Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the Propaganda Due Masonic lodge, commonly referred to as P2. For years the lodge has been surrounded by rumors of dark intrigues ranging from terror attacks, drug trafficking and political assassinations. With the first installment of this series I considered the background of the lodge's Venerable Grand Master, former Blackshirt and SS man Licio Gelli.
With the second installment I outlined the lodge's links to a series of bombings that rocked Italy during a period known as the "Years of Lead" as well as P2's ties to the neo-fascist terror network known as Aginter Press as well as the notorious World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The WACL was a global network that brought together a bizarre assortment of US military and intelligence officers, religious extremists of various stripes, international drug and arms traffickers, assorted Third World dictators and neo-fascist terrorists along with the inevitable unreconstructed Nazi war criminals. This researcher has considered the WACL at great length before here.
With the third installment I began to chronicle P2's links to what is commonly referred to as the "Great Vatican banking scandal" or the "Banco Ambrosiano affair" by focusing in on its three key players: Bishop Paul Marcinkus and financiers Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi. Sindona nd Calvi were both P2 members while Marcinkus was suspected of being an initiate. It is known that Sindona also had extensive dealings with the Mafia and such ties likely existed with Marcinkus and especially Calvi.
|Marcinkus (top), Sindona (middle) and Calvi (bottom)|
Having thus pretty thoroughly addressed the Vatican banking scandal, it is now time to move along to the various prominent political assassinations P2 is suspected of playing a role in. I would like to begin with the kidnapping and eventual murder of Italian statesman Aldo Moro.
The Moro assassination has often been described as Italy's Kennedy assassination and not without reason. Moro was abducted on March 16, 1978 shortly after the Christian Democrat luminary agreed to the "Historic Compromise," a move that would have allowed members of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into a coalition government. This move was strongly opposed by the United States inevitably on the basis of the domino theory: namely, a democratically elected Communist Party in Western Europe would have led to another and another until all of NATO was red.
Many would perceive this as a major boon for Communism. Thus, it has long baffled researchers as to why Moro would be abducted by the Red Brigades, a revolutionary Marxist outfit, at this juncture. Or at least that is the official version of Moro's kidnapping and murder. But as I noted extensively before here, here and here, there is ample reason to believe the US intelligence community and P2 were the actual puppetmasters behind the Moro kidnapping. Interestingly, the notorious LSD baron Ronald Hadley Stark likely played a key role in this operation.
"In practice, the search for Moro's prison was co-ordinated by the Interior Ministry and a special crisis committee, many of whose members belonged to or later joined P2, the right-wing masonic lodge which opposed Moro's policy toward the PCI. Among the eight P2 members appointed to the committee were the heads of the domestic and military intelligence services, the head of the finance police and the regional commander of the carabinieri. Given their political orientation it would not be entirely surprising if they did less than their utmost to secure Moro's release. The minutes of the committee's meeting on 17 March give an idea of the quality of their contribution to the task at hand. SISMI Director Giuseppe Santovito informed the group that he believed two Japanese and a West German had participated in the Via Fani attack. He also drew the committee's attention to the imminent arrival of a ship from Cyprus at the port of Marina di Grosseto. There is no evidence whatever that his contribution had any grounding in fact. Santovito continued to provide the committee with misleading information, reporting the next day on the need for increased patrols on the Yugoslav border.
