Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Kingdoms of the Radio

A few weeks ago, the great Christopher Knowles of The Secret Sun emailed this most curious account by legendary DJ John Peel describing an incident that unfolded in Dallas, Texas in the immediate aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. At the time, the British Peel had been living in the Dallas area while working as a DJ and for an insurance company. Somehow, Peel was able to convince Dallas police that he was a journalist working for the Liverpool Echo. This bought him a ringside seat for Lee Harvey Oswald's first appearance as Kennedy's alleged assassin before the press. Also present for this event was Oswald's future assassin (as in two days later), Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

This is quite a bizarre "coincidence" on any number of levels. For one, there is Peel's fondness for underage girls. This was a "taste" that Peel reportedly first developed while residing in the Dallas area. After Beatlemania broke out in earnest during early 1964 (only a few months after the assassination), Peel described the scene as thus:
"I was suddenly confronted by this succession of teenage girls who didn't want to know anything about me at all. All they wanted me to do was to abuse them, sexually, which, of course, I was only too happy to do."
Jack Ruby is on the far left while Peel is on the far right
Charming. It is also curious in light of some of the activities Ruby was involved in in the Dallas area around this same timeframe. Ruby was actively involved with the Syndicate. As I detailed before here, Ruby's nightclub in Dallas (and one he was alleged to own in Louisiana called the Silver Slipper) were used as hubs for a sexual slavery racket spread across the Gulf states of Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. A collection of prostitutes were ferried by various Syndicate figures across these states, constituting a kind of traveling harem. This researcher has not been able to determine whether any of the women in this ring were teenagers, but this would hardly be surprising. Several of the Cubans active in this ring were also linked to arch child abuser David Ferrie, and had even been used to intimidate his victims and their families in the New Orleans area at one point (more information of Ferrie's sexual outrages can be found here).

David Ferrie
As an interesting side note, there is also curious twilight language present in the allegations relating to the Wizard of Oz. The highly controversial James Shelby Downard and Michael A. Hoffman have long speculated on the Wizard symbolism present in the assassination via Ruby (ruby slippers) and Oswald (Oz-wald). However, in the original novel the slippers were not ruby, they were silver. And it just so happens, Jack Ruby owned a night club in Louisiana called the Silver Slipper. But moving along.

The curious figure who ties all of this together is fellow DJ and media baron Gordon McLendon. McLendon is considered to be one of the pioneers of Top 40 programming and pirate radio. One of Peel's earliest radio gigs involved working for McLendon's famed KLIF station as its "official" Beatles correspondent. Reportedly, McLendon also had ties to the even more legendary Radio London, the off-shore pirate station that provided Peel with his first big break when he returned to the UK in 1967.

As was noted above, it was during this time that Peel first developed a taste for underage girls. This ultimately resulted in him marrying a 15-year-old Texas girl in 1965. Not long afterwards, they fled to Oklahoma "just ahead of [the] police." Two years later, Peel would end up back in the UK working for the McLendon-backed Radio London.

As should come as little surprise, McLendon had a deep background. Before breaking into the entertainment biz, McLendon cut his teeth working for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) during the Second World War. There also indications that McLendon had ties to the Syndicate in the Dallas area. The great Peter Dale Scott in Deep Politics and the Death of JFK notes that McLendon was one of Ruby's six "closet friends" in the Dallas area and that he turned up in the saga of Candy Barr, a Syndicate-linked stripper and prostitute who had relations with both Ruby and LA godfather Mickey Cohen.

Candy Barr
Scott, who interviewed McLendon in 1977, alleged that he still had impeccable intelligence ties well into the 1960s, if not beyond. One of them was infamous CIA officer David Atlee Phillips, a man long believed by various JFK assassination researchers to have played a leading role in the plot against Kennedy. Per Scott, after Phillips "retired" from the CIA, he went into business with fellow Texan McLendon. Later, they would set up the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) together in the mid-1970s. The AFIO is a powerful, right-leaning body that appears to have been one of the leading forces behind the US intelligence community for decades now. It first cut its teeth in Chile during the mid-1970s when Pinochet came to power. My forth coming book will deal with the potential ties between the AFIO and Colonia Dignidad, a haven for deprivations of all kinds, including the sexual abuse of children.

David Atlee Phillips
In more recent years the AFIO, or more precisely the Las Vegas chapter, has been linked to different types of intrigues. Specifically, appears to be managing the UFO research community through figures such as Peter Levenda, "former" Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) officer Richard Doty, Colonel John Alexander, and Colonel Michael Aquino. I recently discussed these developments at length with Jasun Horsley of Auticulture. Curiously, Levenda was also involved with the same bizarre church that ordained arch child rapist David Ferrie. What's more, the Cubans used to intimidate Ferrie's victims in New Orleans (and linked to Ruby's Silver Slipper) were said to have ties to Phillips.

The AFIO is certainly a curious entity. As such, it is quite striking that a future co-founder was active in Peel's early career. While this researcher has found no indications that McLendon knew Peel when he found his way to Oswald's press conference, there can be little doubt that Peel was in his employment when he began his escapades with teenage girls. Peel was then able to move around the country, despite having married a 15 year-old in 1965, with little concern over the legal consequences. When things finally did get a little hot in the States, he effortlessly returned to the UK, got a job at another radio station linked to McLendon, and would continue his peculiar appetites unabated for decades to come.

This isn't to suggest that Peel was wholly a creation of McLendon. Surely he had other backers. But Peel does make another curious addition to this sinister network lurking behind the JFK assassination that appears to have become gradually incorporated into the AFIO's network by the 1970s. McLendon's own contributions to the creation of modern radio in the US and Europe, in addition to his patronage of Peel (possibly the most famous DJ in the world by the end of the 20th century) shows that this network's influence on popular culture was none inconsiderate, in addition to its other activities.

What's more, the profound influence that Texas had on the development of rock 'n roll is tremendous, if little understood. The "pirate stations" that McLendon launched from there were instrumental in introducing both "black music" and early rock to a wide ranging audience across the United States. A few years later, one of the earliest psychedelic scenes in the US would emerge in Austin. Inevitable, it also produced the largest acid rock scene outside of San Francisco, driven by the legendary 13th Floor Elevators. And even the far more well known San Fran scene owed a huge debt to their Texan counterparts. Further, the Austin scene would later have a tremendous influence on a host of other styles: blues rock, punk, new wave, and post-punk, among others. Much more information on the Austin scene can be found in my series on the Elevators.

This was quite a feat for what was and still is one of the most conservative states in these United States. And with a man like McLendon looming behind these happenings, one is left with the distinction impression that these developments were not entirely organic. And with that I shall sign off for now. Until next time dear readers, stay tuned.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Cecil Mysteries and Other Crowley Musings

"History teaches: never trust a Cecil"
-British proverb

Making my second appearance on Auticulture this year with the great Jasun Horsley. This was an incredibly fun chat that covered a host of topics. A few subjects have become fairly common around these parts over the past few weeks --the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and the participants in the bizarre Las Vegas chapter, including Peter Levenda, Richard Doty, Colonel John Alexander, and Colonel Michael Aquino; To the Stars Academy; Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian tradition; the mysterious Sovereign Order of Saint John and Christian Identity "theology"Jeffrey Epstein and neo-reaction.

However, about midway through we engaged in a discussion of Aleister Crowley and some of his more curious affiliates. I was quite pleased with this section as I felt this may provide a bit of a novel context to Crowley. I haven't written on Crowley much on this blog over the years in no small part because I didn't feel like I had much to add on the topic that many others haven't already said better. But after doing a little research on the Great Beast prior to this chat with fresh eyes, I began making some very curious connections, especially as it relates to the mysterious Cecil family.

As such, I thought I might try a bit of a multimedia approach to this interview. The podcast in question can be found here. And below, you will find more of a "classic" VISUP blog detailing much of the information discussed in the latter half of this interview, plus a few things I uncovered after the interview. It is highly recommended that the reader precedes below, as this is quite a fascinating topic.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do more on the topic of Charles Manson, having become a bit obsessed with the Crowley/Cecil connection leading up to the podcast. Hopefully, that's out of my system now after this chat with Jasun and hammering out this post. I'm about to embark on some new research on Manson in preparation for Jasun's upcoming appearance on The Farm with Frank Zero, Jeremy Knight, and myself. That should be happening in about two weeks and it will hopefully be every bit as epic as this chat was.

