-Caveat Lector-

an excerpt from:
The Great Heroin Coup - Drugs, Intelligence, & International Fascism
Henrik Kruger
Jerry Meldon, Translator
South End Press©1980
Box 68 Astor Station
Boston, MA 02123
ISBN 0-89608-0319-5
240pps - one edition - out-of-print
Orginally published in Danish
Smukke Serge og Heroien
Bogan 1976



Trying to make sense out of French intelligence activities is like trying to
find one's way out of a maze knowing there's no exit. All told, there are
four intelligence services, and at various times they work together,
independently, and against one another in an atmosphere of scandal and
intrigue. The four are: the foreign espionage agency, Service de
Documentation Exterieure et de Contre Espionage (SDECE); the domestic
security agency, Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST); the police
intelligence force, Renseignements Generaux (RG); and the Gaullists'
para-police force, Service d'Action Civique (SAC).

Charles de Gaulle reigned over the Golden Age of French espionage. The
president was enamored of cloaks and daggers and could not get enough
security from the dangers left and right. . . including those responsible for
his security. Though he determined overall policy, de Gaulle kept his own
hands off intelligence activities, leaving the nuts and bolts to loyal

The rules had been written during World War II, when de Gaulle and his
followers were located in London's Free French house. De Gaulle saw a double
agent in every unannounced Channel crosser and, not infrequently, had that
individual executed without regard to the petty details of justice. After the
war, anonymous corpses were exhumed from the cellar of the London abode.

The SDECE emerged shortly after World War II. It consisted of seven
departments that handled intelligence analysis, Eastern and Western Europe,
Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and America. In addition there is a
special action group within the SDECE, the Service d'Action du SDECE. It's
not to be confused with SAC, though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish
between their operations.

The SDECE employs some 2000 men and has a yearly budget fixed at $25 million.
Another $50 million can be tapped from a secret reserve.[1] Its headquarters
are next to a large bathhouse in the Paris suburb of Les Tourelles. The
French call it "the swimming pool."

In its thirty years of existence the SDECE has had six chiefs. De Gaulle's
first, General Grossin, lasted until 1962. General Paul Jacquier, his
replacement, was dropped without so much as a handshake following the 1965
Ben Barka affair. The next chief, General Eugene Guibaud, didn't last much
longer. He left in 1970 when Georges Pompidou became the president. Pompidou
was convinced that SDECE figures had led a smear campaign to keep him out of
Charles de Gaulle's shoes. He chose the aristocratic pro-U.S. Alexandre de
Marenches to purge the intelligence agency.

A dynasty of military officers has run the various SDECE departments. The
names heard most often in connection with assassination, kidnaping, and other
scandals are: Colonel Rend Bertrand alias Beaumont, Colonel Nicolas Fourcaud,
Colonel Marcel Leroy alias Leroy-Finville, Colonel Paul Ferrer alias
Fournier, and Colonel Marcel Mercier, who headed the neo-Fascist Red Hand
that was responsible for a string of political murders.[2]

The SDECE story is one of continuous scandal. Murder plots, kidnapings, drug
deals, and extensive collaboration with the underworld have been brought to
light, but are only part of the story. France has never shown the tendency
toward open government that has, for example, produced public hearings in the
U.S. on CIA and FBI crimes. What light has been shed in recent years is due
mostly to Phillipe Thyraud de Vosjoli, a former SDECE agent in Cuba and
Washington. His books, Lamia and Le Comite, raised a furor in France. It was
he who tipped off the United States about the presence of Russian rocket
bases in Cuba while stationed there as a French agent. He was fired in 1963.

According to de Vosjoli, under de Gaulle a murder committee existed
consisting of the president's closest political allies and intelligence
officers. It plotted extreme measures against nations or individuals who
threatened de Gaulle or his policies. At one point, the hit list included as
many as thirty names. They included Guinea's chief-of-state Sekou Toure and
Tunisia's Habib Bourgiba, both of whom survived. Others did not, though their
deaths have been recorded as accidents.

