Welcome to the fifth installment in my ongoing examination of the deep political intrigues that rocked the nation of Belgium during the Cold War era and beyond. This series has primarily focused on two particular controversies that have continued to reverberate in Belgium for decades now: the Brabant massacres (discussed in part two), a series of spree shootings that occurred during the early to mid-1980s that left 28 people dead and scores wounded; and the Dutroux affair (addressed in parts three and four), a scandal that that began with the arrest of serial killer and child rapist Marc Dutroux and which ultimately threatened to topple the Belgian government once allegations of pedophile networks involving prominent figures in banking, industry, intelligence and national security began to emerge.
As was noted in the first installment of this series, these intrigues were loosely connected to what is commonly referred to as Operation Gladio (though Gladio was only the name of the Italian branch). In theory Gladio was a joint operation launched by the US security services and NATO to establish "stay-behind-armies" that would wage a guerrilla war against Soviet forces in the event that the Evil Empire invaded Western Europe. The reality is much murkier, however, as compelling evidence has emerged from multiple European nations that the Gladio armies were used to destabilize the political processes of these nations so as to prevent communist parties from being democratically elected. Everything from bribery to terrorism and even truly disturbing "honey traps" seem to have been used to achieve these objectives.
Over the course of the prior installments I have discussed numerous organizations and groups and now I would like to give a brief recap so as to give the reader a kind of score card. This will help drive home the significance of some of the groups that will be considered in this installment. So here we go:
Parti Socialiste (PS): The party of Andres Cools, a Belgian politician who was assassinated under mysterious circumstances in 1991. Cools and other party members had been linked to the pedophile networks, but the allegations are not backed up by especially credible sources. Cools and his party were briefly addressed in part four.
"Defence Minister and AESP member Paul Vanden Boeynants (VdB) and his advisor de Bonvoisin set up a military counter-subversion and propaganda service, the Public Information Office or PIO. PIO was headed by a longstanding associate of VdB and de Bonvoisin, Major Jean-Marie Bougerol. Bougerol would be a central figure in Belgian parapolitics implicated in previous coup plots: the 1976 Gendarmerie report by Roger Tratsaert stated that one of the plans for a coup d'état in 1973 was jointly organised by the NEM Clubs (funded by VdB and de Bonvoisin) and a group of gendarmes and Army officers centred around Bougerol...
"Despite its independent status, PIO had considerable links to the SDRA: Bougerol claims he was given the use of an office within the Counter-Information section of SDRA in 1974-75 whilst he was setting up PIO, and one of his closest collaborators was Commissioner Fagnart of the Military Security section of SDRA. PIO had two official missions, the first of which was to expose Soviet disinformation in the media, largely through the publication of a press review called Inforep. PIO's second task was to act as a clearing-house for information on subversion, distributing information to the Army, the Gendarmerie, the Sûreté de l'Etat - Belgium's internal security agency, and the Foreign Ministry Security Division. Unofficially, Bougerol used PIO to mount the same kind of aggressive counter-intelligence programmes that the FBI had been conducting in America under COINTELPRO against the Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement from 1969 until at least 1976 (254). It is probably no coincidence that PIO's title - unusual for being in English in the original - copied FBI jargon..."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pgs. 123-124)
|Major Jean-Marie Bougerol|
"During their investigation, the Belgian parliamentarians noted with surprised how well hidden the secret army (SDRA8) was within the Belgian military secret service (SGR). At the time of the discoveries of the secret network, the military secret service was divided into five departments, one of which was SDRA which employs 150 of the total 300 full-time SGR employees. SDRA had been created in the beginning of the 1950s by Colonel Charlier, who had before served in the British SAS Special Forces and at the time of the Gladio exposure was Lieutenant Colonel and Chief of Staff of the Belgian army. SDRA was again subdivided into eight units, and next to the top-secret stay-behind SDRA8 included under the label SDRA6, for instance, the Belgian Gendarmerie..."
(NATO's Secret Armies, Daniele Ganser, pg. 130)As was noted in part two, many of the Belgium's fascist militias recruited heavily from the Belgian Gendamerie (SDRA6), which happened to a be a part of the same department (SDRA) that housed the Gladio stay-behind army unit (SDRA8). But moving along.