The Cecil Family

The Cecil family has been one of the most powerful and influential in British society for nearly five hundred years. The man who turned it into a generations spanning dynasty is William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. Cecil was one of the most powerful figures within the court of Elizabeth I, serving twice as as her secretary of stateLord Privy Seal, and Lord High Treasurer. What's more, while Francis Walsingham tends to get the credit as Elizabeth's spymaster (and the de facto founder of MI6), he ultimately worked for Cecil.. Upon Walsingham's death, Cecil firmly took over much of the Elizabethan spy networks. Naturally, Cecil also had an interest in the mystical. He bestowed patronage upon alchemy and corresponded with John Dee, among other things.

family patriarch William Cecil
The tradition of espionage was carried on by William's younger son from his second marriage, the hunchbacked Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. Robert inherited his father's spy network, and became intelligence chief of King James I. There has been much suspicion over the years concerning the role he played in the Gunpowder Plot.

It is the descendants of Robert --the Salisbury line --that he remained a preeminent power in England for centuries. In The Anglo-American Establishment, the always controversial Carroll Quigley described the family's influence as "all-pervasive in British life since 1886" (pg. 15). Per Quigley, the family's continual influence was due to three factors: (a) a triple-front penetration of politics, journalism, and education; (b) the recruitment of men of ability and linking them to the Cecil family via marriage, titles, and positions of power; and (c) Cecils and their allies being in positions that are shielded as much as possible from the public gaze.

Some of the leading families that have intermarried with the Cecils include the Grosvenors (Dukes of Westminster), the Balfours, Palmers (the Earls of Selborne), and the Cavendishs (who hold multiple titles). These families, along with other associated allies, formed what Quigley dubbed the "Cecil Bloc," though it may be more apt to say these families comprised the historic aristocracy that has ruled England for centuries. The Grosvenors and especially the Cavendishs have wielded tremendous power for any number of years as well.

Throughout much of the twentieth century, the Cecils would be linked to various subversive political movements. Quigley describes the infamous Milner Group/Round Table movement as beginning as "a major fief" within the Cecil Bloc. These cabals/movements of course spawned the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), both longtime bugaboos of the conspiratorial right.

Quigley alleges that the Milner Group eventually took over the Cecil Bloc, though leaves this open to debate throughout The Anglo-American Establishment. He raises the possibility "that the split which appeared within the Conservative Party in England after 1923 followed roughly the lines between the Milner Group and the Cecil Bloc" (pg. 30). He later acknowledges that the Milner Group "was surely less powerful than the Cecil Bloc, even as late as 1929..." and that "when they disagreed, the views of the Milner Group did not usually prevail" (pg. 230). Quigley notes that the Milner Group's influence went into decline after 1938, giving them a fairly brief reign if they did in fact overcome the Cecil Bloc after 1929.

Fundamentally, the Cecil Bloc was conservative to its core while the Milner Group had a more progressive point of view (relatively speaking). Essentially, the Cecil Bloc wanted to preserve the Empire and its peculiar way of life. The Milner Group wanted to expand these things to the world at large. This led to fundamental differences on foreign policy, especially in regards to India (most notably in regards to self determination) and a United Europe. The Group vigorously supported the former and tentatively the later until after 1918. The Bloc was never very enthusiastic about either, and indeed the Cecils would later become staunch foes of the European Union, as we shall see.

Alfred Milner, the longtime head of the Round Table movement
What united the two factions was an unwavering belief in the glory of the British Empire and its preservation, even if they differed on the best means of achieving this. Given that the Cecil family still appears to be going strong while the political project of the Group has been completely co-opted by the America-centric CFR, another possibility should be considered: That the Cecils were using the Milner clique throughout the early twentieth century to appeal to idealistic types from the right sort of background. After the Group was discredited due to its policy of appeasement leading up to WWII, the Cecils cast it aside and reverted to their traditional political agenda: the British Empire.

Throughout the mid and latter half of the twentieth century, the Marquesses of Salisbury would embrace an increasingly far right political agenda bent of preserving the Empire and opposing the EU. They also found the time to help launch a particularly elitist form of Christianity that would be embraced by curious cults around the world in the second half of that century.

It all goes back to Frank Buchman one of the most powerful, and little acknowledged, evangelicals in the US and UK throughout much of the twentieth century. During the late 1920s, he set up the Oxford Group at the famed British college barring the Group's name. As World War II approached, the Group was rechristened the Moral Re-Armament movement (MRA). Through these organizations, Buchman was able to craft a very elitist and cultish approach to Christianity that would have a profound reach in the postwar years. Buchman called for "a new social order under the dictatorship of the Spirit of God." In practical terms, this meant courting powerful men in positions of influence. This would usher in a "God-controlled nation" that would bring an end to labor strife, then an overriding concern in the 1930s, among other things. Wealth would of course not be redistributed, but workers could take solace in the fact that the robber barons were no longer driven by greed, but God.

Frank Buchman
Among two of Buchman's favorite tools were what he dubbed "soul surgery" and house parties. Both were centered around confession. The former consisted of surrendering to God by cutting out sin one incision at a time. This frequently involved confession to Buchman and his confessors. Whether this was a path to God is debatable, but it certainly gave Buchman and company access to the darkest secrets of the elite they courted. Buchman's house parties operated on a similar basis:
"... The most successful events took place at one of the estates around the world that Buchman used as outreach stations. He had won the allegiance of a number of wealthy widows and heiresses and neglected wives of businessman, and they regularly showered him with riches, including their great homes, to which Buchman would invite select groups for a day in the country. There would be tennis and golf and some praying, and then the group would gather for the party. A fire would be built, the lights dimmed, and Buchman or a trained confessor might begin with some minor transgression, a traffic ticket, a youthful prank. Another Buchman veteran might than up the ante. 'Some lad might now turn evidence against a governess or an upstairs maid,' observed a New Yorker writer in 1932. And from there it was on to the weaknesses that afflict not just college boys but also the grand dames who flocked to Buchman and the big men they dragged in their wake, all stumbling over one another in elaborate description of their private perversions, how they had been blinded to their purpose in life by sexual desire, and how 'Guidance' had saved them. Around circle they went, spurring one another on."
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pg. 128)
According to veteran CIA officer Miles Copeland in his The Game Player, Buchman's movement was courted by the CIA in the postwar years for the type of access the house parties and such like offered. He notes that "the arrangement we made with Moral Rearmament that gave us useful secret channels right into the minds of leaders not only in Africa and Asia but also Europe" (pg. 177). Unsurprisingly, the MRA would serve as the foundation of elite, intelligence-aligned Christian cults such as the Unification Church and The Family. The Unification Church shall be dealt with below, while much more information on The Family can be found here.

Of course, the Cecils had already latched onto Buchman's movement well before the CIA was even created. The Fourth Marquess of Salisbury was a member of Buchman's Oxford Group by at least the late 1930s. Even as controversy would begin to engulf Buchman's group in the mid-1930s (due in no small part to his support of dictatorship and fascism), Lord Salisbury would continue to support Buchman, even arranging for a media blitz so as to give Buchman a platform to defend his movement.

James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury
This was just the beginning of the involvement of the Salisburys in far right politics during the 20th century. As the great David Teacher notes in the long-suppressed Rogue Agents, the Fifth Marquess of Salisbury was the president of the far right Monday Club from its founding in 1961 until his death in 1972. The Monday Club was imperialistic to the hilt, forming in the wake of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's liberal drift in regards to the Empire. With the whiff of decolonization in the air, the Monday Club organized to continue white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa and the destruction of Nasser. Salisbury was ahead of the curve, having resigned in 1957 from Macmillan's cabinet and as leader of the House of Lords over the government's liberal drift.

