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The Legality Of Secret Societies History Essay

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In these last centuries Secret Societies have attracted researchers to the field of criminology, religion and sociology with Siegel, Simmel and Barruel amongst others lifting out of the many cavities, corruption, illegal activities and even injustices against people, the legal system and even the Catholic Church. Investigations have centered amongst politicians, governments and the legal system using secondary data, historical data from books and literature searches. Past and present members of the many societies such as Albert Pike, Manly P. Hall and President Gerald Ford along with authors such as Greer, Piatigorsky and Blanchard have written many books and articles about Secret Societies. Various articles have been written about these elusive societies, societies dating back as early as the 12th century with the Knights Templars. This dissertation will focus on the research of various secret societies from Freemasonry to P2 and the Mafia. This was done in order to address the research question of my dissertation. Are Secret Societies criminal?

Amongst the Secret Societies one finds Freemasonry, P2 Lodge also known as Propaganda Due, the Mafia, the Bilderberg Group, Bavarian Illuminati, Ku Klux Klan, Opus Dei, Knights Templar, the Thule Society, Priory of Sion and the list goes on. Many societies such as Freemasonry, up to this present day, are the largest and most influential, with more than one lodge in almost every country around the world (Greer, 2006). Secret societies are organizations promoting causes by way of secret methods. All members are sworn in by secret oaths and rituals. Secret Societies or Societies with Secrets have always been looked down upon with suspicion and curiosity.

In the eighteenth century between 1750 and 1789, Europe had the largest number of Secret Sects and Societies. There were three trends that Secret Societies benefited from. The first was "The Enlightenment", a philosophical movement (Locke, Montesquieu and Voltaire) advocating human reasoning over obedience while strengthening the reasons for "Scientific" thinking. The second trend was "Enlightened Despotism" where society of every rank and status felt their values were threatened by the state. Freemasonry therefore seemed very appealing as it taught ways of conveying ancient wisdom and virtue. The third trend was the growth against the reasoning of "Rationalism and Enlightenment" as well as the fascination for nature's secrets which brings about a mystical, magical and even occult exaltation (Roberts, 1972).

As this dissertation is about secret societies, the researcher would first like to discuss the term "secret societies" before continuing with the classification of secret societes for the purpose of developing the discussion in this dissertation. Secrecy is defined as an exclusion of reciprocal knowledge by members of associations and the concealment is premeditated. As having full knowledge of any information is trusting, the complete absence means distrust. It is very natural for us to understand that what is forbidden is permitted and for what is not permitted is forbidden. Secrecy is one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity as the purposeful concealment and aggression against the other party is most effective with negative and positive outcomes. There will always be a small ratio of secrecy between individuals and groups (Simmel 1906). Today anything "secret" is termed "illegal" or "criminal". Secrecy in the past was used in times of trouble, for underground support of political or religious causes and mostly, wars. The emptiness in people's lives has lead people to a "second life" where scientific rationality is untouchable. Today any person disclosing secrets are considered "a good citizen" as in the past was seen as betrayal (Siegel, 2011).

Within their fraternity, Freemasons value secrets because it symbolizes fidelity and advancement. There is an ethic of reputation and promise keeping. Secrecy was considered a sophisticated system that was based on mystery, mutual trust and reputation whilst implementing the idea of "Enlightenment' and "Moral Uplift". In Lodges secrecy was important as one could speak about anything from politics, to religion to philosophy without the fear of being persecuted by the state or church (Gunn, 2008).

Safeguarding of Information is encoded in "The Official Secret Act of 1989" of the United Kingdom. In Chapter 8, Section 6, the law states that if a person is in possession of any document for the purpose of obtaining access to any information, document and article, if he should disclose any official information without lawful authority, he would be guilty of an offence and be prosecuted in a Criminal Court. Retrieved from http://www.legislation.gov.uk on the 5th August 2012.

Malta has an Official Secrets Act which was enacted for the purpose of protecting official secrets. Chapter 50 of the 'Official Secret Act' prohibits spying, unauthorized use of uniforms, falsification of reports, impersonation and false documents. Any Communication with or any attempt to communicate with a foreign agent for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or the interests of the State and information passed on to any enemy is deemed criminal, such as endangering Malta's defense policy, military planning, police and Armed Forces of Malta. Information resulting from unauthorized disclosures or entrusted in confidence to other states or International Organizations are deemed unlawful. Retrieved from http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt on the 5th August 2012.

Organized crime is highlighted when it comes to secrecy. The Mafia has always focused on keeping secret all the structure, agreements and strategies of its organization. Generations and long traditions on the importance of "Omerta" in the mid-1990 were taken over by a policy scheme called "pentiti" where criminals had a chance to promote justice and be rewarded if they cooperate with the public prosecutor and the police (Siegel, 2011).

In any Secret Society reciprocal confidence is expected of its members. One of the purposes of maintaining secrets is for protection. Any member of a secret society who needs protection can only protect himself by hiding temporarily, but his existence cannot be kept secret. In contrast, a united society which is involved in criminal activities and conspiracies must remain permanently a secret. Strangely a society that has been publicized already can afford to accommodate themselves to further betrayals as they have already endured public scrutiny and any further accusations are unlikely to surprise anyone. Secret Societies are deemed precarious simply because of its secrecy, because of this, the imagination of the unknown inflates concern into unremarkable horrors and dangers (Simmel, 1906).

The idea of this research started because people whom the researcher knew has indicated a willingness to divulge certain information for the sake of research as long as they remained anonimous. The researcher had been promised an informal meeting to cover some aspects of Freemasonry by a member of a fraternal society in Malta but more than once the meetings were cancelled until the tracks went cold. A similar interview with a lady of Nobility after months of preparation proved fruitless as she could not remember even the smallest bit of historical information. This was a setback that the researcher had to adjust to. Gaining personal views or information from live sources, rather than having a research wholly based from literaturea would have proved to be more interesting. However the research agenda had to be changed. When reviewing the literature, particular attention had to be made to sift academic research from the myriad of papers and books that were linked to conspiracy theories which could not be proven.