SDECE agents working for the committee, according to de Vosjoli, were
responsible for the 1962 plane crash which took the life of Italian oil
magnate Enrico Mattei. Mattei, then Italy's strong man, was on the verge of
engineering an Italian takeover of French oil interests in Algeria. A French
agent code-named Laurent tinkered with Mattei's aircraft, which crashed en
route from Catania to Rome. William McHale, a Time magazine reporter writing
a series about Mattei, was among the other dead. Apparently a similar fate
awaited the journalist Mauro de Mauro who, while investigating the Mattei
affair in 1970, disappeared without a trace.

The committee also had tasks other than murder. When a newly designed Russian
military jet broke down during a visit to France and was to be sent home over
land, Marcel Leroy of the SDECE went into the moving business. He was hired
to move the jet from the airport to the freight train the Soviets had rushed
to Paris. As unsuspecting Russian guards sat in a car trailing the freight
truck, the jet was placed in a second truck identical to the first, in which
French agents scampered about with cameras. The two trucks were switched back
when the Russians were delayed at an intersection.

During a 1961 conference in Cannes, an SDECE agent broke into the hotel room
of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State George Ball, and photographed all his
documents while Ball snored peacefully. Similarly, an agent once rummaged
through the baggage of the Moroccan ambassador to France. His eyes lit up
when he opened the lock of an attache case. Inside were nothing but
pornographic photos and an ivory penis together with a user guide, in a
package addressed to Madame Oufkir, the wife of the notorious Moroccan
security chief, Mohammed Oufkir.

In his first book, Lamia, de Vosjoli also claimed that the de Gaulle regime
for a long time chose to ignore the presence of Soviet spies on French soil,
and perhaps even fed them information. De Gaulle, with nationalistic pride
over France's development of an A-bomb, ignored John F. Kennedy's warnings
about the Russian agents. He was tired of listening to Washington. With
France about to become a great power again, the United States became its
number one rival.

De Gaulle also had ideas of his own on how to win the Third World over to
France. At one time France was the greatest colonial power in Africa.
However, in 1961-62 de Gaulle gave autonomy to nearly all its African
possessions. His policy of creating a French "Commonwealth" was clever in
principle. But the man to whom de Gaulle entrusted his Third World plans was
intelligence whiz Jacques Foccart, the Gaullist Grey Eminence. The policies
carried out by Foccart bore little resemblance to de Gaulle's guidelines and
the newly created French Community of Nations soon fell apart at the seams.

Behind Jacques Foccart was the loyal core of his own espionage ring, and the
entire SAC staff, which he'd gradually expanded into an apparatus that
permeated French society and foreign locales as well.[3] SAC had appeared in
1958, the crisis year in which de Gaulle assumed power by a coup d'etat. The
RPF became the official Gaullist party, and SAC became its security force.
The men who founded SAC were for the most part those who had also dominated
the SO du RPF: Foccart, Frey, Ponchardier, Sanguinetti, Bozzi, Comiti, and
Charles Pasqua.[4] Comiti and Charles Lascorz were the first to direct the
para-police force. However, ultimate control always remained in the hands of

The official task of SAC was to protect Gaullist politicians in travels and
at meetings. However, by the end of its first year of existence, 1958, SAC
had joined the battle against the Algerian revolutionary movement, FLN, and
even then it was studded with gangsters. In the final phase of the war in
Algeria, SAC agents-les barbouzes -were pitted against the mutinous Secret
Army Organization (OAS) whose murderous, resistance was choked off with equal

When de Gaulle granted Algeria its independence in 1962, the barbouzes turned
their wrath against de Gaulle's political enemies. They became the
instruments for the dirtiest of Gaullist tricks. Murder, corruption,
industrial espionage, election fraud-SAC agents could do it all.

Foccart assigned his best SAC men to key posts on French commissions for
developing countries, and in offices charged with the allotment of public
funds. He also dispatched them to infiltrate African regimes, where
pro-French governments allegedly paid them enormous kickbacks in return for
economic assistance from Paris.

