In Preparing for the Munich Tango, we read about Johannes Weinrich and Bruno Breguet and their involvement in the "Carlos" bombing of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on February 21, 1981. I already outlined the terrorist career of Johannes Weinrich; below we will briefly look at that of Bruno Brequet.
Bruno Breguet was born on May 29, 1950, in Coffrane, Switzerland. In 1970, when he was 19 years old, Israeli authorities arrested Breguet as he attempted to smuggle two kilograms of explosives into that country from Lebanon. His aim was to blow up a high-rise building in Tel Aviv on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment but was pardoned in 1977 and released from prison. He returned to Switzerland and, apparently, joined the Swiss terrorist group "Prima Linea." Breguet wrote a book La scuola dell'odio (The School of Hate) that was published in 1980 in Milan, Italy.
Bruno Breguet joined the "Carlos" terrorist group in September 1980 in Budapest, Hungary, and was given the code-name "Luca." In the night from September 24th to 25th, he attended a planning session to bomb RFE/RL. This is his first known activity with the "Carlos" Group. He became a "bomb expert" for the group.
Almost one year to the day after the bombing of RFE/RL, Magdalena Kopp ("Lilly") and Bruno Breguet ("Luca") were arrested in Paris on February 16, 1982, while preparing another “Tango”, a car bombing of the building, where the office of the Lebanese magazine Al Watan Al- Arabi was located.
Breguet had arrived in Paris on January 2, 1982 to conduct surveillance of the magazine office and editors. Kopp had flown on February 6, 1982, to Paris from Bucharest with a false Austrian passport and driver's license produced by the Romanian intelligence service in the name Doris Berger. The Basque terrorist group ETA provided a white, Peugeot 504 automobile with explosives in the trunk, which she was to drive to the targeted building. She received the keys from the Belgian-born ETA terrorist Luc Edgar Groven ("Eric"); Breguet was to detonate the explosives.
Kopp and Breguet were arrested on February 16, 1982, outside a parking garage on the Champs Elysees after being confronted by security guards, who had challenged them as to what they were doing in the garage--she had difficulty opening the car and they could not produce a parking ticket. Brequet reportedly pointed a pistol at the guards. He and Kopp then ran from the garage but were immediately arrested by French police outside -- Brequet aimed the pistol at a policeman, pulled the trigger but it jammed and he was subdued.
In the car, police found a map of Paris, a Belgian-made GP35 pistol, 2 kilos of Pentrite explosives, two Czechoslovak hand grenades, an alarm clock set for 10:30 PM that night and a battery complete with electrical wiring. According to later testimony of Magdalena Kopp, the magazine's office was to be bombed on a "contract" to "Carlos" from the Syrian government because of its previous anti-Syrian articles. In fact, on December 19, 1981, police were able to diffuse a dynamite explosive one minute before it was due to explode just outside the magazine's office. The Syrian Embassy in Paris was traced to that bombing attempt. "Carlos" visited Damascus in December and apparently then was given the contract to bomb the magazine's office.
"Carlos" in Budapest threatened the French government with retaliation, if the two were not released within 30 days. He signed the threatening letter "Carlos - Organization of Arab armed struggle - Arm of the Arab Revolution" and to prove his identity, he provided samples of his thumbprints.
To prove he was serious, on March 19, 1982, "Carlos" carried out his threat, for example, by organizing a bomb attack on the Paris-Toulon Express train--presumably carried out by the Basque terrorist group ETA. Five persons died and 30 were injured. Then French President Jacques Chiriac was scheduled to ride on that train but had canceled his reservations shortly before the train's departure. On April 21, 1982, another bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Vienna, killing an Austrian policeman who was guarding the building.
Although there was the unsuccessful bomb attack in February, on April 22, 1982, the day the trial of Kopp and Breguet began in Paris, a car bomb exploded in front of office building, where the magazine Al Watan Al- Arabi was located, killing one and wounding over 60 other persons--10 seriously.
The car was an orange-colored Opel Kadett with Austrian license plates. French investigators believed that German terrorist Christa-Margot Froehlich ("Heidi" in the Carlos group) rented and drove the car from Ljubljana, then Yugoslavia. Investigators also believed that she handed the car over to Johannes Weinrich, who then drove the car to the building housing the Al Watan Al- Arab magazine office.
Froehlich had joined the Carlos group in 1981 from the German terrorist group "Revolutionary Cells"--apparently recruited by Weinrich. She was later arrested by Italian police at Rome's airport on June 16, 1982. Froelich was traveling from Bucharest, Romania, under a false German passport and carrying a specially adapted suitcase that contained over three kilos of explosives, detonators and an alarm clock. She was later convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment.
Officially, the French court was not intimidated and sentenced Kopp to four years imprisonment and Breguet to five. Yet, after Carlos' arrest, controversy broke out in France of the question of whether they were given lesser sentences because of Carlos' bombing attacks. "Carlos" and his group continued their terrorist activity against French interests in December 1983: a suitcase bomb exploded at the Marseilles railroad station, killing two and wounding 45. In the same month, a bomb exploded aboard the French "bullet train" that killed three and injured four. The next month, a bomb blast at the French Cultural Center in Tripoli, Lebanon killed one person
Magdalena Kopp was released from prison on May 4, 1985, and flew to Damascus, Syria to be re-united with "Carlos."
Bruno Breguet were released from French prison on September 17, 1985, and returned to Switzerland. Reportedly, after his release Breguet gave up his terrorist career, yet in 1987/1988, Breguet reportedly was in meetings with the "Carlos Group" in Damascus, Syria. In any event, there are no reports that he was actively involved in any terrorist activity afterwards.
On November 11, 1995, after traveling from Greece to Italy on the ferryboat "Lato", Italian authorities refused Breguet entry and returned him on the same ship. Since then, Bruno Breguet has not been seen in public again. He was 45 years old.
The myth about Bruno Breguet continued when one story surfaced in late 1996 that Breguet was in French custody in Budapest, Hungary. He was being confronted with witnesses and documents, particularly concerning the implication of high French authorities in arms traffic to Algeria. This traffic supposedly involved high French ministerial officials and also high regional officials in Nice. Reportedly, French DST (counter-espionage) found him in Croatia and passed the information to the DGSE (foreign intelligence service) that sent member of its Special Forces to capture Breguet and take him to Budapest. Breguet reportedly cooperated with French intelligence and justice officials.
In February 2009, "Carlos" wrote an appeal letter in behalf of Bruno Breguet to U.S. President Barack Obama:
Mister President, Your decision to close secret C.I.A. jails, honours you.
Our Comrade Bruno Breguet, a Swiss citizen, was abducted on 11th November 1995 from a ferryboat between Italy and Greece, in a special operation with NATO naval support.
We pray you to have Bruno released.
We were informed unofficially, that Bruno died accidentally during interrogation at a U.S. base in the south of Hungary.
If Bruno truly is dead, we need his body back, so his relatives, friends, and comrades, may mourn in neutral Switzerland, this hero of the Palestinian Cause, and his eternal soul join our martyrs in heaven.
Do not hesitate to have your services contact my Swiss attorney Marcel Bosonnet, and the coordinator of my defence team, and dearest wife, Maître Isabelle Coutant (Peyre), of the Paris Bar.
To erase the infamy attached to Guantanamo base, do return that occupied territory to its rightful owners, the Cuban people, on this 50th anniversary of their revolution.
I pray God Almighty that one day the peoples of our continent, free at last, may shout with one voice: “God bless our America!”
And as your grandfather would say:
I remain, Mister President, yours in revolution