Monday, August 29, 2011

America's Krypto-History: What we don't know does matter

To follow the excellent logic of Peter Dale Scott relative to what is truth and what is true history first requires us to take a short course in a language invented by Dr. Scott himself, as he discusses in the article excerpted below, in which all underlining, bolding and italics have been inserted by me, unless otherwise noted,  for emphasis. Scott embeds the terms and definitions within his essay, but for clarity they are set out here for ease of reference:
  • neologisms--invented terms
  • parapolitics--manipulative covert politics; "a system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished"
  • deep political processes--political interactions that emanate from plural power sources which are only occasionally visible, usually repressed rather than recognized; these sources of power that affect political actions are not subject to direct control by anyone whose power or intentions are clearly defined
  • parahistory--an account of suppressed events, at odds with the publicly accepted history of this country; reconstructed account of events denied by the public records from which history is normally composed
  • kryptocracies--agencies of government which (in contrast to conventional bureaucracies) operate secretly and are not accountable for their actions and procedures, with the power to control US politics through the manipulation of truth. A kryptocracy's power comes in part from its ability to falsify its own records, without fear of outside correction.
  • kryptonomy--the power of the independently wealthy, and of the banks that cater to them; a small group of about 100 people who know each other, and in addition often have connections to both the CIA and to organized crime

 ['krypto' derived from Greek kruptos hidden, from kruptein to hide]



By Peter Dale Scott
December 2000

Kryptocracies, Kryptonomy, and Oswald: the Mexican CIA-Mob Nexus 

Those who have spent years trying to assess the role of the Kennedy assassination in US history are accustomed to the debate between structuralists and conspiratorialists. In the first camp are those who argue, in the spirit of Marx and Weber, that the history of a major power is determined by large social forces; thus the accident of an assassination, even if conspiratorial, is of little historical import. (On this point Noam Chomsky and Alex Cockburn agree with the mainstream US media they normally criticize.) 

The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (Second Edition)At the other end of the spectrum are those who talk of an Invisible Government or Secret Team, who believe that surface events and institutions are continuously manipulated by unseen forces. For these people the assassination exemplifies the operation of fundamental historical forces, not a disruption of them. 

For years I have attempted to formulate a third or middle position. To do so I have relied on distinctions formulated partly in neologisms or invented terms. (I apologize for this: neologisms, like conspiracies, are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.) Thirty years ago I postulated that our overt political processes were at times seriously contaminated by manipulative covert politics or parapolitics, which I then defined as "a system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished."[1] In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, I moved towards a less conspiratorial middle alternative. I discussed instead the interactions of what I called deep political processes, emanating from plural power sources and all only occasionally visible, all usually repressed rather than recognized. In contrast to parapolitical processes, those of deep politics are open-ended, not securely within anyone's power or intentions. 

In 1995 I brought out Deep Politics II, which I thought of at the time as a case study in deep politics: how secret U.S. government reports on Oswald in Mexico became a reason to cover up the facts about the assassination of JFK. But it was also a specialized study, since in this case most of the repressed records of events, now declassified, occurred within the workings of the CIA, FBI, military intelligence, or their zones of influence. It was hence largely a study in parapolitics. It verged into deep politics only near the end, when it described how a collaborating Mexican agency, the DFS (Direcciòn Federal de Seguridad) was deeply involved in the international drug traffic. Deep Politics, in contrast, looked continuously at the interaction between government and other social forces, such as the drug traffic. 

Both books represented an alternative kind of history, or what we may perhaps call parahistory. Parahistory differs from history in two respects. First, it is an account of suppressed events, at odds with the publicly accepted history of this country. (One might say that history is the record of politics; parahistory, the record of parapolitics.) Second, parahistory is restored from records which were themselves once repressed. In short, parahistory is a reconstructed account of events denied by the public records from which history is normally composed.[2] Thus the parahistory of Oswald in Mexico tells of events, not just ignored by official histories, but at odds with the official record: i.e. officially suppressed and denied. 

A key example concerns a tape of someone calling himself "Lee Oswald," talking on a Soviet Embassy phone about having met a consul there by the name of Kostikov, a KGB agent. As we shall see, this tape should have been preserved and investigated as a prime piece of evidence to frame Oswald as an assassin. We have documentary evidence that one day after the President's murder this tape was listened to by FBI agents in Dallas, who determined that the speaker was in fact not Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet almost immediately this event was denied by other reports, including cables claiming -- falsely -- that the tape had already been destroyed before the assassination. 

A brief but important digression here about history. Most people assume that "history" simply refers to what has happened but is now gone. In fact the dictionary reminds us that the word (cognate to the word "story") refers primarily to a narrative or record of events, and only after that to "the events forming the subject matter of history."[3] What of events whose records are destroyed or falsified? These dictionary definitions seem to assume that what is true is also what is recorded. 

There is thus a latent bias in the evolution of the word "history" that is related to the structuralist, rationalist assumptions referred to in my first paragraph. It is no accident that, with respect to Oswald in Mexico, historians as a class have opposed the parahistory we shall unfold here. History has always been the way a culture chooses to record and remember itself; and it tends to treat official records with a respect they do not always deserve. We shall return to the role of history in our concluding section. 

Deep Politics II only verged from parahistory into deep political history when (as we shall see) it situated actions and reports from the CIA in Mexico City in the social context of actions of a sister agency (the Mexican Federal Security Directorate, or DFS ) which was deeply enmeshed in the unrecorded operations of the Mexican-U.S. drug traffic. Note the methodological distinction here. Parahistory can be partly recovered by the disclosure of previously repressed records. Deep political history must attempt to reconstruct what happened in areas where there are few if any records at all. 

It is reasonable to talk about the CIA records in this book as repressed, as so many of them were never allowed to reach even the Warren Commission. Thus neither the Commission nor the American public were allowed to hear allegations that Oswald had had sexual relations with one or two employees of the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, that at least one of these liaisons (with Silvia Durán) had been part of an international Communist plot against Kennedy, and that Durán had admitted this (albeit under torture) in response to questions from the Mexican DFS or secret police. 

