JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly was launched this past October. Co-edited by Jan R. Stevens and Walt Brown, the journal has "no preconceived agenda or political ideology to put forth, other than our shared conclusion that President Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy which was followed by a tightly controlled official cover-up, which continues even today."
The premiere issue included an essay by Peter Dale Scott, who coined the phrase "deep politics;" an interview with Jerrol Custer, an x-ray technician at JFK's Bethesda Naval Hospital autopsy; and articles by Russ McLean and Vince Palamara. In addition, there were book reviews, commentary, and even a trivia quiz. Forthcoming issues will feature an article on JFK and the Internet, and the first-ever article by Robert Groden written for a journal of this type.
Addressing the question "Why Another Journal?," co-editor Stevens said that JFK/DPQ is not in competition with publications like The Fourth Decade or Probe. "We hope to create another forum for responsible analyses and viewpoints, new document information, and new research. We hope to bring to the critical community news and observations appropriate to our studies---not only the JFK case, but also those of Robert F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other analagous cases if and when relevant."
Jan R. Stevens is a longtime researcher into the JFK case and the author of numerous articles, which have appeared in The Investigator, The Fourth Decade and its Third Decade predecessor, and other journals. He also composes music. Walt Brown is the noted author of several books, including Treachery in Dallas and The Referenced Index Guide to the Warren Commission. He was also the Program Chairperson for the 1995 COPA Conference.
JFK/DPQ is published in January, April, July and October. Subscriptions are $24.00 per year. You may contact JFK/DPQ at:
JFK/Deep Politics Quarterly
PO Box 174
Hillsdale, N.J. 07642
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What follows are some notes on Rivele's published account of the alleged Corsican connection to the Kennedy assassination. Rivele's book was published in French; what we now publish are a university professor's notes on what he had read.
This book is Rivele's account of how he met Christian David in a US prison and tried to learn from him what he knew about the Kennedy assassination. Rivele becomes drawn into David's prison life, and watches his own personal life erode over the three years or so that he is involved in the investigation. He remains close to David as David is extradited to France where he is wanted for killing a policeman. David begins by telling Rivele just a small amount -- essentially, that he had been offered a contract to kill Kennedy by Antoine Guerini, the top Mafia leader in Marseilles, and that he had turned it down, but that it had been accepted by a Lucien, who Rivele learns must have been Lucien Sarti. Rivele eventually contacts a former associate of David's named Nicoli, who is living under terms established by the protected witness program. Nicoli confirms much of David's account, especially the Sarti identification as the primary marksman, from the grassy knoll, in Dallas. Nicoli eventually identifies the other two marksmen, though David denies the correctness of those two others: Le Petit and Le Blanc.
What follows are my notes, which are rather scattered at the beginning, and become longer in the second half as David reveals more information. I have not given the context of these discussions in most cases -- and the context is very important in understanding why some of the material is more and some material is less worthy of credence, as Rivele is at pains to point out. Throughout David is in prison, in deteriorating health, and he is seeking Rivele's help to get him released.
Chapter 1. p. 25: Gary Shaw mentioned the name of Christian David to Rivele. About David he said that he was WI/ROGUE, and that he had been sent to the Congo to assassinate Patrice Lumumba. Shaw also believed that David had been photographed in Dealey Plaza [perhaps the tramp known as "Frenchy"].
Chapter 2. p. 33. "It seemed obvious that David had been kidnapped in Brazil by the American authorities. No formal extradition order had been produced, and the government claimed that the transfer had been legal. David was one of the several drug traffickers brought by force to the United States in the beginning of the seventies, and the only one of them who was still in prison. The others, including August Ricord, the godfather of the Latin drug network, had completed small sentences and had been released to return to South America....[David feared being returned to France to stand charges of killing a commisaire Galibert, a charge he vehemently denied]"
p. 37: Rivele contacted Jim Hougan, and asked him if he believed that David was WI/ROGUE. "He answered that he knew it for certain from a certain individual whose wife had been involved with David in drug trafficking, but whose credibility was not certain."
39: "I, personally, believe that the Oswald impostor in Mexico has something to do with the Congo," said Gary Shaw. He explained that, in agreement with a retired intelligence officer, who was one of Bud's clients (Fensterwald), the Oswald impostor (Mexico City) had been one of the mercenaries who were gathered in the Republic of the Congo at the beginning of the Sixties. This, he added, could explain why David knew him.
40: The Church committee report detailed two plans organized by the Agency against Lumumba, in 1960 and 1961. In the first, the head of the CIA station in Leopoldville, Lawrence Devlin, called a foreign criminal to the Congo whose code name was QI/Rogue and who apparently intended to use the poison to eliminate Lumumba. In any event, the plan was foiled from the beginning due to Rogue's inexperience and his erratic personality. After some initial attempts, Rogue was [descartado]. Meanwhile, a second potential assassin had been sent to the Congo. This man had been recruited by Justin O'Donnell, a CIA agent sent by Washington. O'Donnell, it appears, had some scruples about killing Lumumba, but he agreed to operate through an agent with whom he had worked before and who he identified only by his code name, QJ/WIN.. Win appear in the pages of the Church report as a truly despicable creature. He is described as a European gangster of a certain notoriety, with a background in espionage and a reputation as an assassin. O'Donnell testified that WIN had undertaken certain delicate missions for the CIA....
p. 46: [David looked at the photo that the CIA had offered of Oswald -- who was not Oswald in Mexico City]: "I believe I know him" he said with great care. "He is Belgian, a very dangerous man. He would often frequent the port of Marseilles sending arms to the Congo. They called him Vic. He was also a killer. He took contracts." ...[Later Rivele called Gary Shaw to tell him about what David had said; Shaw suggested that Rivele look into a Thomas Eli Davis III.] "Gary believed that this Davis was the man who had impersonated Oswald and had worked with Jack Ruby. He was also employed by the CIA and had said in confidence on at least two occasions that he had used Oswald's name. Gary added that Davis had died in 1973, in very mysterious circumstances."
p. 67: David talked about Vic. "He would usually go to a club called The Gondolier...and for the muelles. He carried buques...with illegal merchandise (mercancia). I saw him two or three times....He was not political. Everything was strictly commercial. He worked for money. He would have worked for whoever paid him. [Was he in the Congo?] David answered that he believed so. "But I did not see him there. He was in Marseilles when I was there, but he associated with many people."
