How is this timeline so far?

  • Great

    Votes: 39 48.1%
  • Good

    Votes: 30 37.0%
  • Okay

    Votes: 8 9.9%
  • Bad

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Implausible

    Votes: 3 3.7%

  • Total voters
    81
How will Justice Bork influence the Supreme Court?
His influence won't be much different as Thomas is IOTL. He'll be known for his hatred of LGBTQ+ folks, abortion, and government regulation. He's the farthest right SCOTUS justice in modern US history ITTL. But as more and more liberal justices get appointed his beliefs become less important as the court is dominated by the liberals. Him, Rehnquist, and Cianci's other appointee serve as the supreme court's conservative conscience as sixteen years of Democratic rule cements the liberal majority. We'll see Bork's dissents throughout TTL.
 
Chapter XIII: The World Gone Mad
In January 1982 Cianci was living the dream. He was the most powerful man in the world, he had a decent amount of the FBI in his pocket, and Congress hadn’t even thought of investigating his crimes. But the first obstacle to his power came in February of 1982. As Washington was five below a group of Conservative congressmen became increasingly critical of Cianci’s handling of the Diamond Hills Power Plant. Led by Congressman Robert Bauman of Maryland he viciously criticized the government’s funding of nuclear power plants as four more in Foley Minnesota, Lubbock Texas, Provo Utah, and Little Rock Arkansas began construction and were already reporting spending more money than predicted. Bauman assumed this was due to government incompetence and wanted to use the opportunity to push Cianci to the right.

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Lyndon B. Johnson Power Plant being constructed in 1981. Soon enough plants like this would come to dominate Texas and export power to neighboring states under the Silber governorship.

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Robert Bauman (1983).

Bauman would attempt to lead a Congressional audit of the four power plants, but Cianci continuously pressured him too not. Warning him “your career will be ended.” Bauman figured he was being hyperbolic and continued to push for an audit of the power plants. Bauman was about to introduce his plan to Republican and Democratic leaders when Bauman was called into the White House by Chief of Staff DiPrete on February 14th. Bauman accepted the invitation and early in the morning, he met Cianci in the Oval Office. He and DiPrete were already there and suspiciously there were no Secret Service agents in the office.

“Good evening, President and Mr. DiPrete. How are you guys doing today?” Said Bauman as he walked into the quiet and cold room.

“Good Mr. Bauman. Take a seat will you” said Cianci with a dead serious tone.

“Uh, okay.” Bauman sat down and a low-level staff member brought in a TV on a cart and moved it in front of Bauman. Once the staff member left the room DiPrete closed the door and locked them. “What the hell?” Bauman mumbled under his breath. Cianci pulled out a cassette tape and inserted it into the cassette player.

“Now Mr. Bauman I’d suggest you’d look closely, and you may learn something. If you don’t well that’s your choice but don’t expect me to follow you into the fire.”

Bauman was terrified yet confused at the statement. Not one of Cianci’s final threats but he was still worried. The TV flickered on and security camera footage came on. Bauman was seen at a gas station twenty miles south of Washington D.C. There it showed him paying for sex with a man named Angus Marion, a sixteen-year-old. Bauman started to sweat profusely as he remembered that night. The police had seen him, and he managed to get the police to leave him with a warning. It was put into the record by the police and Cianci had done his homework after having his goons try and find dirt on Bauman. When the video ended with Bauman leaving after an officer stopped by Cianci turned off the TV. Bauman was paralyzed by fear and Cianci had a grin on his face as he prepared to let out his firestorm of words. “Now listen here faggot, paying for sex with a boy is illegal last time I checked. If this tape landed in the hands of Congress you’d be expelled and jailed within a week. That’s your first option. Your second is you end this idiotic witch hunt and do as I say. Then you’ll be able to make tens of thousands less than me but still have a decent living swindling your constituents out of the truth. So, which is it?”

“I-I-I.”

“Well, are you gonna answer me you son of bitch? How would your mother react to you attempting to sodomize a boy with cash? How many years do you think I could get the judge to throw at you?”

“I accept.”

“Which one faggot?”

“The one where I won’t go to jail.”

“Good choice. Now I need a couple of favors. I’m gonna eventually take some heat from your dumbass friends in Congress. Ya know the Crane brothers, Gingrich, and Kemp are on my ass due to “spending too much money” and not banning abortion. Tell them I already appointed Bork to the supreme court and made Vander Jagt Veep. I’ve told them at least two million times their policies are going to piss off the public but maybe they’ll shut the hell up if you talk to them. Ya got that?”

“Uh, yes Bud-I mean Mr. President.”

“Good.”

Cianci went on with his day with him considering it one of the best days of his life. He now had his own puppet in Congress who was motivated by fear. Bauman would be the first of several in Cianci’s sick game who were threatened with their livelihoods being ruined and were forced to bow down to him and cover up his crimes. Several others willingly went along to get rich but Bauman on the other hand was sympathetically viewed by some Americans as an unwilling participant. In 1990 he would be pardoned, and his criminal record was extinguished. Bauman before he was brought down would kill any plans for a congressional audit. As February went by most Americans forgot about the construction of the nuclear power plants as more news broke from Iran. Iraqi forces were once again able to push the Iranians back as the war began to turn into a stalemate between the PIF and Islamists. Due to the invasion by Iraq, the Islamists were forced into sending tens of thousands to hold the Khuzestan region, preventing them from launching a crippling offensive against the PIF. The PIF on the other hand was also preoccupied with not only Iraq, which was massacring their Kurdish allies but the Islamist resistance fighters who were still ambushing supply convoys and generally screwing things up for Rajavi. The Islamists and PIF were now stuck in static yet bloody mountain fighting that saw thousands of deaths.

Cianci wasn’t particularly interested in a war against Iraq at the moment and dramatically ramped up airstrikes by 40% against Iraqi forces. Cianci at the UN meeting in 1982 led a motion to sanction Iraq. The motion was supported by the USSR and the Egypt-aligned bloc in the Middle East. Two countries opposed it openly though. The first was Israel was funding the Iraqi government and wanted a strong secular government to deter Islamist and nationalist aggression. The second was China. For some background in 1976, the Chinese government faced a power struggle between the radical Gang of Four and the reformists led by Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng. After the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1976 Xiaoping was arrested for treason. The key to the Gang of Four seizing power was getting the military on their side which was accomplished by promising Wang Dongxing and Chen Xilian political power and a role in foreign policy. Furthermore, on November 9th Guofeng met with President Rockefeller in Singapore and protests once again broke out. Guofeng wanting to not look weak in front of Rockefeller refused to cut his trip short and denounced the protests from Singapore. The Gang of Four used the Peking Incident as it would be called as further evidence Guofeng, and the reformists were unable to handle governing the country and a more hardline leadership was needed. Dongxing feared a potential mass movement of students and workers that would overthrow the Communist system. He viewed the reformists' nonchalant attitude towards the protests convinced him that Guofeng needed to be removed from power. Guofeng's decision to not return to China would cause a verbal fight between him and Dongxing who attempted to convince him that his decision was reckless and a threat to the government. Guofeng in the heat of the moment cussed out Dongxing and accused him of harboring anti-government views. The next day of November 15th, another protest started in Bejing this time spearheaded by a few hundred factory workers. This was the final straw as the risk of the Communist system falling under the pressure of constant protests that the government refused to make an example out of convinced Dongxing that Hongwen was the best choice for China. Combined with the Gang of Four's control over the media Guofeng suffered enormously from the propaganda campaign that brainwashed millions into supporting the Gang of Four, a decision they would regret. On December 1st the reformist faction of the Politburo was arrested by the military in a coup by the Gang of Four. The two generals were rewarded handsomely with Xilian becoming the commander of the PLA and Dongxing the Minister of Defense. Wang Hongwen became Premier and started to install his radical vision on the Chinese people. The propaganda machine of the Politburo was put to good use convincing the Chinese people that Hongwen's power was going to turn China into a superpower that would rival the United States and the Soviet Union. One part of his plan was to dramatically expand China’s influence over the globe and create a third bloc, not aligned with capitalism or Marxist-Leninism but what would become known as Maoist-Wangism. The Maoist-Wangist foreign policy would not be utilized too much in the 70s as Wang and Jiang Qing focused on domestic affairs but come the 1980s, they were dead set on asserting China as a first-rate power. That meant sabotaging any attempts by the Soviet Union and the United States to expand their power over the rest of the world. Wang to his credit recognized the potential benefits of a strong Iraq that controlled a decent amount of the world’s oil supply. So, Wang ordered the Chinese delegate to the UN to veto the proposed sanctions against Iraq in an effort to bring Hussein into their sphere. Hussein gladly accepted weapons but had no plan to actually enter into an official alliance with Wang who he viewed as a tinpot dictator whose incompetence could be abused for time being.

