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on April 28, 2020 // Last updated: April 30, 2020

Yves Guérin-Sérac

Yves Guérin-Sérac, real name Yves Félix Marie Guillou (alias Jean-Robert de Guernadec, alias Ralf) (born December 2, 1926, in Ploubezre) was a French anti-Communist Roman Catholic activist, former officer of the French army and veteran of the First Indochina War (1945–54), the Korean War (1950–53) and the Algerian War of Independence (1955–62). He was also a member of the elite troop of the 11ème Demi-Brigade Parachutiste du Choc, the armed wing of the "Action Division" of the SDECE (former French intelligence agency), and a founding member of the Organisation armée secrète (OAS), a French terrorist group based in Spain which fought against Algerian independence in 1961-62.1 Guérin-Sérac, together with the Italian neofascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, founded the fascist mercenary group Aginter Press, which was camouflaged as an international press agency. Supported by the CIA and the Portuguese secret service PIDE, Aginter Press, with headquarters in Lisbon, was doing dirty work for various Western secret services. This included the training of the Italian neofascist group Avanguardia Nazionale in the usage of explosives, which was instrumental in the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing.23

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Officer in the French army (1947-1962)

Yves Guillou began his military service as a student officer at the military school of Cherchell, Algeria (November 24, 1947 to February 14, 1948). Then he started a training as reserve officer at EAABC in Saumur, lasting from February 23 to May 26, 1948, and was promoted to midshipman on June 1 of the same year. He was appointed platoon leader of the 2nd Algerien Spahis Regiment as of May 31, 1948. Promoted to second reserve lieutenant on December 1, 1949, he volunteered a few months later to fight in the Korean War (1950–53).

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The Korean War

The history of the Korean War has been greatly distorted, mostly to accommodate the Western narrative that the Soviet Union had violated the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, concluded on April 13, 1941, which the USSR had in fact renounced on April 5, 1945.4 Ever since 1910, Korea had been brutally occupied by Japan, when it became a forced party to the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty. Entering into a war with Japan 2-3 months after te surrender of Germany was actually part of an agreement that the leaders of the countries of the Anti-Hitler coalition, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, had signed in the February 1945 Yalta Conference. On August 8, 1945, just hours before the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and started to send troops to northern Korea. This in turn prompted President Harry Truman to order U.S. troops to land in the south and to insist that the peninsula be divided between Soviet and American occupation zones along the 38th parallel. This suggestion was promptly followed by the newly created United Nations, and resulted in the 1948 establishment of two separate states, North Korea and South Korea. According to Soviet historiography, in 1949 alone, South Korean military and police units (supported by the UN alliance) led 2617 armed invasions of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, there were 71 violations of the air space and 42 incursions into territorial waters.5 These incursions led, according to the former Chief of the Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the North Korean Army, Pak Song Chol, to preparations for an attack of South Korea in the fall of 1948, while the final decision was made after a meeting of Kim Il Sung and Stalin in the spring of 1950,6 ultimately leading to what became known as the Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953).

Guillou became an active reserve officer on August 25, 1951, and arrived in Korea on December 26, 1951. On January 4, 1952, he was appointed head of the 3rd platoon of the 3rd Company of the French Battalion of the United Nations Organisation (Bataillon français de l'ONU, BF-ONU), a battalion of volunteers made up of active and reserve French military personnel sent to the Korean Peninsula as part of the UN force fighting in the Korean War.

By August 1952 he had been already awarded several medals for his ferocity, including the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. On September 13, 1952, he was awarded the US Combat Infantryman Badge.7

From October 6 to 10, 1952, the French Battalion took part in the so-called Battle of White Horse (White Horse being a crest in an area controlled by the U.S. IX Corps), which it did at the cost of heavy losses. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on October 16, 1952, before being wounded a second time by shrapnel from mortar shells on October 20, 1952. Subsequently, Guillou was decorated with the American Bronze Star, and a fourth medal by the French military command (Croix de Guerre with Bronze Palm).7

 

