No Credit Check Payday Loans



JoomlaWatch Agent

Visitors hit counter, stats, email report, location on a map, SEO for Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento and Prestashop

JoomlaWatch Users

JoomlaWatch Visitors

54% United States  United States
11.3% United Kingdom  United Kingdom
5.9% Australia  Australia
5.6% Canada  Canada
3.3% Philippines  Philippines
2.2% Kuwait  Kuwait
2.1% India  India
1.6% Germany  Germany
1.5% Netherlands  Netherlands
1.1% France  France

Today: 198
Yesterday: 310
This Week: 1561
Last Week: 2303
This Month: 5373
Last Month: 5638
Total: 24138

2. Marseille: America's Heroin Laboratory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alfred Mccoy   
Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00

2. Marseille: America's Heroin Laboratory

FOR MOST Americans, Marseille means only heroin, but for the French this bustling Mediterranean port represents the best and the worst of their national traditions. Marseille has been the crossroads of France's empire, a stronghold of its labor movement, and the capital of its underworld. Through its port have swarmed citizens on their way to colonial outposts, notably in North Africa and Indochina, and "natives" permanently or temporarily immigrating to the mother country. Marseille has long had a tradition of working class militancy-it was a group of citizens from Marseille who marched to Paris during the French Revolution singing the song that later became France's national anthem, La Marseillaise. The city later became a stronghold of the French Communist party, and was the hard core of the violent general strikes that racked France in the late 1940s. And since the turn of the century Marseille has been depicted in French novels, pulp magazines, and newspapers as a city crowded with gunmen and desperadoes of every description-a veritable "Chicago" of France.

Traditionally, these gunmen and desperadoes are not properly French by language or culture-they are Corsican. Unlike the gangsters in most other French cities, who are highly individualistic and operate in small, ad hoc bands, Marseille's criminals belong to tightly structured clans, all of which recognize a common hierarchy of power and prestige. This cohesiveness on the part of the Corsican syndicates has made them an ideal counterweight to the city's powerful Communist labor unions.

Almost inevitably, all the foreign powers and corrupt politicians who have ruled Marseille for the last forty years have allied themselves with the Corsican syndicates: French Fascists used them to battle Communist demonstrators in the 1930s; the Nazi Gestapo used them to spy on the Communist underground during World War II; and the CIA paid them to break Communist strikes in 1947 and 1950. The last of these alliances proved the most significant, since it put the Corsicans in a powerful enough position to establish Marseille as the postwar heroin capital of the Western world and to cement a long-term partnership with Mafia drug distributors.

The Corsicans had always cooperated well with the Sicilians, for there are striking similarities of culture and tradition between the two groups. Separated by only three hundred miles of blue Mediterranean water, both Sicily and Corsica are arid, mountainous islands lying off the west coast of the Italian peninsula. Although Corsica has been a French province since the late 1700s, its people have been strongly influenced by Italian Catholic culture. Corsicans and Sicilians share a fierce pride in family and village that has given both islands a long history of armed resistance to foreign invaders and a heritage of bloody family vendettas. And their common poverty has resulted in the emigration of their most ambitious sons. Just as Sicily has sent her young men to America and the industrial metropolises of northern Italy, so Corsica sent hers to French Indochina and the port city of Marseille. After generations of migration, Corsicans account for over 10 percent of Marseille's population.

Despite all of the strong similarities between Corsican and Sicilian society, Marseille's Corsican gangsters do not belong to any monolithic "Corsican Mafia." In their pursuit of crime and profit, the Mafia and the Corsican syndicates have adopted different styles, different techniques. The Mafia, both in Sicily and the United States, is organized and operated like a plundering army. While "the Grand Council" or "the Commission" maps strategy on the national level, each regional "family" has a strict hierarchy with a "boss", "underboss," "lieutenants," and "soldiers." Rivals are eliminated through brute force, "territory" is assigned to each boss, and legions of mafiosi use every conceivable racket-prostitution, gambling, narcotics, protection-to milk the population dry. Over the last century the Mafia had devoted most of its energies to occupying and exploiting western Sicily and urban America.

In contrast, Corsican racketeers have formed smaller, more sophisticated criminal syndicates. The Corsican underworld lacks the Ma a's formal organization, although it does have a strong sense of corporate identity and almost invariably imposes a death sentence on those who divulge information to outsiders. A man who is accepted as an ordinary gangster by the Corsicans "is in the milieu," while a respected syndicate boss is known as un vrai Monsieur. The biggest of them all are known as paceri, or "peacemakers," since they can impose discipline on the members of all syndicates and mediate vendettas. While mafiosi usually lack refined criminal skills, the Corsicans are specialists in heroin manufacturing, sophisticated international smuggling, art thefts, and counterfeiting. Rather than restricting themselves to Marseille or Corsica, Corsican gangsters have migrated to Indochina, North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Canada, and the South Pacific. In spite of the enormous distances that separate them, Corsican racketeers keep in touch, cooperating smoothly and efficiently in complex intercontinental smuggling operations, which have stymied the efforts of law enforcement authorities for a quarter century.(1)

Cooperation between Corsican smugglers and Mafia drug distributors inside the United States has been the major reason why the Mafia has been able to circumvent every effort U.S. officials have made at reducing the flow of heroin into the United States since the end of World War It. When Italy responded to U.S. pressure by reducing its legal pharmaceutical heroin production in 1950-1951, the Corsicans opened clandestine laboratories in Marseille. When U.S. customs tightened up baggage checks along the eastern seaboard, the Corsicans originated new routes through Latin America. When Turkey began to phase out opium production in 1968, Corsican syndicates in Indochina developed new supplies of morphine and heroin.

Marseille is the hub of the Corsicans' international network. During the First Indochina War (1946-1954), Corsican syndicates made a fortune in illegal currency manipulations by smuggling gold bullion and paper currency between Saigon and Marseille. In the 1950s Corsican gangsters supplied a booming black market in "tax-free" cigarettes by smuggling American brands into Marseille from North Africa. Corsican heroin laboratories are located in Marseille's downtown tenements or in luxurious villas scattered through the surrounding countryside. Most of the laboratories' morphine base supplies are smuggled into the port of Marseille from Turkey or Indochina. Marseille is the key to the Corsican underworld's success, and the growth of its international smuggling operations has been linked to its political fortunes in Marseille. For, from the time of their emergence in the 1920s right down to the present day, Marseille's Corsican syndicates have been molded by the dynamics of French politics.


The first link between the Corsicans and the political world came about with the emergence in the 1920s of Marseille's first "modern" gangsters, Francois Spirito and Paul Bonnaventure Carbone (the jolly heroes of 1970's popular French film, Borsalino). Until their rise to prominence, the milieu was populated by a number of colorful pimps and gunmen whose ideal was a steady income that ensured them a life of leisure. The most stable form of investment was usually two or three prostitutes, and none of the gangsters of this premodern age ever demonstrated any higher aspirations Carbone and Spirito changed all that. They were the closest of friends, and their twenty year partnership permanently transformed the character of the Marseille milieu.(2)

This enterprising team's first major venture was the establishment of a French-staffed brothel in Cairo in the late 1920s. They repeated and expanded their success upon their return to Marseille, where they proceeded to organize prostitution on a scale previously unknown. But more significantly, they recognized the importance of political power in protecting large-scale criminal ventures and its potential for providing a source of income through municipal graft.

