WINTER 1986 Number 25

Pages 27-38

[4 of 4 ....... 36-38 ]



Page 36

The Washington Post of December 27, 1984 reported as follows:

Asked why the Knights of Malta turned to Americares rather than to established aid groups, such as the Red Cross, Grace said,

At least one pro-government group, the Air Commando Association of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., claims to have used Knights of Malta warehouses in El Salvador. Retired general H. C. Aderholt, head of the 1,500-member group, said that the commandos delivered food and medicine to the Knights' facilities and that together they ''get good support from the Salvadoran air force commander."

Aderholt said the association has distributed to El Salvador $4.5 million in food and medicine provided by the Christian Broadcasting Network and World Medical Relief. He said liberals in Congress have tried to "tie to some sinister plan with the CIA" [sic], which he said is incorrect.

While the Post story does mention that CIA Director William Casey is a SMOM, it fails to point out that Aderholt is the "Unconventional Operations'' Contributing Editor of Soldier of Fortune and was a member of the ''Singlaub panel'' of the Pentagon, set up to devise new counterinsurgency strategies in the developing countries.

Russ Bellant, in the Detroit Metro Times of October 9, 1985, says Aderholt claimed that Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network had given the Knights of Malta $2 million for operations in Central America.


For many years progressive groups in the U.S. and else where have been engaged in extensive research into so-called "secular" state and private organizations such as the CIA, NSC, the military, private corporations, and foundations.

This article highlights the operative importance of members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which unlike traditional corporate, governmental, and foundation entities, has not yet adequately come under the scrutiny of progressive researchers. Curiously, European researchers have all but ignored the Orders of Chivalry in analyzing The structural role of their own aristocracy in organizing support for international reaction and fascist terror.

Research into the current role of SMOM and its individual members is just beginning. The most serious problem is the dearth of documents available, due to the extreme secrecy of the organization. Except for a few scattered references in various books, magazines, and newspapers, and a few romanticized stories about ancient glories of the Order, the necessary amount of materials has not yet surfaced. and this account represents only a starting point for further research.26

In the U.S., for example, although the 1980 membership list was published (National Catholic Reporter, October 14, 1983), since then the Order in the U.S. has grown and been divided into an Eastern, Southern (based in D.C.), and Western Association. The published 1980 list comprises primarily members in the Northeast. Although some others are known, complete and current lists of members in other regions is obviously crucial. Lists for other countries would also be helpful.

CAIB in its Winter 1983 issue, The CIA and Religion, and Spring 1985 issue, Disconnecting the Bulgarian Connection, began to explore the operational role of specific religious, or non-secular, organizations such as Opus Dei 27 and the fascist Masonic lodge P-2 in western intelligence operations and in furthering imperialism's plans.

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The recent P-2 scandal in Italy and new evidence on the importance of various ancient Orders of Chivalry (in particular SMOM) indicate that further research into these additional non-secular "parapolitical'' structures is necessary both to understand their role as independent organizations and to gain a better understanding of factional alignments within organizations which have already come under scrutiny.

As with "secular" organizations, rivalries among these "non-secular" organizations takes place within an environment of selective interlinking memberships which include secular structures as well. The way competing policies and loyalties of these non-secular structures influence members in their secular roles needs considerable further research.


On August 1, 1985 the New York Times reported that during a visit to New York in May, Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo of Nicaragua said that he is actively directing efforts by his diocese to prevent the government from imposing a communist system in Nicaragua. The Archbishop said efforts included ''dividing his diocese into old and new units, including parishes, districts and smaller groups, for leadership and religious training.'' He claimed the training he established in Managua was for ''pastoral cadres, not military cadres. .... '' Following a meeting with Archbishop Obando, executives at W. R. Grace arranged for the Sarita Kenedy East Foundation to contribute copies of the Bible, rosary beads and other supplies to aid the church effort, a company executive said. The foundation is headed by J. Peter Grace.

Whatever the real purpose of the "leadership training" and "pastoral cadres," it apparently seemed like such a splendid idea to the Knights that a June 21, 1985 press release from the Erlich-Manes & Associates News Service of Bethesda, Maryland stated that the Southern Association of SMOM had sent a $5.5 million shipment of "40 massive containers'' to be loaded on the ship "Freedom'' to be sent to Maputo, Mozambique. "Roughly half of the shipment will go to aid agricultural development in northern Mozambique; and half will be distributed directly to the poor through the Archbishop of Maputo's Catholic Charities.'' Eugene I. Kane, a Knight and head of the trucking company Intermodal, Inc. organized the project. Official documents of SMOM list such "charitable" projects in many countries throughout the world.


