Friday, September 27, 2019

Wars and Psywars

On September 9, 2019, President Donald J. Trump sacked his National Security Adviser, the fanatical neocon and Zionist John Bolton. Of course, as with all things related to Trump, there is controversy over this action, with Bolton insisting that he resigned rather than being dismissed. Regardless, neither men disputes the date of when the decision to part company was made: 9/9/19. If those nines were reversed, one would be left with 6/6/16, which is vaguely close to the number of the beast. Given with how events transpired since then, this interpretation seems surprisingly apt.

On September 14, 2019, Houthi rebels attacked two of the largest oil processing facilities of Saudi Aramco, the House of Saud's "state owned" oil company. The attacks were a blow to energy markets, to put it mildly. But that may only be the beginning of the fallout.

one of the Saudi Aramco facilities that was hit in the drone strike
Despite the Houthis taking responsibility for the attack in retaliation for the Saudi "intervention" in Yemen that has left thousands dead and millions displaced, a case was rapidly made for Iran being behind the attack. This rush to judgment surely brought a smile to the face of the mustached-one. Anyone who has followed Bolton's career knows he has been obsessed with attacking Iran for years now. 

While Bolton will not now get a chance to personally oversee the attack, enough pressure may be brought to bear against Trump to force the Orange One's hand. Bolton has been disappointed before, however. Earlier this summer, Iran shot down an American droneReportedly, Trump was poised to launch an attack against Iran in retaliation, with Bolton being one of the biggest proponents of the strike. But at the last minute, the Orange One backed down, probably because a conflict with Iran could escalate into a Third World War.

Bolton seems little concerned over such fallout (har har), however, if his recent comments before the Gatestone Institute are any indications. Gatestone is friendly territory for Bolton --the Mustache was a former chairman of the think-tank, which is predictably anti-Muslim and Zionist to the core. As such, it was also an apt starting point for Bolton's post-Trump tour. Things have not be going well for the Israeli far right of late.

In addition to Bolton's dismissal/resignation, longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently fighting for both his political life and to avoid being prosecuted for corruption. Prior to the recent election, Netanyahu had pledged to annex sensitive areas in the West Bank with "maximum coordination" from Trump. The Orange One then announced Bolton's "resignation" literally minutes later on Twitter, paving the way for the right wing Likud party to fall short at the ballots days later.

It was something of a shot across the bow from Trump, who has largely been Israel's lapdog thus far. Indeed, at least one former senior member of the administration has described the Orange One as having been "played" by Netanyahu since taking office. Certainly, Trump's militancy towards Iran has played well to the US Israeli lobby, but not such much to his America First supporters. And with his own election looming next year, Trump appears to have been attempting to pivot in recent months with regards to Iran. Besides calling off a strike this past summer, he also appears to have been making efforts to meet with Iran's president.

In this context, the Saudi Aramco attack is certainly curious, to put it mildly. Less so is Bolton's publicity tour to rally the troops. Predictably, Bolton repeatedly attacked Trump's foreign policy at the Gatestone lunch and even indicated that the recent Saudi Aramco attacks only occurred because Trump had backed down from bombing Iran during the summer.

At least two donors present at the lunch are most interesting for our purposes here. One was attorney Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz has of course gained a considerable degree of infamy of late, both due to role he played in helping Jeffrey Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal in 2008, and the allegations that he had "relations" with some of Epstein's girls. Naturally, Dershowitz referred to Bolton's sacking as "a national disaster." Surely it must have warmed Bolton's heart to know that Epstein's former attorney and an accused pedophile had his back.

Dershowitz wasn't the only donor heaping praise upon the Mustache either. Rebekah Mercer described Bolton as "the best national security adviser our country could have hoped for," presumably without a hint of irony. The presence of a Mercer at this event is most noteworthy, especially in relation to Trump's re-election prospects.

The Mysterious Mercers

In Dark Money, Jane Meyer links the Mercer Klan to the Koch brothers network. The Mercer family appeared on the Koch brothers' donor list at some point during the '00s, and for a time they were close allies, but on the whole the Mercer family appears to be much further to the right. Despite the mainstream media's depiction of the Koch family as the pinnacle of right wing extremism, the Kochs are actually staunch adherents of the Mont Pelerin Society-derived neo-liberalism the dominates the liberal establishment in both the Republican and Democratic parties in these United States. Indeed, the Koch brothers covertly backed Hillary during the 2016 election

No, when it comes to financing the far right, it falls upon individuals such as Peter Thiel, and families like the Mercers and the DeVos-Prince Klan. The Mercer and DeVos-Prince families are closely aligned, being among the wealthiest backers of the highly secretive Council for National Policy (CNP). And like Thiel, the Mercer family are also major patrons of the alt-right. Indeed, the Mercer family became the largest financiers of Breitbart in 2012, upon the death of the founder. It was through Breitbart that the Mercers came into contact with Steve BannonKellyanne Conway, and Milo Yiannopoulos, all of whom they became patrons of (after the Mercers cut Milo off, he was picked up by fellow alt-right patron Matthew Mellon, a close Thiel associate, as I noted before here).

The patriarch of the Mercer family is Robert, a former computer scientist turned hedge fund manager. Mercer is often described as a pioneer in early artificial intelligence, though I have found few details concerning what this work may have entailed. Still, it is curious given the bizarre obsession certain fringe elements of the far right have with A.I.

