Hunting The Jackal

In the wake of the latest attack, President Mitterrand expressed a lack of faith in the existing anti-terrorist organisations and called for the formation of a new counter-terrorism unit reporting directly to him.  The man that Mitterrand selected to head the new unit was the former head of the Elite French Paramilitary police, Colonel Christian Prouteau; his brief was to "conduct missions of coordination, intelligence and action against terrorism."  His appointment caused disruption in the established police and intelligence communities with representatives of the DST and the SDECE labelling Prouteau and his group as, "a bunch of cowboys."

Mitterrand had long been a critic of France's intelligence organisations and openly criticised them at every opportunity.  Another surprising appointment occurred when the head of the SDECE, Count Alexandre de Marenches was asked to step down.  In his place, Mitterrand appointed Pierre Marion, a former leader of the French Action Service, the organisation that had successfully infiltrated other terrorist groups and had marked several prominent terrorists for "neutralisation." Action Service was also believed to have been responsible for hundreds of "officially sanctioned" murders including the attack on the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior." The SDECE was also renamed the DGSE.  With his newest Presidential appointment, Marion was now being given the "green light" to track down and eliminate other "targets of opportunity" within the terrorist community.

In a later meeting with the President, Marion submitted his "death-list" of over a dozen names for Mitterrand's approval.  When the meeting was over, Marion left the Elysee Palace with authorisation to kill only two terrorists, Abu Nidal and Carlos.  In December 1982, as Marion was laying his plans, John Siddel, the head of the CIA's Paris station was calling a meeting with the new head of the DST, Yves Bonnet.  The reason for the meeting was to discuss the latest intelligence regarding the whereabouts of Carlos.  According to Siddel, the CIA had established a connection with a reliable Syrian informant who insisted that Carlos was hiding out in Damascus and was making plans to travel to the Swiss resort of Gstaad. 

Siddel gave Bonnet the name of the hotel where Carlos would be staying, his planned date of arrival and suggested that the DST might like to intercept him.  When Bonnet relayed the information to his superior, Interior Minister Deferre, he was surprised at the enthusiastic response.  "We'll take the risk of catching him, we'll gun him down.  I take full responsibility.  My duty isn't to ask the President; he cannot order this assassination."  While Deferre was excited at the opportunity of eliminating Carlos, he was frustrated in the knowledge that the DST were unable to act independently as they were responsible only for France's internal security and forbidden to carry out International operations.

Because of the bitter rivalry that existed between the DST, Action Service and the newly named DGSE, Deferre reluctantly passed on the information to Colonel Proteau's fledgling intelligence unit.  Anxious to prove himself and his group, Proteau personally led a team to Gstaad at the allotted time where they disguised themselves as tourists and waited for their quarry.  The wait was in vain as no sign could be found of Carlos ever having been in the area.  An embarrassed Bonnet later challenged Siddel on the accuracy of his information only to be told that the CIA had confirmed the story by submitting their informant to a "lie detector" test, a method that had come under increasing criticism for it's vast inaccuracies.  In the following months, despite exhaustive investigations, neither the DGSE, the DST or Proteau's unit, could uncover any useable information regarding Carlos.  In frustration, the DGSE approached Carlos's sponsor, the Syrian government, and used diplomatic means to plead their case for the cessation of all Syrian sponsored acts of terrorism in French territories.

After long periods of negotiations which involved threats of retaliation and the promise of closer relations with France, the Syrians agreed to a mutual non-aggression pact, even though they had vehemently denied any involvement in acts of terrorism.  When pressed about Carlos, the Syrians described him as a non-entity who had destroyed himself with alcohol and drugs.  Whether the description of Carlos was accurate or not, the pact succeeded in preventing any further acts of violence for almost a year.

On August 25, 1983 a large explosion destroyed the fourth floor and blew the roof off the "Maison de France" in West Berlin.  The blast, caused by an estimated twenty to thirty kilos of explosive, demolished the French Consulate, a cultural centre, a suite of offices and a restaurant.  One young man who had entered the building to present a petition to the consul protesting against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, died when he was buried under tons of falling masonry.  Flying debris wounded twenty-two others, who were either in the building or on the street outside.

Johannes Weinrich

The blast had been planned by Johannes Weinrich and carried out by one of his associates.  The Stasi had previously taken the explosives used in the bombing from Weinrich when he had attempted to smuggle them into East Berlin a year earlier.  After a long period of terse negotiations by Weinrich and Carlos, the East Germans gave the explosives back.  Weinrich later gave evidence that he had smuggled a bag containing the explosives across the West German border and gave them to his contact in the Syrian Embassy in Berlin for safe keeping until they were needed for the "Maison de France" attack. 

In early September, Carlos sent a letter to West Germany's Interior Minister, Friedrich Zimmermann claiming responsibility for the attack.  Included in the letter was a detailed floor plan indicating where the bomb had been planted.  The document also called for the release of Gabrielle Krocher-Tiedemann and promised further retaliation if any action was taken against her.  Ironically, Krocher-Tiedemann was later released without the need for further intervention when trial witnesses refused to testify against her.

With confidence high after the success of the "Maison de France" bombing, Carlos finalised plans for his next attack on France.  The target was the sophisticated TGV high-speed train service between Marseille and Paris.  At 7.34pm on December 31 1983, as the Paris-bound express approached a small town in the Rhone valley, a bomb exploded in one of the carriages tearing large holes in the roof and walls.  Although the train was nearly empty, two passengers died instantly and dozens more were injured.  Forty minutes later, another bomb ripped through another TGV, which was stopped at Saint Charles station in Marseille.  The blast, which was centred in a luggage compartment, killed two passengers who were standing on the platform and injured another thirty-four. 

Within days of the bombings, Carlos sent letters to three separate news agencies claiming responsibility for the bombings as revenge for a French air strike against a terrorist training camp in Lebanon the previous month.  A day later another bomb destroyed the French Cultural Centre in Tripoli.  Although he didn't claim responsibility at the time, the attack was also credited to Carlos.

The latest round of attacks caused great concern for the Stasi as one of the letters claiming responsibility for the train bombings had been posted from within East Berlin and they feared that the west would blame them for harbouring Carlos.  Some months later, during renewed trade talks between the U.S. State Department and Eastern European states, the subject of protection of terrorists came up.  Following the talks, many of the Eastern European states distanced themselves from Carlos and banned him from entering their territories.  East Germany was the first country to impose the ban followed by Romania and Czechoslovakia.  Finding the doors of Europe closing against him, Carlos returned to Aden to take part in a meeting of Palestinian extremists but quickly realised that he was no longer aligned with their cause.  With his support network crumbling around him, the "Jackal" was in dire need of a safe lair.

1. First Strike

2. A Born Revolutionary

3. A Terrorist In Training

4. Mother Russia

5. A Popular Choice

6. Black September

7. Our Man In London

8. Carnage

9. Wrath of God

10. Campaign

11. Betrayal

12. "The Famous Carlos"

13. Terrorist For Hire

14. New Beginnings

15. One Man's War

16. Hunting The Jackal

17. A Fall From Grace

18. Taken By Force

19. Trials And Tribulations

20. Love and Death

21. Bibliography

22. The Author

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