Upon his death his son, the 6th Marquess of Salisbury, would take up the presidency of the Monday Club and hold it until 1981. During his tenure, the group took on an increasingly anti-EU and anti-immigration stance. Teacher also notes that, by the 1980s, this Salisbury had also become a participant in the highly secretive Le Cercle, which is part the far right's answer to Bilderberg and part a vast private intelligence network, deeply implicated in drug and arms trafficking, stay-behind armies, and VIP child sex networks. For more on the nefarious outfit, check here and here.

the 5th (top) and 6th (bottom) Marquesses of Salisbury
The 7th Marquess of Salisbury also had links to the Cercle complex via one of its many front groups, the Belgian-based Institut Européen pour la Paix et la Sécurité (IEPS, see Rogue Agents, pg. 221). Naturally, the current Lord Salisbury is a longstanding eurosceptic. He has been actively campaigning against the EU since at least the late 1990s and is a staunch supporter of Brexit.

The Round Table movement, Moral Re-Armament movement, the Monday Club, Le Cercle, Brexit --there should be no question that the Marquesses of Salisbury have continued to wield tremendous power and influence over the political life of the UK and beyond even as they've receded from the public gaze (which apparently has been a time honored strategy of the family, excluding the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury) since the early twentieth century. It was during the long reign of the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury as Prime Minister, allegedly during the apex of the family's power (per Quigley), that the Cecils interceded on behalf of Crowley.

the Cecils, Crowley, and the SPR

The Cecils may well have had a longstanding interest in mysticism. As was noted above, patriarch William Cecil was a patron of alchemy. It would appear that this interest became more pronounced during the late nineteenth century with the rise of the Salisbury line. In The Anglo-American Establishment, Quigley notes: "One of the enduring creations of the Cecil Bloc is the Society for Psychical Research, which holds a position in the history of the Cecil Bloc similar to that held by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in the Milner Group" (pgs. 31-32). 

The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) was one of the first institutions that attempted to "scientifically" study psi and paranormal phenomenon. The legacy of the Milner Group then is centered around a political think tank, the Cecil Bloc an organization to investigate the paranormal. That says a lot about the world view of these two factions.

But how directly was the Cecil family itself involved with SPR? Quigley links it more to the Balfour family. Both Arthur Balfour, a future prime minister (and the man who issued the infamous Balfour Declaration), and his brother Gerald served as presidents of the SPR at various times. But in addition to being Balfours, the brothers Arthur and Gerald were also Cecils. Their mother was Lady Blanche Cecil, daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury and sister to Third, one of the UK's longest serving prime ministers. What's more, Quigley alleges that Arthur Balfour effectively took over the Cecil Bloc after the death of the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury. This likely would not have occurred had the Cecils doubted Balfour's dedication to their legacy. As such, the SPR clearly had support from portions of the Cecil family itself.

As for Crowley, the Great Beast had a curious relationship with both the Cecil family and the SPR. As to the former, it was no less than the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury who recommended Crowley to Cambridge. He made this recommendation when he was a sitting prime minister to boot.

Consider the implication of this for a moment dear reader. Lord Salisbury was not merely Britain's prime minister, he was also the head of the Cecil Bloc. If Quigley is to be believed (and that is always debatable), the Bloc was effectively the preeminent political power of the day. Combine this with the historic influence the Lords of Salisbury have wielded for centuries and one is left with the distinct possibility that Lord Salisbury was at the time the most powerful figure in the ENTIRE British Empire. This, dear readers, is the man who recommended Aleister Crowley to Cambridge University. Let that sink in for a moment if you will.

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury and one of the Britain's longest serving prime ministers
The question then becomes, how did Crowley manage such a feat? In The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, the Great Beast attributes the intervention of Lord Salisbury on his behalf to his aunt's involvement in the Primrose League. This was an organization geared towards spreading conservative principals on behalf of the Tories.

pins worn by members of the Primrose League
While Crowley's family was fairly well to do, much of their fortune was based upon the family brewery, Crowley's Alton Alehouses. While this business was quite profitable, it was also the type of industry that was still looked down upon by the traditional British aristocracy during this era. Even the Great Beast himself seemed somewhat embarrassed by the source of his family fortune. What then would a man like Lord Salisbury make of a brewer's second cousin? Likely he would have been perceived as petty bourgeoisie, at best.

But keep in mind that the Cecil family maintained its historic power by recruiting men of ability into its ranks. Crowley was already an accomplished mountain climbers by this point and undeniably brilliant. This may well have made someone take notice.

Another potential clue is provided by the career Crowley had hoped to use Cambridge as a stepping stone for: namely, in the diplomatic service. Incidentally, this type of work has often gone hand in glove with spy craft as well. Indeed, diplomatic cover is a time honored tradition among spooks. And that is why Crowley's involvement in the Society for Psychical Research at Cambridge is so curious. Consider one of the individuals he encountered in the SPR at Cambridge:
"Another man who enjoyed intrigue was the Hon. Francis Henry Everard Joseph Feilding (1867-1936). Finding Catholicism inadequate to cope with grief at his sister's death, Feilding joined the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in 1895. Established at Trinity in 1882, the SPR investigated scientifically 'psychical' phenomena: mediumship, telepathy, ghosts and life after death. Feilding, SPR secretary from 1903, was also an intelligence officer. If anyone recruited Crowley for secret service at Cambridge or elsewhere, or at a later date, Everard Feilding, Crowley's senior by eight years, must be a prime candidate.
"A 15-year-old midshipman in the Royal Navy during the Egyptian campaign of 1882, Feilding was admitted to Trinity in 1887. Called to the Bar in 1894, he served on the Committee of Naval Censors (Press Bureau) during the Great War, and afterward, with the rank of Lieutenant RNVR, in the Special Intelligence Department of Egypt. In a career move similar to that which launched the legend of Lawrence of Arabia, Feilding was lent to the Arab Bureau and the Foreign Office for political service in Syria. After the war, he received the OBE, as well as the Order of the Nile and Order of El Nahda for services in Egypt and the Hejaz. Feilding was Crowley's intelligence contact when, during the Great War, the Beast spied on the German propaganda machine in New York."
(Aleister Crowley: The Biography, Tobias Churton, pg. 33) 
Everard Feilding is the figure looming over the priest
Was Crowley then being groomed to be a spy? This is certainly a distinct possibility, especially in light of some of the activities the Beast got up to while attending Cambridge. During the New Year's Eve of 1896, Crowley found himself in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. There he alleged to have had one of his first significant mystical experiences and to have been initiated into an outfit known as the "Military Order of the Temple."

Some researchers such as Tobias Churton have suggested that Crowley had his first homosexual encounter in Stockholm as well. This is rather debatable, however. Crowley was a product of the British empire-building public school system that has a longstanding reputation for buggery and pederasty. The implications of the Stockholm experience are curious, however.

The Knights Templar, which the "Military Order of the Temple" is clearly a play upon, were accused of buggery. This particular "initiation" may be an allusion to that allegation. As homosexuality was still quite illegal and taboo in British society at the time, there is a possibility that this was an attempt to build a control file on Crowley for latter use.

Sweden was also the gateway to Russia, then considered the greatest threat to the British Empire. "Incidentally," Crowley would later turn up in Saint Petersburg several months later, in the summer of 1897. One could conclude then that things must have gone very well indeed in Stockholm.

Still, this does not quite explain the Cecil family's curious patronage of Crowley. One possible explanation entails the Great Beast "kissing" the right "ring" in public school. Crowley attended Eastbourne, which was founded by the above-mentioned Cavendish family. The Cavendishs themselves are quite a longtime powerhouse among the British aristocracy and of course intermarried with the Cecils. The ties between the Cavendish clan and Crowley's alma mater are close to the point that the school adopted the stag from the family's coat of arms for its emblem. The possibility that Crowley serviced someone sufficiently to extract favor from the chief of the Cecil Bloc can not be discounted.

Boney and the ABN

Another curious I figure I discussed with Jasun was the mysterious Major General J.F.C. "Boney" Fuller. Boney was both a brilliant military strategist and an early Crowley-ite. The two men had first encountered one another at some point during the first decade of the twentieth century. Fuller would soon become one of the Great Beast's most enthusiastic supporters. He penned The Star in The West: A Critical Essay Upon the Works of Aleister Crowley and became a co-founder of the A∴A∴, Crowley's magical order. Reportedly, their relationship began to sour towards the end of the decade due concerns by Fuller that Crowley's bisexuality may effect his military career (clearly, the control file was not working by this point, if ever).

