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For The Record  

FTR #453 Verges for the Defense

Recorded March 28, 2004
MP3 One segment
NB: This stream contains two 30 minute broadcasts: FTRs #452 and FTR #453, in sequence.

Returning to a subject covered in several past broadcasts, this program highlights the enigmatic career of French attorney Jacques Verges. Recently hired to assist with the defense of Saddam Hussein in his projected war crimes trial, Verges has represented terrorists, far-leftists and Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie in the past. Much of the program centers on Verges’ relationship with Nazi operative Francois Genoud—a very important Third Reich agent in both the above-ground and underground phases of its existence. In particular, the far-left Verges and Genoud have collaborated in the defense of Middle Eastern and far-left terrorists, as well as the Barbie defense.

Program Highlights Include: Verges and Genoud’s work on behalf of Carlos the Jackal; their mutual efforts on behalf of the Algerian FLN; their efforts on behalf of far-left European terrorists in the 1980’s; Genoud’s role in assisting the postwar Nazi diaspora—the escape of SS war criminals in particular; Genoud’s role in the postwar distribution of Nazi monies; Genoud’s efforts on behalf of the considerable Nazi presence in the Middle East after World War II; Verges’ mysterious eight-year disappearance in the 1970’s.

1. Beginning with the subject of the individual for whom the program is titled, the discussion notes that Jacques Verges will be assisting in the defense of Saddam Hussein in his projected trial for war crimes. “One is an international legal legend nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Advocate.’ The other is a backstreet Iraqi lawyer who has never set foot in a criminal court in his life. Next week, however, they will meet to consider forming an unlikely partnership for one of the biggest legal circuses in modern history: the war crimes trials of Saddam Hussein and his cronies.”
(“The Barrister of Baghdad” by Colin Freeman; San Francisco Chronicle; 3/27/2004; p. A1.)

2. “Badie Izzat Izzat, a Baghdad lawyer who represents nearly half of the ‘Deck of 55’ most-wanted people from the Hussein era, will fly to Paris this weekend to confer with Jacques Verges, the celebrated French defender of terrorist Carlos the Jackal and Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie. The pair, who will be meeting for the first time, will discuss possible legal strategies for what is likely to be a tough case even for Verges: how to excuse more than three decades of state-sanctioned killings involving up to a million people.” (Idem.)

3. “But while Verges, who is serving as a consultant on the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, will be on familiar territory, Izzat is on a nearly vertical learning curve. Operating out of cramped offices in a scruffy Baghdad side street, he is by trade a civil litigator who has never defended anyone on criminal charges. The sum total of his knowledge of international war crimes law, he admits, is what he has picked up from a human rights law textbook he bought only a few months ago.” (Idem.)

4. “ ‘It is true, I have never done any kind of criminal defense work in the past, and under Saddam, we had no such thing as war crimes law,’ said Izzat. ‘But I hope that by linking up with Verges and taking his advice and help, he can put together a proper legal defense.’” (Ibid.; pp. A1-A8.)

5. “Meanwhile, Verges, a former commander in the French resistance, has indicated he may focus on the tacit involvement of Western powers, particularly the United States, in many of Hussein’s acts of aggression. ‘Western countries encouraged the war against Iran,’ he said in a recent interview. ‘Western countries were present in Iraq through diplomatic delegations. They weren’t blind. In the course of a trial, the fundamental element will be: ‘You treat me like a pariah, but I was your friend. What we did, we did together. I fired the bullet, but you’re the one who gave me the gun. You even pointed out the enemy.’” (Ibid.; p. A8.)

6. “If Izzat does eventually represent Hussein, he plans to subpoena numerous world leaders and statesmen to ask them why they turned a blind eye to the former Iraqi leader’s crimes for so long. ‘This tribunal will embarrass Bush the father, and that will be bad for Bush the son,’ he told reporters. ‘Saddam will talk, and the whole world will be able to listen.’” (Idem.)