After the end of the Korean War in July 1953, Guillou returned to France and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on September 25, 1953. He was certified as a paratrooper in Pau on September 3, 1953, within the 1st Company of the 18e Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes (Infantry Parachute Shock Regiment).7

He was transferred shortly afterwards to the 1st Company of the 1er bataillon de parachutistes coloniaux (1st Colonial Parachutist Battalion, 1st BPC), and participated in operations in the First Indochina War (December 19, 1946 – August 1, 1954).7 According to an article on lib.com, at that time Guillou had served as French liaison officer with the newly formed CIA.8

Guilllou appears to have taken part in Operation Castor (20–22 November 1953), a French airborne operation considered the largest airborne operation since World War II. But the 1st Company did apparently not jump at Dien Bein Phu for the siege. They were the only company of the 1st BPC who did not.

Guillou received the Colonial Medal with Extreme Orient bar in November 1954 as a Lieutenant in the 1st BPC, and the Indochina War Medal in December 1954. In January 1955 he became commander of the 1st Company of the 1er BPC.7

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Algerian war and Organisation armée secrète

Guillou was promoted to the rank of Captain with effect from April 1, 1959. At this time he was serving in Calvi, Corsica, with the 1st Battalion Parachutist de Choc (1st BPC), part of the 11th Demi Brigade Parachutist de Choc, an elite parachutist unit which served with the French external intelligence service SDECE.7 Subsequently, Guillou served in Algeria as part of the 11th Demi Brigade Parachutist de Choc, and awarded the Croix de Valeur Militaire with silver star in May 1961. According to Daniele Ganser9:

As the leading military unit in secret warfare and dirty tricks the 11th du Choc operated above all in Indochine and Africa as France after the Second World War struggled in vain to hold on to its colonies Vietnam and Algeria. The unit to carry out the dirty tricks, the iron spear of the secret war in Algeria from 1954 to 1962, was clearly the 11th battalion Parachutiste du Choc', French secret service author Roger Faligot observed. By 1954, 300 men of this special force had arrived in Algeria. Most of them had extensive covert action and anti-guerrilla experience as they came directly from Vietnam after France had lost its colony Indochine in the same year after the battle of Dien Bien Phu. One of the most prominent members of the 11th du Choc was Yves Guerain-Serac, a notorious secret soldier who had served in Korea and Vietnam and later became directly involved in the operations of the Portuguese secret anti-Communist army. Italian secret Gladio soldier and right-wing terrorist Vincenzo Vinciguerra from behind prison bars admired Guerain Serac as a fascinating personality and unmatched strategist of terror.

Guillou, as an extreme right-wing militant became one of the founders of the Organisation armée secrète (OAS), a short-lived French paramilitary organization during the Algerian War (1954–1962). The OAS carried out terrorist attacks, including bombings and assassinations, in an attempt to prevent Algeria's independence from French colonial rule.10 Its motto was L’Algérie est française et le restera ("Algeria is French and will remain so").

According to Daniele Ganser11:

Guerin Serac had served in the notorious 11th Demi-Brigade Parachutiste du Choc, a special dirty tricks unit of the French secret service SDECE closely linked to the French stay-behind, and in 1961 together with other battle-hardened 11th du Choc officers had founded the clandestine and illegal Organisation Armee Secrete, in short OAS, in order to keep French control over colonial Algeria and to overthrow the French government of President De Gaulle and replace it with a militantly anti-Communist authoritarian French state. Even after Algeria gained its independence in 1962 and De Gaulle closed down the OAS, former OAS officers including Guerin Serac were in great danger.
They fled from Algeria and in exchange for asylum and other amenities offered their remarkable skills in secret warfare, covert action, counter-terrorism and terrorism to dictators in Latin America and Europe.

Denouncing General de Gaulle's policy of granting independence to Algeria in the course of the Évian Accords (March 18, 1962), Yves Guillou left the army and took part in the anti-Gaullist coup in 1962, and subsequently fled to Franco controlled Spain after its failure. Around this time he started to become known by the name Yves Guérin-Sérac, instead of his real name. He also used the names Jean-Robert de Guernadec and “Ralph," his nickname within Aginter Press.

