Conspiracy Times – The Knights of the Extreme Right
Many secret societies, including those aimed at nurturing the spiritual enlightenment of their members, have been infiltrated by intelligence agencies for the purposes of grooming terrorists and fulfilling nefarious political agendas.
by Philip Coppens
Are secret societies just another front for shady intelligence operations? Are members of knightly orders groomed to become terrorists? Many initiatory cults, from the Solar Temple to the Rosicrucians, are or have been used as fronts for extremely nefarious and horrific dramas.
In “State-sponsored Terrorism in the Western World” (NEXUS vol. 14, no. 2, February–March 2007), I highlighted that western governments had organised terrorist activities against their own citizens, often sacrificing the lives of innocent civilians for what they consider to be the greater good. In countries like Belgium and Italy, government inquiries revealed that a secret army, known as the “stay-behind network”, had been staffed by their own citizens. In Belgium, it had taken orders from the Belgian State Security Service, the equivalent of the Russian FSB or the American CIA. The cell was code-named SDRA8 and was directly linked to NATO’s stay-behind centres, the Allied Clandestine Committee (ACC) and the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC). In Italy, a series of bombing campaigns in the 1980s left hundreds of innocent people—often commuters—dead and injured.
These campaigns were part of a “strategy of tension”, a way to control and manipulate public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs and false-flag terrorist actions, all carried out to scare the average citizen into the belief that communism was near and willing to kill. In truth, it was the intelligence agencies of the western world that killed and created a threat that was never real.
Though state-sponsored terrorism is now a commonly accepted fact for these episodes (though the role of the British government in Northern Ireland remains a hotly debated topic), what is less known is that what kept this international network of “government-employed terrorists” organised was a series of pseudo-chivalric organisations, which conspiracy theorists have largely failed to identify for what they truly are and which the “esoteric crowd” largely has embraced with love. Knightly and Terrorist Overlaps in Argentina, Spain and Italy López Rega One of the most prominent examples of a knightly overlap with the extreme right is the case of José López Rega, a leader of the Umbanda voodoo cult which was strong in Argentina in the 1970s. López Rega made his career in the ranks of the Argentinian federal police, but left the police force in 1961 at the age of forty-five. In 1965, he became acquainted with María Estela Martínez, the third wife of Juan Perón, who became enthralled by the occultist. He became her personal bodyguard, and soon after he became private secretary to President Perón himself. When Perón returned to Argentina in 1973, López Rega became a minister in his new government.
To “keep communism at bay”, López Rega founded the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA), which was responsible for a series of brutal murders. On 20 June 1973, more than 300 people were killed in Ezeiza. This and more meant that, in 1975, he had to flee to Spain, living in the Perón villa where he decided to bring the AAA to Spain. Together with Stefano Delle Chiaie, he began the fight against ETA, the Basque freedom fighters, and the rest is another sad history.
The knightly connections come in the form of López Rega being a prominent member of the Italian Freemasonic lodge Propagande Due (P2), which in Italy was linked with a string of terrorist activities that were discussed in detail in my previous article (referenced above). It was López Rega who brought the Peróns into contact with Licio Gelli, the P2 leader. Gelli became an adviser to Perón, and he was the only non-Argentinian on the aircraft that brought Perón back to Argentina.
Gelli and López Rega then founded the Argentinian wing of P2, the Pro-Patria lodge. Immediately, high rollers from the military as well as government ministers were admitted. The organisation’s primary agenda was to create ties with the oil and weapons industries. After Perón’s fall, López Rega was often seen around Lake Geneva at Gelli’s house, underlining the close bond which the two men had. Order of the Solar Temple Luc Jouret The link between the staybehind networks in Italy and P2 in Italy is not the exception. If anything, it is the rule. It is now clear that the staybehind networks in various European countries infiltrated the knightly and freemasonic organisations: in Italy, it was a Freemasonry lodge that was targeted; in France, it appears that the Knights Templar of the Sovereign Order of the Solar Temple (Ordre Souverain du Temple Solaire, or OSTS), set up in 1952, was their main attraction.
In the 1990s, the Order of the Solar Temple (Ordre du Temple Solaire, or OTS), under the visible leadership of Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro since its inception in 1984, committed a series of what has been officially classified as “collective suicides”—even though most of the victims were actually killed by bullet and/or asphyxiation. French officials have rather purposefully neglected all routes that could reveal a ghastly truth and instead have continuously focused on the cult aspect of the organisation. For example, it has twice tried Michel Tabachnik, a member of the OTS, for being responsible for agitating the Order so that its members committed suicide. Yet all experts consulted, as well as members of the “cult”, stated that Tabachnik was innocent of such crimes. Twice a jury agreed, and twice Tabachnik was acquitted.
