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Steve Thomas

Jean-Rene Souetre aka Robin Hood

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Raconteur. Soldier-of-Fortune. Centurion. Son of a naval petty officer, he was raised in a military boarding school. Decorated military hero. Winner of five military citations, including two combat medals. Developed a fast-attack, lighting strike force called “Matou” (Tomcat”) inserting paratroopers directly into front-line combat situations. One of, if not the, youngest Captain in the French Air Force. Led a company of 100 men, he would be known as Captain Souetre for the rest of his life. Beloved by his men, frowned on by his superiors. Was called charismatic, but naive. Nicknamed “Robin Hood” by his friends, he named his first-born son “Little John”. Arrested and tried for desertion, he married his second wife two weeks after arriving in a prison camp. His best man (or in French fashion, “Witness”) at his wedding was a 70-year old hippie General who once wrote that he would rather put flowers in the barrels of soldiers' guns than drop bombs on people, and organized a rock concert headlined by Pink Floyd. The “arch of sabers” at his military-style wedding was not crossed swords, but strands of barbed wire. In The Great Escape fashion, led an 18-man prison escape by digging a tunnel 35 meters long under the prison walls. Married three times. Had three children, and possibly a fourth born out of wedlock. High ranking member of the French OAS, at one time he was one of the two most wanted men in France. Suspect in not just one, but at least two assassination plots against national Heads of State. Target of an assassination plot himself. Amnestied in 1968, would later go on to serve in local government politics as a member of the right-wing Front National party. He died on June 15, 2001, but his Death Certificate would not be signed until June 18th.

Interesting fellow this Jean-Rene.

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Dick Russell wrote in "The Man Who Knew Too Much":

• OAS had contact in New Orleans with anti-Castro groups

• In March-April 1963, Souetre met with Howard Hunt (of Watergate and Bay of Pigs infamy) in Madrid.

• In April-May 1963, Souetre met with Gen. Edwin Walker (who Oswald allegedly shot at) in Dallas.

• Souetre trains that summer with Alpha 66 and the 30th of November (both anti-Castro groups) in the New Orleans Mandeville region.

• Their headquarters' location in New Orleans: 544 Camp Street.

• OAS' Mandeville "cell" worked closely with elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

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Chuck,

Thank you for your reply.

You wrote:

Dick Russell wrote in "The Man Who Knew Too Much":

• In March-April 1963, Souetre met with Howard Hunt (of Watergate and Bay of Pigs infamy) in Madrid.

I know Souetre met with someone from the CIA, but I've never seen any actual evidence that it was Hunt. Do you know who was the CIA Station Chief in Madrid and/or Lisbon and/or the CIA Chief of the Western Hemisphere in 1963?

• In April-May 1963, Souetre met with Gen. Edwin Walker.

I have looked for evidence of this, but have not found any. Do you know of anything in Walker's writings where he says that he met with Souetre?

• Souetre trains that summer with Alpha 66 and the 30th of November (both anti-Castro groups) in the New Orleans Mandeville region.

I know Russell claims this, but I've never seen anything from the Alpha 66 or November 30th guys that says Souetre was there.

These are not critical questions, I am actually curious.

I know that in 1963, Souetre was involved in establishing the CNR (the Conseil Nationale de Resistance) which was the successor to the OAS when it disbanded in 1962 and was aligned with, or associated with, or closely resembled, the World Anti-communist League.

Steve Thomas

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J. C. King Joseph Caldwell King (1900–1977) was the Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division of the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s. He was also known by his CIA code name of Oliver G. Galbond and as Colonel J.C. King. This is per Wikipedia.

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This is from the Fensterwald memo:

A French Police person from "SAC"

who knew Souetre very well, Souetre did the following in April-May, 1963:

a) met Howard Hunt and Jean Claude Perez (Chief of ORO) in Madrid; B) went

to the Caribbean with Laszlo Varga, Lajos Marton, and Buscia;

c) went to New Orleans and met with Carlos Bringuier; d) went to Dallas and

met with General Edwin Walker; e) went to Lake Pointchartrain and helped'

train anti-Casto Cubans. It is known, in any event, that during this period

he had many contacts with anit-Castro Cubans. It is also known that he visited

Spain in July, 1963.

