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Rogue Agents - The Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War 1951-1991 (4th edition 2015)
"The heirs of the French, English, and Americanrevolutions had partly believed in their own phrases about the rights of man, freedom of speech, equality before the law, and the like, and have even allowed their conduct to be influenced by them to some extent. But by the fourth decade of the twentieth century all the main currents of political thought were authoritarian. The earthly paradise had been discredited at exactly the moment when it became realizable. Every new political theory, by whatever name it called itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And in the general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years - imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations - not only
One of the paradoxes of modern political journalism is its inherent cultural isolation. Whilst no-one would deny that the major political developments in a given country may owe much to international forces, the investigation of political processes has remained overwhelmingly confined within national boundaries. This is partly due to the linguistic problems, specialist knowledge and additional burden involved in researching foreign politics; however, this cultural isolation is also compounded by a vague and usually unexpressed opinion that the connections of a foreign Conservative MP cannot be of great import to a better understanding of the murkier side of politics at home in one's own country. Yet it is clear that no country is an island. This is nowhere more true than in the field of parapolitics, the networks of unofficial power that, usually via serving or retired friends in the world's major intelligence and security services, exert greater influence than is generally realized on national political life. Both the private networks of influence and the intelligence services work internationally; more often than not, they work hand in hand in a shady world that brings together top politicians and veterans of covert action, counter-subversion and media manipulation. An investigation to delineate such networks of covert transnational cooperation must, to succeed, tackle the complexities of the unseen political world in many countries.
This study is an attempt at a preliminary transnational investigation of the Paneuropean Right and particularly of the covert forum, the Cercle Pinay and its complex of groups. Amongst Cercle intelligence contacts are former operatives from the American CIA DIA and INR, Britain's MI5, MI6 and IRD, France's SDECE, Germany's BND, BfV and MAD, Holland’s BVD, Belgium's Sûreté de l’Etat, SDRA and PIO, apartheid South Africa's BOSS, and the Swiss and Saudi intelligence services. Politically, the Cercle complex has interlocked with the whole panoply of international right-wing groups: the Paneuropean Union, the European Movement, CEDI, the Bilderberg Group, WACL, Opus Dei, the Moonies, Western Goals and the Heritage Foundation. Amongst the prominent politicians associated with the Cercle Pinay were Antoine Pinay, Konrad Adenauer, Archduke Otto von Habsburg, Franz Josef Strauss, Giulio Andreotti, Paul Vanden Boeynants, John Vorster, General Antonio de Spinola, Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
Despite a wealth of covert operations centring on media campaigns to promote or denigrate election candidates, the international impact of the Cercle complex has not yet  been the main focus for an investigation in any language. The information contained in this study was compiled from a sheaf of internal documents from the Cercle Pinay and its partners, the Belgian AESP, the British ISC and the Swiss ISP, as well as over one hundred books and numerous Press reports in English, French, German and Spanish (all translations by this author).
The insight afforded is only partial; as Brian Crozier wrote in his memoirs about this author's previous research on the Cercle complex: "There are pitfalls in writing about confidential matters from the outside, and drawing on similarly handicapped material". However, the publication in 1993 of Crozier's memoirs, Free Agent - The Unseen War 1941-1991, served to confirm the main thrust of this investigation and filled in some but by no means all of the loopholes; in turn, this investigation has uncovered some of what Crozier preferred to conceal. Once the fragmented information is pieced together, the network that emerges cannot be overlooked: the Cercle complex can be seen to be an international coalition of rightwing intelligence veterans, propaganda assets and top politicians who would shape the 1970s and 1980s.
