(Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templars)
(An excerpt from "From the Gold to the Goddess: The True Story of the Restoration of Chivalry and the Return of the Templars" by Michael Henry Dunn, copyright 2018, all rights reserved)
He was introduced to me simply as “Matthew,” via Skype voice call. He and Neil Keenan seemed to share a common parlance as “tough guys” when it came to gallows humor and our battle with the dark side. I was the “altar boy” – viewed with affectionate condescension as being not entirely up to speed on the brutal realities of the intelligence community…such as the choice of the correct verb to apply in describing the severing of a jugular vein.
But I quickly sensed that Matthew moved in an intellectual sphere far above Keenan’s world. Neil was somewhat suspicious of people who came off as high-flown intellectuals – if you had been a soldier or an athlete, you were halfway home with Keenan. As a kind of kid brother to Neil, I shared with him an Irish Catholic background, and once he discovered I was not only a genuine sports fan (having been raised in the cultural tragedy of the Chicago Cubs) but could actually hold my own with him on the neglected basketball court near the hotel in Jakarta, we spent a fair amount of time in his suite either arguing about Larry Bird vs Michael Jordan, or listening to him YouTube-surf a series of his favorite Cat Stevens tunes.
(Caveat here: “holding my own” with a 62-year old guy with a knee injury who had been a top college shooting guard meant that my backyard skills from suburban Chicago enabled me to occasionally give Neil enough of a game to be worth his time. Even at 62 he was still a deadly shooter.)
It was immediately clear to me that Matthew was a high-caliber international lawyer, with a mode of expression which told me to be especially careful of not wasting his time. His brain moved at such speed that one could sense his restrained impatience if one digressed into tangents while discussing immediate strategic objectives. I would later learn that he is in fact an extremely high-functioning Asperger’s autistic, with a “Rainman” level of super-computer brain function. Such people can often have a “depressed affect” – psychiatric parlance for an inability to connect emotionally with others, lack of humor or cheerfulness, reluctance to make eye contact, etc. In contrast, Matthew had a keen sense of humor and a raucous laugh – but always one had the sense of a heightened mental function operating behind the laughter which gave a slightly eccentric spin to the moment.
I look back now with gratitude and sadness at my five-year partnership with this remarkable man, remembering the sheer guts, brilliance and endurance he displayed as we stuck our necks out for the exposure of the Cabal, for the restoration of Magna Carta, the Code of Chivalry, and of the timeless Templar legacy, virtually daring the dark faction to take us down. He suffered from intense Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from his service in the brutal war in Chechnya, and worked 18 hour days despite constant pain from a crippling motorcycle accident in Egypt. He was a true Templar in so many ways – and yet he walked with demons on a daily basis…nor am I speaking metaphorically. He was in many ways a great soul – and so was specially targeted to be pulled down at last.
I speak of Matthew in the past tense, but I don’t actually know if he still lives. The Matthew I knew ceased to exist in August of 2018. If you read this, old friend, may you be well and peaceful.
Our earliest conversations focused on the emergence of a new international human rights court which might actually possess the legitimate jurisdiction to weigh in on Nelu’s plight, with the possibility of exerting the pressure we still hoped might result in his freedom. The report of Matthew’s connection to the Knights Templar did not come up in these conversations. I had heard rumors online that the fabled treasure of the Templars might have found its way into the bunkers and tunnels in Indonesia, or that some hidden lineage of the original Order was still working on humanity’s behalf from some haven in Switzerland, but these were rumors only. Though the Templars exercised a powerful hold on my imagination, I had no time to pursue such research.
In keeping with the Templars' ancient motto of Non nobis, Domine ("not unto us, O Lord, but to Thy Name be the glory") Matthew did not give himself airs, nor trade on the mystique of the Templar name. Months would go by before I learned of the true nature of his work and mission. Nor did I learn that he legitimately held the legal nobility title of "Prince Matthew," through the "fons honorum" (Latin for "source of honors") powers of the original line of kings who had first granted sovereignty to the Knights Templar in 1118 A.D. - a princely title every bit as legitimate as Prince Charles of the Windsors (and, in fact, reluctantly recognized by the British monarchy). I would learn as time went by that he was in fact a true warrior-monk in the Templar tradition – living a life of simplicity and service on the edge of the Sahara desert. Only now the war was not fought with broadswords and battle-axes, but with information, legal strategies, and the timeless values of the Code of Chivalry, upholding the battered remnants of human rights embodied in Magna Carta.
Our immediate objective was to explore the existing judicial options, not only for Nelu’s case, but for a potential re-filing of the Trillion Dollar Lawsuit. The suit had been withdrawn from its initial jurisdiction in New York Federal Court after the Obama administration had switched out the judge at the last minute, and as Keenan decided to strengthen the case with new evidence brought in by recent allies to his work. Matthew took us through an analysis of the existing international courts which might possibly prove a viable venue.