In addition to those listed in the article, the following are some other Knights of SMOM of interest:

- Francis Vincent Ortiz, Jr.: according to the 1982-83 'Who's Who in America', had been, among other posts, "dep. chief of mission Am. Embassy, Montevideo Uruguay, 1970-73,charg'e d'affairs,1973; country director for Argentina, Uruguay, and . Paraguay, Dept. of State 1973-75, dep. exec. sec., 1975-77; Amb. to Barbados and Grenada, spl. rep. to Antigua, Dominica, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia and St. Vincent, from 1977; U.S Amb. Guatemala 1979-81, to Peru 1981-; spl. asst. for international affairs U.S. So. Command, Panama 1980-" since November 18, 1983 he has been the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina.

- Patrick J. Frawley, Jr.: also a Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester of which William [ head of WWII OSS .... JP ] Donovan was a member. He is a longstanding funder of right-wing causes including Fred Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. His wife is a Dame of SMOM and is Publisher of the National Catholic Register of California, whose editor, Francis X. Maier was formerly with National Review. Maier was the first Chairman of the Catholic Center for Renewal, whose President, Philip F. Lawler, is the Director of Studies of the Heritage Foundation (which was chaired by Knight of SMOM Frank Shakespeare, newly appointed Ambassador to Portugal).

- Paul-Louis Weiller: Grand Cross of Merit SMOM, a close friend of Richard Nixon, member of the Board of Directors of Renault and several other French industrial corporations, former Administrateur of Air France, whose son married the cousin of Spanish King Juan-Carlos. (See also, Jim Hougan, Spooks (New York: William Morrow, 1978), pp. 209-225, which suggests that Weiller was "the French Connection. ")

- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: Munich correspondent of William Buckley's National Review.

- Admiral James D. Watkins, Reagan's recently named Chief of Naval Operations.

- Thomas Bolan: law partner of Roy Cohn. Bolan is also Counsel to the Human Life Foundation of which former CIA officer and Managing Editor of National Review, Priscilla Buckley (William's sister) is a Director.

- Jeremiah Denton: U. S. Senator from Alabama, 1980-present; former rear admiral, captured by the Vietnamese while murdering people and held as a POW 1965-1973, consultant to Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting Network, 1978-80.

- Pete Domenici: U.S. Senator from New Mexico 1972 - present.

- Spiros S. Skouras: President Prudential Lines 1960-present, bought Grace Lines 1969.

- William A. Schreyer: President Merrill Lynch 1978-present; Chairman since 1981.

- Walter J. Hickel: former governor of Alaska 1966-69, Secretary of the Interior 1969-1970. [ Governor of Alaska again in early 90s .... JP ]

- Antoine Pinay: Grand Cross of Merit, head of Government in France in 1952. He led the right-wing party CNIP and was linked to the ''Sniffing-plane" scandal, as well as a project with Brian Crozier and American agents to make Franz Joseph Strauss head of the German government.

- Mme. Raymond Barre: Grand Cross of Merit, wife of the rightist French politician.

- Bernard Dorin: French attache to Ottawa 1957-1959, Ambassador to Haiti 1972-1974, and Ambassador to South Africa from 1978 until at least 1981.


Not only are there many existing orders of chivalry today, generally under the aegis of a reigning monarch or ruling house, but there are also rival organizations each claiming to be the rightful heirs to the same order. Nowhere is this more true than with the Knights of Malta.

According to the Catholic Herald of August 23, 1985, there are more than twenty organizations claiming to be the "real" Knights of Malta. On September 9, 1985, evidently in response to growing interest in the question, the 'Wall Street Journal' ran a cover story, "Looking for a Title or Hot Controversy? See Knights of Malta. The Problem Is Which Ones; Catholic Order Maintains Rival Groups are Bogus." (The New York Sunday News had described the rivalry as early as June 15, 1975.)

The legitimacy battle is often intense and steeped in the presentation of increasingly obscure documentation. Arnaud Chaffanjon and Bertrand Galimard Flavigny's Ordres et Contre-Ordres de Chevalerie (Paris: Mercure de France, 1982), is one of the more useful references.

Some of the rival "Orders of Malta,'' all with slightly different names, in fact claim important and extremely rightwing members. We believe that the Catholic, Rome-based Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) remains the most important, with the endorsement of the Vatican and most of the Catholic ruling houses of Europe, and members like those discussed in the text of this article. The British (and generally, though not exclusively Protestant) Venerable Order, discussed in the text, is affiliated with a number of European, Protestant Orders, such as the Johanniterorden, sometimes known as the Bailiwick of Brandenberg.

Two of the "Orders of Malta'' which have received particular attention recently are what may be called the "Shickshinny" Order and the "von Brancovan" Order.

