Document:The Pinay Circle

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png article  by David Teacher dated 1989
Subjects: Le Cercle, Stategy of tension, Europe
Source: Lobster Magazine

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The Pinay Circle and Destabilisation in Europe

Member of Parliament 'G': I don't know if it (the Pinay Circle) has any political significance, but, in any case, it has little impact. For me, it seems to have been (sic) a collection of elderly gentlemen doddering around. A few elderly gentlemen sitting over cups of coffee and discussing world developments. What do these fellows want?

MP 'A': These are no elderly gentlemen - they are former CIA and BND people working together.

MP 'X': I feel it is dangerous if we publicize such things. If such matters were to become public, it would damage the general image of the Federal Republic. Therefore we will decide to remove references of any kind to other countries or to connections with State services.

(From a closed session of the Bavarian Parliament's Committee of Investigation into the Langemann Affair, 21 June 1982.) [1]

When Dr. Hans Langemann blew the whistle on a series of dubious BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst Federal Intelligence Service) operations to Konkret magazine in 1982 [2], he opened up a whole can of worms whose ramifications go well beyond Germany's borders. His evidence was unassailable. From 1957 to 1970 Langemann was one of the BND's highest ranking officers. In 1972 he was security chief for the Munich Olympics before being purged by the SPD government for being too close to Franz Josef Strauss' Christian Social Union party. Langemann then became top link man for the security and intelligence services within the Bavarian Interior Ministry. It was their confidential documents he passed to Konkret in 1982. Published in Spiegel at the time and reproduced in Lobster 17, the documents give external confirmation of the conspiracy to effect a change of government in Britain, and reveal the European and world-wide links in this conspiracy through the Pinay Circle.

The Pinay Circle (also called the Cercle Violet) is an international right-wing propaganda group which brings together serving or retired intelligence officers and politicians with links to right-wing intelligence factions from most of the countries in Europe. The intelligence community has been represented by SIS Chief from 1978-82 Arthur 'Dickie' Franks, SIS Department Head Nicholas Elliott, CIA Director William Colby, Swiss Military Intelligence Chief of Provisions Colonel Botta, SDECE chief from 1970-81 Alexandre de Marenches, and, last but not least, the man who took over the running of the Circle when Pinay got too old, Jean Violet, a Parisian lawyer who worked for the SDECE from 1957-70. Violet became so much an 'eminence grise' in the SDECE that Alexandre de Marenches had to dispense with his services in order to assert his authority as new SDECE chief in 1970. This episode has however not prevented them from working together within the Circle. At the time the Langemann papers were written, Franks and Marenches were serving heads of British and French intelligence respectively.

On the political side, Pinay - a former French Prime Minister - forged links with Nixon, Kissinger and Pompidou. The Circle's present members include Giulio Andreotti, former Italian Prime Minister; Portuguese putschist General Antonio de Spinola; former Franco minister and senior Opus Dei member Silva Munoz; and Vatican prelate and BND agent Monsignore Brunello. Paul Violet, Jean Violet's son, is one of Chirac's closest advisors, nicknamed 'the adjutant' by Canard Enchaine. Langemann also reports that Sir Arthur Franks and Nicholas Elliott were invited to Chequers for a working meeting with Mrs Thatcher, after her election. But perhaps the key political figure was the late Franz Josef Strauss, Bavarian Premier and Langemann's boss.

Strauss was a close friend of Alexandre de Marenches and was a frequent visitor to the SDECE's headquarters during Marenches' time. The Hanns Seidel Stiftung, the political trust attached to Strauss' Christian Social Union party, is an important group in international parapolitical manipulation. Active in Latin America for the Contras,[3] supporting Mobuto in Zaire, involved in the Fiji coup in 1987, it was caught diverting state development aid from Germany into right-wing party coffers in Ecuador in the same year. Strauss and CSU were the main beneficiaries of identified Pinay Circle activities; i.e. the promotion of right-wing European politicians through Brian Crozier, Robert Moss, Fred Luchsinger of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Gerhard Lowenthal, anchorman on current affairs programmes for ZDF television, the major German network.

The Pinay Circle has a wide range of contacts and its members interlock with the whole panoply of rightwing/parallel intelligence and propaganda agencies - WACL, Heritage Foundation, Western Goals, ISC, Freedom Association, Interdoc, the Bilderberg Group, the Jonathan Institute, P2, Opus Dei, the Moonies' front CAUSA, IGFM (International Society for Human Rights), and Resistance International. Lowenthal, for instance, is a member of IGFM, Resistance International, WACL, CAUSA, the Jonathan Institute, Konservative Aktion and the European Institute on Security.

