Saturday, April 30, 2016

Le Cercle: Clerical Fascism and the Pedophocracy Part II

Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the mysterious body known as Le Cercle (sometimes referred to as as the Pinay Group for Pinay Cercle/Circle). The origins of the group, which are a bit murky, date to the early 1950s when it emerged from various Pan-European and conservative Catholic interests that were taking shape in the wake of the Second World War. Described as little more than a forum to bring together various right wing organizations by apologists, Le Cercle has none the less played a role in various deep events across the several continents.

As was noted in the first installment, Le Cercle was deeply connected to various intelligence agencies in Western Europe as well as the United States and it had access to some of the most powerful elites of the Cold War era. David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezenski all had dealings with Le Cercle for a time. That being said, it would be a gross mistake to dismiss the organization as little more than extension of the Bilderberg Group, as many have (as was noted in part one, there was a fair degree of overlap between early Bilderberg and Le Cercle membership).

In point of fact, Le Cercle seems to have been under the domination of Catholic cults and orders of knighthood such as Opus Dei and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta for much of its existence. While these groups shared some of the objectives of the Bilderbergers, such as a United Europe, they ultimately seemed to have been pursing a kind of new Holy Roman Empire.


At some point more will be said on the differences of these competing faction. For the time being I would like to begin examining the backgrounds of two of the chief figures behind the Cercle in its early days. The first was the famed French statesman and Bilderberger co-founder Antoine Pinay, one of the most connected individuals in the French state during the post-WWII years and the sometimes namesake of the Cercle.

Pinay entered politics in 1929 when he was elected mayor of Saint-Chamond, Loire. By 1940 he had worked his way up to the Senate. Pinay was initially given the post of Conseil National during the onset of the Vichy regime, but he resigned within a few months. He remained in France as mayor of Saint-Chamond, Loire throughout the Occupation. Whether or not he was a collaborator with the Nazis has been a topic of some debate.

It was not, however, until after the War that Pinay's career really took off:
"One of the most prominent members of the new Bilderberg Group was the French politician Antoine Pinay who served as Minister of Public Works, Transport and Tourism from July 1950 to March 1952 before becoming President of the Council (Prime Minister) and Minister of Finance until January 1953. In December 1953, Pinay stood unsuccessfully as the candidate for the Centre National des Indépendants et Paysans (CNIP) in the eighth round of voting of the last presidential elections of the Fourth Republic; the thirteenth round would finally see the victory of René Coty, also of the CNIP. Pinay would later serve under President Coty as Minister for Foreign Affairs from February 1955 until February 1956, and Minister of Finance again under Prime Minister and then President Charles de Gaulle from June 1958 to January 1960 when he introduced the new French franc (13). Apart from his distinguished career in public office, Antoine Pinay had other less obvious attributes – and not just within the select club of Bilderbergers. In 1952-53, at the same time as the Bilderberg Group was being set up, French Prime Minister Pinay and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer created the Cercle Pinay as a confidential forum for Franco-German policy coordination via personal contacts between Pinay, Adenauer and other Christian Democrat Heads of State."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pg. 20)
Pinay would remain extensively involved with the group that bore his name from its foundation up until the 1970s, frequently serving as the group's chairman during this period. He would still remain active in the group up till the 1980s, at which point his health had deteriorated to the point he was no longer able to be a participant. Pinay died in 1994 seventeen days shy of his 103rd birthday.

