Seymour Hersh And The Men Who Want Him Committed

Posted: March 3, 2011 in Uncategorized


When multiple Pulitzer-winning journalist Seymour Hersch gave a speech in Doha, Qatar a few weeks ago tying the Pentagon’s JSOC members and CIA operatives to the Knights of Malta, it was quickly derided as Hersch’s conspiracy-theory-laden swan song, and more than one person suggested that maybe it was time to lock up Hersch for his own good.

Laced with allegations that many members of the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, a sort of military CIA, were also secretly members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, known as the Knights of Malta (and which is the object of almost as many conspiracy theories as Opus Dei and the “Illuminati”), and that SMOM had many ties to the intelligence community and corporate America’s own clandestine effort as well, everyone kinda snickered that Hersch had finally gone off the conspiracy-theory deep end.

Well, not so fast, boys and girls.  Turns out that much of what Hersch said is actually checking out.  And it’s not surprising why: SMOM’s unique international status as a sovereign nation without a territory allows it to ship things around in diplomatic pouches without ever being checked by Customs agents.  It also allows them to issue valid diplomatic passports, which gets their people whisked past otherwise inquisitive immigration clerks, and pronto.  That facility has proved too tempting for intelligence operatives to pass up.

So it appears that Hersch isn’t so wigged out after all.  Here is some of the interesting details that have been turning up.  Rather interesting and worth the read, actually.



Seymour Hersh And The Men Who Want Him Committed

In addition to Casey and McCone, the Knights of Malta also counted among their members former CIA counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton—a fortuitous alliance as Angleton led the postwar intelligence efforts to subvert Italy’s 1948 elections. His success partnering with organized crime, right-leaning former fascists and the Vatican not only marginalized Italy’s homegrown Communist Party, it also encouraged Congress in the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency.
…with their unusual status as a recognized sovereign state without territory, the Knights of Malta enjoy full diplomatic rights in many countries—including the ability to bypass customs inspectors by secreting items across borders via ‘diplomatic pouch.’

Conservative luminary and National Review founder William F. Buckley—who spent two years after college as a CIA ‘political action specialist’ in Mexico City—was also a Knight, as was none other than William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the CIA’s precursor organization, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). From 1970 to 1981, France’s intelligence agency was also headed by a member of the Order, Alexandre de Marenches. De Marenches would go on to be a co-founder of the Saudi-funded private intelligence group the Safari Club—one of  George H. W. Bush’s many end-runs around congressional oversight of the American intelligence establishment and the locus of many of the worst features of the mammoth BCCI scandal.

So, while crackpot speculations about this particular Catholic order are legion, its ties to intelligence organizations in the U.S. and Western Europe are well-documented. It’s also perfectly understandable: with their unusual status as a recognized sovereign state without territory, the Knights of Malta enjoy full diplomatic rights in many countries—including the ability to bypass customs inspectors by secreting items across borders via “diplomatic pouch.” Sharing far right sympathies, the Roman Catholic Church and Cold War-era Western intelligence officials became natural allies, and the Knights of Malta became a natural conduit for their collaboration. With a lengthy, strategic partnership already forged in the name of anti-communism, a strengthening of this network in the name of the “War on Terror” ought to sound more predictable than paranoid to a student of U.S. foreign policy—particularly given the current pope’s record on Islam.

With “medical missions in more than 120 countries,” as Keating points out, a teeming network of government spooks operating under the diplomatic protection afforded the Knights of Malta would certainly have plenty of breathing room to operate unnoticed. And yet, Keating instead positions the Order’s charitable work as evidence that the Knights have left their old military function behind—pointedly ignoring years of charitable work tied to U.S. strategic goals and covert activities during the heady days of the Reagan/Bush era.

AmeriCares In Its Own Way

Beginning in 1982, The Knights of Malta began an intensely collaborative partnership with the international aid organization AmeriCares—a charity group unique in its selective disaster relief to countries friendly to both U.S. business investment and foreign policy objectives. Literally billing itself as “The humanitarian arm of corporate America,” AmeriCares was founded and headed until 2002 by Robert Macauley: a college roommate of George H. W. Bush, a paper mill millionaire and a self-described (then self-denied) agent in the CIA’s WWII-era precursor, the OSS. Macauley was also the first non-Catholic to receive the coveted Cross of the Commander of the Order of Malta.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s