Robert Mercer
What little is out there indications that Mercer's expertise is in computer linguistics, which he won a lifetime achievement award for in 2014. He worked for IBM for over twenty years before joining the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies in 1993. Renaissance is a curious entity, a hedge fund that preferred to hire computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists rather than business school graduates. The company was founded by a mathematician and prominent Democratic Party donor, Jim Simons, who is also credited with contributing to the string theory. While working with Renaissance, Mercer is credited with transforming the financial industry through the use of trading algorithms.

On the whole, Robert Mercer has spent much of his life around some rather curious locations. He grew up in New Mexico and got his first real job at the Kirland Air Force Base. As regular reader of this blog are well aware, both New Mexico and especially the Kirkland base have been something of a mecca for black projects and general high weirdness for decades.

From there, upon being hired by IBM, he appears to have relocated to New York's Westchester County during the early 1970s. He would remain in the Westchester area for years afterwards, and certainly throughout the rest of the '70s and early '80s. It just so happens that that particular area of New York was allegedly the site of much cult activity during this same time frame. Indeed, the reputed Son of Sam cult was supposedly quite active in Westchester during that era. This bizarre link with Son of Sam would continue with Mercer's next residence, a mansion located on Long Island. Reportedly, mansions in this area were used for sex parties by VIPs and some of the cultists, as I noted before here.

With that being said, I have found absolutely no evidence that Mercer was involved in anything nefarious that ties into the above locations. In point of fact, many of the alleged sex parties were for VIPs and Mercer did not cash until the late 1990s, after he left IBM. Still, it is strange that he turns up in locations like Kirkland and Westchester that are so closely associated with high weirdness. But then again, so does your humble researcher. Sometimes, a coincidence is just that. So, let us return to his more tangible outrages.   

Mercer appears to have had very little involvement in politics prior to the Obama years. He established the Mercer Family Foundation in 2004, but during the first few years it possessed an endowment of only half a million dollars and primarily focused on medical research and conventional charities. Things changed in 2008 , however, when the foundation began handing out millions to conservative causes and candidates. In less than a decade Robert Mercer went from being an obscure, inconsequential figure to being one of the driving forces in American politics. In some accounts, Mercer is held to be the single largest donor in the 2016 Us presidential elections. This only adds to the mysteries surrounding Mercer.

The Even More Mysterious SCL

On the note of mysteries, it is now time for the inevitable examination of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the "political consulting" firm believed to have played a crucial role in both Brexit and the election of the Orange One. The firm was able to obtain the data of 50 million Facebook users in these United States that was used to create a digital platform said to possess "unprecedented influence and accuracy." This platform was put to work in the 2016 US presidential elections, though there is much dispute as to how effective it was. It also played a role in Brexit, though there is more secrecy surrounding the latter deployment.

CA first gained notoriety in 2017 when it was linked to alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential elections. While there are some compelling indications that it had ties to shadowy Russian entities, it is the British aspect that is far more unsettling.

CA has its origins in a British company known as the SCL Group (formally Strategic Communications Laboratories). SCL in turn grew out of a company known as Behavioral Dynamics Institute, which was established by Nigel Oakes circa 1990. As the original name implies, the firm was concerned with behavior modification --specifically as it applied to group psychology and profiling. In other words, SCL specialized in psychological warfare. This has led to much speculation over SCL's ties to the British intelligence community, and indeed the company has been described as "MI6 for hire."

As such, it should come as little surprise that its ties to the British establishment are impeccable. Company founder Oakes is himself an Old Etonian, rumored to be an MI5 asset, and at one point dated a member of the Windsor family. But Oakes only scratches the surface of the firm's deep background.

Consider former CEO Alexander Nix, another Old Etonian as well. Nix comes from a long line of City bankers. This probably helped him with his business ventures prior to joining SCL. Upon graduating from the University of Manchester, he went to work for Barings Securities in Mexico. This was a former subsidiary of Barings Bank, one of the oldest merchant banks in the world at the time of its collapse in 1995. Barings was banker to the Queen herself and, according to former Barings employee Gerald James in his classic In the Public Interest, closely tied to the British intelligence community. Nix appears to have signed on after the collapse of the parent firm, though his initial work in Mexico is certainly suggestive: the nation was awash with drug money by this point.

However, it was Nix's second job that I find most interesting: the Robert Fraser Group (RFG). The RFG is another merchant bank, and a highly mysterious one at that. I have been unable to find virtually anything on its history, other than it having been founded around 1934. As far as this researcher can tell, it doesn't even have an official website.

At one point, it did have a most curious investor: Robert Maxwell, the infamous media tycoon and father of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's reputed madam. As was noted before here, Robert Maxwell had numerous intelligence connections, most notably to the KGB, Mossad, and MI6. In Maggie's Hammer, the great Geoffrey Gilson alleges that Maxwell was deeply involved in the illicit arms trafficking that ravaged the UK during the Thatcher years. More information on this traffic can be found here.

As far as the Robert Fraser Group is concerned, Maxwell began investing in it in 1986. During that same year, he became the single largest cash contributor to the bank's new equity and would remain its largest financial patron for the next five years. During this time, the ties between Maxwell and the RFG became quite close indeed. Maxwell's son, Kevin, joined the bank's board while its chairman, Lord Geoffrey Rippon, became a director of Maxwell Communications Corporation (MCC), one of the Maxwell family's various holding companies. The RFG would later be implicated in some of Maxwell's financial shenanigans.
"...  Through Robert Fraser, Maxwell had pumped into MCC and Pergamon Holdings some of the money taken from the pension funds, and had completed three property deals to pump profits into MCC which later investigation would reveal to be dubious. In 1989, no less than 35 per cent of MCC's profits were 'one-off' transactions with Robert Fraser recorded just before the announcement of the interim profits. In 1990, 43 per cent of the Group profits were one-offs with companies incorporated in Liechtenstein and the Isle of Man or with BIM and Robert Fraser..."
(Maxwell: The Final Verdict, Tom Bower, pgs. 69-70)
Maxwell gained infamy for looting the pension funds of his various companies and using these assets to support the stock prices of said companies via covert buybacks. The RFG appears to have been one of the institutions that Maxwell used to launder these pension fund assets back into his own companies.

