Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the notorious Masonic lodge known as Propaganda Due, but more commonly referred to simply as P2. During P2's peak years --which spanned from roughly the very late 1960s till the early 1980s --the clandestine lodge was linked to a host of outrageous including the indiscriminate bombing campaigns that ravaged Italy during the so-called "Years of Lead," political and ecclesiastical assassinations, Latin American death squads and international drug trafficking.
It probably goes without saying, but the conspiratorial right has long had a field day with P2 while providing little in terms of insightful commentary into the actual composition and aims of the lodge. Naturally this series is an attempt to rectify this state of affairs. Hopefully your humble researcher is up to the task.
With the first installment I largely broke down the background of the Venerable Grand Master of P2, the infamous Licio Gelli. His ties to both the fascists and communists were explored as well as his early dealings with the Vatican and the US intelligence community. As I wrapped up that installment I breached the founding of P2 and its acquisition of influential members. Now would probably be a good time to consider just how influential these members were. Consider:
"... within the membership of P2 in Italy alone (there were, and still are, powerful branches in other countries) were the Armed Forces Commander Giovanni Torrisi, the Secret Service Chiefs Generals Giuseppe Santovito and Giulio Grassini, the Head of Italy's Financial Police, Orazio Giannini, cabinet ministers and politicians of every political shade (except of course the Communist), thirty generals, eight admirals, newspaper editors, television executives, top industrialists, and bankers, including Roberto Calvi and Michele Sindona. Unlike conventional Freemasonry, the list of members of P2 was so secret that only Gelli knew all the names."
(In God's Name, David Yallop, pg. 105)
|"God's Banker" Roberto Calvi (top) and Michele "The Shark" Sindona (bottom)|
"... Politicians in the lodger recruited from every political party except the Radical and Communist Parties. The membership lists discovered in 1981 showed that 195 high-ranking officers from all branches of the military belong to the lodge. There were fifty-two officers from the carabinieri paramilitary police, six from the police and thirty-seven from the finance police; nine belonging to the Air Force, twenty-nine to the Navy and fifty to the Army. Most significantly, the heads of both the domestic secret service (SISDE) and military intelligence (SISMI) were affiliates. 'As can be seen at a glance, the membership lists reveal a map of the highest levels of military power, with individuals who have often played a central role in particularly significant moments of the recent history of our country, as well as in the events of a subversive nature,' the P2 Commission commented."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pg. 59)
|the insignia/logos of the Carabinieri (top), SISDE (middle) and SISMI (Bottom)|
Pecorelli was himself a member of P2 and in 1978 published a list of clergy initiated into the lodge. It included some one-hundred and twenty-one names, more than a few of the with ample juice inside the Curia. Reportedly when Pope John Paul I (Albino Luciani) stumbled upon this list he was quite disturbed at what he saw.
"If the information was authentic than it meant Luciani was virtually surrounded by Masons and to be a Mason meant automatic excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church. Before the Conclave there have been various murmurings that several of the leading papabili were Masons. Now on September 12th, the new Pope was presented with the entire list. With regard to the issue Freemasonry, Luciani held the view that it was unthinkable for a priest to become a member. He was aware that a number of the lay Catholics he knew were members of various Lodges – in much the same way that he had friends who were Communist. He had learned to live with that situation but for a man of the cloth there was in Luciani's view a different criterion. The Roman Catholic Church had decreed long ago that it was implacably opposed to Freemasonry. The new Pope was open to discussion on the issue, but a list of 121 men who were confirmed members hardly constituted discussion.
"Secretary of State Cardinal Villot, Masonic name Jeanni, Lodge number 041/3, enrolled in a Zürich Lodge on August 6, 1966. Foreign Minister Monsignor Agostini Casaroli. Cardinal Vicar of Rome Ugo Poletti. Cardinal Baggio. Bishop Paul Marcinkus and Monsignor Donato de Bonis of the Vatican Bank. The disconcerted Pope read a list that seemed like a Who's Who of Vatican City. Noting... even included Pope Paul's secretary, Monsignor Pasquale Macchi..."
