Rogue Agents - 1971-1975 - Outreach and Operations
Rogue Agents: The Cercle and the 6I in the Private Cold War 1951 - 1991 is a book by David Teacher. It is reproduced here by permission of the author.
- 1 Rogue Agents - 1971-1975 - Outreach and Operations
- 1.1 The Cercle, The Institute and the Academy
- 1.2 The AESP in 1972 and Peace Without Frontiers
- 1.3 The AESP, CEPIC and the 1973 Coup
- 1.4 Consultants in Counter-insurgency
- 1.5 The War against Communist subversion
- 1.6 The AESP and the EEC
- 1.7 A very British coup
- 1.8 Mitterand menace
- 1.9 White rule, black propaganda
- 1.10 The Washington ISC
- 2 Notes
Rogue Agents - 1971-1975 - Outreach and Operations
The Cercle, The Institute and the Academy
Although the Cercle had long associated the core European countries and also enjoyed high-level support in Spain and in America, one vital link was still missing – across the Channel in Britain. The natural partner for this network of covert conservatives was Brian Crozier and his newly founded Institute for the Study of Conflict. Crozier's memoirs recount that Violet first contacted Crozier in mid-1971 following the publication in US News and World Report of a long interview with Crozier on the subject of terrorism and Communist intentions (125)*. Violet suggested that the ISC should organise a study group on the problems inherent in the détente process; Violet's group would put up the funds thanks to Pesenti.
Violet brought along the report of an initial study group he had chaired, which was circulated to all members of the ISC and which provoked objections from one unidentified Board member for its "extreme right-wing views". Once those objections had been overcome, an ISC study group was set up including Crozier, Moss and two experts of interest: Sovietologist Robert Conquest, and Leo Labedz, editor of the CCF magazine Survey and one of the most important sources of material throughout the FWF operation (126). The study group met between July and November 1971 with, as a backdrop, Edward Heath's expulsion of 105 Soviet diplomats and officials on charges of spying. These concerns were integrated into the ISC's deliberations; as Crozier records, "a Whitehall friend of mine had brought me a detailed analysis of Soviet spying activities and techniques which I fed into our discussions" (127).
The Study Group's findings were published in January 1972 as an ISC Special Report entitled European Security and the Soviet Problem. The Cercle Pinay was very satisfied with the result, as an internal ISC memo dated 21st January 1972 shows:
- "Report on European Security and the Soviet Problem; Visit of Maître Jean Violet.
- The Chairman said that from what he'd heard, the report had been a remarkable success. He was impressed with the way in which M. Pinay had accepted the views of the ISC on how the Institute thought it should be handled, and it was gratifying that the Pinay Committee had been so delighted with the finished result.
- Mr. Crozier said that M. Violet, who had commissioned the report on behalf of the Pinay Committee, had come to London with M. Pinay during that week and that he, with Mr. Goodwin, had met them over lunch. Pinay had given Mr. Crozier documents relating to their next project. M. Pinay had presented a copy of European Security and the Soviet Problem to President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger in America. Earlier that week he had had a three hour session with President Pompidou, during which time he had presented him with a copy of the publication in French. Maître Violet had also presented copies to a number of German politicians, mainly Christian Democrats, who are having the report translated into German. And he had shown a copy to the Spanish Minister [probably Sánchez Bella, Minister for Information] and to the Pope. NSIC in New York had bought 500 of the ISC's initial print order [providing the ISC with an immediate income of £2,000], and another 500 had been bought by the American Bar Association. In effect, we were out of print on the day of publication. Numerous orders were in hand for the reprint. A leader in the Daily Telegraph of 14 January spoke highly of the publication" (128).
To give wide promotion to the Cercle/ISC study, Violet used the AESP network; in a letter dated 28th January 1972, Violet asked Damman to send out four pages from the ISC report to all addresses on the Academy's mailing list. On 11th February, Violet told Damman to make use of the Institute's services and to keep in touch with Crozier. An AESP/MAUE activity report for the first quarter of 1973 gives a picture of the intensity of Damman's operation; a note indicates that the total number of mailings sent out by the Academy in 1973 would exceed 50,000.
As the ISC Council minutes record, the Cercle Pinay was delighted with the results of their collaboration with the ISC, and the Cercle and its backer Pesenti soon became a major source of funding for the ISC. ISC Council minutes of 11th July 1972 report that "Mr Crozier said that he had recently spoken about the future of the ISC with members of the Pinay Committee in Paris. He was hopeful of this committee putting up some £20,000 in 1973." This grant represented a major part of the ISC's annual budget of some £30,000 and replaced the CIA funding channelled via Kern House Enterprises:
- "The Kern House subsidy continued until at least the middle of 1972, by which time other sources of finance had materialized. Together with 2,000 odd subscriptions to ISC publications, they make up ISC's budget of, as of 1976, over £30,000" (129).
The significance of the Cercle Pinay grant can be judged by comparison to other gifts to the ISC by multinational companies: the Ford Foundation donated £20,000 over three years, and, in 1971, Shell had contributed a lump sum of £30,000 (130).
The success of the collaboration between the Cercle and the ISC led to a second joint venture in 1972-73, the production of another ISC Special Report to "analyse the crisis in Western societies in the light of Soviet subversion" (131). In September 1972, a study group was convened including Irish expert Iain Hamilton, former managing editor of FWF and Director of Studies of the ISC. "This time the Whitehall input was even more substantial than with the previous study group. It included comprehensive details of the Soviet KGB and GRU presence throughout Western Europe. The only country missing was Britain itself, partly no doubt for reasons of national security, but mainly because of the still recent expulsion of the 105 Soviet spies. Without revealing the name of my informant, or his department, I made it clear to the participants that the material provided came from an official source. [...] Our report, The Peacetime Strategy of the Soviet Union, was published in March 1973. It provided individual country studies of Soviet subversion covering the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Italy and the United States, with shorter entries for smaller countries. It was probably the most comprehensive compilation of facts and analysis to have been presented in public. [...] the former Prime Minister Antoine Pinay, then over eighty but still wonderfully energetic, was so fired with enthusiasm on reading the report that he came to London to present it in person to Prime Minister Edward Heath" (132).
Jean Violet recognised that the ISC and their publications were the most appropriate outlet for a Western propaganda counter-offensive against Soviet subversion, but the ISC's Conflict Studies were only published in English. From 1972 onwards, one of the major concerns for the Cercle Pinay complex was therefore to ensure European distribution, and particularly French-language publication, of the ISC's output. The Cercle's existing French-language outlets were not adapted to running an international campaign of this scope; the AESP's monthly bulletin, Europe Information, was an amateurish production with a print run of only 2,000 copies. Violet felt that the Academy's bulletin was not prestigious enough to be the vehicle of Cercle/ISC material, and so in 1973 an existing journal, the Bulletin de Paris, was taken over, and a second, Le Monde Moderne, was founded with funding from Pesenti (133)*. Over the next few years, these two publications were to become major French-language outlets for ISC reports.
The Bulletin de Paris, close to the conservative white-collar union CGC, would concentrate in 1974-75 on similar themes to the ISC: the chaotic situation in Portugal, communist designs on Southern Africa and threats to the Cape route for the West's supply of commodities, the deception of détente and the war of subversion waged by the Soviet Union. Amongst its correspondents were Franz Josef Strauß and General Jean Callet, a veteran of Indochina in 1950 and Algeria in 1956 who directed the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale from 1972 to 1974.
Le Monde Moderne, a quarterly foreign affairs magazine, reached a more prestigious audience and was edited by a close associate of Violet's, Jean Vigneau, together with former SDECE officer and Foreign Ministry advisor Jacques Leguèbe, and Bernard Lejeune, editor of the Courrier austral. Le Monde Moderne was a regular French-language vehicle for the ISC's publications - the first issue in 1973 consisted mainly of a translation of the 1972 ISC Special Report commissioned by the Cercle Pinay, European Security and the Soviet Problem. Later in 1973, Le Monde Moderne republished The Peacetime Strategy of the Soviet Union, the ISC's Cercle-sponsored Special Report from March of that year, followed in 1975 by the ISC's March 1974 Conflict Study Marxism and the Church of Rome. Other contributors to Le Monde Moderne included Strauß, Sánchez Bella, Moss and General Callet (134).
The AESP in 1972 and Peace Without Frontiers
In January 1972, at the same time as the ISC published their first Special Report commissioned by the Cercle Pinay, the AESP held its XV Charlemagne Grand Dinner in Brussels. The attendance list of the Grand Dinner, held on the 15th January 1972 at the Cercle des Nations, reveals other early contacts that the Academy enjoyed. The top members of the Academy and the PEU were in attendance: Habsburg and Coudenhove Kalergi presided over the dinner. Reduced to a figurehead in Habsburg's Academy, Coudenhove Kalergi’s death in July 1972 would clear the way for Habsburg to take over full control of all three organisations, the PEU, CEDI and the AESP.
At the January 1972 dinner, Habsburg and Coudenhove Kalergi were seconded by the Brussels organising group of Damman, Vankerkhoven, de Villegas and Jacques Jonet, a former political secretary of Otto von Habsburg and a Vice-President of MAUE, the Belgian PEU section run by Damman. Germany was represented by the Federal Secretary of PEU Germany, Karl Friedrich Grau, the coordinator of the Swiss ISP set up the year before, and also by Rudolf Dumont du Voitel, the EEC official who was a member of the AESP's Permanent Delegation and Board member of PEU Germany.
From Paris came the French coordinators of the AESP, Jean Violet and Marcel Collet, accompanied by René-Louis Picard, President of the International Society of Friends of Wilton Park, who regularly attended AESP events from at least 1971 onwards. Picard is an interesting contact for the AESP, as Wilton Park was a forum for propaganda activities by the British Foreign Office. In his 1966 study of "anticommunist political warfare", future Conservative MP and partner of Crozier Geoffrey Stewart-Smith lists Wilton Park with the IRD:
- "It is generally felt that the Research Department and its sister organisation, the Information Research Department [...] have a staff which is woefully inadequate in view of the growing importance of its work, and that its personnel are underpaid. Now if any British taxpayer's money is being spent on strategic political warfare, it is spent in the work of these two departments [...] Wilton Park at [Wiston House in] Steyning, Sussex, controlled by the Information Executive Department, 'is an institution sponsored by Her Majesty's Government. But, while the Government finds about seven-eighths of the money required to run it, the Warden has a free hand and is responsible for the planning of conferences [...] Wilton Park conferences of which there are usually ten a year, are a British contribution to the creation in Europe of an informed public opinion' (H. Koeppler, The Aims of Wilton Park, Central Office of Information, 1960, pg 8)" (135).
