Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #600 The Axis Revisited: Changing the Past and Controlling the Present

Recorded June 10, 2007
MP3: Side 1 | Side 2

Introduction: Analyzing the ongoing influence of fascism in Germany’s Axis partners (Japan and Italy), the program illustrates that, as novelist William Faulkner said: “The past is never dead and buried. It isn’t even past.” Beginning with the acquittal of the accused murderers of former Vatican financial adviser Roberto Calvi, the broadcast sets forth some of the clandestine history of postwar Italian fascism’s significant role in Italian and world politics.

A veteran of the crypto-fascist P-2 Lodge (which evolved directly from Mussolini’s fascisti), Calvi was murdered in 1982 after the collapse of his Banco Ambrosiano. Italy’s largest bank, Ambrosiano had bad loans guaranteed by the Vatican bank (which Calvi helped advise). Like Calvi and the P-2 Lodge to which he belonged, Ambrosiano was involved in many different covert operations and scandals during the closing stages of the Cold War, most involving machinations by the residua of Il Duce’s regime.

After revisiting postwar Italian fascism, the broadcast sets forth the effort by Japanese reactionaries to rewrite the history of World War II. The relative success of this revisionist effort stems from the fact that the Japanese fascists and militarists were never ousted from postwar Japan.

Rather, some of the most heinous Japanese war criminals and fascists were put to work on behalf of U.S. intelligence and in positions of importance in the “new” Japanese government–capacities in which they continued to ply their fascist trade. More importantly, the Japanese were allowed to maintain control over the wealth they stole during the war, utilizing that treasure in tandem with their American occupiers in order to prosecute the Cold War.

Program Highlights Include: An overview of the conspiratorial activities in which Calvi and the P-2 were involved; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s denial of the reality of the “Comfort Women”—slave prostitutes who were forced into sexual service of the Japanese army; Japan’s rewriting of the history of the Imperial Japanese Army’s abuse of the population of Okinawa during the battle for that Island; review of the Golden Lily program that Japan used to systematically loot Asia; discussion of General Charles Willoughby’s role in recruiting the Japanese fascists to serve in U.S. intelligence; review of Willoughby’s admiration for Mussolini; discussion of an attempted fascist coup by Willoughby’s recruits in the early 1950’s.

1. Over the years, Mr. Emory has devoted much program time to the tangle of conspiratorial events surrounding the P-2 lodge, a crypto-fascist power center that determined much of Italy’s postwar history. Descended from Mussolini’s blackshirts, the lodge was headed by Lico Gelli, a veteran of the fascisti and the Salo Republic [that was] established in Italy during the closing months of World War II. Recently, murder charges were dismissed against the accused killers of Roberto Calvi, the head of Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest bank. After Ambrosiano’s collapse in 1982, Vatican financial adviser and P-2 member Calvi was found hanged under Blackfriars’ Bridge in London. [Although the initial finding was suicide, that was later overturned. For more about Calvi and the Vatican, P-2 nexus, see—among other programs—AFA#’s17-21 and M49–available from Spitfire. Interested listeners should also use the search function on this website [at the top of this page], doing key word searches for “P-2,” “Gladio,” “Sismi,” “Vatican,” and “Sindona.” For information about the P-2 milieu’s links to the Niger Yellowcake disinformation used to justify the Iraq war and other links between that nexus and the “war on terror,” see—among other programs—FTR#’s 535, 592, 595.) “A court in Rome has acquitted all five defendants of murder charges in the 1982 death of Roberto Calvi, known as ‘God’s Banker’ for his Vatican ties. Mr Calvi, the chairman of a private Italian bank, Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from scaffolding under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982. A British inquest ruled the death suicide, but the case was reopened at the insistence of Mr Calvi’s family. Mr Calvi died as his bank collapsed in one of Italy’s largest fraud scandals. City of London Police, who initially investigated Mr Calvi’s death, said it was ‘disappointing for Roberto Calvi’s family in particular that those responsible for his murder have still not faced justice’. . . .”
(“Five Acquitted over Calvi Death”; BBC News; 6/6/07.)