Sniffer Planes of the Alchemists

While Pinay may have been the front man for much of Cercle's early years, the man generally credited with turning it into a major international player is the mysterious Frenchman known as Jean Violet. Violet is generally depicted as a rather buffoonish figure in the few mainstream accounts profiling the man. This is in no small part due to his involvement in a bizarre scandal involving "sniffer airplanes" that rocked France (and, to lesser extent, Italy and Spain) in the 1970s.
"The story of the sniffer airplane begins in 1965 when a Belgian count (Comte Allain de Villegas) and an Italian TV repairman-turned-self-proclaimed nuclear physicist (Aldo Bonassoli). Both 'scientists' had a passionate belief in alchemy and UFOs, and they established a Geneva-based company to finance 'scientific discoveries.' The first project was to develop desalination technology, which made Geneva natural place for their headquarters...
"The failure of the desalination scheme led logically to the next one. If they could not get the salt out of water, the next best thing was to find new sources of fresh water through a device that could 'sniff' underground reservoirs. It was at this point that their paths crossed that of Jean Violet...
"Violet's Vatican connections gave the inventors the financial backing they required to proceed with their experiments. The first stop was Spain, where Opus Dei supporters in the Franco government assured official aid for the project. Financial backing also came from another Vatican-linked source."
(Hot Money, R.T. Naylor, pgs. 258-259)

Comte de Villegas (top) and Bonassoli (bottom)
That would be the Italian businessman Carlo Pesenti, at the time one of the wealthiest individuals in Italy. As was noted in part one, Pesenti was also a key figure in the Cercle during the early years, possibly even serving as chairman for a time in the 1960s and early 1970s. In his Memoirs, David Rockefeller referred to Le Cercle as the Pesenti Group after the Italian concrete magnet.

At the time of his involvement with the sniffer plane (i.e. the 1970s), Pesenti was engaged in a protracted battle with the Mafia-linked financier Michele Sindona, a member of Propaganda Due. Sindona had hopes of taking over Pesenti's empire. Pesenti emerged victorious, but not without taking a beating. Ironically, his business empire would receive much needed funding later in the decade from Banco Ambrosiano, headed by another Mafia-linked P2 member known as Robero Calvi. Pesenti became the largest minority shareholder of Banco Ambrosiano. Both Sindona and Calvi would play a key role in the Vatican banking scandal, as noted before here, here and here. But back to the sniffer plane:
"Alas for inventors and investors alike, no water was found but that dampened the enthusiasm only of Carlo Pesenti, who by then was more concerned with the water in his stock than the lack of it in his cement. For the others the failure simply whetted their appetites for further discoveries. In the tradition of the medieval alchemists, the team of inventors set out to convert a base material, namely water into black gold. The supposition was that if the sniffer device could not smell water, perhaps it could smell oil.
"The international situation was certainly favorable. Synchronizing the launching of the new scheme was the oil-price revolution of 1973, the syndicate attracted other associates. Among them was the government of South Africa, whom Jean Violet and friends regarded as a bulwark of Western Christian civilization. South Africa needed oil self-sufficiency as insurance against the embargo orchestrated by the heathen hordes into whose hands the world's energy lifeline had fallen. However, early experiments with the server device failed, and the South Africans lost interest. No matter, for Jean Violet had even more distinguished and generous patrons to take their place.
"For the government of France in general, and the French state oil company ELF-Aquitaine in particular, the project held out many attractions --if it worked. ELF-Aquitaine could secure sources of crude oil of the sort lost after the Algerian Revolution, making it a major world supplier, and the invention would put it at the forefront of world petroleum technology. France itself would be relieved of the dollar drain of paying for imported oil if sources could be found either domestically or in France's African tributaries. Furthermore, incumbent president Valery Giscard d'Estaing was close to Violet's political and Opus Dei circles. Violet was also well connected with French intelligence, which in turn had influence with ELF-Aquitaine.
"With the president himself giving the clearance for ELF-Aquitaine to ignore normal government accounting procedures and exchange controls, it pumped hundreds of millions of Swiss francs into the project. Under the supervision of the investors' financial agent, UBS chief Philippe de Weck, the funds earmarked for payments to various Italian 'creditors' were allegedly funneled via a Zürich company called Ultrafin, owned by Milan's Banco Ambrosiano.
"Interestingly, Philippe de Weck was one of four Catholic experts that the Vatican later called on to report on the IOR's involvement with the Calvi catastrophe, and to devise reasons why the Vatican should not share the resulting costs. That task he undertook with distinction; but when the French government asked him to explain his sniffer airplane financial maneuvers that made so much French taxpayer money disappear, he declined – good Swiss banker that he was – to violate client confidentiality.
"The sniffer enterprise was a complete fiasco – a fact that may have had some influence on the 1981 crash of the Opus Dei-influenced Banco Occidental in Spain. French President Giscard d'Estaing managed a cover-up, in which his successor, Francois Mitterrand, cooperated. But late in 1983 a tax-department clerk, investigating the route by which 800 million French francs had left the country (340 million without a trace), and inadvertently blew their cover. By then, however, the French government had more important things on its mind."
(Hot Money, R.T. Naylor, pgs, 259-260)
Valery Giscard d'Estaing, another French politician closely linked to Cercle
The Opus Dei-linked Banco Occidential also had ties to Calvi's Banco Ambrosiano and was ultimately dragged into the Vatican banking scandal. As I noted before here, there is a school of thought that the money being drained out of these various Catholic-centric financial institutions via back door methods was to fund some of the Vatican's intrigues in both the Polish Solidarity movement as well in Central America. These were certainly projects, especially in regards to the Latin American death squads the most reactionary elements of the Vatican frequently found themselves aligned with, that needed to be kept from the public at large. The murky netherworld of shadow financing could accomplish so much more while providing the Vatican with political cover.

