Trends in African Forgeries

forgeries, spotting crude ones in Africa and Latin America,
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in December 1972, while trying to peddle fabrications to three different governments, and was extradited to Monrovia. Subsequent interrogation revealed that Walker was not in the employ of any other power. When arrested, Walker had a series of documents on him which he had prepared for passage to foreign governments. (See Figure 3.) A neurotic role-player with a desire for prestige and money almost managed to ruin U.S. relations with numerous African countries-and he wasn't really personally anti-American.
While Walker was busily promoting his misspelled documents, Herman Essoka, a Cameroonian, was trying to peddle alleged secret cables from Soviet Foreign Minister Andre Gromyko and/or U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers. In a remarkable display of even-handedness, Essoka made the United States and the U.S.S.R. in turn the villain in his fabrications. Posing as either a translator in the code room of the U.S. Embassy in cities such as Cotonou, Lome, Libreville, etc., or as a translator in the code room of the Soviet Embassy in cities such as Lagos, Yaounde, Cotonou, etc., Essoka would claim to find evidence of a Soviet or U.S. coup plot in the form of a "secret coded telegram." Essoka had the United States plotting against the governments of Zambia, Sierra Leone, etc., and the Soviets trying to unseat the governments of Liberia and Chad. His "Andre Gromyko" appeared to have difficulties deciding whether to communicate in French or English; Essoka has the ability to write equally ungrammatically in French or English. A tense atmosphere over a period of several weeks in Sierra Leone was ultimately relieved when a friendly liaison service was able to show the president of Sierra Leone, Siaka Stevens, that Essoka had claimed to be working in the U.S. code room and the Soviet code room in letters written one week apart.
Luis Manuel Gonzalez Mata-Lledo, a forty-six-year-old Spaniard, has managed to lead an exciting life. Expelled from a Spanish seminary at nineteen, Gonzalez served five years in the Spanish Foreign Legion and then made his way to the Dominican Republic. After joining the Dominican intelligence service, he worked his way up to the position of assistant director by 1962. His career in the Dominican Republic came to an abrupt halt when he embezzled $28,000. Since 1962, Gonzalez has been in trouble with the authorities for insufficient funds in his checking account, for possessing the wrong passport, and for bilking young ladies out of their dowries. His career as a forger and fabricator started in 1963 when he tried to sell forged evidence implicating Rafael Trujillo in a plot to assassinate Dominican President Juan Bosch. After a second try at selling forgeries to the Dominican Embassy in Paris, this time under the name "Dr. Miguel Abrantes," Gonzalez tried to approach the U.S. Embassy in Algiers as a representative of the notional "Third [Spanish] Republic Movement." By early 1967, Gonzalez was posing as a former Cuban intelligence officer and claimed to be working for another notional group called "Conferencia Vanguardia Latino-Americano" which was going to run a guerilla infiltration of Brazil from a Cuban base in Conakry, Guinea. Although rebuffed by the Brazilians, Gonzalez returned to the fray as "Captain A. L. Maedo" approaching the U.S. Embassy in Brussels with the same story but with the United States as the target. The "Vanguardia" plot was successively offered to the Venezuelans, Columbians, and Dominicans. Although slightly discommoded by an arrest on a false passport charge, Gonzalez moved to Paris in late 1967 when he became "A. Despadrel"


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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:43 AM
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2011 02:21 PM