In 1931 Carbone and Spirito reached an "understanding" with Simon Sabiani, Marseille's Fascist deputy mayor, who proceeded to appoint Carbone's brother director of the municipal stadium and open municipal employment to associates of the two underworld leaders.(3) In return for these favors, Carbone and Spirito organized an elite corps of gangsters that spearheaded violent Fascist street demonstrations during the depression years of the 1930s. All across Europe fascism was gaining strength: Mussolini ruled Italy, Hitler was coming to power in Germany, and emerging French Fascist groups were trying to topple the republic through mass violence. Communist and Socialist demonstrators repeatedly rushed to the defense of the republic, producing a series of bloody confrontations throughout France.(4) In Marseille Carbone and Spirito were the vanguard of the right wing. In February 1934, for example, several days after an inflammatory speech by a Fascist army general, massive street demonstrations erupted on the Canebiere, Marseille's main boulevard. The thousands of leftist dock workers and union members who took to the streets dominated this political confrontation until Carbone and Spirito's political shock force fired on the crowd with pistols. The national police intervened, the workers were driven from the streets, and the wounded were carted off to the hospital. (5)

After four years of battling Sabiani's underworld allies in the streets, the left settled its political differences long enough to mount a unified electoral effort that defeated Sabiani and placed a Socialist mayor in office.(6) Although the leftist electoral victory temporarily eclipsed the Fascist-Corsican alliance, the rise of fascism had politicized the Marseille underworld and marked its emergence as a major force in city politics.

To those schooled in the Anglo-American political tradition, it might seem strange that the underworld should play such a critical role in Marseille politics. However, in France the street demonstration has always been as important as the ballot box in influencing the course of politics. From the downfall of King Louis Philippe in 1848, to the Dreyfus scandal of the 1890s right down to the May revolution of 1968, the ability to mass muscle A the boulevards has been a necessary political asset.

Although they had lost control of the municipal government, Carbone and Spirito's economic strength hardly declined. The emergence of organized narcotics trafficking in the United States provided Carbone with the opportunity to open a heroin laboratory in the early 1930s, while the outbreak of the Spanish civil war enabled him to engage in the arms traffic.(7) Carbone and Spirito found their political influence restored, however, in 1940, when German troops occupied Marseille after France's precipitous military collapse. Faced with one of the more active resistance movements in France, the Nazi Gestapo unit assigned to Marseille became desperate for informants and turned to the most prestigious figures in the underworld, who were only too willing to collaborate.

On July 14, 1942, the Resistance showed its strength for the first time by machine-gunning the headquarters of a pro-German political organization in downtown Marseille (the PPF, whose regional director was the Fascist ex-Mayor Simon Sabiani). The following afternoon Carbone and Spirito handed the Gestapo a complete list of all those involved. For these and other invaluable services, they were lavishly rewarded. This prosperity was short lived, however, for in 1943 Carbone was killed en route to Marseille when his train was blown up by the Resistance,(8) and following the Normandy landing in 1944 Spirito fled to Spain with Sabiani.

In 1947 Spirito came to the United States where he enjoyed an active role in the New York-Marseille heroin traffic. However, he was arrested in New York three years later on a heroin smuggling charge and sentenced to two years in Atlanta Federal Prison.(9) Upon his release he returned to France, where he was arrested and tried for wartime collaboration with the Nazis; however, after only eight months in prison be retired to manage a restaurant on the French Riviera. While he remained active in the heroin business, Spirito no longer wielded much power in Marseille. Occasionally, warring gangs in Marseille would ask him to use his prestige to mediate their bloody vendettas. But mostly he played bocce on the sand and enjoyed his position as a respectable citizen of Toulon until his death in 1967.(10)

From Underworld to Underground

But a significant enough element of the Corsican underworld sided secretly with the Resistance to ensure the consolidation of some sort of power base for the milieu at the end of World War 11. Their patriotic activities set the scene for the emergence of a new generation of criminal leaders-the Guerini brothers.

For while Carbone and Spirito were happy enough to help themselves by helping the Germans, most Corsicans, both in Marseille and on the island itself, were bitterly opposed to the German occupation. It was increasingly apparent that the island would be annexed by the Third Reich's ally, Italy-something totally abhorrent to most Corsicans, who felt that their unique language would become just another Italian dialect and their sense of cultural identity would be in jeopardy as well.

In 1940 a group of Corsican Resistance fighters issued a statement concerning the possibility of Italian annexation.

Corsica will never accept being handed over to Italy. Since 1789, she has embraced France. She has given France Napoleon. In the course of the Great War, 40,000 Corsicans died on the field of battle in north eastern France ....

An Italian Corsica? What a monstrosity! If this crime were ever committed, history would have to reserve some bloody pages for the fight to the death a small people of 300,000 would wage against a powerful nation of 45 million inhabitants. (11)

In Corsica itself, this strong anti-Italian chauvinism mobilized the most effective resistance movement in all of France, and the island's mass uprising in 1943 is unparalleled in the annals of the Resistance.(12)

The Resistance in France itself was hopelessly divided between the Communists and non-Communists. Although wartime American propaganda films and postwar French cinema have projected an image of France as a nation in chains with every other citizen a nighttime warrior, most Frenchmen collaborated with the Germans willingly enough, and were indifferent, if not outright hostile, toward the Resistance.

In contrast, the Communist party, with its strong anti-Fascist ideology and disciplined cell structure, began resistance activities almost immediately, and remained the only effective armed organization in France until the 1944 Allied landings in Normandy. But despite their alliance with the Soviet Union, America and Britain refused to work directly with French Communist guerrillas, and throughout most of the war never knowingly parachuted them arms or supplies.(13) As a result of this policy, the French Resistance remained deeply factionalized for most of the war and never amounted to anything more than a minor nuisance for the German occupation army.

The situation in Marseille was typical. Generally, the movement was divided between the Communist party's FTP (Franc-Tireurs et Partisans), with 1,700 to 2,000 men, and a non-Communist coalition group, the MUR (Mouvements Unis de Resistance), with fewer than 800 men. Among the MUR's most important components was Marseille's Socialist party (whose leader was Gaston Defferre, also head of an Allied intelligence network). (14) Both the MUR and FTP recognized the need for unity. But the persistence of rather unheroic squabblings, mainly over MUR's adherence to the Allied Command's policy of denying arms to the Communist FTP, prevented any meaningful cooperation.(15) The Communists and non-Communists finally managed to form a unified resistance army (Forces Francaises de l'Interieur) in February 1944, but for most of the war they had remained at odds.(16)

As a result of their anti-Communist activities in Marseille's politics before the war, few of the resistance-minded Corsicans were accepted into the Communist underground. However, several of Marseille's Corsican syndicates became the backbone of the non-Communist underground, which was gravely lacking in the necessary experience to carry out effective resistance work. For instance, within a month after its formation in March 1943, MUR was virtually decimated when one of its officers was captured by the Gestapo and informed on many of its members.(17) But with their law of silence and their experience in secret criminal operations, the Corsicans easily adapted to the world of espionage and urban guerrilla warfare.

The most famous of these gangster Resistance heroes were the Guerini brothers. Antoine Guerini, a former triggerman for Carbone and Spirito, worked as an agent for Anglo-American intelligence. When English intelligence officers were parachuted into the Marseille area to make contact with MUR, they were hidden in the cellars of nightclubs belonging to Antoine. Antoine was also responsible for smuggling arms into the city for the MUR after they had been parachuted from British aircraft. During the twelve-day battle for the liberation of Marseille in August 1944, Antoine's younger brother, Barthelemy, rendered invaluable services to Gaston Defferre's Socialist militia (by supplying intelligence, arms, and men) and was later awarded the Legion of Honor for his wartime exploits.(18)

Political Bedfellows: 'The Socialist Party, the Guerinis, and the CIA

Although the Corsican underworld's wartime alliances were to have important consequences for the postwar heroin traffic and laid the foundation for Marseille's future criminal dynasty, the end of the German occupation generally meant hard times for the Marseille milieu. For over twenty years Carbone and Spirito had dominated the underworld, pioneering new forms of criminal activity, providing leadership and discipline, and most importantly, political alliances. Now they were gone, and none of the surviving syndicate bosses had as yet acquired the power or privilege to take on their mantle.