In the end, no one was ever brought to justice for crimes committed during the Algerian War of Independence. The first amnesty was passed in 1962 by President Charles de Gaulle by decree, preempting a parliamentary discussion that might have denied immunity to men like General Paul Aussaresses.12 The second amnesty was enacted in 1968 by the National Assembly, which gave blanket amnesty to all acts committed during the Algerian war.13 The OAS members were given amnesty by president François Mitterrand (PS), and a general amnesty for all war crimes was declared in 1982.14 Thus, Guérin-Sérac was later able to retire as a colonel.15

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Spain and Portugal

In June 1962, Guérin-Sérac was hired by Franco to engage in operations against the Spanish opposition. He then worked for Salazar's Estado Novo regime in Portugal, which, beside being the last colonial empire, was also, in his eyes, the last stronghold against communism and atheism: "The others have laid down their weapons, but not I. After the OAS I fled to Portugal to carry on the fight and expand it to its proper dimensions - which is to say, a planetary dimension."16 In Portugal Guérin-Sérac regrouped with former Nazi collaborators, French right-wing extremists and OAS fugitives.17 In this context, he met Petainist Jacques Ploncard d'Assac, who introduced him to the right-wing establishment and to Portugal's secret police, the PIDE. According to Sophie Coignard and Marie-Thérèse Guichard in French Connections18:

Guérin-Sérac... sought to make contact with the "first generation" of emigrés, composed primarily of former Nazi collaborators. Among them was Jacques Ploncard known as Ploncard d'Assac. This specialist in anti-Masonic struggle, a disciple of Drumont, made a name for himself during the German Occupation as the librarian responsible for examining the files of the Grand Orient of France. Decorated with the francisque symbol by Vichy for his scrupulous study of the Portuguese secret service, he quite naturally took refuge in Lisbon, where he became nothing less than the personal and hagiographical adviser to President Salazar.

Due to his extensive knowledge, Guérin-Sérac was recruited as an instructor for the paramilitary Legião Portuguesa, and for the counterguerrilla unit of the Portuguese army.19 According to Stuart Christie, "Guérin-Serac’s mentors in Lisbon and Madrid" were Jean-Jacques Susini and Pierre Lagaillarde, "both proteges of the infamous 5th Bureau set up in 1957 during the Algerian War."20

According to the magistrate Guido Salvini, in charge of the investigations concerning the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, "Guido Giannettini had contacts with Yves Guérin-Sérac in Portugal ever since 1964."21

Aginter Press

Further information: Aginter Press

It was within this context that in 1966 Guérin-Sérac founded, along with Italian neofascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, Aginter Press, a secret anti-communist army camouflaged as a press agency, supported by both the Portuguese secret service PIDE and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.17  According to Daniele Ganser17:

Aged 30, Delle Chiaie in the mid-1960s together with Guerin Serac and the support of the CIA set up the Aginter secret army. 'Together with a French friend of mine [Guerin Serac] I decided back then [1965], to establish the press agency Aginter Press, in order to be able to defend our political views.' In the years that followed Delle Chiaie became maybe the most brutal right-wing terrorist directly linked to the secret war. In Italy he engaged in coup d'etats and massacres, including the Piazza Fontana massacre of 1969, and in Latin America together with Nazi Klaus Barbie, the 'butcher of Lyon', he propped up right-wing dictatorships.

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Logo of Aginter Press

The pseudo-press agency, consisting to a large part of Organisation armée secrète members, "... set up training camps, in which it instructed mercenaries and terrorists in a three-week course in covert action techniques, including hands-on bomb terrorism, silent assassination, subversion techniques, clandestine communication and infiltration, and colonial warfare."22 "During this period, disclosed Guérin-Sérac, we have systematically established close contacts with like-minded groups emerging in [current and former colonial powers] Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Portugal, for the purpose of forming the kernel of a truly Western League of Struggle against Marxism."23

According to Stuart Christie, Guérin-Sérac was in 1968 in contact with Guatemala's secret police,24 and Aginter Press detachments would subsequently take part in US-supported terror campaign in the country:

