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NATO's Secret Armies, Operation Gladio and JFK

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23 minutes ago, Paul Brancato said:

I think the recent attacks on Saudi Oil installations may be a false flag event. Curious that the attack occurred on the eve of Israel’s election. 

Why should we believe the Saudi’s about anything? 

True, especially in the context of Netanyahu's recent pre-election bombing spree-- including Israeli attacks on targets in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza.

As for Iran, there was a recent, lengthy article in the New York Times magazine about the long history of the Netanyahu/Neocon push to bomb Iran.

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The Safari Club has been discussed in just a handful of books, some of which take slightly different perspectives on what the group did during its existence. This post covers most of the available information and reprints relevant pages from the books that cover it.

The first coverage of the Safari Club appeared when Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal discovered materials in Tehran confirming the group’s existence. He included a handful of pages about it in his 1981 volume IRAN: THE UNTOLD STORY.

US journalist John Cooley then featured a section on the Safari Club in his 1999 volume UNHOLY WARS: AFGHANISTAN, AMERICA AND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. His coverage has additional details and observations not mentioned in Heikal’s account from nearly two decades earlier.

In 2006, Joseph Trento featured a somewhat damning description of the Safari Club in his book PRELUDE TO TERROR. The following year, Peter Dale Scott paraphrased and expanded on Trento’s overview in his own book, THE ROAD TO 9/11. Both Scott and Trento link the Safari Club to BCCI, the rogue funding network that later was involved in funding terrorism.

Not included in this post - Paul Fitzgerald, in his book INVISIBLE HISTORY, attributes the September 24th 1978 disappearance of CIA officer John Paisley and the February 14th 1979 death of Ambassador Adolph ‘Spike’ Dubs to aggrieved Safari Club/Team B members, as Paisley and Dubs were either slowing or attempting to prevent the Safari Club’s covert Afghan war against the Soviets.


From Paul Fitzgerald’s INVISIBLE HISTORY blog -



The Safari club represented the true essence of what CIA Director Allen Dulles had intended when setting up the Central Intelligence Agency following World War II; an autonomous covert action organization with global reach, beyond the jurisdiction of American democracy and responsible to no one. A spinoff of the right-wing Pinay Cercle as a secret off-the books “Private Sector Intelligence agency,” and in league with the CIA and Brian Crozier’s 6th International, the Safari Club was only formerly acknowledged in 2002 by the one-time head of Saudi Arabian Intelligence Prince Turki Al-Faisal to have come into existence in 1976.  But as revealed by John K. Cooley in his groundbreaking 1999 study, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, the Safari Club members had been active informally for years secretly protecting CIA assets and covert operations from the prying eyes of Congressional investigators following Watergate and the revelations of the Church Committee hearings on 30 years of CIA coups, cover-ups and assassinations. …the Safari Club was more than just an off-the-books spy operation doing covert operations for the CIA whose methods the Carter team adopted. The Safari Club was the real CIA, covertly funded by Saudi Arabia and run out of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by the CIA’s former director Richard Helms, U.S. Ambassador to Iran from 1973-1977.


From Kevin Ryan’s ANOTHER 19 (pg. 42)


“Unofficial aid to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan also began in the summer of 1979. Proxy agents coordinated by the Safari Club, a private network formed by representatives from several countries, had been invading Afghanistan for about a year prior to that. The U.S. aid to the Mujahideen, a coalition of rebel groups from which al Qaeda originated, officially did not start until 1980 but went on for many years under the name Operation Cyclone.”


From David Teacher’s most recent edition of ROGUE AGENTS, discussing Brian Crozier and the members of Le Cercle (pg 177)

PDF Rogue Agents - the Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War ...



“This first contact between Crozier and Turki al-Faisal was arranged via Dan McMichael, administrator of the Scaife family's trust funds, a major source of funding for the NSIC and ISC. Crozier briefed the Saudi prince about the 6I and its initial contact with the Shah. A proposed second meeting with Prince Turki al-Faisal in the summer of 1978 would not come off, but Crozier and the Cercle would finally meet the Saudi intelligence chief again at a Cercle meeting in Bavaria in the spring of 1979 when Turki al-Faisal would accept to act as the main backer for a planned 6I radio propaganda operation in the Middle East, detailed in the next chapter.

