One of the major agencies connected with the operation was the Mafia. The Mafia had been revitalized by the USA, even before the Allies invaded Sicily. The USA in fact "recruited" the Mafia altogether into the U.S. Army. It became part and parcel of the USA command. Mafiosi became the principal strategists of the inexpert Americans.
The Mafiosi exploited the Americans with the cunning of Sicilian foxes and the alertness of keen businessmen, ready for any opportunity to make money. They "advised" American officers who knew nothing about local or Italian politics, making them commit blunders of the greatest magnitude.
The "Mafiosi" never let a golden opportunity to make money pass. Once they heard of the passports and visa factories, they entered into the field with a vengeance. Their expertise in the subtle art of falsification was second to none. They worked for the Vatican and even for the USA itself.
Thanks to the protection of the USA and their historical cunning, the Mafia eventually prospered to such an extent that in the process it built itself into the mighty Mafia Empire of the future, which spanned the Atlantic for decades to come.
It had political results of far reaching importance for Italy itself. It helped mightily to render Sicily a semi-autonomous island where the Mafia ruled supreme, affecting Rome and the Italian Administration, including Italian foreign policy. The relationship of the Mafia with the Vatican remained very closed during many years, not only after the war but also during the war itself. Indeed, the Mafia, on more than one occasion, acted as a fairy god-mother for the Vatican. The most striking case was when it helped the Vatican transfer tons of pure silver from Naples to Rome to avoid the Germans melting it down, to pay for expenses of the German occupation.
The present author, who during the war had been broadcasting daily to the partisans, advising them to harass the Germans who were then in Italy, went to Naples in 1975 and visited the cathedral. There he was struck by an altar, seemingly made of what appeared to be pure solid silver. Upon asking whether that was so, he was told by the altar's guardian that it was solid silver. The tons of silver, the man then explained, had been saved from the Germans then occupying Naples, thanks to the Mafia. To the present author's stupefaction, the individual then told a tale.
The Vatican, having heard rumours to the effect that the Germans, then occupying Italy, had made plans to melt down the silver of the altar of St. Januarius to pay for their occupation of southern Italy, contacted the Mafia and asked for their cooperation. The Mafia, whose members besides being keen businessmen are also immensely religious, accepted the Vatican's proposal with pious alacrity. Since they were cooperating with the Germans in sundry secret operations, they were permitted by the latter to transport their wares, food, black-market items and the like, to the North, that is to Rome. The result was that the silver of the altar was transported in Mafia lorries to the very entrance of the Vatican where it was safely deposited.
The present author made inquiries as to the veracity of the story. (During the war he had made many broadcasts about the Germans having experimented with the "liquification" of the blood of the Saint which, according to the Catholic Church is a "miracle." This is taken as such by the Neapolitan populace. The latter, take it as a good omen if the "miracle" occurs; as a bad one if the "blood" does not become liquid.)
He discovered that the Mafia, true to its reputation, had worked for all three employers, the Germans, the Vatican and the USA, simultaneously. A masterpiece of "international cooperation."
The recruitment of the Mafia would have been reprehensible on the part of both the USA and the Vatican, had it not been for the fact that both wished to help the flight of war criminals from Europe, each with its own objectives.
Whereas the USA wanted to rescue them to carry out political operations against Soviet Russia and the oncoming Cold War, the Vatican, while thinking upon the same lines, had been motivated by an additional objective. Namely to help former political and religious supporters whom it had blessed during, the reign of terror under the Nazi imperium. The Vatican protective attitudes had been prompted not only by seemingly Christian charity, but also by the consolidation of its newly born secret alliance with Washington.
The basic motivation of such strange Vatican-USA fellowship, which at first sight seemed to be a most improbable partnership, would have appeared incomprehensible, had not the motivation of both been taken into account. Their joint motivations were derived by the necessity of their part to recruit, as energetically and as quickly as possible, trustworthy anti-Russian, anti-Communist battalions ready to fight against Bolshevik Russia. And where could the Vatican and the State Department find such ready, dedicated, anti-Communist recruits, if not in the rank and file of the defeated anti-Communists of Europe, namely in the fleeing war criminals now seeking asylum in the Americas and the USA? Had they and their comrades not attacked, occupied and almost defeated the Russian hordes, almost single handed, while America was sending billions to help Stalin? Perhaps now the USA, who had come face to face with Stalin, had realized at last her mistake. The fugitives from a defeated Europe were now ready to help the USA rectify her error; that is help the USA fight Soviet Russia, her former ally.
Thousands, not necessarily pro-Nazi, sympathized with such thoughts. Many in the USA openly said so. Churchill himself agreed. The general consensus was that Stalin had become a menace no less horrendous than Hitler. The consensus was supported not by speculation, but by menacing facts. The reality facing the victorious Allies was that Stalin had swallowed up whole regions. Indeed, in addition to extinguishing former independent countries, like Estonia, Latvia and others, he had occupied one-third of Europe proper. He had turned previous sovereign nations, like Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and Hungary, into Russian satellites. Moves were made by Moscow to do likewise in Asia, the Near East, Africa, and even in the Western Hemisphere, as Cuba was eventually to prove, not long afterwards.
The USA and the Vatican were alarmed and decided to act in unison. The results were the first secret moves which, within a very brief period, became known as the Cold War. That culminated with the Korean War of the fifties and the Vietnam War of the sixties and seventies. The recruitment of proven anti-Communist individuals, from the fleeing war criminals, therefore became part and parcel of the USA Vatican grand postwar strategy. More than charity or compassion, or even ideological sympathy, it became a positive strategic campaign by both. They wished to recruit the right material for the oncoming anti-Soviet crusade of the near future. The battalions composed of the war criminals, still rabidly anti-red and anti-Russian, would have become the spearhead of a new grand crusade against not Hitlerite Europe, but against a Stalinized Soviet Russia and the third of Europe now under the Soviet yoke of control.
Russia only occupied countries that were on the direct invasion route to Moscow. Austria was liberated by the Soviets but that country was handed back to them right after the war and did not become a Russian satellite!!
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