At its peak SAC comprised a core of 120 directors in immediate contact with
Foccart, plus some 20,000 associates, three-quarters of whom were estimated
to have been criminals, many of them heroin smugglers.[5] (French
intelligence has frequently been accused of having both organized and
profited from the trafficking of heroin.) SAC was used at home to instigate
and then crush left wing disturbances, such as the time a SAC agent took
potshots at a peaceful demonstration in La Mure and struck down a renowned
athlete, and tile knifing of a left wing activist by a SAC agent in
Drancy.[6] Foccart's SAC agents are especially active at election time. In
Socialist and Communist-dominated areas they've often been caught stealing
and burning ballots.

In 1968 SAC terrorized the student rebellion. The DST handed its SAC
colleagues lists of suspected de Gaulle foes in Marseilles, Lyons, and
Grenoble, as part of a SAC plan to detain political "subversives" in stadiums
and camps, similar to what happened in Chile.[7]

Through the years Jacques Foccart was not only in charge of SAC, but he also
had many of his top men assigned to key positions in the SDECE. While many
SAC agents were also SDECE agents and vice versa, there were always SDECE men
opposed to Foccart (as there are now), and that has long been a source of
intrigue. In de Gaulle's time both SAC and the SDECE worked against the CIA,
though several French agents played footsy with the Americans. The criminal
elements were available to anyone for the right price.

Under Pompidou, and more so now under Giscard d'Estaing, the goal has been
centralization of intelligence activities. The U.S. is no longer considered
the number one enemy, and the SDECE has been ordered to cooperate with the
CIA. Pompidou fired 7000 of SAC's crooks. Although Giscard d'Estaing would
like to eliminate SAC altogether, he dares not legislate it out of

At 66 Jacques Foccart hangs on as one of France's most powerful men. After
the deaths of de Gaulle and Pompidou, he had thousands of documents
destroyed, documents that would have exposed the Gaullists' dirtiest tricks.
But Foccart has not shred all his papers. He allegedly has a file on every
French politician and officeholder since 1974, which puts him in a position
to blackmail many of them.

In 1974 Giscard d'Estaing replaced Foccart, as his advisor on African
affairs, with Foccart's underling, Rene Journiac. Foccart retired after an
additional number of years in a similar position with Omar Bongo, the corrupt
ruler of Gabon.

On 6 February 1980, Journiac perished in a mysterious plane crash in Northern

pps. 45-50

1. J. Hoagland, Politiken, 14 June 1976.

2. P.T.deVosjoli: Le Comite (Editions de l'Homme, 1975); A. Jaubert: Dossier
D ... comme Drogue (Alain Moreau, 1974); N. Fournier and E. Legrand: Dossier
E ... comme Espionage (Alain Moreau, 1977).

3. P. Chairoff :Dossier B ... comme Barbouzes (Alain Moreau, 1975).

4. UDR member Charles Pasqua held a seat in Parliament and chaired a 1969
committee investigating France's narcotics problem. From 1952 to 1967 he held
various high-ranking positions in the big wine firm, Ricard Pastis. When the
known heroin trafficker Jean Venturi came to Montreal in 1962 to establish a
new smuggling network, his cover was as a representative for Ricard Pastis,
where his immediate superior appears to have been Pasqua ó see The Newsday
Staff: The Heroin Trail (Souvenir Books, 1974). 5. Chairoff, op. cit. 6.
Jaubert, op. cit. 7. Chairoff, op. cit. 8. As late as the summer of 1976
Marseilles' Socialist mayor Gaston Deferre, and other left wing politicians,
charged in Parliament that the Gaullists were about to rebuild SAC, and that
murderers and thieves were again being recruited out of prison as in 1961. In
the last few years, however, the Gaullists have lost much ground, whereas
France's non-Gaullist Right, with OAS figures in the fore, has gotten a shot
in the arm. Many former SAC goons are allegedly currently working for this

9. E. Ramaro: "Un Petit Mort Sans Significance," Afirique-Asie, 3 March 1980.
For a review of French dirty work in Africa pre- and post-Foccart, see K. Van
Meter: "The French Role in Africa", in Dirty Work 2, The CIA in Africa,
edited by E. Ray, W. Schaap, K. Van Meter and L. Wolf (Lyle Stuart, 1979).
Aloha, He'Ping,
Om, Shalom, Salaam.
Em Hotep, Peace Be,
Omnia Bona Bonis,
All My Relations.
Adieu, Adios, Aloha.
Roads End

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