the links between them. Smart Grid is born out of Technocracy and not the other way around.

Technocracy is a totalitarian system of government where scientists, engineers and technicians monitor and control all facets of personal and civic life – economic, social and political. Herein lies the real danger: Who are these unelected controllers and why should anyone believe that they would be benevolent dictators instead of tyrants? Americans are a freedom-loving people who would certainly reject Technocracy’s stealth takeover, if only they were aware of it. Indeed, Americans did pointedly reject Technocracy in the 1930’s!

Thirty years ago, a researcher’s mantra was “Follow the money, follow the power.” This must now be restated: “Follow the energy, follow the power.”

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Pope John Paul II sculpture criticised for resembling Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini, left, and the statue of Pope John Paul II Photo: AFP

“How could they have given such a kind pope the head of a fascist?”

A giant sculpture of the late Pope John Paul II has come under attack by Romans who believe the structure looks more like Benito Mussolini than the popular former pontiff.

Telegraph | May 20, 2011

By Nick Squires, Rome

The highly abstract sculpture, which portrays John Paul in an ecclesiastical robe with his arms outstretched in a gesture of welcome, was unveiled this week in the large piazza outside Rome’s main railway station, Termini.

Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, described the work as “modern and evocative”.

With its bald head and beetle brow, the statue, which now dominates one of Rome’s biggest squares, bears distinctly Churchillian features, although Romans were struck more by its resemblance to Benito Mussolini.

“How could they have given such a kind pope the head of a fascist?” said 71-year-old Antonio Lamonica. His wife called it “ugly, really ugly.” Antonio Stampete, a Rome city councillor, said: “Installing this outside Rome’s most important travel hub, where thousands of Italian and foreign tourists arrive every day, is embarrassing”.

The Vatican itself has criticised the work, despite the Pontifical Commission for Culture approving the original sketches.

L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See’s official mouthpiece, saying the 16-ft high bronze sculpture’s hollow form meant it resembled a “sentry box”.

The newspaper said it bore little resemblance to the Polish Pope, who died in 2005 and was beatified in a lavish ceremony in St Peter’s Square on May 1.

But L’Osservatore Romano said the sculpture looked as though it had been gashed by a bomb explosion and that the Pope’s head was “excessively round”.

There was only a distant similarity between the sculpture’s features and those of the Polish pope, the newspaper said.

“For people exiting the railway station, it appears like an enormous but indistinct monument rather than an unmistakable homage to John Paul II,” the newspaper said.

In an online poll by Corriere della Sera, more than 90 per cent of readers said they did not like the sculpture.

The railway station is a focus for drifters, the homeless and illegal immigrants and many locals predicted that it will be only a matter of days before the sculpture is used as a sleeping shelter or as a place to dump beer bottles and other rubbish.

The sculpture, by Oliviero Rainaldi, an Italian artist who has worked for the Vatican for more than 30 years, was unveiled on Wednesday to mark what would have been John Paul’s 91st birthday.

The sculptor defended the work, saying he had wanted to create something contemporary, rather than a realistic rendition “in the style of the 19th century”.

Rolling Stone Magazine Article On Alex Jones Reveals His Ties To The John Birch Society

Roguegovernment.Com | Mar 3, 2011

By Lee Rogers

A new Rolling Stone Magazine article written about talk show host Alex Jones set to be published this month reveals how he has been heavily influenced by the John Birch Society.

Before we get into some of the quotes from the article, here is a quick primer on the many questions surrounding the credibility of this organization. The John Birch Society is essentially a controlled opposition front group that was started by people tied in with globalist institutions including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service.

The late author and researcher Eustace Mullins who was the first to expose the fraud and criminal nature of the Federal Reserve stated on several occasions that the John Birch Society was actually started by money from the Rockefeller family who of course have been major promoters of globalist ideologies.  Robert Welch who was the primary founder of the John Birch Society was sympathetic to the National Association of Manufacturers which has historically promoted fascism.

The political stances of the John Birch Society on the attacks of 9/11 and the phony terror war have been in lock step with establishment mainstream rhetoric which raises even more questions.  Their long term promotion of anti-Communist rhetoric throughout the Cold War was used to give credibility to the fake Communist threat which enabled the expansion of the military industrial complex which is now being used to push ahead the New World Order agenda in a big way.  There are also many questions about early John Birch Society members and their links to the secret society of the Freemasons.