If, as the French believe, he was in Dallas in November, 1963, the

reason is unknown. On March 5, 1964, INS searched its files on Souetre and

said they came up with nothing on him or his aliases Roux and Mertz. However,

as of that time the CIA had both a file on and a photograph of him. It is also

known that in the late winter, presumably because of de Gaulle's upcoming visit

to Mexico, the French had put out a world-wide, all-points alert for Souetre.

The query of the FBI in Paris and New York was part of the attempt to get a line

on his whereabouts.

In the period 1964-1966, Souetre headed the Societe Expinmaq in Madrid;

it was a "soueti de traveaux publics," furnishing work and cover for OAS

veterans and exiles, such as Varga, Marton, and Sari.12/

By 1966, he had moved to Lisbon where he joined the infamous terrorist

group, Aginter Presse. For a number of years, Aginter Presse served as a

reservoir of contract mercentaries and hired assassins.

At the end of 1966, the Plan Kerillis went into effect; it was a plan

to put Moise Tshombe back in power in the Congo for the third time. Aginter

Presse was deeply involved, and its head, Guerin-Serac, placed (now) Major Souetre

in charge of recruiting mercenaries. Souetre, using the alias Eugene

Constant, recruited and brought to Lisbon a group of about 50 mercenaries,

20/

mostly French and Belgium.— In the summer of 1967, Souetre and company

were given papers by PIDE (Portugese Intelligence), and they embarked for

Luanda, Angola. It was planned that they would be parachuted into Elizabethville,

capital of Katanga Province. Unfortunately, days before the planned drop,

Tshouhe was kidnapped (by SAC?) and imprisoned in Algeria, where he died.

The whole operation was scrapped, and Souetre and his mercenaries returned

to Spain without a fight.

21/

Although officially residing in Spain in the period 1962-1971, he

travelled widely in the Western Hemisphere, using a number of aliases. He

spent much time in Martinique where nominally he was the Director of a sugar

refinery whose head office was in France at Arcis sur Aube. He was also

Director of a firm for Industrial Development in the Caribbean (S.D.D.I.C.),

22/

a branch of GFE in France.—

Surprisingly, from July 1970 to October 1971, Souetre was a "section

chief" in ETEC (Etudies Techniques et Commerciales), a cover operation run by

OAS veterans Charles Lascorz and Raymond Courbet. It was a strange mixture of

SDECE, SAC, and OAS. Souetre was responsible for ETEC's relations with OAS

exiles in Spain, as well as relations with the Spanish Secret Police. He

resigned from ETEC when he discovered the extent to which it was dominated by

23/

his old antagonists from SAC.

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Chuck,

Thank you. You have given me lots to think about.

You wrote:

"On March 5, 1964, INS searched its files on Souetre and
said they came up with nothing on him or his aliases Roux and Mertz. However,
as of that time the CIA had both a file on and a photograph of him... The query of the FBI in Paris and New York was part of the attempt to get a line
on his whereabouts."

To me, this is no big thing. The French had also approached both the Italians and the West Germans back in 1962 requesting the same thing.

You also wrote:

"It is also known that in the late winter, presumably because of de Gaulle's upcoming visit to Mexico, the French had put out a world-wide, all-points alert for Souetre."

According to Jean Claude Perez, (in his talk with Fensterwald) there actually had been a three-man hit team dispatched to Mexico City to assassinate DeGaulle there, but the plan was scrubbed because they couldn't get their logistics together.

Do you think Souetre was involved in the attack on DeGaulle at Petit-Clamart in August, 1962? I know that for weeks afterward the police and media speculated that he was.

Steve Thomas

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For the record I was and am quoting the Fensterwald memo . I am not sure if Souetre was a part of the attack on De Gaulle in France, but per this part of the Fensterwald, the OAS did attempt to kill De Gaulle in the US:

When General de Gaulle insisted on coming to Washington for President Kennedy's funeral, strenuous attempts were made (but failed) to talk out of walking in the funeral parade. There was no assurance whatsoever of his security. In fact, French intelligence has confirmed that an OAS group

set out from Montreal for the purpose of assassinating de Gaulle in Washington,

but they were intercepted before they could get to Washington.

Equally, when de Gaulle visited New Orleans on May 3, 1963, there was

a plot against his life by OAS sympathizers . • • all of which has been confirmed by one of those sympathizers.

