Le Cercle (formerly the Pinay Group, Pinay Circle, Cercle Pinay or in Germany the Cercle Violet) is a deep state milieu of a comparable age to the Bilderberg, but smaller, spookier, more secretive and far less exposed. David Teacher wrote that the group “can be seen to be an international coalition of right-wing intelligence veterans, propaganda assets and top politicians who would shape the 1970s and 1980s.”  It was entirely European for 15 years, but since 1968 it has met annually in both Washington DC and Europe. Leaked documents indicate that their activities include political subversion, arrangement of arms deals and fraud. Group members evinced great interest in "terrorism" back in the 1970s.
“Formed in the Fifties, Cercle was intended to cement Franco-German relations, as a buffer to Soviet aggression during the Cold War. Down the years, however, it has become much more, advocating right-wing causes round the world and growing into a confidential talking shop for about 70 politicians, businessmen, polemicists and personnel from the diplomatic and security services. Members are invited to attend its meetings; they cannot ask to be admitted, and as a condition of attending they agree to keep all sessions secret. It meets twice a year, once in Washington DC in the autumn and once in the early part of the year in an "overseas" venue.”
Chris Blackhurst (28 June 1997) 
- 1 Official narrative
- 2 Origins
- 3 Leadership
- 4 Meetings
- 5 Funding
- 6 Activities
- 7 Cover-up
- 8 Exposure
- 9 Related Quotations
- 10 Employee on Wikispooks
- 11 Known members
- 12 Events Planned
- 13 Related Documents
- 14 Ratings
- 15 References
In 2000, a single webpage at www.atlanticcircle.com described Le Cercle as "an informal group of European and American professionals - politicians, retired Ambassadors, former Generals, lawyers, bankers and active participants in banking, oil, shipping, publishing and trading companies - who are interested in preserving a positive Atlantic dialogue." To the UK House of Lords, this group has been described as an "informal group meeting to discuss world affairs." William Hague described it as "a political group which organises conferences." In 2007 the Washington Post termed it a "foreign policy think tank established during the Cold War that reportedly included senior politicians, diplomats and intelligence agents worldwide." Inviting the banker Jean-Maxime Leveque in 1983, Monique Garnier-Lançon wrote that at The Cercle "The leaders of the free world can now examine the very grave problems which we face in order to determine together possible solutions and then to try to implement them, each in their respective sphere."
Le Cercle was described by former Conservative minister Alan Clark as
Although the group bore the name of Antoine Pinay (French Prime minister in 1952) it was likely organised by Jean Violet, a close associate of his since 1951. It arose from a Franco-German alliance (possibly in connection with Operation Gladio) and originally its anti-communism had a catholic Christian flavour. In the 1970s, it assumed a transatlantic secular ethos, especially after the involvement of Ted Shackley, under whose influence meetings were held on alternate sides of the Atlantic, with Shackley chairing the US meetings.
The group has had separate US and European chairs for some years - one for the Spring/Summer meeting in Europe, one for the Autumn/Winter meeting in the USA, The US chairman is less publicised (and currently unknown) so mention of "The Chairman" will probably be references to the European chairman. European chairs include Brian Crozier (1980-1985), Julian Amery (1985 - early 1990s), Christian Schwarz-Schilling (1 year), Jonathan Aitken (1993-1996), Norman Lamont (over 10 years), Michael Ancram, Nadhim Zahawi and Kwasi Kwarteng. The current chairmen are unknown.
- Full article: Le Cercle/Meetings
- Full article: Le Cercle/Meetings
The group currently meets biannually, in Washington DC every Autumn and in Spring across the Atlantic, usually in Europe, although David Rockefeller's autobiography states that it used to meet "thrice yearly". Meetings last (3-)4 days and nowadays there are "about 70" guests, although meetings used to be smaller, perhaps just 35 participants. Guests are almost all male, and sometimes bring their wives, though it is unknown to what extent (if any) they are involved in the meetings. Compared to a milieu such as the Bilderberg (with a first time invitee rate of about 50%) Membership of Le Cercle is much less fluid.