But was it just the pension funds that Maxwell was using the Robert Fraser Group to launder? Were proceeds from the arms trafficking he was knee deep in also making their way through the RFG?

Certainly, this is very speculative on my part. What's more, Nix did not join the RFG until some time around the late 1990s or early 00s, a good decade or so after Maxwell and his cronies had been outed. Still, it is curious that Nix was able to parlay his limited experience at Barings and the RFG, two banks with a history of shady practices, into a directorship at SCL in 2003, when he would have been all of 28 years old.

What's more, at least two other establishment figures linked to the SCL were old guard Tories who would have been well placed in regards to the arms trafficking Thatcher unleashed during the Iran-Contra era. One was Sir Geoffrey Pattie, a longtime Tory MP who held several crucial posts in Thatcher's administration. The most noteworthy was Minister of State, Industry, and Information Technology. In this capacity, he oversaw the Department of Industry and Trade (DTI). As Gerald James notes throughout In the Public Interest, the DTI was deeply implicated in shady arms deals throughout the Thatcher years. And Sir Pattie directly oversaw the DTI for a time during this era. Before becoming a full blown Minister, he served as Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Defence Procurement, yet another post linked to arms sales. Indeed, Pattie appears to have spent much of the Thatcher years involved in the arms trade. He apparently impressed someone in this capacity, as he was knighted and made a member of the Privy Council in 1987.

the Right Honorable Sir Pattie
The other old guard Tory is Lord Jonathan Marland. Marland cut his teeth working for the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, which began as a division of Jardine Matheson and still maintained ties to the parent company until fairly recently. Marland had been a founding director of the Lloyd Thompson branch of the firm, which was acquired by Jardine in 1997.

Jaridne Matheson has its origins in the late eighteenth century in China and has remained one of the principal British businesses in eastern Asia for nearly two centuries now. For years the firm has been owned by the uber-connected Keswick family. Both Jardine Matheson and the Keswicks made much of their fortunes off of smuggling opium. When Jardine Lloyd Thompson was sold this year (2019), it was revealed that the Keswicks controlled 40 per cent of the company  

Since the beginning of this decade, Marland has held several government posts. But his real power is displayed by a position he held during the last decade: Treasurer of the Conservative Party. As the great Geoffrey Gilson demonstrated in Maggie's Hammer and Dead Men Don't Eat Lunch, this post has been deeply implicated in the funds generated by arms trafficking throughout the Thatcher years and beyond. In more recent years, several Treasurers have become leading Eurosceptics. Marland is no exception. He played a key role in getting Boris Johnson elected London's Mayor and has remained a close political alley since then. Naturally, Marland is a staunch Brexit backers as well.

the Right Honorable the Lord Marland
There are other curious figures linked to SCL, to be sure. Another notable is Lord Ivar Mountbatten. The Mountbatten Klan are part of the extended Royal Family. Ivar's father, David, was tied up in the Profumo scandal, while his brother George is listed in Epstein's black book. And then there's the original Lord Mountbatten, who has been hounded by allegations of sexually abusing children for years. More information on the vile Mountbatten Klan can be found here.

the Right Honorable the Lord Mountbatten
So, to recap: Long before the Mercer family became involved with Cambridge Analytica, its parent company, the SCL group, was deeply tied to the British Royal family, the aristocracy, and the City. But beyond that, at least three leading figures in the company may have been involved in the illicit arms trade that was unleashed by Thatcher. There seems to be little question that Sir Geoffrey Pattie had some connections given the post he held during the Thatcher administration. Elsewhere, SCL CEO Alexander Nix and crucial backer Lord Marland both held posts (with the Robert Fraser Group and as Treasurer of the Conservative Party, respectively), that have been implicated in this illicit trade, especially in regards to Marland. As such, SCL appears to have been an outgrowth of this black network that emerged during the 1980s, just as Nigel Oakes was laying the foundation for SCL. In creating what amounted to a privatized psychological warfare department, Oakes received support from the absolute pinnacle of the British establishment.

And many of these same figures were still present when the Mercers became leading financiers of this network. Indeed, SCL appears to have become a crucial component of the Anglo-American far right. Emerdata Limited, the successor to to Cambridge Analytica, brought together Nix, the Mercers, and Johnson Chun Shun Co, an executive for Erik Prince's Frontier Services Group. There are also rumblings of ties between this network and Peter Thiel as well. In other words, the gang's all present.

Going Forward

What then are we to make of the Mercer family's endorsement of Bolton upon his sacking by Trump? The Mercers were long time supporters of Bolton, and initially pushed for him to be nominated as Secretary of State. Now Bolton's gone, along with other figures backed by the Mercers such as Michael Flynn and Bannon. "Incidentally," their donations to the Republican Party declined during the last election cycle.