Jean Violet: International Man of Mystery

The sniffer plane scandal may then have been another front to raise money (in this case, primarily from the government of France) superficially for this curious invention but in actuality was meant to funnel money (after a generous skim by the major players) to such causes the Vatican had become obsessed with under Pope John Paul II (whose rise to power had been greatly aided by Opus Dei, as noted before here). Considering Jean Violet's extensive intelligence background and high-ranking contacts within the Vatican, such a possibility seems all the more plausible. As to that background and those contacts, consider:
"It was in 1951 that Antoine Pinay first met Violet, a Parisian lawyer close to the CNPF, the French employers' federation. Pinay sought out Violet for legal advice about war reparations payments for a Geneva-based firm whose German factory had been seized during the war. Pinay was evidently satisfied with Violet's work as he recommended the lawyer to Pierre Boursicot, head of the French secret service, the Service de Documentation Extérieure et Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Violet helped the SDECE where he could; as he has said: "Aware of the fact that I could be of some use to my country thanks to my professional situation on the international chessboard, I chose to fight for France within the ranks of the SDECE" (14).
"After the arrival of General Grossin as head of the SDECE in 1957, Violet was taken on as an agent and given missions of increasing political importance. Violet would rise to become perhaps the SDECE's most valued 'Honourable Correspondent' with the title of Special Advocate to the service. One indication of Violet’s significance as a veteran covert operator is the fact that throughout his fifteen years of service with the SDECE, his case officer was the head of the service - first Grossin from 1957 to 1962, then Jacquier from 1962 to 1966, and then finally Guibaud until 1970. Reporting directly to General Grossin, "Violet was masterminding a Service Spécial to promote the General's [de Gaulle's] objectives in defence and foreign policy" (15), a rather ironic fact bearing in mind that Brian Crozier, Violet's future associate in the Cercle, was monitoring de Gaulle’s defence and foreign initiatives with some suspicion from the other side of the Channel.
"An early associate of Violet's in his work for the SDECE was former Chaplain to the French Far East Expeditionary Force in Indochina Reverend Father Yves- Marc Dubois, 'foreign policy spokesman' for the Dominican order and an unofficial member of the Pontifical Delegation to the UN, who was believed by the SDECE to be the head of the Vatican secret service. Violet and Dubois were active in the United Nations from the mid-1950s on when Violet was attached to the French delegation headed by Pinay, at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs. Violet's tasks at the UN included ensuring the Lebanon did not break off relations with France after its involvement in the 1956 Suez fiasco and winning over Latin American republics to block UN condemnation of France's Algerian policy in 1959. Violet's lobbying in the UN would also pave the way for de Gaulle's tour of Latin America in 1964. Another major focus for Violet and Dubois' activities for the SDECE was Eastern Europe: they received half a million francs a month from General Grossin to run the "Church of Silence", Catholic networks behind the Iron Curtain. These activities focused on the countries in what was sometimes referred to as the "Catholic Curtain": Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania (16)*.
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pgs. 20-21)
possibly Jean Violet
Violet's association with the Reverend Father Dubois, of whom more will be said in a moment, would later get the Frenchman into trouble with the SDECE. In 1970 he was drummed out due to suspicious as to where his true loyalties lay.
"... Violet was made a Chevalier de Legion d'Honneur by General de Gaulle. He claimed to British author Godfrey Hodgson that he was in charge of covert political operations for SDECE until he retired as an active spy in 1970. According to Count Alexandre de Marcenches, the chief lifeguard from 1970 to 1981, Violet was 'given the heave' because he cost the French government more than any other spy on SDECE's long list of secret agents. De Marenches further claimed that Violet have been a triple agent working in addition for the Vatican and the West German BND. Other sources said that he was in fact fired because he knew too much about the sexual follies of one of France's leading ladies..."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pg. 156)
The possibility that Violet was acting as a triple agent is quite plausible. In Rogue Agents, David Teacher notes that Violet was widely credited in foreign policy circles for playing a key role in Franco-German rapprochement in the post-WWII years. It is quite possible that while being engaged in these endeavors Violet developed contacts with the BND (West Germany's primary intelligence agency) and the agency's notorious spymaster Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen had been in charge of all military intelligence in the Eastern Front for Nazi Germany. Reputedly, he narrowly avoided being charged with war crimes due to the extensive files he had on the Soviet Union. Thus, Gehlen became a key figure for US intelligence during the Cold War despite the fact his intelligence often proved to be inaccurate and his network (often referred to as the Gehlen Org) was riddled with both hardened Nazi war criminals and Soviet double agents.