A 1968 prospectus sent by Guerin-Serac to the head of Guatemala's secret police tendering for a "security contract" makes chilling reading in the light of subsequent events. It proposed: "a programme of action against Castroite subversion in Latin America" and the "placement in Guatemala of a team of specialists in subversive and revolutionary struggle, or perfectly trained politico-military cadres to serve as technical advisers in the elaboration of political and military action schemes to be pursued in the struggle... This action by specialists would be placed under the ultimate authority of local political leaders and perfectly coordinated with them. Apart from setting up a headquarters study office charged with making a special study of subversion and familiarising officers with new combat methods of guerrilla warfare, infiltration, psychological warfare and the setting up of a special missions' centre... indeed it would be a good idea as well to extend the  anti-guerrilla action to adjacent nations, Nicaragua and El Salvador, for the anti-guerrilla struggle." In June 1971, the New York Times reported that at least 2,000 people had been murdered in Guatemala between May 1968 and November 1970. An Amnesty International report estimated that upwards of 30,000 people were murdered in the decade beginning 1966, the vast majority of them between 1968 and 1971 following the assassination of US ambassador Gordon Mein. The terror campaign, modelled on the South Vietnamese "Phoenix" programme, in which an estimated 40,000 Viet Cong suspects were murdered, was masterminded and overseen by Mein's successor, Nathaniel West, a senior staff member of the US National Security Council (West was afterwards appointed US ambassador to Chile in November 1971, shortly after President Allende nationalised the copper mines) and was carried out by agencies such as the "plausibly deniable" Aginter Press.

On January 31, 1968, Guérin-Sérac met Pino Rauti, then leader of Ordine Nuovo,25 some of whose members and sympathizers were involved in the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan, killing 16 and wounding 90.

The attack initially was attributed to anarchists of the obscure Circolo anarchico 22 marzo that had only been created in October of that year, inter alia by former Avanguardia Nazionale member Mario Merlino, mostly likely for the sole purpose to have a leftist group to blame. Only later the terrorists Guido Giannettini and Stefano Delle Chiaie were identified as the local masterminds of the attack, supported by members of the neofascist groups Avanguardia Nazionale and Ordine Nuovo, both Aginter Press agents. Aginter not only had instructed members of Delle Chiaie’s Avanguardia Nazionale in the use of explosives,2 but it also provided them with fake identities to help them escape justice. 20 years later, questioned by an investigation commission, Delle Chiaie revealed that Avanguardia Nazionale had been implicitly involved in an operation ordered by an organization linked to the CIA and certain Italian anti-communist circles.26 According to a 2000 report by the German broadcaster ZDF, “Aginter agent Giannettini was also working with the CIA and BND [German foreign secret service Bundesnachrichtendienst]. His Task: to destabilize the political system with attacks. Right-wing terrorism that should appear as terror from the left.”27

In the 1970s, Guérin-Sérac was in contact with Leo Negrelli, former chief press attaché of the failed German puppet state, the Italian Social Republic.28

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After 1974

Following the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, Yves Guérin-Sérac took refuge in Franco's Spain. During Franco's funeral in Madrid on 20 November 1975, he met the Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie.29

After Franco's death in 1975, it is not known what became of Guérin-Sérac.

The Spanish police took its time to investigate what Aginter had left behind and only in February 1977 staged a raid in Madrid's Calle Pelayo 39, where at the Aginter press headquarters they discovered arms caches with rifles and explosives. By this time Delle Chiaie, Guérin-Sérac and their secret soldiers had long left Europe for Latin America, where in Pinochet's Chile many found a new secure operational base. Guérin-Sérac was last seen in Spain in 1997.30

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Bibliography

  • Jose Duarte de Jesus, A Guerra Secreta de Salazar em África (D. Quixote, 2012), ISBN 978-972-20-4935-1.
  • Stuart Christie, Stefano delle Chiaie: Portrait of a black terrorist (Anarchy Magazine, 1984), https://libcom.org/files/Stefano-Delle-Chiaie.pdf.
  • Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (London: Franck Cass, 2005), 116.
  • Frédéric Laurent, L'Orchestre Noir (Paris: Stock, 1978).
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