More importantly, the CIA and FBI conspired to suppress a major clue to the existence of a pre-assassination conspiracy. This was that an unknown person had falsely presented himself as Lee Oswald in a phone call to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. The FBI initially reported that the person making the recorded call "was not Lee Harvey Oswald" (AR 249-50). Later the FBI and CIA conspired, swiftly and clumsily, to conceal both the falsity of the impersonation and the fact that FBI agents had exposed the falsehood by listening to the tape. The Warren Commission learned nothing about these two facts. 

Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon : Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil
Rockefellers in Mexico
It is important to understand that this suppression was entirely consistent with intelligence priorities of the period. This important clue had been planted in the midst of one of the most sensitive CIA operations in the 1960s: its largest intercept operation against the telephones of an important Soviet base. One can assume that this clue was planted by conspirators who knew that the CIA response would be to suppress the truth. As a result the CIA protected its sources and methods (in accordance with the responsibilities enumerated in its enabling statute). The result was obstruction of justice in a crime of the highest political significance.

In an open society, all of the Oswald facts and allegations would have reached the Warren Commission, whether or not they were true. The absence of objective evaluation and review allowed these facts and allegations about Oswald in Mexico to become enabling instruments of power: first to create the Warren Commission, and later to curtail its investigations. 

The power of these covert agencies to control US politics through the manipulation of truth is only one more reason for us to refer to them as kryptocracies, agencies of government which (in contrast to conventional bureaucracies) operate secretly and are not accountable for their actions and procedures. At this stage, I shall refer to kryptocracies in the plural, to make it clear that I am not talking about some single omnipotent Secret Team. On the contrary, we shall see in Part Three of this book that different kryptocracies or intelligence agencies, and even different branches within these agencies, were in conflict with each other over the matters raised by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Drug Wars and Coffeehouses: The Political Economy of the International Drug Trade The point is rather that, in major powers like the United States, bureaucratic behavior, which in principle is publicly  recorded and accountable, is in some respects determined by the kryptocratic behavior at its center.  As we shall see in the following pages, one of the important sources of the kryptocracies' power is their ability to falsify their own records, without fear of outside correction. 

But even if we concede the autonomy of kryptocracies, how important are they in determining the course of history? I believe the evidence in this book will justify a limited answer to this question: 
The kryptocracies, and the CIA in particular, were powerful enough to control and defuse a possible crisis in U.S. political legitimacy. They did so by reinforcing an unsustainable claim: Oswald killed the President, and he acted alone.

Kryptocracies and the Kryptonomy (International Drug Traffic)

Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (New Perspectives in Se Asian Studies)But the power of kryptocracies to influence history became even greater when, as we shall see, they acted in concert with forces allied to the powerful international drug traffic. Most people are unaware of the size of this unrecorded drug economy. In 1981 U.S. Government analysts estimated that the annual sales volume of illicit drugs exceeded half a trillion dollars.[4] The total of legitimate, recorded international trade, in all commodities, was in the order of one trillion dollars, or twice the estimate for drugs. While estimates of the unrecorded drug traffic remain questionable, it is obvious that this traffic is large enough to be a major factor in both the economic and political considerations of government, even while it does not form part of recorded economic statistics. [italics in original]

For this reason, I propose the word kryptonomy, to name this unrecorded, illicit, but nonetheless important shadow economy. It is no accident that kryptocracies and the kryptonomy work in concert. The kryptonomy is so large, and so powerful, that governments have no choice but to plan to manage it, even before attempting to suppress it.[5]

There is a third factor contributing to the invisible alliance of kryptocracies and the kryptonomy: the power of the independently wealthy, and of the banks that cater to them. Informed observers of American politics have more than once commented to me that most of the hundred wealthiest people in the US know each other, and in addition often have connections to both the CIA and to organized crime. There is no shortage of anecdotal examples: James Angleton of CIA Counterintelligence delivering the sole eulogy at the small private funeral of Howard Hughes, or Joseph Kennedy Sr. being a point-holder in the same casino (the Cal-Neva) as Sam Giancana.[6]  More relevant to the milieu of the JFK assassination is the example of Clint Murchison, Sr. Murchison paid for the horse-racing holidays of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover at the same time as he sold stakes in his investments to mob figures like Jerry Catena, and enjoyed political influence in Mexico.[7]

These connections are no accident. More often than not the extremely wealthy became that way by ignoring or bending the rules of society, not by observing them. In corrupting politicians, or in bypassing them to secure unauthorized foreign intercessions, both the mob and the CIA can be useful allies. In addition drug profits need to be laundered, and banks can derive a significant percentage of their profits by laundering them, or otherwise bending or breaking the rules of their host countries.[8] Citibank came under Congressional investigation after having secretly moved $80 million to $100 million for Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas.[9]

When operating within their guidelines, kryptocracies are less powerful than generally believed. Likewise the power of the biggest drug traffickers is not autonomous, but depends on their government connections. But when kryptocracies and kryptonomy work in concert, as they must to sustain the status quo, they share in a source of deep political influence that affects us all. A good example of this is the collaboration in Mexico, between the CIA and the corrupt DFS, to influence history by presenting false stories about Oswald. But it would be wrong to think of the CIA-DFS collaboration as a simple alliance.

One of the most crime-ridden CIA assets we know of is the Mexican DFS, which the US helped to create. From its foundation in the 1940s, the DFS, like other similar kryptocracies in Latin America, was deeply involved with international drug-traffickers. By the 1980s possession of a DFS card was recognized by DEA agents as a "license to traffic;" DFS agents rode security for drug truck convoys, and used their police radios to check of signs of American police surveillance.[10] Eventually the DFS became so identified with the criminal drug-trafficking organizations it managed and protected, that in the 1980s the DFS was (at least officially) closed down.[11]Thus the CIA-DFS alliance was at best an uneasy one, with conflicting goals. The CIA’s concern was to manage and limit the drug traffic, while the DFS sought to manage and expand it.