"On 24 October 1977, Parliament had passed a bill reforming the secret services, replacing the Defensive Information Service (SID) with the Military Security Information Service (SISMI) and the domestic Democratic Security Information Service (SISDE). This reorganization would be used as an excuse to argue that the security services were 'without eyes and without ears' at the time of the Moro kidnap. The reform effectively led to the demolition of the most reliable anti-terrorism organization and to the appointment of P2 members at the top of the new agencies..."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pg. 225)
|General Giuseppe Santovito, one of the more notorious P2 initiates in the Italian secret services|
"There are a number of testimonies that appear to implicate Gelli in the Moro affair. One of them was found among notes confiscated from the home of Gelli's secretary, Nara Lazzerini, who worked for the P2 boss in Rome between 1976 and 1981. The documents described a meeting with Gelli on the day of Moro's kidnapping, news which comes over the radio as Lazzerini is driven by taxi from the station to Gelli's headquarters in the Hotel Excelsior, on the prestigious Via Veneto. Lazzerini wants to 'freshen up' and is accompanied by Gelli to his bedroom. 'While I am in the bedroom to tidy myself up, Licio receives two people in the sitting room whom I'm unable to see, but I hear them say: "The major part is over. Now we'll see the reactions." ' Questioned by a magistrate from Bologna, Lazzerini was confident that she had not misheard. 'The phrase struck with me and I noted it down that same morning in the hotel, taking advantage of the fact that Gelli had left,' she said, adding that she had received frequent death threats in the years following Gelli's flight from Italy. The P2 Commission found her evidence altogether too embarrassing and turned down a proposal that she should be called as a witness. Christian Democrat commissioner Bernardo D'Arezzo, in particular, opposed the suggestion on the grounds of the witness's morality: Lazzerini had been Gelli's mistress. This high moral stand contrasts with the remarkable patience shown by the commission in the face of the lies and evasions of secret service chiefs who had belonged to Gelli's lodge.
"A memorandum sent in 1982 to the office of the Florence public prosecutor by Federico Federici, a Florentine time lawyer and P2 member, makes a similar claim. In it Federici said he had been told that Gelli reacted to the news of the kidnap with the words: 'We have finally resolved the Moro problem.' Federici, who died of a heart attack in 1988 while he was defense lawyer for a number of suspects in the Bologna bomb trial, is by no means a reliable witness. He was, however, close enough to Gelli to have access to sensitive information and it is interesting that both he and Lazzerini should have drawn attention to a possible link between the Master of P2 and the Moro affair. As we shall see later, Gelli himself found it expedient to do likewise, making it clear to the journalist Marcelo Coppetti that he was privy to inside knowledge about the kidnap.
"Gelli may have been dropping a hint to this effect when he granted an interview to the Corriere della Sera newspaper in 1980 (five October). The interviewer was a fellow lodge member, Maurizio Costanzo, and the article appeared as part of a series on 'The Discreet Charm of Secret Power.' 'What is democracy for you?' Costanzo asked half-way through the interview. 'I'll tell you about a meeting I had with Moro when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs,' Gelli replied. 'He said to me: "You mustn't hurry things. Democracy is like a saucepan of beans: to be good they must cook very, very slowly." I interrupted him, saying: "Be careful that the beans don't boil dry, minister, because then you might burn them." ' Reading between the lines, one may perhaps discern the message: I warned Moro and we all know what happened to him."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pgs. 228-229)
"The Moro Commission raised the issue of P2's role during the Moro kidnap in its majority report. It highlighted the presence of lodge members at the head of the security services and the fact that the organization represented political and material interests that would have been severely threatened if Moro's policy of accommodation with the PCI have been implemented. The commission said there was no proof that the failures and omissions of the security apparatus during the fifty-five days of Moro's imprisonment were deliberate. But it added that very grave examples of negligence had been recorded, 'which appear to be inexplicable unless they were motivated by a desire not to see a positive conclusion to the drama or by a substantial lack of interest in what was happening.' The commission also declared that it did not exclude the possibility of direct P2 involvement in the activities of the Red Brigades, given the shared objectives of 'those who seek an authoritarian change and those who prepare the ground for it with blind and irresponsible violence.' The commission concluded that it should not rush to grave conclusions in the absence of a serious investigation of the subject. The P2 Commission failed to carry the investigation forward, giving the distinct impression that many of the commissioners considered the matter was simply too delicate to tackle..."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pgs. 230-231)
The death of John Paul I (Albino Luciani) has long puzzled Vatican watchers as did much about his papacy. He was a surprise choice to succeed Paul VI in August of 1978 and then promptly died thirty-three days later in September. Largely unknown outside of Italy, official accounts of John Paul I typically depict him as a frail and sickly moderate with a strong conservative streak. But both John Paul's health and politics have been strongly contested.
