Friday, October 3, 2014

A Sun That Never Sets: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Landig Group Part IV

Welcome to the fourth installment in my examination of the Landig Group, also known as the Vienna Circle. During the first installment I presented a broad overview of the organization and its influence on Esoteric Nazism as well as brief biographies of two co-founders, Rudolf J. Mund and Erich Halik. I also touched upon the Group's name sake, Wilhem Landig, but did not begin to consider him in depth until part three.

With part two I addressed Landig's "Thule" novels and two of their key concepts, the Black Sun and Nazi UFOs, that have had an enormous influence upon both Esoteric Nazism as well more mainline New Age concepts. With part three I began to address Landig's time in the SS and the SD (one of the chief intelligence arms of the SS) as well as his likely ties to fellow SS/SD man and occultist Baron Julius Evola. There I argued that Evola and Landig had been involved in crafting a post-WWII mythos for fascism and Nazism that would re-brand these ideologies and enable them to thrive in the wake of the Axis defeat.

Landig's infamous novels
Having addressed some of these curiosities surrounding Landig's activities leading up to the end of WWII and in the immediate aftermath I would now like to focus in on Landig's post-WWII actions in earnest. So let us begin with his political activities:
"... Landig was a political activist. In the mid-1950s he was the Austrian representative of the European Social Movement (ESB), the fascist international organization founded at Rome and Malmo, which sought German alliance with a worldwide league of non-aligned nations, especially the Arab states, between the two superpowers. In 1955 Landig was in regular contact with Per Engdahl, the Swedish neo-Nazi leader, and Karl-Heinz Priester, a former Hitler Youth leader who had extensive contacts in the German nationalist underground. In 1958 Landig founded his own nationalist press, Volkstum-Verlag, whose logo featured an Ostrogothic eagle brooch dating from the reign of Theoderich the Great in the fifth century. In the same year he also began publishing his monthly international news service Europa-Korrespondenz, which adopted a nationalist and anti-communist line. It was speculated that Johannes von Leers, the former Reich propaganda minister official who had sought refuge in Nasser's Egypt, was involved in the latter's funding. In 1970 Wilhelm Landig became the Austrian representative of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), founded in Taiwan in 1967 after a merger of the Asian People's Anti-Communist League and the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. This was arguably the most important far-right network in the world and accounts for Landig's highly informed international news service."
(Black Sun, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 137)
Per Engdahl
There's a lot to take in here, but first I must note another organization that Landig became involved with in the late 1950s that most accounts of his life neglect:
"The Northern League established contacts with other groups in Sweden, Denmark, and Germany and opened a branch in Sausalito, California. Attending its first conference in Detmold, West Germany, was Colin Jordan, a British neo-Nazi, and Wilhelm Landig, a former SS officer. According to an internal WACL document, the program and manifest from the Conference was described by German authorities as 'national socialism revived.' The Detmold Conference decided that member should use the conspiratorial method of expanding the influence of the Northern League."
(Inside the League, Scott & John Lee Anderson, pg. 94)
Regular readers of this blog are already aware of the Northern League and its most influential member, Roger Pearson, but for the uninitiated here's a brief run down:
"... In 1958, Roger Pearson, an Englishman residing in Calcutta, who later moved to the United States and received more than $1 million in grants from Pioneer, founded the Northern League in Britain as a postwar gathering point for Nazis; dedicated to Teutonic unity and preservation of the superior Nordics from the threat of 'infection' by 'unhealthy stock' (i.e., intermarriage with non-Nordics), the league published the journal Northern World, based largely on the writing of the Third Reich's most important expert on 'race science,' Hans F.K. Gunther, a founding member of the league. The new organization soon attracted the attention of neo-Nazis in the United States, and Pearson eventually joined Willis Carto in California, who was publishing the anti-Semitic Right, the alliance producing a merger of their respected publications into Western Destiny, which listed the two men as associate editors, each under a pseudonym: Carto was 'E.L. Anderson, Ph.D.,' a name under which he had already authored articles for Right, and Pearson was 'Edward Langford,' one of a long list of aliases he used over the next four decades. Western Destiny combine Englishman's pseudoscientific Nordicism with the Californian's obsession with Jewish Culture Distorter, 'inherently unable to be in tune with... Western Culture and Spirituality.'"
(The Funding of Scientific Racism, William H. Tucker, pg. 80)
Pearson on the left
Aside from being a well-known and highly active figure within the post-war fascist underground, Pearson also seems to have enjoyed close ties with the US intelligence community. As noted above he would later receive extensive funding from the Pioneer Fund, a NPO primarily concerned with perpetuating the eugenics movement that was founded by the scion of a wealthy New England family and former military intelligence officer known as Colonel Wickliffe Preston Draper. Much more information on Draper can be found here or in John Bevilaqua's classic JFK -The Final Solution.