p. 68. "David repeated that he had been in the Congo in 1960-61 and admitted frankly that he had been sent to kill Patrice Lumumba. He said that his orders came from Moise Tschombe, the Katangan leader, and the he had [dado por sentado] that he was working for Kasamumu or Kasavuvu [Kasavubu --JG]. 'But I always supposed that the Belgians or the Americans were really between that plan,' he added."
p. 73: On the Corsican Mafia: "The great blossoming of the Corsican Mafia occurred after the Second World War. The Nazi occupation put into relief the traditional rivalry between the clans. Some Corsicans, headed by the gangsters Carbone and Spirito, collaborated with the Germans. Others, such as the Guerini brothers, Antoine and Barthelemy -- better known as Meme -- joined with the resistance."
p. 74: "Through its agents in Paris, especially the AFL-CIO representative Irving Brown, the CIA began to transfer immense quantities of money to the Guerinis. In return, the Corsicans created an army of gorillas [as they were known] to attack the unions which were under Communist influence.... As the French economy recovered, the traffic in "blonds", as the American cigarette were called, tended to be replaced by the end of the 50s by the much more lucrative business of heroin. At the beginning, morphine used to produce the heroin arrived from Turkey. It was moved in barco from there to Marseilles for its "refinement" by the unrivaled chemists of the Union Corse. It was then that the rivalry between the Corsicans and the Cosa Nostra (dominated by Sicilians) increased: the market for which they struggled was the United States, where heroin had recently been declared illegal. Around 1960, the head of the American Mafia, Charles Lucky Luciano, and Antoine Guerini divided up the heroin business in a pact that had crucial consequences for postwar history in both the United States and in France."
p. 75 "...Trafficante maintained close ties with Antoine Guerini via a Corsican criminal based in Havana named Paul Mondoloni....Educated, multilingual, courteous and dignified in appearance, he seemed to belong more to the diplomatic corps than to the bloody Marseilles hampa." [He then moved to Montreal after leaving Cuba].
Chapter 3, starting p. 79. Lesar and Fensterwald met an ex-mercenary from the Congo named John Dutcher who also claims to know the Mexican Oswald impostor; Dutcher says it is a Belgian mercenary and assassin named Nikolai or Nick. They had been in the Congo at the same time, then later together in Mallorca at a hotel that belonged to Antoine Guerini, and Dutcher had seen him again in Switzerland in 1984. David said the impostor's name was Vic, but otherwise the accounts were more consistent than inconsistent -- both said Belgian, and both involved the Congo mercenary angle -- and the Guerini angle was similar, though not identical.
A letter dated 6 February 1985 comes from David, who says he's in the prison at Fresnes, near Paris. Photos of David's arrival in Paris Match (see Rivele's n. 1).
89: Meets with Gilbert Lecavelier, a source on mercenaries and extreme right.
96: meets with Jean-Michel Charlier, television personality in Paris. "Charlier had done three documentaries on the Kennedy assassination and one on the mercenary pilots in the Congo. He explained to me that one night, when he was in New Orleans doing an investigation on the background of Carlos Marcello and his relations with Ferrie and Bannister [sic], coming back to his hotel he met a man who was waiting for him in his room. Charlier was surprised and disturbed by this intrusion and threatened to call the police. At that moment, the man took out a pistol and told him to calm down and listen. He said he did not intend to harm Charlie, but rather to the contrary, he had been sent to offer some friendly advise. Charlier should be careful with whom he spoke and with the questions he asked. He should never go out alone and should identify in advance who it was that he was going to interview. Having finished with his message, the man put away his gun and left. Charlier was sure that he had been sent by Marcello.
Charlier explained to me that his work had convinced him that Marcello had been behind the assassination, together with Trafficante. He also believed that Oswald had been a false deserter and that his connections with the intelligence services had helped the gangsters to put him in his role [as scapegoat]. It was not that the CIA was involved as such, but rather that certain individuals in the CIA had collaborated with the conspirators and that these men remained extremely dangerous for whoever tried to investigate the case in depth.
I took out the picture of Vic [the Mexico City impostor] and Charlier did not recognize him, but said that he could send me to various people who might know him if he really had been a Congo mercenary. He took out his inevitable notebook and and read me names...
p. 99 (Talking with Alex Panzani, a Marseilles reporter, and Jelabert, a lawyer) ...Then I took out the photos of Frenchy, the little tramp from Dallas [note that Rivele uses the name Frenchy for the little -- the old -- tramp, not the midsize tramp with the square jaw that some others have taken as Frenchy. We have to clarify this nomenclature!] "Maybe the French Connection," he said. "I believe he was arrested in the United States."
p. 100: Archivists at Le Marseillais (a newspaper) thought that Vic was a Corsican named Marius Salvati. "Salvati was with Sarti in Belgium, when he called the policeman. He was the head of the Blouses Grises, a gang from the fifties and sixties."...
Pierre Domenech at Le Meridional, another newspaper. Asked about Lucien Sarti, looking for a photo. "I told them I was interested in the Guerini brothers, especially Antoine. Domenech gave me a brief rundown on the clan. The Guerinis had run Marseilles in the old days, together with the famous socialist mayor Gaston Deferre [still mayor JAG]. That was a strange alliance, he pointed out, since gangsters generally associate with the right. But Deferre and Guerini respected each other, so the result was a minimal drug usage in Marseilles. All that changed with the death of Antoine and the dismantlement of the Guerini empire....
Was Sarti one of the Guerini's killers? Domenech did not believe so. "Sarti never really belonged to Guerini's gang," he said. "In fact, he preferred to operate outside of Marseilles, especially in Brussels."