(In God's Name, David Yallop, pg. 164)
|Pope John Paul I|
P2's reach outside of Italy was no less impressive (or infamous, based upon one's world view):
"... Excluding Italy there are still branches functioning in Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia, France, Portugal and Nicaragua. Members also active in Switzerland and the USA. P2 interlocks with the Mafia in Italy, Cuba and the USA. It interlocks with a number of the military regimes of Latin America, and with a variety of groups of neo-Fascists. It also interlocks very closely with the CIA. It reaches right into the heart of the Vatican. The central common interest of all these elements is apparently a hatred and fear of Communism...
"Licio Gelli's contacts and associates spread far and wide. They include Stefano Delle Chiaie, Pierluigi Pagliani and Joachim Fiebelkorn, all members of the private army set up in Bolivia by ex-Gestapo Chief Klaus Barbie. The group took the name 'Fiances of Death.' Political assassinations were performed to order, including that of Bolivian Socialist leader Marcelo Quiroga Cruz. The 'Fiances of Death' were also instrumental bringing to power in Bolivia in 1980 General Garcia Meza. Klaus Barbie used his Nazi training as security advisor to Colonel Gomez, a man with a great deal of Bolivian blood on his hands.
"The group that Barbie controlled with the blessing of the Bolivian junta expanded its activities after a coup of 1980. The murders of political opponents, investigating journalists, labor leaders and students increase. Added to this work was the task of regulating the cocaine industry – destroying the small dealers to ensure that the big drug traffickers could flourish with the junta's protection. In 1965, Barbie's activities in Bolivia had included arms deals not only on behalf of Bolivia but also for other right-wing South American regimes and Israel. It was through such arms deals that Klaus Barbie, an unrepentant member of the SS, and Licio Gelli became business partners: Barbie, who between May 1940 in April 1942 was responsible for the liquidation of all known Freemasons in Amsterdam, and Licio Gelli, the Grand Master of Masonic Lodge P2. The two men had much in common, including the mutual high regard they had for men like Stefano Delle Chiaie. The Italian Delle Chiaie has been involved in at least two attempted coups in his own country. When a civilian government returned to office in Bolivian in October 1982, Delle Chiaie fled to Argentina. There he was given comfort and aid by Jose Lopez Rega, the creator of the notorious Triple A death squads."
(In God's Name, David Yallop, pgs. 106-107)
|Klaus Barbie (top), Stefano Delle Chiaie (middle) and Jose Lopez Rega (bottom)|
"... Tthe truth of the matter... is that the P2 Lodge was part of a secret right-wing network created with the Vatican's blessing as part of the Occident's bulwark against Marxism. The P1 Lodge was in France and the P3 Lodge was in Madrid. The P3 was headed by a former minister of justice, Pio Cabanillas Gallas."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pg. 264)According to Hutchison, P3 Grand Master Pio Cabanillas Gallas was one of the founder of People's Alliance (now People's Party), one of the main right wing political parties in Spain. A jurist, he was also on the board of directors of Spanish bank known as Banco Occidental along with P2 member Roberto Calvi. Allegedly he kept files on most of Spain's prominent individuals just as Gelli did in Italy. There's also a strong possibility that Cabanillas Gallas and his Lodge were tied to the bizarre Catholic secret society known as Opus Dei. But moving along.
"There been over the past two decades a number of bomb outrages in Italy which remain unsolved. If the Italian authorities ever catch Gelli they will be in a position, if he chooses to talk and tell the truth, to solve some of those mysterious attacks. These include: Milan 1969, the Piazza Fontana bomb attack – 16 people killed; Bologna 1974, bomb attack on the Rome-Munich express, 'The Italicus', near Bologna – 12 people killed; Bologna 1980, railway station bombing – 85 people killed, 182 injured. According to a disenchanted follower of Gelli, a neo-Fascist called Elio Ciolini, this last outrage was planned at a P2 meeting held in Monte Carlo one April 11th, 1980. Licio Gelli was the Grand Master at that meeting. Again, according to the sworn testimony of Ciolini, three of the men allegedly responsible for the railway station bombing are Stefano Delle Chiaie, Pierluigi Pagliani and Joachim Fiebelkorn."