To add to its problems, the milieu's traditional enemies, the Communist and Socialist parties, remained firmly allied until mid 1946, thus denying a conservative-underworld alliance any chance of acquiring political power. In the first municipal elections of April 1945, a leftwing coalition swept Socialist party leader Gaston Defferre into the mayor's office. Splitting with the Socialists in 1946, the Communist party mounted a successful independent effort- and elected its candidate mayor in November. (19)

Moreover, a new police unit, the CRS (Compagnies Republicaines de Securite) had become the bane of the Marseille underworld. Formed during the liberation struggles of August 1944, when most of the municipal police force (who had been notorious collaborators) disappeared, (20) the CRS was assigned the task of restoring public order, tracking down collaborators, restricting smuggling, and curbing black market activities. A high percentage of its officers was recruited from the Communist Resistance movement, and they performed their duties much too effectively for the comfort of the milieu.(21)

But the beginning of the milieu's rise to power was not long in coming.

In the fall of 1947 a month of bloody street fighting, electoral reverses, and the clandestine intervention of the CIA toppled the Communist party from power and brought about a permanent realignment of political power in Marseille. When the strikes and rioting finally came to an end, the Socialists had severed their contacts with the Communists, a Socialist-underworld alliance was in control of Marseille politics, and the Guerini brothers had emerged as the unchallenged "peacemakers" of the Marseille milieu. For the next twenty years their word would be law in the Marseille underworld.

The confrontation began innocently enough with the municipal elections of October 19 and 26, 1947. On the national level, Gen. Charles de Gaulle's new antiCommunist party (Rassemblement du Peuple Francais, RPF) scored substantial electoral successes throughout France. In Marseille, the revitalized Conservatives won enough seats on the municipal council to unseat the Communist mayor and elect a Conservative, Michel Carlini. One of Mayor Carlini's first official acts was to raise the municipal tram fares: a seemingly uncontroversial move entirely justified by growing fiscal deficits. However, this edict had unforeseen consequences.

More than two years after the end of the war, Marseille was still digging itself out from the rubble left by the Allied bombing. Unemployment was high, wages were low; the black market was king, and a severe shortage of the most basic commodities lent an air of desperation to morning shoppers. (22) The tramways were the city's lifeline, and the increased fare pinched pocketbooks and provoked bitter outrage. The Communist-Socialist labor coalition (Confederation Generale du Travail, CGT) responded with a militant boycott of the tramways. Any motorman daring to take a tram into the streets was met with barricades and a shower of rocks from the angry populace. (23)

Marseille's working class was not alone in its misery, Across the length and breadth of France, blue-collar workers were suffering through the hard times of a painful postwar economic recovery, Workers were putting in long hours, boosting production and being paid little for their efforts. Prodded by their American advisers, successive French cabinets held down wages in order to speed economic recovery. By 1947 industrial production was practically restored to its prewar level, but the average Parisian skilled worker was earning only 65 percent of what he had made during the depths of the depression. (24) He was literally hungry as well: food prices had skyrocketed, and the average worker was eating 18 percent less than he had in 1938, And even though their wages could barely cover their food expenditures, workers were forced to shoulder the bulk of the national tax burden. The tax system was so inequitable that the prestigious Parisian daily Le Monde labeled it "more iniquitous than that which provoked the French Revolution.(25)

In Marseille, throughout early November, ugly incidents heated political tensions in the wake of the tramways boycott, culminating in the escalating violence of November 12. That fateful day began with a demonstration of angry workers in the morning, saw a beating of Communist councilors at the city council meeting in the afternoon, and ended with a murder in the early evening. (26) Early that morning, several thousand workers had gathered in front of the courthouse to demand the release of four young sheet metal workers who had been arrested for attacking a tram. As the police led two of them toward the hall for their trial, the crowd rushed the officers and the men escaped. Emboldened by their initial success, the crowd continued to try to break through police cordons for several hours, demanding that the charges against the workmen be dropped. Responding to the determined mood of the crowd, the court was hastily convened, and at about four in the afternoon the charges were reduced to the equivalent of a misdemeanor. The demonstrators were just preparing to disband when an unknown worker arrived to announce, "Everybody to City Hall. They are beating our comrades. (27)

The assault had occurred in the course of a regular meeting of the municipal council, when Communist councilors raised the issue of the tramway fares. The discussions became overly heated, and some of the mayor's well-muscled supporters (members of the Guerini gang) rushed forward and administered a severe beating to the Communist councilors.(28) Word of the beatings spread quickly through Marseille, and within an hour forty thousand demonstrators had gathered in front of City Hal 1. (29) The handful of police present were only able to bring the situation under control when Communist ex-Mayor Jean Cristofol calmed the crowd. Within thirty minutes it had dispersed, and by 6:30 P.m. all was quiet.

While most of the demonstrators went home, a contingent of young workers rushed back across the waterfront and charged into the narrow streets around the opera house. Crowded with nightclubs and brothels, the area was commonly identified as the headquarters of the underworld. It was generally believed that the black market was controlled from these clubs, and they were deemed a just target for working class anger. As the crowd roamed through the streets breaking windows, Antoine and Barthelemy Guarani fired guns into the crowd, wounding several of the demonstrators. Later that evening a young sheet metal worker died of his wounds.(30)

The next morning banner headlines in the Communist newspaper, La' Marseillaise, read, CARLINI AND DE VERNEJOUL REINSTATE SABIANI'S METHODS IN THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF MARSEILLE. The paper reported that an investigation had disclosed it was Guerini men who had attacked the municipal councilors.(31) This charge was not seriously rebutted in the Socialist paper, Le Provencal, or the Gaullist Meridional In a court hearing on November 16, two police officers testified seeing the Guerinis shooting into the crowd. At the same hearing one of the younger Guerini brothers admitted that Antoine and Barthelemy had been in the area at the time of the shooting. But four days later the police mysteriously retracted their testimony, and on December 10 all charges against the Guerinis were dropped.(32) The morning after the shooting, November 13, the local labor confederation called a general strike, and the city came to a standstill.

The strike was universal throughout France. Marseille workers had reached the breaking point at about the same time as their comrades in the rest of France. Spontaneous wildcat strikes erupted in factories, mines, and railway yards throughout the country.(33) As militant workers took to the streets, demonstrating for fair wages and lower prices, the Communist party leadership was reluctantly forced to take action. On November 14, the day after Marseille's unions went on strike, the leftist labor confederation, CGT, called for a nationwide general strike.

Contrary to what one might-expect, French Communist leaders of this era were hardly wild-eyed revolutionaries. For the most part they were conservative middle-aged men who had served their nation well during the wartime resistance and now wanted, above all else, to take part in the governance of their country. Their skillful leadership of the wartime resistance had earned them the respect of the working class, and thanks to their efforts French unionists had accepted low postwar wages and abstained from strikes in 1945 and 1946. However, their repeated support for Draconian government austerity measures began to cost them votes in union elections, and in mid 1946 one U.S. State Department analyst reported that Communist leaders "could no longer hold back the discontent of the rank and file." (34) When wildcat strikes and demonstrations erupted in mid-November 1947, the Communist party was forced to support them or forfeit its leadership of the working class. At best its support was halfhearted. But by late November, 3 million workers were out on strike and the French economy was almost paralyzed.

Ignoring their own analysts, U.S. foreign policy planners interpreted the 1947 strike as a political ploy on the part of the Communist party and "feared" that it was a prelude to a "takeover of the government." (35) The reason for this blindness was simple: by mid 1947 the cold war had frozen over and all political events were seen in terms of "the world wide ideological clash between Eastern Communism and Western Democracy." Apprehensive over Soviet gains in the eastern Mediterranean, and the growth of Communist parties in western Europe, the Truman administration drew up the multibillion-dollar European Recovery Plan in May (known popularly as the Marshall Plan) and established the CIA in September.(36) Determined to save France from an imminent Communist coup, the CIA moved in to help break up the strike, choosing the Socialist party as its nightstick.

On the surface it may have seemed a bit out of character for the CIA to be backing anything so far left as a Socialist party. However, there were only three major political parties in France-Socialist, Communist, and Gaullist-and by a simple process of elimination the CIA wound up bedding down with the Socialists. While General de Gaulle was far too independent for American tastes, Socialist leaders were rapidly losing political ground to the Communists and were only too willing to collaborate with the CIA.