The overall structure of this dissertation takes the form of five chapters, including this Introductory Chapter. Chapter one presents issues about the Legality of Secret Societies and the oaths and rituals performed in Lodges around the world. All these societies are classified as different types of organizations. Freemasonry is a fraternal society limiting its membership to adult men who believe in a 'Supreme Being' and Anti-Freemasonry are mentioned in Chapter two. Opus Dei is a religious order founded by a Spanish priest as a Catholic lay organization and the Vatican is mentioned in Chapter three. The Bilderberg Group is a political order with P2 (Propaganda Due) a fraternal and political society as mentioned in Chapter four. The Mafia and the Mexican Mafia, also known as 'La Eme', are termed criminal societies as mentioned in Chapter five, the last chapter of this dissertation (Greer, 2006).

Chapter 1: Legality of Secret Societies

Magistrate Carol Peralta before being appointed Magistrate, was linked to being a Freemason, this sparked an awakening for transparency in the Maltese Justice System. A very prominent newspaper, the Malta Today, insisted that they had acquired a comprehensive list of freemasons in Malta including well known businessmen, politicians, medical practitioners and members of the Nationalist Party. This statement had worried the government as Maltese society begs for transparency, accountability and less of preferential treatment (Malta Today November 3rd 2002. Retrieved on March 1st 2012 from http://www.maltatoday.com.mt).

Chapter 4 of The Constitution of Malta guarantees the fundamental human rights and freedom of the individual, which includes the right to privacy, freedom of expression, worship and association. In 1987 Malta being a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights, had these rights seeded into Maltese domestic law. This means that our freedom of association in private gatherings and membership in Masonic Lodges is a justifiable right and a guarantee by law especially when challenged and if all local remedies have been exhausted, one can appeal to the European court for redress. Article 14 of the Convention on Human Rights offers protection for Masons against discrimination. According to Agius, 1998, Masonic lodges in Malta are classified as unregistered associations, therefore no permit is required to operate is required.

The Code on Organization and Civil Procedure, (Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta, Article 734) may challenge a judge from sitting in a case, but does not mention association with Freemasonry. More often it is a question of whether the magistrate or judge gives importance to a case in which a Masonic Lodge, and Masonic Institution in question of which he is a member.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the National Newspaper Publishers Association in New York. The subject for his speech was secret societies, secret oaths and secret proceedings. President Kennedy explains in his speech the urgency to tackle the issues with the help of publishers, writers and the so called "Press".

"The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little threat of opposing a secret society by imitating arbitrary restrictions…"

(Kennedy, 1961: 2)

President Kennedy explains that the government, the people, businessmen or labor leaders and every newspaper editor requires a change in outlook, tactics and missions. He goes on to state that the world is challenged to a ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means and has conscripted vast human and material resources into building a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that includes diplomatic, military, scientific, intelligence and political operations. It conducts the Cold War with a war-time discipline where no democracy would ever hope to match. Mistakes are buried, not headlined, no rumor is printed, no expenditure is questioned and finally no secret is revealed. The president goes on to say that the government at all levels has the obligation to provide every citizen with the fullest information possible and within the limits of national security (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved on March 14th 2012 from http:/www.jfklibrary.org).

In the United States secret societies such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) were formed and spread to southern states such as North Carolina where laws such as "Black Codes" meant to terrorize afro-americans were passed. This had subjected former slaves to a variety of restrictions such as their right to freedom. In 1866, Congress passed a bill in which the Federal government abiding by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would grant full citizenship and equal rights under the law to all American citizens including blacks and former slaves (North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial .Retrieved on March 14th 2012 from http://www.nccivilwar150.com/history/reconstruction.htm).

North Carolina had ratified the 14th Amendment on July 4th 1868 but opponents of this new law such as the Ku Klux Klan used murder and intimidation to suppress the Republican vote in 1870. In that same year on February 26th, Wyatt Outlaw, a former slave and former Union soldier was lynched by the Klan. Using the term "white supremacy" the Klan continued to use violence. Governor Holden who helped organize the black population and used State troops against the Klan was assassinated at the county court house. The assassins were eventually freed by the Federal Judges (North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial retrieved on March 14th 2012 from http://www.nccivilwar150.com/history/reconstruction.htm). Two popular afro-american political leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated in the 60's and the Ku Klux Klan were suspected of killing them as they posed a threat to the Klan's vision of America (Southwell, & Twist 2007).

The North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 14, Article 4A prohibits Secret Societies and Activities. The article defines what is prohibited in their county, like any two or more people associated or organized together that is engaged in covert meetings. Among themselves the use of certain grips or passwords used for the purpose of advancement or as part of their ritual disguise their body, face or voice. It is unlawful to place a burning or flaming cross in a private or public property with the intention of intimidation. Klan members became infamous for burning Christian Crosses (Southwell & Twist 2007). In the Statutes there are exemptions as any person can wear traditional holiday costumes in season, the wearing of any mask because of the nature of the person's profession or occupation, masquerade balls and Mardi Gras celebrations, gas masks used in civil defense drills. Permission should be granted to any members elect of a society, order or organization engaged in any ritual, initiation and ceremony to make use of costume or disguise whether the identity is concealed or not, in a private, public building or street as permission should be obtained from a representative of such society in the municipality they live in. North Carolina is the only state in the United States enforcing this law.

In 2011 a mysterious encrypted manuscript consisting of over 75,000 handwritten characters that filled 105 pages in a bound volume was deciphered. Dating back to 1760 and 1780, this document reveals the rituals and political leanings of an 18th century secret society in Germany namely the "Hocherleuchtete Oculist Order of Wolfenbuttel". Kevin Knight, the computer scientist of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering who formed part of the group that cracked the cipher stated that this breakthrough opened up a window for people who study the history of secret societies and states that historians believe that secret societies played a role in revolutions and has yet to be worked out from the enciphered documents (Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com on October 25th 2011). The first meaningful words that came out from this manuscript were in German and were "Ceremonies of Initiation" followed by "Secret Section". This manuscript, the 'Copiale Cipher', provided a detailed description of initiation ceremonies using techniques to instill fear into the initiates and revealed the methods each member used to identify each other in the outside world which is very similar to Masonic rites (Secret Societies Code Cracked. Retrieved on October 25th 2011 from http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/25/8482183-secret-societys-code-cracked).