7. “Before going to Paris, Izzat was scheduled to stop in Amman, Jordan, where many of his clients’ families live as fugitives after fleeing Iraq last April. ‘I will be seeing at least eight families, including possibly Saddam’s daughters,’ he said. ‘It is not clear yet whether they want me to represent them, but I will be able to represent them, but I will be able to pass any messages on to Verges if need be.’” (Idem.)

8. The balance of the program deals with Francois Genoud, a pivotally important (though little recognized) figure in 20th century fascism and terrorism. (For more about Genoud, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 333, 343, 352, 354, 357, 371, 377, 378, 447, 450. In addition see the following articles by Kevin Coogan: “The Mysterious Achmed Huber: Friend to Hitler, Allah and Ibn Ladin?”; “Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa”, as well as “The Swastika and the Crescent” by Martin A. Lee; Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.) “On May 30, 1996 an obscure Swiss banker named Francois Genoud committed suicide in Geneva, Switzerland. From the brief mention of his death in the New York Times, one would not know that one of the most important figures in the history of 20th-century terrorism had died. And how many men can say that they were friends with both Adolf Hitler and Carlos the Jackal?”

(Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International; by Kevin Coogan; Autonomedia Inc.; Copyright 1999 [SC]; ISBN 1-57027-039-2; p. 584.)

9. Genoud became infatuated with the Third Reich as a young man—an event that determined the course of the rest of his life. (Note that the SD was the SS intelligence service. For more about Dickopf, see RFA#2—available from Spitfire.) In addition to his work as a Nazi spy before and during World War II, Genoud became a very important agent for the postwar underground activities of the SS and related elements of the Underground Reich. “A Swiss citizen born in Lusanne in 1915, Genoud became rabidly pro-Nazi in the early 1930’s. After a trip to Germany as a teenager, he never forgot the thrill he felt shaking Adolf Hitler’s hand. During World War II, Genoud became extremely close to an SD lieutenant named Paul Dickopf, who would later head the German federal police (the Bundeskriminalamt, or BKA) before being elected president of Interpol in 1968. The two men traveled together across occupied Europe. Dickopf would later claim that he had defected from the German army in August 1942 and lived clandestinely in Belgium, where he embraced the anti-Nazi cause. Curiously, the ‘traitor’s’ salary continued to be sent to his wife until January 1944.” (Idem.)

10. Genoud was involved with the Third Reich’s (successful) approaches to Allen Dulles and related elements of the OSS (the US intelligence agency during World War II.) These approaches were to result in the incorporation of the Gehlen spy outfit into US intelligence in the postwar period. (For more about the Gehlen organization, see—among other programs–RFA#’s 1-3, 11, 15, 22, 36, 37—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 29, 44, 71, 72, 94, 95, 113, 120, 180, 332.) “Dickopf eventually ended up in Switzerland, where he received support from Genoud. Dickopf went there to approach Allen Dulles, head of the local OSS, pretending to be an anti-Nazi. At the time, his boss, RSHA head Ernst Kaltenbrunner, was also sanctioning the ‘Free Austria Movement,’ yet another group of ‘anti-Nazi’ Nazis intent on befriending Dulles. Dickopf quickly established a working relationship with one of the most mysterious American spies of World War II, the Japanese-born and Yale-educated Paul Blum, a top Dulles lieutenant who would later vouch for Dickopf’s anti-Nazi credentials.” (Ibid.; pp. 584-585.)

11. Genoud helped in the Nazi diaspora after World War II. Genoud was especially close to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. His (Genoud’s) links with the Grand Mufti were the foundation of a profound relationship with the very important Nazi émigré community in the Middle East. “Genoud, too, was in the thick of things, having established a friendship with SS General Karl Wolff, leader of the German team in Italy that negotiated Operation Sunrise with Dulles. Shortly after the war, Genoud acquired the publishing rights to the works of Adolf Hitler, Martin Bormann, and Joseph Goebbels. He also played a major, if murky, role in aiding fugitive Nazi war criminals. Another key player in the postwar Nazi underground resident in Switzerland was SD Colonel Eugen Dollmann, General Wolff’s chief lieutenant in the talks with Dulles. Besides Wolff, Dollman and Genoud had another friend in common: Haj Amin el-Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Genoud first met the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem in 1936, and again in Berlin during the war. Dollman also maintained links to the Grand Mufti.” (Ibid.; p. 585.)

