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Former French Ambassador to Eritrea was a spy for Israel

Roger Auque, who was a journalist and the former French ambassador to Eritrea (2009-2012), said in his new book he was hired by the Israeli Intelligence Agency as a spy. Auque died in 2014 from a brain tumor.

By Ynetnews

It is the summer of 1989. There is a luxurious yacht full of beautiful women in the French Riviera. A polite, but straightforward, Israeli man approaches French journalist Roger Auque.

"My name is Amos - I'm Israeli. We have a pilot, Ron Arad is his name, that has been held captive since 1986," the Israeli man says to Auque without wasting any time on formal introductions.

"We think the person who released you from captivity can help us," the Israeli man said.

The Israelis, Auque reveals in a sensational autobiography released after his death, had asked to be introduced to a French businessman of Lebanese descent Iskandar Safa known as "Sandy," and in return promised Auque an interview with Sheikh Obeid, the spiritual leader of the Amal militant group based in Lebanon.

Auque accepted the request and came to Israel, where Amos was waiting for him along with the Mossad agent "Tony" and Israeli diplomat Uri Lubrani.

The interview with Sheikh Obeid never took place, but Auque ended up with a different story in his lap. When he returned to Paris, Auque fulfilled his part of the deal and introduced Lubani to the French businessman.

"During that time I established very close ties with Israel," Auque wrote in his biography. "I would travel there a lot. I wasn't just a journalist.

"The Israeli intelligence services paid me to complete certain missions, such as secret missions in Syria under the cover of a reporter. These missions were at times very dangerous, and I risked the worst, including death in the case of failure. I traveled to Damascus a number of time in order to make contact with the local elite, doctors, researchers and others – all of whom wanted to emigrate to the United States. Every time I would get the equivalent to a month's wage."

Roger Auque passed away in early September as a journalist and France's Ambassador to Eritrea. He was 58 years old at the time of his death – he fought cancer, which stuck him at the beginning of his career as a diplomat in the service of the French Foreign Ministry, during the last two years of his life.

Auque, a veteran combat war reporter who survived 391 days in Hezbollah captivity, decided in the last days of his life to write up his secrets, his adventures and the mysterious missions that he took part in.

His services, he claimed, were not limited to the Mossad.

The French intelligence services, who according to Auque knew about his work for the Israeli intelligence, also enjoyed the fruits of his labor and later on so did the CIA.

In his autobiography, released two weeks ago, Auque wrote about the hardship of struggling with his captiviy even after he was set free. He also wrote of his secret daughter – Jean-Marie Le Pen's granddaughter and of the interviews he conducted with Ariel Sharon, Imad Mughniyeh and Yasser Arafat.

"He knew himself that he would not reach the end of the adventure," wrote Auque's friend, Jean-Michel Verne, who helped Auque write the book, in the preface of the biography, a descendant of the legendary writer Jules Verne.

"The book is pure Roger, because when a person knows he is going to die he doesn't cheat. He no longer cheats," said Verne of Auque.

Auque was well known. Going by the alias Pierre Boudry, he wrote a series of reports for Yedioth Ahrnoth from Baghdad during the Second Gulf War. For years he reported for various international news outlets from war-torn areas. This is how he was taken captive in 1987 by Hezbollah, while he worked as a reporter in Beirut. Auque was held captive for a eyar.

"Part of my life was stolen by violent people," Auque wrote in his biography, and described how reading was the only thing that helped him hold on. "Did I really leave the hell of captivity in Lebanon? My prison became internal. You cannot fully recuperate from that kind of experience," he wrote.

Auque's release from Hezbollah captivity, he wrote, was a political gesture that was supposed to aid, among other things, the conservative party in the 1988 elections. In a plane that waited for Auque and another man held captive sent free during the deal were Jean-Charles Marchiani, the right-hand man of then French foreign minister at the time, and a man Auqes referred to as the key man in the deal, the French businessman of Lebanese descent Iskandar Safa – "Sandy" who became his loyal ally and close friend.