As to de Gaulle's own comments on JFK's assassination, he said: "The police did the job, or they ordered it done, or they let it happen. In any case, they were involved in it. A trial would have been unthinkable.”

souetre was sent to Algiers in the period 1955-1959. He served with the air commandos in Algeria, and he was the commanding officer of a company of elite parachutists. He received the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honeur and the Croix de la Valeur Militaire, both of which were rescinded after he joined

the OAS. Before his defection, Souetre served brilliantly in the paratroops, fl

serving directly under Lt. Col. Coulet, Director of Political Affairs for the Delegation Genera1.2/

on April 27, 1962, it was announced in Algiers that Lt. Pierre

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/Guillaume, OAS Chief in the South Zone of Algeria, had been arrested. And "sources" reported that he had been replaced by ex-Captain Souetre.16

In June-July, 1962, after the Declaration of Algerian Independence, all OAS members had to leave Algeria in a rush. In August, a large number of OAS groups and individuals in exile merged into the "Armee Nationale Secrete," which has representatives in Canada, New Orleans, and Latin America; in other words, the OAS was continuing the war against de Gaulle wherever they could, inside and outside of Metropolitan France.

Souetre, who was in Spain at the time, is rumored to have been deeply involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on de Gaulle at Petit Clamart, on August 22, 1962. The following very close associates were physically

involved in the unsuccessful attempt: Laszlo Varga, Lajos Marton, Gyula Sari,

and. 17/

Franco1s Duprat.--

In 1963, Souetre sought refuge in Spain, along with a number of other

OAS deserters. On several occasions he approached CIA agents and tried to persuade them to have the U.S. give its backing to the OAS as the only "viable alternative to communism" in France. Specifically, in May 1963, Souetre and an OAS

colleague {Believed to be Pierre Sergent) approached CIA agents and attempted

to enlist support of the U.S. for their anti-Gaullist operations. Souetre identified himself as OAS "coordinator of external affairs." There are several

I

CIA documents relating to these

18/

approaches:--

Souetre travelled on various

passports, including (according to him) a U.S. passport. He also claimed to be documented as a citizen of Martinique. He stated that he had U.S. contacts who could arrange documentation for him.

According to a former member of SAC (de Gaulle's special anti-OAS police)

The Chicago Tribune reported that discussions took place at unspecified

/levels between the CIA and OAS to arrange to poison de Gaulle.39

On November

6, 1961, Richard Kaalsen of CBS interviewed General Salan, and the interview was aired on CBS-TV, causing an enormous French-American flap over "freedom of the press."

According to a confidential informant, there was a meeting in March or April, 1962, at the Headquarters of the American Legion in Paris between a CIA agent named Witmarch and an OAS agent named Torjmann. He also alleges that TOrjmann joined Baylle and/or Souetre in New Orleans in June, 1963.

THE OAS AND THE CUBANS

The MNC, an extremist Cuban exile group operating out of Miami and New

401

Orleans, had close relations with the OAS.

The same is true of the Anti-

communism League of the Caribbean, which operated out of New Orleans, and

which, in 1954, had engineered the overthrow of the Arbenz Government in

Guatamala. In fact, Maurice Brooks Gatlin, Sr., legal counsel to the League, f

is alleged to have delivered in 1962 the sum of $100,000 to a group in Paris for the assassination of de Gaulle.411 This has been confirmed by Gatlin's younger associate, Jerry Milton Brooks. Brooks also said that Gatlin bragged

-28-

of being a "transporter" for the CIA. Gatlin also had close ties with General Gehlin, chief of W. German Intelligence, who helped the OAS on occasion. Gatlin fell or was pushed to his death at the El Panama Hotel in Puerto Rico in 1964.

Wm. Guy Banister was another link between the Cubans , the OAS, and

WACL. Banister was a very colorful, heavy drinking, ex-FBI man in New Orleans. Banister was responsible for the capture of John Dillinger in the 1930s,

served in Naval Intelligence in WW II, and became Special Agent in Charge

of the FBI office in Chicago before his retirement in 1954. After serving as Deputy Police Chief in New Orleans, he opened Guy Banister Associates, a detective firm (and intelligence agency) in that city.

Banister, because of his experience and determination became the "king pin" of the Anti-Communists in the southern part of the u.s. Formally or informally, he played a role in a whole range of anti-communist groups, ranging

from Cuban anti-Castro to the OAS. He was Louisiana Coordinator of the Minutemen. He worked for WACL and the Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean. He published a right-wing journal called the Louisiana Intelligence Digest.

It is believed that Banister arranged for the $100,000 which Gatlin took to the OAS.

