Europhilia II: Casa Pia and Catholic Rumours

“Australian investigative TV program 60 minutes recently aired a program that exposes the fact that high level British politicians, government ministers, intelligence, police and military chiefs have all been involved in decades-long, systematic sexual abuse, rape and murder of hundreds or perhaps thousands of children as young as 8 years old.”

Spies, Lords and Predators: Australian 60 minutes program exposes British political child rapists


Over the last decade a rising number of politicians and celebrities have appeared in the press charged with child rape/paedophile ring crimes.  The Portuguese diplomat, former ambassador to South Africa and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Jorge Ritto was one of many jailed in November 2002 for his part in Portugal’s Casa Pia “paedophilia” scandal. It was to become one of the most notorious cases of serious sexual abuse, where young children were procured from the orphanage for a network of high profile molesters. [1]    As is usual with such cases, the innocent and guilty are likely mixed up together in order to protect the involvement of more important members of the Establishment.

Casa Pia is one of Portugal’s oldest and most respected public institutions and runs 10 homes caring for 4,500 children. Not only were photographs depicting paedophile activities were found at Ritto’s house in the town of Estoril, 20 miles from Lisbon, but four children who had gone missing from the orphanage were also discovered, where they had spent several days allegedly under lock and key. The Portuguese Attorney General’s Office had confirmed it began investigations into the Ritto affair in 1982, but abandoned them in 1987 for lack of evidence. Files relating to the case mysteriously disappeared as is usual in most cases involving alleged systematic abuse. This Casa Pia ring was thought to have been in existence for over twenty years and although government authorities knew about the abuse, they chose to remain silent.

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Carlos Cruz, Jorge Ritto et al

Ritto was also a close friend of UNESCO’s Secretary General, Koichiro Matsura and other high level officials. Other well-known names within politics and entertainment who were also indicted included among others, Herman Jose, a celebrated comic and host of a Sunday night talk show and Carlos Cruz, a former talk show and quiz show host. Even the Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio appeared on television in January 2004 to denounce accusations that he was in any way involved in the abuse.

Police arrested a driver for the network of Casa Pia, Carlos Silvino after allegations from former residents that he abused children and procured boys for powerful clients, photos of which were found in Silvino’s possession. He faced 35 charges of sexually molesting four children over a three-year period. His alleged victims included a boy with mental disabilities, and another who was deaf and mute. He denied the allegations.

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Pedro Namora, a former Casa Pia resident, says he was among those who suffered sexual abuse

A former politician and secretary of state for families, Teresa Costa Macedo, claimed to have sent a dossier containing photographs and testimonies from children to the police 20 years ago detailing the activities of the paedophile ring but no action was taken. The minister did however receive a considerable amount of threats to keep quiet. She explained that Mr. Silvino: “… was just one element in a huge paedophile network that involved important people in our country, It wasn’t just him. He was a procurer of children for well-known people who range from diplomats and politicians to people linked to the media. “There are photographs, an account of the methods used to spirit children out of the orphanage and testimonies of a number of children,” she explained.  [2] Silvino appears to have played a role very much like that of Dutroux. Such persons are designated “fall-guys” who take the blame on behalf of their handlers.

Of the 600 orphans at Casa Pia that received counselling 128 had been abused. Pedro Strecht, a child psychologist, said “Many wouldn’t speak, for fear or shame. We are trained to recognise if children are exaggerating or inventing stories. The testimonies we have heard demonstrate the magnitude of the tragedy.” Casa Pía’s new director, Catalina Pestana, stated that most of the abuse occurred to children ages 10 to 13 where “Muscles were torn and tissue was ripped, and some have lost control of their sphincters…” With this level of abuse it is no surprise that psychologists there estimated that “…only about two-thirds of those abused will admit the ordeal.” [3]

Like the Dutroux case, the trail faced obstructions and delays, hearing more than 700 witnesses before finally ending at the end of 2005. A spokeswoman from the children’s charity Innocence in Danger mentioned the pattern of politicians and Establishment figures suddenly transforming into “knights in shining armour,” usually after a deafening silence in response to persistent warnings. Commenting on the Casa Pia case she explained:  “They, like the police, must have known about the widespread abuse of children in Portuguese institutions for years. They have been warned often enough by charities such as ours but for reasons best known to them have remained silent. Their recent acts of breast-beating are outright hypocrisy… Time and time again complaint files are lost, witnesses are seldom interviewed and suspects let off the hook.” [4] (This is reminds us of similar “knights” within the BBC and government who had no problem decrying sexual psychopath Jimmy Savile OBE and blaming on a “discourse of disbelief.”

