Propaganda Due (Italian pronunciation: [propaˈɡanda ˈduːe]; P2) was a Masonic lodge, founded in 1877, within the tradition of Continental Freemasonry and under the authority of Grand Orient of Italy. Its Masonic charter was withdrawn in 1976, and it was transformed by Worshipful Master Licio Gelli into an international, illegal, clandestine, anti-communist, anti-Soviet, anti-Marxist, and radical right[3][4][5] criminal organization and secret society operating in contravention of Article 18 of the Constitution of Italy that banned all such secret associations.[6] Licio Gelli continued to operate the unaffiliated lodge from 1976 to 1984.[7] P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries, including the collapse of the Holy See-affiliated Banco Ambrosiano, the contract killings of journalist Carmine Pecorelli and mobbed-up bank president Roberto Calvi, and political corruption cases within the nationwide Tangentopoli bribery scandal. P2 came to light through the investigations into the collapse of Michele Sindona's financial empire.[8]

Propaganda 2 (P2)
Propaganda Due
LeaderLicio Gelli
Founded1877 (as Propaganda Massonica) 1966 (as Propaganda Due)
Dissolved1976 (officially by Grand Orient of Italy) 25 January 1982
Preceded byPropaganda Massonica
Political positionFar-right
National affiliation
International affiliation

P2 was sometimes referred to as a "state within a state"[9] or a "shadow government".[10] The lodge had among its members prominent journalists, members of the Italian parliament, industrialists, and senior Italian military officers —including Silvio Berlusconi, who later became Prime Minister of Italy; the House of Savoy pretender to the Italian throne Prince Victor Emmanuel;[11] and the heads of all three Italian foreign intelligence services (at the time SISDE, SISMI, and CESIS). When searching Gelli's villa in 1982, police found a document which he had entitled "Plan for Democratic Rebirth", which called for a coup d'etat, the consolidation of the media, the suppression of Italian labor unions, and the rewriting of the Italian constitution.[12]

Outside of Italy, P2 had many active lodges in Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Among its Argentine members were Raúl Alberto Lastiri, who was briefly interim president of the country after the end of the self-styled "Argentine Revolution" dictatorship (1966–1973); Emilio Massera, who was part of the military junta led by Jorge Rafael Videla during Argentina's last civil-military dictatorship (1976–1983); the Peronist orthodox José López Rega, who was Minister of Social Welfare (1973–1975) and founder of the paramilitary organisation Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA); and former Argentine Army General, Dirty War perpetrator, and convicted murderer Guillermo Suárez Mason.[13]

Foundation edit

Official transcription, made by Italian parliamentary inquiry commission, of "Piano di rinascita democratica", authored by Italian Masonic lodge "Propaganda Due" (P2)[Note 1]

Propaganda was founded in 1877, in Turin, as Propaganda Massonica. This lodge was frequented by politicians and government officials from across Italy who were unable to attend their own lodges and included prominent members of the Piedmont nobility. During its history, the lodge included important Italian figures, such as the poet Giosuè Carducci, politicians Francesco Crispi and Arturo Labriola and journalist Gabriele Galantara.[14] Propaganda Massonica was banned in 1925, alongside all other Masonic lodges and secret societies, by the Fascist regime.[15]

Following the end of World War II, Freemasonry became legal again and the lodge was reformed. The name was changed to Propaganda Due when the Grand Orient of Italy numbered its lodges. By the 1960s, the lodge was all but inactive, holding few meetings. This original lodge had little to do with the one Licio Gelli established in 1966, two years after becoming a Freemason.[16]

During the Cold War, Italian Freemasonry traditions of free-thinking under the Risorgimento transformed into fervent anti-communism. The increasing influence of the political left at the end of the 1960s had the Masons of Italy deeply worried. In 1971, Grand Master Lino Salvini of the Grand Orient of Italy—one of Italy's largest Masonic lodges—assigned to Gelli the task of reorganizing the lodge.[17]

Gelli took a list of "sleeping members"—members not invited to participate in Masonic rituals anymore, as Italian Freemasonry was under close scrutiny by Christian Democracy (DC) in power through the Pentapartito. From these initial connections, Gelli was able to extend his network throughout the echelons of the Italian establishment.[18]

In 1967 Giovanni Allavena, former number one of SIFAR, was initiated into the lodge, who gave Gelli the photocopies of 157,000 secret files, containing telephone and environmental interceptions, photographs, correspondence and private information, including on the sex life, of as many personalities.

