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The facts available even at the time suggested the far greater likelihood that
Moscow's postwar strategy, including the conversion of Eastern Europe into a
western buffer, was basically defensive. I argued this thesis with some of the CIA
analysts working on Soviet estimates and with some Pentagon audiences, but it
was not a popular view at the time. It is nonetheless a simple fact that no scenario
was written then, nor has it been written since, to explain why the Russians would



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want to conquer Western Europe by force or to bomb the United States. Neither
action would have contributed in any tangible way to the Soviet national interest
and would have hazarded the destruction of the Soviet state. This basic question
was never raised, for the Cold War prism created in the minds of the diplomatic
and military strategists a clear-cut world of black and white; there were no
grays.25

Several years were to pass, Rositzke pointed out, before it became clear to
Washington that there were no warnings, early or otherwise, to report. This, however,
had no noticeable effect upon the United States' military build-up or cold-war
propaganda.




18. Italy 1950s to 1970s
Supporting the Cardinal's orphans and techno-fascism

After the multifarious extravaganza staged by the United States in 1948 to
exorcise the spectre of Communism that was haunting Italy, the CIA settled in place for
the long haul with a less flamboyant but more insidious operation.
A White House memorandum, prepared after the 1953 election, reported that
"Neither the Moscow war stick nor the American economic carrot was being visibly
brandished overthe voters in this election."1 Covert funding was the name of the game.
Victor Marchetti, former executive assistant to the Deputy Director of the CIA, has
revealed that in the 1950s the Agency "spent some $20 to $30 million a year, or maybe
more, to finance its programs in Italy." Expenditures in the 1960s, he added, came to
about $10 million annually.2
The CIA itself has admitted that between 1948 and 1968, it paid a total of
$65,150,000 to the Christian Democrats and other parties, to labor groups, and to a wide
variety of other organizations in Italy.3 It also spent an undisclosed amount in support of
magazines and book publishers and other means of news and opinion manipulation,
such as planting news items in non-American media around the world which cast
unfavorable light upon communism, then arranging for these stories to be reprinted in
friendly Italian publications.4
It is not known when, if ever, the CIA ended its practice of funding anti-
Communist groups in Italy. Internal Agency documents of 1972 reveal contributions of
some $10 million to political patties, affiliated organizations, and 2t individual
candidates in the parliamentary elections of that year.5 At least $6 million was passed to
political leaders for the June 1976 elections.6 And in the 1980s, CIA Director William
Casey arranged for Saudi Arabia to pay $2 million to prevent the Communists from
achieving electoral gains in Italy.7
Moreover, the largest oil company in the United States, Exxon Corp., admitted
that between 1963 and 1972 it had made political contributions to the Christian
Democrats and several other Italian political parties totaling $46 million to $49 million.
Mobil Oil Corp. also contributed to the Italian electoral process to the tune of an
average $500,000 a year from 1970 through 1973. There is no report that these
corporate payments derived from persuasion by the CIA or the State Department, but it


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seems rather unlikely that the firms would engage so extravagantly in this unusual
sideline with complete spontaneity.8
Much of the money given by the CIA to Italian political parties since World War
II, said a former high-level US official, ended up "in villas, in vacation homes and in
Swiss bank accounts for the politicians themselves."9
A more direct American intervention into the 1976 elections was in the form of
propaganda. Inasmuch as political advertising is not allowed on Italian television, the
US Ambassador to Switzerland, Nathaniel Davis, arranged for the purchase of large
blocks of time on Monte Carlo TV to present a daily "news" commentary by the
editorial staff of the Milan newspaper Il Giornale Nuovo, which was closely associated
with the CIA. It was this newspaper that, in May 1981, set in motion chat particular
piece of international disinformation known as "The KGB Plot to Kill the Pope".
Another Italian newspaper, the Daily American of Rome, for decades the
country's leading English-language paper, was for a long period in the 1950s to the '70s
partly owned and/or managed by the CIA. "We 'had' at least one newspaper in every
foreign capital at auy given time," the CIA admitted in 1977, referring to papers owned
outright or heavily subsidized, or infiltrated sufficiently to have stories printed which
were useful to the Agency or suppress those it found detrimental.10
Ambassador Davis also arranged for news items which had been placed in
various newspapers by the Agency to be read on Monte Carlo TV and Swiss TV, both
of which were received in Italy. The programs were produced in Milan by Franklin J.
Tonnini of the US Diplomatic Corps, and Michael Ledeen, a reporter with // Giornale
Nuovo.11 (Ledeen, an American, was later a consultant to the Reagan administration and
a senior fellow at the conservative think-tank of Georgetown University in Washington,
the Center for Strategic and International Studies.)
The relentless fight against the Italian Communist Party took some novel twists.
One, in the 1950s, was the brainchild of American Ambassador Clare Booth Luce. The
celebrated Ms. Luce (playwright and wife of Time magazine publisher Henry Luce)
decided to make it known that no US Department of Defense procurement contracts
would be awarded to Italian firms whose employees had voted to be represented by the
Communist-controlled labor union. In the case of Fiat, this had dramatic results: The
Communist union's share of the vote promptly fell from 60 to 38 percent.12
Then there was the case of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, another
beneficiary of CIA largesse. The payments made to him reveal something of the
Agency's mechanistic thinking about why people become radicals. It seems that the
good Cardinal was promoting orphanages in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s and, says
Victor Marchetti, "The thinking was that if such institutions were adequately supported,
many young people would be able to live well there and so would not one day fall into
Communist hands."13 The Cardinal, as a Monsignor, had been involved with the
Vatican's operation to smuggle Nazis to freedom after World War II. He had a long
history of association with Western governments and their intelligence agencies. In
1963, he became Pope Paul VI.14
In a 1974 interview, Marchetti also spoke of the training provided by the Agency
to the Italian security services:

