FECL 46 (August 1996):
Bruno Bréguet (45) is not exactly an average Swiss citizen. In 1970, at less than 20 years, he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by an Israeli court for having attempted to smuggle explosives destined to the Palestinian resistance. Bréguet was set free in 1978, but already in 1982 he was arrested by the French police in Paris, together with Magdalena Kopp, the then life companion of the Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias "Carlos". In the car used by Bréguet and Kopp, the police found several kilograms of explosives. This time, Bréguet was sentenced to five years of imprisonment. After his release, three and a half years later, began to live a normal and inconspicuous life, staying mainly in Austria and Switzerland.
Bréguet and his partner, Carol-Anne Thompson, also bought a little house on the Greek island of Corfu, where they often stayed in recent years. On 11 November 1995, the couple and their child (aged two), on their way back from Greece to Switzerland, took the ferry Lato, linking Corfu with the Italian port of Ancona. Upon arrival at Ancona, Italian police searched the family and their car for explosives and weapons, but found nothing. Nonetheless, Bréguet was put back on the ferry to Greece, while his wife and their daughter were allowed to continue their journey home. Bréguet has been missing ever since.
Strangely, Bréguet's name was not registered on the passenger list of the Lato, on which he was sent back to Greece. Yet, the Greek captain of the ferry later deposited his Swiss ID card at a Greek police station. Bréguet's family soon issued a search request via Interpol. Bréguet's Swiss lawyer, Jean-Pierre Garbade, requested the Swiss Federal Office of Prosecution (Bundesanwaltschaft: BA) to open an investigation for suspected abduction. But the BA said it was "not competent". A spokesman for the Swiss Foreign department said in January that Bréguet's case could justify consular protection, but "as long as we don't know where he is, we cannot provide this protection". A UN Committee on forced and involuntary disappearances has investigated the case - without success.
The Greek authorities at first refused to answer any questions about Bréguet's disappearance. Then, in January, they firmly rejected allegations that they were holding Bréguet and the Greek ministry of public order ordered a nationwide search for Bréguet.
It is established that there are no charges against Bréguet in Italy, Greece or Switzerland. But Bréguet's relatives, friends and lawyers have suggested from the very beginning that he was actually abducted and is being held by a "Western secret service" acting in connection with an international investigation against the former terrorist network of "Carlos", co-ordinated by the French services. This presumption seems fairly romantic and out of place at first sight, but cannot be completely refuted, considering Bréguet's former relation with Carlos. The retired former "global" terrorist was arrested by the French secret service in Sudan and brought to France where he has been detained on remand since August 1994. The circumstances of Carlos' arrest in Sudan suggest that, in this particular investigation, the French authorities are showing little respect for formal legal procedures.
Shortly after Carlos' arrest, the French requested the Swiss Federal Office of Prosecution to interrogate a number of alleged former Swiss members of Carlos' terrorist network. The Swiss Federal Prosecutor, Ms Carla del Ponte, reacted promptly, by ordering the arrest of four Swiss leftists on charges ranging from participation in bomb attacks to murder. However, the investigation of the Swiss Federal Police never brought about any concrete results and the four were set free after two months, although the investigation was never formally closed.
Bréguet's brother, Ernesto, is suggesting that the French authorities are interested in Bruno Bréguet as a possible key witness against Carlos. He points to the remarkable fact, that, despite Bruno Bréguet's known former involvement with the Carlos network, the Swiss police did not attempt to interrogate Bruno in 1994, when they arrested the four leftists. In the opinion of Ernesto Bréguet, his brother was deliberately left out: "Special treatment was being prepared for Bruno already at that time. Beyond doubt, the Carlos-hunters see my brother as one of the most important witnesses". In the meantime, it has emerged that the police of the Swiss canton of Ticino tried to deliver a summons for interrogation issued by the Federal Police, shortly before he left Switzerland for his fateful journey to Corfu in autumn 1995, but did not find Bréguet at his Ticino address.
Bréguet's family recently claimed that, according to their own investigation, Bruno Bréguet was first moved around between various places of detention in Greece after his abduction, but taken to Croatia already in January.
Bréguet's lawyer also points to the intriguing fact that a likely key witness to his client's disappearance, the Greek captain of the ferry Lato, has never been interrogated, in spite of all official affirmations by Greek and other authorities that Bréguet's disappearance is being investigated. Such inconsistencies have fuelled speculation by Swiss newspapers following a three day visit of Federal Prosecutor del Ponte to Budapest in February. According to these rumours, Federal Prosecutor del Ponte was not on the plane that brought her staff back to Switzerland from Budapest, but instead remained somewhere in Central Europe, for reasons connected with the Bréguet case.
Sources: WochenZeitung, 12.1.96, 26.1.96, 16.8.96 (research: Fredi Lauener); Tages-Anzeiger, 27/28.1.96.
A citizen of a Western European country abducted and secretly held by one or several Western secret services? An absurd piece of speculation, a new product of some leftist plot-hunters' flourishing fantasy, one would like to conclude.
However, in assessing the Bréguet case, one should not forget his very turbulent past as someone convicted of pro-Palestinian terrorism in Israel and a follower of the man who for years was hunted as the world's most dangerous terrorist by all western secret services - Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias Carlos. Neither should one forget the long-standing co-operation of Western intelligence services, known as the "Kilowatt Group". This highly secretive anti-terrorist intelligence network was founded in the 1970s on the initiative of Israel as a response to the "Black September" massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich in 1972. The Kilowatt group, which is said to have changed its name since, is made of the secret services of all EU countries, of Switzerland, Norway, the USA (FBI and CIA), Canada, South Africa and Israel. Israeli services are believed to be playing a leading role within the group.
In 1991, it emerged that the agents of the Israeli secret service, Mossad, were illegally operating on Norwegian territory, with the consent and support of Norwegian security. Mossad agents, posing as Norwegian police, interrogated Palestinians seeking asylum in Norway. The Isreali-Norwegian operation ran within the framework of the Kilowatt group (see FECL No.2: "ISRAEL'S SECRET SERVICE MOSSAD PARTICIPATED IN POLICE INTERVIEWS OF ASYLUMSEEKERS"). As early as 1973, a Mossad death squad killed a harmless Moroccan waiter, Ahmed Bouchiki, in Oslo, whom they erroneously had taken for one of the perpetrators of the massacre at the Munich olympics. Early this year, evidence emerged suggesting that Norwegian police and security also covered this Mossad operation. Thus, a lot is possible in Western constitutional democracies.
This said, we should recall that, considering Bréguet's adventurous past, there could be many other reasons for his sudden disappearance than just a secret service plot.