Sunday, August 16, 2015

Legends of Assassins Part I

At various intervals for nearly a millennium the Nizarian Ismailis, more commonly referred to as the Hashshashins or simply Assassins, have captivated the imagination of the Islamic and Western world alike. However the popular conception of the Nizarians, one of which revolves around hash smoking programmed killers guided by a manipulative cult leader, is grossly distorted (to put it mildly). This is hardly surprising, though, as much of our information concerning the Order, be it Christian or Muslim, is almost universally hostile to the sect. The Nizarians' own records were largely destroyed during the Mongol invasion of the mid-thirteenth century and the continuous secrecy of the surviving sect has made it difficult for researchers to discern the actual belief system that inspired especially fanatical devotion from its followers.

In modern times this has led to a host of conspiracy theories surrounding the sect, best personified by the account of the Nizarians in Arkon Daraul's highly speculative and largely baseless A History of Secret Societies. Herein it is suggested that the OTO and possibly even the Illuminati itself were inspired by the Nizarians, via Sufism. In point of fact Sufism and the Nizarians derive from separate branches of Islam, one of many inaccuracies in such accounts.

This situation has been rectified somewhat in recent years with scholarly accounts of the sect by individuals such as Farhad Daftary and Bernard Lewis that have attempted to dispel the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the Nizarians. Unfortunately, such works have arguably gone to far in their attempts to de-mystify the sect, Efforts to depict the Nizarains as only a slightly fringe Islamic sect are unsatisfying, in no small part because such a depiction can not begin to explain the universal hostility Christian and Muslims alike expressed towards the order's doctrines.

This account will attempt to walk a middle path, dispelling the more outlandish claims concerning the Nizarains while placing the sect in a broader esoteric tradition that has flowered in the region of the world (Persia and Syria) that the Nizarains operated in long before the founding of the sect. But before addressing the Nizarains themselves, I must first give a run down of the Islamic strand from which they hailed. So let us begin with the initial schism in Islam:
"After the death of the Prophet Mohammed, the new Islamic community was ruled in succession by four of his close Companions, chosen by the people and called the Rightfully-guided Caliphs. The last of these was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet's son-in-law.
"Ali had his own ardent followers among the faithful, who came to be called Shi'a or 'adherents'. They believed that Ali should have succeeded Mohammad by right, and that after him his sons (the Prophet's grandsons) Hasan and Husayn should have ruled; and after them, their sons, and so on in a quasi-monarchial succession.
"In fact except for Ali none of them ever ruled all Islamdom. Instead they became a line of pretenders, and in effect heads of a branch of Islam called Shiism. In opposition to the orthodox (Sunni) Caliphs in Baghdad these descendants of Prophet came to be known as the Imams.
"To the Shiites an Imam is far more, far higher in rank than a Caliph. Ali ruled by right because of his spiritual greatness, which the Prophet recognized by appointing him his successor (in fact Ali is also revered by the sufis as 'founder' and prototype of the Moslem saint). Shiites differ from orthodox or Sunni Moslems in believing that this spiritual pre-eminence was transferred to Ali's descendants through Fatima, the Prophet's daughter."
(Scandal, Peter Lamborn Wilson, pgs. 35-36) 
The concept of the Imamate is one of the most compelling aspects of Shi'ite Islam. Imams are of course also present in the Sunni branch, but herein an Imam can simply be a figure who leads prayer sessions within or outside mosques. Such an individual may simply be a member of the congregation and not even an officially salaried figure of the mosque. In other cases the term Imam may be applied to a religious scholar.

In Shiism, however, the title of Imam is used far, far more sparingly. In both the Twelver and Ismaili branches, the Imam is effectively viewed as the supreme spiritual figure in all of Islam. He is endowed with possessing both an exoteric and esoteric interpretation of the Koran that he gradually passes on to his followers. In such instances the Imam may relay heavily on non-Islamic traditions.
"In early times both the doctrines and organizations of the Shi'a were subject to frequent variations. Numerous pretenders appeared, claiming, with varying plausibility, to be members or agents of the house of the Prophet and, after enriching the mythical description of the awaited redeemer with some new detail, disappeared from human eyes. Their programs varied from moderate, more or less dynastic opposition to extreme religious heterodoxy, far removed from the commonly accepted teachings of Islam. A reoccurring feature is the cult of holy men – Imams and da'is – who were believed to possess miraculous powers, and whose doctrines reflect mystical and illuminationist ideas derived from Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and various Iranian and Judaeo-Christian heresies. Among the beliefs attributed to them are those of reincarnation, the deification of the Imams and sometimes even of the da'is, and even libertinism – the abandonment of all law and restraint. In some areas – as for example among the peasants and nomads in parts of Persia and Syria – distinctive local religions emerged, resulting from the interaction of Shi'ite teachings and earlier local cults and creeds.
"The political programme of the sects was obvious: to overthrow the existing order and instal their chosen Imam. It is more difficult to identify any social or economic program, though their activities were clearly related to social and economic discontents and aspirations. Some idea of these aspirations may be inferred from the messianic traditions that were current, showing what needs the Mahdi was expected to meet. Part of his task was, in the broad sense, Islamic – to restore the true Islam, and spread the faith to the ends of the earth. More specifically, he was to bring justice – to 'fill the world with justice and equality as it is now filled with tyranny and oppression', to establish equality between the weak and the strong, and to bring peace and plenty.
"At first, the leaders to whom the Shi'a gave their allegiance based their claims on kinship with the Prophet rather than on descent from him in the direct line, through his daughter Fatima; some of them, including a few of the most active, were not descendants of Fatima – some not even of Ali, but of other branches of the Prophet's clan. But after the victory and betrayal of the Abbasids, the Shi'a concentrated their hopes on the descendants of Ali and, among these, more particularly on those who sprang from his marriage with the Prophet's daughter. Increasing stress was laid on the importance of direct descent from the Prophet, and the idea gained ground that since the Prophet's death there had in fact been a single line of legitimate Imams, who alone were the rightful heads of the Islamic community. These were Ali, his sons Hasan and Husayn, and the descendants of Husayn through his son Ali Zayn al-Abidin, the solitary survivor of the tragedy at Karbala. Apart from Husayn these Imams had in the main refrained from political activity. While other claimants spent themselves in vain attempts to overthrow the Caliphate by force, the legitimate Imams preferred to function as a sort of legal opposition to the Caliphs in power. They resided in Mecca or Medina, far from the main political centres, and, while maintaining their claims, did little to advance them. On the contrary, they sometimes gave recognition, and even help and advice to the Umayyad, and after them to the Abbasid rulers of the Empire. In the pious Shi'ite tradition, this attitude of the legitimate Imams is given a religious colouring; their passivity was an expression of their devoutness and otherworldliness, their acquiescence an application of the principle of Taqiyya."
(The Assassins, Bernard Lewis, pgs. 23-25)
Muhammad al-Mahdi, one of the most mysterious of the Shiite Imams
Taqiyya is a kind of religious lie in which a believer conceals his or her true beliefs so as to avoid unnecessary persecution. Effectively, then, it is a concept that allowed both Shi'ites and their Imams to remain in hiding until they have achieved enough advances to openly proclaim their faith, which typically faced sever persecutions from Sunnis. This contributed to the notion of "Hidden Imams" guiding the Islamic world. In recent years this notion has largely been expressed through the Shi'ite Twelver concept of the Grand Mahdi, the last of twelve Imams recognized by this branch who went into hiding during the ninth century and whose return will fulfill the mission of Islam.