"A lot of money was given in order for us to be freed," wrote Auque in his autobiography. "France did not pay, but rather the Libyan Gaddafi."

According to Auque, a financial conflict between France and Iran was at the heart of the abduction, and millions of Euro were transferred from the French government by the Libyan dictator in order to enable their release.

Immediately after his captivity, Auque returned to the Middle East. "I never had a lifestyle that fits the earnings of a journalist," admitted Auque. "Therefore, I chose a second life, of a 'mercenary' for the secret services
Auque says he found himself in the heart of attempts to release captives. In his biography, he describes a dinner that took place in 1989 near the Champs Elysees in Paris. "There were Hezbollah members, Israelis, Sandy and myself," Auque said of the dinner.

In the beginning, he wrote, everyone ate together and conducted small talk. "After two hours we turned to serious things," Auque wrote. "The fate of American and British hostages held in Lebanon, Terry Anderson and Terry Waite, came up. That evening, the Israelis offered to give up two Lebanese terrorists that were taken captive in southern Lebanon. We also spoke of Ron Arad. Today I can reveal that through my work I led to the release of several captives. With others we failed, and some died. I deeply regret it. Just as I regret that I could not help find Ron Arad, who most likely died in Iran."

In an interview he conducted with i24 news in honor of the one year anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, Auque said that in the beginning of the new millennium, Mossad contacts reached out to him and asked him to help them find the phone number of Mughniyeh.. According to Auque, with the help of a Lebanese friend he succeeded in finding the number and passed it on to the contacts. Mughniyeh was responsible for one of Auque's biggest scoops – he was the only journalist to have succeeded in interviewing the Hezbollah terrorist.

Auque reveals more than just state secrets in the new book. Auque, who describes himself throughout the book as a hopeless womanizer, fathered three children from different women.

One of his children, it was revealed before his death, is Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, granddaughter of right-wing politician Jean-Marie Le Penand. Maréchal-Le Pen became the youngest member of France's parliament in history at the age of 22. While Auque's relationship with her mother went on for mere days, she notified him of the birth.

"I understood that the Le-Pen family didn't want me to acknowledge the child," he says. A decade passed before he was able to connect with his daughter. Auque had surprisingly kind words for Marine Le Pen, who inherited the right wing National Front party from her father, saying Marion's aunt acted as a father figure in the child's youth.

Auque's final adventure in life was in Eritrea, where he arrived thanks to former president Nicolas Sarkozy, a friend since the days when Sarkozy was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Sein and the two saw each other on their morning runs.

Auque traded in his bulletproof vest and war reporter clothes for bespoke suits and moved to the African country. He said he was aware that he was appointed partly in order to help free a French intelligence agent kidnapped in Somalia and held by the terror organization Al Shabab.

The mission failed, but according to Auque, he managed to arrange the release of several prisoners, including two Israelis. "I remember my intervention on behalf of a couple of Israeli tourists, a man and woman who decided to make an emergency landing in Eritrea after a malfunction," he said of the incident, which was reported in Israel, but credited to former minister Efraim Sneh.

It was in Eritrea that he fell ill. He collapsed during a workday, and a tumor was discovered in his head. He struggled with cancer for two years and hoped to return to diplomacy, but when he realized the end was near, he began to write his book.

"I always had a special connection to death," he writes. "I lived as though I would die tomorrow. The danger, the fear of disappearing forever, attract me because they allow me to understand myself better."
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Former French Ambassador to Eritrea was a spy for Israel Reviewed by Admin on 8:46 AM Rating: 5


  1. Well, God repose your soul Mr. Spy.

  2. Folks, that is why I always tell Eritreans never to trust any foreigner white or black, journalists or tourists etc... they are all agents, spies hired by our enemies.

  3. I don't think he damage rest in peace, what a troubled life anyway

  4. Eritrea need to watch outsiders very carefully. This 'people' are always conspiring and conving.

  5. It's easier to pay an Eritrean inside Eritrea to get sensitive information. We are living in an era when top officials in Eritrea tell state secrets to their family members. "My uncle told me .... " So there is nothing to hide anyway, so why send fancy European spies to spy in Eritrea. Stupid shaebia think that every white person is a spy.

