21 Mar 2006
By Greg Szymanski
The incarceration of Dr. Francesco Pazienza cannot be discussed intelligently without discussing his connection with Washington neo con insider, Michael Ledeen.
As Italian court documents suggest, the pair were tied together at the hip regarding "Billygate," the 1980 Bologna train station bombing and the plot behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.
And there are probably many other sordid affairs Ledeen help orchestrate that will remain forever under the radar screen.
But one thing is for sure he was involved up to his eye balls in the infamous Vatican Bank scandal, the sponsorship of terrorism through the "Red Brigade," an extremist group tagged for blowing bombs off in Italy during the 1980's like firecrackers on the fourth of July, and a general climate of fear and mass confusion aimed at controlling, disrupting and destroying the Italian culture.
So the big question remains why is Pazienza in solitary confinement, rotting away in a Livorno, Italy, jail while Ledeen is still strutting his pompous behind in Washington and acting as a consultant for President Bush and his right hand man, Karl Rove?
Further, why has the Italian and American judiciary protected Ledeen from even testifying in the Pazienza case after defense lawyers repeatedly wanted him called to the witness stand?
The answer appears quite simple: political clout and muscle comprised the judiciary in order to protect higher-ups in the U.S. government, leaving Pazienza out of sight and out of mind to take the rap as the low-level patsy.
And since Ledeen was working for Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Ronald Reagan and the Bush crime family, any testimony may lead to the doorstep of the big boys, incriminating the so-called untouchables who are living in what looks like a private demonic world above the law of the common man.
As Pazienza still clings to the hope he will someday be released from jail, it is important to understand exactly who is Ledeen and where did this political neo con animal come from?
An excerpt paraphrased and taken from Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan's book, The "Terrorism" Industry," written in 1989, provides an adequate description of Ledeen, his Italian connection and on the payroll of the Italian Secret Service and his long time association with Pazienza.:
Michael Ledeen has long been associated with Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Jesuit-organized facility under the direction of Georgetown University, and was one of the founding organizers of The Jewish Institute for National Security (JINSA).
During the Reagan years, Ledeen moved into the higher circles of power, serving as Secretary of State Haig's advisor and agent in Italy, as a consultant on terrorism, and playing a role in both the Bulgarian connection case and the Iran-contra affair. With these connections, Ledeen had exceptional media exposure, appearing on ABC's "Nightline" and "This Week with David Brinkley," PBS's
"MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," and CNN's "Crossfire." He has also written op-ed columns and articles for numerous magazines and newspapers, and edited the Washington Quarterly (published by CSIS) prior to going towork for Haig.
Ledeen's academic career came to an end when he was denied tenure at Washington University in St. Louis in 1972 for, among other reasons,plagiarism. During the 1970s, he worked as a journalist in Italy with Il Giornale Nuovo, a right-wing newspaper reputedly controlled by the CIA. During this Italian stint he collaborated regularly withClaire Sterling in anticommunist propaganda closely tied to ongoingU.S. interventionist strategies.
In 1980 he entered into a collaboration with Francesco Pazienza, an agent of the Italian Secret Service (SISMI) and a member of Rome's extreme right-wing Masonic Lodge, P2 (Propaganda Due), headed by the fascist Licio Gelli.
In an Italian criminal court in 1985, Pazienza was judged guilty of political manipulation, forgery, and the protection of criminals and terrorists, among other offenses. Indeed, according to the findings ofthe court, Pazienza falsified information about the Bologna bombing in order to divert attention away from the real (right-wing) terrorists who had staged the attack.
Ledeen is identified in the court documents as an agent of SISMI, possibly placed on their payroll by Pazienza himself. Ledeen collected money for his services to SISMI, which included "risk assessment," the training of Italian intelligence agents, and providing reports on terrorism to the Italian government.
Pazienza and Ledeen worked together in the so-called Billygate affair during the 1980 presidential campaign, luring Jimmy Carter's brotherinto a compromising relationship with Qaddafi (this according toprosecuting Judge Domenico Sica). During the Reagan transition, to quote Italian police official Umberto d'Amato, "there was an interregnum during which relations between Italy and the United Stateswere carried on in the persons of the duo Pazienza-Ledeen".
Later, the pair were important participants in the creation of the Bulgarian plot to kill the pope, a story overlooked by most of the major media in the West.
Ledeen has moved within the power structure and between Western governments according to opportunity, for personal advantage and perhaps also in pursuit of political ends that are not entirely clear.
Although serving as a loyal agent of the U.S. state in Italy in the 1970s, his service in the Billygate affair was to the Republican Party. He was on the payroll of the Italian Secret Service agency SISMI in the early 1980s, but his manipulations in Italy caused the new head of SISMI to declare before Parliament in 1984 that Ledeen was an "intriguer" and unwelcome in Italy.
His attachment to Israel,reflected in his JINSA connection, may have influenced his pursuit of the hostage deal with Iran (Israel favored such a transaction), and his former boss in the Pentagon, Noel Koch, asserts that while Ledeenwas in Italy the CIA station chief there took him to be "an agent of influence of a foreign government".
Not only did the head of SISMI denounce him as an intriguer, but the authors of the Tower Commission Report concluded that the CIA should permanently terminate its relationship with Ledeen and his associate, Ghorbanifar. All of this, however, has not interfered with his status as a terrorism expert for the U.S. mass media. His connections are still potent, the right-wing and Israeli lobby are fond of him, he is glib and his "transparent crap" is therefore acceptable.
While Ledeen still hides behind the cloak of the neo con power structure's phony war on terror, it's obvious from Italian court documents he was working to facilitate terrorism in Italy, not stop it. And this is essentially why Pazienza still sits rotting in jail, a move designed by the corrupt elite to protect Ledeen and other higher-ups from the true nature of their role as terrorist facilitators and war mongers.
