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Out of a Ludlum Novel: How a Judge Winds Through Maze to Italy's Mafia

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When he began his work here in 1993, leaving nearby Palmi, Boemi rejected the traditional approach of seeking out Mafia leaders responsible for a specific murder and began to search for the motives behind crimes and for the supposedly upright citizens who were protecting crime bosses.

He wanted to know what businesses organized crime controlled, what politicians it had in its pocket, why it had become so strong.

Through interrogation of pentiti or penitents, as Mafia collaborators with justice are called, Boemi found that Mafia bosses were infiltrating secret Masonic lodges that were not affiliated with the official Italian Masonry. The members of these secret lodges included politicians, businessmen, and law officers.

He found that there was constant, reciprocal support between the unofficial Masons and the 'ndrangheta.

"These are not hypotheses," Boemi stresses. "These are declarations [by pentiti] that could be false, but they're numerous and unambiguous."

Boemi is by no means the first person to raise an alarm about secret Masonic groups in Italy. In the 1980s, the secret Propaganda Due (P-2) lodge was uncovered. Its membership consisted of political, economic, military, and opinion leaders. Many say the P-2 was a subversive organization.

Masonic connection

Since then, numerous anti-Mafia investigating magistrates and parliamentary experts have warned of the associations between organized crime and secret Masonic organizations.

"It wasn't the 'ndrangheta that dominated Calabria and Reggio, but it was a pluralism of criminal groups, where the Masonry was the mind that moved the 'ndrangheta to the conquest of the city," Boemi says.

If Boemi is right, then his life is like a page out of a Robert Ludlum novel, in which the hero discovers his friends are really his enemies, and he is no longer sure he can trust anyone.

Among the Masons, Boemi suspects, were judges who agreed to subvert justice, not exactly for money but in loyalty to their secret Masonic brothers.

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