Adolf Hitler, an Austrian-born German dictator in his famous book "Mein Kampf", wrote in 1925, a political manifesto announcing his hatred of Judaism and Communism. Hitler stated his assumption that the Jewish people had a considerable influence (that could not be tolerated) on economic affairs. Adolf Hitler stated further that the Jewish people's influence grew with terrifying speed through the controlling of the stock exchange. He believed that the Jews were the owners, or at least the controllers, of the national labor force. The Jews strengthened further their political and economical domain by trying to tear down racial and civil barriers that would hinder them from moving forward. To this end, Adolf Hitler argued that the Jewish People fight with all the tenacity innate in him for religious tolerance. The Jews succumbed to Freemasonry completely, as Freemasonry is an excellent instrument with which to fight for one's aims and one's ideas. With the connections in which the governing circles and high class citizens of the political and economic bourgeoisie have, Freemasonry is the ultimate power-tool which would never fall under suspicion (Mein Kampf: Volume One - A Reckoning. Adolf Hitler 1925).

Adolf Hitler states that Fascist Italy fought against the three prime weapons in which the Jews used to reach their goal and position. Firstly it was the removal of Freemasonry and secret societies, the elimination of the "Super-national Press" and finally the abolition of Marxism and the Fascist concept of the State as this would allow the Italian government in the years to come, to adhere to the interests of the Italian people without any mocking from the Jewish elite (Mein Kampf: Volume Two - The National Socialist Movement, Adolf Hitler 1925).

Although Hitler disagreed with Secret Societies, in 1919, he himself became a member of the Thule Society, a secret society which originated from racist ideologies and the occult. This society would help to rake in Nazi sympathizers and wealthy conservatives. By amalgamating with the Nazi party, membership rose and leaned more onto Nazi rule. Rudolf Hess, also a Thule member and Nazi Deputy, used his connections to gain support for Hitler's party from countries mostly France and Germany (Greer, 2006).

Chapter 2: Fraternal Secret Societies

Freemasonry

In 1726 a letter was sent to a member of a Lodge within England. The person sending the letter was a father concerned about his son and the affairs of Freemasonry within the Lodge. Obviously the father was worried when he read in the newspaper of an article stating that there was once an act of vengeance against whoever broke an oath. Freemasons were faced with punishments such as having their tongues cut out and their throats slit. The United Grand Lodge, the society's governing body stated that any physical penalties would be removed in relation to the obligations of every member. The Duke of Kent, who was himself a Grand -Master acknowledged that the urge for secrecy and excessive devotion to the fraternity damaged the fraternity's reputation (Piatigorsky, 1997).

Of the most famous secret societies in the modern western world we have Freemasonry. Also known as Masonry, it emerged in Britain during the seventeenth century and took modern form decades after the founding of the first Grand Lodge of England in1717. Freemasonry is a fraternal society limiting its membership to adult men who believe in a Supreme Being. After 1717 while being closely associated with liberal political causes, Masons such as George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Simon Bolivar played important roles in political affairs and world history although Freemasonry is not a political organization, but a fraternity (Greer, 2006).

The history of Freemasonry dates back further to Hiram Abiff, the master -mason of Solomon's Temple, who was murdered because he would not reveal the Masonic secrets (Roberts, 1972). The origins of Freemasonry can be traced reliably to the guilds of stonemasons, although many theories have been penned including a debate as to whether Freemasonry is descended from the Knights Templar (Morgan, 2006).

"Free Mason" is a term listed in one of the earliest of the documents regarding stonemasons .The word "Freemason" is puzzling as there are several possibilities for the meaning of this term.  One probable explanation suggests that the individual workmen were free to move from one building project or country to another, much as the "free agency" status of a baseball player of today (Omholt, 2011).

Freemasonry is described by De Wolff (1969) as a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols and is the best definition that can be given in a single sentence. The symbols are those instruments or tools with which the mason is accustomed to work and we take these tools and apply the lesson learnt to our morals. The symbols being the gavel, square and the compass are much easier to understand compared to lengthy dissertations upon the ideas of work, duty and rectitude which they symbolize. Symbolism appeals to the intellect as the will and the soul in freemasonry.

Famous people past who were freemasons were Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong, Prince Arthur, Irving Berlin, Samuel L Clemens (Mark Twain), Edward VII, Edward VIII, Sir Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George VI, George Washington, Peter Sellers, Rudyard Kipling , John Wayne among others. Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Gerald Ford (38th President of the United States) and Rev. Jesse Jackson are today well known Freemasons (Morgan, 2006).

Of the many Secret Societies that abound worldwide, in Malta we find quite a few Masonic Lodges. Namely the Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta, Logga Mikiel Anton Vassalli, Abercorn Lodge, Count Roger of Normandy Lodge, Logga Fenici, Hospitaliers Lodge, Ars discendi Lodge, Loggia Flos Mundi, White Sea Lodge and Mare Nostrum. It quite interesting to note that the last five Lodges have come into being in the last eight years: since the year 2004 to be more precise. Like other societies, they are secret only to a certain extent. Had Freemasonry really been secret, few would know anything at all about it. So much so that quite a few Lodges have their own Web Sites. The Sovereign Grand Lodge of Malta seems to be on the fore front with its own website (Retrieved on December 15th from http://www.sglom.eu/subordinatelodges.aspx ).

The Logo for Freemasonry is the famous 24 inch gauge, the gavel, the square, the compass and trowel.

All tools employed by the Operative Stone Mason in Freemasonry carry moral or spiritual significance. The literal stone mason, brick layer and construction builder that is operating in the architectural field is classified as Operative Masonry. By taking the working tools of the Operative Mason, such as the 24 inch gauge, the common gavel, the plumb-line, the square, compass and trowel, the Speculative Mason assigns each with spiritual and moral meaning in order to generate its religious teaching among its members. The apron used by the Operative Mason which is used to protect his groin and guard his garments from stain and soil has the meaning of "symbol of good works" which masons are taught for salvation, are the symbol used on freemason's badges (Order of Former Freemasons: Retrieved on December 5th 2011from http://www.formermasons.org/).

According to De Wolff (1969), a Mason's work cannot be done on his own. It is the work of a community of men of the same convictions. Unity is the Lodge joined together in the forging of a fraternal chain which must become universal so that mankind in whatever place shall constitute one Lodge only, one great Brotherhood and will have give rise to world peace.

Freemasonry has attracted a torrent of speculation from Masons and non-Masons alike, and much of that speculation has fastened on the question of Freemasonry's origins. Emerging out of obscurity in Britain in the middle of the seventeenth century, it has no documented origin or founder. The oldest surviving Masonic document, The Old Charges, trace the Craft back to a biblical origin (Greer, 2006).