"Boney" Fuller
Contact between the two men was scarce after 1911, but Fuller would continue to have an interest in the occult. During the 1930s, he also became enamored with fascism. He joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and became one the closet allies of founder Sir Oswald Mosley.

Prior to setting up the BUF, Mosley had been seen as a rising star within the Conservative Party. In 1920 he had married Lady Cynthia Curzon. Mosley was apparently quite taken with the women of the Curzon family as he later carried on an affair with Lady Cynthia's younger sister, Lady Alexandra Curzon, and their stepmother, Grace Curzon. Grace's husband and the father of Cynthia and Alexandra was Lord George Curzon. Per Quigley, Curzon's was not just Lord Salisbury's former private secretary, but his protege. Curzon would continue to be linked to the Cecil Bloc up until the time of his death in 1925. As such, Mosley effectively married into the Bloc.

Lord George Curzon
How closely the Curzons were to the Bloc after Lord Curzon's death is debatable. Both Mosley and Lady Cynthia had joined Labour in 1924, shortly before Lord Curzon shed his mortal coil. Given the longstanding association the Cecils have with the Conservative Party, it is difficult to discern how this move would have been perceived. Mosley of course later drifted to fascism, but said ideology appears to have enjoyed greater support among the Cecil Bloc's frenemies in the Milner Group. Further muddying the waters are the simultaneous affairs Lady Alexandra was carrying out in the years leading up to WWII with Mosley and Lord Halifax, a leading figure in the Milner Group by that time. 
Oswald Mosley
On the other hand, another leading figure in the British fascist movement was Philip Farrer, a British intelligence officer during WWI who had served as the 4th Marquess of Salisbury's private secretary during the late 1930s. Fuller himself regularly collaborated with Farrer. At a minimum then, the Cecils appear to have been keeping an eye on Mosley's actions. And it was into this maelstrom that Fuller boldly plunged. 

This would open doors for Fuller in the broader fascist movement. He would establish close ties with the German General Stuff during the 1930s, who were greatly influenced by his concepts concerning mechanized warfare. Fuller was the only foreigner present during Nazi Germany's first armored maneuvers in 1935 and was in attendance during Hitler's 50th birthday bash in 1939. 

Fuller had even more extensive ties to various fascist organizations and regimes, which did not lead to his detention at the outbreak of war.
"... Admitted to Oswald Mosley's inner circle, Fuller visited both Mussolini and Hitler. He was also a founding member of the pre-war Nordic League (known initially as the White Knights of Britain or the Hooded Men) which had been established by Nazi agents run by Alfred Rosenberg. Its activities, which were directed from Berlin, included providing an insider's view of the British elite. Fuller had also written intelligence reports on British organizations and individuals for Goebbels, the head of the Nazi propaganda department, and Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS. It is said that Fuller would have been made ministry of defense if Mosley had come to power, and was regarded by the Nazis as a possible 'Quisling.' Despite the fact that MI5 had him under surveillance, when war came he and his Polish wife were not among the more than seven hundred BUF supporters detained under the 18b regulations. Even Mosley was puzzled by this omission. One possible reason, which would explain a great deal, was that Fuller was an MI6 agent and thus protected."
(MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Stephen Dorril, pgs. 441-442)

Indeed, it is the only really plausible explanation as to why the British authorities did not feel the need to intern a man who had celebrated Hitler's birthday with the Fuhrer on the eve of war. Throw in Fuller's close collaborator, Philip Farrer, and one is left with the distinct impression that these men were managing the British fascist movement on behalf of the intelligence services. Given the rampant support for fascism among the British aristocracy during the 1930s, the involvement of Fuller and Farrer may not have begun as an intelligence op, but as war with Germany became inevitable it likely became one.

It was during Fuller's time moonlighting for Nazi intelligence services that he encountered a most curious organization.
" 'Boney' Fuller... had been active among the Ukrainian nationalist before the war and among the Ukrainian communities in both Britain and Germany after the war. In the mid-thirties, around the same time as MI6 was recruiting the Banderites in the OUN, the Ukrainian émigré community in London have been penetrated by German Intelligence. This had been undertaken with the help Fuller to ensure Anglo-German 'understanding.' He thought that Hitler's greatest mistake during the war have been to treat the Ukrainians as subhuman, Untermenschen, thus ignoring the military potential of the nationalists. With the support of his good friend Richard Stokes, at the end of the war Fuller had helped assist one of the leading figures in the OUN-B, Jaroslav Stetsko, and maintained contacts with the Ukrainian nationalists and the DP camps throughout the forties. By 1950, Fuller was seventy-one, a wizened old man but still active, calling for a moral as well as a physical and economic campaign against the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union."
(MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Stephen Dorril, pg. 442) 
OUN stands for Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. The OUN-B was an especially militant branch of the OUN centered around Stepan Bandera. This outfit was an on again, off again Quisling that eventually founded the infamous Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The UPA was eventually embraced by the Nazis and received training from famed commando Otto Skorzeny. This effectively transformed then into a stay-behind unit that was used to harass the Red Army as the Nazis retreated in what was known as Operation Sunflower. The OUN/UPA managed to tie down some 200,000 Soviet troops and kill over 7000 officers, per the great Christopher Simpson in his classic Blowback (pgs. 162-163).

The OUN/UPA was fanatically anti-Semitic, anti-Communist, and generally anti-Russian to the hilt. They are considered to be the inspiration behind the modern, neo-Nazi paramilitary outfit known as the Azov Battalion.

In the postwar years, the US an UK viewed the OUN-B/UPA as idea candidates to infiltrate behind Soviet lines so as to carry out sabotage operations. Back in the West, many former OUN-B/UPA members cultivated the far right. The leading figure among the Ukrainians was the above-mentioned Yaroslav Stetsko.

 He was the longtime head of the far right emigre outfit known as the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations  (ABN). As I've noted before here, the ABN had its origins in Nazi Germany, being comprised of many of the most militant Eastern European "Quisling" outfits. Many of its components were guilty of horrendous war crimes during WWII. Naturally, the US and UK felt that the ABN could serve as the backbone for efforts to pry Eastern Europe out of the Soviet bloc. These efforts largely failed, but the ABN would go on to wield enormous power in the West through a later organization it helped co-found known as the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). The WACL in turn had extensive ties to both Western and Eastern intelligence services, international drug traffickers and various terror networks. Much more information on the WACL can be found here.

For our purposes here, it is also interesting to note the frequency of cults and secret societies within the WACL. The Asian component had its origins in an outfit known as the Asian People's Anti-Communist League (APACL). The guiding forces behind the APACL were South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The Japanese and Taiwanese components were deeply linked to the Yakuza and Green Gang, respectively. Both were organized crime syndicates and secret societies. As for South Korea, much of the support for the APACL (and later WACL) came from the Unification Church, the above-mentioned cult that grew out of Moral Re-Armament movement. The Unification Church also enjoyed longstanding ties to the KCIA, for years South Korea's principal intelligence service. More on these cretins can be found here.

The APACL was hardly the only component to feature secret societies and cults, however. One of the most powerful organizations within the Latin American section was a Mexican secret society known as Los Tecos ("the Owls"). The Tecos enjoyed close links with both Mexican security services and drug cartels. During the 1970s and 1980s, they helped raise the so-called White Brigades to destabilize the nation. More on the Tecos, which have at times been likened to a cult, can be found here.

Nor was the Ukrainian section of the ABN the only outfit to rub elbows with a noted occultist. The Romanian section was mainly comprised of veterans of the Iron Guard. During the WWII era, the Guard maintained links with Italian occultist and philosopher Julius Evola. Indeed, there has been some speculation that Evola was the Guard's liaison with Nazi intelligence. The Guardists would later have an influence on the structure of Los Tecos while other Evola-ites crop up among the Italian partners of the League. Much more information on this topic can be found here.