12. “After the July 23, 1952 Free Officers coup, Genoud established ties with an Egyptian intelligence operative named major Fathi al-Dib. In post-coup Egypt he experienced firsthand the strange mixture of left and right, when half of Cairo’s most influential weekly Rose al Yussef was filled with references to figures like the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg and the other half carried reprints from anti-Semitic hate sheets like the American journal Common Sense.” (Idem.)

13. Genoud’s political presence in the Middle East led to his relationship with the Algerian independence guerilla organization the FLN. As was the case with many national liberation movements in the Middle East, Genoud and his fellow Nazis assisted the FLN with money, arms and political support. This support was in keeping with the Nazi geopolitical strategy of gaining control of the “Earth Island” by forging political relationships with the Muslim populations that dominate the center of that pivotally important landmass. (To learn more about the concept of the Earth Island, see FTR#391 and the programs noted there about the subject.) “In 1955, with the Grand Mufti’s friend Johann von Leers helping to run Egypt’s Propaganda Ministry and its all-important ‘Institute for the Study of Zionism,’ Genoud began to see Egypt as a base for the anti-French FLN independence movement in Algeria. He worked in Tangier with an ex-SS officer named Hans Reichenberg to create the Arabo-Afrika import-export company, which supplied the FLN with weapons. Arabo-Afrika was actually a cover enterprise established by Werner Naumann’s network, and included Genoud’s friend Dr. Hjalmar Schacht. In Damascus, General Otto Remer, Ernst-William Springer, and an ex-SS captain and RSHA operative named Alois Brunner created another gun-running operation, the Orient Trading Company (OTRACO), to ship arms to the FLN militants.” (Idem.)

14. Genoud’s importance within the FLN increased when he became the group’s banker. In 1952 Ahmed Ben Bella, one of the founders of the Algerian Organisation Speciale(OS) independence movement, escaped from a French jail. After spending several months underground, he resurfaced in Cairo to be personally blessed by Nasser. In the spring of 1954 Ben Bella left Cairo and traveled to Geneva, where he and three of his OS comrades created the organizational basis for the FLN. In 1958 Genoud and a Syrian named Zouheir Nardam co-founded the Banque Commerciale Arabe in Geneva to manage the FLN’s war chest. One of Genoud’s closest collaborators, Mohammed Khider, was secretary general of the FLN’s Political Bureau. Born in 1912, Khider had been the driving force behind the Egyptian section of Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertes Democratiques (MTLD), which helped launch the Algerian armed rebellion on 1 November 1954.” (Idem.)

15. “After Algeria won its independence, Genoud became head of the Banque Populaire Arabe in Algiers. In October 1964 (during a time of intense political infighting inside the FLN) Genoud was arrested and charged with transferring $15 million of FLN money to his Swiss bank in Khider’s name. He only escaped an Algerian jail thanks to the intervention of Egypt’s President Nasser. The Algerian government then spent years fighting with Genoud over the FLN treasury. Khider was assassinated in Madrid in 1967 by Algerian intelligence. Only in 1979 was the FLN ‘war chest,’ finally returned to Algeria. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 586.)

16. It was through his relationship with the FLN that Genoud came in contact with Verges and began to collaborate with him. “ . . . During the war in Algeria, Genoud met an ultra-left French lawyer named Jacques Verges, who represented a number of FLN militants accused of terrorist bombings in Algiers’ French section. Born in Thailand in 1925 to a French doctor and a Vietnamese woman, Verges fought against the Nazis as a French Communist Party member in World War II. While a law student after the war, he continued his anti-colonialist agitation and became a good friend of Saloth Sar, a young Cambodian student better known today as Pol Pot. Verges then spent 1951 to 1954 in Prague, where he became the director of the world Communist student group the International Union of Students. (One of his colleagues, the Stalinist youth leader Alexander Shelepin, would become had of the KGB in the late 1950’s.) Verges split with the French Communist Party because of its reluctance to support Algerian independence. He became a Maoist of sorts in the early 1960’s, as well as a strong supporter of Cuba and the Tri-Continental Congress because the Cubans stressed the need for worldwide anti-colonial revolts.” (Idem.)