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Seymour Hersh targeted: Matthew Phelan writes on the fallout from his exposure of the Knights of Malta conspiracy

James Jesus Angleton (L), chief of the CIA’s counter-intelligence staff from 1954-1975, and Reagan-era CIA Director William Casey (R) were both members of the Knights of Malta.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Seymour Hersh And The Men Who Want Him Committed

By Matthew Phelan on | Feb 23, 2011


It seems unusual for a staid, respected publication (one that has received three National Magazine Awards in just this past decade) to start treating a celebrated journalist (who himself has won two National Magazine Awards in just this past decade) as if he were nothing more than a paranoid crank.

It seems unusual, but it’s exactly what the staff of Foreign Policy has done to Seymour Hersh, following a lecture the venerated reporter gave at Georgetown University’s campus in Doha, Qatar.

Hersh “delivered a rambling, conspiracy-laden diatribe here Monday,” Blake Hounshell reported on the magazine’s Passport blog. His delusional fantasia: The existence of ties between the U.S. Military’s Joint Special Operations Command and a secretive Catholic order called the Knights of Malta.

Let’s do the same.

Just how “off-base and conspiratorial” are Hersh’s claims? Who are the Knights of Malta, exactly, and what has been previously reported of their ‘special operations’ and government ties?

Known formally as the “Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta,” the Knights of Malta is a Roman Catholic order founded in roughly 1048. Though the Knights operated as a military order during the First Crusade, today their approximately 12,500 members, 80,000 volunteers and 20,000 medical professionals work “in the field of medical and social care and humanitarian aid.”

So far, so good. In fact, Foreign Policy’s description of the Knights cribs heavily from the Order’s own benevolent self-description. Josh Keating’s ‘explainer’ piece accounts for the litany of paranoid theories surrounding them as merely a by-product of the Knights’ “secretive proceedings, unique political status, and association with the Crusades.” Former CIA Directors William Casey and John McCone, Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, and GOP fixture Pat Buchanan have all been “alleged members,” he claims, “though none have ever acknowledged membership.”

Keating’s use of ‘alleged’ here is curious, given that the membership of Reagan-era CIA Director Bill Casey in the Knights of Malta has been a fact widely reported in the press and never denied by Casey himself. Historian Joseph E. Persico, a former Republican speechwriter for Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and the co-author of Colin Powell’s autobiography, includes Casey’s membership in a routine list of charitable accomplishments, in his sympathetic biography Casey: from the OSS to the CIA (Penguin 1990). (Casey’s membership is asserted on page 105 of the paperback.)

Years earlier, Casey was listed publicly as a member in both Mother Jones (07/1983) and The Washington Post (12/27/1984). The implications of Casey’s membership are even alluded to in Bob Woodward’s Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987, in which Casey’s deep Catholicism and the Catholic Church’s opposition to Nicaragua’s left-leaning Sandinista government are both recurring topics. In short: Casey’s membership has been undisputed for so long and across such a broad cross-section of the political spectrum that it raises serious questions about Foreign Policy’s standards for ‘facts’ and ‘allegations.’

In addition to Casey and McCone, the Knights of Malta also counted among their members former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton—a fortuitous alliance as Angleton led the postwar intelligence efforts to subvert Italy’s 1948 elections. His success partnering with organized crime, right-leaning former fascists and the Vatican not only marginalized Italy’s homegrown Communist Party, it also encouraged Congress in the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency.

…with their unusual status as a recognized sovereign state without territory, the Knights of Malta enjoy full diplomatic rights in many countries—including the ability to bypass customs inspectors by secreting items across borders via ‘diplomatic pouch.’

Conservative luminary and National Review founder William F. Buckley—who spent two years after college as a CIA ‘political action specialist’ in Mexico City—was also a Knight, as was none other than William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the CIA’s precursor organization, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). From 1970 to 1981, France’s intelligence agency was also headed by a member of the Order, Alexandre de Marenches. De Marenches would go on to be a co-founder of the Saudi-funded private intelligence group the Safari Club—one of  George H. W. Bush’s many end-runs around congressional oversight of the American intelligence establishment and the locus of many of the worst features of the mammoth BCCI scandal.

