Italian probe could mean new woes for Oliver North by Leonardo Servadio and Mark Burdman D

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Italian probe could mean new woes for Oliver North by Leonardo Servadio and Mark Burdman Developments in Italy during the week of July 23 have raised new questions about the potential involvement of the Iran-Contra mob around Lt. Col. Oliver North, in both the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme and the ensuing coverup. What is emerging in Italy points to that side of the North crowd's misdeeds which has never been brought before an American court and investigated by any U.S. commission. The tumult in Italy was already brewing since early June, but it became a controversy of international proportions, when the magazine {Panorama} revealed on July 23, that President Francesco Cossiga had sent a letter to Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti on July 5, after having reviewed the content of interviews conducted by Italian state television TG1 journalist Ennio Remondino with former CIA agents Richard Brenneke and Ibrahim Razin. Cossiga wrote that statements contained in the broadcasts were so serious that the government was obliged to look into them immediately, and ``if the government were to think that the information had any basis, I think that it should inform the judiciary authority and the Parliamentary Commission on Massacres and, at the level of the bilateral relations, the relevant authorities in the U.S.A. and in Sweden.'' Otherwise, wrote Cossiga, the journalists who published the information without previously thoroughly checking its validity, should be punished in a most rigorous way. In late June-early July, the interviews with Brenneke and Razin were broadcast in four parts by TG1. The most explosive element of what they said, was that three days before Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated, Licio Gelli, Grand Master of the Propaganda 2 (P-2) Freemasonic lodge, had sent a telegram to Republican Party representative Philip Guarino, an intimate of George Bush, announcing that ``the Swedish tree will be felled.'' In his sequence, Razin claimed that the text of the telegram exists in the archives of the National Security Agency, and that the FBI has opened an investigation into this. Razin added that he knew of the existence of such a telegram from a high representative of the American mafia, and that Palme was assassinated because he knew about the illegal weapons trade in connection with the Iran-Iraq war. As Brenneke put it, Palme had become a ``fly in the ointment'' for those responsible for the dirty doings. Brenneke, in one of his TV sequences, asserted that the P-2 lodge was involved in such a trade. According to Razin, the arms trade was an integral part of agreements reached at the time of the 1980 election campaign between representatives of the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and Iranian representatives: The Iranians would guarantee not to release the American hostages before the election was over, so that President Carter would not get the benefit. In exchange, the Republicans allegedly promised to send weapons to Iran after winning the elections. Brenneke said that Gelli was present at the October 1980 meeting in Paris where U.S. and Iranian representatives discussed the whole operation. He also asserted that George Bush, then candidate for the U.S. vice presidency, took part in October 1980 arms-to-Iran discussions in Paris, although not necessarily in the same discussions as Gelli. Speaking about the CIA-Propaganda-2 contacts, Brenneke said in the interview: ``We used the assistance of these people to let money and drugs go in and out of the U.S.A., and to let drugs and money go in and out of Italy. We used them to create situations favorable to the explosion of terrorism in Italy and other European countries at the beginning of the 1970s.'' Brenneke added that the CIA had financed P-2 to the tune of $1-10 million a month, conduited through foreign-based corporations. If what Brenneke said is found to be true, it would prove that the CIA, the P-2, and the KGB were working together to run weapons, dope, and destabilizations internationally, given that the KGB involvement in such activities has been amply proven. It would be proven that Palme was killed by the same crowd that ran the Iran-Contra operation and that slandered Lyndon LaRouche's political associates as a coverup for their own dirty dealings. In statements issued July 24 and 25, Virginia 10th District congressional candidate LaRouche identified that this crowd is best known as ``Project Democracy,'' a sub-unit of the U.S. government's National Endowment for Democracy that works closely with the Anti-Defamation League, NBC News, and elements of the U.S. Department of Justice, and FBI, in the operation to have LaRouche and several associates framed up and imprisoned. This Project Democracy apparatus works with powerful forces in Israel and Great Britain. The Brenneke and Razin statements are not by themselves what is causing tremors internationally, but rather the fact that the President of Italy has urgently demanded that the government clear up the truth of the Palme-Propaganda-2-CIA matter, of the contention that the CIA financed terrorism in Italy, and the matter of U.S. President Bush's name having been raised. Once the fact of Cossiga's letter was made public, the shock effects went way beyond Italy. Many of the newspapers that had jumped on the ``LaRouche behind killing of Palme'' disinformation in the March 1986 period--such as the {Wiesbadener Kurier} in West Germany and the {Times} in Britain--were now