Management of the drug traffic takes a variety of forms: from denial of this important power source to competing powers (the first and most vital priority), to exploitation of it to strengthen the existing state.  There now exists abundant documentation that, at least since World War II, the US Government has exploited the drug traffic to finance and staff covert operations abroad. Perhaps the most conspicuous example is the massive paramilitary army organized and equipped by the CIA in Laos in the 1960s, for which drugs were the chief source of support. This alliance between the CIA and drug-financed forces has since been repeated in Afghanistan (1979), Central America (1982-87), and most recently Kosovo (1998). 

It is now fairly common, even in mainstream books, to describe this CIA exploitation of the drug world as collaboration against a common enemy. For example Elaine Shannon, in a book written with DEA assistance, speaks as follows of the CIA-DFS alliance: 
Drug Politics: Dirty Money and Democracies (International and Security Affairs) DFS officials worked closely with the Mexico City station of the US Central Intelligence Agency and the attaché of the the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DFS passed along photographs and wiretapped conversations of suspected intelligence officers and provocateurs stationed in the large Soviet and Cuban missions in Mexico City....The DFS also helped the CIA track Central American leftists who passed through the Mexican capital.[12]

But it is important to remember that such alliances were often first formed in order to deny drug assets to the enemy. In Mexico as in Asia, just as in the US "Operation Underworld" on the docks of New York City, the US Government first began its drug collaborations out of fear that drug networks, if not given USG protection, would fall under that of some other foreign power. "Operation Underworld," like its Mexican equivalent, began after signs that the Sicilian Mafia in New York, like the drug networks Latin drug networks of Central and South America, were being exploited by Axis intelligence services. The crash program of assistance to Kuomintang (KMT) drug networks in post-war Southeast Asia was motivated in part by a similar fear, that these networks would come under the sphere of mainland Chinese influence. 

Narcos Over the Border: Gangs, Cartels and MercenariesMexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State?Thus it would be wrong to portray the CIA-drug alliance, particularly in Mexico, as one between like-minded allies. The cooperation was grounded in an original, deeper suspicion; and, especially because dealing with criminals, the fear of betrayal was never absent. This was particularly true of the DFS  when guided by Luis Echeverría, a nationalist who in the late 1960s developed stronger relations between Mexico and Cuba. Some have questioned whether the increased Cuban-Mexican relations under his presidency (1970-76) were grounded partly in the drug traffic, overseen by his brother-in-law.[13]

Even in 1963 the fear of offending Mexico's (and Echeverría's) sensibilities led the CIA to cancel physical surveillance of a Soviet suspect (Valeriy Kostikov); the CIA feared detection by the DFS, who also had Kostikov under surveillance.[14] By the 1970s there were allegations that the CIA and/or FBI were using the drug traffic to introduce guns into Mexico, in order to destabilize the left-leaning Echeverria government.[15]

This is perhaps the moment to point out another special feature of the US-DFS relationship in Mexico. Both the CIA and FBI (as Shannon noted, and as we shall see) had their separate connections to the DFS and its intercept program. The US effort to wrest the drug traffic from the Nazi competition dated back to World War II, when the FBI still had responsibility for foreign intelligence operations in Latin America. Winston Scott, the CIA Station Chief in Mexico City, was a veteran of this wartime overseas FBI network; and he may still have had an allegiance to Hoover while nominally working for the CIA.[16] We shall see that on a key policy matter, the proposed torture of Oswald's contact Silvia Durán, Scott allied himself with the FBI Legal Attache and the Ambassador, against the expressed disapproval of CIA Headquarters. 

What is particularly arresting about this CIA-mob nexus that produced false Oswald stories, is its suggestive overlay with those responsible for CIA-mob assassination plots. Key figures in the latter group, such as William Harvey and David Morales, did not conceal their passionate hatred for the Kennedys. It is time to focus on the CIA-mob connection in Mexico as a milieu which will help explain, not just the assassination cover-up, but the assassination itself. 

[1]  Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy, 171.
[2]  There are previous examples where the actual events of American history are at odds with the public record. Allen Dulles represented the conventional view of John Wilkes Booth when he represented Booth to the Warren Commission as a loner, ignoring both the facts of the case and what is known now of Booth's secret links to the Confederate Secret Service (Scott, Deep Politics, 295; cf. Tidwell, William A., with James O. Hall and David Winfred Gaddy, Come Retribution: the Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln. [Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1988]).
[3]  American Heritage Dictionary, s.v. "history."
[4]  James Mills, The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Governments Embrace (New York: Dell, 1986), 1139.
[5]  For a candid account of how KMT China was torn between management and suppression of the opium traffic, see Alan Baumler, "Opium Control versus Opium Suppression: The Origins of the 1935 Six-Year Plan to Eliminate Opium and Drugs," in Opium Regimes: China, Britain, and Japan, 1839-1952, ed. Timothy Brook and Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), 270-91. Baumler notes how "The opium trade was a vital source of income and power for most of the colonial and national states of East and Southeast Asia" (270). I believe this state of affairs is less restricted, and has changed less, than his choice of terms implies.
[6] These and other examples in Sally Denton and Roger Morris, The Money and the Power: The Rise and Reign of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947-2000  (New York: Knopf, 2001), 185,290, etc.
[7] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 207, 218-19.
[8] For an instructive example involving Citicorp, America’s largest bank, see Robert A. Hutchison, Off the Books (New York: William Morrow, 1986). This Citicorp scandal (one involving double bookkeeping and tax evasion rather than drugs) was richly documented by first the SEC staff and then a Congressional Hearing, yet it was successfully suppressed through political influence.
[9]  New York Times, 11/11/99:  A Senate Committee “subpoenaed Citibank for transcripts of conversations among its private bankers on March 1, 1995, the day after Mr. Salinas had been arrested for murder. He has been convicted and is in prison in Mexico. In one conversation, the head of Citibank Private Bank, Hubertus Rukavina, asked whether Mr. Salinas's money could be moved from trust accounts in London to Switzerland, which has strict secrecy laws, according to the transcript.”
[10]  Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics, 39.
[11]  Chapter XII; Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 104-05.
[12]  Desperados, 180.
[13]  Cf. Mills, Underground Empire, 840-43, 550.
[14]  MEXI 7041  24 November 1963; NARA #104-10015-10070.          
[15]  Mills, Underground Empire, 549-50; cf. Kruger, The Great Heroin Coup, 178-79.
[16]  Cf. Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 107-08.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Creature of the CIA--Centro Mondiale Commerciale

One of the best sources of information about the Canadian subject, Louis Mortimer Bloomfield, interestingly enough, is the book written by the late District of Attorney from New Orleans, Jim Garrison. 