Teacher reports that at least one German investigator linked Violet to Gehlen:
"In the secret intelligence reports he wrote on the Cercle Pinay in 1979-80, Hans Langemann, the top Bavarian civil servant in charge of security matters, reported that General Jacquier, head of SDECE from 1962 to 1966, had been giving Violet DM 72,000 a year and that Violet had been getting the same sum from the BND's General Gehlen."
(Rogue Agents, David Teacher, pg. 59)
This researcher has not been able to directly link Gehlen and his network to Le Cerlce, but both organizations certainly appear to have traveled in many of the same circles. What's more Gehlen, like many of the upper echelon of L Cercle (as noted in part one) had ties to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

That Violet was outed from the SDECE by Count Alexandre de Marenches is most curious as well. De Marenches was also a member of Le Cerlce in addition to being a Knight of Malta. Despite the fact these two men shared some of the same associates, Violet and de Marenches have long been portrayed as antagonists of one another. Brian Crozier, who collaborated with both men, sheds some light on their relationship (or lack therefor of) to one another:
"Inevitably, he had made enemies. One of them was a close friend of the Comte de Marenches who, on being appointed Director-General of the SDECE in 1970, closed down Violet's office without notice. The two men –Marenches and Violet – never met."
(Free Agent, Brian Crozier, pg. 191)
Crozier goes on to claim that Violet had green-lighted a 1980 meeting between himself and De Marenches, who claimed he had never met up to that point. Of course, Crozier also claims that de Marenches was not involved in Le Cercle during the years he was active with the organization (allegedly from 1971 to 1985). This does not seem especially plausible as Le Cercle appears to have established ties with the notorious Safari Club (of which de Marenches was a co-founder of) during this period. But more on that later.