- Full article: Le Cercle/Guests
- Full article: Le Cercle/Guests
The identity of attendees was largely a matter of conjecture until 2011 when ISGP researcher, Joël van der Reijden published 5 guest lists for Le Cercle meetings from the papers of French Cercle visitor Monique Garnier-Lançon at Stanford University, which led him to create a list which inspired the list on the right.
These lists include politicians, spooks, bankers, diplomats, deep political actors, military officers, editors and publishers who may or may not have officially retired. The participants, which include some deep politicians, come almost exclusively from western or western-oriented countries. Many important members tend to be affiliated with the aristocratic circles in London or obscure elements within the Vatican, and accusations of links to fascism and synarchism are anything but uncommon in this milieu.
The group stated [When?] simply that it is "privately funded". Funding for the group has changed over the years. Multinational companies including Philips and Standard Elektrik Lorenz, a subsidiary of the American ITT Corporation. have given the group money. In 1971, Shell contributed a lump sum of £30,000. The Ford Foundation also donated £20,000 over three years[When?]. In the 1980s, the South African government was a major source of funds. According to Hennie van Vuuren's 2017 book "Apartheid, Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit":
- "SA contributed R33,000 plus donations to the secretariat. This was a quarter of the budget and was clandestinely and illegally laundered through the Department of Foreign Affairs.
- "Le Cercle wielded potentially significant influence on political affairs through its convening power, information sharing and what amounted to quasi-intelligence activity during the Cold War."
In 1997, the Independent suggested that the group is CIA funded. So do Robin Ramsay, editor of Lobster Magazine and Jon E. Lewis author of "The Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups" and Alan Clark, who claims as much in his diaries:
From 1972 onwards, one of the major concerns for the Cercle Pinay complex was to ensure European distribution, and particularly French-language publication, of the ISC's output.
The 1982 Langemann Papers were the first significant exposure of Le Cercle's activities, confirming that the group was actively involved in influencing Western European elections. Evidence of their involvement in other matters such weapons dealing and covert military action remains circumstantial.
Support for Conservative Politicians
David Teacher reports that "throughout the 1970s the Cercle Pinay complex was active [influencing elections in the UK,] France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium." He writes that "the Cercle complex can be seen to be an international coalition of right-wing intelligence veterans, working internationally to promote top conservative politicians who would shape the world in the 1970s and 1980s."
The Langemann Papers (November 1979) quote a planning paper by Brian Crozier about a Cercle complex operation "to affect a change of government in the United Kingdom (accomplished)". This may be a reference to the success of the "Shield" group which Crozier set up in 1976, probably with the express purpose of getting Margaret Thatcher elected, a year after she was invited to the Bilderberg meeting by Labour's Dennis Healey.
Disruption of Left Wing Governments
Le Cercle has also been accused of actively destabilizing governments which opposed a conservative economic agenda, such as Gough Whitlam's Australian government. Cercle member Robert Gascoyne-Cecil chaired the conservative Monday Club to oppose the decolonisation policies of Harold Wilson It prepared a coup against his Labour government.
Opposition to Nuclear Disarmament
Two Cercle members, Edward Leigh and Julian Lewis started the Coalition for Peace Through Security to try to reverse the rise in popularity of CND. In the US, the American Security Council started the Coalition for Peace Through Strength, which had comparable aims.
Promotion of European Integration
Le Cercle (like the Bilderberg Group, to which it is often compared) is strongly focused on European integration, going back to the efforts of its early members to bring about a Franco-German rapprochement. The significant presence of Paneuropa-affiliated Opus Dei members and Knights of Malta, together with statements of the Vatican and Otto von Habsburg, suggest an agenda of creating a new "Holy Roman Empire" with borders from the Atlantic to the Black Sea and from the Baltic Sea to North Africa. Interestingly, the latest generation of British Cercle members, whose predecessors were keen on joining the European Union, now seem to want to keep Britain out of the emerging European superstate, perhaps having lost faith they can become a significant force within Europe. Their American associates, however, would like for them to continue the effort of breaking into the Franco-German alliance and possibly to establish a new Anglo-German alliance.