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Wang Hongwen denouncing the Reformist faction after the December Coup.

Cianci and Ustinov's anger was legendary. Both of them hadn’t expected the play by Wang and were cursing him under their breaths. Cianci would cut off most diplomatic ties to China as their dictatorship became more and more like a cult hell-bent on purging any vague hint of dissent with bullets rather than running a country properly. Cianci’s speech at the UN was planned to be about the Iraqi intervention in the Iranian Civil War but he changed it on the spot. Instead, it was a twenty-minute bloodbath that denounced China as a tinpot dictatorship that had no respect for international law. Cianci and Ustinov would press for sanctions against Wang’s regime and due to the blocking of sanctions against Iraq China would be increasingly alienated from the rest of the world. With Cianci’s speech, Nixon’s legacy was now destroyed.

In retaliation for the increasing alienation, Wang would begin a new project that struck close to home. In July of 1982, they began to fund the Shining Path terrorist organization in Peru. The Shining Path had quickly gathered a reputation as one of the most brutal terrorist organizations in Latin America. With their new weapons, they would massacre scores of civilians and execute surrendering soldiers if they refused to comply with the Shining Path. China’s arming of Maoist-Wangist terrorist organizations only worsened the situation in Latin America as more and more atrocities were committed each day. Cianci when he found out about the arming of the Shining Path retaliated by placing 10,000 soldiers in Taiwan and sent advisors to the Andes mountains to help crush the Shining Path rebellion.

Going back to domestic circumstances Cianci was still very popular amongst most Americans. Oil production was booming from Alaska to Louisiana which brought thousands of jobs and the nuclear power plants despite suffering from Cianci and his goon's taking money from the budget were near completion. Most anticipated a decrease in their electricity bill when the power plants opened. With Bauman shutting up about an audit Cianci would be able to get away with his theft for now. Unlike in Rhode Island, his theft was significantly less as he wasn’t able to exert as much control over private companies. But where the government did have a hand in the building process, he made sure to collect a couple of thousand dollars. When it came to giving oil contracts things were somehow shadier. In Texas, the Houston Natural Gas company under Kenneth Lay was passed over for a contract. Lay went directly to Washington in a last-ditch effort to try and convince Cianci to give his country the contract. Lay walked out promising to pay one of Cianci’s goons $800,000. Each year Cianci would demand a new round of bribes that were often $500,000 a year. A small price to pay as Lay quickly became a millionaire as the prices of stocks shot up within his company. Everyone wanted a piece of the pie as Lay became one of the richest men in Texas. Business boomed as the government contract allowed him to build dozens of new oil rigs to exploit Texas’s vast reserves. Lay was technically the CEO of the company but deep down he knew it was only due to Cianci he was rich. Lay may have sold his soul to the devil but he didn’t regret it. For half a decade he was the undisputed king of Texas and was a man who monopolized the oil market with Cianci’s support. “King Ken” would also be the one who brought the technology industry to Texas. Before Cianci’s fall, he was arguably the key financial advisor to Cianci as the more money he gave to him the more power he had. Only one man had enough courage to stand up to him and that was Charlie Wilson, the partying liberal. Wilson despite his role in suppressing liberation theology in Latin America would be a man who tirelessly fought for the poor and as King Ken’s monopoly expanded into state politics, he vigorously denounced him as a tyrant who sought to defund Medicaid in favor of subsidies for businesses, he invested in.

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Charlie Wilson. A hero to Texas and later the United States.

King Ken tried to defeat Wilson at the ballot box with a pro-Cianci candidate, but Wilson was just too popular. He was an opponent of both communism and inequality and for that, he was rewarded. Wilson despite King Ken’s efforts would not be taken down until long after he was imprisoned and by that point, Wilson was still a hero to Texas. A man who may have done some drugs, but he did break the stranglehold of corruption that choked the state. But for now, King Ken was building up his business and using Cianci’s allies in the FBI to get dirt on his opponents. He paid his dues to Cianci like many would and would learn quickly that crime did indeed pay. In 1982 the company had quadrupled in wealth and King Ken looked to take his crime ring national. Later that year he bought a small oil company in New Mexico and another one in Oklahoma.

Cianci’s next big bill was a tax cut bill that would cut taxes by 8% for the middle class and 4% for the top tax bracket. Despite not having a majority in the House the Democrats would bend to Cianci’s will. The bill surprisingly didn’t directly benefit Cianci or his goons but was a legitimate piece of legislation that Cianci believed would benefit the American people. The tax cut ran into no serious opposition due to the bill being quite small in nature and very popular. Seeing more money go to you rather than the government was something that every American, rich or poor loved to see. In the senate, the bill once again passed with an overwhelming majority of sixty votes. But the tax bill would be the least important bill that Cianci tried to pass in 1982. The most important would be the attempted ban on desegregation busing. The bill was controversial and would be the first bill supported by Cianci to run into heavy opposition. Liberals opposed the bill as they believed it would lead to a state of continued de facto segregation while conservatives eagerly supported the bill. Busing had become increasingly controversial as many racists viewed it as negatively affecting their children's education due to integration. Cianci on the issue of busing was with Jesse Helms and the Reaganite faction of the GOP. When the bill was proposed Cianci saw a great chance to cement his re-election as the bill would appeal to mostly white suburbs who were vast in votes.

But the bill while popular amongst the socially conservative working-class and suburbs the bill was unpopular amongst liberals and blacks. Former president Jackson endorsed the bill while meeting with Cianci. Most southern Democrats supported the bill as they viewed it as the last chance to strike a blow in favor of state's rights as the Supreme Court and society were publicly against them at this point. Though even Republicans opposed the bill. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts opposed the bill as an attack on civil rights. During the proceedings, more and more Democrats came out in opposition including Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. On September 4th, 1982, the bill was narrowly defeated in the House 230-210. The bill was defeated by a slim margin and Cianci would use the bill as a bludgeon against the Democrats. The fiasco over busing would last the entirety of the year as the issue was inflamed once again. In the 1982 midterm elections, the issue would dominate over issues such as Latin America and political corruption. The liberal Republican governor of Massachusetts, Francis W. Hatch would be narrowly defeated by conservative Democrat Louise Day Hicks, who ran as an opponent of busing. Her victory served as a major defeat for those who supported busing as one of the most liberal states rejected the policy. The 1982 midterms saw a slight increase in the Democratic majority from 249 to 251, with gains being made mainly in the Midwest which was terribly affected by the Iranian Civil War and the oil shocks. While the midterms went great for Cianci and the Republicans, with them picking up senate seats in California, and Nevada compared to the Democrats picking up New Jersey and Virginia. Notably Shirley Temple Black defeated Governor Jerry Brown by two points to become the first female senator from the state. In Virginia Elmo Zumwalt defeated Linwood Holton by less than 10,000 votes and like Temple was already being considered a prime candidate for the presidency. The senate was still a 51-50 majority, but Cianci was able to keep his party from losing the senate, a big accomplishment considering the economic situation and the fact the Democrats had controlled the senate since 1957 until that streak was broken in 1980. With the midterms over it was time to take a trip to Europe and see Marxism in motion.
 
