In the United States the newly-formed CIA had the same idea. Millions of dollars were poured into Europe by the American government during the 1950s and 1960s to prevent the “spread of the reds” and to popularize the idea of a united Europe. The CIA and the Vatican have always had a strong relationship. CIA money was freely dispersed to bishops and monseigneurs, including Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, to fund various cultural activities and enterprises towards these ends.

 

The Algerian Debacle

In 1957 France was in turmoil because of the war for inde­pendence in Algeria. To protect French interests in Algeria, the Comites de Salut Public (Committees of Public Safety) were formed. The person considered suitable to head these com­mittees was Charles de Gaulle and from that time on they worked to make de Gaulle president of France by any means possible. They received support from many influential sources, including Marshall Alphonse Juin, reputedly a member of the Priory of Sion. De Gaulle allowed the Algerian Committees to believe that he supported their cause.

In 1958, the newly elected French government said that the only way to get out of the crisis in Algeria was to grant Algeria independence. The Committees appealed to de Gaulle to take over the government but he remained detached from the situation.

The Committees for Public Safety then began to assert their position in France. The word on the street was that a mili­tary coup in France was imminent. The government then resigned and de Gaulle stepped into power. At this point there appears to have been a conflict of interest between the Committees in Algeria, who wanted Algeria to stay French and the Committees ill, France, who saw the installation of de Gaulle as muche important.

De Gaulle was in awkward position. He had achieved the Presidency by supporting the continued colonial status of Algeria and yet he was about to negotiate independence with the Algerian leaders. Because of this decision, for the rest of life he lived in fear of assassination at the hands of former Algerian committee members who considered de Gaulle’s actions to be treacherous.

The main danger was, however, from the French Committees of Public Safety whose opposition could have caused much more trouble. The public relations operation to prevent this from happening was conducted by Pierre Plantard de Saint­Clair, who formed the Central Paris Committee with the intention of taking over the other Committees.

 

CIRCUIT

Later on, two series of a new magazine were published by the Priory of Sion. It was called CIRCUIT, which was the acronym for “Chevalerie d’Institutions et Regles Catholiques, d’Union Independante et Traditionaliste” (“Chivalry of Catholic Rules and Institutions of the Independent and Traditionalist Union”). It was the subtitle which the Priory of Sion identified itself as to the French police when it registered in 1956. The first series consisted of an array of esoteric material similar to that in Vaincre, as well as what appears to be information regarding a low-cost housing association. The later 1959 series of CIRCUIT, how­ever, lists its director as Pierre Plantard. It says that it is the magazine for an organization called the “Federation of French Forces.” But no information on such organization has ever been found. Interestingly, however, the contact details given were those which Anne Lea Hisler -the first wife of M. Plantard -said were those of the Secretariat­General of the Committees of Public Safety in metropolitan France. It therefore appears that the Federation of French Forces was the administrative arm of a continuation of the Committees.

In addition to sharing many of the themes of Vaincre, there are also articles in CIRCUIT about vines, viticulture, and the wine trade which could clearly be a coded reference to a genealogy, as wine, in the Christian tradition, represents blood, and vines, a bloodline. As Jesus identified himself as the Vine, it is reasonable to suppose that this specific use of the symbol represents his progeny.

 

The “Truth” behind Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair

Whether the Priory of Sion exists today after the resignation of Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair as its Grand Master is a matter of speculation. He told Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln that he resigned in 1984 because of the intractable situation caused by an infiltrating “Anglo-American” contingent, which wanted to move the Priory’s goals in another direction.Another reason for his resignation had to do with inflammatory information that was about to be published in a book called The Scandals of the Prieure de Sion, written by “Cornelius.” Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln received a tract regarding this book, which purportedly detailed various shady financial transactions involving the Priory of Sion, a prominent Italian politician and bankers in the USA. Cardinal Jean Danielou, an erstwhile friend of Jean Cocteau who had probably met Pierre Plantard, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in 1974. “Cornelius” wrote that Danielou was involved financially with the Priory of Sion. He also suggested links between the Priory of Sion, the Italian Mafia, and a secret society known as “P2” (see Chapter Ten for more on P2) . He also says that two days after Plantard was elect ­ed Grand Master, a high-ranking member of the Priory had a meeting with Licio Gelli, the Grand Master of P2, at the previ­ously mentioned “La Tipia.” However, although the tract writ­ten by “Cornelius” was widely distributed, none of the allega­tions were substantiated and could possibly be challenged successfully in a libel court.

Although Pierre Plantard maintained that he was descended from the Merovingian King Dagobert II, some think that Plantard’s royal lineage was based upon a forgery. According to the BBC television program Timewatch, his name was simply inserted into a geneal_ogy that had been copied verbatim from a history magazine. Some say that he was descended from a six­teenth century wilimt farmer and that he only added the par­ticle “de Saint-Clair” to his name in 1964. There is also specu­lation that the revived Priory of Sion was purely of his own invention. Certainly since his resignation, nobody has laid claim to the organization. Dan Brown says that the Priory of Sion is still based in France, but some suspect that it has re­emerged in Barcelona.

It is difficult to see the truth through the all-pervading smoke­screen that has shrouded the Priory of Sion for centuries. But given its history to date, there is no reason to believe that it has packed its bags and gone away. It is more likely that it is play­ing a caretaker role behind the scenes and could rise again in any form at any time.