In other words, whilst the IRD and its 'private' offshoot the ISC ensured the surfacing of black propaganda in the international media, Wilton Park offered an official but confidential forum for discussions with foreign dignitaries. The International Society of Friends of Wilton Park was set up from 1968 onwards with branches in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. By 1978, the Cercle would succeed in dominating this Wilton Park network by creating a European Liaison Committee whose nine founding members included four from the AESP: Picard as President, Violet, Sánchez Bella and Jonet (136).
Two Spanish diplomats at the AESP's 1972 Grand Dinner also had influential contacts. The most notable and more prominent Spaniard was Alberto Ullastres Calvo, who had served as Franco's Minister of Trade from 1957 to 1965 before becoming Spanish Ambassador to the EEC from 1965 to 1976. A high-ranking member of Opus Dei since 1940 and CEDI member since at least 1961, Ullastres was a Life Member of the AESP. The second and more discrete figure was Roberto Jacobo, whose post of Information Counsellor at the Spanish Embassy in Brussels reportedly concealed his activities as a member of Franco's intelligence service. Jacobo would remain in touch with Damman throughout the 1970s; Damman's diaries published by his deputy Aldo-Michel Mungo reveal contacts between Jacobo and Damman in February 1977, by which time Jacobo had risen to become the Brussels head of station (137)*.
Another of the Academy's guests at the XV Grand Dinner was Dr. Erno (Ernest) Töttösy, European President of the World Organisation of Free Hungarian Lawyers and leader of the Hungarian section of WACL. Sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for "participation in a US-inspired coup plot" and tortured during his detainment, Töttösy escaped from Hungary during the 1956 revolution and fled to Belgium, obtaining Belgian citizenship in 1964. Töttösy had been in contact with Damman since at least 1961; on 3rd October of that year, Töttösy spoke on "The Modern Inquisition in Hungary" at a conference organised by the Partisans de L'Europe Nouvelle, one of several short-lived Academy precursors founded by Damman. After the foundation of the AESP in 1969, Töttösy would be a regular attendant at Academy events; in the late 1970s and again in the 1990s, Töttösy would found associations for European-Hungarian co-operation with Habsburg and other Cercle friends.
The attendance list for the January 1972 Grand Dinner included a certain Mr. Valori, credited as Secretary-General of the Institute for International Relations in Rome. Giancarlo Elia Valori was far more than that - at the time of the Grand Dinner, he was one of the most powerful men within P2 and right-hand man to P2 Grand Master Licio Gelli. As an international financial advisor for important sectors of Italian industry (138)*, Valori had excellent overseas connections, particularly to Latin America, connections which he used to assist Gelli. Only one year previous to thie 1972 dinner, Valori had personally introduced Gelli to the Argentinian strongman Perón, then in exile in Spain (139)*. At the time of the meeting with Perón in early 1971, Gelli had just been named organising secretary of the P2 lodge, but by July of the same year, his infiltration of Masonic circles and his plans for a coup had gone far enough to provoke Grand Master Salvini into warning a meeting of the Governing Council of the Grand Orient of Gelli's intentions.
When Perón visited Rome in November 1972 - ten months after this AESP Grand Dinner – Valori arranged a lengthy meeting with Giulio Andreotti; Perón then returned to Argentina temporarily, accompanied by Valori and Gelli. After Perón's permanent return to Argentina in June 1973 and his investiture on 12th October as Argentinian President, a ceremony observed by Valori, Gelli and Andreotti, Perón appointed Gelli his Honorary Consul in Florence, a post that gave Gelli Argentinian nationality and diplomatic immunity. Gelli's contact with Perón via Valori also gave the P2 Grand Master an essential powerbase in Argentina, where Gelli set up a sister lodge to P2, just as well-connected to government as was the Italian lodge; the Argentinian P2 included Admiral Emilio Massera, head of the three-member ruling Junta of the 1970s and 1980s.
Gelli's relationship with Perón was more than intimate; Andreotti was amazed to note that Perón treated Gelli with remarkable deference and respect. Having won over Perón, Gelli then tried to cut Valori's contacts to Perón. The two became bitter rivals for economic and political influence, and Gelli finally expelled Valori from P2 in 1974. Valori would go on to provide some very significant testimony about Gelli's activities in Argentina and Uruguay to the Italian parliamentary commission investigating P2 in 1983. A likely cause for the rivalry was the extremely lucrative nature of Gelli’s Argentinian business activities. Together with Gelli's confidant and fellow P2 member Umberto Ortolani, Valori and Gelli had founded a company called Ase (Agenzia per lo sviluppo economico or Agency for Economic Development), with the capital being divided into 50% for Gelli, 25% for Valori and 25% for Ortolani. "Gelli brokered three-way oil and arms deals among Libya, Italy and Argentina through the quaintly named Agency for Economic Development, which he and Umberto Ortolani owned. In 1976 Italy sold Argentina $239 million worth of arms; by 1978 the total had hit $1.27 billion" (140)*.
This impressive list of AESP contacts would be the platform for another joint operation between Crozier, Violet and Damman - the launching of an international campaign for human rights and freedom of movement and persons under the title "Appel pour une vraie "Sécurité Européenne"". The backdrop for this first of two AESP "Helsinki Actions" was the start in November 1972 of negotiations that would lead to the 1973-75 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
- "The three of us - Damman, Violet and I - drafted an appeal for 'Peace without Frontiers', in which we defined "our" concept of a true détente. [...] The appeal, dispatched to distinguished people in Western Europe from the Académie in Brussels, collected many hundreds of signatures in favour of 'Peace without Frontiers'. It is no exaggeration to claim that this initiative led to the Western
insistence on 'Basket III' in the Helsinki discussions. Basket III was the third of the packages of themes for discussion at the proposed European Security Conference. It dealt with human rights, freedom of information, and cultural exchanges. It was the most fundamental and therefore the most important of the 'baskets' " (141).
An AESP/MAUE activity report for the first quarter of 1973 gives a glimpse of the work carried out by the Academy on this operation:
- 24.1.73: Contact dinner at the Cercle des Nations - Minister von Merkatz, Archduke Otto.
- 25.1.73: Meeting of the Permanent Delegation of the AESP. XVII Charlemagne Grand Dinner - more than 200 attended - wide press coverage of Archduke Otto's speech.
- 26.1.73: Assembly of the Academy and lunch at the Cercle des Nations - over one hundred participants - wide-ranging and lively debate on Mr. Violet's speech about the Helsinki Appeal.
- 27.1.73: Contact meeting at the Westbury - Mr. Violet, Mr. Vallet, Comte de Villegas and Mr. Damman. Contact meetings with Mr. Vandoros from Athens, Schwarzer from Bonn, Greig from London, Trainar from Limoges.
- 5.2.73: Mailing of 2,000 copies of Europe Information.
- 15.2.73: Start of dissemination of the 10,000 Helsinki Appeals: printing. Printing of 7,000 accompanying letters and 7,000 reply coupons. This operation will continue throughout March, April, May and June 1973.
- 17.2.73: A MAUE delegation attended the Assembly of the Beweging voor de Verenigde Staten van Europe [Movement for the United States of Europe] in Antwerp. Further meetings with Mr. André Voisin and Mr. Max Richard. Contact with Mr. [George] Thomson (Labour Party), [the recently appointed] British member of the Commission of the EEC, Mr. Molenaar, President of the Dutch European Movement, Mr. Koppe of Europa Union Deutschland, etc.
- 5.3.73: Damoclès, the monthly journal of the Ligue Internationale de la Liberté, distributed 1,000 Helsinki Appeals.
- 10.3.73 Distribution of 2,000 copies of Europe Information.
- 20.3.73 Participation of Mr. Damman at the Board Meeting of the Association Atlantique Belge. Preparation of the General Assembly of the ATA Atlantic Treaty Association to be held in Brussels in September 1973.
- 22/23.3.73 Meeting of the Permanent Delegation of the AESP in Hotel Tulpenfeld in Bonn. Organisation of the Helsinki Appeal Action in Germany. Working meeting with Messrs von Wersebe, Dirnacker and Mertes MP. Debate in the evening with some forty VIPs including the Secretary to former Chancellor Erhard.
- 30.3.73-1.4.73: Participated in the Wilton Park meeting in Madrid. "The economic future of Europe and inflation". Belgian delegation: Mr. and Mrs. de Limelette, General Vivario, Mr. Damman, Mr. Jonet, Miss Verlaine, Mrs. Bauduin. Academy contact meeting: Messrs. Violet, Vallet, Jonet and Damman. Contact with Don Manuel Fraga Iribarne, former Information Minister, who is completely won over to our cause" (142)*.
At the January 1973 Charlemagne Grand Dinner mentioned in the report, Damman, de Villegas and Habsburg had the honour of again welcoming a distinguished guest - Giulio Andreotti, seven times Italian Prime Minister, implicated in many of the scandals that shook Italy during his terms of office and a longstanding friend of Pesenti and Violet who, as detailed above, had previously attended both Cercle and AESP events since at least 1970 (143).
Another important guest at the January 1973 Grand Dinner - indeed, with Violet and Crozier, a future member of the triumvirate coordinating the Cercle Pinay - was the German diplomat and Count Hans Graf Huyn, born in Warsaw where his father had been the Embassy Press Attaché.
Huyn would serve as a German diplomat from 1955 to 1965; in 1956, he was the Secretary to the German delegation at the EEC negotiations. From 1957 to 1959, he worked on Western European Affairs at the Foreign Ministry in Bonn. After diplomatic postings in Tunis, Dublin, Tokyo and Manila, Huyn returned to the Foreign Ministry in 1964, working in the Political Division charged with "European political integration, Council of Europe, European NGOs and Western European Union (non-military affairs)", a major focus being the implementation of the 1963 Elysée Treaty, concluded after the secret negotiations between Pinay, Adenauer and Strauß that had been facilitated by Violet. Huyn would request dismissal from the Foreign Service in 1965 after being accused of trying to undermine Foreign Minister Gerhard Schröder, whose emphasis on strengthening Anglo-German ties was perceived by Huyn as threatening the burgeoning cooperation between France and Germany. Huyn would then work for the German Finance Ministry from 1969 to 1972 when he left government service to become the foreign policy spokesman for Strauß's CSU fraction in the Bundestag.
