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Propaganda Due

Propaganda Due (Italian pronunciation: ), or P2, was a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 (when its charter was withdrawn), and a pseudo-Masonic, "black", or "covert" lodge operating illegally (in contravention of Article 18 of the Constitution of Italy banning secret associations) from 1976 to 1981. During the years that 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.[1]

P2 was sometimes referred to as a "state within a state"[2] or a "shadow government".[3] 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, 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.[4]

Outside Italy, P2 was also active in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, with 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.[5]


  • Foundation 1
    • Expulsion 1.1
  • Discovery 2
  • P2's influence 3
    • Corriere della Sera takeover 3.1
    • Bologna massacre 3.2
    • Banco Ambrosiano scandal 3.3
    • Protezione account 3.4
  • Criminal organization 4
    • Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry 4.1
    • New Italian law prohibiting "secret lodges" 4.2
  • Licio Gelli's list found in 1981 5
    • Notable people on Gelli's list 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


"Propaganda" was originally 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 moribund, 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.[6]

Freemasonry in Italy had been outlawed by the [7]

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.[8]


The Grand Orient of Italy officially expelled Gelli and the P2 Lodge in 1976.[9] 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.[6]


The activities of the P2 lodge were discovered by prosecutors while investigating banker [7] Future Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was on the list, although he had not yet entered politics at the time. Another famous member was Victor Emmanuel, the son of the last Italian king.

Prime Minister [7] 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.[2][11]

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 the [7]

Gelli's goal was to form a new political and economic elite to lead Italy towards a right-wing, [7]

P2's influence

Opinions about the importance and reach of P2 differ. Some see the P2 as a reactionary, shadow government ready to take over 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.[13] Nevertheless, P2 was implicated in numerous Italian scandals and mysteries.

Corriere della Sera takeover

In 1977 the P2 took control of the [7][14]

The paper published a long interview with Gelli in 1980. The interview was carried out by the television talk show host [7][16]

Bologna massacre

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 August 2, 1980, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 200.[17]

Banco Ambrosiano scandal

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

Protezione account

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

The full extent of the payment only became clear twelve years later, in 1993, during the 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.[18]

Criminal organization

Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, headed by Anselmi, concluded that the P2 lodge was a secret [7]

New Italian law prohibiting "secret lodges"

Even though outlawed by Fascist dictator 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 rights.[20]

Licio Gelli's list found in 1981

On March 17, 1981, a list composed by Licio Gelli was found in his country house (Villa Wanda). The list should be contemplated with some caution, as it is considered to be a compilation 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.[21]

On May 21, 1981, the Italian government released the list.[22] 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.[23]

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.[7] The list included all of the heads of the secret services, 195 officers of the different armed forces (12 generals of the [7] Also included were a top official of the Banca di Roma, Italy's third largest bank at the time, and a former director-general of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), the country's largest.[11]

Notable people on Gelli's list

Receipt for membership of Silvio Berlusconi to the P2 masonic lodge

Some notable individuals include:

See also


  1. ^ "Masonic lodge affair leaves Italy shocked". The Times. May 23, 1981. 
  2. ^ a b BBC On This Day: May 26, 1981
  3. ^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 187
  4. ^ Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy, p. 186
  5. ^ a b c d (Spanish) En el mismo barco, Pagina 12, December 14, 1998.
  6. ^ a b What was the P2 Lodge?, Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ginsborg, Italy and Its Discontent, pp. 144–48
  8. ^ "How Licio Gelli took over Italy's secret power centre". The Times. May 30, 1981. 
  9. ^ Decree No. 444 L.S. of June, 1976 quoted by
  10. ^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, pp. 39–40
  11. ^ a b c d e f g A Grand Master's Conspiracy, Time, June 8, 1981
  12. ^ (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.
  13. ^ Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 40
  14. ^ a b Obituary: Franco Di Bella, The Independent, December 23, 1997.
  15. ^ a b c Obituary: Alberto Cavallari, The Independent, July 23, 1998.
  16. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, pp. 229–30
  17. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 161
  18. ^ Italian minister falls victim to corruption, The Independent, February 11, 1993
  19. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 50
  20. ^ Article on the ECHR decision on the Grand Lodge of Scotland website
  21. ^ "Italian Parliament. Licio Gelli's List of P2 Members. 1981".  
  22. ^ Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2
  23. ^ (Italian) Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, July 12, 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.
  24. ^ An Italian story, The Economist, April 26, 2001.
  25. ^ a b c d Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 31.
  26. ^ a b Stille, Excellent Cadavers, p. 41.
  27. ^ Calvi murder: The mystery of God's banker, The Independent, June 7, 2007.
  28. ^ Mason indicted over murder of 'God's banker', The Independent, July 20, 2005.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i (Italian) Gli apparati militari. Conclusioni, in Relazione di Maggioranza (Anselmi), Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sulla Loggia massonica P2, July 12, 1984.
  30. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 59.
  31. ^ 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, July 12, 1984.
  32. ^ Willan, Puppetmasters, p. 73.
  33. ^ Italy: Terror on the Right, The New York Review of Books, January 22, 1981.
  34. ^ Moro's ghost haunts political life, The Guardian, May 9, 2003.
  35. ^ Ginsborg, Silvio Berlusconi, p. 30.
  36. ^ (Spanish) Un dinosaurio camino a casa, Pagina 12, May 9, 2004.
  37. ^ a b c d (Italian) Elenco degli iscritti alla Loggia P2 distribuito dalla presidenza del Consiglio il 21 maggio 1981
  38. ^ (Spanish) Un marino con muy buenos contactos políticos y comerciales, La Nacion, November 7, 2000
  39. ^ (Spanish) En el mismo barco, Pagina 12, December 14, 1998
  40. ^  

Further reading

  • 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 Press.
  • Stille, Alexander (1995). Excellent Cadavers. The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic, New York: Vintage ISBN 0-09-959491-9
  • 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; Spring 1994.)
  • 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, July 2006.
  • Willan, Philip. The Last Supper: the Mafia, the Masons and the Killing of Roberto Calvi, Constable & Robinson, 2007(ISBN 978-1-84529-296-6)
  • 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)

External links

  • Article by Gianni Barbacetto
  • Revelation at the Internet Movie Database (mentions P2 as part of its storyline)
  • Philip Willan, personal website of journalist and author with information on Roberto Calvi, Banco Ambrosiano, Licio Gelli, Propaganda Due.
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