Propaganda Due (Italian pronunciation: [propaˈɡanda ˈduːe];
P2) was a
Masonic lodge founded in 1945 that, by the time its Masonic
charter was withdrawn in 1976, had transformed into a clandestine,
pseudo-Masonic, ultraright organization operating in
contravention of Article 18 of the
Constitution of Italy
Constitution of Italy that banned
secret associations. In its latter period, during which the lodge was
headed by Licio Gelli, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian crimes
and mysteries, including the collapse of the Vatican-affiliated Banco
Ambrosiano, the murders of journalist Mino Pecorelli and banker
Roberto Calvi, and corruption cases within the nationwide bribe
scandal Tangentopoli. P2 came to light through the investigations into
the collapse of Michele Sindona's financial empire.
P2 was sometimes referred to as a "state within a state" or a
"shadow government". The lodge had among its members prominent
journalists, members of parliament, industrialists, and military
leaders—including Silvio Berlusconi, who later became Prime Minister
of Italy; the Savoy pretender to the Italian throne Victor
Emmanuel; and the heads of all three Italian intelligence services
(at the time SISDE,
SISMI and CESIS).
When searching Licio Gelli's villa in 1982, the police found a
document called the "Plan for Democratic Rebirth", which called for a
consolidation of the media, suppression of trade unions, and the
rewriting of the Italian Constitution.
Outside Italy, P2 was also active in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina,
with Raúl Alberto Lastiri, Argentina's interim president (between 13
July 1973 and 12 October 1973) during the height of the "Dirty War"
among its members. Emilio Massera, who was part of the military junta
Jorge Rafael Videla
Jorge Rafael Videla from 1976 to 1978, José López Rega,
minister of Social Welfare in Perón's government and founder of the
Argentine Anticommunist Alliance ("Triple A"), and General Guillermo
Suárez Mason were also members.
3 P2's influence
Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera takeover
3.2 Bologna massacre
Banco Ambrosiano scandal
3.4 Protezione account
4 Criminal organization
4.1 Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry
4.2 New Italian law prohibiting "secret lodges"
5 Licio Gelli's list found in 1981
5.1 Notable people on Gelli's list
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
"Propaganda" was founded in 1877, in Turin, as "Propaganda Massonica".
This lodge was frequented by politicians and government officials from
across Italy who were unable to attend their own lodges and included
prominent members of the
Piedmont nobility. The name was changed to
"Propaganda Due" following World War II, when the Grand Orient of
Italy numbered its lodges. By the 1960s, however, the lodge was all
but inactive, holding few meetings. This original lodge, however, had
little to do with the one
Licio Gelli established in 1966, two years
after becoming a freemason.
Freemasonry in Italy had been outlawed by the fascist regime of Benito
Mussolini, but it was reborn after the
Second World War
Second World War with American
encouragement. However, its traditions of free-thinking under the
Risorgimento transformed into fervent anti-communism. The increasing
influence of the left at the end of the 1960s had the Masons of Italy
deeply worried. In 1971, Grand Master Lino Salvini of the Grand Orient
of Italy—one of Italy's largest Masonic lodges—assigned to Gelli
the task of reorganizing the lodge.
Gelli took a list of "sleeping members"—members who were not invited
to take part in masonic rituals anymore, as Italian freemasonry was
under close scrutiny by the Christian Democrats in power. From these
initial connections, Gelli was able to extend his network throughout
the echelons of the Italian establishment.
The Grand Orient of Italy officially expelled Gelli and the P2 Lodge
in 1976. In 1974 it was proposed that P2 be erased from the list
of lodges by the Grand Orient of Italy, and the motion carried
overwhelmingly. The following year, however, a warrant was issued by
the Grand Master for a new P2 lodge. It seems the Grand Orient in 1976
had only suspended, and not actually expelled, the lodge on Gelli's
request. Gelli was found to be active in the Grand Orient's national
affairs two years later, financing the election of a new Grand Master.
In 1981 a Masonic tribunal decided that the 1974 vote did mean the
lodge had factually ceased to exist and that Gelli's lodge had
therefore been illegal since that time.