I'm a bit confused why and how a ban on desegregation busing was even considered as a good idea in 1982. This seems more like something for 1962. What exactly was he trying to accomplish here?
 
I'm a bit confused why and how a ban on desegregation busing was even considered as a good idea in 1982. This seems more like something for 1962. What exactly was he trying to accomplish here?
In the 1970s desegregation busing was a major issue for the nation. With Jackson becoming president and openly opposing busing it once again enters the mainstream political discourse as a legitimate issue. Jackson and Laxalt ITTL during the 1980 election agreed that busing was a failure but the issue was put on the backburner due to the economic and foreign crisis's that dominated the election. But with the economy getting back on track culture war issues make a comeback and busing instead of AIDs is the chosen issue. The GOP IOTL made opposition to busing a key part of the platform:

"Busing has been a prescription for disaster, blighting whole communities across the land with its divisive impact. It has failed to improve the quality of education, while diverting funds from programs that could make the difference between success and failure for the poor, the disabled, and minority children.

We must halt forced busing and get on with the education of all our children, focusing on the real causes of their problems, especially lack of economic opportunity."


From the 1980 Republican platform IOTL. As America comes out of the recession issues such as busing once again become a key issue as Cianci wants a culture war issue to shore up suburban and socially conservative votes for the midterms. Knowing how unpopular the policy of busing is in liberal states such as Massachusetts he sees an opportunity to increase the chances of the Republicans expanding their voter base to Southerners and socially conservative white working-class voters. The policy will piss off liberal and black voters, but Cianci and the Republicans were unlikely to get those voters either way. It's basically a way for Cianci to build up his voter base.

I hope that clears up any confusion. If it doesn't, I apologize.
 
It does somewhat. It's just that my knowledge regarding civil rights in the US is a bit spotty at best. When I think civil rights I imagine it all happening in the 60s and 70s. Followed by a decade of disco and cocaine. And then the 90s with the Clintons.
The 80s is kind of a black hole for me.
 
It does somewhat. It's just that my knowledge regarding civil rights in the US is a bit spotty at best. When I think civil rights I imagine it all happening in the 60s and 70s. Followed by a decade of disco and cocaine. And then the 90s with the Clintons.
The 80s is kind of a black hole for me.
Well, that's fine. Not knowing a certain era of history is all good as history is long and complicated. If you're confused by anything, just ask. In the 80s it was mainly crack cocaine and police brutality. Most notably the MOVE bombing of 1985 which will be covered.
 
The silver lining is that at least two politicians will fight back and form commissions to investigate Cianci. My fingers are crossed for their safety.
Well, at least unless there's blowback coming from the Ocean State first. ;) (And, oh, there would be plenty of that going around. Speaking of which, how's Arlene Violet doing here?)
 
Well, at least unless there's blowback coming from the Ocean State first. ;) (And, oh, there would be plenty of that going around. Speaking of which, how's Arlene Violet doing here?)
Arlene Violet is currently planning to announce her campaign for attorney general of Rhode Island which with Cianci's popularity she'll easily win.
 
Chapter XIV: Marxism in Motion
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Solidarity protestors in Krakow (1982).

The Soviet Union at the time of Cianci’s ascension to the presidency was in a state of decay. Dimity Ustinov’s ascension to the chairmanship of the Soviet Union was a quiet one. With the support of Mikhail Suslov and the hardliner faction he quickly crushed any opposition to his rule. The reformist faction dared not to challenge his rule as they knew the hardliners had a clear advantage in power. Ustinov was more moderate than the United States and the west made him about to be though. He recognized some reforms were needed but was conservative in reforming the Soviet system. Furthermore, he was vehemently opposed to corruption, decrying it as a plague that threatened the Soviet system. His actions on corruption were still limited to arresting those accused of corruption and throwing them in prison. Any attempts to reform the system to give more accountability were thwarted by Ustinov and the Politburo to protect their own friends.

In 1981 the greatest threat to Ustinov’s power came in the form of the people the Soviets claimed to speak for. The workers. In Poland discontent with mounting debt, inflation, food shortages, and authoritarianism was taking its toll on the people’s patience. The longer the communist regime ruled the nation with a fist of iron the skinnier and poorer the Polish got. Anger was mounting and all the Polish people needed was a spark to dismantle the regime. Their spark came when Lech Wałęsa, an electrician worker whose wage was cut along with hundreds of other shipyard workers. Wałęsa and another worker, Anna Walentynowicz convinced the workers at the docks to go on strike. The workers demanded a minimum wage increase, freedom of speech, more rights for the Catholic church, improved healthcare, and the freeing of political prisoners. The strikes spread from the Lenin Dockyard in Gdansk to all across the coast of Poland. Thousands of workers walked off the job or occupied their workplace. The strike would soon spread to the factories of the interior of Poland as workers facing similar oppression by the communist regime were finally taking action. By the end of May hundreds of thousands of factory workers, miners, farmers, and dockers were occupying their workplace in direct defiance to the state. Mass protests were held as the Polish government was paralyzed by the strikes and Chairman Henryk Jabłoński hesitated to crush the general strike out of fear of a revolution. Jabłoński entered into negotiations with Wałęsa and Walentynowicz in an attempt to end the strikes. Ustinov’s reaction to the strike was far less forgiving. He viewed Wałęsa and Walentynowicz as agitators against communism who sought to bring down the Polish government. Soviet soldiers began to prepare for a military intervention and built up a force of 50,000 on the border in a show of force. Another 5,000 Soviet soldiers arrived in Warsaw over the next week. The message to Jabłoński was clear. Crack down or we will. Jabłoński assumed Ustinov was bluffing and continued to negotiate with the workers. On June 2nd rumors of a Soviet invasion began to spread amongst the striking workers.

On June 3rd students at the University of Warsaw occupied the campus in protest of the Soviet Union’s threats. They demanded that the Polish government resign and allow free elections, expel Soviet soldiers, end censorship, and end restrictions on the church. The proposals were more radical than what the strikers demanded and Jabłoński refused to negotiate with them. The Warsaw police were overwhelmed by the students as 1,500 officers arrived on scene in an attempt to break it up. Jabłoński didn’t want a massacre though and told them to only use deadly force if the students attempted to kill the police. Jabłoński calculated (correctly) that using unnecessary force on the students would turn them into martyrs and backfire on the regime. The police dug in as they knew they wouldn’t be able to break up the 20,000 protestors. Eight thousand soldiers arrived to aid the police and send a message to the students. Jabłoński was gambling the show of force would break up the occupation, but it only inflamed tensions in the rest of the country. Fearing a massacre protestor stormed the streets of Warsaw and Krakow to show solidarity with the Warsaw students. Cardinal Karol Wojtyła endorsed the protests in Krakow and actively encouraged the workers of Poland to join the protestors.

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Saint Cardinal Karol Wojtyła marching against Soviet rule.