To take the British example, much of the destabilization of British democracy in the 1970s can only be fully understood by analysing the international support given to groups like the Anglo-American “deniable propaganda” outlet, the Institute for the Study of Conflict. The Cercle Pinay was a major source of support for the ISC virtually from its inception on; the Cercle Pinay and the ISC also tied in with another key British group, the Foreign Affairs Research Institute, heavily funded by BOSS, apartheid South Africa's secret service. BOSS's other incursions into domestic politics in Britain, notably their smear operations against leading Liberals such as Jeremy Thorpe and Peter Hain, were a significant factor in the hijacking of British democracy in the 1970s. Three Cercle members on the FARI Board assisted FARI's actions from 1976 through to the early 1980s. FARI in many ways was the British successor to a previous Cercle operation to support South Africa; the Cercle and the ISC had been active partners in setting up a Paris-based propaganda outlet in 1974 as part of South Africa's covert media campaign later exposed in the "Muldergate" scandal.
German intelligence reports on the Cercle Pinay written in late 1979 and early 1980 which were published in Der Spiegel in 1982 also shed new light on a "Thatcher faction" within MI6 in the lead-up to the Conservatives' 1979 election victory. Whilst receiving wide publicity in France and Germany, these reports have never been covered by the British Press. This serious omission is astounding in the light of the undeniable authenticity of the reports and the startling allegations they contain: one of the German intelligence reports dated November 1979 quotes a planning paper by Crozier about a Cercle complex operation "to affect a change of government in the United Kingdom (accomplished)". The report goes on to describe a working meeting held at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, just after the Conservatives' election victory which brought together Prime Minister Thatcher, serving MI6 Chief Sir Arthur Franks, and two Cercle complex members - Brian Crozier and former MI6 Division Head Nicholas Elliott. Crozier's planning paper quoted by the German report also specifically mentioned international Cercle campaigns "aiming to discredit hostile personalities and/or events".
This is no isolated example; throughout the 1970s the Cercle Pinay complex was active in similar ways in France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Belgium. In the latter three countries, the Cercle complex also had close links to those waging a strategy of tension to support a right-wing coup, the latest example of which was the strategy of tension which killed 32 people in Belgium from 1982 to 1985. The Cercle complex’s other covert campaigns to promote right-wing candidates concentrated in two key periods: the mid-1970s and 1979-80, both central to the electoral defeat of the Left throughout Europe generally.
The Cercle Pinay itself is an informal but confidential strategic talking-shop consisting of a core of "regulars" who invite occasional guests to Cercle meetings and who are assisted by a range of associates in many nationally-based groups. In order to make the complexities of the Right in several European countries understandable to readers, I have focused on the personnel links within and between the national groups forming part of the Cercle Pinay complex. As one of the tendencies of such groups is for their members to "play musical chairs", changing place frequently on the raft of names sponsoring an organization, a personnel-based research approach can give rise to the danger of over-estimating the ties that link some characters or organisations. Sharing a Board membership with someone does not necessarily imply intimate knowledge of the other's various activities.
The fragmentary nature of the information available does not allow us to draw definite conclusions about to what extent a particular group or person was aware of Cercle operations, particularly of those run by several of the Cercle "regulars" with intelligence experience who would later form a private covert intelligence service, the 6I, within the Cercle complex. 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. This study can only be a beginning; a closer look at some of those involved at national level could shed more light on the significance of the Cercle complex. The only point of certainty beyond the information given here is that the Cercle merits further investigation.
Finally, this book is dedicated to the small community of unpaid parapolitics researchers who have done much to uncover the truth that lies behind the history of the 20th century. Two in particular deserve thanks for the help and encouragement they have given me in compiling the information given here: Robin Ramsay of the Lobsterand Jeffrey M. Bale of the University of Berkeley, California. Many journalists have already covered fragments of the Cercle Pinay complex: Péan, theSpiegel, Roth and Ender, Ramsay and Dorril of the Lobster, Dumont, Mungo, the Arbeitskreis Nicaragua who produced IGfM, the Young European Federalists, Herman and O'Sullivan, Gijsels, and Brewaeys and Deliège were all important sources.