The Pinay Circle's significance lies in the fact that it is a forum which brings together the international linkmen of the Right like Crozier, Moss and Lowenthal, with secret service chiefs like Franks and Marenches. Through such contacts it can intervene by media action or covert funding whenever and wherever a political friend is in need of support.

The Langemann papers date from late 1979 and so they do not reveal to what extent the Pinay Circle was playing the last act in the Thatcher conspiracy, but Langemann's November 1979 report stated:

Specific aims within this framework are to effect a change of government

  1. in the United Kingdom - accomplished
  2. in West Germany - to defend freedom of trade and of movement and to oppose all forms of subversion including terrorism.

The international promotion of the Bavarian Premier was discussed in the Circle's January 1980 meeting: in a follow-up meeting in June the same year, the Circle's attention was turned towards the American Presidential election that was to bring Reagan to power.

Minutes of the meeting of the Pinay Circle held on 28th and 29th June 1980 in Zurich.

A further meeting of the Circle was held under the chairmanship of Violet, attended by those present at the previous meeting, including Colonel Botta of the Swiss Intelligence Service and Fred Luchsinger, head of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

  1. The prospects for positive influence on the election campaign in favour of Strauss cannot be judged to be very favourable. While the many promotional influences in US, UK and Swiss newspapers were welcomed by their readers, their impact on the Federal Republic lagged far behind. Furthermore, it seems doubtful that Strauss will be able to match the dynamic foreign policy initiatives that Federal Chancellor Schmidt has been able to make. In contrast to the situation in the US, where President Carter is confronted with the shattered remains of his foreign policy - difficult to present favourably for the election campaign, even in part - Schmidt has understood how to make clear and prominent political steps which represent an achievable goal for the population's desire for peace. Luchsinger said that he was prepared to produce a series of three leading articles highlighting the tendency of current government policy in Bonn to weaken NATO. Crozier felt that similar steps could be tried again through Moss in London and the Baltimore Sun in the US.
  2. Graf Huyn reported on his meeting with the head of the Saudi security service about the establishment of a short-wave radio transmitting towards the Soviet Union. The Saudis were interested, he said, and had guaranteed finance, on the condition that a situation such as that created in Moscow by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty must be avoided at all cost.
  3. A discussion was held about a series of appropriate measures to promote the electoral campaign of Presidential candidate Reagan against Carter. Elliott reported that in this context positive contact had been made with George Bush as well.
  4. Colonel Botta stated that, in his opinion, support must be given to the Israeli intelligence service. It was noted that, as far as Europe was concerned, the efficiency of this service had diminished considerably. [4]

The contacts in 1980 between George Bush and ex-MI6 and Circle member Nicholas Elliott are even more interesting now that Bush has made it to the top; but perhaps the most significant element in the Langemann papers is the illustration of the international dimension of parapolitical manipulation represented by the Circle's promotional activities. It is becoming more and more apparent that the treatment reserved for Harold Wilson at the hands of the intelligence services was only the UK end of an international phenomenon. Around 1973-75 a surprising number of governments were targeted by their own (or others') intelligence agencies because of their radical policies. If the world political scene in the 1960s was one of decolonisation, then the 1970s was the decade of destabilisation. Among those cases of destabilisation we were already aware of are:

  • the UK: the concerted effort by elements in the British intelligence and security services, with CIA and BOSS, to bring down Wilson, Thorpe and Heath;
  • the USA: the CIA's Operation Chaos, the FBI's Cointelpro programme and, of course, Watergate;
  • Australia: the loans scandal and other destabilisation of Gough Whitlam by the CIA and SIS
  • West Germany: the destabilisation of Willy Brandt because of his overture to 'the other Germany' through Ostpolitilk. The CIA and MI5 [5] suspected Brandt of being recruited by Moscow during his wartime service with the resistance in Scandinavia.

Reflecting on the Pinay Circle and its apparent role as European coordinator of media manipulation, several other avenues for investigation come to mind.

