March 8, 2001
SECTION: COMMUNITY WATCH; FRANCE; N. 401
LENGTH: 342 words
HEADLINE: The Intelligence World's Freemasons
A number of investigating magistrates in France are voicing increasing concern about the fact many French intelligence and law enforcement officials belong to Freemason fraternities -in other words groups, made up of Freemasons exercising the same profession or trade.
In a number of cases, specially in southern France, Freemasons in the police and judiciary are suspected of covering up cases in which fellow masons are implicated.
According to Intelligence Newsletter sources, there are five Freemason fraternities in highly sensitive areas in France. Two are made up of former secret service agents who came under the defense ministry's wing (retired DGSE operatives). They meet frequently at the Cercle Militaire on the Place St. Augustin in Paris. One is a right wing fraternity and the other a left-wing grouping.
Three other fraternities are composed of senior police officials. One is Aremi at the interior ministry; another the left-leaning Georges Mandel fraternity; and the third speaks for security professionals, including the heads of private intelligence companies.
But the picture wouldn't be complete without mentioning other semi-official organizations close to the security services. Although they don't belong to the Freemason movement their influence is just as formidable.
One is an association known as the "Invisibles", and also as Group 115. The names of a few of its members appeared on the sidelines of an inquiry into the murder of a woman legislator, Yann Piat, in southern France in 1994.
Housed in Paris by the Andre Maginot Federation, the Invisibles have legally set up an organization under the name "Association des Anciens Combattants des Services de Renseignement Francais et des Pays Allies" (Association of French and Allied Country Intelligence Service Veterans).
Officials from the
interior ministry also gather informally under a sort of club
named La Poularde Bressane. It was very influential up to the
mid-1990s and took its name from the restaurant where its members