In some ways the Hidden Imam, at least in the Twelver branch, is akin to notions of "Hidden Masters" or "Secret Chiefs" initially put forth by Theosophy in the late nineteenth century and later taken up by a host of Western esoteric orders. The Imams and Chiefs are spiritual teachers that guide the development of humanity from concealment until the day in which their message can be openly proclaimed. In the case of non-Twelver dominations, these Hidden Imams were flesh and blood human beings, who had achieved a higher spiritual state and in some cases claimed to have gained direct contact with Allah. The heads of various Western esoteric orders who operated in quasi-secrecy at the turn of the twentieth century likely would have seen much overlap with their modus operandi. This is but one instance in which esoteric strains of Islam have influenced Western esotericism. But moving along.

The Twelvers are not the only Shi'ite sect and were a even a minority in the early years of the movement. During this time frame the dominate faction was the Ismailis, who had their own distinct lineage of Imams. Both the Twelvers and the Ismailis emerged during the first major schism within the Shi'ite branch of Islam.
"In 765 Shiism gave birth to a new faction that, from the point of view of this history, is decisive. The Ismailis arose from the dispute over succession and the true identity of the seventh Imam. For reasons that are not clear, Jafar all-Sadiq is believed to have disinherited his eldest son, Ismail. Some historians state that Ismail had incurred his father's displeasure by his close relations with extremist groups. Ismail had become associated with Abul-Khattab, a disciple of Jafar's who zealously upheld the authority of the Imam but whose radical religious and political views cause Jafar to publicly curse him. In 756, two years after the Imam's curse, Abul-Khattab was arrested and crucified by the Abbasid authorities. Abul-Khattaab preached a kabbalistic doctrine that focused on discovering the esoteric truth behind appearances. His teachings concerning the nature of the spiritual hierarchy, the divinity of the Imam, and the need for initiated interpretation of the inner meaning of the Koran – all themes that were to infuse the later Ismaili movement.
"Other historians say that Ismail did not succeed Jafar as the seventh Imam because he died before his father. Jafar was believed to have transferred the succession to Ismail's younger half-brother Musa al-Kazim, who is recognized as the seventh Imam by most Shiites. Musa's line continue to the twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared in 873 (or 878). The reappearance of the twelfth Imam at the end of the world, in triumph as the Mahdi, is still awaited by the majority of Shiites, who are known as the Twelver Shiites, or Ithna ashariyya. This more moderate branch of Shiism has been the official religion of Iran and Iraq since the sixteenth century.
"An opposing Shiite camp supported the succession of Ismail. Some claim that Jafar had announced Ismail's death merely as a ruse to protect him. Others held that after Ismail's death, Jafar recognized Ismail's son Muhammad as the seventh Imam because he understood that the nass passed from father to son, not brother to brother. Still others said that before his death, Ismail had formally passed the nass to his son, making him the true Imam. Many claim that Jafar al-Sadiq had no right to withdraw the nass succession from Ismail even if he was displeased with his politics.
"Those who supported the Imamate of Ismail and his son Muhammad became known as the Ismailis, also referred to as the Sevener Shiites, or Sabiyya. Muhammad ibn Ismail began a series of travel soon after Musa al-Kazim was generally accepted as Jafar's designated successor. He is believed to travel to Persia and then to have disappeared into a period of hiding, isolation, or occultation. A mantle of vagueness covers all further accounts of him.
"Very little is known of the history and doctrines of the Ismaili Imam's from the beginning of the Ismaili movement in 765 until the establishment of the by the Fatimid Caliphate in 909. By the time the Fatimid Imam revealed himself, however, the Ismaili doctrine he openly proclaimed for the first time was mature. The Ismaili Imams, working in relative secrecy and isolation for over a century, developed a coherent body of theological teachings that resonated with intellectual and emotional appeal. Beginning after the middle of the ninth century, they began to emerge from their obscurity with an energetic preaching. The Ismaili mission is known as the dawa, or 'summons,' to allegiance to the Imam. The dawa is represented by the dai, or 'summoner,' who spreads the teachings of the faith through his propagandizing and missionary efforts.
"Philosophically the Ismailis replace the chaotic speculation and superstitions of earlier Shiite sects with a series of distinguished philosophical doctrines. While scant early Ismaili literature survives, anonymous manuscripts were apparently circulated privately among trusted sectarians. The Ismaili teachings were synthetic, including respect for the Koran combined with an intellectual appreciation for the profundities of Greek Neoplatonic thought and Hindu mysticism. Ismailism's emphasis on the living Imam offered an opportunity for emotional fulfillment by allowing the disciple to direct an intensely spiritualized love towards his or her Master. Finally, Ismailism included a well-organized opposition movement that attracted the politically disaffected."
(The Templars and the Assassins, James Wasserman, pgs. 80-81)
a calligraphy showing the name of Ismail and his male ancestors
And there was much political dissatisfaction during this time due to the corruption the Abbasid Caliphate, the encroachment of the Turks and the continued marginalization of non-Arab Muslims. It was in this atmosphere the the idealistic Fatimid Caliphate emerged. For a time it as a shining beacon in a period of great instability.
"The Ismaili challenge to the old order was now closer and stronger, and was maintained by a great power – for a while the greatest in the Islamic world. The Fatimid Empire at its peak included Egypt, Syria, North Africa, Sicily, the Red Sea coast of Africa, the Yemen and the Hijaz in Arabia, with the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. In addition the Fatimid Cailph controlled a vast network of da'is and commanded the allegiance of countless followers in the land still subject to the Sunni rulers of the East. In the great colleges of Cairo, scholars and teachers elaborated the doctrines of the Ismaili faith and train missionaries to preach them to the unconverted at home and abroad. One of their main areas of activity was Persian and Central Asia, from which many aspirers after the truth found their way to Cairo, and to which in due course they returned as skilled exponents of the Ismaili message. Outstanding among them was the philosopher and poet Nasir-i Khusraw. Converted during a visit to Egypt in 1046, he returned to preach Ismailism in an eastern lands, where he exercised a powerful influence."
(The Assassins, Bernard Lewis, pg. 31)
Fatimid Caliphate at its peak
Ismailism is one of the most mystical branches of Islam and its spread in Egypt, Syria, North Africa as well as its popularity in Persia and Central Asia are most interesting in light of the fact that the regions also contained the bulk of the Manichean and Gnostic sects several centuries earlier. Egypt, Syria and Persia were by the far the most important regions for Gnosticism and any number of mystical Ismaili sects would later gain sizable followings in these regions. But moving along.

