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[Esquire magazine, September 1998]


Contributor's profile:

Two weeks after Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance" series appeared in the San Jose Mercury News in August 1996, contributing editor Charles Bowden found himself in a bar, having a few drinks with some narcs (his idea of a good night). "For some reason, Webb's piece came up, and I asked the guys, 'So, what do you think? Is what Webb wrote about the CIA true?'" recalls Bowden, the author of fifteen books, including Blood Orchid and Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future. "And they all turned to me and said, "Of course it is.' That's when I knew that somebody
would have to do this story, and I figured it might as well be me." "The Pariah," Bowden's story on Webb -- a man he describes as "real smart, real straight, lives on a cul-de-sac, family man, all that crap" -- begins on page 150.

Editor's letter [excerpt]:

....The world Charles Bowden leads us into in his story, "The Pariah" (page 150), is, on the other hand, a place few would willingly visit. Reporter Gary Webb chose to enter the alternate universe where the CIA sponsors armies and sometimes finds itself allied with drug dealers who sell their wares in the United States. Webb wrote a newspaper series that documented how the Nicaraguan contras of the 1980s were in part financed by just such an arrangement -- and he was then professionally destroyed for it. Bowden, in the course of reporting this story over the last six months, found considerable evidence that parallels and supports Webb's articles -- including revelations from one of the DEA's most decorated agents, who speaks for the first time about the CIA's complicity in the drug trade. It was not, however, the agency's ties to drug traffickers that Bowden found most disturbing. It was that a man can lose his livelihood, his calling, his reputation, for telling the truth....

--David Granger



Two years ago, Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that said some bad things about the CIA and drug traffickers. The CIA denied the charges, and every major newspaper in the country took the agency's word for it. Gary Webb was ruined. Which is a shame, because he was right.

By Brad Wilson Charles Bowden | Sep 01 '98

HE TELLS ME I'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHEN THE BIG DOG GETS OFF THE PORCH, and I'm getting confused here. He is talking to me from a fishing camp up near the Canadian border, and as he tries to tell me about the Big Dog, I can only imagine a wall of green and deep blue lakes with northern pike. But he is very patient with me. Mike Holm did his hard stints in the Middle East, the Miami station, and Los Angeles, all for the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, and he is determined that I face the reality he knows. So he starts again. He repeats, "When the Big Dog gets off the porch, watch out." And by the Big Dog, he means the full might of the United States government. At that moment, he continues, you play by

Big Boy rules, and that means, he explains, that there are no rules but to complete the mission. We've gotten into all this schooling because I asked him about reports that he received when he was stationed in Miami that Southern Air Transport, a CIA-contracted airline, was landing planeloads of cocaine at Homestead Air Force Base nearby. Back in the eighties, Holm's informants kept telling him about these flights, and then he was told by his superiors to "stand down because of national security." And so he did. He is an honorable man who believes in his government, and he didn't ask why the flights were taking place; he simply obeyed. Because he has seen the Big Dog get off the porch, and he has tasted Big Boy rules. Besides, he tells me, these things are done right, and if you look into the matter, you'll find contract employees or guys associated with the CIA, but you won't find a CIA case officer on a loading dock tossing kilos of coke around. Any more than Mike Holm ever saw a plane loaded top to bottom with kilos of coke. He didn't have to. He believed his informants. And he believed in the skill and power of the CIA. And he believed in the sheer might and will of the Big Dog when he finally decides to get off the porch.

As his words hang in the air, I remember a convict who says he once worked with the United States government and who also tasted Big Boy rules. This man has not gone fishing. This convict insisted that I hold the map up to the thick prison glass as he jabbed his finger into the mountains. There, he said, that's the place, and his eyes gleamed as his words accelerated. There, in the mountains, they have a colony of two thousand Colombians out of Medellin, guarded by the Mexican army. I craned my neck to see where his finger was rubbing against the map, and made an x with my pen. That's when the guard burst into the convict's small cubicle and ordered him to sit down.

The convict is a man of little credibility in the greater world. He is a Mexican national, highly intelligent and exact in his speech. He is a man electric with the memory of his days working as a DEA informant in Mexico, huddling in his little apartment with his clandestine radio. He said I must check his DEA file; he gave the names of his case officers; he noted that he delivered to them the exact locations of thirteen airfields operated jointly by the drug cartels and the CIA. The man's eyes bugged out as his excitement shredded the tedium of doing time and he returned to his former life of secret transmissions, cutouts, drinks with pilots ferrying dope, bullshitting his way through army checkpoints.

He said, "I'll be out in six months or one year, depending on the hearing. We can go. I'll take you up there." I have always steered clear of the secret world, because it is very hard to penetrate, and because if you discover anything about it, you are not believed. And because I remember what happened to one reporter who wrote about that world, about the Big Dog getting off the porch, about the Big Boy rules. So I thought about the convict's information and did nothing with it.

But this reporter who went ahead and wrote while I stopped, I kept thinking about him. When I mention him, and what happened to him, to Mike Holm, he says, "Ah, he must have drawn blood." Holm is very impressed with the CIA, and he wants me to slow down, think, and understand something: "The CIA's mission is to break laws and be ruthless. And they are dangerous."

I had been thinking about looking into the claim that during the civil war in Nicaragua in the eighties, the CIA helped move dope to the United States to buy guns for the contras, who were mounting an insurrection against the leftist Sandinistas. So I called up Hector Berrellez, a guy who worked under Mike Holm in Los Angeles, a guy known within the DEA as its Eliot Ness, and he said, "Look, the CIA is the best in the world. You're not going to beat them; you're never going to get a smoking gun. The best you're going to get is a little story from me."

What Berrellez meant by a smoking gun is this: proof that the United States government has, through the Central Intelligence Agency and its ties to criminals, facilitated the international traffic in narcotics. That's the trail the reporter was on when his career in newspapers went to rack and ruin. So I decided to look him up.

His name is Gary Webb.

GARY WEBB LOVES THE STACKS OF THE STATE LIBRARY ACROSS from the capitol in Sacramento, the old classical building framed with aromatic camphor trees. He enters the lobby and becomes part of a circling mural called War Through the Ages, an after-flash of World War I painted by Frank Van Sloun in 1929. The panels start with the ax and club, then wade through gore to doughboys marching off to the War to End All Wars. THIS HOUSE OF PEACE, the inscription on the west wall admonishes, SHALL STAND WHILE MEN FEAR NOT TO DIE IN ITS DEFENSE.

He was here in the summer of 1995 because of a call from a woman named Coral Marie Talavera Baca. She told him her drug-dealer boyfriend was in jail and one of the witnesses against him was "a guy who used to work with the CIA selling drugs. Tons of it." Webb was brought up short: In eighteen years of reporting, every person who'd ever called him about the CIA had turned out to be a flake. Webb started to back away on the phone, and the woman sensed it and exploded: "How dare you treat me like an idiot!" She said she had lots of documents and invited him to a court date that month. And so he went.

Coral's boyfriend turned out to be a big-time trafficker. She brought Webb a pile of DEA and FBI reports about, and federal grand-jury testimony by, a guy named Oscar Danilo Blandon. Webb was intrigued by government files that told of Nicaraguans selling dope in California and giving dope money to the contras. During a break in the hearing, he headed for the restroom and ran into the U.S. attorney, David Hall. Webb told him he was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, and Hall asked why he was at a piddling hearing. "Actually, I've been reading," Webb answered, "and I was curious to know what you made of Blandon's testimony about selling drugs for the
contras in L.A. Did you believe him?" "Well, yeah," Hall answered, "but I don't know how you could absolutely confirm it. I mean, I don't know what to tell you. The CIA won't tell me anything."

Webb followed a trail of crumbs: some San Francisco newspaper clips, some court records in San Diego, where this strange figure, Blandon, had been indicted for selling coke in 1992 and, according to the documents, had been at it for years and sold tons. He and his wife had been held without bail because the federal prosecutor, L.J. O'Neale, said his minimum mandatory punishment would be life plus a $4 million fine. Blandon's defense attorney had argued that his client was being smeared because he'd been active in helping the contras in the early eighties.
The file told Webb that Blandon wound up doing about two years, and that he was now out. The file recorded that at O'Neale's request, the government had twice quietly cut Blandon's sentence and that he was now working as a paid undercover informant for the DEA.

After about six weeks of this kind of foraging, Webb went to the state library. For six days in September, he sat at a microfiche with rolls of dimes and read an eleven-hundred-page report from 1989 compiled by a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a subcommittee chaired by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts that dealt with the contras and cocaine.
Buried in the federal document was evidence of direct links between drug dealers and the contras; evidence, dated four years before the American invasion of Panama, that Manuel Noriega was in the dope business; drug dealers saying under oath that they gave money to the contras (and passing polygraphs); pilots talking of flying guns down and dope back and landing with their cargoes at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.

Suddenly, Coral's phone call didn't seem so crazy. Webb called up Jack Blum, the Washington, D.C., lawyer who led the Kerry inquiry and said, "Maybe I'm crazy, but this seems like a huge story to me." "Well, it's nice to hear someone finally say that, even if it is ten years later," Blum allowed, and then he proceeded to tell Webb almost exactly what he told me recently when I made a similar innocent phone call to him. "What happened was, our credibility was questioned, and we were personally trashed. The [Reagan] administration and some people in Congress tried to make us look like crazies, and to some degree it worked. I remember having conversations with reporters in which they would say, 'Well, the administration says this is all wrong.' And I'd say, 'Look, why don't you cover the fucking hearing instead of coming to me with what the administration says?' And they'd say, 'Well, the witness is a drug dealer. Why should I do that?' And I used to say this regularly: 'Look, the minute I find a Lutheran minister or a priest who was on the scene when they delivered six hundred kilos of cocaine at some air base in contra land, I'll put him on the stand, but until then, you take what you can get.' The big papers stayed as far away from this issue as they could. It was like they didn't want to know."

Webb was entering contra land, and when you enter that country, you run into the CIA, since the contras were functionally a CIA army. (The agency hired them, picked their leaders, plotted their strategy, and sometimes, because of contra incompetence, executed raids for them.) This is hardly odd, since the agency was created in 1947 for precisely such toils and has over the decades sponsored armies around the world, whether to land at the Bay of Pigs or kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan. After a year of research, in August 1996, Webb published a three-day, fifteen-thousand-word series in the Mercury News called "Dark Alliance." It is a story almost impossible to recapitulate in detail but simple in outline: Drug dealers working with the contras brought tons of cocaine into California in the 1980s and sold a lot of it to one dealer, a legend called Freeway Ricky Ross, who had connections with the L.A. street gangs and through this happenstance helped launch the national love of crack. That's it, a thesis that mixes the realpolitik of the-ends-justify-the-means with dollops of shit-happens.

The series set off a firestorm in black communities, where many suspected they had been deliberately targeted with the dope as an act of genocide (there is no evidence of that), and provoked repudiations of the story by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. The knockdowns of Webb's story questioned the importance of Nicaraguan dealers like Blandon, the significance of Ricky Ross, how much money, if any, reached the contras, and how crucial any of this was to the crack explosion in the eighties, and brushed aside
any evidence of CIA involvement. But while raising questions about Webb's work, none of these papers or any other paper in the country undertook a serious investigation of Webb's evidence. A Los Angeles Times staff member who was present at a meeting called to plan the Times's response has told me that one motive for the paper's harsh appraisal was simply pride: The Times wasn't going to let an out-of-town paper win a Pulitzer in its backyard.

Later, when it was all over, Webb spelled out exactly what he meant and exactly what he thought of the CIA's skills: The series "focused on the relationship between the contras and the crack king. It mentioned the CIA's role in passing, noting that some of the money had gone to a CIA-run army and that there were federal law-enforcement reports suggesting that the CIA knew about it. I never believed, and never wrote, that there was a grand CIA conspiracy behind the crack plague. Indeed, the more I learned about the agency, the more certain of that I became. The CIA couldn't even mine a harbor without getting its trench coat stuck in its fly."

After a while, the San Jose Mercury News series disappeared except on a few byways of the Internet, Gary Webb was ruined, and things went back to normal. Things like Oliver North's diary entry linking dope and guns for the contras, like Carlos Lehder, a big Colombian drug dealer, testifying as a prosecution witness in federal court during the Noriega trial about the Medellin cartel's $10 million donation to the contras, like the entire history of unseemly connections between the international drug world and the CIA -- all this went away, as it has time and time again in the past. A kind of orthodoxy settled over the American press that assumed that Webb's work had been thoroughly refuted. He became the Discredited Gary Webb.

And so in June 1997, Webb wound up going to a motel room he hated. The Mercury News's editors were supposed to fix him up with an apartment, but they never figured he'd show up for his dead-end transfer from investigative reporter to pretty much a nothing. So they made no arrangements, just shunted him to the paper's Cupertino bureau on the south end of Silicon Valley, his family 150 miles away in Sacramento. After a few days of the motel, he found himself in a tiny apartment. He was in his early forties, and his life and his life's work were over. He endlessly watched a tape of Caddyshack and tried to forget about missing his wife, Sue, his three kids, his dog, his work. He was an ordinary guy, by his lights, with the suburban home, an aquarium in the study, two games a week in an amateur hockey league. Now, during the day, he visited the bureau, and the guys there treated him okay, because they were all in the same boat, people who had pissed off their newspaper and been shipped to its internal Siberia, where they were paid to retool the press releases of the computer and software companies. Webb was fighting the paper through arbitration with the Newspaper Guild, and so while his case dragged on, he refused to let his byline run. But he did his assignments. After all, they were paying him a solid mid-five-figure wage; he was their star investigative reporter, the guy they had brought in from The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1987 to do, in their words, "kick-ass journalism." Within two years, he'd helped them bring home a Pulitzer with a team of Mercury News reporters who jumped on the San Francisco earthquake. Then he blew the lid off civil forfeiture in
California -- law enforcement's practice of seizing property from alleged crooks and then forgetting to ever convict, try, or even charge them. That series got the law changed. He was hot. He was good. He kicked ass.

Now Caddyshack flickered against his eyes hour after hour. His thirteen-year-old son asked, "Why don't you get another job?" And Gary Webb told him, "That's what they think I'll do. But they're wrong. I'm gonna fight."
But fight how? He was one fucking disgrace. Oliver North described his work as "absolute garbage." Webb was stretched thin. The week the series ran, he and his wife closed on a new house and moved in. Payments. So each morning, he went to the Cupertino bureau, and there were assignments from the city desk. Seems a police horse died, and he was supposed to nail down this equine death. So he did. He investigated the hell out of it and wrote it up, and, by God, the thing was good. Went on page one, of course, without his name on it. The horse died from a medical problem, constipation. The horse was full of shit.

HECTOR BERRELLEZ STUMBLED ONTO GARY WEBB'S STORY YEARS before Gary Webb knew a thing about it. His journey into that world happened this way: Hector was not fond of cops. He remembered them slapping him around when he was a kid. He was a barrio boy from South Tucson, a square mile of poverty embedded in the booming Sun Belt city. His father was a Mexican immigrant. After being drafted into the Army in the late sixties, Berrellez couldn't find a job in the copper mines, so he hooked up as a temporary with the small South Tucson police force to finance his way through college. And it was then that Hector Berrellez accidentally discovered his jones: He loved working the streets with a badge. The state police force hired him, and Hector, still green, managed to do a one-kilo heroin deal in the early seventies, a major score for the time. The DEA snapped him up, and suddenly the kid who had wanted to flee the barrio and become a lawyer was a federal narc. He loved the life. In the DEA, there are the administrators, who usually have little street experience, the suits. And then there are the street guys like Hector, and they call themselves something else. Gunslingers. His hobbies were jogging, weight lifting, guitar playing. And firearms. A Glock? Never. "Only girls carry Glocks," he snaps. "They're a sissy gun. Plastic. You can't hit anyone over the head with a Glock."

In September 1986, Sergeant Tom Gordon of the Los Angeles sheriff's narcotics strike force pieced together intelligence about a big-time drug ring in town run by Danilo Blandon. A month later, on October 23, Gordon went before a judge with a twenty-page detailed statement documenting that "monies gained from the sales of cocaine are transported to Florida and laundered....The monies are filtered to the contra rebels to buy arms in the war in Nicaragua." He got a search warrant for the organization's stash houses. On Friday, October 24, there was a briefing of more than a hundred law-enforcement guys from the sheriff's office, the DEA, the FBI. That was the same day that President Ronald Reagan, after months of hassle, signed a $100 million aid bill that reactivated a licit cash flow to the beleaguered contras. And on Monday, October 27, at daybreak, the strike force simultaneously hit fourteen L.A.-area stash houses connected with Blandon.

That's where just another day in the life of Hector Berrellez got weird. Generally, at that early hour, good dopers are out cold; the work tends toward long nights and sleeping. As Berrellez remembers, "We were expecting to come up with a lot of coke." Instead, they got coffee and sometimes doughnuts. The house he hit had the lights on, and everyone, two men and a woman, was up. The guy who answered the door said, "Good morning; we've been expecting you. Come on in." The house was tidy, the beds were already made, and the damn coffee was on. The
three residents were polite, even congenial. "It was obvious," says Berrellez, "that they were told." The place was clean; all fourteen houses were clean. The only thing Berrellez and the other guys found in the house was a professional scale.

But there was a safe, and Berrellez got one of the residents to open it reluctantly. Inside, he found records of kilos matched with amounts of money, an obvious dope ledger, a photograph of a guy in flight dress in front of what looked to be a military jet, and photographs of some guys in combat. Hector asked the guy who the hell the people in the photographs were, and the guy said, "Oh, they are freedom fighters." What the hell is this? Berrellez wondered. He left and went to a couple of the other houses that had been hit, and Jesus, they were clean, the coffee was on, sometimes there were doughnuts for the cops, and the same kind of documents showed up. But no dope, not a damn thing.

For a holy warrior, October 27, 1986, was a bad day. At the debriefing after the raid, Berrellez remembers one of the cops saying that the houses had been tipped to the raid by "elements of the CIA." And he thought, What? "I was shocked," he says now. "I was in a state of belief." He was supposed to believe that his own government was helping dopers? No way. "I didn't want to believe," he says And so he didn't. He was that rock-solid first-generation citizen, and he believed in America. He remembers having this ongoing argument with his dad about whether there was corruption in the U.S. like the old man had tasted in Mexico. His father would ask, Do you really think things are so clean here? And Hector would have none of it; damn right they're clean here. And he was clean, and he was in a good outfit (a position he is still passionate about -- his absolute love for the troops he served with in the DEA), and he was in a holy war against a tide of poison.

In 1987, he was transferred to Mazatlan in Sinaloa, Mexico, to run the DEA station. Sinaloa was the drug center for Mexico; in the history of the Mexican drug cartels, all but one leader has been Sinaloan born and bred. He took the wife, got a beach house in the coastal city, and ran with the job. Two months into the assignment, narcotrafficantes chased his wife and two-year-old daughter from the beach back to the house, and they had to be evacuated to the States.

In October 1988, Hector and some Mexican federal police hit a small hamlet that housed a ton of coke and twenty tons of marijuana. The firefight lasted three hours, with thousands of rounds exchanged. When three federales were mowed down on the field of fire, Hector managed to pull them to safety with another agent. He commandeered a cab to take the wounded to a hospital, then returned to the shoot-out. For this combat, Hector and two other agents at the scene were brought to the White House and given a medal by Attorney General Edwin Meese. He was on a roll that would eventually earn him twelve consecutive superior-performance awards.

Hector Berrellez, twenty-four years in the DEA, known as the agency's Eliot Ness. As he read about Gary Webb, he thought, This shit is true.

In Mexico, Hector was running two hundred to three hundred informants, and he was bringing in a torrent of information on the drug world and its links to the Mexican government. But something else happened down there in Sinaloa that stuck in his mind. His army of informants was constantly reporting strange fortified bases scattered around Mexico, but they were not Mexican military bases, and, his informants told him, the planes were shipping drugs. Camps in Durango, Sinaloa, Baja, Veracruz, all over Mexico. Hector wrote up these camps and the information he was getting on big drug shipments. And each month, he would go to Mexico City to meet with his DEA superiors and American-embassy staff, and he started mentioning these reports. He was told, Stay away from those bases; they're our training camps, special operations. He thought, What the hell is this? I'm here to enforce the drug laws, and I'm being told to do nothing.

THE EMPTY ROOM SAGS WITH FATIGUE AS THE SPORTS TELEVISIONS quietly float in the corner. California's ban on smoking has emptied the watering holes. The hotel squats by a four-lane highway amid bland suburbs that blanket Sacramento's eastern flank against the Sierra Nevada. Everything is normal here; this is the visual bedrock of Ronald Reagan's America.

Gary Webb orders Maker's Mark on the rocks. He is a man of average height, with brown hair, a trim mustache, an easy smile, and laconic, laid-back speech, the basic language of Middle America. He moves easily, a kind of amble through life. His father was a marine, and his childhood meant moving a lot before finally coming to ground in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. He's married to his high school sweetheart; they have three kids and live on a tree-lined cul-de-sac with a pool in back, a television in the family room, his Toyota with 150,000 miles in the drive, Sue's minivan, and on the cement the chalk outline of a hopscotch game. He looks white-collar, maybe sells insurance.

All he has ever wanted to be is a reporter. He started out as a kid, writing up sports results for a weekly at a nickel an inch. The Gary Webb who suddenly loomed up nationally with this bad talk about the CIA and drugs was a long time coming, and he came from the dull center of the country, and he came from an essay entitled, "What America Means to Me," for which he was runner-up in the fifth-grade essay contest, and he came from the smell of ink, the crackle of a little weekly where he nailed cold the week's tumult in the Little League.

Webb is not a drinker, probably because his marine father was, but now in the empty hotel bar, he is drinking. He is not used to talking about himself, because he is a reporter, and a reporter is not the story, but now he is talking about himself. When Gary Webb talks, he sometimes leans back, but often as not, he leans forward, and when he is really into what he is saying, he grabs his left wrist with his right hand as if he were taking his own pulse, and then his voice gets even flatter, and the words are very evenly spaced, and he never goes too fast, hardly any hint of
rat-a-tat-tat -- he is always measured and unexcited. But when he grabs that wrist, you can tell now that the words really matter. Because he believes. In facts. In publishing facts. In the fact that publishing facts makes a difference in how people look at things. Believes, without reason or question, believes absolutely. As for coincidence, it doesn't fit in with his mission. He also has no tolerance for conspiracy theories. By God, if he finds a conspiracy, it is not a theory, it is a fucking conspiracy, because it is grounded in facts.

When he was twenty-three, he was kind of drifting, living in the basement of Sue's house with her parents. He was writing rock 'n' roll stuff for a weekly, still grinding away at college and about three units shy of a degree. His father walked out on the marriage, leaving his mother, a housewife, and his younger brother without a check. So Webb quit college to support them. A teacher in his journalism department told him that the strange guy who ran the Post in Lexington, Kentucky, set aside one day a week for walk-ins. Webb walked in and said, "I need a job."
The editor said, "Go do two pieces and bring them back in a week."

One was on the barmaids and strippers of Newport, Kentucky, the sin town across the river from Cincinnati. The editor tossed it aside and said, "Thrice-told tale." The other was on a guy who carved gravestones; that one the editor kind of liked. He said, "Bring me two more." Webb was shaken, went home and sat in the backyard, and then he thought, Fuck, I can do this. This goes on for weeks. A kid calls the paper about the dog he's found run over in the street. He's taken it to the Humane Society; they want to put it to sleep, and the kid is very upset. Webb is sent out to see if he can do anything fit for a newspaper. He talks to the vet, who says it is hopeless, that the dog will never walk again, whether he operates or not. When Webb reports back to the editor, he says, "Get that guy on the phone," and after a few blunt words from the editor, by God, the vet is going to operate. And it works. The damn dog is leaping in the air. Finally, the dog goes home to the kid who found him, a kid in a wheelchair who seemed to identify with an injured mutt and was horrified at the idea that a cripple should be done away with. Story and photograph on the front page. Webb is hired. Years later, the old editor would tell him, "If that dog hadn't walked, you'd have never been hired."

There is a guy in the newsroom who is kind of burned out, a city editor. He watches the new hire for a few weeks. He tells him he will teach him the ropes, how to ferret out facts, how to find out damn near anything, how to be an investigative reporter. On one condition. He says Webb has to swear never to become a fucking editor. Webb agrees. His first series was seventeen parts on organized crime in the coal industry. Then he moved up to a good job on The Cleveland Plain Dealer and was in heaven: Ohio was the mother lode of corruption in government. He got an offer from the Mercury News in 1987. After a brief bidding war, he moved the family west, great place to raise kids, and besides, during his father's wanderings as a marine, Webb happened to be born in California. Everything was fine. He was in the Sacramento bureau and so hardly ever in the newsroom, much less around editors. In a big story for the paper, he took on one of the area's major employers. After the first day of the story, the company bought a full-page ad refuting it. After the next installment, the company bought a two-page ad. Webb looked around and noticed that nothing happened to him. The paper backed him up.

GARY WEBB'S "DARK ALLIANCE" BROKE AN OLD STORY. THE HISTORY of the CIA's relationship with international drug dealers has been documented and published, yet it is almost completely unknown to most citizens and reporters. Webb himself had only a dim notion of this record. And so he reacted with horror when the implications of his research first began to become clear to him: that while much of the federal government fought narcotics as a plague, the CIA, in pursuing its foreign-policy goals, sometimes facilitated the work of drug traffickers. "Dark Alliance" is surrounded by a public record that bristles with similar instances of CIA connections with drug people:

-- Alan Fiers, who headed the CIA Central American Task Force, testified during the Iran-contra hearings in August 1987, "With respect to [drug trafficking by] the resistance forces...it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people."

-- In 1983, fifty people, many of them Nicaraguans, were caught unloading a big coke shipment in San Francisco. A couple of them claimed involvement with the CIA, and after a meeting between CIA officials and the U.S. attorney handling the case, $36,000 found in a bedside table was returned because it "belonged to the contras." This spring, when the CIA published its censored report on involvement of the agency with drug traffickers in the contra war (a report that exists solely because a firestorm erupted in Congress after Webb's series), this incident was explained thusly: "Based upon the information available to them at the time, CIA personnel reached the erroneous conclusion that one of the two individuals...was a former CIA asset." Logically, an admission that CIA "assets" can sometimes be drug dealers.

-- In 1986, Wanda Palacio parted company with the Medellin cartel and started talking to Senator John Kerry's subcommittee, which was looking into the byways of the contra war and dope. Palacio said she'd witnessed two flights of coke out of Barranquilla, Colombia, on planes belonging to the CIA-contracted Southern Air Transport. She also had the dates and had seen the pilot. She also said Jorge Ochoa, another drug boss, said the flights were part of a "drugs for guns" deal. On September 26, 1986, Kerry took her eleven-page statement to William Weld, who was then the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division of the Justice Department. Weld allowed that he was not surprised to find claims of "bum agents, former and current CIA agents" dabbling in dope deals with the Colombian cartels. On October 3, Weld's office rejected Palacio's statement and offer to be a witness because of what it saw as contradictions in her testimony. On October 5, 1986, the Sandinistas shot a CIA plane out of the sky and captured one of Oliver North's patriots, one Eugene Hasenfus. Palacio was sitting in Kerry's office when a photograph of Hasenfus's dead pilot flashed across the television screen. She whooped that the pilot was the same guy she'd seen in Colombia loading coke on the Southern Air Transport flight in early October 1985. An Associated Press reporter, Robert Parry, investigated the crash and obtained the pilot's logs, which showed that on October 2, 4, and 6, 1985, the pilot had taken a Southern Air Transport plane to Barranquilla, Colombia. Palacio took a polygraph on the matter and passed.

-- Through much of the contra war, SETCO Air, an airline run by Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros out of Honduras, was the principal airline used to transport supplies and personnel for the contras. Hector Berrellez later sent Ballesteros to Marion Federal Prison in Illinois to serve a couple of life sentences for dope peddling.

ABOUT THE SAME TIME GARY WEBB WAS MAKING HIS BONES AT The Cleveland Plain Dealer and winning part of a Pulitzer at the Mercury News, Hector Berrellez was becoming a legend. After two years of living at ground zero in Sinaloa, he was brought home to Los Angeles in 1989 to take over the most significant investigation in DEA history, that of the murder of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. Camarena had been bagged in broad daylight from in front of the American consulate in Guadalajara in February 1986. His tortured body was found a month later. The investigation had stalled, so the DEA tossed it in Hector's lap. He ran with the new power, the raft of agents under his command, the huge budget for buying informants in Mexico. The case was a core matter for the DEA: The murder of Camarena was the event that gave the ragtag agency its martyr. The investigation was called Operation Leyenda, "Operation Legend."

During Operation Leyenda, a major drug guy in Sinaloa called Cochi Loco, "the Crazy Pig," put a contract on Hector's head. In the drug world, there are so many possible reasons for murder that a simple one is seldom clear. Whatever the immediate cause, in the early nineties a hit team was sent north to kill Hector.

One day in 1991, in the underground garage of the building in Los Angeles where the DEA and a bunch of federal agencies rent office space, someone walked up to a guy sitting in a car and clipped him in the head with a .22. The man died instantly and fell forward into the steering wheel, and the sound of a car horn wailed through the garage. Hector remembers that they found him with the motor running, and neatly placed on the floorboard of the car was the gun, in a Mexican-tooled holster, and the two latex surgical gloves that had been worn by the hit man. Someone wanted a clear message delivered.

The dead man was a guy from the General Services Administration who happened to work in the same building as the DEA. He had been in some kind of a hurry and had pulled into a DEA parking space. The guy was a ringer for Hector's partner. Three days after the hit, Hector picked up the phone in his office and heard the voice of Chichon Rico Urrea, a significant drug figure who was doing a stint in a prison in Guadalajara. Chichon told Hector, "You see what happened to your guy in the garage? That's going to happen to more of your guys."

Hector told the guy to go fuck himself, said he could kill all the fucking GSA guys he wanted. But Hector was questioning his faith. The faith was the war on drugs. The faith was that he was a righteous soldier in this war. The faith was that he was risking his life for the forces of light against the forces of darkness. And he was Eliot Ness, goddammit; he was the most decorated guy anyone could remember in the DEA, the man running its key investigation, the guy who had killed people, the guy bloodied in the world of Mexican corruption. All of that Hector could handle -- none of that could ever touch the faith. But other things could. Things he saw and learned in Mexico. And things he saw in the United States. He began to doubt that there was a real commitment to win this war on drugs. He saw his government winking at too many narcotics connections. He took Kiki Camarena's murder personally, because as agents they were mirror images -- gung-ho, committed drugbusters. And impediments to his investigation pissed Hector off. So in 1992, four years before Gary Webb sprang "Dark Alliance" on the world, Hector Berrellez sat down in his federal office in Los Angeles and picked up the phone and recommended action to the DEA. Things had come to his attention, and he thought, Somebody's gotta investigate this crap. In fact, he hoped to be that investigator.

Hector Berrellez wanted a criminal investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency. His $3 million snitch budget had brought in an unseemly harvest, report after report from informants that in the eighties CIA-leased aircraft were flying cocaine into places like the air-force base in Homestead, Florida, and the airfield north of Tucson long believed to be a CIA base. And that these planes were flying guns south. One of his witnesses in the Camarena case told him about flying in a U.S. military plane loaded with drugs from Guadalajara to Homestead. Other informants told him that major drug figures, including Rafael Caro Quintero, the man finally imprisoned for the Camarena murder, were getting guns delivered through CIA connections. Everywhere he turned, he ran into dope guys who had CIA connections, and to a narc this didn't look right. "I can't believe," he told his superiors, "that the CIA is handling all this shit and doesn't know what these pilots are doing." His superiors asked if he had hard evidence of actual CIA case officers moving dope, and he said no, just lots of people they employed. All intelligence services use the fabled “cutouts” to separate themselves from their grubby work.

The DEA in Washington asked for a memo, so Hector fired off a summary of his telephone request. Agents were assigned, and Hector shipped every snippet of new information to this team. Nothing came of the investigation. The DEA team came out and debriefed him and some of his agents. And then, silence.

Hector's Camarena work had burrowed deep, very deep, inside the Mexican government and found endless rot. With the vote on NAFTA in the air in the fall of 1993, his investigation started to get pressure, then his budget was cut. By 1994, after Justice Department officials had been in Mexico City, he was told, "Don't report that crap anymore." It was clear to Hector that the Mexican government wanted this Camarena investigation reined in. In early 1995, he learned of his future in a curious way. One of Hector's informants in Mexico City called another one of his informants in Los Angeles and said, Hector's getting transferred to Washington. The guy in Los Angeles said, No, no Hector's still here. Two months later, in April 1995, Berrellez was transferred to Washington, D.C. Over the years, Hector had become used to a certain amount of duplicity in the DEA. Some of his fellow agents, he had come to believe, were actually members of the CIA. The DEA had been penetrated.

At headquarters, Hector sat in an office with nothing to do. "There ain't no fucking drug war," he says now. "I was even called un-American. Nobody cares about this shit." He started going a little crazy. Each day, he checked into a blank schedule. So he caught a lot of double features.

In September 1996, he retired. He had had enough. The most decorated soldier in the war on drugs kind of faded out at the movies.

IN THE NEWS BUSINESS, IF YOU HANG AROUND LONG enough, you get a chance to find out who you are. Gary Webb was determined not to find out he was something ugly.

"I became convinced," he remembers, "that we're going to look back on the whole war on drugs fifty years from now like we look back on the McCarthy era and say, How did we ever let this stuff get so out of hand? How come nobody ever stood up and said, This is bullshit? I thought I had an obligation because I had the power at that point to tell people, Don't believe what you're being told about this war on drugs, because it is a lie. Very few people were in the position I was in, where I was able to write shit and get it in the newspapers. It was a very rare privilege. The editors at the Mercury gave me a lot of freedom because I produced. Then I got into this thing."

In December 1995, Webb wrote out his project memo, and suddenly, "I realized what we were saying here. I'm sitting at home, and this e-mail comes from a friend at the Los Angeles Times. And I had told him vaguely about this interesting story I was working on. I told him that he had no idea what his fucking government is capable of "And I was depressed because this was so horrible. It was like some guy told me that he had gone through the looking glass and was in this nether world that 99 percent of the American public would never believe existed. That's where I felt I was. When I sat down and wrote the project memo and said, Here's what we're going to say, and we're going to be accusing the government of bringing drugs into the country, essentially, and we've spent billions of dollars and locked up Americans for selling shit that the government helps to come into the country -- is just...If you believe in democracy and you believe in justice, it's fucking awful."


A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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For six weeks after his series came out, Webb waited in a kind of honeymoon. His e-mail was exploding, he recalls, "from ordinary people who said, 'This has restored my faith in newspapers.' It was from college students, housewives that heard me on the radio; it was really remarkable to think that journalism could have this kind of effect on people, that people were out marching in the streets because of something that had been hidden from us all these years. The thing that surprised me was that there was no response from the press, from the government. It was total silence."


Finally, in early October, The Washington Post ran a story by Robert Suro and Walter Pincus headlined, THE CIA AND CRACK: EVIDENCE IS LACKING OF ALLEGED PLOT. The story focused in part on the fact that Webb had given a defense attorney questions to ask Oscar Danilo Blandon about his CIA connections. It also quoted experts who denied that the crack epidemic originated in Los Angeles, disputed that Freeway Rick Ross and Blandon were significant national players in the cocaine trade of the eighties (pegging Blandon's coke business at five tons over the decade, whereas Webb had evidence that it was more like two to five tons per year). And, the article continued, there was no evidence that the black community had been deliberately targeted (the "plot" referred to in the headline and a claim never made by Webb), that the CIA knew about Blandon's drug deals (also a claim never made by Webb, who in the series merely connected Blandon to CIA agents), or that Blandon had ever kicked in more than $60,000 to the contra cause (the Post based this number on unnamed law-enforcement officials;

Webb based his estimate of millions of dollars to the contras from dope sales on grand-jury testimony and court documents). Perhaps the best summary of the Post's retort to Webb came from the paper's own ombudsman, Geneva Overholser, some weeks later: "The Post...showed more passion for sniffing out the flaws in San Jose's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves. They were stronger on how much less money was contributed to the contras by the Mercury News's villains that their series claimed, how much less cocaine was introduced into L.A., than on how significant it is that any of these assertions are true."


In late October, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times weighed in on consecutive days. The Los Angeles Times had two years before described Freeway Rick Ross vividly: "If there was an eye to the storm, if there was a criminal mastermind behind crack's decade-long reign, if there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles's streets with mass-marketed cocaine, his name was Freeway Rick....Ross did more than anyone else to democratize it, boosting volume, slashing prices, and spreading disease on a scale never

before conceived....While most other dealers toiled at the bottom rungs of the market, his coast-to-coast conglomerate was selling more than five hundred thousand rocks a day, a staggering turnover that put the drug within reach of anyone with a few dollars." In the 1996 response to Webb's series, the Los Angeles Times described Ross as one of many "interchangeable characters" and stated, "How the crack epidemic reached that extreme, on some level, had nothing to do with Ross." Both stories were written by the same reporter, Jesse Katz, and the 1996 story failed to mention his earlier characterization. The long New York Times piece the following day quoted unnamed government officials, CIA personnel, drug agents, and contras, and noted that "officials said the CIA had no record of Mr. Blandon before he appeared as a central figure in the series in the Mercury News."


A common chord rang through the responses of all three papers: It never really happened, and if it did happen, it was on a small scale, and anyway it was old news, because both the Kerry report and a few wire stories in the eighties had touched on the contra-cocaine connection. What is missing from the press responses, despite their length, is a sense that anyone spent as much energy investigating Webb's case as attempting to refute it. The "Dark Alliance" series was passionate, not clinical. The headlines were tabloid, not restrained. But whatever sins were committed in the presentation of the series, they cannot honestly be used to dismiss its content. It is puzzling that The New York Times felt it could discredit the story by quoting anonymous intelligence officials (a tack hardly followed in publishing the Pentagon Papers). In contrast, what is striking in Webb's series is the copius citation of documents. (In the Mercury News's Web-site version-cgi.sjmercury.com/drugs/postscriptfeatures.htm -- are the hyperlinked facsimiles of documents that tug one into the dark world of drugs and agents.) But when Jerry Ceppos, the executive editor of the Mercury News, wrote a letter in response to the Post's knockdown, the paper refused to print it because a defense of Webb's work would have resulted in spreading more "misinformation."


Despite Ceppos's initial defense of the series, the Mercury News seemed to choke on these attacks, and Webb could sense a sea change, But he kept on working, building a a bigger base of facts, following its implications deeper into the government. When the Mercury News forced him to choose between a $600,000 movie offer and book deals and staying on the story, Webb picked the story. He kept discovering people who had flown suitcases full of money to Miami from dope sales for the contras. He documented Blandon's contra dope sales from '82 through '86. Gary Webb was on a tear; he was going to advance the story. Almost none of this was published by the Mercury News; the paper grudgingly ran (and buried) one last story on New Year's Eve 1996.


The paper had printed the story of the decade, the one with Pulitzer prize written all over it, and now was unmistakably backing off it. Webb entered a kind of Orwellian world where no one said anything, but there was this thing in the air. The Mercury News assigned one of its own reporters to review the series, using the stories of the L.A. Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post as the benchmark for what was fact.


Webb wouldn't admit it to himself, but he had become a dead man walking.


WHEN HECTOR BERRELLEZ SPENT HIS YEAR GOING TO MOVIES IN Washington, he knew he was finished in the DEA. One day in October 1996, a month after he retired, Hector Berrellez picked up a newspaper and read this big story about a guy named Gary Webb. Hector had lived in shadows, and talking to reporters had not been his style. "As I read, I thought, This shit is true," he says now. He hadn't a doubt about what Webb was saying. He saw the reporter as doomed. Webb hit a sensitive area, and for it he would be attacked and disbelieved.

Hector knew all about the Big Dog and the Big Boy rules.


Hector's body aches from the weight of secrets. When we meet, he is in a white sport shirt, slacks, a blue blazer with brass buttons, and a shoulder-holstered 9mm with fifteen rounds in the clip and two more clips strapped under his right arm. He may be a little over-armed for his Los Angeles private-investigation agency (the Mayo Group, which handles the woes of figures in the entertainment industry -- that pesky stalker, that missing money -- for a fat fee up front and two hundred dollars an hour), but not for his history. For the rest of his life, Hector Berrellez will be sitting in nice hotels like this one with a cup of coffee in his hand, a 9mm under his jacket, and very quick eyes.


He saw a lot of things and remembers almost all of them. He wrote volumes of reports. In 1997, he was interviewed by Justice Department officials about those unseemly drug ledgers and contra materials he saw during the raid on the fourteen Blandon stash houses back in 1986.  His interviewers wanted particularly to know whether anyone besides Hector had seen them. They then told Hector that they couldn't find the seized material anymore.


Before he retired, Hector was summoned to Washington to brief Attorney General Janet Reno on Mexican corruption. He talked to her at length about how the very officials she was dealing with in Mexico had direct links to drug cartels. He remembers that she asked very few questions. Now he sits in the nice lounge of the nice hotel, and he believes the CIA is in the dope business; he believes the agency ran camps in Mexico for the contras, with big planes flying in and out full of dope. He now knows in his bones what the hell he really saw on October 27, 1986, when he hit the door of that house in the Los Angeles area and was greeted with politeness and fresh coffee.


But he doesn't carry a smoking gun around. The photos, the ledgers, all the stuff the cops found that morning as they hit fourteen stash houses where all the occupants seemed to be expecting company, all that material went to Washington and seems to have vanished. All those reports he wrote for years while in Mexico and then later running the Camarena case, those detailed reports of how he kept stumbling into dope deals done by CIA assets, never produced any results or even a substantive response.


Hector Berrellez is a kind of freak. He is decorated; he is an official hero with a smiling Ed Meese standing next to him in an official White House photograph. He pulled twenty-four years and retired with honors. He is, at least for the moment, neither discredited nor smeared. Probably because until this moment, he's kept silent.


And Hector Berrellez thinks that if the blacks and the browns and the poor whites who are zombies on dope ever get a drift of what he found out, well, there is going to be blood in the streets, he figures -- there is going to be hell to pay.  He tells me a story that kind of sums up the place he finally landed in, the place that Gary Webb finally landed in. The place where you wonder if you are kind of nuts, since no one else seems to think anything is wrong. An agent he knows was deep in therapy, kind of cracking up from the undercover life. And the agent's shrink decided the guy was delusional, was living in some nutcase world of weird fantasies. So the doctor talked to Hector about his patient, about whether all the bullshit this guy was claiming was true, about dead men and women and children, strange crap like that. And he made a list of his patient's delusions, and he ticked them off to Hector. And Hector listened to them one by one and said, "Oh, that one, that's true. This one, yeah, that happened also." It went on like that. And finally, Hector could tell the shrink wondered just who was nuts -- Hector, his patient, or himself.


ON SUNDAY, MAY 11, 1997, GARY WEBB WAS hanging wallpaper in his kitchen when the San Jose Mercury News published a column by executive editor Jerry Ceppos that was widely read as a repudiation of Webb's series. It was an odd composition that retracted nothing but apologized for everything. Ceppos wrote, "Although the members of the drug ring met with contra leaders paid by the CIA and Webb believes the relationship was a tight one, I feel we did not have proof that top CIA officials knew of the relationship." Fair enough, except that Webb never wrote that top CIA officials knew of the contra-cocaine connection. The national press wrote front-page stories saying that the San Jose Mercury News was backing off its notorious series about crack. The world had been restored to its proper order. Webb fell silent. He had to deal with his own nature. He is not good at being polite. "I'm just fucking stubborn," he says, "and that's all there was to it, because I knew this was a good story, and I knew it wasn't over yet, and I really had no idea of what else to do. What else was I going to do?"


What he did was have the Newspaper Guild represent him in arbitration with the Mercury News over the decision to ship him to the wasteland of Cupertino. "I'm going to go through arbitration, and I'm going to win the arbitration, and I'm going to go to work," he says. "I was just going to fight it out. This was what I did, this was me, I was a reporter. This was a calling; it was not something you do eight to five. People were not exactly

beating down my door, saying, Well, okay, come work for us. I was...unreliable." So he went to Cupertino, and he wrote stories about constipated horses and refused to let his byline be printed. And then he went to his

apartment and missed his wife and family and watched Caddyshack endlessly. He was a creature living a ghostly life. The only thing he didn't figure on was himself. Webb slid into depression. Every week, the 150-mile drive between his family in Sacramento and his job in Cupertino became harder. Every day, it was harder to get out of bed and go to work.


And he was very angry most of the time. He says, "I was going to live in my own house and see my own kids. At some point, I figured something was going to give." Finally, he couldn't make it to work and took vacation time. When that was used up in early August, he started calling in sick. After that, he went on medical leave. A doctor examined him and said, "You are under a great deal of stress," and diagnosed him as having severe depression. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't do much of anything. He decided to write a book about "Dark Alliance," but this time no one wanted it. His agent was turned down by twenty-five publishers before finding a small press, Seven Stories, that operates as a kind of New York court of last resort.


A job offer came from the California state legislature to conduct investigations for the government-oversight committee at about the same money he made for the Mercury News. His wife said, Take the job. Why hang around in this limbo? Webb thought about her words and told himself, What do I win even if I do win in arbitration? I get to go back to my office and get bullshitted the rest of my life. He watered his lawn, worked on the house, read more and more contra stuff. Drifted in a sea of depression. "I didn't know what to do if I couldn't be a reporter," he says. "So all of a sudden, I was standing there on the edge of the cliff, and I don't have what I was doing for the last twenty years -- I don't have that to do anymore. I felt it was like I was neutered. I called up the Guild and said, 'Let's see if they want to settle this case.' They sent me a letter of resignation that I had to sign."


Webb carried the letter with him from November 19 to December 10 of last year. Every day, he got up to sign the letter and mail it. Every night, he went to bed with the letter unsigned. His wife would ask, Have you signed it? Somebody from the Mercury kept calling the Guild and asking, Has he signed it yet?  "I mean," he says softly, "writing my name on that thing meant the end of my career. I saw it as a sort of surrender. It was like signing," and here he hesitates for several seconds, "my death certificate."


But finally he signed, and now he is functionally banned from the business. He's the guy nobody wants, the one who fucked up, the one who said bad things. Officially, he is dead, the guy who wrote the discredited series, the one who questioned the moral authority of the United States government.


If Gary Webb could have talked to a Hector Berrellez in the fall of 1996, when his stories were being erased by the media, Hector would have been like a savior to him. "Because he would have shown what I was reporting was not an aberration," Webb says now, "that this was part of a pattern of CIA involvement with drugs. And he would have been believed." But Webb was not that lucky, and the Hectors of the world were not that ready to talk then. So Webb was left out there alone, one guy with a bunch of interviews and documents. One guy who answered a question no one wanted asked.


I CAN HEAR HECTOR BERRELLEZ TELLING ME that I will never find a smoking gun. I can hear the critics of Gary Webb explaining that all he has is circumstantial evidence. Like anyone who dips into the world of the CIA, I find myself questioning the plain facts I read and asking myself, Does this really mean what I think it means?


-- In 1982, the head of the CIA got a special exemption from the federal requirement to report dealings with drug traffickers. Why did the CIA need such an exemption?


-- Courthouse documents attest to the fact that the Blandon drug organization moved tons of dope for years with impunity, shipped millions to be laundered in Florida, and then bought arms for the contras. Why are Gary Webb's detractors not looking at these documents and others instead of bashing Webb over the head?


-- The internal CIA report of contra cocaine activity has never been released. The Justice Department investigation of Webb's charges has never been released. The CIA has released a censored report on only one volume of Webb's charges. The contra war is over, yet this material is kept secret. Why aren't the major newspapers filing Freedom of Information [Act] requests for these studies?


-- The fifty-year history of CIA involvement with heroin traffickers and other drug connections is restricted to academic studies and fringe publications. Those journalists who find themselves covering the war on drugs should read Alfred McCoy's massive study, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, or Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall's Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America.


-- Following the release of "Dark Alliance," Senator John Kerry told The Washington Post, "There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras." Why has the massive Kerry report been ignored to this day?


-- On March 16, 1998, the CIA inspector general, Frederick P. Hitz, testified before the House Intelligence Committee. "Let me be frank," he said. "There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug-trafficking activity, or take action to resolve the allegations."


Representative Norman Dicks of Washington then asked, "Did any of these allegations involve trafficking in the United States?"


"Yes," Hitz answered.


The question is why a mountain of evidence about the CIA and drugs is ignored and why the legitimate field of inquiry opened by Webb remains unpursued and has become journalistic taboo.


Maybe the CIA is great for America. But if it is, surely it can roll up its sleeves and show us its veins.


WEBB AND HIS WIFE, SUE, ARE STANDING IN the driveway with me after a Thai dinner in Sacramento. The night is fresh; spring is in the air. A frog croaks from the backyard on the quiet and safe suburban street. Sue has just finished rattling off details from one facet of the contra war, the CIA drug-airline operation run out of Ilopango airfield in El Salvador. She seems to have absorbed a library of material over the last three years of her husband's obsession. Before, he always worked like hell, she knows, but on this one he brought it home. He could not keep it separated from his wife and family and his weekly hockey games. So Sue, with her winning smile and cheerful ways, has become an authority on America's dark pages. And we stand there in the fine evening air, the rush of spring surging through the trees and grass and shrubs, talking about the endless details of this buried episode in the secret history.


And I wonder how Webb deals with it, with all the hard work done, with all the facts and documents devoured, and with all this diligent toil resulting in his personal ruin, depriving him of the only kind of work he has ever wanted in his life.


And I remember what he said earlier that day while he sat in his study, leaning toward me, his right hand gripping his left wrist: "The trail is littered with bodies. You go down the last ten years, and there is a skeleton here and a skeleton there of somebody that found out about it and wrote about it. I thought that this is the truth, and what can they do to you if you tell the truth? What can they do to you if you write the truth?"

 (c)1998 by Hearst Communications, Inc. Printed in the USA.


*Judge Overrules Bid to Link CIA, Drug Lords in Camarena Trial - June 08, 1990  by Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer

U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie barrs attorney Mary Kelly from questioning Laurence Victor Harrison about possible CIA links during the Camarena murder trial.  Harrison was a government-paid witness who had extensive dealings with both Mexican law enforcement and drug traffickers.  Harrison stated that he worked for Miguel Nazar Haro who was DFS director from 1977 to 1982.  Harrison called Nazar his "overboss" and said Nazar was involved in drug trafficking. U.S. officials in Mexico attempted to block DOJ prosecution stating that Nazar was "an essential repeat essential contact for CIA station Mexico City."   At one point, Harrison testified that he had told drug kingpin Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, for whom he had installed a sophisticated radio system, that law enforcement might go after him (Fonseca). "He told me I was crazy," Harrison recalled. "He told me there was no danger."

Then the witness was asked, "Did Fonseca say it (his feeling of safety) was a political thing?" Harrison replied, "Yes."

On Thursday, Kelly asked Harrison if Nazar was connected to the CIA. Prosecutor Manuel Medrano objected on the grounds that the question was irrelevant to the case. U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie sustained the objection.

Later, however, outside the presence of the jury, Kelly told the judge why she thought questions about the CIA were relevant to the Camarena case.

"Fonseca thought his actions were condoned by the Mexican government, as well as sanctioned by the CIA," she said. "This goes to the issue of whether this was an illegal enterprise" and could help her client in her defense.



** After presiding over the hearings on the Contra Drug Controversy, Porter Goss, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) was later appointed to the position of Director of Central Intelligence by George W. Bush. He served as CIA Director from September 22, 2004 to May 25, 2006.  Goss had prior service in the intelligence community from 1960 until 1971 — working for the Directorate of Operations, the clandestine services of the CIA. After holding its hearings behind closed doors, the final report on the Contra Drug allegations titled "CIA and Drugs in Los Angeles” was classified in 2000 and never released to the public.

 “In the end the objective of unseating the Sandinistas appears to have taken precedence over dealing properly with potentially serious allegations against those with whom the agency was working,” CIA Inspector General Britt Snider said in classified testimony on May 25, 1999. He conceded that the CIA did not treat the drug allegations in “a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner.”

Find this article at:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/117078597/The-Pariah-by-Charles-Bowden


Retired CIA Officer Robert D. Steele appeared with Celerino Castillo III in Kevin Booth’s 2007 film American Drug War: The Last White Hope along with several other notable law enforcement agents and political figures.  Steele went on to review Dark Alliance and validated the Contra drug allegations.  His comments go even further as he alleges that intelligence agencies employed a “eugenics” policy towards low income blacks, considering them “expendable”.    “It is safe to say that all US Senators know the truth and have chosen to betray their Oaths of Office and their responsibility under Article 1 of the Constitution….We the People are considered expendable by those who do this.”


American Drug War: The Last White Hope can be viewed for free on Youtube.  http://www.americandrugwar.com/


The full Two hour film is here:  


Dark Alliance Book review
(excerpt from the reviews section)

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I am probably the only reviewer who was a clandestine case officer (three back to back tours), who participated in the Central American follies as both a field officer and a desk officer at CIA HQS, who is also very broadly read.

With great sadness, I must conclude that this book is truthful, accurate, and explosive.

The book lacks some context, for example, the liberal Saudi funding for the Contras that was provided to the National Security Council (NSC) as a back-door courtesy.

There are three core lessons in this book, supported by many books, some of which I list at the end of this review:

1) The US Government cannot be trusted by the people. The White House, the NSC, the CIA, even the Justice Department, and the Members of Congress associated with the Administration's party, are all liars. They use "national security" as a pretext for dealing drugs and screwing over the American people.

2) CIA has come to the end of its useful life. I remain proud to have been a clandestine case officer, but I see now that I was part of the "fake" CIA going through the motions, while extremely evil deeds were taking place in more limited channels.

3) In the eyes of the Nicaraguan, Guatemalan, and Honduran people, among many others, the US Government, as represented by the CIA and the dark side Ambassadors who are partisan appointees rather than true diplomats, is evil. It consorts with dictators, condones torture, helps loot the commonwealths of others, runs drugs, launders money, and is generally the bully on the block.

I have numerous notes on the book, and will list just a few here that are important "nuggets" from this great work:

1) The CIA connection to the crack pandemic could be the crime of the century. It certainly destroys the government's moral legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

2) The fact that entrepreneur Ricky Ross went to jail for life, while his supplier, Nicaraguan Blandon, was constantly protected by CIA and the Department of Justice, is a travesty.

3) Nicaragua, under Somoza, was the US Government's local enforcer, and CIA was his most important liaison element. As long as we consort with 44 dictators (see Ambassador Palmer's "The Real Axis of Evil," we should expect to be reviled by the broader populations.

4) I believe that beginning with Henry Kissinger, the NSC and the CIA have had a "eugenics" policy that considers the low-income blacks to be "expendable" as well as a nuisance, and hence worthy of being targeted as a market for drugs to pull out what income they do have.

5) I believe that CIA was unwitting of the implications of crack, but that Congress was not. The book compellingly describes the testimony provided to Congress in 1979 and again in 1982, about the forthcoming implications of making a cocaine derivative affordable by the lowest income people in our Nation.

6) The Administration and Congress, in close partnership with the "mainstream media," consistently lied, slandered witnesses to the truth, and generally made it impossible for the truth to be "heard."

7) The ignorance of the CIA managers about the "ground truth" in Nicaragua and Honduras, and their willingness to carry out evil on command from the White House, without actually understanding the context, the true feelings of the people, or even the hugely detrimental strategic import of what they were about to do to Los Angeles, simply blow me away. We need to start court-martialling government employees for being stupid on the people's payroll.

8) CIA officers should not be allowed to issue visas. When they are under official cover they are assigned duty officer positions, and the duty officer traditionally has access to the visa stamp safe for emergencies (because the real visa officers are too lazy to be called in for an emergency).

9) I recently supported a movie on Ricky Ross, one that immediately won three awards in 2006 for best feature-length documentary, and I have to say, on the basis of this book, that Rick Ross was clearly not a gang member; was a tennis star and all-around good guy, was trying to make school grades; was disciplined, professional, and entrepreneurial. He did not create the cocaine, he did not smuggle it into the country, he simply acted on the opportunity presented to him by the US Government and its agent Blandon.

10) There is a connection between CIA, the private sector prison managers in the US, and prisoners. This needs a more careful look.

11) Clinton's bodyguards (many of whom have died mysteriously since then) were fully witting of Bill and Hillary Clinton's full engagement in drug smuggling into the US via Arkansas, and CIA's related nefarious activities.

