and aspirations of genuine Freemasonry were rapidly abandoned, though not officially. Gelli's aim was somewhat different: extreme right-wing control of Italy. Such control would function as a secret state within a state, unless the unthinkable happened and the Communists were elected to power. If that happened then there would be a coup. The right wing would take over. Gelli was confident that the Western powers would accept the situation. Indeed, from the very early days of P2, he had the active support and encouragement of the CIA operating in Italy. It may sound like the scenario of a madman, doomed to the fate of all such schemes, but it should be noted that within the membership of P2 in Italy alone (there were, and still are, powerful branches in other countries) were the armed forces commander, Giovanni Torrisi; the Secret Service chiefs, Generals Giuseppe Santovito and Giulio Grassini; the head of Italy's financial police, Orazio Giannini; cabinet ministers and politicians of every political shade (except, of course, the Communists); thirty generals; eight admirals; newspaper editors; television executives; top businessmen; and bankers, including Roberto Calvi and Michele Sindona. Unlike conventional Freemasonry, the list of members of P2 was secret; only Gelli knew all the names.

Gelli used a variety of techniques to obtain new members and increase the power of P2. One of them was the innocuous method of personal contact and introduction from an already existing member. Others were less tasteful. Blackmail was the most prevalent. When a "target" joined P2, he was obliged to demonstrate loyalty by placing at Gelli's disposal documents that would compromise not only himself but also other possible targets. Confronted with the evidence of their own misdeeds, these new targets also joined P2. This technique was used, for example, on the president of ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi, the state oil company), Giorgio Mazzanti. Shown the evidence of his own corruption concerning proposed huge bribes and payoffs on a pending Saudi oil deal, Mazzanti caved in and joined P2, bringing to Gelli even more compromising information.

Another technique Gelli used to obtain a new member was to ascertain from already corrupted sources the short list of candidates for important jobs. He would then telephone these candidates, announcing to each that he intended to fix it for him. Naturally, one of the candidates would be hired, and Gelli would then have a very grateful new member of P2.

On the surface P2 was and still is a fanatical insurance

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