As such, it is hardly surprising to find a former Crowley acolyte rubbing shoulders with the OUN-B faction of the ABN. It is especially curious that Boney had ties to the OUN-B going back to the 1930s, around the same time Evola was working with the Iron Guard in Romania. When the ABN got going in 1943, the Ukrainian and Romanian sections may well have had some curious mystical discussions. In fairness though, it should also be noted that Yaroslav Stetsko also met with the Moral Re-Armament types at some point as well. But then again, if the Cecil family was lurking behind both Crowley and the MRA, this is not entirely surprising.

Boney, Evola-ites, the Tecos, the Unification Church, the Yakuza --the WACL certainly featured an incredible cast of occultists, secret societies, and cults in its midst. In addition to being the visible face of the Fascist International during the 1970s and 1980s, it may have housed a kind of Black Order within its inner circle as well. Certainly, its affiliates had many curious interests --just consider the New Age pursuits of the Unification Church, for instance.

And with that, I shall sign off for now dear readers. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the chat and has found this supplemental material to be compelling. Stay tuned until next time.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Discussing the Process on Up is Down

Making the podcast rounds again, this time on the Up is Down with Dean Reiner. This week's chat was mostly centered around this infamous Process Church of the Final Judgment. This was a fun chat for me in no small part because it allowed me to provide new information on the the Process, which I hadn't previously covered directly for a number of years. Over time, I've had to rethink my views somewhat on this entity.

In relation to the Process, we discuss the Malayan Emergency and the birth of modern counterinsurgency doctrine; the Profumo Affair; the Mayfair Set, their links to a plot destabilize the British government during the late 1960s-early 1970s, and their long-term influence on Brexit; the curious places where the Process turned up; Thomas Jude Baumler and the enigmatic "Bishop" Carl Maria Stanley; the Sovereign Order of Saint John; Manson and the Process; the overlap between the Process, Manson, and the far right; their ties with the alleged Son of Sam cult; the support given to Maury Terry by Rupert Murdoch; the terrible fate of the Process children; and so much more.

The podcast can be found here.

For more information of the topics discussed, check the following:

The Process: A Strange and Terrible Journey
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

On Baumler and Stanley:
The JFK Assassination: A Strange and Terrible Saga Part VII

On Manson and the Far Right:
Man's Son or the Children of the Sun

On the Son of Sam cult and Profumo
Goodfellas Part VII: Sons of Cohn

On the Mayfair Set

As always dear readers, I hope that you enjoy. Until next time, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Farm and the State of High Weirdness

Christopher Knowles of The Secret Sun and myself were back on the Farm this past Friday with our hosts, Frank Zero and Jeremy Knight of ZeroKnight. Jeremy graciously handled the technical aspects so that the rest of us could gab for nearly an hour an a half. On the whole, I felt the results were quite excellent despite Frank and I having personal stuff that effected our prep and Knowles being a little under the weather. Regardless, this podcast turned out much better than our first effort, which wasn't to shabby in and of itself. This time around, everyone seemed more comfortable together, leading to the chat taking some epic turns.

We started out discussing Andrija Puharich and The Nine, and from there things started to take on a life of their own. The various blue-bloods who backed Puharich were considered, as well as the Pentagon behavior modification program he cut his teeth in. Knowles addressed Puharich's old stomping grounds of Maine and all of the strange stuff that was going on in the surrounding area, as well as the mysterious Rear Admiral Herbert B. Knowles (no relation to Chris). Naturally, I found time to expound on the differences between ARTICHOKE and MK-ULTRA. From there, Chris started to breakdown some of the more Nine-centric Hollywood productions, most notably the Star Trek franchise (especially The Original Series and The Animated Series) and the original The Outer Limits. Naturally, the creators of these two franchises, Gene Roddenberry and Leslie Stevens respectively, got a lot of air time as well.

From there, Frank delved into some of the mysterious tropes that appeared in the cartoons we kids from the 1980s and 1990s grew up with. I then started to break down the murky origins of the Association of Former intelligence Officers and its sinister Las Vegas chapter. This led to a discussion of the Las Vegas shooting of 2017, To the Stars Academy, and the sinister Mellon family of Pittsburgh. Things wrapped up with Chris and I discussing Lovecraft and what he may have been up to during his numerous journeys across the US. I also found the time to elaborate on the occult significance of the atomic explosion at Trinity.

All in all, pretty epic. The chat can be found here. Please check it out and like it. We'd like to make these chats a regular thing if the interest is there. Certainly, they're a lot of fun for us and here's hoping you guys are enjoying them as well.

For more information on the topics discussed, it is recommended you listen to the first podcast as this one builds off of the earlier one.

Also of interest:

Also of interest is the classic Lucifer's Technologies series on the Secret Sun that largely inspired my fringe series.

A big thank you again to Chris, Frank, and Jeremy for making these chats possible. And with that, I shall sign off for now. Until next time dear readers, stay tuned.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Take Me to the Farm

I'm very excited about this most recent podcast. It was a kind of round table discussion with Frank Zero and Jeremy Knight of ZeroKnight and the great Christopher Knowles of The Secret Sun. Frank and Jeremy are of course collaborating with me on my forth coming book while Chris is a legend who has been an enormous influence and inspiration for my own research. Needless to say, I was uber excited for this podcast, as I'm sure my nerves at the onset (and five or so cups of coffee I had had previously) will attest too.

We managed to cover a host of topics in a chat that went just a little over an hour. They included D-Wave, Gordie Rose, Elon Musk, and how credible some of the claims surrounding these entities truly are; cybernetics and its ties to behavior modification experiments; Nick Land, the Cybernetics Culture Research Unit (CCRU), "accelerationism" and the remarkable decree of influence these things have had; Jack Kirby and the potentially arcane influences of his comics; the black oil trope in fiction; Kenneth Grant, his potential ties to Peter Tompkins, and the vast influence he has had on the likes of Peter Levenda and Colonel Michael Aquino; the specter of the mysterious Sovereign Order of Saint John (SOSJ) lurking behind Tompkins and Levenda; SOSJ "interrogation specialists" Cleve Backster; other curious SOSJ knights such as Philip J. Corso, Carl Maria Stanley and fellow travelers such as arch child rapist David Ferrie; fiction depictions of ARTICHOKE and MK-ULTRA.; contemporary paganism; Colonia DignidadEpsteinLe Cercle; and so much more.

The podcast can be found here. A YouTube version with a slideshow can also be found here.

More information on the topics discussed, check some of the following:

The JFK Assassination: A Strange and Terrible Journey series
Bavaria, the Thule Society, the SOSJ, and the Making of a Revolutionary Faith series
The Office of Security: A Tale of Sex, Drugs, and High Weirdness
The Office of Security Meet the Nine Parts One and Two
Fringe: The Strange and Terrible History of the Far Right and High Weirdness series
The Lovecraftian Enlightenment
The Dark Enlightenment and More Mellon Madness

Well, that should be enough to keep those of you just joining the party preoccupied for the time being. Again, I would like to give a big thank you to Frank, Jeremy, and Chris for making this happen. It was great fun and hopefully we'll be able get together for another round table discussion in the near future. I hope everyone enjoys this one as much as I enjoyed recording it. Until next time dear readers, stay tuned.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Secret History of Special Operations Forces

As long time readers of this blog are well aware, Recluse has quite the obsession with what are known as special operations forces (SOFs) in these United States and simply special forces in most of the rest of the world. These elite units first began to captivate the public mind during the Second World War. This conflict witnessed the birth of the Special Air Services (SAS), the first modern special operations forces unit (including the likes of the US Army Special Forces (more commonly known as the "Green Berets" and the even more elite Delta Force), as well as the emergence of "frogmen," who served as the model for the Special Boat Services (SBS), Navy SEALS, and other such outfits.

The history of special operations forces is a murky one. Certainly, there are precedents from the ancient world such as the Praetorian or Varangian Guards. As far as modern units are concerned, their origins are often placed in various European colonial wars that unfolded during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some of the earliest "commandos" (which are often considered the direct predecessors to modern special operations forces) were Boer forces that employed proto-guerrilla techniques as far back as the early eighteenth century.

The British fought several brutal conflicts with the Boers, climaxing with the genocidal Second Boer War (1899-1902). While the British ultimately prevailed, they had to commit a tremendous amount of forces to counter the significantly out numbered Boer forces. No doubt these experiences strongly influenced Britain's later special operations forces. Another crucial influence was no doubt the Irish Republican Army. Other noteworthy inspirations included Orde Wingate, who helped set up what became the Haganah (later the Israel Defense Force) and Lawrence of Arabia himself.