One of the experts in the story of the Solar Temple is the French journalist Maurice Fusier. In one of his books on the subject, Secret d’Etat? (“State Secret?”), he explains where his lines of enquiry have taken him. For example, it has become clear that police and investigators purposefully neglected clues that showed that unknown persons aided if not executed the “collective suicides” (which, in France, took place in 1995). Trails suggesting that several hundreds of millions of dollars were moved from OTS bank accounts into what appears to have been Australia were intentionally not followed up during the investigation. Specifically, Fusier has identified that key figures within the OTS had direct links and access to the then French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua. Indeed, in the final weeks of the OTS’s existence, members claimed and complained that they had been “infiltrated”, and just before their deaths they sent their passports to Pasqua, apparently claiming that they felt he was responsible for what was about to happen. But how could a cult hold the Minister of the Interior responsible for deaths that were officially of their own doing?
The theory of collective suicides has also been heavily contested by Alain Vuarnet, René and Muguette Rostan, Willy and Giséla Schleimer, who are relatives of the victims, and Dr Alain Leclerc, their lawyer. Their investigation has uncovered one document, a copy of a letter of 21 April 1997, addressed by a lawyer’s office to a bank, concerning the distribution of 17 million French francs (about 2.5 millions euros) between various personalities and political parties, the OTS and the Rosicrucian Order AMORC (Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis). In his demand for a further investigation, Dr Leclerc (quoted by Fusier) wrote: “If the document is true, it shows that the Order of the Solar Temple was in activity after the last March 22, 1997 massacre [in Quebec, Canada] and that the leaders of this organisation are still alive.” The court refused to investigate the letter.
If the OTS’s demise was a “state secret”, what was going on? Author François-Xavier Verschave has argued that the “collective suicides” were connected to Gladio, the secret NATO stay-behind network in Italy. Verschave may be echoing the opinions of Dr Jean-Marie Abgrall, an expert who was used during the investigations into the OTS and who was accused of violating these secret investigations as he spoke out of turn. He was not the only expert who was frustrated with the level of secrecy and the desire to bring some of this information into the media spotlight: another was French esoteric journalist Jean-Luc Chaumeil.
Abgrall repeatedly stated, in declarations to Le Point and Nice-Matin in February 2003, that the Renewed Order of the Temple (Ordre Rénové du Temple, or ORT) cult, the ancestor of the OTS and created in 1968, had relations with the Gladio network. Abgrall added that there were further relationships between AMORC, of which he was once a member, and the French networks in Africa, the so-called “Foccart network”. According to Fusier, Abgrall concluded that “the Order of the Solar Temple, as well as AMORC and the ORT, was created and controlled by French and foreign secret services”.
Other researchers have concluded that Luc Jouret, head of the OTS, co-operated with the far-right Belgian activist Jean-François Thiriart. In the 1970s, they founded an organisation whose goal it was to organise a split in the Communist Party of Belgium, forming the Parti Communautaire Européen, which then became the Parti Communautaire National-Européen. Bruno Fouchereau, author of La mafia des sectes and a writer for Le Monde Diplomatique, has alleged that this Belgium “Nazi-Maoist group” was actually controlled by the SDRA8, Belgium’s branch of Gladio. Constantin Melnik Observers have noted that there are many parallels between the OTS and the original “Templar Order” in France, the OSTS. A leading member of the OSTS was Constantin Melnik, head of the then French external intelligence agency SDECE. Melnik conceived the so-called La Main Rouge (“the Red Hand”), a group of state-sponsored terrorists that specifically operated in the Algerian War in the 1950s. Several terrorist attacks were attributed to this organisation and seen as attacks against the French state, whereas they were actually committed by the state—a so-called false-flag operation.
Melnik has since admitted his responsibility in the creation of the fiction of the Red Hand, but he has denied any involvement in the Templar story. Instead, he has pointed the finger at the KGB! He claims that, in 1958, it sent over people to the area he lived in, dressed up as Templars, in an effort to discredit him! As he was later repeatedly seen at the OSTS headquarters in Villié Morgon, near Lyon, his claims regarding the KGB, even if true, do not change his personal and extensive involvement in the OSTS.
What Constantin Melnik does not dispute either is that he received his training from the Rand Corporation, a company whose principal customer is the Pentagon. He also accepts that it was François de Grossouvre who was instrumental in his return to France in 1983. De Grossouvre was the person in charge of Gladio in the Lyons region. Geoffroy d’Aumale and Jean-Pierre Faure, in their Guide de l’espionnage et du contre-espionnage (“Espionage and Counter-espionage Guide”), claim the same. De Grossouvre would later commit suicide inside his office in the Elysée Palace, the residence of the French president, though many believe that he was “suicided”.
