The Fourth Templar Secret of Fatima

Former Magistrate Carlo Palermo
Says the Real Plot is... Venetian

Anti-Islamism takes on many guises. Certainly one of the oddest however is this : did you know there is a conspiracy by Islamic fundamentalist Templars, led by Venetian Nazis, who plan to kill the Pope, promote Liberation Theology in Latin America and push drugs, all of this for the sole purpose of restoring the glorious government of the Doges?

This is what we discover reading the book Il quarto livello ("The Fourth Level", Editori Riuniti, Rome, 1996) by former judge and former Italian Parliament member, Carlo Palermo, whom many know and admire as an adversary of corruption in very difficult times. Nothing we say here should be understood as a criticism of his Quixotic personality.

Palermo made the headlines some time ago when he gave an interview to the daily Il Giornale, accusing the "Templars and the Shiites" for an (accidental) fire in the chapel in Turin where the Holy Shroud is kept. Authoritative journalists have described Palermo's book as the last word on the Mafia and on the mysterious bomb outrages of the 70's and 80's in Italy

Yet what he writes stands to history as does the hollow earth theory to geology.

"Why did Hutus and Tutsis massacre each other in Rwanda? Why did the peoples of former Yugoslavia do the same? Why is terror being spread today in Paris or in Beirut, in Algeria or in New York, in Islamabad, in Karachi or in Jerusalem ? [...] Why are macabre mass suicides still being committed in Canada and in Switzerland, in the name of a religious cult which draws its inspiration from the old Templar Order ..? Why, on the threshold of the third millennium, has the Church not yet explained the third secret of Fatima to the faithful ...? Why are we still unable to cast full light on the terrible bomb outrages which struck Italy during the 70's and 80's ..?" (pp. 4-5).

Well, I suppose that is a good question

The cover of the book helps the reader go guess the answer - against a black background, a bald knight Templar, with a long beard, rises up threateningly.

Palermo's story starts with the International Bank of Credit and Commerce (IBCC), which had a large number of dubious account holders, and then crashed with the CIA investigating it.

Now, according to Palermo, the IBCC was established by a group of Pakistanis whom he calls "of Shiite confession, of Sufi creed" (p. 19).

The whole book rests on these six words, since they connect the dirty business at the IBCC with the whole world of what one might call "the occult", plus Islam too.

According to Palermo, Sufism is "a sort of final cult" devoted to an "anti-scientific and anti-technological" struggle, and can be found "both in Islamic and in Catholic fundamentalism" (p. 19 ff.).

"The cult of the return to Mother Nature meets with special favour in the ascetic mysticism of Sufism".

Let us pause a moment to say a few terribly obvious things. The various Sufi orders are closed groups within the Islamic world (not within the Catholic world) which attempt to reach certain mystical states through contemplation of the word of the Qur'an.

The founders may have been saints, but their heirs only too often have become countryside magicians. Nobody can actually call them "heretics" as long as they perform all their religious duties, but rumour often accuses them of transgressing the law of the common folk.

Devotion to saints, political passiveness, recourse to magical practices, the creation of an elite within a society like the Islamic one based on the equality of men before Allah - all of this has made Sufism largely hateful to just those fundamentalists Palermo associates them with.

Sufism, apart from some poems thanking Allah for rain (a masculine word in Arabic), certainly has no cult of "Mother Nature". "Nature" in Arabic is expressed using a word meaning "moulded" or "printed": it is no "mother", but rather the sign that a unique and almighty divinity has impressed on the world. Of course some Westerners mix up the "Wise Men of the East" with their own smog problems, but that is another story.

"If we want to identify the sector where Sufi philosophy has penetrated most deeply, we must see how the international far Right has developed. And the greatest leader of the Right, Adolf Hitler, comes to mind at once" (p. 20).

And here is how he proves this: 
The SS "looked back" to the Prussian Empire. 
The Prussian Empire was a "direct derivation of the state of the Teutonic Military Order". 
The Teutonic Order had absorbed "some members" of the suppressed Templar Order. 
These members drew their inspiration "from Sufism". 
Therefore, "it is a fact that the SS state was a Sufi state".

Conspiracy thinkers often employ the double somersault. Palermo gives us an elegant example of this. The first move: Himmler modelled the SS on the Jesuit Order. One would love to ask for at least a little evidence of this, but our acrobat is flying through the air towards his second move and should not be disturbed:

"A great deal of evidence shows that Ignatius of Loyola, before establishing his Order [the Jesuits], was initiated into the mystical secrets of the Shadliyya sect in Southern Spain and in the Maghreb, on a specific request by the aristocratic families of Venice".