T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia
Virtually everyone agrees that the modern special operations forces we all know and love (or not) emerged in earnest during the Second World War. But many of the most celebrated units, which have inspired virtually all modern SOFs, feature some very curious and aristocratic figures lurking in the background. Two such instances shall be examined over the course of this blog.

Roman Frogmen

First up is the legendary Decima Flottiglia MAS, some times known simply as X'MAS (har har). In English written accounts it is often referred to as the Tenth Light Flotilla, though this translation is a bit off. Regardless, the X'MAS was the most feared unit within the Italian Army by a large margin. Given how notoriously poor the Italian military performed under Mussolini, it is somewhat surprising that it crafted such an elite force. 

The X'MAS essentially pioneered Naval special operations. Contemporaries such as the SBS and SEALs all trace the origins back to this particular unit and its easy to see why. In three years, the X-MAS produced quite an impressive track record:
"... On many of the 10th's operations, special assault teams entered harbors riding underwater torpedo-shaped submersibles known as Chariots, and attached explosives to the hulls of Allied ships at anchor. The crack assault teams brought devastation in Crete's Suda Bay and Alexandra harbor, sinking or severely damaging several British capital ships, including the battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant.
"The group's most audacious coup was its campaign of sneak attacks against Allied shipping in Gibraltar. A derelict freighter, the Olterra, was seemingly abandoned off the Spanish coast. But the Olterra was a Trojan horse. Her hold served as a clandestine workshop where the frogman could repair and rearm the Chariots. Access in and out of the ship was afforded by a sliding door six feet below the waterline. All told, the Italians sank 42,000 tons of Allied ships anchored at Gibraltar; the British never discovered the secret of the freighter."
(Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs, Patrick K. O'Donnell, pg. 131)
the insignia of the X'MAS
Things became even more interesting in 1943, after Italy was pushed out of North Africa and the Allied invasion of Sicily began. Mussolini was briefly deposed by the Grand Council of Fascism, who then sought to negotiate with the Allies. Mussolini was arrested, but soon rescued by the Germans, who set him up as the puppet head of the Italian Social Republic. What it amounted to is that by the end of 1943, Germany effectively controlled all of Northern Italy while the Allies held the south.

The loyalties of Italians were divided between these two entities, and the same appears to have been the case of the X'MAS. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the WWII-era predecessor of the CIA) had attempted to develop their own frogmen units on the basis of the Marine Raiders, but without much success. Realizing that they would be hard pressed to top the X'MAS, the OSS opted for the only sensible choice: enlist the unit.

insignia of the OSS
While many X'MAS men opted to side with the Nazis, enough veterans were retained to form the Grupo Mezzini d'Asalto. It was put under the control of the Duke of Aosta. The OSS wasted no time in putting them to use. Joint OSS-X'MAS missions began as soon as June of 1944. Soon, the X'MAS forces had become the OSS's go-to Naval commandos in the European Theater. In addition to sabotage operations, the X'MAS men were also enlisted to gather intelligence and train Italian partisans in the arts of "unconventional warfare" deep behind enemy lines.

The results were so impressive that the OSS wanted to dispatch the X'MAS/Grupo Mezzini d'Asalto to the Pacific Theater once things began to wind down in Europe. The OSS was largely barred from that Theater by General Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz, both of whom despised the agency. As such, the order for a transfer never came through.

Unwilling to let such available assets simply disperse, some X'MAS veterans were enlisted to provide consulting to the Navy's postwar underwater operations program. No doubt this included the Underwater Demolition Teams which, along with the OSS's Maritime Units, are considered the direct predecessors to the modern Navy SEALS. And it just so happens that the X'MAS collaborated with and/or trained both.

insignia of the Underwater Demolition Teams
Elsewhere, the X'MAS men who opted to side with the Nazis had a similar experience. Upon conclusion of the operations to occupy Northern Italy by German forces, the bulk of the X'MAS offered their services to the Nazis. As such, this faction retained the Decima MAS identification. However, its ties to the Italian Social Republic (RSI) were nominal at best. Indeed, the unit reported directly to SS Obergruppenfuhrer Karl Wolff, the supreme commander of SS forces in Italy. Nor did it swear an oath of loyalty to the RSI.

During the Nazi years, the scale of the X'MAS grew even as its naval operations largely ceased. As the great Jeffrey Bale notes in The Darkest Sides of Politics, I, it came to include several elite infantry battalions, s small naval sabotage unit, and police company with its own intelligence and interrogation center. Indeed, the X'MAS appears to have acquired quite an extensive intelligence network by war's end that went well beyond Italy. In addition to the police intelligence unit, it also had an espionage headquarters in Switzerland and a vast network throughout the RSI and even into the Allied-controlled south.

Frequently the X'MAS was deployed into the hottest zones. Often it was used to conduct counterinsurgency operations against partisans in the RSI. Some units were deployed to the Anzio front, where they reportedly fared well against US Army Rangers. Later, many of its forces were dispatched Yugoslavia, where it conducted further counterinsurgency against the partisans there. And finally, there were the X'MAS' "stay-behind" operations set up in Allied-controlled Italy. By all accounts, these stay-behind units were highly effective. It fell to the legendary counterintelligence master James Jesus Angleton to counter the X'MAS.

For our purposes here, the most interesting aspect of the X'MAS was its commanding officer, Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, sometimes referred to as the "Black Prince." In this day and age, Borghese is primarily known for his association with fascism, both during World War II and beyond. As I noted before here, he became one of the most prominent supporters of the far right philosopher and occultist, Julius Evola. Borghese also appears to have played a crucial role in establishing stay-behind networks in Italy after World War II as part of what is often referred to as Operation Gladio. Given the X'MAS' role in organizing stay-behinds during WWII, it is hardly surprising the CIA would look to the Black Prince at the onset of the Cold War. Later, these forces were linked to a neo-fascist coup Borghese attempted to launch in 1970. There is much dispute as to how serious this coup actually was and what its ultimate purpose was, however. The best account can be found in Bale's The Darkest Sides of Politics, I.

the Black Prince
For our purposes here, it is the Black Prince's origins that are of greatest interest. Borghese was a member of the famed Italian dynasty --the one that spawned at least one pope and numerous other high church officials; that married into the Bonaparte family around the time of the Napoleonic Wars; and which has remained a staple of the so-called "Black nobility" for centuries now. The phrase Black nobility became popular after the Kingdom of Italy defeated papal forces and took Italy in 1870. The Black nobility were the aristocrats who sided with the Pope.

Bizarrely, the army of the Kingdom of Italy was led by another storied family, the House of Savoy. The Dukes of Aosta are a branch of that family. As such, the Borghese and Aosta klans likely crossed swords during 1870. Later, their descendants would struggle for control of the Decima Flottiglia MAS during the Second World War. Indeed, it is likely that X'MAS veterans squared off against one another in the south of Italy after 1943 while the scions of longtime aristocratic rivals commanded both forces.

Prince Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta, who vied with Borghese for control of the X'MAS
This is one of those instances that makes Recluse suspect that their was something deeper to the creation of modern special operations forces. To further illustrate this point, we now turn the next and even more bizarre example.

Clan Fraser

Of late, this researcher has been struck by just how many storied families in the British establishment were in fact Scottish. Some of these families --the StewartsScotsSinclairsFlemingsKerrs, and Bruces --trace their lineages back to the chieftains of the legendary Scottish clan system. Others like the Keswicks are of a more recent vintage, but no less influential. But perhaps none are more mysterious than Clan Fraser, especially those of Lovat.

It is generally agreed that Clan Fraser had its origins in France, specifically the area of Anjou. That particular province has quite a storied history in its own right. From the late ninth to the early thirteenth century, the territory was ruled by the House of Ingelger. That dynasty produced a King of Jerusalem, Fulk V. This particular monarch was also the grandfather of England's Henry II and great-grandfather of the legendary King Richard the Lionheart. Fulk V was apparently attached to the Knights Templar at one point while his great-grandson sold them the island of Cyprus. I bring this up as the Templars will crop up again in this saga.