Writing in the Saturday Evening Post in 1967, the former director of the CIA's international organizations division, Thomas W. Braden, explained the Agency's strategy of using leftists to fight leftists:

It was personified by Jay Lovestone, assistant to David Dubinsky in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Once Chief of the Communist Party in the United States, Lovestone had an enormous grasp of foreign-intelligence operations. In 1947 the Communist Confederation Generale du Travail led a strike in Paris which came very close to paralyzing the French economy. A takeover of the government was feared.

Into this crisis stepped Lovestone and his assistant, Irving Brown. With funds from Dubinsky's union, they organized Force Ouvriere, a non-Communist union. When they ran Out of money they appealed to the CIA. Thus began the secret subsidy of free trade unions which soon spread to Italy. Without that Subsidy, postwar history might have gone very differently.(37)

Shortly after the general strike began, the Socialist faction split off from the CGT (Confederation Generale du Travail) and formed a separate union, Force Ouvriere, with CIA funds. CIA payments on the order of $1 million a year guaranteed the Socialist party a strong electoral base in the labor movement,(38) and gave its leaders the political strength to lead the attack on striking workers. While Marseille Socialist leader Gaston Defferre called for an anti-Communist crusade from the floor of the National Assembly and in the columns of Le Provencal, (39) Socialist Minister of the Interior Jules Moch directed brutal police actions against striking workers.(40) With the advice and cooperation of the U.S. military attache in Paris, Moch requested the call-up of 80,000 reservists and mobilized 200,000 troops to battle the strikers. Faced with this overwhelming force, the CGT called off the strike on December 9, after less than a month on the picket lines.(41)

The bloodiest battleground of the general strike had not been in Paris, as Braden indicates, but in Marseille. Victory in Marseille was essential for U.S. foreign policy for a number of reasons. As one of the most important international ports in France, Marseille was a vital beachhead for Marshall Plan exports to Europe. Continued Communist control of its docks would threaten the efficiency of the Marshall Plan and any future aid programs. As the second largest city in France, continued Communist domination of the Marseille electorate would increase the chance that the Communist party might win enough votes to form a national government. (The Communist party already controlled 28 percent of the vote and was the largest party in France.)

The growing split between Marseille's Communist and Socialist parties and Defferre's willingness to serve American interests had already been revealed in National Assembly debates over the bloody incidents on November 12 in Marseille. Instead of criticizing the Guerinis for beating the municipal councilors and murdering the sheet metal worker, Socialist leader Gaston Defferre chose to attack the Communists.

The American and English flags which were hanging from city hall were slashed by Communist hordes.... We have proof of what the Communists are capable: I trust that the government will take note of the consequences.

The Socialist Party deplores these incidents, but it will not tolerate that those who try to pass here as representatives will be able to defy the law. (42)

Several days later Communist deputy Jean Cristofol rebutted Defferre's accusations, charging that the Guerinis' gangsters were in the employ of both Gaullist and Socialist parties in Marseille. When Defferre rose to deny even knowing M. Guerini, another Communist deputy reminded him that a Guerini cousin was the editor of Defferre's newspaper, Le Provencal Then Cristofol took over to reveal some disturbing signs of the Marseille milieu's revival: underworld collaborators were being paroled from prison and government officials were allowing milieu nightclubs to reopen, among them the Guerinis' Parakeet Club. (The clubs had been closed in June 1947 by order of Cristofol himself, then town mayor.)(43)

The Socialists' first step in breaking Marseille's strike was purging suspected Communist supporters from the CRS police units. Once this was accomplished these units could easily be ordered to use violent tactics against the striking workers. Thus, although official reports had nothing but praise for the cool professionalism of these officers (44) Socialist Mayor Gaston Defferre unjustly accused them of having sided with the demonstrators during the rioting of November 12.(45) After Socialist cadres drew up a list of suspected CRS Communists, Mayor Defferre passed it along to Socialist Minister Jules Moch, who ordered the blacklisted officers fired. (46) (This action by the Socialists was certainly appreciated by the hard-pressed Corsican syndicates as well. In sharp contrast to the regular police, CRS units had been cracking down on the milieu's smuggling and black market activities.) (47) Once these Communist officers had been purged, CRS units started attacking picket lines with unrestrained violence.(48)

But it would take more than ordinary police repression to break the determination of Marseille's eighty thousand striking workers. If the U.S. was to have its victory in Marseille it would have to fight for it. And the CIA proceeded to do just that,

Through their contacts with the Socialist party, the CIA had sent agents and a psychological warfare team to Marseille, where they dealt directly with Corsican syndicate leaders through the Guerini brothers. The CIA's operatives supplied arms and money to Corsican gangs for assaults on Communist picket lines and harassment of the important union officials. During the month-long strike the CIA's gangsters and the purged CRS police units murdered a number of striking workers and mauled the picket lines. Finally, the CIA psychological warfare team prepared pamphlets, radio broadcasts, and posters aimed at discouraging workers from continuing the strike. (49) Some of the psy-war team's maneuvers were inspired: at one point the American government threatened to ship sixty-five thousand sacks of flour meant for the hungry city back to the United States unless the dockers unloaded them immediately. (50) The pressure of violence and hunger was too great, and on December 9 Marseille's workers abandoned the strike, along with their fellow workers in the rest of France. There were some ironic finishing touches. On Christmas Eve of 1947, eighty-seven boxcars arrived at the Marseille train station carrying flour, milk, sugar, and fruit as "gifts from the American people" amidst the cheers of hundreds of schoolchildren waving tiny American flags.(51)

The Guerinis gained enough power and status from their role in smashing the 1947 strike to emerge as the new leaders of the Corsican underworld. But while the CIA was instrumental in restoring the Corsican underworld's political power, it was not until the 1950 dock strike that the Guerinis gained enough power to take control of the Marseille waterfront. This combination of political influence and control of the docks created the perfect environmental conditions for the growth of Marseille's heroin laboratoriesfortuitously at exactly the same time that Mafia boss Lucky Luciano was seeking an alternate source of heroin supply.

The same austere economic conditions that had sparked the 1947 strike also produced the 1950 shutdown. Conditions for the workers had not improved in the intervening three years and, if anything, had grown worse. Marseille, with its tradition of working class militancy, had even more reason for striking. Marseille was France's "Gateway to the Orient," through which material (particularly American munitions and supplies) was transported to the French Expeditionary Corps fighting in Indochina. The Indochina War was about as unpopular with the French people then as the Vietnam War is with so many of the American people today. And Ho Chi Minh had helped to found the French Communist party and was a popular hero in France among the leftist working class members, especially in Marseille with its many resident Indochinese. (52) In January, Marseille dock workers began a selective boycott of those freighters carrying supplies to the war zone. And on February 3 the CGT convened a meeting of Marseille dock workers at which a declaration was issued demanding "the return of the Expeditionary Corps from Indochina to put an end to the war in Vietnam," and urging "all unions to launch the most effective actions possible against the war in Vietnam." The movement of arms shipments to Indochina was "paralyzed." (53) Although the Atlantic ports joined in the embargo in early February, they were not as effective or as important as the Marseille strike. (54) By mid February, the shutdown had spread to the metal industries,(55) the mines, and the railways. But most of the strikes were halfhearted. On February 18 the Paris newspaper Combat reported that

Marseille was once again the hard core; 70 percent of Marseille's workers supported the strike compared to only 2 percent in Bordeaux, 20 percent in Toulouse, and 20 percent in Nice. (56) Once more Marseille's working class militancy called for special methods, and the CIA's Thomas Braden later recalled how he dealt with the problem.

"On the desk in front of me as I write these lines is a creased and faded yellow paper. It bears the following inscription in pencil:

"Received from Warren G. Haskins, $15,000 (signed) Norris A. Grambo."

I went in search of this paper on the day the newspapers disclosed the "scandal" of the Central Intelligence Agency's connections with American students and labor leaders. It was a wistful search, and when it ended, I found myself feeling sad.

For I was Warren G. Haskins. Norris A. Grambo was Irving Brown, of the American Federation of Labor. The $15,000 was from the vaults of the CIA, and the yellow paper is the last memento I possess of a vast and secret operation....

