Le Cercle, sometimes referred to as the Pinay Group or the Pinay Cercle/Circle (in some accounts the Pinay Group was held to be the inner circle of Le Cercle), is one of the most mysterious international bodies one is apt to encounter in the annuals of conspiracy literature. Over the years it has rarely been addressed in the English language and when it has, it is typically depicted as a mere auxiliary of the Bilderberg Group and other neo-liberal/globalist bodies (i.e. the Round Table groups, the Trilateral Commission and other long time bugaboos of the conspiratorial right). This has ensured that serious research into the organization has remained at the absolute fringes of conspiracy culture.
For many years, the only in depth examination of Le Cercle came from its former chairman Brian Crozier in his 1991 autobiography Free Agent. There Crozier provided a highly sanitized version of Le Cercle and the international network that it operated in, largely depicting it as an ineffectual body desperately trying to hold the line against the Communist menace. Of course Crozier held that he himself was little more than a much maligned journalist and historian under relentless attack from the forces of the Left. If only we could be so lucky.
There have been, to be sure, efforts to bring Le Cercle and its more nefarious activities to the attention of a wider audience. David Teacher, a former translator for the European Union in Brussels and an international administrator in Geneva, first shined a critical spotlight on this organization back in the late 1980s via several articles in Lobster magazine. In 1993 he had readied a full length account of the "Paneuropean" network, of which Le Cercle was a major figure in, entitled Rogue Agents (obviously a dig at Crozier's autobiography) for publication. It was rejected by every publisher out there and would lay dormant for 15 years before it finally saw the light of day.
But I digress. Let us return to the matter at hand, namely Le Cercle. Superficially the organization was a kind of off-the-record transnational discuss group that brought together major Western figures drawn from the ranks of the political and financial classes as well as ample "former" military and intelligence personnel. Brian Crozier, a key Cercle member long suspected of ties to US and British intelligence, has insisted that the group was little more than a forum for various interests.
"The Pinay Cercle was a natural offshoot of Jean Violet's Franco-German activities. To describe it as a 'forum' is strictly accurate. There were no members in a formal sense. It was an informal group of broadly like-minded people, who met twice a year, once in America, once in Europe. Usually, some distinguished figure was invited to speak. Among the guest speakers at times when I was present were Strauss, Henry Kissinger (for whom I interpreted), Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Rockefeller, and Guilio Andreotti.
"Within the wider Cercle, a small gathering called the Pinay Group met on occasion to discuss possible action. In 1980, Violet, who had serious health problems, asked me to take over the Pinay Cercle. In practice, I mostly shared the burden with a leading German member of the Cercle, Franz-Joseph Bach, who had run Adenauer's secretariat and later served as ambassador and Tehran.
"In Pinay's day, the old man himself presided over the meetings, but the chairmanship of each session was shared out among others, including Pesenti, Sir Peter Tennent, and myself. On my initiative, Julian Amery, MP (later Lord Amery), took over the presidency. I retired from the Cercle in 1985, having decided that it was making excessive demands on my staff and office time.
"Some outsiders have jumped to the wrong conclusion that the Pinay Cercle was the same as my 'secret' organisation. One of them was a CIA veteran whom I had known since my FWF days. There was in fact some minor overlapping, but the functions of The 61, which I have been describing, were quite different. Some members of The 61's 'Politburo' also attended the Cercle meetings; others did not. Most members of the Cercle were unaware of the existence of The 61. Many of The 61's networks had no connection with the Cercle."
(Free Agent, Brian Crozier, pgs. 192-193)
The actual name of the "61" was in fact the 6I (apparently short for "Sixth International"), a full blown private intelligence network that Crozier ran for around a decade during the late 1970s and 1980s. There is compelling evidence that it had more than a passing overlap with the Cercle. Much more will be said of this network in a future installment. As to whether or not the Pinay Group constituted an inner circle to to Le Cercle, this is unknown to this researcher.
Historically, one of the primary concerns of Le Cercle was European integration. Certainly this was also a major topic for the Bilderberg Group and the broader European Movement (EM) that it sponsored. Crozier is quick to point to the presence of many American Eastern Establishment (who were and are closely aligned to the Bilderberg network) staples such Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezenski and the one and only David Rockefeller being active in Le Cercle. It was, however, frequently linked to far more reactionary circles.