In the meanwhile, the Shah was reconsidering Crozier's offer of 6I help for psy-ops campaigns and contacted Turki al-Faisal, who put in a good word for the 6I. Turki al-Faisal's recommendation of the 6I carried a lot of weight for the Iranians; Turki al-Faisal was the Saudi representative on the Safari Club, a network for covert cooperation between the French, Saudi, Iranian, Moroccan and Egyptian intelligence services, founded by Alexandre de Marenches on 1st September 1976 with headquarters in Cairo (369). Besides Turki al-Faisal's recommendation, Cercle participant General Fraser had also been advising the Shah to accept the 6I's help: "he had raised with the Shah the question of financial assistance for our group, in return for our advice and expertise in combating the wave of subversion that threatened to sweep him off his throne" (370). Fraser advised Crozier to involve ISC Council member Sir Robert Thompson whose counter-insurgency experience during the Malayan campaign and the early stages of the Vietnam War could be useful in the Iranian context.”



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From Peter Dale Scott’s THE ROAD TO 9/11 (pg. 62 - 64)





The Halloween Massacre reversed another apparent victory for the public state over the deep state. Outgoing CIA director Colby had been cooperating with investigation of CIA launched by the so-called McGovernite 94th Congress that had been elected in 1974. (58)  However, the new CIA director, George H. W. Bush, found a way to avoid the newly imposed rules of congressional oversight. He accelerated the delegation of covert operations to foreign intelligence services and also to assets not only off-the-books but sometimes offshore. These offshore assets - notably the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) - were of great use to CIA director Casey and Bush himself as vice president in escaping congressional review. (59)  Above all, “Bush cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adam, the head of Saudi intelligence, brother-in-law of King Faisal and an early BCCI insider.” (60)

In 1972, as I mentioned in chapter 2, Adham had acted as a channel between Kissinger and Anwar Sadat in negotiations for the sudden expulsion of Soviet advisors from Egypt. (61) Now, in 1976, faced with the congressional crackdown on unsupervised CIA operations, Adam, Sadat, and the shah of Iran formed their own anti-Communist coalition - the so-called Safari Club - to conduct through their own intelligence agencies operations that were now difficult for CIA. (62) A key figure in securing a formal agreement to this effect was Alexandre de Marenches, head of the French intelligence service SDECE (the service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contre-Espionnage). (63) De Marenches surfaces again in connection with the 1980 Republican-CIA plots against President Carter.

In February 2002, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, nephew of and successor to Adam, gave Georgetown University alumni a frank account of the Safari Club’s formation in response to post-Watergate restrictions: “In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and establishing what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.” (64)

The Safari Club met at an exclusive resort of the same name in Kenya, which in the same year, 1976, was visited and eventually bought by Adham’s friend Adnan Khashoggi. (65) According to investigative journalist Joseph Trento, “The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George H. W. Bush as head of the CIA, Adham transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.” (66)

Trento further charges that Adham, his successor Prince Turki, and their Saudi agency the GID, or Mukhtabarat, funded off-the-books worldwide covert operations for CIA. These included support for an alleged “private CIA” close to Bush and dominated by former CIA men like Ed Wilson, Theodore Shackley (who had served as Bush’s associate deputy director for operations), and Tom Clines. (67) Unquestionably, the brief period in which Bush served as the director of central intelligence was one of off-the-books operations by allegedly “rogue” agents like Wilson, working with Shackley. (68) “Contracting-out”, or “offshoring,” became a device to escape the new oversight procedures established after Watergate by the Senate Church Committee, which had been established by the McGovernite Congress to investigate government intelligence activities.

These offshore events in 1976 were mirrored by a similar arrangement for off-loading former CIA agents and operations in Latin America. This was the Confederation Anticommunista Latinoamericana (CAL) and its death-squad collaboration Operation Condor. Operation Condor was a coalition of intelligence agencies of CAL countries, chiefly Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay. The CAL was funded through the World Anti-Communist League by the governments of South Korea and Taiwan and - once again - the petrodollars of Saudi Arabia. (69)

After Carter’s election, Bush was replaced as CIA director by Admiral Stansfield Turner, who began to marginalise or fire the “Bush team” associated with Shackley. These men, notably Clines, were accused of forming a “private CIA” or “rogue CIA” from 1977 to 1980 that was loyal to Bush (and possibly involved him) and was supported by connections to BCCI and the Safari Club. (70) After the Camp David Accords were signed in 1979, Clines became partner in a lucrative shipping company, Tersam, backed by Ali Mohammed Shorafa of the United Arab Emirates, a nominee of the elite BCCI group permitted to buy out the First American Bank in Washington. (71)

These offshore relationships gave Shackley, de Marenches, and others an offshore base for assisting active and retired CIA officers, most notably Shackley’s friend Bush, to defeat Carter in his bid for reelection. (72) The overall result of this off-loading and offshoring was not just loss of accountability, but also loss of control over major policies. A key example would soon be the 1980s CIA support of the resistance in Afghanistan, where CIA’s disastrous favouring of drug traffickers had grown directly out of the Safari Club arrangement and was partly funded through BCCI. This loss of control will emerge as a major factor in our nation’s slouching toward the tragedy of 9/11.