"War on Terror"
- Full article: “War on Terror”
- Full article: “War on Terror”
The group's interest in "counter-terrorism" and arms dealing suggests that it may have been important in devising the "War on Terror" narrative, as does the fact that at least four members of this group (Brian Crozier, Robert Moss, Gerhard Lowenthal, Alun Gwynne Jones) gave presentations at the seminal 1979 Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism. Some of the other speakers were connected to known members and may themselves have attended meetings of Le Cercle. Many members set up "terrorism research" organisations, which sheds new light on the "anti-communist" think tanks they also set up, such as Interdoc. Noting the presence of Baron Benoit de Bonvoisin in the group, Joël van der Reijden remarks that "That's major news, because Baron de Bonvoisin, besides a key Belgian figure in the Strategy of Tension, is the most key name in the Belgian X-Dossiers."
Covert Military Intervention
Following a Nasserite coup in Yemen in September 1962, Julian Amery (later Cercle chairman) met with King Hussein of Jordan and agreed to send Cercle attendee Neil McLean to report on the situation after which Amery met with McLean, David Stirling, Col Brian Franks and UK Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home to organise an unofficial mercenary operation.
Cercle visitor John Carbaugh worked for GeoMiliTech Consultants Corporation, an arms dealing group directly involved in Iran-Contra. Others such as Margaret Carlisle were aides to Iran-Contra insiders. Cercle members Paul Channon and Alan Clark are connected through their involvement in the Arms-to-Iraq affair, also to the later chairman Jonathan Aitken, who himself was involved in the Al-Yamamah arms deal as well, as was another later chairman, Norman Lamont. Nadhmi Auchi is widely reported as having made a lot of money from arms deals to Saddam Hussein, amongst others.
Ted Shackley was involved in oil deals after he left the CIA in 1979, facilitated by his close friend and fellow Cercle member, Conrad Gerber and oil smuggler John Deuss. Joël van der Reijden has suggested that Le Cercle was important in the organization of the 9/11 attacks.
- Full article: Le Cercle/Cover-up
- Full article: Le Cercle/Cover-up
The Wikipedia page, as of May 2019, was less than 3.5K (under 350 words). A link to this website was removed after 10 minutes by Wikipedia user Doug Weller, who also removed the link to the list of Bilderberg participants. CAAT reported that The Guardian claimed that the group is not influential.
- Full article: Le Cercle/Exposure
- Full article: Le Cercle/Exposure
The group was mentioned in a 1980 article in Der Spiegel. As of 2021, Le Cercle remains far less exposed that the Bilderberg. It has featured very occasionally in commercially-controlled media, but most of what is publicly available about the group is from independent researchers. Preeminent among leaks were the Langemann Papers, which exposed the group as an agent of political subversion. Joël van der Reijden has been publishing about the group online since 2005 and put some primary documents online in 2011.
- Full article: Rogue Agents
- Full article: Rogue Agents
David Teacher credits van der Reijden with encouraging him to update his study of Le Cercle from 1951-1991, Rogue Agents, a 578 page study of the group, which is downloadable from this site and which Peter Dale Scott termed "mind-boggling research".
Fresh documents related to Le Cercle emerged from Pretoria and elsewhere in 2017. In November 2017 Graham Vanbergen published Meet Le Cercle – Making Bilderberg Look Like Amateurs in TruePublica, which was picked up by several independent websites.