Across the Pond, BoJo has taken a beating of late. On September 24th, the UK Supreme Court ruled his attempt to suspend Parliament unconstitutional. This came on the heels of Parliament enacting the Benn Bill, which requires BoJo to seek an extension of the Brext deadline --currently October 31, 2019 --if he has not reached a withdraw agreement with the EU and had it approved by Parliament by the nineteenth of that month. In theory, this took away BoJo's bid for a "hard" Brexit (i.e., without a reaching a withdraw agreement with the EU). Curiously, the new withdraw date the bill proposes is January 31, 2020.

A reader has recently pointed out to me that part of the support for Brexit within the UK establishment is driven by a little known piece of legislation being pushed by the EU and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is related to their on going concern with cracking down on tax avoidance by large corporations. To this end, the EU and OECD crafted the Anti tax avoidance package. This package has especially strong provisions in regards to the financing of terrorism.

The City of London is of course at the heart of a vast network of tax havens around the world. As such, it is also at the heart of vast network supporting terrorists and international criminals. As Maggie's Hammer demonstrates, this state of affairs grew out of the transformation of the UK's economy under Thatcher, specifically the arms trade. In other words, many of the same players behind the SCL on the UK end grew out of the same City subculture that helps finance much of today's terrorism. And the EU/OECD anti tax avoidance package seems specifically designed to put an end to these state of affairs by bringing the City into compliance with the EU's broader tax laws. No doubt the French and Germans had hard-ons the size of Gibraltar when crafting these regulations.

As such, it is easy to see why figures like those behind the SCL Group have a vested interest in the UK leaving the EU if, for no other reason, to avoid these looming regulations. And when does the anti-tax avoidance package go into effect dear readers? Why, January 1, 2020.

This looming deadline is likely what has driven BoJo's hail marry to ensure a hard Brexit by October 31. It is also likely what is behind the Benn Bill deadline of January 31, 2020, a nearly a month after the tax avoidance regulations are to be enacted. This is a very clever move to get BoJo and his backers to make concessions.

BoJo, however, seems hell bent on a snap election. While this may seem insane on the surface given his recent disasters, there's probably some version of Cambridge Analytica still lurking about and ready to spring into action. As such, BoJo is putting his faith in their voodoo and desperation to exit the EU by the new year.

Here in these United States, the Orange One is facing a new scandal, this time over Ukraine. The scandal broke on September 18th, four days after the Saudi Aramco attacks. By the 24th, it had led to the announcement of formal impeachment proceedings.

There are already some indications that this latest "smoking gun" is stillborn. Naturally, the "whistleblower" in this case appears to be a CIA officer who didn't actually hear the controversial conversations between Trump and his counterpart in the Ukraine. Given the timing of when these allegations were made, it was almost surely an intentional leak meant to further pressure Trump over Iran. Was this payback from Bolton, who apparently had been playing the Washington leak game during his final months in office?

The Orange One's reluctance to launch an attack is almost surely driven by his own looming re-election bid in 2020. Another Middle Eastern war would be problematic to that end, but possibly less so than an impeachment hearing, especially if he no longer has the Mercer psy war machine in his corner.

On the other hand, Trump is also dealing with a curious alliance between far right elements in the US and UK, the Israeli Likud/Mossad faction, and nationalist elements in the Russian FSB and mafia (all of these factions were present in the Cambridge/SLC psyops network as well). Iran certainly appears to be a point of contention for this peculiar alliance. For the Orange One, this is a delicate balancing act as he attempts to play to US and Israeli neo-con/Zionists on the one hand, and various nationalists on the other. That the neo-liberal order is being pawned by this shaky alliance is a further testament to its decline.

In any case, it is looking like sparks could really start to fly by Halloween 2019, if not sooner. The fate of Trump, Brexit, Iran, and Netanyahu are all in play while the Epstein scandal continues to loom in the background, a proverbial sword of Damocles over the neo-liberal order. And with that, I shall sign off for now dear readers. Until next time, stay tuned.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

More Philosophical Musings

Sky was kind enough to have me back on Philosophical Minds this past week. I dropped by earlier this month, but we had to cut the chat short due to scheduling miscommunications. Fortunately, I was to put in close to another hour last week.

Topics discussed include more speculation on how illicit funds (be it from arms, drugs, or sex trafficking) are used to fund black projects. Specifically, I get into some of the possibility surrounding the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI --more commonly referred to as "Star Wars") that were raised in the amazing research of Geoffrey Gilson. Also discussed was the notorious gaming interest Resorts International, and it ties to the US intelligence community, the Profumo scandal, and Trump; how closely Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were to the Mossad; the rivalry between the Mossad and the Tory faction of MI6 during the Iran-Contra era; the British military-industrial complex; Robert Maxwell handling Israeli-backed arms trafficking for the Labour Party; "the Company", its ties to Trump and the Clintons and the allegations that it trained "devil worshipers"; psychological warfare; and probably some other topics I'm forgetting. We had planned to discuss continuity of government (COG), but ran out of time. That's a fascinating topic and hopefully Skyler and I can pick it up at some point this year. 

The podcast can be found here. For more information on Resorts International, check here. Elsewhere, the Company has been addressed before here and here.  

And with that, I shall sign off for now dear readers. Until next time, stay tuned. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Secret Armies and the Origins of the Cercle Complex Part VII

Welcome to the seventh installment in my long neglected examination into the origins of a mysterious outfit variously known as Le Cercle, the Pinay Group, the Pesenti Group and a host of other titles. Often described as simply a "foreign policy think tank," the Cercle complex was also a vast private intelligence network that wielded tremendous power throughout the Cold War. Much more information on these activities can be found in an earlier series I wrote on the Cercle complex.