I could hear hints of a New England accent in Matthew’s voice, but of his background I still knew little. How an American-born international lawyer of his abilities had ended up working closely for some years with the Putin administration in cleaning up the Russian mafia was not clear to me – but there was no time for extensive “how it all began” stories. We had work to do.
I would later learn that Matthew had actually been something of a minor celebrity during his time in Moscow in the early 2000’s, as his extraordinary abilities had led to immersion in FSB Academy – the training ground for agents of the successor organization to the KGB. He had gone to Russia after university in the U.S., pursuing a natural affinity for Russian culture due to his Cossack ancestry. This was during a warm phase in U.S.-Russian relations, and part of his duties eventually included helping to improve Russian-American relations, to the extent of sitting in on meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the Balkan Crisis.
An article in the Moscow Times (an English language daily) had detailed the remarkable story of this brilliant American lawyer who ended up supervising hundreds of FSB agents.
There he learned of the secret Christian faction within the KGB which for decades had played a double game within the Soviet regime, looking to salvage the soul of Russia from the grip of the Bolsheviks, particularly during the long nightmare of the Stalin regime. It was this secret Christian faction which had groomed Vladimir Putin to move into the Kremlin in the surprise replacement of Boris Yeltsin, who had (Matthew later told me) sold out Russia to Cabal-backed corrupt oligarchs.
Now, of course, it is fashionable in the U.S. to regard Vladimir Putin as a cross between Stalin and Hitler, rather than as he is widely regarded by the rest of the world: a smart, tough, reasonable and occasionally ruthless authoritarian leader who puts himself and Russia first. (As to expressions of horror in America at supposed election interference, we really ought to remember that it is widely acknowledged by historians that the CIA has interfered in democratic elections around the world for decades, engineering some 70 coups in the process, in order to procure access to natural resources for cabal oligarchs).
My initial conversations with Matthew were exploratory, with no concrete action. In the meantime, the clock ticked down on my self-imposed deadline to return to Los Angeles. If I overstayed my visa, I would incur a daily penalty which would have to be paid before I could leave. With my savings nearly gone, this was a risk I would not take. I would essentially be broke and stranded in Jakarta.
In the pressure of our struggles in Jakarta, my communications with my employers at the monastic publication center had lagged. I learned that rumors flew back in L.A. that I had been imprisoned, or that I was on the run from assassins. Sometimes this almost felt true…
As the last days of April loomed, I learned that time had run out on my job. With my supervisor uncertain as to when or whether I would return, I had been let go.
Keenan held out hope that the funds held by the court might yet be released in time to compensate me for my work, and worked to set up a visa renewal via a quick trip to Malaysia and back. But money spent on that airfare would exhaust the last of my savings.
It was time to go home…to a fairly desperate situation.
I was accused by Jean Haines of abandoning Keenan at the crucial hour. I assured them both that I would continue my uncompensated writing duties in sharing news of Neil’s work with the world. But I would have to do so from Los Angeles – while trying to rebuild my life there.
It seemed an ignominious end to an adventure which had begun with such high hopes. Among my humbler dashed dreams was the vision of returning to Los Angeles with some lavish and exotic gifts for my girlfriend, purchased with noble earnings from my world-saving work. Now she would be greeting a man who had risked his life, lost his job, exhausted his savings, put himself (and likely her as well) under surveillance by who knows how many intelligence agencies, and who yet insisted on continuing to write these geopolitically controversial stories for a man whose Don Quixote quest to vanquish evil now appeared to be every bit as insane as tilting at windmills.
Let’s just say that the greeting which awaited me at the airport in L.A. was not the blissful romantic reunion I expected.
Yet I received an unexpected sweet comfort when I made a surprise visit to my dear friend Gaya at the meditation center – a wise and kind fellow yogi who, with her husband, knew well what I had gone through in Indonesia…and why, for what stakes, with what perils. I phoned from the ashram gate at the meditation retreat where she worked, and told her I was a few steps away. She had not known of my return, and they had both been fearful for my safety.
She flew up the stairs and greeted me with a tearful bone-crushing hug, as if I were a Templar warrior-monk returned from a Crusade. I still feel the sincerity of that embrace to this day.
The cold reception from my longtime sweetheart, on the other hand, was the beginning of the end, and the following spring we parted. It was really too much to ask that the disastrous turn my choices had taken would not damage our relationship. She loved the nobility, the courage, and all that…but she apparently wanted a wealthy mystic freedom fighter. As Dylan sang, “It ain’t me, babe.”
She had seen, I suppose, that the work mattered to me more than she did – never a happy realization for most women. On my return, I opted not to tell her that my next focus – while looking for immediate work, of course – would be to conduct intensive long-distance interviews with a former Russian security officer who was now Grand Master of the restored Knights Templar, with the goal of forming a new and viable international court of human rights.