Now, it may well be that some unstated Venetian families sent a young Basque to study in the Maghreb so he could learn how to recite Qur'anic verses. It is also quite possible that Sai Baba manages to produce cow dung powder by just waving his robe. However, before taking either of such statements at its face value, I need to be convinced. And Palermo is as shy of sources as Sai Baba is of cameras (a note at the end of the book says that a certain Hermann Müller in 1898, in an unspecified "profound study", discovered resemblances between the Jesuits and the Sufis).

But let us get back to the Templars. We are told that they were set up "according to the same guidelines as the Sufi order" of the Assassins (who were not Sufis).

Palermo literally believes in some rather weird statements that were tortured out of the Templars by the inquisitors who wanted to lay hands on their considerable riches: "as a Gnostic cult", the Templars took up elements "drawn from Islamic doctrine (such as the adoration of the god Baphomet)". So we finally know what Muslims do in the mosques: they worship Baphomet.

Thanks to the Templars, the Cathars too became a "Sufi movement", the purpose being that of "freezing progress and blocking the development of the population at zero growth" (p. 22).

A this point, we meet the Thule Society, which supposedly inspired German National Socialism. Goodrick-Clarke, in The Occult Roots of Nazism (The Acquarian Press, Wellingborough, UK, 1985) says everything there is to say about this matter. There were some occultists among German nationalists, much as there are Keltic magicians among the followers of the Italian "Lega" or Cabalists among Zionist extremists. It is hard to say how much mysticism inspired certain political theses, and how much it simply justified them. It is true that the founder of the National Socialist Party, Dietrich Eckart, had belonged briefly to the Thule Society, which did indeed use at least an initiatory jargon. However this marginal world never interested Adolf Hitler. Whose notoriously rather unpleasant character prevented him from allowing others to tell him what to do even when this meant losing a quarter of a million soldiers at Stalingrad.

ome people imagine a bit more, like René Alleau, but of course quite properly, his works are not published by Editori Riuniti but by Edizioni Mediterranee (The Occult Origins of Nazism by Alleau came out in the same collection as The Medium's Book, After Nostradamus and Prodigy Children and Reincarnation). 
In any case, according to Palermo, in recent decades, there has been a trend towards "mystical Oriental cults" among the "far Right", especially "in Germany." A little mysticism (generally not "Eastern" at all) does exist in the Italian and French far Right, but there is much less in Germany, where nationalist paradigms prevail.

Actually, Sufism has mainly inspired bland groups of Theosophists or retired '68 protesters who practice "Sufi meditation" (i.e., they whirl for a few minutes, just like we did when we were small). This kind of gymnastics is especially appreciated among former members of Left-wing groups (probably because it is a kind of circular march, reminiscent of protest parades).

Most Western neo-Sufi movements look back to Inayat Khan, an Indian who was a friend (but not a member) of the Theosophical Society. His daughter Nur worked for British intelligence; arrested by the Gestapo, she was shot in the head (Maria Chiara Bonazzi, "Niente sesso siamo spie", La Stampa, 5.1.97). Even if the Theosophists had some racist fantasies (however their "Aryan race" included the Jews and even, albeit very far down, the Indians), as loyal subjects of the British crown during the war, they organised meditations to help the Allies win.

However, Palermo has by now laid the ground for anything: once the Basic Plot has been proven, any of its threads can be followed anywhere. Starting out from the IBCC, one can mention any ugly event involving the Near East, whether this refers to Iran or to its historical enemy Iraq, or to the Libyan fundamentalists Qaddhafi occasionally has put in gaol, or to Qaddhafi himself, who is sometimes called the greatest heretic before Salman Rushdie, as he allegedly denies the validity of all Islamic texts except for the Qur'an, and grants strict social equality to women.

But let us see what our judge discovered during his investigations on Qaddhafi.

Under Fascism, the "British espionage networks" appointed one Giuseppe Volpi, "the last Doge of Venice", as governor of Libya, giving him the title of Count of Misurata. Volpi must have been quite elderly, since he had lost his job in Venice in 1797, whereas Fascism came to power in 1922. At least the history books I know mention no period of "British" domination in Libya until after 1945.

"The old Fascist secret police networks and the Libyan ones were virtually a single network, and Qaddhafi was 'born' out of them." Now, Qaddhafi's agent in Italy is supposed to be a certain Claudio Mutti, to whom Palermo devotes several pages.

It is hard for me, living in Italy, to say whether the founder of the IBCC was really a Sufi, but Claudio Mutti lives in nearby Parma and Michele Brambilla (Interrogatorio alle destre, Rizzoli, 1995) devotes several pages to him.