12) CIA not only provided post-arrest white washes for its drug dealers, but they also orchestrated tip-offs on planned raids.

13) Both local police departments, especially in California, and the US Government, appear to have a standard "loot and release" program where drug dealers caught with very large amounts of cash (multiple millions) are instantly freed in return for a quit claim on the money.

14) CIA Operations Officers (clandestine case officers) lied not just to the FBI and Justice, but to their own CIA lawyers.

15) DEA in Costa Rica was dirtier than most, skimming cash and protecting drug transports.

The book ends with a revelation and an observation.

The revelation: just prior to both the Contra drug deals and the CIA's ramping up in Afghanistan, which now provides 80% of the world's heroin under US administration, the CIA and Justice concluded a Memorandum of Understanding that gave CIA carte blanche in the drug business.. The author says this smacked of premeditation, and I agree.

The observation: here is a quote from page 452: " ...the real danger the CIA has always presented--unbridled criminal stupidity, clouded in a blanked of national security."

Shame on us all. It's time to clean house.

Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth'
The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade
Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, Updated edition
The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War : An Undercover Odyssey
Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb
The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA
From BCCI to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
Fog Facts : Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin (Nation Books)


A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #3 
Online sources of information{

Powderburns by Retired DEA agent Cele Castillo III  complete book:



The National Security Archives: (contains original docs) http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm

Ollie North’s diary entries, memos, email (2/26/04) http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB113/index.htm



Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance Home Page

Dark Alliance BOOK 887 pages



Congressional Testimony of Celerino Castillo: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/hall/contra1.html

Photographs and additional notes from Castillo’s career: http://www.drugwar.com/castillo.shtm

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ website:
go here for the reports. 



alternate location---

Waters 1998 review of reports.pdf

the file is located here- registration may be required:


Sherman BlocK's LASD Contra drug investigation report is here :
Los Angeles Sherif1.pdf




A Chronology From Mother Jones Magazine: http://www.motherjones.com/total_coverage/coke.html

FAIR covers media cover-up http://www.fair.org/issues-news/contra-crack.html

California State University Northridge (CSUN) Professor of Communications Ben Attias’

Cocaine Import Agency website: http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/

Retired Federal Agent Michael Levine: http://www.expertwitnessradio.org/

Former Associated Press & Newsweek writer Bob Parry: http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/crack.html

Knight and Bernstein CIA-drug allegations 1987-1997 http://www.flashpoints.net/ArticleArchiveIndex.html

Interview with Professor Alfred McCoy: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/heroin/mccoy1.htm

Former law enforcement agents comment on drug war: http://ciadrugs.homestead.com/files/

Website of Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D., a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America. http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/index.html

The Media Cover-Up: (excellent article) http://www.copi.com/articles/darker.html

The Kerry Commission’s report online: http://www.webcom.com/pinknoiz/covert/contracoke.html

Testimony of Lt. Col. James “Bo” Gritz http://www.aiipowmia.com/ssc/gritz.html and http://www.decentria.com/trimmer.html
http://www.supremelaw.org/authors/gritz/index.htm and http://www.serendipity.li/cia/gritz1.htm

Also see:
"CIA are drug smugglers" Robert Bonner, DEA Administrator,- Federal Judge Bonner, head of DEA- You don't get better proof than this


read the transcript here:


A Tainted Deal


From 1982 to 1995 the CIA did not to have to report if they suspected any of their agents of dealing drugs. Why?

Plus: History 101: The CIA & Drugs. The CIA has a long and sordid history with drug traffickers. And it's all in the Congressional Record.

June 16, 1998

It's the kind of government exchange you assume never actually takes place. But it did. And it went something like this:

CIA Chief: Dear Attorney General, Do you mind if CIA agents or informants are dealing drugs? I mean, we don't have to tell on them, do we?

Attorney General: Of course not! Well, you did. But I just changed the law. Don't worry about it.

CIA Chief: Gee, thanks!

This may sound absurd, but according to a series of recently declassified documents obtained by the MoJo Wire, it's just what happened in the spring of 1982.

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey's request to then-Attorney General William French Smith isn't in the public domain. But two letters, one from Smith thanking Casey for his request, and a follow-up by Casey, are both available. They were released as part of a internal CIA report that explored allegations of CIA involvement in drug trafficking. (The most comprehensive allegations were reported by Gary Webb in a series of San Jose Mercury News reports and a book entitled "Dark Alliance.") In the first document, Smith thanks Casey for his letter (the one that isn't public) and says:


"...in view of the fine cooperation the Drug Enforcement Administration has received from CIA, no formal requirement regarding the reporting of narcotics violations has been included in these procedures."

--William French Smith
Attorney General

[See the full document]

Casey in return thanks the Attorney General for his understanding:


"I am pleased that these procedures, which I believe strike the proper balance between enforcement of the law and protection of intelligence sources and methods, will now be forwarded to other agencies..."

--William J. Casey
Director, Central Intelligence Agency

[See the full document]

The two men then codified their agreement in a Memorandum of Understanding. According to the agreement, intelligence agencies would not have to report if any of their agents were involved in drug running. (By agents, the agreement meant CIA sources and informants. Full-time employees still couldn't deal drugs.) That understanding remained in effect until August of 1995, when current Attorney General Janet Reno rescinded the agreement.

It's reasonable that the CIA be allowed to keep its mouth shut if it knows that some of its agents are involved in minor illegal affairs. Presumably some of the value of informants comes from the fact that they keep company with shady characters who engage in unlawful activities.

But why would the CIA ask to be exempt specifically from drug enforcement laws? According to Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who is calling for full disclosure of the facts, "The CIA knew that the Contras were dealing drugs. They made this deal with the Attorney General to protect themselves from having to report it."

Some of the remaining questions may still be answered. The Department of Justice and the CIA have finished separate investigations into possible CIA involvement in drug smuggling. But neither report has been made available to the public; the Justice department cites an "ongoing investigation" while the CIA says their report is an internal document and therefore classified. Says Congresswoman Waters: "What is it they don't want Americans to see? If the CIA was involved in drug trafficking, they should be brought to justice. Not covered up."












Total Coverage: The CIA, Contras, and Drugs

News: The CIA-coke connection was detailed long before Dark Alliance -- and the evidence keeps coming

August 25, 1998

You may have seen the headline last month on the front page of the NEW YORK TIMES. (Then again, you may not have, since it ran in a small box on the bottom-left corner.) It announced, "CIA Says It Used Nicaraguan Rebels Accused of Drug Tie." The beginning of that story read:

"The CIA continued to work with about two dozen Nicaraguan rebels and their supporters during the 1980s despite allegations they were trafficking in drugs.... [T]he agency's decision to keep those paid agents, or to continue dealing with them in some less formal relationship, was made by top officials at headquarters in Langley, Va."
In other words, top officials at the CIA knew the agency was working with Contra drug traffickers and didn't do anything about it. But the story, even with that shocking headline, quickly disappeared. None of the other major papers, news magazines, or TV networks reported the NEW YORK TIMES' findings.

How did it come to this? The paper of record running a story, perhaps leaked purposely by the CIA itself, that admits what many have charged for years...and then the story disappears as quickly as it came.

A look at the twisted history of the CIA/Contra/cocaine story:

If you've heard about the CIA/Contra/crack allegations, it's probably because of Gary Webb, who in August 1996 authored several stories for the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Titled "Dark Alliance," the series linked drug smuggling by CIA-trained Contras to the crack epidemic that has ravaged America. It never actually said the CIA knew about the drugs, but it did strongly imply it (the logo for the series -- yes, it had a logo -- showed a person smoking crack, superimposed over the CIA seal.)

The series ignited a firestorm of controversy. And the major papers, specifically the NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and WASHINGTON POST, all ran lengthy pieces questioning the accuracy of Webb's reporting. (These stories were themselves criticized for being hell-bent on proving Gary Webb wrong, rather than attempting to follow up on his stories.) Even Webb's own editor retreated from the story's conclusions.

But the story of the CIA-funded Contras trafficking coke isn't new. And neither is the surprising lack of media interest in getting to the bottom of it:


  • Contra supporters dealing cocaine to fund their army was actually first reported in 1985, in an article by Robert Parry and Brian Barger of the ASSOCIATED PRESS. After interviewing DEA, Customs, and FBI officials, the article said there was evidence the Contras were importing drugs into the U.S. to support their war effort. No other newspapers followed up on the story. As would be the case in the future, though the press ignored the allegations, the Reagan administration didn't. The Justice Department contacted the editors at the AP and politely asked them to remove references in that story that connected Contra drug-smuggling to John Hull, a CIA "asset" in Costa Rica.
  • But information on Contra/drug connections kept coming. In 1987, the allegations eventually led to a Senate investigation(anybody remember that one?) led by John Kerry (D-Mass.). Among the juicier moments:
    Senator KERRY: What did you do with those drugs?
    Mr. MORALES: Sell them.
    Senator KERRY: What did you do with the money?
    Mr. MORALES: Give it to the Contras.
    Senator KERRY: All right.
    But did the Kerry committee report find that the U.S. knew about Contra coke-dealing? Here's an excerpt from the executive summary:
    [I]t is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the Contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.

    What was the response when the Kerry Committee report was released? According to a Lexis-Nexis search, only four major papers reported the committee's findings -- none on the front page. The NEW YORK TIMES' story, tucked away on Page 8, did mention one of the committee's more interesting findings: "The State Department paid $806,401 between January and August 1986 to four companies that distributed humanitarian aid to the contras but 'were owned and operated by narcotics traffickers.'"

    But if the media weren't biting, the Reagan administration was keenly interested in the committee findings. Jack Blum, the lead investigator for the committee, complained that the administration obstructed the investigation. The report itself complains of pressure from the executive branch: "...officials in the Justice Department sought to undermine attempts by Senator Kerry to have hearings held on the [Contra drug] allegations."

  • Oliver North's diary contained at least two extraordinary entries:

    From a July 12, 1985, meeting with Richard Secord, North's boss in the Reagan administration:

    "$14M to finance came from drugs."
    This entry, which was given in part to the Kerry Committee, was first reported in NEWSWEEK. North claimed he did nothing wrong and said the Kerry Committee was "just playing politics and dragging out wild charges."

    And this entry on Aug. 9, 1985, which was submitted as part of the Iran-Contra special prosecutor report:

    "Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S."
    North claimed he told the DEA about this plane. In 1994, the WASHINGTON POST decided to verify North's claim. The POST interviewed top law officials, from the DEA, Customs, State Department, CIA, and White House, including some who had meetings with North at the time of the diary entry. Each one said that North did not pass the information on to them.
  • North's diaries weren't the only evidence of Contra drug involvement that came out as a result of the Iran-Contra hearings. CIA Central American Task Force Chief Alan Fiers testified during the hearings: "With respect to [drug trafficking by] the Resistance Forces...it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people."
  • In 1991, the University of California Press published "Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America." The book, written by Peter Dale Scott, an English professor, and Jonathan Marshall, then the economics editor for the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, contained what is still the most detailed and extensive evidence of Contra drug dealing and potential connections to the CIA. The book, mostly based on testimony from the Kerry Committee and other publicly available sources, got nice write-ups in the book review sections of many papers. No major news organizations followed up on the reporting in the book.



    E-mail the Expert:

    From: Gary Webb
    Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 22:22:06 EDT
    To: umansky@motherjones.com
    Mime-Version: 1.0
    Subject: Re: CIA/coke NYT article

    >Do you feel vindicated?

    The second CIA report not only vindicates me, but all the other reporters and activists who have been trying to bring this to the public's attention for the last 13 years. It also proves that, once again, the CIA lied to the American public and was assisted in this effort by our national news media, which denigrated anyone who challenged the official denials.

    The "Dark Alliance" Controversy

    The story mostly stayed out of the media for the next five years. Then Gary Webb and the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS released "Dark Alliance." In many ways, the series didn't advance the CIA/Contras/drugs story. But it did make one stunning allegation: The Contras' drug-smuggling operation bore major responsibility for a public-health epidemic in America.

    "The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America..."
    The other papers skewered Webb for, among other things, suggesting that CIA headquarters knew of the Contras' drug dealings. His own paper backed away from that suggestion too. Jerry Ceppos, executive editor of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, wrote in an editor's notethat "[T]he story was right on many important points." But, he said, the story was wrong to imply CIA knowledge of Contra drug-dealing. (Yes, that's the very knowledge the CIA just admitted to the NEW YORK TIMES last month.)

    Ironically, it was the title and graphic of the story -- "Dark Alliance" and a picture of a crack pipe superimposed over the CIA logo -- that most strongly implied a direct CIA connection to drug dealing. And titles and graphics are rarely the responsibility of the author.

    The best wrap-up of both Webb's story and the big papers' responses to it appeared in the COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, in an article by Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive. He agreed with the major papers' assertions that Webb's feature contained hyperbole and overstatement. But he also pointed out that the major papers' rebuttals had similar problems. He concluded that, by attacking Webb's story rather than following leads, "The mainstream press shirked its larger duty; thus it bears the larger burden."

    The New Evidence

    Both the Justice Department and the CIA launched investigations as a result of the "Dark Alliance" series. The results, so far, have dislodged new evidence that gives credence to Webb's account, some of it shocking:

  • The CIA decided to separate its findings into two reports. The first, with the snappy title "Volume I: The California Story," mostly vindicated the CIA, with one interesting exception: The CIA acknowledged that it had contacted the U.S. Attorney General's office in San Francisco and asked if money seized in a drug bust -- the largest bust in California history at the time -- could please be returned to the defendant. The money, the CIA said, wasn't part of a drug operation; it belonged to the Contras. According to CIA cables released as part of the report, "[T]he United States Attorney was most deferential to our interests."
  • The Justice Department report, meanwhile, delayed for months because of an "ongoing investigation," was finally released in July. Its scope was limited to finding out whether any Justice Department investigations or prosecutions were affected by the supposed connections between the CIA, the Contras, and drugs. It agreed with the CIA: The intelligence agency had intervened in a drug case in the U.S. on behalf of the Contras.
  • But the most shocking new revelation doesn't appear in any report. Rather, it came up during CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz's presentation to Congress of the first CIA volume.

    During his testimony, Hitz revealed for the first time a very special agreement that the CIA had with the Justice Department: The CIA did not have to report if its non-employee agents, paid or unpaid, were dealing drugs. The secret agreement, which remained in place from 1982 to 1995 (when Janet Reno rescinded it), was not mentioned in the CIA report, nor was a copy made public; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) later obtained a copy of the agreement and provided it to the MoJo Wire (see "A Tainted Deal").

    In other words, it wasn't just incompetence or lack of interest that led the CIA to ignore the fact that their operatives were dealing drugs: It was policy. Almost no major media reported the existence of this agreement. The only exception was the WASHINGTON POST, which mentioned the agreement on Page A12, in the sixth paragraph of a five-hundred-word story.

  • The second volume of the CIA report is still classified, and according to the CIA, there are no plans to release it. But that doesn't mean we can't get a peek. Remember that NEW YORK TIMES article mentioned at the very start of this story?

    The article, written by James Risen, relies on an unnamed source for information about the second CIA report; it is unclear whether Risen saw the report himself. When the MoJo Wire called Risen to ask whether he saw the report or relied on a source to describe it to him, Risen said he'd "rather not say."

    The story summarizes the report by saying, "no clear guidelines [were] given to field officers about how extensively they should investigate [drug] allegations." What the story never mentions, inexplicably, is the one set of clear guidelines that have been reported: The agreement between the CIA and the Justice Department that said the CIA didn't have to report its operatives, even when it knew they were guilty of drug-running.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #4 
congressional testimony

As late as 1991, the Washington D.C. DEA office opened a general drug case file (GFGD-91-9139) on Oliver North, “smuggling weapons to the Philippines with known drug traffickers.” RETIRED DEA AGENT CELERINO CASTILLO III

Huge quantities of drugs and guns were being smuggled through
Ilopango by mercenary pilots hired by North, Castillo wrote.
"Now, all these contract pilots were documented [in DEA files]
traffickers, Class I cocaine violators that were being hired by
the CIA and the Contras," the memo stated. "And the U.S. embassy
in El Salvador was giving visas to these people even though they
were documented in our computers as being narcotics traffickers."

Among those Castillo identified was Carlos Alberto Amador, "a
Nicaraguan pilot mentioned in six (6) DEA files....The DEA was
advised by a source at the U.S. embassy in San Salvador that
personnel from the CIA had allegedly obtained a U.S. visa for
Amador." Amador, Castillo discovered, kept four planes at
Ilopango, and a frequent companion of his was was Jorge Zarcovick
who "is mentioned in twelve (12) DEA files," and "was arrested in
the U.S. for smuggling large quantities of cocaine."

Walter 'Wally' Grasheim was another smuggler tagged by Castillo.
"He is mentioned in seven (7) DEA files," Castillo wrote. "He is
documented as a cocaine and arms smuggler from South America to
the U.S. via Ilopango airport. He utilized hangars 4 and 5.
Grasheim is also known to carry DEA, FBI, and CIA credentials to
smuggle cocaine." "Wally Grasheim," Castillo said, "was an
American working hand-in-hand with Colonel Oliver North."

 http://ciadrugs.homestead.com/files/ (excerpt)

"In my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA." --Dennis Dayle, former chief of an elite DEA enforcement unit. FROM: Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, Berkeley: U. of CA Press, 1991, pp. x-xi.

Strategic Investment Newsletter - Sept. 1995: "The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government."

Dennis Dayle, former head of DEA's Centac, was asked the following question: "Enormously powerful criminal organizations are controlling many countries, and to a certain degree controlling the world, and controlling our lives. Your own U.S. government to some extent supports them, and is concealing this fact from you."

Dennis Dayle's answer: "I know that to be true. That is not conjecture. Experience, over the better part of my adult life, tells me that that is so. And there is a great deal of persuasive evidence.

"I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years for less evidence for conspiracy with less evidence than is available against Ollie North and CIA people...I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it." - Former DEA Agent Michael Levine - CNBC-TV, Oct. 8, 1996

"The connections piled up quickly. Contra planes flew north to the U.S., loaded with cocaine, then returned laden with cash. All under the protective umbrella of the United States Government. My informants were perfectly placed: one worked with the Contra pilots at their base, while another moved easily among the Salvadoran military officials who protected the resupply operation. They fed me the names of Contra pilots. Again and again, those names showed up in the DEA database as documented drug traffickers. When I pursued the case, my superiors quietly and firmly advised me to move on to other investigations." - Former DEA Agent Celerino Castillo - Powder Burns, 1992

"I really take great exception to the fact that 1,000 kilos came in, funded by U.S. taxpayer money." - DEA official Anabelle Grimm - CBS-TV "60 minutes"

Former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson Statement: "He (Former Congressman Bill Alexander - D. Ark.) made me privy to the depositions he took from three of the most credible witnesses in that project, which left absolutely no doubt in my mind that the government of the United States was an active participant in one of the largest dope operations in the world.."

Eduardo Valle, former advisor, Attorney General in Mexico: "Drug trafficking has permeated all political structures and has corrupted federal, state, and local officials. It has deformed the economy. It is a cancer that has generated financial and political dependence, which instead of producing goods, has created serious problems ultimately affecting honest businessmen. The Attorney General's office is unable to eradicate drug trafficking because government structures at all levels are corrupted."

From LOYAL OPPOSITION: In Plain Sight: The CIA Keeps Getting Away With It

By David Corn

June 5, 2000


A few weeks ago, the House intelligence committee released a 44-page report that declared the CIA had nothing to do with the rise of crack in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Why did the Agency need to be exonerated of such malfeasance? Because a controversial 1996 San Jose Mercury News series by reporter Gary Webb exposed a group of California-based Nicaraguan drug-dealers who in the 1980s had supported the Nicaraguan contra rebels battling the leftist Sandinista regime. The contras, of course, had been a pet project of President Ronald Reagan and the covert cowboys he put in charge at the CIA. The headlines on the Mercury News pieces suggested that this particular band of contra backers shared responsibility for triggering the crack wave that wreaked havoc on inner-city communities across the nation. "America's crack plague has roots in Nicaragua war," read the day-one headline. "Shadowy origins of 'crack' epidemic," read the next day's. "Role of CIA-linked agents a well-protected secret until now." Thousands rushed to read the stories on the newspaper's website. The phonelines at black radio talk shows lit up. Members of Congress, particularly those in the Congressional Black Caucus, demanded answers from the CIA. (Even today, the CIA says that its recruitment of African-Americans suffers because of these stories.) The CIA director at the time, John Deutch, felt obligated to attend a town meeting in Watts to deny the charges.

And what passes for investigation in Washington began. The CIA's inspector general examined the allegations of the "Dark Alliance" series. The Justice Department did the same. Not surprisingly, the CIA's own gumshoes -- and those of Justice -- pronounced the CIA not guilty of complicity in the crack explosion. Webb's series had its problems. He had unearthed a good tale of contra drug involvement, but he had not uncovered a definite link between the Agency and these dealers, and his suggestion that this one drug outfit was instrumental to the birth of crack epidemic was far-fetched. Now, the House intelligence committee, nearly four years later, has seconded the verdicts of the CIA and the Justice Department: "The committee found no evidence to support the allegations that CIA agents or assets associated with the contra movement were involved in the supply or sale of drugs in the Los Angeles area."

But the case is not closed -- that is, it should not be closed. The spies' overseers in the House -- the people who keep an eye on the CIA for the rest of us -- also confirmed, in a quiet fashion, the real dirty secret of the CIA: that during the contra war, the Agency worked hand-in-cloak with persons it had reason to believe were smuggling drugs. In a report released in late 1998, the CIA inspector general acknowledged that the Agency, obsessed with its contra mission, had on a number of occasions collaborated with suspected drug-runners. This should have been a scandal in itself. The report provided the details of several examples. It also noted that the "CIA did not inform Congress of all allegations or information it received indicating that Contra-related organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking." Put more bluntly: the CIA had covered up the contra-drug connection. A CIA official who served in Central America told the inspector general, "Yes there [was] derogatory stuff [on the contras] ... but we were going to play with these guys." Webb had gotten near this truth. In the middle of the just-say-no Reagan years, a federal agency had indeed struck a "dark alliance" -- not the one Webb had depicted, but one as disturbing. This revelation, though, received scant media attention; most news coverage echoed the CIA's self-exoneration regarding the crack charges.

The House intelligence committee investigation repeats the pattern. The bulk of the report is directed at disputing the crack allegations. But toward the end there is understated recognition that scandalous CIA activity did happen: "As described in Volume II of the CIA IG report, under various circumstances, the CIA made use of or maintained relationships with a number of individuals associated with the Contras or the Contra-supply effort about whom the CIA had knowledge of information or allegations indicating the individuals had been involved in drug trafficking."

Now why does the House intelligence committee have nothing else to say on this front? It preferred flogging Webb one more time to examining the real skulduggery. Moreover, the committee interviewed several senior CIA managers, and these people insisted they could only recall only one single report of contra-related drug-dealing. But with the CIA inspector general having determined there had been many such instances, it's plausible (make that, likely) that these CIA officials did not speak truthfully to the committee. Did the committee's report address this contradiction and the possibility CIA officials had once again withheld information from Congress? Not at all. And the House's report registered barely a blip in the national news media.

When the CIA released the IG report that acknowledged the contra program had been tainted by drugs, Frederick Hitz, then the inspector general, said the study was merely a start: "This is grist for more work, if anyone wants to do it." A year and a half has passed since then, and it is clear that no one in government has the desire to pursue this topic. The House intelligence committee is positioned to do so. But it is more concerned with bolstering the CIA than in providing an independent and thorough look at this ugly piece of recent history. Al Gore could raise the issue -- as a reminder of what happened the last time Republicans controlled the CIA -- but then he would have to explain why his administration has shown no inclination to hold the Agency accountable. George W. Bush is hardly able to complain about lackadaisical oversight of the CIA. When the spies were hobnobbing with suspected drug runners, they were doing so to implement the pro-contra policies of the Reagan-Bush White House. (And the CIA headquarters is now named after George the Elder, who was a CIA director in the 1970s.) It's in no one's interest in Washington to make a stink. The CIA is permitted to slither off. This is not a cover-up; it's a look-away. Reagan and Bush's CIA made common cause with suspected drug thugs and ... no big deal. Nevertheless, it will be worth keeping this nasty episode in mind, for when the ailing Reagan expires, the media hoopla will overflow with praise of the Old Man. Yet nothing that happened in Bill Clinton's Oval Office was as untoward as what went on in Reagan's CIA.



A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #5 


(Page G-3 )
America fights phony "War on Drugs"


(C) Chronicle Features | RODRIGUEZ and GONZALES are co-authors of "Latino Spectrum," a syndicated column focusing on Latinos and Latin American affairs.

13-Aug-1995 Sunday

In April, ex-Drug Enforcement Agency agent Celerino Castillo made a
pilgrimage to the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., where he left
his boots next to the name of a friend killed in the war. The Pharr, Texas,
native also left his Bronze Star, which he earned for his covert actions in
Southeast Asia in 1972, and a letter to the president:

"Dear President Clinton,

"In the 1980s, I spent six years in Central America as a special agent with
the DEA. On January 14, 1986, I forewarned then Vice President George Bush
of the U.S. government involvement in narcotics-trafficking (Oliver North)
. . . but to no avail . . .

"In display of my disappointment of my government, I am returning my Bronze
Star, along with my last pair of jungle boots that I used in the jungles of
Vietnam, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador and finally Guatemala."

Drug connection is exposed

While stationed in Central America, Castillo exposed the U.S. government's
drug connection. He personally kept records on planes used in the
U.S.-Contra resupply operation at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador --
arriving with guns and departing to the United States with cocaine from

"Every single pilot involved in the operation was a documented drug
trafficker, who appeared in DEA files," he says.

Castillo not only turned over his files to his superiors, but also
confronted Bush with the information in Guatemala City -- several months
before American Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua, an incident
which first exposed the Iran-Contra affair.

Had Castillo testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, he says North would
have gone to jail and both Bush and President Reagan would have been
impeached. "But nobody ever subpoenaed me," he says, and notes that the DEA
claimed no files ever existed.

"It was Bush's operation. In fact, it was impossible for President Reagan
not to have known about it," says Castillo.

In the 1980s, the same allegations of government-sanctioned
drug-trafficking were continually leveled by wild-eyed "radicals" and
Central American peace activists. However, because of his position as
special agent, Castillo's charges cannot easily be dismissed.

Amazingly, the drug operation at Ilopango was not a secret among U.S. and
Salvadoran officials, he says. The Salvadoran military was perplexed as to
why the drug connection was illegal. They thought it was simply part of the
effort to topple the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

When Castillo started with the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1978, he was
ready to fight against a scourge that had claimed many of his friends in
Southeast Asia, only to find that U.S. intelligence agencies themselves
were involved in drug-trafficking and the training of death squads.

Recent revelations by Congressman Robert Torricelli of the CIA involvement
in the deaths of an American and a revolutionary in Guatemala barely
scratch the surface. The real tragedy is that for decades, thousands of
Guatemalans have disappeared yearly, says Castillo. Torricelli is expected
to call for hearings this fall to investigate human-rights abuses against
U.S. citizens in Guatemala.

"I'm ready to testify, and so are three other agents," says Castillo,
hoping that the role of the intelligence services in the drug trade, death
squads and "disappearances" will finally be exposed.

Because Castillo's findings went unheeded, he recently left the DEA and
wrote a book, "Powderburns" (Mosaic Press), which documents his charges.

Drug traffic has increased

Castillo says that on the basis of his work, he is convinced that drug
money is what finances U.S. covert operations worldwide. He believes that
despite the "War on Drugs," there are more drugs coming into the United
States today than 15 years ago and estimates that at least 75 percent of
all narcotics enter the country with the acquiescence of or direct
participation by U.S. and foreign intelligence services.

It is they who must be held accountable for the flood of drugs on our
streets today, he says.

Similarly, the policy of turning a blind eye to drugs has created
narco-democracies (governments tainted and funded by drug money) in Central
and South America. That was the price of the U.S. war against communism,
says Castillo.

Today, Castillo spends his time painting. One haunting image is of a Mayan
warrior with an American flag in one hand, an M-16 in the other and a DEA
helicopter with a skull insignia hovering overhead. The Mayan's face is
that of his friend, a dead DEA agent felled in the drug war in Peru.

The image conjures up his plea to Clinton not to perpetuate this false
"war": "Please do not do what Mr. Robert McNamara did regarding the Vietnam

Copyright Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #6 
The government has been involved in drugs many many years ago.....Its all about money......How many federal people, citizens , pilots , ships/boaters , informants , politicians have made tons of money in the early sixties and during the Vietnam war.....Its all about money and it will never stop

Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #7 

Burma Druglord Khun Sa names current Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage and CIA Chief in Laos, Theodore Shackley as major heroin traffickers during Vietnam era. For those of you who dont know, presidential candidate Ross Perot and Lt Col Bo Gritz were threatened by Reagan and Bush NSC for bringing this letter out while searching for POW-MIA missing from the Vietnam war. Bo Gritz and fellow POW hunter Stephen Weekly were later prosecuted on false charges as a result.


actual copy:

T.R.C. Thailand Revolutionary Council
Date. June 28, 1987


U.S. Justice Department
Washington, D.C.

Subject Important facts for the Drugs Eradication Program
to be successful.


This letter to the US Justice Department is to make it clear about our deepest concern in wishing to help eradicate drugs and for all the American people as well as the world to know the truth that for the past (15) years they have been misled to look upon us as the main source of all the drug problems.

1. The refusal of the United States government to accept our "SIX YEARS DRUGS ERADICATION PLAN" presented at the Congressional Hearing by Congressman Mr. Lester Woff after his visit to Thailand in April 1977, was really a great disappointment for us. Even after this disappointment, we continued writing letters to President Carter and President Reagan forwarding our sincere wish to help and participate in eradicating drugs. We are really surprise and doubtful as to why the US government refuses our participation and help to make a success of the drugs eradication program.

Furthermore, why the world has been misled to accuse me as the main culprit for all the drug trades..... while in reality, we are most sincere and willing to help solve the drug problems in South East Asia. Through our own secret investigation, we found out that some high officials in the US government's drugs control and enforcement department and with the influence of corrupted persons objected to our active participation in the drugs eradication program of the US government so as to be able to retain their profitable self-interest from the continuation of the drug problems. Thus, the US government and the American people as well as the world have been hoodwinked.

2. During the period (1965 - 1975) CIA Chief in Laos, Theodore Shackly, was in the drug business, having contacts with the Opium Warlord Lor Sing Han and his followers. Santo Trafficano acted as his buying and transporting agent while Richard Armitage handled the financial section with the Banks in Australia. Even after the Vietnam War ended, when Richard Armitage was being posted to the US Embassy in Thailand, his dealings in the drug business continued as before. He was then acting as the US government official concerning with the drug problems in Southeast Asia. After 1979, Richard Armitage resigned from the US Embassy's posting and set up the "Far East Trading Company" as a front for his continuation in the drug trade and to bribe CIA agents in Laos and around the world. Soon after, Daniel Arnold was made to handle the drug business as well as the transportation of arms sales. Jerry Daniels then took over the drug trade from Richard Armitage. For over 10 years, Armitage supported his men in Laos and Thailand with the profits from his drug trade and most of the cash were deposited with the Banks in Australia which was to be used in buying his way for quicker promotions to higher positions.

Within the month of July, 1980, Thailand's english newspaper "Bangkok Post" included a news report that CIA agents were using Australia as a transit-base for their drug business and the banks in Australia for depositing, transferring the large sum of money involved.

Verifications of the news report can be made by the US Justice Department with Bangkok Post and in Australia.

Other facts given herewith have been drawn out from out Secret Reports files so as to present to you of the real facts as to why the drug problem is being prolonged till today.

3. Finally, we sincerely hope in the nearest future to be given the opportunity to actively take part in helping the US government, the Americans and people of the world in eradication and uprooting the drug problems.

I remain,

Yours Respectively
Khun Sa

Vice Chairman
Thailand Revolutionary Council


September 17, 1987

Mr. Edwin Meese, III
Attorney General
Main Justice Building
10th & Constitution Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20530

Re: Citizen Complaint of Wrongdoing by Federal Officers

Dear Mr. Meese:

I am writing to you to register my complaints about certain actions that have
been carried out against me and my associates. I believe these actions
constitute violations of our civil rights as well as violations of the
criminal law in some instances. These actions are all the more reprehensible
in that they are politically motivated. I take this means to request that you
investigate these matters and, where appropriate, reprimand the individuals
involved and file criminal charges.

Let me explain my situation to you. I am a veteran of the United States Army.
I served with the Special Forces in the Vietnam War for more than two years
between 1964 and 1970. I consider myself to be a patriot and am proud of my
service to this country. Since the end of the Vietnam War, I have been
actively involved in seeking to locate and free American POW's and MIA's left
behind in Southeast Asia. I have been associated in these activities with Lt.
Col. James "Bo" Gritz and others, including Scott Weekly. I believe our
efforts have been carried out with the tacit ) if not always, overt ) approval
of certain elements within our government. These government and military
officials share our goal of freeing these forgotten Americans.

In the fall of 1986 Col. Gritz and Mr. Weekly went to Burma. They had
received intelligence from the "Basement of the White House", which led them
to believe certain Burmese had information about American POW's. These leads
proved to be unfounded. However, on that trip Col Gritz learned about illegal
drug trafficking directed by U.S. government-related operatives. These drug
dealing activities were on such a scale that they were used to fund covert,
para-military operations in Southeast Asia and in other parts of the world.

In May of 1987 I went to Burma with Col. Gritz and others. We brought back
startling evidence directly linking American officials with illegal drug
trafficking. A report on this Burma trip is attached hereto as Exhibit "A."

Over the years it has baffled me why the U.S. Government would not actively
and vigorously pursue the release of our POW's and MIA's. Now, the answer is
clear. Any renewed American activity in Southeast Asia, on a scale necessary
to the release of the abandoned POW's and MIA's, would attract unwanted
attention to covert activities in the are. Government-sponsored drug
trafficking is an explosive subject. Obviously, many government elements want
the story left untold.

Scott Weekly was charged with illegal transportation of explosives. He was
made promises by ATF Agent Thomas Hahn which induced him to plead guilty to
the charges. It is, of course, highly improper for law enforcement officials
to make promises, especially false promises, to criminal defendants to
persuade them to plead to criminal charges. This was done in Mr. Weekly's
case. Pages were extracted from his pre-sentence report which would, very
likely have mitigated his sentence. This action would have to have been known
about and approved by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Korotash.
Montana, Mr. Korotash's activities would have violated the Canons of
Professional Ethics, which hold:

``"a public prosecutor or other government lawyer in criminal litigation shall
make timely disclosure to counsel for the defendant, or to the defendant if he
has no counsel, of the existence of evidence, known to the prosecutor or other
government lawyer, that tends to negate the guilt of the accused, mitigate the
degree of the offense, or reduce the punishment." DR 7*103(b)^E^

``"A lawyer shall not suppress any evidence that he or his client has a legal
obligation to reveal or produce." DR 7)109(A)^E^

I believe Agent Hahn and Attorney Korotash conspired to violate \Mr. Weekly's
rights by persuading him not to retain effective counsel and to plead guilty.

Thereafter, Col. Gritz was charged with a passport violation and has
registered his own complaint, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit
"B." Col. Gritz recently informed me that U.S. government representatives
offered him government employment and dismissal of the charges against him if
he would cease activities relative to the POW's and stay out of Southeast
Asia. In other words, if Col. Gritz would shut up and cease his activities in
Southeast Asia everything would be all right ) for him. As usual no thought
was given to the POW's and MIA's nor their families and loved ones.

Following my return from Burma on June 1, 1987, Col. Gritz was charged. I set
out to investigate facts relative to the passport violation charge as well as
the Scott Weekly situation. During the course of my short investigation there
were several incidents which took place that were certainly blatant violations
of my rights as a U.S. citizen. Itt is my opinion that the reason these
violations took place is because I had in my possession reports, documents
and tapes which accuse and support accusations that U.S. Government officials
deal in drugs and certain government employees have lied and obstructed
justice in order to convict perfectly innocent persons of criminal

I believe they have been motivated by a desire to silence myself and my
associates to keep the lid on the drug trafficking evidence we have uncovered.
Short of that, they seek to discredit us and the information we've obtained.

I traveled to Seattle, Washington, on June 27, 1987, to interview a U.S.
Customs Agent named James Foley. Mr. Foley's telephone number is (206)
442)1974. His address is 1580 South 156th Street, Seattle.

I spoke with Inspector Foley and told him I needed to locate the customs agent
who passed Col. Gritz used, which was stamped at SEA)TAC Airport by Agent
1099. Attached hereto as Exhibit "C" is a copy of the passport. I told him
that Col. Gritz had had several passports with him and the agent had taken him
to an interrogation room. There he told Col. Gritz he hoped he had a
telephone number they could call. Col. Gritz gave them a number and one of
the customs men left. Returning a few minutes later, he said "Okay Col.
Gritz, you're free to go". Inspector Foley told me he may know hwo the
customs agent was that finally cleared Col. Gritz through. He said that the
number stamped in the passport may or may not mean anything but he may
possibly recognize the handwriting.

The next day, June 27th, I contacted Inspector Foley at his home. He told me
he had spoken with another Inspector named Arthur Henning. He said he had
asked Henning if he could remmeber an incident about five years ago when a
Green Beret Colonel came through customs with several passports. Inspector
Foley told me Inspector Henning immediately told him, "James `Bo` Gritz."
Henning said he remembered the incident because of the publicity Col. Gritz
received on the POW issue shortly thereafter. Henning said he had taken Col.
Gritz to an interview room along with another customs agent, John Hood. Col.
Gritz had given them a telephone number whihc Henning said was to the State
Department. Henning told Foley he handled the incident. He said Agent Hood
may have written down the telephone number Gritz had given them a telephone
number which Henning said was to the State Department. Henning told Foley he
handled the incident. He said Agent Hood may have written down the telephone
number Gritz gave them in his notes and could still possibly have it. He told
Foley the call to the State Department would have been made by a supervisor,
possibly Lynne Robson, who is now dead. Henning told Foley he remembered Col.
Gritz was carrying at least three passports. He, also, said there would be a
"Negative Search Report" on the incident. I sought this information because
we had been led by U.S. Attorney Wulfson that this type evidence should have
been sufficient to result in the dismissal of the charges against Col. Gritz
regarding the fraudulent passport. After receiving this information from
me, Col. Gritz's attorney, Lamond Mills, contacted Wulfson. Wulfson told
Mills he had already talked to Customs Inspector Henning about the incident,
but that he wasn't dropping any charges, despite what he had said earlier.

About that same time I was contacted by an investigative reporter named Tony
Kimerey from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Kimerey told me he was in the office of
the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Stephen Korotash. Jerry Bohnen, a KTOK news
reporter, was there too. Kimerey can be reached at telephone number (404)
525-6780. Jerry Bohnen can be reached at (405) 840)1948. Also present in the
office was Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Agent Tom Hahn. Kimerey said that ATF
Agent Tom Hahn told him, in the presence of Korotash and Bohnen, that he
(Hahn) had removed 9 pages from the documents that went before Federal Judge
Alley, before the sentencing of Scott Weekly. The pages that Hahn removed
were letters from several different Government agencies corroborating the
story that Scott Weekly was involved in the Afghan traiing program which was
sanctioned by the U.S. Government. If it were so, that the program was
sanctioned by the government, then no laws would have been broken in shipping
the C)4 by commercial air carrier. Kimerey also said that a U.S. Government
investigator, who has done investigations for the U.S. Attorney's Office in
Oklahoma City, told him he could not understand why ATF Agent Hahn and U.S.
Attorney Korotash were being so malicious in prosecuting and railroading Scott

On July 18th, I traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to find a man named
Ahmad Rashid and his wife, Margaret. Ahmad was Scott Weekly and Col. Gritz's
government contact in the Afghan training program. A meeting with Ahmad,
Scott Weekly and Col. Gritz was set up in August 1986 by William Bode, then
Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Korotash and ATF Agent Hahn have been saying all along
that there was no Afghan traiing. They claim Weekly and Col. Gritz were
selling explosives ot the Iranians. This is utterly ridiculous. I had
thought at one time that maybe they really didn't know about the Afghan
training. Maybe they were being lied to by persons in the government. But
now I find that Agent Hahn has been in contact with William Bode since the
early days, even before Weekly was arrested in December of 1986. Hahn was
given a training schedule of the Afghan training by William Bode. Bode
admitted this to Col. Gritz.

Upon my arrival in Vancouver, British Columbia, I contacted Margaret Rashid,
wife of Ahmad. Margaret had assisted her husband in the briefing of Col.
Gritz and Scott Weekly. Margaret and Ahmad were to have given Gritz and
Weekly all of their knowledge on the Mujahadeen Afghan Freedom Fighters so
that they could use this knowledge in training several different factions of
Mujahadeen in hopes of unifying them. I was lucky to have reached Margaret
when I did because she was getting ready to leave Vancouver within a few days
to join her husband in\j\Montreal. Ahmad was in Montreal looking for a place
for them to live.

Margaret and I talked about her role in giving the information to Weekly and
Gritz about the Mujahadeen in August of 1986. Margaret told me that she and
Ahmad were in constant contact with William Bode. She said that Bode was
their U.S. Government contact. As a matter of fact Bode was the one that gave
her and Ahmad the money to move to Montreal. This evidence would provce that
this was a government)sponsored program. That being the case, Weekly should
not have been convicted of the crime he was charged with. Bode and his
associates were trying to get the Rashids out of Vancouver before Col. Gritz
or anyone tried to contact them. Margaret said she also knew of Gritz and
Weekly's problem. She knew Weekly was in jail but she did not exactly know
why. She said she had a three way telephone conversation with Bode and
another man from the U.S. Government some time ago. The man from the U.S.
Government was the one who suggested they move to Montreal away from
Vancouver. He was also the one who suggested that Bode give them the money to
move on so that we could not find them. Margaret could not remember the name
of the U.S. Government official they had the conversation with, but I found
out later it was ATF Agent Tom Hahn.

William Bode had called Col. Gritz about the same time I was visiting
MArgaret. He had no idea I had been talking to her. He told Col. Gritz he
had just heard of Weekly`s being in jail. He told Col. Gritz he was no longer
working in Afghan studies or in the State Department. He told Gritz that he
hadn't been there since last February. He said that if someone had contacted
him before he would have at least given ATF a copy of the Afghan training
schedule to prove Weekly was working under the auspices of the Government.

A few days later, when Bode had found out I had talked to Margaret Rashid, he
again called Col. Gritz. He asked Col. Gritz who Lance Trimmer was. He told
Col. Gritz he had tried helping all he could. He said he had given Agent Hahn
a copy of the training schedule. In the prior converstaion he had said he may
have given him a copy. He also stated then that ATF Agent Hahn was the third
person on the three way telephone conversation with him and the Rashids.

The above information are all lies told by Government employees ATF Agent Hahn
and Assistant U.S. Attorney Korotash have lied from the beginning and they
continue to lie. My attorney in Oklahoma City, Frank Miskovski, who is a very
prominent attorney in that area, told me that he has not once talked to ATF
Agent Hahn that Hahn had not lied to him.

Hahn admitted to two reporters that he omitted several pages of documents to
be presented to a U.S. Federal Judge in recommending a long jail term for
Scott Weekly. This was a clear violation of Weekly's rights. Hahn was
instrumental in trying to hide\j\witnesses that could prove Scott Weekly's
innocence. Those witnesses could have proven that Weekly was involved in a
legitimate, U.S. Governemnt)approved, training program of Mujahadeen Afghan
Freedom Fighters. It seems very clear to me that Assistant U.S. Attorney
Korotash was also involved in the hiding of these documents.

I have continuously tried to determine why ATF Agent Hahn and U.S. Attorney
Korotash would want so badly to put Col. Gritz and Scott Weekly in jail. The
only conclusion that I have is that some persons or people higher up in the
Government are pressuring them to muzzle Col. Gritz. Col. Gritz is a proven
American hero, whose only goal in life is to bring home American Prisoners of
War left behind in Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. The government wants
to stop him from giving to the Americna people documents and evidence that
show U.S. Government officials are now, and have been, dealing in drugs.

These are acts of governmental agents involving the obstruction of justice and
illegal suppression of evidence, which would show the charges against both
Weekly and Gritz to be ill)founded.

Now, let me address the acts which have carried out against me.

I was arrested at the U.S./Canadian Point of Entry, Blaine, Washinton, on
August 13, 1987, by U.S. Customs officials. I was arrested on a warrant,
issued out of the federal district court of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There
were no charges. I was wanted as a material witness to testify before the
grand jury in Oklahoma.

Immediately following my arrest, I was searched and placed in a holding cell.
I was told by a Customs Agent that they were going to look in my car. Much
later, three agents came to my cell. One of them, who appeared to be in
charge, introduced himself as Jim Williams. He read me my rights and asked me
a couple of questions. I would not answer his questions but told him I was
sure he had read a report that was in my bag that would answer all the
questions he had. He insinuated that what he had read was interesting. One
of the agents with him asked me if I had a number that he could call. What he
meant was, he wanted to know if I was working for some government agency. I
told him I had none. I don't believe he would have asked that had he not read
papers in my briefcase. I was then chained up with leg irons, belts and
handcuffs and taken to Whatcom County Jail where I was booked in,
finger)printed and mugged. I was told that ATF Agents would pick me up in the
morning and take me before a magistrate in Seattle.

The next day two ATF Agents, Norm Prins and Jane Heffner, picked me up for
transfer to the Seattle U.S. Marshall's Office. Agent Prins handcuffed me
with my hands behind my back, put me in leg irons and escorted me to his
vehicle for the 1 1/2 hour drive to Seattle. He told me he had two of my bags
in their trunk. He also said that he had been to the Canadian Border where
they had picked up my bags from Customs. I asked where the other two were and
was told he knew nothing about them. Obviously, they had searched my car and
seized and searched my personal property.

On the way in Agent Prins said he'd like me to answer some personal questions
he had. He said they had nothing to do with my case because he knew nothing
about it. He said his questions had to do with POW's. If he knew nothing
about my case, he would not have known to ask me about POW's. I assume he had
read the papers in my briefcase and clothes bag. We talked about POW's and
also about my Burma Report.

When we arrived at the U.S. Marshall's Office, where I had to appear before
the Magistrate, my hands and arms were asleep from having to sit handcuffed
with my arms behind my back. The marks and bruises were still on my hands
from the cuffs four days later. Agent Prins got my two bags out of the trunk
of his car. I noticed the center section of my clothes bag was still zipped
open. I never was allowed to look in my bags. They said they had brought
them to turn over to the U.S. Marshall's Office, but the Marshall's Office
refused to accept them. They obviously argued over them for some time until
the ATF agents said they would take them and hold them in their office. I
asked again about my briefcase and clothes bag but was told that Customs had
kept them. I asked why and was told that they were "doing something" with
them. I asked what, and was told just "something, but I shouldn't worry about
it." I said abviously they are making copies of my diary and reports. They
said they didn't know but admitted it was possible.

Before appearing before the Magistrate one of the U.S. Marshalls called the
Customs Agent Williams and asked about my briefcase and camera case. I could
not hear what Agent Williams was saying but when he hung up the Marshall told
me that Williams would have my bags sent to whatever address I wanted. I told
him I wanted my bags brought to me because they also contained my credit cards
and identification which the agents had kept when they took my wallet, also I
told them they had no reason to keep them. The Marshall then told me they
were "doing something with them." When I asked "what," he said he had no idea.

I was then taken to the Magistrate where I was admitted to a $10,000 bail. I
told them I could make bail immediately if I could make a phone call. This
was approximately 4:30 p.m. The Marshalls then took me from the courtroom
back up the elevator to their office. When we passed a phone I asked if I
could make that call. They said I could when I got to the office. When we
reached the office, they had me go into their little holding room and then
fooled around preparing this and that. I asked again about a call and was
told, "in a minute." It was obvious they were stalling for time since it was
close to 5:00 p.m. When I was finally allowed to call it was too late for
anything to be done. This meant I was stuck in jail for the weekend.\j\

I was then allowed to call Custons Agent Williams. I asked him about my
briefcase and camera bag. He said he would send them somewhere for me. I
told him I had to have them in my hands. I needed my identification and
credit cards to bail out of jail. He said there was no way to get them to me
now that the weekend was there. I told him someone could surely drop them at
the ATF Office with my other bags. He said they couldn't do that until
Monday. I asked if it was going to take that long to make copies of my
personal diary and papers. He said they weren't doing that. I said what
about the phone numbers. He said we are just "doing something" with the bag.
I said I would like them right away. He said it was impossible and I would
get them on Monday or maybe Tuesday. They would be through with them then.
He stated he would not be there

personally himself next week but someone else would handle it. That was the
best he could do. I was then taken to Kent, Washington, to the Kent
Corrections Center. I was taken there in handcuffs and chains. I was
fingerprinted and mugged for the third time.

While in the Kent Corrections Center I made four written requests. The first
one was made on August 15. I requested they return my briefcase and personal
belongings being held by Customs immediately. This included my credit cards
and other identification. I was told they could do nothing. They said I must
contact the agency that had them, although those agencies wouldn't accept a
collect call. I wrote another request on August 16 and was told the same
thing. Copies of all four requests are attached as Exhibit "D." On August 17
they would not answer my request and on August 18 I was not allowed to make a
phone call. They did finally tell me that a U.S. Marshall had brought my
identification cards from Customs on that day after I had told them I would
not leave the jail without my identification even if I was bailed out, because
it was clear they could arrest me for vagrancy.

While in the jail there were two phone calls I made which were very important
regarding my bail. On one occasion, I was right at the point of learning a
phone number that I needed to call to have bail brought immediately, when the
conversation was cut off by whoever was monitoring the call. Several persons
called the jail with messages for me, with regard to bailing me out, but the
messages were never given to me. Finally on Tuesday afternoon, August 18, I
was allowed to bail out on a $10,000 cash bond. The attorney who was
instrumental in bailing me out had to drive me to the Canadian Border at
Blaine, Washington, which was more than 125 miles away in order for me to get
my briefcase and camera bag.

All of the contents in those bags obviously had been removed. My notes and
papers were thrown back in completely out of order and it looked as though
several typewritten notes were missing. The Customs Agent, Joe Rydell, stated
that I either had to sign an inventory list they had made up or he would not
return my belongings. There was no way I could tell if every piece of paper
was there. I was never given an inventory list of what they took from me.
They kept my personal diary, papers, pictures, and identifications cards,
including credit cards, for six days and refused to return them. They told me
they were "doing something" with them. It was clearly an illegal search and
seizure. I was only arrested as a material witness. I have been a law
enforcement officer and understand what the term "probable cause" means.
There was no probable cause to seize my property and search it. There was no
reason to treat me like a criminal. I can understand being jailed on a
warrant. I cannot understand being handcuffed, chained, mugged and
fingerprinted on numerous occasions, being denied access to my property, and
being denied the opportunity to arrange bail. All of this was a serious
violation of my civil rights.

After I finally got released on bail I had to travel more that 200 miles to
retrieve my personal belongings. They forced me to personally go out of the
way which took another day. It was then too late to travel to my home in
Montana. I had to go to California to secure my automobile and then travel to
Oklahoma City where I was to appear before a Grand Jury on the Subpoena the
government had issued me upon my arrival. I called the U.S. Attorney's
Office and checked in as I was supposed to do. The man that I talked to about
transportation to Oklahoma City told me that I should pay my own way and turn
in a voucher on the day I appeared before the Grand Jury. I then left for
Oklahoma City. I needed to find a lawyer for my appearance.

When I appeared at the U.S. Attorney's Office with my attorney, Frank
Miskovski in Oklahoma City, we were met by ATF Agent Tom Hahn. Tom Hahn
stated that U.S. Attorney Korotash was out of town. I asked if he was also on
vacation and Hahn replied he didn't know. He told me Korotash was out of town
and could not be reached. Hahn said he had been trying to contact me for the
past ten days. I called him a liar. He said he was not lying. I told him I
called in twice to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Hahn stated that I only called
in once. I told him I called on Monday August 24 and checked in with a woman
secretary. I also called in on August 26 and told a male I would be coming to
Oklahoma City and wanted to know about travel arrangements. Hahn said he only
heard of one time I called. He said that he had called my attorney several
times in Washington. I called Mike Jordan, my attorney in Washington, on
August 30 from Oklahoma City. He told me that Hahn had called him on Friday
trying to contact me to tell me they postponed the Grand Jury Hearing.

On September 1st, the day of my scheduled appearance, Hahn gave me a new
subpoena for September 14. I asked if my bail would now be returned. He said
he didn't see why not. He would check. I waited for some time before Hahn
returned and told my attorney that they were going to hold my cash bail of
$10,000 until I appeared on September 14.

I left to make a phone call and then returned with my attorney and asked for
Agent Hahn. I was told he was no longer around. My attorney asked to speak
with the U.S. Attorney Price. He was not around. This was at 11:30 a.m. We
asked to speak with any U.S. Attorney who could make a decision. We were
taken to a Chief U.S. Attorney whom I told I wanted my bail returned or to be
put back in jail. I told him the bail I received was promised to be sent back
to the person it came from on September 1 and I had appeared as promised.
This U.S. Attorney called Agent Hahn who, just a few minutes earlier, could
not be found, and had Hahn come to his office. He told Hahn I was there to be
put in jail so my bail would be returned.

Hahn immediately made many calls. A long time later he came out ant told my
attorney that they would either return my bail and place me in jail, return my
bail and release me on my own recognizance or schedule the hearing in the
morning. He was to call my attorney at his office. Later in the afternoon,
my attorney contacted me about 4:30 p.m. and said that Hahn was obviously a
habitual liar. He had finally talked to Hahn after 4:00 p.m. and Hahn told
him he called 4 or 5 times but couldn't reach him. My attorney's secretary
said that Hahn had called once. My attorney was not in and Hahn did not call
back. My attorney called Hahn back twice but could not find him. He finally
reached Hahn about 4:10 p.m. and Hahn told him they reset the Grand Jury
Hearing for the following morning, September 2. I appeared at 9;00 a.m. on
September 2nd before the Grand Jury. I talked about U.S. Officials dealing in
drugs., about General Khun Sa of Burma, about a statement I made of a
complaint being filed regarding charges oif wrongdoing by AFT Agent Hahn.
Halfway through the U>S> Attorney's questions, they stopped the hearing and
tol;d me there would be no more questions. It was approximately 11:00 a.m. I
was told that I was free to go and would have to return on Oct. 5. I believe
that is less than coincidental that Col. Gritz passport violation case is
scheduled for trial in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the very same date.

My attorney and I asked that my bail be returned along with my passport. AFT
Agent Hahn said he saw no problem with that. He said he would clear it with
U.S. Attorney Blair Watson. We waited about 45 minutes. Hahn came later and
said he would have it taken care of after lunch. My Attorney called him after
lunch but, as usual, he was not around then. He talked to the U.S. Attorney
Watson who said he didn't know about the bail and it would have to stay
whereever it was. He believed it was being held in Washington State where it
was posted. My attorney called the U.S. Attorney`s office in Seattle,
Waashington and was tiold it had been sent to Oklahoma. My attorney talked
with the U.S. Attorney in Seattle later and was told Hahn had told them that
because it took so long for them to find me he didn't think they should
release my bail. There was never andy agreement to release my bail until
Sept. 14th. At this writing I still don't have it back. Since recovering my
property I have discovered that several items are missing, including typed
notes and a tape\j\of conversations with Margaret Rashid and Tony Kimerey. I
spent more than ten years of my life serving my country as a soldier. I
risked my life in combat in support of our government. I worked as a court
officer a police officer and as an investigator for a prperiod of 15 years. I
have a college degree in criminal justice. I believe in our system and have
proven my commitment by my service. I cannot tolerate nor abide the
perversion and subvertion of our system, especially by those)like me)who have
taken an oath to defend it.

This complaint deals with high)level government policy makers who have
sacrificed our POW'S and MIA's, and alot more, to cover)up illigal and
reprehensible drug trafficking activies. It deals with federal Justice
Department officials who have lied, silenced witnesses, discredited genuine
patriots and heroes, obstructed justice and used their power to harass and
intimidate honorable citizens. I've heard of the alleged illigal drug
trafficking, supported by the CIA, in Central America. Until my recent
experience I wouldn't have believed it. You are the top law enforcement
officer in the United States. You have a duty to investigate, vigorously, the
charges raised in this complaint. Today is the 200 anniversary of our
constitution. The greatest threat to that sacred document is being mounted
today by the lairs, obstructors of justice and other slime who believe the
ends justify the means and "plausible deniability" is a defensible standard of
conduct in an open, democratic system. The people and activites, complained
of herein, threatenour very system of laws. Do yourself proud. Deal with
these complaints vigorously.. The issue of illegal drug trafficking is now
before the publis.