But this is only scratching the surface of Pearson's possible intelligence ties. Consider:
"Pearson moved to Washington in 1975. Within a year his Council on American Affairs was sponsoring seminars and publishing monographs with persons such as Edwin Fuelner, president of the Heritage Foundation; Ray Cline, former C.I.A. deputy director; and others who would later become high officials of the Reagan Administration. His Council also became the U.S. chapter of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), an international network including fascists, followers of the authoritarian Korean cult-leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and neo-Nazis.
"Pearson became the editor of the American Security Council's Journal of International Relations and served on the board of the ASC's American Foreign Policy Institute. His Journal co-editors were James Jesus Angleton, former C.I.A. deputy director for counterintelligence, and Robert C. Richardson III, the retired Air Force general who worked in the Air Force's Politico-Military covert operations branch. At the time he was working with the ASC and Pearson, Richardson was also aiding the Wilson-Terpil operations to Libya, involving secret gunrunning and explosive transfers. He was also active in various ASC-spawned groups, such as the Security and Intelligence Fund and Coalition for Peace Through Strength. The Council on American Affairs is also a member of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength."
(Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, pg. 61)

Ray S. Cline (top) and James Jesus Angleton (bottom)
While Pearson is typically dismissed as a marginal and fringe figure nowadays, he clearly moved quite comfortably within the ranks of many of the leading conservative NPOs such as the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), the American Security Council (of which I've written much more on here) and the Heritage Foundation all the way up through the early 1980s. And he collaborated with two former CIA deputy directors, Cline and Angleton (whom the Matt Damon character in The Good Shepherd was based upon), who are considered to be two of the most powerful figures to have ever operated out of the CIA. So yes, Pearson seems to have had some real mojo within the black ops.

And according to the Anderson bros in Inside the League, Wilhelm Landig enjoyed a close relationship with Pearson. Indeed, its hinted that Landig was Pearson's hand picked choice to head the WACL's Austrian branch. Pearson would go on to become the chairman of the WACL in the late 1970s, but only briefly. His bad press led to his expulsion from the League in 1979.