de Marenches
What's more, the sniffer plane scandal was ongoing after Violet was dropped from the SDECE by de Marenches. To believe this you have to believe that de Marenches had already came to the conclusion that Violet was nothing more than a swindler by this point and yet he would allow his fellow Frenchman to entangle the state-owned oil company, ELF-Aquitaine, in a highly dubious investment promoted by Violet that would ultimately cost the French government millions of francs. Given the close ties that oil and intelligence frequently have to one another, it seems inexplicable that de Marenches would have allowed Violet to cheat the French government in this fashion if he truly considered Violet to be a fraud. It is more likely that Violet was engaged in an intelligence operation that de Marenches and the SDECE wanted to distance themselves from if it blew up. Such tactics would ensure everyone had "plausible deniability." And on that note, let us return to Violet's other major intelligence contact.

Not only then was Violet well connected with the SDECE, but he was also engaged with Reverend Father Yves-Marc Dubois in running Catholic networks in the Eastern Bloc. Violet then would have been well positioned to provide covert funding to Solidarity through these channels.  And the Reverend Father Dubois certainly would have had the connections to pull off such an operation. Here's a bit more on Dubois and his network:
"In his journeys, Violet came to know Father Yves-Marc Dubois, a French Dominican who was in charge of international relations for his Order. But Dubois represented more than the foreign-policy interests of the black friars of Faubourg Saint Honore. He was described as a 'member of the Vatican's intelligence network, if not its head.' He popped up from time to time as an unofficial member of the Holy See's delegation to the United Nations. When in Paris, he stayed in the Dominican chapter house at 222 rue Faubourg Saint Honore, in the Eighth Arrondissement, within walking distance of Jean Violet's apartment at 46 rue de Provence, in the Ninth Arrondissement.
"Dubois introduced Violet to his 'Swiss correspondent', Father Henri Marmier, the 'official' of the diocese of Fribourg and editor-in-chief of APIC, the Catholic International Press Agency based in Fribourg. Father Marmier and a Polish Dominican, Father Joseph-Marie Bochenski, founded under the auspices of the University of Fribourg the Institute of Sovietology. The Institute's extracurricular activities included the running of a clandestine network the provided aid to Catholic groups behind the Iron Curtain, particularly Poland. The Institute was in part funded by what officials in Fribourg enthusiastically called 'the American grant'. According to the register's office at the University of Fribourg, Opus Dei sent several its members to the Institute."
(Their Kingdom Come, Robert Hutchison, pgs. 155-156) 
the old Paris-based Dominican headquarters Dubois used to operate out of
So yes, the alleged break Violet had with the SDECE and de Marenches should be taken with a heaping dose of salt. It seems most likely that Violet's chief patrons, the SDECE and the Vatican, wanted it to appear as though Violet was a kind of rogue who was ultimately fleeced by a pair of charlatans. Violet was by all accounts a highly intelligent man. It is far more plausible he was involved in deep intrigues rather than being hoodwinked by a "sniffer airplane."

And that brings us to Violet's pre-World War II activities. There are indications that Violet had been involved with intrigues involving secret societies as far back as the 1930s.
"Violet's political formation came in the 1930s in le Comite' secret pour l'action (CSAR). A far-right political cult modeled on a Freemasonic movement, complete with Masonic-style rites and rituals (although committed to ridding France of left-wing subversion the bona fide Freemasons allegedly represented), CSAR was a sort of French predecessor of Licio Gelli's P-2. It was intensely secretive in all but it's admiration of Franco and Mussolini, and after the war some of its members were accused of being Nazi collaborators. In the 1950s, with his own record pronounced clean, Violet became a close collaborator of French intelligence, and an active supporter of Opus Dei..."
(Hot Money, R.T. Naylor, pg. 258)