Wojtyła viewed the protests as a chance to expose the fragility of the Jabłoński regime and as tens of thousands joined the Warsaw students the state apparatus itself was overwhelmed. Ustinov at this point had enough and announced that a “counter revolution” was taking place in Poland. In order to defend one of their puppet states Ustinov ordered one hundred thousand soldiers to cross the border and crush the protests. On June 23rd, 1981, 7,000 Soviet paratroopers attempted to dislodge the Warsaw students and were faced with unexpected resistance. They deployed tear gas and beat the students and in retaliation students threw bricks at the incoming soldiers. The Warsaw police and Polish soldiers didn’t know what to do as Jabłoński gave no orders to follow the Soviet soldiers into the university. Some joined the paratroopers and others stayed behind. This confusion was what arguably cost so many lives. The protestors saw the hesitant Polish soldiers and figured it was a mutiny, giving them a false sense of hope. Instead of retreating they stood their grown and as the paratroopers attempted to clear out the Rostov-On-Don which was the main building of the university and the headquarters for the protestors. In the building we know for a fact that some kind of clash took place, but we won’t know how severe it was unless God himself showed the world.

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Soviet soldiers clash with protestors during the Warsaw Massacre.

The end result was shots being fired and amongst the tear gas and bullets a stampede for the exit ensued. Hundreds of students and soldiers attempted to escape the worsening situation that was devolving into a full-on riot. Soldiers desperately fumbled to get on their gas masks as tear gas was deployed without warning. Some brave students attacked the soldiers who struggled for their gas masks with broken chair legs or knives causing several soldiers to open fire. To make matters even worse a fire broke out near the left corner of the room. Today it’s suspected it was lit by a Molotov cocktail or ignited by an improperly disposed cigarette. The historical Rostov-On-Don fire burned off the tear gas and wooden furniture and the soldiers were told to retreat from the building. Within an hour one hundred seventy students, fifteen staff members, three professors, and thirty-two paratroopers were killed. A majority were killed in the fire and the rest were killed in the attempted dismantling of the Warsaw student protests. The massacre was decried by the Polish people and the international community. The butchery saw in Warsaw hadn’t been seen since the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The strikes in Poland devolved into full on rioting as Soviet soldiers were overwhelmed by the sheer amount. In Warsaw alone the Soviet soldiers numbered only ten thousand and were forced to retreat in order to secure a path to the Warsaw airport to prevent the soldiers from being surrounded. Striking workers at 6:48 PM threw bricks and rocks at advancing Soviet soldiers. Ustinov’s intervention had already done more to destroy the Polish regime and the next action would cement this fact. Fearing that they’d get overrun by the thousands of workers who were gathering to protest against the tyrannical regime that murdered hundreds. The white-hot rage was boiling over and the thirst for freedom was taking over as more bricks hit the Soviet soldier’s shields. When one brick hit a soldier on the head the situation escalated dramatically. The soldier would die as his head was cracked open, killing him. In retaliation the senior officer told the soldiers to open fire on the crowd in an effort to save the Soviets own skin. The ensuing massacre killed forty-nine people and injured three hundred. The Warsaw Massacre ended when on June 26th another twenty-eight thousand Soviet soldiers and thirty thousand Polish soldiers arrived in Warsaw and the riots and protests dispersed.

By the end of the massacre three thousand, seven-hundred eighty people were dead, including two hundred fifty-nine Soviet soldiers. Some workers and students actively took up arms against the Soviet Union and Poland. But while the strikers talked a tough game when it came to actual fighting most abandoned the idea when they realized the brutality of resistance. Still a lot did, and gunfire was a common sound along with kids yelling at the playground and tanks rumbling down the streets. The ensuing resistance would not be crushed until August as thousands of striking workers and students across the country took up arms. Tensions were only inflamed when Wałęsa and Walentynowicz were arrested by Soviet soldiers on June 26th arrested them on charges of treason and inciting violence. The arrest of the two masterminds behind the strikes was an act that was meant to weaken the strikes but for a short while it only emboldened the strikers. Poland’s industry grinded to a halt as millions of workers were on strike to protest the Soviet occupation. In response to the strikes 30,000 East German soldiers joined the occupation force along with an additional 20,000 soldiers from Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. Czechoslovakia sent an additional 10,000 soldiers and the Soviet Union sent an additional 50,000 soldiers to aid the 100,000 soldiers in Poland. The sheer amount of Soviet soldiers intimidated strikers into going back to work as Ustinov promised to crush the rebellion no matter the cost. The Soviet soldiers while mobilizing took way longer than expected in a show of how decedent and incompetent the Soviet military was. The mobilization was slow as the commanders had trouble with low morale and poor infrastructure. It took over a month to get the entire force to Poland in a stunning display of incompetence. The invasion was technically a success due to the strikes dissipating out of fear of being massacred by the invading armies. The Soviet soldiers made good on their promise to kill any violent resistance to their tyrannical rule and the resistance was promptly crushed due to poor organization.

By the time the Polish Intervention was over more than ten thousand people would lose their lives. The exact body count to this day is unknown but the lowest estimates are 11,000 and the highest are around 30,000. Most historians agree that around 18,000 people were killed by the time Soviet soldiers left Poland and the regime collapsed in a tide of strikes and rebellion.

The worldwide reaction was one of broad condemnation. Buddy Cianci denounced the invasion as a violation of international law. Cianci met with Polish American leaders in the White House on June 27th and called for Ustinov to release Wałęsa and Walentynowicz. The rest of NATO followed suit unsurprisingly. In Italy, Enrico Berlinguer had just been elected Prime Minister and as a communist many feared how he’d react to the invasion of Poland. Berlinguer’s reaction would be forceful and eloquent. On June 25th he gave a speech on national television about the invasion saying:

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“As you know the Soviet Union two days ago invaded the sovereign nation of Poland in the most brazen violation of international law since the invasion of Poland in 1939. I have consulted both the Chamber of Deputies and the military on further action and have come to the decision that Italy will not stand with another tyrant like we did in 1939. Today, I and the rest of the Italian government stands in solidarity with the Polish people in the face of a foreign invasion. No country should be under the boot of another larger and imperialist power like Poland is. I call on the Soviet Union to end their illegal occupation of Poland, instigate democratic elections, end the massacres of students and striking workers, and to free all political prisoners in Poland. It is not Ustinov’s job to decide what the Polish people want. Rather it is the workers of Poland who ought to decide what’s right for them and they have made clear their demands.”

The same day but at 9:30 PM the people of Italy and the entire world turned on their TVs to hear Pope Nicholas VI’s condemnation of the Soviet invasion. Amongst the conservative clergy there was a fear Nicholas VI was going to be soft on the Soviet Union due to his sympathies with the pro-liberation theology priests of Latin America. Nicholas VI condemned the invasion of Poland fiercely and compared the act to when Germany invaded Poland in 1939. He was unsympathetic to the Soviet Union due to their crushing of the strikes and for murdering numerous priests in the invasion who protested. Specifically, he focused on the Wujek Massacre which saw ten striking workers killed by the police. He called for the Soviet Union to end their occupation of Poland and praised the striking workers. Furthermore, he called the Soviet Union a disgrace to the workers they claimed to represent and praised Wałęsa and Walentynowicz as heroes who put the interests of the poor and the workers over that of the state. Nicholas VI’s planned trip to Poland was postponed for the near future as Ustinov flat out refused to let Nicholas VI in out of fear of him inciting future rebellion. It was probably for the best as the Soviet Union and Polish government had no qualms about turning priests into martyrs. Of course, it was unlikely that Ustinov would dig their own grave further by killing such an important figure in Catholicism that was respected by 90% of the Polish people. The condemnation of the invasion by Nicholas VI would give renewed hope to the Polish people in the wake of the invasion as the religion they had invested so much in gave back to them in the form of being committed to an end to tyranny. Cardinal Karol Wojtyła lent his support to the workers and the students by condemning the invasion.