As regular readers of this blog know, the World Anti-Communist League was a major component of US foreign policy throughout the Cold War. It brought together a bizarre collection of major international drugs lords and terrorists along with the inevitable Third World dictators, US military and intelligence personnel and unreconstructed Nazi war criminals. It was especially active in Latin America during the 1980s at the height of the so-called "Cocaine Wars" but the WACL's endeavors went well beyond this sphere of influence.
"... Around the world, at different times and locations, other elements of the structure were dropping into place, amounting to an evolving 'ring of containment' that even George Frost Keenan might have admired at one stage of his life. In 1966, a significant (and lasting) development occurred, namely the establishment on Taiwan – following on plans laid earlier in the South Korean capital, Seoul – of the CIA-sponsored World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The organization arose from a previous regional effort, the Asian People's Anti-Bolshevik League, sponsored by the Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang regime. Financial backers of the new anti-communist world ring included ravenous cash-hungry Korean cult tycoon Sun Myung Moon, whose recruitment methods and renowned mass nuptials uncannily mirrored certain CIA experiments in brainwashing. The tentacles of this sprawling octopus eventually extended to all corners of the planet. This was visibly the Fascist International, the huge global Gladio... It was charged with the... brief to 'overcome and eliminate' any governments or forces considered sympathetic to communism. The means were not precisely specified, save for talking about warfare in psychologically political terms. Yet WACL was tracked to Operation Condor, death squads in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, the twin Kennedy assassinations and general oiling of Iran-Contra in life-after-death mode. So, it would not be surprising to discover WACL fingerprints thickly plastered all over The Enterprise of drug and arms dealing in its latter-day formation. In Europe, WACL was tied up with various neo-fascist fronts, particularly Licio Gelli's P2/Gladio activities, in Italy as well as South America. The 'liquidations' of both Aldo Moro (communist fraterniser) and Olof Palme (Iran-Iraq meddler, irritating Palestine interloper) have been cited as promoted in some degree by WACL. 
"The WACL was an excellent vehicle for having a great deal of important work performed for the CIA by remote control and off the balance sheet by an organization which raised its own funds, presenting itself to the world is a charitable body dedicated to freedom and democracy. (The name was changed to World League for Freedom and Democracy after the fall of communism.)... WACL was the hub with spokes leading to many important subsidiary operations. Not the least of these was the Paladin Group, a CIA guns-four-hire outfit initiated by the former Waffen-SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny in 1970..."
(Gladio: NATO's Dagger in the Heart of Europe, Richard Cottrell, pgs. 123-124)

Much more information on the WACL, its ties to terrorism, drug trafficking and US national security interests can be found here.

The fact that Landig was not merely a member of the WACL, but the head of the Austrian chapter, is highly suggestive. This means that at roughly the same time he was pinning his "Thule" novels he was in the midst of routine contact with major and well connected figures in the fascist underground. Indeed, researcher Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke believed that the inspiration for the collaboration between Nazi "Thulists" and Asian nationalists that rose to prominence in Landig's second Thule novel was inspired by his work with the WACL.
"... the warriors of the Black Sun have establish the presence of potential allies among the victims of Soviet and Chinese communist expansion, thus mirroring Landig's own interest in the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) with its strong base in the Far East. WACL originated in the Asian People's Anti-Communist League, founded in Taiwan by the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang in 1954, which joined with Eastern European émigré organizations in 1966 to form WACL, with world headquarters in South Korea. By seeking friends in Taiwan and Korea, the Thule is seeking to become a third force between the West and the communist world."
(Black Sun, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, pg. 146)

There is of course the possibility that Landig's Thule novels were also meant as propaganda for the WACL as the struggle between the Thulists and their nationalist allies the world over against the forces of "Judeo-Masonry" is consistent with the world view projected by so many of the WACL's affiliates. In this context Landig's Thule novels can be viewed as a very over-the-top and heavily romanticized account of the WACL's objectives.

For our purposes here, its also interesting to note that the WACL had some type of link to what is generally referred to as "Operation Gladio" (though "Gladio" was only the name of the Italian component of this project) if not in fact being the international arm of Gladio. Here's a brief rundown of Gladio:
"Operation Gladio was first made public in August 1990, when then-Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti admitted its existence to the Italian Parliamentary Committee on Terrorism. To this day much about Gladio remains mysterious. It seems that planning for the operation began to take shape in 1951... Gladio was incorporated into Office 'R' of SIFAR in 1956. On paper, Gladio was a NATO-back to 'Stay Behind' operation: Any Soviet attack on Italy would encounter a pre-established resistance network, a militarily-trained underground with access to secret arms caches hidden across the country...
"The Italian government initially claimed that Gladio was part of a general agreement within NATO. NATO, however, officially denied any involvement. Revelations that Gladio-type organizations existed in non-NATO nations like Austria, Spain, and Switzerland further eroded the NATO cover story. Gladio really seems to of been what its name means: a double-edged sword to be used against both the Soviets and any elements inside Italy, from either the left or the right, that might try to take Italy out of NATO. Gladio also served as the backdrop for the 'strategy of tension,' which repeatedly destabilized Italian politics with bombings and other terrorist acts. Popular fear of terrorism, from either the 'left' or 'right,' could then be used to justify a suspension of constitutional law, or even, in a worst-case scenario, a militarily-backed Pinochet-like 'white coup' to ensure Italy's continued allegiance to the West."
(Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan, pg. 332)