103. Meets with a retired police officer. Showed him the picture of Vic. No, he didn't know who it was. I asked him itif could be Salvati. No, definitely, no. It could not be Salvati. When was it taken? 1964? No. No, if it is what you say, he couldn't have been based in Marseilles, I would have known him.. I asked him about a contract on an American politician. "The Marseilles killers would not have done it. There were rules with respect to contracts. Certain types of people weren't killed on contract: police, judges, government officials...I assured him that a reliable source had told me that a contract on an American politician had arrived at Antoine Guerini and that he had selected the killer. I asked him who in his opinion could it have been. Again he took a long time to think. "If such a contract had arrived, Antoine would not have offered it to one of his own killers. They would have refused it. He knew that, he was intelligent. The highest person who was killed on contract was Robert Blemant, the one who had been chief inspector and who had worked for the Guerinis. For that one, Meme [Guerini] got together a special group headed up by his own adopted son, Rene Mondoloni. No, Antoine never would have offered it to his own people."..."If you say that there was such a contract, I believe you. You appear to be a serious investigator. In that case, there were only two people to whom Antoine would have offered such a contract: Christian David and Lucien Sarti." I was speechless. I had not mentioned either name. I tried to hide my reaction and ask why. "First, because they did not belong to Guerini's circle. David was from Paris, and Sarti was not from the Old Port....he worked in another district. Second, because they were extremely dangerous and excellent killers. Third, because they were crazy enough to accept such a contract. David, you know, had a reputation as a crazy person. He was capable of anything. Anything. And Sarti was bad, very bad. Killed a cop. Both did."...
p.112 I took a taxi to The Meridional [newspaper] and asked for permission to consult their archives in connection with Lucien Sarti and Christian David. Most of the records were from the winter and spring of 1966. In February of that year, both David and Sarti had killed policemen, according to the information I found. David in Paris and Sarti in Brussels. The coincidence was surprising. Neither of the men had committed that type of crime, neither before nor after. that both of them had committed these crimes within so few days seemed truly strange. They had photos of David, with a younger and harder face. As for Sarti, the only photo that appeared in the newspapers was the one I already had.
In fact, it was that photo that had identified Sarti as the killer of the Belgian police officer. It came from an ID card that had been found at the scene of the crime. The three attackers of the policeman had carried his body in the trunk of their car and had bidden it at a beach. Despite their efforts to hide the crime, they had left behind the photo of Sarti. The name of the ID, Sabatier, was false, of course. But what chance was there, I wondered, that an experienced criminal would have lost his ID card at the scene of a murder?
113: [I met with Commissioner Barbaza, drug squad of Marseilles]Barbaza had been in the police in Marseilles since 1962 and had known most of the members of the old milieu. As for Lucien [who David said was the man who took the contract on JFK], he thought that there were various possibilities, but that it was Sarti was by far the most probable. He didn't remember Vic [Mexico City photo], but his description of Frenchy was exactly the same as that given by Jelabert and Maubon: a Corsican trafficker and killer of the 1960s. He believed too that he had been arrested in the US. As for the rest, he couldn't remember his name. He promised to check some old records to find it. Then I asked him about the relations between the groups in the US and Marseilles. Barbaza offered a brief explanation. He told me that Montreal was the contact point where relations came together and he mentioned that in 1967 or 1968 the head of the Montreal group, a man named Cotroni had come to Marseilles to meet with Meme Guerini.
115: [Who was the man who Christian David felt had been persecuting him for twenty years? According to his lawyer, Sophie Bottai:] "Le Mouel. A former head of Narcotics and of the Brigade criminelle...a very important man. Galibert was his protÈgÈ and Le Mojel had put him in charge of the Ben Barka investigation. When he was killed, Le Mouel swore that he would hunt down the killer, who, he decided, was Christian David. He has ceaselessly pursued David for twenty years and now has all he needs to get him convicted.
121: From the Libre Belgique archives: 24 Feb 1966, Lucien Sarti killed a police officer. Officer Deleener had been observing a stolen car to see who was using it. Three men arrived in a car and parked nearby. Deleener waited a bit and approached them, and a man got out, took out a pistol and shot several times. Deleener fell dead instantly. The men put the body in the trunk and took off.. One of the men was Sarti, using the name Sabatier; the other men, arrested, were Marius Salvati and Jacques Zanotto. Sarti was the object of the biggest manhunt in the history of Belgium. Police all over Europe were put on alert. It was the French who finally identified Sabatier as Sarti. They followed him to France as far as Marseilles and then to the Spanish border. At each step, it appeared, he was helped and protected by Guerini's people. The French police, furious, applied all their available pressure to Guerini, but it was too late, and Sarti and already left for South America....In May of 1968, Sarti was captured by the Argentine police....Two days before he was to be sent back to Belgium, he escaped.
The newspaper said that he had fled to Mexico and again called for his capture. One piece was especially intriguing; it announced that a team of French and Belgian police had been sent to South America to arrest and bring back to Europe four notorious fugitives. The men were identified as Lucien Sarti, Christian David, Francois Chiappe, and Manuel Gonzalez. The last name offered a dissonant chord. I thought that the fourth man should have been Michel Nicoli, the constant companion of the other three. David had spoken to me of Nicoli and I had read some about him. He was Corsican, a bank robber, and like David and Sarti, a former SAC member in Algeria. He had also fled to South America and had run a large heroin smuggling network.
123: Met with Bracco, a typical mercenary pilot...I asked him what the milieu in Lieges did. Drugs, he said. There are two drug distribution centers in the north of Europe: Lieges and Amsterdam. The drugs arrive from Marseilles... Libert and I trained Cubans for the Bay of Pigs, working on bombings in the interior. They were wellpaid and we were too. And the CIA gave the Cubans green cards to live in the US.]
129: The night before I left Washington I spoke with a former CIA agent who, according to Peter Dale Scott, had been the liaison to the Guerini brothers during the period when the CIA was using Marseilles gangsters to break up the communist unions in the ports of Marseilles...."I worked mainly with the noncommunist workers unions on the left, he said. ...He explained that he had helped to set up various French labor organizations and to fund center (not left, not right) newspapers. ...[I asked about the CIA and mercenaries and how the CIA found them, and in particular about the man that several people had given me as the identity of Vic, the man in the Mexico City "Oswald" photos] Oh, there are many ways, he said...That is the kind of man who they are always looking for, brutal and with a criminal background. It's probably that they had picked him out in Katanga through one of their recruiters there....
I asked him if someone like QJ/WIN could have recruited him. Very likely, he said....
With the Marshall Plan, Marseilles was an important port, he said. The first bullets of the Cold War were fired there, and Guerini's people were on the front line. The CIA had worked with them during the war, and the gangsters owed it their lives.
139: [spoke with a retired DEA analyst named John Bacon]. When the DEA was following Sarti's movements in 1971 and 1972, it was Bacon who was in charge of coordinating information on him...Sarti and his wife had been arrested at the Mexican border at the beginning of 1972...his wife was jailed, and he was let go, and followed...he went to Mexico City at the end of March or early April 1972. His wife was released, and on the evening of 27 April, they were both going out to the movies. Sarti held the door for his wife on the passenger's side of the car, and was crossing to his side. The police appeared and, according to Bacon, Sarti opened fire. The police returned fire and killed him instantaneously.