Clay Shaw's Role in Permindex
In On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison wrote:
It was not until much later, well after the Shaw trial when it could have been of any use to us, that we discovered Shaw's extensive international role as an employee of the C.I.A. Shaw's secret life as an Agency man in Rome trying to bring Fascism back to Italy was exposed in articles in the Italian press which we obtained from Ralph Schoenmann, secretary to the philosopher Bertrand Russell, who had been one of the earliest supporters of our investigation.

According to these articles, the C.I.A.--which apparently had been conducting its own foreign policy for some time--had begun a project in Italy as far back as the early 1960s. The organization, named the Centro Mondiale Commerciale (the World Trade Center), had initially been formed in Montreal, then moved to Rome in 1961. Among the members of its board of directors, we learned, was one Clay Shaw from New Orleans.

The Centro Mondiale Commerciale's new headquarters, according to the Roman press, was elegant. Its publicity, announcing the new, creative role it was going to play in world trade, was impressive. The Centro opened an additional office in Switzerland, also an impressive move.

However, in 1967, the Italian press took a close look at the board of directors of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale and found that it consisted of a very curious collection of individuals. The board contained at least one genuine prince, Gutierrez di Spadaforo, a member of the House of Savoy, whence came Umberto, the last of Italy's kings. Spadaforo, a man of considerable wealth, with extensive holdings in armaments and petroleum, had once been the undersecretary of agriculture for Il Duce, Benito Musolini. Through his daughter-in-law, Spadaforo was related to the famous Nazi minister of finance, Hjalmar Schacht, who had been tried for war crimes in Nuremberg.

The Italian Resistance: Fascists, Guerrillas and the AlliesAnother director of the Centro was Carlo D'Amelio, the lawyer for other members of the former Italian royal family. Another was Ferenc Nagy, the exiled former premier of Hungary and the former head of its leading anti-communist political party. Nagy also was described by the Italian newspapers as the president of Permindex (ostensibly a foundation for a permanent exposition and an offshoot of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale). Nagy, the Italian newspapers said, had been a heavy contributor to Fascist movements in Europe. Yet another director was a man named Giuseppi Zigiotti, the president of something with the congenial title of the Fascist National Association for Military Arms.

One of the major stockholders of the Centro was a Major L.M. Bloomfield, a Montreal resident originally of American nationality and a former agent with the Office of Strategic Services, out of which the United States had formed the C.I.A. (Note: This was significant not only because of his espionage background but because of a curious non-scheduled air trip taken by Clay Shaw and David Ferrie to Bloomfield's home city of Montreal in early 1961 or 1962; see Chapter 9.)
Centro Mondiale Commerciale

Some of the information about the permanent industrial exposition appeared in the American press as well. The following article, datelined Rome, was credited to the Chicago Daily News and appeared under the byline of Ed Kandlik in the Oakland Tribune in October 1960, one month before John F. Kennedy was elected President:
Clay Shaw's Aliases and the SDECE
In Chapter 3 of Salvador Astucia's book, Opium Lords, he adds additional information about Garrison's investigation involving Clay Shaw:
Jim Garrison proved that Clay Shaw often used aliases Clay Bertrand or Clem Bertrand. Danish journalist, Henrik Krüger, wrote in his 1976 book, The Great Heroin Coup, that a Colonel René Bertrand, alias Colonel Beaumont, worked for SDECE [Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (English: External Documentation and Counter-Espionage Service, SDECE) was France's external intelligence agency from 1944 to 1982] in the 1940s. According to Krüger, Colonel Bertrand used his influence in 1949 to get French gangster Jo Attia’s prison sentence reduced from life to four years. Attia [Joseph Brahim Attia] had been convicted in France for illegal possession of weapons and involvement in the death/murder of another gangster, Pierrot le Fou. Attia had saved Colonel Bertrand’s life during World War II and evidently asked Bertrand to return the favor by getting his sentence reduced.
A website called Gangsters, Inc. tells us the following:
In early 1947 General de Gaulle had formed a right wing anti-Communist front, the Rassemblement du Peuple Francais (RPF), forerunner of the present-day Gaullist, party (UDR). It soon established a security corps known as the Service d'Ordre du RPF (SO du RPF). The corps made extensive use of Corsican gangsters against its political enemies. Dominique Ponchardier, its commander, later glorified the escapades of his Gorilles in a series of novels; other ringleaders included Roger Frey, Roger Barberot, Alexandre Sanguinetti, Paul Comiti and Jacques Foccart. Among the criminals recruited in 1947 by the CIA and SO du RPF were the Guerini brothers, the Francisci clan, Jo Renucci and Jo Attia. Unfortunately for the six-man CIA team, word of their underworld partnership arrived before them in Washington, where they were fired on the Spot....