(58) From 1973 to 1976, Helms testified to Congress on more than thirty separate occasions, for a total of one hundred hours or more (Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets, 295)

(59) Under Nixon, CIA was already offloading assets to former CIA officer Edwin Wilson’s Task Force 157, which Kissinger allegedly used to protect his secret China communications from Admiral Moorer (Trento, Prelude to Terror, 51 - 53). In turn, Wilson developed connections to both the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia and Tongsun Park, who was distributing money to members of Congress on behalf of the Korean CIA (Trento, Power House, 100 - 104)

(60) Kevin Phillips, “The Barrelling Bushes,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2004. Phillips continues: “After leaving the CIA in January 1977, Bush became chairman of the executive committee of First International Bancshares and its British subsidiary, where, according to journalists Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin in their 1992 book ‘False Profits’ [p. 345], Bush ‘traveled on the bank’s behalf and sometimes marketed to international banks in London, including several Middle Eastern institutions.’” Trento claims that through the London branch of this bank, which Bush chaired, “Adham’s petrodollars and BCCI money flowed for a variety of intelligence operations” (Trento, Prelude to Terror, 139)

(61) Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 120-21

(62) Cooley, Unholy Wars, 24 - 28. The Safari Club took its name from the famous lodge on Mount Kenya, where the leaders first met. The lodge was developed by gambler and oilman Ray Ryan and later owned by Adnan Khashoggi.

(63) Cooley, Unholy Wars, 26

(64) Prince Turki bin Faisal is quoted in Trento, Prelude to Terror, 102. Citing the same speech, Coll adds Britain to the list (Coll, Ghost Wars, 81)

(65) Kessler, Richest Man in the World, 239 - 41

(66) Trento, Prelude to Terror, 104. Bush may have used CIA connections to lend a helping hand. In 1976 a law firm in the Cayman Islands, Bruce Campbell & Company, which was already the registered agent for the CIA bank Nugan Hand, “set up BCCI’s most secretive unit: International Credit & Investment Company (ICIC)” (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 125). French customs officials, when they raided the Paris branch of the BCCI in 1991, claim to have discovered an account in Bush’s name (Trento, Prelude to Terror, 104).

(67) Trento, Prelude to Terror, 101. Trento quotes a Wilson associate, Mike Pilgrim, as saying: “It got to the point that we were used to support GID operations when the CIA could not.” Richard Secord, discussed in chapter 10, became part of this group.

(68) Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 130. The courts eventually conceded that Wilson had been working for Shackley in CIA: “In 1984 Wilson was found not guilty of trying to hire Raphael Quintero and other Cubans to kill a Libyan dissident. However, he was found guilty of exporting guns and conspiracy to murder and was sentenced to 52 years in prison. Wilson claimed he had been framed and claimed that he was working on behalf of the CIA. He employed David Adler, a former CIA agent, as his lawyer. Adler eventually found evidence that Wilson was indeed working for the CIA after he retired from the agency. In October 2003 a Houston federal judge, Lynn Hughes, threw out Wilson’s conviction in the C-4 explosives case, ruling that the prosecutors had ‘deliberately deceived the court’ about Wilson’s continuing CIA contacts, thus ‘double-crossing a part-time informal government agent’” (Spartacus Educational, The Biography of Edwin P. Wilson)

(69) Marshall, Scott and Hunter, Iran-Contra Connection, 24, 48-49, 76-82; Trento, Prelude to Terror, 78-82. It is noteworthy that just as de Marenches was the man who formalized the Safari Club agreement, so his close friend Vernon Walters, Bush’s deputy director of central intelligence, became the chief U.S. contact of the CAL/Condor coalition. Operation Condor was responsible for the 1976 murder in Washington of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and young researcher Ronni Moffit. The assassins were two former CIA terrorists, whose arrest was delayed for two years, in part because Bush as CIA director did not turn over their files to the FBI.