So, while crackpot speculations about this particular Catholic order are legion, its ties to intelligence organizations in the U.S. and Western Europe are well-documented. It’s also perfectly understandable: with their unusual status as a recognized sovereign state without territory, the Knights of Malta enjoy full diplomatic rights in many countries—including the ability to bypass customs inspectors by secreting items across borders via “diplomatic pouch.”

With “medical missions in more than 120 countries,” as Keating points out, a teeming network of government spooks operating under the diplomatic protection afforded the Knights of Malta would certainly have plenty of breathing room to operate unnoticed. And yet, Keating instead positions the Order’s charitable work as evidence that the Knights have left their old military function behind—pointedly ignoring years of charitable work tied to U.S. strategic goals and covert activities during the heady days of the Reagan/Bush era.

AmeriCares In Its Own Way

Beginning in 1982, The Knights of Malta began an intensely collaborative partnership with the international aid organization AmeriCares—a charity group unique in its selective disaster relief to countries friendly to both U.S. business investment and foreign policy objectives. Literally billing itself as “The humanitarian arm of corporate America,” AmeriCares was founded and headed until 2002 by Robert Macauley: a college roommate of George H. W. Bush, a paper mill millionaire and a self-described (then self-denied) agent in the CIA’s WWII-era precursor, the OSS. Macauley was also the first non-Catholic to receive the coveted Cross of the Commander of the Order of Malta.

AmeriCares and the Order held off on relief to an economically crippled Panama in 1989 for six whole months, shuttling $2.5 million worth of medical supplies only after the conclusion of Bush Sr.’s lightning war against (former ally) Manuel Noriega.

In Guatemala, AmeriCares and Knights of Malta joint activities were handled by the wealthy, right-wing paramilitary figure, Roberto Alejos Arzu, whose plantation had served as a training ground for the CIA’s bungled “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba.

Seymour Hersh and the Silent Crusade

Seymour Hersh is in the middle of researching and writing a lengthy book on America’s wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has something of a history of playing looser with his facts in speeches than in print—partially to preserve his scoops pre-publication—and his speech in Doha hewed close to that tradition. In addition to the Knights, for example, he also made claims regarding Opus Dei, another secretive far right Catholic group steeped in just as much rumor and conspiracy theory. However, Hersh is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award—a reporter with a record that is well-burnished and nearly sterling.

Given the late 20th Century history of the “Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta,” how strange would it really be to find members of the Order, in and out of the military, collaborating on a new silent crusade with their old Cold War allies?

Until Hersh’s book-length treatment of the subject is published, at least we can all agree with Foreign Policy’s Joshua Keating that the Knights of Malta have been “an anomalous presence in international politics and have provoked their share of conspiracy theories.”

This time around, they’ve practically goaded us into it.

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Homeland Security “report suspicious behavior” messages coming to Walmart, hotels, malls

Raw Story | Dec 6, 2010

By Daniel Tencer

Shoppers at Walmart will soon have something other than glossy magazines and chewing gum to look at when in the checkout line: A “video message” from the Department of Homeland Security asking shoppers to look out for “suspicious” activity and report it immediately.

It’s part of a new Department of Homeland Security program that could see Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s face on video screens in malls, retail outlets and hotels across the United States.


Homeland Security asks Walmart Shoppers to report Suspicious Behavior

The Walmart video, which will soon be launched at 230 locations nationwide and may eventually be expanded to nearly 600 locations in 27 states, features Napolitano thanking the retailer by name for participating in the program.

Napolitano then says: “If you see something suspicious in the parking lot or in the store, say something immediately. Report suspicious activity to your local police or sheriff. If you need help, ask a Walmart manager for assistance.”

The video, which doesn’t appear to offer any advice on what constitutes “suspicious” activity, is part of DHS’ “If You See Something, Say Something” program. It was launched originally in the New York City public transit system and, according to the DHS, is about to go nationwide.

Besides Walmart, the program has partnered with Mall of America in Minneapolis, the US’s largest mall, as well as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, rail operator Amtrak, and the Washington, DC, public transit system.

“In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe,” DHS said in a statement.

The following video was posted to YouTube by the DHS.