When it becomes apparent to the public that our POW's and MIA's have been
abandoned and our youth have been exposed to drugs to protect such an
activity, the wrath of the people will be incredible. It no longer works to
try to hide this activity, too many know of it. The tactics that have been
used to produce the silence of people like me oon this issue, are
unjustifiable. Restore my faith in my government. Do your duty, as I have
sought to do mine. And as those POW's and MIA's abandoned in Southeast Asia,
have done theirs.


Lance Trimmer
Suite 316, 600 Central Plaza
Great FAlls, Montana 59401

Subscribed and Sworn to before me this day of Sept. 1987
(Linda Cooper) Notary Public for the State of Montana

My commision expires : 4/1/89


ATF, Washington,
D.C ATF, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
U.S. Attorney William Price, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
U.S. Customs Service, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Customs Service, Blaine, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
DEA, Washington, D.C.
Members of the United States Congress


Bo Gritz Letter to George Bush
1 February 1988, Sandy Valley, NV

Honorable George Bush, Vice President, United States of America, Washington, D.C.


Why does it seem that you are saying "YES" to illegal narcotics in America?

I turned over video tapes to your NSC staff assistant, Tom Harvey, January 1987, wherein General KHUN SA, overlord of Asia's "Golden Triangle", offered to stop 900 tons of heroin/opium from entering the free world in 1987. Harvey told me, "...there is no interest here in doing that." General Khun Sa also offered to identify U.S. Government officials who, he says, have been trafficking in heroin for more than 20 years.

November 1986, Scott Weekly and I went into Burma in coordination and cooperation with The White House. Tom Harvey told me you received a letter from Arthur Suchesk, Orange County, CA, dated 29 August 1986. Dr. Suchesk said that Gen Khun Sa had access to U.S. POWs. Harvey said the letter had received "highest attention". He gave me a copy along with other case documents. I was asked if it was possible to verify the information. According to Harvey, the CIA said Khun Sa had been assassinated some months before. Harvey supplied Scott and myself with language under White House and NSC letterhead that would help us gain access to Khun Sa. It worked. Unfortunately, Khun Sa knew nothing about US POWs. He did, however, offer to trade his nation's poppy dependence for a legitimate economy.

Instead of receiving an "Atta Boy" for bringing back video tape showing Khun Sa`s offer to stop 900 tons of illegal narcotics and expose dirty USG officials, Scott was jailed and I was threatened. I was told that if I didn't "erase and forget" all that we had discovered, I would, "hurt the government". Further, I was promised a prison sentence of "15 years".

I returned to Burma with two other American witnesses, Lance Trimmer, a private detective from San Francisco, and Barry Flynn from Boston. Gen Khun Sa identified some of those in government service he says were dealing in heroin and arms sales. We video taped this second interview and I turned copies over in June 1987, to the Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence; Chairman of the House on Foreign Affairs Task Force on Narcotics Control; Co-Chairman, Senate Narcotics Committee; Senator Harry Reid, NV; Representative James Bilbray, NV; and other Congressional members. Mister Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, is one of those USG officials implicated by Khun Sa. Nothing was done with this evidence that indicated that anyone of authority, including yourself, had intended to do anything more than protect Mr. Armitage. I was charged with "Misuse of Passport". Seems that it is alright for Oliver North and Robert MacFarlane to go into Iran on Irish Passports to negotiate an illegal arms deal that neither you nor anyone else admits condoning, but I can't use a passport that brings back drug information against your friends.

Lance Trimmer and I submitted a "Citizen Complaint of Wrongdoing by Federal Officers" to Attorney General Edwin Meese, III on 17 September 1987. Continuous private and Legislative inquiries to date indicate that the Attorney General's Office has "lost" the document. Congressional requests to the Government Accounting Office have resulted in additional government snares and stalls.

January 20, 1988, I talked before your Breakfast Club in Houston, Texas. A distinguished group of approximately 125 associates of yours, including the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, expressed assurance that you are a righteous man. Almost all of them raised their hand when I asked how many of them know you personally. If you are a man with good intent, I pray you will do more than respond to this letter. I ask that you seriously look into the possibility that political appointees close to you are guilty of by passing our Constitutional process, and for purposes of promoting illegal covert operations, conspired in the trafficking of narcotics and arms.

Please answer why a respected American Citizen like Mister H. Ross Perot can bring you a pile of evidence of wrongdoing by Armitage and others, and you, according to TIME magazine (May 4, page 18), not only offer him no support, but have your Secretary of Defense, Frank Carlucci tell Mr. Perot to "stop pursuing Mr. Armitage". Why Sir, will you not look into affidavits gathered by The Christic Institute (Washington, D.C.), which testify that Armitage not only trafficked in heroin, but did so under the guise of an officer charged with bringing home our POWs. If the charges are true, Armitage, who is still responsible for POW recovery as your Assistant Secretary of Defense ISA, has every reason not to want these heros returned to us alive. Clearly, follow on investigations would illuminate the collective crimes of Armitage and others.

Several years ago a secretary working for Armitage asked me "Why would he have us expunge his official record of all reference to past POW/MIA assignments and activities?" Not knowing, I ventured a guess that maybe he was considering running for public office and didn't feel the POW -Vietnam association would be a plus in his resume. It was about the same time a CIA agent named by Khun Sa turned up dead in Bangkok under "mysterious circumstances". Also about this time, as an agent of NSC's Intelligence Support Activity, I was told by ISA Chief Jerry King, "...there are still too many bureaucrats in Washington who don't want to see POWs returned alive". I failed to realize the fullness of his meaning, or these other events, until in May 1987, Gen Khun Sa, in his jungle headquarters, named Richard Armitage as a key connection in a ring of heroin trafficking mobsters and USG officials. A U.S. agent I have known for many years stopped by my home last month enroute to his next overseas assignment. He remarked that he had worked for those CIA chiefs named by Khun Sa, and that by his own personal knowledge, he knew what Khun Sa said was true. He was surprised it had taken so long to surface.

I am a registered Republican. I voted for you twice. I will not do so again. If you have any love or loyalty in your heart for this nation; if you have not completely sold out, then do something positive to determine the truth of these most serious allegations. You were Director of the CIA in 1975, during a time Khun Sa says Armitage and CIA officials were trafficking in heroin. As Director of Intelligence you were responsible to the American people for the activities of your assistant - even as you should know what some of these same people are doing who are close to you now as our Vice President because I feel these "parallel government" types will only be promoted by you, giving them more reason to bury our POWs.

I am enclosing some documentation that supports the charges made. Chief is a letter from Khun Sa to the U.S. Justice Department dated 28 June 1987, wherein Richard Armitage is named along with Theodore Shackley (your former Deputy Director CIA from Covert Operations) and others. Please also note William Stevenson's article, "Bank of Intrigue-Circles of Power". You, Armitage, and General Richard Secord are prominently mentioned. Stevenson, you might remember, authored A MAN CALLED INTREPID. Also Tom Fitzpatrick's article, "From Burma to Bush, a Heroin Highway", should interest you. Both of these men are prize winning journalists. The book, CRIMES of PATRIOTS, "A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA", by Jonathan Kwitny, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, details for you the bank connections that Khun Sa mentions. Finally, the basic primer that spells out exactly how this dope for covert operations gambit began, is Alfred McCoy's THE POLITICS OF HEROIN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA. All of these should be required reading for the man appointed chief cop by our President to safeguard America from illegal narcotics. These are just a sampling of many works now available that chronical disgraceful conduct by those sworn to protect and defend our Constitution.

Parting shot Mr. Vice President: On 28 January 1988, General Khun Sa tendered an offer to turn over to me one metric ton (2,200 pounds) of heroin. He says this is a good faith gesture to the American people that he is serious about stopping all drugs coming from the infamous Golden Triangle. I, you and Nancy Reagan are really serious about saying "NO" to drugs, why not test Gen Khun Sa? I challenge you to allow me in the company of agents of your choice to arrange to receive this token offer worth over $4 billion on the streets of New York City. It will represent the largest "legal" seizure of heroin on record. You can personally torch it, dump it in the ocean, or turn it into legal medication; as I understand there is a great shortage of legal opiates available to our doctors. I think Gen Khun Sa's offer is most interesting. If you say "YES" then the ever increasing flow of heroin from Southeast Asia (600-- tons-- '86, 900 tons-- '87, 1200-- tons'88) may dry up--not good for business in the parallel government and super CIA circles Oliver North mentioned. If you say "NO" to Khun Sa, you are showing colors not fit for a man who would be President.

What is your decision? I challenge you to demonstrate exactly where you stand with respect to big-business-drugs, parallel government, misuse of U.S. tax-payer dollars in foreign drug supression programs that don't work, no interest in dialogue that will stem the flow of illegal narcotics, return of POWs while they are still alive? I for one am not for a "USA, Inc." with you or anyone else as Chairman of the Board.

Respecting Your Office,

James "Bo" Gritz,
Concerned American,
Box 472 HCR-31
Sandy Valley, NV 89019,
Tel: (702) 723-5266

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #8 

DEA informant Bradley E. Ayers AFFIDAVIT that he found drug residue aboard Southern Air Transport (SAT) planes working in Latin America for the CIA. A CIA report later concluded, years later that indeed, SAT was smuggling drugs.



actual copy:

CIA admits it was aware of drugs:

Since WeThePeople originally published the results of Bradely Earl Ayers investigation of CIA proprietary Southern Air Transport, the CIA itself has confirmed the results of his investigation in Volume II of its Inspector General's report. Yet more proof, if any were needed, that what the small army of former DEA, CIA, and FBI agents and whistlblowers has been saying is true: The CIA has been up to its neck in the drug trade for decades.

Verbatim from Volume II of the CIA's IG Report:

800. Background. Southern Air Transport (SAT) carried a variety of equipment, supplies and humanitarian aid for the FDN during the 1980s.

801. Allegations of Drug Trafficking. A January 21, 1987 memorandum from ADCI Robert Gates to Morton Abramowitz, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, stated that the U.S. Customs Service had advised CIA that the Customs office in New Orleans was investigating an allegation of drug trafficking by SAT crew members. The Gates memorandum noted that the source of the allegation was a senior FDN official. The memorandum indicated that the FDN official was concerned that "scandal emanating from Southern Air Transport could redound badly on FDN interests, including humanitarian aid from the United States."

802 .A February 23, 1991 DEA cable to CIA linked SAT to drug trafficking. The cable reported that SAT was "of record" in DEA's database from January 1985-September 1990 for alleged involvement in cocaine trafficking. An August 1990 entry in DEA's database reportedly alleged that $2 million was delivered to the firm's business sites, and several of the firm's pilots and executives were suspected of smuggling "narcotics currency."

803. Information Sharing with Other U.S. Government Entities. As previously noted, a January 21, 1987 memorandum from ADCI Robert Gates to Morton Abramowitz, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, reported that U.S. Customs had informed CIA that the Customs office in New Orleans was investigating an allegation of drug trafficking by SAT crew members.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #9 
Former Federal Agent Mike Levine comments on the finding of a Memorandom of Understanding (MOU) which exempted the CIA from reporting the drug crimes of its assets (1982-1996). The MOU was quietly rescinded in 1995 by Attorney General Janet Reno when Gary Webb's series about the drug trade was published.

In a more recent PBS special on drugs, a former federal agent named Bobby Nieves went through great legnths to try to minimize the significance of the memorandom and Gary Webb's series "Dark Alliance". The PBS producers failed to note that Nieves now works for Oliver North's company, Guardian Technologies.

"After his 1995 retirement, Nieves went to work for body armor manufacturer Guardian Technologies - owned by Oliver North and Contra-era Costa Rica CIA station chief Joe Fernandez, both barred from Costa Rica for dealing in multiton loads of cocaine. With leadership like that, the pipeline is open.)

Nieves was the federal agent who tipped off Celerino Castillo about drug smuggling at El Salvador's Ilopango airport in the first place, during the 1980's.
Castillo stated that two rookie agents were assigned to look into his reports of CIA drug smuggling out of the illopango air base. Instead, the agents admonished him for his spelling errors and ordered him to use the word "alleged" when referring to CIA involvement in his reports. Castillo replied, "Why do I have to use the word alleged when I am seeing this with my own eyes?"


Michael Levine & Laura Kavanau-Levine
March 24, 1998

As an ex DEA agent I found the complete lack of coverage by mainstream media of what I saw last night during the congressional hearings into CIA Drug
Trafficking, on CNN both depressing and frightening.

I sat gape-mouthed as I heard the CIA Inspector General, testify that there has existed a secret agreement




between CIA and the Justice Department, wherein
"during the years 1982 to 1995, CIA did not have to report the drug trafficking its assets did to the Justice Department." (This is the agreement, by the way, that lead directly to events described in our non-fiction books, The Big White Lie and Deep Cover. Those many who have read the books will know instantly what I am talking about).

To a trained DEA agent this literally means that the CIA had been granted a license to obstruct justice in our so-called war on drugs; a license that
lasted-so CIA claims-from 1982 to 1995, a time during which Americans paid almost $150 billion in taxes to "fight" drugs. Of course the evidence
indicates that they did not stop obstructing justice in 1995 either, but that I suppose is going to be another congressional hearing. As far as the current
hearings go this Catch 22 "revelation" means that all the present hearings are for nothing; that-if they are caught violating the drug laws-they had been
given "secret" license to do so by our Justice Department. This might also explain Janet Reno's recent and unprecedented move in blocking the release of
a Justice Department investigation into CIA drug trafficking.

God, with friends like these, who needs enemies? It is now clear that this agreement began with the events described in THE BIG WHITE LIE; that the top drug traffickers in Bolivia, then supplying virtually all the world's cocaine-including Sonia Atala-were CIA assets that had to be protected from our deep cover probe.
Laura and I still have the proof of this that we used to back up the publication THE BIG WHITE LIE. The same proof was later incorporated into
other data backing up the publications of DEEP COVER and TRIANGLE OF DEATH.

Our evidence-which congress has been craning its neck not to see- for instance, shows clearly that during Operation Hun (the story in The Big White
Lie), secret meetings were held with CIA and Justice Department wherein all indictments of top government officials in Bolivia were blocked. We now
believe this agreement began because of Operation Hun. CIA had to hide the fact that they were supporting the people manufacturing virtually all the
cocaine being produced in the world, at that time.

In Deep Cover we showed that, during Operation Trifecta-a highly successful deep cover probe into the top of the drug world in three countries (Panama,
Bolivia and Mexico) -Attorney General of the US Ed Meece found it necessary to warn the Attorney General of Mexico about DEA's case. We, (undercover DEA
agents and Customs agents), found links between top US government officials and the people who murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena, that to this day go
unexamined by our congress or anyone else.

In "TRIANGLE OF DEATH, a work of "faction" we showed CIA's real-life involvement in the protection and creation of one of the most murderous
criminal organizations to ever plague America, an organization created by escaped Nazi fugitives under CIA protection-events occurring long before this
alleged CIA Justice agreement.

And so the dance continues.

If anyone watched the CNN show you cannot have helped but notice the snickering on the part of Congressional chairman Porter Goss (an ex CIA
officer), as congresswoman Maxine Waters spoke. Now here's the reason why: Sources of mine, who speak to me from inside this veil of secrecy out of
conscience and because I am cheaper and more reliable than a psychiatrist,
have already told me the following:

1. There is secret communication between CIA and members of the Congressional staff-one must keep in mind that Porter Goss, the chairman, is an ex CIA
official- indicating that the whole hearing is just a smoke and mirror show so that the American people-particularly the Black community- can "blow off some
steam" without doing any damage to CIA. The CIA has been assured that nothing real will be done, other than some embarrassing questions being asked.

2. That the hearings will result in the CIA receiving even a larger budget than the current $26 billion that they admit to. One of the most distressing things for me, a 25 year veteran of this business, to listen to was when Congresswoman Waters said that the hearings were not about CIA officers being indicted and going to jail. "That is not going to happen," she said. Almost in the same breath she spoke of a recent case in Miami wherein a Venezuelan National Guard general was caught by Customs agents smuggling more than a ton of cocaine into the US. Despite named CIA officers being involved in the plot, as Congresswoman Waters stated, the Justice Department will not tell her anything about the case because of "secrecy laws." No wonder chairman Goss was snickering. She could not have played more
neatly into CIA hands than to surrender before the battle was engaged.

For the entire existence of CIA they have gotten away with doing more damage to the American people than all our traditional enemies combined,
precisely because no one was ever prosecuted. From the CIA protection of Nazi criminals from war crimes prosecution as they set up criminal
organizations that preyed on America (Triangle of Death), to their lies to President Kennedy that dragged us into Bay of Pigs, to their lies to President
Johnson that dragged us into the Vietnam War, to their creation of a pan Arab army of American hating, drug trafficking terrorists during the Afghan War,
to the Church Commission hearings, to MK-Ultra, to the Bolivian Cocaine Coup ("The Big White Lie"), to their protection of the world's top cocaine
traffickers as they laid waste to American streets (Deep cover) , the CIA has acted exactly as Senator Frank Church once described them: "a runaway rogue
elephant...completely unresponsive to Congress...they (the CIA) have not only been unproductive, they have been contraproductive..they have brought great
shame on America."

And the dance continues.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #10 
Retired fed agent Mike Levine comments on drug case

CIA Drug Smuggling —The Venezuelan National Guard Case

What would be the appropriate action of a truly independent, mainstream media if say, the Central Intelligence Agency was caught red-handed actually smuggling as much cocaine into the US as the Medellin Cartel, in direct violation of federal law and with no political excuse?
Well, precisely that did happen.

Read the 60 minutes transcripts here:
up to 20,000 kilos alleged:

Sometime in 1990, US customs intercepted a ton of cocaine being smuggled through Miami International Airport. An investigation by Customs and DEA quickly revealed that the smugglers were the Venezuelan National Guard headed by General Guillen a CIA “asset” who claimed that he had been operating under CIA orders and protection. A fact that was soon, albeit very reluctantly, admitted by CIA. Once again, as in the Noriega case, it seemed that the gang that can’t spy straight had failed to notify DEA and Customs of what they were up to. That would turn out not to be the case. If CIA is good at anything it is the complete control of American media. So secure are they in their ability to manipulate media that they even brag about in their own in-house memos.

CIA pimps and shills by far outnumber and outclass the Drug War Monty variety, but in this case both con games—CIA Monty and Drug War Monty—were at grave risk.

The CIA Public Information Office, referred to by CIA insiders as “The Mighty Wurlitzer,” flew into action. Result: The story appeared nowhere in media for the next three years.

Example: The New York Times actually had the story almost immediately in 1990 and did not print it until 1993. It finally became news that was “fit to print” when the Times learned that 60 Minutes also had the story and was actually going to run it.[1] The Times ran the story on Saturday, one day before the 60 Minutes piece aired. There were, however, serious differences between the Times report and the one aired by 60 Minutes.

The Times piece said:

“No criminal charges have been brought in the matter, which the officials said appeared to have been a serious accident rather than an intentional conspiracy. (Emphasis mine) But officials say the cocaine wound up being sold on the streets in the United States.”

The highlight of the 60 Minutes piece is when Federal Judge Robert Bonner tells Mike Wallace:

“There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA did] is drug smuggling. It’s illegal...” (emphasis mine).

Judge Bonner further revealed that his assertion came as a result of a secret joint investigation conducted by DEA and CIA’s internal affairs divisions. As if that weren’t enough, Annabella Grimm, the DEA agent Country attaché in Venezuela when the incident occurred was interviewed on camera. She too said that the CIA had simply smuggled drugs in violation of lots of US laws.

You don’t have to be a police detective to note that there are some serious differences in the two reports, or to suspect media shilling in the first degree. The Expert Witness once again flew into action. I did what I thought a real journalist should do—investigate the story.

Accompanied by my life’s partner, wife and co-writer, Laura Kavanau, I flew out to the coast to meet with Annabella Grimm, an ex colleague of mine whose work and forthrightness I had always admired. After speaking with Annabella we spoke with another DEA officer who was directly involved with the incident.

The sum total of my investigation was that the CIA had not only been smuggling a lot more cocaine—around 27 tons--than the one ton they were caught with, but had been warned by DEA not to do it, that what they were proposing as an “intelligence gathering operation” was not only a “whacko idea,” but it was a felony violation of US law punishable by up to life in prison.

The identities of at least two, top level CIA personnel who had chosen to ignore DEA’s warning and had gone ahead with the massive smuggling operation had been turned over to the DEA for indictment but instead of focusing on these criminals, the investigation had turned on Ms Grimm and others.

As I investigated the incident I noticed that James Woolsey, the then head of CIA, was appearing on every mainstream media television and radio “news” show that would have him, (including NPR Radio) broadcasting the claim that no criminal act had taken place and that the event had all been a “snafu....a joint investigation between CIA and DEA that had gone awry.”

Woolsey’s public statement directly contradicted that of federal judge Bonner. The overwhelming evidence, my DEA sources assured me, showed that Woolsey, an attorney, was lying and that mainstream media was shilling for him. Any real journalist could have done what I was doing, but none—other than 60 Minutes—dared. Was there ever a news story more important than one that should have read something like: “CIA BETRAYS NATION - CAUGHT RED-HANDED SMUGGLING MORE DRUGS ONTO US STREETS THAN THE MEDELLIN CARTEL” or “ DRUG WAR A $TRILLION FRAUD”?

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #11 
Senator John Kerry questions billionaire drug trafficker George Morales on why he was able to unload his planes in broad daylight on a Major Florida airport runway while under surveillance and indictment in other drug cases:
(this is totally hilarious!)


Actual copy of the entire report is here:

Senator Kerry discusses his committee findings on NBC news (with photos)


Before the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism
Senator John Kerry questioning.

(The witness having been previously sworn)

Senator KERRY. Let me do this, because my colleague is also under some pressure. I want to ask you a few questions about one area, and then we'll come back. But I do want the record to go through this detail. I know it's tedious, but it's very important.

In 1984, you said your shipments began to change. Is that correct?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, they did.

Senator KERRY. Is that the point in time in which you were approached by people you knew to be part of the Contra organization?


Senator KERRY. Can you describe specifically when that took place and what took place?

Mr. MORALES. That was right after my indictment.

Senator KERRY. When was your indictment?

Mr. MORALES. March 3, March 3 or March 6, 1984. Right after that, few weeks, maybe a month, I was introduced by the Contra leaders in South Florida.

Senator KERRY. Who were you introduced to?

Mr. MORALES. I was introduced by Popo Chammoro, Octaviano Cesar, and --

Senator KERRY. Popo Chommoro.


Senator KERRY. Octaviano Cesar.

Mr. MORALES. Yes, and Marcos Aguado.

Senator KERRY. And Marco Aguado.

Mr. MORALES. Which they represent themselves as being leaders of the Contras and also represent themselves as CIA agents.

Senator KERRY. Now when you say they “represented themselves,” did you know of them at that time?

Mr. MORALES. I heard about they being CIA agents. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. When you say “their being,” who was a CIA agent?

Mr. MORALES. Marcos Aguado and Cesar Octaviano.

Senator KERRY. How do you know that?

Mr. MORALES. It's being very well known through many people for a long time around Central America and south Florida.

Senator KERRY. You knew that at the time?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. Did they have to tell you that for you to know that?

Mr. MORALES. Not whatsoever.

Senator KERRY. And what happened at that point in time?

Mr. MORALES. I was asked for help, financial help, any type of help that they were looking to have, because they had to be in this problem, they didn't have enough money, whatever. And also for exchange of taking care of my legal problems at the moment.

Senator KERRY. I just want to understand this very clearly. You're saying that they asked you for help?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, they did.

Senator KERRY. Were they specific about the kind of help they asked you for?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, they did.

Senator KERRY. All right. Who specifically asked you for what help?

Mr. MORALES. Octaviano Cesar was the one doing most of the talking in my office.

Senator KERRY. What did he say to you?

Mr. MORALES. He said that I[he] was looking for airplanes, money, training, weapons, explosives, any type, any kind of help.

Senator KERRY. Did you agree to help?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. What did you agree to do?

Mr. MORALES. I agreed to give him some planes, money, and to help him, to help him out.

Senator KERRY. When he asked you for explosives, and guns, and other weapons, did you agree to get those weapons?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. Did you know where to get those weapons at that time?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. How did you know where to get them?

Mr. MORALES. I used to buy the weapons in south Florida, in a gun shop, before that meeting. It was very obvious that I can buy more guns after I have the meeting with these particular fellows.

Senator Kerry. How many times did you meet with these leaders to discuss your help?

Mr. MORALES. Many times, Senator. Many times.

Senator KERRY. In what year?

Mr. MORALES. Since 198 the first time that I saw him, not met him, but I saw him, was in 1983, around this time, July or so. And then I was introduced formally to them, and the people, the person who was going to introduce me, told me who they were. And I became to be introduced formally with them in 1984.

Consequently to that meeting, I have several, several meetings.

Senator KELLY. Now you agreed to give the Contras a plane?

Mr. MORALES. I agreed to give the Contras quite a few planes.

Senator KERRY. How many planes did you give them?

Mr. MORALES. The first time I agreed to give them a DC 4, a DC 3, a helicopter, a Piper Navajo.

Senator KERRY. You just gave them? You gave them away?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. What was in it for you? Why did you give away these planes?

Mr. MORALES. Well, Senator, like I told you before, I was arrested long before that time, and I was facing one of the most critical charges because of my indictment. So, they promised me that they would take care of the legal activities, the legal activities that I was charged for.

Senator KERRY. Who promised you that?

Mr.MORALES. Cesar and Popo.

Senator KELLY. He said he could take care of your legal problems?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, yes.

Senator KELLY. Specifically?


Senator KELLY. Was he more specific about that?


Senator KERRY. How?

Mr. MORALES. Many times I talked to him and he told me that he had plenty of friends, being him, the CIA, can advise the superiors about my financial support and airplane and training, and, therefore, they will finally, eventually will take care of my problem, which they did. To an extent, they did. As a matter of fact, they did.

Senator KERRY. We'll come back to that in a little while. If you'd make a note on that, we'll come back to that in a while. I want to just run through this so Senator McConnell can have his round.

Mr. MORALES. Excuse, me one second. [Pause.]

Senator KERRY. Was the plane that you gave the Contras used by them?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, it was.

Senator KERRY. And you know that for a fact?

Mr. MORALES. For a fact, sir.

Senator KERRY. At this point in time, did you make some agreement about running guns down to various locations and bringing drugs back?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did. That was part of the agreement.

Senator KELLY. When you say “that was part,” can you be more specific? Precisely how did that discussion come about?

Mr. MORALES. I was supposed to give him financial support, also buying guns for them, supplies, safety houses for them, in south Florida, buying equipment, different type of equipment, boats, engines, boots, uniforms, whatever it was they need for them to have.

Senator KERRY. How were you supposed to buy this? Did they give you money?

Mr. MORALES. No. I was the one who was going to buy, from my own money.

Senator KERRY. Where was the money coming from?

Mr. MORALES. Drugs.

Senator KERRY. Did they know that?

Mr. MORALES. Of course they know that.

Senator KERRY. Why do you say “of course they know that”?

How do you know they know that?

Mr. MORALES. Because we discussed, as a matter of fact, we discussed to bring drugs that did not belong to me. They were their own drugs.

Senator KERRY. Whose drugs?

Mr. MORALES. The Contras drugs.

Senator KERRY. How do you know they were Contra drugs?

Mr. MORALES. They told me.

Senator KERRY. What?

Mr. MORALES. They told me. As a matter of fact

Senator KERRY. What did they tell you? Did they say here's drugs, these are Contra drugs?

Mr. MORALES. No, no, no.

They say, there was a few trips that I was supposed to do for them in drugs. I did not ever ask him where the drugs come from other than that they were the drugs.

Senator KERRY. Did you do those trips?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. When you say you did, did you personally fly them?

Mr. MORALES. No. I instruct my pilot to fly them. I was waiting on the runway for some of them, and I saw the drugs.

Senator KERRY. Now, in 1984, did you personally load weapons into an airplane in Fort Lauderdale?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I did.

Senator KERRY. Did you see those weapons?

Mr. MORALES. I bought them.

Senator KERRY. Where did you buy them?

Mr. MORALES. I bought them, some of them I bought them in the gun shop in south Miami.

Senator KERRY. What kind of weapons were they?

Mr. MORALES. Machineguns, automatic rifles, high powered rifles, pistols, explosives.

Senator KERRY. Were these fully automatic machineguns?

Mr. MORALES. Oh, yes. They were.

Senator KERRY. Did you buy fully automatic machineguns on the open market in Florida?

Mr. MORALES. I did.

Senator KERRY. In what quantity did you buy them?

Mr. MORALES. We sent many planes full of weapons down there. I really don't recall specifically the amount of items, but it was very considerable.

Senator KERRY. Did you load these weapons onto the airplane in daytime or nighttime?

Mr. MORALES. I did load them in the daytime, 12 noon in the daytime.

Senator KERRY. Right in the full view of people?

Mr. MORALES. Yes. Many times.

Senator KERRY. And were you at the airport when the planes came back?

Mr. MORALES. Yes, I was.

Senator KERRY. What did you unload from those planes when they came back?

Mr. MORALES. I was in the beginning of the runway. The plane lands and unloads the drugs into the end of the runway.

Senator KERRY. How did you know they were drugs?

Mr. MORALES. I saw them.

Senator KERRY. What did you do with those drugs?

Mr. MORALES. Sell them.

Senator KERRY. What did you do with the money?

Mr. MORALES. Give it to the Contras.

Senator KERRY. All right. I'm going to come back to this because there's obviously considerably more detail that needs to be filled in.

Mr. MORALES. Let me make myself clear, Senator.

Senator KERRY. Please.

Mr. MORALES. I gave them back to the same people because the Contras means a lot to a lot of people. I gave them back to Mr. Octaviano Cesar, who works for, used to work for the CIA, and Mr. Popo Chammoro, and Marcos Aguado...


Senator KERRY. How much money did you peronally direct toward -- strike that.

How much -- can you estimate the amount of narcotics in dollars that you shipped back as part of this scheme for transfer of weapons down there?

Mr. MORALES. How much was the money?

Senator KERRY. How much money in narcotics value was brought back in as part of this linkage in 1984 and 1985?

Mr. MORALES. Many, many, many millions of dollars. Many millions of dollars. Many.

Senator KERRY. Can you give us an estimate of the kilos of cocaine?

Mr. MORALES. In 1984, the kilos of cocaine in July were going around $32,000, $34,000, $35,000 a kilo. That is $35 million right there, in July.

Senator KERRY. It’s $35 million?

Mr. MORALES. In July.

Senator KERRY. In July.

Mr. MORALES. July, yes...


Senator KERRY. Now, when the drugs flew back in, did they come in the daytime or nighttime?

Mr. MORALES. They come in in nighttime. A few of them in daylight. But a few of them.

In the United States, they came twice at night. The rest of them came daylight.

Senator KERRY. Now here you are. You have been indicted before. You have a known reputation in the region as a narcotics trafficker. You are leading a pretty flashy lifestyle. You have helicopters, planes at your disposal, you are racing fast boats, with a lot of money moving around. And you’re telling us that at this airport, with all of this knowledge about you, you were still able to move around without any fear?

Mr. MORALES. I was very, very surprised myself.

WeThePeople Home Page

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #12 


POLITICS 88 : Story of 1985 Bush Briefing on Noriega, Drugs Is Denied

May 09, 1988|JOHN BALZAR and JOSH GETLIN | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — A fresh surge of doubts about Vice President George Bush and his insider information on drug smuggling in Panama reached a peak Sunday with a published account saying he knew more than he is telling. The account was quickly challenged by the principal in the tale--but the suspicions are apt to linger on, anyway.

Bush, as former CIA director and as a member of the Administration's National Security Council, has campaigned for the presidency on the edge of a sword--saying his long foreign-policy experience makes him perhaps the most qualified man in modern history for the job, but at the same time skirting uncomfortable foreign policy problems of the Administration by claiming lack of knowledge.


The controversy over Panama strongman Gen. Manuel A. Noriega and his role as reputed international drug lord is the latest example.

Meeting With Envoy

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Bush was informed about Noriega's drug-running in a December, 1985, meeting with then-U.S. Ambassador to Panama Everett Ellis Briggs. The date is nearly three years before Bush said he had convincing evidence of the Latin American general's involvement. Bush has said he was unaware of the matter until Noriega was indicted by two federal grand juries in February of this year.

According to the New York Times report, Briggs, who is now U.S. ambassador to Honduras, made serious drug-running charges against Noriega in cables sent to the State Department before his meeting with Bush. The story cited unnamed Reagan Administration sources who indicated that Briggs had related the substance of those cables to the vice president at their meeting.

On Sunday, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Briggs said the account was inaccurate. "We simply did not have evidence of these activities at that time, and so any statement that I did brief him at that time simply is not true," Briggs said.

Paper Quotes Testimony

Meanwhile, the Washington Post published a long account concluding that Bush "understates" just how much he knew about Noriega and when he knew it. The paper quoted the no-holds-barred congressional testimony of Norman Bailey about what the U.S. government knew of activities in Panama dating back to the 1970s. Bailey was formerly an aide to the NSC, of which Bush is one of four statutory members.

"Available to me as an officer of the NSC and available to any authorized official of the U.S. government is a plethora of human intelligence, electronic intercepts and satellite and overflight photography that, taken together, constitute not just a smoking gun but rather a 21-cannon barrage of evidence," he said.

Still, a key Democratic staff member to a Senate panel that has investigated Noriega said: "We haven't come across anything to suggest that he (Bush) had a considerable amount of knowledge."

Regardless, Democrats said doubts about Bush's role will not disappear.

"If he didn't know, that's almost as disturbing in a sense," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who chairs the Latin American subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "He was director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Gen. Noriega has been on the U.S. government payroll for some years. I'm concerned, in a sense, that he would suggest he wasn't aware of it at all."

Confronts Questions Daily

On the campaign stump, Bush is confronted daily with questions from reporters--sometimes disbelieving in tone. His response is unequivocal and sometimes combative.

"It is our Administration that is bringing Noriega to justice," he told an interviewer in Columbus, Ohio, for instance.


Yes, the questioner said, but could U.S. officials have acted sooner and did you not know sooner?

"In terms of drugs, absolutely not, no. And nobody with any sense of decency in the political arena has alleged I have. And they better not because it's not true. And if they say it's true, let's see the evidence," Bush replied.

"You have to defend yourself in life and that kind of charge coming out of the Democrats--I hear it from some of the liberal (former Sen. George S.) McGovern types around Mr. (Michael S.) Dukakis and (Jesse) Jackson that there is some connection there. What is it? Let them be man enough to stand up to my face and tell me."

Jackson, campaigning in Huntington, W. Va., on Sunday, said: "This Administration is up to its throat. It is choking on sleaze. Obviously Mr. Bush could not have been a hands-on vice president who knew what was happening and then have selective memory and not know what was happening."

'Aware' of Rumors

As for the latest charges, Bush spokesman Peter B. Teeley reiterated that the vice president was "aware" of the rumors linking Noriega to drug-running, but had no concrete evidence of it until this year, when the federal government took action. Teeley also denied that Bush had discussed the matter with Briggs in 1985.

Teeley also denied that Bush was aware at the time of a trip which Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, then national security adviser, made to Panama, six days before the vice president's meeting with Briggs. The purpose of the trip was to convey U.S. warnings to Noriega about official drug corruption.

Bush has been similarly dogged--and forced to claim lack of knowledge--on two other major foreign policy controversies. On the sale of U.S. weaponry to Iran, the vice president has said that, along with the President, he did not believe it was an arms-for-hostage swap. He has likewise said he was unaware of secret U.S. operations to assist the Nicaraguan Contras in 1985, despite a legal ban on such aid.


Iran-Contra: The Cover-Up Begins to Crack

Until last week the Iran-contra scandal seemed ready to fade from the courts, the news and the mind. After costing more than four years and $25.5 million, the investigation headed by special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was limping to a close. A federal appeals court had overturned Lieut. Colonel Oliver North's felony conviction, and a retrial seemed unlikely. The same outcome seemed possible for former National Security Adviser John Poindexter's conviction.

Then the scandal roared back to life with a series of stunning developments. They suggested that:

-- Top intelligence officials had engaged in covering up the Reagan Administration's attempts to evade a congressional ban on aid to the Nicaraguan rebels by siphoning off profits from secret arms shipments to Iran.

-- The Iran-contra affair may be only part of a broader and previously undisclosed pattern of illegal activities by intelligence agencies during the tenure of Ronald Reagan and his CIA chief William Casey. Sources close to the unfolding investigation of the Bank of Credit & Commerce International told TIME that U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, maintained secret accounts with the globe-girdling financial empire, which has been accused of laundering billions of dollars in drug money, financing illegal arms deals and engaging in other crimes.

The discovery of the CIA's dealings with B.C.C.I. raises a deeply disturbing question: Did the agency hijack the foreign policy of the U.S. and in the process involve itself in one of the most audacious criminal enterprises in history? Items:

-- Alan Fiers, head of the CIA's Central America task force from 1984 to 1986, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of lying to Congress about when high- ranking intelligence officials first learned of the illegal diversion of funds to the contras. Fiers said he became aware of the diversions and informed Clair George, then the CIA's deputy director for operations, in the summer of 1986. But, Fiers said, George ordered him to deny any knowledge of the transfers when he testified before the House intelligence committee that October. In exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors instead of more serious felonies, Fiers is now assisting Walsh's investigation. With his help, Walsh will probably seek a perjury indictment of George and perhaps other present and former government officials.

-- Three days after Fiers entered his plea, the New York Times disclosed that Walsh possesses tapes and transcripts of hundreds of telephone conversations between CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and agents in Central America. The talks occurred during the period when North, former Air Force General Richard Secord and his business partner Albert Hakim were operating their secret arms pipeline. The tapes -- which have been in Walsh's hands for three years -- were recorded on a system that George installed at the agency's operations center in the early to mid-1980s.

In recent months Walsh has used the tapes to prod the memory of North and other reluctant witnesses before the grand jury that is still gamely looking into the scandal. The tapes are expected to furnish evidence that could lead to further indictments. Some transcripts of the recordings have been examined by staff investigators for the congressional Iran-contra committees. But curiously, until last Friday, no member of the Senate intelligence committee was aware of the recordings.

-- Investigators probing B.C.C.I. have told TIME that the Iran-contra affair is linked to the burgeoning bank scandal. Former government officials and other sources confirm that the CIA stashed money in a number of B.C.C.I. accounts that were used to finance covert operations; some of these funds went to the contras. Investigators also say an intelligence unit of the U.S. defense establishment has used the bank to maintain a secret slush fund, possibly for financing unauthorized covert operations. More startling yet, even before North set up his network for making illegal payments to the contras, the National Security Council was using B.C.C.I. to channel money to them. The funds were first sent to Saudi Arabia to disguise their White House origins; then they were deposited into a B.C.C.I. account maintained by contra leader Adolfo Calero.

The Iran-contra affair has been characterized by U.S. officials as a rogue operation managed by overzealous members of the National Security Council. But if Fiers is correct, top-ranking CIA officials not only knew about the operation and did nothing to stop it; they also participated in an illegal cover-up.

One of the first casualties of the disclosures could be the nomination of Deputy National Security Adviser Robert Gates to head the CIA. Though Fiers did not implicate Gates in the deception, some Senators find it hard to believe Gates' claim that he knew next to nothing about the Iran-contra scheme when he served as Casey's principal deputy. Four years ago, that suspicion forced Gates to withdraw after Reagan picked him to succeed Casey, who was dying from brain cancer.

Those misgivings appeared to have faded when George Bush chose Gates to replace William Webster. But the mounting questions about the scandal could put his nomination on hold. The Senate intelligence committee, which had expected to begin its hearings on Gates this week, decided to hold off. Members may want to question Fiers, George and perhaps others about what Gates may have known. If the committee's uncertainty drags on, it could run into the August congressional recess, which would delay hearings until September.

Sensing the threat to Gates' confirmation, Bush rushed to defend his nominee. He implored the Senate not to leave Gates "twisting in the wind" through the summer. "Get the men up there who are making these allegations," Bush demanded. "Isn't that the American system of justice -- innocent until proven guilty?"

But Gates is just one more figure twisting in a resurgent storm. Suddenly a number of unanswered questions assume a new urgency. Just what did Ronald Reagan -- and George Bush -- know? And when did they know it?

Beyond that, the discovery of the secret intelligence-agency accounts in the renegade B.C.C.I. raises a whole new set of unsettling possibilities. The most serious is that U.S. spymasters may have been undertaking unauthorized covert operations and all the while furthering the ends of B.C.C.I. By providing clandestine services for intelligence agencies in numerous countries, B.C.C.I. was able to cloak its activities in an aura of national security and thereby stave off investigations from banking officials in the U.S. and abroad.

In 1988 Gates is reported to have told a colleague that B.C.C.I. was "the bank of crooks and criminals." Yet when customs agents investigated the bank in 1988, they found "numerous CIA accounts in B.C.C.I.," says former U.S. Commissioner of Customs William von Raab. Those, he says, were being used to pay agents and "apparently to support covert activities."

Senate investigators, who have known of the agency's links to the bank, have demanded an explanation from the CIA -- so far, without getting a satisfactory response. One question they might ask is whether the CIA link to B.C.C.I. explains the Justice Department's slowness in pursuing its case against the bank. Last year the Justice Department tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Florida state comptroller not to lift B.C.C.I.'s license to operate in that state.

Armed with Fiers' testimony and the treasure trove of CIA phone tapes, Walsh is likely to seek more indictments. In addition to George and perhaps other CIA officials, there are two potential targets outside the agency: former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and Donald Gregg, now U.S. ambassador to South Korea. In his plea Fiers says he lied to Congress at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on Nov. 25, 1986. On the same day, Abrams testified that no one at the State Department knew of the diversion of funds. A few days later, when Abrams made a second appearance before the lawmakers, Democratic Senator Thomas Eagleton of Missouri angrily accused him of having lied earlier. "You've heard my testimony," Abrams said during their exchange. "I've heard it," Eagleton replied, "and I want to puke."

Fiers may also implicate Gregg, a onetime CIA officer who served as a foreign policy adviser to then Vice President Bush. Gregg was a close friend of Felix Rodriguez, another former agent, who became a crucial link in the North pipeline to the contras. But Gregg has repeatedly denied before Congress that the office of the Vice President recruited Rodriguez. One tantalizing entry in North's diary indicates that on Jan. 9, 1986, North and Fiers had a phone conversation about Rodriguez. It reads, "Felix talking too much about V.P. connection." Was the reference to Gregg or to Bush?

Walsh's biggest worry may be that the Senate intelligence committee will call Fiers and George as witnesses at Gates' confirmation hearing. Last July a federal appeals court set aside North's 1989 conviction on the ground that some witnesses who testified against him may have been influenced by his congressional testimony about Iran-contra. That testimony could not be used against North in court because Congress had granted him immunity. Concerned that future Senate testimony by Fiers or George might also be put beyond his reach by a grant of immunity, Walsh last week issued a pointed warning to the committee not to imperil his case. "Our investigation has reached a point of significant breakthrough," Walsh said. "To jeopardize this progress in a vain hope of getting quick facts as to an individual nomination would be regrettable."

In one respect, at least, Walsh is right: an individual nomination is no longer the central issue. The main questions now focus on whether the intelligence community covered up illegal acts and how high the conspiracy reached.


A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #13 
Mr. Duncan was a criminal investigator for the treasury department.
His testimony describes cover-up which reached the highest levels of government.




Q. There were no indictments?

A. Never any indictments.

Q. There were no prosecutions?

A. None.

Q. In effect, the evidence that you gathered has not been

acted on by the U. S. Attorney's Office?

A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you complain to your superior?

A. Yes.

Q. What was his name?

A. Paul Whitmore, Chief of Criminal Investigation. I also

complained to my group managers, Tim Lee, Charles Huckaby and

Max Gray.

Q. And what did they -- what was their response?

A. They were very frustrated, also. Mr. Whitmore, in fact,

made several trips to Fort Smith, Arkansas to complain to the

U. S. Attorney's Office.

Q. Did he relate to you the conversation he had had with the

U. S. Attorney?

A. On several occasions, and also related to me that the U.S.

Attorney wrote him a letter telling him not to come to his

office anymore complaining, that that was unprofessional


Q. What was the conclusion of Mr. Whitmore concerning your

investigation and the manner in which it was handled by the U. S.

Attorney in Arkansas?

A. That there was a coverup.

Q. Are you saying -- do you agree with his-with Mr.

Whitmore's conclusion?

A. Absolutely.

Q. Are you stating now under oath that you believe that the

investigation in and around the Mena Airport of money laundering

was covered up by the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas?

A. It was covered up,

Q. Would you state that succinctly for the record in your own

words, so that we might -- to have the benefit of how you would

state your opinion and conclusions as a result of your

activities as a special investigator -- as to this


A. I was involved from April of 1983, really to this date, in

gathering information, gathering evidence, until 1987-1988. I,

on a perpetual basis, furnished all the evidence, all the

information to the U. S. Attorney's Office. In January of 1986,

a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney from Miami, I believe, who was

a money laundering specialist, came to Fort Smith, met with then

U. S. Attorney Fitzhugh and myself and drafted a series of

indictments. I think there were 29 indictments, charging the

aforementioned individuals and Barry Seal, as I recall, as an

unindicted co-conspirator in the money laundering scheme. At

that point in time I had every indication that the cases would

go to the Grand Jury, that the evidence would be presented to a

grand jury. We experienced a variety of frustrations, mid '85

on, not able to obtain subpoenas for witnesses we felt were

necessary. I had some direct interference by Mr. Fitzhugh in

the investigative process. Specifically he would call me and

interrupt interviews, tell me not to interview people that he

had previously told me were necessary to be interviewed.

Q. Did you have any interferences or interruptions from anyone

within the U. S. Treasury Department that would interfere with

your investigation?

A. They interfered with my testimony before the House

Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

Q. Would you tell us about that?

A. In late December of 1987, I was contacted by Chief Counsel

for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Hayden Gregory,

who told me that they were looking into the reason why no one

was indicted in connection with the Mena investigations. The

Internal Revenue service assigned to me disclosure litigation

attorneys, which gave me instructions which would have caused me

to withhold information from Congress during my testimony and to

also perjure myself.

Duncan's testimony also implicates current DEA head ASA HUTCHINSON in cover up:

Q. (BY MR. ALEXANDER) Mr. Duncan, prior to your resignation

from the Department of Treasury, do you recall any other

conversations you may have had with your superiors concerning

the investigation of Mena?

A. With respect to what?

Q. With respect to the manner in which the case was attempting

to be covered up?

A. We had continuing discussions because none of us, my

managers nor myself, had ever experienced anything remotely akin

to this type of interference. I had a very good working

relationship with all the Assistant United States Attorneys and

the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western Judicial District, never any

problems. The office was open to me, and I visited with them

everytime I was in Fort Smith. And we couldn't understand why

there was this different attitude. I had found Asa Hutchinson

to be a very aggressive U.S. Attorney in connection with my

cases, then all of a sudden, with respect to Mena, it was just

like the information was going in but nothing was happening over

a long period of time. Mr. Hutchinson did not directly

interfere as did Mr. Fitzhugh. But just like with the 20

witnesses and the complaint, I didn't know what to make of

that. Alarms were going off. And as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got

involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas

and in interfering in the investigative process. He was

reluctant to have the State Police around, even though they were

an integral part of the investigation.

For instance, when the money laundering specialist was up

from Miami, Mr. Fitzhugh left Mr. Welch in the hall all day

until late in the afternoon and refused to allow him to come in.

We were astonished that we couldn't get subpoenas. We were

astonished that Barry Seal was never brought to the grand jury,

because be was on the subpoena list for a long time. And there

were just a lot of investigative developments that made no sense

to us.

One of the most revealing things, I suppose, was that we

had discussed specifically with Asa Hutchinson the rumors about

National Security involvement in the Mena operations. And Mr.

Hutchinson told me personally that he had checked with a variety

of law enforcement agencies and people In Miami, and that Barry

Seal would be prosecuted for any crimes in Arkansas. So we were

comfortable that there was not going to be National Security


Q. Did you discuss the Mena investigation with anyone in


A. I discussed the Mena investigation with people in the

national office.

Q. And with whom did you discuss it?

A. With Joe Pagani, who was the Deputy Assistant Commissioner

for Criminal Investigation, with a variety of other of his

staff. Now, this was at the point of interference by the

disclosure litigation attorneys.

Q. Anyone else in the, say, the Commissioner's Office that you

discussed this with?

A. Peter Filpi.

Q. Peter Filpi?

A. Who was Mary Ann Curtin's supervisor.

Q. Now, did you discuss it with Mary Ann Curtin?

A. She was the briefing attorney. She was the one that I was

-- was supposed to be involved in preventing disclosure of tax .

return information and grand jury information.

Q. Can you think of anyone else that you talked with up in

Washington? Did you receive any orders from any of the

higher-ups in Washington concerning this investigation?

A. None.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #14 
Deposition of RUSSELL FRANKLIN WELCH before the alexander committee
Welch was an Arkansas stste police investigator, Criminal investigative Division.
7 Q. So actually no one was ever indicted, were they?

8 A. No.

9 Q. And how would you describe the cooperation of other federal

10 agencies?

11 A. Mixed. The Drug Enforcement Administration in Florida,

12 absolutely zero. They're just as useless to us as tits on a

13 boar hog. We had no use for them at all. I mean, they had

14 just from what they gave us, there were almost to the point of

15 rudeness. We did not get anything out of them. I went to an

16 agent conference in Savannah, Georgia during that time period,

17 which this group, Group 6 or Group 7, whatever it is, did not

18 show up. But there were other Customs agents there and other

19 DEA groups represented, and they were all pretty open that they

20 were surprised that this group from Miami DEA didn't show up.

21 They stated that they were unable to get any use out of them as

22 far as sharing information or working cases. It was just a

23 problem for everybody. And we all rationalized that they had a

24 major problem there, and probably don't have time to mess with

25 us. The amount of drugs that we would get excited about, they


(501) 372-5115


Page 27
1 wouldn't even go into court with. Rationalized to keep things

2 going smooth.

3 The two DEA officers in Baton Rouge were very helpful, Mike

4 Long and another one, I can't remember his name, They had been

5 investigating Barry Seal for some time, and they were extremely

6 helpful and gave us information for a while that we would never

7 have got from any other source. And they gave us a witness who

8 was in -- at that time was in a safehouse or was being kept in

9 an isolated area because he was about to or had testified

10 against Barry Seal, and they gave us this witness. Which just

11 amazed us. And they gave us a couple of others, a guy named

12 LeBlanc and some others that we had no idea how to get ahold of.

13 The DEA in Arkansas, they were pleasant, easy to get along, but

14 they had no interest in the Barry Seal case at all.

15 As we observed Barry Seal fly into Mena one cold December

16 night, a young pilot by the name of Earl, Billy Earl, I

17 believe. WE had the airport under surveillance. We had

18 received word that either a smuggling operation was going to be

19 consummated there, or was -- something was about to happen

20 concerning Barry Seal. And this was from the operation Coin

21 Roll investigation out of the task force in New Orleans. We set

22 up, we had the FBI, DEA, State Police, and probably about any

23 other investigative agency you can think of, we were all out

24 there in force. I think Arkansas Game and Fish was represented.

25 And the plane did come in. And we observed what later was


(501) 372-5115


Page 28
1 described as changing of a bladder tank. It was snowing that

2 night. and the DEA wasn't on the airport. They never pulled a

3 surveillance mission. One of the FBI agents commented to me

4 that his partner had stated to him later on, he said, "This is

5 the last time I go on surveillance for an air smuggling mission

6 that the DEA stays in the motel while the rest of us are out in

7 the snow," and he said, "that's got to be a clue." so we didn't

8 get a lot of support from the Arkansas Drug Enforcement

9 Administration.

10 And from other areas it was mixed. We dealt with a lot of

11 agents and agencies who were burned out on investigating Barry

12 Seal, because it had ended in -- all of their efforts had just

13 ended in futility and frustration, sometimes lawsuits. And when

14 they felt like they had cases, things just fell out from under

15 them, and they just wouldn't investigate him and didn't want to

16 hear about it, and certainly didn't want to hear about him from

17 us.

18 One Customs agent told me that, after I was trying to get

19 some help from him, he said "look, we've been told not to touch

20anything that has Barry Seal's name on it, just to let it go."

21 And he said, "That's fine. We've got plenty of other work to

22 do." I could go on and on.

23 Q. So basically would it be a fair summary to say that in your

24 professional opinion Barry Seal moved his entire drug smuggling

25 operation to Mena, Arkansas in the early 1980's and operated


(501) 372-5115


Page 29
1 there for how long, until his death?

2 A. Oh, yeah.

3 Q. Until 1986?

4 A. Yeah, past 1984 there was obvious government involvement

5 with him.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #15 
A 1991 deposition from a top IRS criminal investigator


One of the great myths of the Clinton scandals is that Mena -- the major Contra training, supply, and drug running headquarters -- was a myth. One of those with solid evidence to the contrary is William Duncan, the former Special Operations Coordinator for the Southeast Region of the Criminal Investigation Division, Internal Revenue Service. In 1991, Duncan (who had lost his job trying to get to the bottom of the Mena story) gave a deposition to a joint investigation conducted by Rep. William Alexander and the Arkansas attorney general's office, represented by Winston Bryant. Here are some excerpts from the deposition -- giving a vivid snapshot of what was going on and what honest investigators such as Duncan and Arkansas state trooper Russell Welch were up against.

Q. Would you state your name, age, and address, please?
A. William C. Duncan, age forty-four, 513 Pine Bluff Street, Malvern, Arkansas.

* * * * *

Q. You were a criminal investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department?
A. Yes, perpetually from December of '73 through June 16, 1989.

Q. And as a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department, did you have occasion to investigate matters surrounding activities in Mena, Arkansas?
A. Yes, I did.

* * * * *

Q. Would you describe the nature of your instructions and the manner in which you carried out those instructions as they relate to activities surrounding the Mena Airport matter?
A. I was assigned to investigate allegations of money laundering in connection with the Barry Seal organization, which was based at the Mena, Arkansas airport.

Q. And can you -- how long a duration were you involved in this investigation?
A. I received the first information about Mena and illegal activities at the Mena Airport in April of 1983, in a meeting in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson was the U.S. Attorney then. Also present at that meeting was Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Jim Stepp, S-T-E-P-P.

Q. Did you discover what you believed to be money laundering?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Who was the object of your investigation, and what institution?
A. Rich Mountain Aviation, Incorporated based at the Mena Airport. Barry Seal was not actually a target. We had targeted the employees and cohorts of his which operated out of the Mena Airport.

* * * * *

Q. What did you do with the evidence of money laundering that you gathered from your investigation?
A. Presented it to the United States Attorney's Office, Western Judicial District, Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Q. And what were your recommendations to the U.S. Attorney?
A. That those individuals and corporation -- the corporation be prosecuted for violations of the money laundering statutes, also there were some perjury recommendations and some conspiracy recommendations.

Q. Did you present to the U. S. Attorney a list of prospective witnesses to be called?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. For a grand jury?
A. Yes.

Q. And do you have the names of those witnesses?
A. There were a variety of witnesses. There were some 20 witnesses. He called three witnesses. The witnesses including -- included the law enforcement personnel who had participated in the investigations, Barry Seal, members of his organization, people who were involved in the money laundering, and various financial institution officers who had knowledge.

Q. Mr. Duncan, the money laundering to which you refer, did that arise out of an alleged drug trafficking operation managed from the Mena, Arkansas airport?
A. It did.

Q. And it has been alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency had some role in that operation. Is that the same operation that you investigated?
A. Yes.

Q. And when you submitted the witnesses, the names of the prospective witnesses to the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas, are you referring to Mr. -- what was the name of the U. S. Attorney?
A. Asa Hutchinson.

Q. Asa Hutchinson. And what was his reaction to your recommendations?
A. It had been my experience, from my history of working with Mr. Hutchinson, that all I had to do is ask for subpoenas for any witness and he would provide the subpoenas and subpoena them to a grand jury. His reaction in this case was to subpoena only three of the 20 to the grand jury.