European Institute of Management (EIM): A private security firm that, during the height of the Brabant shootings, was chaired by former US Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II. MacArthur II had extensive ties to US intelligence and it appears that much of the PIO network was rolled up into EIM during the early 1980s when the PIO came under investigation. There was also overlap between EIM "guards" and Westland New Post militants. All of his was addressed at length in part two.
Wackenhut: The notorious US private security firm widely linked to its secret services had an extensive presence in Belgium during the early 1980s. Several Westland New Post members were also employed by Wackenhut. This was also addressed in part two.
Agence de Recherche et d'Information (ARI): A Belgian-based private detective agency that employed several notorious Westland New Post members, also did contract work for EIM and Intertel. Addressed in part three.
Intertel: A US-based private security firm that was a subsidiary of Resorts International, a casino and gambling operation long tied to the Syndicate. During its heyday in the 1970s Intertel cropped up in various scandals such as those surrounding Castle Bank & Trust and the alleged abduction of Howard Hughes from his Las Vegas headquarters in 1971. Allegedly Intertel subcontracted with ARI during the 1980s. Also noted in part three.
NEM Clubs: Armed groups that were centered around the Nouvel Europe Magazine. Editor Emile Lecref played a key role in establishing these groups. Addressed briefly in part four.
Westland New Post (WNP): The most notorious Belgian militia during the Cold War era. Headed by Paul Latinus, a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) asset who had been trained by US special forces. Many of the key members in the group were recruited from Belgian security forces. Linked to the Brabant massacres as well as numerous other acts of terrorism. Shortly before Latinus committed suicide in 1984 he threatened to blow the lid on a pedophile network that involved many Belgian VIPs. WNP member Madani Bouhouche likely had ties to Jean-Michel Nihoul, who has long been accused of involvement in elite pedophile networks. The WNP is addressed at lengths in parts two and three.
Nihoul gang: As noted above, Jean-Michel Nihoul has been extensively accused of participating in pedophile networks. He was a well connected figure in Belgian organized crime and an associate of Marc Dutroux and his wife. Was accused of using Dutroux to procure underage girls for wealthy clients. Addressed in part three at length.
Haemers gang: Was involved in the kidnapping of Paul Vanden Boeynants in 1989, an event widely believed to have been a false flag operation by the Belgian public. Briefly addressed in part four.
|notorious Belgian gangster and convicted murderer Madani Bouhouche|
Aginter Press: The far right wing terror network based out of Portugal and active throughout Western Europe and Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Aginter has been widely linked to Gladio operations in Portugal, Belgium and Italy (its Italian connections were addressed before here). Multiple figures considered throughout this series such as Jean Thiriart and Emile Lecref had ties to Aginter. Addressed in part one, two and four.
Bilderberg Group: The long time bugaboo of the conspiratorial right. Along with the Round Table groups and the Trilateral Commission, one of the major international proponents of neo-liberalism and globalism. Baron de Bonvoisin's father Pierre had helped founded the Bilderberg Group in 1954. As was noted in part four of this series, it appears that numerous members of the organization were ensnared in Belgian's pedophile networks.
And this is how things stand at present. I've primarily focused on organizations based out of Belgium, with a few exceptions such as the WACL and the Bilderberg Group. Beginning with this installment I would like to pull back a bit a focus on how these largely interrelated Belgian groups fit in on the international stage. A good place to start would be with an organization that I briefly addressed in part one: P7.
As the assute reader may have guessed, P7 was allegedly one of the lodges comprising the old Propaganda network. The most notorious of these was Propaganda Due (P2), the Italian lodge that was extensively linked to Operation Gladio (as noted before here). It is also known that there were Propaganda lodges established in Spain and France as well (addressed briefly before here). It is not certain if P7 was supposed to be Belgium's lodge as there were only a handful of Belgian citizens in P7 but it none the less it alleged to have played a key role in funding the Propaganda network.