It was my idea to give $15,000 to Irving Brown. He needed it to pay off his strong-arm squads in the Mediterranean ports, so that American supplies could be unloaded against the opposition of Communist dock workers." (57)

With the CIA's financial backing, Brown used his contacts with the underworld and a "rugged, fiery Corsican" named Pierre Ferri-Pisani to recruit an elite criminal terror squad to work the docks. Surrounded by his gangster hirelings, Ferri-Pisani stormed into local Communist headquarters and threatened to make the party's leadership "pay personally" for the continuing boycott. And, as Time magazine noted with great satisfaction, "The first Communist who tried to fire Ferri-Pisani's men was chucked into the harbor." (58)

In addition, the Guerinis' gangsters were assigned the job of pummeling Communist picket lines to allow troops and scabs onto the docks, where they could begin loading munitions and supplies. By March 13 government officials were able to announce that, despite a continuing boycott by Communist workers, 900 dockers and supplementary troops had restored normal operations on the Marseille waterfront.(59) Although sporadic boycotts continued until mid April, Marseille was now subdued and the strike was essentially over. (60)

But there were unforeseen consequences of these cold war "victories." In supplying the Corsican syndicates with money and support, the CIA broke the last barrier to unrestricted Corsican smuggling operations in Marseille. When control over the docks was compounded with the political influence the milieu gained with CIA assistance in 1947, conditions were ideal for Marseille's growth as America's heroin laboratory. The French police later reported that Marseille's first heroin laboratories were opened in 1951, only months after the milieu took over the waterfront.

Gaston Defferre and the Socialist party also emerged victorious after the 1947 and 1950 strikes weakened the local Communist party. From 1953 until the present, Defferre and the Socialists have enjoyed an unbroken political reign over the Marseille municipal government. The Guerinis seem to have maintained a relationship with Marseille's Socialists. Members of the Guerini organization acted as bodyguards and campaign workers for local Socialist candidates until the family's downfall in 1967.

The control of the Guerini brothers over Marseille's heroin industry was so complete that for nearly twenty years they were able to impose an absolute ban on drug peddling inside France at the same time they were exporting vast quantities of heroin to the United States. With their decline in power, due mostly to their unsuccessful vendetta with Marcel Francisci in the mid sixties, their embargo on domestic drug trafficking became unenforceable, and.. France developed a drug problem of her own. (61)

The Guerini-Francisci Vendetta

From its very beginning, postwar heroin production in Marseille had been so dominated by the Guerinis, and their operations were so extensive, that some of their subordinates, such as Dominique and Jean Venturi, earned independent reputations as major traffickers.

Their only serious rival was Marcel Francisci, the owner of a lucrative international gambling syndicate. Described by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics as a long-time "understudy" to Spirito and "an important figure Francisci is also a veteran of the wartime in the French underworld," (62) resistance and was awarded four medals for his wartime heroics."(63) Although they coexisted happily enough throughout the 1950s, when the Guerinis clearly had the upper hand, Francisci's growing influence in the 1960s produced serious tensions. Competition over control of some casino interests provided the spark. A silent war began in 1965 that continued for three years with little more than extended obituary notices in the French press. In the end the Guerinis were decisively defeated-with Antoine himself one of the murdered victims. (64) On June 23, 1967, two assassins pumped eleven bullets into Antoine Guerini in a Marseille gas station. (65) Antoine's murder marked the beginning of the end for the Guerini dynasty, and Barthelemy's downfall was not long in coming.

During Antoine's funeral at Calenzana, Corsica, on July 4, two Marseille burglars took advantage of the absence of the family retainers to break into Antoine's villa and steal family jewelry worth thousands of dollars. (66) Unless Barthelemy acted quickly to avenge his brother's death and catch the burglars, the blow to his prestige would utterly destroy his authority over the milieu. Barthelemy's rage did not go unnoticed, and on July 10 one of the burglars, Jean Paul Mandroyan, returned the jewels, while the other thief fled to Spain. On July 22 the police found Mandroyan shot dead-and a witness reported that he had seen Barthelemy forcing Mandroyan into his Mercedes just before the young burglar's murder. On August 4 police entered the Guerinis' Club Mediterranee and arrested Barthelemy and his five bodyguards. All six were armed. (67)

Barthelemy's trial began on schedule January 5, 1970, but from the beginning the prosecution suffered reverses. In his distinguished black suit, carefully trimmed hair, and a red lapel pin indicating his wartime decoration, Barthelemy hardly looked the part of a desperate gangster. On the second day of the trial, the key prosecution witness retracted his testimony. (68) A road test proved that it was impossible for Barthelemy's Mercedes to have been the murderer's car. With each day of testimony the prosecution's case grew weaker, as the defense attorney demonstrated that most of the state's evidence was circumstantial. In his summation, the prosecutor could not help admitting his failure and demanded that the Guerini gang must be sentenced, not so much because of their possible guilt, but because they were criminal types who were a menace to Marseille.(69)

On January 15 the jury returned a verdict of guilty: Barthelemy received twenty years; his younger brother Pascal and two others, fifteen years apiece. Spectators screamed "scandal." Cries of "This is justice?" were heard. And the defendants themselves shouted "Innocent, innocent, innocent." (70)

Why were the Guerinis convicted? There had been serious accusations against them in the past that could have become solid cases had the Ministry of Justice been interested. But the Guerinis were guaranteed immunity to local investigations by their relationship with Marseille's Socialists. However, by 1967 Socialist party influence had declined substantially after a decade of Gaullist rule. Francisci, according to informed French observers, had earned considerable political influence through his services to the Gaullist government. During the early 1960s, he had helped organize a group of Corsican gangsters known popularly as the barbouzes to combat a right-wing terrorist campaign following General de Gaulle's announcement of Algerian independence. As the owner of Paris's most exclusive casino, Cercle Haussmann, Francisci was in daily contact with highranking government officials. (71) He is a close personal friend of a former Gaullist cabinet minister and is himself a Gaullist provincial counselor in Corsica.

After the Fall

In the aftermath of Barthelemy Guerini's conviction, the balance of power in the Marseille heroin trade has shifted somewhat. The Guerini family's declining fortunes are represented by Pierre, a younger brother, and Barthelemy's wife, a former nightclub dancer. The Guerini decline has been matched by the growing influence of the Venturi brothers, longtime Guerini associates, as well as by Francisci himself. The U.S. Bureau of Narcotics has labeled Jean Venturi the "major distributor of French heroin into the United :States," and described his younger brother Dominique as "his major source of supply." (72) The Venturis also seem to have inherited the Guerinis' influence with Marseille's Socialist party; during the last election it was their men who served as Mayor Defferre's bodyguards. Interestingly, in February 1972 The New York Times reported that Dominique Venturi's contracting firm "is currently redoing the Marseille town hall for the city's Socialist Mayor Gaston Defferre. (73) Although Marcel Francisci has publicly denied any involvement in the drug traffic, the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics has long identified him as the man who "organizes the smuggling into France of morphine base produced in the Middle East(74)

Francisci is not the only gangster who is associated with the ruling Gaullist party. The U.S. Bureau of Narcotics believes that the Gaullists have replaced corrupt Marseille politicians as the milieu's most important protectors, and some U.S. narcotics agents have become quite concerned over the complicity of highlevel French intelligence officials in the narcotics traffic.