The Fatimid dynasty began a rather rapid decline due in no small part due to sectarian in fighting. Soon rival sects began to emerge in opposition to Fatimid Ismailism. One of these still survives to this day and is one of the most mysterious communities of the modern day Middle East. Their origins lie with the sixth Fatimid Caliph, al-Hakim.
"... al-Hakim (r. 996-1021), a moody and eccentric leader who may have been mentally unbalanced. He took great interest, however, in the arts and sciences and in the activities of the dawa. In 1005, he founded the Dar al-Hikma, or House of Wisdom, as a training center for dais... On the other hand, al-Hakim persecuted both Jews and Christians. In 1009, he ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This ended the truce his father had negotiated with the Byzantine emperor and was contributing cause of the Crusades. His intolerance extended to the Sunnis as well. He subscribed to the Shiite practice of cursing the first three Caliphs as usurpers of Ali's rights.
"The Druze movement arose in 1017 as a dissident Ismaili group, soon to become an altogether different faith. A number of al-Hakim's dais began to preach extremist ideas concerning the physical divinity of the  Fatimid Imam. The Fatimid recognized the Imam as the divinely appointed, infallible and sinless, sole spiritual leader of mankind – but human. The Druze carried this a giant step further, thereby incurring Fatimid wrath. The Druze leader was assassinated and 1018, but the movement continued to grow, becoming an ever-threatening source of religious and political dissent. The Druze stated that al-Hakim was the Qaim, the final Imam whose reign heralded the Qiyama, the end of Islam and the abrogation of Shariah. (These potent themes of Shiite radicalism would reemerge with the Nizaris a century later...) Today there are some three hundred thousand Druzes, living mainly in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, who continue to await the return of al-Hakim."
(The Templars and the Assassins, James Wasserman, pgs. 86-87)
The Fatimid Caliph went into rapid decline after the death of al-Hakim, effectively being ruled by a serious of military dictators who used the Fatimid Caliphs as puppets. It was at this point the most significant schism within Ismailism occurred.
"The Isma'ili movement was rent by a major schism in 1094, which had drastic consequences for its future. During the long reign of the Fatimid caliph-imam al-Mustansir (1036-94), the caliphate had already begun his general decline, especially after the 1050s. The dispute over al-Mustansir's succession in 1094 split the Isma'ili movement itself into two rival branches, the Nizaris and the Musta'lians.
"Al-Mustansir had designated his eldest son Abu Mansur Nizar As his successor. However, al-Afdal, who a few months before al-Mustansir's death had succeeded his own father, Badr al-Jamali, as the all-powerful vizier and military dictator of the Fatimid state, had different plans. Aiming to retain the reins of the state, al-Afdal favored the succession of al-Mustansir's youngest son Abu'l-Qasim Ahmad, who would be entirely dependent upon him. At the time, the youthful Ahmad was married to al-Afdal's sister. At any rate, in what amount to a palace coup d'état, al-Afdal placed Ahmad on the Fatimid throne with the title of al-Musta'li billah, speedily obtaining the endorsement of this act from the notables of the Fatimid state and the leaders of the Isma'ili da'wa organization in Cairo.
"The dispossessed Nizar, whose succession rights were never revoked by his father, hurriedly fled to Alexandria, where he received strong local support and rose in revolt. After some initial success, however, his revolt was crushed in 1095. Nizar himself was captured and taken to Cairo where he was executed on al-Musta'li's orders. As a result of these developments, the unified Isma'ili movement of the latter decades of al-Mustansir's rule was now split into two rival factions, which were to remain bitter enemies. The imamate of al-Musta'li, who had been firmly installed to the Fatimid caliphate, was recognized by the bulk of the Isma'ilis in Egypt, by many in Syria, and by the whole Isma'ili community in Yaman and its subsidiary Indian community in Gujarat. These Isma'ilis, known as the Musta'liyya, maintained their relations with the central headquarters of the da'wa in Cairo. On the other hand, almost all the Isma'ili communities of the Muslim East, headed by the Persian Isma'ilis who were already under the leadership of Hasan Sabbah, as well as a large number in Syria, upheld Nizar's succession rights, recognizing him as the nineteenth Imam in succession to his father. These Isma'ilis, known as the Nizariyya, permanently severed their relations with the Fatimids and Cairo, which had now become the seat of the Musta'lian da'wa."
(The Assassin Legends, Farhad Daftary, pgs. 28-29)
Alexandria during the Medieval period
How fitting that the last Fatimid Caliph to uphold the independence of the dynasty would flee to Alexandria. Alexandria had of course been a stronghold of Gnosticism from the second century AD up till the fourth. It seems unlikely that its long mystical tradition would not have been lost on the Ismailis and indeed, the more serious practitioners may have preferred the climate of the fabled city to Cairo's worldly bureaucracy.

It is here that I shall wrap things up. In the next installment I shall begin to examine the Nizaris in earnest beginning with their legendary founder, Hasan Sabbah. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Propaganda Due: A Strange and Terrible Journey Into the Heart of the Deep State Part XII