Essentially all of the claims involving P7 originate from American businessman Richard Brenneke, one of the most curious figures to originate from the Propaganda Due scandal in Italy. Here's a bit on Brenneke's claims:
"In the summer of 1990 RAI1, the Christian Democrat-control channel of state-run Italian television, broadcast a remarkable series of allegations about Gelli's relationship with the CIA and his role in the manipulation of Italian terrorism. The man making these allegations was Richard Brenneke, an American who claimed to have worked for the CIA and to have first-hand knowledge of the activities he described. The report, aired on 2 July, was the final programme in a four-part investigation into allegations that P2 had been in some way involved in the 1986 assassination of Swedish premier Olaf Palme. It unleashed a storm of political controversy, which was heightened when President Cossiga wrote to Prime Minister Andreotti calling on the government to investigate Richard Brenneke's claims...
"In the television interview Brenneke, a balding forty-eight-year-old who runs a property management company in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and who claims to have worked on convert operations for the CIA, Mossad and the US Customs, said that he had first come into contact with P2 in 1969 and that he had been personally involved in making payments to the lodge on behalf of the CIA. The amount varied, at times, from $1 million to more than $10 million a month. The money, Brenneke claims, had been used to finance drug trafficking and terrorism. 'We used them to create a situation that would favor the outbreak of terrorism in Italy and in other European countries in the early seventies. These were very important activities, since certain governments fell as a result of them,' Brenneke told the interviewer. The American said he had worked for the CIA on a contract basis and that Gelli did likewise. He claimed that he had met the P2 boss on a number of occasions, including one, in Colorado, when Gelli was a fugitive from Italian justice. Brenneke also said he was aware of the existence of an operational link between P2 and the American Mafia...
"In the course of the television interview, and on other occasions, Brenneke had alleged that Bush had taken part in secret negotiations with representatives of the Khomeini regime to delay the release of the fifty-two US hostages then being held in Teheran until after the US presidential elections. According to Brenneke's claim, the Republican Party was worried that if Carter succeeded in obtaining the release of the hostages before the vote it might be enough to win him a second term in office. Brenneke said that Bush, the vice-presidential candidate, campaign director William Casey who was later appointed director of the CIA by President Reagan, and CIA officer Donald Gregg attended a secret meeting in Paris at which the Iranians were promised arms in return for delaying the release of the hostages. Gelli too, Brenneke said, had attended the meetings."
(Puppetmasters, Philip Willan, pgs. 77-79)
As many of Brenneke's claims, while exaggerating his role in these dealings, have largely proven to be true, it is surprising that he claims are not given more credence amongst P2 researchers. But even more surprising is the almost total blackout on the organization that Brenneke claimed to have been behind the funding of P2: P7. Certainly alleged members of P7 will be most interesting to the reader of this series. Here's a bit about this particular lodge and its ties to P2:
"We have already noted the presence of former top P2 member Giancarlo Elia Valori in AESP circles from 1972 onwards; Valori figures on the 1977 and 1978 AESP lists as a member of the Academy's executive body, the Permanent Delegation. According to allegations made in 1988 by Richard Brenneke, three other leading AESP members were involved in a CIA funding channel for P2 called P7...
"... Brenneke claimed to have been personally involved in CIA funding of the P2 lodge via P7 from 1969 through to the 1980s. On the strength of his past record, one can doubt the degree of his personal involvement, but the details he gives of P7 as a funding channel for P2 are persuasive. Brenneke provided a 30-strong list of members of P7, amongst whom we find three of the longest-serving AESP members: Ivan Matteo Lombardo (joined AESP in 1970; by 1978, a Life Member), Vittorio Pons (AESP founding member, by 1978 on the Permanent Delegation) and Ernest Töttösy (in contact with Damman since 1961; by 1978 a member of an AESP Study Group). In 1972, Valori, Pons and Töttösy attended the Academy's XV Grand Dîner Charlemagne; in 1976, all three attended the XIX Grand Dîner Charlemagne. Pons and Töttösy met a second time in 1976 at the XXV CEDI Congress. The same year, Töttösy and Francis Dessart published a book Comité Hongrie 1956-76 to commemorate the revolution; in 1977, the two men set up an eponymous committee whose address was the familiar building at 39, rue Belliard, home to CEPIC, PDG, PIO and later MAUE. The list of its Board members is revealing: alongside Töttösy and Dessart, the Board included Damman, Lecerf, Victor de Stankovich, Bernard Mercier and Jacques Borsu.