The complex still appears to be a major power to this day, especially for British Tories, as was recently explored here. However, this series is about the origins of the complex, and those lie in mainland Europe. Founded in the period between 1952-53, the complex began as an offshoot of the infamous Bilderberg group and geared towards Franco-German rapprochement. However, Le Cercle always had a more reactionary and Catholic flavor than their counterparts in Bilderberg. Virtually all of the founding members belonged to either the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or Opus Dei. As the years went on, the differences Bilderberg and the Cercle became more pronounced and this led to a partial break between the two outfits by the 1970s.

But even prior to the official founding of Le Cercle, its genesis can be found in the "secret armies" or stay-behind networks that were founded by the US and UK throughout Europe in the immediate aftermath of WWII. In theory, these networks would be activated in the event of a Soviet invasion and wage "unconventional warfare" against the invaders. The inspiration for this project came from the stay-behind networks employed by the American Office of Strategic Services and British Special Operations Executive (SOE) on the one side, and Amt VI-S of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) on the other. These agencies were explored in the first installment of this series. Elsewhere, part two considered how assets of these agencies were transferred to the private sector in the aftermath of WWII. Part three principally dealt with the World Commerce Corporation (WCC), the shadowy, intelligence-riddled conglomerate that came to control many of these assets at the onset of the Cold War.

OSS founder and director William Donovan presenting an award to British Security Co-ordination (BSC) chief William Stephenson. After working closely together during WWII, both men would go on to become directors of the WCC in the postwar years.
The fourth and sixth installments dealt with the origins of several of the most notorious stay-behind networks in Western Europe and how virtually all of these networks were controlled by crucial figures within the Cercle. The fifth installment principally focused on the French Paix et Liberté and how psychological warfare was also a component of these stay-behind networks.

While all of the prior installments provide compelling details concerning the origins of the Cercle complex, to get to the heart of the matter the French stay-behind efforts must be further explored. Le Cercle was, after all, principally a French initiative in the early years and while parts four and five do spent a lot of time on French stay-behind efforts, these are accounts are from the Cold War era.

The true origins of the Cercle appear to reside in French interwar stay-behind efforts, especially those relating to the infamous Comité secret d'action révolutionnaire, more commonly referred to as simply "La Cagoule" (The Hood). The Cagoulards would be active in stay-behind efforts in the interwar years, WWII, and in the postwar efforts as well. What's more, they appear to have played a role in establishing Le Cercle and, in general, wielded tremendous power in France throughout the Cold War.

As such, numerous conspiracy theories concerning this group have emerged over the years. Thus, in order to understand the group, we most also determine what claims leveled against it are legitimate and which are not. With that in mind, this installment shall presently focus on the established facts of the interwar Cagoule. The next installment will deal with some of the more speculative accounts of the organization, while part nine will delve into the WWII and Cold War Cagoule and hopefully tie everything together. With that in mind, on to the Cagoule.

The Reality of the Prewar Cagoule

France, like much of Europe, experienced turbulent times throughout the 1930s. In early 1934, the French had elected a center-left coalition headed by Prime Minister Édouard Daladier. His government lasted just a little over a week. The government was riddled with scandal from the Stavisky Affair and this spurred the far right to take to the streets. Roughly twenty right wing leagues staged demonstrations on February 6 that soon escalated to bloody rioting. Daladier's government soon collapsed and a center-right coalition emerged in its ashes.

Of these right wing leagues, the most prominent was Action Francaise. Founded in 1898, the movement was highly conservative and staunchly pro-royalist as well as Catholic and anti-democratic to the core. It was also viewed by a rising generation of far right activists as hopelessly timid. Spurred on by the successful rioting, they hoped for an even more militant approach. Instead, Action Francaise expelled many of these extremists by the 1935.

In 1936, French voters rallied behind the Popular Front, a left-wing political coalition comprised of Socialists, Communists, and "Radicals." This brought to power Leon Blum, who was both a socialist and a Jew. As should come as little surprise, the Right was absolutely beside itself. For many of the militant Action Francaise members who had been drummed out during the prior year, Blum's election was definitive proof of the failure of the more moderate line employed by the traditional conservatives during the 1930s. The time for action was now upon them.

At the forefront of this drive for action was the enigmatic figure of Eugene Deloncle, a successful naval engineer and World War I veteran. After briefly toying with a legitimate political organization in early 1936, he and several other disgruntled Action Francaise militants founded a secret organization known as Comité secret d'action révolutionnaire (CSAR) some time between the summer and fall of that fateful year.

