2.3 Red Herring
Franco’s government in Spain and the General himself was anti-communist. On the other hand, Hungary was in a more difficult situation intimidated by the Soviet Union and Prime Minister János Kádár was a brainwashed socialist puppet. Spain could feel that Soviet pressure as if the ÁVH secret police – Államvédelmi Hatóság – existed and nothing came clear. Mátyás Rákosi used the ÁVH to eliminate 7000 politically incorrect western agents whose participation in the Spanish Civil War hampered Stalin’s long-term plans for world Communism.
Stalin’s contribution came in form of the International Brigade with its headquarters based in Albacete and recruited fighters from around the globe to assist the popular front of the Second Spanish Republic that made the government in 1931. Mátyás Rákosi was a supporter of the Comintern – Communist International; the foreign legion behind the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) though he was in jail in Hungary during this period.
The Spanish Civil War saw foreign intervention on behalf of both sides in provision of resources – arms, recruits and funds.
The British Intelligence always maintained that Bernet Sivils was the operative from Transmediterránea who tracked the movement of the ship Ciudad De Barcelona when she carried Comintern troops to Ibiza in 1936 with all its lights off. And In October, Bernet tracked its journey to the Black Sea, Algiers and Marseille, carrying International Brigade fighters.
Ciudad De Barcelona was nationalised by the Republican Government in 1936 as war broke out.
On 30th May 1937, this ship was torpedoed by a Spanish Nationalist Archimede-class submarine and sank rapidly off the coast of Malgrat de Mar.
When Bernet Sivils founded Catai Tours with an affiliation to a Gibraltar company, British interest on him was dropped in the archives.
The car stopped on Virginia Av near the National Mall. Two elderly gentlemen got out and walked leisurely the remaining six or seven blocks to the Department of Justice building since it was a nice day in October.
“He’s done, he’s done,” said the great gentleman, “filthy, evil and moronic, he’s done. To his sexual orgies, to his hideous abnormalities, pretends to be a minister of the Gospel. Satan could not do more! Now this Nobel Prize, we are done. He is finished, Clyde!”
Tolson nodded in twinning agreement.
They took the elevator to the 5th Floor. His office suite was at the corner of the building on Pennsylvania Avenue and 9th Street. Tolson’s was across the hall.
The great man crossed his large formal office to the double doors behind his desk. He would work from his private office for an hour or two, reading through the many reports and offering his comments, issuing orders on the Bureau’s large number of cases and administrative affairs. His comments and signature scrawled in blue ink. He glanced through the day’s papers and discovered an unfamiliar newspaper in the neatly kept pile.
“What is this?”
His secretary, a very attractive lady, responded, “This is the Hungarian Trade Union paper, Colonel Rolnik wants you to see. It says on Page 9, a Robert Maxwell was followed by two gunmen and assassinated near the Chain Bridge by the Danube. He was carrying FBI identification card and American passport on him. All the numbers are scratched on the paper.”
“Looks like the commies got him!”
“Colonel Rolnik is at ten.”
“Is he in?”
“Yes sir. He’s waiting at the lobby,” said the tiny figure of his secretary.
“Call him! I will see him now,” and he rose to get to his public office outside the double doors. He took a good look at the Magyar paper, Népszava, that came out four days ago on Sunday, 11th October 1964.
When the colonel entered, he asked, “Do we have a commitment?”
Lieutenant Colonel Peter Rolnik was their legate officer to cover the Eastern Bloc and his office did mostly with translations. There were hundreds of files open on individuals and cases of immigrants coming from these sectors though formally CIA would go after these matters as it was understood.
“This man was staying at Hotel Nyolc, believed to be Spanish. He’s not Robert Maxwell,” said the colonel, “I ran a four-hour computer scan to find this Maxwell. He is not one of us. There is no such Maxwell in any foreign offices either. I have checked the Interpol database too.”
The chief glanced at the grainy black and white images thoughtfully, one that portrayed his face and his body lying in a pool of blood. “This jackal could be CIA. I told them not to use us as a scapegoat. I’ll find about it. They’re not going to tell me. And if they’re the Black Ops, I can find nothing. What do you think?”
“It’s odd. We have to look into this matter. This is pure propaganda, sir.”
“My gut feeling is that I can smell it’s cooking a red fish in the cold.”
“They clearly want to send us a message,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rolnik, “The question is why?”
“Is it worth spending our resources on this guy?”
“Not at this point. They would know this is not enough. They will drop another lead, another clue.”
“Good day then, Colonel!”
Back at his office, at 601 4th Street NW, Lt Colonel Rolnik summoned John Adams. “I have a case for you to look up. It’s a bit complicated. While you’re engaged with your cases, I want you to keep an eye on this,” he tossed a thin manila folder across the table, “An FBI agent shot in Budapest.”
Adams opened the folder to find a thin piece of a newspaper cutting in it, “Is this all?”
“That is all we have,” said the colonel, “And it is in Magyar. It is the Hungarian Trade Union paper. Find a translation and get going. Looks like a red herring.”