(In God's Name, David Yallop, pg. 110)During the trial for the Bologna railway station bombing even more links between Gelli and the conspirators came out.
"The Bologna bomb trial prosecutors cited numerous accounts of the close relationship Gelli enjoyed with many of Italy's most influential public figures. In the written indictment, they referred to the testimony of Gelli's two secretaries, describing how the chairman of Fiat, Italy's most powerful industrialist, Ginni Agnelli, had presented their boss with a 'golden telephone', as a gift. They also cited the account of P2 Commission functionary Giovani Di Ciommo of a meeting with Gelli's Rome secretary Nara Lazzerini. The sense of what she said was this: Gelli had such widespread connections that he was in contact and not merely superficial contact with people ranging from Agnelli to Delle Chiaie. Lazzerini was never formally interrogated by the P2 Commission. When a communist commissioner suggested that she should be, his proposal was rejected after objections from Christian Democrat Deputy Bernardo D'Arezzo pertaining to 'the witness's morality'. Lazzerini had been Gelli's mistress, but it was what she might have said, rather than her sexual morality, that seems to have caused D'Arezzo's embarrassment."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pgs. 71-72)
|the Bologna railway station bombing|
"A second major bombing in the summer racked of the political tension still further, making 1974 the only year in Italian history to be characterized by two such outrageous. One 4 August... a bomb exploded on the 'Italicus' Rome-Munich express train as it left a tunnel never the village of San Benedetto Val di Sambro, not far from Bologna. Twelve people were killed and 105 injured by the blast and subsequent fire. In December 1986 two Tuscany neo-fascists, Mario Tuti and Luciano Franci, were given life sentences for the bombing by a Bologna court. The P2 Commission stated emphatically that the secret lodge have provided 'the essential economic, organizational and moral background' to the bombing. There was keen expectation of a coup in masonic circles at this time. One mason, Angelo Sambuco, told Grand Master Lino Salvini of his intention to take his family abroad on holiday. Salvini replied that 'he would not be leaving Florence because he was expecting a coup'."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pg. 135)
|the aftermath of the Italicus Express bombing|
"Maybe the best-documented atrocity carried out by the secret soldiers in Western Europe in their anti-Communist battle is the Piazza Fontana massacre which hit Italy's political capital Rome and Italy's industrial capital Millan shortly before Christmas on December 12, 1969. On that day four bombs exploded in Rome and Milan killing 16 citizens indiscriminately, predominantly farmers who after a day on the market wanted to deposit their modest earnings in the Banca Nationale Dell' Agricultura at Piazza Fontana in Milan, while 80 were maimed and wounded. One bomb in Piazza Fontana did not explode because it's timer had failed, yet upon arriving on the scene the Italian military secret service SID together with the police immediately destroyed the compromising evidence and made the bomb go off after its discovery. The massacre was carried out exactly along the secret warfare strategies drafted by Guerin Serac. The Italian military secret services blamed the massacre on the left and planet parts of a bomb as evidence in the villa of the well-known leftist editor, Giangiacomo Felrinelli, and arrested immediately numerous Communists.
"A classified internal report of the Italian military secret service SID dated December 16, 1969 had already alleged at the time that the massacres of Rome and Milan had been carried out by the political right with support of the CIA. Yet the Italian public had been made to believe that the strong Italian Communists had begun using violence to achieve power. Presumably the massacre had been carried out by the Italian right-wing groups Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale which cooperated closely with the stay-behind armies in the secret war. Italian right-wing extremist Guido Giannettini who was directly involved in the massacre cooperated closely with the Lisbon-based Aginter Press. 'In these investigations data has emerged which confirms the links between Aginter Press, Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale' judge Salvini explained to the Italian Senators investigating the secret war in Italy and beyond. 'It has emerged that Guido Giannettini had contacts with Guerin Serac in Portugal ever since 1964. It has emerged that instructions of Aginter Press... came to Rome between 1967 and 1968 and instructed the militant members of Avanguardia Nazionale in the use of explosives.' Judge Salvini concluded that based on the available documents and testimonies it emerges that the CIA front Aginter Press had played a decisive role in secret warfare operation in Western Europe and had started the great massacres to discredit the Communists in Italy."
