A Sinister Sect Of Freemasons Effectively Took Over Italy
Few organizations are as synonymous with conspiracy as the Freemasons. But while the most nefarious act of your local Masonic order is, like, fudging their bowling league results on occasion, that was not the case for 1980s Italy. That's when the downfall of a dirty banker led authorities to a list of nearly a thousand members of the clandestine masonic lodge Propaganda Due (P2) -- a list which included cabinet ministers, dozens of members of parliament, hundreds of high-ranking military and police officials, the heads of Italian intelligence, and the country's most influential businessmen.
P2's goal was to install a shadow government able to "exert anonymous and surreptitious control" over Italy. The organization's "Plan For Democratic Revival" called for the infiltration of the government, media, and trade unions. And ... damned if they didn't pull it off. P2 unduly influenced the Italian government, as well as effectively controlled the nation's press, burying such stories as the inconvenient revelation that P2 member Umberto Ortolani was financing South American death squads.
P2 was led by former Mussolini torture goon and self-proclaimed lifelong fascist Licio Gelli. First rising to Masonic power in the '60s, by 1980, Gelli hosted regular meetings of Italy's top generals at his private villa, where he exercised substantial political influence. After the lodge helped Juan Peron return to power in Argentina, a former Italian prime minister witnessed Peron "kneel in front of Gelli." Perhaps more disturbingly, Venerable Master Gelli was even an honored guest at Ronald Reagan's inauguration.
When P2's activities came to light in 1981, it led to the immediate resignation of Italian Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani and his entire P2-infested cabinet. At least two implicated political figures attempted suicide. Gelli himself hightailed it to Switzerland, but was later extradited and convicted on charges of bank fraud. Oh, and also for helping to cover up the 1980 bombing of a Bologna train station by Italian neo-Nazis, which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds more. Plus they probably ruined game night down at the lodge for at least a decade.
Northern Ireland's "Satanic Panic" In The '70s Was Orchestrated By The British Military
The cutely named Satanic Panic broke out in the early 1970s in Northern Ireland, when newspapers began reporting occult activity throughout the country (more than 70 such articles were published in the last four months of 1973 alone). Yes, pretend devil worship was definitely Northern Ireland's biggest religious problem at the time. And as it turned out, that's precisely how the British government wanted it.