During the May revolution of 1968, when thousands of students and workers surged through the streets of Paris, barricades were thrown up, and government buildings were occupied, General de Gaulle's government came close to crumbling. To aid the restoration of public order, Jacques Foccart, the general's top intelligence adviser, organized five thousand men, many of them Corsican and French gangsters, into the Service d'Action Civique (SAC). While there were known gangsters in SAC's rank and file, police officers and top intelligence officials took on positions of responsibility within the organization. SAC was assigned such tasks as silencing hecklers at proGaullist rallies, breaking up opposition demonstrations, and providing bodyguards for cabinet ministers and high government officials.(75) When President Georges Pompidou inspected the Concorde supersonic aircraft at Toulouse in August 1971, five hundred SAC men turned out to protect him. The same month another five hundred were mobilized to maintain harmony at the Gaullist party's national convention. (76) In addition, both the national police and SDECE (Service de Documentation Exterieure et du Contre-Espionage, a French equivalent of the CIA) use SAC to execute "dirty" missions that would compromise their regular agents. (77)

In exchange for their services, SAC men are protected from police investigation and given safe-conduct passes-necessary for their more delicate assignments-which grant them immunity to stop-and-search by police. (78) But in spite of SAC's protection, there are occasional slipups, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, at least ten SAC gangsters were arrested in France carrying major shipments of heroin during 1970-1971. In the fall of 1970, when the police arrested Serge Constant, a member of SAC in Nice, and charged him with having smuggled two heroin shipments into the United States, he threatened them, saying, "We have protection, so watch your step." A Grenoble bar proprietor named Mrs. Bonnet was arrested with 105 pounds of heroin destined for the United States in her car. She is the widow of SAC leader Matthieu Bonnet, who chauffered President Pompidou during the 1967 election. In September 1971 a notorious heroin courier, Ange Simonpieri, was finally arrested after a Swiss lawyer accused the Gaullists of protecting him on a primetime radio show. Predictably, Simonpieri is a retired barbouze and a close friend of the Gaullist deputy who organized the "parallel police" group in 1961.(79)

Moreover, informed observers arc convinced that some of SDECE's top intelligence officers have been organizing narcotics shipments to the United States to finance SAC operations, using SDECE's counterintelligence net to protect their shipments. Although U.S. narcotics agents working undercover against French heroin traffickers have little fear of being unmasked by the milieu, they have become increasingly concerned about being discovered by SDECE. In early 1971, for example, a U.S. undercover narcotics agent met with representatives of Marseille's biggest heroin syndicate in a New York City hotel room. Posing as an American mafioso, the undercover agent offered to purchase a hundred kilos of heroin and agreed to pay a top price. Convinced that they were dealing with a real American gangster, the Corsican smugglers flew back to Marseille, elated at their success, and began to put together the shipment. However, just as they were about to depart for New York and walk into a carefully-laid trap, another Corsican gangster phoned to warn them that the American mafioso was really a U.S. narcotics agent. Incredulous, the smugglers asked the informant over the phone, "How do you know?" And the caller responded, "Colonel- passed this information on to me." According to informed observers, that colonel is a high-ranking SDECE intelligence officer. And, these observers ruefully admit, some corrupt elements of SDECE seem to have done a good job of penetrating their undercover network.

The extent of SDECE's involvement in the heroin trade was finally given public exposure in November 1971, when a New Jersey prosecutor indicted Colonel Paul Fournier, one of SDECE's top supervisory agents, for conspiring to smuggle forty-five kilos of heroin into the United States. On April 5 a U.S. customs inspector assigned to the Elizabeth, New Jersey, waterfront had discovered the heroin concealed in a Volkswagen camper and arrested its owner, a retired SDECE agent named Roger de Louette. After confessing his role in the affair, de Louette claimed that he was only working as a courier for Colonel Fournier. (80) Although Fournier's guilt has not yet been established, his indictment rated banner headlines in the French press and prompted former high-ranking SDECE officials to come forward with some startling allegations about SDECE's involvement in the heroin traffic.(81)

Even with SDECE's clandestine support, however, Marseille's days as the heroin capital of Europe may be numbered. The Guerinis' collapse has thrown open the field to younger gangsters with little respect for their ban on drug peddling inside France. As one of France's top police officials put it, "These new guys are guys who don't follow the rules. With tougher U.S. suppression effort, the cost of smuggling got too much for some of them, so they took the easy way out and began to sell here."

Within two years after Antoine Guerini's death and Barthelemy's incarceration, France itself was in the grip of an escalating heroin plague. By early 1972 fifteen out of every thousand French army draftees were being rejected because of drug addiction, and Marseille itself has an addict population estimated at anywhere from five thousand to twenty thousand. As France developed a drug crisis of her own, the French government dropped its rather blase attitude and declared narcotics "France's number-one police problem." Marseille's police narcotics unit was expanded from eight officers in 1969 to seventy-seven only two years later. In early 1972 the stepped-up police effort scored several spectacular heroin seizures and prompted speculation in the French press that Marseille's heroin manufacturers might eventually be forced out of business. (83)

It seems unlikely, however, that French reforms will have any beneficial impact on America's heroin plague. For Marseille's problems were simply the final blow to a Mediterranean heroin complex already weakened by a decade of serious setbacks.

The Decline of the European Heroin Trade, and a Journey to the East

During the 1960s local arrests, internal warfare, and international law enforcement activity progressively weakened the Turkey-Italy-Marseille narcotics axis. By the end of the decade, the situation had become so serious that the international narcotics leaders were forced to conduct a major reorganization of the traffic.

In Sicily a costly eight-year battle (1956-1963) between Mafia factions-the "old" Mafia and the "new" Mafia-had reduced the "honored society" to its weakest state since the end of World War 11. The "old" Mafia was made up of traditional rural gangsters, the illiterate tyrants who ruled by fear and exploited the impoverished peasants. In contrast, the "new" Mafia was attracted by the modern business methods and the international heroin smuggling that Lucky Luciano and his American deportee cohorts had introduced in the late 1940s. In the first three years of this war eighteen major mafiosi and countless minor gunmen were eliminated.

Weakened by the enormous cost in leadership, the feud subsided, but it broke out again in 1963 when part of a heroin shipment was stolen by a courier enroute to the United States. It was a singularly inopportune moment for headline murders, as the Mafia itself was well aware, for a parliamentary investigating commission was finally looking into the Mafia. Even though the honored society's Grand Council ordered a moratorium for the duration of the inquiry, passions could not be restrained, and the murders began again. The fast Alfa Romeo sedans favored by mafiosi were being blown up in Palermo with such frequency that the mere sight of one parked was enough for the police to clear the street.

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Activities of the Mafia began in the midst of the explosions, and its reports contained the first serious legislative suggestions for combating the venerable society. (84) In 1964, 800 mafiosi were arrested in a major sweep and locked up in Palermo Prison. The good work continued: in 1968, 113 more were arrested (though many were subsequently released) and, in May 1971, 33 of the top leadership were exiled to Filicudi and Linosa islands. (85) Although the impact should not be overestimated, these arrests, together with several major heroin indictments, have made Sicily a much less desirable place for American mafiosi to do business. And since Sicily and southern Italy were still important transshipment points for Middle Eastern morphine and Marseille heroin in the sixties, this weakened the overall strength of the Turkey-ltaly-Marseille axis.

Equally important in reducing the importance of Sicily and Italy in the international drug trade was the sudden death of Lucky Luciano. It was a timely death, since the Federal Bureau of Narcotics had just arrested, in Spain, three of his heroin couriers, who were fleeing a narcotics indictment in New York. American narcotics agents submitted evidence that Luciano had provided liberal travel expenses for their hopscotch flight across the Caribbean, and the courts began to consider an indictment against him. The leftist Italian press screamed for his arrest, and parliamentary deputies denounced the government's laxity.

While drinking a cup of coffee at Naples airport on the evening of January 22, 1962, Luciano suffered a fatal coronary attack. (86) The death of the man who had organized the postwar heroin trade, kept it running against considerable adversity, and was thought to be personally responsible for shipping more than $150 million worth of heroin into the United States over a sixteen-year period (87) was an irreplaceable loss. Without Luciano's organizational genius, it became increasingly difficult for Mediterranean smugglers to survive against the growing pressure of international law enforcement efforts.