Q. Now, of the three witnesses, who were -- what was the nature of the evidence that would have been elicited from those witnesses?
A. Direct evidence in the money laundering.

Q. And did those witnesses testify for the grand jury?
A. yes, they did.

Q. Were you present at the time of the grand jury?
A. No, I was not.

Q. You were not?
A. I was in the witness room, but I was not in the grand jury.

Q. I see. What was the result of the testimony given by the three witnesses to the grand jury?
A. As two of the witnesses exited, one was a secretary who had received instructions ~~~ and I think on some occasions had discussed with Barry Seal, the methodology. She was furious when she exited the grand jury, was very upset, indicated to me that she had not been allowed to furnish her evidence to the grand jury. ~~~ She was the secretary for Rich Mountain Aviation, who participated in the money laundering operation upon the instructions of Hampton, Evans.

* * * * *
Q. And what did she say about the evidence that she was allowed to give the grand jury as it might have been different from the evidence that you wanted her to give to the grand jury?
A. She basically said that "she was allowed to give her name, address, position, and not much else.

* * * * *

Q. And there were two other witnesses, I believe you made reference to, did you talk with them?
A. I talked to another one, his name was Jim Nugent, who was a Vice-president at Union Bank of Mena, who had conducted a search of their records and provided a significant amount of evidence relating to the money laundering transactions. He was also furious that he was not allowed to provide the evidence that he wanted to provide to the grand jury.

Q. And was there a third witness?
A. There was a third witness, I don't recall her name off-hand. She was an officer at one of the financial institutions in Mena, and she did not complain to me.

* * * * *

Q. What was the result of the grand jury inquiry into the money laundering investigation which you had conducted?
A. There were never any money laundering indictments.

Q. There was no indictment?
A. No.

Q. Did you have occasion to talk to any of the jurors that were impaneled on the grand jury that heard the evidence?
A. At a later date, I came in contact with the deputy foreman of the grand jury, who had previously given testimony to an investigator for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, concerning her frustrations as the deputy foreman of the grand jury.

* * * * *

Q. And could you relate to us any other conversation you might have had with her concerning her appearance before the grand jury?
A. Well, she was perpetually involved in the grand jury as it heard evidence concerning the Barry Seal matter, and she related to me the frustrations of herself and the entire grand jury because they were not allowed to hear of money laundering evidence.

Q. Do you recall any statements that she made to you concerning that grand jury, her service on the grand jury?
A. .She stated to me that they specifically asked to hear the money laundering evidence, specifically asked that I be subpoenaed, and they were not allowed to have me subpoenaed.

* * * * *

Q. Mr. Duncan, are you saying that the grand jury that was impaneled to hear your investigation, hear evidence of the investigation that you had conducted for the U.S. Treasury as a special investigator, was compromised?
A. The evidence was never presented to the grand jury. The evidence gathered during that investigation was never presented to the grand jury.

* * * * *

Q. There were no indictments?
A. Never any indictments.

Q. There were no prosecutions?
A. None.

Q. In effect, the evidence that you gathered has not been acted on by the U. S. Attorney's Office?
A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you complain to your superior?
A. Yes.

Q. What was his name?
A. Paul Whitmore, Chief of Criminal Investigation. I also complained to my group managers, Tim Lee, Charles Huckaby and Max Gray.

Q. And what did they -- what was their response?
A. They were very frustrated, also. Mr. Whitmore, in fact, made several trips to Fort Smith, Arkansas to complain to the U. S. Attorney's Office.

Q. Did he relate to you the conversation he had had with the U. S. Attorney?
A. On several occasions, and also related to me that the U.S. Attorney wrote him a letter telling him not to come to his office anymore complaining, that that was unprofessional behavior.

Q. What was the conclusion of Mr. Whitmore concerning your investigation and the manner in which it was handled by the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas?
A. That there was a coverup.

Q. Are you saying -- do you agree with his-with Mr. Whitmore's conclusion?
A. Absolutely.

Q. Are you stating now under oath that you believe that the investigation in and around the Mena Airport of money laundering was covered up by the U. S. Attorney in Arkansas?
A. It was covered up,

Q. Would you state that succinctly for the record in your own words, so that we might -- to have the benefit of how you would state your opinion and conclusions as a result of your activities as a special investigator -- as to this investigation?
A. I was involved from April of 1933, really to this date, in gathering information, gathering evidence, until 1987-1988. I, on a perpetual basis, furnished all the evidence, all the information to the U. S. Attorney's Office. In January of 1986, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney from Miami, I believe, who was a money laundering specialist, came to Fort Smith, met with then U. S. Attorney Fitzhugh and myself and drafted a series of indictments. I think there were 29 indictments, charging the aforementioned individuals and Barry Seal, as I recall, as an unindicted co-conspirator in the money laundering scheme. At that point in time I had every indication that the cases would go to the Grand Jury, that the evidence would be presented to a grand jury. We experienced a variety of frustrations, mid '85 on, not able to obtain subpoenas for witnesses we felt were necessary. I had some direct interference by Mr. Fitzhugh in the investigative process. Specifically he would call me and interrupt interviews, tell me not to interview people that he had previously told me were necessary to be interviewed.

Q. Did you have any interferences or interruptions from anyone within the U. S. Treasury Department that would interfere with your investigation?
A. They interfered with my testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

Q. Would you tell us about that?
A. In late December of 1987, I was contacted by Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Hayden Gregory, who told me that they were looking into the reason why no one was indicted in connection with the Mena investigations. The Internal Revenue service assigned to me disclosure litigation attorneys, which gave me instructions which would have caused me to withhold information from Congress during my testimony and to also perjure myself.

Q. And how did you respond to the Treasury Department?
A. Well, I exhibited to them that I was going to tell the truth in my testimony. And the perjury, subornation of perjury resulted in an -- resulted because of an allegation that I had received, that Attorney General Edwin Meese received a several hundred thousand dollar bribe from Barry Seal directly. And they told me to tell the Subcommitte on Crime that I had no information about that.

Q. What is this about Meese? Where did you get that information?
A. I received that from Russell Welch, the State Police investigator.

* * * * *

Q. (BY MR. ALEXANDER) Mr. Duncan, prior to your resignation from the Department of Treasury, do you recall any other conversations you may have had with your superiors concerning the investigation of Mena?
A. With respect to what?

Q. With respect to the manner in which the case was attempting to be covered up?
A. We had continuing discussions because none of us, my managers nor myself, had ever experienced anything remotely akin to this type of interference. I had a very good working relationship with all the Assistant United States Attorneys and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western Judicial District, never any problems. The office was open to me, and I visited with them every time I was in Fort Smith. And we couldn't understand why there was this different attitude. I had found Asa Hutchinson to be a very aggressive U.S. Attorney in connection with my cases, then all of a sudden, with respect to Mena, it was just like the information was going in but nothing was happening over a long period of time. Mr. Hutchinson did not directly interfere as did Mr. Fitzhugh. But just like with the 20 witnesses and the complaint, I didn't know what to make of that. Alarms were going off. And as soon as Mr. Fitzhugh got involved, he was more aggressive in not allowing the subpoenas and in interfering in the investigative process. He was reluctant to have the State Police around, even though they were an integral part of the investigation. For instance, when the money laundering specialist was up from Miami, Mr. Fitzhugh left Mr. Welch in the hall all day until late in the afternoon and refused to allow him to come in. We were astonished that we couldn't get subpoenas. We were astonished that Barry Seal was never brought to the grand jury, because be was on the subpoena list for a long time. And there were just a lot of investigative developments that made no sense to us. One of the most revealing things, I suppose, was that we had discussed specifically with Asa Hutchinson the rumors about National Security involvement in the Mena operations. And Mr. Hutchinson told me personally that he had checked with a variety of law enforcement agencies and people In Miami, and that Barry Seal would be prosecuted for any crimes in Arkansas. So we were comfortable that there was not going to be National Security interference.

* * * * *

Q. Did you ever talk to a Mary Ann Curtin?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. What was her job?
A. She was the disclosure litigation attorney in Washington assigned to counsel me, provide legal advice with respect to my testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime.

Q. What was her advice to you?
A. Told me not to offer any opinions, even if specifically asked for my opinion by the Subcommitte on Crime. Told me not to volunteer any information. Basically did not want me saying anything that would reflect badly on the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western Judicial District of Arkansas.

Q. What was your conclusion from her instructions to you?
A. It made no sence for me not to give full and complete testimony to the subcommittee on Crime.

Q. Mr. Duncan, do you get the impression that she was ordering you to cover up the investigation?
A. Absolutely.

Q. If you were asked to state that in your own words, what would you say?
A. I would say that we had conducted textbook investigations of all the individuals at Mena, there were a variety of legal issues involved, which I had always had them in loop on. We had proceeded very soundly. There was nothing for us to be ashamed of. The investigations were thorough, to the extent that we could conduct the investigation without subpoenas. And I would have thought that the Internal Revenue Service would have wanted a complete disclosure to Congress about the problems that we encountered, but quite the opposite was true. They obviously did not want any negative testimony coming from me concerning the U.S. Attorney's Office. At one point when we were arguing about the Meese allegation, she told me that she had discussed my frustrations with the personal assistant to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who was Larry Gibbs at the time, and the personal assistant's name was Bryan Sloan. And that Bryan Sloan told her, "Bill is just going to have to get the big picture."

* * * *


Q. Bill, let me ask you a few questions. I want to take you back to your investigation at the Mena Airport. How many federal agencies were involved in that investigation at the time you first went there?
A. I was aware that U.S. Customs Service was involved..I was aware that the FBI was involved, the Drug Enforcement Administration. Those were federal agencies. The Arkansas State Police was involved. The Polk County Sheriffs Office was involved and also the Louisiana State Police was involved in investigating a link between Louisiana and Arkansas.

Q. In your opinion, were those agencies actively involved in the investigation of the Mena operation and specifically Barry Seal at that time?
A. Actively involved since at least 1982.

Q. And when did you first go to Mena?
A. In May of 1983.

Q. And after you were involved in the investigation, when did you make your presentation to the U.S. Attorney for the grand jury laundering allegation that you had prepared?
A. The reports, the prosecutorial reports went to Mr. Fitzhugh in December of 1985.

Q. At that particular time were all federal agencies still actively involved in investigating the Barry Seal matter or had they--had their interest cooled, or how would you describe it?
A. It was a very strange thing, because we were dealing with allegations of narcotics smuggling, massive amounts of money laundering. And it was my perception that the Drug Enforcement Administration would have been very actively involved at that stage, especially along with the Arkansas State Police. But DEA was conspicuously absent during most of that time. The FBI appeared on the scene intermittently. Usually when Russell and I were going to conduct some credible interviews, Tom Ross, from the Hot Springs FBI Office, would suddenly appear on the scene. He would make some trips to Baton Rouge with us. U.S. Customs was conspicuously absent, also. It was primarily just Russell Welch and myself.

Q. Regarding the allegations of drug running and weapons running and any other things that you might have heard, what information do you have to, number one, substantiate that there might have been drugs brought to the Mena Airport?
A. We were receiving information from a variety of sources that Barry was doing some work for the United States Government, but that be was smuggling on the return trips for himself. We knew from his modus operandi in Louisiana that he many times dropped the rugs in remote areas and retrieved them with helicopters. He had helicopters in the hangers at Mena and a variety of aircraft, smuggling type aircraft on the ground in Mena. And we heard, you know, all the time that he was making on return trips -- Terry Capeheart, a Deputy at Polk County Sheriff's Department, had received information from an informant on the inside at Rich Mountain Aviation that drugs were actually brought into Rich Mountain Aviation, and on one occasion guarded with armed guards around the aircraft.

* * * * *

Q. What specific physical evidence did you observe at the Mena Airport that would indicate to you, that in your professional opinion, drugs were brought to Mena or that Mena was being used as a base for drug smuggling?
A. primarily I was reviewing evidence gathered by the law enforcement agencies, surveillance logs, their representations to me. I was focusing on the money laundering and financial analysis end of it, and did not conduct a lot of physical surveillance myself. But we had a lot of intelligence reports and surveillance reports of various airplanes in there being refueled, leaving in the middle of the night, N numbers being changed, typical modus operandi of a smuggling. We also had testimony that his aircraft had been plumbed with longer range tanks and bladders, that illegal cargo doors had been installed in the aircraft. And there was a lot of evidence of that. And I was seeing on some of the cashier's checks, Barry Seal's name on cashier's checks. The secretary ~~~ stated that when Barry would come in in his airplanes, the next morning many times there would be stacks of cash to be taken to the bank and laundered.

Q. In connection with your investigation into the laundering activities, what -- how much money was laundered in your opinion through the Mena bank?
A. At the time we couldn't proceed any further because of the lack of subpoenas. I would have to review the records, which the Internal Revenue Service has now. But it seems like there was a quarter of a million dollars, $300,000, something like that that we had documented, that had been laundered through the Mena banks, just the Mena banks.

Q. And when you say "laundered," what specifically do you mean; what happened?
A. They were obtaining cashier's checks in amounts of $10,000 or less at a variety of financial institutions in Mena and some further north from Mena or sometimes different tellers in the same banks to avoid preparation of the Currency Transaction Report. Kathy Corrigan testified that her instructions ~~~ were, that they were to do this to avoid the Internal Revenue Service knowing about the money and to avoid payment of taxes on the money.

Q. Now, are you saying the' someone from Rich Mountain Aviation would appear at a local bank with $10,000 or less in cash, and then give that to the bank in exchange for a cashier's check, was that the typical arrangement, or what was the typical arrangement?
A. They would go with, say, $9,500, or they might go with $30,000, but they would break it up in increments of $10,000 or less. And on one occasion Freddie Hampton personally took a suitcase full of money, I think it was seventy some thousand dollars, into this bank officer, and the testimony of the tellers revealed that the bank officer went down the teller lines handing out the stacks of $10,000 bills and got the cashier's checks. Those cashier's checks, in that instance, went to Aero House of Houston for the building of Barry Seal's hanger. This, as I recall, was November of '82.

Q. Do you have any doubt in your mind that Mena was used as a base for drug operation. headed by Barry Seal?
A. Do I have any personal doubt?

Q. Do you have any personal doubt in your mind that that is not the case -- that that was not the case?
A. I very much believe that was the case.

Q. You had an occasion to interview Mr. Seal yourself, did you not?
A. That's correct.

Q. Now, when was this?
A. This was December of '85.

Q. Was this prior to the laundering grand jury or after?
A. After.

Q. After. Was there any particular reason why Barry Seal was not called to testify at the grand jury?
A. I never received an explanation from the U.S. Attorney's Office as to why he was not called. Because we were given assurances that he would be called to the grand jury. He was on the witness list, and I issued him a subpoena at the time I interviewed him for appearance at the grand jury. You've already stated you, as a law enforcement official did not testify?
A. That's correct.

Q. Did any law enforcement official testify before the grand jury, to your knowledge?
A. It's my understanding that Larry Carver with DEA testified before the grand jury sometime maybe in '87 or '88. Russell Welch testified before the grand jury, and also Terry Capaheart testified before the grand jury.

* * * * *

Q. In your professional opinion as a law enforcement official with extensive experience, is that -- wouldn't it be highly unusual in extreme cases where law enforcement officials who investigated the case would not be called to testify?
A. Every grand jury case that was ever presented where I conducted the investigation, I was the law enforcement officer who summarized the evidence before the grand jury. I find it highly unusual.

Q. And isn't it highly unusual that Barry Seal was not called to testify in view that he was - - in view of the fact that he was the principal involved in the investigation?
A. We found it highly unusual.

Q. You had an opportunity to interview Mr. Seal. Did Mr. Seal make any admissions regarding drug operations that he headed?
A. I would have to review a copy of that transcript. he basically admitted that he had been a smuggler, that he had smuggled drugs. he told -- he said that he told the people at Rich Mountain Aviation that they were guilty of money laundering and should be prepared to plead guilty to it. That he provided instructions to them that resulted in them getting involved in money laundering. "Not to put his business on the street," I think is the way he put it.

* * * *

Q. Mr. Duncan, we've talked about -- you have testified that a one Barry Seal, in your judgment, laundered money from -- that was derived from the sale of drugs --
A. Yes.

Q. -- in several banks in and around Mena, Arkansas. He had to get those drugs -- "he," Barry Seal, , had to get those drugs from somewhere. Do you know the source of those drugs?
A. The specific drugs in the Mena operation?

Q. Well, Barry Seal got drugs that he sold for money. Are those the drugs that came to Mena from Central America?
A. I don't have direct evidence of that.

Q. Do you have any evidence as to where Barry Seal might have gotten the drugs that he sold for money that was laundered at Mena?
A. I believe that he testified that he had a history of smuggling narcotics, marijuana and cocaine, from Central America.

Q. Did Barry Seal have a connection with the so-called Mena operation, drug smuggling operation?
A. The evidence that we have indicates that his entire base of operation moved from Baton Rouge to the Mena Airport in approximately 1982, late 1982.

Q. Mr. Richard Brennecke testified earlier today that he was a former contract employee with the CIA, and that as a pilot he transported guns and munitions from Mena, Arkansas to Panama. And that on the same airplane returned with a cargo of drugs, mostly cocaine but some marijuana, that was brought back to Mena and delivered to one Hampton, Freddie Hampton, and to representatives of the Gotti New York crime syndicate operation, the Mafia from New York. Do you know whether or not any of those drugs that were described by Mr. Brenneke went to Mr. Seal as well and were sold in the United States in exchange for the money that he laundered at Mena?
A. I have no personal knowledge of that.


Q. Even though, while you do not have personal knowledge of that, Bill, would Mr. Brenneke's scenario, based on what you personally know happened at Mena, be consistent?
A. What Mr. Brenneke has related concerning the Mena operation would be consistent with testimony from a variety of individuals and additional information that we received concerning the method of operation at Rich Mountain Aviation. For instance, Kathy Corrigan related that on numerous occasions they would be forced to stay inside their offices because airplanes would land and strange faces would be around, Central American or Mexican, Spanish origin folks would be around that they had not seen before. But on those occasions they were given instructions by Hampton and/or Joe Evans to stay in the office and make no contact with those individuals. Airplanes landing in the middle of the night, hanger doors opening, the airplanes going in, then leaving out before daylight, numerous, dozens and dozens of accounts like that. Great secrecy surrounding the entire operation at Rich Mountain Aviation.

Q. So if everything that Mr. Brenneke stated regarding his relationship with the Mena operation were true, it would fit into the overall picture as you understand the situation at Mena, would it not?
A. Yes, It would. With respect to the training at Nella, we had numerous reports of automatic weapons fire, of people in camouflage in the middle of night, low intensity landing lights around the Nella Airport, twin-engine airplane traffic in and about the Nella Airport. Reports as far as 30 something miles away of non-American type of troops in camos moving quietly through streams with automatic weapons, numerous reports like that from a variety of law enforcement sources. Also, reports that -- from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission people that they found vast quantities of ammunition hulls secreted in shacks around the Nela Airport. On one occasion the Game and Fish officer was warned away from the Nella Airport by someone who purported to be an FBI agent and exhibited a badge, On and on and on.

Q. Regarding the Nella Airport, have you been there personally?
A. Yes, I have.

Q. And so there is another airport not far from the Mena Airport?
A. Yes, there is, approximately ten miles north.

Q. And would there be any other reason for the Nella Airport other than clandestine activities, paramilitary training, use by planes to bring in drugs, illegal contraband and so forth?
A. Not to my knowledge. There are no hangers out there. The type of reports that we had from individuals living around the airport would indicate that type of an operation. Some of those people said that there were frequent visits by people from Rich Mountain Aviation basically asking what they were seeing and hearing. There was a large expenditure of money in preparation of the strip by Freddie Lee Hampton. The type of expenditure that you wouldn't make just for an out-of-the-way little country airport.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #16 
Mike levine Comments on banning from Costa Rica of Ollie North and associates for drug trafficking: http://ciadrugs.homestead.com/files/ml-kiki-north.html After five witnesses testified before the U.S. Senate, confirming that John Hull—a C.I.A. operative and the lynch-pin of North's contra re supply operation—had been actively running drugs from Costa Rica to the U.S. "under the direction of the C.I.A.," Costa Rican authorities arrested him. Hull then quickly jumped bail and fled to the U.S.—according to my sources—with the help of DEA, putting the drug fighting agency in the schizoid business of both kidnapping accused drug dealers and helping them escape; although the Supreme Court has not legalized the latter . . . yet. The then-President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias was stunned when he received letters from nineteen U.S. Congressman—including Lee Hamilton of Indiana, the Democrat who headed the Iran-contra committee—warning him "to avoid situations . . . that could adversely affect our relations." Arias, who won the Nobel prize for ending the contra war, stated that he was shocked that "relations between [the United States] and my country could deteriorate because [the Costa Rican] legal system is fighting against drug trafficking." In my twenty-five years experience with DEA which includes running some of their highest level international drug trafficking investigations, I have never seen an instance of comparable allegations where DEA did not set up a multi-agency task force size operation to conduct an in-depth conspiracy investigation. Yet in the case of Colonel North and the other American officials, no investigation whatsoever has been initiated by DEA or any other investigative agency. FAIR mentions lack of media coverage of North banning from Costa Rica for drugs. http://www.fair.org/extra/8910/north-banned.html Barred from Costa Rica along with North were Maj. Gen. Richard Secord, former National Security Advisor John Poindexter, former US Ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs, and former CIA station chief in Costa Rica, Joseph Fernandez. This winter Costa Rica's congress will vote on the permanent implementation of the bannings. In an interview with Extra!, Costa Rican Minister of Information, Jorge Urbina, stated: "I can assure you that the recommendations will pass nearly unanimously."


John Hull's ranch in Northern Costa Rica serves as the main supply base for the contras on the Southern Front of Nicaragua. [Newsday, 5/10/87]
October 1984
Hull receives $10,000 a month from the Reagan-Bush Administration's National Security Council…
September 1984
and deposits the money into a Miami bank account. [Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee report, "Private Assistance' and the Contras: A Staff Report." 10/14/86] [Common Cause, Sept/Oct. 1985] [Covert Action Bulletin, Winter 86] [New York Daily News, 1/8/87]
Hull takes out a $375,000 loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for a supposed manufacturing project. Hull deposits the money into his private account in Indiana and the project is never started. He later defaults on the loan. [Senate Foreign Relations narcotics and terrorism subcommittee: ``Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy,'' a report on investigation of contra drug trafficking, April 1989]
April 9, 1984
Plane piloted by a Nicaraguan crashes while taking off from the airstrip on Hull's ranch, purportedly because it was overloaded with military supplies. [Tico Times, 9/28/84]
April 25, 1984
Hull's ranch is raided and he is detained by security officers investigating allegations of Southern Front contra activities in Costa Rica. [Tico Times 4/27/84]
April 1984
Pastora is given a 30-day deadline to unify his forces with the F.D.N. in the North. [Out of Control, Leslie Cockburn]
May 30, 1984
A bomb explodes in La Penca, Nicaragua, killing three journalists--including U.S. citizen Linda Frazier--and injuring many others. The bomb's apparent target, moderate contra leader Eden Pastora, is injured but survives. One of the reporters wounded in the bombing is ABC cameraman Tony Avirgan. [Convergence, Spring 1987]
May 30, 1984
Hull, Robert Owen, C.I.A. station chief Phil Holtz and several pilots meet in a C.I.A. safe house in San Jose, Costa Rica. After news of the explosion, Hull phones his associates to instruct that his private plane not be used to help the wounded. [Costa Rican Special Prosecutor's Report, Dec. 1989]
June 22, 1984
Hull obtains Costa Rican citizenship, which he later claims was at the C.I.A.'s request. [Tico Times, 3/23/90]
October 1984
Costa Rican Government initiates investigation of Hull after he admits on radio that he aided the contras. [Tico Times, 10/26/84]
December 1984
According to mercenary Jack Terrell, Hull, Robert Owen, Felipe Vidal and the alleged bomber Amac Galil meet and discuss the continuing need to kill Pastora. [New York Times, 3/1/90]
July 18, 1985
David, an eyewitness source for Avirgan and Honey's La Penca investigation, is kidnapped and later allegedly murdered on Hull's ranch. [Convergence Magazine, Spring 1988]
October 1985
At a San Jose, Costa Rica press conference, Tony Avirgan (who was injured in the bombing) and Martha Honey present the findings from their investigation of the La Penca bombing, identifying Hull as one of the bombing's planners. [La Penca: Report of an Investigation, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, 1985]

Days after Avirgan and Honey's report is published, Hull files suit against the journalists, charging them with ``injuries, falsehood and defamation of character''

because of their allegations of his role in the bombing [La Penca: On Trial in Costa Rica, Edited by Avirgan and Honey, 1987]

April 1986
A CBS "West 57th Street" broadcast airs, in which former contra resupply pilots identify Hull's ranch as major transhipment point for military supplies and drugs, but Hull denies any role in the contra resupply network.
May 22-23, 1986
Trial against Avirgan and Honey takes place, resulting in a victory for the two journalists after documents and witnesses confirm their findings. The judge throws Hull's lawsuit out of court. [La Penca: On Trial in Costa Rica, edited by Avirgan and Honey, 1987]
May 1986
Christic Institute attorneys file the La Penca lawsuit (Avirgan v. Hull) on behalf of Avirgan and Honey, naming Hull and 28 others as major figures in a racketeering network involved in drug trafficking, arms smuggling. The same ring engineered the La Penca bombing, the suit alleges. [Convergence, Spring 1987]
May 5, 1988
Costa Rican police announce an investigation into charges of Hull's involvement in arms and drug trafficking.
May 1988
Christic Institute takes Hull's deposition for the La Penca lawsuit. He refuses to cooperate in the proceedings.
June 1988
Federal Judge James L. King dismisses La Penca lawsuit in Miami two days before the trial is scheduled to begin, arguing that there is no evidence linking Hull and others to the bombing. The Christic Institute immediately announces it will appeal.
January 1989
Costa Rican authorities arrest Hull on charges of drug trafficking and using Costa Rican territory for ``hostile acts'' against NIcaragua. [Tico Times, 3/23/90]
April 1989
Sen. John Kerry's Foreign Relations narcotics and terrorism subcommittee releases a 1,200-page report, ``Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy,'' including testimony that Hull's ranch was used for gun- and drug-smuggling operations. One eyewitness tell the subcommittee that Hull supervised the transfer of drugs into a plane before its return journey to the United States.
May 26, 1989
John Hull fails to appear to testify before the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly's Special Commission Investigating Narcotics. Hull later appears before the commission but refuses to be sworn in to testify.
July 1989
Costa Rican Legislative Assembly concludes in an official report that Hull was trafficking drugs through the country on behalf of the contras. [The Guardian, 8/30/89]
July 1989
Hull flees Costa Rica while waiting trial, jumping a $37,000 bail posted by friends. Several reports confirm that D.E.A. agent Juan Perez arranged his secret flight out of the country. [Convergence, Winter 1991] [Tico Times, 12/7/90]
September 1989
Based on the Costa Rican Legislative Assembly report on drug trafficking, Oliver North, Richard Secord, former U.S. Ambassador Lewis Tambs and former National Security Adviser John Poindexter are all declared personae non gratae and banned from Costa Rica by the country's government. Secord is a defendant in Avirgan v. Hull. [The Guardian, 8/30/89]
March 1990
Hull is indicted for murder in Costa Rica on charges that he masterminded the La Penca bombing. [Convergence, Spring 1990]
May 1990
ABC Primetime Live airs Diane Sawyer's interview with Carlos Lehder, a key figure in the Medellin cocaine cartel. Lehder names Hull as a major cocaine trafficker and says Hull smuggled 30 tons of cocaine into the United States yearly.
June 1990
Hull's name added to Interpol's "most wanted" list of international fugitives at the request of Costa Rican special prosecutor Jorge Chaverria. [Convergence, Fall 1990]
November 1990
Costa Rican Legislative Assembly establishes four-member La Penca investigative committee with representatives from all political parties.
November 1990
Hull slips into Nicaragua on a 72-hour visa and soon disappears. [Los Angeles Times 12/7/90] [UPI 12/11/90]
December 1990
Investigators track Hull to a remote town in Southern Nicaragua--Juigalpa--which is the seat of an extreme right-wing movement against the conservative government of Violetta Chamorro. Hull is reported to be looking into investments to help contra veterans. [Tico Times, 12/7/90]
December 7, 1990
Costa Rica officially asks Nicaragua to extradite Hull.
December 11, 1990
Nicaraguan Supreme Court orders the arrest of Hull, although Presidential Minister Antonio Lacayo denies any knowledge of the case and says Hull was not facing criminal charges in Nicaragua. [UPI 12/12/90] Hull quietly leaves Nicaragua and returns to the United States.
April 19, 1991
The Costa Rican Ambassador submits a formal request to the U.S. State Department to extradite Hull.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


Posts: 1,194
Reply with quote  #17 
The US govt utilized the services of Peru intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos despite the fact that he was a documented drug trafficker. he was on the CIA payroll as an agent of the US government between 1990 and 2000. His pay was $1 million dollars a year.

He was later apprehended at a large Venezualen estate surrounded by 140 bodyguards.

He is currently on trial with 1600 other defendants and had $277 million dollars seized from his bank accounts. More than $1.5 billion is still being sought. He is accused of drugtrafficking, protecting drug shipments, accepting payoffs and arming the FARC guerillas in colombia AND right-wing death squads at the same time.

President Alberto Fujimori is currently living in exile in Japan which will not extradite him. He is listed on INTERPOLS "most wanted list"


Document 5: DEA Report of Investigation, Corrupt Officials, Sensitive, August 27, 1996, 1 p.

The Drug Enforcement Agency begins investigations into accusations by drug trafficker Demetrio Chavez-Penaherra (aka “VaticanoE that Montesinos accepted $50,000 a month in bribes. This document notes that Montesinos was a well-known defense lawyer for narco-traffickers before becoming Fujimori’s advisor. This document not only reveals that the DEA was investigating Montesinos for these specific charges, but that they also had a previous file on him prior to this investigation.


Consider, for example, the case of Vladimiro Montesinos, a shadowy figure rarely seen in public, who for many years was the CIA's principal point man in Peru and a lynchpin in the U.S. government's $17.7 billion war on drugs. Trained as a cadet at the School of the Americas, a notorious breeding ground for assassins, Montesinos became head of the Peruvian intelligence service, SIN, in the early 1990s.

During the decade that his leadership of Peru's spy agency won U.S. praise and support, Montesinos built a billion-dollar criminal empire based on drug trafficking, arms dealing, and judicial and political corruption, according to Peruvian parliamentary investigators.

Several recently captured cocaine barons claimed they had been paying Montesinos a monthly fee to let them operate. "The groups that reached an agreement with Montesinos's men could be sure that their competitors would be eliminated," explained Roger Rumrill, an expert on the Peruvian drug trade.

What's more, according to Peruvian prosecutors, Montesinos used drug profits to finance death squads, which were responsible for torture, extra-judicial executions, and the disappearance of 4,000 government opponents. By choosing Montesinos as its main ally in Peru, the CIA turned a blind eye to human rights abuses as well as his involvement in the drug trade.

Eventually, his CIA handlers wised up and realized that Montesinos had been taking them for a ride. They cut him loose in August 2000 after disclosures that the Peruvian spymaster had betrayed his patrons in Langley, Virginia, by selling arms to leftist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia.

Montesinos is currently a fugitive from justice, and the so-called war on drugs continues to provide a thinly veiled cover for U.S.-backed counterinsurgency in Colombia.

Washington's fraudulent anti-narcotics agenda is underscored by the CIA's unwillingness to target far-right paramilitary groups responsible for anti-guerrilla attacks and civilian massacres, even though these same paramilitary groups are directly involved in cocaine production and trafficking.

If the Montesinos affair and the Colombia fiasco tell us anything, it's that U.S. intelligence officials will dutifully ignore evidence of dope smuggling when they deem it expeditious to do so.

Harry Recon, the spy pigeon, may twitter about flying high on intelligence, not on drugs, but there's no escaping the grim fact that large amounts of cocaine entering the United States are collateral damage generated by CIA activities in Latin America.

"Drugs and covert operations go together like fleas on a dog," explained David MacMichael, a former CIA analyst. Scratch the surface of the narcotics trade and once again it seems that certain drug pushers are OK by the CIA as long as they keep snorting the anticommunist line.

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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Reply with quote  #18 
Latest essay by Mike levine- Long but worth reading....

Mainstream Media: The Drug War Shills
by Michael Levine

(unedited draft of essay now published in
INTO THE BUZZSAW, Prometheus Press, edited by Kristina Borjesson)

Everything you need to know about mainstream media’s vital role in perpetuating our nation’s three—decade, trillion dollar War on Drugs despite overwhelming evidence that it is a fraud you can learn by watching a Three Card Monty Operation


A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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Reply with quote  #19 


the truth in `Dark Alliance'

August 18, 2006 | Nick Schou, NICK SCHOU is an editor for OC Weekly. His book, "Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb," will be published in October.

TEN YEARS AGO today, one of the most controversial news articles of the 1990s quietly appeared on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. Titled "Dark Alliance," the headline ran beneath the provocative image of a man smoking crack -- superimposed on the official seal of the CIA. The three-part series by reporter Gary Webb linked the CIA and Nicaragua's Contras to the crack cocaine epidemic that ripped through South Los Angeles in the 1980s.

INS Agent Tells of Errors in Handling Drug Informant


Launching his bid for a new trial, South-Central Los Angeles crack kingpin "Freeway" Ricky Ross put one of his own captors on the witness stand Thursday, accusing an INS agent of illegally supplying a green card to the Nicaraguan parolee who helped set him up for arrest. Ross, whose conviction four years ago sparked an international furor over the U.S.



Judge Seeks Records in 'Freeway' Ricky Ross Case


A federal judge on Friday kept open the possibility that jailed drug dealer "Freeway" Ricky Ross could be granted a new trial, saying that a U.S. Justice Department probe into the ex-kingpin's 1996 conviction raised enough questions to merit further review. U.S.


Notorious South-Central Drug Figure Again Battling to Avoid Long Prison Term


Twice in his long and storied crack-dealing career, "Freeway" Ricky Ross has stared down the barrel of a life sentence. Twice, after sensational trials that called America's drug war into question, he has dodged the bullet. Some would say he is Los Angeles' slipperiest dope man, others the most persecuted. This month, he is scheduled to be resentenced in U.S.


Dead End

January 24, 1999 | MICHAEL MASSING, Michael Massing is the author of "The Fix."

Gary Webb is a man on a mission. The series he wrote for the San Jose Mercury News two years ago alleging that the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras helped ignite the nation's crack explosion set off its own outburst of indignation and dismay. Radio talk shows burned up long hours discussing the story, and the Mercury News' Web site received more than 1 million hits a day. Both California senators wrote CIA Director John Deutch demanding an inquiry, and Deutch eventually agreed to conduct one.


CIA's Trail Leads Back to Its Own Door

October 22, 1998 | ALEXANDER COCKBURN, Alexander Cockburn is co-author, with Jeffrey St Clair, of "Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press," (Verso, 1998)

Just under two years ago, John Deutch, at that time director of the CIA, traveled to a town meeting in South-Central Los Angeles to confront a community outraged by charges that the agency had been complicit in the importing of cocaine into California in the 1980s. Amid heated exchanges, Deutch publicly pledged an internal investigation by the CIA's inspector general that would leave no stone unturned.


Drug Lord's Life Sentence Overturned


An appeals court has overturned the life sentence of onetime Los Angeles cocaine lord Ricky Ross, saying that a judge erred when she sentenced Ross under a federal three-strikes law. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff to resentence Ross, whose links to a former leader of the Nicaraguan Contras, Oscar Danilo Blandon, spawned a public furor.

CIA and Crack Cocaine in L.A.

May 18, 1997

Kudos for Jerry Ceppos, executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News. He acknowledges that the story of the CIA influencing crack cocaine in the Los Angeles South-Central area may have been without accurate evidence (May 12). I was the LAPD representative who investigated Thomas "Tootie" Reese for nine years. During that period he visited San Francisco and experimented with a new creation called "freebasing" cocaine. Freebasing was brought to some very exotic parties in the late '70s.


San Jose Editor Admits to Crack Series Deficiencies

May 12, 1997 | From Associated Press

The executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday wrote an open letter to readers, admitting to shortcomings in the newspaper's controversial series on the crack cocaine explosion in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Jerry Ceppos said the newspaper solidly documented information that a drug ring associated with the rebel force in Nicaragua known as the Contras sold large quantities of cocaine in inner-city Los Angeles. Some of the profits from those sales went to the Contras.



Undeterred, Waters Crusades for Answers


As she crusades across the country, from hotel ballrooms to college campuses, from talk radio to the Internet, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) asks a series of troubling questions at almost every stop: "Who knew what? When did they know it? And how high did it go?" For six months, she has been demanding answers to a controversial and disputed San Jose Mercury News series that suggested the federal government aided the spread of crack cocaine in the inner city.


Waters Goes to Nicaragua in Probe of Alleged Cocaine-Contra Links

January 3, 1997

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) said Thursday that she is traveling to Nicaragua today to continue her investigation of alleged links between the crack cocaine trade and the CIA-backed Contra rebels. Waters said she was scheduled to arrive today in Nicaragua for a meeting with Enrique Miranda Jaime, a former associate of Norwin Meneses, a drug dealer and Contra rebel sympathizer.


Sheriff's Probe Sees No CIA Role in Crack Sales


An exhaustive, self-critical investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has uncovered no evidence of CIA involvement in Southern California drug trafficking, but has turned up controversial new details about the conduct of local narcotics officers--including admissions that one group of sheriff's deputies stole roughly $50,000 during a 1986 raid.


Drug Dealers Aided Contras, Ex-Chief Says


A former leader of the Nicaraguan rebel movement in the 1980s told senators Tuesday that he received a small amount of money from a major Nicaraguan cocaine dealer in Southern California, as well as larger sums from other drug traffickers in Miami. But the former Contra leader, Eden Pastora, insisted in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he did not know at the time that his donors were involved in illegal activities.


Ross Gets Life; His Case Fueled CIA Crack Furor


Onetime crack cocaine kingpin "Freeway" Ricky Ross, whose case renewed a national controversy about alleged CIA involvement in drug dealing, was sentenced to life in prison by a judge who said Ross cannot use unproven allegations about the CIA to escape the maximum punishment for being an "eager participant" in the illicit drug trade. "Mr. Ross does not get a free pass to deal drugs the rest of his life and addict further people because of something that happened in the 1980s," said U.S.


CIA Says It Has No Record of Ties to Drug Trafficker


The Central Intelligence Agency said Tuesday that it has no record of any CIA relationship with the principal members of a Nicaraguan-American cocaine trafficking ring that operated in California during the 1980s. In a legal declaration filed in federal court in San Diego and released in Washington, the CIA said it knew as early as 1984 that cocaine smuggler Norvin Meneses was a major drug trafficker.


CIA and Drugs in South-Central

October 25, 1996

Re "The Cocaine Trail," Oct. 20-22: Let's get real with the big picture about the illegal drug sale industry in the U.S. Conservative estimates put it at tens of billions of profits yearly. Though this translates into several American billionaires yearly, it is amazing how incapable the federal government is at finding any of them. No agency seems interested, including the CIA, DEA, FBI, customs, defense, state or IRS. It's a bipartisan problem too. President Clinton's illegal drug czar Barry R. McCaffrey has proven just as incapable as the former Republican czar William J. Bennett.


Cyberspace Contributes to Volatility of Allegations


The controversy that began with the San Jose Mercury News' publication of a series on cocaine and the Nicaraguan Contra rebels has become a case study in how information caroms around the country at whiplash speed in the digital age. In its printed version, as the paper's editor has pointed out, the stories were careful never to claim that the Central Intelligence Agency condoned or abetted drug dealing to support the Contra movement.


Examining Charges of CIA Role in Crack Sales

October 21, 1996 | DOYLE MCMANUS, This story was reported by Times staff writers John Broder, Doyle McManus, David Willman and researcher Robin Cochran in Washington; Ralph Frammolino, William C. Rempel and Claire Spiegel in Los Angeles; Dan Morain in San Francisco; Juanita Darling in Nicaragua, and special correspondent Michael Clary in Miami. It was written by McManus

Adolfo Calero, the burly, back-slapping political leader of the Nicaraguan rebel movement known as the Contras, was in an ebullient mood. It was June 1984, and Calero was in San Francisco to rally American support for his cause--and to look for financial donors. After a speech at the elegant St. Francis Yacht Club, where well-heeled conservatives cheered his calls of "Viva Reagan! Viva Nicaragua libre!"


Ex-Associates Doubt Onetime Drug Trafficker's Claim of CIA Ties


In 1986, when federal and local anti-drug agents raided his Mission Viejo home, cocaine trafficking suspect Ronald J. Lister met officers in his bathrobe and warned that they were making a mistake, that he "worked with the CIA, and . . . his friends in Washington weren't going to like what was going on." According to a Los Angeles County sheriff's report on the incident, when deputies dismissed Lister's claim, he threatened to report them to his contact at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.




Waters Releases Drug Raid Data

Narcotics: She says documents seized by Sheriff's Department support charges that CIA was linked to crack sales. Block denies claim that his agency is hiding information, much of which surfaced in 1990 trial.





Deputies Said in '86 Drug Ring Was Tied to Contras

Crime: Southland raids targeted operation that funded Nicaragua rebels, sheriff's document said. It does not mention alleged CIA link.






Probe of CIA Rekindles Interest in Old Drug Case

Inquiry: Defense attorney says sheriff's deputies found evidence in 1986 linking agency operatives to L.A. drug sales and Contras.


Braun's allegations were reported by The Times when he first filed the motion in 1990, but the issue quickly died, in part because U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie, at the request of prosecutors, issued a gag order barring Braun and other trial lawyers from airing the matter. Rafeedie said that even if the allegations made by Braun were true, they were not relevant to the case against sheriff's deputies accused of skimming drug money and filing false tax returns, among other things.

"Someone in the 1980s made the decision that it was important enough to support the Contras that they [the government] would participate in drug dealing," he said




Prosecutors Told to Rebut Claim of CIA Plot

Court: U.S. judge's order comes after defense lawyer's allegation that intelligence agency used informant tied to Nicaraguan rebels.




Sentencing of L.A. Drug Dealer Ross Postponed

Courts: Lawyer is granted time to try to show that authorities misused witness to entrap defendant. L.A. council seeks federal inquiry into alleged Contra links to crack epidemic @of the 1980s.




As Drug Debate Rages, Dealer to Be Sentenced

Crime: Federal prison term awaits 'Freeway' Ricky Ross, who contends he is a pawn in a CIA conspiracy involving Nicaraguan Contras.





Drug Trial to Focus on Sting : DEA, Former Supplier Offer Glimpse Into World of Informants





Drug Cartel Reportedly Offered to End Smuggling, Spy on Rebels

July 21, 1988|Associated Press

"Lehder appeared to be under the impression that he, Escobar and Ochoa can work for American intelligence by supplying information about guerrilla activities, thereby incurring amnesty for their efforts," the DEA account said. "They then can return to their families and call an end to their trafficking activities."

Lehder was captured three months after the meeting with the lawyer in a jungle shoot-out.

U.S. officials noted that similar offers had been floated by cartel leaders in the past. In 1984, they reportedly offered to pay off the Colombian national debt--then estimated at more than $9 billion--if the government would drop charges against them and scrap the country's extradition treaty with the United States.


how the contras invaded the united states http://www.flashpoints.net/howTheContras.html Palacio was in Baranquilla that day to arrange a cocaine deal with her host, Jorge Luis Ochoa, at the time Columbia's most ambitious drug lord. As she watched two men in green uniforms remove two green military trunks out of the plane and on to a truck, her host explained his operation: "Ochoa told me that the plane was a CIA plane and that he was exchanging guns for drugs." The crew, he said, were CIA agents, and "these shipments came each Thursday from the CIA, landing at dusk. Some-times they brought guns, sometimes they took U.S. products such as washing ma-chines, gourmet food, fancy furniture or other items for the traffickers which they could not get in Colombia. Each time, Ochoa said, they took back drugs." In her 1987 sworn testimony before Senator John Kerry's Senate Subcom-mittee on Narcotics and International Terrorism, Palacio acknowledged that she could not confirm the operation was being conducted by the CIA. But, she added, "Obviously, what I saw raised many questions about the source of the U.S. weapons which I know Ochoa has obtained." As an FBI operative, Palacio would later realize the extent of the damage done to the United States Government by the guns-for-drugs exchanges that permeated the hemisphere during the early-to-mid-1980s. "To my great regret," she testified, "the Bureau has told me that some of the people I identified as being involved in drug smuggling are present or past agents of the Central Intelligence Agency." And, according to Palacio's deposi-tion, it was not only the CIA that was involved with drug smugglers. Palacio told Senator Kerry that she spoke to the FBI about many individuals with the U.S. government that were involved in illegal drug operations. "We have extensively discussed drug-related corruption in the United States, including a regional director of U.S. customs, a federal judge, air traffic controllers in the FAA, a regional director of immigration, and other government officials."

A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

 LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

"Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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more cover up......
March 16, 1999


Top Mexican Off-Limits to U.S. Drug Agents


WASHINGTON -- Early last year, as undercover U.S. Customs agents neared the end of the biggest investigation ever conducted into the illegal movement of drug money, bankers working with Mexico's most powerful cocaine cartel approached them with a stunning offer.


Related Articles

  • D.E.A. Chief Warns Senate on Traffickers in Mexico (Feb. 25)
  • U.S. Is Brushing Off Mexico's Drug Data (Feb. 14)
  • U.S. Plan to Help Mexican Military Fight Drugs Is Faltering (Dec. 23, 1998)
  • Drug Inquiry Into a Governor Tests Mexico's New Politics (Nov. 26, 1998)
  • Mexico Jails 2 Drug Agents, and U.S. Officials See Graft (Sept. 25, 1998)
  • Mexico Promises Full Inquiry Into Tainted Elite Drug Unit (Sept. 18, 1998)
  • U.S. Officials Say Mexican Military Aids Drug Traffic (Mar. 26, 1998)
  • Trial of a Drug Czar Tests Mexico's New Democracy (Aug. 22, 1997)
  • U.S. Helps Mexico's Army Take a Big Anti-Drug Role (Dec. 29, 1997)
  • Mexico and Drugs: Was U.S. Napping? (July 11, 1997)

  • The agents, posing as money launderers from Colombia, had insinuated themselves deeply into the Mexican underworld, helping the traffickers hide more than $60 million. Now, money men working with the cartel said they had clients who needed to launder $1.15 billion more. The most important of those clients, they said, was Mexico's powerful defense minister.

    The customs agents didn't know whether the money really existed or if any of it belonged to the minister, Gen. Enrique Cervantes, officials said. But having heard about American intelligence reports pointing to corruption at high levels of the Mexican military, the agents were mystified by what happened next.

    Rather than continue the undercover operation to pursue the deal, Clinton administration officials ordered that they shut it down on schedule several weeks later. No further effort was ever made to investigate the offer, and officials said prosecutors have not even raised the matter with the suspects in the case, who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the authorities.

    "Why are we sitting on this kind of information?" asked the former senior customs agent who led the undercover probe, William F. Gately. "It's either because we're lazy, we're stupid, or the political will doesn't exist to engage in the kind of investigation where our law-enforcement efforts might damage our foreign policy."

    Senior administration officials denied that foreign policy influenced their decision to end the operation, saying they were moved primarily by concerns for its security. They also emphasized that the agents were unable to verify the Mexican traffickers' claims.

    Other officials of the administration, which has based much of its Mexican drug strategy on collaboration with Cervantes, said they are confident that he is above reproach. A spokesman for the Mexican Defense Ministry, Lt. Col. Francisco Aguilar Hernandez, dismissed the traffickers' proposal as self-serving lies.

    The Hunters and Their Prey: Characters in a Complex Drama of Deception

    The Targets

    Former head of the so-called Juarez cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug smuggling operation. Bribed senior military and police officials to protect his operations. Died after plastic surgery in July, 1997.

    Juarez cartel lieutenant responsible for money laundering activities; negotiated deals with undercover Customs team. Protected in Mexico by men identified as federal police agents. Now a fugitive, thought to be living in Mexico.

    Juarez cartel operative who worked closly with the Customs team, arranging pickups of drug money in the United States and introductions to corrupt Mexican bankers. Jailed in Los Angeles.

    The Undercover Operation

    Pseudonym of Colombian source who worked with undercover Customs agents. Posed as the head of a money laundering operation run out of a dummy front company in a Los Angeles suburb. Made more than $2 million for his undercover work.

    Former senior Customs investigator in Los Angeles, developed and led Operation Casablanca. Battled with senior officials skeptical of the plan. Recently retired after being called back to Washington and given a desk job.

    Customs chief in Los Angeles. Officials said he accused Gately of stealing money and other abuses that were investigated and found baseless. Received $20,000 Presidential award for Casablanca and other cases.

    The Administration

    Undersecretary of the Treasury for Enforcement, helped oversee Casablanca as an Assistant Secretary. Said to have warned officials involved in the case not to mention the name of the Mexican Defense Minister unless they could prove his involvement.

    Former New York City Police chief, now Customs Commissioner. Was the Treasury Undersecretary overseeing Customs during Casablanca. Said he did not extend the investigation to pursue the purported $1.15 billion deal because there was no hard evidence that it was real.

    Treasury Secretary who, despite concerns about political fallout, ordered the undercover operation to go forward without informing officials at the State Department, the National Security Council or the Mexican Government.

    But a detailed account of the case -- based on confidential government documents, court records and dozens of interviews -- suggests that U.S. officials walked away from an extraordinary opportunity to examine allegations of the official corruption that is considered the main obstacle to anti-drug efforts in Mexico.

    For nearly a decade, American officials have been haunted by the spectacle of Mexican officials being linked to illicit activities soon after they are embraced in Washington. And just weeks before the customs investigation, known as Operation Casablanca, ended last year, administration officials received intelligence reports indicating that the Mexican military's ties to the drug trade were more serious than had been previously thought.

    But when faced with the possibility that one of Washington's critical Mexican allies might be linked to the traffickers, the officials gave the matter little consideration. They said they opted for a sure thing, arresting mid-level traffickers and their financial associates and at least disrupting the money laundering system that drug gangs had set up. To reach for a general, they said, would have added to their risks with no certainty of success.

    "Obviously it was a significant allegation," Customs Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in an interview. But he added: "There was skepticism about it. Was it puffing? It just was not seen as being -- I won't use the word credible -- but it wasn't verified."

    Taking Stock: Arrests, Indictments and Drug Money

    When senior administration officials announced the sting last May 18, they took a triumphant inventory: the indictments of three big Mexican banks and bankers from a dozen foreign banks; the arrests of 142 suspects; the confiscation of $35 million in drug profits and the freezing of accounts holding $66 million more.

    The officials claimed the success as the result of a longstanding administration fight against money laundering. But Gately, who retired from the Customs Service on Dec. 31, said his investigation ran a gantlet of resistance from the start.

    The Justice Department, uncomfortable with cases in which undercover agents laundered more money for drug traffickers than they ultimately seized, were imposing new limits on the time that such operations could run and the money they could launder, officials said. And though the restrictions did not apply to Customs, a branch of the Treasury, Justice Department officials continued to play strong, skeptical roles in supervising cases throughout the government.

    One federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, admitted that he initially dismissed Gately's plan as a nonstarter. "You're out of your mind," the official remembered saying.

    Several colleagues said it was the sort of response that Gately, 49, tended to see as a challenge. A decorated former Marine who enlisted for service in Vietnam at the age of 17, he had already been at the center of several cases that mixed internal struggle and public success. Friends and critics described him in similar terms: driven, sometimes abrasive and unusually creative.

    After leading an investigation that revealed ties between the Italian mafia and Colombian cocaine cartels, Gately co-wrote a 1994 book about the case, "Dead Ringer," that cast him as a lonely crusader surrounded by small-minded bureaucrats. "It is the story of one man who refused to succumb to corruption," the prologue reads, "who believed in his oath and mission, and the consequences he paid for believing in what he was doing."

    As the senior customs drug investigator in Los Angeles, Gately said, he first heard from an informant in 1993 about an important shift in the way that Mexican and Colombian drug traffickers were converting their cash into funds that could be freely spent.

    The informant said traffickers were depositing their money with corrupt Mexican bankers, who sent it back to them in almost untraceable cashier's checks drawn on the American accounts that the Mexican banks used to do business in the United States.

    Gately hoped his informant could infiltrate that system -- collecting illicit cash from drug wholesalers in the United States and then wiring it to corrupt bankers in Mexico. The bankers would issue drafts for the money, and customs would develop evidence against suspects on both ends of the transaction.

    Many customs officials, however, were skeptical that the ruse would work. Drug-enforcement agents wanted to use the informant in another case. One federal prosecutor opposed using him at all because he had a criminal past and threatened to indict him in a 10-year-old case.

    Even when Gately was eventually able to recruit another informant, a Colombian known by the pseudonym "Javier Ramirez," a senior Justice Department official, Mary Lee Warren, pressed him to limit the operation's scope, Gately and others said.

    "What she wanted to know was, when was this going to be over?" he recalled. "What was our endgame?"

    Getting Involved: U.S. Operatives Meet a Kingpin

    In November 1995, Colombian drug contacts introduced the undercover agents to Victor Alcala Navarro, a representative of Mexico's biggest drug mafia, the so-called Juarez cartel.

    The customs agents, posing as money launderers from a dummy company called Emerald Empire Corp., began picking up the Mexican's profits and laundering them as planned.

    In February 1997, at meetings in Mexico, Ramirez was introduced to Alcala's boss. A few months later, the customs informant found himself chatting by phone with the head of the cartel, Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

    Over scores of meetings and million-dollar deals, the traffickers grew more open about the official protection they enjoyed in Mexico, law-enforcement officials and government documents indicate.

    At one meeting in Mexico City on May 16, 1997, the traffickers brought along 16 federal police agents as bodyguards. At another meeting, a man who identified himself as an official of the Mexican attorney general's office picked up $1.7 million in cash, including $415,000 that the undercover agents had brought for the cartel boss himself.

    During a later meeting in New York, Alcala told the agents that like Mexico's drug-enforcement chief, who had been arrested for collaborating with the Juarez cartel, the defense minister, Cervantes, was in league with the competing Tijuana cartel.

    Customs officials said they remained skeptical of what the agents heard, including the traffickers' claim that Carrillo Fuentes had actually faked his own death in 1997. But in December 1997, Ramirez invited Alcala to Colombia for an elaborately staged meeting that seemed to raise their partnership to a new level.

    At a heavily guarded hacienda overlooking Bogota, an informant acting as Ramirez's Colombian boss, Carlos, said he and his partners had $500 million of their own to launder. They wanted to know whether the Mexican bankers used by Alcala's boss, Juan Jose Castellanos Alvarez-Tostado, could help.

    "Alvarez called us right back," Gately recalled. "He said, 'Let me send you my very best people, and we will get it done.' "

    On March 6, 1998, Alcala arrived with several businessmen at the tastefully furnished offices of Emerald Empire in an industrial suburb of Los Angeles. This time the businessmen brought a big deal of their own.

    One of the men, David Loera, said he knew "a general" who had $150 million in Mexico City to invest. Would Ramirez -- who had told the traffickers he owned part of a Nevada casino used to launder money -- care to help?

    Over the next six weeks, according to government documents and the accounts of Gately and several officials, the deal was discussed in three more meetings and three telephone conversations between Ramirez, the undercover agents and the traffickers. All of the contacts were secretly tape-recorded and transcribed, officials said.

    In one call, two senior investment managers at Mexico's second-largest bank told the customs operatives that the money belonged not just to "a general" but to the minister of defense. Later, the two Mexicans advised Ramirez that the minister was sending "his daughter" (a woman later said to be a friend) to meet with them, along with an army colonel and a third person.

    However, the investment managers said, the amount to be laundered was much more than they had discussed: the minister had $500 million in cash in New York and another $500 million in the Netherlands, in addition to the $150 million in Mexico City.

    Customs officials said they queried the CIA, which works closely with the Mexican military on drug-control and other programs. The CIA responded tersely that they had no such information about Cervantes, an assessment that other officials have since reiterated.

    But while Cervantes has not been a focus of suspicion, Mexican and American officials said several senior generals close to him have been under scrutiny by investigators from both the Mexican attorney general's office and a special military intelligence unit.