A Board Member of the Deutschland-Stiftung, Huyn was another of the CEDI recruits to the Academy; a 1972 CEDI publication lists Huyn as a member of the International Council of CEDI alongside AESP members Habsburg, Sánchez Bella, Merkatz and Vankerkhoven. At the time of the 1973 Grand Dinner, Huyn had recently become the CSU foreign policy spokesman in the German Parliament, a post he would fill until elected himself as a CSU MP in 1976. Huyn would go on to serve in the Bundestag until 1990, acting as the key foreign and defence policy spokesman for the CSU; his CDU counterpart – previously the founding father of the German military psy-ops programme - was Dr. Werner Marx, who had sat with Huyn on the CEDI International Council since at least 1972. Besides representing Strauß within the Cercle Pinay, Huyn would also become a central linkman for the Cercle in Germany, serving on the Boards of numerous propaganda outfits of the German Right, described in later chapters (144)*.
Damman's mention in the activity report of a meeting in January 1973 with "Mr. Greig from London" almost certainly refers to Ian Greig, at the time Chairman of the Subversion Committee of the Monday Club and a close associate of G. K. Young who had worked with Crozier and the ISC since its creation in 1970. Cooperation with the ISC would continue throughout the year; a letter from Damman to Violet dated 12th September 1973 stated that "a contact meeting was held with one of the staff of Brian Crozier, founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Conflict" (145). Another letter from Damman to Violet from September 1973 spoke optimistically of intensified collaboration between the AESP and Interdoc, detailing a Brussels meeting between Interdoc Director Van den Heuvel, Damman and Vankerkhoven, with Damman offering the conclusion that "our cooperation with Interdoc should provide us with a good cell in the Netherlands as Mr. Van den Heuvel's connections are very extensive", a relationship between the two groups that would be formalised in 1978 by the Director of Interdoc becoming an AESP member (146)*.
The AESP, CEPIC and the 1973 Coup
In 1972, whilst Violet and Damman were cooperating closely with Crozier's ISC and Grau's German and Swiss groups, several leading AESP/MAUE members set up a right-wing ginger group within the major Belgian conservative party, the Parti Social Chrétien (PSC). The group, CEPIC, the Centre Politique des Indépendants et des Cadres Chrétiens, would become an official section of the PSC in 1975. In September 1973, a Gendarmerie report by Major de Cock implicated several prominent AESP/CEPIC members in funding an extreme right-wing group, the NEM Clubs. A 1976 Gendarmerie report by Chief Adjutant Roger Tratsaert further alleged that the NEM Clubs had been major participants in plans for a coup d'état by elements of the Gendarmerie in the early 1970s (147).
The most prominent founding member of CEPIC to belong to Damman's Academy was former Prime Minister Paul Vanden Boeynants, commonly known as VdB. An AESP Member of Honour since at least June 1970, he would rise to become President of CEPIC from 1977 onwards and leader of the PSC. VdB was implicated by the de Cock report in funding groups planning a coup d'état; at the time, he was Belgian Defence Minister, the minister responsible for overseeing the Gendarmerie.
Another figure common to CEPIC and the AESP was Baron Bernard de Marcken de Merken. A member of the PEU Central Council with Habsburg, Pons, Damman and Biggs-Davison, and also a Board Member of MAUE, de Marcken had been a member of the AESP core group, the Permanent Delegation, since the Academy's inception in 1969. As we have seen, de Marcken had been present at the 1969 meeting with Violet, Damman and de Villegas which launched the sniffer plane scheme. De Marcken was also named in the de Cock report.
A third central figure in CEPIC named in the de Cock report was the CEPIC treasurer, Baron Benoît de Bonvoisin, Vanden Boeynant's political advisor whilst VdB was Defence Minister (148). De Bonvoisin has been one of the most notorious characters in European fascism with particularly close links to the Italian MSI and Stefano Delle Chiaie; in 1975, de Bonvoisin hosted a gathering of European fascists at his castle at Maizeret, attended by the heads of Ordine Nuovo, the MSI, the National Front, Fuerza Nueva and the French Forces Nouvelles, amongst others. The Belgian representatives at the 1975 fascist summit were AESP contact Emile Lecerf, editor of the NEM, and Francis Dossogne of the Front de la Jeunesse, the two organisations that the CEPIC members were accused of financing in the de Cock report.
De Bonvoisin's close relationship with AESP leaders would not be confirmed by formal membership of the Academy until the late 1970s, but as VdB's factotum, he would be a regular participant at AESP administration meetings. He was also an intimate of Archduke Otto von Habsburg, and was in close contact with Jean Violet, as indicated by a diagram of connections between various persons drawn up by leading Belgian fascist Paul Latinus, in which Violet's name figures directly under de Bonvoisin's. Significantly Violet is not linked by Latinus to any other person on the list – possibly a gateway into a different network. Aldo-Michel Mungo, Damman's former deputy as AESP Delegate-General and MAUE Secretary-General, offers an interesting and no doubt well-informed claim in his pseudonymous exposé Enquêtes et Reportages:
- "What links are there between this man [de Bonvoisin] and lawyer Violet? Apparently none, except for the declarations made by de Bonvoisin who, amongst friends, claimed to have the warmest relations with the mysterious lawyer [...] Before the sniffer plane affair got juicy, de Bonvoisin and Damman were on good terms [...] once Violet's funds began flowing to Damman, relations between the two took a turn for the worse, each clearly seeking to be the sole beneficiary of such manna. If we are now certain that Damman and his friends benefited royally from Violet's 'subsidies', it is more difficult to prove the same for de Bonvoisin. One point is certain: the hostilities between the two camps ended with the end of the sniffer plane affair. It is not proof, but it does allow us a hypothesis: what if Violet, like the Red Brigades, had set up two 'columns' in Belgium, applying the old principle of not putting all one's eggs in the same basket?" (149).
Beyond his contacts with Violet, de Bonvoisin also enjoyed a privileged relationship with Antoine Pinay; de Bonvoisin's father Pierre had been one of the founding members of the Bilderberg Group with Pinay in 1952. When de Bonvoisin was attacked in the Press in a 1981 revival of the charges of funding the Front de la Jeunesse and NEM, the NEM Club magazine retaliated by printing a picture of de Bonvoisin in Washington in the company of two senior Bilderberg and Cercle members: David Rockefeller and Antoine Pinay (150)*.
The NEM Clubs themselves were formed of readers of the fascist magazine, Nouvel Europe Magazine, edited by Emile Lecerf. The history of the Nouvel Europe Magazine is interesting: it was founded on 14th December 1944 as Grande-Bretagne by British intelligence agent Cecil H. de Sausmarez. De Sausmarez had been Press Attaché at the British Embassy in Brussels in 1939; evacuated to Britain in 1940, he took over control of the Belgian and Dutch resistance networks run by the Political Warfare Executive, and as such forged links with a branch of the Flemish New Order, the Verdinaso movement. De Sausmarez also coordinated psychological warfare in the form of radio broadcasts to the two countries. In 1945, he returned to the British Embassy in Brussels where he worked until 1948. The editor of the magazine de Sausmarez founded was a personal friend, the Verdinaso militant Pierre Blanc; the editorial writer of the journal, working under the pseudonym Ossian Mathieu, was Emile Lecerf, the magazine's future editor and protégé of de Bonvoisin. The magazine would be retitled Europe-Amérique in 1945 before becoming Europe-Magazine from 1953 to 1969 and then Nouvel Europe Magazine (151). The magazine had a long history of being involved in underground paramilitary groups; one of Europe-Amérique's correspondents was André Moyen, a wartime agent for the OSS and British and Belgian intelligence services. Moyen, who ran Milpol, a Belgian private intelligence service founded in 1948, was a key figure in the Belgian Gladio network (152). Europe-Amérique was also the launching ground for a young Belgian journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave, who would later be a close friend of de Bonvoisin's and a leading American disinformation asset in partnership with Robert Moss.
Emile Lecerf was a longstanding acquaintance within AESP circles: he ran the Belgian WACL chapter LIL with AESP/MAUE member Paul Vankerkhoven in the early 1970s. As we've seen, Lecerf was a guest at the January 1969 Charlemagne Grand Dinner organised by Damman, where he shared a table with Guérin-Sérac of Aginter Presse, just four months before the Milan bomb that launched the strategy of tension in Italy. This contact between Lecerf and Aginter Presse, masters of destabilisation, would soon bear fruit: in May 1971, two months after Lecerf became editor-in-chief of NEM and just over two years after AN's Milan bomb, the magazine made the first of several references to a coup d'état in a long article entitled The technique of an ideal coup d'état (153). Such incitation to revolt evidently did not alienate Lecerf's backers: that month, the NEM moved to new premises, owned by de Bonvoisin.
The same allegations of funding for the NEM Clubs and the Front de la Jeunesse provided by VdB and de Bonvoisin would again surface in connection with coup plots in the 1980s, covered in a later chapter. Despite the contact between Guérin-Sérac and Lecerf in 1969 and the links between Lecerf and the AESP/MAUE from the early seventies through to the eighties, the official enquiries into destabilisation in Belgium have paid scant attention to Aginter Presse, the AESP and their contacts with Emile Lecerf.
Consultants in Counter-insurgency
In 1972-73, whilst producing the two Special Reports commissioned by the Cercle Pinay and working on the Academy's Helsinki Appeal, the ISC was also active on the British domestic scene. Although it was an 'unattributable' asset, the ISC developed unprecedented links with the State by lecturing on subversion not only to industry but also to the British Army (including the SAS) and at the National Police College.
In 1972, John Alderson, Commandant of the Bramshill Police College wrote to Peter Janke of the ISC requesting their assistance in developing a course on terrorism and counter-subversion. As Janke wrote in a report of his visit to Bramshill in July 1972, "the Commandant assured me that he would like to keep in touch more frequently with the Institute and would bear very much in mind our capacity to be of service to Bramshill" (154).
Following this collaboration between the ISC and Bramshill, "as a sign of renewed mutual confidence", the IRD commissioned the ISC to produce a Manual of Counter-Insurgency, consisting of a series of seven separate Counter-Insurgency Studies. "This enabled IRD to distribute the studies selectively, according to the character of the government at the receiving end", Crozier notes (155); despite the stamp "for official use only", the Foreign Office might indeed not have wanted to distribute studies such as Psychological and Information Measures and The Rehabilitation of Detainees too widely.
The Manual of Counter-Insurgency might have "contributed significantly to the international reputation of the ISC" but it was also stepping on someone else's bureaucratic turf, as Crozier noted: "IRD had always had its enemies within the Foreign Office, however. With some logic, many high officials objected to its involvement in domestic affairs [...] Logically, a counter-subversion organisation should have been run by the Home Office" (156). This concern within the Foreign Office led in 1973 to what Crozier calls "the IRD massacre", when the IRD budget was removed from the secret vote, unattributable briefings were ended and a quarter of IRD's four hundred staff were transferred elsewhere in the Foreign Office. Although depriving the ISC of a powerful patron, the reduction in IRD activities made the ISC even more important as a propaganda outlet.