Welcome to the twelfth (!) installment in my epic examination of the notorious Propaganda Due (P2) Masonic lodge that has so fascinated conspiracy researchers in recent decades. There is of course a good reason for this, for as this series has revealed, the lodge was knee deep in any number of intrigues. For those of you just joining me or trying to catch up, here's a brief run down of what has already been addressed:
  • Part One: Herein a broad overview of P2 was given as well as a biography of its Venerable Grand Master, former Blackshirt and SS man Licio Gelli
  • Part Two: This installment addressed P2's ties to a host of terror bombings that rocked Italy during a period known as the "Years of Lead" as well as the lodge's ties to the Lisbon-based terror network known as Aginter Press
  • Part Three: Here I began to break down the role P2 played in what is commonly referred to as "the Great Vatican banking scandal" or "the Banco Ambrosiano affair" by considering the backgrounds of three of its chief participants: Bishop Paul Marcinkus (long suspected of P2 membership) and financiers Michele Sindona and Roberto Calvi (known P2 initiates and money launderers for the Mafia)
  • Part Four: The likelihood that the schemes of Sindona and Calvi were being used to finance death squads in Central America at the behest of the Vatican (and the US intelligence community) were considered here
  • Part Five: The final installment addressing the Great Vatican banking scandal; the involvement of the Rothschild banking dynasty and the ritualistic death of Calvi were explored here as well as a series of armed robberies that unfolded in the mid-1980s typically involving Brinks that may have tied back to the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano (and possibly a Fascist International)
  • Part Six: With this installment I began to consider the role P2 played in a series of assassination plots beginning with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of famed Italian statesman Aldo Moro as well as the sudden death of Pope John Paul I after thirty-three days on the job
  • Part Seven: Here I began to address P2's role in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II with a special emphasis on the involvement of the Turkish terror network known as the Grey Wolves
  • Part Eight: This installment primarily dealt with the "Bulgarian connection," a massive smuggling network deeply involved in the illegal drugs and arms trade bookended by Turkey and Italy and featuring Communist-controlled Bulgaria at its heart; the links this network had to Pope John Paul II's attempted assassination and the ever present specter of P2 behind these intrigues
  • Part Nine: At this point I began to address the forces behind P2 beginning with the role played by the US intelligence community via Operation Gladio and the ultimate objectives behind the collaboration between US and Soviet intelligence personnel in Bulgaria as well as the motives for the attempted assassination of John Paul II (and no, it doesn't involve some Judaic-Marxist-Freemasonic World Government my poor, deluded Alex Jones bots)
  • Part Ten: With this installment I noted the extensive presence of the shadowy Catholic secret society (some would say cult) Opus Dei behind P2 as well as a brief background of the order
  • Part Eleven: The most recent installment noted the even more extensive amount of Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM, more commonly known as the Knights of Malta) members both within P2 (including Gelli himself as well as powerful members such as Umberto Ortolani and General Giuseppe Santovito) and the infrastructures (i.e Operation Gladio and the international drug trade) that made its existence possible as well as the very real possibility that P2 was a puppet of SMOM and Opus Dei (and the Vatican by default, contrary to claims of the conspiratorial right)

the symbols of Opus Dei (top) and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (bottom), the seeming puppetmasters behind P2
With this installment, which shall be the last one, I would like to go down some highly, highly speculative avenues to discern the ultimate ideology of P2, of which little is known. But suffice to say, while P2 was no doubt many things, it was hardly a conventional Masonic lodge. This much is evident from the few pictures taken of P2 lodge meetings. Therein members are shown dressed in what could best be described as black Klansmen's robes. Supposedly these outfits were modeled upon the black robes worn by the Dominicans and for this reason P2 members referred to themselves as "black friars." Roberto Calvi was famously found hanging from the London-based bridge known as Blackfriars Bridge that is located near the former site of a Dominican priory.

Some researchers, such as Paul L. Williams, have alleged that these robes were customarily worn by Italian Freemasons, but this researcher has found no compelling evidence for this claim. Williams does, however, provide a sample of the oath sworn by P2 initiates and it certainly is not something in keeping with the long alleged Judaic-Communist-Freemasonic New World Order. The researcher notes:
"When Michele Sindona joined P-2 in 1964, he appeared before Grand Master Licio Gelli and took the following oath: 'I swear to all who were present, I swear to all whose identities are sealed in the vaults of Propaganda Two, and especially I swear to you Worshipful Master –Naja Hannah (' King Cobra' – Gelli's Masonic name) – that I will be loyal to our brothers and to the cause. I swear on this steel (Gelli handed Sindona an axe) to fight against the evils of communism, to strike a blow in the face of liberalism, and to fight for the establishment of a presidential government. I swear to help my brothers and never betray them. And if I fail, if I should perjure myself (Gelli, at this point in the ceremony, cut a photograph of Sindona into four pieces), my body should be cut into pieces (Gelli tosses the pieces into a fire) and burned to ashes like the ashes of this image.' "
(The Vatican Exposed, Paul L. Williams, pg. 120) 
Certainly the politics of P2, as this oath and other material presented throughout this series indicate, do not seem to have been especially left-leaning, despite the shrill claims of hacks such as Stephen Knight. But this does not mean that there were not compelling occult angles to P2, despite countless outrageous claims presented on the Internet along these lines.

That being said, this researcher would like to strongly emphasize that the following data is all highly, highly speculative. I have not been able to reliably source some of this material, but opted to include it as it jells with more credible accounts this researcher has encountered. And with that disclaimer out of the way, let us turn to the fun stuff.

One claim found on the Internet is that Licio Gelli was also involved with a branch of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraim. Specifically, an Italian branch abbreviated as M.E.A.P.R.M.M. and headed by one Gianfranco Perilli, more commonly known as Frank Giano Ripel. Ripel led the order until 1999 when it was apparently shut down from lack of interest. A brief history of this lodge can be found here. Ripel's order claimed Gelli as the Honorary 99º Grand Hierophant or International Head. Ripel didn't stop there, either, and even alleged a bizarre meeting with Gelli in the late 1980s. Of it, he wrote:
"I recall the particularly tensed political situation in ltaly in December 1988, something was happening. On Monday evening of December 12th, the Scarlet Woman and I, had witnessed the appearance of a Divine Sign. We were somewhere in Veneto and we saw a Sphere of green energy darting across the sky. The Ark of the heavenly Alliance (not to be confused with the earthly one), had cast an energy field. That was the sign announcing the fall of communist ideology. 
"In July 1989, we paid a visit to Licio Gelli (former head of the dissolved P2 lodge). In one of his letters, he wrote: 'the time when we met was short and circumstances didn't allow us to talk any longer, however, if You like, in the next future, whenever you'll have the chance to come to Tuscany, I shall be pleased to meet you.'
"He kindly welcomed us in his villa, a country house in the green. Gelli led us into a huge hall and made us sit in two of the twelve armchairs arranged in a semi-circle, six of them on each side. 
"We started to talk and, at a certain moment, he said: 'We have two enemies: the communists and the Catholic Church.'
" 'Especially the Jesuits,' I specified.
"Then I asked him the usual question: 'When will these two ideologies come to an end?'
" 'We must be patient,' he answered.
" 'Being young, maybe I am not that patient,' I replied.
"And a few months later, the Synarchy had overthrown communism the whole world over. The cold war was over.
"Nobody seemed to have realized how quickly the Soviet Union and its allied had faded away. Even the most pessimistic politilogists had thought that communist would have lasted another hundred years, while in a few months, it had totally collapsed. Isn't that strange?"
the likely delusional Ripel
It probably goes without saying, but the likelihood that Ripel is an utter quack is extremely high. As I outlined in the prior two installments of this series (which can be found here and here), it is highly probable that P2 was totally under the domination of far right forces within the Vatican, so at the very least Ripel does not seem to have been aware of the forces behind P2. This alone should probably warrant the dismal of his account.