The rebellion may have been crushed but it showed the weakness of the Soviet Union on full display. No longer was the Soviet Union some kind of equal to the United States but a corrupt and incompetent state ran by gynocrats who didn’t know when to retire. During the invasion Second Secretary General of the Communist Party Mikhail Suslov’s health took a nosedive. His diabetes and coronary issues worsened over June as the situation in Poland was killing more each day and put the decadence of the Soviet Union on full display. On July 2nd he collapsed at 3:22 in the morning after a long day at work. He was found ten minutes later by a security guard and rushed to the hospital. He was pronounced dead two days later on July 4th, 1981, due to numerous blood clots. Suslov’s death was a shock to the world as never before had such a high-ranking Soviet leader died in the midst of such a great crisis. At the same time Soviet soldiers were being met with sniper fire in Warsaw and Krakow there was now a leadership struggle. The main fight for the position of Second Secretary tore the Politburo apart. The main fight was between Yuri Andropov of the KGB, Andrei Kirilenko, and Nikolai Tikhonov. Tikhonov was by far the most hardline of the three but was backed by Ustinov over Andropov who was revealed to have kidney disease and was assumed that he’d die soon enough. Naturally none of them became Second Secretary, instead it was Vitaly Fedorchuk who was known for dismantling spy rings and cracking down on corruption during his time as Minister of Justice. His investigation led to the expulsion of the high-ranking KGB officer Semyon Tsvigun due to him covering up corruption and bribery within the Politburo. His fast rise to Ustinov’s right-hand man was complete by building a coalition of allies in Viktor Grishin, Yuri Andropov, and Ustinov himself. The election of Fedorchuk as Second Secretary would be the final gasp of air in a collapsing country as their puppet states came to oppose the Soviet government. He would be the last breath of the conservative faction whose refusal to reform would have dire consequences for the Soviet Union as corruption despite the efforts of Ustinov flourished.

On the other hand, in Italy the communist government was successful. The PCI and the Soviet Union officially split after the Invasion of Poland which gave the PCI a massive boost in popularity. Berlinguer would work to implement his vision of Eurocommunism with him first implementing stricter punishments for corruption. His second policy was his attempt to bring industrial democracy to Italy. The way that this would be accomplished was by legalizing worker co-ops and giving massive government subsidies to co-ops. The co-ops would be ran by a representative council, instead of being ran by a CEO and COO the workers would elect representatives for every fifty workers for a co-op of 1000 employees and a representative for everyone hundred employees for a co-op of 2000 employees and so on. Originally it was supposed to be a representative for every twenty-five and fifty workers but that failed in the Chamber of Deputies 322-308. Three socialists and one Christian Democrats voted for the more radical proposal. The proposal that was passed only did because Bettino Craxi was ousted as leader due to the disastrous results in the 1981 General Election. The new leader, Giuliano Vassalli was more of an old school socialist who would become known for his fierce opposition to corruption and being the friend of New York governor Rudy Giuliani. Vassalli managed to hash out a coalition with the PCI who agreed to make him Minister of Justice. The 50-100 Bill passed 340-290 in the Chamber of Deputies thanks to the support of Vassalli and the PSI. The Craxist faction opposed the bill, but Craxi was irrelevant in the eyes of Vassalli and Berlinguer. Coming in fourth place and behind the neo-fascists was a stunning embarrassment and Vassalli believed he could get something out of the communists.

While the 50-100 Proposal was heralded as a victory for the working class it was just a small step. The 50-100 Proposal didn’t mention which industries this would be enforced in and didn’t explain how larger companies would be dealt with. In heavily unionized industries like the mining industry and the steel industry workers were given a fighting chance at industrial democracy. Mining companies were forced to give a vote on turning the company into a worker co-op under the threat of a strike at the mine. Under a Christian Democratic or Socialist government, they’d have the government behind their back a decent amount of the time. But with the Communists in charge the unions had the advantage. The 50-100 Proposal would make it so that co-ops had to be voted on by the workers which was angered the hardliners such as Alessandro Natta and Nilde Iotti who viewed it as not going far enough. Furthermore, they disliked the fact it only included industrial jobs such as mining and steel work instead of all private sector jobs. They voted for the bill regardless due to it still being a victory for Eurocommunism and they knew the workers would vote for the proposal.

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Miners rally in Lombardy (1984).

The first test came at the Lozzolo Mine in the North of the country. The mining company fiercely opposed the co-op, but the union came out in support of the proposal. Berlinguer himself visited the mine three days before the decision was to be made by the workers. Each man got a vote and on July 23rd, 1981, the votes were cast. It was a resounding victory for the miners. 60% of the miners voted in favor of establishing a co-op. Many more mines by the end of the Communist’s first term in government would establish co-ops but, in the mines, ran by bigger companies most would not succeed.

With the passage of the 50-100 proposal the wealthy of Italy were fearful. While the poor got behind the Communists the wealthier citizens organized against the Communist government. Bigger companies spent tens of thousands on the campaigns if a ballot measure was forced by the unions. Often times running a campaign against a co-op was cheaper than a weeklong strike and dozens of mines rejected a proposed co-op. Using their immense wealth to campaign against co-ops and industrial democracy wasn’t enough for some citizens of Italy.

In the 80s an organization would gain millions of dollars from the wealthiest Italians. That was the Propaganda Due Lodge. The P2 as people referred to it was not a political organization but rather a terrorist and criminal organization. One that was dedicated to dismantling Italian democracy by cracking down on unions, controlling the wealth of Italy through fraud and theft, aiding terrorists, and consolidating power in an authoritarian form of government where the economic and political elite of Italy would control the government. The P2 Lodge during the Berlinguer years found allies both national and international and in the 80s would get the fame they deserved as one of the most powerful and corrupt criminal organizations in human history. But their crimes were only just beginning when Air Force One touched down in Rome.

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Propaganda Due: one of the most notorious criminal organizations in world history.
 
Chapter XV: The Unholy Alliance
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Licio Gelli. One of the worst terrorists in world history and Cianci ally.

Air Force One touched down in Rome on May 3rd, 1982. A seemingly innocuous event that set both Italy and America on a collision course. Cianci was not a fan of Berlinguer. Berlinguer during his time as Prime Minister had done more for communism than anyone since Lenin. His “clean” Eurocommunism was undeniably rehabilitating communism in the West and the third world. Instead of harsh, incompetent, and totalitarian Marxist-Leninism of the Soviet Union and whatever the hell you’d describe the insanity of Maoist-Wangism Eurocommunism was starting to surge in popularity in the third world. Amongst Arabs especially Eurocommunism found supporters. This was due to Berlinger’s foreign policy which was staunchly pro-Arab compared to the pro-Iranian and pro-Israeli positions of the Jenkins Ministry and Cianci administration. Berlinguer on the other hand was sympathetic to Egypt and the Palestinians which earned him a great deal of respect amongst the Arab population of the Nile and the Levant. But too Cianci this was a treacherous position that threatened the West’s geopolitical position. The final straw was when Berlinguer managed to pass sanctions against both the PRRI and Iran for their various war crimes. The PCI being emancipated from Soviet influence suffered little repercussions from the Soviet bloc besides a token denouncement. From the US, UK, and France they received a fiery condemnation from all three. Thatcher privately called Berlinguer a Soviet puppet and Chirac called the sanctions “a dangerous attack on our allies in the Middle East.” Cianci was especially pissed off. At midnight he called Berlinguer and berated him for around an hour before Berlinguer’s wife forced her husband to go to bed. That was in April and Berlinguer and Cianci decided to settle their disagreements like men. With a conference in Rome with cameras rolling.