"Many Pan-European members belonged to a right-wing association that had little formal structure but became known as the 'Pinay Group', after Antoine Pinay, a former French prime minister. In a since it was broader than the Union because its participants were not exclusively Catholic and its meetings were regularly attended by right-wing Americans. These included former CIA director William Colby, banker David Rockefeller and public relations pioneer Crosby M. Kelly. But the Pinay Group was essentially a European Community lobby established to counter Marxism. It was plugged into virtually every west European intelligence service. Although it met under the auspices of Pinay, the co-ordinator for the group was Jean Violet, a right-wing Gaullist friend of Giulio Andreotti..."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pgs. 154-155)
|former DCI William Colby|
"Bilderberg overlapped for a time with my membership in a relatively obscure but potentially even more controversial body known as the Pesenti Group. I had first learned about it in October 1967 when Carlo Pesenti, the owner of a number of important Italian corporations, took me aside at a Chase investment forum in Paris and invited me to join his group, which discussed contemporary trends in Europe and world politics. It was a select group, he told me, mostly Europeans. Since Pesenti was an important Chase customer and he assured me the other members were interesting and congenial, I accepted his invitation.
"Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, and Konrad Adenauer were founding members of the group, but by the time I joined, they have been replaced by an equally prominent roster that included Antoine Pinay, a former French president; Guilio Andreotti, several times prime minister of Italy; and Franz-Joseph Strauss, the head of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria and a perennial contender for the chancellorship of the Federal Republic of Germany. The discussions were conducted in French, and usually I was the sole American present, although on a few occasions when the group assembled in Washington, Henry Kissinger, at the time President Nixon's national security advisor, joined us for dinner.
"Members of the Pesenti Group were all committed to European political and economic integration, but a few – Archduke Otto of Austria, the head of the house of Hapsburg and claimant to all the lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire; Monsignor Alberto Giovanetti of the Vatican and a prominent member of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic organization; and Jean-Paul Leon Violet, a conservative French intellectuel – were preoccupied by the Soviet threat and the inexorable rise to power of the Communist parties of France and Italy.
"Pesenti set the agenda for our thrice-yearly meetings, and Maitre Violet, who had close connections with the Deuxieme Bureau of the Service des Renseignements (the French CIA), provided lengthy background briefings. Using an overhead projector, Violet displayed transparency after transparency filled with data documenting Soviet infiltration of governments around the world and supporting his belief that the threat of global communist victory was quite real. While all of us knew the Soviets were behind the 'wars of national liberation' in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, I was not personally convinced the Red Menace was quite as menacing as Maitre Violet portrayed it to be, but my views were a minority one in that group. Even though I found the discussions fascinating, the ultraconservative politics of some of the participants were more than a bit unnerving. My Chase associates, who feared my membership could be constructed as 'consorting with reactionaries,' eventually prevailed upon me to withdraw."
(Memoirs, David Rockefeller, pgs. 412-413)
"The foundations of Carlo Pesenti's business empire were set in concrete by an uncle who was close to Mussolini. He thereby secured privileged treatment in the export of cement to Italian-conquered Ethiopia. At the end of the war, Carlo tried to clean up the family firm's image; and under his direction, with the spiritual and material support of the Vatican and the Christian Democratic party, the firm became a financial empire involved in banking, insurance, newspapers, and a host of other enterprises...
"Pesenti's financial involvement with the inventors appears to have been episodic, perhaps because his empire was already on the skids. It was Pesenti's financial holding company, Italmobiliare, and more specifically its finance and insurance subsidiary, Bastogi I.R.B.S. S.p.A., that Michele Sindona had targeted for a takeover in the early 1970s, when he was trying to fulfill his ambition of becoming financial overlord of Italy. Pesenti rescued his firm from Sindona with the aid of another prominent Catholic financier, Philippe de Weck, chief of the Union de Banques Suisses. But Italmobiliare emerged from the fray considerably weakened, forced to sell off assets, including a string of banks, and dependent on the IOR and subsequently on Banco Ambrosiano for infusions of funds to keep it alive."