Synarchy and Martinism

What then is this secret organization, often referred to as "La Cagoule," that Naylor describes as a "far-right political cult modeled on a Freemasonic movement"? Here's a bit of background on the Cagoule from famed historian William L. Shirer:
"... The second was called CSAR (Comite Secret d'Action Revolutionnaire) and was popularly known as 'La Cagoule' and its members as 'Le Cagoulards,' 'the hooded ones.' This last was deliberately terrorist, resorting to murder and dynamiting, and its aim was to overthrow the Republic and set up an authoritarian regime on the model of the fascist state of Mussolini, who furnished some of its arms and most of it secret funds and in whose behalf it murdered two leading anti-Fascist Italian exiles. Its leader was a former naval engineer named Eugene Deloncle and the head of its military section was General Duseigneur, a retired Air Force officer. Marshal Franchet d'Esperey would become one of the main links between the two secret groups and help raise funds for them. Marshal Petain would be kept informed of their work through Loustaunau-Lacau. The two marshals could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that though professing to be anti-Communist both secret organizations, specially the Cagoule, were also antirepublican."
(The Collapse of the Third Republic, William L. Shirer, pgs. 227-228) 
Here's a few more details on the order's antirepublican activities:
"The Cagoule had a military organization and recruited heavily from other secret societies on the French right-wing. Arms from Germany, Italy, and Spain provided the wherewithal for the planned seizure of power. An attempt to fake left-wing bombings of industrial employers' associations in Paris in September 1937, though, brought the attention of the authorities down on the would-be revolutionaries. The Cagoule's leader, Eugene Deloncle, was arrested the following month, and the organization's arms dumps surfaced shortly thereafter. Stripped of their weapons and publicly humiliated, the Cagoule sank into insignificance, though many of its members collaborated with the Nazis in the Vichy regime after the French defeat in 1940."
(The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, John Michael Greer, pg. 135) 
the aftermath of one of La Cagoule's terror attacks
On the one hand then La Cagoule was another fascist militia like the ones that had terrorized multiple Western European nations during the Cold War era (such Italian organizations were noted before here while their Belgium counterparts were addressed here; both these Italian and Belgium groups had ties to Le Cerlce, as we shall see). It is especially interesting that La Cagoule would try pinning a series of bombings on left wing organizations. This was the modus operandi on many fascist groups that became involved in the US/NATO stay-behind networks often referred to as Operation Gladio (noted before here and here). Like those organizations, La Cagoule sought to destabilize a democratic government and replace it with a fascist regime. But there was also a fundamentally occult nature to La Cagoule.
"French for hood. Popular name of the Organisation Secrete de l'Action Revolutionnaire Nationale (Secret Organization of National Revolutionary Action), a French right-wing secret society founded in 1935 to oppose the Third Republic and prepare the way for a fascist takeover. Some of its members borrowed the Ku Klux Klan's custom of wearing hoods to conceal their identity, thus their popular name, and the Klan's activities in America seem to have been a source of inspiration for the Cagoule's leaders. Much of the Cagoule's ideology, however, came from synarchy, a right-wing political ideology popular among French secret societies in the early 20th century..."
(The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, John Michael Greer, pg. 135)
The concept of synarchy first appeared during the late nineteenth century in the writings Joseph Alexandre Saint-Yves. Saint-Yves seems to have been deeply influenced by the works of Antoine Fabre d'Olivet, one of the most prominent occultists during the French Revolutionary era. Forty yeas after d'Olivet's death, Saint-Yves allegedly acquired some of d'Olivet's unpublished writings from one of his former students shortly after Saint-Yves had been decommissioned from the French army.

Fabre d'Olivet
These writings would greatly influence Saint-Yves, who had the resources to bring arcane concepts to a wider audience. He married  Countess Marie de Riznitch-Keller, allegedly a Russian aristocrat who was apparently friendly with Empress Eugénie de Montijo. Saint-Yves was also a friend of the Earl of Lytton, the Viceroy of India, and through him had a channel to Queen Victoria herself. Interestingly, the Earl of Lytton was the son of famed novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton who wrote The Coming Race. This work, which first introduced the concept of "Vril forces," and several of Lytton's other works seem to have influenced Saint-Yves.