The ISC's role as consultants in counter-insurgency would also lead it to study the war in Northern Ireland. The ISC Council minutes from January 1972 mention an ISC conference on Ireland that was held at Ditchley Park under conditions of extreme secrecy. Ditchley Park is a conference centre at Enstone in Oxfordshire used for private VIP meetings which are guarded by Special Branch and MI5. Ditchley Park was closely linked to the Bilderberg Group, fourteen of whose members sat on the centre's Board of Governors at one time or another (157). One of the results of the ISC’s Ditchley Park conference on Ireland would seem to be the creation in November 1972 of the British-Irish Association, founded by Iain Hamilton, Managing Director of Forum World Features and later Editorial Director of the ISC. Professor, the Lord Vaizey, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation from 1973 on, would serve as Honorary Treasurer of the BIA; other BIA founding members included Moss and Crozier, the latter asking specifically for his name not to be included in the list of BIA sponsors. The BIA organised its first conference in Cambridge in March 1973 and a second in July 1974.
Another major domestic campaign run by the ISC in 1972-73 - without the support of the secret services, Crozier claims - was to support counter-subversion operations run by industry, a campaign which in February 1974 would give the ISC the greatest media coup it ever had. In January 1972, the Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry John Whitehorn - "one of our converts" as Crozier puts it - had sent out a long memorandum to all CBI subscribers in which he expressed "the concern of industry at the rise of subversive influences in British industry" and appealed for contributions to five "anti-subversive organisations" (158). Four of these groups were already well-known for their reports on industrial subversion and the blacklists of militant trades unionists that they supplied to employers: the Economic League, Aims of Industry, Common Cause and IRIS. The fifth anti-subversive organisation destined for industry's contributions was the ISC. As we have seen, Crozier had already been working since at least 1969 with both the Economic League and Aims of Industry within the Consultative Council of Interdoc.
As Crozier records, "by the spring of 1972, I had decided that a special study on subversion in industry had become necessary; the stark fact was that the trades unions virtually owned the Labour Party" (159). As industry was being slow to support the ISC's campaign, Crozier asked Nigel Lawson, whom Crozier had known at the Spectator, to produce a brief report entitled Subversion in British Industry. In November 1972, thirty copies of the Lawson report were printed and distributed to the captains of industry, thanks to the help of John Dettmer, Chairman of the Economic League, and Michael Ivens, Director of Aims of Industry. The Lawson report succeeded in raising the funds to convene a study group on subversion in industry which began working in the autumn of 1973. The backdrop at the time was the confrontation between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Heath government over Heath's Industrial Relations Act, culminating in Heath calling an election for February 1974 under the slogan "Who governs Britain?" As Crozier records: "Just before polling day, the Institute's report, Sources of Conflict in British Industry, had been published with unprecedented publicity" (160). This media coup would be a major contribution by the ISC to a concerted campaign against the Labour candidate Harold Wilson, a campaign described further below.
Besides its British and European operations in 1972-73, the ISC was also an active partner in the CIA's media campaign against Allende when its material would also be surfaced by a Chilean CIA front group, the Institute for General Studies. The most prolific author in this campaign was Crozier's partner Robert Moss, a central member of the ISC who had visited Chile in early 1972 as a correspondent for the Economist. In February and March of 1973, the ISC published two Conflict Studies on Chile written by Moss, The Santiago Model: Revolution within Democracy and The Santiago Model: the Polarisation of Politics. The ISC would also focus on alleged KGB support for Allende in the Caribbean region at this time, producing a Conflict Study by Crozier entitled Soviet Pressures in the Caribbean in June 1973 and a Special Report by Moss, The Stability of the Caribbean, in November 1973, the latter being the proceedings of a conference held in May at Ditchley Park under the chairmanship of Major-General Clutterbuck and sponsored by the ISC and the Georgetown Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (161)*. Forum World Features itself would publish the most notorious contribution to the anti-Allende campaign, Robert Moss's Chile's Marxist Experiment. The book would arrive too late to contribute to the campaign - Allende had already been killed in the military coup - but the book still had its uses: the Chilean Junta bought nearly 10,000 copies for distribution by the Chilean Embassy in Washington. Moss would add his conclusions on the coup in March 1974 in an article entitled Chile's Coup and After published by Encounter, the journal of the FWF parent body, the CCF. Moss would also come back to Allende and the coup in his 1975 book The Collapse of Democracy (162).
The War against Communist subversion
By the mid-1970s, the Cercle complex had succeeded in creating an international contact network of groups working on anti-Soviet and countersubversion propaganda. In Belgium, the Cercle worked hand in hand with the AESP and could count on the help of the Defence Minister and his aides. In France, the prestige of a former Prime Minister and intelligence contacts from SDECE days ensured the Cercle's influence. In Britain, the complex found parliamentary friends in the Monday Club and amongst the discreet gentlemen of the secret services and the world of black propaganda, public and private. In the Netherlands, they could turn to the archivists of Interdoc, well connected to the BVD. In Germany, former BND agents, conservative bagmen and prominent parliamentary spokesmen challenged the Socialist government and consolidated the power of the "Lion of Bavaria"; across the border in Switzerland, they could rely on an untouchable disinformation outlet to spread their message.
But despite such wide-ranging contacts, the various components of the Cercle's network, brought together to defend the conservative cause, felt their vision of the world to be threatened as never before. Between 1974 and 1976, a paranoid feeling of apocalypse, of imminent Armageddon spread through the private clubs, the lobby rooms and the secret services throughout Europe: the Left was on the rise! In Germany, despite a barrage of smears and attack ads, Brandt had triumphed in the 1972 elections; after his resignation in 1974, the new Chancellor Helmut Schmidt led the SPD towards a strong showing in the 1976 elections. In Britain, humiliated by the National Union of Mineworkers, the Conservative government fell, and Labour won the two elections of 1974. In France and in Belgium, the Left seemed well-placed to break the electoral monopoly of the conservatives. In the Iberian peninsula, the longstanding geopolitical stability was soon overturned: in Portugal, the dictatorship of Salazar crumbled before the left-wing soldiers of the Armed Forces Movement, and in Spain, the Caudillo died, and democratic elections were called. Everywhere, the trades unions, the socialist parties and the peace movements, nests of Soviet subversion, gained ground. The Right were convinced that they were witnessing the total collapse of Western society as they knew it; this was the second emotional peak of the Cold War, a renaissance of the atmosphere of the 1950s. But they would not take defeat lying down, and the Cercle and their friends organised to confront this wave of subversion. In his note no. 167, written at the beginning of April 1975, Florimond Damman sets the tone of the age:
- "The Soviet Union gains no advantage in provoking a war, because under the cloak of détente, it continues to wage a war of subversion, and is winning everywhere. The West puts up no opposition to this war of subversion, and encourages it through its weakness due to both splits in the domestic policy field and clashes on foreign policy between European countries and also within the Atlantic Alliance.
- I propose a meeting of an urgent brain-trust which should establish:
- 1. the effects of the war of subversion in each of the countries of the Atlantic Alliance, in Europe as well as in the United States;
- 2. the effects of the war of subversion throughout the world: Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, Portugal, trade routes of raw materials;
- 3. the means that the Western block can use to initiate its own effective subversive action both within the Warsaw Pact countries and in the other contaminated countries around the world;
- 4. how to encourage countries within the Atlantic Alliance to take immediate steps to define effective tactics for an ideological offensive, which is the only way to win this war of subversion. The free movement of persons and ideas is one offensive tactic; we must find others.
- 5. consider setting up an action centre for offensive tactics in the US or Canada. Free movement of persons and ideas" (163)*.
In response to this challenge, the Cercle Pinay would intensify its actions and create new outlets. In Britain, between 1974 and 1976, the ISC and its allies would unleash a propaganda offensive against the Labour government and its union supporters. With the help of the counter-subversion lobby, Edward Heath would be replaced as leader of the Conservative Party by the hard-right candidate Margaret Thatcher; by sustaining their media war, the complex helped to ensure that she became Prime Minister in 1979.
In France in 1974, the friends of the Cercle Pinay would assist a massive smear campaign against the Socialist candidate for the Presidency, François Mitterrand. In Germany and in Switzerland, the two groups run by Karl Friedrich Grau would organise an intensive programme of conferences and seminars on Soviet subversion attended by Swiss and German government, police and intelligence officials. In Belgium, members of the AESP would set up a semi-public semi-private counter-subversion unit under the aegis of the military intelligence service, a unit which had close links to the extreme Right and coup plots in the 1970s.
On the Iberian peninsula, the complex would do what it could to limit the damage caused by the fall of the two dictatorships. In Portugal, it supported the putschist aspirations of General Spínola and his underground army, the ELP, who in 1975 waged a strategy of tension with the expert help of the unmasked Aginter Presse group. In Spain, the complex would channel clandestine funds to its friends amongst Franco's former ministers who were standing as candidates in the first democratic elections in 1976.
Internationally, with funding from the South African intelligence service BOSS, the Cercle complex would establish a pro-apartheid propaganda bureau in Paris, and then a second in London. The complex would also extend their operations to America by setting up the US Committee of the Institute for the Study of Conflict (USCISC) as a transatlantic relay for the complex's concerns.
Finally the 'Peace without Frontiers' Helsinki Appeal launched by Crozier, Violet and Damman would bear fruit in July 1975 when the Helsinki Final Accord was signed within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
The AESP and the EEC
Before going on to investigate these national campaigns by Cercle allies in their various countries, one should first note the Cercle's presence at the heart of Europe – the EEC in Brussels, whose very creation had been the aim of the Cercle's founders Pinay, Adenauer and Strauß.
A glimpse of the influence of Cercle friends within the European Community of the mid-1970s is given by the Association Pour l'Etude des Problèmes de l'Europe (AEPE), a Paris-based discussion group founded in 1958. Whilst the prestigious association had no formal place in the EEC structure, it benefited from its foundation onwards by the presence at its annual Round Tables of top-ranking EEC officials and prominent politicians and businessmen from both the EEC member states and from the United Kingdom, serving (as did CEDI) as a bridge for Europhiles on both sides of the Channel until at least 1980.