Forword to the 2015 edition
The text which follows has more than doubled in size since the original 100,000 word manuscript of a book intended for publication in 1993 as the culmination of several years of research on the Cercle Pinay complex of groups, some of which had previously appeared in the Lobstermagazine in the UK in 1988-1989. Ironically foreshadowed in the Introduction,the initial manuscript fell victim to its main claim to any merit – that it was the first transnational investigation of a paneuropean covert complex, the Cercle Pinay and its many national associates. Editors in several countries expressed great interest in publishing the manuscript … providing that the "foreign bits" could be reduced and the book refocused on their respective countries. With little chance of integral publication, the book project was shelved and, apart from one major revision in 1993 to integrate Brian Crozier's memoirs which confirmed the main thrust of this investigation, the manuscript gathered dust for the next fifteen years. The world moved on, and the events described below, hot news when the book was completed, became cold history.
Things would have remained like that had I not come across Joël van der Reijden's ISGP website (http://www.isgp.nl/) in 2007 – at that time, the only serious investigation of the Cercle Pinay since the original articles by Robin Ramsay and myself in the Lobsterin the late 1980s. In appreciation of Joël's efforts, I revised the manuscript and published itas the second edition in 2008. It was however already clear that the history of the Cercle was incomplete: whilst the scattered print references had outlined some of the operations by the Cercle or the 6I in the 1970s and 1980s, almost nothing was known about the first two decadesof the Cercle's existence. The confidential discussions of Adenauer, Strauß, Habsburg, Pinay and Violet went unminuted by the Cercle itself, and their private papers remained out of public view; only after their deaths were some of them opened to scholarly research.
Fortunately however, other contemporary sources did detail their activities from the 1950s to the 1970s within the other axis to this investigation – Habsburg's CEDI and the international Christian groups CIOC and CIDCC which included Pinay, Violet and Dubois. Franco's extensive support for this international Catholic network was well documented at the time by the Spanish Press, whose reporting is all the more reliable as, under Franco's regime of press censorship, every article had to be approved before publication by his Ministryof Information and Tourism, headed from 1962 to 1973 by two CEDI and Cercle mainstays, Fraga Iribarne and Sánchez Bella. With the advent of the Internet, these Press resources have now become available outside of Spain, and after further research of the two free online archives of La Vanguardia Españolaand ABC, a third and expanded edition of Rogue Agentswas published in 2011, with Habsburg and Pinay included in the subtitle to aid internet searches and to reflect the added material.
Intended to be the final version, the third edition also included video weblinks for the major protagonists and an annex comprising all of the roughly 175 pages of internal documents used in research for this book, many from Florimond Damman's AESP, the Cercle's operational centre in Brussels throughout the 1970s. Most of these AESP documents had not previously been publicly released, online or elsewhere.
As the documentary annex considerably increased the size of the PDF file, two versions of the third edition were published - a full version including the documentary annex (481 pages, 41 MB) and a shorter 'text only' version suitable for emailing or printing (290 pages, 1.4 MB), containing the complete book but omitting the documentary annex. Download links for both versions are given in the frontispiece; as the annex of internal documents is omitted here, researchers are strongly advised to download the full third edition as well as this updated fourth edition.
Due to the complexity of covering both the Cercle and the 6I in their various activities in nine countries, it became too unwieldy to integrate all information into the main body of the text. Many details which are relevant but not central to this account of the 'Cercle complex' are therefore relegated to footnotes and marked with an asterisk thus (xxx)*, worth consulting whilst reading. Footnotes which merely give source references are marked (xxx) without an asterisk and need not be consulted whilst reading the main text.
Since the publication of the third edition in 2011, several significant primary sources on the Cercle have emerged, leading to the unforeseen need to update Rogue Agents.The first major primary sources to surface were internal Cercle meeting records from June 1982 to February 1985 included in the Hoover Institute archive of papers from Monique Garnier-Lançon, security advisor to Jacques Chirac and French convenor of the Cercle in the first half of the 1980s. Published on the web by Joël van den Reijden, they may be found at http://www.isgp.nl/2011_10_First_ever_documents_of_Le_Cercle (the list for the early 1983 meeting, almost certainly held in Washington, is included in the Bonn 1983 download).