The activities of the P2 lodge were discovered by prosecutors while
investigating banker Michele Sindona, the collapse of his bank and his
ties to the Mafia. In March 1981, police found a list of alleged
members in Gelli's house in Arezzo. It contained 962 names, among
which were important state officials, important politicians and a
number of military officers, including the heads of the three Italian
secret services. Future Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi
was on the list, although he had not yet entered politics at the time.
Another famous member was Victor Emmanuel, the son of the last Italian
Arnaldo Forlani (whose chef de cabinet was a P2 member
as well) appointed a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, headed
by the independent Christian Democrat Tina Anselmi. Nevertheless, in
May 1981, Forlani was forced to resign due to the P2 scandal, causing
the fall of the Italian government.
In January 1982 the P2 lodge was definitively abolished by the Law 25
January 1982, no. 17.
In July 1982, new documents were found hidden in the false bottom of a
suitcase belonging to Gelli's daughter at Fiumicino airport in Rome.
The documents were entitled "Memorandum sulla situazione italiana"
(Memorandum on the Italian situation) "Piano di rinascita democratica"
(Plan of Democratic Rebirth) and are seen as the political programme
of P2. According to these documents, the main enemies of Italy were
Italian Communist Party
Italian Communist Party (PCI) and the trade unions. These had to
be isolated and cooperation with the communists (the second biggest
party in Italy and one of the largest in Europe), which was proposed
in the historic compromise by Aldo Moro, needed to be disrupted.
Gelli's goal was to form a new political and economic elite to lead
Italy away from the danger of Communist rule. More controversially, it
sought to do this by means of an authoritarian form of democracy.
P2 advocated a programme of extensive political corruption: "political
parties, newspapers and trade unions can be the objects of possible
solicitations which could take the form of economic-financial
manoeuvres. The availability of sums not exceeding 30 to 40 billion
lire would seem sufficient to allow carefully chosen men, acting in
good faith, to conquer key positions necessary for overall
Opinions about the importance and reach of P2 differ. Some see the P2
as a reactionary, shadow government ready to preempt a take over of
power in case of an electoral victory of the Italian Communist Party.
Others think it was nothing more than a sordid association of people
eager to improve their careers by making powerful and important
connections. Nevertheless, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian
scandals and mysteries.
Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera takeover
In 1977 the P2 took control of the
Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera newspaper, a
leading paper in Italy. At the time, the paper had run into financial
trouble and was unable to raise bank loans because its then editor,
Piero Ottone, was considered hostile to the ruling Christian
Democrats. Corriere's owners, the publishing house Rizzoli, struck a
deal with Gelli. He provided the money with funds from the Vatican
Bank directed by Paul Marcinkus. Ottone was fired and the paper's
editorial line shifted to the right.
The paper published a long interview with Gelli in 1980. The interview
was carried out by the television talk show host Maurizio Costanzo,
who would also be exposed as a member of P2. Gelli said he was in
favour of rewriting the Italian constitution towards a Gaullist
presidential system. When asked what he always wanted to be, he
replied: "A puppet master".
Main article: August 1980 Bologna bombing
P2 members Gelli and the head of the secret service Pietro Musumeci
were condemned for attempting to mislead the police investigation of
the Bologna massacre on 2 August 1980, which killed 85 people and
wounded more than 200.
Banco Ambrosiano scandal
Main article: Banco Ambrosiano
P2 became the target of considerable attention in the wake of the
Banco Ambrosiano (one of Milan's principal banks, owned in
part by the Vatican Bank), and the suspicious 1982 death of its
Roberto Calvi in London, initially ruled a suicide but later
prosecuted as a murder. It was suspected by investigative journalists
that some of the plundered funds went to P2 or to its
One of the documents found in 1981 was about a numbered bank account,
the so-called "Protezione account," at the Union Bank of Switzerland
Lugano (Switzerland). It detailed the payment of US$7 million by
the president of ENI, Florio Fiorini through
Roberto Calvi to the
Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party (PSI) leader
Claudio Martelli on behalf of
Bettino Craxi, the socialist Prime Minister from 1983–1987.