(70) Trento, Prelude to Terror, 138 - 44 and passim. Cf. Trento, Secret History of the CIA, 410, 467, and passim. Cf. also Loftus and Aarons, Secret War against the Jews, 397: “After Jimmy Carter became president in 1977, a number of people suddenly resigned from the CIA, went through the ‘revolving door’, and acquired connections to the BCCI.” Trento once wrote of the off-loaded agents “working for the Israelis” (Trento, Secret History, 410). Loftus and Aarons saw Bush shifting away from Israel and moving “closer to the Arabs” (Secret War against the Jews, 396). We shall see that both accounts are partially true. It was through these double contacts that “the Club was able to bring about President Sadat’s historic peacemaking visit of November 1977 to Jerusalem, leading eventually to the U.S.-Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979” (Cooley, Unholy Wars, 27)

(71) Trento, Prelude to Terror, 249 (Clines); Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 123 (Shorafa)

(72) Parry, Secret & Privilege, especially 136 (Clines-Shackley-Bush)



Edited by Anthony Thorne
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Ray Ryan, the original owner of the Safari Club, has a colourful history, some of which bumps into the periphery of the JFK assassination.

From the 2005 Vanity Fair article THE MAN WHO ATE HOLLYWOOD




“Ryan was the ultimate high roller. According to the journalist Herb Marynell, he was one of the greatest cardsharps who ever lived. A confidant of celebrities, politicians, and mobsters, he called Texas oil baron H. L. Hunt, whom he had supposedly fleeced of several hundred thousand dollars on a cruise to Europe, his “pigeon.” His friends included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Clark Gable. A primary developer of Palm Springs, he became partners with the actor William Holden to create the Mount Kenya Safari Club, whose members included not only John Wayne and Bing Crosby but also, allegedly, high-ranking members of organized crime. In 1977, Ryan was blown up in his Lincoln Continental in an alleged Mob hit.

In addition to being a gambler, Ryan was a wildcatter, an independent oilman searching for oil outside of known deposits, leasing mineral rights, lining up investors, and drilling oil wells on a “third for a quarter” deal, meaning that each investor paid one-third of the cost and got one-fourth of the interest—leaving the wildcatter with a one-fourth interest in the well for his promotional efforts. In 1939, when Evansville was in the midst of an oil boom, Ryan found an investor to lease acreage for $10,000 and struck oil in 20 locations, which poured out 3,000 barrels a day. After reportedly raking in $350,000, he sold his lease on the land for another $250,000 and created the Ryan Oil Company.”


Ryan also pops up in Chauncey Holt’s 1992 interview with John Craig, Phillip Rogers, and Gary Shaw.


“But I am not as knowledgeable about Mongoose as some other operations. We (I) knew what was going on, we talked to William King Harvey. We discussed, we had seen Lansdale one time. We met down at Ray Ryan's place in Palm Springs. Ray Ryan was a big gambler, an oil man. He was friends with Licavoli and Giancana. He had a propriety interest in Palm Springs - the Bermuda Dunes Airport, which is owned by the CIA. We had a meeting down there in which time, it was the only time I participated when all those groups got together. Which was in December, 1961, when they discussed project ZR/RIFLE. How they intended to proceed, they also indicated that James J. Angleton knew about it. And that they were going to insert things into what was called, we referred to as the Central Registry. They referred to them as the 201 Files. We were referring to them as the Central Registry. Frankly I don't know the difference between the 201 File and the Central Registry. Now the Central Registry was...I don't know the difference.”


Mob figure Marshall Caifano was arrested in 1963 for attempting to extort Ryan for $60,000 a year.



Ryan died in a car bomb explosion on October 18th, 1977. A Steve Bagley and Herb Marynell article on Ryan’s unsolved murder is linked below.

Nearly 35 years ago, fast living and a run-in with the Mob cost Evansville oilman Ray Ryan his life in a car bombing that clearly pointed to organized crime




Edited by Anthony Thorne
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Getting back to Gladio for a moment, I do not understand why everyone is citing Ganser's book while no one mentions Paul Williams' Operation Gladio.

Williams' book is well written, footnoted, and has pretty good pacing for a non-fiction book. It is also 1/4th the price of Ganser's book.

With all due respect to Dr. Ganser, whose opinions I, for the most part, share, he comes across in his speeches a little too much like a "pop" historian, and tends to dodge the tougher questions. I'm not saying that addressing them head-on is easy or always appropriate, but to an American ear he's either preaching to the choir or skimming above the surface that needs to be broken.