Of course, France was awash with militant right wing organizations by 1936 despite government efforts to ban such leagues. What distinguished the Cagoulards were their high level contacts and excessive funding. Deloncle and many of his co-conspirators were solidly upper middle class professionals and as such, had easy access to wealthy capitalist and the French armed forces, both of whom showed an almost immediate interest in the Cagoulards.
"The Cagoule received significant funding from major France industrial leaders who appreciated its antisocialist agenda, especially from the group associate with Banque Worms. It never achieved the full support of the army that Deloncle craved; nonetheless, it did recruit a number of retired military officers into its leadership ranks and received the quiet approval of many active military leaders, probably even Marshall Philippe Petain. Petain seems to have known about the existence of the Cagoule and used it as a means of maintaining unofficial contact with members of the extreme right and keeping himself apprised of their activities, as did Marshall Louis Franchet d'Esperey, who also provided the organization with significant funding. Between May and November 1936 Franchet d'Esperey sent one of his staff, Colonel Georges Groussard, to investigate the CSAR; this led to at least fifteen meetings with the group's leading members, including Deloncle. Then, in December 1936, a member of Petain's staff, Commandant Georges Loustaunau-Lacau, founded a network known as the Corvignolles, which sought information on communist activity in the army. In March 1937, Franchet d'Esperey facilitated several meetings between Loustaunau-Lacau and Deloncle and probably Groussard as well. These contacts ultimately allowed the Cagoule to feed information to the army intelligence service inside the Deuxieme Bureau of the General Staff, one of two branches of the French army in charge of gathering intelligence, about real or imagined communist conspiracies. Deloncle seems to have left these meetings with the idea that in the event of an uprising, his Cagoulard street fighters would wage war alongside the regular French military."
(Murder in the Metro, Gayle K. Brunelle & Annette Finley-Croswhite, pgs. 102-103)
Do keep the Banque Worms, and the two Georges', Groussard and Loustaunau-Lacau, in mind as well shall return to all three again before this series is finished. For now, it is worth noting the similarity of the Cagoule and the latter, Cold War-era stay-behind networks. Deloncle and many of the senior Cagoulards were veterans while the organization received early support from the French military. Indeed, it would seem that Petain and company viewed the Cagoule as a potential auxiliary to the French military in the event of a communist uprising. This was very similar to the alleged purpose of the Cold War-era stay-behind networks, which would be used to wage a guerrilla war against Soviet invaders in conjunction with US and UK special operations forces. But like the Cold War-era stay-behinds, the Cagoule were ultimately more concerned with destabilizing the French state than putting down a communist uprising which, like the latter threats of a Soviet invasion, never materialized.

But before delving into the misdeeds of the Cagoualrds, I would like to consider their foreign intelligence contacts as well. They maintained excellent contacts with Franco's forces, whom they were major arms suppliers of (more on that in a moment), but had even closer ties to the Italians.
"For their part, the Italians were only too happy to cultivate Deloncle and his organization, as long as it didn't cost them too much; but they seem to have had doubts about the ability of the Cagoule to effect regime change in France. Filipppo Anfuso, a midlevel official in Mussolini's government, was charged with the task of maintaining the relationship between the Cagoule and the Organizzazione per la Vigilanza e la Repressione dell'antifascismo or Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Anti-Fascism (OVRA), Mussolini secret service... In late 1936, Anfuso received a visit from Lieutenant Colonel Santo Emanuele, the head of the Italian counter-espionage service, Emanuele informed Anfuso that he was in contact with an officer in the French deuxieme bureau who in turn was a liaison with a French political group comprised of wealthy individuals. These men were pro-Mussolini and anti-Popular Front in their political sentiments. Anfuso informed his superior, count Gian Galeazzo Ciano, of these developments. Ciano, after participating in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, became Mussolini's foreign minister in 1936. He was also Mussolini's son-in-law. Ciano, after consultation with Mussolini, instructed Anfuso to get as much further information about this French group as possible, which Anfuso proceeded to do, meeting an emissary of the Cagoule in Turin in the spring of 1937. The meeting was held in the office of the head of counter-espionage in Turin, Commandant Roberto Navale, a military intelligence officer. Emanuele, who was present at the meeting, later stated that the French representative was Francois Metenier. In his testimony to the juge d'instruction overseeing the case against the Cagoule, Metenier claim that he had been working secretly for the deuxieme bureau at the time, both carrying out missions in Spain, where he made contact with officers loyal to Franco, and working alongside the Spanish and Italian frontiers with France. He denied that his work was in any way related to the Cagoule. Anfuso subsequently reported verbally to Ciano and in writing to Mussolini about these discussions.
"A few months later, Anfuso had a second meeting with a member of the Cagoule, this time at San Remo. The intermediary again was Emanuele, but the Cagoulard was none other than Joseph Darnand, former colleague in Nice of Cagoule arms broker Juif and now head of the Cagoule there. Darnand turned over to Anfuso a letter of credit signed by Franchet d'Esperey. Anfuso had some doubts about the authenticity of the letter, although unnecessarily, as Franchet d'Esperey was a major supporter and financier of the Cagoule. Anfuso informed Mussolini about the results of the second meeting, and Mussolini showed a lively interest in the possibility of an alliance. Anfuso later claimed that his involvement in the affair ended at this point, although he subsequently learned that the Italian military did respond favorably to the Cagoule's request for weapons. The high-level support for the Cagoule among prominent French conservatives, along with ample funds they were willing to supply the Cagoule for weapons purchases, helped smooth the way for this rapprochement between Mussolini and the French fascists, an accord that reached its high point with Deloncle's trip to Rome in October 1936, when he met Il Duce himself and subsequently speculated on a Rome-Paris-Madrid alliance."
(Murder in the Metro, Gayle K. Brunelle & Annette Finley-Croswhite, pgs. 128-129)
The high level contacts the Cagoule enjoyed in both the French and Italian governments is a compelling indication that the secret network was being used as a back channel between the French far right and Mussolini. As Brunelle and Finley-Croswhite had indicated earlier in their work, many on the French far right at the time coveted an alliance between France, Fascist Italy, and the Spanish Nationalists. This would constitute a kind of Catholic/Fascist Latin League that would serve as a counterbalance between Anglo-American power on the one hand, and Nazi Germany on the other. Such a concept was appealing to Mussolini, who had become concerned about Italy becoming an outpost on Nazi Germany (which proved to be well founded). However, nothing was possible so long as Blum's Popular Front remained in power in France.

