P2 was run by former Italian fascist and member of the Nazi SS, Licio Gelli--dubbed the Puppet Master by the Italian press. Gelli's connections to the ultra-hard-right and fascists in Europe and Latin America were extensive. In fact, he had been deeply involved in establishing the Vatican-run ratlines that aided the worst Nazi war criminals to escape Allied justice at the end of WWII. All told, an estimated 50,000 Nazis were helped to freedom.
If Otto Skorzeny was a leading force in running the SS Brotherhood escape routes--Der Spinne, the Spider--after the war, and SS General Karl Wolff was the lead negotiator with OSS Swiss Chief, Allen Dulles, then another Nazi, Walter Rauff, head of the Milan SD, was one of two liaisons with the Vatican involved in the establishment of the Nazi-smuggling system. Earlier in his career, Rauff had overseen the development of the Nazis' mobile gas vans, known as "Black Ravens", which gassed to death around 100,000 Jews, mostly women and children, by pumping exhaust fumes into the back of an hermetically sealed van.
Another important link between the Vatican and SS escape routes was Friedrich Schwendt, who was also the man in charge of laundering forged SS banknotes. Before WWII, Schwendt was an international arms dealer who shipped weapons to China and Russia. He was also the investment manager of the family fortune of his first wife's aunt, Baroness Gemmingen-Guttenberg, of the vastly wealthy Argentina-based Bunge family, of the massive transnational firm Bunge Corporation that is also known as the Octopus.
In facilitating and aligning itself with many of the foregoing activities, the Vatican aimed to help eradicate a communist ideology that despised Christianity. Opus Dei and a host of other Catholic-cum-fascist secret groups engaged in a litany of murder, money laundering, drug peddling, arms trafficking, concealment of WWII loot, embezzlement, manipulation of financial markets and many other consummate illegalities.
The purpose of all these activities was, arguably, to allow the Vatican to remain the spiritual bulwark of the Christian West.
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