Saint-Yves would prove to be an enormously influential occultist. He is largely the man responsible for introducing the concept of Agartha (allegedly an underground city in the Hollow Earth where Ascended Masters reside) to the Western world. He would also play a key role in linking the Great Sphinx with the lost continent of Atlantis (which is frequently linked to Agartha as a kind of adversary). His influence of Theosophy and Rudolf Steiner is also noteworthy.

As for his concept of synarchy, here's a general breakdown:
"Whereas Fabre d'Olivet used world history to demonstrate the workings of his three principles, Providence, Destiny, and Will, Saint-Yves used it to support his ideal political system that he called Synarchy – the opposite of Anarchy. Later uses of the term, and indeed Saint-Yves' own writings, make Synarchy a complicated and controversial matter, connected with conspiracy theory, accusations of fascism, globalization, and so on. In its simplest form, it represents government through the equilibrium of three separate powers, respectively controlling the Economy, Legislation (including the military), and Culture (including religion and education). It is international in scale and run by an esoterically minded elite. In a way, Synarchy reaffirms the ideally cooperative but separate roles of the three 'twice-born' castes of Hinduism: merchants (vaishyas), warriors and princes (kshatriyas), priests and teachers (brahmins)...
 "Saint-Yves would boast: 'I have drowned the eclecticism of Fabre d'Olivet in my universalist and rational Christianity.' The curious thing is that such a strong-minded and self-important figure should have accepted Fabre d'Olivet's version of prehistory wholesale, with every semblance of belief in it. This is what Saint-Yves did in the early chapters of Mission des Juifs, often quoting Histoire philosphique verbatim and in general paraphrasing it, without indicating his source. We meet again the four colored races, dominating the world in turns; the Celts and the exile of Ram the Druid; his conquests and Universal Empire in India, which, following Saint-Yves' agenda, becomes the first Synarchic government; the origin of the zodiac; the 3,500 years peace until 3200 BCE, when the Schism of Irshou established the worship of the female principle; the coming of Krishna, Fo-Hi, and the Egyptian mysteries; the invasions of the Assyrians and the exodus of Abraham from their territory. With this last episode, Saint-Yves diverges from Fabre d'Olivet to pursue his restitution of Synarchy by Moses, its renovation by Jesus Christ, and its fortunes and historical periods."
(Atlantis and the Cycles of Time, Joscelyn Godwin, pgs. 44)
In other words, then, Saint-Yves envisioned a universal empire controlled by an initiated elite. Saint-Yves, like many thinkers along these lines, seems to have been greatly influenced by the ancient caste system of India. It is important to note, however, the Saint-Yves very much considered himself to be a Christian mystic first and foremost.

Much of Saint-Yves' ideology was transferred to the general masses via one of his greatest admirers, the legendary French occultist and physician Gerard Encausse, often referred to simply as Papus. Papus, while little known in the English speaking world, was one of the most influential and well connected occultists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He rubbed elbows with occult superstars like Aleister Crowley and Theodor Reuss while participating in many of the major esoteric organizations of his day, including the Theosophical Society, the OTO and the Golden Dawn. He even reputedly had contacts with Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra. As such, Papus remains one of the most influential occultists on Continental Europe to this day.