Needless to say, the first direct revelation of Cercle participation in the early to mid-1980s cannot be overlooked. These Cercle meeting records, detailed in a new Postscript, confirm the main personalities already mentioned in this book, whilst also identifying several previously unknown members, including former senior CIA and MI6 officers as well as powerful members of the Reagan Administration and the US Congressional staff. On the European level, the Cercle lists also document the participation at Cercle meetings of senior figures from not only the CSU's HannsSeidel-Stiftung, but also the CDU's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the two main backers and beneficiaries of the private intelligence service run by erstwhile 6I member Hans von Stauffenberg.
Perhaps the most explosive revelation in the Cercle participants' lists concerns Belgium, then suffering a wave ofmurderous assaults on supermarkets – the Brabant Wallon killings. The documents confirm the presence within the mid-1980s Cercle of almost all of the members of the post-Damman MAUE Board, a discovery that should not be under-estimated. At the same time as attending the Cercle meetings, the MAUE team was certainly also working closely with the 6I, Crozier's private operational intelligence agency, in its virulent international campaign against the nuclear disarmament movement. Belgian researcher Hervé Beghinselen has provided invaluable access to an extensive archive of the LIL internal bulletin Damoclèsas well as to the Hoover Institution papers of two key sources: the Bulgarian Kyril Drenikoff, a longstanding intimate of Belgian Cercle convenor Jacques Jonet and LIL mainstay Paul Vankerkhoven, and Monique Garnier-Lançon, the French Cercle convenor mentioned above who was also ViceChairman of the EIS. These primary sources shed much light both on the role of the Belgian LIL/AESP/MAUE/PIO complex in running the Belgian 6I front groups RAPPEL and the IEPS, and on their troubled relationship with the EIS.
To turn to America, new primary sources detailing the Cercle's transatlantic outreach in 1969-70 have emerged following the declassification of the meeting notes and telephone transcripts of Henry Kissinger, including a record prepared for Kissinger of the debate at a 1970 Cerclemeeting – a document which gives unique insight into Cercle discussions, never minuted by the Cercle itself. The memorandum, kindly provided by Dac Cong Papsouley, is reproduced in a new annex bringing together this author's research on the post-war Christian groups CIOC and the CIDCC which involved Pinay, Violet and Dubois. The most intriguing document from this period is a further secret memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon with an attached CIA report which detail the involvement of Pesenti and Violet in a hitherto unknown covert Catholic group, Sint Unum, as described by Alice Arduini, formerly of the University of Florence, whose research paper is included in the annex with permission and with thanks.
Another important American diplomaticsource has been the wealth of declassified State Department cables from the Central Foreign Policy Files made available online by the National Archivesand Records Administration. Although the cables only cover the period 1973-1978, they have providedmuch detailabout several Cercle members and have revealed a hithertounknown four-day Cercle meeting held in November 1977, coordinated by Jameson and attended by Pinay, Strauß, Sánchez Bella, senior Italian industrialists (no doubt including Pesenti), Portuguese putschist general Kaúlza de Arriaga, David Rockefeller, Kissinger, Brzezinski, US Defense Secretary Harold Brown, George Meany and Lane Kirkland of the AFL-CIO, and reportedly also attended by Treasury Secretary W. Michael Blumenthal and William Colby, who had retired the previous yearas Director of Central Intelligence.
A further contemporary source now integrated into Rogue Agentshas been the online archive of the American-based exile newspaper The Ukrainian Weekly, which tells us much about WACL from its 1966 creation on.
Academic historians have also madefurther contributions extending our fragmentary knowledge of the Cercle complex. Professor Giles Scott-Smith of Leiden University has pursued his investigation of Interdoc in an authoritative publication in 2012 – see footnote 33. German intelligence historian Dr. Stefanie Waske has thoroughly researched the archive of Stauffenberg's private intelligence service, an early core component in Crozier's 6I – see footnote 325. Dr. William Clark of Strathclyde University, a previous Lobstercontributor who runs the very informative site http://pinkindustry.wordpress.com/, has kindly provided his doctorate on the IEDSS, a key British partner in the anti-disarmament campaign run by the 6I and its allies in the 1980s. In 2007, Dr. Klaartje Schrijvers of the University of Gent produced an outstanding doctorate based on investigative journalist Walter de Bock's archive of personal papers left by Florimond Damman; it has unfortunately only recently come to my attention, and is highly recommended. The Gaullist historian Dr. Catherine Lanneau of the University of Liège has described Damman's political activities in the 1960s prior to the foundation of LIL and the AESP - on Schrijvers and Lanneau, see footnote 88.