I asked Bacon if he had ever heard that David had been sent to the Congo. He surprised me by replying that yes, indeed, he had, although he thought that at the time he was working for French intelligence.
Speaking again of Sarti, Bacon recalled an interesting and provocative anecdote. "Towards the end, that [is] before he was killed, we had a confidential source that Sarti had a very important relationship with a man called Duncan. But we never figure out who this Duncan was...The only thing we could find out about Duncan was that his base was in southern Africa and that he had known Sarti since childhood. They apparently had met at the end of the 50s and had a close friendship, but few knew of it. Bacon added that they had determined that Sarti and Duncan had collaborated on several operations, but none of them involved drugs. "We never could find out the exact nature of these operations. All the leads we followed in our investigations brought us to doors that slammed shut in our faces. It was the kind of reaction that we were used to getting when we accidentally tripped over activities of the intelligence services." The information was interesting. The fact that Sarti had had contact with intelligence services from the end of the 1950s till the moment of his death cast a new light on his whole career. The more I learned about Lucien Sarti, the more complicated seemed his life. It was obvious that he had been more than a mere drug trafficker.
p. 148: It was obvious that Bob Denard could not have been QJ/WIN.
153: "Was it from Sarti that he learned about the facts [of the Kennedy assassination]?" I asked. David agreed. "What did he tell you?"..."He told me that he traveled by plane from France to Mexico City...He was there for about three weeks and then was driven in a car to the border, at Brownsville...They crossed at Brownsville. Sarti used an Italian passport. On the American side he was met by a representative of the Chicago Mafia, with whom he spoke in Italian; Sarti spoke Italian very well. They went in a car to Dallas, but not to a hotel. They didn't want to leave any trace, so they brought him to a house that they had prepared for him."
154: I wanted to know if David had worked for the CIA when he was in South America. Instead of replying directly, he told me that he had been in contact with Dan Mitreone, an official of the CIA in Montevideo.
157. [Questions to Christian David] How did they pay him [Sarti]? They paid him with drugs. What kind of drugs? I already told you that I wouldn't answer more questions. Damn it! What kind of drugs? Heroin. I asked if they had done it that way because he was a trafficker. David lifted a finger. At the time he was not trafficking, he said. They paid him in heroin because that was the accepted currency at the time of the milieu. I asked him how much heroin they had given him, but David refused again to answer. "I would put others in danger," he repeated. I started to suspect that when he said he could put others in danger, he was really referring to himself. I decided to abandon that line of questioning and get back to the subject of the Congo. I remember that WI/Rogue had had plastic surgery done before his mission, and so I asked David if he had ever had his features changed. "No [nunca me hizo falta]," he answered. "I have always practiced gymnastics and martial arts. This changes one's face. That's way there are no two pictures of me that look the same."
"I took out my foto of Sarti and showed it to him. I wanted to know if that was what he really looked like. David looked at it carefully. "Sarti was bald," he answered. "In this one he's wearing a wig. When he had a picture taken, he was always wearing a wig." This intrigued me, and I pointed out that Sarti was quite young when that photo had been taken. He said that didn't matter: Sarti had been bald since his youth. This detail also reminded me of WI/Rogue. The Church committee had determined that Rogue had received a wig in addition to plastic surgery. An idea occurred to me: could Rogue have been Sarti? If so, then perhaps David was the other man, QJ/Win. I asked him if Sarti's face had been changed in that photo. He sat up straight. "I cannot answer that," he said. I asked what reason could make him not answer that question. "I can't," he simply said.
160: [Tell about Sarti's trip to Mexico] He was several weeks in Mexico City...no more than a month, I'm sure. Then he was driven in a car to Brownsville. [I asked what kind of a car they had used, a detail that could be verified. David said he didn't remember.]
"Where did Sarti fire from?" I went on. "Desde el puente," he answered: "from the bridge." [desde el puento] I was astonished at the precision of the answer. I asked if he meant the railroad bridge that crossed over Elm Street. He shook his head. "No, not from the bridge [puente]. He thought about shooting from the bridge, but on the morning of the job, he found it was being watched. Next to the bridge there was a small hill [loma] with a [cerca] of wood on the upper part. He shot from behind the [cerca]." How many times? "Just once," he answered. I observed the president had been hit from the front. He answered that he had been hit from the front and in the shoulder. "It was a crossfire," he explained. "There was someone else in an office building." I wanted to know what building, but David didn't know. I asked if they had studied Dealey Plaza ahead of time [de antemano]. "They spent several days taking photos," he answered. "As if they were tourists. By day they took photos and then, by night, they studied them to determine the most effective crossfire. It was mathematical...they organized it mathematically." I asked again which building had been chosen, and again he told me he didn't know. "I only know that Sarti was not in a building," he added. He was outside, on a small hill [loma].
I moved on to Jim Lesar's questions, and I didn't want the conversation to die down. I asked who had arranged Sarti's trip to America. David explained that Guerini had only acted as an intermediary between Sarti and the American Mafia. Guerini contracted to Sarti for the kill, but Sarti dealt with the Mafia directly for other things.
I asked a series of questions: how did Sarti arrive at Dealey Plaza? Who was the small tramp in the photo? Who had sent the driver from Chicago who men Sarti in Brownsville? What had happened after the assassination? David would not answer any of these....Was Sarti in the Congo?...Yes. When. At the same time as me. But then Sarti was only 23, I objected. David insisted: he was there at the same time as I was, he repeated. ...I can prove it. When Sarti was arrested in South America in 1968, he was tortured by the police. Under torture, he made a declaration. In this declaration were the details of his service in the Congo....
163: I asked him some of Jim Lesar's questions. I asked if David knew whether Antoine Guerini had participated in the CIA conspiracies to assassinate Fidel Castro. To my surprise, he told me that Guerini was involved. "I believe that the intermediary was Paul Mondoloni," he said. Mondoloni used to spend a lot of time in the US." I wanted him to explain more, but he refused...The people who waited for Sarti in Brownsville, were they from Chicago itself or from the region around Chicago? David answered that as far as he knew, they were from Chicago itself.