The most important blow to the Mediterranean heroin complex, however, came in 1967, when the Turkish government announced plans to reduce, and eventually abolish, opium production. The U.S. government contributed $3 million to build up a special 750-man police narcotics unit, finance research for substitute crops, and improve the managerial efficiency of the government regulatory agency, the Turkish Marketing Organization. (88) Since Turkey's poppy fields were the major source of raw materials for Marseille's heroin laboratories, the impact of the Turkish government's declaration was obvious. According to analysts at the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, the Corsican syndicates "saw the handwriting on the wall" and quickly realized that they would have to find an alternate source of opium if their lucrative drug racket were to survive.(89) (By early 1972 Turkey had reduced its opium-growing provinces from twentyone to four. And in those areas where poppy production has been prohibited, "U.S. agents have reported little evidence of illicit production, . . . and such crops, when found, have been immediately destroyed." (90) Finally, in mid 1971 the Turkish government announced that it would eradicate all opium production by the end of 1972.(91) (See Map I on page 10.)

Thus, the international heroin trade was at a crossroads in the mid1960s. If it were to continue, a major effort would be required to reorganize the traffic. This could hardly be done by letter or telephone, but would necessitate the personal intervention of a high-ranking underworld figure. As in any other business enterprise, the leaders of organized crime have almost nothing to do with daily operations, but are the only ones who can initiate major corporate changes or new enterprises. But while ordinary businessmen transact much of their basic negotiations by telephone, correspondence, and intermediaries, police surveillance and telephone taps make this impractical for the tycoons of organized crime. Moreover, mafiosi do not sign binding contracts with other gangsters and can hardly take a partner to court if he welshes on a deal. Therefore, it is one of the basic characteristics of organized crime that all important deals require a meeting of the bosses involved so that they can exchange their personal "word of honor." This need for face-to-face discussions also explains why Mafia leaders have repeatedly exposed themselves to conspiracy indictments and banner headlines by arranging large underworld conferences, such as the. ill-fated 1957 Apalachin meeting.

After Luciano's death in 1962, the logical successors to his leadership in the narcotics trade were his two subordinates, Meyer Lansky and Vito Genovese. However, in 1958 Genovese had been indicted for heroin trafficking by a New York court and was later sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. Although he continued to direct many of his enterprises from Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he was treated with great respect by prisoners and guards alike, he was in no position to conduct the reorganization of the narcotics trade. (92)(93) Thus, by death and default, the responsibility logically fell to Santo Trafficante, Jr. Lansky at sixty-six was now too old and too carefully watched to repeat his 1949 business trip. And by November 1970, when he retired to Israel, he had already turned over much of the major decision making to his subordinates.

At age fifty-seven, Trafficante is one of the most effective organized crime leaders still operating in the United States. Avoiding the ostentatious life style of Cadillacs and diamonds that is so attractive to many mafiosi, Trafficante cultivates the austerity of the old Sicilian Dons. But unlike the old Sicilians he manages the organization with reason rather than force, and is one of the few major Mafia leaders whose "family" has not been torn apart by internal power struggles or vendettas with other families.(94) Despite his high prestige within the organization, Trafficante's good sense has prevented him from campaigning for a leading position on the Mafia's National Commission. This self-effacing attitude no doubt accounts for his personal safety and considerable influence. Through his studious avoidance of publicity, he is one of the least-known and most underestimated leaders of organized crime.

Trafficante himself is reportedly involved in the narcotics traffic only at the level of financing and crisis management; he never sees, much less handles, any heroin. His organization is so airtight, and he is so discreet, that federal narcotics agents consider him virtually untouchable.(95)

Trafficante's territory has been Florida and the Caribbean, where he served as one of Meyer Lansky's chief retainers. During the late 1940s and 1950s Trafficante was heavily involved in Luciano's and Lansky's heroin smuggling operations, and after his father's death in 1954, he succeeded him as Mafia boss of Florida and fell heir to his relationship with Lansky. Trafficante has always done his best to look after Lansky's interests. When Anastasia, the head of Murder, Inc., tried to open a competing casino in Meyer Lansky's Havana in 1957, Trafficante arranged a friendly meeting with him in New York. An hour after Trafficante checked out of the Park-Sheraton Hotel, three gunmen murdered Anastasia in the hotel barbershop. (96)

The Cuban revolution in 1959 forced Trafficante to write off his valuable Havana casino operations as a total loss, but this was partially compensated for by the subequent flood of Cuban refugees to Miami.

His association with leading Cuban gangsters and corrupt politicians when he was living in Havana enabled him to expand his control over the Florida bolita lottery, a Cuban numbers game, which became enormously lucrative when the refugees started pouring into Florida in 1960. (97) By recruiting Cubans into Trafficante's organization to expand the bolita lottery, organized crime may have acquired a new group of narcotics couriers and distributors who were unknown to American police or Interpol. With Latin couriers, new routes could be opened up, bringing European heroin into Miami through Latin America.

The Mafia's transfer of narcotics importation and distribution to its new Cuban associates has caused some confusion in the press; many analysts have misinterpreted the appearance of Cuban and South American couriers and distributors to mean that organized crime has given up the heroin trade. The Justice Department's "Operation Eagle" revealed something of this new organization when, in June 1970, 350 federal narcotics agents made 139 arrests "in the largest federal law enforcement operation ever conducted against a single narcotics distribution ring." Although the arrests were carried out in ten cities, the Bureau of Narcotics stated that all five of the ringleaders were Spanish-speaking and three were Cubans residing in Miami. (98) In addition, federal authorities report that bulk heroin seizures in the Miami area have increased 100 percent during 1971, indicating that the beachfront city has remained a major distribution hub. (99)

While the recruitment of Cuban gangsters may have solved the problems with couriers and distributors, the Mafia still had to find an alternative source of morphine base and, if possible, a reserve source of heroin to protect itself in case of problems in Marseille and Europe. There were a number of alternatives, among which Southeast Asia was the most promising. While Mexico had been refining small amounts of low-grade, brownish-colored heroin for a number of years, she had never been able to produce the fine white powder demanded by American addicts. Though India and Afghanistan had some lively local opium smuggling, they had no connections with the international criminal syndicates. But Southeast Asia was busily growing more than 70 percent of the world's illicit opium, and the Chinese laboratories in Hong Kong were producing some of the finest heroin in the world. Moreover, entrenched Corsican syndicates based in Vietnam and Laos had been regularly supplying the international markets, including Marseille and Hong Kong, with opium and morphine base for almost a decade. Obviously this was an area ripe for expansion.

In 1947, when Lucky Luciano wanted to use Havana as a narcotics transfer point, he went there personally. And just before Marseille embarked on large-scale heroin production for the American market in 1951-1952, Meyer Lansky went to Europe and met with Corsican leaders in Paris and on the Riviera.

So, in 1968, in the time-honored tradition of the Mafia, Santo Trafficante, Jr., went to Saigon, Hong Kong, and Singapore. (100)

2 Marseille: America's Heroin Laboratory

1. U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., Ist and 2nd sess., 1964, pt. 4, pp. 873-885.

2. Eugene Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille (Paris: Julliard, 1968), pp. 53-54.

3. Ibid., p. 75.

4. Raymond J. Sontag, A Broken World, 1919-1939 (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), pp. 273-275.

5. Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, p. 76.

6. Gabrielle Castellari, La belle Histoire de Marseille (Marseille: L'Ecole Technique Don Bosco, 1968), p. 120.

7. Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, p. 78.

8. Ibid., pp. 93-94.

9. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., Ist and 2nd sess., pt. 4, pp. 887-888, 960.

10. Ibid., pp. 887-888; Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, p. 91.

11. Maurice Choury, La Resistance en Corse (Paris: Editions Sociales, 1958), pp. 1617.

12. Charles Tillon, Les F.T.P. (Paris: Union Generale D'Editions, 1967), pp.167-173.

13. Gabriel Kolko, The Politics of War (New York: Random House, 1968), pp. 8081.

14. Madeleine Baudoin, Histoire des groups francs (M.U.R.) des Bouches-Du-Rhone (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962), pp. 12-13, 163-164, 170-171.

15. Beginning in September 1941 arms drops to the Marseille Resistance was supervised by Col. Maurice J. Buckmaster of the British Special Operations Executive. The arms were dropped to a special liaison group in Marseille attached to the nonCommunist Resistance. Ibid., pp. 21-23.