The Old Charges are considered by Masons to form the earliest records of the Craft. Each copy of the Old Charges includes an opening prayer to God as the Great Architect of the Universe (G.A.O.T.U.), an account of the legendary history of the stonemasons craft, and a set of rules and regulations for the guilds and their members; according to Masonic tradition they were read aloud to new members of the guilds at the time of their initiation. The oldest surviving copy is the 'Regius manuscript', dating from around 1390 and currently in the British Museum (Greer, 2006).

The Charges of a Freemason was extracted from the ancient records of 'Lodges beyond Sea'. In England, Scotland and Ireland it is used in Lodges where the Master shall read it at the making of a new brethren. This 'Charge' consists of readings about God and Religion, Civil Magistrate (Supreme and Subordinate), Lodges, Masters (Fellows, Wardens and Apprentices), the Management of the Craft and finally the Behavior of the Brethren (Anderson, Franklin and Royster, 1734).

Taken from the records of 'Lodges of the Sea' by Anderson, Franklin and Royster , the following paragraphs are simplified in order to explain the beliefs in their constitution which was and still is embedded in Freemasonry and is somewhat bible to them .

As regards to God and Religion, a Mason is obliged to obey the Moral Law and if he so understands it he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor morally unrestrained. In ancient times Masons had to follow the religion of that country or nation, today it is thought more expedient only to oblige them to the religion of which they want to follow, whilst leaving opinions to themselves. They should be Men of Honor and Honesty no matter which religion they follow.

For instance, as a Civil Magistrate, a mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers wherever he works or resides and will never conspire and plot against the peace and welfare of the nation. Nor should he behave undutiful to inferior Magistrates, for as Masonry has always been injured by war, bloodshed and confusion. Ancient kings and princes have encouraged the Craftsmen because of their peacefulness and loyalty to answer the Cavils of their Adversaries and promote the honor of the fraternity. If a Brother should commit an act of treason he is not to be commended in his rebellion although pitied as an unhappy man and if convicted of no other crime, his loyal Brotherhood must disown his rebellion and give no grounds of political jealousy to the Government and cannot expel him from the Lodge and his relation to it remains irrepressible.

With respect to lodges, it is a place where Masons assemble and work. Every brother should belong to one and would be subject to By-Laws and the General Regulations. It is that Assembly, or Society of Masons, that is called a Lodge in which every Brother ought to belong to one. It is either distinct or extensive, and will be best understood by attending it, and by following the regulations of the General or Grand Lodge. From the beginnings no Master or Fellow could be absent, especially when warned to appear at it, without incurring a severe condemnation, until it appears to the Master and Wardens, that pure necessity hindered him. The persons admitted as members of a Lodge must be good and true Men, free-born, and of mature and discreet age, no bondmen, no women, no immoral or scandalous men, but of good reputation.

No Master or warden is chosen by status, but for merit. Unless he has sufficient employment for him, no Master shall take an apprentice, unless he be a perfect healthy youth capable of learning the art of serving his Master's Lord, working his way up from Brother, to Fellow-Craft in due time, after serving such a term of years as the custom of the country directs. He should be a descendent of honest parents that he may arrive to the honor of being the Warden, then the Master of the Lodge, the Grand Warden and at length the Grand Master of all the Lodges, according to his merit.

To work his way up the ranks no Brother can be a Warden unless he has passed the part of being a Fellow-Craft; nor a Master until he has acted as a Warden, nor Grand Warden until he has been a Master of a Lodge, nor Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow-Craft before his election, who is born a noble, or a fashionable gentleman, Scholar, Architect, or Artist, all born from honest parents and who has been a great merit in the opinion of the lodges. The Grand Master has the power to choose his own Deputy Grand Master, an honor bestowed to him on leaving office. The Deputy Grand Master must then or have been a Master of another particular lodge. Obedience in their respective stations is mandatory by all the Brethren, which includes all Rulers and Governors, Supreme and Subordinate of the Ancient Lodge and abides by the rules of the Old Charges and Regulations, with all Humility, Reverence, Love and Zeal.

As regards to Management of the Craft, all Masons shall work diligently on working days, live honorably on holy days and the time appointed by the law of the land corroborated by custom, shall be observed. The Craftsmen are to avoid ill language, insult and envy at the prosperity of a Brother or Fellow and behave courteously in and out of the Lodge. All the tools used in the Grand lodge shall be approved by the Grand Lodge. No Laborer shall be employed in the proper work of Masonry and neither Freemason work with those that are not free, and are not accepted to teach laborers and unaccepted masons as they would teach a Fellow or Brother.

Members are not allowed to hold private meetings, converse without permission from the Master, not talk of anything arrogant or unseemly and not to interrupt any Brother or Wardens wanting to speak to the Master. In the Lodge, the behavior of its members should not be mocked, and language used should respect its Master, Wardens and Fellows. If complaint should be brought forward towards a Brother, if found guilty he would have to face the proper and competent judges within the lodge and not seek redress with the Law about what concerns Masonry without an absolute necessity in what is credible to the lodge.

As Masons there should be no quarrels over religion, the state and nations. Masons are of Universal Religion, Nations, Tongues, Family and Languages. Freemasons are dead against politics, as it has never having been fruitful to the lodge, and will never be so.

Masons should salute one another in a courteous manner. Masons should respect past Masons, as he deserves honor. A non -mason should also be shown respect. Caution should be used in a brethrens attitude and conversation so as not to intimidate strangers and not to dishonor the worshipful fraternity.

Members are not to let family, friends and neighbors know the concerns of the Lodge. Family members should not be neglected or injured. Drunkenness and gluttony should be avoided as concern should be with your own health.

Masons are advised to be discreet when looking out for another member of the fraternity. If you should discover him to be a true member you can employ him or direct him to employment. All wrangling and quarreling should be avoided and defending the character of one's brethren would be consistent with his honor and safety. If injury is done to you by another member you may appeal to the Grand Lodge and with honest advice from the Master and Fellows, this should deter you from going to the Law with strangers. Mediation should be submitted by the contending brethren and not hinder brotherly love and see the benign influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have done from the very beginning to the end of time (Anderson, Franklin and Royster,1734).