The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on DrugsThe French Narcotics Connection

The CIA used the Mafia's allies, the Union Corse, to take Marseilles away from the independent and communist unions, leaving the Corsican hoods in control of Marseilles, the most important port in France. The geopolitical rationale for this, from both the French and the American perspective, wasn't only the threat the leftists posed to control of France, but to the Indochina war. The Vietminh had considerable support among French leftists in 1947. In an attempt to force the French government to negotiate with the Vietminh, the communist dock worker unions, which were full of former Maquis fighters, refused to load American arms destined for Vietnam....In 1947 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was established, just at the peak of France's political crisis. The center of unrest was Marseilles, where U.S. intelligence agents were already on the job.
Jay Lovestone and Irving Brown, under cover of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), had infiltrated French trade unions and were handing out money left and right. In November 1947, the CIA's first director, Admiral Hillenkoetter, sent a team of experienced anti-Communist agents to Paris and Marseilles. It consisted of three OSS veterans and three "representatives" of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). They were told to "do something, Pitched battles disrupted Paris the day the team arrived. The Communists had called for a struggle against the "parti Americain" and the Ramadier government had been toppled. When the agents hit Marseilles, the red flag waved over the Palace of Justice, and the leftists appeared in control of the city. The six agents wired home that the situation was desperate and that drastic measures were needed. Those measures required gangsters from the Italian and Corsican underworld, hordes of whom were sent into battle. Their methods were brutal, the fight short but bloody. Within weeks the hoods had the situation under control. The CIA had been able to mobilize them so rapidly thanks to an important local ally.
Paris Flammonde's book
 Paris Flammonde's book--The Kennedy Conspiracy: An Uncommissioned Report on the Jim Garrison Investigation (Merideth Press, 1969, from pages 15-17)--is sometimes difficult to find in print in this day, but parts of it were preserved for us by Mae Brussell many years ago in this excerpt:
Rather than draw on the excellent, but necessarily second hand, report of the group of star journalists mentioned, the author established communications with the original source, the newspaper Paesa Sera of Rome. What follows is the result of that line of inquiry. There was established in Rome an organization named the Centro Mondiale Commerciale. Its origins, functions, rotating presidency, geographical displacements, sub-, subsequent, and alternate designations, were so complex and labyrinthine as to make a comprehensive and comprehensible description of it in anything less than a moderate-sized book impossible. Nonetheless, the essence of its activities can be sketched here, and as they seem to deeply incorporate Clay Shaw, a former OSS colonel, Italian Fascists, supporters of the far, paramilitary right in Europe, the CIA, and other like subjects, it is vital that the fundamentals of this situation be clarified as much as space and the entire business' innate irreducible confusion permit. (12)
Reprint Photograph of architect's model of the 1942 Rome Exposition. 1939
Exposition Universale Roma
In 1959 another of the mysterious figures who appear to comprise the major portion of the persons somehow related to the investigation in New Orleans, a Hungarian, George Mandel, at one point Italianized to Giorgio Mantello, created a Societa Italo-Americana, the purpose of which was announced as industry and commerce. On November 14 of that year he inaugurated what Paesa Sera regards as his most important "creation," the Italo-American Hotel Corporation. Its stated object was the construction of the Hotel du Lac of the EUR (Exposition Universale Roma). The largest of its shareholders were three foreign credit groups, "represented in Italy by the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, the De Famaco Astalde Vaduz (Swiss), the Miami Astalde Vaduz (American), and the Seligman Bank of Basel. The De Famaco and the Seligman institutions were among the most powerful stockholders of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale." (13)
The CMC was founded in 1961. Spokesmen asserted that it would function as an international commercial organization, that it would aid in the establishing of a permanent exposition, and generally assist concerns involved in trade. The staffing was expansive, the offices elaborate, and it gave all the appearance of being a rather grand operation.
The board of directors was interestingly assorted. Several respected Italians were present—Christian Democrat Deputy Mario Ceravolo and former Social Democrat Deputy Corrado Bonfantini. Listed as president was Carlo D'Amelio, lawyer and administrator of the former royal family's interests [also of Egyptian King Farouk]. The remainder of the board consisted of non-Italian names. Swiss Minister Ernest Feisst; Swiss Professor Max Hagemann, owner-editor of the newspaper National Zeitung (not to be confused with the neo-Nazi German National and Soldaten Zeitung); Hans Seligman-Schurch, Basel banker; Professor Edgar Salin, president of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Basel; Dr. Enrico Mantello, brother of George Mandel (Mantello), the power behind the Societa Italo-Americana; Ferenc Nagy, former Hungarian premier and erstwhile leader of the anti-Communist Countryman's party, and president of Permindex (the head office of the CMC); Prince Gutierez di Spadafora, industrialist and landowner of oddly totalitarian turn of mind, related through his daughter-in-law to Adolf Hitler's notorious Minister of Finance, Hjalmar Schacht tried as a war criminal at Nuremburg; and Clay L. Shaw, of New Orleans.(14)
Hitler's Banker: Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht
Hjalmar Schacht
Now what of these associates of the "old-fashioned liberal of the Wilson-Roosevelt persuasion"? What kind of persons did they seem to be? Again, space precludes a full examination of each, or, for that matter, even a cursory individual analysis, but we certainly can look into the background and activities of a few.
First there is Giorgio Mantello (Mandel), a Hungarian refugee, Austrian citizen, functioning in Italy, Switzerland, and elsewhere with financial transactions reaching throughout Europe, Africa, and America, who has, according to Paesa Sera, been condemned for his "criminal activities" in Switzerland. This latter revelation was originally carried in the August 19, 1961, issue of the Basel newspaper A-Z, which featured a report about directors of government agencies, saying:
"In many articles we have justly spoken of the criminal activities of Messrs. [Ferenc] Nagy and Mantello."
Mantello initiated a suit against the Swiss journal, then abruptly abandoned it, causing A-Z to observe: "Too bad; we would have heard some great things at the trial." (15)
Ferenc Nagy was closely associated with Mantello in his highly secret financial political maneuverings. When Mantello founded Permindex, the head office and other face of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale, Nagy became its president. He was the Nagy accused of "criminal activities" along with Mantello, and identified by Swiss newspapers as a "dependent" of the CMC in Rome.
"As president of Permindex, I would like to thank the Italian government for the
good will and sincere interest shown toward our great undertaking, the permanent
industrial exposition and the CMC," orated Nagy, as the operation he fronted began. It was all very grand and impressive, but to quote Paesa Sera:
ROME: CAPUT MUNDI (Capitol of the World). 2 DVDs: One for the History (58 Min); One for your own step-by-step Walking Tour of Rome (50 Min) with a 60-page Pocket Guide to carry with you. Created by a filmmaker who actually conducted walking tours of Rome."The farce . . . reached the point of the grotesque when the lawyer D'Amelio, praising Permindex as 'a capillary organization located in the principal centers of production, with its head office [CMC] in Rome' (an organization, all the while, virtually non-existent), brought all of Italian civilization into play by affirming that thanks to the Centro [CMC], 'Rome will recover once again her position as caput mundi, as center of the civilized world.'"(16)