17. The Verges/Genoud relationship developed through the years and resulted in their mutual efforts on behalf of Arab terrorist organizations, the Palestinians in particular. “After the 1967 war Genoud and Verges would reunite to support the Arab struggle against Israel. On 18 February 1969, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) attacked an El Al plane on the tarmac of Zurich’s Kloten airport. When the trial of three of the PFLP militants began in November 1969 in Winterthur, Switzerland, both Genoud and Verges were in the courtroom serving as advisors to the defendants.” (Idem.)

18. “Genoud’s closest radical Arab friend was PFLP co-founder Dr. Waddi Haddad. A Greek Orthodox Christian, Haddad fled Palestine in 1948. He then studied medicine with his fellow Greek Orthodox colleague George Habash at the American University in Beirut. In the early 1950’s, Haddad and Habash founded the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), which published a small journal called Vengeance. Although their views were considered right-wing, they received encouragement from American diplomats for their opposition to the continued British and French colonial domination of the region. In 1955, when Egypt turned to the East Bloc, the ANM followed. By 1958 the group, which by now had established small branches in Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen, Syria, and other Arab nations, ws calling itself socialist and demanding a united Arab response against Israel. The ANM’s embrace of socialism eventually led to an internal factional struggle in which Haddad and Habash represented the right while Nayef Hawatmeh stood for the more ideologically orthodox left.” (Ibid.; pp. 586-587.)

19. “After the 1967 war the ANM was reorganized and became the PFLP. Now the group praised Mao, Lin Piao, Che Guevara, and the Tri-Continental Congress. Habash and Haddad declared themselves leftists and embraced the Vietnamese Revolution because of U.S. support for Israel. Hawatmeh’s more orthodox Marxist faction, however, believed their ‘left turn’ was inspired less by ideology than by opportunism, and split with the PFLP to become the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP).” (Ibid.; p. 587.)

20. “Waddi Haddad, who was far more a man of action than a theorist like Habash, took command of the PFLP’s overseas operations. He soon attracted support from a variety of allies including the Japanese Red Army, the Baader-Meinhof Group/Red Army Faction, the Irish National Liberation Army (an IRA splinter group), and individual volunteers like Ilich Sanchez Ramirez, better known as ‘Carlos the Jackal.’ Another PFLP volunteer was a young Swiss man named Bruno Breguet. On 23 June 1970 Breguet was arrested in Haifa, Israel, while on a PFLP bombing mission. After his arrest, Genoud organized a campaign for his release from prison. Although he had been sentenced to 15 years, Breguet was allowed to leave Israel in 1977. By the early 1980’s he was an important member of the Carlos network in Europe. As for Haddad, he adored the Swiss banker and dubbed him ‘Sheik Francois.’ After Haddad’s death from cancer in an East Berlin hospital on 27 March 1978, Genoud continued to maintain close ties with his terrorist network.” (Idem.)

21. “Genoud also worked with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in particular its ‘Black September’ terrorist network headed by Ali Hassan Salameh (the ‘Red Prince’), who was assassinated by the Israeli secret service on 22 November 1979. One of Genoud’s intermediaries to the PLO was Fouad el-Shemali, a former student leader with the Syrian National-Social Party that had been destroyed after a failed coup attempt in Lebanon. Genoud also developed excellent ties to Libya through his Egyptian friend Fathi el-Dib, who introduced him to Abdel Moumen el-Honi, the director of the Libyan secret service. He handled Libyan contributions to the PLO and helped mediate relations between the Libyans and the IRA through Jean (Yann) L’Hostellier, a Breton nationalist and former Waffen SS volunteer.” (Idem.)

22. “On 5 September 1972 Black September terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich. The head of Interpol at the time of the attack was Genoud’s old friend Paul Dickopf; Genoud had lobbied the secret services of the Middle East to support Dickopf’s bid to become Interpol president. Dickopf’s Interpol spokesman argued, the Arab-Israeli conflict was a political question and Interpol spokesman argued, the Arab-Israeli conflict was a political question and Interpol was an agency designed to handle criminal, not political, matters.” (Ibid.; p. 588.)