2. Next, the program sets forth a superficial overview of some of the forces with which Calvi had been involved and which may have been involved with his killing. “After 25 years, two inquests and a very lengthy trial – the mystery remains. The verdict of the court was that Roberto Calvi was murdered – but the evidence against the five accused, said the judge, was insufficient and at times contradictory. Despite the various motives put forward it seems the jury was not convinced with what, in the end, was a very complicated plot. The proceedings in court lasted less than five minutes. Among the defendants, there was of course quiet celebration. But this will come as a huge disappointment to the Calvi family, particularly his son Carlo, who had campaigned for the case to be re-opened. As chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, Roberto Calvi was involved in some very sensitive financial transactions. In his time he had worked for the Vatican bank, the Mafia, and the Freemasons. But in June 1982 when his bank collapsed – with debts of $1.5bn (£750m) – he suddenly found himself with very powerful enemies. . . . Philip Willan, author of a book on the trial, The Last Supper, says the suspicions still fall on some within the Vatican. ‘The church does not come out of this well,’ he said. ‘And it’s lucky for them that people lost interest in this trial a long time ago. ‘The defense lawyer for Giuseppe Calo argued that evidence from the Calvi family suggested the banker was frightened of the Vatican, was in conflict with the Vatican, and was almost certainly trying to blackmail people in the Vatican,’ Mr Willan says. ‘The lawyer for Calo said the Vatican had an entirely plausible motive for killing him.’ In fact it was suggested by the defense, during this trial, that through offshore accounts Mr Calvi had been sending money to Poland to help fund the pro-democracy Solidarity movement – a cause supported by Pope John Paul II. But Mr Calvi was also working for the mafia and a rather shadowy group of Freemasons, called P2, which had existed here in Italy as a counterbalance to the many communist interests which prevailed. In short Mr Calvi was involved with some very sensitive operations. One thing we know is that he had many secrets. Philip Willan says: ‘This was a man who was supposed to keep his silence. And with an investigation pending – he was threatening not too. There were plenty who wanted him dead.’”
(“The Many Secrets of God’s Banker” by Christian Fraser; BBC News; 6/6/2007.)

3. In an altogether speculative note, the program highlights the fact that, as the Calvi verdict was being delivered, a German man jumped on to the Pope’s vehicle. Mr. Emory wonders whether he was just the “long nut” he was reported as being, or a message of sorts—sort of a “horsehead in the bed” for Pope Benedict, who, as Cardinal Ratizinger, was a major player in the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul II presided over the Calvi/P-2/Ambrosiano scandals, and was shot and wounded by an assailant as the P-2 scandal was starting to break. (For more about Ratzinger, see—FTR#’s 508, 559.) Was the pope being told to “watch his step?” “A German man has tried to jump into Benedict XVI’s popemobile during his weekly general audience held in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The 27-year-old man was wrestled to the ground by security officers. The Pope, himself German, was not injured and did not seem to notice the incident. He proceeded with the audience as normal. In 1981, Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II was shot by Turkish gunman Ali Agca as he drove around the square. . . .”
(“Man Tries to Jump Into Popemobile”; BBC News; 6/6/2007.)

4. Turning to Germany’s other Axis partner—Japan—the broadcast highlights the manner in which the Japanese are openly revising the history of World War II. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe continues to deny that thousands of Asian women were impressed into forced prostitution to serve the Japanese Army. (For more about the re-emergence of Japanese fascism and the revision of Japan’s World War II history, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 291, 296, 581, 584. 581 details Abe’s own family heritage of involvement with the Golden Lily-derived funds.) “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Japan would refuse to comply if the United States Congress demanded an apology for his nation’s use of foreign women as sexual slaves during World War II. Japan has already lobbied against a resolution, under consideration in the House of Representatives, that would call on Tokyo to take clearer responsibility for its enslavement of some 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women known euphemistically here as ‘comfort women.’ Japan has apologized before and issued a major report in 1993. But there are widespread concerns that Mr. Abe and other conservative Japanese lawmakers may try to water down or reverse such admissions of guilt as part of a broader push to revise their nation’s wartime history. Speaking in Parliament, Mr. Abe reiterated the position of conservative scholars here that Japanese officials and soldiers did not have a hand in forcing women into brothels, instead blaming any coercion on contractors used by Japan’s military. Mr. Abe rejected testimony before a House committee by surviving victims, who said they had been kidnapped by Japanese soldiers to serve in military brothels. He said ‘testimony to the effect that there had been a hunt for comfort women is a complete fabrication.’ . . . ”
(“No Apology for Sex Slavery, Japan’s Prime Minister Says” by Martin Fackler; New York Times; 3/6/2007.)