Fulk V
But, back to Clan Fraser. The first mention of a Fraser in Scotland occurs in 1160, when a Simon Fraser is listed as owning land in East Lothian. At some point in the twelfth or thirteenth centuries, the family moved to Tweeddale. From there, they spread out across the counties of StirlingAngusInverness, and Aberdeen. For those Secret Sun fans who frequent this blog (and I know you are many), Cocteau Twins front woman Elizabeth Fraser hails from Grangemouth, which is located in Stirling. As such, Liz Fraser is almost surely a distant descendant of the original Clan Fraser. For those of you unfamiliar with the accounts of Liz Fraser published on the Secret Sun, a good starting point can be found here.

Liz Fraser
The Frasers first rose to prominence in Scotland during the Wars of Independence. It was against this backdrop that Sir Simon "the Patriot" Fraser established himself as one of the most noteworthy generals of that particular era. A contemporary of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, Sir Simon's most noteworthy victory occurred at the Battle of Roslin in 1303. Over a century later, Clan Sinclair would establish the legendary Rosslyn Chapel in the same township. This site has long be associated with legends surrounding the Knights Templar and Freemasonry.

Simon the Patriot's luck ran out in 1306 when he was captured by the British and executed. The Frasers continued fighting, however. Sir Simon's cousin, Sir Alexander Fraser, was present at the famed Battle of Bannockburn, which decisively turned the war in the favor of the Scots. The Battle of Bannockburn has been at the center of much speculative history due to the allegations the Knights Templar assisted the Scots in achieving this crucial victory.

The Battle of Bannockburn unfolded on June 23rd and 24th of 1314, the latter being St. John's Day, a date with much significance in Freemasonry. The Templar knights had been suppressed on a mass scale several years earlier by Papal decree, leading most mainstream historians to dismiss such allegations outright. But things were a little different in Scotland.
"In 1306, the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce, had been excommunicated by the pope... This meant that he was under no obligation to obey any orders coming from the Holy See. Thus, when the Templars were finally ordered arrested and imprisoned the following year, and their property confiscated and turned over to the Hospitallers, there was no legal requirement for Robert to do the same. In fact, only to Templars were ever arrested in Scotland during the trials and there is no record of their having endured any hardship or punishment. Indeed, the Templars in question were two Englishmen.
"The order was officially disbanded by order of the Pope and 1312... and Jacques de Molay burned at the stake in March 1314. The Battle of Bannockburn took place only three months later. The English had cooperated in the arrest and imprisonment of the Templars and the confiscation of property; the Scots had not. Thus, it is not so far-fetched to believe that some Templars had fled to Scotland to avoid their fate on the Continent and in England, and sided with Robert the Bruce against the English at the famous battle.
"The Templars had, in fact, a long history in Scotland. David I of Scotland had granted some lands to the Templars in the twelfth century, at a town about four miles from present-date Roslin. The earliest known Templar charter is that of the town of St. Andrews, and is dated to 1160. The Templars were not the only military order in Scotland, in fact. The Knights Hospitallers also had property in Scotland. As did the Teutonic Knights. As in France, these holdings provided a source of revenue and recruits for the knightly orders. 
"In 1312 all Templar property in Scotland was granted to the Hospitallers, as was happening throughout Europe. However, there is no record that the Hospitallers actually took advantage of this in Scotland at the time. Indeed, although the two orders were merged legally, they seem to have maintained their separate identities for at least a century to come. We know that, in 1488, James IV of Scotland issued a statement in which he upheld the rights of both the Templars and the Hospitallers, referring to them as separate entities. This documentation implies a close relationship between the Scottish monarchy and the Templars. We do not know if this relationship was based upon common goals and agendas, or was more a reflection of the political (and perhaps economic) reality of the times. Nonetheless, there was a demonstrable Templar presence in Scotland that outlasted the papal edicts."
(The Secret Temple, Peter Levenda, pgs. 59-60)

Against this backdrop lurked Clan Fraser, which would soon rise to the pinnacle of Scottish society. In the aftermath of Bannockburn, Sir Alexander married Robert the Bruce's sister and became the Chamberlain of Scotland, at the time the third most powerful post in the Scottish court. The Frasers of Philorth, one of the most senior of the various modern Fraser clans, trace their lineage from Sir Alexander. It was Alexander's younger brother, one of many Simon Frasers, who would found what is arguably still the most powerful of the Fraser clans. This would be Clan Fraser of Lovat.

The Jacobite Era

Simon "the Fox" Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat was a pivotal figure in the Jacobite uprisings of 1715 and 1745. He was especially infamous for his doubling dealing. After Clan Mackenzie made a play to take over Lovat lands via marriage in the aftermath o the death of the 10th Lord Lovat, Simon the Fox departed for France in 1702. There, he made inroads with the exiled Stuart dynasty and leading Jacobite figures. By 1703, he was already involved with intrigues with the British in an effort to gain the Lovat title. At the time the French court had been supporting the Jacobite cause, and responded by having Simon exiled and then imprisoned. This state of affairs lasted until 1707.

In 1714, Queen Anne  died. This brought to power the First King George and the Hanover dynasty. A Jacobite uprising soon broke out in Scotland. Seeing his chance, Simon the Fox opted to side with the British and was rewarded with the Lovat title and lands after the revolt was put down.

When a second Jacobite uprising broke out in 1745, Lord Lovat opted to side with his countrymen. This proved to be a disastrous decision. The Scots were soundly defeated at the Battle of Culloden. Not long afterwards, Lord Lovat was arrested. After being imprisoned in the Tower of London for a little less than two years, he was executed via beheading on April 9, 1747. Allegedly, he was the last man to be beheaded in Britain. His body was reportedly taken back to a family mausoleum near Inverness, but recent evidence indicates that the body in his casket was one of a young woman. Like Simon the Fox, she was also missing her head. What became of Simon's body, or either's head, remains a mystery.

Simon the Fox, 11th Lord Lovat
As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Jacobites had a close association with a particular branch of Freemasonry as well as it alleged mythological ties to the Knights Templar. For the uninitiated, here's a brief rundown:
"During this time, Masonic lodges had functioned as underground meeting places for Jacobite supporters. While the lodges had struggled to maintain neutrality during the English Civil War the seventeenth century... the bonds brotherhood became more difficult to maintain. Into this romantic atmosphere of espionage, intrigue, and 'pretenders to the throne' stepped one of the major personalities of modern Freemasonry: Chevalier Michael Ramsay.
"Ramsay (1681-1743) was a Scot who had attended the Edinburgh University and the University of Leiden, and received a doctorate in civil law from Oxford University in 1730. For a while he moved in the same pious circles as Johannes Kelpius but, later converting to Catholicism and throwing in his lot with the Jacobites, he wound up in France and then in Rome (in 1724) as the tutor of the young Bonnie Prince Charlie. He was also Mason, and Grand Chancellor of the Paris Grand Lodge. His most lasting contribution to Freemasonry was a speech he made in 1737 in Paris, before a meeting of a Masonic lodge there. What he had to say caused reverberations down through the centuries, and Freemasonry is still struggling to come to terms with the ideas he presented there for the first time.
"In his speech he connected the practice of Freemasonry not with the stonemasons' guilds of medieval Europe but with the nobles who conducted the Crusades in the Holy land. Ramsay claims – without actually mentioning the Knights Templar by name – that the chivalric orders that had operated in Palestine were the direct ancestors of the Freemasons; that their oath was not 'execrable' as have been claimed (and thus immediately connecting these orders with the accusations against the Templars); that they had only the highest ideals; that they recognized each other by passwords and signs in order to differentiate each other from the Saracens; and that later they had merged with the Order of St. John of Jerusalem... According to Ramsey, this is why the lodges were called Lodges of St. John.
"Ramsay was very specific in his speech about which Scottish nobles have been involved in protecting and supporting these Masonic forbears, and used 1286 as the date when the Kilwinning Lodge of Scotland was in operation as the only surviving lodge of the Crusader period.
"In other words, Ramsay claimed that Scotland – and only Scotland – had indisputable Masonic credentials, and he went further to claim that France would become the center of the restored Masonic order.
"The effect of his words was electric. He had single-handedly caused a sensation throughout France that elevated the reputation of Freemasonry and made it is noble as, if not nobler than, existing chivalric orders. Suddenly Freemasonry was no longer about stoneworkers in a quarry but about educated man, nobles, princes, and Crusaders. In his later works, he deliberately links Freemasonry with the Templars: a connection that has yet to be broken, no matter how hard many have tried...
"Thus was the Scottish Rite born."
(The Secret Temple, Peter Levenda, pgs. 101-102)
Chevalier Michael Ramsay
Contrary to what Levenda claims, the only Scottish noble family mentioned in Ramsay's 1737 speech are the Stewarts. Given how widespread and prestigious certain branches of Clan Fraser were, it would hardly be surprising if the Frasers were among those linked to the Templars. This connection could potentially go back to Bannockburn, where the Templars and Clan Fraser were reportedly both present at. Just how close Simon the Fox truly was to the Jacobite cause is highly debatable, but he reportedly took solace in dying a Scottish patriot at the time of his execution.