Williams' book, on the other hand, tells a fairly deep story without getting overly bogged down in a particular conspiratorial rut. Sure, the author has a religious bias (the disillusioned Catholic), and many of his conclusions are reached a little too quickly, but he also has a pretty solid narrative--something that most history authors are far too thin on.

Edited by Tom Fairlie
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Ok Rob, since you are our man on the beast, what about Mr. Williams?

Time for another review?

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My interest in Gladio is based on my research into anti-Left organizations being set up around the world after WWII. This was a logical progression of setting up the Soviet Union in the first place. First, we created a leftist monster, then we created its Hegelian antithesis. Classic formation from these madmen.

Along with Gladio and its ilk, came Phoenix in Vietnam and Condor in South American--kind of a wash-rinse-repeat scenario to ensure that leftists can't gain traction around the world. This sh*t has been going on since Hulagu Khan built a pyramid of skulls out of the educated people of Baghdad in 1257-58, and was perfected by the British in the 1800s (Cf. Lord Palmerston). As the British reached their zenith prior to WWI, they sought to build a "ring of fire" around the world, a pattern which has been constantly repeated since.

More recently, we've shifted from an anti-Left stance to more of an anti-Islamic one, which doesn't make me feel any better. This started with our funding of radical groups in the 60s, the operationalization of concepts with Operation Cyclone in the 70s, then the increase in false flag terrorism from the 90s until the present day. To suggest that ISIS was spontaneously created by a popular uprising or that Iran is the new evil empire are just the latest propaganda efforts from our crooked Establishment.

Gladio is thus a pivotal area of study, because it links the Cold War to false flag terrorism and urban/Left pacification. 

Edited by Tom Fairlie
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Tom’s comments mentioning Phoenix and Condor are on target. Anyone covering the Williams Gladio book in a review should maybe note though the odd journey Williams took from being a Fox News-style fear monger who wrote tabloid volumes such as OSAMA’S REVENGE and THE DAY OF ISLAM - the former of which argues that cliques of Al Qaeda terrorists with stolen nukes are hiding in wait within the US - to spinning 180 degrees with his Gladio book (which points more to the Mafia than the CIA) and his recent conspiratorial grab-bag THE KILLING OF UNCLE SAM. Quite a turnaround to be the guy who delivers a Gladio thesis several degrees different from Ganser’s.

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9 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

For the rest of us.   Can someone some please summarize, concisely, the implications of Gladio regarding the JFK assassination.  

Ron - I’m not sure how others would answer your question. For me it’s Operation Northwoods, proposed by the joint Chiefs, and specifically by General Lyman Lemnitzer, who, coincidentally (or not) was reassigned by JFK to Supreme Commander of NATO in 1962. 

Edited by Paul Brancato
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10 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

For the rest of us.   Can someone some please summarize, concisely, the implications of Gladio regarding the JFK assassination.  

The General Walker-Charles Willoughby axis in the military, and its effect on hatred of Kennedy among the US right wing.  See also: Eugene Dinkin.

The Permindex-Clay Shaw opposition to Kennedy over a Soviet-threatened Europe and endangerment to capitalist trade, or the potential US political threat to Gladio itself.  See back threads on Permindex.

Involvement of Louis Mortimer Bloomfield in facilitating the assassination.  Possible Canadian connections to the JFKA.  See back threads for near-exhaustive discussion of Bloomfield.

CIA hold over the anti-Communist political balance in Italy, threatened by Kennedy policies toward left-wing politics.  See: Domino theory.

Persistence of American colonialism in all but name, the resource robbing of countries and the deposition or murder of their leaders by influence of US-backed, Europe-based multinational companies.  See: Indonesia, Congo.  See back threads on these and Permindex, Freeport Sulphur.

Edited by David Andrews
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2 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Persistence of American colonialism in all but name

Excellent summary, David. There's a whole book's worth of material right there.

Also agree with Tom that Gladio is part of a broader pattern: a global war on the left, which is what I tried to highlight in both my essay and in the interview with Philip Willan. Tom cites Operation Condor: as I mentioned in the essay, a prominent member of P2 was Stefano delle Chiaie, an Italian neofascist directly connected to Operation Condor. So right there, we see a personified link between Italian Gladio and Condor.

However, I share Anthony's caution about the Williams book, which, given the points Anthony makes, almost seems like a limited hangout. Mr Willan also said that there are numerous factual errors in it as regards Italy, and he felt that Williams jumped to too many far-reaching conclusions. 

Has anyone read "The Rape of Greece," by Peter Murtagh? 



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