    On Feb. 6, analysts at the Drug Enforcement Administration briefed Attorney General Janet Reno on intelligence indicating that senior Mexican generals might indeed be cooperating with Carrillo Fuentes' organization, officials said. And in a separate customs case in Houston, undercover agents had been approached about laundering millions of dollars for an unnamed Mexican army general, officials said.

    On April 9, Alcala visited Emerald Empire with a cousin, who had just returned from Mexico with a message. "He was very nervous about the deal," Gately said. "He said it could be very dangerous if it got screwed up, because the money belonged to 'all of them, including the president,' " Ernesto Zedillo. (A spokesman for Zedillo, David Najera, dismissed the claim as baseless.)

    Later that month, Gately went to Washington to brief officials including Kelly -- who was then about to take over the Customs Service after overseeing it as the Treasury Undersecretary for Enforcement.

    "Kelly said, 'How do we know it's really him?' " Gately recalled, referring to Cervantes.

    "I told him, 'We don't know,' " Gately said. " 'We can't substantiate it. But we have no reason to believe they're telling us anything other than what they know.'

    "They weren't trying to impress us, they were trying to make deals with us," Gately added. "So whoever had this money, I thought it was worth pursuing -- whether it was the defense minister of Mexico or somebody we'd never heard of."

    People familiar with the discussions said they did not go much further. The general's supposed emissaries were to meet Ramirez in Las Vegas on April 22. They did not arrive, and the traffickers reported that they had gotten nervous.

    Kelly acknowledged that he had been pressing for months to wrap up the investigation; he said he had grown increasingly concerned that information about it might leak out, endangering the undercover agents. The final sting had already been postponed twice because federal prosecutors were still preparing indictments.

    James E. Johnson, who succeeded Kelly as undersecretary and has closely supervised Treasury's relationship with Mexico on enforcement issues, added a cautionary note that several officials said seemed to underscore his concern for the political stakes. Unless the agents had proof of Cervantes' role, several officials quoted him as warning, they should not bandy his name about in connection with the case.

    "We need to be very careful about how we talk about this sort of thing," a senior law-enforcement official, who would not speak for attribution, quoted him as saying. "If we don't have the goods, it makes us look like we're overreaching."

    Avoiding Pitfalls: U.S. Agents Begin Fretting Over Leaks

    The operation had already navigated a series of sizable obstacles.

    Gately and some other agents were worried that their boss in Los Angeles, John Hensley, had leaked information about the secret operation to congressional aides and others; Hensley had also pressed hard to bring the operation to an end, officials said.

    For his part, officials said Hensley had accused his strong-willed subordinate of transgressions ranging from traveling without authorization to stealing millions of dollars. Kelly acknowledged that the charges were investigated and found baseless; Hensley declined any comment.

    As discussions about the supposed $1.15 billion were going on, the undercover operation also suffered a serious setback with the capture of a key Juarez operative in Chicago. The arrest brought money deliveries to a halt while the cartel hunted for a mole.

    On Saturday, May 16, more than two dozen Mexican traffickers, bankers and other operatives who had been invited to the United States by the undercover team were rounded up in San Diego and at the Casablanca Casino Resort in Mesquite, Nev. And officials said whatever thoughts they had that the allegations about Cervantes might be pursued were dropped in the diplomatic backlash that followed.

    While the Mexican authorities were asked to arrest about 20 suspects indicted in the case, they initially located only six. One was the partner of Loera, the fugitive businessman who first proposed the deal with "the general." The partner was found dead in a Mexican jail from injuries that the police described as self-inflicted. Alvarez-Tostado has never been found; his deputy, Alcala, awaits trial in Los Angeles.

    Soon after the operation, American officials said, they showed the Mexican government some of their information on apparent corruption in the case. They said they kept silent about more explosive evidence to avoid exacerbating the furor that had broken out over their decision not to warn Mexico about the operation.

    Still, the officials said that none of the information was ever pursued, and the Mexican attorney general, Jorge Madrazo Cuellar, obliquely dismissed the allegations in a little noticed statement issued last July.

    Madrazo said in an interview that the Americans told him only about unnamed federal agents and a money laundering scheme involving "a general who had a daughter." He said the name of Cervantes, who has no daughter, was never mentioned.

    "With the information that they gave me, what could I possibly have done?" Madrazo asked. "Gone and looked for a general with a daughter?"

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #21 
    Professor Alfred McCoy interview

    PD: How did you come to write The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity In The Global Drug Trade?
    AM: In 1971 I was a graduate student doing Southeast Asian History at Yale University. An editor at Harper & Row, Elisabeth Jakab, read some articles in a volume I had edited about Laos, which made some general references to the opium trade in Laos.

    I went to Paris and interviewed retired general Maurice Belleux, the former head of the French equivalent of the CIA, an organization called SDECE [Service de Documentation Exterieure et du Contre-Espionage]. In an amazing interview he told me that French military intelligence had financed all their covert operations from the control of the Indochina drug trade. [The French protected opium trafficking in Laos and northern Vietnam during the colonial war that raged from 1946 to the French defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu.]
    The French paratroopers fighting with hill tribes collected the opium and French aircraft would fly the opium down to Saigon and the Sino-Vietnamese mafia that was the instrument of French intelligence would then distribute the opium. The central bank accounts, the sharing of the profits, was all controlled by French military intelligence.
    He concluded the interview by telling me that it was his information that the CIA had taken over the French assets and were pursuing something of the same policy.
    So I went to Southeast Asia to follow up on that lead and that's what took me into doing this whole book. It was basically pulling a thread and keep tugging at it and a veil masking the reality began to unravel.
    PD: What was the CIA's role in heroin trafficking in Southeast Asia?
    AM: During the 40 years of the cold war, from the late 1940's to this year, the CIA pursued a policy that I call radical pragmatism . Their mission was to stop communism and in pursuit of that mission they would ally with anyone and do anything to fight communism.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #22 

    here is a article about some of the banks and methods used to facilitate the trade.


    Down by the River

    Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family

    Lionel Bruno Jordan was murdered on January 20, 1995, in an El Paso parking lot, but he keeps coming back as the key to a multibillion-dollar drug industry, two corrupt governments — one called the United States and the other Mexico — and a self-styled War on Drugs that is a fraud. Beneath all the policy statements and bluster of politicians is a real world of lies, pain, and big money.

    Down by the River is the true narrative of how a murder led one American family into this world and how it all but destroyed them. It is the story of how one Mexican drug leader outfought and outthought the U.S. government, of how major financial institutions were fattened on the drug industry, and how the governments of the U.S. and Mexico buried everything that happened. All this happens down by the river, where the public fictions finally end and the facts read like fiction. This is a remarkable American story about drugs, money, murder, and family.

    Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with author Charles Bowden about this tragic, neverending story.

    About the guest:

    Charles Bowden is an American non-fiction author, journalist, and essayist based in Tucson, Arizona. He is a former writer for the Tucson Citizen and often writes about the American Southwest. He is a contributing editor of GQ and Mother Jones magazine, and writes for other periodicals including Harper’s Magazine, New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and Aperture. He is the winner of the 1996 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

    June 4th, 2006



    Down bY The River

    i also wanted to mention that in Charles Bowden's recent book "Down By The River" Bowden interviews the head of the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) Phil Jordan. the book details the rise of the cartels, links to the intelligence community and political corruption from the president on down.
    Jordan details capturing a man at a texas airport based on profiling. the man is found to be carrying $28.8 million in cash and is found to be working for BCCI, a notorious money laundering bank.

    Jordan then receives a telephone call "from a high level DOJ employee" who orders that the man be allowed to continue on his was AND he was to be given his money back!

    Jordan did as he was ordered and didnt ask why. (makes me wonder why)

    the book was published in November, 2002. i highly recommend it.


    Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly
    In January 1995, Lionel Bruno Jordan was shot dead in the parking lot of an El Paso, Tex., K-Mart. A police investigation concluded that it was a botched carjacking; a 13-year-old Mexican was charged and convicted. Bruno's brother Phil, a rising DEA official, suspected the murder had to do with his drug- busting work, but his attempts to get the agency to investigate were blocked at every turn. Exploring this mystery, prize-winning author Bowden weaves an intricate tale of treachery, deceit, corruption and death on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The Mexican government was implicated in the drug trade all the way up to the office of then-president Carlos Salinas, and Bowden talks with former Mexican officials who fled to the U.S. to avoid being killed off. Phil Jordan was drawn into a life of casino gambling in a vain attempt to raise enough money to pay off Mexican officials and get them to talk. Bowden also tracks the exploits of Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo, based right across the border from El Paso in Ju rez, who more than likely ordered a hit on Bruno. Bowden maintains an intense noirish tension throughout, though some may find his use of interior monologue irritating at times (particularly when he puts the reader inside the mind of the dead man, Bruno). Still, that doesn't mar a dramatic detective story and a biting critique of the U.S. war on drugs.
    Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    The Real Deal!, March 7, 2003
    Reviewer: A reader
    You want the true story about the "War On Drugs"? Then don't wait and buy this book NOW. Bowden takes you right inside what's going on with this so called war, and the people who get hurt by it. Once you pick up this book you won't be able to put it down. Charles Bowden is one of this country's great reporters/writers.

    Jay Marvin
    WLS Radio
    Chicago, IL

    Shocking slice of reality, February 7, 2003

    Reviewer:Don H. Ford Jr. "author of Contrabando" (Seguin, Texas United States) - See all my reviews

    As a former participant in the drug war (on the wrong end), I will assure you this is an accurate portrayal. Participants on both sides of the issue are decimated, and people prefer to bury their heads and hide from this reality, a reality that may be the most critical problem facing our nation.

    This book is extremely well written. My hat is off to Mr. Bowden.

    Charles Bowden, a Fly on the Wall Watching the Drug War that's 'Down by the River'



    This isn’t some ugly conspiracy by corrupt American presidents. This is what’s called realpolitik. Tolerating the existence of a narco-state in Mexico is preferable to having an economic collapse in Mexico. Successive presidents have looked at the facts and made the same decision. ... It’s simply confronting reality. ... The effort of the border patrol to stop illegal immigration is also simply for show, because if we really bottled up Mexico and a half million people a year couldn’t come north, the economy would collapse.

    * * *


    "The war on drugs." It's the kind of label that just stops us, allowing preconceived notions to take over. Most of us don't think that much about it, or ever wonder who who has been killed in that "war." Investigative reporter Charles Bowden did wonder. He got into his truck and drove to the front lines and embedded himself in that war to get some answers.  His investigation, focusing on a lone victim and his grieving family, unfolds in Down by the River, an absolutely haunting book.


    * * *


    BuzzFlash: Why did you make the murder case of Lionel Bruno Jordan the centerpiece of your book?


    Charles Bowden: I thought if I could understand and explain one murder, I could explain what was happening on the border. I take the murder of Bruno Jordan because his brother was the head of DEA intelligence in El Paso. I had seen a small mention about the killing in a Mexican newspaper called La Jornada. They had arrested a 13-year-old boy for the killing. I just dialed information, got the phone number for the El Paso intelligence center, and talked to Phil Jordan, Bruno’s brother, who ran the center. He said, “If you come here, I’ll talk to you. I won’t talk on the phones.” I got in my truck and drove 321 miles and walked into his office. Seven-and-a-half years later, the book came out. That’s how it started.


    BuzzFlash: Why did it take seven-and-a-half years?


    Charles Bowden: Because in the drug wars, whether you’re dealing with law enforcement or dealers, you have to spend months to get what would amount to one paragraph in the book.I became obsessed.


    BuzzFlash: That comes through in the book.


    Charles Bowden: The structure of the book is simple - we’ll look into one murder. But to explain that murder, you have to retell the history of the United States and Mexico, going back forty or fifty years. The narrative arc is the killing, and trying to solve it, but to understand that you have to understand all this history. I wound up writing the history, with hundreds of footnotes. That took time.


    BuzzFlash: Your style is like the Southwestern landscape itself – very beautiful and very engaging and lyrical. You manage to be both compassionate toward the Jordan family,   yet very cynical about the context of his death, meaning the drug world lurking in the background.


    Charles Bowden: His murder could never be solved, in a simple sense, because it would implicate the governments of both nations in the solution. Once you get into the drug wars in Mexico, it goes all the way to the top of the government.That’s just a fact. And Phil Jordan received zero cooperation from the DEA, his agency, or from the FBI, in solving his brother’s murder.


    BuzzFlash: "Cynicism" becomes the operative word, in that this is a show drug war. Phil Jordan, despite being head of a DEA center engaged in the drug war on the frontier, was given the cold shoulder and not helped to solve his brother’s murder.


    Charles Bowden: Like I say in the book, he is briefing Janet Reno, the Attorney General of the United States, about the high Mexican officials he’s going to meet in a week in Mexico, and he's giving the drug connections of every one of them. She stares at him with total disbelief. I don’t know how you want to characterize that, because Phil Jordan is your basic American true believer. But they basically destroyed him for trying to find justice for his brother.


    BuzzFlash: The Jordans are a close-knit, Mexican-American family. The book was called Down by the River because that's where they lived.


    Charles Bowden: Their house is five blocks from the river in a very old barrio in El Paso, Texas. His parents have lived in the same home for over fifty years, just adding rooms as more children came. They won’t leave, because if they leave, they will lose their connection with their dead son.He’s buried four blocks away.


    BuzzFlash: You burrow into this family and almost became a fly on the wall in their lives.


    Charles Bowden: We’re still friends. I sit alone in silence and grief every January 20th, which was the day Bruno was killed.At 7 p.m. on January 20, 1995, he got out of the pick-up truck at the K-Mart in El Paso, Texas, and was instantly gunned down.


    BuzzFlash: In your effort to ascertain who killed Lionel Bruno Jordan, you really do find that the "war on drugs," as the politicians call it, is a show war for domestic consumption. All the obstacles you ran up against, and his brother ran up against, and the great risk you took to enter the drug underworld to try to get some answers, just led you to conclude that it doesn’t really exist. There’s a peaceful coexistence between the U.S. and Mexico in terms of drugs coming into the United States, except for occasional busts.


    Charles Bowden: The United States wants a stable Mexico. Mexico is economically dependent on narco dollars to survive. If you could actually shut down the border and stop the importation of drugs into this country, Mexico would collapse. So it’s a show war.


    BuzzFlash: What about the argument that they now have increased economic power in petro-dollars?


    Charles Bowden: The Mexican oil fields are in severe decline. They’re nationalized and run by one of the most corrupt mechanisms in Mexico – Petroleos Mexicanos, also known as Pemex. Mexico makes more money from drugs than they do from oil, tourism, and the remittances sent back by illegal Mexicans working here. They earn at least $50 billion a year now from selling drugs. They simply can’t live without it. You have to understand the Mexican economy is 4% the size of the United States' economy. Fifty billion dollars is big money in an economy of that size.


    BuzzFlash: If we go back over the last five decades of Mexican-American relations, in terms of the drug situation, this has been a de facto show war on drugs.


    Charles Bowden: Smoke and Mirrors, by Dan Baum, was an excellent book on that subject which was also heavily footnoted. He proved conclusively that every reaction or thought in the drug war for forty years by the U.S. government was simply to get domestic political support. It had nothing to do with the drug problem. Until the early 1990s, more Americans died every year by falling down staircases than died from overdoses. We’ve created a sort of fictional monster in drugs.


    BuzzFlash: Does the solution lie in the legalization of drugs?


    Charles Bowden: Well, if you continue the current policies, your prison population will continue to grow - and 40 to 50% of all inmates now are jailed on drug charges. Drugs will become more common, they will be of higher quality and at lower prices, because that is what’s happened over the course of forty years. Our drug consumption increases, and it becomes cheaper simply because of competition. So this is a failed policy. But there isn’t a politician in the United States who will question the drug wars. It’s considered political death.


    BuzzFlash: I want to commend you just for your courage. Clearly you are an investigative journalist who took a lot of risk.


    Charles Bowden: You don’t really see it that way when you’re doing it.


    BuzzFlash: Why is that?


    Charles Bowden: All the roadblocks are just little obstacles, because you’re obsessed with finding out the facts. When you get into this kind of work, you just want to get it down right. What other people see as danger, you see as a nuisance. If I wasn’t writing that book, I never would have gone into the saloons and hellholes that are in that book. I don’t court danger.


    BuzzFlash: From our perspective, you took tremendous risks. You contacted drug dealers.


    Charles Bowden: I was tired of reading about drug dealers as sort of “them,” and so I went and met them. They’re just people making a living in a murderous business.


    BuzzFlash: Is Juarez the city where so many women have disappeared and been found dead and mutilated?


    Charles Bowden: Yes. In the same period, 2900 men have vanished. Juarez is a death machine. I did a whole book on it called Juarez, the Laboratory of Our Future. It’s part of the barbarism which they call free trade.


    BuzzFlash: In what way?


    Charles Bowden: Juarez is full of maquiladoras - factories - where people are paid a wage so low you can’t survive on it.


    BuzzFlash: That’s as a result of NAFTA, in large part.


    Charles Bowden: Yes, it’s all connected.And illegal immigration explodes in the United States once NAFTA passes. There’s an absolute linear progression. If you’re a Mexican, your real earning power has been declining since the early 1990s.


    BuzzFlash: Your look at the war on drugs involved a tremendous investigative job. Out of the story of one person, one family, one murder, grew all these tentacles that illuminated the failed war on drugs and the real acceptance of the drug trade by both the United States and Mexico.


    Lionel’s murder is officially unresolved, but reading your book, certainly one would be left with the understanding that this was drug-related and sending a signal to his brother that he better not be an Eagle Scout and take the war on drugs seriously. You had the head of Mexico and his brother, the Salinas brothers, seemingly intimately involved in the drug trade. Carlos Salinas, the president, was a close friend of George Bush Senior.


    Charles Bowden: They were making money off it, and banking with Citibank in New York and in Switzerland. They were using the same banker in New York that the head of the Juarez cartel was using to funnel money to a secure place. It’s not an accident. Everybody in DEA knows it, although they wouldn’t officially say it. It would destabilize our relationship.


    BuzzFlash: Do you think the President of the United States gets briefing papers that are top secret from DEA, from CIA, and NSA and so forth? Do you think President Bush the first knew this?


    Charles Bowden: Of course. Everybody knows it. As it happens Phil Jordan was the guy preparing those briefing papers. I know exactly what they were told because I know the guy who told them.


    BuzzFlash: What's the trade-off for a President of the United States?


    Charles Bowden: All I can say is, if they really cracked down on drugs in Mexico, the economy and the Mexican government would collapse. Millions of people would stream north to survive.Given that choice, successive American presidents have put on a kind of theatrical war on drugs, but let the business continue because the consequences of ending the business are worse than letting the business continue. Mexico needs the money.


    BuzzFlash: What was the torture murder of DEA agent Enrique Camereno in Mexico all about?


    Charles Bowden: He was kidnapped by members of the Guadalajara cartel and tortured for two days. They taped the torture, and they were asking him questions. Those tapes have never been made public - the DEA and the CIA have the tapes. What they were trying to find out is how much he knew about the connections between the cartel leaders and the heads of the Mexican government. That’s it. I happen to know the guy who led the investigation of the murder of Camereno. Almost every human being that was in the house in Guadalajara where they tortured Camereno had been trained by the CIA and was an asset. They had trained them to be an anti-drug force in Mexico, but they went over to the other side. That’s why the case was "buried."


    BuzzFlash: Are these people still free and moving about Mexico?


    Charles Bowden: That’s right. They busted a couple guys, who are technically in prison, but they show up at parties all over Mexico.


    BuzzFlash: You have one very vivid description of going down further south into Mexico, and meeting with a drug kingpin in a vast ranch, and the partying that’s going on.


    Charles Bowden: The party went on for five days and five nights.


    BuzzFlash: It's like the old Al Capone days in Chicago.


    Charles Bowden: They are the government. They are interchangeable in Mexico. I was once drinking with a major drug dealer, and I said, “Who do you work for?” And of course, what I was asking was which cartel. And he said, “I work for the President of Mexico.” And he meant it. He was angry over the hypocrisy that he’s allegedly a criminal, when in fact, the people he sees on TV are taking money from him. He was a killer. I know of four people that man had murdered in my own city, because he told me that.


    BuzzFlash: Why didn’t you pose a threat to these people? 


    Charles Bowden: One, anybody in the drug business knows they’re going to be murdered and forgotten. Secondly, if I had sneaked around trying to find things out, I would have been killed. But I was public about it. I’d sit in front of these people while they were sitting there with machine guns, and make notes. That’s how it happened. I just acted like it was normal. Slowly, I built relationships with trust. At the same time I’m doing this, I have deep connections in DEA. One thing I never did was betray a DEA operation to a drug dealer, and I never betrayed a drug dealer to DEA.


    BuzzFlash: You kept the confidentiality of your sources.


    Charles Bowden: I’m down there at one point with a drug dealer from the United States. He’s buying cocaine for a shipment north while I’m there. We go down to get a bunch of drugs and he’s going to bring them up through U.S. Customs. If that shipment had been seized, I would have been murdered, because they would have thought: ah, he was the reason it was seized. That’s the risk. I knew when I was sitting there, and they were arranging this business deal, that if anything went wrong, they’d blame me.


    BuzzFlash: You’ve written other books and articles on the drug trade. How did this come to interest you?


    Charles Bowden: I was a reporter for a newspaper in the early eighties in Arizona. I’ve always had a deep interest in biology, ecology, the environment. Scientists I knew who had been going into the Sierra Madres in certain areas, collecting plants, started coming back with reports that they couldn’t get into villages because suddenly there were men there with machine guns. Everybody was growing drugs.  I thought, well, this was a story. I became increasingly obsessed with why this huge industry was growing right at my doorstep, and it was not being reported. That was the beginning.


    Then the scale of the business got huge. Full-bodied jets were landing, full of cocaine, and none of this was being reported. At one point, I took photos and gave them to Jack Anderson, the columnist, trying to get him to print it. They simply didn’t believe what I gave them.


    BuzzFlash: We have an argument about immigration going on in the U.S., now, and there are the Minutemen. A couple of weeks ago, there were allegedly encounters between American immigration officials on the border and people who looked like they were in the Mexican Army.


    Charles Bowden: They were in the Mexican Army. No drug dealer would try and look like the Army, they would try and blend in.  The Mexican Army is in the drug business. The movie "Traffic" was not a complete fiction.


    BuzzFlash: Let's get back again to the personal story of the Jordan family.


    Charles Bowden: It’s absolutely certain that Lionel Bruno Jordan, who was murdered at the age of 27, had no connections to drugs.He was getting ready to get married, he sold suits at Men’s Warehouse, and he was preparing to enter law school. He had lived a totally blameless life. He had nothing to do with his brother’s career in DEA. He was slaughtered for no reason.


    BuzzFlash: The family is the fine, upstanding, model American family. They happen to be of Mexican descent. One brother is a heroic DEA agent – your honest, straight-arrow DEA agent, incorruptible. His younger brother was shot and killed in a parking lot. No one will cooperate to find the real murderer. They pin it on a young kid. The Mexican Consul in El Paso won’t answer any questions directly.


    Charles Bowden: The Mexican Consul is funneling drug money to the criminal attorneys that are defending the kid who did the killing.We know that because of DEA wiretaps.


    BuzzFlash: And the American government didn’t want him to pursue it. They didn’t want to anger the Mexican government by pursuing this.


    Charles Bowden: The effort of the border patrol to stop illegal immigration is also simply for show, because if we really bottled up Mexico and a half million people a year couldn’t come north, the economy would collapse.


    BuzzFlash: You also have in your book that, even on shipments coming through in trucks at border check points, crooked Americans are just allowing these trucks in.


    Charles Bowden: Yes. When I spoke earlier of the drug dealer arranging the shipment of a load of cocaine to the United States, that person I’m dealing with "owned" the border crossing. He owned U.S. agents. That’s how he was going to move it through. I knew the exact town it would go through, and he had paid people in U.S. customs to wave it through.


    BuzzFlash: Has there been any official government response to your book?


    Charles Bowden: No. Nobody wants to deal with it. This war is a fraud, unless you get murdered in this war. 


    BuzzFlash: Suppose that we in the United States were really serious about taking on the drug industry in Mexico, and let’s just say theoretically we could wipe it out. You’re saying the economy in Mexico would collapse. People would do whatever they could to cross over into America to make whatever money they could make


    Charles Bowden: That’s right.


    BuzzFlash: Therefore we leave the status quo, which is drugs coming in.


    Charles Bowden: This isn’t some ugly conspiracy by corrupt American presidents. This is what’s called realpolitik. Tolerating the existence of a narco-state in Mexico is preferable to having an economic collapse in Mexico. Successive presidents have looked at the facts and made the same decision. So this is not the result of some evil leadership in our country. It’s simply confronting reality.


    BuzzFlash: The Mexicans might say, you’re using this stuff, that is your responsibility. You clean up the consumer side. It’s not our problem.


    Charles Bowden: That’s correct. That’s what they all say, and they have a point. Also, drugs don’t have very much value until they get to the United States. Then they explode in value. The real profits are made here.


    BuzzFlash: And you couldn’t have the extent of drug trafficking unless you had some officials paid off in the police department.


    Charles Bowden: In almost any city in the United States, it’s easier to find cocaine than it is to find veal. The stuff is everywhere, and everybody knows it.


    BuzzFlash: Someone’s got to be letting it get through.


    Charles Bowden: Everybody that gets into the drug industry becomes corrupted. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or a robber. There’s just too much money. All you have to do is blink and you can get paid. You’re standing there waving cars through at the border. You’re a U.S. official. You wave cars through all day. All you have to do is wave one more through and you can make $50-100,000 in the blink of an eye.


    I’ll give you an example. They busted a drug ring in 1989. This ring had moved 900 consecutive loads of cocaine into the United States through one crossing in El Paso – one bridge – without ever being detected. That's mathematically impossible unless you buy people.


    BuzzFlash: Did anything happen?


    Charles Bowden: Well, the ring got busted. But it terrified DEA and I’ll tell you why. They took down 21 tons of cocaine in a warehouse in California in 1989, and after they did that, the price of cocaine did not go up. It had no effect on the market, so much was coming in. That was the first time that DEA really understood the magnitude of the drug use in this country, because it’s very hard to track. People don’t report how much coke they use every week.


    BuzzFlash: Has anything changed under Vincente Fox?


    Charles Bowden: I’m not going to criticize Mr. Fox, but he’s not really in control of Mexico. The drugs continue to be moved. The cartels continue to flourish. The army continues to be corrupt. Any Mexican president that effectively waged war against the drug industry would be murdered.


    BuzzFlash: As one candidate was.


    Charles Bowden: Yes, Colosio.


    BuzzFlash: It’s heart-wrenching to read about the Jordan family and their loss.


    Charles Bowden: It devastated that family. That family believes in America, and America betrayed that family. They have gotten no justice for the murder of their son and brother.


    BuzzFlash: The only justice done - because the Mexican and American governments both put up obstacles to finding out who really was responsible - the only justice for Lionel Jordan is your book, Down by the River.


    Charles Bowden: That’s right, and it’s even worse than that for me. Lionel Bruno Jordan was one of thousands of people murdered on the border in these drug wars, but he’s the only one that got a book. The others don’t even get that. It’s like it never happened.  I find that morally repellent. I think human life matters, and I think ignoring death on this level is a sin.


    BuzzFlash: Thank you very much.


    Charles Bowden: Adios.




    Interview Conducted by BuzzFlash Editor Mark Karlin.


    * * *




    Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family (Paperback) by Charles Bowden, a BuzzFlash premium


    Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family (Paperback) by Charles Bowden , a BuzzFlash review


    Charles Bowden: No more fear: Vote as if it matters - because it does (9/04, Arizona Daily Star)



    Former contra wins review of U.S. drug ties.


    By Bob Egelko

    OF THE EXAMINER STAFF July 27, 2000


    Fights deportation to Nicaragua, says CIA knew of cocaine deals The former Northern California spokesman for the Nicaraguan contras, facing deportation for cocaine trafficking in the 1980s, will apparently get the chance to convince a federal judge that he was assured the drug deals had U.S. government approval.


    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a judge should hear and evaluate Renato Pena's claim that a federal prosecutor in San Francisco had told him after his arrest in 1984 that he was at no risk of deportation for having carried cocaine and cash to Los Angeles about a dozen times.


    In court papers opposing Pena's challenge to his current deportation order, the U.S. attorney's office said no such assurance was given. Pena's case recalls the controversy over allegations of CIA- backed drug dealing by the contras, the U.S.-supported guerrillas fighting Nicaragua's leftist government in the 1980s. Accused in a San Jose Mercury News series of connections to the early crack cocaine trade in Southern California, the CIA hotly denied having anything to do with Los Angeles drug traffickers who claimed contra connections.


    Pena said he had been told by Norwin Meneses, a major drug trafficker with ties to the contras, that CIA-connected contra commanders were aware of the drug operation in which Pena took part. The CIA has denied any relationship with Meneses.


    The appeals court stopped well short of finding that the government condoned Pena's activity as a drug courier. But the court said Pena's claims about the government's attitude were relevant to his attempt to overturn his 1985 drug conviction, the basis of the current attempt to deport him.


    "Pena and his allies supporting the contras became involved in selling cocaine in order to circumvent the congressional ban on non-humanitarian aid to the contras," the three-judge panel said. "Pena states that he was told that leading contra military commanders, with ties to the CIA, knew about the drug dealing. Pena believed that the sole purpose of these drug transactions was to help the contras, and he believed the United States government would not seek to prosecute.


    "The circumstances surrounding Pena's case, including his belief that his activity was supported by the U.S. government and his alleged reliance on the assurances of the assistant U.S. attorney regarding his immigration status, raise important questions about public confidence in the administration of justice."


    The court said a federal judge should hear testimony from Pena and others about what assurances he had been given before pleading guilty in 1985, and about whether his court-appointed attorney had acted incompetently by failing to tell him he risked deportation. The judge would then decide whether to set aside the guilty plea. Pena's suit, seeking to overturn the guilty plea, had been dismissed by U.S.


    District Judge Fern Smith in 1997. The hearing ordered Wednesday would be held before another judge, because Smith now heads the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C.


    "He's a credible person," said Pena's current attorney, Stephen Shaiken. "He was good enough for the U.S. government when he was spokesperson for the opposition and when he was an informant (against others in the drug ring). He was telling the truth then, and he's telling it now."


    He said Pena, now a San Francisco city employee, was not speaking to reporters about the case. 

    The U.S. attorney's office, which represented immigration officials who want Pena deported, declined comment on the ruling.


    Pena was a member of the security force of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, who was overthrown by the leftist Sandinistas in 1979. Pena came to the United States in 1980 and became the chief of public relations in Northern California for the FDN, the contras' political arm. He applied for political asylum in August 1984 but was arrested three months later on charges of possessing cocaine with intent to distribute it. Pena said he had been asked by Norwin Meneses' nephew, Jairo Meneses, to travel to Los Angeles with money that would be used to buy cocaine and finance contras, whose U.S. military aid had been cut off by Congress. He was paid about $6,000 for carrying money and drugs to Los Angeles between March and November 1984, the court said.


    Pena said he had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a reduced sentence and been told by a federal prosecutor that he would be taken care of and had nothing to fear about his immigration status. He said he never would have pleaded guilty if he had known he could be deported to Nicaragua, then governed by the Sandinistas. He also said his court-appointed attorney had never spoken to him about the possibility of deportation.


    After serving a year in a halfway house and testifying against another Meneses relative in the drug case, Pena was granted asylum in 1987, the court said. But the Immigration and Naturalization Service revoked his asylum in 1996 and moved to deport him to Nicaragua because of his drug conviction.


    In court papers, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Yeargin said Pena's asylum had been withdrawn because he had failed to disclose his conviction on his asylum application. Yeargin also said the original prosecutor in the case, Rodolfo Orjales, had discussed drug smuggling to Pena but made no promises to him.


    Orjales, now a Justice Department employee in Washington, D.C., was out of his office Wednesday and unavailable for comment.


    (c)2000 San Francisco Examiner


    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #23 


    April 25, 1988 | United Press International
    Lt. Col. Oliver L. North may have lied to FBI agents in May, 1986, to get them to investigate people he believed threatened to expose his secret Contra aid network, newly released FBI documents and sources close to the inquiry say. North told the FBI he had been followed, that his car was vandalized and his dog poisoned, the documents showed. He also said key associates in his Contra aid network were being sued in a bid to disrupt their support for the rebels.
    July 13, 1988 | From Times Wire Services
    The brother of Nicaraguan Contra leader Adolfo Calero and six others have been indicted on charges they conspired to unlawfully recruit mercenaries to serve in the anti-Sandinista rebel army, the Justice Department announced today. The long-awaited indictment did not mention any Reagan Administration officials or Calero himself. According to the indictment, returned June 28 in U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

    Mercenary Pleads Not Guilty Over Charges His Contra Aid Broke Law

    July 26, 1988 | United Press International
    A munitions expert pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he violated the Neutrality Act by training Nicaraguan Contras and said the Reagan Administration has made him a scapegoat for an Oliver L. North operation. Jack Terrell, 47, said he was the head field adviser for a military training operation in Honduras between October, 1984, and March, 1985. He said he worked with the knowledge and approval of the U.S. government.

    August 23, 1988 | Associated Press
    Six Cuban-Americans ran a mercenary training camp in Florida to aid Nicaraguan rebels, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday. One of the six is also accused of shipping a cannon, a mortar and other weapons to the Contras under the guise of humanitarian aid. The Miami-area men allegedly violated the Neutrality Act, which bans private action against a government at peace with the United States.
    October 28, 1988 | Associated Press
    Two men accused of violating U.S. law by illegally aiding the Nicaraguan Contras regularly briefed the FBI and intelligence agencies about their activities, according to documents released in a criminal case. The documents also indicate that Miami police informed the FBI in September, 1984, of the existence of the Contra-supporting group and that drug-trafficking money was being used to finance the Contra cause. The FBI in turn was sending its reports to Oliver L.

    December 3, 1988 | Associated Press
    Six Contra supporters accused of attacking Nicaragua urged a judge Friday to dismiss their case on grounds that the United States has been waging a de facto war against the Sandinistas. They asked U.S. District Judge Norman C. Roettger to throw out an indictment accusing them of violating the U.S. Neutrality Act by recruiting mercenaries and launching operations against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua from U.S. soil in 1985.

    October 17, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
    An American who once worked as a mercenary for the Contras in Nicaragua said he was hired in 1990 by Raul Manglapus, the foreign secretary of the Philippines, to kill a rebel leader who opposes President Corazon Aquino. The assassination never took place, but Jack Terrell said in an interview on ABC-TV that he decided to make the story public because he believes that it eventually would surface. Terrell said he was hired for $30,000 to organize a squad to kill Lt. Col.

    Feb 11, 2003

    Agents John McLaughlin and Charles Micewski win lawsuit after their careers were ruined when they started investigating CIA ties to drug money


    Agents Win Lawsuit Against Pa. Attorney General
    Feb 11, 2003 10:13 pm US/Eastern PHILADELPHIA

    (AP) A jury has sided with two narcotics agents who claimed their boss -- the Pennsylvania attorney general -- retaliated against them because they uncovered a drug-trafficking ring that diverted profits to a CIA-backed Dominican presidential candidate. Agents John McLaughlin and Charles Micewski filed a lawsuit claiming their forcible transfer from the Philadelphia office of the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation violated their civil rights. A federal jury in northeastern Pennsylvania agreed, awarding $1.5 million to McLaughlin and Micewski on Friday after a one-week trial. The verdict capped more than five years of litigation. "They won their lives and their reputations back," Don Bailey, attorney for the plaintiffs, said Tuesday. "These people were just destroyed, devastated."

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #24 

    The CIA and Cocaine: Truth and Disinformation

    Who has the airplanes?

    November 15, 1996--John Deutch, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, went to Watts to speak to hundreds of neighborhood residents. The head of the CIA visiting the ghetto!? Now you know they must be in deep trouble! The CIA and the media tried to suppress the stories of CIA drug-dealing.

    For 10 years, the mainstream media refused to report on it--even when the Senate's own Kerry Report brought out damning evidence. They tried to ignore the series by Gary Webb that appeared in the San Jose Mercury that revealed the names of Nicaraguan contra operatives who were distributing cocaine in South Central L.A. and Compton to raise money for the CIA's secret contra war.

    In the last month, this country's most prominent newspapers, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, all carried stories intended to discredit Webb's report. This campaign has not worked. On Nightline, November 15, Ted Koppel remarked how attempts to dis Webb's report had only made the masses of people more suspicious that crimes were being covered up.

    The story is out! Millions know! And now, the CIA is forced to combine more coverup with an unprecedented public attempt at damage control. Deutch was in L.A. to promise that the CIA's Inspector General would "get to the bottom of things." And he had to sit there as the people spoke bitterly of how the system has ruined lives--denying people jobs, packing the youth into prisons, bringing drugs into the community, denouncing the history of CIA drug running.

    The first woman at the microphone told how Black men had been allowed to die of syphilis, while government doctors in the infamous "Tuskegee experiment" withheld medicine and studied their deaths. "How is this any different?" she asked Deutch, referring to CIA involvement in bringing drugs into the Black community. One brother said it was an insult to people's intelligence to claim "The CIA doesn't sell drugs," since everyone knows about CIA heroin-running from Asia's Golden Triangle. A former LAPD narcotics cop described how documents about CIA drug operations were suppressed by authorities. Joey Johnson, revolutionary activist against police brutality, exposed how the CIA's contras had murdered thousands of people to destabilize Nicaragua, while their drug traffic destabilized the oppressed communities of L.A. "When are the prison doors going to open?" he demanded, to free those jailed by racist crack laws.

    The CIA investigate itself? Nobody is having it!

    This scandal cuts to the heart of this government's legitimacy: It lays bare the utter hypocrisy, the racism and the complete hard-heartedness of this system's rulers. They've been jailing thousands of youth--locking them away!--for involvement in the illegal economy. And then it turns out that the government itself, possibly at the highest levels, was deeply involved in the import and sale of that poison!

    The Central Intelligence Agency, its head John Deutch, its main investigator CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz, and much of the mainstream media are already claiming that there is no evidence that the CIA itself approved or participated in cocaine trafficking.

    These claims are simply not true: There is massive evidence that the CIA was a key force organizing guns-for-drugs operations that secretly financed much of the U.S.'s dirty war against Nicaragua.

    In this article, we will explore evidence that came out even before Gary Webb's series: the network of airlines and airstrips used to transport cocaine into the U.S. during the '80s.


    Who Has the Planes?

    Thirty years ago, Malcolm X made a penetrating observation: Oppressed people don't own airplanes and boats. The media and the government try to blame oppressed people for drugs--but international drug trafficking requires fleets of cargo planes, landing strips in several countries, networks of international contacts, pools of investment money, networks for money laundering and the high-level contacts for getting past U.S. Customs and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

    In 1989, pilot Mike Tolliver told CBS that, after years of smuggling drugs, he was recruited into the contra supply operation by a "Mr. Hernandez." Tolliver identified "Hernandez" as Felix Rodríguez, the CIA agent directing contra supply from El Salvador's Ilopango Air Base. Tolliver says he flew a DC-6 loaded with guns and ammunition for "Hernandez" in March 1986, from Butler Aviation at the Miami Airport down to Aguacate, the U.S.-controlled contra air base in Honduras. Tolliver says the guns were unloaded by contras and he was paid about $70,000 by "Hernandez." After a three-day layover, Tolliver said he flew the aircraft, reloaded with over 25,000 pounds of marijuana, as a "nonscheduled military flight" into Homestead Air Force Base near Miami.

    "We landed about 1:30, 2 o'clock in the morning," said Tolliver, "and a little blue truck came out and met us. [It] had a little white sign on it that said `Follow Me' with flashing lights. We followed it." "I was a little taken aback," Tolliver told the CBS program West 57th. "I figured it was a DEA bust or a sting or something like that." It wasn't. Tolliver said he just left the plane and the drugs sitting there at the airport to be unloaded, and took a taxi from the base.[1]

    West 57th traced this DC-6 back to a company called Vortex. Vortex is one of four airlines hired by the U.S. State Department to supply the contras--using money designated by Congress as being for "humanitarian aid" only.

    In April 1987, a Customs service official told the Boston Globe, "We think he did land at Homestead," and acknowledged that there was a system under which contra supply flights were able to fly in and out of U.S. airports free of Customs inspection. But that same Customs official claimed that Tolliver was only a "free-lancer" who "bluffed his way" into Homestead. One researcher writes, "It was not explained how Tolliver bluffed his way into an Air Force base, leaving behind over 25,000 pounds of marijuana which apparently bluffed their way out."[1]

    The operation Tolliver described is similar to stories told over and over again in testimony before the Senate Subcommittee headed by Sen. John Kerry. A report was issued in the spring of 1989 by this Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations. That report describes how the U.S. government recruited major drug smugglers, used their airlines to "supply the contras," and how these airplanes flew down to Central America loaded with guns and flew back loaded with drugs.

    When the contra war started in 1981, a "retired" U.S. Air Force Colonel, Richard Gadd, was put in charge of creating a secret, private network of cargo airlines to supply the contras. His network worked closely with the CIA-linked Southern Air Transport.

    Until 1972, the CIA directly owned Southern Air Transport, an air cargo company based in Miami. In 1972 this airline was "sold" to its president. A 1976 congressional report noted that the sales of other such "proprietary" companies were usually conditioned on "an agreement that the proprietary would continue to provide goods or services to the CIA."[2] The Washington Post reported on January 20, 1987: "According to informed sources, a witness told the Federal Bureau of Investigation last summer of having seen a cargo plane with Southern Air markings being used for a guns-for-drugs transfer at an airfield in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1983." This witness "Wanda Doe," the wife of a major drug trafficker, told the Kerry Subcommittee staff "that she saw airplanes owned by Southern Air Transport land in Barranquilla, Colombia, unload weapons and load cocaine." The flight logs of Wallace B. Sawyer, the Ilopango-based pilot who worked for Southern Air indicate two visits to Barranquilla in October 1985.[3]

    After 1984, Congress made it illegal for the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA to secretly supply arms for the contras. So the operation's organizers stepped up its recruitment of major drug smugglers to do this work for them. Congress allowed the administration to provide the contra army with only "humanitarian aid." According to the Kerry Subcommittee report, the U.S. State Department transferred over $800,000 of this "humanitarian aid" money to four Miami-based firms connected with major drug-smuggling rings:

    • $317,425.17 went to Vortex, an air cargo company whose executive vice president was the target of three FBI drug investigations when the State Department handed over the money. According to the Guardian (March 20, 1988), Michael Palmer, owner of Vortex, claimed his operations smuggled $40 million in drugs into the United States between 1977 and 1985.
    • $261,930 went to Frigoríficos de Puntereñas, a drug-smuggling and money-laundering operation that used shrimp boats in the Gulf of Mexico as its cover. One part of this operation, a company named Ocean Hunter, reportedly moved about $200,000 a month in cash to the contras.[1]
    • $185,924.25 went to SETCO, an air cargo firm owned by multimillionaire Juan Ramón Matta Ballesteros, who ran the largest cocaine operations in Honduras. Newsweek (May 5, 1985) cited official estimates that Matta was responsible for perhaps one-third of the cocaine reaching the United States.
    • And $41,120.90 went to DIACSA, which FBI affidavits describe as a center for cocaine trafficking and money laundering. DIACSA was owned by two veterans of the CIA's Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. In 1988 a court case of Panama's General Noriega would reveal that DIACSA carried out drug flights as part of its contra support efforts.[4]

    In short, after 1984, the relationship between the U.S. government and the airlines of major drug traffickers becomes part of the public record. This network carried weapons to the CIA's contra army in Central America and returned with drugs to the U.S.

    How Drug Smugglers Were Recruited

    In the early summer of 1984, two contra representatives met with George Morales, a big-time Colombian trafficker who was then under indictment in the U.S. They met at the Miami home of a wealthy Nicaraguan exile. The contra representatives were Octaviano César and Adolfo "Popo" Chamorro.

    A San Francisco Chronicle article reports: "Chamorro and César said they asked a CIA official whether they could accept the offer of airplanes and cash from the drug dealer, Morales. `I called our contact at the CIA,' Chamorro said recently. `The truth is, we were still getting some CIA money under the table. They said he (Morales) was fine.' " Journalist Leslie Cockburn subsequently corroborated César's CIA status from no less than eight sources, including high-level administration officials in Washington.[4]

    Morales went on to organize numerous guns-for-drugs flights between the United States and Central America.[5] Morales told the Christic Institute that he donated approximately $5 million in drug money to the contras in 1984 and 1985. Morales said that the payment was part of a deal with three contra leaders a few months after his indictment on drug charges: they would `take care' of his legal problem in return for financial and logistical support. Morales later testified before the Kerry Subcommittee that his pilots flew weapons to contra bases and returning to the United States with drug cargoes. At a federal trial in April 1990, Colombian drug pilot Ernesto Carrasco testified that he saw Morales pay more than $1 million in drug profits to contra leader Adolfo "Popo" Chamorro at a Florida restaurant in 1985.[6]

    Morales claims that the CIA opened up an airstrip in Costa Rica, on the 1,500-acre ranch of the American John Hull, and that his pilots flew 20 shipments of weapons into Costa Rica in 1984 and 1985, and smuggled thousands of kilos of cocaine on the return flights into the United States. This was confirmed by Gary Betzner, a pilot for Morales, who testified he flew cocaine from Costa Rica to Lakeland, Florida.[7, 1] "I smuggled my share of illegal substance," said Betzner, "but I also smuggled my share of weapons in exchange, with the full knowledge and assistance of both the DEA and the CIA." (Newsweek, January 26, 1986)

    The Kerry Subcommittee described John Hull as "a liaison between the contras and the United States government." And subcommittee testimony said that, on at least two occasions, Hull was present while bags of cocaine were transferred to the planes.

    In May 1990, Colombian drug kingpin Carlos Lehder told ABC News that Hull was "pumping about 30 tons of cocaine into the United States every year."[6]

    In his Kerry Subcommittee testimony, Morales described the protection he enjoyed as long as he worked with the contra supply: Despite a previous indictment and DEA objections, a court order permitted him to enter and leave the country on his drug business. He landed his drug planes at the government-controlled Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. And for two years, arms and drugs were loaded and unloaded from his planes, in broad daylight, at Fort Lauderdale's Executive Airport.

    The M.O. for Recruiting Cargo Airplanes, Pilots for the Secret War

    The reports of such enlistment of drug smugglers are routinely denied by the CIA. However, there is much evidence that recruiters of the contra supply network would make drug smugglers "an offer you can't refuse." Drug traffickers were offered protection from prosecution and protection for their planes flying in and out of various U.S. airports and military bases. In exchange, the U.S. government got a large "self-financing" network of cargo aircraft and pilots that could not be easily traced to the CIA or Defense Department.

    During the 1991 trial of Panama's Manuel Noriega, Carlos Lehder testified that a U.S. official offered to allow him to smuggle cocaine into the United States, if he would allow the contra supply network to use a Bahamian island he owned. Lehder also testified that the Colombian cartel had donated about $10 million to the contras.[8]

    According to a Senate narcotics subcommittee, the federal indictment against drug trafficker Michael B. Palmer, owner of Vortex, was dropped because the government decided the case was not "in the interest of the United States." This narcotics subcommittee also reported that in 1985 a federal attorney in Miami stopped investigating drug trafficking on John Hull's ranch because U.S. officials "were taking active measures to protect Hull." The Kerry report says it was the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica that stopped this investigation.[6]

    Michael Levine, a DEA agent for 25 years reported from personal experiences in the L.A. Times that "high-level drug investigations had been destroyed" because the CIA would step in--protecting the drug traffickers and forcing DEA prosecutions to be called off in the name of "national security."[9] In 1983, as the contra supply operation was building, the DEA closed its station in Honduras, where the main contra bases and airstrips were located.

    Providing Airports and Protection for the Smuggling Operations

    Flights like Tolliver's into major U.S. bases were routine. In April 1987 the Boston Globe reported that between 50 and 100 flights "arranged by the CIA took off from or landed at U.S. airports during the past two years without undergoing inspection" by U.S. Customs.[6] Government-protected drug smugglers used many U.S. bases, including Homestead Air Force Base near Miami, U.S. air force bases in Texas, and a number of airstrips around Mena, Arkansas, during the time when Bill Clinton was governor.[3]

    Meanwhile, in Latin America, the gun-for-drugs operation used two major U.S.-controlled air bases, in addition to John Hull's ranch, Panamanian government air bases, and the Colombian airstrips in Barranquilla. One was the Salvadoran Air Force base at Ilopango, El Salvador--a base virtually under the control of the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1985, this control was exercised by Col. James Steele, who was then chief of the U.S. Military Advisory Group in El Salvador, and who, in that capacity, oversaw the Contra supply operation at Ilopango at first hand. The other base was the contras' main air base at Aguacate in Honduras. These locations were valuable because their runways could handle large, heavily laden military cargo planes.[4]

    Celerino Castillo, who was once Drug Enforcement Agent in charge of Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica, says he reported to DEA headquarters that huge drug- and gun-smuggling operations were being run from Ilopango military airport by the "North Network" and the CIA. In his 1994 book, Powder Burns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War, Castillo writes, "My reports contained not only the names of traffickers, but their destinations, flight paths, tail numbers, and the date and time of each flight. Hundreds of flights each week delivered cocaine to the buyers and returned money headed for the great isthmus laundering machine in Panama."

    Castillo reported that the operations were run out of two hangars at Ilopango: "The CIA owned one hangar and the National Security Council ran the other."[4] Gary Webb documents that cocaine for California's contra ring came through Ilopango, and that its main leader Meneses had close personal ties with Salvadoran generals. "We don't know the extent of the Honduran military's involvement in drugs," said a State Department official. "But our educated guess is that all of the senior officials have knowledge, many are involved...and they are all reaping the profits."[1]


    This evidence reveals that U.S. government officials were involved in creating and directing the air networks that supplied the contras with arms and smuggled drugs into the U.S. People are asked to believe that the contras carried these operations out on their own, while low-level CIA agents merely "turned their heads and did nothing."

    On one level, the evidence that links these operations to the CIA is fragmentary. These were covert operations--designed by professionals for the specific purpose of giving the U.S. rulers "plausible deniability."

    But clearly such operations could not have been conceived by the hired contra mercenaries. Only support within the U.S. government at the highest levels could have protected these networks and assured their safe entry into U.S. air bases. Evidence at every point--in the testimony and documents of DEA agents, in the investigations of the Costa Rican government, in statements by Customs officials and the testimony of contra agents and drug smugglers--points to CIA involvement in these operations--creating them, protecting them, and directing them.

    The CIA denies this. But the facts remain: While the government preached "just say no," while it was criminalizing a whole generation of ghetto youth, that same government was deeply involved in transporting cocaine and other drugs into the United States to secretly finance their dirty counterrevolutionary war against Nicaragua.


    [1] Washington's War on Nicaragua, Holly Sklar, South End Press, 1988

    [2] The Iran Contra Connection--Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era, Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter; South End Press, 1987

    [3] "How the U.S. Government Has Augmented America's Drug Crisis," Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D., War on Drugs: Studies in the Failure of U.S. Narcotic Policy, Alfred W. McCoy and Alan A. Block (Eds), Westview Press, Boulder, 1992

    [4] "CIA and Drug Trafficking by Contra Supporters," Affidavit by Peter Dale Scott, Ph.D., September 30, 1996

    [5] "Account Links Contras, Drug Trafficking," Douglas Farah and Walter Pincus, Washington Post, reprinted by San Francisco Chronicle, October 31, 1996

    [6] "The Contra-Cocaine Connection," Amy Lang, Convergence magazine, Christic Institute, Fall 1991

    [7] "State Organized Crime," American Society of Criminology Presidential Address, William J. Chamblis, 1988

    [8] "A Media Snow Job," In These Times, October 28, 1996

    [9] "Is the CIA's New Openness Just Another Con Job on a Naive Public?", Michael Levine, Los Angeles Times, September 12, 1993

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #25 


    June 2—Nicaraguan crime boss Norwin Meneses, who will become the leader of an international drug ring, is arrested and jailed in connection with the murder of Nicaragua’s top Customs official. His brother, Gen. Edmundo Meneses, chief of Managua’s police department believed to have been a CIA asset who coordinated couterinsurgency movements throughout Latin America in the 1970s, investigates and clears Norwin.


    Spring—FBI and DEA reports together show that Norwin and Ernesto Meneses are smuggling large quantities of cocaine into the United States via commercial airliner. The DEA believes Norwin is dealing cocaine from Colombia and selling it in San Francisco and Miami. Norwin’s nephew, Jaime Meneses, is distributing the cocaine in San Francisco.

    Sept. 29—Gen. Edmundo Meneses dies of wounds after being machine-gunned in Guatemala City two weeks earlier by Sandinista supporters.


    June—Norwin Meneses and Danilo Blandón, who would later become Los Angeles’s biggest cocaine trafficker, separately flee Nicaragua for the United States.

    July 1—International cocaine conference opens in Lima, and North American scientists get first-hand reports about cocaine smoking craze in Peru.

    July 17—Nicaragua falls to Sandinista rebels. Dictator Anastasio Somoza and about 100 others are airlifted to Homestead AFB in Florida.

    July 19—Congress convenes cocaine hearings and receives first warnings of oncoming cocaine smoking epidemic.

    December—”Freeway” Ricky Ross, an illiterate teenager from South Central L.A., sees his first rock of crack.


    August—Former Nicaraguan National Guard Colonel Enrique Bermúdez goes onto CIA payroll and heads to Guatemala to take over command of the Legion of September 15, a violent gang of ex-Guardsmen and mercenaries, the forerunners of the Contras.

    Sept. 17—Anastasio Somoza assassinated in Ascuncion, Paraguay.

    October.-November.—Small groups of pro-Contra Nicaraguans meet in Miami to form the UDN-FARN Contra army, which buys some weapons and radio equipment.

    Nov. 4—Reagan elected President.


    Mar. 9—Reagan signs “finding” to begin destabilizing the Nicaraguan government. CIA gears up for covert actions.

    Mid-year—Ricky Ross and his friend Ollie Newell begin selling small amounts of powder cocaine in South Central L.A., which they get from a teacher.

    Aug. 10—At the CIA’s behest, UDN-FARN and the Legion of Sept. 15 form the FDN and move their base of operations to Honduras.

    Nov. 23—Reagan signs NSDD #17, authorizing the CIA to spend $19.95 million to set up the Contras, a paltry sum to fund such an ambitious project.

    December—FDN begins setting up support committees in various U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Houston, and Miami.

    December—Blandón and Meneses “start the Contra revolution” in California. They meet with Bermúdez in Honduras to figure out how to raise money for the Contras. On return to U.S., Blandón picks up two kilos from Meneses in San Francisco and begins selling drugs in L.A.


    Jan. 23—Ex-fighter pilot Carlos Cabezas is recruited in San Francisco to sell cocaine for the Contras. Obtains it from Contra supporters in Costa Rica working for Meneses.

    Mid-year—Crack cocaine starts appearing in noticeable quantities on streets of South Central. Ricky Ross begins buying cocaine from Nicaraguan subordinate of Danilo Blandón.

    September—Former Sandinista Edén Pastora unites with the UDN-FARN commander “El Negro” Chamorro to form ARDE, the main Contra army in Costa Rica.

    Oct. 22—CIA gets information that Contras, Meneses aide Pena Cabrera, and unnamed religious group will meet in Costa Rica to discuss arms for drugs.

    Nov. 8—FBI identifies Meneses lieutenants Troilo Sánchez, Fernando Sánchez and Horacio Pereira, Contra supporters operating out of Costa Rica, as sources of cocaine for San Francisco drug ring.

    Late year—Ricky Ross begins marketing pre-made crack “ready rock” to other dealers.


    Early—Ross’s drug enterprise has become so large he begins buying his cocaine directly from Blandón. This substantially reduces his costs, which he passes on to his customers, thereby helping to spread crack even more liberally throughout South Central L.A.

    Jan. 17—Colombian freighter docked in San Francisco is raided and 430 pounds of cocaine are seized, breaking open the “Frogman Case,” the first documented instance of Contra drug dealing in the U.S. Carlos Cabezas and other Contra supporters are arrested soon after.

    Summer—Crack market in South Central explodes.

    Sept. 19—Reagan signs another secret finding, this one authorizing money and CIA help for paramilitary operations against the Sandinistas. Authorizes $19 million for fiscal year 1984.


    Mar. 5—Norwin Meneses begins his conspiracy to distribute cocaine in San Francisco, according to a secret indictment.

    May—Contras run out of money.

