For many years readers of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (later adapted into the Vietnam-centric synchro-mystical classic Apocalypse Now that I've written at length on here) walked away in horror of the Belgian Congo, whose atrocities were laid bare in this work. For many years the African nation had essentially been kept as a private plantation for Belgium's royal family until independence in the early 1960s. While much has been made concerning the horrors of colonialism, few instances could have surpassed the sheer brutality of the Belgian Congo, a "nation" that witnessed the death of 5-10 million of its "citizens" during the reign of Leopold II alone (which may have reduced the Congo's total population by half).
While much has been made of the horrors perpetuated by the British, French, Spanish, and so on in their colonial possessions, it is tiny Belgium that may have ultimately been the most blood thirsty. No doubt this may come as a surprise to many Americans who primarily know the country for its waffles and possibly the European Parliament. But Belgium's history has largely been a dark and dysfunctional affair.
|Leopold II whose descendants have remained active in the Belgian state, both overworld and deep|
The country was brutally invaded twice by the Germans during the First and Second World Wars. Despite the Nazis racking up an impressive death toll, there were ample sympathizers within Belgium who would join the Nazi Party and the SS. In the post-war years fascism would retain a continuous appeal amongst the politically connected.
And so we come to the purpose of this series, namely Belgium's truly shocking fascist underground and the effects it has had on the deep state both there and abroad for decades. This network, as should come as little surprise to long time readers of this blog, was a component of what is commonly referred to as Operation Gladio (though "Gladio" was merely the codename of the Italian component). Revelations concerning Gladio first began to rock European governments in the early 1990s, but more than a quarter of a century after being exposed little is still known concerning Gladio by the general public. Documented proof of Gladio's history currently stands as thus:
"As the Cold War ended, following judicial investigations into mysterious acts of terrorism in Italy, Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti was forced to confirm in August 1990 that a secret army existed in Italy and other countries across Western Europe that was part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Coordinated by the unorthodox warfare section of NATO, the secret army had been set up by the US secret service Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6 or SIS) after the end of the Second World War to fight communism in Western Europe. The clandestine network, which after the revelations of the Italian Prime Minister was researched by judges, parliamentarians, academics and investigative journalists across Europe, is now understood to have been code-named 'Gladio' (the sword) in Italy, while in other countries the network operated under different names including 'Absalon' in Denmark, 'ROC' in Norway and SDRA8' in Belgium. In each country the military secret service operated the anti-Communist army within the state in close cooperation with the CIA or the MI6 unknown to parliaments and populations. In each country, leading members of the executive, including Prime Ministers, Presidents, Interior Ministers and Defense Ministers, were involved in the conspiracy, while the 'Allied Clandestine Committee' (ACC), sometimes also euphemistically called the 'Allied Co-ordination Committee' and the 'Clandestine Planning Committee' (CPC), less conspicuously at times also called 'Coordination and Planning Committee' of NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE ), coordinated the networks on the international level. The last confirmed secret meeting of ACC with representatives of European secret services took place on October 24, 1990 in Brussels.
"As the details of the operation emerged, the press concluded that the 'story seems straight from the pages of a political thriller'. The secret armies were equipped by the CIA and the MI6 with machine guns, explosives, munitions and high-tech communications equipment hidden in arms caches in forests, meadows and underground bunkers across Western Europe. Leading officers of the secret network trained together with US Green Berets Special Forces in the United States of America and British SAS Special Forces in England. Recruited among strictly anti-Communist segments of the society the secret Gladio soldiers included moderate conservatives as well as right-wing extremists such as notorious right-wing terrorists Stefano delle Chiaie and Yves Guerain Serac. In its strategic design the secret army was a direct copy of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), which during the Second World War had parachuted into enemy-held territory and fought a secret war behind enemy lines.
"In case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe the secret Gladio soldiers under NATO command would have formed a so-called stay-behind network operating behind enemy lines, strengthening and setting up local resistance movements in enemy-held territory, evacuating shot-down pilots and sabotaging the supply lines and production centres of the occupation forces with explosives. Yet the Soviet invasion never came. The real and present danger in the eyes of the secret war strategists in Washington and London were the at-times numerically strong Communist parties in the democracies of Western Europe. Hence the network in the total absence of a Soviet invasion took up arms in numerous countries and fought a secret war against the political forces of the left. The secret armies, as the secondary sources now available suggest, were involved in a whole series of terrorist operations and human rights violations that they wrongly blamed on the communists in order to discredit the left at the polls. The operations always aimed at spreading maximum fear among the population and ranged from bomb massacres in trains and market squares (Italy), the use of systematic torture of opponents of the regime (Turkey), support for right-wing coup d'etats (Greece and Turkey), to the smashing of opposition groups (Portugal and Spain). As the secret armies were discovered, NATO as well as the governments of the United States and Great Britain refused to take a stand on what by then was alleged by the press to be 'the best-kept, and most damaging political-military secret since World War II'."