Going into the meeting both Berlinguer and Cianci had wildly different opinions and ideas about each other. Let's start with the former. Buddy Cianci when it came to politics was a simple man. He believed that communism was a totalitarian ideology that dismantled democracy like sepsis dismantles the immune system. His hatred of communism was no more than the average Republican politician such as Shirley Black Temple or his favorite senator David Durenberger. But unlike most politicians, his heritage influenced his decision to fiercely oppose Berlinguer’s government. Being an Italian was a source of pride for him. To him being an Italian was what it meant to be an American. A hard-working, moral man whose hard work fighting mob bosses and fighting the establishment paid off. In six years, he went from the first Republican mayor of Rhode Island to the president of the United States. When he looked over to his sister country, his second home he saw a government that was antithetical to his upbringing and the values his fellow Italians had. He wasn’t going to tolerate a country like Iran falling to communism and he sure as hell was going to do anything in his power to make sure his brothers and sisters weren’t under the hammer and sickle.

Berlinguer was a bit naive about Cianci. He didn’t like him in the first place, viewing him as a man who’d go along with the CIA’s crimes in Latin America and a hypocrite who claimed to stand for Catholic values who sat at his desk and sent weapons to fascist death squads that slaughtered priests in Latin America. Berlinguer believed that Cianci wasn’t a stuck-up thug who would attempt to screw up his government. He believed their populist views and Italian heritage would mesh well and he’d be able to hash out a deal with the United States that would leave each side happy. How wrong he was.

Things started out fine enough with Cianci and Berlinguer greeting each other at Fiumicino Airport. They shook hands and shared smiles, a scene that would piss off the conservatives in Congress for his friendly attitude towards what they viewed as a “pro-Soviet government.” These criticisms were only shared by a few though as most people appreciated the thawing of what was at the time icy US-Italian relations. The first day was a goodwill tour for Cianci which was specifically organized by Berlinguer and the PCI to make him feel welcomed and show that no ill will stood between Italy and the United States. Unlike today Cianci was very popular in Italy. Many viewed him as a principled man who fought the corrupt establishment and was a man of the people. He was like a brother to the Italian people. Communists who praised Berlinguer and the likes of Nilde Iotti praised Cianci in the same breath. To them, Berlinguer and Cianci were cut from the same cloth. Both made peace with the establishments of the country, Berlinguer with Catholicism and liberal democracy, and Cianci with the New Deal. Both were vehemently anti-corruption and during their terms (from what the Italians could see) fought the fight that needed fighting against the smothering tyranny of corruption. Finally, they both proved everyone wrong. Both of them became the leaders of their respective countries against all the odds. Berlinguer emancipated the PCI from the stigma of the Soviet Union and authoritarianism that was viewed as compatible with communism. Cianci went from the mayor of not even the 100th most populous city to the president of one of the two hegemonic powers that controlled the world.

But Cianci didn’t feel that way. The adoring crowds were further evidence that Berlinguer was unpopular and a tyrant much like the Communist regime in Poland. In addition to his belief that Eurocommunism was a tyrannical ideology that was going to destroy his homeland, he viewed Berlinguer as a useful stooge for the Soviet Union. Despite, Berlinguer’s fierce opposition to Ustinov’s regime and support for the Solidarity Movement in Poland his opposition to nuclear weapons in Italy, and his praise of Liberation Theology.

By the end of the first day, both parties were sleepless as they were about to meet face to face. Both sides didn’t know how the meeting was going to affect history and few knew the butterflies the seemingly minor meeting was going to have. At 9:30 AM both men arrived at the Italian Parliament building. Cianci came from the right of the hallway with a feeling of confidence and a prepared hardline attitude, similar to what he used to intimidate Robert Bauman. To Cianci’s left was Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and to his right was Colonel Oliver North who was his de facto chief military advisor. Berlinguer came from the left of the hallway with a smile on his face and an aura of bravado and confidence that was unparalleled in not the building but all of Rome. To his left were Achille Occhetto, his Minister of Foreign Affairs and protege. To his right was his Deputy Prime Minister and friend Aldo Moro. All three of the men had coached each other the night before on what to say and how to show their respect to the United States delegation. When the two parties met both of them shook hands and exchanged greetings. “Should we get to work gentlemen?” Said Occhetto, nodding his head. At that point, the two groups split off. Cianci and Berlinguer went into a room by themselves and Rumsfeld and North went with Occhetto and Moro to a room across from Cianci and Berlinguer’s room.

Berlinguer and Cianci sat across from each other in the brightly lit room. On the north wall was the flag of Italy and on the south wall were photos of the current Berlinguer Ministry. “So where should we start president?” Asked Berlinguer with a gleeful voice.

“I think a good place to start is your opposition to the Iranian Republic,” said Cianci with a serious yet oddly cheerful tone that he was known for.

“I think that would be an excellent way to start off the meeting.”

“Okay. First, your opposition to the Iranian Republic is a dangerous miscalculation on your part. The sanctions frankly are sabotaging the Iranians ability to liberate themselves from the Communist menace. Furthermore, if they lose to either Iraq or the PRRI a decent chunk of the oil in the world will be controlled by madmen,” said Cianci as he prepared to go into his mob boss debate style.

“President with all due respect the idea that I’m somehow sabotaging the efforts of a democratic regime is preposterous. Just because Khamenei and his friends are opposing the Soviet-backed proxy doesn’t mean anything to me. What means something to me is which side is moral and respects the dignity and liberty of the poor and the workers.”

“If you supported the rights of the workers then you’d support the side that will allow them to participate in free and democratic elections,” said Cianci, with him beginning ton tap his foot as he started to become slightly agitated.

“The thing is the Islamists don’t give a damn about democracy. Khamenei and his friends haven’t given a moment of consideration to even the liberal parties in their country. Do you think they’d listen to the social democrats or the socialists? They kill homosexuals for their mere existence, even though they don’t threaten their power like the workers who’ll organize against their religious extremism. The moment the poor of Persia hit the streets they will be shot and killed much like what the Shah did.”

Cianci’s dash of happiness in his tone was gone as soon as Berlinguer said that. From that point on Cianci didn’t suspect but fully believe Berlinguer was what he thought. A radical stooge who was hell-bent on sabotaging NATO in the Cold War. “Comparing the Islamists, who overthrew the Shah to the Shah is a ridiculous comparison. It’s like comparing me to a mob boss when I took them down as mayor, governor, and president. If you want to compare anyone to the Shah, then that would be the godless communists at the PRRI whose militias have massacred the anti-communist dissidents as Ustinov did in Poland.”

“Which is why I sanctioning the PRRI too. The problem with your view on the Iranian Civil War with all due respect is the belief that a wrong justifies a wrong that perpetuates violence. My view is that wrong doesn’t justify a wrong and that we must stand up for what’s right in regard to foreign policy no matter what ideology the perpetrator of tyranny or atrocities is.”’

“The problem with that logic is that not all ideologies are the same!” Cianci responded with a raised voice with a dash of anger to replace his usually cheery attitude. “Yeah, the Islamists may be bastards but they’re our bastards. They may kill some sinners but compare to giving the totalitarian communists in the North control over the world’s oil? They’re saints who will allow the west to flow with so much oil we wouldn’t know what to do with.”

“I don’t care what their lifestyle is. Homosexuals have human rights and even if you disagree with it based on Catholic doctrine then you must oppose their murder at the hands of theocratic thugs under the sixth commandment. What is the morality of collecting resources if they are collected through the blood of innocents?”