Wilhelm Landig, with his history with the SD and combat experience in the Balkans, his links to US intelligence and his position as chairman of the Austrian chapter of the WACL, would have certainly been a natural candidate of Austria's Gladio network. Unfortunately, very, very little has come out concerning Austria's "stay behind" forces. It is interesting to note, however, that the ideology of the Baron Julius Evola (which inspired so much of Landig's own, as noted in part three) seems to have been an underlining influence on Gladio. One of the key figures in Italy's stay behind network, Prince Junio Borghese, even wrote an introduction to one of Evola's most revered works.
"... the fact that Prince Borghese wrote the introduction to Men Among the Ruins takes on special significance. Franco Ferraresi's commentary on Evola is idea of the State as expressed in the book also takes on an added level of meaning: 
 "'The notion of using the forces of the "true Right" for the defense of the State against subversion corresponds to lasting concern of Evola's. Industrial society has made the State a hostage in the hands of trade unions and organized masses, which can jam the whole machinery with strikes and sabotage. The Army and the police, "given the level reached in Italy by the communist gangrene," might not be able to provide an adequate defense. Hence the need, for the right, to gradually organize a closet network of task forces, "ready to quickly intervene against all possible emergencies," in order first and foremost to uphold "against the rabble, the State and its authority (even when it is an 'empty State')."'
"Evola's Gladio-like notion of 'reinforcing the State,' even an 'empty state,' operated on two levels. Networks of fascist loyalists in the armed forces and intelligence services now pushed closer and closer to centers of power, using the 'imminent' danger communism or terrorism (from either the 'left' or 'right') as justification for their rise. These networks also sponsored far-right paramilitary shock-troops to intervene in crisis situations. The most important of these groups was Giuseppe 'Pino' Rauti's Ordine Nuovo (New Order, or ON), which had split from the MSI after its 1956  congress chanting, 'fewer double-breasted suits and more cudgels.' Rauti's move was ideologically inspired by Evola, whom Rauti worshiped. Rauti also maintain close ties to Italian military intelligence. Organizations like Ordine Nuovo were regularly employed as street fighters against the left; they also engaged in bombings and killings, and helped create a popular climate for more repressive measures against 'anarchy' from either the right or left – a kind of political yin/yang that justified the flourishing of the secret state. As part of the strategy of tension, rightist operatives and police agencies used left and anarchist groups that they had created, or legitimate sects that had been infiltrated. By the 1970s, the social crisis in Italy had given rise to an entire independent subculture on sects on both the left and the right."
(Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan, pgs. 333-334)
the banner of Ordine Nuovo
There can be little doubt at this point that Evola's followers were deeply immersed in the Italian stay behind networks. But the potential ties between Evola and Landig, and the known influence Evola had on Landig's work, raises the possibility that Evola's influence expanded well beyond Italy as far as Gladio was concerned.

Was Landig engaged in Gladio in some capacity? Certainly he ad the background for such work. Further weight to this possibility is lent by a brief consideration of some of the individuals Landig was in regular correspondence with by the 1970s:
"... Landig is also known to cultivated friendships with Juan Maler (the Argentinian pen-name of German postwar NS-propagandist Reinhard Kopps), Miguel Serrano, Savitri Devi, Hans-Ulrich Rudel (Luftwaffe ace and unrepentant National Socialist), Jurgen Rieger (German defense lawyer for alleged Holocaust deniers and war criminals) and Peter Schafer (former leader of the now defunct National Socialist Colonia Dignidad community in Chile)."
(The Black Sun Unveiled, James Pontolillo, pg. 467)
Two of these individuals are especially interesting: Hans Ulrich Rudel was highly active in the postwar Fascist International and an associate of some time US intelligence asset Otto Skorzeny; Paul Schafer, meanwhile, is a name that should be well known to readers of this blog (I wrote at grat length on it before here). He was the founder and long time head of the notorious Colonia Dignidad, an isolated community of German emigrates in rural Chile. Publicly it was a devotedly Christian sect but the commune was structured more like a paramilitary camp and was deeply engaged in the torture of political prisoners throughout Pinochet's reign. Many have described the Colony as a cult and this is likely apt.