16. Ibid., pp. 51, 136-137, 158.

17. Ibid., pp. 31-32.

18. Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, p. 18.

19. Maurice Agulhon and Fernand Barrat, C.R.S. ~ Marseille (Paris: Armand Colin, 197 1), p. 144.

20. Tillon, Les F.T.P., pp. 292-293.

21. Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille, pp. 46-47, 75-77.

22. Castellari, La belle Histoire de Marseille, pp. 218-219.

23. Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille, p. 145.

24. Joyce Kolko and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of Power (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), p. 157.

25. Ibid., p. 440.

26. Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille , pp. 145-146.

27. Ibid., p. 147.

28. Ibid., p. 148.

29. Ibid., p. 17 1.

30. Ibid., pp. 149-150.

31. La Marseillaise (Marseille), November 13, 1947.

32. La Marseillaise, November 17 and 21, December 10, 1947.

33. Kolko and Kolko, The Limits of Power, p. 396.

34. Ibid., p. 157.

35. Walter Lafeber, America, Russia and the Cold War (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1967), p. 47.

36. Ibid., pp. 48, 56.

37. Thomas W. Braden, "I'm Glad the C.I.A. Is 'Immoral,'" in The Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967, p. 14.

38. Ibid.

39. Le Provencal (Marseille), November 8-9, 14, 1947.

40. "It was on this occasion that the leaders of the Force Ouvriere faction separated themselves definitively from the C.G.T., and founded, with the aid of American labor unions, the coalition which still bears its name" (Jacques Julliard, Le IVe Republique [Paris: Calmann-Levy, 1968], p. 124). (Emphasis added.)

41. Kolko and Kolko, The Limits of Power, p. 370. This alliance betw en the CIA and the Socialists was apparently preceeded by elaborate negotiations. While on a visit to Washington in May 1946, Socialist party leader Leon Blum told a French wire service correspondent that, "Numerous American diplomats with whom I have talked are certain that Socialism can become the best rampart against Communism in Europe." It was later reported in the American press that President Truman's Secretary of the Treasury had urged Blum to unite the nonCommunist parties and drive the Communists out of the government.

Only a few months before he "provoked" the split between the Communist and Socialist factions of the CGT, Socialist labor leader Leon Jouhaux came to Washington to meet with members of the Truman administration (Le Monde [Paris], May 12, 1967).

42. Le Provencal, November 14, 1947.

43. La Marseillaise, November 19, 1947.

44. Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille, pp. 156-173.

45. Le Provencal, November 14, 1947.

46. Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille, pp. 204, 215.

47. Ibid., pp. 76, 128.

48. Ibid., p. 196.

49. Interview with Lt. Col. Lucien Conein, McLean, Virginia, June 18, 1971. (Lucien Conein worked as an OSS liaison officer with the French Resistance during World War II, and later served as a CIA operative.)

50. Castellari, La belle Histoire de Marseille, p. 221.

51. Ibid., p. 222.

52. The close relationship between Marseille's Vietnamese community and the French left also played a role in the history of the Second Indochina War. Immediately after the liberation, Marseille's left-leaning commissioner, Raymond Aubrac, discovered the wretched conditions at the Indochinese work camps in the city's suburbs and did everything he could to clean them up. His efforts won him the respect of Vietnamese nationalist organizations, and through them he was introduced to Ho Chi Minh, who visited France to negotiate in 1946. When the Pugwash Committee devised the deescalation proposal to end the Vietnam War in 1967, Aubrac was selected to transmit it to Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi (Agulhon and Barrat, C.R.S. a Marseille, p. 43).

53. Combat (Paris), February 4, 1950.

54. The New York Times, February 18, 1950, p. 5.

55. The New York Times, February 24, 1950, p. 12.

56. Combat, February 18-19, 1950.

57. Braden, "I'm Glad the CIA Is 'Immoral,'" p. 10. (Emphasis added.)

58. Time, March 17, 1952, p. 23.

59. The New York Times, March 14, 1950, p. 5.

60. The New York Times, April 16, 1950, sec. 4, p. 4.

61. The New York Times Magazine, February 6, 1972, pp. 53-54.

62. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., Ist and 2nd sess., pt. 4, p. 888.

63. France-Soir (Paris), September 7, 1971.

64. In September 1971 the French weekly L'Express reported a somewhat different but still complimentary analysis of the Guerin i-Francisci vendetta. In late 1967 two gangsters tried to blow up Francisci's Corsican villa with 220 pounds of TNT, and six months later two snipers tried to assassinate him in a public square. After the two suspected snipers were found murdered in Paris four months later, a police investigation uncovered their connections with a Parisian casino owner named JeanBaptiste Andreani. According to L'Express, Andreani was an associate of Antoine Guerini (L'Express [Paris], September 6-12, 1971 [No. 10521, p. 18). Following the attempts on Francisci's life, three more of the Guerinis' underlings were killed (Le Provencal, January 3, 1970).

65. Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, pp. 13-14.

66. Le Provencal, January 3, 1970.

67. Saccomano, Bandits a Marseille, p. 25.

68. Le Provencal, January 7, 1970.

69. Le Provencal, January 6-16, 1970; La Marseillaise, January 6-16, 1970.

70. Le Provencal, January 16, 1970.

71. France-Soir, September 7, 1971.

72. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., 1st and 2nd sess., pt. 4, p. 961.

73. The New York Times Magazine, February 6, 1972, pp. 14-15.

74. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., 1st and 2nd sess., pt. 4, p. 956; see also Morgan F. Murphy and Robert H. Steele, The World Heroin Problem, 92nd Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971), p. 8.

75. Phillip M. Williams and Martin Harrison, Politics and Society in De Gaulle's Republic (London: Longman Group Ltd., 1971), pp. 383384.

76. The Sunday Times (London), September 26, 1971.

77. Interview with an agent, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, New Haven, Connecticut, November 18, 1971.

78. The Sunday Times, September 26, 1971.

79. Ibid.

80. The New York Times, November 16, 1971, p. 1.

81. Le Monde, November 21-22, 23, and 27, 1971.

82. The New York Times Magazine, February 6, 1972, pp. 53-54.

83. Michele Pantaleone, The Mafia and Politics (London: Chatto & Windus, 1969), pp. 167-179.

84. Norman Lewis, The Honored Society (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1964), pp. 297-307; Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., Ist and 2nd sess., pt. 4, pp. 893-894.

85. Life, June 18, 1971, pp. 35-36.

86. Jacques Kermoal, L'Onorata Societa (Paris: La Table Ronde, 1971), pp.229-232.

87. The New York Times, January 27, 1962, p. 1.

88. Murphy and Steele, The World Heroin Problem, pp. 12, 16.

89. Interview with John Warner, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Washington, D.C., October 14, 1971.

90. Murphy and Steele, The World Heroin Problem, pp. 12, 16.

91. The New York Times, July 1, 1971, p. 1.

92. Ed Reid, The Grim Reapers (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1969), p. 16.

93. Hank Messick, Lansky (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971), p. 175.

94. Reid, The Grim Reapers, p. 97.

95. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., Ist and 2nd sess., pt. 4, p. 928.

96. Ibid., pt. 2, pp. 524-525; interview with an agent, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, New Haven, Connecticut, November 18, 1971.

97. Senate Committee on Government Operations, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, 88th Cong., lst and 2nd sess., pt. 2, pp. 527, 539. (In 1954 Santo Trafficante, Jr., was arrested by the Saint Peters burg police when he tried to bribe a police officer into destroying evidence of his involvement in the bolita lottery.)

98. Press Release, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Washington D.C., June 27, 1970.

99. Interview with an agent, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Washington, D.C., October 14, 1971.

100. U.S. Congress, Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Fraud and Corruption in Management of Military Club Systems, 91st Cong., lst sess., 1969, p. 279; Reid, The Grim Reapers, p. 296.


Last Updated on Saturday, 01 January 2011 23:44

Our valuable member Alfred Mccoy has been with us since Sunday, 19 December 2010.

Show Other Articles Of This Author