Others who were later accused included the leader of the Portuguese socialist party, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, and his political protégé, 38 year-old former employment minister Paulo Pedroso. The latter continued to protest his innocence insisting that he was the victim of a calumny: ‘I have never participated in any act of paedophilia or any similar act,’ he told a press conference just before his arrest. Ten persons were finally charged in December 2003, Pedroso among them, still claiming he was a victim of a smear campaign. Attorney General Jose Souto Moura said the 10 were indicted on charges of “sexually abusing minors, rape and organising a paedophile ring.” [5]

After a series of delays the trial finally got under way in October 2003. The defence’s request for the removal of the presiding judge due to lack of impartiality raised suspicions that the Judiciary knew something the jury didn’t. Nevertheless, after a short appeal the judge threw out the case against Paulo Pedroso who had already spent four months in custody. His release was granted after lawyers successfully argued that his “preventative detention” was not justified. He was shortly reinstated as a Member of Parliament in the same month.

Two other suspects – TV comedian Herman Jose and archaeologist Francisco Alves also had the charges dropped by an investigating magistrate. Uncertainty as to the witness validity which led to the imprisonment of Carlos Cruz has also been discussed in some sectors of the media. What is without doubt is that such a hot potato will be used as a political weapon to oust opponents adding to an already smoke-filled issue. (Indeed, in 2013, further indictments and referrals were filed at the Lisbon Criminal Court).

Following dawn raids throughout Italy in November 2004 a regional arm of a global file-sharing ring busy swapping pornographic videos and photographs was broken. Much of the material was traced to Russia. The Italian postal police were able to monitor and detect a particular system that allowed reciprocal access to hard disk files “that eventually allowed investigators to amass more than 3,000 items of paedophile pornography.” [6] However, after over 100 searches this only led to four arrests, though from the information gathered many more arrests followed in over 65 countries.

Italian prosecutors underlined the repeating pattern of international paedophile rings that were becoming ever more violent and horrific. The videos in question depicted “sobbing three or four-year-old children with knives being held to their throats,” and photographs of “tortured children, subjected to violence of all kinds.” [7]

magistratura

The trend for an underground market that demanded increasing extremes of abuse and even murder continues to shock seasoned investigators, most of whom admit that this is only the beginning. While taking into account the many entrapment operations and associated corruption mentioned previously, child pornography is a growing market.

In 2000, an Italian prosecutor, Alfredo Ormanni charged 1,491 Italians and foreign nationals with offering or downloading child pornography on the Internet. Though the definitions as to what child porn constituted was still as vague in Italy, as it was in America and the UK, Italy did uncover a particularly dark example of a sophisticated ring of abuse. Yet while Italy has a history of abuse from a melding of the military and the Catholic Church, each time it has been discovered that the arteries to such genuine abuse lead back to Russia.

In Moscow three Russians who were said to have headed the ring were picked up. Dmitri Kuznetsov, aged 31, was arrested in Moscow in February; Andrej Valeri Minaev, formerly of the Soviet military and owner of a company that distributes TV video cassettes and Valeri Ivanov, the abuser who appeared in many recordings tormenting young children on tape was the only one of the three to be sentenced to 11 years in prison. But the two other suspects were charged only with distributing pornography and were later released after the Russian parliament passed an amnesty law to reduce the number of internees.

What distinguished the ring from others run along similar commercial lines was the extreme nature of the material. Police spokesman stated: “The pictures are unbearable for normal people to watch. Here are prolonged rape sequences with children begging to be spared. They are abused until they faint. Then they are murdered before the cameras… Yes, there are even scenes of actual autopsies on young people.” Police in Torre Annunziata, south of Neapel, led the investigation in collaboration with police in Moscow. While most of the arrested were Italians, one was a Russian citizen. Of the Italians, all were from upper middle class status including a civil servants and businessmen. [8]