- "The international organisations, notably the European Communities, the OECD and the Council of Europe have provided assistance to the Association Pour l'Etude des Problèmes de l'Europe by attending its Round Tables. Speaking on behalf of the EEC and Euratom on the 6th May 1960 in Brussels following the Liège Round Table, Mr. Hirsch [Etienne Hirsch, President of Euratom from 1959 to 1962] expressed "the very deep recognition of the two Communities for the work accomplished by the Association and for the extremely important contribution made by the Round Tables to the construction of Europe.""
Whilst the AEPE itself was innocuous and was graced by the presence of many senior officials from the EEC, the OECD and the CoE, several core members of the AESP also held high positions in the association and ensured Cercle input to the process of European integration. The Historical Archives of the European Union document the mid-1970s membership of the AEPE and participation at its XXVII Round Table, held at the Belgian Foreign Ministry's Palais d’Egmont in Brussels in April 1974 (164).
Amongst the 1974 AEPE participants, we find several persons we have met before: Sir Frederic Bennett, soon to set up the Unison militia detailed below, the CDU Deputy Secretary-General and Head of Foreign Relations Dr. Heinrich Böx, a contact of the AESP since at least 1972 and a Life Member by 1977, Marcel Collet, a former director of Euratom and Honorary EEC Head of Division who had been a founding member of the AESP with Violet and Damman, Florimond Damman himself as Secretary-General of both the AESP and MAUE and Administrator of the Association Atlantique Belge, Jacques Jonet here credited as Advisor to the Presidency of the Society of Friends of Wilton Park, the President of that Society René-Louis Picard who had attended AESP events since at least 1971, and Vittorio Pons, PEU International Secretary-General, personal representative of PEU President Habsburg and another founding member of the AESP.
Such a gathering of the core members of the AESP is unsurprising in the light of the high positions other Academy friends held in the AEPE: founding AESP member Hans-Joachim von Merkatz served as AEPE Honorary President, Vice-President and Member of the Administrative Board at the time of this 1974 meeting. Amongst the roster of AEPE Honorary Members, we can find a trio of Italians - Ivan Matteo Lombardo, President of the Italian Atlantic Committee and a core AESP member, Carlo Pesenti, the industrialist and financier who had been the main source of funding for the Cercle, the AESP and the sniffer planes for several years, and Giovanni Malagodi, President of the Italian Liberal Party and founding member with Pinay of the Bilderberg Group in 1954 who would go on to attend AESP events in 1976.
It is worth noting that of the above AEPE Honorary members and participants at the April 1974 AEPE Round Table, four - Merkatz, Pons, Damman and Jonet - would meet again three months later at the XXIII CEDI Congress held in July. The presence of these key AESP members within the AEPE demonstrates that by the mid-1970s the Cercle via its Brussels operational base had succeeded in ensuring its influence at the highest levels of EEC decision-making. At the national level too, the Cercle's allies would work to shape events to follow their world view.
A very British coup
The Cercle complex's UK connections lead us into the heart of a major manipulation of British domestic politics, 'the Thatcher coup' concentrating in the period from Harold Wilson's two election victories in 1974 to Margaret Thatcher's election as Conservative Leader on 11th February 1975 and culminating with her election as Prime Minister on 4th May 1979 (165). A substantial body of verified information confirms the existence of a conspiracy to undermine the Labour Government of Harold Wilson, to discredit Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe and to have Conservative leader Edward Heath replaced by someone of a 'more resolute approach'. Colin Wallace - a former psy-ops officer within the IRD-founded Information Policy Unit in Northern Ireland and a key witness on MI5 intervention in domestic British politics in the 1970s - writes:
- "Various key members of the Intelligence community - past and present - assisted by influential figures in the public service, politics and commerce produced a series of political and psychological warfare projects which were designed to:
- a) prevent the election and re-election of a Labour Government;
- b) prevent any coalition between the Labour and Liberal parties;
- c) discredit key figures in both parties;
- d) collate and disseminate 'black' information which could be used to discredit or 'control' various politicians who were deemed to hold power behind the scenes in all three major political parties;
- e) have Mr Edward Heath removed as leader of the Conservative party and replaced by someone of a more resolute approach to the political and industrial unrest" (166)*.
It is possible to divide the conspirators roughly into two groups, the first of which centred on serving MI5 officers including Spycatcher author Peter Wright and others who had transferred from MI5's K Branch (counter-espionage) to F Branch (counter-subversion) when MI5 strengthened its role as a political police in the mid-1970s. This was notably the case of Charles Elwell who transferred from running K2 (Soviet satellite states) counter-espionage to heading F1 (CPGB and other groups) counter-subversion in April 1974 and who would work closely with Brian Crozier after his retirement from MI5 in May 1979.
The second group was a powerful private-sector coalition of retired MI6 officers, IRD disinformation assets and prominent members of the Tory Right, several of whom would later serve as Ministers under Thatcher. Whilst the Fleet Street Press has concentrated on Peter Wright and his MI5 faction in their late-1980s reports of the Wilson destabilisation, the ex-MI6/IRD/Tory MP coalition and their partners in the industry-funded anti-union outfits were also major actors in the psychological warfare campaign being waged against all three party leaders, a contribution that has been largely underestimated. It is this coalition - the 'counter-subversion lobby' - that was closely connected with the Cercle Pinay complex, not only through the ISC but also through two future groups, NAFF and FARI.
Following his resounding defeat by the miners after power cuts, massive strikes and the introduction of a three day working week, Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath called a General Election on the issue of "Who governs Britain?" The campaigning for the February 1974 election was held with the backdrop of widespread MI5 smear campaigns about a "Communist cell in the Labour Party"; Wilson himself was placed under blanket surveillance by MI5 during the election campaign. For the first time, troops and tanks were deployed at Heathrow airport, and joint Army/police patrols started.
On 18th January, the Times reported that the CIA and NSA were also stepping up counter-subversion operations in Britain; in the article, former senior CIA officer Miles Copeland declared that MI5 had their hands tied and were too timid to expose subversion. The following week, on the 25th, the Times published largely unfounded allegations by Josef Frolik, a Czech intelligence defector to the CIA, who claimed that several Labour MPs were spying for the Soviet Union. Frolik was a key witness for the counter-subversion lobby and the ultras within MI5, "confirming" their fears that the Labour Party was indeed a nest of Soviet spies; it is perhaps not coincidental that the MI5 officers in contact with Frolik were Peter Wright, "leader" of the ultra faction, and Charles Elwell, head of F1 counter-subversion from 1974 to 1979 before working closely with Brian Crozier on anti-Labour smear operations throughout the 1980s. On the 28th January, the Daily Telegraph carried a full-page article entitled Communists Aim to Dictate Labour Policy which described "the grip of Communist trades unionists on the Labour government". The contribution of the anti-union outfits to cranking up the tension was considerable: Aims of Industry, run by SIF's Michael Ivens, launched an appeal for £500,000 to prevent the election of a Labour government. The considerable sums raised from Aims's 4,000 member companies paid for a massive media scare campaign which ran newspaper adverts depicting Stalin hiding behind a grinning mask (167).
Another important contributor to the media barrage was the veteran MI6 coupmaster, G. K. Young. Having stood unsuccessfully as Conservative candidate for Brent East in 1972, Young brought the ideological struggle in the Monday Club to a head in April 1973 when he stood for Chairman. Young lost by 455 votes to 625, and left the Monday Club, as did several of his supporters. Besides rallying the Monday Club dissidents in a new group Tory Action, founded with Airey Neave in November 1974, Young also developed another tack, working in 1974-76 with his colleagues from SIF, Ross McWhirter and Conservative MP Sir Frederic Bennett, as well as two former MI6 officers, Anthony Cavendish (with Young an unsuccessful Conservative candidate in 1972) and Colonel Ronnie Waring of CEDI, to set up the Unison Committee for Action, a citizens' militia to keep essential services running, perhaps the most significant of the three private armies formed in the mid-1970s. Unlike the militias formed in Belgium in the early 1970s and early 1980s, the private armies in Britain may well have been not primarily a paramilitary but a psychological operation – a "Political Action" in MI6 jargon. Unison may have only been intended to be a "paper tiger", whose aim of strengthening the public feeling of a climate of disorganisation and impending chaos (and therefore the need for an authoritarian government response) was achieved simply by the news of its creation. That news came on 1st February 1974, when Young first announced the formation of Unison to MI5 friend Chapman Pincher.
Two days later, the ISC followed with a major media coup when over a page of the Observer was given over to a summary of the ISC's Special Report Sources of Conflict in British Industry under the banner headline The Communist Connection. Written by Nigel Lawson using information from the ISC's right-wing anti-union partners Aims of Industry, the Economic League, IRIS and Common Cause, the ISC report claimed that the unions were rampant with "red wreckers" plotting to bring British industry to its knees. On the 20th February, eight days before the election, the London Evening News carried a claim by G. K. Young that there were "40 or 50 Labour MPs for whom the Labour ticket is a cover for more sinister activities". Another element in the anti-union campaign was death threats against union leaders; the police took the threats seriously enough to arrange for police protection for several TUC officials (168).
Despite this barrage of propaganda, the election on the 28th February 1974 did not give any party a clear majority. After the Liberals refused a coalition with the Conservatives, Edward Heath was forced to resign. The counter-subversion lobby's fears had become reality; having won the largest number of seats, Labour formed the new government. However, the new Prime Minister Harold Wilson had an unworkably small majority, and so he called fresh elections for October. In between the two elections, MI5 and the counter-subversion lobby went all out to ensure a Labour defeat.
One major focus for their campaign was Northern Ireland. Whilst MI5 tacitly encouraged the Ulster Workers' Strike of May 1974 in which the Loyalists rejected and eventually brought down Labour's policy of power-sharing, the Army stood by and did nothing to break the Loyalists' grip. At the same time, at the IRD's Information Policy Unit in the Army Press Office in Northern Ireland, Colin Wallace received floods of MI5 smears on several dozen Westminster MPs from the Centre-Left of the Tory Party, the Liberal Party and the Labour Party, including Prime Minister Wilson and most of his Cabinet Ministers as well as both other party leaders, Thorpe and Heath. Using the MI5 files, Wallace was tasked to create disinformation documents as a part of a comprehensive smear operation called Clockwork Orange 2, also referred to as Carbon Dioxide (169).