In a 2018 book, conspiracy theorist Daniele Ganser claimed convicted Pennsylvania politician Frank Gigliotti was a Freemason who chose Gelli to form a parallel anti-communist government, in collaboration with the CIA in Rome,[19] and that in the fall of 1969, General Alexander Haig, supreme commander of NATO in Europe, and Henry Kissinger, security adviser to the Nixon presidency, authorized Gelli to recruit 400 Italian and NATO officers within the Lodge Propaganda 2.[19] These claims have been shown to have been based in part on disinformation promoted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s.[20]

Discovery edit

The activities of the P2 lodge were discovered by prosecutors while investigating banker Michele Sindona, the collapse of his bank and his ties to the Sicilian Mafia.[21] In March 1981, police found a list of alleged members in Gelli's house in Arezzo. It contained 962 names, among which were important state officials, important politicians and a number of military officers, including the heads of the three Italian secret services.[17] Future Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on the list, although he had not yet entered politics at the time. Another famous member was Victor Emmanuel, the son of the last Italian king.

Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani (whose chef de cabinet was a P2 member as well)[17] appointed a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, headed by the independent DC Tina Anselmi. In May 1981, Forlani was forced to resign due to the P2 scandal, causing the fall of the Italian government.[9][22]

In January 1982, the P2 lodge was definitively disbanded by the Law 25 January 1982, no. 17. In July 1982, new documents were found hidden in the false bottom of a suitcase belonging to Gelli's daughter at Fiumicino airport in Rome. The documents were entitled Memorandum sulla situazione italiana ("Memorandum on the Italian Situation") and Piano di rinascita democratica ("Plan of Democratic Rebirth"), and are seen as the political programme of P2. According to these documents, the main enemies of Italy were the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the trade unions, particularly the Communist Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL). These had to be isolated and cooperation with the PCI, the second biggest party in Italy and one of the largest in Europe, which was proposed in the Historic Compromise by Aldo Moro, needed to be disrupted.[17]

Gelli's goal was to form a new political and economic elite to lead Italy away from the danger of Communist rule. More controversially, it sought to do this by means of an authoritarian form of democracy.[23] P2 advocated a programme of extensive political corruption: "political parties, newspapers and trade unions can be the objects of possible solicitations which could take the form of economic-financial manoeuvres. The availability of sums not exceeding 30 to 40 billion lire[25] would seem sufficient to allow carefully chosen men, acting in good faith, to conquer key positions necessary for overall control."[17]

P2's influence edit

The P2 was implicated in numerous Italian scandals and mysteries. Opinions about the importance and reach of the P2 differ. Some see the P2 as a reactionary, shadow government ready to preempt a takeover of power in case of an electoral victory of the Italian Communist Party. Others think it was nothing more than a sordid association of people eager to improve their careers by making powerful and important connections.[26]

Corriere della Sera takeover edit

In 1977, the P2 took control of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, a leading paper in Italy. At the time, the paper had encountered financial trouble and was unable to raise bank loans because its then editor, Piero Ottone, was considered hostile to the ruling Christian Democrats. Corriere's owners, the publishing house Rizzoli, struck a deal with Gelli. He provided the money with funds from the Vatican Bank directed by archbishop Paul Marcinkus. Ottone was fired and the paper's editorial line shifted to the right.[17][27]

The paper published a long interview with Gelli in 1980. The interview was carried out by the television talk show host Maurizio Costanzo, who would also be exposed as a member of P2.[28] Gelli said he was in favour of rewriting the Italian constitution towards a Gaullist presidential system. When asked what he always wanted to be, he replied: "A puppet master".[17][29]

Bologna massacre edit

P2 members Gelli and the head of the secret service Pietro Musumeci were condemned for attempting to mislead the police investigation of the Bologna massacre on 2 August 1980, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 200.[30]

Banco Ambrosiano scandal edit

P2 became the target of considerable attention in the wake of the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano (one of Milan's principal banks, owned in part by the Vatican Bank), and the suspicious 1982 death of its president Roberto Calvi in London, initially ruled a suicide but later prosecuted as a murder. It was suspected by investigative journalists that some of the plundered funds went to P2 or to its members.[citation needed]

Protezione account edit

One of the documents found in 1981 was about a numbered bank account, the so-called "Protezione account", at the Union Bank of Switzerland in Lugano (Switzerland). It detailed the payment of US$7 million by the president of ENI, Florio Fiorini, through Roberto Calvi to the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) leader Claudio Martelli on behalf of Bettino Craxi, the socialist Prime Minister from 1983 to 1987.