And this researcher was ready to do so, until I began to turn up references to the Rite of Memphis-Misraim in histories of a movement typically referred to as "Traditionalism." And there can be little doubt that P2 members rubbed shoulders with followers of Traditionalism, as we shall see. But for the time being let us briefly consider the history of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim.
"...  the Rite of Memphis was founded in 1814 by Samuel Honis, an expatriate French-man living in Cairo, Egypt. After Napoleon's demise, Honis returned to France and started up a lodge,  'Le Disciples de Memphis,' in Montauban in 1815. Honis had created a dizzying 95 degrees of initiation (with an honorary 96th for the ruling Grand Hierophant). The lodge lasted one year, initiating one Gabriel-Mathieu Marconis de Negre, whose son Jacques-Etienne jump-started it again in 1838. The younger Marconis had also been a member of the Rite of Mizraim (concocted in Milan in 1805, carrying 90 degrees), was kicked out, joined in a different city under another name, and then ran into trouble in 1841 with the French police who suppressed the Rite of Memphis as a subversive secret society. The Rite had indeed attracted radical members, many of whom also belong to the Philadelphes, a major revolutionary secret society.
"After the revolution of 1848 Marconis was able to launch the Rite one more time. Charters went everywhere: to Egypt, Romania, the United States. By 1862 Marconis handed it off to the Grand Orient, of France, which let it go to seed. That is, until the advent of one John Yarker.
"Since both the Memphis and Mizraim Rites claimed ancient Egyptian origins, Yarker's brainwave was to combine them into one Rite of Memphis and Mizraim, which he called the Ancient and Primitive Rite, and which he founded in Manchester in 1872. He lost no time in conferring charters and patents (certificates of initiation) all over the place, and produced a magazine for the rite, The Kneph, a term which can referred to the breath of life, a creator deity, or an 'anointed serpent.' The magazine sported occult and Masonic articles, and while the Grand Lodge of England frowned on the whole Memphis-Mizraim business, many European occultists jumped at the chance to join..."
(Ritual America, Adam Parfrey & Craig Heimbichner, pg. 269)
In 1913, upon the death of Yarker, the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim was taken over by one of the influential (and yet little addressed) occultists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Gerard Encausse, more commonly known as simply 'Papus.'

Papus was the son of an alternative medicine practitioner who patented a devise known as the "Encausse generator." Supposedly it passed medicines through the skin via hot water, but it never enjoyed much success. Papus would be a major proponent of alternative and holistic medicine throughout his life as well, but he also became a qualified physician. He lost his life in 1916 after contracting tuberculosis while treating wounded troops in the midst of World War One.

Surprisingly, Papus was also involved with feminism at an early date. For a time he had an affair with Anna de Wolska, the organizer of the 1889 International Congress for Feminine Works and Institutions. He was also an early supporter of animal rights and a practitioner of homeopathy and mesmerism.

Papus also played a key role in popularizing the Tarot during the late nineteenth century
But it is his involvement with the occult that he is most well remembered for. Beyond his vast influence on such things, Papus was also one of the most well connected occultists of his era. An article copyrighted by the Ordo Templi Orientis gave Papus' occult background as such:
"In 1891, Papus formed an organization called l'Ordre des Supérieurs Inconnus of three degrees, commonly known as the Order of the Martinists, which was based on two extinct Masonic Rites: the Rite of Elus-Cohens or Elected Priests of Martinez Paschalis, or de Pasqually (c.1700-1774 e.v.); and the Rectified Rite of Saint-Martin of Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803 e.v.) a student of de Pasqually who wrote under the pseudonym "The Unknown Philosopher." Papus claimed to have come into the possession of the original papers of de Pasqually and to have been given authority in the Rite of Saint-Martin by his friend Henri Viscount Delaage, who claimed that his maternal grandfather had been initiated into the order by Saint-Martin himself, and who had attempted to revive the order in 1887. The Martinist Order was to become a primary focus for Papus, and continues today as one of his most enduring legacies.
"In 1893, Papus was consecrated a bishop of l'Église Gnostique de France by Jules Doinel, who had founded this Church as an attempt to revive the Cathar religion in 1890. In 1895, Doinel abdicated as Primate of the French Gnostic Church leaving control of the Church to a synod of three of his former bishops, one of whom was Papus. In March of the same year, Papus joined the Ahathoor Temple of the Golden Dawn in Paris...
"Papus visited Russia three times, in 1901, 1905 and 1906, serving Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra both as physician and occult consultant. In October 1905, he allegedly conjured up the spirit of Alexander III, the Tsar Nicholas's father, who prophesied that the Tsar would meet his downfall at the hands of revolutionaries. Papus allegedly informed the Tsar that he would be able to magically avert Alexander's prophesy so long as he was alive (his claim proved accurate, Nicholas kept his hold on the throne of Russia until 141 days after Papus's death). Although Papus seems to have served the Tsar and Tsarina in what was essentially a shamanic capacity, he was later curiously concerned about their heavy reliance on occultism to assist them in deciding questions of government. During their later correspondence, he warned them a number of times against the influence of Rasputin.  
"Papus never became a regular (Grand Orient) Freemason. He opposed Masonry as being atheistic, in contrast to the Esoteric Christianity of the Gnostic Church, the K.O.R.C. and the Martinist Order. Despite this, he organized what was announced as an "International Masonic Conference" in Paris on June 24, 1908, and at this conference he received a patent from Theodor Reuss to establish a "Supreme Grand Council General of the Unified Rites of Antient and Primitive Masonry for the Grand Orient of France and its Dependencies at Paris." It was probably on the same occasion that Reuss conferred upon Papus the X° of O.T.O. for France, and Papus in turn assisted Reuss in the formation of the O.T.O. Gnostic Catholic Church as a child of l'Église Gnostique de France. When John Yarker died in 1913, Papus was elected as his successor to the office of Grand Hierophant (international head) of the Antient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Mizraim."
Essentially Papus seems to have been involved with every major esoteric and mystically inclined order and organization at the turn of the twentieth century --Theosophy (of which more will be said in a moment), the Golden Dawn, the OTO, the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim, the Martinist Order (of which he founded the modern version of) and numerous other quasi-Masonic orders (though, as noted above, he despised mainline Freemasonry).