164: I took out an aerial photo of Dealey Plaza and asked him to explain again where Sarti had fired from..."Show me the bridge." I traced a circle around the railroad bridge of Elm Street. "He wanted to shoot from here, but there was a guard and he moved back toward the hill." I drew a line [a lo largo de la cresta del talud herboso] at the edge of the top of the grassy knoll. David XXed his eyebrows. "I thought he was closer to the bridge," he observed. Then he asked me to point out points of reference, like the position of the presidential limousine and the buildings that were behind it. I asked if he knew which were the ones that were used. He shook his head. "I know that Sarti was not in any building," he insisted. "It was an ambush with crossfire...with three marksmen." I repeated his expression to make sure that it was three marksmen. David nodded. "Two were in different buildings in back. One very high and the other low, almost on the horizontal." This was an idea that Gary Shaw had defended for a long time, and I asked if he was sure. He said yes, completely. "The wounds..." he added. "If you don't accept that one was almost on the horizontal, you won't be able to understand the wounds. If you don't understand that, the wounds are impossible."
"...There were three marksmen. It was an ambush with three marksmen...There were four shots. The first came from behind and hit Kennedy in the shoulder. The second also came from behind, and hit the other occupant of the car. The third shot came from the front. The fourth came from behind, but didn't hit the target; the car was too far. Two of the shots were shot simultaneously, or almost." ... "Sarti used an explosive bullet, " he said. "He was the only one of the three that used that kind of munition."
At one point he observed that the official investigation had been truquee, fixed; I asked what he meant by that, and he answered that they had decided that the assassination of Kennedy was due to political motives.
Did he know the true motive?
Vengeance, he said. Vengeance, and money.
I asked if Kennedy had been killed by the CIA. He shook his head. "They aren't capable of it. But they scattered dirt around"...[what happened afterwards?] ..."After an event of this type, there is always a moment of panic. You must take advantage of that moment to flee...They went back to the safehouse and stayed there ten or fifteen days, till things had cooled off. Then they left the country." I asked where they had gone, implying that they had gone to Mexico. David corrected me. "To Canada. They had important contacts in Canada who were used to bring people in and out of the US." "In Montreal?" "Yes."
...He didn't see Sarti till two months later, when he was back in Marseilles. He had spoken to very few people about what he had done. I observed that Sarti had been his friend. "No," he said. "Friend, no. We were associates, we worked together, but I would not have wanted him as my friend...."
Later I asked if there would be someone who had the same information as he but who had greater credibility..."Michel," he said. "Nicoli. Try to meet him. He knows as much about it as I do."...
p. 167: Back in Marseilles, talking to the retired police officer. "First, monsieur, I must give you a message. The thing that you are investigating continues to be very explosive, and it must be done with extreme caution. If you ask what shouldn't be to who shouldn't be asked, there is no doubt that they will kill you....I must tell you that when you spoke to me about the Kennedy affair, I did not believe you. I was sure that a contract of that importance would have reached my ears. But, after your departure, I have been investigating, and consulting old archives, speaking with people...and now I know that you are right. There was a contract, and Sarti and David had something to do with it."
I asked him who had convinced of that, but he answered that he couldn't tell me. "It involves people from the old days, he explained. People with whom you could never speak. Understand, monsieur, that in the milieu there are no archives...Everything is in memory. Maybe they sometimes agree to talk to me, but with a foreigner, never."
...I told him that according to David, there had been three killers. If two were Sarti and David, I asked, who could the third have been? He did not know what to answer. I said that David had urged me to look for Michel Nicoli, and I asked if it could have been him. "It's very possible," he said. "Very possible. Nicoli was very close to both, and also to Antoine...
p. 169: I read in the archives in Marseilles about Nicoli. In 1964 Nicoli had been sentenced to death in absentia by a French tribunal. In 1972, in Brazil, Christian David and he had been arrested at the same time and tortured. Then they had been deported to the US in the same plane. ...Regarding the death of Antoine Guerini in June of 1967...the killers had not been identified officially, but it was believe that they were members of the gang directed by Robert Blemant, the policeman turned gangster who had been killed by Guerini a year before. The two deaths, those of Blemant and Guerini, had touched off a war that more than twenty years later was still not over.
p. 172. I spent the morning reading things on Pierre Lemarchand in the archives of France Soir. From what I learned, Lemarchand had taken an active part in the foundation of the Service d'Action Civique. According to the press accounts, the directors of SAC had recruited dozens of gangsters from prisons from throughout France to do its dirty work, promising them their freedom in exchange. Thus SAC became not only a band of [matones] in the service of the gaullist party, but also a training camp for the men who had to govern the French Mafia [hampa] during the next generation. All of them had been in Algeria, working under the protection of the government: Jo Attia, the legendary gangster; David; Sarti; Nicoli; Labay; Chiappe; Goerges Boucheseiche, who organized the kidnapping of Ben Barka, and Ange Simonpieri, the heroin trafficker who remained immune to all accusation for years thanks to the official protection that he had. It was quite a list of future drug traffickers, brought together and trained in the shadow of the French government.
p. 173: He categorically affirmed that he had never had anything to do with SAC and denied that SAC had acted in Algeria. He insisted the he had never recruited gangsters or dealt with them. He denied knowing Christian David or knowing anything about him except what he read in the papers. He referred to David several times as "that little cretin", and assured me that he had never heard the names Sarti or Nicoli. On the other hand, he admitted that he had been one of the directors of the barbouzes, but when I observed that that was just another name for SAC in Algeria, he corrected me.
The barbouzes, according to him, were French military veterans or members of the Resistance who had voluntarily offered to fight against the OAS. They were a group completely distinct from SAC: patriots, not gangsters. He minimized the role of SAC and described its members as "people who put up posters"...I asked him about the CIA. ...Of course, he declared, the CIA had recruited personnel in Algeria and also in Marseilles. He added spontaneously that he had always supposed that this was the role of the American Office of Narcotics in Marseilles: to enlist gangsters in Guerini's gang.
I described QJ/WIN to him and commented that I had heard that he had known this person in Algeria. His nom de guerre was Georges and at one point he had passed from the OAS to the barbouzes. Then he went back to France, where he wrote several articles for obscure publications. He was a corpulent man, who in 1962 must have been in his thirties, but Lemarchand did not remember his name, but he promised me to ask a friend of his.