“They’re resources that will end the tyranny of your ideology and sweep the Soviets into the dustbin of history.”

“But at what cost? The cost of our morality and sanity?”

“Listen you sonvabitch. We have a chance to strike a blow against those thugs Ustinov and Rajavi. If you want to sabotage our effort, I will not be surprised nor will I condone your actions that are antithetical to the values, we were raised in. Your legacy unlike mine will be one of capitulation to tyranny while mine will be one who fought against tyranny!”

Berlinguer sighed and couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was a de facto puppet for tyrants? Ridiculous. He had denounced Ustinov’s thuggery in the same way he had protested Jackson’s and Khamenei’s. “First Mr. Cianci I am not some kind of scrooge for tyrants. I may be a communist, but I am one who has unlike Ustinov a respect for the law and democracy. I am a man who emancipated my party from the grasp of the Soviet Union even if my fellow communists attacked me for the decision. Saying I’m a useful stooge for the Soviets is like saying the Pope is a useful stooge for the FRS and Ortega.”

“It doesn’t matter what you and the Pope think you are it’s what everyone sees you as. I see you guys as nothing more than stooges who use your power to sabotage the global fight against communism. We both know the reason you’re so hesitant to sanction Rajavi and contribute your fair share to NATO.”

“I will not contribute to acts of aggression that cost thousands of lives in the name of ideological proxy wars. This brings me to the next point and that’s the issue of nuclear weapons in my country.”

“Oh God help me,” said Cianci as if he read Berlinguer’s mind. “Lemme guess, you’re going to want the US to remove your one defense against a Soviet intervention?”

“I want all nuclear weapons out of my country. Italy is already a part of NATO which guarantees protection in case of a Soviet invasion. These nuclear weapons serve no purpose but to escalate tensions with Italy and the Soviet Union, therefore putting us at a greater risk of attack at the hands of Ustinov and the Red Army. The last thing I want is my country to contribute to the nuclear arms race between the US and the Soviet Union that puts billions of lives, including every one of my fellow Italian citizens in the hands of a few people who if one makes a mistake or has bout of insanity will end those billions of lives. Like you I want what’s best for the people of my country and in my opinion weapons of mass destruction in my country will not end well if there’s an accident at one of the missile silos or military bases.”

“What you just said was ridiculous. More ridiculous than your belief that communism is a legitimate ideology that will allow your country to thrive. We both know that your policies have led to millions of gallons of blood being spilled by the state.”

“I am many things. An opponent of the Islamists and nuclear weapons, you’ve got that right but a goddamn mass murder? Is that some kind of disgusting hyperbolic joke?”

“I never said you were a mass murder. But I’m not going to mince words. You are no better than the Left in the 60s. Like them, you have a huge heart but you simply are an idealist who’s blinded by sweet talk from dead radicals who think that just one more attempt to implement communism or socialism will prove it works. But like all the attempts before your ideal world will fail frankly fail because it denies the basic liberty needed for a society to survive that will lead to thousands of deaths.”

“Cianci. I took you as a good man, much like my friend Aldo who I may disagree with but who I can work with to find a suitable compromise that would lead to good relations and understanding. Instead, you are no better than that thug Jackson. Both of you have been filled with the poisonous red-baiting by the far-right in America, the poison that makes you believe that I, the man who has denounced the crimes of the Soviet Union and its puppet regimes in Eastern Europe is somehow a useful stooge for tyrants then I don’t know what to say besides you’re wrong and playing a dangerous game.”

“What game?” Sneered Cianci.

“The game of diplomacy. No one is going to want to be your ally if all you do is try and bully those who disagree with you then the only favor, you’ll do is give people a reason to hate you. The only people your cruel and slanderous accusations will help is the Red Brigades who’ll view you as the man who represents everything wrong with the capitalist system. An ignorant bully who attacks those who disagree with him.”

Cianci gritted his teeth and replied; “this isn’t about just ideological differences. This is about defending my ancestor's land from communism.”

“Ya know what? Never mind” replied Berlinguer, rolling his eyes as he wondered why he scheduled this meeting in the first place. This squabble isn’t getting us anywhere and I figure you don’t like having your time wasted. Let's try and settle another issue. Are there any you have in mind, Mr. Cianci?”

“Yes indeed. Your proposal to dismantle the right to a business in Italy.”

“I respectfully wouldn’t call it the dismantling of business. The plan of my government is not to destroy businesses but to turn them over to the hands of the people much like how the Republican tradition seeks to turn over the government to the people.”

“But does that matter if you won’t have enough money to buy bread? Not everyone is willing or able to run a business. There cannot be a democracy, in the same way, there can’t be democracy in the cabinet. You ask them to do the necessary work to make sure the machine is well oiled and working. If I allowed by the cabinet to run itself there would be no order and the government would collapse.”

“With all due respect Mr. Cianci, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this issue.”

“With all due respect no. Italy is my true homeland, where my family lived and died before they came to America. Hell, my great-grandfather was the mayor of Benevento. I will do everything in my power to stop this beautiful country from falling into economic ruin and tyranny like China and the Soviet Union.”

“I promise I will not destroy the beautiful country I was raised in Mr. Cianci. Like you I love this country and I will stop at nothing to see it thrive. I ask you not to make a fool of yourself and get involved.”

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Berlinguer answering a question (Cianci is out of view to his left).

Cianci would not stay out of Italy but to his credit, he would not make a fool of himself. He did something much worse. Cianci’s meeting with Berlinguer only convinced him that Berlinguer was a dangerous radical who wasn’t a malicious thug like Ustinov or Hongwen but an idiot who would lead his country to ruin. While taking questions from reporters he could hardly focus on their questions. Berlinguer was noticeably happier, talking about how they had their disagreements, but he felt like the US was a sister to Italy. By the end of the press conference, Cianci was angry. Angry at the fact Berlinguer was correct. What could he do without making himself look like a fool? If he sanctioned Italy, he would be harming his fellow Italians, including millions who opposed Berlinguer. If he called for Berlinguer’s resignation he would earn the scorn of NATO and the Eastern Bloc for interfering with Italy’s affairs. Just when he was about to resign himself being defeated by a communist a man walked into the room with Oliver North. “Who the hell are you?”

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Cianci's man on the inside.

“This man right here Mr. President is the solution to our problems with the Berlinguer regime.”

“Ah really? Now ya piqued my interest. What’s your name sir?”

The man in the white suit and black tie put out his cigarette and with confidence that only Cianci could rival began to speak. "My name is Silvio Berlusconi Mr. President, and me and my friends have a proposition about the communism problem.”

Cianci stood up and shook the man’s hand. “Call me Buddy, please. What do you prefer to be called?”

“Silvio please.”

“Well, Silvio my ears are open.”

“Thank you, Buddy. Now onto business. As we all know Italy has been controlled by the Communists under Berlinguer since 1978 when Moro decided instead of democracy and rationality that we would compromise with communism and insanity. Our organization is at the forefront of resisting the economic collapse that the Communists seek to bring about. We are just like the Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War we seek a country free of communism. Now, we’re not suicidal mass murders who want to kill thousands in a civil war but patriots who will use less bloody means to dismantle the tyranny of communism and the Berlinguer regime. Our plan is to centralize power in the hands of business leaders, anti-communist politicians, fellow common patriots, and those in the media to guide Italian society like a business where the common man will prosper. In other words, we are Propaganda Due.”

“First, of all Silvio. Ya seem like a godsend. Too good to be true. I know for a fact that an organization with that kind of political and economic capital has to have a king on top of the scheme. I’m going to be here for another day so gimme a meeting with him and we may just have a deal.”