In June 1974, the three major private armies - Young's Unison, Sir Walter Walker's Civil Assistance (which appears to have grown out of Unison; he is presented below) and David Stirling's GB75 were exposed in the Press – as was probably their original intention. In June, July and September, troops and tanks again made their appearance at Heathrow Airport whilst the Army continued joint patrols with the police. In August, Geoffrey Stewart-Smith joined in the anti-Left campaign by publishing a brochure called The Hidden Face of the Labour Party, which claimed that "over 10% of all trades union officials in the major industrial unions are Communists or far left-wing revolutionary Marxists". However, again, the smear campaigns and "reds under the beds" scare tactics were not quite enough to ensure a Conservative victory; in the October election, Labour scraped through with a majority of three seats.
Despite Labour's election victory, the propaganda barrage went on; the allegations made by the Czech defector Frolik were revived through the intermediary of Czech exile Joseph Josten, the Director of the Free Czech Information News Agency, close to MI6. Josten had served with SHAEF Psychological Warfare during World War II and immediately after the war had won the Czech Defence Ministry's prize for his study Propaganda and Peace during the War before leaving Czechoslovakia in 1948. In 1974-75, Josten was in close contact with the countersubversion lobby; he would join the ISC, SIF and Monday Club members in NAFF the following year, and would later write an ISC Conflict Study. Through Josten, Frolik accused Labour Minister John Stonehouse of being a Czech agent; Wilson angrily denied this in Parliament on 17th December 1974. On 19th December, Stewart-Smith wrote to Josten offering him and Frolik money to prove that Wilson was lying (170)*.
The 11th February 1975 brought the highpoint of a long campaign when Edward Heath was finally deposed as Leader of the Conservative Party and replaced by a relatively unknown outsider, his former Education Secretary, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher's leadership campaign, which culminated in her victory over her rival William Whitelaw by 146 votes to 79, had been run by Tory MP and former MI6 officer Airey Neave, who played a central role in the Thatcher conspiracy together with Peter Wright and the MI5 ultras, G.K. Young and the Crozier complex. During the war Neave had served in MI9, the escape network of MI6, after having been imprisoned in Colditz Castle along with two other key figures in the countersubversion lobby: David Stirling, founder of the SAS and creator of the private army GB75, and Charles Elwell of MI5 who, with Peter Wright, would handle Frolik. As a qualified lawyer who spoke fluent German, it was Neave who had been chosen to read the indictments to the Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg trials.
After demobilisation, Neave was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP in 1953, a position he retained until his death. With the reputation of a war hero and with his MI6 contacts, Neave rose quickly in politics and in 1974 threw his influence on the Tory backbenches behind Thatcher as candidate for the Conservative leadership. After her victory, Thatcher showed her recognition for the crucial part he had played in her leadership campaign by appointing him first as her private secretary and then to the key position of Shadow Minister for Northern Ireland; his deputy as Shadow Minister was John Biggs-Davison. Once in power, Thatcher also planned to nominate him to head a new government department to oversee the security and intelligence services. Neave would never take the post; he was killed by an Irish National Liberation Army bomb blast in the House of Commons car park on 30th March 1979, five weeks before Thatcher was elected Prime Minister.
With a new hard right leader at the helm of the Conservative Party, the counter-subversion lobby's campaign continued. On 26th February, two weeks after Thatcher's election as Conservative leader, a House of Lords debate on "Subversive and Extremist Elements" again aired the Frolik allegations, a debate initiated by Lord Chalfont (Lieutenant-Colonel Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones), a former military intelligence officer who had served in Malaya from 1955 to 1957 and then in Cyprus in 1958-59 alongside Stephen Hastings of MI6 and Peter Wright of MI5. After leaving the Army in 1961, he was the defence correspondent for the Times until November 1964 when he was ennobled as Baron Chalfont by Harold Wilson and appointed firstly Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and then Minister for European Affairs and Minister for Disarmament.
During his ministerial career, Chalfont was chief British negotiator for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and represented Britain within the Western European Union; from 1967 to 1969, he was also charged with negotiating British entry into the EEC, a move ultimately vetoed by de Gaulle. Following Wilson's election defeat in 1970, Chalfont became the Opposition chief spokesman on Defence and Foreign Affairs, serving until 1973. Leaving the Labour Party in protest at the "radical left", he rapidly veered rightwards to become a significant outlet for the counter-subversion lobby, particularly through his defence articles in the Times and television programmes. Allegedly "the CIA's man in the House of Lords", Chalfont certainly had been a member of the Executive Committee of the CIA-funded European Movement.
In France, 1974 saw the first challenge by Mitterrand to unbroken Republican rule in France since 1945. The Cercle Pinay's sympathies were clearly with Giscard d'Estaing, who had received his first ministerial post from Antoine Pinay; several Members of Parliament from Giscard's party were members of the AESP. Propaganda operations against the Left intensified after June 1972, when Mitterrand's Socialist Party concluded an electoral alliance with the Communist Party on the basis of a Common Programme. In the run-up to the Parliamentary elections in March 1973, the CNPF – the French employers’ confederation that was Violet's stamping ground - and the Union des Industries et des Métiers de la Métallurgie (UIMM) ran extensive propaganda campaigns highlighting the national disaster that would result from the election of France's first post-war Socialist government. In the six months from October 1972 to March 1973, the UIMM alone published nearly 9 million anti-Mitterrand brochures:
- Revelations, an eight page newspaper: 3.5 million copies
- Monsieur Dupont sees red, 16 page photo-novel: 4 million copies
- Open letter to left-wing intellectuals, 8 pages: 600,000 copies
- The nightmare or the application of the Common Programme, 40 pages: 210,000 copies
- France deserves better than Chile, 8 pages: 300,000 copies
- Letter to doctors, Letter to hairdressers: 40,000 copies each (171)*.
Crozier's close associate Georges Albertini also ran several groups which organised discrete coups for the CNPF, denouncing communism and syndicalism, and assisting 'independent' trade unions. One of Albertini's groups was to play a major part in propaganda support for Giscard in the 1974 Presidential elections; at the height of campaigning, Albertini's Association pour la Liberté économique et le Progrès social (ALEPS) produced 750,000 letters to executives, 170,000 brochures to teachers and 8 million copies of a fake daily newspaper called France-Matin, all of which described the catastrophic results if Mitterrand were to win the elections. France-Matin, however, never quite had the impact it could have: print workers seized and destroyed many of the copies before they could be distributed.
News of Giscard's victory was welcomed by the complex, as Damman described in a letter to Habsburg on 8th May 1974:
- "So Giscard has got into power but with a very narrow margin, we have simply won a little time which we must put to good use so as to organise our movements into active forces. The meeting of the 8th May has been an excellent springboard for setting up the regional teams of MAUE which we are building up mainly in Belgium and in France, and this strategy for action has proved to be very fruitful.
- Maitre Violet will be arriving in Brussels tomorrow (Tuesday) and will stay until Thursday. Now that we are concentrating on the provisional fate of France, we can draw up a plan for action. The key point is to ensure that the majority wins the next parliamentary elections which should normally be held in three years time, and, once again, it will be a close-run fight. It's clear now that each important domestic event in each of our countries will have a major impact on a European scale, and we must strengthen our influence in those countries where we have very few structures: the Netherlands, Denmark and Great Britain" (172).
The extent of the Academy's influence becomes clear from a letter dated 7th August 1974, from de Villegas, in Pretoria to test his sniffer planes, to Damman:
- "The meeting planned for Washington seems to me to be a major chance for the Academy. It will be an opportunity for us to make new contacts and to be given a budget which is a kind of consecration [for the Academy]. You chose well and showed good judgment in naming Mr. Destremau a permanent member of the Academy. Your choice was a wise one, as President Giscard d'Estaing has appointed him Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. All this promises much for the future [...] As far as the European relaunch is concerned, here too you have a good card in your hand, particularly as it is President Giscard d'Estaing who will himself take the initiative for this relaunch" (173)*.
The mention of a meeting in Washington in the late summer of 1974 is interesting as, at this time, the British end of the Cercle complex was working on the creation of a transatlantic bridgehead - the Washington Institute for the Study of Conflict (WISC). Four months later, in November 1974, the Cercle core of Violet, Vallet, Crozier and Huyn would host a future member of the US Committee for the ISC, Admiral John S. McCain Jnr, former Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during the Vietnam War, at the Paris launch of the Centre du Monde Moderne. In March 1975, the formation of the WISC would be announced as the American counterpart to the London and Paris outlets.
As Damman's letter to Habsburg in May 1974 shows, the complex was concentrating "on the provisional fate of France". The ISC would also support this campaign by publishing in January-February 1975 a Conflict Study entitled Social Conflict in France, written by none other than Crozier's old SDECE friend from the 1950s, Antoine Bonnemaison.
Another old French friend of Crozier's would be active in this campaign: Georges Albertini. In May 1975, Albertini launched another magazine, La Lettre de l'Homme Libre, together with Colonel Maurice Robert who had resigned as SDECE Deputy Director of Research in 1973. Robert had started his career in the French military, training counter-gangs in Vietnam in the early 1950s before joining SDECE in 1953 and directing their Africa Service from 1960 on. Albertini and Robert's magazine concentrated on Communist subversion in France and would continue publication until at least 1979. During this time, Robert was a Director of Elf, having been previously mandated by Pierre Guillaumat, Elf President from 1966 to 1977 and himself a former war-time intelligence agent, to set up and supervise a private intelligence network for Elf, to be run by Colonel Jean Tropel, another former SDECE officer.
Tropel had spent his career in the SDECE Counter-Espionage Division where he was responsible for security within Section 7, the SDECE's team of 'plumbers'. Dismissed after the Ben Barka affair in 1966, Tropel then joined Elf and from 1969 onwards set up Elf's intelligence network, called PSA (Protection, Security, Administration) which would be very active, particularly in Africa. Its members included many of the SDECE agents fired along with Violet by de Marenches in 1970 as well as former officers of the French security service DST and mercenaries such as Bob Denard (174)*.
As we have seen in previous chapters, having developed the sniffer planes project and ensured preliminary trials in Spain and a prospection campaign in South Africa, Violet and the two inventors Bonassoli and de Villegas had still not found a commercial outlet for their discovery. Violet however hoped to get Elf to accept the project, and his Trojan horse for working his way into Elf was its intelligence network. Violet knew Tropel well - they had been active together in Catholic organisations in the early 1970s - and Tropel had previously hired Violet's services as a lawyer for Elf in 1972. However, Violet did not approach Tropel directly, but first went to see Colonel Franck who functioned as Violet's SDECE case officer whenever Violet's usual contact - the Head of the SDECE himself - was not available. Franck knew Tropel very well; during the war, when Franck had commanded the Andalousie resistance network around Bordeaux, Tropel had been his adjutant.
