Legacy of Secrecy



Marcello confession image


The above excerpt from an FBI file at the National Archives is one of thousands of pages of government files cited in Legacy of Secrecy.  Most JFK files can be located, and a few viewed, at the web site of the National Archives: http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/

Far more files from the National Archives, not just about JFK but also about the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, can actually be viewed at the web site of the Mary Ferrell Foundation at http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/Legacy_of_Secrecy.

Additional documents and photos are available by going to ultimatesacrificethebook.com and clicking on "Documentation."

JFK Lancer has a very informative web site, with numerous files, videos, and audio clips.  They also sponsor an outstanding JFK Conference each November in Dallas.

The Spartacus educational web site has detailed biographies and photos of many of those in Legacy of Secrecy, and discussion forums devoted to the assassinations of JFK, Dr. King, and RFK, as well as topics such as Watergate.


The following information is not intended to be read as a stand-alone article, but only to supplement in the information in Legacy of Secrecy, Chapter 4, page 71, Endnote 43:

Twenty-four parallels (lettered A-X) between the CIA's acknowledged European assassin recruiter (1960 to 1964) code-named QJWIN and Michel Victor Mertz, whom a CIA memo said was deported from Dallas shortly after JFK's murder.  Michel Mertz was an experienced assassin and a kingpin for  the French Connection heroin network that involved both Carlos Marcello  and Santo Trafficante.

A. According to Richard Helms, QJWIN was capable of murder, while other testimony described him as a man of few scruples, capable of anything including assassination. Mertz began his reputation as a cold-blooded killer during World War II, killing Germans (he once machine-gunned 15 as they sat in a cafe). Mertz's reputation as a cold-blooded killer continued during his service for French Intelligence and the Corsican mob in the 1950s. Even into the 1980s, researchers were warned that just trying to talk to Mertz could prove fatal.

B. QJWIN was suspected of Nazi collaboration in France during World War II. Mertz was a Nazi collaborator in France during World War II, until the tide of war started to turn against the Nazis.

C. William Harvey’s notes recommend using former French Resistance personnel, and QJWIN was in the Resistance from 1943 to 1945. Mertz was a decorated member of the French Resistance in World War II.

D. In 1960, QJWIN was recruited in Frankfurt, Germany. QJWIN was originally approached “in connection with an illegal narcotics operation into the US.” Michel Mertz frequently visited Frankfurt (he made 5 documented visits to Frankfurt in 1962 and 1963). Also, Mertz was one of the primary French Connection heroin smugglers into the US.

E. In November 1960, QJWIN was in the Congo, working for the CIA against leader Patrice Lumumba, who was eventually assassinated.  Some of Lumumba’s UN guards were from Morocco, and Mertz had previously worked extensively in Morocco for French Intelligence.  A Moroccan guard reported Lumumba’s escape that eventually led to his death.

F. In late December 1960, QJWIN finished his mission for the CIA in the Congo and returned to Europe. Mertz resumed working on his heroin smuggling operation (January 1961) only after QJWIN had finished his mission in the Congo.

G. In February 1961, according to a CIA document, QJWIN visited Switzerland and Italy. Mertz frequently visited Switzerland, since his illegal profits were deposited in bank accounts there that belonged to Mertz and his wife. Since Mertz was preparing to run a carload (220 pounds) of heroin into the US in early March 1961, it’s logical that he would make preparations to handle the money in Switzerland prior to that.

H. On March 31, 1961, QJWIN was in Frankfurt, Germany. On March 27, 1961, Mertz returned to Paris from the US, where he’d smuggled a carload of heroin into New York City. Thus, Mertz was just a few hours away from Frankfurt, a city he often visited.

I. On March 31, 1961, the CIA gave QJWIN a lie detector test to see if he was “presently working for” another country's intelligence service—and he wasn’t. However, the same document establishes that QJWIN had worked in the past for French Intelligence (and Luxembourg, Belgium, and West Germany). Prior to that time, Mertz had done work for French Intelligence, the SDECE. And Mertz was just getting ready to do more work for the SDECE (his assignment was to start in April). However, at the time in question, Mertz was not actually working for the SDECE.

J. QJWIN, on March 31, 1961, said he was known to French and Belgian police departments in connection with his illegal business transactions, and engaged in some activities concerning Belgium. Mertz, though based in France, frequently traveled through Belgium for his illegal activities. Mertz often traveled to the US via Brussels, and even received a US Visa in Belgium on October 7, 1964.