5. In addition to revising the history of the “comfort women,” Japanese textbooks are revising the story of the Japanese army’s World War II abuse of the native population of Okinawa: “In another sign that Japan is pressing ahead in revising its history of World War II, new high school textbooks will no longer acknowledge that the Imperial Army was responsible for a major atrocity in Okinawa, the government announced late Friday. The Ministry of Education ordered publishers to delete passages stating that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, as the island was about to fall to American troops in the final months of the war. The decision was announced as part of the ministry’s annual screening of all public school textbooks. The ministry also ordered changes to other delicate issues to dovetail with government assertions, even though the screening is supposed to be free of political interference. . . . Japan officially annexed Okinawa — a kingdom that, to this day, has retained some of its own culture — in the late 19th century. During World War II, when many Okinawans still spoke a different dialect, Japanese troops treated the locals brutally. In its history of the war, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum presents Okinawa as being caught in the fighting between America and Japan — a starkly different view from Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine war museum, which presents Japan as a liberator of Asia from Western powers. During the 1945 battle, during which one-quarter of the civilian population was killed, the Japanese army showed indifference to Okinawa’s defense and safety. Japanese soldiers used civilians as shields against the Americans, and convinced locals that victorious U.S. soldiers would go on a rampage of killing and raping. With the impending victory of U.S. troops, civilians committed mass suicide, urged on by fanatical Japanese soldiers.’ There were some people who were forced to commit suicide by the Japanese army,’ one old textbook explained. But in the revision ordered by the ministry, it now reads, ‘There were some people who were driven to mass suicide.’ . . .”
(“Japan’s Testbooks Reflect Revised History” by Norimitsu Onishi; The New York Times; 4/1/2007.)

6. Next, the program highlights a foundation of the resurgence of Japanese nationalist and fascist ideology. After the war, the U.S. formed common cause with the Japanese fascists, placing many of them right back in power in Japan and conspiring with them to use the stolen wealth of the Golden Lily program for the purposes of establishing postwar reaction and executing covert operations. Author Jerry Meldon highlights the work of the Seagraves, whose Gold Warriors is the definitive text on the postwar Japanese utilization of their stolen wealth from World War II. (For more about Golden Lily and the Seagraves’ magnificent work, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 426, 427, 428, 446, 451, 501, 509.) “On Feb. 19, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso took exception to a U.S. congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Mike Honda, D-California, calling on Japan to “formally acknowledge, apologize and accept historical responsibility” for coercing 200,000 Asian women into slavery as “Comfort Women” (wartime prostitutes) for 3.5 million Japanese soldiers. Mr. Aso said he considers the accusation groundless and extremely regrettable. Six decades after World War II, can it really be that Japanese officials are still distorting history and insulting the Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos and others across Asia whom Hirohito’ s forces savagely brutalized and robbed? And why does Washington turn a deaf ear? The answers may be rooted in what transpired behind closed doors in Tokyo when Japan was occupied by the U.S. military in the post-war years . Sterling and Peggy Seagrave suggest a motive in their eye-opening – and at times stomach-turning – 2003 book, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold. In the war’s immediate aftermath, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of Allied occupying forces, secretly joined hands with Japanese war criminals. Rather than convict, imprison and throw away the keys, MacArthur coddled those responsible for one of history’s bloodiest wars of aggression. When the U.S. occupation ended in 1952, he released all those who were still in custody. And it may have gone a lot further than that. According to Gold Warriors, even as the United States “introduced democratic reforms and a new constitution … [it ] put Japan back under the control of men who were devotedly undemocratic … [insisting] that Japan never stole anything and was flat broke … [when, in reality, America had given it ] huge infusions of black money.” Washington even had Article 14 of the 1951 Japan Peace Treaty state : “It is recognized that Japan should pay reparations to the Allied Powers for the damage and suffering caused by it during the war. Nevertheless it is also recognized that the resources of Japan are not presently sufficient … [Therefore] the Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers and their nationals arising out of any actions taken by Japan.” As historian Christopher Simpson put it , the United States thereby insured ‘that the vict ims of the war – rape camp survivors, slave laborers and POWs – [would] be left with nothing.’ . . .”
(“Why U.S. Shields Japan’s WWII Denials” by Jerry Meldon; Consortium News; 2/24/07.)