publishing prominent stories featuring in the headlines, the mooted CIA-Propaganda-2 connection to the murder of Palme. On July 24, almost all of the nationally read newspapers in West Germany, and much of the major regional press, were highlighting the story, and it was also getting wide coverage in Sweden and other countries in Europe. CIA officials have meanwhile furiously denied all the allegations, and have claimed that Brenneke was never in the CIA's employ. But as the Italian daily {Il Giorno} of July 24 underlined, the CIA usually refrains from taking an official position in such circumstances. If they do so now, there must be something really big afoot. - Some signals to Washington - In Italy itself, the two Italian magistrates who are investigating the P-2 affair, Francesco Monastero and Elisabetta Cesqui, want to hear testimony from Brenneke and Razin. According to Italian press reports, the two magistrates also want to investigate corporations based in Belgium, Switzerland, and the U.S. that Brenneke said the CIA had used as a channel to finance the P-2 lodge. In the hands of the magistrates are documents which Brenneke gave to journalist Remondino, which are said to include evidence of the connections between the CIA and the lodge. Meanwhile, P-2 Grand Master Gelli is so distraught, that he has instructed his lawyer to sue Italian state television for billions of liras. But as seen from Italy, these investigations and legal fights are only part of a broader picture, in which many dark truths are coming to the light of day. Beyond this, they indicate a significant strategic re-thinking going on from inside Italy. In the days in which the interviews with Razin and Brenneke were broadcast, the Italian press was full of articles concerning the proofs, which are starting to come out in the open, regarding the ties beween Eastern secret services and the international terrorism that was unleashed against all the Western European countries, but in particular against Italy and Germany, during the 1970s. It had just come out that the renowned terrorist ``Carlos'' was protected by East bloc secret services. ``We want to understand if the terrorists, with the help of the 007s from the East, wanted to stop the process of change in the Communist Party,'' said Christian Democratic Secretary Arnaldo Forlani, while in Hungary at the end of June. Forlani was referring to the assassination of his party's chairman Aldo Moro, perpetrated by the Red Brigades in June 1978, three months after he was kidnaped. Moro had been working to bring the Italian Communist Party out of Moscow's political control, and for bringing Italy out of the political control of the two superpowers. What might unite the cases of Moro and Palme is that, in different ways, they both were an obstacle to the superpowers' global power-sharing plans. In this context, the fact that the interviews of Brenneke and Razin came out just as all the media were starting to expose the connections of terrorism with the KGB and the Eastern intelligence services, led some people, especially from Italy's Socialist and Liberal parties, to say that the interviews conducted by Remondino were a smokescreen raised by the Communists in order to divert attention from the Communist role in protecting and steering international terrorism. In reality, if what Brenneke and Razin stated in their interviews proves true, the picture that would emerge would not necessarily contradict the information concerning the Communist connections to terrorism: rather, it might complete them and provide a wider and more precise picture, bringing to the light a dark world where Eastern and Western secret operations were run for maintaining the status quo against political forces striving for national emancipation. Were this the case, it would be quite coherent that revelations such as those of Razin and Brenneke come up at a time when the ``equilibrium of Yalta'' is being shaken. President Cossiga's letter to Prime Minister Andreotti was written July 5: right after the brodcasts, and just as Andreotti was about to leave for the London NATO summit. In the days before that summit, there were some provocative signs that the Italian political elite had decided to open up a new era in its relations with the U.S. In June 27 testimony before an Italian parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of the shooting down of an Italian airliner over Ustica 10 years ago, Adm. Fulvio Martini, the head of Italian military intelligence, was asked about Libya's role in that affair. In response, he noted that Libya's relations with many countries operated in a ``gray zone.'' For example, he pointed out, the presidential campaign of George Bush received money from Libya indirectly, through royalties paid by Qaddafi into Texas oil companies which supported Bush. Martini's charge of a Bush-Qaddafi link made headlines at the time. He could not have said it, without agreement from senior figures in the Italian political establishment. This was a foretaste of the issues that erupted at the Houston Group of Seven summit on July 9-11. There, it became obvious that significant tensions have emerged between continental Europe and the Anglo-American world, with talk of trade war on everyone's lips. No doubt, the whole skein of Martini's statements, the TG1 interviews, and the Cossiga letter, side by side with the expose@aas of East bloc sponsorship of terrorism, reflects the potential for Italy to shift into a new European orientation in the period ahead. That Italy holds the presidency of the European Community until the end of this year, makes this entire


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