A very significant recent academic work is Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War, the proceedings of a conference heldat the University of Fribourg in October 2011 which included a presentation onthe Cercle by Dr. Adrian Hänni of the University of Zürich. Published in April 2014 almost exactly thirty years after investigative journalist Pierre Péanblazed the trail, Hänni's article A Global Crusade against Communism: the Cercle in the "Second Cold War"was the first academic paper to be specifically devoted to the Cercle and is essential reading, drawing on the personal archives of Cercle members Julian Amery, Brian Crozier, Monique GarnierLançon and William A. Wilson. Hänni is currently preparing a longer research project on the Cercle which will hopefully bear fruit – see http://adrianh.ch/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/CERCLE-Forschungsplan-plus.pdf. The 2011 conference proceedings also contain important contributions by Professor Scott-Smith on Interdoc, veteran journalist Pierre Abramovici on WACL and Junior Professor Dr. Johannes Großmann of Tübingen University on the CIDCC. Since then, Großmann has produced a March 2014 article, Winning the Cold War: Anti-Communism, Informal Diplomacy, and the Transnational Career of Jean Violet, and a subsequent major book on CEDI, the CIDCC and the early Cercle, Die Internationale der Konservativen – see footnote 4 for references and a review. Although sparse on details of the later Cercle, Großmann's book does record the regular Cercle attendance in the late 1970s of Shield initiator Sir Stephen Hastings, IEDSS linch pin Lord Chalfont, German conservative mainstay Gerhard Löwenthal and the American "Prince of Darkness", Richard Perle, confirming their description in this book as important members of the Cercle complex.
Journalists too have added to the body of Cercle research since 2011, notably in portraying British ex-MI6 members of the Cercle and the 6I. An informative postwar history of MI6 by BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera sheds light on the "Robber Barons", a hardline pro-covert action faction within MI6 to which G. K. Young and Cercle members Julian Amery, NicholasElliott and Anthony Cavendish belonged. A detailed account by espionage author Ben Macintyre of the relationship between Kim Philby and Elliott reveals much about the personality of Crozier's faithful deputy whilst not covering his later activities in Shield and the 6I that are described here.
Meanwhile time has taken its toll; over recent years, many of the core members of the Cercle complex or the 6I have died – Hans Huyn and Robert C. Richardson in January 2011, Otto von Habsburg in July 2011, Manuel Fraga Iribarne in January 2012, Brian Crozier in August 2012 (the last of the hommes de l'ombre – Jean Violet is now known to have died in December 2000), Margaret Thatcher inApril 2013, Giulio Andreotti and Herb Romerstein in May 2013, Joe Douglass in May 2014 and Arnaud de Borchgrave in February 2015. Others live on: Henry Kissinger turned 92 in May 2015, and David Rockefeller celebrated his 100thbirthday on 12th June 2015.
Since the publication of the third edition of Rogue Agentsin 2011, Europe has also commemorated two milestones in its evolution in which the Cercle had a hand. In January 2013, France and Germany jointly fêted the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 Elysée Treaty that had been brokered by Violet, an occasion marked by the first binational issue of a special two Euro coin. In October 2015, Germany celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of its 1990 reunification, a process that had been triggered by Habsburg's "Paneuropean Picnic" in August 1989.
These events make it an apposite momentto bring this investigation to a natural close, twenty-five years after it started in the UK magazine Lobster- hopefully this final edition will assist later researchersto shed more light on the considerable covert part played in European and world history by the Cercle and the 6I.
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