We spoke a while about Guerini and his day. According to him, they had a tacit agreement with the police that lasted for many years. He observed that when the Guerinis dominated Marseilles, the city had the lowest crime rate of all of France. The police were satisfied, and in return tolerated the prostitutes and the gambling houses of the Guerinis. Lemarchand added that [Asimismo hacia la vista gorda al trafico de grogas, siempre y cuandoo estas ne se vendieran en Francia] This agreement remained until 1966, according to him. He said he did not know the cause of the breakdown, which he described as one of the great mysteries of the milieu....
The same day I talked [about this "mystery"} with Alain Jaubert, author of a valuable study called D...comme Drogue. He too confessed [to] being unable to understand why the Guerinis had risked everything to protect David and Sarti. Nonetheless, when I told him that I had discovered clues that permitted one to suppose that both men had participated in a contract to assassinate President Kennedy, he responded with a long and reflected silence.
"That would explain many things," he said finally.
He observed that by helping Sarti and David, the Guerinis had broken with a fundamental prohibition forbidding protecting murderers from the police. And with that they had destroyed the complex and delicate relation that they had established with the authorities.
Jaubert commented that in the few years after the flight of David and Sarti, the empire of the Guerinis was in ruins, Antoine had been murdered and Meme condemned to life in prison. His involvement in a contract of such magnitude, thought Jaubert, would explain the unusual behavior of the Guerinis. [The next day went back to see David; said that Lesar would come with Dan Alcorn. ...
p. 175: Who was he referring to when he said that they had killed people for what they knew about the assassination?
"You should know better than I," he replied....
I asked him for a name. He refused...
p. 176 [looking for Grosses Main, Mexico City impostor]. Appointment with Capt Tavernier, former chief of mercenaries in the Congo, who I had not been able to meet on my previous visit. He was the director of a journal on African issues-- which, according to what some said, was financed under the table by Mobutu -- [he showed no interest in talking to me]. ...He was sure that he had known Vic "down there", in his words, but he didn't remember his name. ...
"I worked for them [CIA] for 15 years. They recruited me in the Congo, in 1960, and I continued with them until the purge that followed Watergate....(fn: At one point, Tavernier touched on the question of the death of Secretary General of the UN Dag Hammarskjold, in an airplane accident that took place in the Congo in September 1961, and he assured me that he knew for certain that it was not an accident. "I knew the people who were monkeying with [manoseando] his airplane before it took off," he said. "They had decided to kill him, and they did it.")
p. 177: Talked to Joseph Smal, who had been the owner of a restaurant in the Congo before becoming a mercenary. Larry Devlin? "He went to Laos...There he hooked up with a gangster named Peters. Peters advanced the money for CIA drug operations." [footnote: In a conversation in June of 1988, Devlin admitted that he was in contact with the ex mercenary John Peters in Southeast Asia, but he denied any knowledge or participation in drug trafficking. See the epilog.] Smal thought the CIA had no involvement in the death of Lumumba, but he did think that Devlin was behind the death of Moise Tschombe. "Devlin contracted with a French gangster to bring him back from his exile...This gangster kidnapped Tschombe's airplane and brought him to Algeria, where he was killed." [Devlin also denied that; see epilog] Smal added a sinister detail: the death of Tschombe was due to the injection of two substances prepared by the CIA. The first put him in a deep coma; the second, administer some time later, provoked a fatal heart attack. This description was disturbingly similar to the original plot to kill Lumumba as it had been described by the Church Committee.
...Charles Gardien. former chief of staff [jefe del estado mayor] to Bob Denard. Said categorically that the man in my photos was not Big Hands/Grosses Mains. ...I asked him about Denard relations with the CIA, and he said there none. I said I was reasonably certain Denard worked for both the CIA and the SDECE; Gardien appeared scandalized...I pointed out that Denard's name appeared in a diagram of Marseilles Mafia organization put together by judge Michel shortly before his death, suggesting that Denard had used drug money in his operations; Gardien was speechless...I added that I had discovered that the Tschombe coup of 1966, in which Gardien appeared to have participated as paymaster, was financed first by the Portuguese intelligence services and then by the French. Evidently this came as a hard blow to Gardien's faith in Denard...Gardien said that Big Hands worked at a club in Seraing...I went there the next morning. I found his address and his name on the door. So I rang. I said I was sent by Charles Masy from Brussels. He was out; he arrived back. While we shook hands, the thought came to me, It is the false Oswald...I have met him." He looked exactly like the photos. The only difference was the hairline. While Big Hands had [una caballera rala y muy corta], he still had more hair than Vic had had twenty three years before. All the rest fit perfectly. But Big Hands looked at the Vic photos and said, Who is that? I don't know, I said; Masy thought it was you; Well, it looks like me, but I have more hair than that. But the rest of the face is me. He asked when the photo was taken; I said 1964. He went to look at some of his albums. Pictures of Masy and him in 1962 in the Congo. It was obvious that the Big Hands of that period was a youth, while the Vic in the photos in Mexico City simply was not.
Between February of 1963 and September of 1964 he had been outside of Africa -- in Belgium primarily. I asked if he had been to America. No, never. For the rest of the time was open and friendly, answering questions. ..[But he twice turned down natural opportunities to sign a photo in the newspaper, and that made me wonder...I still didn't know if he was the Vic of the photos; probably Big Hands was not Vic]
182: I returned to Paris where I met up with Jim Lesar and Dan Alcorn. ...Can you tell us the nationalities of the other marksmen? You assured me that they were not French, Belgian, or American. Can't you tell me what nationality they were? "They were Corsicans," he said. Then he said that all three had relatives who would take revenge if he gave their names, and they knew that only he had the information. I asked him if he had an idea of who was behind the contract that had been proposed to Antoine Guerini. "Find out who were Sarti's clients in North America and you will understand who was involved." ...
187. My last appointment was with Col. Andre Lahaye. If the information that I had about him was correct, he knew who WIN and ROGUE were....He assured me that he had been chief of iunternal security in the recently born republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1963. Patrice Lumumba was the first to offer him the post, but he refused it in favor of Mobutu. It did not surprise me that he had the vision to choose correctly who would be the winner. I asked him if he knew Larry Devlin, and he admitted that he knew him well. When the Congo became independent in 1960, he was on vacation in Belgium. He was called to Leopoldville and in the airplane he met Larry Devlin, who at the time worked for the CIA station in Brussells. During the tumultuous months that followed, Lahaye worked closely with Devlin and with a colleague of his named Justin O'Donnell, from Washington....