Actually it was soon to become evident that the seemingly vast, mighty structure was not a rock of solidarity, but a shell of superficiality; not constructed with mass, supporting promise, but composed of channels through which money flowed back and forth, with no one knowing the source or the destination of these liquid assets.
Ferenc Nagy, who, while premier of Hungary, was "compelled by Communists in
key government positions to expel from his party various of its members who had
been arrested for plotting . . . against the government,"(17) and who, while on a trip
to Switzerland on May 29, 1947, telephoned his resignation to Budapest, moved in shadowy areas of finance and politics. "President of Permindex and Board Member
of the CMC," reports Paesa Sera, " [he] was said by the French press to be a
munificent contributor to the philo-fascistic movement of [Jacques] Soustelle, and
[a] patron of far-right movements throughout Europe, including Italy." (18)
Certainly one is led to wonder why, of all the hundreds of nations on earth, Nagy ended up in the United States; and why of all the thousands of cities in the United States, Nagy ended up in Dallas. For that is where the violently right-oriented, GAS-financing, president of Permindex and board member of the Centro Mondiale Commerciale did end up, in the city that boasted the infamous "Wanted for Treason" manifesto, which accused Kennedy of being a Communist; in the city where the
President was assassinated—in Dallas.
These were two of liberal Clay Shaw's associates in his European activities. Prince Gutierez di Spadafora, Undersecretary of Agriculture in Mussolini's Fascist government, was another. After his wartime achievements he turned his talents to his vast landholdings and commerce, especially to the establishment of a corporation, with himself as president, which constructed a huge refinery at Milazzo, in Messina, Sicily. He is also president of the Sicilian Compagnia Armatrice Industriale Petrolifera Armatoriale, which is involved with arms and oil. The prince also owns what is reputed to be the largest hothouse in the world, in Pachino, Syracuse. The more than a hundred employees were for some time supervised by "landsmen" from his feudal estates in Valle d'Olma and Mussomeli, in the province of Caltanissetta who rode about in velvet jackets and high black boots, with fancy revolvers flashing from their belts. According to Paesa Sera "the Syracusans, unaccustomed to these Mafia-like habits, held a great general strike in protest, in December, 1962, and the Mafiosi of the Prince were forced to return" to his more feudal properties.
The Centro Mondiale Commerciale boasted another interesting name in its background. He is Giuseppe Zigiotti, president of the Fascist National Association
for Militia Arms.
"Another fact which may help us understand certain things about the personalities around the CMC," said Paesa Sera, "is the presence in this group of  H. Simonfay, Hungarian refugee, who directs BO-DA, an agency for provocative information from and for the socialistic countries. He is director in Italy of ACEN (specializing in hostile activities on the confrontations of socialist countries), who had an important position in the field of public relations for the CMC, for which he received a secret fee of half a million lire a month." (19)
However, no behind-the-scenes figure is more intriguing than Maj. L. M. Bloomfield, formerly of the American OSS, and later suspected by Jim Garrison of having some affiliation with the CIA.
On July 21, 1961, Giorgio Mantello appeared at the Italian Assembly representing all the stockholders of the CMC. These included himself, his brother Enrico, another Hungarian refugee, Joseph Slifka and Fellender Erwin, banker Hans Seligman, and lawyer Carlo D'Amelio ... holder of 500,000 lire worth of shares. And Major L. M. Bloomfield, who held half the shares or 250 million, for party or parties unknown.(20)
Now obviously the activities of these Shaw associates were closely orchestrated, considering the financial-political manipulator Mantello was permitted to represent not only himself but the six other stockholders of the CMC, including Bloomfield, former United States espionage agent and now a banker in Montreal, who is reputed to control Le Credit Suisse of Canada, Heineken's Breweries, Canscot Realty, the Israel Continental Company, the Grimaldi Siosa Lines, Ltd., etc.(21)
Even Montreal is not without significance, for to quote the Canadian journal Le Devoir:
"But here is where the affair assumes stranger and stranger characteristics. It has just been learned that the name of Clay Shaw was found among that of eleven directors of a company which, up until 1962, had its headquarters in Montreal [italics added] . . . [presently] in Rome, it is known as the Centro Mondiale Commerciale . . ." (22)
Shortly thereafter, while alluding to other directors, Le Devoir reports:
"Ferenc Nagy, exiled head of the Hungarian Peasants Party . . . maintains close ties with the CIA and which link him with the Miami Cuban colony."
Also listed are the previously mentioned Fascist Giuseppe Zigiotti, Bloomfield, and an Egyptian, Faruk Churbagi. This particular episode is worthy of mention for various reasons, not the least of which is its exemplifying of some of the tactics which seem as common to forces behind the CMC and its activities as to those of other forces halfway around the world. The CMC or the Italo-American Hotel Corporation (into which part of the former turned) are, relates Paesa Sera, "also linked to other names which have appeared recently in the yellow press; another sign that, taking part in the same groups as the CMC and its former members, are persons who are quite suspect.
"One of these persons is Faruk Churbagi, the young Lebanese-Egyptian industrialist who was killed in Rome under still unexplained circumstances. It is said in groups around the former CMC that shortly before he was killed, the young man had turned over 200 million lire as dues for participation in the activities of the Centro . . . ."
And then there was the German Christa Wanniger, connected to the CMC by business dealings and "personal friendships," who was stabbed to death in Via Veneto under [apparently inevitably] unexplained circumstances." (23) However, to return to areas of CMC endeavors about which a fragment or two more is known.
Le Devoir elaborates on Bloomfield, noting that he was active in the espionage arm of the U.S. government during World War II and "was at the time the principal shareholder in a society having headquarters in Switzerland and affiliated with the Centro Mondiale Commerciale in Rome, known as Permindex. Other shareholders in Permindex were banks of a more or less shadowy character with headquarters in Liechtenstein, plus Miami Astaldo Vaduz, De Famaco Vaduz, and the Credit Bank of Geneva. Among the directors, the name of Max Hagemann was noted, director of the National Zeitung, a newspaper specializing in anti-Communist diatribes.