Il Duce
These events played out against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, which featured intrigues from virtually every major world power at the time. Indeed, the Spanish Civil War was arguably the opening salvo of what became the Second World War. Italy and Nazi Germany openly backed the Nationalists, even deploying "volunteer" legions to Spain to fight alongside Franco's forces. Elsewhere, the Soviet Union supported the Republicans. The US and UK officially supported non-intervention throughout the conflict, but many Americans and Britons volunteered to fight in the International Brigades on behalf of the Republicans.

It probably goes without saying, but the situation in France was quite complex in regards to the Spanish Civil War. Leon Blum was a staunch supporter of the Republican cause and had desperately wanted France to intervene on their behalf. However, he faced stiff opposition domestically from the French far right and internationally from the UK, where many British Tories quietly hoped the Nationalist would prevail. As such, Blum resorted to clandestine and technically illegal arms shipments to the Republicans.

Thus, while the official French government engaged in arms trafficking on behalf of the Republicans, the far right engaged in the same activity on behalf of the Nationalists. Naturally, the Cagoule were at the forefront of these efforts.
"Arms smuggling was a primary activity of the Cagoule, both in order to stockpile weapons for themselves and their followers in France and to raise funds by exporting weapons to Spain. Thus it is unsurprising that one of the charges the police leveled against the members of the Cagoule they indicted and/or arrested was arms trafficking. The police also uncovered numerous direct connections between the Cagoule and the Spanish Nationalist. The leaders of the Cagoule, when not purchasing arms from Belgium and Germany for their own use, were active in smuggling them to the Nationalists in Spain. Most of the money to acquire these weapons came from industrialists in France, who secretly hoped that the largely civilian Cagoule would be able to rally French defenses against the socialist and communist threat within France's own borders. Mussolini's government was also a source of funds for Cagoule arms purchases. The weapons themselves were often transported via Switzerland. In this respect, the Cagoule was tapping into an extensive network of overland arms smuggling via Switzerland that already existed, in which many weapons were funneled into France and through France to Spain. Many German weapons reached Franco's Nationalists by this itinerary, or by a sea route that originated in Belgium, went from there to England, and then on to Spanish or Portuguese seaports. By the same token, the Cagoule was able to import weapons from Spain, including ammunition for Mauser guns that have been manufactured in Toledo and other munitions, including machine guns, from San Sebastian. The Parisian police found some of the Spanish weapons stored in a hidden depot on the boulevard de Picpus."
(Murder in the Metro, Gayle K. Brunelle & Annette Finley-Croswhite, pgs. 125-126)
The amount of weapons stockpiled by the Cagoule in France in the span of less than two years was absolutely staggering. Brunelle and Finley-Croswhite describe it as "one of the most spectacular weapons collections in France --or anywhere else in Europe --outside of national armies..." (pg. 136). Elaborate underground depots to house the arms in were also constructed. Some of these underground facilities even featured prison cells, where communists and collaborators would theoretically be held once the revolution began. This should again emphasize the fact that the Cagoulards did not want for funding.

a Cagoule weapons cache confiscated by the police
However, there has been longstanding debate as to just how serious a threat to the French state that the Cagoule represented. Over the years, the right has gone to great lengths to depict them as a collection of bumbling amateurs that were hyped up by Blum and the Popular Front to cover up for their own poor government. And to be sure, while many of the senior members of the Cagoule were military veterans, the bulk of the organization had never served. And certainly no one appears to have had any kind of intelligence training either. As such, this led to numerous lapses in security as members, some of them even in Deloncle's inner circle, struggled to keep their mouths shut concerning the activities of the group.

The Cagoule's Reign of Terror

On the other hand, the Cagoule managed to wage quite an effective terror campaign during their brief existence. The group has been linked to several high profile assassinations, some of them carried out on behalf of foreign intelligence services. The most noteworthy was the assassination of the Rosselli brothers, Italian socialists who had developed into fierce critics of Mussolini's regime in exile. The Cagoule liquidated both in France on behalf of the Italian security services.

There is also compelling speculation that the Cagoulards were behind the murder of Dimitri Navachine, a former Russian communists who had broken with the Soviets and was an adviser to Blum at the time of his death. They have also been linked to the death of Laetitia Toureaux, the mistress of a leading Cagoulard and Italian spy who betrayed the designs of the OVRA (the Italian secret police) and the Cagoule to French authorities. Nor is Toureaux the only traitor the Cagoulards liquidated either. A pair of arms traffickers, Maurice Juif and Leon Jean-Baptiste, whom the Cagoule believed were misappropriating funds, were murdered by the organization in February 1937 and October 1936, respectively.

French police gathered round the body of Dimitri Navachine. The former communist is a curious figure whom we shall return to in the next installment.
The Cagoulards also proved to be effective agent provocateurs. A mass demonstration was held at Clichy in March of 1937 by both the far right and left. Cagoulards infiltrated the socialists and communists with chaos inevitably ensuing. Shots were fired by either the police or the Cagoule and a massive riot broke out that left five dead and three hundred and sixty four injured. The violence was generally blamed on the left and weakened Blum's government. He eventually resigned as prime minister in June of that year.