    June 4—Norwin Meneses pays for a dinner party in San Francisco in honor of CIA agent Adolfo Calero, the political boss of the Contras. Meneses and Calero have a series of private meetings over the next few months.

    July 30—CIA is told evidence in Frogman case links CIA operatives in Costa Rica to U.S. drug traffickers. Agency scrambles to keep information from public and returns $36,000 to convicted drug dealer.

    Oct. 10—Boland Amendment passed by U.S. Congress outlawing U.S. funding for contras.

    Nov. 26—FDN official and Meneses’s nephew are busted in San Francisco for cocaine trafficking.

    Dec. 5—CIA is informed that Meneses and Contra leader Sebastian “Guachan” González are involved in drug dealing and arms trafficking in Costa Rica.


    March—DEA is told Chepita and Danilo Blandón are “members of a cocaine trafficking organization.” Soon, U.S. State Department grants both political asylum. By this time, Blandón reports, he and Ross are moving upwards of 100 kilos a week.

    Apr. 4—Jairo Meneses implicates his uncle in drug trafficking, yet no charges are filed. Norwin soon moves to Costa Rica and goes to work for the DEA.

    September—DEA identifies Blandón has the head of a cocaine distribution organization in Los Angeles. No action is taken.

    September—Panamanian doctor Hugo Spadafora, a Contra leader, meets three times with DEA agent Robert Nieves in Costa Rica, reportedly to accuse Contra leader “Guachan” Gonzalez and Manuel Noriega of drug trafficking. A week later, Spadafora is decapitated.

    Dec. 20—Brian Barger and Robert Parry write story for Associated Press saying Contras are dealing in cocaine and running guns. Story is largely ignored by the American press.

    - Associated Press reporter Robert Parry publishes first stories linking CIA, contras and cocaine; Parry eventually quits job under pressure from Reagan officials and allies in right-wing media.


    Mid-April—Guatemalan DEA agent Celerino Castillo III gets telegram from DEA agent Robert Nieves in Costa Rica that says Contras are involved in drug smuggling out of Hangars four and five at Ilopango in El Salvador.

    June—Crack problem “discovered” by the mainstream press after college basketball player Len Bias and pro football player Don Rogers die of overdoses.

    June 25—House approves $100 million Contra aid package by 221-209 vote. Senate approves it two months later.

    Aug. 25-27—DEA agents in southern California debrief confidential informant inside Blandón’s operation and are told that cocaine sold in South Central is financing the Contras. L.A. County Sheriff’s office begins investigation and discovers FBI has same information.

    Oct. 5—Cargo plane used by Oliver North’s illegal Contra resupply effort is shot down over Nicaragua.

    Oct. 27—Blandón’s house and used car lot and a dozen other locations are raided by the L.A. County Sheriff, FBI, IRS, and Bell police. Detectives told by one suspect and Blandón’s lawyer that CIA is involved. Reagan signs bill authorizing CIA to spend $100 million on Contras.

    Nov. 3—Iran arms story breaks in Beirut magazine. Two weeks later Attorney General Ed Meese and Reagan hold press conference to admit Contra diversion scheme. Iran-Contra scandal erupts.

    Dec. 10—All charges against Blandón stemming from drug raid are dropped and he applies for permanent residence in U.S.

    Dec. 13—Former Contra mercenary Steven Carr is found dead of a drug overdose in Los Angeles, shortly before he was to testify about Contra drug and arms dealing in Costa Rica.

    Dec. 27—Assistant U.S. attorney assigned to Blandón case allegedly commits suicide in Los Angeles soon after Blandón case is rejected for prosecution in Washington, D.C.


    Jan. 12—LAPD and County Sheriff form Freeway Rick Task Force.

    Jan. 21—San Francisco Contra supporter Dennis Ainsworth contacts the FBI and tells them that the FDN “has become more involved in selling arms and cocaine for personal gain than in a military effort to overthrow the current Sandinistas.”

    Spring—Blandón leaves L.A. and moves to Miami. FBI discontinues its investigation. Ricky Ross leaves L.A. a couple months later and Freeway Rick Task Force disbands.

    November—George Bush is elected President.


    March 23—Sandinistas and Contras sign truce at Sapoa.

    July 7—Ross indicted in Texas on cocaine conspiracy charges.

    Nov. 5—Ross moves back to L.A. from Cincinnati.

    -Gary Webb is hired by San Jose Mercury News to work as investigative reporter at Sacramento bureau. Wins Pulitzer for role in team coverage of Loma Prieta earthquake.


    Feb. 8—Norwin Meneses is indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco for acts committed in 1984 and 1985. An arrest warrant is issued the same day. Both are put under seal and never made public in U.S.

    June—Ricky Ross is indicted in Cincinnati.

    Sept. 1—FBI sting in L.A. snares several members of Blandón raid team and Freeway Rick Task Force.

    Late—Blandón returns to Southern California and resumes cocaine dealings.

    Nov. 28—Ross arrested in L.A. on Cincinnati warrant and jailed.


    March—DEA San Diego begins investigation of Blandón.

    July 21—Undercover DEA agents meet with Blandón, who mentions that he is “due to receive $1 million dollars back from the U.S. government.”

    Sept. 6—Ross pleads guilty to drug charges in Cincinnati.

    Oct. 16—Defense lawyer in FBI police corruption sting tells press about Blandón and the 1986 raids, and claims CIA involvement in drugs. Attorney hit with gag order by federal judge.


    Feb. 8—Ross is sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

    June 13—Blandón is audio- and videotaped negotiating a 50-kilo drug deal with a DEA informant.

    August—Ricky Ross begins testifying against police in the L.A. corruption trials.

    November—Nicaraguan police arrest Norwin Meneses and aides and seize 725 kilos of cocaine.

    Dec. 9—Blandón arrested on conspiracy and drug charges by LAPD but the charges are dropped at the request of the Justice Department.


    May 15—Blandón and his wife are arrested in San Diego at the INS offices where they went to pick up Chepita’s green card.

    August—Norwin Meneses convicted of cocaine trafficking in Nicaragua. Sentenced to 30 years, which he is currently serving in Tipitapa Prison.

    Oct. 13—Blandón cuts a deal with government, which reduces a probable life sentence to 48 months in jail.


    August—Ricky Ross released from federal prison after serving four years and starts rebuilding old theater in South Central.

    Nov. 10—Ross is convicted of old conspiracy case to deliver a controlled substance in Smith County, Texas, and returns to jail.


    August 12—DEA targets Ross for drug sting, a few weeks before he is released from prison.

    Sept. 19—Blandón walks out of jail on the arm of an INS agent, a free man.

    October—Blandón, now a DEA informant, begins negotiating a drug deal with Ross.


    March—Ross arrested in DEA sting.

    July—Gary Webb begins investigation of Blandón and Contra cocaine dealing, learns of drug sales to Ross in South Central.

    October—DEA agents meet with Webb to dissaude him from writing about Blandón. Two weeks later, former Costa Rican DEA agent Nieves resigns from top DEA position.

    November—DEA alerts CIA that Webb is investigating Contra drug dealing and is trying to locate Meneses, who DEA expects will admit Contra drug dealing.


    March—Ross goes on trial in San Diego and is convicted. Blandón testifies as prosecution witness, admits Contra drug dealing.

    August—”Dark Alliance” series appears in San Jose Mercury News.

    September—CIA and Justice Dept. launch internal investigation of “Dark Alliance” allegations.

    October—Ross sentenced to life without parole.

    November—Then-chief of the CIA, John Deutsch, makes an unprecedented trip to South Central L.A. to respond to public outrage over “Dark Alliance” allegations.


    May-June—Mercury News editor Jerry Ceppos recants some findings of “Dark Alliance” series. Webb disagrees with Ceppos and is yanked off the story and reassigned to a bureau 150 miles from his home.

    Nov. 19—Webb quits Mercury News.

    December—Attorney General Janet Reno refuses to release a declassified report by the Justice Dept.’s Inspector General on the U.S. government’s handling of Blandón and Meneses investigations.


    January—CIA declassifies and releases one volume of a two-volume report on its internal investigation of Contra drug dealing. Volume two is still classified.

    March—CIA Inspector General Fred Hitz tells Congress that CIA had secret deal with Justice Dept. from 1982 to 1995 which permitted the agency to avoid reporting cases of drug trafficking by its agents and assets.


    ollie and drugs


    In the fall of 1984, according to Carrasco's detailed account, contra leaders ordered Morales to land cocaine-filled airplanes at public airports in south Florida where the flights would be "protected." Carrasco himself was on a flight to bustling Opa-locka airport in North Miami, then under heavy surveillance by federal authorities because of its proximity to South America. The flight taxied to a hangar controlled by Morales, already under federal indictment for using that hangar for smuggling activities. There, Carrasco said, over 400 kilos of cocaine packed in military-style duffel bags were unloaded in plain view. Carrasco's sworn statements were part of wide-ranging disclosures about drug-smuggling activities. The CIA connection did not come to light until he was cross-examined by Abello's defense attorneys. In one exchange, Carrasco answered "Yes, that's right," when asked if, at the time he was working for Morales, he knew that Morales claimed to have connections to the CIA and as a result had protection to bring drugs into the United States.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #26 

    ollie and drugs
    "At the present time, there is no evidence that supports the allegations made against the CIA," Reno declared on Sept. 13.

    And in a masterful preemptive denial, Deutch declared a week earlier, "I believe there is no substance to the allegations," though he ordered an "internal review" of the charges.

    If Deutch and Reno were really serious, they might begin by consulting the evidence gathered by the Senate subcommittee on narcotics and international terrorism.

    A Sept. 26, 1984, Miami police intelligence report noted that money supporting contras being illegally trained in Florida "comes from narcotics transactions." Every page of the report is stamped: "Record furnished to George Kosinsky, FBI." Is Mr. Kosinsky's number missing from Reno's rolodex?

    And how about a quick review of the personal notebooks of Oliver North? On July 9, 1984, North wrote that he "went and talked to (contra leader Federico) Vaughn, (who) wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste, wanted aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos." Kilos of what? Sugar?

    "What the hell could North be talking about talking about?" said 25-year Drug Enforcement Agency veteran Michael Levine. "When I was serving in the DEA, if you gave me a page from someone in the government with notes like that, I would have been on his back investigating everything he did from the minute he woke up in the morning until he went to bed at night."

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #27 
    orange county weekly ongoing coverage
    Vol. 10 No. 34 Apr. 29 - May 5, 2005

    Dr. Death Revisited                 May 5 ,2005
    In French TV documentary, ex-CIA official admits ties to CIA-cocaine scandal character


    Ink-Stained Wretchedness       April 25, 2005

    While he was still alive, the mainstream media savaged investigative reporter Gary Webb, whose 1996 San Jose Mercury News series “Dark Alliance” revealed CIA ties to inner-city cocaine sales. The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post published massive front-page stories purporting to debunk Webb’s reporting, and his own newspaper cowardly backed off his stories. It wasn’t until after Webb committed suicide last December that his former employer published a belated editorial apologizing for the betrayal.

    Dead End         Feb 25. 2005
    Feds deny connection between CIA and ex-Laguna Beach cop and drug dealer. So why are his files secret?

    "crack cop" april 2002
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has always denied that former Laguna Beach cop, international arms merchant and convicted drug dealer Ronald J. Lister ever worked for the CIA or other U.S. intelligence agencies. But the FBI also insists that revealing the details of Lister's various Iran-contra-era arms deals would compromise U.S. national security. ....

    "crack cop" july 2001
    FBI documents recently released to the OC Weekly show that a former top agency official met throughout that period with Ronald J. Lister, an ex-Laguna Beach cop who claimed to be the CIA's link between the South American cocaine trade, the Nicaraguan contras and LA's most notorious drug trafficker......

    "secret agent men" oct. 1997
    The balding guy in the bathrobe and slippers was pissed. Several police cars were parked outside his upscale Mission Viejo home. Their blue and red lights flashed in the early-morning light, a rare occurrence in neighborhoods like this one. And the cop cars outside seemed to bother the bald guy more than just about anything else. Never mind that an entire team of uniformed LA County Sheriff's deputies and narcotics agents had just filed through his front door. Never mind that they had a search warrant. What seemed to bother former Laguna Beach cop Ronald J. Lister, deputies later recalled, was what the neighbors would make of all those squad cars on the street.

    "You're making a big mistake," Lister warned. He paced back and forth in his living room, claimed he was already aware that his house was being staked out by police, and promised that he had nothing to hide.

    But when the detectives told Lister they were looking for drugs, his expression hardened. He told the detectives he did business in South America and claimed that his "friends in Washington" weren't going to be pleased with what the cops were doing in his house. The police continued to rifle through his belongings.

    Suddenly, Lister did something no one expected: he grabbed his telephone and threatened to dial the Langley, Virginia, headquarters of the CIA. "I'm going to report you to Scott Weekly of the CIA," he declared.

    "tracks in the snow" may 1997
    David Scott Weekly was first profiled in these pages when Lister's notes were released last year. That story was based largely on interviews with Bo Gritz, Weekly's sometime partner in paramilitary operations, as well
    as records from a 1987 Oklahoma City trial in which Weekly was convicted of smuggling C-4 explosives onto two civilian flights.

    Weekly declined to be interviewed for that story and, when questioned by sheriff's investigators, acknowledged working with Lister but declined to answer direct questions about possible intelligence connections. He refused to say whether he had ever worked with the CIA, and then asserted he wouldn't admit such a relationship even if he had.

    In fact, Weekly has in the past admitted to having exactly such a relationship. The comments surfaced in connection with the 1987 trial, but have not been made public until now.

    Court records from that trial show that the explosives in question were used in a short-lived training operation for a handful of Afghan rebel leaders at a remote desert
    airstrip near Sandy Valley, Nevada. Gritz said the prosecution was part of a White House effort to discredit him and Weekly after they returned from a secret POW mission to Burma with videotaped interviews asserting that top CIA officials were involved in the Iron Triangle heroin trade.

    Additional new background material on Weekly
    turns up in notes made by Mark Richard, a U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., based on conversations with Weekly's federal prosecutor. Richard submitted them to congressional investigators in 1987 as part of a deposition for the initial Iran-contra hearings. Those notes, obtained from the National Archives through a FOIA request, show that Weekly had ôpost[ed] on tape that he's tied into CIA and Hasenfus, and that Weekly ôsaid he reports to people reporting to [George] Bush.ö Richard's memo also reveals that Weekly had made a number of toll calls to the National Security Council.

    Finally, Richard's notes say that Oklahoma
    City prosecutors found evidence that Weekly
    worked for Bo Gritz and ôTomö Lafrance in San Diego.

    Weekly was convicted in Oklahoma City, but
    after spending 14 months of a five-year prison sentence, he was granted a resentencing hearing based on evidence that Weekly's Nevada training mission had indeed been carried out with the knowledge of U.S. government officials. On July 15, 1988, his sentence was reduced to time already served, and he was released.

    Located late last month at his San Diego home, Weekly refused an offer to be interviewed for this story and chased the reporter from his front door.


    dec 1996


    LA Weekly
    October 04, 1996


    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #28 
    by Michael Levine
    July, 1998

    Gary Webb, just in case you've already forgotten him, was the journalist who, in a well researched, understated article entitled "The Dark Alliance," linked the CIA supported Contras to cocaine and weapons being sold to a California street gang and ended up literally being hounded out of journalism by every mainstream news peddling organization in the Yellow Pages. Even his
    own employer The San Jose Mercury piled on for the kill.
    And guess what? The CIA finally admitted, yesterday, in the New York Times no less, that they, in fact, did "work with" the Nicaraguan Contras while they had information that they were involved in cocaine trafficking to the United States. An action known to us court qualified experts and federal agents as Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Cocaine—a federal felony punishable by up to life in prison.
    To illustrate how us regular walking around, non CIA types are treated when we violate this law, while I was serving as a DEA supervisor in New York City, I put two New York City police officers in a federal prison for Conspiracy to distribute Cocaine when they looked the other way at their friend's drug dealing. We could not prove they earned a nickel nor that they helped their friend in any way, they merely did not do their duty by reporting him. They were sentenced to 10 and 12 years respectively, and one of them, I was recently told, had committed suicide.
    I have spent three decades as a court qualified expert and federal agent and am not aware of any class of American Citizen having special permission to violate the law that we have been taxed over $1 trillion in the past two decades to enforce; the law that every politician, bureaucrat and media pundit keeps telling us protects us against the most serious danger to American security in our history.
    The interesting thing to me, about the Webb article is that the CIA is provably (and now admittedly) responsible for much larger scale drug trafficking than Webb alleged or even imagined in his report. In fact, according to a confidential DEA report entitled "Operation Hun, a Chronology" that I used as part of the proof to back up the undercover experiences detailed in my book The Big White Lie, (optioned for a movie by Robert Greenwald Productions) the CIA was actively blocking DEA from indicting many members of the ruling government of Bolivia, from, 1980-83—during a time period that these same people were responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the cocaine consumed in the United States.
    As CIA Inspector General Hitz himself stated before congress, it was during this time period that Nicraguan Contra supporters were buying large amounts of cocaine from these same CIA protected Bolivians.
    Do you think Congress wants to see this proof?
    The gang that can't spy straight, as they are known to my listeners and about whom President Lyndon Johnson once said, "When Rich folks don't trust their sons with the family money they send them on down to the CIA," certainly did a lot more damage to this nation than, for example, computer company owner Will Foster who was sentenced to 93 years in prison for possession of 70 marijuana plants for medicinal use.
    Of course, true to their shifty, sleazy form, while admitting that they did aid and abet Contra drug trafficking, they are now refusing to release their own final investigative report which details the damning proof. The same report that CIA Inspector General Fredrick Hitz, during February, 1998, had promised congress and the American people was forthcoming "shortly", because,
    as CIA Director George Tenet now claims, CIA does not have enough money in its budget to properly classify it.
    You believe that then I know an old guy with a beard named Fidel, wandering the streets of South Miami with an Island about 90 miles off the coast for sale. He says the money is for his retirement.
    How, you ask, do they get away with it?
    Well for one thing, mainstream media, the so-called Fourth Estate, does all it can to help. During the Iran-contra hearings, when Senators Kerry and D'amato were making pronouncements before the Senate indicating that the CIA was involved with drug trafficking, Katherine Graham the owner of The Washington Post addressed a class of CIA recruits at CIA's Langley headquarters in Novemeber, 1988, by saying:
    "There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.."
    Apparently CIA protection of drug trafficking was among those secrets Thus, it should have been no surprise to those CIA agent recruits when Washington Post reporter and drug expert Michael Itsikoff wrote that there was "no credible evidence" linking the CIA supported contras to cocaine
    trafficking at the same time very credible evidence was being heard by Senator Kerry's committee indicating that the Contras may have been the top purveyors of drugs to Americans in our history.
    Neither should it have been a surprise to anyone who heard her statement when mainstream media refused to print the news that Oliver North, US Ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs and various top level CIA officers were banned from ever entering Costa Rica by Nobel Prize winning President Oscar Arias, for drug running. The drugs, by the way, all going to us.
    Nor should it have been a surprise when Gary Webb was destroyed by mainstream media, for doing nothing more or less than telling the truth as he found it. And now, while CIA admits their felonies to the press but refuses to release the proof, and, Janet Reno, the head of the Obstruction of Justice Department has done the unprecedented by classifying her own department's investigation
    into CIA drug trafficking, the partnership for a Drug Free America is spending $2 billion of our tax money on already-proven-fruitless anti-drug ads.
    And where do you think the money goes?
    Answer: to every major media corporation on the big board.
    Gary Webb, my friend, you are owed a huge apology. But I doubt that you'll get it. Not in this lifetime.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #29 
    Corruption in the war on drugs, from the inside out.
    Michael Levine
    Copyright, December, 1990

    There is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the color of itself to the object that it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure. - Thomas Paine, The American Crisis (1776-83).
    "It's like they want us to go bad, " said Al, using the not-so-euphemistic term DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agents use to describe the taking of a bribe, the stealing of drugs and money, the selling of drugs or any of the other myriad of ways a law enforcement officer can cross the line from upholder of the law to violator of the law. He picked up a heavy barbell and continued speaking through a violent, chest-slamming, set of curls.
    "They give the FBI an extra twenty-five thousand bucks a year... to work in this God damned city....and us nothing....and half those feebs come to work in car pools... And Lawn (Jack Lawn, ex-Administrator, DEA) doesn't say a fucking word....What does he care?...He retired and got himself a big paying job...Vice President... of the fucking Yankees. "
    I paused in the middle of a set of push-ups to listen. The place was the New York, DEA office Gym, which I continued to use after my retirement. Street agents and cops will always be my favorite people; not the "suits"—the political appointees and administrative types who direct this whackier-every-day War on Drugs from behind desks. I had levelled some strong criticisms against them in my book, Deep Cover, accusing them of an incompetence that cost agents' lives; of running a fraudulent drug war; of being motivated by greed, self-aggrandizement and a quest for media exposure and lucrative second careers—of everything and anything, other than really winning. I doubted that they were happy that I was still using the gym. But I figured after retiring with three herniated discs, a bad knee and shattered ankle—momentos of my career—I had earned the right.
    "Yeah," said another agent skipping rope. "He took care of himself pretty good, didn't he. And Stutman's no better. (Robert Stutman, retired head of DEA's New York office) Now that he cashed in on his DEA job and got named the CBS drug expert, he's saying the government oughtta spend less for law enforcement..."
    "Christ," said Al in exasperation. "They're all whores. A fucking saint would go bad in this business."
    The words jarred some old memories loose—and some not so old. I had known too many guys who had gone bad and every one of them was the last guy in the world anyone would have believed it of; and most of them had "gone over" during the past thirteen years. The past decade, in fact, has brought with it the worst epidemic of corruption in the history of law enforcement, making the years of prohibition look like a Boy Scout weenie roast—and almost all of it related to our war on drugs.
    Within the ranks of DEA, alone, cases of "misconduct" have increased during the past several years at a whopping rate of 176 percent, 40 percent of which involved cases of bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and the selling of drugs. The situation has become so critical according to the DEA brass that experts are being consulted to determine what the problem is and how to meet it.
    A little more than a decade ago cases of corruption were rare. The idea among DEA agents, that one of us would go bad was almost inconceivable. Most of the people selected for the position of Special Agent were, and still are, products of a highly moral background, (as verified by lengthy and exhaustive reputation and background investigations); conservative men and women who seem to take the job out of the highest of ideals (as verified by intensive personal interviews before panels of agents and supervisors). If anything, events of recent years have made DEA more discriminating than ever about its candidates; only granting employment interviews to those who have graduated college with a cumulative B average or higher, and who have passed the Federal Entrance Examination in the top ten percentile.
    If you add to that the continuous brainwashing we are subjected to, driving home the message that failure to inform on a fellow agent you know to have violated the law makes you as guilty as he and subject to the same penalties, the incongruously rough sentences narcotics officers convicted of corruption are given, and our intimate knowledge of the, particular, horrors awaiting us as inmates in the penal system—to be caught going bad, for a DEA agent, is a fate worse than death. I had known men, during those early drug war years, who, on learning that they were under investigation—even for seemingly minor violations of law like overstated voucher expenses— committed suicide.
    So what is happening to cause DEA agents— once thought of as the least likely candidates for corruption imaginable—to suddenly go bad at a record pace? I think I know the answer; and it's not one the politicians and drug war bureaucrats want you to discern or spend much time thinking about.
    A Strange Case and the Beginning of a Trend
    On a warm spring day in 1977, I found myself in a Connecticut motel room, with an informer with the unlikely name of James Bond, on one of the strangest undercover assignments of my career—posing as a Mafia hood trying to buy information from DEA's secret files.
    In 1977, for a DEA agent, the drug war was still a simple matter of good versus evil. I had been a federal law enforcement officer for twelve years in four federal agencies, (IRS, Intelligence Division; Alcohol, Tobacco And Firearms; Bureau of Customs, Hard Narcotics Smuggling Division and DEA beginning in 1973) during which time I had personally known only three men who had been arrested and accused of corruption; and only one of them was a DEA agent who was accused of stealing money. Most of us actually believed the rhetoric of the politicians; that the youth of our nation were being poisoned by the deadliest and most loathsome enemy Americans have ever had to face—the evil drug dealer. And that putting them in jail—by any means—was God's work. And with a brother who had just committed suicide after nineteen years of heroin addiction, I doubt that there was another agent or cop more fanatically dedicated to doing just that, than I was.
    I could not have been more "off the wall."
    There were of course some disquieting rumors that the CIA was involved in protecting drug dealers in the Far East for political reasons. There were even some who claimed the agency itself was involved in drug trafficking—but who the hell would believe that? A meticulously researched and documented book like The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred McCoy, that should have had Americans screaming for investigations into the conduct of a drug war already dripping with evidence of high-level government deception and fraud and the senseless sacrifice of human life, was little known, poorly distributed and successfully ignored by the bureaucrats and politicians. No right-thinking DEA agent would ever read anything like it, anyway. To do so was damned near un-American. What kind of man—CIA agent or not— could protect a drug dealer and still call himself an American? The rumors were obviously part of some commie disinformation plot.
    So in the Spring of 1977, I was the quintessential representative of a DEA still in its years of innocence; a fledgling agency not yet adept enough internationally to threaten special interests like the $40 billion debt the cocaine producing nations owed American bankers; or people with "special" relationships with the CIA, Pentagon or State Department—people like Manuel Noriega. We just didn't know what the score was. But times were changing, and changing quickly.
    There was a light knock on the motel door. I raised my arms and signalled at the hidden cameras. In another room video and sound equipment began recording what would be the first case of its kind in DEA's history.
    A short while later in the smoke filled motel room, a young, clean cut looking guy by the name of George Girard promised me that for $500 a name he could check out any name I gave him in the DEA computer system.
    "You could tell me if the guy's an informer?" I asked.
    "No sweat," said Girard who had quit DEA after seven years on the job to open a private detective agency.
    I couldn't believe my ears. No DEA agent alive would sell the name of an informer—it was murder. Girard was out of DEA, so there was no way he could make good on the promise. I was sure he was just running a con job on me. He probably figured stealing money from the Mafia's no crime, so screw it! But still, before I gave him the name that had already been rigged into the DEA computer system as an informant, I had to be sure he knew that—if he did get me the information— he was killing a man, just as surely as if he were pulling a trigger.
    "If this guy is a stool pigeon," I said, trying to rivet him with my eyes. "I'm going to kill him."
    "I don't want to know that," said Girard quickly. "That's your business."
    "The name's Lumieri," I said. "Richard Lumieri."
    Days later I met with Girard in the motel and was stunned when he gave me, almost verbatim, the information that had been planted in the DEA computer system. Over the next several weeks I kept feeding the ex-DEA agent requests for information from DEA's files. He was unfailing in his ability to furnish me with everything I requested including the identities of other informers. To see how far he would go, I offered him cocaine as payment instead of money, and he accepted.
    I kept dealing with Girard until we learned that his inside connection was an agent named Paul Lambert, one of the best thought of agents in DEA headquarters. The whole agency was shocked as Lambert was arrested at his desk and led out in handcuffs. The Administrator of DEA, Peter Bensinger, who had been kept in the dark throughout the investigation, was outraged. Nothing like it had ever happened before. Lambert, besides having a promising DEA career was known to be independently wealthy. The few hundred-dollars a name he received for running computer checks could not have meant anything to him. He hired—at no small cost— one of the best defense attorneys in the land, Charles Shaffer, who also defended John Dean of Watergate fame.
    After a two month, well-publicized trial, Girard and Lambert were convicted and sentenced to ten and twelve years in prison, respectively. Their lives were destroyed.
    But why? And, for what?
    During the weeks of undercover with Girard I had tried to get some idea of what motivated him. The clearest answer I got was his description of the drug war as, "The whole thing was bullshit." I never knew Lambert; although those who did, said that his participation in the scheme made less sense than Girard's. For me the whole episode ended with the unanswered question—Why?
    DEA, of course, revamped its security system and the suits breathed a sigh of relief. The case was an aberration, they said. It was not—they assured the media—part of a growing pattern of corruption.
    They could not have been more wrong. And all of us on the inside could feel it—the times were changing.
    The Strange Case of Sandy Bario
    "The Case Of Agent Bario," was the title that Time magazine used in its January, 29, 1979, edition, reporting the strange life and even stranger death of DEA agent Sante Bario. The article synopsized how one of DEA's top undercover agents went bad, using his post as DEA's, Assistant Country Attache in Mexico City to smuggle drugs into the United States. "Sandy," as those of us who knew him well called him, was arrested by DEA's Internal Security Division after he had allegedly conspired with one of his informants in the smuggling and distribution of eleven pounds of cocaine stolen during a DEA raid in Mexico City.
    On December 16, 1978, while sitting in his jail cell, Sandy took a bite of a peanut butter sandwich. He stood up and threw the rest in the toilet. Moments later, according to reports, he was found in convulsions. He slipped into a coma from which he would never recover. Preliminary tests made while he was still alive revealed strychnine in his blood. The warden told Sandy's wife that he had been poisoned. Subsequent tests, according to DEA, mysteriously, failed to reveal any traces of poison. The first tests were ruled "in error. " The final autopsy report indicated that Sante Bario had "choked to death" on his peanut butter sandwich. To this day there are many in DEA who secretly (and not so secretly) believe that Sandy was either killed by DEA's Internal Security, or the CIA because "he knew too much about secret U.S. government involvement in narcotics trafficking."
    But who, in 1979 could believe that?
    I was already stationed in Argentina when I heard about Sandy's arrest and death. The news was more than a shock to me. I had known him for many years. He was one of the best, most decorated undercover agents this government has ever had, laying his life on the line on a daily basis with the kind of courage that only comes from the deepest of conviction. Sandy was a legend among undercover agents. I doubt that his record of arrests and convictions for a deep cover penetration of the Mafia will ever be equalled.
    Sandy and I had known each other for more than ten years. We had met as agents in the IRS Intelligence Division. "This country's biggest enemy is going to be drugs," he told me before transferring to the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1965. His words—and then later learning of my brother's heroin addiction— were what convinced me to follow his path.
    In 1975 we were working in the same DEA, international enforcement group when Sandy was transferred to Mexico. An Internal Security Division—at the time without much corruption to investigate—tried to hold up Sandy's transfer, investigating him for living with his girlfriend "out of wedlock." I don't think there are any words to convey the pain a man who daily lays his life on the line for his government suffers when that same government turns on him in such a shabby, cheap way.
    Sandy—in righteous indignation and without any of the traditional fear agents have for standing up to the dreaded Internal Security Division— fought the investigation boldly and finally won a written apology from one of the suits. He was a man with nothing to fear or hide—a truly heroic figure. There is no way I will ever believe that the Sandy Bario who left for Mexico in 1975 was the same man who smuggled drugs and died in a Texas jail four years later. Something had to have happened that changed him; and it had to be something radical.
    Within months of Sandy's death my education into the realities of our so-called War on Drugs would begin. It would leave me with an understanding of why Sandy and scores of men like him have gone bad and why countless more will follow, unless things are changed quickly and drastically.
    The "Coca Revolution" (The Sellout of The Cocaine War)
    Early in 1980, from my post in Buenos Aires, I began to put together a deep cover "sting" operation against a Bolivian named Roberto Suarez who was putting together a combine of all his country's major coca growers for mutual protection, economy of production and to eliminate competition. It was the birth of what, nine years later, DEA would call "the General Motors of cocaine." The deep cover operation—in spite of many behind-the-scenes moves on the part of DEA and other government agencies to sabotage it—was eventually accomplished. Attempts at destroying the investigation were so overt, frequent and outrageous—at times exposing us to life-threatening situations— that by the end of the operation the rallying cry of the undercover team had become, "Let's make this case in spite of DEA."
    Our efforts; however, turned out to be in vain. After the arrests, seizures, indictments and the media ballyhoo giving the suits and politicians credit for "the greatest sting operation in history;" those of us who had accomplished the feat, then watched horrified and helpless as the CIA supported the same people we had arrested, indicted and identified as the biggest drug dealers in history, in their takeover of the Bolivian government in the now infamous July, 1980 "Cocaine Coup," one of the bloodiest revolutions in Bolivian history. Our government's greatest drug war victory had been turned into its greatest defeat; a fact that received no media coverage whatsoever.
    I would later learn that the Suarez organization had convinced the CIA that the civilian government—some of whom had cooperated with us in the sting operation—were "leftists." Our secret government then made what they had been conned into believing was a choice between communism and drugs, for us. They helped in the destruction of the only Bolivian government officials having any anti-drug sentiments at all. And if any proof of the new military government's real aims were needed, their first act was to destroy all the drug trafficking files in Bolivia's Hall of Justice. Bolivian cocaine traficking would never again be truly threatened. The drug war had taken a back seat to politics, as it still does.
    From that point on Bolivia began supplying cocaine base to the then fledgling Medellin Cartel in Colombia as though it were a legal export. At the same time the demand for cocaine in the United States began to boom. It was the beginning of a decade that gave us crack, crack babies and the worst crime and violence statistics of any nation in history; and it could not have been done without the help of our own government.
    I, along with many of my brother DEA agents, watched the fraud from the sidelines with aching and frightened hearts. The times indeed were a changing.
    The Roberto Suarez case also heralded in a decade during which the the drug economy's value as a political and economic tool rose sharply while, in contrast, the the value of the lives of American's in general and narcotics officers in particular, plummeted. Within the U.S., police and narcotic agents fought a bloody, urban drug war, while our politicians, CIA and Pentagon were in bed with the biggest drug dealers alive. Many DEA agents began to realize that they were sacrificial pawns in a fraudulent, no-win war like Vietnam; that their true purpose was to pile up meaningless arrest and drug seizure statistics—and at times, die in the streets—in order to convince voting and tax-paying Americans that there was a drug war; and that international narcotic enforcement was a "minefield" of Roberto Suarezes and Manuel Noriegas.
    It seemed no small coincidence to me that, during the same time period the incidents of corruption in DEA began to spiral upward, involving criminal indictments against the least likely people imaginable. People like my friend DEA agent Darnell Garcia—a legendary martial arts expert and profound believer in Bushido, (The Way of the Warrior), as antithetical a system of beliefs to acts of corruption, as exists on this earth—who was arrested and charged with stealing and selling drugs, and money laundering. People like my friend Tom Traynor —a deeply religious father of five and highly decorated DEA agent who neither drank, smoked nor (and I'm not kidding) used profanity—who was arrested and charged with smuggling large quantities of cocaine from South America. And more just like them followed—too many more. To me it was mind boggling.
    The increase in drug war corruption was not only limited to DEA, it was happening everywhere. Law enforcement officers, elected officials and even judges were being indicted for everything from accepting bribes to selling drugs. In one investigation that I supervised in the New York City Joint Task Force (US V Cesar Ramirez), I arrested two New York City detectives who had accepted bribes and helped a drug dealer in covering up the murder of his wife, and was then astounded to learn that some of the cocaine and money we had seized during the investigation had been stolen by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Perlmutter—a Phi Beta Kapa graduate of Williams College and NYU Law School— the man charged with prosecuting the case. The scholarly prosecutor—married to another prosecutor—had been stealing the drugs and money to support his and a model girlfriend's cocaine habits.
    To a DEA agent in the 1980s, the whole world had become corrupt. No one could be trusted—not even our own government. And if we needed proof of how little our lives were valued alongside our government's special interests in the drug war, the death of DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was all the proof necessary.
    The "Sacrifice" of Enrique Camarena
    It was almost inevitable that the sacrifice of the life of DEA agent Enrique Camarena would occur in Mexico, one of the countries in this hemisphere most corrupted by the drug economy and most protected by our government's special political and economic interests. It was also a country that would play a heavy role in events that would mold the rest of my life; events during which I often thought of Sandy Bario and wondered what secrets he might have revealed about the hypocrisy and corruption of our drug war, had he lived—and how much he had been through before he had gone bad.
    Some six years after Sandy's death, Kiki Camarena and his brother DEA agents assigned to Guadalajara Mexico, would write memorandums and cables to DEA headquarters in Washington and Mexico city, complaining of the anarchic conditions in Mexico and pleading for additional agents, more DEA, State and Justice Department support or—at the very least—getting diplomatic status for agents assigned there so that they might arm and protect themselves.
    They were ignored.
    Economic and political considerations were deemed more important than our drug problem. No one wanted to "upset" Mexican officialdom by bringing up the "D" word (drugs)—or worse yet: the "C" word (corruption). And the DEA suits —more politicians than law enforcement officers, and willing pawns of any special interest group—were more interested in maintaining the illusion of a "special" and "cordial" relationship between the U.S. and Mexican governments than the complaints of a couple of street agents. Camarena finally prophesied his own death when he said, "Does someone have to die before something is done?"
    On February 7, l985, DEA agent Enrique Camarena, married and the father of three young boys—who, on his own, working around and in spite of obstacles placed in his path by DEA suits, the State Department and other special interest groups, managed to cause the biggest Mexican marijuana seizure in history—was kidnapped in broad daylight in front of the American Consul in Guadalajara by Mexican policemen working for drug traffickers. He was tortured to death over a twenty four hour period, while his murderers tape-recorded his cries.
    Mexican government officials were so disdainful of our hypocritical drug war that they aided his killers in escaping from right under the noses of frustrated and powerless DEA agents. It would be a month before Camarena's body would be found and years before some—but not all—of those responsible for his death would be brought to justice. The whole affair, were it not for the rage of Kiki's brother street agents in keeping the investigation alive, would have been quickly swept under a rug.
    The suits were in a rush to "normalize" U.S. relations with Mexico. There were items far more important than Kiki's murder—items like the Mexican debt, and trade and oil agreements, not to mention secret Mexican support of the Contras and other CIA programs. Instead of pressuring Mexico economically to aid in identifying those responsible for the murder, our Treasury Department was negotiating a new bail-out package of loans and the State Department was planning to increase Mexico's share of the narcotics aid budget. And among the supporters of this move was DEA Administrator, John Lawn. Hearings into the Camarena murder and the actions—or lack thereof—of our drug war "leaders," by the House Foreign Affairs Committee's task force on international narcotics control, would result in its chairman, Representative Larry Smith saying,
    "I personally am convinced that the Justice Department is against the best interests of the United States in terms of stopping drugs...I just don't think the Justice Department is committed to pushing the Mexicans on a resolution to the Camarena case. What has a DEA agent who puts his life on the line got to look forward to? The United States Government is not going to back him up. I find that intolerable!"

    So did we DEA agents, but what could we do? Where and how could we vent our rage and frustration?
    In the years following Kiki's death, drug war corruption increased to levels unprecedented in our nation's history. Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention that during the same period of time evidence was revealed during the Iran-Contra hearings indicating that secret elements of our government were using the proceeds of drug sales to fund the Nicaraguan Contra movement and circumvent the wishes of our elected officials; and that evidence that might have convicted high level U.S. government officials of drug trafficking was withheld from senate investigators for "national security" reasons.
    It was a time when "heros" like Colonel Oliver North and other U.S. officials were banned from Costa Rica for "drug and gun running activities" by that country's very credible, Nobel Prize winning president, Oscar Arias; a time when the DEA agent assigned to Honduras documented 50 tons of cocaine entering the U.S. at the hands of U.S. supported Contras and Honduran military, (half the estimated U.S. cocaine consumption), and was then immediately transferred out of Honduras to get him out of the hair of the Pentagon and CIA; a time when DEA agents like Everett Hatcher and local cops like New York City patrolman Chris Hoban would be gunned down trying to take grams and ounces of drugs off our streets, while our own government aided and abetted in the trafficking of tons.
    It was a time when our President would tell us that "everyone who looks the other way" condoning drug trafficking was "just as guilty" as the drug traffickers. He would then order our troops to invade Panama at a cost of hundreds of innocent lives to arrest a drug dealer whose activities our government had condoned by looking the other way for almost two decades. It was a time when I would witness the intentional destruction of one of the biggest and most far-reaching drug cases in the history of the drug war (Operation Trifecta, the subject of Deep Cover ) because it threatened other U.S. interests deemed more important.
    It was a time when we DEA agents would realize that, as Pogo said, after tracking full circle, "We have found the enemy and he is us."
    A mighty thump brought me back to the present. Al was now pounding a heavy-bag suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the gym. "In a dirty card game," he grunted, jabbing at the bag, "only a fool plays it straight." He punctuated the sentence with a thumping right cross. He turned from the bag shaking his head in frustration. No amount of sweat would lighten the burden all narcotics officers carry. "How do they blame a guy for going bad, when the whole fucking government has gone bad?"
    One of the defenses classically used by people arrested for selling drugs to an undercover agent, is claiming that the conduct of the government's agents was either criminal, immoral, or such that the defendant was enticed into doing something he ordinarily would never have done—entrapment. It seems to me that our government's conduct in its so-called war on drugs has become so criminal and immoral, that anyone arrested for going bad might have a valid entrapment defense.
    What do you think?

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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    I Volunteer to Kidnap Oliver North
    Michael Levine
    Undercover DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was tortured to death slowly by professionals. Every known maximum-pain technique, from electric shocks to his testicles to white hot rods inserted in his rectum, was applied. A doctor stood by to keep him alive. The heart of the thirty-seven year old father of two boys refused to quit for more than twenty-four hours. His cries, along with the soft-spoken, calm voices of the men who were slowly and meticulously savaging his body, were tape-recorded.
    Kiki, one of only three hundred of us in the world (DEA agents on foreign assignment), had been kidnapped in broad daylight from in front of the U.S. Consular office in Guadalajara, Mexico by Mexican cops working for drug traffickers and, apparently, high level Mexican government people whose identities we would never know. They would be protected by people in our own government to whom Kiki's life meant less than nothing.
    When teams of DEA agents were sent to Mexico, first, to find the missing Kiki, then to hunt for his murderers, they were met by a the stone wall of a corrupt Mexican government that refused to cooperate. To the horror and disgust of many of us, our government backed down from the Mexicans; other interests, like NAFTA, banking agreements and the covert support of Ollie North's Contras, were more important than the life of an American undercover agent. DEA agents were ordered by the Justice Department, to keep our mouths shut about Mexico; an order that was backed up by threats from the office of Attorney General Edwin Meese himself. Instead of tightening restrictions on the Mexican debt, our Treasury Department moved to loosen them as if to reward them for their filthy deed. As an added insult Mexico was granted cooperating nation in the drug war status, giving them access to additional millions in American drug war funds and loans.
    Somehow a CIA—unaware that their own chief of Soviet counter intelligence, Aldrich Ames, was selling all America's biggest secrets to the KGB for fourteen years with all the finesse of a Jersey City garage sale—was able to obtain the tape-recordings of Kiki's torture death. No one in media or government had the courage to publicly ask them explain how they were able to obtain the tapes, yet know nothing of the murder as it was happening; no one had the courage to ask them to explain the testimony of a reliable government informant, (during a California trial related to Camarena's murder), that Kiki's murderers believed they were protected by the CIA. Nor did our elected leaders have the courage to investigate numerous other reports linking the CIA directly to the murderers.
    Our government's sellout of Kiki Camarena, of all DEA agents, of the war on drugs, was such that United States Congressman, Larry Smith, stated, on the floor of Congress:
    "I personally am convinced that the Justice Department is against the best interests of the United States in terms of stopping drugs... What has a DEA agent who puts his life on the line got to look forward to? The U.S. Government is not going to back him up. I find that intolerable."
    What does Oliver North have to do with this?
    A lot of us, Kiki's fellow agents, believe that the Mexican government never would have dared take the action they did, had they not believed the US government to be as hypocritical and corrupt as they were and still are. And if there was ever a figure in our history that was the paradigm of that corruption it is the man President Reagan called "an American hero"; the same man Nancy Reagan later called a liar: Oliver North.
    No one person in our government's history more embodied what Senator John Kerry referred to when he called the US protection of the drug smuggling Contras a "betrayal of the American people."
    Few Americans, thanks to what one time CIA chief William Colby referred to as the news media's "misplaced sense of patriotism," are aware that the Nobel prize winning President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias—as a result of an in-depth investigation by the Costa Rican Congressional Commission on Narcotics that found "virtually all [Ollie North supported] Contra factions were involved in drug trafficking"—banned Oliver North, U.S. Ambassador Lewis Tambs, National Security Advisor Admiral John Poindexter, Presidential Advisor Richard Secord and C.I.A. station chief José Fernandez, by Executive order, from ever entering Costa Rica— for their roles in utilizing Costa Rican territory for cocaine trafficking.

    In fact, when Costa Rica began its investigation into the drug trafficking allegations against North and naively thought that the U.S. would gladly lend a hand in efforts to fight drugs, they received a rude awakening about the realities of America's war on drugs as opposed to its "this-scourge-will-end" rhetoric.
    After five witnesses testified before the U.S. Senate, confirming that John Hull—a C.I.A. operative and the lynch-pin of North's contra re supply operation—had been actively running drugs from Costa Rica to the U.S. "under the direction of the C.I.A.," Costa Rican authorities arrested him. Hull then quickly jumped bail and fled to the U.S.—according to my sources—with the help of DEA, putting the drug fighting agency in the schizoid business of both kidnapping accused drug dealers and helping them escape; although the Supreme Court has not legalized the latter . . . yet.
    The then President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias was stunned when he received letters from nineteen U.S. Congressman—including Lee Hamilton of Indiana, the Democrat who headed the Iran-contra committee—warning him "to avoid situations . . . that could adversely affect our relations." Arias, who won the Nobel prize for ending the contra war, stated that he was shocked that "relations between [the United States] and my country could deteriorate because [the Costa Rican] legal system is fighting against drug trafficking."
    In my twenty-five years experience with DEA which includes running some of their highest level international drug trafficking investigations, I have never seen an instance of comparable allegations where DEA did not set up a multi-agency task force size operation to conduct an in-depth conspiracy investigation. Yet in the case of Colonel North and the other American officials, no investigation whatsoever has been initiated by DEA or any other investigative agency.
    The total "public" investigation into the drug allegations by the Senate was falsely summed up in the statement of a staffer, on the House select committee, Robert A. Bermingham who notified Chairman Hamilton on July 23, 1987, that after interviewing "hundreds" of people his investigation had not developed any corroboration of "media-exploited allegations that the U.S. government condoned drug trafficking by contra leaders . . . or that Contra leaders or organizations did in fact take part in such activity." Every government official accused of aiding and covering up for the contra drug connection, Colonel Ollie included, then hung his hat on this statement, claiming they had been "cleared."
    The only trouble was that investigative journalists, Leslie and Andrew Cockburn—after interviewing many of the chief witnesses whose testimony implicated North and the contras in drug trafficking, including several whose testimony was later found credible enough to be used to convict Manuel Noriega—could find not one who had been interviewed by Bermingham or his staff. In fact, the two journalists seem to have caught Bermingham red-handed in what can only be described, at best, as a gross misrepresentation of fact, when he (Bermingham) quoted the chief counsel of a House Judiciary subcommittee, Hayden Gregory as dismissing the drug evidence and calling it "street talk." Gregory told the Cockburns that the "street talk" comment was taken out of context; that he had not even met Bermingham until July 22 (two days before Bermingham wrote the report) and that he had in fact told Bermingham that there were "serious allegations against almost every contra leader."
    When President Bush said, "All those who look the other way are as guilty as the drug dealers," he was not only talking about a moral guilt, but a legal one as well. Thus, if any U.S. official knew of North and the contra's drug activities and did not take proper action, or covered up for it, he is "guilty" of a whole series of crimes that you to go to jail for; crimes that carry a minimum jail term; crimes like Aiding and Abetting, Conspiracy, Misprision of a Felony, Perjury, and about a dozen other violations of law related to misuse and malfeasance of public office. I'm not talking about some sort of shadow conspiracy here. As a veteran, criminal investigator I don't deal in speculation. I document facts and evidence and then work like hell to corroborate my claims so that I can send people to jail.
    What I am talking about is "Probable Cause"—a legal principle that every junior agent and cop is taught before he hits the street. It mandates that an arrest and/or criminal indictment must occur when there exists evidence that would give any "reasonable person" grounds to believe, that anyone— U.S. government officials included—had violated or conspired to violate federal narcotic laws. Any U.S. government law enforcement officer or elected official who fails to take appropriate action when such Probable Cause exists, is in violation of his oath as well as federal law; and under that law it takes surprisingly little evidence for a Conspiracy conviction.
    As an example, early in my career I arrested a man named John Clements, a twenty-two year old, baby-faced guitar player, who happened to be present at the transfer of three kilos of heroin—an amount that doesn't measure up to a tiny percentage of the many tons of cocaine, (as much as one half the U.S. cocaine consumption), that North and his Contras have been accused of pouring onto our streets. Clements was a silent observer in a trailer parked in the middle of a Gainesville, Florida swamp, while a smuggler—whom I had arrested hours earlier in New York City and "flipped" (convinced to work as an informer for me)— turned the heroin over to the financier of the operation. Poor John Clements, a friend of both men, a "gofer" as he would later be described, was just unlucky enough to be there.
    The twenty-two year old guitar player couldn't claim "national security," when asked to explain his presence, nor could he implicate a President of the United States in his criminal activities as Colonel North did. John Clements wrote no self-incriminating computer notes that indicated his deep involvement in drug trafficking, as North did; he didn't have hundreds of pages of diary notes in his own handwriting also reflecting narcotics trafficking. John Clements did not shred incriminating documents and lie to congress as North did; nor was he responsible for millions in unaccounted for U.S. government funds as North was. Clements did not have enough cash hidden in a closet slush fund to pay $14,000 cash for a car, as North did while earning the salary of a Lieutenant Colonel. John Clements only had about $3 and change in his pocket.
    Nor did John Clements campaign for the release from jail of a drug smuggling, murderer whose case was described by the Justice Department as the worst case of narco terrorism in our history, as North did. Poor young John wouldn't have dreamed of making deals with drug dealer Manny Noriega to aid in the support of the drug smuggling Contras, as North did. No, John Clements was certainly not in Ollie North's league, he couldn't have done a millionth of the damage North and his protectors have been accused of doing to the American people, even if he wanted to.
    But John Clements did do something Ollie North never did and probably never will do—he went to jail. A jury of his peers in Gainseville Florida found more than enough evidence to convict him of Conspiracy to violate the federal drug laws. The judge sentenced him to thirty years in a Federal prison. Ollie North on the other hand was only charged with lying to a Congress so mistrusted and disrespected by the American people that he was virtually applauded for the crime.
    Criminality in drug trafficking cases is lot easier than proving whether or not someone lied to Congress and is certainly a lot less "heroic." Statements like "I don't remember," "I didn't know," and "No one told me," or "I sought approval from my superiors for every one of my actions," are only accepted as valid defenses by Congressmen and Senators with difficulties balancing check books—not American jurors trying drug cases. And when you're found guilty you got to jail—you don't run for a seat on the Senate.
    And why would I volunteer to kidnap Ollie? For three reasons: first, kidnapping is now legal; second, I have experience kidnapping; and third, it is the only way those tens of millions of Americans who have suffered the betrayal of their own government will ever see even a glimmer of justice.
    Several years after Kiki's last tape-recorded cries were shoved well under a government rug, a maverick group of DEA agents decided to take the law into their own hands. Working without the knowledge or approval of most of the top DEA bosses, whom they mistrusted, the agents arranged to have Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain, a Mexican citizen alleged to have participated in Kiki's murder, abducted at gun point in Guadalajara Mexico and brought to Los Angeles to stand trial.
    On June 16, 1992, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Machain Decision that the actions of those agents was "legal." The ruling said in no uncertain terms that U.S. law enforcement authorities could literally and figuratively kidnap violators of American drug law in whatever country they found them and drag them physically and against their will to the U.S. to stand trial. Immediately thereafter the Ayatollahs declared that they too could rove the world and kidnap violators of Islamic law and drag them back to Iran to stand trial. Kidnapping, therefore, has now become an accepted tool of law enforcement throughout the world.
    Resorting to all sorts of wild extremes to bring drug traffickers to justice is nothing new for the U.S. government. At various times during my career as a DEA agent I was assigned to some pretty unorthodox operations—nothing quite as radical as invading Panama and killing a thousand innocents to capture long-time CIA asset Manny Noriega—but I was once, (long before the Machain Decision), assigned to a group of undercover agents on a kidnapping mission. Posing as a soccer team, we landed in Argentina in a chartered jet during the wee hours of the morning, where the Argentine Federal Police had three international drug dealers—two of whom had never in their lives set foot in the United States—waiting for us trussed up in straight-jackets with horse feed-bags over their heads, each beaten to a pulpy, toothless mess. In those years we used to call it a "controlled expulsion." I think I like the honesty of kidnapping a little better.
    By now you're probably saying, "Get real Levine you live in a nation whose politicians ripped their own people off for half a trillion dollars in a savings and loan scam, a nation whose Attorney General ordered the FBI to attack a house full of innocent babies, and this is the decade of Ruby Ridge, Waco and Whitewater-gate; your own people sent Kiki Camarena to Mexico to be murdered and then gave aid and comfort to those who murdered him—how can you expect justice?"
    If you aren't saying these things you should be. And you'd be right. Under the current two-party, rip-off system of American politics with their complete control of main stream media, I expect Ollie North to have a bright future in politics, while hundreds of thousands of Americans like John rot in jail. Ollie North, after all, is the perfect candidate. But there is one faint glimmer of hope remaining, and it isn't in America.
    Since the democratic and staunchly anti-drug Costa Rica is, thus far, the only nation with the courage to have publicly accused Oliver North, a US Ambassador and a CIA station chief of running drugs from their sovereignty to the United States, I find myself, duty-bound to make them, or any other nation that would have the courage to make similar charges, the following offer:
    I Michael Levine, twenty-five year veteran undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, given the mandate of the Supreme Court's Machain Decision and in fulfillment of my oath to the U.S. government and its taxpayers to arrest and seize all those individuals who would smuggle or cause illegal drugs to be smuggled into the United States or who would aid and abet drug smugglers, do hereby volunteer my services to any sovereign, democratic nation who files legal Drug Trafficking charges against Colonel Oliver North and any of his cohorts; to do everything in my power including kidnapping him, seizing his paper shredder, reading him his constitutional rights and dragging his butt to wherever that sovereignty might be, (with or without horse feed-bag); to once-and-for-all stand trial for the horrific damages caused to my country, my fellow law enforcement officers, and to my family.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #31 

    Former AUSA Robert Merkle admits that Medellin Cartel leader Carlos Lehder may be free. Lehder's wife Coral Baca admits he is "back in business selling drugs to the Russians for the CIA"

    Part 1

    Part 2

    HOSTAGES: A Multi-Part FTW Special Investigation

    Medellin Cartel Co-Founder Carlos Lehder A Free Man in Gov't. Charade? -- Wife of Drug Lord Speaks
    (excerpts from the article)

    Carlos Lehder remains the only cartel head to have ever been extradited to, then tried, convicted and sentenced to life plus 135 years in, the United States. Prosecutors agree that Panamanian strongman General Manuel Antonio Noriega - against whom Lehder testified in return for a reduced sentence of 55 "non-paroleable" years in 1989 - was merely one of Lehder's employees.

    Other new material indicating that Lehder, after his 1987 arrest and extradition, provided information to the DEA that assisted in Escobar's downfall has been characterized by his prosecutor, former US Attorney Robert Merkle, as nearly worthless. "That's BS. We didn't need his help to get Escobar," says Merkle.

    As disclosed in this first of a series of special reports, I have now amassed a sizeable body of documents, records, witness statements and even a tape recording of Lehder's alleged wife indicating that Carlos Lehder is a free man who has kept his money, who travels the world freely and who makes a mockery of any notion that he might be a federally protected witness - hiding to ensure his safety or the safety of his family. One telling clue to Lehder's apparent lack of fear is the fact that he is listed by name in 411 directory assistance in La Fayette, California, just outside San Francisco. My researcher, while looking for other information, came across the listing and sent it to me. I was able to confirm it as a listing for the Carlos Lehder - not a coincidence - through confidential sources who know Lehder's self-professed wife, Coral Marie Talavera Baca Lehder. And I have spoken to Coral by calling her at that number myself. Mrs. Lehder was, until June 22, a manager for the insurance giant AIG in San Francisco. [Subsequent segments of this special series will focus on investigations into allegations of money laundering by AIG with and through the Arkansas Development Financial Authority in 1987 - the same year Lehder was originally captured].


    On various trips and a meeting where Fourmy videotaped an interview with me, he almost boasted about the fact that Baca was engaged to Carlos Lehder. He claimed to have been the one who "introduced" Baca to Webb by giving her Webb's office phone number. It bothered me. But I was broke, unemployed due to an injury, and unable to do anything but ask, "Doesn't that bother you a little?"