Manly P. Hall, (1929) was himself was a 33⁰ mason, mystic and author of books such as 'The Secret of All Ages'. Hall described Masonry as, 'a fraternity within a fraternity-an outer organization concealing an inner brotherhood of the elect'. According to Hall, it was necessary to establish the existence of two interdependent orders, one visible and the other invisible. The visible society, a remarkable brotherhood of "free and accepted" men joined together to dedicate themselves to fraternal, educational, ethical, humanitarian and patriotic concerns.

The invisible society is a secret and most supreme grandeur fraternity whose members are dedicated to the service of a mysterious, "secret of secrets". Members have not included in their discourse the story of that true secret and inner society which is to the body Masonic, what the heart is to the body human. Few Masons are eventually accepted into the inner sanctuary of the operative activity as they are deemed, 'Princes of the Truth', and their sainted names shall be remembered in future eras with wise persons that possess intuitive powers and have the blessing of an inspired leader (Hall, 1929).

In the United Kingdom Freemasonry is of great importance, understanding and strength as it is the largest non-denominational organization. Being the most represented and typical of the very character of British civilization, today approximately one in twenty men in Britain are freemasons (Piatigorsky, 1997).

Freemasonry developed around the world in different countries with different cultures that have influenced the Craft in various ways, and this is apparent in the way Masonic symbols are used .It is not common practice to put Masonic symbolism on public display as Masonic symbolism is treated as a private language, one that members of the Craft can understand. In London, Edinburgh and Dublin (the homes of the Grand lodge of England, Scotland and Ireland respectively), do not display the square and compasses (with or without the letter G), meaning G.A.O.T.U, Great Architect of the Universe. In the United States, in the state of New York, the Grand Masonic Lodge there boasts having the biggest square and compass in the world on display. This proves how distinct Freemasonry can be from one country to another (Cooper, 2006).

Anti-Freemasonry

Vicomte Leon de Poncins was a journalist and anti-Freemason. Poncins opinion was that Freemasonry was a 'No Go' area for discussion. It was like taboo to mention Freemasonry in the press; historians shied away from writing about the Order. Even governments and parliaments avoided stoically to touch remotely what was deemed a very sensitive and delicate subject. According to Poncins, in 1917 at a Masonic conference at the headquarters of the Grand Orient of France in the Rue Cadet Paris, the peace treaty of 1918 was drafted. This came to light later in 1936 as the complete minutes of the meeting had surfaced. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and the League of Nations formed after the 1st World War was said to have traces of Masonic significance. Edvard Beneš, President of Czechoslovakia and a high degree Freemason was said to have a say in the political decision drafted in The Conference of Yalta. Benes convinced Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States and also a high degree Freemason to trust Josef Stalin, along with Winston Churchill in leading the allies against Germany and Japan in the 2nd World War (Vicomte Leon de Poncins, and translated by Tindal-Robertson 1968).

Freemasonry does not tolerate its members disobeying a Mason's duty. An example is that whilst a Freemason is elected to the Chamber of Deputies, he must remember that once a Freemason he must always act as a Mason. Any Freemason entering politics must swear by oath that he will always attend meetings of his Brethren and adhere to. Freemasons holding public office should apply the principles of Masonry and be implicit about it. Those who have been entrusted with an electoral mandate must above all other Masons keep the principles which have molded their personality or political career (Convent of the Grand Orient, 1928 as cited by Vicomte Leon de Poncins, and translated by Tindal-Robertson 1968).

In Finland, there are more than 75 Freemason Lodges situated in the country. Newspaper articles that were printed in the mid 70's concerning Freemasons suspected and accused of offensiveness, brought up the debate concerning Freemasonry oaths and the law of the land. Attention was also given to the claim that the rituals were anti-religious. Discriminating articles were written containing suspecting rumors, as well as claims surfacing from earlier published material. Despite the fact that a huge amount of material had been generated by the Finnish media, they have not been able to clarify understanding of the Fraternity or Organization and have therefore confused everyone in the process (Secrets and Oaths: Freemasonry in Finnish Society and Public Record 1756-1996. Translated by Louis Handley.

Despite the fact that Freemasonry has been more visible and present in the Finnish society today, there still is friction between the more open society and the secret society that holds old traditions and conventions. The issue disturbing many folks in the conflict between Finnish Freemasonry and society is the "secrets and oaths". The secrecy of the rituals and the oaths of silence are implemented to ensure effectiveness and allegiance. A Freemason's obligation by the way of an oath is simply a promise to one self and does not conflict with any oath of office or military oath. In fact the local press and media have never comes to terms with the reason why they cannot publish material, present on stage or televise initiation ceremonies. Unless one undergoes the ritual himself, he might not be able to understand the intricacies of the rituals. All that comes out borders on the "hearsay" and it might be waived off as pure fantasy or outright conspiracy. One must therefore experience for himself the rituals and other oaths taken, to really understand what goes on during the Initiation Ceremony and other Rituals. Those outside Freemasonry are most often than not, frightened from seeking protection from the Secret Societies. This deprivation of justice goes unpunished with alarming regularity (Secrets and Oaths: Freemasonry in Finnish Society and Public Record 1756-1996. Translated by Louis Handley.

In 1932, Paavo Susitaival declared that Freemasons did nothing to dispute public claims that their members swear oaths that contain threats of death. By the late 70's and early 80's the construction of the Helsinki Metro was a scandalous, over-exaggerated event that put on trial the administration and management. The Administration and Management were charged with bribery and misconduct. Two out of the 50 people charged were Freemasons. One of the two was consequently handed down a sentence. Between 1981 and 1990, over 1400 articles were published on Freemasonry; about 633 articles were news items, 56 articles were unsubstantiated and 127 articles were proved to be true and correct. In a period of 10 years, the Grand lodge of Finland had sent out only 2 corrections responding to false accusations, the media was unwilling to publish the arrears as it was deemed it unnecessary to publish. Because of a defamatory article written in the Seura magazine about Freemasons in Finland, Eeropekka Rislakki who was a journalist received a 6 month conditional prison sentence. Assuming the same offence of defamation was committed towards another person, community or company etc., no other sentence was ever handed down to any other journalist. Translated by Louis Handle elektra.helsinki.fi

M. William Cooper is a conspiracy theorist. He wrote the book 'Behold a Pale Horse'. He states that secrecy is wrong, so much so, that if a meeting is done in secrecy; it proves that something is going on and that he would not approve of it. He does not believe grown men to meet on a regular basis just to wear fancy robes and burn candles. He states that when something is secret, there will always be something hidden.