(NATO's Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, pgs. 1-2)
Like Italy during the so-called "Years of Lead," Belgium experienced an especially turbulent period in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. While bombings were the signature acts of the terrorism that rocked Italy during this period, Belgium experienced a series of mass shootings. most notably the still unsolved Brabant massacres, that gave the impression of a state being over run by gangs and far left political terrorism. While political terrorism was no doubt a major issue in this era (and beyond), the situation was far more complicated than then masses were lead to believe.
The same could be said of the Dutroux affair that further rocked the Belgium state during the 1990s. In this instance dark whispers of high ranking Belgium politicians and security officers engaged in child sex trafficking (and far worse) threatened to totally topple the always fragile nation state. Things came to a head in October of 1996 when over 300,000 Belgiums took to the streets in protest of official stonewalling in the Dutroux affair in what became known as La Marche Blanche. But despite the widespread outrage, the truth behind the Dutroux affair as well as much of the Gladio skullduggery that has destabilized Belgium for decades remains as elusive as ever.
We shall begin our journey by focusing on two groups that seem to have been on the outer spheres of this strange netherworld. One was a paramilitary organization that operated largely like a street gang. The other was a political affiliation promoting a united Europe and "Red-Brown" alliance.
As to the later, I am of course referring to Jean Thiriart's Parti Communautaire Européen. While little known in the English-speaking world, Thiriart was one of the most influential fascist thinkers in Continental Europe during the twentieth century. He had been a Nazi collaborator during the war and was imprisoned for it. In the early 1960s, due to the colonial struggle in the Congo and Algeria, he became an agent of the far right Organisation de l'armée secrete (OAS), a rogue French paramilitary organization comprised Algerian veterans and their supporters. This organization would be linked to multiple assassination attempts on the anti-NATO French President Charles de Gaulle as well as US intelligence.
|the banner of the OAS, whom we shall encounter again in this series|
"The establishment of a global fascist network was Guerin-Serac's keenest, most burning ambition, to which Aginter was the springboard. 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 in Taiwan – following on plans laid earlier in the South Korean capital, Seoul – of the CIA-sponsored World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The organisation 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 rang 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, for which Guerin-Serac's heart yearned. It was charged with the pure Guerin-Serac 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 or 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 by the CIA by remote control and off the balance sheet by an organisation which raised its own funds, presenting itself to the world as a charitable body dedicated to freedom and democracy. (The name was changed to World League for Freedom and Democracy after the fall of communism.) Borrowing an earlier cue from Ganser, we can say 'beautiful,' if morally disturbing. WACL was the hub with spokes leading to many important subsidiary organizations. Not the least of these was the Paladin group, a CIA guns-four-hire outfit initiated by former Waffen-SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny in 1970. By now he occupied an eyrie in Madrid, working alongside one of Guerin-Serac's chief sidekicks, his old OAS compatriots Jean-Denis Raingeard. Paladin had ties from the outset to Aginter and the World Anti-Communist League."
(Gladio: NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe, Richard Cottrell, pgs. 123-124)
|an early WACL conference|
Guerin-Serac is one Yves Guerin-Serac, a notorious OAS veteran mentioned in the opening quote of this article as being one of the chief terrorists involved in Operation Gladio. Guerin-Serac was the founder of a globe-spanning terror network known as Aginter Press. Here's an overview of Aginter:
"Aginter Press was no press at all. The organisation did not print books or anti-Communist propaganda leaflets but trained right-wing terrorists and specialised in dirty tricks and secret warfare in Portugal and beyond. The mysterious and brutal organisation was supported by the CIA and run by European right-wing officers who with the help of the PIDE recruited fascist militants. The investigation of the Italian Senate into Gladio and the secret war and massacres in Italy discovered that Italian right-wing extremist had also been trained by Aginter Press. While in Portugal it was revealed that a subbranch of Aginter Press called 'Organisation Armee contre le communism International' (OACI) had also operated in Italy . The Italian Senators found that the CIA supported Aginter Press in Portugal and that the secret organization was led by Captain Yves Guillon, better known by his adopted name of Yves Guerin Serac, a specialist in secret warfare who had received war hero metals from the United States including the American Bronze Star for his involvement in the Korean War. 'Aginter Press', the Italian Gladio report concluded, 'in reality, according to the latest documents acquired by the criminal investigation, was an information centre directly linked to the CIA and the Portuguese secret service, that specialised in provocation operations."