Hitler’s cushy prison life in the 1920s revealed

Hitler and friends relaxing at Landsberg prison

Independent | Jun 24, 2010

By David Rising in Berlin

Adolf Hitler enjoyed special treatment while jailed in 1924 and was allowed hundreds of visitors – sometimes unsupervised – including some 30 to 40 celebrants of his 35th birthday. The details have emerged from documents written by officials at the prison near Munich where he was held.

The 500 papers from the Landsberg prison were recently found by a Nuremberg man among the possessions of his late father, who purchased them at a flea market in the 1970s according to Werner Behringer, whose auction house in the Bavarian city of Fuerth will offer them for sale next month.

Mr Behringer said they were packed among a bundle of books on the First World War the man had bought, and his 55-year-old son, who has requested anonymity, never knew of their existence. “His father probably didn’t know what he had there,” Mr Behringer told Associated Press. Robert Bierschneider, an archivist with the Bavarian State Archives in Munich, said he had examined images of the documents Mr Behringer sent to him and they had stamps and notations matching others from the prison.

“The documents appear genuine, but to do a real examination we need the originals in our hands,” he said.

The documents are to be auctioned on 2 July, with a starting price of €25,000 (£20,000). Though only one is signed by Hitler, and much of the information is otherwise available, they do provide an intriguing window into his early days as Nazi leader.

Hitler was imprisoned in Landsberg after his abortive bid to seize power in the notorious “beer hall putsch” in Munich. A decade later, in 1933, the Nazis came to power through elections.

Sentenced to five years in prison, Hitler was granted early release and ended up serving about nine months.

His right-wing politics and German nationalism won him friends among the German establishment, including the First World War hero Erich Ludendorff. He came to visit Hitler several times in jail and the Prussian general was allowed to see the former Austrian corporal unsupervised for as long as he wanted, the documents show.

They include some 300 to 400 original cards listing Hitler’s other visitors, including the 30 to 40 allowed in to celebrate his birthday on 20 April 1924 – 19 days into his sentence. “His time in prison was more like a holiday,” Mr Behringer said.

Otto Leybold, the prison director, gushed about Hitler in a memo about the inmates on 18 September 1924, saying he was always “sensible, modest, humble and polite to everyone – especially to the officers of the facility.”

Hitler spent much of his time in prison writing his manifesto Mein Kampf, detailing his ideology and ambitions, but the documents also show he had time for more prosaic thoughts.

In a typed copy that prison authorities made of a letter Hitler wrote to a Munich car dealer, the future dictator is having a hard time deciding whether to purchase a newer model Benz 11/40 or the older 16/50 because he had concerns that the higher RPMs of the motor in the former might mean that it would have more mechanical problems. “I can’t get a new car every two or three years,” he wrote.

He also noted he had court costs to pay once released and asked the dealer to arrange a discount on an 11/40. “Please reserve the grey car that you have in Munich until I have clarity about my fate (probation?).”

Kissinger rescinded cease-and-desist order against international terrorism just days before 1976 bombing in Washington killed Chilean diplomat

A cordial meeting with Chilean dictator Pinochet in 1975. Kissinger ordered that “no further action be taken on this matter” by the State Department.

A document suggests the secretary of State rejected warning South American governments against international terrorism. Five days later, a bombing linked to Chile killed 2 in Washington.

Kissinger cable heightens suspicions about 1976 Operation Condor killings

LA Times | Apr 11, 2010

By Andrew Zajac and David S. Cloud

Reporting from Washington — A newly declassified document has added to long-standing questions about whether Henry Kissinger, while secretary of State, halted a U.S. plan to curb a secret program of international assassinations by South American dictators.

The document, a set of instructions cabled from Kissinger to his top Latin American deputy, ended efforts by U.S. diplomats to warn the governments of Chile, Uruguay and Argentina against involvement in the covert plan known as Operation Condor, according to Peter Kornbluh, an analyst with the National Security Archive, a private research organization that uncovered the document and made it public Saturday.


Cable ties Kissinger to Chile controversy

Kissinger Accused Of Turning Blind Eye To Political Killings In Chile And Elsewhere

Kissinger Effectively Gave Go-Ahead for Terrorist Attack on US Soil in 1976

In the cable, dated Sept. 16, 1976, Kissinger rejected delivering a proposed warning to the government of Uruguay about Condor operations and ordered that “no further action be taken on this matter” by the State Department.