Former members of the OSTS have noted that there definitely was a military aspect to the OSTS. Though there were mass gatherings of members in which apparently esoteric if not magical rituals were performed, there were also weekends of a slightly different nature. One member stated that on one such weekend, a group was taken to a secluded valley in which their guides began to show them extremely high-tech machine guns which definitely came from a military arsenal. They were asked to begin target practice, an offer which some of the OSTS members immediately declined and then most annulled their membership or let it expire. It therefore seems clear that the OSTS had always been, or at some point became, exposed to Gladio, and members were often unknowingly invited to begin to train as resistance fighters in the Gladio network.
Within the Gladio framework, the OTS begins to make more sense. If the OTS was part of the Gladio network, it would explain why it was led by Luc Jouret, a Belgian ex-military official with ties to Gladio. It explains the enormous sums of money that were transferred, and it explains what happened in the final days of the OTS. If the OTS was a Gladio cell, it seems that the French Ministry of the Interior had indeed infiltrated this cell and may have been responsible for neutralising it (for Gladio was controlled by the CIA and NATO, not the governments of the countries in which it operated). One means of neutralisation is to kill all members… The Quebec Connection Gladio is often seen as a European network of NATO cells created to fight communism. But the OTS also had members in Canada. And it was while investigating the OTS suicides there that the Quebec provincial police force uncovered unrealised plans to set up a terrorist organisation for war against the Mohawk Nation! The Mohawk live around Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River in what is now Canada and the United States. To make some sense of this story, it should be pointed out that the OTS in Canada was specifically linked with the electricity corporation Hydro-Québec. There were press reports that executives of Hydro-Québec were building dams at the behest of Jouret in order to provide electricity for a Québécois colony that would exist after the group’s prophesied doomsday event. Of course, the doomsday prophecy could be seen as a smokescreen, the dam could be seen as a key economic initiative…and the Mohawk Nation’s wishes might have been overridden in the pursuit of hard cash by the OSTS and the like.
Fusier underlines that Di Mambro wired 93 million US dollars to Australian banks before his death. And it is little known that it is one Jean-Pierre Galipeau who claims that he is the heir to that money. Galipeau is Canadian. At first he appeared to Fusier as a potential attention-seeker if not con-man, but then Fusier entertained the notion that his claim could be true.
The story begins in 1995, when Canadian citizens were told to register any weapons in their possession. At first, this law was said to cost two million Canadian dollars, but eventually the price rose to two billion dollars! Galipeau claimed that apart from several scandals, there was also a group that the Quebec police had discovered in 1993, a year before the first OTS suicides. This group was a “pseudo-terrorist group” known as Q-37, which was identified as planning the assassinations of several leading Canadian politicians. It was then uncovered that there was a report in the newspaper Soleil (of all names!) on 7 April 1993 that Jouret had been pressuring women into training to shoot. The report continued that a group that was known as Q-37 (“Q” standing for Quebec, and “37” being the number of founding members) was linked to the OTS and had already threatened Claude Ryan, Quebec’s then Minister of Public Security. Two members of the group were arrested and charged with complicity in acquiring weapons and silencers. One of these was… Luc Jouret.
Jouret returned to Canada in August 1993 and was arrested, but he was given only a probationary sentence. Allegations of terrorism, murder, etc. had all disappeared and only the weapons charge remained. Was it because officially the Quebec government’s hands were tied? Did the government instead have to come up with an “alternative punishment”? Were the OTS suicides the “real punishment” that Jouret received? (He died in the mass suicide in Switzerland in October 1994.) That this may be the case comes from accusations from the Quebec police, who suspected that Jouret, along with his supposed involvement in an arms-trafficking ring, was involved in blowing up transmission towers belonging to Hydro-Québec (the utility company where Jouret had given inspirational seminars on business and self-realisation) and in leading Q-37. These accusations were hysterically denied in the Solar Temple’s collective suicide note which accused Claude Ryan of belonging to the right-wing Catholic secret society Opus Dei. AMORC Links Serge Hutin (seated) In the aftermath of the OTS suicides, most attention was focused on the group’s Belgian “leader”, but the group truly was more the child of Joseph Di Mambro than of Jouret. Whereas Jouret’s background was largely military and he became a Knight later, Di Mambro had joined the Rosicrucian organisation AMORC in 1956. The official investigation into the mass suicides established an extremely close co-operation between the OTS and AMORC.