"The late Victor de Stankovich was another Hungarian exile who also figured on the P7 list - of the five Belgians on the P7 list, three were linked to Damman: Pons, Töttösy and de Stankovich. De Stankovich was a fervent Atlanticist and a former contributor to Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and Report and Dispatch from NATO. Bernard Mercier was a Board member of CEPIC, named with de Bonvoisin and Vankerkhoven in the 1981 Sûreté report as financial backers of the Front de la Jeunesse and the NEM Clubs. An intimate of Bougerol's, Mercier accompanied Bougerol and CEPIC Senator Angèle Verdin to Spain after Franco's death to visit his grave; all three then went on to attend the XXV CEDI Congress where they met Töttösy and Pons. A 1983 Sûreté report repeated allegations by WNP members that Mercier was a regional representative/inspector of the WNP. Francis Dessart, Professor of Communications at the Institute for High Economic and Social Studies in Brussels, was closely linked to the Moonies, the ABN and WACL, speaking at the 1981 WACL conference; he was also one of Aginter Presse's contacts in Belgium along with two other Board members of the Comité Hongrie 1956-76, Damman and Lecerf. Jacques Borsu was a former comrade-in-arms of French mercenary Bob Denard and leader of the neo-nazi Parti Européen. Having organised paramilitary training camps for the Flemish fascist Vlaamse Militanten Orde (VMO), he was one of the co-defendants in a 1981 trial of VMO leaders (348)*."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pgs. 166-168)
There's a lot to take in here. Jacques Borsu we already encountered in the first installment due to his ties to the VMO. He sat on what the great David Teacher referred to as an "eponymous committee" that operated out of the same building that also housed the CEPID and the Public Information Office (PIO). Other board members of this committee included three alleged members of P7, our old friend Emile Lecref (who had close ties to the WACL and Aginter Press), another WACL/Aginter Press contact known as Francis Dessart and Bernard Mercier, an alleged WNP member and close associate of PIO head Major Jean-Marie Bougerol.
Thus, whatever this strange "eponymous committee" was, it brought together elements of the Propaganda network, Aginter Press, the WACL and street level organizations such as the Front de la Jeunesse, the NEM Clubs, the WNP and the VMO. And of course Aginter Press, the Propaganda lodges and the WACL were all extensively linked to Operation Gladio.
And that brings us to another mysterious organization that was ever so briefly addressed in part four: the above-mentioned AESP, which stands for Academie Europeenne des Sciences Politiques.
The Academy, as it is often referred to, was an offshoot of the Pan-European movement that began to emerge in the wake of the Second World War. There were several different organizations with varying agendas involved in the early days. Probably the most well-known is the European Movement (EM), sponsored by the Polish exile Dr. Joseph Retinger. According to David Teacher in Rogue Agents, the chief source of funding for the EM was the American Committee on a United Europe (ACUE). The ACUE was chaired by Bill Donovan, the head of the OSS, the WWII predecessor of the CIA. Other key figures in the ACUE included future CIA directors General Walter Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles. Bedell Smith and Retinger were also involved in the creation of the Bilderberg Group, which was closely aligned to the EM group and affiliated organizations such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF).
|Archduke Otto von Habsburg|
"... a longstanding Belgian contact of Habsburg's - Florimond Damman. Damman was a key Belgian linkman, representing together with a few close friends the Belgian end of almost all the international right-wing networks - PEU, CEDI and WACL. Damman had been a close associate of Habsburg's since at least 1962, when Damman served as Secretary of the Belgian PEU section, Action pour l'Europe Nouvelle et l'Expansion Atlantique (AENA), before rising to become Chairman of the International Events Committee on the Central Council of the PEU in 1966 alongside PEU Vice-Presidents Habsburg and Biggs-Davison, Brussels-based PEU International Secretary and former Counsellor at the EEC Vittorio Pons and Pons's deputy and close associate of Damman, Belgian Baron Bernard de Marcken de Merken.