  • The UK: the role of Arthur 'Dickie' Franks. Before the publication of the Langemann papers in 1982, Franks' only known connection to the Wilson story was his central role in circulating the typescript of the Pincher/Wright book Their Trade Is Treachery around Whitehall in 1980. It was Franks, as MI6 Chief, who warned MI5 and MI6 of Pincher's forthcoming publication. His letter, dated 15 December 1980, was produced as evidence in the Spycatcher trial.[6] The Langemann papers show that Franks had a far more active role than simply a channel for backdoor clearance for Wright's leaks. It is astounding that no British newspaper has ever investigated Spiegel's 1982 revelation that the serving head of British intelligence was a member of a covert propaganda group whose stated aim was 'to effect a change of government in the UK', and which claimed that this had been 'accomplished'.
Nicolas Elliott's name had also not previously surfaced in reports of the destabilizations. In MI6 counter-intelligence, with postings in Berne, Istanbul, London and Beirut, it was Elliott who confronted Kim Philby in Beirut in 1963, sparking Philby's flight to the Soviet Union. Apart from his Pinay Circle activities Elliott is also a Council Member of the Wilkinson/ McWhirter/Ivens group, the Research Foundation for the Study of Terrorism. Elliott's memoirs are among the numerous works by former intelligence officers (listed in the Guardian 6/6/89) which the government will not permit to be published.
  • France: Mitterrand destabilized in 1974? In 1974 Francois Mitterrand made his first attempt to unseat the Republicans who had ruled France since the foundation of the Fifth Republic, losing narrowly to Pompidou's successor, Valery Giscard D'Estaing. The man who controlled French intelligence under Pompidou and Giscard from 1970 to 1981, was Alexandre de Marenches, one of the Circle and a friend of Franz Josef Strauss [7]. In 1978 Le Monde alleged that 'under Marenches' leadership, terrorism and also disinformation - the influencing of public opinion - were extensively pursued (by the SDECE)'.[8]. Was there a French connection to the mid-70's destabilisations? Certainly, when Mitterrand finally beat Giscard in 1981, Marenches resigned on the spot and the Action Service rebelled.
The role of Chirac also needs to be clarified. He was Prime Minister under Giscard from 1974 on and liaised with Marenches, Giscard's spymaster, on many matters, including the sale of nuclear technology to Iraq. Marenches and Chirac are further linked through the person of Michel Roussin, who liaised between the SDECE and the Prime Minister's office from 1972-76. Roussin rose to become Marenches' 'Directeur de Cabinet' and as such accompanied the SDECE chief on a last-minute trip to Teheran in 1979 to warn the Shah of the impending Islamic revolution. After being removed from the SDECE in 1982 by Marenches' successor, the Socialist appointee Pierre Marion, Roussin moved over to become Chirac's 'Chef de Cabinet', putting his previous experience of Iran to good use as operational head of Chirac's 1987 hostages cell. (See Lobster 16).
Also in on the 1979 Teheran trip was the SDECE's expert, named in Marenches' memoirs as Capt. M. Could this be ex-SDECE Captain Jean-Charles Marchiani, who negotiated the hostages' release in Beirut for Chirac? If so, Chirac's hostages cell was no less than the key officers from Marenches' SDECE Iran desk in 1979. Marchiani had previously been involved in two of the dirtier episodes of SDECE history: he had been a member of the four-man 'Section 6' which dealt with 'honourable correspondents' (most notable example, Jean Violet) that was implicated in the 1970 smear of President Pompidou's wife (the Markovic affair); and the 1971 Delouette affair when an SDECE agent of that name was caught smuggling 44 kilos of heroin into the US. Apart from the fact that Marchiani was Delouette's 'handler', the man who supplied Delouette with the heroin was Marchiani's cousin, Dominique Mariani. The heroin was apparently to be sold to finance SDECE operations in the United States. The SDECE unit compromised by both scandals, Section 6, was widely thought to be hostile to Pompidou because he had betrayed General de Gaulle. Certainly in the subsequent investigation it emerged that Section 6 was close to the Gaullist parallel police, the Service d'Action Civique, founded by Charles Pasqua - Chirac's Interior Minister in 1987 and overall head of the hostages cell.[9] Chirac's links to Paul Violet may also be a lead to future investigation.
  • Sweden: Olof Palme. Franz Josef Strauss, a key member of the Circle, set the tone for Pinay Circle concerns when he said: 'We stand before a decisive year, a fateful year in world history. The Reds in power in Moscow know that too. It is not surprising that their pawns in the West, the Socialists so-called Eurocommunists, strive so determinedly to hold their positions...... Brandt's protege Felipe Gonsalez spreads disruption in Spain, financed by millions from the coffers of the Socialist mafia trio: Brandt, Kreisky and Palme [10]
Was Palme the victim of a destabilisation attempt in the mid-70's like fellow Socialist Willi Brandt? Is there a connection to the most plausible of Paline murder theories - action by a right-wing faction within the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO? In 1973 three journalists alleged the existence of such a group with the 03 department of the service, a faction which carried out dirty tricks against radical and anti-Vietnam groups, incited Palestinians living in Sweden to violence, and conducted smear campaigns on behalf of prominent members of the Social Democrat hierarchy. In 1987, the leading Swedish daily paper Dagens Nyheter carried an article by Bjarne Moevl which alleged that 03 had organised, if not carried out, the 1986 Palme killing, angered at his policy of detente towards the Soviet Union or perhaps fearful that Palme would uncover and expose the true extent of the Bofors arms deals with Iran and implicate them. [11]
There have also been allegations of SAPO manipulation of the murder inquiry. The entire Kurdish trail, which fruitlessly occupied the Swedish police for over two years, could have been a red herring laid by SAPO to lead the investigators away from domestic culprits. Self preservation for SAPO is alleged to be behind the 'Ebbe Carisson affair', in which two SAPO officers, Walter Kego and Jan-Henrik Barrling, were involved in the secret continuation of investigations into possible Kurdish origins of the Palme murder. Sanctioned by Justice Minister Anna-Greta Leijon, the two officers assisted a friend of the Minister's, Ebbe Carlsson, in illegally obtaining surveillance equipment to continue investigations into the Kurdish PKK after the investigation had officially been abandoned. When Customs discovered SAPO agent Per Ola Karlsson with the equipment, the balloon went up. In the ensuing 'Ebbe Carlsson affair', Minister Leijon — the head of the national police and the head of SAPO, Per Goran Nass, all lost their jobs. As a result, impending legislation sponsored by Leijon to bring SAPO under firm political control collapsed. Le Monde of 5th June 1989 commented: 'The discovery of this private enquiry exposed the struggle which had been going on for over twenty years between the Social Democratic Party and a faction within the secret service which is undoubtedly beyond government control.'
In any case, it is certain that the conviction of a small time criminal and addict is a smokescreen, with no intelligence or direct evidence save that of Palme's wife to show more than that he was a convenient scapegoat, the only 'delinquent' who could be proved to be in the area at the time.
  • Belgium: Coup d'etat in 1973? Issue 17 of Celsius (from BPO 210, Bruxelles V, Belgium) devotes six pages to the study of a coup d'etat planned by gendarmerie officers and extreme right-wing groups in 1973. The article - 'The big bad look of the 1970s: the destabilisation of the State' - is based on the confessions of Martial Lekeu, a former gendarme who fled to the USA when sought for questioning in the 'Killers of the Brabant Wallon' enquiry. The killers, who specialised in holding-up supermarkets with maximum violence and minimum loot, killed 28 people between 1982 and 1985, always attacking the same chain of supermarkets on the same day of the week with the same kind of car, needlessly gunning people down and then escaping with cash rarely more than a few thousand pounds. Leukeu stated what many suspected: the killers were part of a political psy ops campaign aimed at reinforcing the State structures. Whether there is a link between the 1973 coup plans and the 1980s destabilisations remains to he seen: various parliamentary enquiries and commissions have so far failed to get to the bottom of the affair.