Charles Albert Blanchard explains that a Mason swears to an oath to protect secrets which include criminal acts that are worthy of prison sentences. A Mason swears to keep secret the confidential communications of his brother Mason. Murder, treason, theft, arson, adultery, perjury, blackmail and fraud are covered by the Master mason's oath. It is therefore an oath to conceal crimes. It is more important for a mason to keep an oath and not reveal the secret, rather than the criminal offence per se. Another provision in the oath is that if he should hear or see signs of distress from a fellow mason, he should always run to his aid. Honesty, charity and virtue are to be required within the order. A mason is not obliged to commit adultery with a fellow mason's wife, daughter, sister or mother. A mason should never steal from a fellow mason nor should he assault or defame a fellow mason. According to Blanchard, people outside the Lodge are not mentioned in this equation. A worthy brother should keep to the oaths he promised to abide by and pay his dues. If a fellow mason is in court for an offence and gives away any signal that he is a freemason in distress, other fellow masons should jump to his rescue. A judge in Iowa stated that thousands of Freemasons that have given false testimony in court for fellow members should have been charged with perjury for protecting a fellow mason. Masonic criminals are often permitted to escape the penalty by law with the help of false testimony by witnesses, jurymen and law officials.

Chapter 3: Religious Secret Societies

Opus Dei

Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church founded by Saint Josemaria Escriva in Madrid in October 2nd 1928. The mission of this society is to help people turn their work and everyday activities into ways in which to get closer to God whilst serving others and improving society. Working hand in hand with local churches, classes, talks, retreats and pastoral care are offered for the development of personal spiritual life of every individual seeking God. (Opus Dei Website Retrieved on 14th August 2012 from http://www.opusdei.us/sec.php?s=8).

Maternal care and attention is directed towards Opus Dei from its' mother church, The Vatican. Pope John Paul II always believed in this society as he spoke to his audience in St. Peter's Square, Rome, in front of a large audience on the 28th November 1982. Reciting the Apostolic Constitution of Opus Dei, he spoke about the apostolic organism which makes up Opus Dei such as priests and laity, men and women, an institution filled with the unity of spirit, aims, government and of formation ("Ut Sit" The Apostolic Constitution by Pope John Paul II Retrieved from http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cbisutsi.htm on 14th August 2012).

A small but committed amount of members, these members are ready and willing to take part in a rigorous course of spiritual formation and holiness which forms part of this society. Twenty per cent of its members remain celibate; these people are called "Numeraries". These men and women live in separate centers and extend their training to a degree rivaling a priest's while holding day jobs, they hand over most of their pay to the society. Also very controversial is the wearing of a cilice around their thighs for at least two hours a day and flailing themselves with a rope whip called a discipline on a weekly basis. Seventy per cent of its members are called "supernumeraries" and they dedicate two hours of religious observance daily, whilst concentrating on their daily jobs and family (The Ways of Opus Dei Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1184078-1,00.html on 14th August 2012).

Best known for keeping secretive, Opus Dei has a special set of greetings: "Pax" and "In aeternum" which means "Peace" and "In eternity" consecutively. In its 1950 constitution, members were barred from revealing their membership without the permission of the director of their center. In 1982, a new document from the Final Dispositions stated that most of the 1950 statutes that were approved then and are still around today are its traditions and laws. As opposed to personal deeds , Opus Dei is somewhat more on the corporate level of structure as they own 15 universities, 7 hospitals, 11 business schools and approximately 36 primary and secondary schools and 97 vocational-technical schools worldwide. Opus Dei also boasts a 17- story building as its headquarters in New York City. John Allen, a respected print and television Vatican commentator who had unlimited access to Opus Dei records and his financial expert , Joseph Harris have uncovered through their study of IRS files approximately $344.4 million of Opus's assets in the U.S. with a global total of an estimated $2,8 billion worldwide (The Ways Of Opus Dei Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1184078-1,00.html on 14th August 2012).

As if this very secretive religious society did not have enough suspicious members of the public and financial freedom, in 2011, Catherine Tissier sued Opus Dei accusing them of years of abusive work practices. At age 14, in 1985, Tissier became a member, a "Numerarie" and was forced to take vows and made to work as a domestic servant with hardly any pay. She had been compelled to take vows of obedience, poverty and chastity and for 13 years worked with organizations linked to Opus Dei, with a workload of 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, cleaning and serving people who had very little appreciation for her work. Tissier said that although she was paid a salary by the staff, the money was reclaimed by making her sign a blank cheque with the excuse of payments for her room and board. After 15 years she had a mere 10 euro in her bank account (Opus Dei members tried in court on abuse charges. Retrieved from http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20110923/world/Opus-Dei-members-tried-in-court-on-abuse-charges.385992 on 15th July 2012).

A very well known Catholic priest who is a sociologist and author of many books, Father Andrew Greeley wrote:  

"Opus Dei is a devious, antidemocratic, reactionary, semi-fascist institution, desperately hungry for absolute power in the Church and quite possibly very close now to having that power. Calling the group "authoritarian and power-mad:" the American Catholic priest and author said, "Opus Dei is an extremely dangerous organization because it appeals to the love of secrecy and the power lust of certain kinds of religious personalities. It may well be the most powerful group in the Church today. It is capable of doing an enormous amount of harm. It ought to be forced to come out into the open or be suppressed".

Greeley, as cited by Murnford 1986

Escriva de Balaguer, Opus Dei's founder states that Opus Dei becomes God's product, and with an honest job, whether working in an intellectual or manufacturing job, Christians must perfect himself as a human-being and a Christian (Rich, 2005). With this in mind, attention to niceties seems to be a one of the reasons of this societies' success as even its founder was said to have a love for sophisticated things such as his dining table set with fine bone china and silver cutlery (Walsh, 1989 as cited in Rich, 2005).

According to a university professor who is active in Opus Dei, not all members are as pious as Mother Theresa in their work with Opus Dei. It is important that ambitious and promising young adults should meet politically successful and powerful Catholics and to understand that religion was not all about deprivation and frugality (Tapia, 1994 as cited in Rich, 2005). The expansion of Opus Dei throughout the world has increased in its friends and enemies, as it has achieved outstanding monetary success (Gomez Perez, 1992 as cited in Rich 2005). This society with all its "right connections" and it being "pro-clerical", Opus Dei is an establishment-oriented society leaning on the business aspects (Stevens, 1974 as cited in Rich, 2005).