One of Papus' most enduring legacies was his revival of the Martinist Order. Martinism has its roots with two eighteenth century occultists, Martinez de Pasqually and the legendary Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin. Martinism was essentially a system of ceremonial magic rooted in Freemasonry. Saint-Martin later broke with Pasqually and embraced the Christian mysticism of Jakob Bohme. He would later on devise his own ceremonial magic that incorporated this philosophical shift. By the time of the French Revolution, however, these systems had largely gone out of existence. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the revival began.
"... Saint-Martin's turn came in 1884, when one of the most important members of the French occult community, Papus... launched a revived Martinist Order. The new organization had only secondhand links to Saint-Martin's original Rite of Martinism, and borrowed its degree ceremonies from other sources –Cagliostro's Egyptian Rite, while the Beneficent Chevaliers of the Holy City, a degree created by Saint-Martin's fellow student Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, provided another – but it became the fount from which essentially all later Martinist orders descend..."
(The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden History, John Michael Greer, pg. 383)
It was likely through the Martinist Order that Saint-Yves' concept of synarchy spread through Parisian occult circles and later onto the populace at large. To the outsider, the Martinist Order may appear to be a conventional Masonic lodge, which could explain why Hot Money author R.T. Naylor referred to La Cagoule as "a far-right political cult modeled on a Freemasonic movement." Both Saint-Yves and Papus would have surely taken objection to this description, however. As noted above, Saint-Yves seems to have largely considered himself to be a Christian mystic. Papus apparently entertained similar notions. This excellent biography of the physician notes:
"Papus never became a regular (Grand Orient) Freemason. He opposed Masonry as being atheistic, in contrast to the Esoteric Christianity of the Gnostic Church, the K.O.R.C. and the Martinist Order. Despite this, he organized what was announced as an "International Masonic Conference" in Paris on June 24, 1908, and at this conference he received a patent from Theodor Reuss to establish a "Supreme Grand Council General of the Unified Rites of Antient and Primitive Masonry for the Grand Orient of France and its Dependencies at Paris." It was probably on the same occasion that Reuss conferred upon Papus the X° of O.T.O. for France, and Papus in turn assisted Reuss in the formation of the O.T.O. Gnostic Catholic Church as a child of l'Église Gnostique de France. When John Yarker died in 1913, Papus was elected as his successor to the office of Grand Hierophant (international head) of the Antient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Mizraim."
The Rite of Memphis and Mizraim is the above-mentioned Egyptian Rite that Papus incorporated into the Martinist Order. This was also considered to be an irregular Masonic rite. On the whole then it would not be inaccurate to state that Papus rejected mainline Freemasonry and only embraced those strands that he deemed to be consistent with "esoteric Christianity."

I am spending so much time delving into this topic because the presence of synarchy and Martinism has already be noted concerning another group linked to Le Cercle that I chronicled: Propaganda Due (P2). Licio Gelli is alleged to have been a member of a Martinist Order (as noted before here) and several of the neo-fascist militias linked to P2 featured followers of the philosopher and occultist Julius Evola. Evola's system has been widely linked to Traditionalism, a movement closely related to Perennialism. Papus played a role in fostering the more arcane strains of these ideologies.
"The occult group that Guenon joined in 1906, and from which he derived his 'Vedanta-Perennialism,' was the Martinist Order. It had been established in about 1890 by Gerard Encausse (famous as Papus), a central figure in the early development of Traditionalism. Encausse was a physician and the son of an alternative medical practitioner who had invented the 'Encausse generator,' a patent machine for passing medicines through the skin by means of hot water; it had never enjoyed the success that its inventor had hoped for. Encausse became a qualified physician (unlike his father) but continued the family interest in alternative therapies such as homeopathy and mesmerism. In 1887, while studying at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, Encausse joined Isis, the Paris lodge of the Theosophical Society, one important source of the Martinist Order's Perennialism, and so of Traditionalist Perennialism."
(Against the Modern World, Mark Sedgwick, pg. 40)
The above-mentioned Guenon is Rene Guenon, the French philosopher who is easily the most influential figure in Traditionalism. Guenon was an initiate of the Martinist Order and would later correspond with Evola for several years. Evola then was surely exposed to Martinist and synarchist concepts in some form or another, though his own occult system is very unique. Still, Evola's perception of the Hindu caste system (which he believed was the most sacred model for social order) certainly echoed certain aspects of Saint-Yves' synarchy.

But I have digressed enough. The possibility that Martinism and synarchy were underlining influences behind some of the more bizarre aspects of the Le Cercle network will be explored more fully in a future installment. In the next installment, however, I would to begin addressing some of the more noteworthy groups that comprised this network. Stay tuned.

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