7. In order to prosecute the Cold War, the U.S. recruited notorious Japanese war criminals to serve as intelligence operatives in the postwar period. Among those was Co. Masanobu Tsuji, who helped to engineer the Sook Ching massacres. (For more about the Sook Ching massacres, see FTR#580.) Of great significance in the context of this discussion is the fact that many of the worst war criminals were recruited by the German-born General Charles Willoughby, an admirer of Mussolini and MacArthur’s military intelligence chief. (Willoughby was a key player in postwar far-right and fascist circles. See—among other programs—FTR#’s 427, 428, 446, 556.) “Col. Masanobu Tsuji was a fanatical Japanese militarist and brutal warrior, hunted after World War II for massacres of Chinese civilians and complicity in the Bataan Death March. And then he became a U.S. spy. Newly declassified CIA records, released by the U.S. National Archives and examined by The Associated Press, document more fully than ever how Tsuji and other suspected Japanese war criminals were recruited by U.S. intelligence in the early days of the Cold War. . . The records, declassified in 2005 and 2006 under an act of Congress in tandem with Nazi war crime-related files, fill in many of the blanks in the previously spotty documentation of the occupation authority’s intelligence arm and its involvement with Japanese ultra-nationalists and war criminals, historians say. In addition to Tsuji, who escaped Allied prosecution and was elected to parliament in the 1950s, conspicuous figures in U.S.-funded operations included mob boss and war profiteer Yoshio Kodama, and Takushiro Hattori, former private secretary to Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister hanged as a war criminal in 1948. The CIA also cast a harsh eye on its counterparts — and institutional rivals — at G-2, the occupation’s intelligence arm, providing evidence for the first time that the Japanese operatives often bilked gullible American patrons, passing on useless intelligence and using their U.S. ties to boost smuggling operations and further their efforts to resurrect a militarist Japan. . . . The informants, many of whom were held as war criminals after Tokyo’s surrender and subsequently released, operated under the patronage of Maj. Gen. Charles Willoughby, a German-born, monocle-wearing admirer of Mussolini, a staunch anti-Communist and, as the chief of G-2 in the occupation government, considered second in power only to his boss, Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Some of Willoughby’s proteges were seen as prime war trial material by Allied prosecutors. . . .”
(“CIA Files Show How Postwar ‘Spies’ Snookered U.S. Intelligence” by Joseph Coleman [AP]; USA Today; 2/22/2007.)

8. Indicative of the real political orientation of the Japanese recruits was the fact that they planned a fascist coup attempt. Note that the primary planners of the attempt were protégés of the aforementioned Charles Willoughby. Note also that, ultimately, Prime Minister Yoshida was replaced with Hatoyama—as the coup plotters had intended. [The text presented here downplays the significance of this.] “Declassified documents reveal that Japanese ultranationalists with ties to U.S. military intelligence plotted to overthrow the Japanese government and assassinate the prime minister in 1952. The scheme — which was abandoned — was concocted by militarists and suspected war criminals who had worked for U.S. occupation authorities after World War II, according to CIA records reviewed by The Associated Press. The plotters wanted a right-wing government that would rearm Japan. The CIA files, declassified in 2005 and publicized by the U.S. National Archives in January, detail a plot to oust the pro-U.S. prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida, and install a more hawkish government led by Ichiro Hatoyama. The CIA, in papers released under an act of the U.S. Congress to declassify documents related to Japanese war crimes, said the plotters were led by Takushiro Hattori, a former private secretary to Hideki Tojo, the wartime prime minister hanged as a war criminal in 1948. Two CIA documents said the plot reportedly had the support of 500,000 people in Japan, and that the group planned to use a contact who controlled a faction inside the National Safety Agency — a precursor to the Defense Ministry — to help launch the coup. The files reviewed by the AP strongly suggest the Americans were unaware of the plot until after it had been dropped. . . . The departure of Willoughby from Japan in 1951 as the U.S. occupation wound down deprived the rightists of their leading American patron and paymaster. Meanwhile, Yoshida was openly hostile to Hattori’s push for rearmament. ‘The government attitude toward the Hattori group has been increasingly antagonistic, and the group has lost influence since the departure of General Willoughby,’ said a CIA document dated April 18, 1952. [Emphasis added.] Yoshida was pushed out of office peacefully in 1954 and replaced by Hatoyama, but the ultrarightist dream of resurrecting a militarist Japan never happened.”
(“CIA Papers Reveal 1950s Japan Coup Plot” by Joseph Coleman [AP]; boston.com; 3/1/2007.)

9. Two video productions are being generated by a couple of documentary filmmakers. One is a DVD of a three-lecture series called “The First Refuge of a Scoundrel: The Relationship Between Fascism and Religion.” To learn more about this, visit The Anti-Fascist YouTube.com page. In addition, there will soon be a documentary about Mr. Emory, titled “The Anti-Fascist.” For more about this project, visit theantifascist.com.


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