(Hot Money, R.T. Naylor, pg. 259)
Also of great interest is the presence of Archduke Otto von Habsburg in Le Cercle. Habsburg had been one of the key figures in the European integration movement for years. As I explained briefly before here, there were essentially three organizations in play for domination of the European integration movement at the onset of the Cold War: Joseph Retniger's European Movement (EM, which had very close ties to the Bilderberg Group and the CIA), Count Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi's Paneuropean Union (PEU, the oldest and most controversial due to the more moderate line Coudenhove-Kalergi took toward the Soviet Union) and Habsburg's European Centre of Documentation and Information (CEDI). By the 1970s Habsburg's network had totally taken over the PEU, making it the chief rival to the Bilderberg/EM network. And be assured, there were distinctions between these two factions. Here's a bit more Habsburg's network:
"By the early 1960s some of Escriva de Balaguer's children were moving in rather rarefied spheres. Alfredo Sanchez Bella was one. He had broken with Opus Dei in the early 1940s but returned to Escriva de Balaguer's fold in the 1950s. In 1949, the year after the Communist take over Czechoslovakia, he co-founded with Archduke Otto von Habsburg the European Centre of Documentation and Information (CEDI), whose objective was to construct around the Spanish Borbons a federation of European states united in Christianity and anti-Communism. This sounded very much like a modern resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire over which Charles V had reigned. Like the Spanish empire of old, the envisaged Catholic federation was intended to have large-spectrum antennae in Latin America and the United States.
"CEDI was believed to be an auxiliary operation of Opus Dei. Although headquartered in Munich, it held its annual general meetings at the Monastery of El Escorial, near Madrid, and it continued functioning throughout the Cold War. It's tentacles spread among Catholic Monarchist circles throughout Western Europe. Archduke Otto, who was educated in Spain and completed his studies at the Catholic University of Louvain, reportedly became one of Opus Dei's most treasured old guard supernumeraries. Like Opus Dei, CEDI published no membership lists, but the president of its Belgian chapter, Chevalier Marcel de Roover, was known to have close ties with the Belgian royal family. Indeed, Archduke Otto's nephew, Lorenz von Habsburg, son of the international banker Karl von Habsburg, married Princes Astrid of Belgium, daughter of King Albert II. Astrid's aunt, the former Queen Fabiola, was related through the House of Aragon to the Spanish Borbon family. Professor Luc de Heusch of the free University of Brussels, an expert on Sacred Kingship, maintained that Queen Fabiola, a disciple of Escriva de Balaguer, introduced Opus Dei to the Catholic aristocracy of Europe."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pgs. 153-154)
|Archduke Otto van Habsburg|
|Paul Vanden Boeynanys (right) and de Bonvoisin (left)|
As such, it should hardly come as a surprise that Le Cercle has been accused of being under the dominion of Opus Dei as well:
"... The Pinay Group was said to be another Opus Dei auxiliary operation, and its principal protagonists, Pinay and Violet, were variously reported to be connected with the Work."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pg. 155)
|the seal of Opus Dei|
As noted during my extensive examination of P2, it appears to this researcher that the upper hierarchy of the lodge was totally dominated by Opusians and Maltese knights. That this would also be the case in Le Cercle is hardly surprising given the extensive overlap between the Le Cercle and P2 circles. I already briefly touched upon this relation to the CEDI in one of my Belgium articles before.
This could also help explain the conflict David Rockefeller and his associates ultimately had with Le Cercle. ISGP speculates that the rift was driven by the religious extremism that derived from the very conservative Paneuropean network that historically had been very close to the Vatican. There was also a divide between the Anglo-American establishment and the rest of Western Europe. Le Cercle, which was founded in the early in 1950s, may then have initiated as a counter balance to the Anglo-American-oriented Bilderberg group. The Vatican-Paneuropean network also gained close contacts with the American deep state during this time as well as it played a key role in establishing the Stay-Behind-Networks throughout Western Europe during the Cold War. My series on P2 and the Belgium deep state addressed this connection.
|Knights of Malta star|