|Deep state actor||“Crozier himself makes the point that many of the prominent politicians invited to sit in on Cercle strategic sessions had no knowledge of their hosts' more clandestine operational activities – if only because of the "need to know" principle. Nonetheless, a stalwart multi-functionary on the Boards of several groups linked to the Cercle can be presumed to have some deeper involvement beyond just lending his name to the cause.”||David Teacher|
|Hans Langemann||“the Circle consists of a loose gathering of various conservative and anti-Communist politicians, publicists, bankers and VIPs that meets some twice a year in various parts of the world. Its origins stem from the former French Prime Minister Antoine Pinay. The Circle, which still exists today, also invites guest speakers... One recent development is the establishment within the Circle of a command staff or of an inner circle which then works out particularly suitable means for action on current political questions.”||Hans Langemann||1980|
|Le Cercle/Exposure||“For instance, in the late 1970s Le Cercle supported NATO's decision to station new medium-range nuclear weapons — Cruise and Pershing II missiles — in Britain, Germany, Belgium and Holland targeted against the USSR. Le Cercle helped to discredit the European peace protest movement which emerged against the backdrop of the nuclearization of Europe through aggressive counter-intelligence, provocations and disinformation.”||Ekaterina Blinova||8 August 2015|
|Helmut Schmidt||“Participants at Le Cercle meetings report that a major issue has been how to bring about the demise of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's government. This issue dominated the last biannual meeting of Le Cercle that was hosted by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the official think tank of opposition leader Franz Josef Strauss's Christian Social Union, in Munich last May. Le Cercle's participants have been able to carry out an inside-outside job to destroy the Schmidt coalition government since then. While Strauss's CSU carried out a heavy-handed wrecking job that included an implicit alliance with the Strasserite fascist Green Party, sources report that Helmut Sonnenfeldt and Henry Kissinger took the inside track since the ouster of Secretary of State Alexander Haig, threatening, cajoling, and misleading Schmidt into his disastrous pragmatic political course.”||Helmut Schmidt|
Employee on Wikispooks
|Geoffrey Tantum||Le Cercle/UK secretary|
279 of the 317 of the members already have pages here:
|James Abrahamson||U.S. Air Force general responsible for space imaging and the Strategic Defence Intiative. Abrahamson later directed Stratesec, a company which had unparalleled access to the World Trade Center prior to 2001. He was a member of the deep state intelligence coordinating conference Le Cercle.|
|Konrad Adenauer||German (deep?) politician, CDU leader|
|Jonathan Aitken||UK deep politician, Cercle chair, convicted perjurer|
|Georges Albertini||French deep state operative. Man-behind-the-scenes for many politicians.|
|Alfredo Alcaino||Chile born Cercle visitor, deep state connected lawyer|
|Rupert Allason||Writer of books and articles on the subject of espionage. Attended Le Cercle.|
|Richard Allen||US National Security Advisor, Cercle, Iran-Contra...|
|Julian Amery||MI6, deep politician who chaired Le Cercle for several years.|
|Hooshang Amirahmadi||Iranian American spook who attended Le Cercle.|
|Michael Ancram||Likely took over from Norman Lamont as European chair of Le Cercle.|
|Bruce Anderson||UK pro-torture spooky journalist, Le Cercle, attended a "terrorism" related conference chaired by Harold Elletson in 2009.|
|Robert Anderson||Le Cercle, Bilderberg,|
|Giulio Andreotti||"The ultimate insider of Italian political life", who as Italian Prime Minister publicly confirmed the existence of Operation Gladio|
|Magdeleine Anglade||French member of Le Cercle who took over the role of Monique Garnier-Lançon|
|Richard Armitage||"A sophisticated member of the top echelons of the U.S. government"|
|Kaúlza de Arriaga||Portuguese soldier politician who attended a November 1977 meeting of Le Cercle with his aide|
|Bernard Asso||Spooky French lawyer|
|Nadhmi Auchi||Cercle-connected fraudster|
|Shaukat Aziz||Tri-national Citibank executive with "close ties" to the US deep state. Parachuted in to become Prime Minister of Pakistan. Cercle member.|
|Franz Josef Bach||A leading German member of the Cercle, who organised the 1982 meeting in Wildbad Kreuth.|
|Norman Bailey||Spooky economist who taught "Economics for Foreign Policy Makers." Admitted on the record that the PROMIS database and search application has been given to the NSA|
|John Barron||A spooky journalist who wrote on the evils of the KGB.|
|Margaret Beckett||UK foreign secretary, Le Cercle attendee|
|Alfredo Sánchez Bella||Spanish spook and possible deep politician|