Whatever the case may be, the Centro Commerciale and Permindex got into difficulties with the Italian and Swiss governments. They refused to testify to the origins of considerable amounts of money, the sources of which are, to say the least, uncertain, and they never seemed to engage in actual commercial transactions. These companies were expelled from Switzerland and Italy in 1962 and then set up headquarters in Johannesburg." (24)
Another individual described by Paesa Sera as a "high level financial backer" was one Dr. David Biegun, "national secretary of the National Committee for Labor Israel, Inc., whose offices are in New York. Biegun was the person who actually handled the liquidation of the agency (CMC), receiving considerable credit for this, though officially 'unknown to the banks.' " (25)  "A short time [after its inauguration]," reports Paesa Sera, when the enormous Centro began to show the true face of its organization with very precise goals, which were anything but commercial, certain persons in Parliament became interested. Odo Spadazzi presented the question to the Chamber. But when the news came out, Spadazzi quickly withdrew. Shortly thereafter, he became [the new] president of the CMC.
While under the presidency of Spadazzi, the Centro was again questioned by the Christian Democrat Mario Ceravolo, who asked for an accounting of all of the activities of the Centro. Ceravolo, a member of the CMC's Board of Directors. . . had been a member of the board since its founding. Since then, he had seen money spent left and right, and had also seen that no commercial activities were being concluded. He wanted to know where the money was going and where it was coming from, but could get no accurate response. At this point, in 1962, he returned [sic; resigned?] from the board and directly demanded the bankruptcy of the Centro, obtaining a confiscation of two million lire.(26)
The Centro's attorneys immediately assured one and all that "the CMC is straightening itself out" and was "now in the process of complete recovery." A recovery which never occurred. It was these curious and mostly untraceable manipulations which led Ceravolo to make public the following letter:
I refer to the article concerning Clay Shaw which appeared in your paper [Paesa Sera] of 4 March 1967. My name was mentioned therein. To avoid misunderstandings and false interpretations, I ask that you please publish the fact that I left the administrative board of the CMC on 25 July 1962 because it was no longer possible to understand the sources of great sums of money obtained abroad by Mr. Giovanni [Giorgio] Mantello, and the real destination of this money. I was the first to call for the bankruptcy of the CMC and of Mr. Mantello, which paid their representatives, administrators, employees, etc. according to their own pleasure. The magistrate did not wish to grant the request for bankruptcy which I, first of all, presented against the Centro.(27)
 The letter is clear, and so is the question it poses. Who was giving virtually unlimited sums of money to the CMC and who was getting it? And for what?
In less than five years of activities which seemed to begin nowhere, go nowhere, and accomplish little or nothing, while receiving from unnamed sources and delivering to anonymous persons and causes vast sums of money, the CMC found reason to change its presidents or directors ten times, or on an average of every six months, although the men controlling its destinies—whatever they may be—are always the same. "Among its possible involvements (supported by the presence in directive posts of men deeply committed to European organizations of the extreme right)," comments Paesa Sera, "is that the Centro was a creature of the CIA . . . set up as a cover for the transfer of CIA . . . funds in Italy for illegal political-espionage activities. It still remains to clear up the presence on the administrative board of the CMC of Clay Shaw and ex-Major Bloomfield." (28)
"It is a fact," the newspaper subsequently commented, "that the CMC . . . is nevertheless the point of contact for a number of persons who, in certain respects, have somewhat equivocal ties whose common denominator is an anti-communism so strong that it would swallow up all those in the world who have fought for decent relations between East and West, including Kennedy." (29)
A mysterious financial manipulator and a former Hungarian premier who supported the military right-wing GAS, kept close ties with the CIA and went halfway around the world to live in Dallas, both of whom were accused of "criminal activities" by the Swiss press. These are two of Shaw's European associates. A former member of Mussolini's cabinet, father-in-law to the daughter of Hitler cabinet minister Hjalmar Schacht, and the leader of a national Fascist organization. Two more who sat on the CMC board with Shaw. A mysterious ex-spy and a man who resigns from the organization out of conscience. Two more of Shaw's companions in business in Rome. Surely a strange assortment of colleagues for an "old-fashioned liberal of the Wilson-Roosevelt persuasion." But then, the Centro Mondiale Commerciale and
Permindex are curious operations, as has become evident.
Clay Shaw's name first appeared in the Rome newspapers in relationship to the CMC on February 14, 1962, in Paesa Sera, but, as that journal itself said, his "name did not have, at the time, any particular significance." Later that was to alter, of course.
"There have been great repercussions from the revelations of Paesa Sera," remarked that publication in its March 6, 1967, issue, "concerning the connection between Clay Shaw, the man incriminated by D.A. Garrison in the Kennedy assassination, and the World Trade Center (CMC) which was [until] recently working in Rome. The information we published was amply followed up by all the Italian dailies. Il Giorno of Milan, La Gazette del Popolo of Turin, De La Sera in Rome, even Il Tempo, which wrote 'the businessman accused by D.A. Garrison was among the administrators of the CMC . . . .' " (30)
". . . the lawyer d'Amelio," continued Paesa Sera, ". . . confirmed Shaw's presence on the administrative board of the CMC at the time he [d'Amelio] was its President."
Subsequently d'Amelio called Shaw "the inventor" of this type of commercial organization. Unfortunately, no one seemed to know quite what kind of organizations the CMC and Permindex were. One of the few things public about them—if one looked—was that Clay Shaw of New Orleans was a member of both of their boards.
