Benito Mussolini Was British Intelligence Asset

History remembers Benito Mussolini as a founder member of the original Axis of Evil, the Italian dictator who ruled his country with fear and forged a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany. But a previously unknown area of Il Duce’s CV has come to light: his brief career as a British agent.

Archived documents have revealed that Mussolini got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5.

For the British intelligence agency, it must have seemed like a good investment. Mussolini, then a 34-year-old journalist, was not just willing to ensure Italy continued to fight alongside the allies in the first world war by publishing propaganda in his paper. He was also willing to send in the boys to “persuade” peace protesters to stay at home.

Guardian: Recruited by MI5: the name’s Mussolini. Benito Mussolini

(via Cryptogon)

7 Comments

  1. This link is very much appreciated. The oddness of the bedfellows from after WW1 to the present is mind-numbing. Maybe before, but what I know is that time. Everybody worked for and against everybody. See “Dreamer of the Day” and “Human Smoke.”

  2. History is stranger than fiction…

    @ Trevor Blake:

    I have actually been thinking of getting a copy of “Dreamer of the Day” for some time now.

    Although as I understand it the author, Kevin Coogan, has some unsavory political ties himself. Evidently Kevin has published some articles on neocon David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.Com. At least that’s what Alex Constantine and Adam Parfrey brought up when Coogan attacked Feral House:

    http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg111330.html
    (And yes, that is Alex Constantine who wrote the above as evidenced by the “AC” intials at the end of the piece)
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R37I32JNROSNQ3
    (This is a review of “Dreamer of the Day” by Parfrey)

  3. @StrangeBoy – sounds mostly like a personal quarrel between Parfrey and Coogan. Constantine says that Horowitz quotes Coogan’s articles, not that Coogan published articles there.

  4. Oh, I must have misread Constantine. Although, I have seen references to Coogan siding with the right in opposition to the anti-war movement. But I haven’t seen enough evidence to confirm anything so…

  5. This totally never happens anymore and one would be a fool and a madman to suggest otherwise.

    And Dreamer of the Day is a great book for wading through the ideological soup that is movement-period fascism.

  6. Before WWII, British intelligence funded Mussolini. During the cold war, American intelligence funded Osama bin Laden.

    Who is today’s Mussolini/Bin Laden? Lotta fingers point to Mousavi.

  7. Totally want to read Dreamer of the Day, BTW. I think my next book, after the mutant book, will be on ultranationalism.

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