(NATO's Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, pg. 115)
More information on Aginter's links to Gladio operations in Italy (as well as its ties to the notorious Propaganda Due (P2) Masonic Lodge) can be found here. For now, let us return to Thiriart.
Thiriart allegedly broke with WACL affiliate Lecref in the mid-1960s and dissolved Jeune Europe in 1965. After that he began making overtures to the Communists, especially the Chinese, while developing a concept of "National Bolshevism." Around the time he dissolved Jeune Europe Thiriart founded Parti Communautaire Européen, a political platform to display his hybrid "Red-Brown" ideology.
He also became a major baker of Arab nationalism during this time as well, especially the Palestinian cause. Thiriart's ties with at least one Palestinian organization were especially close. In Dreamer of the Day Kevin Coogan states: "Thiriart supported the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and PFLP leader George Habash reportedly helped finance La Nation Europeene" (pg.544). La Nation Europeene was a journal Thiriart had founded in 1965 shortly after establishing Parti Communautaire Européen.
Stark maintained one of his largest LSD labs in Brussels during the early 1970s (which was an especially active time for Belgium's stay-behind-network, as we shall see in future installments), but not much is known about his time there. I've found absolutely nothing to indicate that Stark and Thiriart were in contact with one another, though Stark claimed to be active in the Palestinian cause at times (going as far as describing himself as a Palestinian on occasion) and like Thiriart, he seems to have specialized in infiltrating the Left. On that note, let us return to Thiriart's activities in the 1970s.
Parti Communautaire Européen did not gain much attention until that decade. Then it went into fierce competition with the mainline Belgian Communist parties for supporters. Some have alleged that this was a Gladio operation to ultimately split the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB) in the 1970s as it was gaining support amongst the electorate. This researcher finds such a suggestion to be highly plausible. Consider the company Thiriart was keeping during his flirtation with the Chinese:
"Thiriart maintained his Maoist ties through his murky dealings with a far -right 'press service'/private intelligence agency, the Portugal-based Aginter Press. Aginter worked with an overtly pro-Chinese political group in Switzerland called the Pati Cmmuniste Suisse/Marxist-Leniniste (PCS/ML). An Aginter operative name Robert Leroy, with support from the Communist Chinese embassy in Berne, arranged for the PCS/ ML to hire Aginter operatives as 'correspondents' for the group's newspaper, L'Etincelle, which was used to gain access to radical groups in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique. The head of the PCS/ML was himself the most likely member of the far right. Thiriart played a liaison role for Aginter, the PCS/ML, and the Chinese embassy."
(Dreamer of the Day, Kevin Coogan, pgs. 544-545)
Before leaving Thiriart, its interesting to note who one of his alleged helpers was in setting up Parti Communautaire Européen as a challenger to the PCB. Philip Coppens notes:
"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."Luc Jouret, a Belgian national born in the Congo when it was still a colony and who had served in Belgium's army as a paratrooper during the mid-1970s (at the same time he was involved with Thiriart in Parti Communautaire Européen), was of course one of the two co-founders of the Order of the Solar Temple (OTS), the bizarre international occult lodge that gained notoriety in the 1990s due to several mass "suicides" carried out by its members. Here's a brief rundown of the sorted history of the OTS:
"In 1981, Jouret himself joined another secret society, the Renewed Order of the Temple, a neo-Templar secret society founded by French right-wing activist Julian Origas. He became Grand Master of the Order on Origas's death in 1983 but was forced out the next year and started his own neo-Templar order, the Solar Temple, recruiting members from Club Archedia for the new organization. The teachings of the Solar Temple came to focus on a coming apocalypse in which the earth would become uninhabitable due to pollution, and Jouret made contact the survivalist groups in Canada and elsewhere. By 1991 these beliefs and the occult philosophy of the Solar Temple had become extreme enough that the Club Archedia dissolved in a flurry of media accusations, and the Solar Temple itself became the object of police investigations in Québec. In 1993 Jouret pled guilty to firearms charges in a Québec court and returned to Europe. Most of his closest followers secluded themselves in an isolated farmhouse owned by Jouret in Annemasse. They became convinced that the apocalypse had arrived and they were being called to leave their physical bodies and travel to another world orbiting around the star Sirius. On the morning of October 5, 1994, the bodies of 53 adults and children were found at the Annemasse farmhouse. Just over a year later, on November 16, 1995, 16 surviving members of the Solar Temple vanished from their homes in France; their bodies were found a few days later in an isolated forest. Three more suicides took place in the spring of 1996. The demise of the Solar Temple offers a clear example of the fatal combination of secrecy, paranoia, and apocalyptic beliefs – a mix far to common in today's alternative scene."