    I met with Patrick maybe three times between then and the summer of 1998. At one time he told of having actually met Lehder whom he repeatedly said was out of prison. Other confidential sources, close to the Lehders, have told me that Fourmy actually visited "the house" and videotaped an interview with Carlos Lehder. I didn't see Patrick much after that. Contacted with written questions for this story by e-mail and fax at his Santa Barbara offices, Fourmy has not responded to my requests for comment. I have been unable to locate a working phone number for him.

    --Retired LAPD Narcotics Detective Mike Ruppert

    Maxine Waters -- From the web site of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D), California:

    "I also had numerous telephone conversations with Coral Talavera Baca, the girlfriend of Rafael Cornejo, who was a relative and part of Norwin Meneses' drug trafficking organization, as well as a long-time business partner of Danilo Blandon, another central figure in the "Dark Alliance" series. I received information from Ms. Baca and Mr. Cornejo who were connected to Carlos Lehder, a Colombian drug dealer and co-founder of the Medellin Cartel. It was through Lehder's private island that the Medellin Cartel moved massive amounts of cocaine to Miami and the United States. Ms Baca had visited Carlos Lehder's private island and have [sic] information regarding the connection between Mr. Lehder and Norwin Meneses." -- http://www.house.gov/waters/31698pr.htm. Contacted for comment, Waters' office had not responded at press time.

    Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reporter Bill Moushey, who has perhaps spent more time tracking Lehder than any American journalist, wrote in 1996, " In it [a 1987 federal detention order] the U.S. government says Lehder and others were responsible for assassinating Colombia's Justice Minister in 1984; for the 1985 armed attack on Colombia's Supreme Court building that killed 11 justices and 84 other people; for assassinating two newspaper editors in Colombia and 26 other journalists; for shooting the Colombian ambassador to Hungary in 1987; and for a long list of murders of police officers, informants and other government officials."

    Moushey's trail of Lehder grew cold in 1996. "Within weeks of sending that letter [of complaint regarding the government's alleged failure to honor terms of secret plea bargain] last fall [1995], Lehder was whisked away into the night, several protected witnesses at the Mesa Unit in Arizona say. No one has heard from him since." However he has since indicated that, as of late 1995, he believed Lehder to be in prison.

    I have since talked nearly a dozen reporters, prosecutors and others connected to the case. At the same time that they protest that they have received Christmas cards, letters and even phone calls from Lehder indicating that he is still in prison they all - every one of them - have confessed their secret suspicions of a charade intended to fool them and hide a very dark secret. And all of them, without exception, agree that if Lehder is walking free it is time to find him and tell the American people about it.

    The Units also housed one of the most sought after drug Kingpins in the world. Carlos Lehder Rivas, leader of the Medellin Cartel. Lehder admitted to ordering hundreds of killings, including a member of the Colombian Supreme Court, politicians, and reporters. His net worth is over $3 billion yet only $2 million in assets were ever seized. I reviewed Lehder's plea assessment, he was convicted and sentenced to life plus 135 years with no chance for parole. And then he joined the program by agreeing to testify against Manuel Noriega, who in effect worked for Lehder. Federal officials immediately cut Lehder's sentence to 55 years with eligibility for parole. [This eligibility is disputed by a member of Lehder's defense team who spoke on condition of anonymity]. Further sentence reductions made him eligible for deportation to Germany, his homeland. I have been told that Lehder is already in Germany.

    "While in the Unit, Lehder developed new drug smuggling plans for after his release. He talked of a new frontier in the former republics of the Soviet Union. He and [convicted Gambino crime family Capo Sammy the Bull] Gravano talked of forming a partnership in a new cartel using money given to them by our government. They asked me to join them and I turned them down.'


    "I mean it just knocked me for a loop. It scared me. And then the next day she was out by the pool. Patrick [Fourmy] was there. Joe Bosco was there. She came down and sat with us. She was quite open and she said that her company -- a company she owned that I later found out was Capital Investment Group -- was owned by five of the largest drug dealers in South America. She was very agitated at the government and she said that the government had contacted Carlos and told him to 'put that ***** on a leash.' That, said Castillo, was probably because of her openness in talking about the fact that Carlos was out of prison and her public appearances with Webb.

    "I remember that I was introduced to her by Fourmy," says the retired DEA agent who has served in Peru and Central America. "She said, straight out, that she was engaged to Carlos Lehder. I couldn't believe it! What was she doing here? I asked her, 'What's Carlos doing now?' and she said, 'Oh, he's out of jail and selling drugs to the Russians for the CIA.'
    --Retired DEA agent Celerino Castillo III's conversation with Coral Baca


    Robert Merkle -- "I know that Lehder, right after he was arrested, tried to cut a deal directly with Bush and the FBI - which conversations I was excluded from. There's a lot of stuff that went on that was questionable.I've been speculating for years that Lehder was free but I figured he'd be in Germany or some tax haven with his money, which he still has. One of the major things that was a red flag in terms of indicating that he made a deal was that Lehder wasn't required to turn over his assets... If I'm a U.S. Attorney or an Attorney General and the only member of the Medellin Cartel to be prosecuted in the US, facing life plus 120 years in jail, wants a deal, the first thing he's going to talk to me about is money....."

    "I've been speculating for years that Lehder was free. Why am I not surprised? If Lehder is out of jail I would be extremely disappointed. It would send some very bad signals. It's pretty tragic. There's a lot of kids in jail for the rest of their lives -- I'm talking kids -- and a lot of them are minorities for insignificant drug offenses compared to what he did," says Lehder prosecutor and former US Attorney Robert Merkle

    Texas is a One-Party State

    Far and away Celerino Castillo's allegations are the most outrageous. They demand a level of scrutiny beyond the denials or silence of the other parties involved.

    Under Texas state law, unlike Maryland where tape recordings of phone conversations unauthorized by both parties proved the undoing of Monica Lewinsky and resulted in legal action against Linda Tripp, Texas is a state where only one party to any telephone conversation need grant permission before recording a call. As a result of a number of investigations connecting to the CIA in which he was then involved, Castillo had his telephone set up to automatically record all incoming calls. This proved fateful when he received a call from Coral in April of 1999. Castillo and Baca had been in touch infrequently since the June, 1998 fund raiser. Baca had been suggesting that she might be able to get Castillo work as an investigative consultant on a legal case connecting to the CIA in San Francisco and had even paid one phone bill for him in the preceding months as a partial expense payment for that case. Castillo's early retirement had resulted from his efforts to expose CIA involvement in Contra-connected drug trafficking during the eighties and has been documented in his 1994 book POWDERBURNS - Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War.

    In June, 2001 I traveled to San Antonio Texas where I met Castillo and obtained a copy of one of his "Baca" tapes. He says there are others he is holding as "insurance against any challenges against me" and that the one he provided me has had certain sections of the conversation removed for the same reason. [Beginning in August 2001 I will place selected excerpts of this tape, converted to MP3 format, on the From The Wilderness web site at http://www.copvcia.com. -- See Investigation Notes at the end of this story.] Having spoken to her on the phone several times since January 2001 I instantly recognized the voice on the tape. It was definitely the Coral that I had met.

    Following are excerpts from the forty-plus minute conversation: (CC designates Celerino Castillo. CB designates Coral Baca. Certain segments of the tape have been edited to protect innocent third parties and to save space.)

    CB: WeÕre living in both places now. WeÕre in Florida now. We did have, we still have the house in Boca Chica. But weÕve also got one in Coconut Grove.

    CC: Oh. Good.

    CB: So it works out really, really nicely. IÕm here three days a week.

    CC: Then youÕre flying back.

    CB: ÉSo it works out really, really nicely actually. I thought it was going to be exhausting but itÕs not. ItÕs really kind of nice because when IÕm here I really have some time to myself, you know, running the business [AIG]. I shouldnÕt say that, running the office.

    CC: Oops.

    CB: TheyÕll turn that [laughs]. That is a great one.

    CC: [Laughs] Ooh - running the business.

    CB: IÕve got to be very careful what I say, you know. Yeah, but um, itÕs really nice. If you ever get down there youÕre more than welcome to come and visit and stay. I love Florida. It's really beautiful.


    CB: You know because I hear things, like there are going to be hearings on this mess [The Gary Webb Dark Alliance series]. Let me tell you something. IÕll tell you something and IÕve heard it from people who have been informed by very reliable people in the government. No there wonÕt. No there wonÕt be any more hearings.

    CC: But even if there were any hearingsÉ

    CB: ItÕs just going to be a joke.


    CB: I've read such ugly articles lately. We attended some benefit. And somebody wrote an article and they titled it Beauty and the Beast. Is thatÉ

    CC: God Damn...

    CB: Is that fucking cruel? I mean like he is like the nicest man, the most generous man I have ever met. And to call him a beast?

    CC: What newspaper was that?

    CB: Oh, who the hell knows. I don't even know. I get so upset that people keep these things from meÉ. How about all the money he gave me to start an orphanage in Mexico.


    CB: He was out of jail before I went to Gary.

    CC: Oh yeah, well I know that was in, we know, during the Panama thing.

    CB: Well no. He was released in 95. In March of 95. I didnÕt go to Gary until June - or July - of 1996. [NOTE: This date is disputed by both Webb and me. It would have given him roughly six weeks to write the entire Dark Alliance series.]


    CB: Do you know a DEA Agent named Rafael Salcedo or Armando Medina.

    CC: Yeah, those names sound very familiar.

    CB: Those guys used to moonlight for the CIA all the time.

    CC: Yeah, thereÕs a lot of them. The last one I heard was Juan Perez who was a CubanÉ

    CB: I know who he is, of courseÉ

    CB: We just saw Robert Vesco.

    CC: Who?

    CB: Vesco, Robert.

    CC: What about him?

    CB: We just went and saw him when we were in Cuba.

    CC: Is he under house arrest? Cause thatÕs what I heard.

    CB: What a great man. A Sweetheart.

    CC: [Laughing] HowÕs Fidel doing?É

    [CB: We had gone down once maybe a year or so ago and I met him [Vesco] for the first time then. And then when we

    went back this time I met him againÉI mean heÕs old and he walks with a cane. HeÕs just a sweetheart though.

    ThatÕs what Fidel did for him. He took him in because the United States was ready to just nab him. I mean you know how the United States is. They kidnap people and they call it extradition.

    CC: So, is Carlos still playing ball withÉ?

    CB: He has nothing to do with the business.


    CB: In fact weÕre having a birthday party this weekend. What are you doing this weekend? IÕm 29 - again. [Laughs] A little party. Just a hundred of our closest friends. It's going

    to be really, really fun. I think Julio Iglesias. He's going to sing. He's like my all time favorite. He's in Florida anyway.


    [Baca enters into a lengthy discussion regarding a suspect who had allegedly burglarized her e-mail accounts. Because these are criminal allegations and I have been unable to ascertain the validity of the charges I have omitted references to the named suspect.]

    CB: Because of Carlos' situation the State Department called in the FBI to find out who was doing thisÉ And then he got into my e-mail account, my Coral Lehder e-mail account, and they were e-mailing Carlos from my e-mail accountÉ

    CB: He got into our e-mail account and was reading all of my correspondence with, back and forth between Carlos and me.

    CC: How did he do that?

    CB: Well itÕs not too hard if youÕre close to somebody. ItÕs not too hard if you know what words are important É

    CC: Oh my God. So, what did the FBIÉ Are they going to bring any charges?

    CB: See, thereÕs another point of contention. My other half is very pissed off and me, no, IÕm not going to do that. He has to live with the fact that what he did [was] wrongÉ

    CC: So the FBI came and theyÉ

    CB: The State Department, once I found out that my e-mail was being broken into, I told Carlos. And Carlos said,

    "You know what, it makes sense "Because I knew that some of my e-mails just werenÕt right." HeÕs like, "I knew somebody had looked at them." So he called in I guess, whoever he has to report to, itÕs a matter of his national security status, that his security might have been jeopardized. And the Feds got involved, you know, because they called in the Feds. - It was an ugly ordeal. Do you know that we had to go to a safe house, because they didnÕt know who it was? É

    CB: There were never wedding invitations... I never sent out wedding invitations. What was sent out after was like notifications... You got the one that said, "Please extend her every courtesy as my wife..."

    ."I had several conversation with Coral," says Castillo. "There is no doubt in my mind that Lehder is out of prison. None whatsoever. I received an e-mail from Carlos personally, in the summer of 1998, that invited me to come to the wedding that fall. Carlos had taken her out of the country for personal reasons. I also received an e-mail from Coral under a separate account. The address was snowqueen@hotmail.com. I can't get to those e-mails now because my old computer is broken and I don't have the money to fix it. But she was clear on many occasions that Carlos was out. She talked about travelling all over with him. Why would they have invited me to the house, or to visit them in the Bahamas if it weren't true? What if I had said yes? They were going to pay for it but I didn't go. I didn't want to compromise myself.

    "I think Coral is really against the government and the war on drugs. She has family in jail and she spoke to me I think because of the price I paid for what I did. I believe that she hates the CIA."

    Asked about the possibility of an elaborate ruse by Baca, Castillo replied, "Look. You almost have to go to more trouble to justify the notion that he's in prison than you do to justify the position that he's out. What could Coral possibly have gained from all this effort to make certain people think so? They both hate the government and would love to make it look bad. She had a powerful position at AIG that would be jeopardized if she were exposed as making this up. Why would someone go to all this trouble to make people think she's his wife? It's not something you would put on a resumé. It has drawn attention to Lehder rather than steer it away. What does she gain by that? I know that some people insist he's still in jail but why won't the government just say so? Instead you have this big mystery that only deepens the legend. Who benefits from that? Who profits from the confusion? And the government would have found out about it. That's why I think the government went to Carlos and said to put a leash on her."

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #32 
    Investigative journalist Gary Webb speaks to a packed house on the CIA's connection to drug trafficking, and the failure of the media to expose the truth.

    by Charles Overbeck
    Matrix Editor


    (excerpt/ intro)

    On January 16, 1999, Webb spoke to a packed house at the First United Methodist Church in Eugene, Oregon. Approximately 300 people listened with rapt attention as Webb recounted his investigation of the CIA's connections to contra drug trafficking. Webb's presentation was followed by an intense question-and-answer session, during which he candidly answered questions about the "Dark Alliance" controversy, his departure from the San Jose Mercury News, and CIA/contra/crack secrets that still await revelation.

    It was a fascinating exchange packed with detailed information on this developing case. Webb spoke eloquently, with the ease and confidence of an investigator who has spent many long hours researching his subject, and many more hours working to share this information with the public. ParaScope operatives were fortunate to be in attendance, and we've prepared the following roundup for those who haven't had an opportunity yet to hear Webb speak.

    Links to .WAV-format sound clips are inserted below adjacent to their corresponding text. Click the 11-kHz version for optimal clarity; click the 5-kHz version if you're on a slow connection.

    (excerpt of speech)
    And the other thing that came out just recently, which nobody seems to know about, because it hasn't been reported -- the CIA Inspector General went before Congress in March and testified that yes, they knew about it. They found some documents that indicated that they knew about it, yeah. I was there, and this was funny to watch, because these Congressmen were up there, and they were ready to hear the absolution, right? "We had no evidence that this was going on..." And this guy sort of threw 'em a curve ball and admitted that it had happened.

    One of the people said, well geez, what was the CIA's responsibility when they found out about this? What were you guys supposed to do? And the Inspector General sort of looked around nervously, cleared his throat and said, "Well... that's kind of an odd history there." And Norman Dix from Washington, bless his heart, didn't let it go at that. He said, "Explain what you mean by that?" And the Inspector General said, well, we were looking around and we found this document, and according to the document, we didn't have to report this to anybody. And they said, "How come?" And the IG said, we don't know exactly, but there was an agreement made in 1982 between Bill Casey -- a fine American, as we all know [laughter from the audience] -- and William French Smith, who was then the Attorney General of the United States. And they reached an agreement that said if there is drug trafficking involved by CIA agents, we don't have to tell the Justice Department. Honest to God. Honest to God. Actually, this is now a public record, this document. Maxine Waters just got copies of it, she's putting it on the Congressional Record. It is now on the CIA's web site, if you care to journey into that area. If you do, check out the CIA Web Site for Kids, it's great, I love it. [Laugher from the audience.] I kid you not, they've actually got a web page for kids.

    The other thing about this agreement was, this wasn't just like a thirty-day agreement -- this thing stayed in effect from 1982 until 1995. So all these years, these agencies had a gentleman's agreement that if CIA assets or CIA agents were involved in drug trafficking, it did not need to be reported to the Justice Department.

    So I think that eliminates any questions that drug trafficking by the contras was an accident, or was a matter of just a few rotten apples. I think what this said was that it was anticipated by the Justice Department, it was anticipated by the CIA, and steps were taken to ensure that there was a loophole in the law, so that if it ever became public knowledge, nobody would be prosecuted for it.

    The other thing is, when George Bush pardoned -- remember those Christmas pardons that he handed out when he was on his way out the door a few years ago? The media focused on old Caspar Weinberger, got pardoned, it was terrible. Well, if you looked down the list of names at the other pardons he handed out, there was a guy named Clair George, there was a guy named Al Fiers, there was another guy named Joe Fernández. And these stories sort of brushed them off and said, well, they were CIA officials, we're not going to say much more about it. These were the CIA officials who were responsible for the contra war. These were the men who were running the contra operation. And the text of Bush's pardon not only pardons them for the crimes of Iran-contra, it pardons them for everything. So, now that we know about it, we can't even do anything about it. They all received presidential pardons.


    Voice From the Audience: You talked about George Bush pardoning people. Given George Bush's history with the CIA, do you know when he first knew about this, and what he knew?

    Gary Webb: Well, I didn't at the time I wrote the book, I do now. The question was, when did George Bush first know about this? The CIA, in its latest report, said that they had prepared a detailed briefing for the vice president -- I think it was 1985? -- on all these allegations of contra drug trafficking and delivered it to him personally. So, it's hard for George to say he was out of the loop on this one.

    I'll tell you another thing, one of the most amazing things I found in the National Archives was a report that had been written by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa -- I believe it was 1987. They had just busted a Colombian drug trafficker named Allen Rudd, and they were using him as a cooperating witness. Rudd agreed to go undercover and set up other drug traffickers, and they were debriefing him.

    Now, let me set the stage for you. When you are being debriefed by the federal government for use as an informant, you're not going to go in there and tell them crazy-sounding stories, because they're not going to believe you, they're going to slap you in jail, right? What Rudd told them was, that he was involved in a meeting with Pablo Escobar, who was then the head of the Medellín cartel. They were working out arrangements to set up cocaine shipments into South Florida. He said Escobar started ranting and raving about that damned George Bush, and now he's got that South Florida Drug Task Force set up which has really been making things difficult, and the man's a traitor. And he used to deal with us, but now he wants to be president and thinks that he's double-crossing us. And Rudd said, well, what are you talking about? And Escobar said, we made a deal with that guy, that we were going to ship weapons to the contras, they were in there flying weapons down to Columbia, we were unloading weapons, we were getting them to the contras, and the deal was, we were supposed to get our stuff to the United States without any problems. And that was the deal that we made. And now he double-crossed us.

    So the U.S. Attorney heard this, and he wrote this panicky memo to Washington saying, you know, this man has been very reliable so far, everything he's told us has checked out, and now he's saying that the Vice President of the United States is involved with drug traffickers. We might want to check this out. And it went all the way up -- the funny thing about government documents is, whenever it passes over somebody's desk, they have to initial it. And this thing was like a ladder, it went all the way up and all the way up, and it got up to the head of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department, and he looked at it and said, looks like a job for Lawrence Walsh! And so he sent it over to Walsh, the Iran-contra prosecutor, and he said, here, you take it, you deal with this. And Walsh's office -- I interviewed Walsh, and he said, we didn't have the authority to deal with that. We were looking at Ollie North. So I said, did anybody investigate this? And the answer was, "no." And that thing sat in the National Archives for ten years, nobody ever looked at it.

    Voice From the Audience: Is that in your book?

    Gary Webb: Yeah.

    Voice From the Audience: Thank you.

    Audience Member #1: Well, first of all, I'd like to thank you for pursuing this story, you have a lot of guts to do it.

    [Applause from the audience.]

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #33 

    Reprinted from the New Federalist
    Celerino "Cele" Castillo is a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent stationed in Central America during the 1980s. During his years in El Salvador and Guatemala, Castillo was an eye-witness to drug and arms trafficking operations supervised by the CIA on behalf of the FDN -- the Nicaraguan Contras. C-123 transports regularly flew into El Salvador's Ilopango Air Base; weapons from the U.S. were exchanged for vast quantities of cocaine, a cozy arrangement with profits for all.

    TARPLEY: What did George Bush know, and when did he know it?

    CASTILLO: Before my arrival in Guatemala, we had received intelligence that the Contras were heavily involved in narcotics trafficking. Basically, I was forewarned by the country attache' in Guatemala, Bob Stia, upon my arrival, that there was a covert operation being conducted by the White House, and run by Oliver North at Ilopango in El Salvador.

    TARPLEY: So this was your official superior in the DEA?

    CASTILLO: That's correct.

    TARPLEY: And the first thing he did when you arrived in the country was to tell you: Look, this is now the scene of a covert operation with Oliver North, and they're running drugs.

    CASTILLO: That's correct, and since we had obtained intelligence already about the Contras being heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, he advised me to stay away from it and not to get involved in the investigation, because that would mean that if I started reporting that information to Washington, I would be kicked out of El Salvador and Guatemala very quickly.

    TARPLEY: Now, when you say the "Contras," does that mean “all” the Contras? Were there groups that were more into it, that were less into it? Was there Calero, were there others in that group?

    CASTILLO: It was a universal thing. The DEA refused to accept that answer, but we had intelligence gathered from all parts of Central and South America in regard to the narcotics trafficking going on. We had cables from the country attache', Bobby Nieves in Costa Rica, advising us to look into Hangars 4 and 5 at Ilopango. And of course, Hangars 4 and 5 were bought and paid for by the U.S. government -- the CIA and the National Security Council.

    TARPLEY: Ilopango Airport: What is that? Is that a large commercial airport?

    CASTILLO: No. Ilopango Airport is the military airport with civilian small planes that arrive at Ilopango. And it's a military base, but most international pilots who fly small planes get to arrive at Ilopango.

    TARPLEY: Tell us what the atmosphere was at Ilopango in the middle of this Contra dirty war, 1985, '86, '87.

    CASTILLO: We had major narcotics trafficking going through Ilopango from Costa Rica, which is further south. We had obtained a lot of intelligence. We had an informant placed at Ilopango who actually did the flight plans for the Contra pilots, and everybody spoke freely about the loads that they carried, the monies that they took to the Bahamas and to Panama for laundering.

    All this was reported to the U.S. Embassy, to the CIA, to Washington, DEA headquarters; and nobody wanted to do anything about it.

    TARPLEY: Tell me just briefly: what kinds of planes were these, where were they coming from, where were they going?

    CASTILLO: The cable that we received from Costa Rica in April of 1986 came in from the country attache', Bobby Nieves, like I stated before, and was for us to check Hangars 4 and 5, that they had very reliable information pertaining to the trafficking from around Central and South America into those two hangars.

    It turned out that of those two hangars, one was run by the CIA, and the other one was run by Felix Rodriguez, who ran the Contra operation at Ilopango.

    TARPLEY: These, then, were not jets that you would see at an American airfield, but these were smaller planes?

    CASTILLO: Yes, smaller planes, like Caravans, Pipers, Cessnas. They were coming in without being inspected by the Customs officials, or anybody else.

    As it turned out, the informant who did the flight plans actually gave us copies of all the flight plans of all these Contra pilots, and when we ran checks on the names of all these pilots, they were all documented in DEA files as narco-traffickers. Yet they were being hired by the CIA, Felix Rodriguez, and everybody else, who were trying to obtain U.S. visas for them to go to the U.S. -- even though they were documented traffickers.

    TARPLEY: So, these planes would then fly north. Could they make it all the way to Miami?

    CASTILLO: They would go to Miami, they would go to Texas. They were going to California; anywhere that they were able.

    For example, a Contra pilot was arrested in late '85 in south Texas with five-and-a-half million dollars cash. It was Contra money. You know, you carry credentials from the President of El Salvador, from the Chief of Staffs in El Salvador, the Chief of the Air Force and so forth; they were all very well protected, and every single pilot talked about how they had permission to run narcotics, because they were working for the Oliver North Contra operation.

    TARPLEY: Now, you've mentioned Felix Rodriguez, Max Gomez... Certainly, Felix Rodriguez has been with George Bush for a very, very long time, and what you can see in that book is, he's got a signed photograph from George Bush telling him what a great patriot he is. Would you agree with that judgement on Felix Rodriguez/Max Gomez?

    CASTILLO: No, sir. If you go back to the Vietnam War, we have intelligence where the CIA and those individuals were heavily involved in trafficking heroin into the U.S. in bodybags and so forth.

    So, Felix Rodriguez was documented, in our DEA files, as a trafficker. He was a retired CIA agent, and they brought all these people who were heavily involved. If you go back, most of these Bay of Pigs operatives were all documented traffickers, who all served time for narcotics trafficking, for gun-running. They were all criminals; yet, they were being hired by the Oliver North Contra operation to run the illegal narcotics trafficking out of Ilopango [Airport].

    TARPLEY: Now, Felix Rodriguez has a DEA file.

    CASTILLO: That's correct, sir. I myself documented him involved in trafficking with the Contras, and so forth.

    TARPLEY: Does Oliver North have a DEA file?

    CASTILLO: That's correct, sir. As a matter of fact, there's a 1991 file on Oliver North for smuggling weapons from the U.S. into the Philippines with known narcotics traffickers, and I'm talking about a 1991 case. I'm not going back to the Contra issue.

    TARPLEY: This is “after” the television appearance, after the great 1987 celebrity parade?

    CASTILLO: That's correct, sir. Absolutely.

    TARPLEY: Can you make a Freedom of Information Act request, to get hold of Oliver North's DEA file?

    CASTILLO: I tried that already, and they cited the privacy act. I asked for my own files, that I wrote on the Contras and different individuals, and these requests were denied.

    TARPLEY: So, I can imagine that there would be a lot of voters around Virginia and elsewhere who would like to have a look at Oliver North's DEA file again, with an incident from 1991?

    CASTILLO: That's correct. One of the questions I've always been asked is, Why can't the White House get that?

    Somebody else has to answer that. I don't know. It's there. They just need to get that. That file is out of the Washington office here in Washington, D.C.

    TARPLEY: That certainly makes you think twice.

    Now, did you ever see Felix Rodriguez running around Ilopango?

    CASTILLO: Yes, sir. I saw him running around Ilopango. I used to see him around the U.S. Embassy, having lunch with the ambassador and others. Col. Steele from the U.S. Military Group [was] down there. I saw him everywhere...

    TARPLEY: Could you just give us an idea of what kinds of people were telling you about these activities, and what they were telling you?

    CASTILLO: Well, go back to Ilopango. We had an informant who had worked there, at Ilopango, for many years. He had given reliable information to the Consulate General there, Robert Chavez, at the U.S. Embassy, and some cocaine had been seized before. So, this guy was very reliable. He had been reporting all this activity on the Contras.

    We had another informant who was also placed to work at Ilopango, Salvador, and Guatemala, who was a documented informer going back to 1981, who gave us a lot of the intelligence that we had on this Contra operation.

    TARPLEY: Let's now turn to what you did with the information that you got, and how you reported it. I understand from your book that one of the first people you tried to tell about this was the U.S. ambassador to Salvador, Edwin Corr.

    CASTILLO: That's correct. Once we obtained a lot of the intelligence and we started writing reports, we went to the U.S. ambassador, we went to the CIA Chief of Station, Jack McCavett, in Salvador, and Col. Steele, who was a U.S. Military Group commander.

    There was an individual, an American, who lived in El Salvador, who was a civilian, and as it turns out, he was working for the Oliver North Contra operation. And when we received all this information, we reported it. I personally reported it to my boss, first of all, Bob Stia, who kept forewarning me about my reporting on the Contras because it was going to come back and hurt us in Guatemala.

    TARPLEY: Did he suggest it was going to be bad for your career?

    CASTILLO: It was going to be bad for my career and his career, and he had a couple of years left to retire, and not to make any waves. I told him that if I actually found any evidence, that I would continue to report the allegations that the Contras were involved in trafficking.

    I went to the U.S. ambassador, Edwin Corr. He told me right off that it was a White House covert operation run by Col. Oliver North, and for me to stay away from it... I think people do not know the real fact that he was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking - his organization was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking. And he had knowledge that these people were involved in narcotics trafficking.

    TARPLEY: That knowledge would be sufficient for him to have been convicted?

    CASTILLO: Absolutely. But nobody ever contacted me down in Central America. Now, why? Was there a conspiracy to protect him? Was there a conspiracy to protect the President of the United States, George Bush, or the Vice President at the time? Apparently there was.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #34 
    former U.S. Agent names names and provides file numbers......


    April 27, 1998

    For several years, I fought in the trenches of the front lines of Reagan's "Drug War", trying to stamp out what I considered American's greatest foreign threat. But, when I was posted, in Central and South America from 1984 through 1990, I knew we were playing the "Drug War Follies." While our government shouted "Just Say No !", entire Central and South American nations fell into what are now known as, "Cocaine democracies."

    While with the DEA, I was able to keep journals of my assignments in Central and South America. These journals include names, case file numbers and DEA NADDIS (DEA Master Computer) information to back up my allegations. I have pictures and original passports of the victims that were murdered by CIA assets. These atrocities were done with the approval of the agencies.

    We, ordinary Americans, cannot trust the C.I.A. Inspector General to conduct a full investigation into the CIA or the DEA. Let me tell you why. When President Clinton (June, 1996) ordered The Intelligence Oversight Board to conduct an investigation into allegations that US Agents were involved in atrocities in Guatemala, it failed to investigate several DEA and CIA operations in which U.S. agents knew before hand that individuals (some Americans) were going to be murdered.

    I became so frustrated that I forced myself to respond to the I.O.B report citing case file numbers, dates, and names of people who were murdered. In one case (DEA file # TG-86-0005) several Colombians and Mexicans were raped, tortured and murdered by CIA and DEA assets, with the approval of the CIA. Among those victims identified was Jose Ramon Parra-Iniguez, Mexican passport A-GUC-043 and his two daughters Maria Leticia Olivier-Dominguez, Mexican passport A-GM-8381. Also included among the dead were several Colombian nationals: Adolfo Leon Morales-Arcilia "a.k.a." Adolfo Morales-Orestes, Carlos Alberto Ramirez, and Jiro Gilardo-Ocampo. Both a DEA and a CIA agent were present, when these individuals were being interrogated (tortured). The main target of that case was a Guatemalan Congressman, (Carlos Ramiro Garcia de Paz) who took delivery of 2,404 kilos of cocaine in Guatemala just before the interrogation. This case directly implicated the Guatemalan Government in drug trafficking (The Guatemalan Congressman still has his US visa and continues to travel at his pleasure into the US). To add salt to the wound, in 1989 these murders were investigated by the U.S Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility. DEA S/I Tony Recevuto determined that the Guatemalan Military Intelligence, G-2 (the worst human rights violators in the Western Hemisphere) was responsible for these murders. Yet, the U.S. government continued to order U.S. agents to work hand-in-hand with the Guatemalan Military. This information was never turned over to the I.O.B. investigation. (See attached response)

    I have obtained a letter, dated May 28, 1996, from the DEA administrator, to U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D), Texas. In this letter, the administrator flatly lies, stating that DEA agents "have never engaged in any joint narcotics programs with the Guatemalan Military".

    I was there. I was the leading Agent in Guatemala. 99.9% of DEA operations were conducted with the Guatemalan military. In 1990, the DEA invited a Guatemalan military G-2 officer, Cpt. Fuentez, to attend a DEA narcotic school, which is against DEA policy. I know this for a fact because I worked with this officer for several years and was in Guatemala when he was getting ready to travel to the States.

    Facts of my investigation on CIA-Contras drug trafficking in El Salvador:

    The key to understanding the "crack cocaine" epidemic, which exploded on our streets in 1984, lies in understanding the effect of congressional oversight on covert operations. In this case the Boland amendment(s) of the era, while intending to restrict covert operations as intended by the will of the People, only served to encourage C.I.A., the military and elements of the national intelligence community to completely bypass the Congress and the Constitution in an eager and often used covert policy of funding prohibited operations with drug money.

    As my friend and colleague Michael Ruppert has pointed out through his own experience in the 1970s, CIA has often bypassed congressional intent by resorting to the drug trade (Vietnam, Laos, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc).

    When the Boland Amendment(s) cut the Contras off from a continued U.S. government subsidy, George Bush, his national security adviser Don Gregg, and Ollie North, turned to certain foreign governments, and to private contributions, to replace government dollars. Criminal sources of contributions were not excluded. By the end of 1981, through a series of Executive Orders and National Security Decision Directives, many of which have been declassified, Vice President Bush was placed in charge of all Reagan administration intelligence operations. All of the covert operations carried out by officers of the CIA, the Pentagon, and every other federal agency, along with a rogue army of former intelligence operatives and foreign agents, were commanded by George Bush. Gary Webb (San Jose Mercury News) acknowledged, that he simply had not traced the command structure over the Contras up into the White House, although he had gotten some indications that the operation was not just CIA.

    On Dec. 01, 1981, President Ronald Reagan signed a secret order authorizing the CIA to spend $19.9 million for covert military aid to the recently formed Contras--- hardly enough money to launch a serious military operation against the Cuban and Soviet-backed Sandinista regime.

    In August 1982, George Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser for national security affairs. In late 1984, Gregg introduced Oliver North to Felix Rodriguez, (a retired CIA agent) who had already been working in Central America for over a year under Bush's direction. Gregg personally introduced Rodriguez to Bush on Jan. 22, 1985. Two days after his January 1985 meeting, Rodriguez went to El Salvador and made arrangements to set up his base of operations at Ilopango air base. On Nov. 01, 1984, the FBI arrested Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian and convicted him of smuggling $10.3 million in cocaine into the U.S.

    On Jan. 18, 1985, Rodriguez allegedly met with money-launderer Ramon Milan-Rodriguez, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cartel. Milan testified before a Senate Investigation on the Contras' drug smuggling, that before this 1985 meeting, he had granted Felix Rodriguez's request and given $10 million from the cocaine for the Contras.

    On September 10, 1985, North wrote in his Notebook:

    "Introduced by Wally Grasheim/Litton, Calero/Bermudez visit to Ilopango to estab. log support./maint. (...)"

    In October of 1985, Upon my arrival in Guatemala, I was forewarned by Guatemala DEA, County Attache, Robert J. Stia, that the DEA had received intelligence that the Contras out of Salvador, were involved in drug trafficking. For the first time, I had come face to face with the contradictions of my assignment. The reason that I had been forewarned was because I would be the Lead Agent in El Salvador.

    DEA Guatemalan informant, Ramiro Guerra (STG-81-0013) was in place in Guatemala and El Salvador on "Contra" intelligence. At the time (early 80's), he was a DEA fugitive on "Rico" (Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations) and "CCE" (Continuing Criminal Enterprise) charges out of San Francisco. In 1986, he became an official advisor for the DEA trained El Salvador Narcotics Task Force. In 1989, all federal charges were dropped because of his cooperation with the DEA in Central America. Guerra is still a DEA informant in Guatemala.

    December 1985, CNN reporter Brian Barger broke the story of the Contra's involved in drug trafficking.

    Notes from my Journals & Intelligence Gathering:

    January 13, 1986, I wrote a report on El Salvador under DEA file (GFTG-86-9145).

    January 16, 1986---HK-1217W--Carlos Siva and Tulio Pedras Contra pilots.

    January 23, 1986, GFTG-86-9999, Air Intelligence in "El Salvador" TG-86-0003, Samana and Raul.

    In 1986, I placed an informant (Mario Murga) at the Ilopango airport in El Salvador. He was initiated and wrote the flight plans for most Contra pilots. After their names were submitted into NADDIS, it was revealed that most pilots had already been document in DEA files as traffickers. (See DEA memo by me date 2-14-89.)

    Feb. 05, 1986, I had seized $800,000.00 in cash, 35 kilos of cocaine, and an airplane at Ilopango. DEA # TG-86-0001; Gaitan-Gaitan, Leonel

    March 24, 1986, I wrote a DEA report on the Contra operation. (GFTG-86-4003, Frigorificos de Puntarenas, S.A), US registration aircraft N-68435 (Cessna 402).

    April 17, 86, I wrote a Contra report on Arturo Renick; Johnny Ramirez (Costa Rica). Air craft TI-AQU & BE-60.. GFTG-86-9999; Air Intelligence.

    April 25,26 1986--I met with CIA Felix Vargas in El Salvador (GFTG-86-9145).

    April of 1986, The Consul General of the U.S Embassy in El Salvador (Robert J. Chavez), warned me that CIA agent George Witters was requesting a U.S visa for a Nicaraguan drug trafficker and Contra pilot by the name of Carlos Alberto Amador. (mentioned in 6 DEA files)

    May 14, 1986, I spoke to Jack O'Conner DEA HQS Re: Matta-Ballesteros. (NOTE: Juan Ramon Matta-Ballesteros was perhaps the single largest drug trafficker in the region. Operating from Honduras he owned several companies which were openly sponsored and subsidized by C.I.A.)

    May 26, 1986, Mario Rodolfo Martinez-Murga became an official DEA informant (STG-86-0006). Before that, he had been a sub-source for Ramiro Guerra and Robert Chavez. Under Chavez, Murga's intelligence resulted in the seizure of several hundred kilos of cocaine, (from Ilopango to Florida) making Murga a reliable source of information.

    May 27, 1986, I Met U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alberto Adame in El Salvador. Has knowledge of the Contra Operation at Ilopango. He was in El Salvador from 1984 thru 1987.

    On June 06, 1986, I send a DEA report/telex cable to Washington DEA in regards to Contra pilots, Carlos Amador and Carlos Armando Llamos (Honorary Ambassador from El Salvador to Panama) (N-308P). Llamos had delivered 4 1/2 million dollars to Panama from Ilopango for the Contras. Information was gathered by informant Mario Murga. Leon Portilla-TIANO = Navojo 31 & YS-265-American Pilot: Francisco Viaud. Roberto Gutierrez (N-82161) Mexican (X-AB)

    June 10, 1998, I spoke to CIA agent Manny Brand Re: Sofi Amoury (Cuban Contra operator and Guatemalan Galvis-Pena in Guatemala.

    June 16, 1986-GFTG-86-9999, Air Intel (DEA-6) El Salvador

    Early part of 1986, I received a telex/cable from DEA Costa Rica. SA Sandy Gonzales requested for me to investigate hangers 4 and 5 at Ilopango. DEA Costa Rica had received reliable intelligence that the Contras were flying cocaine into the hangars. Both hangers were owned and operated by the CIA and the National Security Agency. Operators of those two hangars were, Lt. Col. Oliver North and CIA contract agent, Felix Rodriguez, "a.k.a." Max Gomez. (See attached letter by Bryan Blaney (O.I.C.), dated March 28, 1991).

    June 18, 1986, Salvadoran Contra pilot, Francisco "Chico" Guirrola-Beeche (DEA NADDIS # 1585334 and 1744448) had been documented as a drug trafficker. On this date, at 7:30a.m, he departed Ilopango to the Bahamas to air drop monies. On his return trip (June 21) Guirrola arrived with his passengers Alejandro Urbizu & Patricia Bernal. In 1988 Urbizu was arrested in the US in a Cocaine conspiracy case. In 1985 Guirrola was arrested in South Texas (Kleberg County) with 5 and 1/2 million dollars cash, which he had picked up in Los Angeles, California. (U.S. Customs in Dallas/ Ft. Worth had case on him.)

    June 18, 1986, DEA 6 on Air Intelligence, GFTG- 86-9999; El Salvador.

    June 27 & 28, 1986, US Lt. Col. Albert Adame spoke with US Ambassador Edwin Corr re: Narcotics.

    In a July 26, 1986 report to the Congress, on contra-related narcotics allegation, The State Department described the Frogman CASE as follows, "This case gets it's nickname from swimmers who brought cocaine ashore in San Francisco on a Colombian vessel." It focused on a major Colombian cocaine smuggler, ALVARO CARVAJAL-MINOTA, who supplied a number of west coast smugglers. It was further alleged that Nicaraguan Contra, Horacio Pererita, was subsequently convicted on drug charges in Costa Rica and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Two other members of the organization were identified as Nicaraguans Carlos Cabezas & Julio Zavala. They were among the jailed West Coast traffickers and convicted of receiving drugs from Carvajal. They claimed long after their convictions, that they had delivered sums of monies to Contra resistance groups in Costa Rica.

    July 28, 1986, I Met with CIA agents Don Richardson, Janice Elmore and Lt. Col. Adame in El Salvador.

    July 29, 1986, I Met with Don Richardson and Robert Chavez at the US Embassy in El Salvador.

    August 03,1986, Ramiro Guerra, Lt. Col. A. Adame, Dr. Hector Regalado (Dr. Death, who claimed to have shot Archbishop Romero) and myself went out on patrol in El Salvador.

    In Aug. 1986, The Kerry Committee requested information on the Contra pilots from the DEA. The Department Of Justice flatly refused to give up any information.

    Aug. 15, 1986, I spoke to CIA (Chief of Station) Jack McCavett and Don Richardson; El Salvador; Re: Fernando Canelas Sanez from Florida.

    Aug. 18, 1986, I received $45,000.00 in cash from CIA Chief of Station (CIA), Jack McKavett for the purchase of vehicles for the DEA El Salvador Narcotic Task Force.

    Aug. 28, 1986, I had a meeting with El Salvador US Ambassador, Edwin Corr, in regards to Wally Grasheim, Pete's Place and Carlos Amador (3:00 p.m.)

    Oscar Alvarado-Lara "a.k.a." El Negro Alvarado (CIA asset and Contra pilot) was mentioned in 3 DEA files. On June 11, 1986, Alvarado transported 27 illegal Cubans to El Salvador Ilopango, where they were then smuggled into Guatemala. On Sept. 28, 1987, Alvarado picked up CIA officer Randy Capister in Puerto Barrios Guatemala after a joint DEA, CIA and Guatemala Military (G-2) operation. Several Mexicans and Colombians were murdered and raped. This was supported by the CIA. DEA File TG-86-0005.

    1986, DEA El Salvador, initiated a file on Walter L. Grasheim (TG-87-0003). He is mentioned in several DEA, FBI and U.S Customs files. This DEA file is at The National Archives in The Iran-Contra file in Washington D.C (bulky # 2316). Also see attached Top Secret/Declassified Record of Interview on Mr. Grasheim, by the Office of Independent Counsel, dated Jan. 03, 1991.

    Sept. 01, 1986, at approximately 5:00pm, I received a phone call in Guatemala from (C.I) Ramiro Guerra, Re: Raid at Wally's house in El Salvador Wally's plane (N-246-J).

    On September 01, 1986, Walter Grasheim (a civilian) residence in El Salvador was searched by the DEA Task Force. Found at the residence was an arsenal of US military munitions, (allegedly for a Contra military shipment). Found were cases of C-4 explosives, grenades, ammunition, sniper rifles, M-16's, helicopter helmets and knives. Also found were files of payment to Salvadoran Military Officials (trips to New York City). Found at his residence were radios and license plates belonging to the US Embassy. We also found an M16 weapon belonging to the US Mil-Group Commander, Col. Steel. Prior to the search, I went to every department of the U.S. Embassy and asked if this individual worked in any way shape or form with the embassy. Every head of the departments denied that he worked for them. A pound of marijuana and marijuana plants growing in the back yard, were also found.

    Sept. 02, 1986, I departed Guatemala on Taca Airlines @ 7:30a.m to El Salvador.

    Sept. 26, 1986, Meeting with Col. Steel Re: Mr. Grasheim (Col. Steel admitted that he had given an M-16 to Grasheim) and CIA George W. Also talked to Don Richardson (CIA) re: Ramiro Guerra. Talked to Col. Adame Re: CIA George.

    October 03, 1986, Spoke to DEA Panama re: Mr. Grasheim. Was advised to be careful.

    October 15, 1986, Asst. Atty. Gen. Mark Richard testified before the Kerry Committee, that he had attended a meeting with 20 to 25 officials and that the DEA did not want to provide any of the information the committee had requested on the Contra involvement in drug trafficking.

    October 21, 1986, I send a Telex/cable to Washington D.C on the Contras.

    October 22, 1986 talked to El Salvador Re: Grasheim.

    October 23, 1986, HK-1960P Honduras. 1,000 kilos of cocaine. DEA- 6 was written on this case.

    October 29, 1986 Talked to DEA HQS (John Martch) re Contras & Grasheim.

    October 30, 1986, Talked to Salvadoran Gen. Blandon re: to Mr. Grasheim.

    Nov. 07, 1986, Talked to John Martch 202-786-4356 and Azzam-633-1049; Home: 301-262-1007. (Contras).

    Nov. 13, 1986, I Met with Ambassador Corr @2:00pm re: Mr. Grasheim. (He stated, "let the chips fall where they may." Met w/ Lt. Col. Adame.

    November 14, 1986, Met with Salvadoran Col. Villa Marona re: Mr. Grasheim. He advised that the U.S Embassy had approved for Grasheim to work at Ilopango.

    On January 20, 1987, Joel Brinkley (special to the New York Times) reported. "Contra Arms Crew said To Smuggle Drugs" The 3rd secret had surfaced. Brinkley wrote: "Fed. Drug investigators uncovered evidence last fall that the American flight crews which covertly carried arms to the Nicaraguan rebels were smuggling cocaine and other drugs on their return trips back to the US. Administration Officials said today that when the crew members, based in El Salvador, learned that DEA agents were investigating their activities, one of them warned that they had White House protection. The Times then quoted an anonymous US official who said the crew member's warnings which came after DEA searched his San Salvador house for drugs, caused 'quite a stir' at Ilopango."

    Feb. 09, 1987, I had meeting with Lt. Col. Adame and Elmore re: major argument with DEA HQS I.A. Lourdez Border. They had just arrived in Guatemala for a two-day fact finding tour of El Salvador.

    Feb.10, 1987, I met with U.S. Ambassador Corr (Salvador) re DEA HQS Intel. Analyst Lourdez Border and Doug (last name unknown) - both were rookies. In two days in El Salvador, they determined that there was no contra involvement in drug trafficking.

    February 27. 1987, I spoke to Mike Alston, DEA Miami, RE: Contra pilots John Hall; Bruce Jones' airstrip in Costa Rica, Colombian Luis Rodriguez; Mr. Shrimp-Ocean Hunter Costa Rica > to Miami. Contra Operation from Central American to U.S.

    March 03, 1987, met with Janis Elmore (CIA) from 9:00pm till 12:00

    March 30, 1987, I invited U.S. Customs Agent Richard Rivera to El Salvador in an attempt to trace ammunitions and weapons found in Mr.Grasheim's residence. It's alleged that The Pentagon put a stop on his trace. (They were never able to trace the items).

    April 01, 1987, Bob Stia, Walter (pilot) Morales and myself flew to El Salvador. Met with two CIA agents who advised us that we could no longer utilize Murga because he was now working with them).

    April 07,08,09, 1987, I met with John Martch in Guatemala Re: Contras and OPR.

    Sept. 27, 1987, Central American CIA agent, Randy Capister, the Guatemala military (G-2) and myself, seized over 2,404 kilos of cocaine from a Guatemalan Congressman, Carlos Ramiro Garcia de Paz and the Medellin cartel (biggest cocaine seizure in Central America and top five ever). However, several individuals were murdered and raped on said operation. CIA agent and myself saw the individuals being interrogated. The Congressman was never arrested or charged.

    October 22, 1987, I received a call from DEA HQS Everett Johnson, not to close Contra files because some committee was requesting file. If you have an open file, you do not have access to the files under Freedom of Information Act.

    Aug. 30, 1988, Received intelligence from (Guido Del Prado) at the U.S. Embassy, El Salvador re: Carlos Armando Llemus-Herrera (Contra pilot).

    Oct. 27, 1988, Received letter from "Bill," Regional Security Officer at the Embassy in El Salvador re: Corruption on US ambassador Corr and del Prado.

    Dec. 03, 1988, DEA seized 356 kilos of cocaine in Tiquisate, Guatemala (DEA # TG-89-0002; Hector Sanchez). Several Colombians were murdered on said operation and condoned by the DEA and CIA. I have pictures of individuals that were murdered in said case. The target was on Gregorio Valdez (CIA asset) of The Guatemala Piper Co. At that time, all air operations for the CIA and DEA flew out of Piper.

    Aug. 24, 1989, Because of my information, the U.S. Embassy canceled Guatemalan Military, Lt. Col. Hugo Francisco Moran-Carranza, (Head of Interpol and Corruption) U.S. visa. He was documented as a drug trafficker and as a corrupt Guatemalan Official. He was on his way to a U.S. War College for one year, invited by the CIA.

    Feb. 21, 1990, I send a telex-cable to DEA HQS Re: Moran's plan to assassinate me.

    Between Aug. 1989 and March 06, 1990, Col. Moran had initiated the plan to assassinate me in El Salvador and blame it on the guerrillas. On March 06, 1990, I traveled to Houston to deliver an undercover audio tape on my assassination. The Houston DEA S.A Mark Murtha (DEA File M3-90-0053) had an informant into Lt. Col. Moran.

    Feb. 24, 1990, I moved my family back home because DEA could not make a decision.

    March 15, 1990, After 6 months knowing about the assassination plan, DEA transferred me out to San Diego, California for 6months.

    April 05, 1990, an illegal search was conducted at my residence in Guatemala by Guatemala DEA agents Tuffy Von Briensen, Larry Hollifield and Guatemalan Foreign Service National, Marco Gonzales in Guatemala (No search warrant). DEA HQS agreed that it had been an illegal search requested by OPR S/I Tony Recevuto. (OPR file PR-TG-90-0068) On Sept. 16, 1991, a questionnaire was faxed to me in regards to the illegal search. (see attached)

    April 11, 1991, in an undercover capacity, Carlos Cabezas's wife sold me 5 kilos of cocaine in San Francisco. (DEA # R3-91-0036; Milagro Rodriguez)

    On April 16, 1991, I met with Carlos Cabezas at the DEA Office in San Francisco. He stated to me that Zavala and himself were informants for the FBI in San Francisco at the time his wife delivered the cocaine. Alvaro Carbajal had supplied the 5 kilos of cocaine. (There is an undercover audio tape available as evidence) Mr. Cabezas gave me his undercover business card. It was identified as "The California Company" at 3519-Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110 REAL ESTATE & INVESTMENTS Carlos A. Cabezas, Sales Associate Pager: 371-7108 Fax: (415) 647-0918; Res: (415 991-3104; Bus: (415) 647-8014.

    May 10, 1990, DEA HQS OPR S/I Tony Recevuto returned to Guatemala and requested the U.S. Ambassador, to please grant Lt. Col. Hugo Moran-Carranza a US Visa, so that he could testify before the BCCI investigation in Miami. The ambassador could not understand why anyone, for any reason would request a US Visa for an individual who had planned the assassination of a US drug agent.

    May 27, 1990, I was ordered to return back to Guatemala to pack my household goods. The threat was still very real for me. On June 01, 1990, I departed Guatemala for the last time. On June 05, 1990, another American was killed by the Guatemalan Military. Before the Kerry Committee

    The CIA acknowledged drugs in a statement by Central American Task Force Chief Alan Fiers who testified: "with respect to (drug trafficking) by the Resistance Forces...It is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people."

    The DEA has always stated that my reports were unfounded, but they later recanted. DEA Assistant Administrator, David Westrate stated of the Nicaraguan War: "It is true that people on both sides of the equation (in the Nicaraguan War) were drug traffickers, and a couple of them were pretty significant."

    In a Sept. 20-26, 1989, series of debriefings and in subsequent debriefing on Feb. 13, 1990, by DEA agents in Los Angeles, Lawrence Victor Harrison, an American-born electronics specialist who had worked in Mexico and had been involved with the leading figures in the Mexican drug cartel, was interviewed. He testified that he had been present when two of the partners of Matta-Ballesteros and Rafael Caro-Quintero, met with American pilots working out of Ilopango air base in El Salvador, providing arms to the Contras. The purpose of the meeting was to work out drug deals.

    Several days earlier, on Feb. 09, 1990, Harrison had told DEA interrogators that Nicaraguan Contras were being trained at a ranch in Vera Cruz, owned by Rafael Caro Quintero. It was at Quintero's Guadalajara ranch that DEA Agent Kiki Camarena, and his pilot were interrogated, tortured and buried alive.

    January 23, 1991, letter to Mr. William M. Baker, Asst. Director of Criminal Investigative Division, FBI; from Lawrence E. Walsh and Mike Foster, requesting several FBI files on Walter L. Grasheim. (see attached)

    January 30, 1991, letter to DEA Ronald Caffrey, Deputy Asst. Administrator for Operations at DEA from Craig A. Guillen, Associate Counsel of the Office of Independent Counsel; requesting Walter L. Grasheim reports. (see attached)

    In 1991, a DEA General File was opened on an Oliver North in Washington D.C. (GFGD-91-9139) "smuggling weapons into the Philippines with known drug traffickers."

    In 1991, before I departed the DEA, I met with FBI agent Mike Foster, investigator for The Office of Independent Counsel on Iran-Contra, where I gave him detailed information of the Contras' involvement in drugs.

    October, 1994, The Washington Post reported that former Government Officials, including the DEA, CIA, State Department, US Customs and White House officials were quoted as saying that Lt. Col. Oliver North did not advise them of his knowledge that the Contras were involved in drug trafficking.

    In 1997, I joined DEA SA Richard Horn in a federal class action suit against the CIA. The suit is against the CIA and other federal agencies for spying on several DEA agents and other unnamed DEA employees and their families. United States District Court for The District of Columbia; Richard Horn vs. Warren Christopher, Civil Action No. 1:96CV02120 (HHG) January 30, 1994.

    This is a list of DEA case file and names of individuals that may help support my allegations.

    GFTG-86-9145, GFTG-87-9145 El Salvador
    GFTG-86-9999, GFTG-87-9999, Air Intelligence
    TG-87-0003, Walter L. Grasheim (Salvador case)
    TG-86-0001, Leonel Guitan-Guitan
    DEA Informants STG-86-0006 and STG-81-0013
    US Ambassador Edwin Corr
    Janis Elmore (CIA 1986 through 1989). I reported to her when in El Salvador.
    Don Richardson ( CIA & Political Officer in El Salvador 1986,87). I reported to him in El Salvador.
    Felix Vargas (CIA El Salvador 1986, 87)
    Col. James Steel ( Mil-Group Commander El Salvador).
    U.S. Lt. Col. Alberto Adame (Under Steel)
    Lupita Vega (the only Salvadoran which was cleared for "Top Secret") worked in the Milgroup in El Salvador.
    Felix Rodriguez (CIA at Ilopango hanger 4 & 5)
    Jack McCavett (CIA Chief of Station in El Salvador).
    CIA George Witter in El Salvador. He asked for US visa on drug trafficker Carlos Alberto Amador.
    CIA Randy Capister (covert operation in Central America 1985 t090). Involved in several atrocities.
    CIA Manuel Brand (retired Cuban-American) Guatemala
    State Department (De Luoie) El Salvador
    State Department RSO Bill Rouche El Salvador
    State Dept. Official Del Prado (El Salvador)
    DEA John Martsh (DEA HQS)
    DEA Jack O'Conner (DEA HQS)
    DEA HQS Agents AZZAM & Frank Torello (retired) involved in Contra ops in Europe
    Salvadoran General Bustillo (retired in Florida)
    US Custom Richard Rivera and Philip Newton
    DEA Sandy Gonzales (Costa Rica)
    Lincoln Benedicto-Honduras US Embassy-Consul General April 30, 1986. Re: Matta-Ballesteros
    Some people have asked, "Why I am doing this? I reply, "That a long time ago I took an oath to protect The Constitution of the United States and its citizens". In reality, it has cost me so much to become a complete human being, that I've lost my family. In 1995, I made a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Wall, where I renounced my Bronze Star in protest of the atrocities my government had committed in Central America. I have now become a veteran of my third, and perhaps most dangerous war --- a war against the criminals within my own Government. Heads have to roll for those who are responsible and still employed by the government. They will be the first targets in an effective drug strategy. If not, we will continue to have groups of individuals who will be beyond any investigation, who will manipulate the press, judges and members of our Congress,
    and still be known in our government as those who are above the law.