The full extent of the payment only became clear twelve years later,
in 1993, during the mani pulite (Italian for "clean hands")
investigations into political corruption. The money was allegedly a
kickback on a loan which the Socialist leaders had organised to help
bail out the ailing Banco Ambrosiano. Rumours that the Minister of
Justice, Martelli, was connected with the account had been circulating
since investigations began into the P2 plot. He always flatly denied
them. However, learning that formal investigations were opened, he
resigned as minister.
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry
The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, headed by Anselmi, concluded
that the P2 lodge was a secret criminal organization. Allegations of
surreptitious international relationships, mainly with Argentina
(Gelli repeatedly suggested that he was a close friend of Juan Perón)
and with some people suspected of affiliation with the American
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency were also partly confirmed; but soon a
political debate overtook the legal level of the analysis. The
majority report said that P2 action resulted in "… the pollution of
the public life of a nation. It aimed to alter, often in decisive
fashion, the correct functioning of the institutions of the country,
according to a project which … intended to undermine our democracy."
A minority report by
Massimo Teodori concluded that P2 was not just an
abnormal outgrowth from an essentially healthy system, as upheld by
the majority report, but an inherent part of the system itself.
New Italian law prohibiting "secret lodges"
Even though outlawed by Fascist dictator
Benito Mussolini in 1925,
Masonic institutions have been tolerated in Italy since the end of
World War II
World War II and are quite open about their activities and membership.
However, a special law was issued that prohibited secret lodges. The
Grande Oriente d'Italia, after taking disciplinary action against
members with P2 connections, distanced itself from Gelli's lodge.
Other laws introduced a prohibition on membership in allegedly secret
organizations for some categories of state officials (especially
military officers). These laws have been recently questioned by the
European Court of Human Rights. Following an action brought by a
serving British naval officer, the European Court has established as
precedent the illegality of any member nation attempting to ban
Masonic membership for military officers, as a breach of their human
Licio Gelli's list found in 1981
On 17 March 1981, a list composed by
Licio Gelli was found in his
country house (Villa Wanda). The list should be contemplated with some
caution[according to whom?], as it is considered[by whom?] to be a
combination of P2 members and the contents of Gelli's Rolodex. Many on
the list were apparently never asked if they wanted to join P2, and it
is not known to what extent the list includes members who were
formally initiated into the lodge. Since 1981, some of those on the
list have demonstrated their distance from P2 to the satisfaction of
the Italian legal system.
On 21 May 1981, the Italian government released the list. The
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry headed by
Tina Anselmi considered
the list reliable and genuine. It decided to publish the list in its
concluding report, Relazione della Commissione parlamentare
d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2.
The list contains 962 names (including Gelli's). It has been claimed
that at least a thousand names may still be secret, as the membership
numbers begin with number 1,600, which suggests that the complete list
has not yet been found. The list included all of the heads of the
secret services, 195 officers of the different armed forces (12
generals of the Carabinieri, 5 of the financial police Guardia di
Finanza, 22 of the army, 4 of the air force and 8 admirals), as well
as 44 members of parliament, 3 ministers and a secretary of a
political party, leading magistrates, a few prefects and heads of
police, bankers and businessmen, civil servants, journalists and
broadcasters. Also included were a top official of the Banco di
Roma, Italy's third largest bank at the time, and a former
director-general of the
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), the
Notable people on Gelli's list
Receipt for membership of
Silvio Berlusconi to the P2 masonic lodge
Some notable individuals include:
Silvio Berlusconi, businessman, future founder of the Forza Italia
political party and Prime Minister of Italy.
Michele Sindona, banker linked to the Mafia.
Roberto Calvi, so-called "banker of God", allegedly killed by the
Umberto Ortolani, leading P2-member.
Franco Di Bella, director of Corriere della Sera. Di Bella had
commissioned a long interview with Gelli, who openly talked of his
plans for a "democratic renaissance" in Italy—including control over
the media. The interview was carried out by the television talk show
host Maurizio Costanzo, who would also be exposed as a member of
Angelo Rizzoli Jr., owner of Corriere della Sera, today cinema
Bruno Tassan Din, general director of Corriere della Sera.