The Cagoule were hardly satisfied by Blum's ouster and the decline in support for the Popular Front, however. On September 11, 1937 (yes, 9/11), a pair of bombs were set off in Paris that left two police officers dead. They came to be known as the "Etoile attacks." The targets were the headquarters of two separate business associations. The selection was quite deliberate.
"... Indeed, the bombs at l'Etoile were apparently set because the head of the Cagoule, Eugene Deloncle, grew tired of waiting for what he believed was the inevitable communist uprising that would bring his pro-right organization into the limelight. He therefore decided to create the impression that a communist takeover was in the offing by placing bombs in locations that would cause much of the public logically to connect the explosions with left-wing violence. Deloncle later called the bombings a 'warning shot across the bow' ('un coup de semonce'). This was not mindless violence, but rather purposeful action meant to focus public discourse on the fate of the Third Republic."
(Murder in the Metro, Gayle K. Brunelle & Annette Finley-Croswhite, pg. 100)
the aftermath of one of the Cagoule's 9/11 bombings
In other words, the Cagoulards attempted to stage a false flag attack that would be blamed on the left, and especially the communists. This was a tactic that would later be employed by the Cold War-era stay-behind networks repeatedly. This tactic was especially prevalent in Italy, as was noted in my examination of Propaganda Due (P2). Also noted there was the practice of stockpiling firearms and creating caches of them across the nation. The Cagoulards had done the same throughout France during the mid-1930s.

The Cagoulards were of course not the only interwar group to employ these methods. Another curious instance is that of the infamous Thule Society. As was noted in my series on the Thulists, the secret society helped give rise to the Freikorps movement, paramilitary organizations that also stockpiled arms and suppressed communism in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. Later, many Freikorp veterans drifted into the SA.

The Cagoulards also featured aspects of a secret society, including an elaborate initiation ritual. The lower rungs of the Cagoule were largely paramilitary forces, though not as professional as the Friekorp raised by the Thulists. Still, there are some curious overlap. There is also the bizarre 9/11 connection. The Thulists, and later Nazi and fascist movements, would have strange links to the date of November 9, the birthday of Thule Society founder Rudolf von Sebottendorf. November 9 is 11/9, 9/11 in reverse. Both dates have curious ties to the far right. Most recently, Donald Trump was declared US President on 11/9.

von Sebottendorf
But back to the matter at hand. The downfall of the Cagoule occurred in November 1937. The Cagoulards had received "intelligence" that the communists were plotting an uprising some time between the days of November 15th and 16th. The led Deloncle and company to begin plotting a "counter-coup." No one seems to have taken these rumblings very seriously, however, and its is likely Deloncle intended this counter-coup to be another false flag. The Cagoulards would essentially starti attacking the communists on the 15th, eliciting a response. This in turn would then force the army to intervene, leading to a state of martial law. Here there are curious shades of the "strategy of tension" later developed by Italian neo-fascists linked to the stay-behinds. An instance is detailed here.

The army, however, was having none of it. They refused to support Deloncle, forcing him to call off the counter-coup after he had already activated his forces. What's more, after the 9/11 bombings and the near coup on November 15-16th, it seems that his backers had had enough. Support from the army and leading industrialists appears to have been primarily driven by fear of Blum and his Popular Front. But after Blum was driven from office, the usefulness of the Cagoule had begun to run its course. What's more, the actions of Deloncle and company since September had begun to threaten the gains made during much of that year. If the Cagoule were able to carry out another major attack and it was linked back to the outfit (and its backers), public support for Blum and the Popular Front would again emerge. For obvious reasons, this was not desirably to the traditional French conservative establishment. 

As such the police, who had been aware of the Cagoule since February 1937, began to roll up the operation by the end of November. By early 1938, virtually all of the leading Cagoulards, including Deloncle, were incarcerated.

This was hardly the end of the Cagoule, however. Indeed, the remnants of the organization would re-emerge during the Second World War and beyond and this version was far more powerful and deadly than the interwar incarnation. But before getting to that, we must first consider the legends surrounding the Cagoule, which will dealt with in the next installment. Until then dear reader, stay tuned.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Philosophical Minds Musings

Another week, another podcast. Actually, this one was conducted last week, but I'm just now getting around to publishing it. I do believe that I've now participated in more podcasts in 2019 than in the previous eight years in which I've published this blog combined. And I should have at least one or two more interviews published before the year concludes. It kind of blows the mind, though I am most grateful for having the opportunity to present my research in this other medium with increasing frequency.

This week I'm being interviewed by Skyler of Philosophical Minds, another new podcast. Unfortunately, we were a little pressed for time due to miscommunications on my part, but we still managed to cover a wide range of topics in the 45 minutes or so that we had. They included: Las Vegas, New Mexico, and all of the black research that goes on in this region of the country; the legendary (or infamous, depending upon one's point of view) Special Operations Executive (SOE) and its role in relation to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and MI6; the relationship, or lack therefore of, between Projects BLUEBIRD, ARTICHOKEMK-ULTRA, and OFTEN; the credibility of Gordon Thomas' research; the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the possible influence the SOE had over it; the different missions of JSOC and the Green Berets and the contrasts between "unconventional warfare" and counterinsurgency; the Vatican's hierarchy; and of course, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), Opus Dei, and the Legionaries of Christ, and the rivalry these reactionary Catholic orders have with the Jesuits. The Templars and their possible ties to Freemasonry are also addressed very briefly. There's probably a host of other topics addressed I'm forgetting as well. Like I said, not a bad haul for about 45 minutes.

The podcast can be found here.

More information on the various CIA "behavioral modification" programs can be found here.

More on the SOE can be found here and here.

More on the rivalry between SMOM/Opus Dei and the Jesuits can be found here.

And finally, more on the rise of JSOC can be found here.

As always dear readers, I hope that everyone enjoys the interview. And a big thank you to all of the podcasts that have graciously had me on as a guest this year. It certainly has been a long, strange trip, but also an immensely rewarding one. And with that, I shall sign off for now. Until next time, stay tuned.