Informed by Violet of this "incredible technological breakthrough", Franck wasted no time in contacting his former adjutant, now head of security at Elf. Tropel was to remain intimately involved in the sniffer plane project after its acceptance by Elf; Tropel would be responsible for security during the numerous trips taken by Violet and the team of inventors. Tropel would also take care of some of the financial arrangements: in 1976 some of the initial payments by Elf to Fisalma, de Villegas' sniffer plane company, would be channelled through Unindus, a Swiss subsidiary of Elf's run by Tropel. When the sniffer plane project expanded in 1978, the Unindus staff would be reinforced by the addition of Paul Violet and Alain Tropel, the sons of the two former SDECE agents (175).
White rule, black propaganda
Besides carrying out its own domestic and international operations, the Cercle complex was soon to become a partner in one of the largest covert propaganda campaigns since the Second World War: the media war waged by the South African Department of Information (DoI) in the mid-1970s, later exposed by the "Muldergate" scandal (176). The South African government's Erasmus Commission which investigated the scandal reported that between 1974 and 1977 the DoI channelled at least $73 million into a five-year clandestine operation to "finance secret propaganda and influence-buying projects abroad".
Under Information Minister Connie Mulder and his deputy Dr. Eschel Rhoodie, some 160 projects were launched, several of which aimed to buy out newspapers both in South Africa and abroad. One of the projects within South Africa consisted of a failed bid to buy a majority shareholding in South African Associated Newspapers so as to control the Rand Daily Mail, the liberal opposition newspaper that was part of the SAAN stable. Abroad, the projects included channeling $11 million to US conservative publisher John McGoff to buy the Washington Star. When this second attempt to buy a newspaper failed, McGoff used the money to purchase the Californian daily, the Sacramento Union. In 1986, McGoff would be charged for having failed to register as a foreign agent of the South African government; the charges were later dropped because the Justice Department had exceeded the five year statute of limitations in bringing the case. A later project of the DoI's in the US was the funding in 1978 of an Iowa Republican Senate nominee, Roger Epsen, who defeated a key opponent of apartheid, Senator Dick Clark.
The Cercle complex also benefited from funds from the DoI. Between 1974 and 1976, Cercle members worked in close collaboration with the DoI and the South African intelligence service BOSS in a propaganda campaign that aimed to highlight the Soviet menace and Kremlin aspirations in Southern Africa. Le Monde Moderne was a major outlet for this common campaign; besides republishing the 1972 ISC Special Report, the first issue of Le Monde Moderne also contained an article by Jacques Leguèbe calling for the defence of South Africa. The same theme dominated the second issue, which included a piece by Dr. Eschel Rhoodie. But the most important step was taken on 6th November 1973, when Le Monde Moderne organised a three-day restricted "brain-trust" meeting on South Africa, attended by Crozier, Violet, Vallet, Damman and Mr. Burger, South African Ambassador to France. The Ambassador presented a two-page report drawn up personally by Prime Minister Vorster, Information Minister Connie Mulder, his deputy Dr. Eschel Rhoodie and General Hendrik van der Bergh, head of BOSS. Then a discussion was held as to how the ISC, the Academy and Le Monde Moderne could assist the campaign that the South African government was conducting through such Pretoria-funded publications as To The Point, a newspaper with which Le Monde Moderne worked (177)*. The meeting decided to launch several campaigns to put over South Africa's point of view to influential figures in Europe, one of which was to target French Members of Parliament - Pinay himself had been the guest of the South African government during a private visit four months earlier in August 1973:
- "A Franco-South African Friendship Association was set up a while ago. Now we have to breathe life into it. Increase its numbers and quality. We must organise manipulation of the Members of Parliament - but with subtlety" (178).
This campaign was successful; from 1974 on, the number of French MPs visiting South Africa increased considerably. Another campaign targeted industrialists, a third the French and Belgian Press, particularly by inviting over South African journalists. The significance of the French group's campaigns were confirmed in a debate on Information held in the South African Parliament in April 1975, when the Deputy Minister for Information told the Assembly "that an estimated 11 million French people had read favourable reports about South Africa as a result of his Department's careful planning concerning the type of guest invited from France" (179)*. The brain-trust had also taken the decision to set up a second group to promote South Africa: the group would be created in 1978 as the Amis Français des Communautés Africaines (AFCA, French Friends of the African Communities), chaired by Pinay and including Leguèbe (180).
However, the November 1973 "brain-trust" meeting also decided that the greatest need was to create a prestigious French equivalent of the ISC, a 'neutral' geopolitical institute that could back up the more personal influence of VIP visits for Pretoria friends with 'academic' data on strategic considerations. According to the US Justice Department's charges against John McGoff, his attempt to buy the Washington Star for Pretoria aimed to ensure that "positive material relating to the strategic and economic importance of South Africa to the US and the West would be published and disseminated to policy and opinion makers within the US capital". The ISC/Le Monde Moderne team would be a powerful European source or relay for such propaganda. A key theme was to be oil: the oil crisis of October 1973 had focused the attention of Conservatives on the need to protect the West's vital fallback for oil supplies - the Cape route. The DoI's campaign aimed to ensure that the West's need for a strategic outpost on the Cape overrode any objections about apartheid; the propaganda line to be used was, predictably, Soviet designs on world energy resources, as Violet described to Damman, Crozier and Ambassador Burger at the seminar:
- "Oil is the vital weapon of the Cold War. The Soviet Union controls its sources and seeks to dominate the main oil trade routes - South Africa and the African territories owned by Portugal" (181).
The first result of the campaign came in March 1974 when the ISC brought out two Special Reports, both of which stressed the importance of South Africa for Western oil supplies: The Security of the Cape Oil Route and Soviet Objectives in the Middle East. The security of oil supply was also of interest to the South Africans themselves: after personal contacts between Pinay and Vorster, de Villegas travelled to South Africa in the summer of 1974 to run a series of tests of the sniffer planes for South Africa's state oil company.
By the end of 1974, the plan to establish a South African-backed propaganda institute in collaboration with Le Monde Moderne and the ISC had been completed. With funding to the tune of one million francs provided by BOSS via Rhoodie (182), the Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne was launched in November. Amongst its members were activists from the extreme Right and senior officers from the French armed forces such as General Jean Callet (also of the Bulletin de Paris), General Pin and Rear-Admiral Peltier (183). On 6th November 1974, a year to the day after the initial brain-trust meeting, the Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne held its inaugural conference on the theme of the defence of Africa against the threat of Communist subversion. The French core group at the launch were Violet, Vallet and the Monde Moderne team of Leguèbe and Lejeune.
Attending for the ISC were Crozier and Peter Janke, author of ISC Conflict Study No. 52, Southern Africa: End of Empire, which had just been published the month before. Much of the study's information on 'terrorism' in Mozambique came from P.J. De Wit, a senior BOSS operative. Janke, formerly of the IRD, was the ISC's Senior Researcher and South Africa expert. In 1973, Janke had played host to Michael Morris, a South African 'journalist' working in London. Morris was soon exposed as a sergeant in the South African Security Police (184) who had 'resigned' earlier that year from their Special Branch to write a book South African Terrorism. In 1974, Janke was able to renew his friendship with Morris whilst visiting Capetown to collect information for Conflict Study No. 52 from De Wit at BOSS headquarters. Morris later became head of a BOSS propaganda front, the South African Terrorism Research Centre, "a direct copy of the British Institute for the Study of Conflict, but not half as good", according to BOSS's one-time London agent, Gordon Winter (185)*.
Also attending the launch of the Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne was Count Hans Huyn, Strauß's foreign policy advisor. The new centre's launch in 1974 is the earliest recorded meeting of all three men who would form the triumvirate coordinating the Cercle complex in the late 1970s: Violet, Crozier and Huyn. It is unlikely however that this was the three men's actual first meeting: Huyn had served since at least 1972 on the International Council of CEDI with Habsburg, Sánchez Bella, Merkatz and Vankerkhoven – all AESP members. Huyn had also attended the January 1973 AESP Charlemagne Grand Dinner in the company of Habsburg, Damman and Giulio Andreotti. At the time of this 1974 launch, the AESP and the Cercle had been working closely with Crozier and the ISC for some time; the ISC had already produced three Special Reports co-funded by the Cercle since 1972.
Alongside Violet, the Monde Moderne team, the ISC and Huyn, representatives of two major American military propaganda institutes cooperating with the ISC attended the Centre's launch: James L. Winokur, a Board Member of the NSIC which had already supported the first Cercle/ISC joint venture by buying 500 copies of the Cercle-sponsored 1972 ISC Special Report, and Admiral John S. McCain Jnr, the former Commander-in-Chief Pacific Forces (CINCPAC) in charge of Vietnam War military operations from 1968 until his retirement in 1972. McCain then joined the Board of the ASC and was working at this time to create a Washington ISC offshoot, announced in March 1975. In May 1974, six months before this inaugural conference of the Centre d'Etudes, McCain had shown his support for South Africa – and courted considerable controversy – by inviting the Chief of the South African Defence Staff, Admiral Hugo Biermann, for a week-long private visit to the United States (186)*.
The launch of the Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne also hosted a sizable military contingent. Attending for the South African Defence Force was Major-General Robbertze, Director of Strategic Studies (187)*. The French armed forces sent Generals Callet and Pin, Colonel J.M. Bonnier, former Africa specialist at the General Secretariat for National Defence, and General François Maurin, an observer from the Chief of General Staff of the Army. The Spanish armed forces were represented by Colonel J.M. Sancho Sofranis, aide to the former Chief of General Staff of the Navy (188).
The Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne soon started work; the following year, 1975, it would publish the book Africa and the Defence of the West by Jean Vigneau of the Monde Moderne staff (189). In parallel to their considerable input to the Centre d'Etudes du Monde Moderne, the ISC also helped South Africa by passing on the ISC's 1974 Special Report Sources of Conflict in British Industry, "which would be useful for indicating how South African unions might be attacked as recalcitrant or strike-prone, not on account of any real grievances, but only because of left-wing militants and outside agitators" (190).
The Washington ISC
At the same time as the Cercle complex was intensifying pressure on left-wing candidates in France and Britain and supporting BOSS in their international propaganda campaign, the ISC had been working in 1974 on plans to set up an American satellite. By early 1975, the final preparations had been made, and the US Committee of the ISC (USCISC) was formally launched on 3rd March 1975, two weeks after Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party (191). The USCISC was to be the parent body for a Washington Institute for the Study of Conflict which was intended to be materially independent of the London ISC and therefore would have its own facilities for research and publication. The Washington ISC would however closely mirror the political agenda of its London predecessor; in its Statement of Purpose, the WISC declared: "the United States, the pre-eminent power in the Free World, is experiencing its own problems with subversion. The US Institute for the Study of Conflict has thus been established to address this complex problem which has not been fully recognized in this country" (192). Much of the USCISC's funding was provided by Dick Scaife whose Scaife Foundation had been a longstanding source of support for the the NSIC and the ISC.