I asked if the preparations he refered to had consisted of importing European gangsters by the CIA. "I was aware," he said slowly, "of the presence of certain gangsters in Leopoldville at the end of 1960 and the beginning of 1961. But these people were not used to kill Lumumba....The CIA people were not the only ones interested in killing Lumumba. There was also a SDECE plot in which certain criminals participated, but that was a lamentable farce...."
195: During the summer I worked on the mystery of WIN and ROGUE, convinced that it contained the key to the mystery of Dallas, and I also tried to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Lucien Sarti in Mexico...Jim Hougan suggested to me that I reach E. Howard Hunt, head of the Watergate squad and veteran of the Bay of Pigs, and pointed out that Hunt had sent Frank Sturgis to Mexico around the time of Sarti's death. In Hougan's opinion, this could have been related to a White House plan [involving Conein, JAG] to assassinate drug traffickers....I reached Hunt. I explained to him that I was writing a book on the Congo and that I knew a man who claimed to have been sent to assassinate Patrice Lumumba. Hunt responded that he didn't know anything about the Congo nor about the conspiracies against Lumumba, and said that he had never heard of Larry Devlin...Similarly, he had never heard of Lucien Sarti and knew nothing of his death. When I asked him who he would recommend that I speak to, he brusquely suggested David Phillips.
[When I asked David Phillips about the assassination program in the CIA] he thought for a long moment, then tried to remember a name. "There was someone named, let's see, what was his name? Maurice, I think it was Maurice...His last name began with B...Maurice Ba...Maurice Be...Maurice Bi..." It was obvious he was offering a trap, hoping I would complete the name of Bishop and reveal my interest in the Kennedy case. I kept my silence while he ran through the vowels.
[Rivele is put in touch with Michael (Mickey) Tobin, a high level DEA official who changes Rivele's project in profound ways, giving him access and insight at a new level. Tobin says he can reach Nicoli, who has been placed in a witness protection program.]
Can Nicoli be trusted? "Absolutely. One hundred percent. Nicoli has always been totally frank with us. He has put a lot of people behind bars, and he is in a very delicate situation...If he says something, you can be sure that you can believe him." [eso va a misa].
p. 202: First conversation with Michel Nicoli, on the phone, via Tobin's office. I asked him if he was certain that both (he and David) had been in Algeria with SAC. He confirmed it. Then, if they had been arrested together in Brasil in 1972. Yes, we were arrested together. And they tortured us. Me as well as he. Did you know that David had been in the Congo in 1960? I know that he was there, answered Nicoli, but I don't remember the year -- 59 or 60. He added that David worked with the SDECE in a plot to kill Lumumba. I asked him if it was true/if he was certain that Lucien Sarti had been there. Yes, it's true....I asked him if Sarti had also been sent to kill Lumumba, and Nicoli answered affirmatively. Do you know who Sarti worked for? I think for the CIA, he said.
...I asked about Sarti's death. Had Sarti shot at the police when they surrounded him? No, he didn't shoot, he said. It was an ambush, I said. Yes, an ambush. David had told me, I said to him, that he too was supposed to be killed at that moment. Nicoli answered that he thought that was right. and that the orders of the killers had arrived from outside...
I told Nicoli that there was still one topic to discuss with him and that it was perhaps the most important aspect of my book. It involved David's claim that in the summer of 1963 certain persons had gone to Marseilles to speak to Antoine Guerini about a contract.
A contract for what, asked Nicoli. A contract to eliminate a very important person, I answered.
Yes, he said...
Were you aware of this contract? I asked.
...I continued as calmly as I could. David says that Antoine sent [proporciono] three killers for this job. Is that what you heard?
Yes, that is what I heard.
And from your own information, do you know if such a contract existed and that Antoine contracted the killers?
Yes, that agrees with what I know.
I asked him if he knew who were the [sicarios]. He said he didn't. Then, if Sarti had done a contract for Antoine in the United States and again he said he didn't know.
I repeated the question about the contract for the third time. Was it true, according to what David had told me, that in 1963 Antoine Guerini was the intermediary for the contracting of three killers who carried out the elimination of a very important person?
Yes, he said, it is true.
I did not want to force the matter further. I thanked Nicoli for his help and asked him if I could contact him again. He invited me to do so whenever I wanted to. Then he asked me to give his best to David...
p. 204. Richard Mahoney, a professor and lawyer in Arizona, had written a study on Kennedy's policy in the Congo. In it he showed some knowledge of the WIN/Rogue plots. He confirmed my suspicions that Larry Devlin had recruited Rogue in Brussels during his stay there. He added that WIN and Rogue carried Belgian passports, though he didn't know if they had been born in Belgium.
Mahoney confirmed that Christian David was neither Win nor Rogue. When I asked him if he knew who they were, he said that he had learned their identities from a former Belgian politician, but he was not authorized to reveal their names. I asked if Sarti was one of them. I don't know him, he answered.
I described Sarti and explained my reasons for believing that he had been Rogue. I asked again if it was not Sarti who Devlin had met in Brussels and had brought to the Congo.
Not under that name, Mahoney answered.
I wasn't sure if he was denying that Sarti had been Rogue or if he was confirming that he had not known Rogue under that name. I already knew that Sarti had been known in Belgium as Sabatier.
Mahoney explained at length about the intricacies of the CIA's conspiracies, mentioning that at one point the killers were equipped with rifles with night vision which they shot Lumumba with. He concluded that the attempt to kill Lumumba was very close to Devlin.
Even so, it's a risky area, he said.
I asked what he meant/what he was referring to.
The risk comes from two sides. First, some of the important people involved are still in power. The same for the killers...
From David and Nicoli I knew that Sarti had been in the Congo in 1960 in connection with a plot to assassinate Lumumba. Both Colonel Lahaye and Professor Mahoney had affirmed that Larry Devlin had recruited Rogue in Brussels and I knew that Sarti's group was based in Brussels. According to the Church report, Rogue was not a professional in an intelligence service...[he was un individuo exaltado, impulsivo, temerario, informal and capable of anything.] These characteristics fit with the picture of Sarti that emerged out of the descriptions given by David and John Bacon and my own reading.