"Damman's chairmanship of the PEU International Events Committee reflected his ceaseless energy in networking amongst the European Right – he would ultimately die of apoplexy at the height of his powers. One particular form this dynamism took early on was the organisation of banquets, Charlemagne Grand Dinners as Damman called them, to bring together representatives and personalities from the fragmented paneuropean movements... By 1969, the Belgian PEU group would again change name to become the Mouvement d'Action pour l'Union Européenne (MAUE), but would still be run by Damman who liaised with the Habsburg-Sánchez Bella group CEDI as a close personal friend of Sánchez Bella.
"The Belgian section of CEDI was run by Damman's close associate Paul Vankerkhoven, who served on CEDI's International Council and also acted as Damman's Vice-President within the PEU section MAUE. The two men would develop a series of right-wing groups, the earliest being the Belgian section of the Ligue Internationale de la Liberté (LIL), founded by Vankerkhoven in 1966, soon to be the Belgian chapter of WACL..."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pgs. 45-46)
|Belgian WACL head Paul Vankerhoven, a long time associate of Damman|
"... another club, set up by Florimond Damman in January 1969, the Académie Européenne des SciencesPolitiques (AESP). Damman was Secretary-for-life of the AESP; Vankerkhoven served as a member of the AESP organising core, the Permanent Delegation. The AESP would continue the tradition of organising the Charlemagne Grand Dinners and act as a right-wing clearing house...
"Besides bringing together the fragmented forces of national right-wing groups, another intention behind the fledgling Academy was to absorb the other transnational European right-wing movements, particularly CEDI and the PEU, the latter being based in Brussels since 1965. Whilst these two organisations would continue to exist, the AESP would act as a forum for a meeting of minds between fractions within both international groups. This goal of integrating the movements working for European union was in part due to a latent power struggle between political positions and personalities in European federalism."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pgs. 46-47)According to David Teacher, it was also during this time that Damman forged ties with Yves Guerin-Serac and Aginter Press. Effectively, then, Damman and his AESP would serve as a bridge between highly exclusive elite networks such as Habsburg's, militant "think tanks" such as the WACL and thinly veiled terror networks such as Aginter. It should not then surprise the reader to learn that other members of the Academy included Emile Lecref (another affiliate of the WACL and Aginter) as well as Paul Vanden Boeynants and Baron de Bonvoisin (the connections of PvB and the Black Baron to the AESP were briefly noted in part four of this series). And from these individuals are the ties to Belgian-based terror networks such as the NEM Clubs, Front de la Jeunesse and the WNP, which have already been discussed in this installment and the previous one.
|Vanden Boeynants (left) and de Bonvoisin (right)|
The Academy also had elite ties which went beyond the Habsburg network. Consider the following:
"Another of Violet's initiatives at that time was undertaken from Brussels. The operator Violet had chosen was in eccentric man, with the delectable name of Florimond Damman. Having made a small fortune from property deals, he ran a tiny but effect outfit with the grandiloquent name of the Academie Europeene des Sciences Politiques. The three of us –Damman, Violet and I – drafted an appeal for 'Peace without Frontiers,' in which we define our concept of a true detente."
(Free Agent, Brian Crozier, pg. 99)The above-mentioned Violet is the mysterious Frenchman Jean Violet while Damman's second collaborator is British propagandist Brian Crozier. Both Violet and Crozier would establish close ties to the Academy in the early 1970s, bringing in their own considerable deep backgrounds. Crozier was a hard-line anti-communist journalist and historian with extensive intelligence ties and considerable financial backing. One of his patrons was Richard Mellon Scaife, one of the most notorious sugar daddies of the modern America conservative movement and a member the wealthy and highly intelligence-connected Mellon family. Much more information on Scaife can be found here.
"Scaife meanwhile, with CIA encouragement, was funding a $100,000 a year to a joint CIA-British intelligence psychological operation, the Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC), and its controversial chief Brian Crozier. The ISC, created in 1970, was driven by a paranoia about left-wing subversion, similar to that in future Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell's confidential memorandum a year later. Crozier in turn was a member of the Pinay Circle, a European cabal of intelligence personnel and veterans and their overworld backers..."
(The Road to 9/11, Peter Dale Scott, pg. 98)
And Jean Violet, a man who WNP head Paul Latinus cited as one of the top figure in Belgian's fascist underground (briefly noted in part four)? Why, he just happened to be the man Crozier described in his autobiography Free Agent as the most important figure in the Pinay Cercle/Circle, also known as Le Cercle.