“That is doable” replied Berlusconi as the two men shook hands and sealed Cianci’s fate.

The next day Cianci, North, and Rumsfeld went to a villa called Villa Licio in the south of Rome to discuss a potential partnership with P2. North and Cianci were suspicious of P2 due to it being too good to be true. But Berlusconi made good on his promise as the leader of P2 himself game to greet them. Licio Gelli came in dawning a black and white suit with a sash around him. Rumsfeld had been told this was a meeting with an Italian general to gain information on Berlinguer’s true plans. You can imagine his shock when he realized he was in a masonic lodge. Rumsfeld left the room and waited in the kitchen, not wanting to be a part of what he viewed as a clearly embarrassing blunder on Cianci and North’s part. After he left the meeting got down to business. Cianci started the conversation in Italian, saying “Mr. Gelli I have to say I’m impressed with your organization you have here. But I don’t cut deals before I have the evidence that you’re the real deal. How do ya make your money? Who do ya have on your side? Because if you’re a bunch of rich folks who drink wine while bitchin about communism rather than putting the money where your mouth is.”

“Well, Cianci we have a list of all our high-ranking members of the upper echelon of Italian society,” said Gelli as he pulled the list from his pocket and handed it to Cianci. “As you can see, we have politicians, bankers, rich men, the claimant to the Italian throne, members of the military, and even members of Berlinguer’s administration.”

“I’m in awe Gelli. Ya actually did it. You sonvabitch you actually managed to infiltrate the bastard's government. You’ve got a deal!”

“A wise choice Mr. Cianci. What will the deal entail exactly?”

“For starters, I’ve got some buddies in the CIA who will be more than willing to provide you with funds. Just know if you do a good job the reward will be large both in morality and wealth. Second, I want in on how you’re making money currently. I know that you’re shady as hell and I respect that. Back home I got my own organization outside of the federal government and I’m looking for an expansion.”

“Well, Mr. Cianci. On behalf of Propaganda Due, I take the deal. Give me a couple of minutes and I shall have the list of people you’ll have the primary funders of this anti-communist operation. They’ll understand your investments and will value doing business with you.”

The two men shook hands as the fate of Italy was sealed. The Unholy Alliance was complete as the CIA, P2, the Mob, and Cianci joined forces to dismantle the Berlinguer government as they attempted to present an alternative to both state communism and capitalism. A grave mistake as the decision to fight for what they believed was right was one that nearly cost not them but Italy everything. Pope Nicholas VI that day was in Spain but from hundreds of miles away he could sense something was wrong. That night the feeling of existential dread swept into his soul, and he couldn’t sleep that night. He got out of his bed and prayed for guidance. The entire night he didn’t get a second of rest as the sun rises and he made the trip back to Rome. This time he was slated to discuss a visit to his home country of Brazil to discuss a meeting with the military junta. The meeting was supposed to negotiate the end to the dictatorship that had martyred so many innocents, but Nicholas VI was cautious due to the recent events in Latin America. The meeting was cut short as he could barely stay focused. In the end, they agreed to a date, with May 5th, 1982, being the selected date. Still, he couldn’t sleep due to the dread. He knew something sinister was going on under his nose. He just didn’t know what.

He read the paper as he told the cardinals and the assistants what to do and saw Cianci’s face in the newspaper. At that point his body filled with rage. He was reminded of the recent reports from El Salvador. Thousands were dead as the Green Shirts and the OPN slaughtered FDN and JNP forces in brutal raids. Furthermore, US weapons contributed to propping up South African apartheid. The fact he and Pinochet were still in power was shaken him to his core that such corrupt thugs could control their respective countries without being thrown out by the children of God. To Nicholas VI the only men worse were the ones who controlled China and turned it into a madhouse. He continued to analyze the newspaper and saw an ad for a cigar company with a cartoon of the devil on the back. He rolled his eyes and grabbed his glass of water but spilled it all over his lap. Even better he thought. As if his day wasn’t bad enough his clothes were all wet. He picked up the newspaper and the face of the cartoon devil and Cianci were now merged together due to the ink seeping through the wet newspaper. A creepy image but one Nicholas VI wouldn’t pay attention to until years later.

The next day Cianci paid a visit to two men on Gelli’s list. Their names were Roberto Calvi and Giuseppe Calo. He visited them on a tour of the Banco Ambrosiano bank’s headquarters which was one of the largest in all of Italy. There Cianci and two of Italy’s richest men smoked cigars and exchanged a couple of jokes before getting down to business. Cianci enlisted Calvi and Calo to help him launder money for Cianci’s criminal empire. In exchange for their help, Calvi and Calo would receive an 8% cut on top of having access to resources from the CIA, including weapons and information on the Italian government that was written off as going to the Contras or Justine regime for the former. Calvi and Calo would also give Cianci a conclave in the Mob’s affairs which would allow him to negotiate with the mobsters. The negotiations would be smooth considering the fact that Cianci was the most powerful man in the world and even the most powerful mobsters wanted access to him, even if it was through Cianci's low-level goons in the state department. Soon enough millions were being laundered to Cianci with the help of Calvi and P2 over international borders. That’s on top of the new opportunities Cianci was given. Soon enough he began a campaign of extortion against small business owners in Sicily and Tuscany. In exchange for “security” against the threat of a communist campaign against the business in an effort to turn it into a co-op, they would pay the Mob thousands of dollars, 10% of which would go to Cianci in exchange for giving the Mob access to his resources. Bigger mining, steel, and chemical companies especially hired the Mob to work for them. Depending on the company you could find yourself threatened by mobsters on a regular basis if you advocated for industrial democracy or criticized their anti-union policies.

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Pro co-op union leader shortly after being murdered in Treviso (1986).

In some extreme cases, pro-worker activists or local communist politicians would be executed by mafia death squads. The CIA’s involvement was to encourage this business model by training sending members of the Contras to train the mobsters in torture techniques and how to properly kill someone without getting caught. Even more egregious was when the CIA in connection with the P2 Lodge actively encouraged terrorism by the NAR or other neo-fascist terrorist organizations. This was accomplished by P2 helping neo-fascist terrorists in committing their crimes or using their CIA money to fund terrorism, which was accomplished with manuals on torture and giving neo-fascists access to explosives that they often used in assassinations. This was all part of a strategy of tension that was intended to cause massive violence and therefore a massive backlash against the Berlinguer Ministry. While the CIA’s encouragement and “indirect” funding of terrorism did succeed in killing scores of civilians it didn’t make the communists any less popular as it allowed them to push for harsher policies against terrorism. Plus, the far-right committing mass murder isn’t exactly a good way to disprove communism but prove that fascism is inherently insane and evil. Did Unholy Alliance give a damn? No. Just like the hundreds killed through their funding of neo-fascist terrorist organizations and direct aiding of the Mobs terror campaign against communists and socialist civilians they gave not one pause about what they were doing. The ones who had aided the JNP and OPN’s crimes against humanity in El Salvador were soon reassigned to help with Operation Gladio in Italy.

In Italy, the deputy director of the Military Intelligence and Security Service actively sabotaged any attempts to crack down on neo-fascist terrorism. Whether through misleading investigators, planting false evidence, or sending the names of witnesses to terrorists or mobsters so they could be properly intimidated or in some cases executed. The main rule of the Unholy Alliance was to leave no loose ends and do anything to bring unnecessary attention to P2. By the end of 1982 P2 was only going to get more brazen and deeper into the government to such an extent that the Italian people felt like they were shocked by a million volts of electricity and exposed the true corruption and criminality prevalent in not only Italian society but the American government.
 
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