The Opus Dei Constitution encourages the acquisition of property and involvement in secular enterprises. In Article 9 of the Constitution, active participation in artistic and financial centers linked with Opus Dei is encouraged. The moral value towards wealth and economic prosperity explains the success of this institution with the help from the middle and upper class beneficiaries (Saunier, 1973 as cited in Rich, 2005).

Opus Dei has somewhat immersed itself into darkness as a Secret Religious Society especially with the arrest of one of its members, Robert Hanssen. With a perfect "modus operandi", Hanssen was able to use Opus Dei as a perfect disguise for his double life as a spy for the Russians. His secret life within a secret society, have raised more suspicion for people to ponder on.

Retrieved from http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Catholic/2001/03/Opus-Deis-Secret-Revealed-It-Takes-Spies-In-From-The-Cold.aspx#ixzz23c60KK1T on August 15th 2012.

With the "Vatileaks" scandal, which began in January 2012 with the Pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele stealing and selling secret documents to the press, it revealed illegal activities taking place within the Vatican walls. Cardinal Julian Herranz , who was the personal secretary to Opus Dei's founder Josemaria Escriva was called in to investigate the matter (Tom Kington from the guardian .co.uk). Also called in to help embellish the reputation and image of the Vatican was 52 year old Fox News reporter, also a devout member of Opus Dei (Felicity Morse from the Huffington Post UK). Opus Dei is very much linked to the Vatican in relation to wealth and unfortunately illegal activities as we will uncover in the following chapter.

The Vatican

The Vatican is actually a State spread out on just 44 hectares in Rome and is the smallest independent State in the world which enjoys the right of "extraterritoriality". The Supreme Pontiff, the Pope, carries out his duties and evangelical mission within the Catholic Church towards the universal church, the Holy See. The Head of State is the Supreme Pontiff who has the fullness of the legislative, executive, judiciary powers and boasts a Monarch government. The Vatican having its own flag, postage stamp, newspaper, website and the Vatican Radio station broadcasts all over the world in different languages. Exclusive to the Vatican is the famous "Swiss Guard", founded in 1506, their uniforms were designed by Michelangelo and the Corps of Gendarmes whose services were Police and State which were founded by Pope Pius VII in 1816 and dissolved in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. Retrieved from http://www.vaticanstate.va on August 15, 2012.

Although not classified as a Secret Religious Society, the Vatican seems to hold secrets relating to its members and staff, finances and illegal activities within the Catholic Church. Although the Vatican is a State, it is made up of millions of followers, lay and religious, men and women, in every corner of the globe. Involved in missionary work, it feeds and clothes the poor, gives medicine and comfort to the dying and teaches people who are thirsty to hear and learn the Catholic Religion.

With scandals such as rape involving priests, nepotism and corruption, the Vatican has quite a number of injurious parties to answer to. Cardinal Herranz is said to have a list of issues to resolve, one of which is the long time disappearance or kidnapping of a Vatican employee's daughter, Emanuela Orlandi, who in 1983 was supposedly kidnapped (Tom Kington from the guardian .co.uk). Emanuela was 15 years old at the time of her disappearance and was said to have been kidnapped and forced to take part in sex parties and later murdered. Father Gabriele Amorth who was appointed as chief exorcist for the Vatican by Pope John Paul II said that the Vatican's Gendarme acted as "recruiter" of the girls. Father Amorth believed that Emanuela ended up as a sexual tool involving diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. Three decades later this mystery has still not been resolved (Nick Squires, The Telegraph UK, 22nd May 2012).

There have been many attempts to gather new leads to Emanuela's disappearance as the Italian equivalent to Crimewatch in Italy was tipped-off made by an anonymous caller suggesting that Emanuela might be buried in a tomb of a murdered Italian mobster and leader of a ruthless criminal gang known as the Magliana. Enrico de Pedis's tomb is situated inside the crypt in the Basilica of Sant'Apollonaire, situated in the center of Rome. (Peter Stanford, the Telegraph UK 19th May 2012).Never has a mobster been buried alongside popes and cardinals ever before, this suggests another theory that while the girl's father worked at the Vatican, he had found documents connecting organized crime with the Vatican bank so a solution was to kidnap Emanuela hoping to silence him. Bones found in the tomb were not of De Pedis's body, and till today have not been identified (Josephine McKenna, the Telegraph, 15th April 2012).

Mr. Gotti Tedeschi who was an expert on financial ethics, was employed in 2009 by the Institute for Religious Works to clean up the reputation of the Vatican's finances and conform the institute to international standards of transparency. On his insistence and perseverance to conform to anti-corruption regulations, as this would excel too much transparency for the Vatican bank, the very powerful Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone turned against Tedeschi and fired him. Tedeschi who was a member of Opus Dei, was hired on the pretence of "not rocking the boat", proved his loyalty even after the fallout with the Vatican bank, as he had declined to give statements to the press, but pondered lightly on the misgivings he had encountered (Michael Day, May 26th 2012, the Independent).

Later in 2010, Tedeschi and the Vatican's bank's chief executive Paolo Cipriani were under investigation for money laundering as two suspicious bank transactions were tracked between the Vatican bank and two other Italian banks, Credito Artigianato and Banca del Fucino. The Vatican bank is accused of trying to bypass the financial authorities by not giving details of the source of the money, over €43 million. Back in 1982, the Vatican bank headed by Archbishop Paul Marcinkus who was indicted for his involvement in the collapse of Italy's largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano (Vatican Bank 'investigated over money-laundering' BBC News Europe, 21st September 2010 www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11380628?print=true).

Archbishop and deputy governor of Vatican City, Carlo Maria Vigano had denounced the signing by employees of inflated contracts with friendly contracts as he alleged that the Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter's square was priced at €250,000, some €46,000 more than the estimated cost price. Other issues were hurtful especially to the church's teaching on homosexuality as a senior Vatican clerk was secretly filmed telling a young man that homosexuality was not a sin and that the man looked "hot" (Tom Kington, the Guardian, 26th April, 2012).