(The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, John Michael Greer, pgs. 577-578)
|the emblem of the OTS|
The next point I would like to make concerns the charges Jouret faced in Canada. While he ultimately only plead guilty to firearms charges there are indications that beyond arms trafficking, Jouret was also planning a major terror campaign in the Quebec region. I again return to the late Belgian researcher Philip Coppens, who remarks:
"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."
One final point to make concerns the organization from which OTS derived from, namely the Renewed Order of the Temple (ORT). The ORT was apparently founded in the early 1970s by the above-mentioned Julian Origas and was largely based out of France. There was an earlier French Renewed Order of the Temple founded in 1909 by the notorious far right philosopher Rene Guenon, a correspondent of the occultist Julius Evola (whose ideology seemingly influenced many of the fascist groups involved in Italy's Gladio operations, as noted before here).
Guenon formed his Renewed Order as an offshoot to Papus' Martinist Order (all of the early members of Guenon's group had started out as members of Martinist lodges). I have found no evidence at all that there were links to Guenon's order, which dissolved in 1911, and Orgias' ORT, but it is interesting to note that researchers such as the highly controversial Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince have linked the OTS to synarchy (in such works as The Stargate Conspiracy and Templar Relations), an ideology closely linked to Martinism. As I addressed before here, there are allegations that Licio Gelli of P2 was involved with Martinism and synarchy. Another mysterious group we shall encounter later in this series also faces such charges. But moving along.
|note the curious black robes of P2; we shall return to them again|
"Every summer tens of thousands of people from all over the world flock to Dixmude, Belgium, for a weekend filled with colorful pageants and marching bands. Hundreds of yellow flags emblazoned with the Black Lion of Flanders flutter in the breeze, as a goose-stepping parade of uniformed men leads the way to a memorial service at a nearby cemetery where SS soldiers are buried. Speakers in various languages pay homage to Adolf Hitler and the glories of white supremacy, and a cheering audience responds with enthusiastic stiff-armed salutes.
"Back in town, local residents sing Flemish folk songs and dance in the street. They seem oblivious to the youthful bands of right-wing extremists who roam from one café to the next, hawking Nazi trinkets and passing out brochures that claim the Holocaust never happened. Third Reich memorabilia are traded in a hobbylike way by skinheads wearing leather jackets with phrases such as 'Soldiers of Hell' and 'National Revolution' encrusted on their backs. Prodigious quantities of beer are consumed, invariably leading to drunken brawls. Figuring that it's best to let the ruffians blow off steam, Belgian authorities usually do not intervene unless the violence threatens to get out of hand...
"Originally a celebration of Flemish nationalism and a forum for airing grievances against French-speaking Belgians, this annual pilgrimage became a magnet for right-wing extremists in the late 1960s when the Vlaamse Militanten Orde (VMO), a Flemish paramilitary organization, invited neofascist groups from around the globe to send delegations. Dixmude soon acquired a reputation as a place where hard-core Nazis could openly proclaim their racist ideology and recharge their batteries in a carnival-like atmosphere.
" Major General Otto Ernst Remer was amongst those who attended the Dixmude jamboree in 1983, a year after the VMO was officially declared a terrorist organization by the Belgian government and banned. Several VMO members were arrested and some served brief prison terms, but the Flemish fascists continue to organize an alternative event alongside the mainstream assemblage at Dixmude. They treated the seventy-one-year-old Remer like royalty when he arrived for the festivities. Hitler's illustrious bodyguard had recently pulled up stakes in Syria and resettled in West Germany. After two decades in the Middle East, he was eager to renew and expand his contacts among European neo-Nazis. The Dixmude gathering was well-suited for this purpose."
(The Beast Reawakens, Martin A. Lee, pgs. 191-192)
Otto Remer was involved with arms trafficking extensively via his Syria-based Orient Trading Company. Remer also maintained ties with another "former" Nazi arms trafficker, Otto Skorzeny. Skorzeny has been linked to both US intelligence and Operation Gladio, as was noted above.
|the two Ottos: Remer (top) and Skorzeny (bottom)|
Thus, the CEDADE seems to have had ample ties to Gladio. And the VMO would later meet with two individuals (Remer and Degrelle) affiliated with the CEDADE. What's more, this contact occurred in the early 1980s during one of the VMO's most militant periods. Indeed, Belgians refer to the 1980s as the "Bloody Eighties" due to the extensive terror attacks that unfolded during this period. Another noteworthy incidences of terror during this period shall be addressed in future installments.
|the banner of the VMO featuring the odal rune|
And with that I shall wrap up for now. With the next installment I shall begin examining the notorious Brabant massacres and the alleged DIA asset long linked to the shootings. Stay tuned.