Many close friends and associated have described his health as exceptional for a 65 year old man. John Paul was an early advocate of exercise and seems to have been committed to a healthy existence in era in which such things were not widely accepted. And if his health was as poor as official Vatican accounts often make it out to be, it begs the question: why elect a man to the papacy with practically both feet in the grave already? Certainly popes have been elected in failing health before as part of internal Curia politics but not one seemingly poised to buy the farm at any given moment. The process of electing a pope can be both complex and costly --something the Curia would likely want to buy themselves at least a few years reprieve from before undergoing the whole ordeal all over again.
|John Paul I|
|John Paul greeting Metropolitan Nikodim|
"During that night, after only thirty-three days in office, John Paul I died. The scrambling that followed for his succession bore the markings of a minutely prepared coup d'etat. However much one might wish to believe otherwise, the surprise Pope in whom so many had placed such hope was unlikely to have died from natural causes and – in spite of all that has been written and said on the subject – the indications are strong that a cover-up of the real cause of death was engineered by a Vatican clique convinced it was acting to protect the Church and her sacred teachings.
"The facts surrounding the discovery of the Pope's death are bizarre to say the least. They prove that the Vatican did not, in the first instance, tell the truth and may not still be telling the truth. The first fact it attempted to hide was that Sister Vincenza found the Pope dead at 5 a.m. when she brought him his thermos of coffee. She said he was sitting upright in bed, his lips twisted. She noticed that he was clutching a sheaf of papers. An unsettled dispute persists as to the nature these papers, for they have disappeared. One explanation is that certain members of the Curia did not want the outside world to know that a power struggle was in progress inside the Vatican... The papers allegedly detailed the changes that Luciani had intended to decree that same day. But according to Vatican news bulletins, he was holding a copy of The Imitation of Christ.
"Rumours concerning the missing papers and other anomalies surrounding John Paul I's death continued to surface during the next six years until finally, in June 1984 – intended to dispense with the rumours once and for all – an unsigned memorandum was prepared for a conference of bishops that brushed aside The Imitation of Christ story as a pure invention of the press!
"This account was just as untrue as the first, produced in an attempt to rewrite history. The same memorandum suggested that the papers seem by Sister Vncenza were nothing more than the Pope's notes for his sermon at the Wednesday audience and the Angelus talk on the following Sunday. But the report neglected to mention that the original Vatican communiqué claimed the Pope had been found by Father John Magee, one of the two papal secretaries.
"Sister Vincenza in fact check called Father Magee. His first reaction had been to summon Cardinal Villot from his apartment two floors below. Villot appeared in the papal bedroom a little after 5 a.m. and as camerlingo immediately took charge. According to others present, he did a quick tour of the room, stopping at the Pope's bedside table and at his desk. After his initial visit to the bedroom, a small bottle of Effortil, a liquid medicine used to alleviate low blood pressure, that John Paul kept on his bedside table, went missing. The sheaf of notes also disappeared. No autopsy was requested, no forensic tests were undertaken.
"The Vatican doctor, Renato Buzzonetti, arrived in the bedroom at 6 a.m. and made a brief examination of the body. Buzzonetti informed Villot that the cause of death was infarto miocardico acuto – a massive heart attack – and he estimated the time of death at about 11 .p.m. on the previous evening. Without further ado, Villot called for the rapid embalming of the body.
"Almost immediately the other secretary, Father Diego Lorenzi, who had been Luciani's aide in Venice, telephone the Pope's personal physician, Antonio Da Ros, who had looked after Luciani for more than twenty years in Venice. 'He was shocked. Stunned. Unable to believe it... he said he would come to Rome immediately,' Lorenzi reported. Da Ros had been in Rome two weeks before to examine his patient, and remarked, 'Non sta bene, ma benone' – 'You're not well, but very well.' But when Da Ros arrived later that same day, he was not allowed near the body...
"... the Vatican information department began creating the legend of the Pope's ill health. But if the Pope's health was so frail, why were no medicines – other than Effortil – to be found in the papal apartments? And whatever happened to that missing bottle of Effortil? Why was Cardinal Villot never questioned about it? Also not to be forgotten, Edoardo Luciani, the dead pope's brother, was on record as stating that Albino had no history of heart trouble.