The accusations of rape and sexual abuse has also hit close to home as the Roman Catholic Church in Malta was caught up in a media frenzy as grown men had accused priests from different Catholic orders with having sexually abused them as boys. Up till today, only an apology by the Pope had been given and no compensation had been given to victims by the Church.

Chapter 4: Political Secret Societies

The Bilderberg Group

Every year a very secretive meeting is attended by most of the world's elite in the field of policy making, politics, banking and business. Very little or nothing is spoken about what is discussed except for reasons along the line as "the world's future" and a "New World Order". A political and economic society, founded in 1954 by Prince Berhard of the Netherlands in order to foster ties among the world's elite hailing from Europe and America. The name "Bilderberg Group or Bilderbergers" originated from the hotel in Oosterbek in the Netherlands where the first meeting originated and held in the posh Bilderberg Hotel (Greer, 2006)

Between May 31st and June 3rd 2012, at the exclusive Marriot Hotel in the state of Virginia U.S.A, the annual Bilderberg meeting was held. True to the fact that little or no information regarding its agenda was ever written, very few articles have been posted in major newspapers. Attending the 2012 meeting among others was Marcus Agius who is a British-Maltese financier and businessman and currently the Group Chairman of Barclays. For the very first time there is officially a Bilderberg's Official Attendees list, listed on the internet, it is very public with names of approximately 140 participants synonymous with wealth and power (Bilderberg gathering: Conspiracy theorists join the world's elite.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, retrieved on the 5th June, 2012.)

Protesters and activists gather every year to protest the illegal gathering as it violates a Federal US law which forbids unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments. This year Syria is represented by Bassma Kodmani who is a member of the Syrian National Council. The American government is obliged and I'm sure very willing to help countries torn by Civil War such as Syria but must always keep within the law. With all the attending powerhouses such as politicians, bankers etc., it is very likely that Syria's representative will undoubtedly find a huge gathering looking to help out at a cost. (Bilderberg gathering: Conspiracy theorists join the world's elite. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, retrieved on the 5th June, 2012.)

Professor Kees van der Pijl, a lecturer of Sussex University in Britain states:

" There need to be places where these people can think about the main challenges ahead, co-ordinate where policies should be going, and find out where there could be a consensus"

Professor Pijl admits that the private system of corporate or political leaders play an informal but decisive role in the world today. Inside the secretive Bilderberg Group Thursday, 29 September 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4290944.stm Retrieved on June 5th, 2012.

Propaganda Due

In Italy, the Vatican and the P2 Lodge were woven together by criminal activities such as fraud, money laundering, drugs and murder through people that are powerful and wealthy. As money is thought to be "the root of all evil", it seems that even the Catholic Church is proving this to be true. We ask ourselves and wonder how can some people so powerful such as key advisor to the Vatican Bank or Church official such as an Archbishop and Head of the Vatican Bank be criminally responsible for loss of disgusting amounts of money, murder and association with the Italian Mob. Is it because they are protected by societies such as the P2 Lodge where their membership are proof of attaining promises of Protection and Secrecy from outsiders looking in on their affairs. This chapter will bring us to understand the most scandalous and greed-driven of people and their existence in Secret Societies in Italy such as the P2 Lodge ideally known as Propaganda Due.

Founded in Italy in 1877, the P2 lodge is a private Masonic Lodge, headed by the Grand Master of Italy, and in the late 1960's, under the leadership of conservative businessman Licio Gelli, P2 reinvented itself as a political secret society. Members of the Italian parliament who wanted to become Masons needed their membership kept secret from the Catholic Church (Greer, 2006).

Greer's foremost knowledge on Secret Societies writes with reference to the Vatican, according to him it is another Italian institution with conservative leanings that had entered into a rapprochement with Propaganda Due (P2), a Masonic Fraternity. Despite the Church's official ban on Masonic membership, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the head of the Vatican bank, became a member. P2 treasurer Sindona and his protégé Roberto Calvi served as key financial advisors to the Vatican. Calvi, along with Archbishop Marcinkus, created hundreds of fictitious bank accounts through which Mafia drug money was laundered. Pope Paul VI placed a large portfolio of Vatican investments under Sindona's control in 1969, an act that cost the Vatican approximately $240 million in losses by 1975. Although a 32´degree mason, Greer compares this society with criminals which cannot be compared to the thousands of fraternities that are spread all over the world.

The P2 Lodge in Italy involved senior army officers, police chiefs, diplomats, leading industrialists, cabinet ministers and a large number of senior civil servants. Because of the P2 scandal, hasty internal postings, departmental reshuffling and resignations were happening. The Public Prosecutor Domenico Sica in 1982 stated that after reading a 130 page report concerning the scandal, declared that the police had failed to substantiate the charges against these officials. The P2 organization had then been dissolved by an Act of Parliament, although Italians still believe that other "societies with power" still exist in Italy today (Willey 1982 Italy: The Weakest Government in Europe. Retrieved on 1st June 2012 from 10/06/2012) http://www.jstor.org/stable/40395341).

Licio Gelli's secret Masonic lodge was in fact a right-wing state within a state, a centre of hidden power with a character that goes beyond Masonry. A raid inside a warehouse owned by Ex-fascist Licio Gelli proved fruitful as hundreds of documents were found including top secret papers proving how powerful Masonry was in Italy. Gelli and other P2 members were under investigation since mid-seventies for suspicion of being linked to right-wing terrorism. The warehouse raid yielded a 65 page list of the approximately 960 members of his Masonic Lodge. Members listed included heads of the Military and Civilian Branches of the Italian Secret Service, Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Defense and Air Force, including 36 Generals and 8 Admirals, also heads of the Carabinieri and the Customs Police (Guardia di Finanza) .Included on the list were the Ministers of Justice, Commerce and Labor of the then-current government of Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani. The names of 18 Members of Parliament, 21 judges, including 16 magistrates and one member of the Constitutional Court surfaced. The Vice-President of the national radio and TV network (RAI) and the directors of the two main TV channels, the editor-in-chief and various staff members of Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading newspaper, plus the president and the director general of the Rizzoli Group, owners of Corriere, a vast empire of newspapers and magazines sold in Italy and South America (Sheehan, 1982. Italy: Who Pulls the Strings? Retrieved on 1st June 2012 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/4383096).

Obsessed with fighting communism, P2 members staged at least one major terrorist attack, in an attempt to discredit the Italian Communist Party, the bombing of the Bologna rail station in 1980. After launching a close pers


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