It was Banister who arranged the raid on the

'

munitions

dump at Houma,

Louisiana, whereby a large cache of weapons designed for the OAS were switched to the Cubans (see below) •

And there is a great deal of evidence (from Jack Martin, Tommy Baumbler, and from Banister's secretary) that he employed Lee Harvey Oswald

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(or Lee Harvey Oswald) in his anti-Casto activities in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. In any event, his intelligence agency was in the same building in which Oswald rented a small office ostensibly for his pro-Castro activities.

Another player in his same group was William "Billy Littlehorse" Dalzell, ·,

1._,

a New Orleans based geologist. Dalzell, who was born in 1922, spoke half a dozen languages, was a graduate of Georgetown University, served in Army

Intelligence, travelled extensively around the world, and was "petroleum advisor"

to Haile Selassie. He had an office in Clay ?haw's International Trade Mart, organized Friends of Democratic Cuba, knew FBI Agent Regis Kennedy intimately,

and was a rabid anti-communist. Dalzell, who travelled extensively in the Middle

'

/

East and North Africa, had close ties with the OAS. -)

Probably the most significant of these New Orleans based anti-communists was Wm. George Gaudet, a CIA covert officer who travelled continuously in Latin America and who published the Latin American Report, which was a joint Ochsner-

CIA-United Fruit operation. The newsletter was solidly anti-Gaullist in the -)

1960s. Surprisingly, Gaudet had some connections with both Oswald and Ruby.

His connection with Oswald stemmed from the fact (long held secret and released by mistake) that when oswald went to the Mexican Consulate in New

Orleans for a Mexican Tourist Card in September of 1963, Gaudet was standing

• I

in line ahead of him -- they got sequentially numbered Travel Cards. Also, lJ

Gaudet's office was in the Trade Mart, and, before his death in 1981, Gaudet admitted witnessing Oswald's distribution of pro-Castro leaflets in front of the Mart.

As to Ruby, on November 25, 1963, Gaudet (or someone using his name) phoned the FBI office in New Orleans and gave them some obscure and irrelevant

-30-

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I wonder about the possible significance of Madrid as 

On 4/15/2016 at 2:14 PM, Chuck Schwartz said:

Dick Russell wrote in "The Man Who Knew Too Much":

• OAS had contact in New Orleans with anti-Castro groups

• In March-April 1963, Souetre met with Howard Hunt (of Watergate and Bay of Pigs infamy) in Madrid.

• In April-May 1963, Souetre met with Gen. Edwin Walker (who Oswald allegedly shot at) in Dallas.

• Souetre trains that summer with Alpha 66 and the 30th of November (both anti-Castro groups) in the New Orleans Mandeville region.

• Their headquarters' location in New Orleans: 544 Camp Street.

• OAS' Mandeville "cell" worked closely with elements of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

What do you think is the significance of Hunt and Souetre meeting first in Madrid prior to Souetre’s travels to America and his meeting there with the ultra rightists Walker and Banister? 

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Since I can't seem to help myself -  I am familiar with what Dick wrote and gave a shot at trying to prove in much of it myself long ago and failed - ...could Chuck or Steve or Paul or  anyone else please provide the corroboration for any (all actually) of the bullet points Paul listed?

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40 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

Since I can't seem to help myself -  I am familiar with what Dick wrote and gave a shot at trying to prove in much of it myself long ago and failed - ...could Chuck or Steve or Paul or  anyone else please provide the corroboration for any (all actually) of the bullet points Paul listed?

Larry,

 

So far, I haven't found corroboration for the bullet points listed.

• In March-April 1963, Souetre met with Howard Hunt (of Watergate and Bay of Pigs infamy) in Madrid.

I don't think it was Hunt that Souetre met with. I've never read anything from Souetre or Hunt that they met each other. I believe it was Guerin Serac who was with Souetre, but I don't know who it was on the CIA side. I suspect it was Irving Brown, but that's just a suspicion. Did Hunt ever write that he met with Souetre?

 

• In April-May 1963, Souetre met with Gen. Edwin Walker (who Oswald allegedly shot at) in Dallas.

I've never read anything from Souetre, or Walker that they met with each other.  I've never read anything from Souetre that he was ever in Dallas, TX.

 

• Souetre trains that summer with Alpha 66 and the 30th of November (both anti-Castro groups) in the New Orleans Mandeville region.

I've read that rumor, but have never ready anything from someone who said, "Yeah, I saw him there.", or, "Yeah, I trained under him and he he taught me XYZ".