The full extent of the payment became clear only twelve years later, in 1993, during the mani pulite (Italian for "clean hands") investigations into political corruption. The money was allegedly a kickback on a loan which the Socialist leaders had organised to help bail out the ailing Banco Ambrosiano. Rumours that the Minister of Justice, Martelli, was connected with the account had been circulating since investigations began into the P2 plot. He always flatly denied them. Learning that formal investigations were opened, he resigned as minister.[31]

Criminal organization edit

Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry edit

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, headed by Anselmi, concluded that the P2 lodge was a secret criminal organization. Allegations of surreptitious international relationships, mainly with Argentina (Gelli repeatedly suggested that he was a close friend of Juan Perón) and with some people suspected of affiliation with the US Central Intelligence Agency, were also partly confirmed. Soon a political debate overtook the legal level of the analysis.[32] The majority report said that P2 action resulted in "the pollution of the public life of a nation. It aimed to alter, often in decisive fashion, the correct functioning of the institutions of the country, according to a project which ... intended to undermine our democracy." A minority report by Massimo Teodori concluded that P2 was not just an abnormal outgrowth from an essentially healthy system, as upheld by the majority report, but an inherent part of the system itself.[17]

New Italian law prohibiting "secret lodges" edit

Even though outlawed by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1925, Masonic institutions have been tolerated in Italy since the end of World War II and have been quite open about their activities and membership. A special law was issued that prohibited secret lodges, i.e. those whose locations and dates of meeting are secret, like Gelli's pseudo-Masonic association. The Grande Oriente d'Italia, after taking disciplinary action against members with P2 connections, distanced itself from Gelli's lodge. Other laws introduced a prohibition on membership in allegedly secret organizations for some categories of state officials (especially military officers). These laws have recently[when?] been questioned by the European Court of Human Rights. Following an action brought by a serving British naval officer, the European Court has established as precedent the illegality of any member nation attempting to ban Masonic membership for military officers, as a breach of their human rights.[33]

Licio Gelli's list found in 1981 edit

On 17 March 1981, a list composed by Licio Gelli was found in his country house (Villa Wanda). The list should be contemplated with some caution,[according to whom?] as it is considered[by whom?] to be a combination of P2 members and the contents of Gelli's Rolodex. Many on the list were apparently never asked if they wanted to join P2, and it is not known to what extent the list includes members who were formally initiated into the lodge. Since 1981, some of those on the list have demonstrated their distance from P2 to the satisfaction of the Italian legal system.[34]

On 21 May 1981, the Italian government released the list.[35] The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry headed by Tina Anselmi considered the list reliable and genuine. It decided to publish the list in its concluding report, Relazione della Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2.[36]

The list contains 962 names (including Gelli's). It has been claimed that at least 1,000 names may still be secret, as the membership numbers begin with number 1,600, which suggests that the complete list has not yet been found.[17] The list included all of the heads of the secret services, 195 officers of the different armed forces (12 generals of the Carabinieri, 5 of the financial police Guardia di Finanza, 22 of the army, 4 of the air force and 8 admirals), as well as 44 members of parliament, 3 ministers and a secretary of a political party, leading magistrates, a few prefects and heads of police, bankers and businessmen, civil servants, journalists and broadcasters.[17] Included were a top official of the Banco di Roma, Italy's third largest bank at the time, and a former director-general of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), the country's largest.[22]

Notable people on Gelli's list edit

Receipt for membership of Silvio Berlusconi in the P2 masonic lodge

Some notable individuals include:

Expulsion edit

The Grand Orient of Italy officially expelled Gelli and the P2 Lodge in 1976.[59] In 1974 it was proposed that P2 be erased from the list of lodges by the Grand Orient of Italy, and the motion carried overwhelmingly. The following year a warrant was issued by the Grand Master for a new P2 lodge. It seems the Grand Orient in 1976 had only suspended the lodge, and not actually expelled it, on Gelli's request. Gelli was found to be active in the Grand Orient's national affairs two years later, financing the election of a new Grand Master. In 1981 a Masonic tribunal decided that the 1974 vote did mean the lodge had factually ceased to exist and that Gelli's lodge had therefore been masonically and politically illegal since that time.[16]

Relationships with the regular Freemasonry edit

According to Giuliano Di Bernardo, former Venerable Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, "until its dissolution in 1982 due to the Anselmi-Spadolini law, [P2] was a regular lodge of the Grand Orient of Italy, as attested by extensive documentation that passed between the grand masters Gamberini, Salvini and Battelli on the one hand and Licio Gelli on the other."[60]