  6. we are already damaged enough by shaebia

  7. If you are fair, tell me 1 things positive and 1 negative you think about Shaebia, I'm mean supposing you were a honest Eritrean administrator or leader, supposing you're Eritrean citizen, what you'll do instead? All the time we need to see if you have capability at first. Dear aman if you preach what you're saying, you need to convince people like me who have mind to balance what you say, suk ilka Shaebia kemzi iyu, Shaebia kemti iyu tebelka waga yebellun, chubut neger haz, kum neger zellewo tezareb.

  8. Good question libero.
    I would send all young eritreans in national service who served for more than 18 months home today. This I believe would bring hope back in the country and the young would stay in Eritrea. This means we would have at least people we can call when needed. I would also tell in black and white how much I raise in revenue every year and how I spend them (except those spent in defence). I would return the old good days to poor Asmera. I would seed a mandate from my people if they really want me to continue to lead them - or if they preferred younger, more energetic, more connected person. Well I would also reinstate the parliament and ensure regular open meetings. just to say some basic things that are missing in the administration of our current government. I am sure compared to all our neigbors we are doing very bad and a change is warranted after 24 years of going no where (or is it downward). Ms selamta

  9. As a human being this Rip French Spy like he said he was playing the evil card with criminal peoples majority of his life so sad for money . So we Eritreans we have to learn when we share any info for anybody even with each other we have to think the Consequence cos Hafash and Hager Not For Sale . Like this RIP Spy they got paid to destroy neza waga ztekefla hager

  10. you nailed it on the head.
    ኔዚ ፌራ ሜንግስቲ ድኣኒ እንታይ ጌዴሾም ኔፍሶም አብ ሓዴጋ ዝእትዉ፡ክንዴይ አሽሓታት ዝቁጼሩ ሱሱዓት ሴሬቅቲ ዴቂ ሃጌር እንኬሌዉ ንሃጌሮም እሕሊፎም ክህቡ ዝቄዳዴሙ።ብሴንኪ እዚ እኩይ ሬሳሕ ስርዓት አስሜራ ክብሬታት ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ሎሚ ሜሬት ዜቢጡ ይርኬብ።ንዌድኻ ዌይ ጓልካ ዌይ ስድራቤትካ ንአሜሪካ፡ንኤውሮጳ፡ካናዳ ክንዌስዶም ኢና ጥራይ ትአኽሎም እያ።very very cheap.እቲ ስርዓት ሓዴ እኩይ እዩ፡እቲ ህዝቢ ኣብ ትሕቲ ኬምዚ ዝአሜሴሌ አሬሜናዊ ስርዓት ዝሳቄ ክአ እንታይ ሃሌዋቱ ዜጥፌኤ እዩ ዝሜስል።

  11. Bravo, bravo....that is only the basics., many many more!

  12. Hawkha, First, you did not answer the question from cane libero.
    Second, too much criticism and little solutions except some tired "opposition" talking points.

    Also you end up by saying Eritrea is doing worse that all the neighbors, which is complete nonsense. By most measure of social justice issues such as access to water, education, etc.., Eritrea is doing better.
    Therefore no need to exaggerate to score cheap political points.

  13. Fratello cane libero, hai ragione. Well said.

  14. @Aman spying is not like what ur uncle told u, but it is very serious and life taking as eritrean to spy for foreign states. This former french ambasador had more access and protection to spy by the states who work for.. Which the ambasador was in contact with many of our uncles in this case, who ever works with him is in desperate situation after this news..