"The controversy surrounding Papa Luciani's death hung over the pre-Conclave General Congregations. As camerlingo,Villot found himself under attack by the more progressive cardinals. He admitted that the Vatican Press Office had given misleading information. The dissident cardinals wanted to know why no autopsy have been performed, nor an official death certificate issued, and they pushed for a collegial statement on the Pope's death. The Conservatives reject the idea.
"No more reactionary figure existed in the Roman Curia than Cardinal Silvio Oddi... The Italian authorities had demanded an autopsy, but Oddi claimed that he had already carried out an investigation for the College of Cardinals and found no evidence of foul play. Therefore he opposed an autopsy on the grounds that it would create a precedent, which was untrue. Autopsies have been carried out before. Indeed, Oddi was quoted as saying: 'The College of Cardinals will not examine the possibility of another inquiry at all, and will not accept any supervision from anyone, and will not even discuss the subject... We know... In all certainty that the death of John Paul I was due to the fact that his heart stopped beating from perfectly natural causes.'
"Then on 12 October 1978, as the second Conclave opened, Father Panciroli, the Vatican spokesman, announced that after all a death certificate had been signed by Professor Mario Fontana and Dr Renato Buzzonetti. The certificate was not, however, a public document. With good reason. It contained a mere five typewritten lines affirming in Italian that the Pope had died in the Apostolic Palace at 23:00 on 28 September 1978 by morte improvvisa – da infarto miocardico acuto. Such a document would not have passed muster in jurisdictions where developed notions of civil law existed."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pgs. 253-256)
The conspiratorial right has long latched on to the fact that John Paul I died thirty-three days into his reign as evidence of a grand Masonic conspiracy. Thirty-three is of course the highest degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and long attributed much occult significance (a brief discussion of this can be found here). But there is indeed compelling evidence that P2, which was hardly a a conventional Masonic lodge by any stretch of the imagination and largely outside the purview of mainline Freemasonry, played a role in the Pope's death.
David Yallop, the British researcher who first offered a scholarly critique of the official Vatican line, is convinced that Pope John Paul I was murdered by Licio Gelli and his P2 associates to protect Roberto Calvi's fancy accounting involving the Vatican bank (discussed in parts four and five of this series).
"Before Luciani's murder, Calvi associates in P2 had demonstrated their capacity to kill with a variety of appalling bomb outrages. Their ability to kill specific subject was demonstrated with the murder of Vittorio Occorsio. After the death of the Pope, murder and mayhem began to match the tempo of the gigantic thefts in which Calvi was indulging. The fact that Emilio Alessandrini, Mino Pecorelli, Giorgio Ambrosoli, Antonio Varisco and Boris Giuliano are all dead, is the most telling evidence of the kind of company that Roberto Calvi kept. The fact that the Governor of the Bank of Italy and one of his most trusted colleagues could be falsely charged, that Sarcinelli was forced to endure two weeks of imprisonment, that for years men who knew the truth were frightened to act, is a demonstration of the terrifying power at the command of Calvi: power that came from many sources including Licio Gelli, Grand Master of P2.
"Licio Gelli was the Puppet Master with a few thousand strings from which to select. Strings appear to have led everywhere: to the heart of the Vatican, to the White House, to the presidential palaces in a wide range of countries. It was Gelli who gave his singular device to senior P2 members that they should always carry a fatal dose of digitalis. A lethal dose will cause, to use a lay term, a heart attack. In a subsequent examination by a doctor that is merely external, will confirm that death has been caused by a myocardial infraction. The drug is odorless and is impossible to trace unless an autopsy is performed.
"Why did Licio Gelli use such a strange codename, 'Luciani', whenever he called his P2 paymaster on the special hotline? Was mere mention of the name enough to send the millions upon millions flowing from Calvi into Gelli's various bank accounts?