Five days after Kissinger’s message, Chilean exile Orlando Letelier and an American colleague were killed in Washington’s Embassy Row in a car bombing later tied to Chilean secret police working through the Condor network. The killings are considered one of the most brazen attacks ever carried out in the capital.

“The document confirms that it’s Kissinger’s complete responsibility for having rescinded a cease-and-desist order to Condor killers,” said Kornbluh, author of a 2004 book on Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

In a statement, Kissinger said Kornbluh “distorted” the meaning of the cable and said it was intended only to disapprove a specific approach to the Uruguayan government, not to cancel the plan to issue warnings to other nations in the Condor network.

Former State Department officials who worked under Kissinger during that period now say that his cable did interrupt the U.S. effort to rein in Operation Condor, not just with Uruguay but with other countries in the region.

After being told of the existence of Condor by the CIA in mid-1976, Kissinger initially ordered U.S. ambassadors in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and other countries involved in the network to issue demarches, or formal diplomatic presentations, warning leaders that “Condor activities would undermine relations with the United States.”

“The instructions were never rescinded,” Kissinger said in his statement.

Silvio Berlusconi to push for change to Italian constitution for greater powers

London Times | Mar 22, 2010

by Richard Owen, Rome

The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is proposing to change the constitution by referendum to give him greater powers as a “directly elected president”.

Addressing supporters of his People of Liberty (PdL) party at a rally in Rome, Mr Berlusconi said that he planned a “great, great, great reform” in the remaining three years of his term.

This would include changes to the judiciary, which he claims is biased against him, a cut in the number of MPs and senators and direct elections for a head of state with expanded powers.

The president is currently elected by Parliament, and has limited powers. Mr Berlusconi did not say whether he would be a candidate but the Italian press said that the announcement was consistent with his populist belief that “the people” supported him despite the “lies” spread by “magistrates and the press”.

PdL officials said that more than a million people attended the rally in Rome, staged under the slogan “Love always wins over envy and hatred” to the soundtrack from Star Wars.

However, police put the turnout at 150,000 — fewer than the crowds that attended a centre-left, anti-Berlusconi rally a week previously.

New opinion polls show that Mr Berlusconi’s approval rating has slipped to 44 per cent from 62 per cent when he was elected to his third term a year and a half ago.

Last week the Prime Minister addressed a half-empty hall at an election rally in Naples.

Mr Berlusconi’s standing could suffer another blow if centre-right voters abstain in elections in 13 regions next weekend after the PdL bungled the registration of its candidates in Lazio, the region around Rome. It missed the deadline because a party official went out for a sandwich.

Questions were also raised over the validity of signatures accompanying the PdL list in Mr Berlusconi’s native Lombardy region.

At first the Prime Minister turned on “idiots” in his party but later blamed the Left for “dirty tricks”.

Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the opposition Democratic Party, said that Mr Berlusconi was increasingly “nervous” because “he knows the tide is turning against him”.

Renato Mannheimer, Italy’s top pollster, said: “The centre-right electorate is disoriented and has lost confidence in its leaders, whom they see as disorganised.”

Magistrates are investigating Mr Berlusconi for abuse of office after tapped phone conversations indicated that he had interfered to try to block his critics from appearing on talk shows and news bulletins not only on his Mediaset television network but also on programmes of RAI, the public broadcaster.

At the Rome rally, outside the Basilica of St John Lateran, Mr Berlusconi said that “leftist” judges and politicians had concocted “a laughable investigation based on the tapping of my calls.

“Do you want phone taps on everyone and everything? Do you want to be spied on in your own homes?” he asked the crowd — which roared back, “No”.

“We don’t often take to the streets but it was absolutely necessary to defend ourselves from the attacks of the Left and its magistrates,” Mr Berlusconi told his supporters.

“We are here to have our right to vote guaranteed. With you, love and freedom will win.”

Ministers and PdL regional candidates attended the Rome rally. However, Gianfranco Fini, the Speaker of the Lower House and co-founder of the party — who has distanced himself from the Prime Minister and is seen as his most likely challenger — did not take part, saying that his institutional position prevented him from doing so. He is to launch a new movement in May called Generation Italy.