The USCISC was able to call on the same kind of high-power coalition of senior politicians and intelligence veterans that the Cercle Pinay enjoyed in Europe. The USCISC was chaired by George Ball, former Under-Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs under Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. One of the founding members of the Bilderberg Group with Pinay, Voisin and Bonvoisin, Ball had been one of the rapporteurs at their inaugural meeting at the Hotel Bilderberg in 1954. One month after the launch of the USCISC, Ball would attend the April 1975 Bilderberg conference, held in Cesme, Turkey, along with Strauß, Thatcher and Sir Frederic Bennett of SIF (193).
Another Bilderberger and crucial political figure on the USCISC was Zbigniew Brzezinski, who had proposed to the 1972 Bilderberg conference in Knokke, Belgium, to create a similar forum to bring together the three economic world powers, the US, Europe and Japan. The new body, the Trilateral Commission, was founded in late 1972; its first Director from 1973 to 1976 was Brzezinski. Brzezinski would also attend the 1975 Bilderberg conference with Ball, Strauß, Thatcher and Bennett. At the time the USCISC was founded, Brzezinski was working for the Research Institute on Communist Affairs and was Democrat candidate Jimmy Carter's top foreign policy advisor; Brzezinski and Ball were considered to be the main Democrat frontrunners for the post of Secretary of State, a measure of the USCISC's political influence. After Carter's November 1976 election victory, Brzezinski was appointed his National Security Advisor, serving until 1981; the post of Secretary of State however went to Cyrus Vance, previously Johnson's Deputy Secretary of Defence.
The USCISC also included former senior CIA officers, the most famous of whom was Kermit Roosevelt, a veteran CIA coupmaster who had worked closely with G. K. Young of MI6 on Project Ajax, the 1953 coup against Mossadegh in Iran. Young's action plan had been adopted by the CIA; infiltrated into Iran, Roosevelt reported to Young, based in Cyprus. Another former senior CIA officer on the USCISC was Robert W. Komer who had worked as an intelligence analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence and the Office of National Estimates from 1947 to 1960. He then served on the National Security Council until 1965 when he was appointed Special Assistant to President Johnson. In February 1967, he was posted to Saigon with ambassadorial rank to take over responsibility for all civil and military pacification programmes (Civil Operations and Rural Development Support) in Vietnam, an effort previously shaped by Sir Robert Thompson, Head of the British Advisory Mission to Vietnam from 1961 to 1965. Together with his deputy (and, in November 1968, his successor) William Colby, a former covert operations chief in the CIA's East Asia Division, Komer was the main architect of the notorious Phoenix programme. His controversial past would however have consequences; in 1968, Komer was appointed Ambassador to Turkey, but after local riots about his presence, he left public service in 1969 and joined the RAND Corporation, producing their February 1972 study "The Malayan Emergency in Retrospect: Organization of a Successful Counterinsurgency Effort" (194).
After a suitable interval, Komer was brought back into public service in the Carter Administration - whose national security policy was coordinated by fellow USCISC member Brzezinski. Under Carter, Komer served from 1979 to 1981 as Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, the third-ranking Pentagon post. Komer also accompanied Carter's Secretary of Defence Harold Brown on his groundbreaking trip to China between 4th-13th January 1980 when Brown solicited Chinese aid for the covert war against the Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan. The negotiations were successful; on 24th January, the United States granted Most Favoured Nation trading status to China, whilst China reciprocated over the following six months by supplying weapons to the Afghan mujaheddin and granting unprecedented permission for the CIA and NSA to set up two electronic listening posts targeting the Soviet Union at Qitai and Korla in Xinjiang (195).
Komer was not the only expert in counter-revolutionary warfare to figure on the USCISC; another Committee member was Dr. George Kilpatrick Tanham, a counter-insurgency expert for the RAND Corporation since 1955. Tanham served as Associate Director for Counter-Insurgency at the US Agency for International Development in South Vietnam from 1964 to 1965, then as Special Assistant for Counter-Insurgency to the American Ambassador to Thailand from 1968 to 1970 before returning to America to work as Vice-President of the RAND Corporation's Washington office from 1970 to 1982. Tanham would take over as President of the WISC late in 1975 when the first President, James Theberge who is presented below, was appointed Ambassador to Nicaragua; WISC would then move into the RAND Corporation's Washington office (196).
Another USCISC member with CIA connections was NSIC President Frank Barnett; the NSIC was also represented on the USCISC by NSIC Vice-President and General Counsel Admiral William C. Mott, a former Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1960 until his retirement in 1964. The NSIC was not the only geopolitical study group which had a representative on the USCISC; as mentioned above, American Security Council Board member Admiral John S. McCain Jnr, former Commander-in-Chief of Pacific Forces during the Vietnam War, was one of the USCISC's founding members.
The USCISC also included four academics with links to the CIA, the first being James Theberge, who acted as the WISC's first President. Having first spent a year from 1969 to 1970 as a Research Associate at St Antony's College Oxford, close to MI6, Theberge then became Director of Latin American Studies at the Georgetown Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the ivory tower for CIA retirees. There, Theberge would write two books for publication by the CSIS, Soviet Naval Power in the Caribbean and Russia in the Caribbean, in which Theberge launched the propaganda myths of a camp run by Koreans for training Chilean guerrillas, and a KGB plan for a Chilean submarine base. In 1974, Theberge also produced the book The Soviet Presence in Latin America for the NSIC. The CIA would make use of Theberge's books as part of their destabilisation campaign against Allende by ensuring that the books were quoted at length in the Chilean Press, notably in the CIA-funded El Mercurio, just before the March elections. In May 1975, six months before Franco's death, the CSIS and the ISC would organise a joint academic conference in London on NATO and the Iberian Peninsula at which Theberge, Crozier and Janke were speakers. In July 1975, Theberge was appointed US Ambassador to Nicaragua, a post he filled until June 1977; Tanham replaced him as President of the WISC. Theberge would later serve from 1982 to 1985 as Reagan's Ambassador to Chile (197).
The second university professor to serve on the USCISC was OSS veteran Professor Edward Shils, a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, Professor of Sociology at Chicago University and Chairman of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Shils would take over publication of the magazine Encounter after the Congress for Cultural Freedom was exposed as a CIA front in 1967. From 1975 to 1977, Shils would serve on the ISC Study Group on Higher Education which produced a Special Report on "communist subversion in the education system" (198).
Another academic on the USCISC in 1975 was the Sovietologist Professor Richard Pipes. Pipes had been working with the ISC since at least late 1973 when he served on an ISC Middle East Study Group whose findings would be published in March 1974 as the Special Report Soviet Objectives in the Middle East. In 1976, a year after the foundation of the USCISC, CIA Director George Bush would ask Pipes to work on the staff of a new CIA thinktank called Team B with General Daniel O.Graham, previously Deputy Director of the CIA under William Colby from 1973-1974 and then Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency DIA in 1974-76. Team B was tasked to 'beef up' the CIA's assessment of the Soviet threat, which was considered to be too soft on Communism, so as to highlight an alleged "missile gap". Pipes would later be an advisor on Soviet Affairs to the National Security Council and a Professor at Harvard University (199)*.
The fourth university professor on the USCISC was also a Sovietologist who had worked for the CIA, Professor Robert F. Byrnes of Indiana University. Between 1951 and 1954, Byrnes provided intelligence assessments on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to the CIA's Office of National Estimates; from 1954 to 1956, he served as Director of the Mid-Europe Study Center, a CIA-funded thinktank on Soviet issues. From 1975 to 1982, Byrnes would be a member of the Board of Trustees of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the radio station long financed by the CIA.
A final member of note on the USCISC was Adolph W. Schmidt, in 1975 the recently retired American Ambassador to Canada. Schmidt also had contacts in the intelligence community, having served in the OSS, the precursor of the CIA, from 1942 to 1946. In 1957, he was a member of the American delegation to NATO before moving on in 1959 to the Atlantic Congress in London, then returning to NATO in 1962; during this period, he played a key part in unifying the American pro-NATO movement and founding the Atlantic Institute in Paris. In 1965, he attended the Bilderberg conference held in Villa D'Este, Italy along with founding Bilderberger and future WISC Chairman George W. Ball, David Rockefeller and Sir Frederic Bennett. In 1967, Schmidt was an advisor to the US Commission for Europe before serving as Nixon's Ambassador to Canada between 1969 and 1974. In 1975, Schmidt also joined the Advisory Board of Frank Barnett's NSIC, serving at least until 1985; in 1976, eighteen months after the foundation of the USCISC, Schmidt would meet the core members of the Cercle complex at a CEDI Congress (200)*.
As can be judged from this list of Board members, the Cercle could count on friends on the highest levels of the intelligence and political hierarchy in the United States. Pinay himself had a privileged relationship with Nixon and Kissinger, personally handing the two men the Cercle-sponsored ISC Special Report European Security and the Soviet Problem in 1972; he would visit them again later in 1975 to lobby for the ISC, no doubt with the support of the US Committee of the ISC. The USCISC would ensure that, despite Nixon's fall from power, the Cercle would continue to enjoy unparalleled access to the American national security apparatus under both Presidents Ford and Carter. Within a year of the USCISC's creation, Pipes would be working on the revision of the CIA's assessment of the Soviet threat and later act as advisor to the National Security Council. Brzezinski would fill the top job of NSC Director and National Security Advisor to President Carter from 1977 to 1981; his top civilian subordinate in the Pentagon from 1979 to 1981 was Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, Robert Komer.
One opportunity to support the ISC's American expansion came in May 1975, only two months after the foundation of the USCISC, when the Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, run by Robert A. Fearey, convened for hearings on international terrorism. One major witness was Brian Crozier who records: "My role, although it was not spelt out, was to define various types of terrorism and above all to produce the evidence (which the State Department was anxious to conceal) of the key role of the Soviet Union and its satellites in the recruiting, training and financing of terrorist gangs. The tactic worked. Not only were my speech and answers to questions written into the record, but so were extensive extracts of my Institute's publications" (201)*. Fearey provided Crozier with a second opportunity ten months later; in March 1976, Fearey chaired a major international conference on terrorism in Washington, whose keynote speaker was Crozier, accompanied on the podium by Robert Moss and two other ISC authors whom we will meet later, Hans Josef Horchem and Professor Paul Wilkinson.