But the shady history of AMORC and the intelligence communities did not begin with the OTS. On 27 October 1972, an Air Inter Viscount aircraft crashed in the Loire. The subsequent official investigation did not clear up why the aircraft had crashed and missed its landing in Clermont-Ferrand. By 1976, French journalist Serge Hutin argued that the remains of the aircraft suggested that it had suffered an impact with a projectile—that is, it had been deliberately shot down. On board and one of the dead was Marie-Rose Baleron de Brauwer, one of the chiefs of the French Renseignements Généraux, based in Nice. She was Hutin’s partner and wanted to give him a file. Specifically, she wanted to bring it to Clermont-Ferrand, where on 28 and 29 October AMORC’s yearly Grand Conseil et Séminaire Magistral was being held. The president of the organisation was Raymond Bernard, and Baleron was AMORC’s representative for the Puyde- Dôme region. Baleron’s report, according to Hutin, detailed the links between AMORC, the CIA, P2, the Corsican Mafia, the SAC (Service d’Action Civique, France’s Civic Action Service) and various other knightly orders. Hutin said that the report specifically concluded that the extreme right-wing organisations were hiding as esoteric and secret societies. The file showed details about their involvement in international terrorism and how it was organised. Hutin stated that Baleron had been able to show that the knights of the SAC, a parallel French police force, had links with Raymond Bernard and Julien Origas, the leader of the ORT, the Renewed Templar Order—another organisation closely allied with AMORC and the OTS. Because of the personal relationship between Baleron and Hutin, the French media could spend less attention on the revelation than it deserved. But Hutin had no reason to lie. And it is a fact that, in July 1974, Origas spoke in front of the ORT and said: “[A] woman had wanted to oppose the birth and the development of the ORT. She died in an accident.” (André van Bosbeke, p. 87) A rather interesting statement to make…
In 1975, Origas also held a series of meetings in Brussels, where he said that he saw that year as the beginning of a new era and the creation of a new super-race. He spoke of the Green Order and felt that it was under the control of Lucifer—all of them interesting comments to make, and which are likely not known to the rank and file of his Order! (van Bosbeke, p. 47)
The lure of knightly or Masonic organisations is strong, with extravagant claims—like the one made at AMORC initiations that the Egyptian pharaoh Tuthmosis III was the founder of the Rosicrucians. In truth, the Order was formed in 1915 by Harvey Spencer Lewis in California. Contrast this with the notion that, in the 1980s, AMORC had 160,000 members in France and G. Buisson, the official spokesman for the Order in France, was proud to state that certain governments, especially in Black African countries, were under the control of AMORC. The Order of Malta Bill Donovan Today, there are hundreds if not thousands of pseudo and official knightly organisations. Amongst the official ones, the most notorious is the Order of Malta. Martin A. Lee, in his article “Their Will Be Done” (Mother Jones, July 1983), stated that the American branch of the Order is one of the most important communication channels between the CIA and the Vatican. Indeed, the Order of Malta is able to transfer money in and out of countries to which neither the CIA nor the Vatican has access.
The Order of Malta is full of military and intelligence people, and its history in the 20th century truly begs a chicken-and-egg question: which came first—the money connections or the intelligence officials? The head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the CIA, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, was a member of the Order of Malta, as was James Jesus Angleton, the CIA counterintelligence chief who was immortalised in the movie The Good Shepherd. Others included William Casey, who was Director of Central Intelligence under Ronald Reagan. It is specifically Angleton who has been identified, in his role as counterintelligence chief, as the main organiser of Gladio in Italy.
Maybe unsurprisingly, therefore, is that Licio Gelli was a Knight of Malta, too. And what is less known is that he fought for Franco with Mussolini’s Blackshirts. Indeed, at the end of the Second World War, Gelli was arrested and faced possible execution but was rescued by joining the US Army Counter Intelligence Corps. In the case of Gelli, it was therefore a world in which he was both a Knight and a Mason. A Murky Truth What has been portrayed as cult suicides, organisations of modern knights and the like is merely a smokescreen: underneath is a sizzling pot of political machinations and intelligence agency shenanigans, often with the specific purpose of staging fake terrorist attacks or planning destabilisation campaigns. When the European governments woke up to the reality of Gladio in the early 1990s, it was clear that none wanted to go deeper. But the picture as it continues to emerge, and which has been portrayed above, is clearly still not the final truth. As no government has dared to stare into the abyss, it is likely that its depth will never be seen. This article appeared in Nexus Magazine, Volume 18, Number 2 (February – March 2011)