"According to the members of Calvi's family, he attributed all his problems to 'the priests.' He made it clear which priest he had in mind – those in the Vatican. In September 1978 one priest in particular represented to Roberto Calvi the greatest threat with which he had ever been confronted. Calvi was with Gelli... in South America in August 1978, planning new schemes. Can anyone really believe that Gelli... would merely shrugged their shoulders when Calvi told them that Albino Luciani was about to take a course of action that would mean the party was over?
"The murder of a magistrate or a judge or a policeman could be effected openly. The death would remain a mystery or be blamed on one of the many terrorist organizations then rampaging throughout Italy. But the murder of a Pope to cover up what was ultimately a billion dollar theft would have to be achieved by stealth. It would have to arouse as little concern as possible. For the murder to achieve its aim, the death would have to appear natural.
"The cost, no matter how high, in bribes, contracts, fees or commissions, was irrelevant. If the object of the Pope's death was to protect and sustain Roberto Calvi while he continued to steal millions, then there was a virtual well truth to draw upon. The problem of deputy chairman Roberto Rosone, which Calvi discussed at great length with fellow Mason Carboni, was intended to be resolved with the contract murder of Rosone. He lived, but Carboni still paid 530,000 dollars, the day after the attack, to the surviving gangster Ernesto Diotavelli. Half a million for a deputy chairman. How much for a Pope? When you have an entire bank at your disposal?...
"This book has already recorded many instances of the power and influence that Gelli has exerted. At the time of Albino Luciani's death in September 1978, Licio Gelli, to all practical purposes, ran Italy. His access to any person or any place within the Vatican City State was unrivaled. The fact that he was in South America at the time of Luciani's death is no alibi in the conventional legal sense. Sindona was enjoying an early evening dry Martini in New York at the precise moment that Giorgio Ambrosoli was murdered by William Arico in Milan..."
(In God's Name, David Yallop, pgs. 296-298)
In this researcher's estimation Yallop only misses the mark by a narrow margin. Calvi's financial intrigues likely did not begin in earnest until after Pope John Paul I's death, when John Paul II was sitting upon the throne of Saint Peter. It is much more likely, as noted above, that Pope John Paul's lax attitude concerning Communism and support for liberation theology was deemed a major threat to powerful forces without the US and Italian deep states and that these forces had him promptly removed and replaced with Pope who was more agreeable (and a certain attempted assassination that shall be addressed in the next installment surely quashed any flights of fancy John Paul II may have been considering).
"He began, 'It makes sense members of P2 who were maintenance workers in the Vatican concealed themselves in the valet's quarters and waited for the early hours of the morning. The only other rooms not occupied at night were the dining room, kitchen and salon – often visited into the wee hours. Lorenzi happened to be sleeping in the secretary's office which otherwise would have been vacant.'
" 'Yes, I told him, 'it was a godsend the valet's brother happened to have died a few days before John Paul's death.'
" 'If P2 was involved,' he corrected me, 'it was no godsend.'
" 'They would have had to vacate one of the quarters. The valet's rooms were annexed the Pope's rooms were best suited. This does not necessarily mean Casaroli and Caprio or other men-of-the-cloth could not have been sharing the valet's rooms that night; just that they would have been fools to have committed the deed itself.
"Regardless, the day following Marcinkus' call, I searched the library microfilm for the obituary of the valet's brother.
"The thirty-year-old had fallen from a sixth floor balcony in Arezzo south of Florence. Unwitnessed, police could not determine if it was an accident or suicide. By providential coincidence, the Grand Master of P2, Licio Gelli, had his villa in Arezzo."
(Murder in the Vatican, Lucien Gregoire, pg. 287)
|an aged Marcinkus|
A democratically elected Communist regime in Italy, one of the core nations of NATO, would have been an even more devastating blow. Given what was at stake, it is not hard to see the US taking steps to remove potential threats such as Aldo Moro and Pope John Paul I. And P2, with its extensive ties to US intelligence on the one hand, and organized crime on the other, would have been an idea candidate to carry out such operations.
And with that I shall wrap things up for now. With the next installment I shall move along to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. Stay tuned till then dear reader.