See also edit

Footnotes edit

  1. ^ Italian law (Law 22 April 1941 n. 633 and further modifications, art. 5) does not consider "official state and public administration documents" as affected by copyright

References edit

  1. ^ Finchelstein, Federico (May 14, 2024). The Wannabe Fascists: A Guide to Understanding the Greatest Threat to Democracy. Univ of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-39250-2.
  2. ^ Duthel, Heinz (November 3, 2014). Global Secret and Intelligence Services I: Hidden Systems that deliver Unforgettable Customer Service. BoD – Books on Demand. ISBN 978-3-7386-0771-0.
  3. ^ Herman, Edward (2002). Manufacturing consent the political economy of the mass media. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 152. ISBN 0307801624. ... the extreme right-wing organization Propaganda Due (P-2), ...
  4. ^ Naylor, R. T. (2004). Hot money and the politics of debt. Montreal Que: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 84. ISBN 0773572074. ... [Licio Gelli] organized a special, ultrasecret, ultrarightist lodge, Propaganda-Due
  5. ^ Bar-On, Tamir (2007). Where have all the fascists gone. Aldershot, England; Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate. p. 39. ISBN 978-0754671541. ... a similar strategy of infiltration within the military milieu by Italian radical right-wing terrorist groups and clandestine elite pressure groups such as Propaganda-Due (P-2) ...
  6. ^ "Constitution of Italy (English)". December 22, 1947. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  7. ^ Gray, David L. (February 4, 2020). The Catholic Catechism on Freemasonry: A Theological and Historical Treatment on the Catholic Church's Prohibition AgainstFreemasonry and its Appendant Masonic Bodies. Belleville, Illinois: Saint Dominic's Media. Inc. p. 122. ISBN 9781732178496. Retrieved April 30, 2023. In 1976 the Grand Orient of Italy formally seized the charter of P2 and expelled its Worshipful Master, Licio Gelli (a Fascist), who continued to operate P2 as an unaffiliated lodge in Italy until 1984.
  8. ^ "Masonic lodge affair leaves Italy shocked". The Times. May 23, 1981.
  9. ^ a b BBC On This Day: 26 May 1981
  10. ^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 187
  11. ^ Hooper, John (June 23, 2006). "The fall of the house of Savoy". The Guardian. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 186
  13. ^ a b c d "En el mismo barco", Pagina 12, 15 December 1998 (in Spanish).
  14. ^ Gnocchini, Vittorio (2005). L'Italia dei liberi muratori: brevi biografie di massoni famosi (in Italian). Mimesis. pp. 59, 88, 135, 160. ISBN 978-88-8483-362-4.
  15. ^ Fedele, Santi (2005). La massoneria italiana nell'esilio e nella clandestinità: 1927–1939 (in Italian). FrancoAngeli. p. 11. ISBN 978-88-464-6526-9.
  16. ^ a b "What was the P2 Lodge?", Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ginsborg, Italy and Its Discontents, pp. 144–148
  18. ^ "How Licio Gelli took over Italy's secret power centre". The Times. May 30, 1981.
  19. ^ a b Daniele Ganser (February 22, 2018). La storia come mai vi è stata raccontata. Le Terre (in Italian). Fazio editore. pp. 122–123. ISBN 9788893253543.
  20. ^ "Misinformation about "Gladio/Stay Behind" Networks Resurfaces". Archived from the original on March 28, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  21. ^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, pp. 39–40
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "A Grand Master's Conspiracy", Time, 8 June 1981
  23. ^ "La loggia massonica P2 (Loggia Propaganda Due)", Associazione tra i familiari delle vittime della strage alla stazione di Bologna del 2 agosto 1980 (in Italian). The list of P2 members is in the final report of the Italian Parliamentary commission of inquiry: Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, July 12, 1984.
  24. ^ 1399-1859: Robert Allen, Consumer price indices, nominal / real wages and welfare ratios of building craftsmen and labourers, 1260-1913, Prices and Wages in Naples, 1474-1806, and Prices and Wages in Northern Italy, 1286-1914, 1861 to 1995 Istat, Coefficienti per tradurre valori monetari dei periodi sottoindicati in valori del 2019, 1995 to 2020: Istat, Indice dei prezzi al consumo per l'intera collettività
  25. ^ 40 billion lire in 1982 was equivalent to €74.2 million in 2020.[24]
  26. ^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 40
  27. ^ a b "Obituary: Franco Di Bella", The Independent, 23 December 1997.
  28. ^ a b c "Obituary: Alberto Cavallari".[permanent dead link] The Independent. 23 July 1998.
  29. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, pp. 229–230
  30. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 161
  31. ^ "Italian minister falls victim to corruption". Archived April 19, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. The Independent. 11 February 1993.