For those of you wondering, yes, Papus had ties to Aleister Crowley, though seemingly not very extensive. In The Confessions of Aleister Crowley the Great Beast indicates that he played a key role in securing Papus leadership over the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim after Yarker's death while the highly controversial Crowley disciple Kenneth Grant alleges that Papus was a part of Hermetic brotherhood of which Crowley considered himself a member:
"The truth Occult Order (sometimes called the Great White Brotherhood...) manifested in the West in 1886 as the Golden Dawn. Before this specific manifestation, the Brotherhood numbered among its openly unavowed representatives such authorities as Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Eliphas Levi, Fred Hockley, Kenneth Mackenzie, Gerald Massey, Fabre d'Olivet and others. Bulwer-Lytton links up historically with the continental Adepts, Eliphas Levi, Gerard Encausse (Papus), Rudolf Steiner and Franz Hartmann – celebrated names in Western occultism. These collateral continental elements constituted what was once known as the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light."
(The Magical Revival, Kenneth Grant, pgs. 8-9)

Crowley (top) and his controversial follower Kenneth Grant (bottom)
It is likely that Grant is embellishing this point --evidence of a former order involving these personalities is scarce, but there does seem to have been a loose confederation of Western occultist and ceremonial magicians by the early twentieth century of which Papus was the focal point in Paris. While his links to the Golden Dawn and OTO are compelling, Papus oversaw a vibrant scene in Paris and across mainland Europe that would influence a host of curious personalities. But more on that in a moment.

Papus' ties to Tsarina Alexandra are potentially even more compelling. Besides Rasputin and Papus, the Tsarina seems to have been knee deep in esoteric pursuits in the years leading up to her death.
"The swastika has been forever sullied: it can never be used again without arousing memories of the most uncomfortable kind... Besides its adoption as the special sun-sign of the Aryan Race by German anti-Judaic groups in the late nineteenth century, it also played a strange part in linking the events in Germany with no less momentous ones in Russia.
"Alexandra, the last Empress of Russia, inscribed the left-handed swastika... with the date 1918, on the wall of the house in Ekaterinburg where she and her family were murdered by the Bolsheviks. Henry Rollin, in his study of modern anti-Judaism, L'Apocalypse de notre temps (1939), offers several possible explanations: (1) the Empress had adopted the swastika as her talisman as the result of Theosophical contacts in her native Darmstadt or in Russia; (2) she had received it from her physician Badmaieff, a practitioner of Tibetan medicine; (3) she had seen it on holiday in the Baltic, where the peasants use it to decorate their houses; (4) she could have got it from one of the gypsies summoned to the imperial court for fortune-telling.
"However, the swastika serve the Empress not merely as a talisman, but also as a secret sign of recognition in her correspondence. It was used, too, by a group of Russian monarchists who had taken refuge in Kiev and were collaborating with the German occupiers of the Ukraine; their plots for rescuing the Imperial Family were one of the reasons that the latter were removed to Ekaterinburg.
"Upon the defeat of Germany and the triumph of the Bolsheviks, a number of these  Germanophilic Russians – several of them of Baltic origin – gravitated to the entourage of General Ludendorff, protector of Hitler. Among them was Lieutenant Chabelski-Bork, who had been at Ekaterinburg at the moment of discovery not only of the Empress' swastika, but also, in the pathetic handful of possessions left behind, her copy of Serge Nilus' The Great in the Small: the work that contained the infamous forged 'Protocols of the Elders of Sion.' So here was proof, for those eager for it, that the Imperial Family had fallen victim not merely to the Communists but to the great Jewish conspiracy described in the 'Protocols,' of whom the Bolsheviks were agents.
"Chabelski-Bork would be instrumental in distributing the 'Protocols' outside Russia; in Germany, their publication was exactly what was needed to fan to a flame the smoldering antijudaism kindled by the Aryan theorists. In 1919, the swastika served as the flag for the Baltic uprising against the Bolsheviks, led by General von der Goltz. In Berlin, the following year, it flew over the abortive Kapp Putsch. In the summer of 1920, Hitler chose the right-handed swastika as the symbol of the duel struggle against Jewry and Communism. And the rest, as they say, is history."
(Arkos, Joscelyn Godwin, pgs. 51-52)
Empress Alexandra
This group of Russian monarchists linked to the above-mentioned Chabelski-Bork and involved in the Baltic campaign has been chronicled at length before here on this blog. These White Russians would became involved with the Thule Society in post-war Germany as well as an even more mysterious secret society known as the Sovereign Order of St. John, (chronicled before here and here as well), of which Tsarist pretender Grand Duke Cyril was the long time head of.

It is interesting to note that the founder of the Thule Society, Rudolf von Sebottendorff, was alleged to have been initiated into the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim (noted before here) in Turkey in the years prior to World War One. Sebottendorf also had extensive ties with Pan-Turkish nationalist movement which would have an enormous influence of the latter Grey Wolves, who were implicated in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II as noted in part seven of this series.

Thule Society founder Rudolf von Sebottendorf
And here we find Papus, the head of the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim, consulting with the Tsarist family at the turn of the twentieth century. Later on a group of hardline Russian monarchists would become involved with a  secret society with occult trappings while spreading the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (noted before here, here and here). It is interesting to note that Papus was accused of being the author of the Protocols during the 1920s due to earlier anti-Semitic writings. This charge was likely baseless, but the possibility that the he contributed to the ideology of the Russian aristocracy in this capacity and possibly in a more mystically inclined avenue can not be totally dismissed. But moving along.