They are trained, for example, to confront disorders and student demonstrations,
to prepare dossiers, to make the best possible use of bank data and tax returns of
individual citizens, etc. In other words, to watch over the population of their
country with the means offered by technology. This is what I call techno-
fascism.15




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William Colby, later Director of the CIA, arrived in Italy in 1953 as station chief
and devoted the next five years of his life to financing and advising center/right
organizations for the express purpose of inducing the Italian people to turn away from
the leftist bloc, particularly the Communist Party, and keep it from taking power in the
1958 elections. In his account of that period he justifies this program on the grounds of
supporting "democracy" or "center democracy" and preventing Italy from becoming a
Soviet satellite. Colby perceived all virtue and truth to be bunched closely around the
center of the political spectrum, and the Italian Communist Party to be an extremist
organization committed to abolishing democracy and creating a society modeled after
the (worst?) excesses of Stalinist Russia. He offers no evidence to support his
conclusion about the Communists, presumably because he regards it as self-evident, as
much to the reader as to himself. Neither, for that matter, does he explain what was this
thing called "democracy" which he so cherishes and which the Communists were so
eager to do away with.16
Colby comes across as a technocrat who carried out the orders of his "side" and
mouthed the party line without serious examination. When Oriana Fallaci, the Italian
jout-nalist, interviewed him in 1976, she remarked at the close of a frustrating
conversation, "Had you been born on the other side of the barricade, you would have
been a perfect Stalinist." To which, Colby replied- "I reject that statement. But ... well ...
it might be. No, no. It might not."1'
American policy makers dealing with Italy in the decades subsequent to Colby's
time there did not suffer any less than he from hardening of the categories. Colby, after
all, took pains to point out his liberal leanings. These were men unable to view the
Italian Communist Party in its indigenous political context, but only as a "national
security" threat to the United States and NATO. Yet, all those years, the party was
proceeding along a path revisionist enough to make Lenin turn in his grave if he were in
one. The path was marked by billboards proclaiming the "democratic advance to
socialism" and the "national road to socialism", the abandonment of "the dictatorship of
the proletariat" and the denunciation of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. The
party pushed its "national" role as responsible opposition, participated in "the drive for
productivity", affirmed its support for a multiparty system and for" Italy remaining in
the Common Market and in NATO, and was second to none in its condemnation of any
form of terrorism. On many occasions, it was the principal political force in city
governments including Rome, Florence and Venice, without any noticeable return to
barbarism, and was a de facto participant in the running of the Italian state. (The
Socialist Party, a prime target of the United States in the 1948 elections, was a formal
member of the government for much of the 1960s to the 1990s.)
In the files of the State Department and the CIA lie any number of internal
reports prepared by anonymous analysts testifying to the reality of the Communist
Party's "historic compromise" and the evolution of its estrangement from the Soviet
Union known as "Eurocommunism."
In the face of this, however”in the face of everything”American policy
remained rooted in place, fixed in a time that was no longer, and probably never was; a
policy that had nothing to do with democracy (by whatever definition) and everything to
do with the conviction that a Communist government in Italy would not have been the
supremely pliant cold-war partner that successive Christian Democrat regimes were for
decades. It would not have been enough for such a government to be independent of
Moscow. The problem with a Communist government was that it would probably have
tried to adopt the same position towards Washington.



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19. Vietnam 1950-1973
The hearts and minds circus