K. A March 1961 CIA document that says QJWIN is a citizen of Luxembourg. The town where Mertz was born and raised, Waldvisse, France, is on the border with Luxembourg. Mertz used a variety of aliases and passports from different countries (he even had a US passport), and the fact that he spoke perfect German in addition to French (the two major languages of Luxembourg), coupled with his growing up next to Luxembourg, would have made it easy for him to pass as a Luxembourg citizen.  Though QJWIN is supposed to be a Luxembourg citizen, QJWIN’s monthly salary (at least for 1963, for which there are many monthly records) is paid through Paris—where Mertz lived—not Luxembourg.

L. QJWIN had a wife during the early 1960s, who was called “extremely discreet.” She was aware of QJWIN’s unsavory activities. She even had her own bank account, which was used for one large payment to QJWIN.  Mertz's wife was the daughter of one of the most powerful Canadian and French mob bosses and brothel owners, Charles Martel. Later law enforcement investigations showed that she maintained her own bank accounts, which were used to launder large drug payments.

M. In December 1961/January 1962, QJWIN began working on establishing cover for the CIA operations. Mertz had finished with his assignment for the French SDECE a couple of months earlier and would have been free to begin this assignment for the CIA.

N. In 1962, QJWIN was supposed to go on trial in Europe on smuggling charges. But the CIA somehow intervenes and the trial was never held. Considering that CIA documents indicate that QJWIN had worked for the French, Luxembourg, Belgian, and West German intelligence services, it’s not clear why QJWIN would need the assistance of the American CIA instead of using his own influence with one of the European intelligence agencies he’d worked for. One of Mertz’s French Connection heroin shipments was busted in New York City in January 1962. An arrest was made in the US of a French citizen and the shipment was traced back to France (and to Mertz’s group), but no trials were ever held in France in connection with the bust. Since the original bust had occurred in the US, it’s logical to assume that the French government would have to have the concurrence of some US agency in order to let the investigation drop.

O. QJWIN’s contract was terminated in April 1964. In March 1964, Mertz’s name surfaced in a US document as allegedly being in Dallas on the day of the assassination. Also, an article had appeared in France in late February 1964 about the Mertz/Souetre/Roux incident, which had prompted an investigation of Mertz/Souetre/Roux by French officials (who urged US officials to do the same). Thus, the CIA could have had every interest in terminating QJWIN (if he had a connection to Mertz) to avoid an embarrassing connection to the assassination.

P. At the time of his termination in April 1964, QJWIN had received clearances to go ahead with a business venture involving a “shop” of some sort in Cologne, Germany. Mertz had a history of opening a wide variety of “cover” businesses, such as a New York company that arranged rebuilding of engines for the French military; a company in Columbus, Ohio; and an automotive company in New Jersey. Mertz had some tie to Cologne, as he arrived there, from New York, on June 19, 1963.

Q. William Harvey’s notes recommend using Corsicans, since “Sicilians could lead to the Mafia.” Mertz was part of the French Corsican Mafia, though not Corsican himself (the same way the Jewish Jack Ruby worked for the Mafia).

R. William Harvey notes recommend use of “Silverthorne” and his “stable in Paris.” Silverthorne (whom some researchers believe to be the CIA’s Arnold Silver) was later part of QJWIN’s recruitment. Mertz’s main base of activity at the time was Paris.

S. QJWIN suggested to Harvey that leaders of a gambling syndicate in the Middle East had a “pool of assassins.” Mertz worked for French Intelligence in Turkey and Morocco.

T. Someone dealing with QJWIN was supposedly 44 years old as of March 31, 1961, according to one CIA document. Mertz (DOB April 20, 1920) was almost 41 at that time, and one of his main “cover identities”—Maurice Valentin—would have been 46 at that time (the fake DOB for Valentin was February 3, 1915).

U. On February 19, 1962: Richard Helms authorized Harvey to use QJWIN through the end of the year. Mertz was in the US from January 11, 1962 until February 25, 1962.

V. QJWIN was applied to the ZR/RIFLE assassination program in 1962 and 1963, under William Harvey; the primary focus of Harvey during that time was assassinating Castro. This would make sense for Mertz, since he had close French associates who maintained ties to Cuba after Castro took over and the American gangsters were expelled. Peter Dale Scott’s Crime and Cover-up and Congressional hearings name these men as Ansan Albert Bistoni, Jean Baptiste Croce, and Paul Damien Mondoloni.  All had nightclub interests in Havana circa 1963, and it’s unclear when Castro forced them to leave.

W. On March 6, 1963, Richard Helms authorized QJWIN’s activities through the end of 1963. Just one week earlier, on February 27, 1963, Mertz was able to get a passport renewal in New York City, despite his long criminal record. It’s unclear whether this was a US passport or a French passport.

X. After more than forty years, files surrounding QJWIN’s identity and activities, and the criminals he and his associates looked at recruiting for the CIA, are still being kept classified or are heavily censored.  The same is also true for the CIA files of Michel Victor Mertz.

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