For our purposes here, Papus' influence on what is generally referred to as "Traditionalism" is of prime most importance. The notion of Traditionalism has arguably been present in the West since at least the Renaissance, but it was not till the late nineteenth century that it began to emerge as a bona fide philosophical school. It was concerned with traditional aesthetic and spiritual forms that its proponents believed had largely been lost to the West since the Renaissance. It is closely linked to the notion of Perennialism, which holds that all the major world religious contain elements of humanity's original faith. Papus was himself very much a proponent of Perennialism.
"... These objectives had been defined as the discovery of the Perennial Philosophy, which Encausse called the 'original light.' Ignoring the work of Casaubon on the dating of the Corpus Hermeticus, Encausse and his more serious followers believed that the Perennial Philosophy had been transmitted by Hermes from Ancient Egyptian sources, and they saw in this transmission the source of initiation. Encausse also followed Blavatsky and even Burrow in turning to the Hindus, regarding 'the Indian tradition' as 'the longest lasting historical example of continuity of religious exoterism.' The task of his Independent Group for Esoteric Studies, then, was to 'reassemble these exoteric debris' of Hinduism 'in the light of unceasingly transmitted tradition' –  the initiatic tradition of Hermes..."
(Against the Modern World, Mark Sedgwick, pgs. 48-49)
Hermes Trismegistus, the mythological founder of Hermeticism from which Traditionalism derived an extensive influence (and obsession with)
The Independent Group for Esoteric studies was closely linked to the Martinist Order, serving as a kind of preparatory course for the latter. Both of these organizations derived from Papus' early involvement with Theosophy and would ultimately result in open hostilities with Helena Blavatsky, Theosophy's highly controversial co-founder.
"Within a year of joining the Theosophical lodge Isis, Encausse became involved in a quarrel with a senior French Theosophist. This led to the personal intervention of Colonel Olcott, the dissolution of Isis, and the formation of a new Thosophical lodge, Hermes, of which Encausse was appointed corresponding secretary (the same powerful position that Blavatsky held in the Theosophical Society proper). During these events, Encausse and a few followers established a monthly journal, L'nitiation, and in its first issue Encausse continued his attack on contemporary Masons, complaining of their ignorance of the symbolism contained in their own rites. Soon after, he established his Martinist Order, which was intended to be a new Masonry 'on sounder bases.' It was not affiliated with any of the three rival Masonic Obedience then present in France.
"As a complement to the neo-Masonic Martinist Order, Encausse also established in 1889 an Independent Group for Esoteric Studies, the declared purposes of which included preparing people for entry to the Martinist Order and the Theosophical Society, and spreading Perennialism, proclaiming 'that truth is One, and that no school, no religion  can claim it for itself alone.... In every religion can be found manifestations of the single truth....'
"Although the objectives of the Independent Group for Esoteric Studies were compatible with the ideas of Theosophy, the Martinist Order was not. The fictional Tibetan adepts from whom Blavatsky attempted to derive her authority were described as initiates, and by implication Blavatsky herself was initiated in some of their mysteries, but the giving of initiation to others through neo-Masonic orders such as the Martinist Order was never part of Blavatsky's plan. Both the Martinist Order and the Independent Group for Esoteric Studies also constituted threats to Blavatsky's authority – breakaway groups were frequent problem for the Theosophical leadership at this time. Blavatsky therefore organized the establishment of a new journal, La revue theosophique, in which she attacked Encausse for moving away from Theosophy towards Masonry. In response, Encausse founded a second journal, Le voile d'Isis [Veil of Isis], a sarcastic reference to one of Blavatsky's two major books, Isis Unveiled, initially to carry on a polemic against Blavatsky and the Theosophists. As we have seen, Le voile d'sis later became the principal Traditionalist journal. It was published for slightly more than a century, until 1992...
"Once open hostilities had broken out between Encausse and Blavatsky, a number of Theosophists left the Theosophical lodge Hermes for the Martinist Order, and the remaining Theosophists soon dissolved Hermes. Encausse expanded his own organization in France and abroad, until by 1900 there were hundreds of Martinist lodges and related bodies, from America to the Russian Empire."
(Against the Modern World, Mark Sedgwick, pgs. 46-47)
an altar from a modern Martinist Order 
Both the Independent Group for Esoteric Studies and the Martinist Order would attract a would-be initiate who would go on to define the modern Traditionalist movement: Rene Guenon.

Guenon has had a surprisingly vast influence on spiritual matters the world over. In the West he is primarily known for Catholic and metaphysical-centric works, but in the world at large it is his contributions to Sufi Islam that constitutes his most lasting impact. Indeed, Guenon was one of the first major converts to Islam in the modern era despite the fact that the chief value he placed in the religion seems to be the frame work (i.e. the Sharia) it provided for a proper initiation. If anything, it was the discipline and not the philosophy of Islam that appealed to Guenon and his followers. But such a topic is far beyond the scope of this blog.

While Guenon's involvement with Papus and the Martinist Order has generally been greatly downplayed by his followers (especially in the Islamic world), it seems clear that his early dabblings in irregular Freemasonry had an enormous influence on his ideology. Indeed, the Martinist Order was likely the chief source of his knowledge of Hinduism.
"A mystery that has occupied Guenon's various Traditionalist biographers is the source of his knowledge of Hinduism. Given Traditionalism's later emphasis on authentic transmission from master to disciple, Traditionalists have searched for Guenon's Hindu masters and failed to find anything very substantial. There is a general suspicion that he must have been 'initiated' by 'some Hindus in Paris.' It seems likely, though it cannot be definitively established, that there were no such masters, and that Guenon's understanding of Hinduism derived exclusively from his reading of texts and studies then available in Paris. Nowhere did Guenon claim that this was not the case though he once referred to 'ideas suggested by some Hindus,' and he never visited India. Though such a conclusion may seem unacceptable to later Traditionalist, there is no particular reason why the Guenon of the time should not have considered himself entitled to write about Hinduism without firsthand experience of it. In so doing, he would only have been following the example of many eminent early Orientalists, who also worked almost exclusively from texts. Guenon did, however, occasionally rely on texts generally considered by scholars to be spurious."
(Against the Modern World, Mark Sedgwick, pg. 49)
Mark Sedgwick, the first researcher to attempt a scholarly history of the Traditionalist movement, cited Guenon's time in Parisian occult circles as one of the definitive influences on his spiritual development and that Papus had played an enormous role in this regard. Unsurprisingly, however, Guenon would eventually break with the more progressive-leaning Papus and briefly instigate his own quasi-Masonic order around 1908. He was assisted in this endeavor by other members of the Martinist Order who encouraged Guenon to take advantage of the lodge's mailing list to drum up interest in his own group, the Order of the Temple (which was modeled after the Knights Templar, apparently after Guenon claimed to have been contacted by the Order's last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, via a seance).

Naturally, this did not sit well with Papus and Guenon and his followers was soon expelled from the Martinist Order. Not long after the Order of the Temple ceased functioning though it was not formally dissolved until 1911. But while Guenon's foray into Masonic secret societies was rather disastrous, he would cling to the notion of covert initiation for the rest of his life, eventually manifesting this process in another quasi-masonic group as well as several Sufi orders.

Next to Guenon, easily the most influential figure in Traditionalism in the twentieth century was the Italian philosopher and occultist Julius Evola. Like Guenon, the definitive spiritual influence on Evola's life seems to have revolved around his dabblings in occult circles during his 20s. Specifically, his work with the Ur group left a lasting impression on Evola.