Contrary to repeated statements by Washington officials during the 1960s that
the United States did not intervene in Vietnam until, and only because, "North Vietnam
invaded South Vietnam", the US was deeply and continually involved in that woeful
(and from the year 1950 onwards.
The initial, fateful step was the decision to make large-scale shipments of
military equipment (tanks, transport planes, etc.) to the French in Vietnam in the spring
and summer of 1950. In April, Secretary of State Dean Acheson had told French
officials that the United States government was set against France negotiating with their
Northern-based Vietnamese foes, the Vietminh1 (also spelled Viet Minh or Viet-Minh:
the name was short for League for the Independence of Vietnam, a broadly-based
nationalist movement led by Communists). Washington was not particularly
sympathetic to France's endeavor to regain control of its colony of 100 years and had
vacillated on the issue, but the rise to power of the Communists in China the previous
autumn had tipped the scale in favor of supporting the French. To the Truman
administration, the prospect of another Communist government in Asia was intolerable.
There was a secondary consideration as well at the time: the need to persuade a
reluctant France to support American plans to include Germany in West European
defense organizations.
During World War II, the Japanese had displaced the French. Upon the defeat of
Japan, the Vietminh took power in the North, while the British occupied the South, but
soon turned it back to the French. Said French General Jean Leclerc in September 1945:
"I didn't come back to Indochina to give Indochina back to the Indochinese."2
Subsequently, the French emphasized that they were fighting for the "free world"
against communism, a claim made in no small part to persuade the United States to
increase its aid to them.
American bombers, military advisers and technicians by the hundreds were to
follow the first aid shipments, and over the next few years direct American military aid
to the French war effort ran to about a billion dollars a year. By 1954, the authorized aid
had reached the sum of $1.4 billion and constituted 78 percent of the French budget for
the war.3
The extensive written history of the American role in Indochina produced by the
Defense Department, later to be known as "The Pentagon Papers", concluded that the
decision to provide aid to France "directly involved" the United States in Vietnam and
"set" the course for future American policy.4
There had been another path open. In 1945 and 1946, Vietminh leader Ho Chi
Minh had written at least eight letters to President Truman and the State Department
asking for America's help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French. He
wrote that world peace was being endangered by French efforts to reconquer Indochina
and he requested that the "four powers" (US, USSR, China, and Great Britain) intervene
in order to mediate a fair settlement and bring the Indochinese issue before the United
Nations.5 (This was a remarkable repeat of history. In 1919, following the First World
War, Ho Chi Minh had appealed to US Secretary of State Robert Lansing for America's
help in achieving basic civil liberties and an improvement in the living conditions for
the colonial subjects of French Indochina. This plea, too, was ignored.)6


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Despite the fact that Ho Chi Minh and his followers had worked closely with the
American OSS (the forerunner of the CIA) during the recently ended world war, while
the French authorities in Indochina had collaborated with the Japanese, the United
States failed to answer any of the letters, did not reveal that it had received them, and
eventually sided with the French. In 1950, part of the publicly stated rationale for the
American position was that Ho Chi Minh was not really a "genuine nationalist" but
rather a tool of "international communism", a conclusion that could be reached only by
deliberately ignoring the totality of his life's work. He and the Vietminh had, in fact,
been long-time admirers of the United States. Ho trusted the US more than he did the
Soviet Union and reportedly had a picture of George Washington and a copy of the
American Declaration of Independence on his desk. According to a former OSS officer,
Ho sought his advice on framing the Vietminh's own declaration of independence. The
actual declaration of 1945 begins with the familiar "All men are created equal. They are
endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness."7
But it was the French who were to receive America's blessing. Ho Chi Minh
was, after all, some kind of communist.
The United States viewed the French struggle in Vietnam and their own
concurrent intervention in Korea as two links in the chain aimed at "containing" China.
Washington was adamantly opposed to the French negotiating an end to the war which
would leave the Vietminh in power, in the northern part of the country, and, at the same
time, free the Chinese to concentrate exclusively on their Korean border. In 1952, the
US exerted strong pressure upon France not to pursue peace feelers extended by the
Vietminh, and a French delegation, scheduled to meet with Vietminh negotiators in
Burma, was hastily recalled to Paris.
Bernard Fall, the renowned French scholar on Indochina, believed that the
canceled negotiations "could perhaps have brought about a cease-fire on a far more
acceptable basis" for the French "than the one obtained two years later in the shadow of
crushing military defeat".8
Subsequently, to keep the French from negotiating with the Vietminh, the
United States used the threat of a cessation of their substantial economic and military
aid.9 (This prompted a French newspaper to comment that "the Indochina War has
become France's number one dollar-earning export".)10
In November 1953, the omnipresent CIA airline, CAT, helped the French air
force airlift 16,000 men into a fortified base the French had established in a valley in the
North called Dien Bien Phu. When the garrison was later surrounded and cut off by the
Vietminh, CAT pilots, flying US Air Force C-119s, often through anti-aircraft fire,
delivered supplies to the beleaguered French forces, in this their Waterloo.11
By 1954, the New York Times could report that "The French Air Force is now
almost entirely equipped with American planes."12 The United States had also
constructed a number of airfields, ports and highways in Indochina to facilitate the war
effort, some of which American forces were to make use of in their later wars in that
area.
In April 1954, when a French military defeat was apparent and negotiations at
Geneva were scheduled, the National Security Council urged President Eisenhower "to
inform Paris that French acquiescence in a Communist take-over of Indochina would
bear on its status as one of the Big Three" and that "U.S. aid to France would
automatically cease".13
A Council paper recommended that "It be U.S. policy to accept nothing short of
a military victory in Indo-China" and that the "U.S. actively oppose any negotiated

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