"I do not like this man, Ledeen," said Marco Saba, of the Organized Crime Observatory in Geneva, Switserland, a group trying to get Pazienza released as well as seriously trying to track down money laundering and international bank scandals stemming from the corrupt Federal Reserve system and the Vatican Bank.
"The powers in Washington want to pin the Vatican bank scandal n part on Pazienza, which just isn't true. They are essentially holding him illegally as a political prisoner in order to protect the real criminals.We are working hard for his release and his legal counsel in Rome has sent Condaleeza a detailed letter in March 2005, discussing the true facts behind the Pazienza jailing.
"She has not responded, but we are still holding out hope that one day the full truth will be known about his case. What is going on in Washington is terrible and I think many Americans do not fully understand what has transpired in Italy, revealing the corruption.
"After World War II, the American people elped the Italians. May be it's time that we return the favor and help you now before it is too late."
Besides Pazienza's involvement with Ledeen, court records and an article written in the Wall Street Journal in 1985 show he may also have strong ties to the inner workings of the powerful P2 Masonic Lodge.
The articles document how after Pazienza was removed from SISMI, he was then picked up by a more sinister covert group called P2. Originally an Italian Masonic Lodge established in 1877, it grew in the 1960's to become an organization whose membership included Italy's most rich and powerful. In March of 1981, the head of the organization had his house raided and the Italian police found a complete roster of P-2 in his home. One of the names on that roster was Silvio Berlusconi, who would become the Italian Prime Minister that supported the Bush Administration in its drive for war in Iraq.
This fact is one that is well documented in the Wall Street Journal article. Another prominent member of P2, uncovered in the article, was Rocco Martino, recruited out of SISMI and who also had connections with Pazienza.
Although Pazienza was in jail by this time, according to foreign news reports, nefarious activities and the same Italian connection continue today, as Martino was allegedly tied to the Niger forgery and its Rome Embassy.
In 2000, according to reports, Martino contacted, "a SISMI source, a 'lady' who worked at the Niger Embassy in Rome, could provide Martino with information in exchange for which Martino pays the Nigerian 'lady' 500 euros/month." It isn't entirely clear if Martino was working for SISMI, P-2, both or on his own. On January 2nd, 2001, the Nigerian embassy was broken into. All that was taken was some letterhead and seals.
By late 2001, around the time of the secret Rome meeting, Martino has the fully forged documents from the Nigerian lady, then hands them over to an Italian reporter, Elisabetta Burba. She worked for the magazine Panorama, which just happens to be owned by Silvio Berlusconi.
According to an internet post on Daily Kos, "Burba shows the documents to her boss and requests to arrange a visit to Niger. Her boss, editor-in-chief Carlo Rossella, who is known to have ties with the Berlusconi government, insists that she first turn copies over to the U.S. Embassy, which she did on October 9th. Burba's trip to Niger proved that the documents were fake and even that the companies allegedly involved were too small to make a transaction of that size. Something the French would have known had they been behind the forgeries."
Seymour Hersh then published an article in The New Yorker of what happened next, saying:
"Two former C.I.A. officials provided slightly different accounts of what happened next. "The Embassy was alerted that the papers were coming," the first former official told me, "and it passed them directly to Washington without even vetting them inside the Embassy." Once the documents were in Washington, they were forwarded by the C.I.A. to the Pentagon, he said. "Everybody knew at every step of the way that they were false - until they got to the Pentagon, where they were believed."
According to political observers commenting on connections on a post at the Daily Kos, "this account would make sense if one were to believe that the forged documents came from Vice-President Cheney. The neo conservatives were housed in the Pentagon and, as we now know, they used everything they could to justify war. The C.I.A. was skeptical the entire time. When former CIA director George Tenet took responsibility for allowing those sixteen words to be included in Bush's State of the Union, in fact he was taking the fall for something he doubted in the first place.
"Cheney could have very easily created the documents with the help of his "cabal", given them to Michael Ledeen so that he could give them to the clandestine group of Rocco Martino, Francisco Pazienza and Antonio Martino (no relation to Rocco). We know that it was Rocco Martino who gave the documents to the Italian reporter, who then gave them to the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Our embassy then forwarded them to the CIA, the and the CIA put the documents back on the desk of Vice-President, Dick Cheney. Finally, in today's La Republica, an Italian newspaper, Martino is quoted as saying, 'It's true - it's my hand in the dissemination of those documents (on the Niger uranium), but I have been tricked. Behind this story there are Americans and Italians together. It was a case of a disinformation operation'.".
Besides the current Niger affair, tied to the same Italian connection, a legal synopsis sent in March 2005 by Pazienza's attorney, Renato Borzone, president of the Rome Bar Association, details in the highly explosive and politically damaging letter to Rice, facts showing corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. and Italian governments, dating back to the 1980's.
Although Rice has not responded, the letter kicked off a hunger strike by Pazienza, who is still trying to alert the world he is being held as "nothing more than a political hostage."
Editor's Note: Tomorrow in Part III, the details of the Rice letter are exposed, as well as an update on Pazienza's current situation.
Listen to my Radio Broadcast live Monday night at 8pm Pacific time on LewisNews, returning Jan. 1 2006 Radio http://webs.lewisnews.com/radio/index.html. Greg is also regular on Rense.com the first Thursday of every month at 9pm pacific time.
Greg also has his own daily show on the Republic Broadcast Network. Go to www.rbnlive.com and will be starting a daily program on the Genesis Communications Network soon at www.gcnlive.com Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at www.LewisNews.com. He also writes for American Free Press and has his own site www.arcticbeacon.com