Italian Connections: P2 and Roberto Calvi

 27 June 2003

The investigative journalist Jim Lobe has uncovered the muddy footprints of Michael Ledeen, resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), international affairs analyst for Karl Rove, Bush’s closest advisor, and a veteran ‘neo-con’. Lobe discloses that in the late 1970s Ledeen consulted for Italian military intelligence – he was a visiting professor of history at the University of Rome between 1975-1977 and also reported for the magazine ‘The New Republic’. Lobe notes: “Ledeen’s right-wing Italian connections – including alleged ties to the P-2 Masonic Lodge that rocked Italy in the early 1980s – have long been a source of speculation and intrigue”.

P-2 – or Propaganda 2 – was a shadowy anti-communist association masterminded by Licio Gelli, who it is claimed joined the CIA after World War II on the recommendation of the Italian secret service. P-2 has been linked with the bizarre fate of Italian banker Roberto Calvi, whose body was found in London in June 1982, tangling off some scaffolding erected around Blackfriars Bridge. Calvi, recruited to P-2, may have been involved in the transfer of funds from his bank, Banco Ambrosiano, to Gelli and P2, bankrupting it in the process.

Noam Chomsky has stated that the US National Security Council supported P-2 to undermine the possibility of a left-leaning government winning elections in Italy. The kidnapping and murder of Italian PM Aldo Moro in 1978 was widely believed at the time to be the work of the ‘Red brigades’. Evidence has now been uncovered to suggest that Moro’s murder had little to do with left-wing ‘revolutionary’ groups, but was orchestrated by P-2. Other alleged CIA backed political atrocities include the bombing of Bologna railway station in August 1980, resulting in 85 deaths – also attributed to ‘left-wing terrorists’ at the time.

Public concern with the power of P-2 led to a police raid on Gelli’s villa in 1981, uncovering a list of members that included prominent media personalities such as the future premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Translation: “One of the most dangerous of these ‘bad teachers’ is Michael Ledeen, promoter of the the idea of ‘universal fascism’. These days he does not stop threatening war against Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, and has evidently been chosen once more by the establishment to manipulate institutions and threaten those who oppose his dangerous and wicked madnes. On the other hand, Leeden has a long history of interference in Italy’s strategic choices.
During the Moro case he was among those “most suspected” of having misled the enquiries, with the collaboration of the “bretheren” of the P2. It was wondered and it is still wondered why the Italian magistrates do not carry out adequate enquiries about him and his work”.

In 1990, Berlusconi was found guilty of perjury for denying his membership. Leeden is a keen enthusiast of Berlesconi and his ‘clear eyed’ government.