The physical features matched as well. WI/Rogue had had plastic surgery done and was wearing a wig at the time of his mission in the Congo. In any event, if Rogue was recruited in September of 1960, trained and sent to Leopoldville in December, the surgery must have been minor.
Sarti was already bald in 1960, which explained the need for a wig. And the fact that his damaged left eye seemed normal in later photos would be the result of the plastic surgery.
All this led me to the conclusion that Wi/Rogue, an ex-assassin of the CIA, had participated in the assassination of the president of the United States. The consequences of such a conclusion, if it was correct, were tremendous. Aside from that, there remained the mystery of Qj/Win. Of the two [sicarios] of the Congo, Win was without doubt the more important. According to the Church report he was a professional, an experienced killer and an important part of the postwar operations of the CIA. Identifying him would change our whole conception of the clandestine history of France and the U.S. [and Christian David could not be him...far from being a veteran, he was in Conein's opinion a whore of the intelligence services...]
206: ...1985 conversation between Gary Hart and Bud Fensterwald: Hart explained that in his efforts to meet Qjwin, he had had an appointment set up in Europe, but he was told that Win had canceled the meeting at the last minute when he found out that Hart was interested in the assassination...
[Seth Kantor pointed out in his biography of Ruby:] Kantor explored the links between Ruby and Tommy Davis [Thomas Eli Davis, JG], who Gary Shaw considered as a possible false Oswald during the weeks before the assassination. Kantor explained that in December of 1963 Davis had been arrested in Morocco for possession of arms. He was released after a few days due to the intervention of a CIA employee, in fact QJ/Win, Kantor learned from a CIA source.
The CIA denied any relationship to Tommy Davis; however, when they found difficulties a month after the assassination it used its most important agents in Europe to get him out. This said much about Davis as well as Win. But it also indicated that Win was a man with influence in Morocco: a few hours after arriving in Tangiers, according to Kantor's source, Win was in the jail with an official document and he left with Davis.
207: Phone conversation with Nicoli: "David assures me that one of the men who accepted the contract was named Lucien," I said...I asked him who it could be. "Well, it was Sarti," he answered. They had contracted with three killers, I said, and went to Mexico City where they stayed for several weeks. Nicoli confirmed that.
The three travelled to Brownsville, from where they passed over to the United States with Italian passports, I went on. They were received on the other side of the border by someone from Chicago with whom they spoke in Italian.
Nicoli answered that that was what he had heard, but he added, It must have been Corsican that they spoke, it's similar to Italian...
I specified that there were two shooters from behind and one from in front. Nicoli said that was what he had heard.
According to David, the front shooter, Lucien, had used a dumdum bullet. That's right, he said, of course. ...Why, I asked? So that there would be no ballistic evidence of a shot from the front, he said. It was so obvious that I felt stupid for having asked the question....It was part of the plan to make it appear that Oswald was the assassin. Nicoli's "of course" made sense.
I said that David said that Lucien was paid in heroin. Nicoli said he didn't know. David belived that the three men left via Montreal. Nicoli said, Of course. I asked if he knew that Sarti had one eye. He knew. I asked if that made him a better marksman. It made him into one of the best shots in Marseilles, Nicoli said. ...
DId you know if Antoine had helped David and Sarti to escape from Europe after the killing of the policemen?
He was the number one, said Nicoli. They were fugitives. When they had problems Antoine helped them. ...
208: Did you knew who were the other shooters? He knew there were two, he answered, but he didn't think he knew who they were.
The conversation had been broad and intense. I ended with a question that I had held in my mind.
Is it possible that David's story is not true? That it is an invention?
I have heard that such things happen, answered Nicoli, I don't have all the [pormenores], but the story is true, as David reported it.
213: I met again with the retired police officer in Marseilles...I explained to him that I was convinced now that there were two other shooters but neither were David or Nicoli. I needed to know their identities. ...I also mentioned the importance of finding out who was the assassin sent by the CIA to the Congo in 1960. I described QJ/Win...I got to the story of Win's liberating Davis from a jail in Tangiers.
Then he decided to speak.
"He must be Robert Blemant," he said. I didn't know him and asked why. "Blemant worked for the Americans for many years," he explained. "He worked for the OSS in North Africa during the War and then again for the CIA here in Marseilles. He was the go-between between the CIA and the Guerinis. This I can assure you of. As for Tangiers, Blemant did everything. He had very good relations with the Moroccan king, and so he could easily have gotten precisely those papers need to free that fellow."
I listened, speechless. I knew the basic facts about Blemant's life, but it had never occurred to me that he might be QjWin. But while I listened, I realized that it made sense.
Robert Blemant had been police inspector in France before joining the Resistance during the Second World War. He went to Algeria to help organize the operations of France Libre in the north of Africa. Here he specialized in what the Resistance called "Medidas D" [Methode D? demerder, do what needs to be done? JG], uncovering and killing secret German agents. After the war, he was appointed chief inspector of the DST, the French FBI. But his close ties to the Guerini brothers forced his resignation and he became the head of Guerini's finances. In a few years, he was one of the most important gangsters in France, and the only rival to the Guerinis. In 1965, the brothers ordered his execution. In repraisal, Blemant's men killed Antoine Guerini, opening a gang war that would last for decades....
"Blemant was a tough guy, a careful guy...he was a good policeman, but if someone who he knew was guilty was not convicted, he would take care of killing the man himself. He was famous for these sorts of tactics in the police, and also afterward, in the milieu."
I asked what kind of activities he was involved in.
"First in prostitution and gambling. Then in contraband, first gold, then narcotics. His base was Algeria, where he was in charge of drug matters for Lucky Luciano."
What did Blemant do at the end of 1960 and the beginning of 1961?
"Blemant's father was a well known lawyer. In 1960, he was involved in a scandal and he committed suicide. Blemant sold his clubs in Paris and Marseilles and went overseas for several months. For the rest of the year, we didn't see him. They said he had been in England, German, and North Africa. When he came back to Marseilles, he retired to his farm outside the city."
Blemant's disappearance corresponded exactly with the recruitment period of QJ/Win in German, his training in the United States and his mission in the Congo.
"Blemant had become a [pez gordo] in the milieu, but he was too proud, and so in 1965 Antoine and Meme got together to eliminate him." He told me that the assassins had been directed by Rene Mondoloni, adopted son of Meme Guerini. The 4 of May, 1965, they came alongside of Blemant's car in a country road and killed him with a spray of machine gun bullets."
* * *