|Erik Bennett||A secretive UK military advisor in Oman and a Cercle attendee.|
|Jeff Bergner||Cercle attendee. Project for the New American Century. German Marshall Fund. Hudson Institute|
|Wayne Lee Berman||US Businessman with deep political connections.|
|Benazir Bhutto||Prime Minister of Pakistan. YGL. Assassinated in 2007.|
|John Biggs-Davison||UK politician who attended Le Cercle|
|Brian Binley||Ex-conservative MP. Le Cercle.|
|W. Michael Blumenthal||US/Secretary of the Treasury in the 1970s, Bilderberg, Le Cercle, CFR|
|Crispin Blunt||Sandhurst, Le Cercle, MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee|
|John Bolton||Neocon US deep state operative who was Trump's National Security Advisor until September 2019|
|Benoît de Bonvoisin||"A key Belgian figure in the Strategy of Tension", as well as the most key name in the Belgian X-Dossiers. Member of Le Cercle. His father attended the first Bilderberg.|
|Cornelis Bossers||Le Cercle. Major businessman in the Philips group.|
|Pik Botha||South African deep state operative|
|Colonel Botta||Very little known Cercle visitor.|
|Raymond Bourgine||French journalist and editor who attended Le Cercle.|
|Paul Bremer||Executive of Marsh & McLennan, a company whose offices were hit by a plane on 9/11, "Coordinator for Counterterrorism", Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq ...|
|Harold Brown||United States Secretary of Defense.|
|John Browne||Spooky UK businessman, Morgan Stanley, Le Cercle, Chatham house ...|
|Aristide Brunello||Little known Cercle visitor. Vatican prelate and spy for the BND under Reinhard Gehlen. Attended a meeting of the Le Cercle.<a href="#cite_note-2"></a>|
|Zbigniew Brzezinski||A central US Deep politician, Cercle, Bilderberg, ...|
|Maurice Brébart||Belgian right-wing newspaper owner who attended Le Cercle in the 1970s.|
|Francisco Bulnes||Cercle member active in the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende|
|David Burnside||Northern Ireland politician|
|Ian Butterfield||Spooky MICC consultant, Le Cercle|
|Peter van der Byl||Spooky Rhodesian politician|
|Umberto Cappuzzo||Senior Italian military leader and Le Cercle attendee.|
|John Carbaugh||Cercle attendee linked to political double dealing, arms deals and Iran-Contra.|
|... further results|
|Australia/1975 coup d'état||15 October 1975||11 November 1975||Australia|
|A UK/US deep state-backed covert "constitutional coup" to remove Gough Whitlam whom they saw as a loose cannon.|
|Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism||2 July 1979||5 July 1979||Israel|
|The birthplace of the "War on Terror" doctrine, "a major international forum for the movement against détente".|
|Document:Circle of Power||article||1999||David Guyatt|
|Document:The Pinay Circle||article||1989||David Teacher|
|Document:The Secret Society That Rules The World||Article||7 November 2018||Bas Spliet||In his 1999 campaign autobiography, President George W. Bush mentioned his membership in passing: "My senior year I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society, so secret I can’t say anything more."|
|File:Rogue Agents (3rd edition, 2011, full).pdf||book||2011||David Teacher||A book about the activities of the covert European groupings responsible for the realisation of the European Union between the end of World War II and the mid 1990's.|
|File:Rogue Agents (4th edition, 2015, full).pdf||book||2014||David Teacher||A book about the activities of the covert European groupings responsible for the realisation of the European Union between the end of World War II and the mid 1990's|
|File:Rogue Agents - the Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War 1951 - 1991 by David Teacher (5th edn, 2017).pdf||book||2017||David Teacher||A book about the activities of the covert European groupings responsible for the realisation of the European Union between the end of World War II and the mid 1990's.|
- Document:The Pinay Circle
- A 2003 obituary in the Observer established this equivalence
- Rogue Agents , 2008
- The Langemann Papers
- At least 4 confirmed members spoke at the 1979 Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism and several set up "terrorism research" groups
- https://www.independent.co.uk/news/aitken-dropped-by-the-rights-secret-club-1258522.html The Independent
- Adrian Hänni's Ph.D.
- http://www.adst.org/OH%20TOCs/McCORMACK,%20Richard%20T.toc.pdf p.112
- Teacher, David (2008-01-06). Rogue Agents: The Cercle Pinay complex 1951-1991. p. 233
- "Apartheid, Guns and Money: A Tale of Profit"
- "SECRET ‘CIA-FUNDED’ GROUP LINKED TO UK MINISTERS"
- Document:The Pinay Circle
- Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.679.
- Stephen Dorril, MI6, Touchstone 2002, p.684.
- April 6, 2003, The Observer, 'So, Norman, any regrets this time?';
- File:Rogue Agents - the Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War 1951 - 1991 by David Teacher (5th edn, 2017).pdf