"D'Amelio has tried to justify Shaw's presence (in the CMC and on its Board of Directors)," says the newspaper, "by the fact that Shaw 'had organized in New Orleans a permanent trade exhibit like the one which we wanted to set up in Rome,' and therefore 'through courtesy, we offered Shaw a position on the administrative board.'
"D'Amelio did not speak of the activities of Ferenc Nagy who, through the CMC's head office, Permindex, had financed [Jacques] Soustelle and the OAS; he did not know that several Swiss newspapers had called the activities of Nagy and Mandel [Mantello] 'criminal'; and he did not speak of the completion of the CMC (nor could he, since [in terms of its publicly announced intentions]) this has turned out to be nothing but a tremendous failure." (31)
On March 14 Paesa Sera observed that Clay Shaw had "confirmed everything" it had reported regarding his European alliances. "That is to say," it wrote, "that he has declared that he had been, in effect, administrative adviser to the CMC. Shaw, however, has tried to minimize the importance of this, saying that he had accepted the position 'in exchange two New Orleans-Rome airline tickets.' " (32)
Comments Paesa Sera: "According to American sources, Shaw left the U.S. two days after the assassination of Kennedy and came to Europe, visiting, among other places, Italy." (33) Further, it reports, "Clay Shaw, by his own admission, came to Rome during the time preceding the disbanding of the CMC."
Two enigmatic organizations, shadowy figures of finance, neo-Nazi, Fascist individuals manipulating interests in various areas including arms and oil, untold funds from unnamed origins funneled to unspecified ends—the information piles higher and higher, and one senses that one has barely begun to climb the mountain of mystery atop which these men sit and direct their unknown acts to unknown ends. However, to sum up very briefly Clay Shaw's role in this extraordinary drama, a final quote from Paesa Sera of March 6, 1967.
It is certain that Clay Shaw, who was arrested in New Orleans . . . (and, therefore, whether on true grounds or not, is a person who is certainly not limited to the quiet pursuit of his profession as a director of industry, but who must therefore have his finger in the pies of it is not clear what political activities) had a position on the board of the CMC in Rome. It is certain that the CMC (taking advantage of the good faith of d'Amelio and of other Italians who were involved in that disastrous enterprise) has not fulfilled any of the activities for which it was originally projected. It is certain that an important shareholder in the CMC was an ex-official of the American service. Concerning the CMC and the organizations formed by Mandel, it is not clear on whose account many Hungarian refugees who were implicated in espionage activities were working, nor through what agencies large financial dealings in European political movements have been taking place.(34)
It was stated at the beginning of this examination of Clay Shaw's European participations and alliances that the entire matter of the CMC, Permindex, and the various presidents, directors, members of the boards, shareholders, theoretical and actual intentions, extra- and inter-organizational financial manipulations, far- and military-right sponsorings, and so forth, was so complicated as to require a book to cover what is known about these subjects, and that, even then, the most one could draw from would be iceberg visibility. However, it was felt that to understand anything of this strange man, Clay L. Shaw of New Orleans, and who knows where, the simple two-dimensional sketch offered to the public should be given the depth a more concrete mass of material would reveal.
One last point must be noted before we leave this particular area of inquiry. Seeking more information regarding the Centro Mondiale Commerciale, the author telephoned the office of the Italian Consul General in New York. After having received silence in response to requests for information in three successive steps, the author was turned over to an apparent superior. When the question "What can you tell me about the CMC in Rome?" was put, for the fourth time, to a man whom the entire series of exchanges indicated to be of considerable authority, he replied:
"Why don't you contact the American Embassy?"   "The American Embassy?" echoed the author, not a little surprised at the candidness implied. "The American Embassy in Rome," the anonymous informant repeated. "But we are interested in the CMC as seen from the Italian perspective," the author explained. "Try the American Embassy, I can't help you any further." The gentleman was thanked for his assistanceand the conversation concluded.(35)
In New Orleans, Clay L. Shaw is a distinguished citizen. In Rome he was a key member of the boards of two highly recondite, clandestine organizations, numbering among his colleagues persons accused of "criminal activities" on an international level, Fascists, and victims of European assassinations. Are they, in any way, reconcilable images?
Duce! A Biography of Benito MussoliniThe complexity of Shaw's associations does not end with the Centro Mondiale Commerciale and Permindex, but extends deeply into his personal relationships in Europe. His private address and telephone book, for example, carries the name and address of the wife of a well-known English Fascist, as well as the name, address, and private telephone number of Principessa Marcelle Borghese (now Duchessa de Bomartao), who is related to Prince Valerio Borghese, sometimes referred to as "the Black Prince," or "the New Duce," leader of the Movimento Sociale Italiano, the anti-British, anti-American neo-Fascist organization. The prince was a much-decorated midget-submarine commander during the war, following which he was tried and sentenced to twelve years in prison for cooperating with the Nazis after the Italian armistice with the Allies was signed.
However, as he had spent four years in jail awaiting trial, after sentencing, the remaining prison period was suspended.(36)
To return to the happenings in New Orleans.

12 Paesa Sera, March 4, 1967.
13 Ibid.
14 Ibid.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid., March 11 - 12, 1967.
17 Universal Standard Encyclopedia, Vol. XVI, p. 5,974.
18 Paesa Sera, March 4, 1967.
19 Ibid.
20 Ibid.
21 Ibid., March 14, 1967.
22 Le Devoir, March 16, 1967.
23 Paesa Sera, March 4, 1967.
24 Le Devoir, March 16, 1967.
25 Paesa Sera, March 18, 1967.
26 Ibid., March 11 - 12, 1967.
27 Ibid.
28 Ibid., March 4, 1967.
29 Ibid., March 14, 1967.
30 Ibid., March 6, 1967.
31 Ibid.
32 Ibid., March 14, 1967.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid., March 6, 1967.
35 Author's private files.
36 Dennis Eisenberg, The Re-emergence of Fascism (London, MacGibbon and Lee, 1967).