Another curiosity from this era is worth exploring for a moment: Boleskine House. This particular Scottish manor gained infamy in the twentieth century after being owned by Aleister Crowley and, later, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. The residency had originally been constructed as a hunting lodge during the 1760s by Colonel Archibald Campbell Fraser, a son of the 11th Lord of Lovat, Simon the Fox. After Simon's execution, the Lovat clan had lost their lordship, but Fraser's half brother Simon Fraser was still considered to be the Master of Lovat and chief of the Lovat clan. Reportedly, Archibald had originally built Boleskine, which was surrounded by Lovat lands, to annoy his brother due to his support of the English during the 1745 Jacobite uprising.

Archibald Campbell Fraser
When the Master of Lovat died childless in 1786, Archibald succeeded him as Master of Lovat and chieftain of Clan Fraser of Lovat. As such, Archibald ended up with all of the lands surrounding Boleskine in addition to the hunting lodge itself. Archibald would have sons, but ended up out living all of them. Hence, when Archibald died, there was some dispute over whom would succeed him. The honor eventually went to Thomas Alexander Fraser. By this time the titles had already been restored, making Thomas the twelfth Lord Lovat. He also appears to have inherited all of Archibald's lands, including Boleskine.

The twelfth Lord Lovat died in 1875, while Crowley did not purchase Boleskine until 1899. It is known that he procured the lands from the Fraser family, though this researcher has been unable to determine whom exactly. It is most likely that the Boleskine was still in possession of the Lovat branch by the time of Crowley's purchase, however. In his autobiography The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, the Great Beast notes that Lord Lovat was one of his closet neighbors to Boleskine, implying the Lovats still owned much of the surrounding land. It is also likely Crowley knew the Lord Lovat of the time, who would have been fourteenth one.

Boleskine House
It should be noted that Boleskine and the surrounding area already had a reputation for ample high weirdness even before Crowley purchased the property. Legend has it that the lodge was built upon the ruins of a church that had burned down during mass, killing the entire congregation in the process. There were also rumors of tunnels leading from the lodge's cellars to a nearby burial ground. And of course, the property is located right next to the legendary Loch Ness. This is yet another instance of the high weirdness that appears to follow the Frasers around like a shadow.

The Lord of War

For those you wondering what all of this has to do with special operations, your patience will hopefully now be rewarded. As one may have gathered from the preceding account, Clan Fraser of Lovat had a strong warrior ethos that translated into the modern era. The 14th Lord Lovat, neighbor to Aleister Crowley, had founded the Lovat Scouts, which were initially deployed during the above-mentioned Boer War. This researcher has been unable to determine how impressed Lord Lovat was with the Boer's commando tactics, but in the aftermath of that conflict the Lovat Scouts would shift their emphasis to "irregular warfare." 

Like his father and other ancestors, Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, was a fighting man. He joined the Lovat Scouts in 1930, at a time after that transition to irregular warfare had been made. Later, he served in another elite unit, the Scots Guard. As such, he found himself in a curious position when the Second World War broke out.

Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat
As was noted above, WWII is generally considered to be the conflict that spawned modern special operations forces. And the trailblazers of these units, in turn, was the British Empire. Unable to confront Nazi Germany directly at the onset of the war, the British would lean heavily on commandos and other special operations forces in the early years of the conflict. While such units have never really been tested against a modern military before, the British had one particular Scottish family that was ready to take on the task of creating a new type of commando.

In 1940, Lovat was one of the men charged with setting up a special forces training center to drill the next generation of commandos. He eventually settled upon Inverailort House, which was of course located in Scotland. Lovat and David Stirling, the future founder of the SAS, were the men who settled upon this location. Lovat and Stirling would go on to become major instructors at this school, which was overseen by Bill Stirling, David's older brother.

Inverailort House
Despite the last names, all of these men belonged to Clan Fraser of Lovat. The mother of both David and Bill was Margaret Fraser, the daughter of the 13th Lord Lovat. As such, 15th Lord Lovat and the Stirlings were all cousins. As such, Inverailort House appears to have been very much a family affair.

It also produced many of the leading special operators on the British side of WWII. Two of the most notable were Neil "Billy" McLean, who became one of the leading paramilitary officers in the Special Operations Executive (SOE); and Fitzroy Maclean, another key early figure in both the SOE and SAS, whom married Lovat's sister.

Neil "Billy" McLean (top) and Fitzroy Maclean (bottom)
So, while it may not be totally accurate to say that Clan Fraser of Lovat created the Special Air Services, the world's first modern special operations forces, they were clearly an enormous influence, at a minimum. Nor were these the only special operations forces linked to the Lovats. While the Stirlings were setting up the SAS, Lord Lovat himself would personally command No. 4 Commando and, later, the 1st Special Services Brigade

And then there's the legendary Special Operations Executive. When Churchill commanded that Europe be set ablaze, it was the SOE that was tasked with carrying out this directive. The SOE oversaw virtually all covert operations during WWII for the British rather than MI6, which was largely just an intelligence gathering organization during that conflict. Among the most notably operations of the SOE was Jedburgh (naturally named after a town in Scotland), which carried out sabotage and guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines leading up to the Normandy invasion. More information on the importance of the SOE can be found here and here.

the insignia of the SOE
The training SOE operators received was almost entirely based upon what Lovat and company had cooked up with Inverailort. Indeed, the school there appears to have originally been set up to train the SOE. Lovat himself would eventually take over the SOE as the war was winding down, when he accepted the post of Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, which housed the Ministry of Economic Warfare. It was this curious entity that oversaw the SOE. During this time, he fought to preserve remnants of the SOE, which was under siege by both MI6 and the Foreign Office.

So, to recap: the 15th Lord Lovat pioneered what would now be known as irregular and unconventional warfare, helping train the SOE in these dark arts. And the SOE were generally considered to be the unquestioned masters of such things during WWII. He also trained up and commanded many of the leading commando units during WWII. Elsewhere, his relations and in-laws helped set up the SAS, the first modern special operations forces. Sir David Stirling would later go on to set up Watchguard International, which is generally considered to be the first modern private military company (PMC). Much more information on the murky origins of PMCs will be presented in my forth coming book, including a bit about Colonel Stirling.

Colonel David Stirling
In other words, there doesn't appear to be much linked to modern, non-Naval special operations forces that the Lovats do not crop up in. While the Borghese family no doubt played a role in the creation of Navy SEALS and the like, the influence the Lovat clan had on modern special operations forces is simply unparalleled. It is also mysterious, given the family's potential links to the Knights Templar and Freemasonry.

This researcher is not fond of centuries old conspiracies. Indeed, far from it as this is the type of thing I love debunking. But the presence of long time aristocratic families like the Borghese and Clan Fraser of Lovat at the birth of modern special operations forces is curious, to put it mildly. Throw in the bizarre history of the Lovats, and one is left with quite an enigma. As such, it may not be so surprising to find such an obsession with chivalric orders among modern elite forces.  

And with that, I shall sign off for now readers. If you've made it this far, hopefully you've found my speculation rewarding, or entertaining at the least. Until next time, stay tuned.