Former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon, alleged to being in receipt of Russian funding, implicated in far-right infiltration of Catholic Church

The Italian culture ministry has announced that it has evicted what has been described as a far-right political bootcamp from a thirteenth-century monastery, AFP reports. 

The bootcamp has ties to Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, through its Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), which Bannon funds. Bannon has been accused of being in receipt of Russian funding, and appears to have the support of UK eurosceptic Nigel Farage, who has also been suspected of being in receipt of Moscow Geld. Farage's close consort, and alleged "girlfriend", Laure Ferrari, is also named in legal papers in the possession of EU Today as being involved in Bannon's Brussels based 'The Movement', a network of far-right political parties, again suspected, or in some cases proven to be, in receipt of Russian funding.

According to AFP, the bootcamp—which had been established to train students to "defend the West"—had been given a 19 year lease on Trisulti Charterhouse in the Province of Frosinone, central Italy, in February 2018. However, the ministry said on Thursday that the group had falsely tendered for the lease, and thus they were evicted. This follows reports from May that the ministry was intending to revoke the lease due to "violations of various contractual obligations," according to The Telegraph.

This will come as a blow to Benjamin Harnwell, a British conservative and the director of DHI, who had hoped to launch the first three-week course to a small group of students this year and was in the process of securing planning permission to revamp the venue. Harnwell is an associate of Bannon, who had reportedly promised to give $1 million to the project.

DHI is a Rome-based organisation that describes itself on its website as a think tank with the aim of protecting and promoting "human dignity based on the anthropological truth that man is born in the image and likeness of God." It works with legislators to promote the Christian voice in the public arena, which it says is being silenced.

The organisation has ties to some of the most conservative factions of the Catholic community. This is exemplified in its appointment of Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, who served as honorary president before stepping down and—later—cutting ties with the organisation earlier this year.

Martino takes a strictly conservative stance on issues such as abortion, which led him in 2007 to call on Catholics to withdraw monetary support from Amnesty International after it announced its support of decriminalisation of abortion. 

Harnwell told Reuters in 2018 that Bannon, a former White House strategist and Breitbart editor, had been helping to "build up" the institute for half of its (then) eight-year existence. Burke confirmed Bannon would be taking a "leading role" at the institute.

According to the Catholic Herald, Martino's motivations for eventually cutting ties with DHI was Bannon's influence over the group. In a statement at the time, he said the organization was becoming "more and more identified" with the political program of Steve Bannon.

Describing his vision of the bootcamp to CBS in March 2019, Bannon said it plans to offer students, "the kind of underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian West… what the values are, what we stand for, and also, in modern media, what we call a modern gladiator school."

Bannon's rhetoric should be viewed in the context of his alleged funding by Russian interests, which are, in fact, completely hostile to Western values.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon 

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