So, did the destabilisation go further than suspected. including France, Sweden and Belgium? What role did the Pinay Circle play in the early 1970s? Unfortunately, apart from the 1972 ISC memo published in Lobster 17, the only circle documents we have are the Langemann ones from 1979-80. Perhaps Lobster's European readers will come up with some information....


  1. ^  Geschafte and Verbrechen der Politmafia, Jurgen Roth, IBM Verlag, Berlin 1987. Opus Dei attempted to censor this priceless source on virtually all fields of parapolitics.
  2. ^  Operation EVA- die Langemann Affare - F. Heigi and J. Saupe, Konkret, Hamburg 1982. Still banned in Germany, this book unfortunately tells us nothing more about the Pinay Circle.
  3. ^  For Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung activities in Latin America see Die Contra Connection, Konkret Verlag, Hamburg, 1988
  4. ^  Roth pp. 89-90
  5. ^  In the person of Peter Wright, see David Leigh's The Wilson Plot, London 1988, p. 230
  6. ^  The Spycatcher Affair, Chapman Pincher, London 1987, pp.46-8, 89-92
  7. ^  Marenches' memoirs, Dans Le Secret des Princes, Stock 1982, made no mention of his 'extracurricular' activities of course. Their publication was designed to embarrass the newly elected Socialist government. For details of the SDECE careers of Marenches. Violet, Roussin and Marchiani. see La Piscine, Faligot/Krop, Seuil, Paris 1985.
  8. ^  Le Monde 24/2/78
  9. ^  Re Pasqua and Delouette, see Lobster 12, pp. 22-23.
  10. ^  Roth p. 91
  11. ^  Dagens Nyheter 10/2/87: Guardian 11/2/87