  15. I can agree with the first observation, while i totally disagree with the last statement where you say, "we're doing very bad comparing to our naigbors".
    Here my point is that, no of our neighbours are independent as We are, in a sense that, depending from external AID system, they don't have their own free policy, look djibouti, is a french satellite state, since ever, look ethiopia, was better in this sentence at the time of col. M. Hailemariam. (by now, they're doing for a sake of compensation, what the west power tell them to do, look at their federal system, is something that ethiopians never knew, look at their "free market system" in slang we could say they been sold to outsiders? I mean the land grab ect..
    Look sudan, is a quasi total mess, i don't want to get who is responsible to all this chaos, one thing is true, We have a many things to improve as you say, but never to be compared with this "neo colonized states" i'm sorry, i don't think democracy means to have in a paper a written codes and and left aside like what you see in many countries in the world..

  16. unless somebody has a hidden agenda why on earth would any foreigner go to Eritrea. I went there last year and all the young people I knew growing up there have left and are in Europe now.

  17. He had a lot of good things to say about Eritrea.


  18. The Eritrean government knew few years back.

  19. The only one is not going any where is you,

  20. Dear cane libero,
    I wish I had one good thing to say about the situation in my country. I am glad you agree that many of the things I mentioned that need to be changed in Eritrea. That is ok if you think all our neigbours are doing worse than us - that really does not concern me. If the government was to do even number those points you agree with, and it was to release immediately those they detain for no reason and with out charges for years that would be a very good start. But "kab zibie's Atsmi" eyu negeru.

  21. You see brother what is the difference between you and me? While i recognize that Eritrea being a new nation, have things to improve, to be better and to go beyond that to be best (i.e in 1991 there was 4000 registered university students, by now we have 17500; on the same range of time, Eritrea hadn't department of Medicine, agriculture, IT ect, today we have Eritrean medical doctors..ect). Mean while you have a lot to mention about the extraordinary steps Eritrea did in the last 24 years toward reaching goals on the Public Health, Infant Mortality, Eradication of Malaria, Controlling HIV, Education, infrastructure ect..(do not and by this year even Food Security, (in brief MDG's 2015) almost achieved.
    Until you'll recognize the above mentioned, i couldn't take for serious your points, i'll assume you are unfair and unjust..

  22. Dear Cane Libero,

    I appreciate the fact that you are an optimist and a patient person who is prepared to give a government a century (because it is already a quarter of a century). The fact many of the achievements may be except the malaria issue are only a myth.
    I just called my family two days ago, they told me in 9 months their tap water did not run a single day. The asphalts in the street I grew up has long run deteriorated to dirt road. Most nights they have no electricity, I had to send them solar lights. This what Asmera tsaeda looks 24 loooong years after independence.

    Believe me there are other people who can do better at running this country. Don't you the time for change is long over due. Our over worked leaders also deserve to rest.
    Ms selamta

  23. It's all matter of priority, i as you born in Asmara, i know the city didn't get attention than other places in Eritrea. Is this a reason to fail because Asmara didn't get road maintenance "even i don't believe that was a case", What if the central gov. body give priority to the dam construction or to build a health center in remote areas in our country? Or give priority again to education? I'm not an economist, but i can understand what have been done.
    - Other fact is to remember how Massawa was on 1991 and how is now..You don't need to be engineer to understand that about 75% of the town buildings been rebuilt.
    - Many schools, health centers ect have been built.
    - Dums every where, after an extension work of connection to distribution lines, canals Eritrea will benefit from that.

  24. I like your respectful approach to discussion. and I want to end this discourse for now. You said the government neglects Asmera to benefit other areas - no reason to do that. you raised the university issue that I know very well and could say a lot, but for now I just will leave it. You said you are not an economist but think ...., well I am an economist but to assess how Eritrea has done in the past 24 years you do not need to be one.
    But as long as you honestly believe we are doing well without any bias, some personal reason etc, I totally respect your view. I love to discuss further some other time.

  25. Be selam yerakebena,
    don't forget that I say as Eritreans and Government we have and need to improve..This not because monitoring groups or external entities tells us to do, but because we know "Nekefietan riese Nekefietan".
    Recognize one self weak side is finding half of its remedy. Apart of all this, still is unique the success and the tremendous effort the GoE did and the result achieved.


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