Le Cercle is one of the most mysterious organizations one is apt to encounter in this type of research. It has rarely been addressed in the English language and many of those references are quite brief. I had intended to delve into the organization in this series but have since compiled enough information that I felt it warranted its own series. It will soon be forth coming and will shed further light on the international significance of the deep intrigues that have rocked Belgium. For now, I shall wrap things up.
Many members of Belgian's security services, especially those from the Gendamerie, became involved with fascist militias such as Front de la Jeunesse and especially the Westland New Post. The Gendamerie unit was SDRA6, located in the same department as the Gladio forces. WNP head Paul Latinus had been recruited by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and had been trained by US special forces (as noted in part two).
The WNP was deeply implicated in acts of terrorism, most notably the Brabant shootings. It also appears to have ties to Jean-Michel Nihoul, a man linked to pedophile networks catering to elites. Latinus expresses knowledge of this network in the Pinot report before he commits "suicide." A little over a decade later the Dutroux scandal breaks and sheds further light on this alleged network. This causes the "X-witnesses" to come forward and discuss their time in this network, as noted in part three.
Paul Vanden Boeynants, a major figure in the PSC party, is implicated in both the Pinot files and by the "X-witnesses." His close alley, Baron de Bonvoisin, is also fingered by several of the X-witnesses. Vanden Boeynants and de Bonvoisin were major backers of the Front de la Jeunesse and likely the WNP as well. They also had extensive ties to international organizations linked to terrorism such as the World Anti-Communist League, the Propaganda lodges and Aginter Press. As noted in part four, Aginter Press has been linked to Gladio while I wrote of the WACL's ties before here. P2's ties to Gladio were noted before here.
And lurking the background are the even more elite organizations such as the pan-European groups such as the PEU and the CEDI and of course the Academy. And then of course is the even more shadowy Le Cercle, which lurked behind all these groups.
"According to fugitive ex-CIA officer Frank Terpil, CIA-directed sexual blackmailing operations were intensive in Washington about the time of the Watergate scandal. One of those operations, Terpil claims, was run by his former partner, Ed Wilson. Wilson's base of operations for arranging trysts for the politically powerful was, Terpil says, Korean agent Tong Sun Park's George Town Club..."
(Secret Agenda, Jim Hougan)
"... the Georgetown Club, started by Korean intelligence agent, lobbyist and influence peddler Tongsun Park with the help of lobbyists like Robert Gray, an Eisenhower cabinet secretary who had also worked with Ed Wilson. Gray, who had once headed the Washington office of Hill and Knowlton, at the time the nation's largest and most respected public relations firm, was typical of the powerful Washington lobbyists and public relations executives who the CIA and Shackley had used for years. Many of these lobbyists and executives had some personal secret that made them vulnerable to requests from the intelligence community. In Gray's case, it was a secret history of homosexuality. If news about his personal life became public, it would ruin his relationship with the Republican politicians he had cultivated and the corporations he sought to represent...
"The most mysterious aspect of Gray's involvement was his close personal relationship with Park. Park had played a major role in a rice scandal called Koreagate that involved bribes to members of Congress in the 1970s, but it would be Park's later involvement with Manuel Noriega, Japanese organized-crime elements, and the Safari Club that would make him a key behind-the-scenes figure in the private intelligence networks of the 1980s and 1990s."
(Prelude to Terror, Joseph J. Trento, pg. 171)
As noted in part two, MacArthur had chaired the European Institute of Management (EIM) during the early 1980s as well. This organization had ties to the Westland New Post and likely to the pedophile networks as well. According to ISGP, MacArthur II had known accused pedophile Paul Vanden Boeynants since the 1960s when he was the US Ambassador to Belgium.
MacArthur II also had a lot of involvement with the Unification Church. Gray's friend, Korean agent Tongsung Park, was implicated in Koreagate along with the Unification Church. I have not found any direct links between Park and the Moonies but it seems likely both were assets of the Korean CIA.
There is another possible link that will be addressed in the Le Cercle series. Until then, stay tuned.