    © COPYRIGHT 1998, 1999, 2000, CELERINO CASTILLO & MICHAEL C. RUPPERT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PERMISSION TO REPRINT IN WHOLE OR IN PART IS EXPRESSLY GRANTED ONLY IF THE FOLLOWING APPEARS: "Permission to reprint from Celerino Castillo & Michael C. Ruppert, From The Wilderness @ http://www.copvica.com"

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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    Reply with quote  #35 

    Ex-DEA Agent Outlines Agency Role in CIA crimes
    One of the incidents Castillo says he witnessed was a cocaine seizure "in which the D-2, the CIA and the DEA worked together" in the Guatemalan towel of Puerto Barrios. Castillo said that during that operation, "the D-2 murdered and raped two Mexican females, tortured and murdered their father and several Colombians."


    Celerino Castillo III, a former special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, says he was at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala talking with several members of the drug agency, the CIA and the State Department a week or so after the November 1989 torture and gang rape of Ursuline Sr. Dianna Ortiz by members of the Guatemalan military.
    The representatives of U.S. government agencies, Castillo says, seemed amused by what had happened to Ortiz. Castillo said the men jokingly asked him "if Dianna Ortiz had been good at sex," and thought he might actually be the American whom Ortiz says participated in her rape and torture.
    Castillo, who was stationed in Central America and worked frequently in Guatemala from 1985 to 1990, says he is not "Alejandro," the person named by Ortiz as her attacker. Ortiz, shown a photograph of Castillo, agrees that he's not. But Castillo, in his statement and recent interviews with the National Catholic Reporter, says he and other DEA agents have important information about the role the drug agency and the CIA played in crimes in Guatemala.
    His statements about the joking embassy officials are included in a five-page July 22, 1996 response to the recent "Guatemala Review" released by the Presidential Intelligence Oversight Board, an investigative committee appointed by President Clinton to make an inquiry into the involvement of U.S. agencies in killings in Guatemala.
    Furthermore, the revelations come on the heels of others concerning CIA involvement in Guatemala and the use of training manuals by the U.S. Army's School of the Americas. The manuals appear to condone false imprisonment, torture and summary executions. Graduates from the school have been implicated in human rights atrocities all over Latin America (NCR, April 26 and July 26).
    Most of the probes into U.S. involvement in human rights abuses in Guatemala have concentrated on the role of the CIA and U.S. military trainers. Castillo's testimony suggests there is also a need to examine the role played by the DEA, the agency that commands the U.S. war on drugs worldwide.
    File numbers, case names
    "The level of CIA and DEA involvement in operations that included torture and murder in Guatemala is much higher than the [official] report indicates," Castillo wrote. "With U.S. antinarcotics funding still being funneled to the Guatemalan military, this situation continues." Castillo, who now works as a substitute school teacher in Texas, provided detailed descriptions with case file numbers and case names he says support his allegations.
    Castillo was the central figure in an ABC-TV special on the 1990 murder in Guatemala of U.S. innkeeper Michael Devine and the killing of Efrain Bamaca, a guerrilla commander married to Jennifer Harbury, a Harvard educated U.S. lawyer. Contrary to claims from DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine that the agency "has never engaged in any joint narcotics programs with the Guatemalan military," Castillo says he personally "participated in several missions in which the Guatemalan military intelligence (D-2) killed civilians with the knowledge of DEA and CIA agents." Human rights monitors have linked the D-2, the Guatemalan military's intelligence unit formerly called the G-2, to severe human rights abuses.
    In his statement, Castillo says he saw "no evidence that the (Intelligence Oversight Board) panel interviewed CIA or DEA agents that worked in Guatemala." If such interviews had occurred, he says he is "sure the panel would have come to very different conclusions." He urged the oversight board to subpoena agents of the DEA and the CIA for testimony. "We have been ordered not to tell the truth, but many of us would do so if required to give sworn testimony."
    DEA public information officer Van Quarles confirmed on July 25 that the agency "did have an individual Celerino Castillo who was at one time employed by DEA." Quarles said Castillo's "allegations have been analyzed, but we haven't found anything to validate the charges that he has made."
    Citing DEA general file number GFTG-88-9077, titled "Corrupt Official," dated June 9, 1988, Castillo broadens the intelligence profile on CIA contract employee and Guatemalan army Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez. A House Intelligence Committee report says Alpirez ordered the killings of Devine and Bamaca. Alpirez, Castillo said, had been reported to the DEA for dealing drugs while he was on the CIA's payroll. "Colonel Alpirez is also documented as a narcotics trafficker in DEA case file number TG-88-0009 ... submitted by me," Castillo wrote.
    NCR provided the case file numbers cited by Castillo to an assistant of Quarles. In an Aug. 22 phone interview, Quarles refused to confirm or deny that the numbers are valid, saying the DEA "would not say anything having to do with any case or any case numbers."
    ABC News "Prime Time Live" featured Castillo's version of Devine's death in a Dec. 27, 1995, broadcast produced by Emmy Award winner John Siceloff. In the segment, Bob Stia, a retired supervisor of Castillo, describes the agent as "very prone to exaggeration and he had a vivid imagination." The program contrasts those comments with the "excellent" and "outstanding' ratings Stia gave Castillo while both were still employed by the DEA.
    Through the Freedom of Information Act, "Prime Time" obtained internal DEA documents that show that Stia "fought vehemently to shut down any investigation into the killings," according to the program transcript. "The documents show other senior DEA officials uncovered evidence corroborating several of Castillo's charges of torture and murder," the transcript states. According to the ABC program the files quote Stia as saying "the DEA mission in Guatemala had reached an understanding with the military." ABC reported that Stia wrote in the files, "I cannot force them to accept our morals and law as being better than theirs.... If I did, they would not work with me."
    Human rights "relative"
    The ABC transcript says Stia described human rights as "a relative thing" and drug-trafficking by the Guatemalan military as "confined to a few rogue officers."
    The DEA continues to insist that Castillo's allegations are unfounded. But segment producer Siceloff, who reviewed all the files obtained by ABC, told NCR: "What Cele (Castillo) witnessed, reported, denounced or complained about, there is nothing in the historical records we found under FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] that contradicts his story. I am not talking about what he decides to theorize about, which may or not be true, but what he says he witnessed."
    One of the incidents Castillo says he witnessed was a cocaine seizure "in which the D-2, the CIA and the DEA worked together" in the Guatemalan towel of Puerto Barrios. Castillo said that during that operation, "the D-2 murdered and raped two Mexican females, tortured and murdered their father and several Colombians." Castillo said he and a CIA agent witnessed the capture of the Mexican females. Castillo told NCR a D-2 agent nicknamed "El Raton," or the Rat, later told him the women were raped and killed.
    Castillo said a DEA investigation, detailed in case file number TG-86-0005, concluded "the murders were committed by the D-2 with the knowledge of the CIA and the DEA."
    In a telephone interview with NCR from McAllen, Texas, Castillo said DEA officials "can conduct character assassination against me, but they need to look in those files." He said he decided to release case file numbers after he saw the Intelligence Oversight Board report on abuses in Guatemala. "I was very upset. I decided to go ahead and respond."
    Castillo, author of an expose on drugs and the contra war called Powderburns, said "the U.S. Embassy was never out of the loop of what was occurring in Guatemala." He said the attitude of higher-ups was, "This is the way things happen in Third World countries. Don't worry about it." Anna Gallagher, a lawyer who is representing Ortiz, said she believes Castillo is "a good source," although she said he does not appear to have extensive information about the Ortiz case.
    Anne Manuel, deputy director for the Washington-based Human Rights Watch/Americas, said the Clinton administration should investigate Castillo's claims. "Any allegations from a former U.S. government agent about that kind of abuse, with detail, should certainly be investigated ... in a transparent way and the results should be made public," she said. "It would be very convenient to do it now that the administration has so many studies under way."
    Coletta Youngers, a senior associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, agreed. "In Bolivia, there have been allegations of direct DEA involvement in torture that the DEA has refused to acknowledge by investigating. We are now hearing the same sorts of allegations in Guatemala. That could point to a disturbing trend that merits oversight," Youngers said.
    Youngers said the Reform and Oversight Committees of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate should hold hearings to initiate an investigation. Additionally, Youngers, who has followed U.S. narcotics and human rights policy in Latin America for 12 years, said the Clinton administration should "initiate an internal review of these widespread and credible allegations of the DEA's actions."
    Sept. 6, 1996
    National Catholic Reporter

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


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    Reply with quote  #36 

    By John Veit


    (Celerino Castillo III, one of the Drug Enforcement Agency's most prolific agents, who netted record busts in New York, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador and San Francisco, was ordered not to investigate US-sponsored drug trafficking operations supervised by Oliver North. After twelve years of service, Castillo has retired from the agency, "amazed that the US government could get away with drug trafficking for so long." In his book Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War [Mosaic Press, 1994], Castillo details the US role in drug and weapons smuggling, money laundering, torture, and murder, and includes Oliver North's drug use and dealing, and the training of death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala by the DEA.)

    Sergeant Castillo was a doper's nightmare during his days in Vietnam. Constantly testing the reflexes and surveillance skills of his platoon, Castillo had no tolerance for soldiers stoned on heroin or OJ's (marijuana soaked with opium). Compassionate with users suffering emotional problems, Castillo took a hard line with those who compromised the safety of the unit, court-martialling anyone who failed to clean themselves up after two warnings.

    With addicts dying around him regularly, Castillo vowed to make fighting narcotics his life's work once back in the states. He told the SHADOW: "Every week we would send another overdose victim home in a green bag. If the soldier was well liked, someone would pump a bullet in the soldier's body. The family would be told he died a hero's death. If the consensus was that the dead soldier had been an asshole, he would be sent home with nothing more than the needle pricks in his arm." Dope and undisciplined soldiers were problems Castillo left behind when he volunteered to join a secret sniper unit in neighboring Cambodia in 1971. The Vietcong used Cambodia as a staging ground for raids on South Vietnam since the US Congress had declared it off-limits to American soldiers. Castillo's twelve-man team would pick off commanding officers at VC bases with M-14 sniper rifles. "We never missed," Castillo recalled. "According to the Pentagon, we were never there."

    These were the first of many US Government cover-ups Castillo was to be involved with in his twenty-one year career as a public servant.

    Things were tamer back in Edinburgh, Texas, where Castillo served as a police officer while earning a criminal justice degree from Pan American University in 1975. "I drank in every detail of the lectures, paying particular attention to any mention of drug laws. They would be my weapons in the streets." Serving first as a dispatcher at the Edinburgh Police Department, he moved to the field, using his Vietnam surveillance and combat skills well, often surprising thieves and other miscreants during the commission of crimes.

    Being fluent in Spanish enabled Castillo to intimately interact with people on his beat and he became a model community police officer. His network of informants grew quickly. Unlike the felons in later assignments with the DEA, most of Castillo's informants were locals, people with families fed up with the drug trade in their neighborhood. It was when working with federal agents that Castillo saw basic classroom policing get "thrown out the window."

    Two senior DEA agents, Jesse Torrez and Chema Cavazos, took Castillo on as an apprentice of sorts, taking him along when he fed them busts too big for Edinburgh's small force to handle. When Castillo got wind of any smuggling over the border, his DEA mentors summoned the federales, the Mexican national police renowned for their violence.

    Mexican interrogations involved hanging the suspected trafficker by a beam and pouring seltzer up his nose. Often a cattle prod, the chicara, named after the cicada, was used to extract names of customs officials and traffickers working both sides of the border. The Americans would stand by at a distance, listening for valuable intelligence.

    During other co-ventures between the Edinburgh PD and the DEA, Castillo witnessed the DEA's disregard for the safety of informants. DEA agents would often barge in minutes after a transaction was made, giving the informant's identity away instantly. Castillo had always waited long enough to create an avenue of doubt in the mind of the suspect, a necessary courtesy insuring the relationship's continuity. Like all the DEA offices Castillo later worked in, the one in McAllen, Texas was cooperatively dysfunctional, with two sets of agents pitted against each other, divided primarily along racial lines. Animosity and suspicion among agents were constants in an organization where precision and coordination is a prerequisite to mutual survival.

    After six years in Edinburgh, Castillo joined the DEA. His first assignment was New York City in 1980, a far cry from Vietnam's jungles and the relatively placid living of the Rio Grande Valley. Cocaine was making a healthy return to streetcorners and the city's surviving discos. Crack pipes were making their first gasps in the city as Ronald Reagan ushered in a new era of borrowed prosperity and conspicuous decadence.

    Placed in the New York office's wiliest squad, the "Raiders," Castillo watched as dealers' doors were kicked in without warrants, illegal wiretaps were performed, and Miranda rights were forgotten. During a stint at Kennedy Airport, he saw agents rip off traffickers, regularly pocketing cash, jewelry and drugs. Not being one to snitch, the young agent held his tongue. "I had always done things by the book. Here they ripped out the pages and stomped on them," Castillo told the SHADOW. "Internal Affairs was always watching, but we were protected by the cluster of New Yorkers in DEA's Washington office known as the New York Mafia." These administrative agents insured that the New York office, the country's largest, was immune from "messy internal investigations." Contacted by the SHADOW, DEA spokesman John Hughes denied that such an organization existed, stating that such a thing would, "stick out like a sore thumb."

    The DEA has never been a pioneer of affirmative action. Most agents do not speak Spanish, despite the Agency's constant interaction with Hispanics. On several occasions, Castillo's safety was jeopardized when Spanish-challenged agents failed to recognize the bust's signal word among the rolling Spanish chatter, leaving him to improvise with armed dealers anxious for their drugs or cash.

    Spanish-speaking agents follow cases from the mouth of the informant to the prison cell, their superiors often performing only administrative tasks. Despite the paucity of their investigative work, DEA administrators would rush in with the swarm of blue windbreakers the day of the bust, eager to take credit for everything. Castillo told the SHADOW, "Every Hispanic agent I knew fell into the same trap and was assigned wiretap monitoring, translations, and surveillance. We worked long hours building cases against Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and would have to stand back while paper pushers took the credit."

    Being a workaholic brought quick results in the Big Apple for Castillo. In his four years working the city, Castillo orchestrated some of the biggest busts the nation had ever seen. On November 4th, 1982, twenty pounds of heroin worth $20 million were hauled in, one of the largest busts in New York City history.

    With every day spent on the streets, Castillo's hatred for drugs grew with increasing vehemence. Castillo witnessed addicts of every ilk, sometimes as young as fourteen, constantly throwing their lives into the toilet so drug dealers could get rich. It would be a hard slap of reality to later discover that the United States government was instrumental in saturating American streets with life destroying drugs.

    By 1984, the US appetite for cocaine was peaking as fields in South America were converted to accommodate the coca leaf. Castillo, the only Spanish-speaking field agent in Peru, continued his efficient work, making numerous busts in his two years there.

    Working the jungles, although frustrating for Castillo, was a welcome change from Manhattan's steel maze and reminiscent of Vietnam. Stymied by the DEA's advisory status in foreign countries, however, Castillo was unable to probe too deeply into Peru's narco underworld. The Peruvian military thought their American advisor would be satisfied torching small labs and shooting down traffickers' planes. Castillo demanded to bust the big labs, the factories run by the cartels. Peru's military however, conveniently kept the larger fields and refineries off-limits to American investigation. The military claimed that the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, the Maoist guerrillas whose reign of terror included cocaine smuggling and numerous murders of government officials and civilians) controlled the areas of major cocaine production.

    The last thing Peru's government wanted was to have an American agent killed by Sendero, which would jeopardize future military aid. Castillo later learned their caution was merely a smokescreen used to protect Columbian cartel-controlled airstrips and refineries from American intervention. The military, like most Peruvian governmental agencies, was largely dominated by Colombia's cartels who were adept at greasing palms and instilling fear in the hearts of potential drug enforcement heroes.

    The US took a more prominent role in the Peruvian military during Castillo's four years there, with programs like Operation Condor, which used the collective services of the DEA, CIA and the armies of Colombia and Peru to fight drug trafficking. With their help, Castillo was able to coordinate more and larger busts, including South America's biggest ever: four tons of raw coca paste, three airplanes, and a gargantuan cocaine refinery able to perform every phase of the leaf's metamorphosis into nose candy. As a result, US military aid to Peru was increased.

    Despite his successes, Castillo remained mired in the DEA's bigoted bureaucracy. Castillo's station chief, Peter Rieff, a non-Spanish speaker, felt threatened by Castillo and transferred him to Guatemala without the promotion originally promised after one year's service. Rieff's reasoning was, "you just haven't paid your dues, Cele."

    It was during Castillo's Peru junket that DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camerena was killed by CIA informants on March 6th, 1985 in Vista Hermosa, Mexico near Guadalajara. Left alone to work Mexico with some of the country's most notoriously dangerous traffickers, Camerena often complained about not receiving enough support in the field while working undercover. "Camerena warned the DEA brass things were getting dangerous in Guadalajara. The Agency ignored him," Castillo recalled to the SHADOW after listening to audio tapes of Camarena's torture and murder. "Both of the killers worked for the CIA and were double-dipping," (snitching for the CIA while using their protected status to deal dope on the side.) Only one of Camarena's killers were caught.

    Castillo empathized with Camerena's plight. He could just as easily have been the one who dug too deeply for the cartel's convenience. Kidnapping and murdering family members of police and informants is common practice in the drug-dominated nations of Latin America. With his wife and two children following him on his long-term assignments, Castillo constantly worried that they would suffer a fate similar to El Salvador's President José Napoleon Duarte, who had to walk unarmed into a guerrilla compound in 1986 and beg for the release of his daughter in exchange for immunity for their imprisoned comrades.

    During a later assignment, an informant provided Castillo with wiretapped conversations of a drug dealing Guatemalan colonel outlining an intricate plan to assassinate him. "Instead of talking about the bust the informant was setting up, Colonel Moran kept going on about how he was going to blame the rebels for my assassination. A hit squad was going to wait in the bushes and ambush me when I drove past on Highway 8 in El Salvador," Castillo told the SHADOW from his home state of Texas, where he is currently president of his local Parent Teachers Association.

    Castillo had reported to his superiors that Moran was heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, frequently orchestrating cash drops to the Panama City branch of the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). After hearing the tapes outlining the assassination, DEA superiors ordered Castillo to drive down Highway 8 to El Salvador to investigate a mission of dubious importance. "I felt as if someone had painted a bullseye on the back of my head," Castillo recalled. "Tree branches were sniper rifles, I drove about ninety miles an hour most of the way."

    DEA files outlining Colonel Moran's sporadic career as a DEA and CIA informant were provided to Castillo by agents sympathetic to his plight as an agency pariah. During later DEA attempts to silence Castillo, the Colonel was summoned to testify before the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility. Moran detailed allegations to enthralled inspectors that Castillo had shot several drug dealers in the back of the head during a bust in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala in 1986. The charges were false and Moran's plot to assassinate Castillo was never mentioned during the proceedings.

    DEA informants include some of the world's most disreputable rouges who often use their informant status as carte blanche to deal dope on the side. Although DEA spokesman Hughes denied to the SHADOW that such "double dipping" is tolerated, he added: "You don't use the Pope to catch drug dealers."

    Hughes also denied that the agency is reckless with their overseas agents, saying they "always have a recourse for back-up, usually with local police." Local police certainly didn't help Camerena, and Castillo laughed when the SHADOW told him Hughes' remarks.

    The Guatemala City DEA office in the US Embassy compound covers four countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Be-lize, and Honduras. In 1985, Castillo's beat, El Salvador and Guatemala, was one of the most volatile on the globe, racked by years of internal warfare, death squad violence, and narcotrafficking.

    Like Peru, both governments were subservient to three related entities: the US Government, the cartels, and their militaries. The militaries operated on their own, violently rooting out sus-pected communists from their borders while trafficking drugs and weapons to support themselves. Both nations' mili-taries harbored death squads who rou-tinely kidnapped and tortured suspected subversives. It was with these elements that Castillo was forced to cooperate in forming anti-narcoterrorism units.

    In training his elite drug squads, Castillo utilized the services of re-nowned death squad leaders. Dr. Hec-tor Antonio Regalado was hired as a firearms trainer for Castillo's El Salva-dor unit at the recommendation of Colonel James Steele, commander of the United States Military Group which oversaw American armed forces in Cen-tral America.

    Trained at the US' School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia, Regalado often bragged of his trigger-man role in the assassination of Arch-bishop Oscar Romero, a globally be-loved human rights activist, in March 1980. Regalado was also a torture ex-pert, frequently using his skills as a dentist to extract information from nota-ble "subversives." Much to Castillo's dis-gust, the death squads' most notorious human butchers and drug dealers be-came his students and colleagues. While Castillo's classes dealt primarily with surveillance, raid tactics and firearms training, others detailed explicit torture methods. Deemed "interview tech-niques," students were instructed how to use cattle prods and hoses and to sub-merge suspects' faces in buckets of water until nearly causing drowning.

    Death squad drug busts made the Mexican federales seem tame by com-parison. Standard procedure involved Castillo doing the intelligence gathering for a bust, after which the military would swarm in, interrogating and tor-turing the traffickers to death before absconding with a portion of the drugs.

    One such bust happened on Septem-ber 25, 1987, when Castillo's unit busted a cocaine ring run by Guatemalan Con-gressman Carlos Ramiro de Paz. 3000 kilos of cocaine, the largest bust in Central American history, were found. By the time the coke got to headquar-ters, however, six hundred kilos were missing. A soldier laughingly admitted to Castillo that the G2 (Guatemala's elite military unit) had pilfered it.

    While the G2 let de Paz live, (G2 wiretappers later relished listening to him pleading with Medillin cartel leader Pablo Escobar to have mercy on him), everyone else was hacked to death with machetes. A Mexican drug courier's daughters were gang-raped before their execution.

    Castillo reported these and other de-tails of Guatemalan and Salvadoran military corruption to his station chief, Bob Stia, who reluctantly signed the re-ports. All of Castillo's reports were for-warded to the US Embassy, where they went on to Washington. DEA Washing-ton refuses to open the Puerto Barrios file, in addition to most of Castillo's reports, citing privacy restrictions. Cas-tillo has, however, made his reports available to journalists and the public.

    The Iran-Contra scandal blared across American television and newspapers, but drug activity was rarely mentioned. The American public accepted the Reagan Administration's version of Iran-Contra, which maintained that weapons were covertly sold to Iran in order to generate funds for Contra mercenary soldiers seeking to overthrow the Nica-raguan Sandanista government. The money used by US Marine Corps Lieu-tenant Colonel Oliver North and his entourage from weapons sales to Iran to fund the Contras was a "drop in the bucket," according to Castillo. He told the SHADOW, "To the best of my knowledge, most of the money to fund the contras came through narcotics trafficking."

    During Castillo's first day briefing, DEA Station Chief Stia casually men-tioned an operation being conducted by North and the National Security Council in El Salvador's Ilopango airport. This operation was to dominate the rest of Castillo's life, ruining his career as an agent. Stia said North picked up where the CIA left off, in supplying the con-tras with the necessary trappings of in-surrection. US support of the contras was highly illegal, prohibited by the US congress' Boland Amendments.

    While Castillo empathized with con-tra soldiers in the field, who were de-pendent upon the erratic stream of sup-plies by the US, he would not tolerate drug trafficking by anyone. Reports of the Contras dealing in narcotics had saturated the DEA Central American office. Stia always looked the other way, warning "don't interfere with their oper-ation," according to Castillo. Castillo told Stia that he would report any and all trafficking he witnessed. Castillo says this prompted a laugh from Stia, who assured him that excessively insightful investigations into the contra operation would prompt DEA brass to find an ex-cuse to pull him out of the country. It proved to be a prophetic statement.

    Castillo had established an informant at Ilopango who was in charge of in-specting cargo and routing air traffic. Soon, Castillo had detailed information on "hundreds of flights carrying cash, drugs, and weapons through Ilopango. All of which was sanctioned by the US government." Unaware of Ilopango's protected status, Bobby Nieves, a DEA country attache from Costa Rica, wired Castillo in April of 1986, instructing him to in-vestigate hangars four and five at Ilo-pango, saying in his cable, "We believe the Contras are involved in narcotics traf-ficking."

    Castillo was shocked to see that most of Ilopango's traffickers were protected by the National Security Council's secur-ity blanket. In the spring of 1986, the Central Intelligence Agency had re-quested a US visa for Carlos Alberto Amador to use on narcotics trafficking missions. Amador is documented in ele-ven DEA files for narcotics trafficking and was typical of Ilopango's pilots. Castillo asked US Embassy Consular General Robert Chavez to block the visa request. Chavez complied, but worried he would be later castigated by his superiors. "Everyone was afraid of what might happen to them if they sup-ported my allegations," Castillo told the SHADOW.

    The El Salvador home of Walter Grasheim, known in Powderburns as William Brasher, was raided by Cas-tillo's anti-narco terrorism unit on September 1, 1986. Grasheim is a con-victed cocaine dealer and is documented in seven DEA files alleging drug traf-ficking. Grasheim's place was a bar-racks for Contra pilots stopping through El Salvador. Prostitute informants who frequented the disheveled ranch house told Castillo it was the site of many all-nighters where contra pilots and govern-ment officials including Oliver North, spent long hours "doing cocaine, having sex, and shooting rifles."

    The Grasheim raid yielded "enough firepower to arm a platoon," according to Castillo. The arsenal included "cases of C-4 explosives, hand grenades, rifles, night vision equipment, helicopter hel-mets, US embassy license plates and files documenting payoffs to El Salva-doran military officials. An M-16 rifle belonging to US Military Group Com-mander Steele was also found."

    Castillo called US Customs agent Richard Rivera, asking him to find the sources of the American weapons. Cus-toms called him off the case and the weapons disappeared into the prover-bial memory hole. US Customs did not return SHADOW phone calls seeking permission for Rivera to talk. Rivera, however, has since confirmed Castillo's account in eleven interviews with the mainstream press.

    Castillo tried to get an American official to answer his inquiries as to how Grasheim, a civilian with no legitimate ties to the US government, had pro-cured brand-new American arms, US embassy radios, and license plates. Edwin Corr, then US Ambassador to El Salvador, denied any link between Gra-sheim and Iran-Contra, telling the SHADOW that such allegations were "absolutely false." Like most US officials contacted by the SHADOW, however, Corr effusively praised Castillo's dili-gence as an agent, but expressed bewil-derment as to why Castillo has under-taken his crusade.

    Jack Blum, Special Prosecutor for Senator John Kerry's (D-Mass) Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations told the SHADOW: "There is no doubt in my mind that Oliver North knew about narcotics trafficking at Ilopango." The Committee interviewed dozens of pilots who openly detailed the "guns down, drugs up" operation. One such pilot, Michael Palmer, indicted for bringing 300,000 lbs. of marijuana into the US in the mid 1908's, frequently boasted to prosecutors that his activities were supported by the US government.

    During Kerry's investigation, Castillo was ordered by the DEA's Freedom of Information Office to keep his reports on the Contras active, thereby rendering them inaccessible to the Committee and the press. Lacking Castillo's reports, the Committee still concluded in 1989 that: "There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual Contras, contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the Contras and the Contra supporters in the region."

    Tim Ross, a twenty-one year veteran broadcaster for the BBC in Colombia, connected what he called "Ollie North's mob" to drug dealing in that country as well. Ross told the SHADOW that "In late '84, early '85, North brought five Afghani military advisers to Colombia on a speaking tour, three left, two stayed. The two that stayed were chemists who introduced heroin manufacturing to Colombia. He also brought in an Israeli agronomist who helped to cultivate opium poppies."

    Ross said that when he started investigating too deeply for North's comfort, however, he was summoned to the US Embassy in Bogota and told, "You're going to lay off this story or you are going to die" by an "ex-marine, the type of guy who used to cut Vietcong throats with his thumbnail." Ross ran the story anyway, detailing Colombia's growing heroin epidemic, but North told his superiors that the story was nothing more than "fabrications, including trumped-up fake Mexican file footage."

    Released after Powderburns and partially reprinted in the Washington Post and the Virginia Pilot, 534 pages of North's personal diaries mention drug trafficking. The July 9, 1984 entry states, "wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste, want aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos." The July 12, 1985 entry reads, "$14 million to finance Supermarket came from drugs." The "Supermarket" was an Honduran weapons depot used by private arms merchants to supply the Contras. North is currently under investigation by the DEA for arms smuggling, according to DEA file number GF GD 91/93. North has denied any involvement with narcotics trafficking, stating in his autobiography Under Fire, "Very little in my life has angered me as much as the allegations that I or anyone else involved with the resistance had a drug connection."

    North claims that when he heard of narcotics trafficking in Central America, he dutifully reported it to the DEA and CIA. DEA director Jack Lawn, DEA spokesman John Hughes and agent Castillo, who would have been assigned to investigate such information, denied that North ever supplied them with narcotics tips.

    Oliver North has been no stranger to mayhem. After serving as a Marine combat officer in Vietnam, North had difficulties readjusting to American society. In 1974, according to Parade magazine (Nov 13, 1994), North spent an evening running through a suburban neighborhood naked, waving his .45 automatic pistol and screaming, "I'm no good!" North mentions his subsequent three week stay at Bethesda Naval Medical Center's psychiatric ward in his autobiography, but cites marital difficulties and depression over the failing war as causes for his stay there.

    North has Castillo largely to blame for his recent loss in the 1994 Virginia senate race. Embarking on a fifty day journey through Virginia prior to the election, Castillo went on several radio and television talk shows and made public appearances throughout the state. Usually addressing die-hard Ollie fans, Castillo's town meetings invariably ended the same way: angry patriots deflated by their hero's involvement in narcotics. Despite millions of dollars in support from Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Freedom Alliance, Ollie still managed to lose the election.

    George Bush visited Guatemala City in January of 1986 for the inauguration of newly-elected president Cerezo. Castillo later compiled evidence that Cerezo's brother and top aides were involved in drug trafficking, but was instructed by Stia not to "embarrass the Guatemalan government" by pursuing the case. During Cerezo's inauguration party at US Ambassador Piedra's home, Castillo voiced his suspicions about Ilopango's drug activity. "There's some funny things going on at Ilopango with the Contras," he told Bush. Bush merely grinned and kept ominously silent. Later that day, Bush met with Oliver North at the Embassy to discuss the Contra operation.

                    "PROJECT DEMOCRACY" EXPOSED
    Castillo constantly threatened his superiors that if they stifled his reports on "Project Democracy", as the Contra resupply operation was called, it would "come back and bite them in the butt." A Sandanista surface-to-air-missile provided the fangs they so desperately feared. On October 5, 1986, a C-123 airplane left Ilopango laden with munitions for the Contras. The plane was shot down and Eugene Hasenfus, the lone survivor, admitted to television news cameras after a few days of captivity that "the CIA did most of the coordination for flights and oversaw all of our housing, transportation, also refueling and some flight plans."

    According to North's autobiography, after the Hasenfus affair, then-CIA director Bill Casey ordered North to "shut it down and clean it up," regarding the Contra resupply operation. Casey conveniently died on the second day of the Iran-Contra hearings.

    Throughout his investigations, Castillo was warned to ignore Ilopango and the Contras, yet he persisted. Stia's original warning to Castillo came true when representatives from the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) flew in from Washington to investigate Castillo and Stia for violations of DEA rules.

    Despite their problems, Stia had always respected Castillo, recommending him for a bonus and promotion in 1987. Castillo repeated every detail of his investigations to the OPR agents, constantly amazed at how little interest was shown in the contra-cocaine connection. OPR had no interest in stopping the sordid dealings of Ollie North's mob, but were looking for anything to nail Castillo so he could be discredited and removed from the agency.

    Finding a series of minor violations, including socializing with an informant, receiving and soliciting gifts, possession of an automatic weapon, and misappropriation of government property, Castillo was suspended for thirty five days, then transferred back to the States. The charges stemmed not from Castillo's lack of bureaucratic integrity, but from some paperwork snafus "routinely committed by every agent in the field." Other violations, such as the routine aerial spraying of food crops, rivers, and bodies with the deadly chemical Roundup, were never investigated.

    Regarding Castillo's claims, DEA spokesman John Hughes told the SHADOW, "Most of what you have is not confirmable. He may have written the reports you mention; we just don't have them in this office." CIA spokesman David French told the San Francisco Bay Guardian that Castillo's allegations, "are not something we can comment on." Despite the death threats, Castillo receives on his answering machine each week, Hughes assured the SHADOW that, "No one at the DEA bears any ill will against Cele." Ironically, Hughes added, "This is a good story and it deserves to be told."

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #37 
    Excerpts from Celerino Castillo's book


    "About this time, I {Castillo} recruited a Salvadoran who put the hard evidence I needed on the Contras at my fingertips. Hugo Martinez worked at Ilopango, writing flight plans for the private planes streaming in and out of the airport's civilian side. That included my flights in and out of the airport, and we talked frequently as my presence in El Salvador increased."10

    "Suddenly, my reports contained not only the names of traffickers, but their destinations, flight paths, tail numbers, and the date and time of each flight. Hundreds of flights each week delivered cocaine to the buyers and returned with money headed for the great isthmus laundering machine in Panama. I could have started a weekly newsletter: Ilopango Doper. . . .

    "The Contra planes flew out of hangars four and five, and Hugo could identify their planes by the black cross painted on their tail. The CIA owned one hangar, and the National Security Council ran the other."11

    ". . . Hugo had no trouble picking up incriminating information; many times pilots told him outright they were taking cocaine to the United States. The CIA had hired them, they boasted, and nobody could touch them. Hugo would quietly jot down their names after they left. Most of the time, Hugo simply poked his balding head into the planes as he made his rounds. When he spotted the tightly wrapped kilos, the pilot's name joined the others on his list. . . .

    "When I ran Hugo's list of names through the computer, they all came back as narcotics traffickers in DEA's files. Little wonder the Contras used them, I thought. Nobody knew the terrain like drug pilots, and their dive-and-dump flying skills perfectly matched the job description for covert operations."12

    "I wrote a string of reports on the Contras through the end of March {1986} with the stream of intelligence Hugo and Aparecio {another informant} generated."13

    These reports seem to be part of what the CIA just couldn't find in its investigation. Perhaps an incident recounted in Castillo's book offers an explanation. Castillo had arranged a cocaine purchase from a new source (in order to arrest him). On meeting him, Castillo learned that he was a member of the Guatemalan Congress. After stalling, he took the case to Robert Stia, DEA attache to Guatemala:

    ". . . Stia called Larry Thompson, the third-ranking State Department official at the embassy, to ask how I should proceed {the top two officials were out of the country}. Stia returned with Thompson's instructions: Drop the pursuit. We were not there to embarrass the Guatemalan government, he said. We were there to help them."14

    Ultimately Castillo spoke to the US Ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr. He writes. "I'll never forget Corr's response. 'It's a White House operation, Cele. Stay away from it..'"15 According to Gary Webb in Dark Alliance, "'I certainly would not say that he did not go away with that impression,' Corr said elliptically, in a 1993 interview. He said he doubted using the words 'White House' in his conversation, however."16

    Castillo persisted with his investigations and arrests. One raid uncovered a huge cache of weapons, radios, and even Jeeps at the house of William Brasher, a well-known smuggler. When Castillo arrived,

    "The room was filled with enough firepower to arm a platoon. . . . A sniper rifle caught my eye first. It looked like a .50 caliber, with a scope big enough to peek into a window half way across town. U.S. military field radios sat atop cases of grenades and neatly packed C4 explosives. There was night vision equipment; M16s; helicopter helmets; Gerber combat knives; grenade launchers; compasses."17

    "Aparecio ran a check on the license plates from Brasher's Jeeps. They came back registered to the U.S. Embassy.

    "Corr. I thought back to our last conversation. It's a White House operation. I switched on one of the confiscated radios. It was tuned to the embassy frequency, and U.S. personnel chatted back and forth in English. Damn, I thought, they all looked me right in the eye and flat-out lied. . . ." (italics in original)

    Determined to expose the operation, Castillo had scheduled a press conference. But then one of the Salvadoran lieutenants he was working with told him:

    "'Col. Revelo just told me he received orders not to release the information to the press.'

    "A long minute ticked away on the wall clock as I rocked in my chair. I felt I had been drilled in the chest with an icicle. Someone high in the chain of command had ordered Revelo, the chief of the national police, to cancel the press conference."18

    Castillo again confronted Ambassador Corr:

    "'Cele, it's a covert operation,' he said, holding his palms out."19 "'We were ordered to give them all the cooperation they needed,' Corr said, rising from his chair. The conversation was over."20 (italics in original)

    Then US officials removed the evidence:

    "Two days after the raid I returned to Guatemala City to write my report. As I copied down serial numbers, Aparecio called. 'Some people from the embassy just walked in and claimed the radios and license plates,' he said."21

    Castillo had called in Richard Rivera, a US Customs agent in Mexico City, to trace the weapons and identify the seller. But the US government also quashed this inquiry:

    "Before the weapons could be traced, Rivera called, distraught. Customs suddenly decided to switch jurisdiction for Central America from Mexico City to their Panama office. His bosses ordered Rivera to pack up his investigations from Central America, particularly anything related to the Iran-Contra Affair, and ship them to headquarters, marked 'Classified.' Rivera boxed his files and sent them to Washington. We never learned what, if anything, happened to the Brasher investigation."22

    In his 1990 book Deep Cover former DEA agent Mike Levine describes a 1980 cocaine bust of almost 400 kilos, a record at the time, bought from the Roberto Suarez organization of Bolivia:

    "That afternoon, in a Miami bank vault, I paid Alfredo 'Cutuche' Gutierrez and Jose Roberto Gasser, two of the biggest drug dealers in history, nine million dollars, after which they were both arrested. 'The biggest law-enforcement sting in history,' the media called it. . . .

    "Jose Roberto Gasser--the son of Erwin Gasser, powerful Bolivian industrialist and right-winger--was almost immediately released from custody by the Miami U.S. Attorney's office, without the case being presented to a grand jury. I was beside myself; there was more than enough evidence to indict him.

    "A short time later--precisely as my South American informants predicted--Miami federal judge Alcee Hastings reduced Alfredo Gutierrez's bail from three to one million dollars. Gutierrez was allowed to post his bail and walk out of jail. In spite of my furious phone calls from Argentina begging DEA headquarters and the Miami office to put him under surveillance, nothing was done. Within hours he was on a plane back to Bolivia. The biggest drug sting in history was left without any defendants. . . .

    "My sting operation never could have happened without help from an antidrug faction within the Bolivian government--a faction that Suarez's organization had to obliterate. . . . Within weeks of the Miami arrests, with the financing of the Suarez organization and Erwin Gasser, and the support of our CIA, a bloody coup was begun. . . . It ended with the Bolivian government coming under the complete control of the Suarez organization. Bolivia soon became the principal supplier of cocaine base to the then fledgling Colombian cartels, thereby making themselves the main suppliers of cocaine to the United States. And it could not have been done without the tacit help of DEA and the active, covert help of the CIA." (A footnote adds, "A State Department diplomat in La Paz, Bolivia, said that it was the first time in history that an entire government had been bought by drug dealers."23 (italics in original)

    In late 1987, as part of an investigation, a "CIA pilot" named Jake flew with a DEA informant to Bolivia to inspect a cocaine distribution center, ostensibly for a major US drug buyer. Levine interviewed him about what he had seen:

    "'I still don't believe what I saw,' he told me excitedly. 'I saw so much that, for a while, I didn't think they were going to let me out of there. . . .'

    "'What exactly did you see?'

    "'All told, we saw seven landing fields.'

    "'How much coke, would you estimate?'

    "Jake was thoughtful, 'I would say about five thousand kilos at each, maybe more. . . . I've been flying these missions into Colombia for years; this is the mother lode. . . .

    'The Bolivians had a military-industrial setup that was right out of a West Point textbook. It's unbelievable. . . . It is without a doubt,' he said, 'the General Motors of Cocaine.'

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #38 

    Amid Cheers, Terrorists Have Landed in the U.S.
    By Julia E. Sweig and Peter Kornbluh
    Los Angeles Times

    Sunday 12 September 2004


    Lost History: The CIA's Fugitive Terrorist
    By Robert Parry

    WASHINGTON -- On Feb. 7, 1992, at 9 a.m., in Room 426 of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, two FBI agents sat down with a fugitive terrorist. For 6 1/2 hours, the agents debriefed the man who spoke with a faint slurping sound, the result of a bullet that had struck his face and nearly sliced off his tongue.

    The fugitive, then in his early 60s, labored through his story, including his usual denial that he had committed the mass murder of scores of civilians. But the agents were not interested in that long-ago act of terror. They wanted to know instead about the man's secret work for Ronald Reagan's White House.

    In 1986, during a congressional ban on U.S. military assistance to the Nicaraguan contra rebels, the fugitive terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, had been recruited into Oliver North's secret gun-running operation. Though charged in Venezuela with allegedly blowing a civilian airliner out of the sky a decade earlier, the CIA-trained explosives expert was made the operation's logistics chief. He oversaw caches of munitions stored at El Salvador's Ilopango airport and paid North's crews with bags of cash delivered from Miami. In return for this contra help, Posada was rewarded with false government papers to conceal his identity.

    Then, in October 1986, when one of North's supply planes was shot down and the operation was exposed, Posada's last job was to clear the safe houses of incriminating evidence. One federal drug enforcement officer, Celerino Castillo, later told the FBI that shortly after the houses had been cleaned out, Salvadoran drug agents raided them searching for evidence of contra narcotics smuggling.

    After the FBI interview ended on Feb. 7, 1992, Posada walked out of the U.S. Embassy to freedom. The 31-page summary of his interview was stamped "secret" and filed away in the records of the Iran-contra investigation conducted by independent counsel Lawrence Walsh who brought no charges based on Posada's information. A partially censored version of Posada's debriefing was recently obtained by The Consortium from the National Archives.

    In some ways, the 1992 FBI interview was just one more strange chapter in Posada's long career as a shadow soldier in the Cold War. But the bizarre situation, in which an accused international terrorist could freely enter and leave a U.S. embassy, also spoke volumes about Washington's ambivalence over criminal activities by former CIA operatives. Many of these warriors have enjoyed virtual licenses to kill or to commit other crimes with what some police agencies call "get-out-of-jail-free cards."

    Like hundreds of other young Cubans, Posada enlisted in the CIA's Cold War adventures in 1960, after fleeing Castro's communist revolution. Posada received paramilitary training for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, but his battalion stayed behind in reserve in Nicaragua, as Castro's forces overwhelmed the exile invasion force on the beach.

    International Warfare
    But Posada's war was only beginning. Back on the CIA payroll in the mid-1960s, he slipped arms into Cuba for possible future insurrections. He worked with anti-Castro extremist Orlando Bosch in sabotage attacks against Cuban targets, from ships to embassies. "There was a time when I thought this was the way to liberate Cuba," Posada told The Miami Herald. "Attack everything that served Fidel. Make him lose an embassy here, a consulate there."

    When Castro didn't fall, however, the Cuban exiles volunteered as shock troops in the international war against communism. Some exiles, such as Felix Rodriguez, worked directly for the CIA in Southeast Asia. Others were farmed out to regimes across South America to oversee anti-leftist "dirty wars." Posada landed a job with Venezuela's intelligence service, DISIP.

    By the mid-1970s, with Cuban exiles often in the background, violence was sweeping Latin America. In 1973, the Chilean military staged a bloody coup to oust the elected government of Marxist president Salvador Allende, who died in the fighting. In 1976, the Argentine army invented a new word, "disappeared," for the fate of suspected leftists who were swept off the streets by the thousands and never seen again.

    In 1976, too, Bosch and other Cuban exiles were itching to hit again at Castro. Bosch chaired a secret meeting in the Dominican Republic to plot strategy. Bosch has claimed that Posada was there, although Posada has publicly denied participating. Afterwards, Cuban exiles dramatically stepped up their terror attacks against Castro and his friends.

    Cuban exiles helped Chilean intelligence hunt down Allende's foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, who was considered a Castro ally. Letelier and an American co-worker were killed when assassins detonated a bomb taped to Letelier's car as it traveled down Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 21, 1976. The murder occurred after the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay had alerted then-CIA director George Bush to a suspicious Chilean intelligence mission to the United States. But Bush and the CIA did nothing to thwart the attack.

    Two weeks later, on Oct. 6, a Cubana airliner took off from Barbados. Nine minutes into the flight, a bomb exploded killing all 73 people on board, including the Cuban national fencing team. Police soon arrested two men who had gotten off the plane in Barbados. They were Posada's employees and had called Posada immediately after the plane crashed. One of the men confessed to the bombing. And when police searched Posada's residence, they found incriminating evidence, including Cubana flight schedules.

    Working for North
    Venezuelan authorities charged Posada and Bosch with masterminding the bombing. The two Cuban exiles denied the charges, and the case became a political tug-of-war with Venezuela uncomfortable prosecuting the pair but unwilling to set them free. Finally, in 1985, with the terror charges still pending, Posada bribed a guard and escaped from a Venezuelan jail.

    Posada's first stop as a fugitive was the Caribbean island of Aruba, where he got help from another Cuban-CIA veteran Felix Rodriguez, who arranged for Posada to fly to El Salvador. There, Rodriguez already was overseeing a secret resupply operation for the CIA-trained contra rebels in their war against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government. In 1984, Congress had cut off U.S. military assistance to the contras, but President Reagan had authorized one of his national security aides, Oliver North, to continue funnelling assistance to the rebels.

    Felix Rodriguez had been placed in El Salvador by an old friend in the CIA, Donald Gregg, the national security adviser to then-Vice President George Bush. Rodriguez introduced Posada to Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero, another Cuban who had close ties to both the CIA and to retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Secord who was directing the contra mission for North.

    According to Posada, Quintero was the one who actually recruited him for the contra operation. Paid $3,000 a month, plus living expenses and given an ID in the name of "Ramon Medina," Posada arranged for safe houses and fuel for North's air crews. He also stored a top-secret U.S. encrypting device, known as a KL-43, at his house for secure communications to the CIA's Costa Rican station chief and to other U.S. officials covertly assisting the project.

    In his FBI interview, Posada shed only a little new light on the old question of how much Bush knew about North's illegal activities. According to the FBI summary, "Posada ... recalls that Rodriguez was always calling Gregg. Posada knows this because he's the one who paid Rodriguez' phone bill. ...Posada assumes that Rodriguez told Gregg and other friends about the resupply project." But Posada didn't know for sure.

    After the Iran-contra scandal broke in fall 1986, Bush denied that his office had any role in the secret contra resupply operation, although Gregg did admit that he placed Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador.

    Gregg and Rodriguez, who worked together for the CIA in Vietnam, also acknowledged speaking frequently during this period, but insisted that they never talked about the contra operation. Gregg's claim of ignorance -- and Bush's insistence that he "out of the loop" -- were treated with great skepticism by Iran-contra investigators. But neither Bush nor Gregg budged from their stories.

    Contra Exposure
    By early October 1986, under intense White House pressure, Congress had nearly completed work on a plan to resume CIA support for the contras. But on the morning of Oct. 5, one of the last flights of North's little air force took off from Ilopango airport and sliced into southern Nicaragua to drop arms to the contras. There, a Sandinista soldier blasted the plane from the sky with a surface-to-air missile. One crew member, Eugene Hasenfus, parachuted to earth and was captured.

    When the Hasenfus flight didn't return, Posada quickly sounded the alarm. "Posada's first act was to call [Felix] Rodriguez, who was in Miami," the FBI summary read. "Rodriguez told him that Radio Havana had already announced the downing of an aircraft. ...Posada then went to the resupply houses and told everyone what had happened."

    Posada, the fugitive terrorist, also alerted Col. James Steele, the chief of the U.S. military group in El Salvador who rushed over to meet with Posada and to review a map showing the flight plan of the lost plane. Another Posada call went to Luis Rodriguez, another Cuban exile with close ties to the contras. (A year later, the federal government would indict Luis Rodriguez as a drug trafficker.)

    Soon after the Hasenfus disaster, Rafael Quintero and Robert Dutton, another contra resupply figure, arrived in El Salvador. Dutton told Posada that the FBI had learned that he was managing the contra operation and agents wanted to interview him the next day. But the interview never happened. Attorney General Edwin Meese intervened and suspended the probe on national security grounds. The delay bought Posada and his associates precious time.

    "Dutton and Quintero quickly left El Salvador," the FBI summary read. "Posada was left all alone to clean up the mess during the post-Hasenfus period. Posada had to move all the equipment out of the houses and close them down. Posada had to get all the U.S. personnel out of the country, dispose of their personal weapons, communication gear, terminate the leases and utilities. pay off all of the outstanding bills and all other loose ends."

    Luckily for Posada, an earthquake hit El Salvador briefly diverting press attention. Seizing that opening, Posada slipped the American crew men out of the safe houses, took them to Ilopango and helped them depart in small numbers. With the help of the Salvadoran military, Posada then cleaned out the houses.

    "During the course of cleaning up these houses, Posada collected papers, maps, house and fuel receipts, flight logs, photographs and other kind of miscellaneous items and put them in two boxes," the FBI summary states. "These boxes were stored at Ilopango and as far as Posada knows, they're still there."

    Drug Suspicions
    In a separate interview with the FBI, DEA officer Castillo said that after the Hasenfus shoot-down, Salvadoran drug agents planned to bust the safe houses over suspicions that North's pilots had doubled as narcotics traffickers. But Castillo added that the police arrived "too late and the houses had already been cleaned out."

    Posada himself hid out in Zanadu, a Salvadoran beach town. But by interrogating Hasenfus, the Nicaraguans soon identified the mysterious "Ramon Medina" -- the contras' logistics chief -- as the fugitive terrorist, Luis Posada. The Cuban exile was once more a hunted man.

    Still, Posada's friends continued to find him work. Salvadoran president Napoleon Duarte hired Posada as a special security adviser. Later, Posada moved to Guatemala where he worked for the state-owned phone company and gave informal security advice to Guatemala's president Vinicio Cerezo.

    Then, on Feb. 26, 1990, two cars pulled up next to Posada's black Suzuki jeep as he was heading to work. Gunmen opened fire, riddling Posada's car with more than 40 bullets. One penetrated Posada's chest and grazed his heart. Another cut through his jaw and nearly severed his tongue. Posada fired back and pulled into a gas station before collapsing.

    Cerezo's security men rushed Posada to a hospital where his life was saved, although his damaged tongue continued to slur his speech. After his recovery, Posada moved to Honduras and again went into hiding.

    In 1992, Posada spoke with the FBI for 6 1/2 hours. Then, he left the U.S. embassy and slipped back into obscurity. The Cuban government occasionally demands that the United Nations seek his return to Cuba to stand trial on terrorism charges. But the United States has taken no steps to assist in Posada's apprehension.

    As the Iran-contra probe ended in 1993, Posada's testimony also slid into thick government's files and was soon forgotten.

    Copyright (c) 1996

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #39 

    DEA Agent’s Whistleblower Case Exposes the “War on Drugs” as a “War of Pretense”
    Agent’s Sealed Legal Case Dismissed on National Security Grounds; Details Leaked to Narco News

    By Bill Conroy
    Special to The Narco News Bulletin
    September 7, 2004



    Sources within the intelligence community, however, tell Narco News that the CIA’s motivations in the region are likely far more complex, and that Horn simply found himself in the path of the Agency’s buzz saw.

    In the end, Huddle managed to get Horn run out of Burma through the machinations of the State Department, Leighton contends, but only after Horn discovered that the CIA had planted eavesdropping equipment in his private quarters in Burma.

    Horn’s attorney claims the bug was planted by Brown or one of his cronies as part of an effort to set up Horn and to undermine DEA’s mission in Burma. The eavesdropping, in the end, failed to produce any dirt that could be used against Horn, but it was a clear violation of his civil rights, according to Leighton.

    Sources within DEA contend Horn’s claims against the CIA and State Department are on target, adding that the Department of Justice went as far as to claim that no U.S. citizen is protected from eavesdropping by its government when overseas.

    “Horn’s whole story is true,” contends one DEA source. “They spied on his home, and the Department of Justice defended the CIA’s actions.”

    Horn’s attorney, in his letter to Sen. Shelby, contends that the CIA’s net is far wider than Burma, and that the Agency regularly spies on DEA agents overseas:

    … My client has learned that many DEA agents have been the subject of electronic eavesdropping by the State Department and our U.S. intelligence agencies.

    … There are, no doubt, countless times when DEA’s operation plans have been foiled by “the listeners,” without DEA even knowing what happened.

    What really happened in the Horn case, though, is not supposed to come out, if the government has its way. From the start, Horn’s litigation was sealed and critical evidence that could have supported his claims censored by the court.


    The narco-trade in the Golden Triangle region is controlled by warlords who are able to field large armies that are funded with the proceeds of their illicit trade, according to sources in the intelligence community. In some cases, Burma’s military junta has struck bargains with these powerful factions, such as the United Wa State Army, which has had a ceasefire in effect with the government of Burma since 1989.

    The relationship between the powerful warlords who control the lucrative narco-trade in Burma and the corrupt military junta that controls the government is very complex and layered. Sources in the intelligence community say that relationship is similar to two parasites, each sucking the blood out of the other, in a symbiotic union. As a result, drug money often finds its way into government coffers and personal accounts through agreements of convenience between corrupt government officials and the narco-traffickers.

    The intelligence game in the region, then, according to sources, involves penetrating both worlds, and using information gained to manipulate the politics and forces in the region. As a result, the CIA would have assets planted inside both the government and the major trafficking organizations – with some of those assets likely working both sides of that fence. The CIA officials handling these human assets have built their careers on the information obtained from this spying game, and in some cases may have become corruptly involved in the system itself, according to sources in the intelligence community.

    If you want to cultivate assets in the drug trade to get information, then you have to let the drug trade continue, and that’s why you don’t want a noisy DEA agent getting in the way,” explains one source who does consulting work in the intelligence field. “The reason the opium economy will not stop is that the CIA does not see a value in stopping it when they want intelligence. … We don’t have a drug policy, we have a drug pretense.”

    Lau explains that if the U.S. Government was really serious about eradicating the drug trade, “they would have done it. But they do not really want to.”

    “Let’s say the DEA was successful in eradicating all drug trafficking,” Lau adds. “What would be left to prop up pro-U.S. regimes that rely on the drug trade? … The CIA can use the proceeds of the drug trade to pay for armies to support a friendly government.”

    Lau also says a lot of careers in the intelligence community have been built around human assets who have been planted within the ranks of the narco-trafficking organizations. If you take down the drug trade, you take down the very assets that are helping to make careers – and at times, corrupt fortunes – within the intelligence community, Lau points out.

    Given that backdrop, it doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination to conclude that the intelligence community has a lot of motivation to keep a lid on the Horn case. Because the DEA agent actually wanted to do his job and take down the narco-trafficking trade in Burma, he was in fact likely threatening the opposing mission of the State Department and CIA in the region. Their mission was to maintain the status quo so that the information pipeline could continue to prop up careers and U.S. interests in the region – which had nothing to do with eradication of the opium market.

    “The CIA will do what it needs to do to suit its interests,” Zaid says. “If that means taking steps against another agency employee, they will do it.

    A TAINTED DEAL http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

     LA DEA; Murder of Kiki Camarena http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278  

    "Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the DOJ at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the LA Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities. According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central L.A., around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Vol II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the DOJ, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles." Maxine Waters Oct, 1998


    Posts: 1,194
    Reply with quote  #40 

    AUSA BOB MERKLE article about Lehder getting a deal



    Carlos Lehder Rivas, b. 1950,
    Drug Trafficker


    © St. Petersburg Times, published November 28, 1999

    [Photo: AP]
    Twenty-five years ago, the son of a German father and Colombian mother had a simple idea.

    From his jail cell in Danbury, Conn., where he was doing time for importing marijuana, Carlos Lehder Rivas saw massive cultural upheaval, crumbling social and moral constraints, and diminishing respect for the dignity of the individual.

    To Lehder, it all added up to one thing: an opportunity to import and distribute cocaine to the American consumer on a massive scale.

    A founding member of the infamous Medellin Cartel, Lehder knew America could not resist the exciting drug if it were affordable and readily available. Much as Henry Ford transformed the automobile industry through mass production, Lehder and his colleagues created a river of cocaine where only a trickle had gone before.

    Lehder, who idolized Adolf Hitler, labeled his packaged kilos with swastikas and murdered anyone who got in his way. He commanded an armed garrison on a Bahamian island replete with hangars and a jet-capable runway. Twenty-four hours a day, his pilots injected cocaine by the ton into the United States. The cartel invested its immens