Saturday, September 20, 2014

Switzerland: Destination for the Kennedy Assassins?

A question posed to Rolf was whether he thought, believed (or knew) whether any of the JFK assassins had fled to Switzerland, or entered the country at any time after Nov. 22, 1963.  Much speculation, for example, had already abounded that the assassins had received  Swiss bank account numbers in exchange for their dastardly deed and fled the U.S. – assisted by having received assorted false identity papers, passports.  None of this would be at all odd or strange, since whoever the architects of the Nov. 22, 1963  Kennedy assassination,  they’d  have ensured that the killers were remunerated enough so they wouldn’t talk or blow their covers. Also, they’d be ensconced a long way from the US of A.

Me (left) and Rolf discuss the assassination in St. Gallen.

Switzerland would be a natural choice of destination – if even temporary – given the hyper –confidentiality of Swiss bank accounts, the fact that numbers are the only identifiers, and the strict neutrality of the country. But as I noted in my Sept. 16th  post, that neutrality is really armed neutrality. The Swiss aren’t prepared to allow any manjacks to cross their borders without knowing who they are and where. It thus seemed natural to discuss the issue with Rolf,  a former Spezialdienst  in the 1960s, and familiar with the workings of Projekt 26 – which aim was to keep Swiss security foremost in mind.

 Basically, from what I could glean while we were discussing it in St. Gallen, at least two Kennedy assassins made their way into Switzerland: one the notorious “Oswald Double” and the other the hired assassin Jean Souetre aka “Michael Mertz”, the “badge man” assassin who fired from behind the stockade fence of the grassy knoll. Like the Germans I referenced from a visit to Garmisch-Partenkirchen last year, e.g.

Rolf was well aware of the details, also that SD records indicated Mertz and the Oswald Double (who he referred to as “Leon”) were in St. Gallen at least temporarily. Mertz entered Switzerland from the south around Nov. 26th, via Italy (“likely from Domodossala”) and “Leon” via Konstanz, Germany and a small unregistered craft over the Bodensee ca. Nov. 29th. Rolf suggested “Leon” had taken a train from Stuttgart to Konstanz. The pair arrived mainly to ensure the opening of their Swiss bank accounts and the necessary collection mechanisms.  Both used aliases, bogus passports, IDs. The bottom line is the SD was not fooled and knew all along the entrants were CIA-assisted “mechanics” with “high cover”.
Jean Souetre - The grassy knoll assassin - left Switzerland by 11/29/63

"Leon" (Rolf's name for him), left side - and the actual Oswald (right),  showing dissimilarities.

 Rolf was also familiar with the background history of “Leon”. He knew, for example, from James Douglass' account ('JFK and the Unspeakable') that U.S. Air Force Sgt. Robert Vinson was trying to return  to Colorado Springs on Nov. 22, 1963 and en route encountered the Oswald look-alike. (Vinson in his official account claimed to have taken a bus to Andrews AFB in Washington, DC, and got on a C-54 - the first available flight to the Springs, but was informed it was about to depart for Lowry AFB near Denver instead.)

Vinson’s official account included a diversion to Dallas and the Trinity River area - where  two men boarded just after 3:30 p.m. central time:  one a "Latino", 6' or 6'1" weighing 180-190 lbs. and wearing a mustache, the other 5'7" to 5'9" and Caucasian, 150-160 lbs.  Only later, i.e. when press photos materialized did Vinson realize the latter guy was the spitting image of Lee Harvey Oswald.  

 None of this astonished Rolf who also knew the SD (and its affiliate Projekt 26)  readily exploited what they called “doppelgangers” for assorted tasks. He theorized other clandestine services also did this and a “doppelganger” might have played a role in the April, 18, 1990 assassination of Herbert Alboth. (He even half-joked that an aged “Leon” might have had a hand in it,  perhaps as the price of remaining in Switzerland.)

I also found it useful to pick Rolf’s brain, as an expert marksman. He assured me that Oswald’s rifle could never have made the shots attributed to him on Nov. 22, 1963 and that the Warren Commission Report was little more than a “PR job” mainly done to “cover Johnson’s ass”. Like me, he is convinced LBJ had a hand in orchestrating the hit, clearly to protect himself as he faced certain prosecution in the Bobby Baker scandal. He also offered that it was “sad” that no U.S. investigation had come near to the truth but “How could they if an agency of the government itself was involved?”  

Could Mertz have made the kill shot from a building? I asked Rolf (right). Yes, he replied, but he would have demanded the sure kill shot, i.e. from the knoll.

How long were these assassins in Switzerland? Rolf opined that “Leon” hid in plain sight in St. Gallen “for many years”  albeit using a false identity. The Swiss left him alone to preserve neutral relations with the U.S. (they knew of the CIA Staff D assassinations project and the pair's involvement under William Harvey and the NSA). Also they had no idea whether “Leon” was one of the actual killers or only played the role of a double to divert attention and implicate Oswald. The SD leaned to the latter. As for Mertz, they were prepared to grab him from a hotel in Lugano on Nov. 29th but by then he’d fled the country. Rolf suspects he went to Croatia or Albania.  Rolf added that it was “well known” that Jean Souetre was a stone killer and the Swiss had no use for keeping such OAS trash within their borders.

 Did Mertz- Souetre  make the kill shot from a tall building?  Rolf assessed it and shook his head: “Nein”.   Instead he’d have wanted the sure shot with highest percentage of success: the kill shot – from the knoll. Not that he couldn’t have done it, Rolf assured me, it’s just that Souetre was more “a lone wolf”  and would have preferred to operate by himself. Rolf accepts Souetre likely made the kill shot while wearing a Dallas PD uniform – to “make the getaway much easier”.

Why would any of the assassins or mechanics want to stay in a place like St. Gallen? Rolf laughed: “A city! Easy to hide, to conceal oneself – also everyone coming here generally goes to the mountains, you know?”

Did he believe any of the assassins were still alive or living in Switzerland?

“Not likely. To close the wound after this many years it is better that all the remaining ones are killed – you know, permanent silence. And they’d be running out of money and that spells problems for those needing to preserve silence.   

Who’d take care of such a job? Rolf smiled and replied: “Can’t you guess?”

After this heavy discussion, deliberately done on the streets of St. Gallen and in English, we began our sojourn to the Abbey of St. Gallen Library and its hidden medieval treasures. The JFK assassination was now in the “rear view mirror” to use Rolf’s apt term. He added: “If and when you write about this in your blog, please kindly no last names – or close in facial photos!”


Mike said...

I'm usually not a "conspiracy theorist", but you make a lot of valid points here (as well as in your book on the subject).

Simply too many "coincidences" (FACTS) to overlook. If (the REAL) Oswald was the 'lone gunman', then I, single-handedly, killed OBL!

Excellent and informative post.

Copernicus said...

Thanks! I think another remark made by Rolf kind of says it all when he asked: "Cui bono?" or Who was it that benefited? Poor Oswald didn't, as he ended up in an unmarked grave - but all the REAL killers did - having been gifted Swiss bank accounts and the freedom (relatively) to go wherever they wished.

Rolf's point was that only the ones that truly benefited really had a role in the assassination. Oswald was just what he professed to be, a "patsy".

Another note: Rolf pointed out a lot of mid-cost 'dumps' in St. Gallen where the double could have lived untroubled, with no questions. Just learning a bit of German would have enabled him to blend in and become 'invisible'.

Glad you liked the book, btw!

Copernicus said...

Oh another point Rolf made, well to bear in mind:

"It's not a conspiracy theory if it's the truth."