But beyond the untold amounts of political torture and murder the Colony was involved, Schafer himself was also an arch pedophile. In 2006 he was convicted of raping some 25 children but there were long allegations that his activities went well beyond those children.
"Paul Schafer was one of the founders of the Colony of Righteousness and was, and is, its only leader. Schafer jumped bail in Germany in 1961 on charges of child sexual abuse, but that did not stop him from taking a group of families with him when he fled to Chile, arriving there 1962 at the age of forty with around sixty 'blond, blue-eyed settlers'... including some children who were brought there under false pretenses, taken from their families back in Germany. His flock came from the town of Siegburg, across the Rhine from Bonn, where Schafer claimed to be a psychologist, and where he ran a youth home where the sexual-abuse charges originated. Schafer, also the leader of a Baptists sect (a sect which evidently condoned sexual intercourse between adults and children among other peculiarities), bought an old ranch called El Lavadero about 250 miles south of Santiago in the Parral region and quickly converted into a self-sufficient, model community known as Colonia Dignidad, the 'Colony of Righteousness' or 'Dignity Colony.'
"The population of the Colony eventually grew to about 350, composed of 250 adults and 100 children. According to reports in the Chilean and German press, the sexes are rigorously separated and sexual intercourse is forbidden (except, one gathers, at the discretion of Schafer). And, since sex is prohibited, the only way the Colony has been able to increase its population has been by importing children from Germany. German authorities have been investigating charges that from thirty to forty children reported missing from the Bonn and Cologne areas have wound up at the Colony. Thus, charges of child abuse and international child abduction have been leveled at this remote cult community by eyewitnesses, escapees, and responsible members of the West German and Chilean governments. The parallels between Colonia Dignidad and the stories told by 'satanic cult survivors,' however, are even stronger."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pgs. 313-314)
the Colony
Indeed. And here is Herr Schafer engaged in correspondence with Wilhelm Landig of nearby Austria. Curiously, Landig was a member of two Freikorps youth wings as a child. As I noted before here, there were long allegations that pedophilia was practiced among certain officers in the Freikops with their young charges.

As far as this researcher is aware, the relationship between Schafer and Landig is the first known link between the WACL and the Colony, though it is not known what role, if any, Landig's work with the WACL played in his ties with Schafer.

There is also the possibility that Operation Gladio was linked to the Colony. The notorious Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, a follower of Julius Evola, became a close associate of the American (and likely CIA asset) Michael Vernon Townley. Townley himself spent a far amount of time as a guest of the Colony though there is no evidence that Delle Chiaie made the scene. He did, however, have ties with the Pinochet regime.

Delle Chiaie
Its also interesting to note that beyond terrorism and assassinations, there have also been rumblings Gladio was engaged in some type of pedophile ring that was/is used to entrap European politicians that may attempt to buck US demands. Compelling evidence of this emerged during the notorious Dutroux Affair in Belgium, but such a topic is vastly beyond the scope of this series. But it goes without saying, there are some very serious allegiations of child sexual abuse amongst the Fascist International.

And with that I shall wrap things up. Hopefully this series has managed to shed some light on the enigmatic figure that was Wilhelm Landig and will inspire future researchers with more resources to pursue some of the speculations in this series. Until next time dear readers.


  1. According to Wikipedia (okay not always accurate, I know) the Landig Group had a successor in the Templehofgesselschaft...

    More about them and their successor org here....

  2. Simon-

    Sorry for taking so long to respond to you. I'm vaguely aware of the Templehofgesselschaft, but I haven't had a chance to do any real research on the group yet. It's ideology is most interesting, however, and seems to have a fair amount of overlap with both Christian Identity theology and that of William Dudley Pelley. This reoccurring warped take on Gnosticism with ancient astronaut theories mixed in is most unsettling.