General Vito Miceli, chief of the
SIOS (Servizio Informazioni),
Italian Army Intelligence's Service from 1969 and SSISMI/SID's head
from October 18, 1970 to 1974. Arrested in 1975 on charges of
"conspiracy against the state" concerning investigations about Rosa
dei venti, a state-infiltrated group involved in the strategy of
tension, he later became an
Italian Social Movement
Italian Social Movement (MSI)
Federico Umberto D'Amato, leader of an intelligence cell (Ufficio
affari riservati) in the Italian Minister of Interior.
General Giuseppe Santovito, head of the military intelligence service
Admiral Giovanni Torrisi, Chief of the General Staff of the
General Giulio Grassini, head of the intelligence service SISDE
General Pietro Musumeci, deputy director of Italy's military
intelligence service, SISMI.
General Franco Picchiotti.
General Giovambattista Palumbo.
General Raffaele Giudice, commander of the Guardia di Finanza
(1974–1978). Appointed by Giulio Andreotti, Giudice conspired
with oil magnate Bruno Musselli and others in a lucrative tax fraud of
as much as $2.2 billion.
General Orazio Giannini, commander of the Guardia di Finanza
(1980–1981). On the day the list was discovered Giannini phoned
the official in charge of the operation, and told him (according to
the official's testimony to the parliamentary commission): "You better
know that you've found some lists. I'm in those lists – be careful,
because so too are all the highest echelons (I understood 'of the
state') ... Watch out, the Force will be overwhelmed by this."
Carmine Pecorelli, a controversial journalist assassinated on 20 March
1979. He had drawn connections in a May 1978 article between the
Aldo Moro and Operation Gladio.
Maurizio Costanzo, popular television talk show host of Mediaset
Mediaset is Berlusconi's commercial television
Pietro Longo, secretary of the Italian Democratic Socialist Party
Fabrizio Cicchitto, member of the Italian Socialist Party, who later
joined Berlusconi's centre-right party Forza Italia.
Federico Carlos Barttfeld (Argentina), ambassador to Yugoslavia from
1991 to 1995, under-secretary of state in Néstor Kirchner's
government, relieved of his functions in 2003 following allegations of
involvement in the Dirty War.
Emilio Massera (Argentina), a member of the military junta led by
Jorge Rafael Videla
Jorge Rafael Videla in Buenos Aires from 1976 to 1978.
José López Rega
José López Rega (Argentina), Argentinian minister of Social Welfare
in Perón's government, founder of the Argentine Anticommunist
Alliance ("Triple A").
Aldo Alasia, (Argentina)
Cesar De la Vega, (Argentina)
Raúl Alberto Lastiri, (Argentina) President from 13 July 1973 until
12 October 1973
Alberto Vignes, (Argentina) minister of Argentina
Carlos Alberto Corti, (Argentina) admiral from Argentina
Stefano Delle Chiaie, Italian neofascist who had ties with Operation
Condor and the Bolivian regime of Luis García Meza Tejada
Strategy of tension
^ Herman, Edward (2002). Manufacturing consent the political economy
of the mass media. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 152.
ISBN 0307801624. ...the extreme right-wing organization
Propaganda Due (P-2), ...
^ Naylor, R. T. (2004). Hot money and the politics of debt. Montreal
Que: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 84.
ISBN 0773572074. ...[Licio Gelli] organized a special,
ultrasecret, ultrarightist lodge, Propaganda-Due
^ Bar, FirstName (2007). Where have all the fascists gone. Aldershot,
England Burlington, VT: Ashgate. p. 39. ISBN 0754671542. ...
a similar strategy of infiltration within the military milieu by
Italian radical right-wing terrorist groups and clandestine elite
pressure groups such as Propaganda-Due (P-2) ...
Masonic lodge affair leaves Italy shocked". The Times. May 23,
^ a b BBC On This Day: 26 May 1981
^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 187
^ Hooper, John (23 June 2006). "The fall of the house of Savoy". The
Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 186
^ a b c d (in Spanish) En el mismo barco, Pagina 12, 15 December 1998.
^ a b What was the P2 Lodge?, Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions,
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon
^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ginsborg, Italy and Its Discontent, pp.
Licio Gelli took over Italy's secret power centre". The Times.