The Shickshinny Order, officially called "The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem," has been headed by Col. Thourot Pichel in Shickshinny, Pennsylvania, although a few years ago the Order was torn by serious internal rifts between Pichel and the late Frank Capell, Contributing Editor of the John Birch Society's Review of the News. (See, Rev. Anthony Cekada, Light on the OSJ, from the Oyster Bay, New York The Roman Catholic, December 1981, for an article critical of the Order and discussing some of its recent history.) It traces its legitimacy from a dispute during the time the Order spent in Russia under Czar Paul after it fled Malta. This Order achieved some notoriety a few years ago when it officially recognized the claims of controversial defector Michael Goleniewski to be Aleksei Romanoff, heir to the Russian Imperial House of Romanoff.

The case would be less interesting if James Angleton were not one of the principal supporters of Goleneiwski and some extremely rightwing members of the military intelligence community were not listed as members in a document issued by the Order in 1970. The Order listed as members of its Military Affairs Committee, under the Chairmanship of Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, Brig. Gen. Bonner Fellers, and Gen. Pedro A. del Valle (who according to Stuart Christie's Stefano delle Chiaie, Portrait of a Black Terrorist (London: Anarchy Magazine, 1984), p. 6, invited Italian neo-Nazi Guido Giannettini to the U.S. to conduct a seminar at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, where del Valle was Commander. Foster & Epstein's Danger on the Right (New York: Random House, 1964), p.79; and Janson & Eismann's The Far Right (New York: McGraw Hill, 1963), p. 154, both call del Valle an anti-Semite.)

The Honorary Grand Admiral of the Order is listed as Admiral Sir Barry Domvile who had been jailed by the British during WW II as a Nazi agent, and was listed as a Contributing Editor of Willis Carto's Western Destiny, November 1965, when Roger Pearson was the Editor. The Associate Chief of International Intelligence listed was Herman E. Kimsey, a high-ranking CIA operative, now deceased, who had worked with the Army CIC during the war.

The von Brancovan Order, led by someone who calls himself Prince Robert Bassaraba von Brancovan and several other names as well, including Prince Khimchiachvili, is officially titled "The Sovereign Military and Hospitaler Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta Ecumenical.'' It is the order which apparently claims Frank Sinatra as a member. It also claims to include Princes Arnaldo and Basilio Petrucci. It appears to have a connection to Umberto Stafanizzi who, with Francesco Pazienza, signed the incorporation papers for something else called the "Sovereign Order of Saint John, Knights of Malta, Inc.," which was incorporated in New York State, June 22, 1983.

footnotes -

26. Interested readers should also refer to the articles by Martin Lee on the SMOM which appeared in the National Catholic Reporter of October 14, 1983 (the issue which included the complete 1980 U.S. membership list), and Mother Jones of July 1983. (These two articles formed the basis for the references to SMOM in Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts The Year of Armageddon (London: Granada Publishing Ltd, 1984).)

An interesting discussion of some post-WW II SMOM history based around an account of the 1949-53 attempts by Vatican-centered Rightists to restrict the sovereignty of the Order is Knights of Malta by the conservative French author Roger Peyrefitte originally published by Flammarion in 1957, and translated into English and published in New York by Criterion Books m 1959.

King and Luke's The Knights of St. John in the British Realm, op. cit., n. 6, is useful although it does try to elevate Queen Victoria's creation of the Venerable Order to a status equal to that of SMOM.

The Italian journal L'Espresso of June 28, 1981 carried an article by Alessandre de Feo on the SMOM-P-2 connection. The rightist French magazine Historia had a special issue in 1980 on various Orders of Chivalry including SMOM. Also in French is the remarkable Souvenirs et Reflections by Yves Marsaudon, former Minister of SMOM in France who was also one of the highest ranking members of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the country, (Paris: Editions Vitiano, 20 Rue Chauchat, 75009 Paris, 1976).

27. Francis X. Stankard, Knight of SMOM and Chief Executive Officer of the International Division of Chase Manhattan Bank has led "Evenings of Conversation'' at the Opus Dei Headquarters at the Riverside Study Center, 330 Riverside Drive, New York City. Other SMOMs at these sessions included William Simon and Frank Shakespeare (now Ambassador to Portugal), both of whom are Trustees of the Heritage Foundation, of which Shakespeare was Chairman of the Board. Evenings of Conversation, a pamphlet distributed in 1984 by Riverside Study Center.

Recognition of the importance of Opus Dei at the highest levels of SMOM had already been established in the summer of 1976 when King Juan-Carlos, himself a Knight of Malta, chose Adolfo Suarez, a member of Opus Dei, as new chief of government following the death of Franco. (Point de Vue, January 14, 1983; Paris.) On Opus Dei see also, New Statesman, 1 March 1985, pp.20,21; London Times, January 12, 1981; Le Morule, August 25, and September 28, 29 1982; National Catholic Reporter, September 10, and November 12, 1982; Financial Times, November 11, 1983; New York Times Magazine, January 8, 1984; Time magazine, June 11, 1984, p.74; New Times (Moscow), No.13, 1982, p.27; Wall Street Journal, December 30, 1982.

[Picture caption] - Paul-Louis Weiller, the French Connection?

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