23. Verges disappeared mysteriously for a period of eight years. He only says (enigmatically) that he went “though the looking glass”, where he served an “apprenticeship.” (One should note that a mirror reverses right and left—an interesting point to consider as one reflects on the far-left orientation of Verges and the Nazi orientation of Genoud.) “The early 1970’s saw a series of terrorist attacks throughout Europe. Genoud’s friend Jacques Verges, however, was not involved in giving legal assistance to captured militants. One day in February 1970 he disappeared from Paris after announcing that he was going on a business trip to Spain. Then, just as mysteriously, he showed up on the streets of Paris eight years later, in the winter of 1978. Asked where he had been, he explained: ‘I stepped through the looking glass, where I served an apprenticeship.’” (Idem.)

24. Verges and Genoud renewed their collaboration in the early 1980’s, when they worked together in defense of far-left German terrorists, Carlos the Jackal and Klaus Barbie. “In the early 1980’s, Genoud and Verges returned to center-stage. On 16 February 1982 Genoud’s friend Bruno Breguet and a German woman named Magdalena Kopp were arrested in Paris after police discovered guns, hand grenades, and four kilos of explosives in their car. Kopp, it turned out, was a member of the German Revolutionary Cells created by Johannes Weinrich. She was also Carlos’s common-law wife. Verges took charge of their legal defense while Genoud paid the bills. Meanwhile, Carlos began writing threatening letters to French Interior Minister Gaston Defferre, while a series of bombs went off in different parts of the country.” (Idem.)

25. Verges represented Klaus Barbie—the Butcher of Lyons. (For more about Barbie, see—among other programs—RFA#’s 1, 3, 17, 19, 27—available from Spitfire.) “The Kopp-Breguet trial proved to be a warmup for another, even more spectacular Genoud and Verges operation—the legal defense of Klaus Barbie, a Nazi war criminal who had been extradited from Bolivia to France in 1982. While engaged in his Arab adventures, Genoud continued to maintain excellent relations with top Nazis like General Degrelle, General Wolff, and General Remer. He was also close to New European Order founder Guy Amaudruz, who ran the NEO’s main branch out of Lusanne, which happened to be Genoud’s hometown. Asked his opinion of Amaudruz, Genoud said that his ‘grande vertu, il est extremement fidele, courageux. C’est un saint.’ [His ‘great virtue, he is extremely loyal, courageous. He is a saint.’]” (Idem.)

26. Verges’ representation of Barbie is set forth: “Genoud and Verges used Barbie’s trial to condemn France for its crimes against Algeria. Although Barbie was easily convicted, many questions about him remained. During his time in Bolivia, Barbie regularly fed the CIA information on the left throughout Latin America, using a contact in Bolivia’s Interior Ministry. Yet Barbie and Hans-Ulrich Rudel, his partner in the weapons business, were believed to have had Cuban ties. Barbie was also reportedly involved in supplying weapons to the Italian ultra-leftist millionaire Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. It remains an open question whether Genoud helped Barbie simply out of abstract principle or because he himself had been a player in Barbie’s arms and intelligence operation.” (Idem.)

27. One should note that Genoud’s name comes up in connection with the events of 9/11 and the Al Taqwa milieu, and that Verges’ law partner Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, is the French counsel for Zaccharias Moussaoui—the accused “20th hijacker.” For more information about Genoud, 9/11 and Coutant-Peyre, use the search engine on the Spitfire website.


One comment for “FTR #453 Verges for the Defense”

  1. Believe it or not, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is back in business. Apparently, she will represent the country of Iran in a lawsuit against Hollywood and some producers and directors. Among many, the film Argo (featuring Ben Affleck)is cited, on the basis of ‘Iranophobia’,defamation, etc. Decidedly, that woman has some priorities in life…


    Stay well, Dave.

    Posted by Claude | March 13, 2013, 10:58 pm

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