  32. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 50
  33. ^ "Human Rights Court Judgment". Grand Lodge of Scotland. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  34. ^ "Italian Parliament. Licio Gelli's List of P2 Members. 1981". NameBase. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  35. ^ "Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2" [List of members of the P2 Lodge] (in Italian). Archived from the original on May 16, 2013.
  36. ^ "Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi)", Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, 12 July 1984 (in Italian). The list is in book 1, volume 1, pp. 803–874 and 885–942, and in book 1, volume 2, p. 213 and 1126.
  37. ^ "Un marino con muy buenos contactos políticos y comerciales", La Nación, 7 November 2000 (in Spanish)
  38. ^ "Un dinosaurio camino a casa", Pagina 12, 9 May 2004 (in Spanish).
  39. ^ "An Italian story", The Economist, 26 April 2001.
  40. ^ a b c d Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 31.
  41. ^ a b c "En el mismo barco", Pagina 12, 14 December 1998
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "P2, da Silvio Berlusconi a Maurizio Costanzo, alcuni dei nomi più noti della lista Gelli". La Repubblica (in Italian). December 16, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  43. ^ a b Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 41.
  44. ^ "Calvi murder: The mystery of God's banker". Archived September 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. The Independent. 7 June 2007.
  45. ^ "La Loggia la P.A. e la magistratura – I rapporti con la Pubblica Amministrazione", in Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, 12 July 1984.
  46. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 73.
  47. ^ Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel (1984). Mis almuerzos con gente inquietante. Planeta. ISBN 978-84-9793-459-6.
  48. ^ a b c d e f g h i {{lang|it|italic=no|2="Gli apparati militari. Conclusioni", in Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, 13 July 1984 (in Italian).
  49. ^ Marzio Breda (2011). "«La P2? Presto P3 e P4» La profezia della Anselmi", Corriere della Sera, 25 March 2011. "So che hai trovato gli elenchi e so che ci sono anch'io. Personalmente non me ne frega niente, ma fai attenzione perché lì dentro ci sono tutti i massimi vertici"
  50. ^ Commissione Parlamentare D'Inchiesta Sulla Loggia Massonica P2, Allegati Alla Relazione (1984), series II, vol. I, tomo IV,[clarification needed] Esame testimoniale Bianchi Vincenzo, pp.148–150. "«Aggiungeva di fare attenzione dato che il Corpo rischiava di inabissarsi.» anche se lui «personalmente se ne fregava»"
  51. ^ "Italy: Terror on the Right", The New York Review of Books, 22 January 1981.
  52. ^ a b c "Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2". "1. Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2 −". Archived from the original on May 16, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Presidenza del Consiglio. 21 May 1981 (in Italian)
  53. ^ Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 30.
  54. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 59.
  55. ^ "Mason indicted over murder of 'God's banker'". Archived September 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. The Independent. 20 July 2005.
  56. ^ "Moro's ghost haunts political life", The Guardian, 9 May 2003.
  57. ^ Agustín Lucietto, Franco (2022). "La Cuestión Malvinas: de la negociación al conflicto. Una aproximación al vínculo entre la política exterior y la política de defensa de Argentina". Ciclos (in Spanish). XXIX (58): 119. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  58. ^ Hooper, John (June 23, 2006). "The fall of the house of Savoy". The Guardian. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  59. ^ Decree No. 444 L.S. of June, 1976 quoted by Archived February 3, 2021, at the Wayback Machine
  60. ^ Peter Gomez (April 17, 2023). "Giuliano Di Bernardo: So che esiste un elenco completo di nomi della loggia P2". Archived from the original on December 3, 2023.

Further reading edit

External links edit

  1. ^ Lucia Vosca (2011). Propaganda: L'origine della più potente loggia massonica. Lit Edizioni. p. 235. ISBN 978-8868266387. OCLC 1105713591. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  2. ^ Gabriella Mastellarini (2004). Assalto alla stampa: controllare i media per governare l'opinione pubblica. Strumenti, scenari (n. 43). Bari: Edizioni Dedalo. p. 76. ISBN 978-8822053435. OCLC 237881440. Archived from the original on August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Edoardo Narduzzi (2004). Sesto potere: chi governa la società nell'era della tecnologia di massa e dell'innovazione permanente. Rubettino. ISBN 978-8849809244. Archived from the original on August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.