30 May 1981.
^ Decree No. 444 L.S. of June, 1976 quoted by masonicinfo.com
^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, pp. 39–40
^ a b c d e f g A Grand Master's Conspiracy, Time, 8 June 1981
^ (in Italian) La loggia massonica P2 (Loggia Propaganda Due),
Associazione tra i familiari delle vittime della strage alla stazione
di Bologna del 2 agosto 1980. The list of P2 members is in the final
report of the Italian Parliamentary commission of inquiry: Relazione
di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla
Loggia massonica P2, July 12, 1984.
^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 40
^ a b Obituary: Franco Di Bella, The Independent, 23 December 1997.
^ a b c Obituary: Alberto Cavallari[permanent dead link], The
Independent, 23 July 1998.
^ Willan, Puppetmasters, pp. 229–30
^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 161
^ Italian minister falls victim to corruption, The Independent, 11
^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 50
^ Article on the ECHR decision on the
Grand Lodge of Scotland website
^ "Italian Parliament. Licio Gelli's List of P2 Members. 1981".
NameBase. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved
November 7, 2011.
^ Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2
^ (in Italian) Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione
parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, 12 July 1984.
The list is in book 1, tome 1, pp 803–874 and 885–942, and in book
1, tome 2, p. 213 ss. and p. 1126 ss.
^ An Italian story, The Economist, 26 April 2001.
^ a b c d Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 31.
^ a b Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 41.
^ Calvi murder: The mystery of God's banker, The Independent, 7 June
^ Mason indicted over murder of 'God's banker', The Independent, 20
^ a b c d e f g h i (in Italian) Gli apparati militari. Conclusioni,
in Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare
d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, July 12, 1984.
^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 59.
^ La Loggia la P.A. e la magistratura – I rapporti con la Pubblica
Amministrazione, in Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione
parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, 12 July 1984.
^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 73.
^ Italy: Terror on the Right, The New York Review of Books, 22 January
^ Moro's ghost haunts political life, The Guardian, 9 May 2003.
^ Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 30.
^ (in Spanish) Un dinosaurio camino a casa, Pagina 12, May 9, 2004.
^ a b c d (in Italian) Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2
distribuito dalla presidenza del Consiglio il 21 maggio 1981
^ (in Spanish) Un marino con muy buenos contactos políticos y
comerciales, La Nacion, 7 November 2000
^ (in Spanish) En el mismo barco, Pagina 12, December 14, 1998
^ Vázquez Montalbán, Manuel (1984). Mis almuerzos con gente
inquietante. (see the whole chapter dedicated to Ernesto Milá).
Planeta. ISBN 978-84-9793-459-6.
Ginsborg, Paul (2003). Italy and Its Discontents, London: Palgrave
Macmillan ISBN 1-4039-6152-2 (Review Institute of Historical
Research Review New York Times)
Ginsborg, Paul (2005). Silvio Berlusconi: television, power and
patrimony, London: Verso, 2005 ISBN 1-84467-541-6
Jones, Tobias (2003). The Dark Heart of Italy. New York: North Point
Stille, Alexander (1995). Excellent Cadavers.
The Mafia and the Death
of the First Italian Republic, New York: Vintage
Willan Philip P. (2002). Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism
in Italy, iUniverse, ISBN 0-595-24697-4
Normand, P.G. "The Italian Dilemma". American Masonic Review, Vol. 3,
No. 2. (Publ. by St. Alban's Research Society, College Station, Texas;
DeHoyos, Art & S. Brent Morris (1997). The methods of anti-Masons,
Masonic Information Center.
Unger, Craig. The war they wanted, the lies they needed, Vanity Fair,
Willan, Philip. The Last Supper: the Mafia, the Masons and the Killing
of Roberto Calvi, Constable & Robinson,
Dickie, John. Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, Palgrave
Macmillan, 2004 (ISBN 1403966966)
Sterling, Claire, The Mafia: The Long Reach of the International
Sicilian Mafia (ISBN 0586212345)
Hellenga, Robert, The Fall of a Sparrow. This is a novel about an
American man whose daughter is killed in the 1980 Bologna train
station bombing and his attendance at the trial in Italy of one of the
Article by Gianni Barbacetto
IMDb (mentions P2 as part of its storyline)
Philip Willan, personal website of journalist and author with
information on Roberto Calvi, Banco Ambrosiano, Licio Gell