(NATO'S Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, pgs. 119-120)
|the aftermath of the Piazza Fontana bombing|
The former was founded in Lisbon, Portugal in 1966. At this time Portugal was the last European colonial power with holdings in Africa and controlled by the dictator Salazar. In 1961 it had become involved in a series of wars in Africa that included theaters in Angola, Portuguese Guinea, and Mozambique. These conflicts would drag on until 1974, when Portugal's dictatorship was finally overthrown by a coup.
"Aginter Press was no press at all. The organisation did not print books or anti-Communist propaganda leaflets but trained right-wing terrorists and specialized in dirty tricks in secret warfare in Portugal and beyond. The mysterious and brutal organization was supported by the CIA and run by European right-wing officers who with the help of the PIDE recruited fascist militants. The investigation of the Italian Senate into Gladio and the secret war and massacres in Italy discovered that Italian right-wing extremists had also been trained by Aginter Press. While in Portugal it was revealed that a sub-branch of Aginter Press called 'Organisation Armee contre le communism International' (OACI) had also operated in Italy. The Italian Senators found that the CIA supported Aginter Press in Portugal and that the secret organization was led by Captain Yves Guillon, better known by his adopted name of Yves Guerin Serac, a specialist in secret warfare who had had received war hero metals from the United States including the American Bronze Star for his involvement in the Korean War. 'Aginter Press,' the Italian Gladio report concluded, 'in reality, according to the latest documents acquired by the criminal investigation, was an information centre directly linked to the CIA and the Portuguese secret service, that specialized in provocation operations."
(NATO's Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, pg. 115)Aginter Press seems to have been founded at roughly the same time as, and with the assistance of, an even more well funded organization with extensive ties to international fascism.
"In 1966, following the Tricontinental Congress which proceeded without Ben Barka, a counterfront, the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), was chartered in Seoul, South Korea by hardline reactionaries from the world over. That same year Aginter Press, sponsored by WACL and the intelligence agencies of the United States, France, and Portugal, was created in Lisbon as a cover for OAS terrorists and other European Fascists. Led by the Frenchman Yves Guerin-Serac, its aims was the subversion, through espionage, sabotage and murder, of all the Tricontinental Congress had stood for."
(The Great Heroin Coup, Henrik Kruger, pg. 207)
|a conference of the notorious World Anti-Communist League (WACL)|
The WACL has long been alleged to have had ties to Gelli and P2 though this researcher has not been able to uncover definitive ties. The WACL did, however, have links to Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale, the Italian neo-fascist organizations linked to the Piazza-Fontana bombing. Stefano Delle Chaie, who had been a member of both Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale at various times as well as having ties to both Aginter Press and P2, was also on good terms with numerous affiliates of the WACL.
|the banners of Ordine Nuovo (top) and Avanguardia Nazionale (bottom)|
|"God's Terrorist" Yves Guerin-Serac|
"The Christian fascists in whose circles Guerin-Serac moved boasted their own chaplain, Father Georges Grasset, an inspiration for the Vatican's ratline smuggling refugees from the Algerian rising to Portugal and Spain. He was a prominent acolyte of Jean Ousset (1919-1994), the Portuguese-born founder of his own Christian Fascist sect known as La Cite Catholique. Guerin-Serac was an early recruit, and in due course had pressing need of the reverend father specialized travel agency. Ousset specialized in a distinctly unusual catechism, which combined fierce emotional piety with counterrevolutionary warfare techniques and trusty methods of torture to extract confessions..."
(Gladio: NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe, Richard Cottrell, pg. 119)
And it is here that I shall wrap things up for now. In the next installment we shall move along to the various financial scandals P2 has been linked to during the 1970s and 1980s as well as its ties to organized crime. Stay tuned.