 

My research may be lacking, but I've just never read any first person accounts.

Souetre has claimed that even though he had a U.S. passport, he never actually traveled to to the U.S. There is a suspicion that he met with some people in the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami in April of 1963, but I need to do more research on that.

 

Steve Thomas

 

 

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Thanks Steve, anyone who has the 2010 edition of SWHT will find what I was able to dig up on both Souetre and Mertz beginning on page 366....I mention a couple of the points above as being reported by unverified and if I were rewriting it to day I'd probably just dump them unless someone has found something new because it appears they are just rumor.  Actually we know a good bit about Souetre's outreach to American intelligence as of 1963 and its not all that mysterious, its well documented.  What he was doing was trying to convince the CIA and any other intel group that would listen that the French government was thoroughly penetrated by communists and the US should break relations and support a coup against it - the basic OAS pitch. Mertz on the other hand was doing his drug thing but also occasionally assisting the French SDECE in countermoves against Souetre and the OAS. 

What we do know is that Souetre did come to the US and was in contact with the CIA but it was in New York City...not mysteriously with Hunt in Madrid. What is likely is that French intelligence was concerned that Souetre was traveling to the US and to Mexico as part of an OAS scheme to attack de Gaulle on a visit to Mexico.

The thing is we continue to discuss very old talking points like this as if they had bee somehow corroborated...perhaps they have but if so I surely would like to see it.

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16 minutes ago, Larry Hancock said:

Thanks Steve, anyone who has the 2010 edition of SWHT will find what I was able to dig up on both Souetre and Mertz beginning on page 366....I mention a couple of the points above as being reported by unverified and if I were rewriting it to day I'd probably just dump them unless someone has found something new because it appears they are just rumor.  Actually we know a good bit about Souetre's outreach to American intelligence as of 1963 and its not all that mysterious, its well documented.  What he was doing was trying to convince the CIA and any other intel group that would listen that the French government was thoroughly penetrated by communists and the US should break relations and support a coup against it - the basic OAS pitch. Mertz on the other hand was doing his drug thing but also occasionally assisting the French SDECE in countermoves against Souetre and the OAS. 

What we do know is that Souetre did come to the US and was in contact with the CIA but it was in New York City...not mysteriously with Hunt in Madrid. What is likely is that French intelligence was concerned that Souetre was traveling to the US and to Mexico as part of an OAS scheme to attack de Gaulle on a visit to Mexico.

The thing is we continue to discuss very old talking points like this as if they had bee somehow corroborated...perhaps they have but if so I surely would like to see it.

Larry,

 

Taking your points in reverse order:

  • The thing is we continue to discuss very old talking points like this as if they had been somehow corroborated...perhaps they have but if so I surely would like to see it.

Amen.

 

  • What he was doing was trying to convince the CIA and any other intel group that would listen that the French government was thoroughly penetrated by communists...

Lately, I've been trying to view that through the lens of the nuclear arms race. Regardless of the hyperbole we were fed about "The Missile Gap", the U.S. was far ahead of the Russians in terms of the number, and technical sophistication of its nuclear payload. The Russians were desperate for any info they could get and even though the U.S. was expanding its arsenal throughout western Europe, I think we were reluctant to share too much info with the French for fear it would be leaked to the Russians.

 

Tell me about New York City.

 

Steve Thomas

 

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Steve, one thing we do know for sure is that Angleton was very interested in the French and that point in time and worried about Communist infiltration (as he always was).  Anyway, in May, 1963 Souetre was making a variety of approaches to American intelligence groups as the official contact for the OAS, that appears in CIA documents. There is a CIA 201 file on him as of early spring/summer there are also FBI documents including ones from the New York Bureau. A mail trace was placed on him in NYC and it appears he may have been extended some type of diplomatic privilege and immunity to travel to the US. in 1963. There is no detailed record of this travels inside the U.S. other than his visit to Texas and his departure...and that was to a long time friend in Houston.  None of this appears to have been conducted surreptitiously, there are lots of both CIA and FBI documents on him. We just lack details on meetings and travel; there is reference to a soft file on him and if I were to guess it might have been a travel file - beyond that I suspect he was in Angleton's files; we do know that Angleton was personally working With SDECE officers, including one at their embassy in New York, and SDECE was most concerned about the assassination attempts OAS was attempting.  There may be more documents available now, I have not looked into this area for some seven years.

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