The man who was Evola's chief occult instructor was a human being known as Arturo Reghini. Reghini was quite a well traveled occultist in his own right.
"Arturo Reghini (1878-1946) was born in Florence, the descendent of a very ancient feudal family from Pontremoli that branched out and established themselves in Florence and Rome in the second half of the 1700s. Reghini was one of the most famous Italian scholars of the Tradition in the first half of the  twentieth century, the major interpreter of neo-Pythagorean thought, and the exponent of an unmitigated, intransigent, anti-Christian, pagan directive. He exerted considerable influence on Evola's thinking between the years 1924 and 1928, primarily during the period in which he composed his Imperialismo pagano... The book's title actually originates from 1914 article of Reghini's that was later reproduced in the third issue of Atanor.
"Reghini  was the creator (with E. Froini and others) of the 'Italian Philosophical Rite' (1909) within the circle of contemporary Freemasonry; he also welcomed the English magician Aleister Crowley as an honorary member in 1911..."
(Introduction to Magic, "Preface," Renato Del Ponte, pgs. xi-xii, n.1)
Whether or not Reghini had actually met Crowley in person or merely corresponded with the English mage is unknown to this researcher. According to the scholarly researcher Joscelyn Godwin, however, Reghini was involved in a host of esoteric orders that included the OTO, the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim and of course the Martinist Order. Thus, there is also a strong possibility that he was a correspondent of Papus, though this researcher has turned up nothing definitive.

What is beyond a shadow of a doubt, however, is that Reghini was one of the individuals chiefly responsible for pointing Evola towards the works of Guenon. Initially Evola was unimpressed by the French man's work, but by the 1930s Guenon would wield a considerable influence over Evola's philosophy. And behind this influence is the specter of the Martinist Order, which Guenon was directly involved with and which Evola may have been indirectly influenced by via Reghini. It is highly probable that both Guenon and Evola also had some familiarity with the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim from their occult mentors as well.

Now, let us finally return to P2. While this researcher has yet to turn up any definitive evidence that initiates of the lodge were influenced by either Guenon and Evola it is a matter of historical record that Evola exercised an enormous influence upon Ordine Nuovo and Avanguardia Nazionale, two Italian terror networks closely linked to P2 during the lodge's hey day (as noted in part two). British researcher Richard Drake notes:
"In another right-wing manual of the period, La lotta politica di Avanguardia Nazionale (1974-75), the so-called black bomber, Stefano Delle Chiaie, portrayed his followers in Avanguardia Nazionale as an Evolian 'elite of heroes.' Moreover, when Clemente Graziani, the leader of the Movimento Politico Ordine Nuovo (MPON), following Pino Rauti's return to the MSI in 1969, sought to defend the need for a truly revolutionary right-wing organization in Italy, he patterned his argument, in Processo a Ordine Nuovo, processo alle idee, on Evolian ideas. The bibliography of the tract was made up almost entirely of books by Evola. Graziani stated succinctly that 'the work of Ordine Nuovo from 1953 to today has been that of transferring Evola's teachings to the political plane.' On the question of violence, he reminded his readers, 'We are not Christians.' No, they were revolutionaries who in the civil war that had already erupted would fight: 'we intend to react, in a virile manner, responsibly, but to react...' Graziani did not oppose violence on principle; but then he asked who did. Perhaps not even the bourgeois revolutionaries, who through violent acts against the established order of their day had founded the modern Italian state, now in its death agony."
(The Revolutionary Mystique and Terrorism in Contemporary Italy, Richard Drake, pg. 131)
Delle Chiaie
In the second installment of this series it was noted the P2 has long been suspected of involvement in the notorious Bologna massacre in 1980. The above-mentioned Stefano Delle Chiaie, black terrorist extraordinaire, has also long been linked to the terror attack. In some accounts P2 and Evola-ite Delle Chiaie are depicted as collaborators. Consider:
"Further information as to the insidious nature of Lodge P2 came to light with the arrest in Switzerland of Elio Ciolini, a P2 'brother', alleged secret service agent and card-carying officer of the Bolivian Interior Ministry. Ciolini had been jailed in Switzerland on charges of swindling, kidnapping and making death threats against a woman by the name of Renata Ball. In the autumn of 1981, from his prison cell in Geneva, Ciolini wrote to Aldo Gentile, the magistrate investigating the Bologna railway massacre, claiming he had inside knowledge and was prepared to make a statement. The magistrate eventually traveled to Switzerland and began taking Ciolini's deposition in mid-March 1982. Ciolini made some remarkable allegations when he began to outline his explanation of the mechanics and reason for the outrage.
"According to the informer, a huge fraud had been planned in Italy involving the massive ENI industrial group (a parasitical corporation which controlled most of Italy's oil, natural gas and chemical industry – which also subsidize the neo-fascist MSI) and a sum of 50 billion lire. Plans for this massive swindle were, according to Ciolini, discussed at a 'special' meaning of Lodge P2 on 11 April 1980 in Monte Carlo. It was decided that Gelli should commission Stefano Delle Chiaie to organise an action of such spectacular dimensions that governmental and public attention would be diverted away from the financial coup. According to Ciolini, Delle Chiaie and Gelli met at the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires to finalise their plans.
"Whether or not Ciolini's allegations were true (and there is considerable doubt about some of them) he was released shortly after giving his statement to the Bologna magistrate. His bail was, according to a letter sent to the chairman of the parliamentary inquiry into the activities of Lodge P2, put up by the carabinieri or another secret service agency. On his release, Ciolini went to see the Bologna magistrates claiming he was passing through on his way to check in at the 'HQ of his service' (carabinieri counterintelligence) and made a further deposition concerning drug and arms smuggling rings centered around Lodge P2. He also went into great detail about the organisation of the Delle Chiaie network abroad, particularly in Latin America."
(Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist, Stuart Christie, pgs. 112-113)
the aftermath of the bombing at the Bologna railway station
Both Gelli and Delle Chiaie were both acquitted of involvement in the Bologna bombing, but responsibility for the act is still hazy thirty plus years down the road. Former Italian President (and Sovereign Military Order of Malta member) Francesco Cossiga has repeatedly tried to implicate Palestinian terrorists, but few have taken these allegations seriously. The names of Gelli and Delle Chiaie continue to be whispered, but state officials remain unable to bring closure to crime in which many of the original participants are nearing death.

So what of it then? Are the allegations of Gelli's involvement in the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Mizraim a possibility and could this potentially indicate some kind of occult netherworld? Certainly the specter of the Traditionalist movement hangs over Italy's "Years of Lead" as does that of P2 and somewhere in the distant past of Traditionalism is a possible influence from the bizarre quasi-Masonic orders that embraced the Memphis-Mizraim rite. Many prominent magicians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were involved with the rite and it may have influenced the explorations of Guenon and Evola.

Perhaps then years later someone within P2 and the assorted terror networks linked to Evola saw merit in it. Or perhaps not. As was noted in the tenth and eleventh installments, the presence of the Vatican behind P2 is far more well documented. But none the less, something strange seems to have been unfolding in Italy and abroad and linked to this black network. Future series will eventually explore these avenues. But for now your humble researcher is signing off. Until next time dear reader.
in at least one account this individual encountered a curious, black-robbed secret order as well