From- National Catholic Reporter

[page unknown] [date of issue unknown, probably 1987-89]

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................. intermediary in secret negotiations between the Roosevelt White House and high-level organized crime figures in what came to be known as "Operation Underworld." FDR promised to release mob chief Lucky Luciano from prison if the mafia could guarantee the protection of American ships based on the eastern seaboard that were vulnerable to German attack.

[Cardinal] Spellman turned to his mob contacts in New York to arrange the deal after seeking permission from Pope Pius XII. He went on to serve as Pope Pius's right arm and was a staunch supporter of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

[No mention of the fact that in Vietnam, the USA supported the explicitly Roman Catholic ruling class; never mind that Vietnam was 90 % Buddhist..JP]

Robert Wagner, ex-mayor of New York, President Jimmy Cater's special envoy to the Vatican, And William Wilson, current emissary to the Holy See, are both SMOM [Knights of Malta] members.

Reagan appointed another knight, Tom Bolan, to greet Pope John Paul II when he stopped off in Alaska after visiting the Philippines in 1981. Bolan, a top advisor to Senator Alfonse D'Amato [R-N.Y.], is a partner in Saxe, Bacon and Bolan, the law firm of Roy Cohen (Senator Joseph McCarthy's henchman during the witch-hunts of the 1950s).

[therefore Robert Kennedy was "McCarthy's henchman" ... JP]

This firm's clientele include the New York archdiocese and the late Cardinal Cooke, Spellman's successor as SMOM's U.S. advisor.

At least two members of Congress belong to SMOM: Senators Jeremiah Denton [D-Ga.] and Pete Dominici [D-N.M.].

Denton carries on the knightly crusade as chairman of the subcommittee on terrorism and internal security. He has used the subcommittee hearings to promote the theories of Claire Sterling and other journalists specializing in the "pseudoscience" of terrorism. These theories have been widely discredited by serious researchers.

Sterling [who was convicted of libel in a French court after falsely accusing someone of being a KGB agent] alleges that the Soviet Union is directly or indirectly responsible for most terrorist acts in recent years, including the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

Other former government officials who belong to SMOM include Frank Shakespeare, who directed the U.S. Information Agency in the early 1970s. Shakespeare is currently chairman of the board of trustees of the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank with close ties to the Reagan administration.

SMOM member Richard R. Shinn chairs the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company while also serving as a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute. This conservative brain trust publishes This World magazine, whose editorial board includes four people closely associated with the Institute for Religion and Democracy [IRD]: James Finn, Paul Seabury, Michael Novak and Peter L. Berger.

Established in 1981 to combat the "heresy" of liberation theology, the IRD is financed by various right-wing groups, such as the Sarah Scaife and Smith Richardson foundations, both of which have served as CIA funding conduits.

Another knight who moves in New Right circles is Patrick J. Frawley, whose fortune derives from the Schick razor empire. In the early 1960s Frawley co-founded a group called the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. He is also closely involved with the American Security Council, a cold war fraternity that lobbies persistently for a strong military and intelligence apparatus. Frawley-controlled companies own a number of right-wing Catholic media outlets, including Twin Circles magazine and the National Catholic Register. Frawley's wife, Geradine, is publisher of the Register. She is also a Dame of Malta and a leading member of the Right to Life League.

One of the editors of the 'Register,' Francis X. Maier, had previously chaired the Catholic Center for Renewal. This organization recently sponsored a conference opposing the U.S. Bishops' letter on nuclear weapons.

The conference featured the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, a Catholic who led the anti-ERA campaign. Her husband, Fred Schlafly, is employed by the Frawley business consortium.

Despite these high-powered political connections, most knights insist that SMOM is simply a charitable organization. The knights raise money for various philanthropic endeavors, particularly in areas of health care and international relief efforts. They still direct some of the infirmaries and hospitals they established centuries ago, in addition to running modern clinics, research centers, leprosariums and schools for the deaf and blind. SMOM administers a first aid station in St. Peter's Square and has sent volunteer medical personnel to the Muslim and Christian sections of war-torn Beirut.

But charity typifies only the public face of SMOM. In private ceremonies, the knights have decorated Nazi spies and CIA operatives.

Certain SMOM members have been involved in a litany of questionable activities, ranging from secret deals with organized crime to bloody coups in Latin America that have destroyed democratically elected governments.

They have played a significant role in spearheading the cold war revival and the emergence of the New Right in the U.S.

When Casey, Buckley, Luce and others dress in medieval garb, these modern crusaders rekindle the mystical mission to defeat all enemies of their notions of the church.

The Communists have replaced the heathens of the past.

In this light, J. Peter Grace's welcoming comments to General Alexander Haig - and Grace's warning of Communist activity within the ranks of the freeze movement - make perfect sense and fit within the traditions of the holy, bloody crusades of many years past.