In Naples, the Russian paedophile ring ran the operation to kidnap children from orphanages, circuses and public parks and film them while they were forced to commit sexual acts. “The material cost between $400 and $6,000 for each video or disc depending on the type of film the customer wanted – the more horrific, the more costly.” A Naples based internet crime operation reported that the Russian paedophile ring ran a well-oiled business: “… to kidnap children from orphanages, circuses and public parks and film them while they were forced to commit sexual acts.” […] …the service was divided into several categories. ‘SNIPE’’ was the term given by the ring for videos of children filmed nude without their knowledge. ‘CP’ was the code word for ordering an item from a paedophile’s ‘private collection.’The most gruesome, was coded ‘NECROS PEDO,’ in which children were raped and tortured to death, Investigators gathered images of more than 2,000 children who were filmed while being abused, raped and in one case killed. [9]  Ormanni told Italian news agency ANSA: “… he believed those accused in Italy would cooperate with the court and may thereby avoid a jail sentence.” He also mentioned one reason why the abuse continued was due to the existence of “a paedophile lobby that acts in broad daylight and probably with the support, which I could consider unwitting, of certain political parties…”  [10]

In May 2005 Italian police were fighting a losing battle, this time investigating 186 people after uncovering an Internet pornography site for paedophiles that once again showed young children being tortured. “Police said the anonymous web site had been protected by a password and was only accessible for nine days last year in an apparent effort to avoid detection.” Three priests were also implicated. [11]  The global internet paedophile ring that was uncovered through the initial investigations of the Morkoven Group came from Gerrie Ulrich, convicted paedophile and a key member of the ring who was murdered in Italy. Another Italian citizen charged in the Wonderland ring had over 180,000 images. So called child torture is big on the list of crimes now surfacing under global anti-paedophile ring operations.

As the media attention died down this did not change Alfredo Ormanni’s view that “a network of politicians and institutional figures had obstructed the investigation and tried to protect the guilty.” He believes there is still “a paedophile lobby that acts in broad daylight and probably with the support, which I could consider unwitting, of certain political parties …”  While Father Fortunato Di Noto, the priest whose whistleblowing of the abuse proved so crucial to police, “claimed ministers were refusing to act on evidence.” [12] Paedophiles in power simply closed ranks when the investigations came too close. Both men maintained such networks extended to the top levels of the Catholic Church.

vatican-city-europe Vatican (wikipedia)

With memories of state-sponsored Gladio units causing horrific terrorists acts in Europe the story in Italy at the time found that fascist branches of the secret police, paramilitary organisations, the CIA and State collusion were by-products of the reaction against perceived communist infiltration. In fact, one of multiple reasons may have included a way to maintain various underworld crime and child rape networks. [13]  This connects with the prevalence of child abuse in the Catholic Church and the Vatican, not least the historical background of Satanism and child abuse already prevalent in wartime Italy.  If we have a serious infection occurring within the traditions of the Italian Church, then one may justifiably conclude that such a ponerisation is advanced in the already weakened domains of society, that have traditionally served as fertile grounds for criminal activities. There are, as usual, some double standards at work that could support sequestered channels leading to high level prosecutions. These actions are unlikely to touch the orchestrators of the networks themselves.

 


Notes

[2] ‘Portugal’s elite linked to paedophile ring’ BBC News, November 2002.
[3] ‘School Paedophilia Scandal Shakes Portuguese Society’ The New York Times, October 9, 2003.
[4] ‘Arrest of Portugal’s elite in paedophile scandal’ World Socialist Website, Paul Mitchell, 18 June 2003.
[5] ‘Portugal child sex charges issued’ BBC News, 29 December, 2003.
[6] ‘Global child sex ring exposed’ The Guardian, November 26, 2004.
[7] Ibid.
[8] ‘Pedofil-företag mördade barn inför kamera’ by Ake Malm and Annika Sohlander, http://www.aftonbladnet.se
[9] ‘1,491 charged in International Internet paedophilia case’ Reuters/Silicon Valley News October 28, 2000.
[10] Ibid.
[11] ‘Italian Police Investigating Website for Pedophiles,’ Reuters, May 25, 2005.
[12] ‘Italian pedophile scandal goes all the way to the top’ by Rory Carroll, The Guardian, 01 Nov 2000.
[13] NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe by Daniele Ganser, Published by Routledge; 1 edition 2005, ISBN-10: 0714685003.
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