According to Palermo, Mutti is a "professor of Romanian language at the University of Bologna" (no such chair exists); founder "of the extremist organisation Black Order" (it is true that he was investigated; arrested because a magazine he edited had titles vaguely resembling the letters used for a leaflet of 'Ordine Nero', he was acquitted when it was discovered that they were actually entirely different); an intermediary between an Italian organisation called "Giovane Europa", the Palestinians and Qaddhafi ("Giovane Europa" closed down before Qaddhafi came to power). There is more coming: Mutti is supposedly involved in the bomb outrages in Brescia and on a train (when the first took place, Mutti was in solitary confinement in a gaol in Bologna, during the second in a gaol in Milan, during investigations for which he was later acquitted).

Mutti however is also an expert on the world of the Gypsies (he is the author of an incredible Sinti-Parma Dialect dictionary) who for years has been publishing the kind of books you will never find in a bookstore. The Libyans must be very stingy, since they oblige their secret agent to support himself by working as a teacher. But above all, why, with fifty million Italians available, did they hire such an unusable person: Mutti is an extremist who prefers the losers to the winners of the Second World War, and above all he is a Muslim. More or less like being a strictly pro-Soviet black in the South of the USA forty years ago.

One of Palermo's loveliest flights of fancy concerns the attempt to knife the Pope, carried out by a deranged individual at Fatima in Portugal in 1982. Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, was married to Ali, founder during the 7th Century, of the Shi'a (and here we have the IBCC), and the name of the town of Marsala in Sicily supposedly comes from Ali (p. 134); Marsala is not far from Trapani where an attempt was made on the life of Palermo when he was an anti-Mafia judge; and the town of Fatima in Portugal was founded at the time of the Crusades, which brings us back to the Templars… 
The man who made the attempt on the life of the Pope had briefly been a member of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a movement against Liberation Theology launched by an apocalyptic Brazilian professor who styled himself a "prophet". Now I doubt that anyone in Italy has criticised TFP more thoroughly than we have done; and this gives us the right for once to criticise this peculiar Brazilian organisation.

TFP is pro-Pope and anti-Islam (as could be seen a few years ago, during the public recital of the rosary organised by Centro Lepanto, a TFP subsidiary, against the opening of a mosque in Rome some years ago). But Palermo needs to fit TFP into his personal plot, and he does so taking the longest possible route: the noble German family of the Thurn und Taxis, all of whom were "Venetian secret agents" (p. 126 ff.), is supposed to have belonged to the Thule Society; some of them were related by marriage to the Brazilian Braganza family, and a member of the Braganza family is supposed to be the "main supporter of Tfp". "Even today, this association [Thule, the pre-Nazi one!] is a society of conspirators which extends throughout the world inside certain special cults like the Blue Army of Fatima and the one called Tradition, Family and Property (Tfp)." On p. 125, Palermo adds a new entry to the list of "Sufi heresies", besides TFP: Liberation Theology, believe it or not.

Any normal reader will be perplexed by certain expressions Palermo uses: his hatred for Venetians and for the "cult of Mother Nature"; the definition of Sufism, which arose towards the 9th century, as an "anti-scientific and anti-technological movement"; or the notion that "the essence of the philosophy and of the aims of the 'families' associated with the Thule Society was [...] hatred for the Renaissance of Nicholas von Kues, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello". Raffaello?.

The journalist Franco Fracassi recently published Il quarto Reich, "The Fourth Reich", a similar conspiracy-theory pamphlet with as many mistakes but less mysticism.

Palermo and Fracassi are associated with the political Left. However an author on the Right, Maurizio Blondet, has created no less than three books, titled respectively Conspiracies I, Conspiracies Conspiracies II and Conspiracies III. S

The problem is not a "Right or Left" one. Conspiracy thinking is a universal mechanism which anyone can adopt, as long as it against "our" enemy.

I pass no judgement on the former magistrate's political ideas (although the idea of having him as one's judge is a bit worrying - what if one had a Venetian ancester?). However what I find interesting is how an occultist and irrational attitude which claims the Templars and/or Sufis secretly run the world can appear not only in Tarot card reading or among spoon benders, but can also turn up in such an apparently "serious" field as politics.

It is incredible but true… I have seen University professors and journalists trustingly read Carlo Palermo's writings. And these writings were published by Editori Riuniti, which at least once used to be a serious publisher.

Miguel Martinez 

P.S. This review was written several months ago. In the meantime, Palermo has come out with another book, Il Papa nel mirino: gli attentati al pontefice nel nome di Fatima, - "The Pope as a Target: Attempts on the Pope's Life in the Name of Fatima" - always published by Editori Riuniti (Rome, 1998). This is practically a photocopy of the first book, and this should make everybody happy: Palermo and Editori Riuniti who sell twice as many copies with half the work, you who can save money on buying it, and me, who didn't have to take the time to rewrite this review. The only interesting addition - in his new book, Palermo attacks "Moscow, theosophist, arrogant and violent", guilty of the atheist October Revolution. 

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